Thursday, June 26, 2008

More draft wrap, the NBA, and some geek talk

I forgot to mention in my last post about the results of my own mock. Out of the 30 players selected in the 1st round, I managed to correctly identify 25 of them in my own mock 1st. Considering the number of trades, and the wide-open nature of this particular draft, I'd say that was pretty good. I also managed to correctly identify the picks of 7 teams (Stamkos - TB, Doughty - LA, Wilson - Nsh, Boedker - Phx, Myers - Buf, Eberle - Edm, Cuma - Min)

All in all a pretty solid end result for me.

The NBA draft is tonight, and there are a handful of big stories unfolding.

The latest one is that Richard Jefferson has been traded by the Nets to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian, and Bobby Simmons. This is a big trade for the Nets who are suddenly in a wholesale rebuilding mode. For the Bucks it gives them a big time presence to take the pressure off of Michael Redd, and it remains to be seen if the Bucks are done tweaking.

However, prior to that the biggest trade going down is the one that a lot of people are still trying to say isn't going down. It would see the Toronto Raptors trade T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston and the 17th overall draft pick in tonight's draft to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal. It's a question-markish trade for both teams in that Ford and O'Neal are both injury concerns. However, if things work out, it gives the Pacers the PG they desperately need (and the ability to give Jamaal Tinsley the boot), as well as the flexibility of getting out from under O'Neal's contract. For the Raptors they finally have a legitimate running mate to Chris Bosh and shouldn't be pushed around in teh front court. It also lets Andrea Bargnani take a reserve role, which should serve him well after he struggled under the pressure of being a starting centre last season.

However, this deal cannot go down until Tuesday July 1 because of some technicalities surrounding Ford's contract. It remains to be seen if in the mean time the Raptors might have the daring to find a better deal and take it instead (although I doubt that happens)

As for the draft itself, I'm not sure what to think, as I don't follow prospects enough to make any kind of judgement.

Change of pace here. A random list, my 5 favorite TV shows on DVD that you might not have considered getting, but should.

5) Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - The complete 1st season

What's that, an anime series? Yeah. I think that Ghost in the Shell (or GitS) is a great series to bridge "traditional" people who don't see the potential of animation for drama into the anime world. GitS tells a great story, focusing on exploits of Public Security Section 9, a government-sponsored police squad operating in a futuristic Japan, charged with protecting the public from criminals that use cybernetics and the internet (which is a Matrix-like virtual world. In fact, The Matrix drew some of its inspiration from the managa this series is also based on) . One great aspect of the story is that it fits together single self-contained episodes with a season-long story arc focusing on a criminal known as "The Laughing Man". GitS also avoids many of the stereotypcial anime trappings such as the exaggerated stylings and surreal animation. Instead it uses vibrant color and some great designs to spin a tale mixing drama, action and tension with some small doses of humor. Another great thing about this series is that the english language dubbing is excellent, so you don't need to read subtitles with Japanese to get a "true" sense of the story.

4) Angel: The Complete Series

An odd choice on par with GitS, I watched Angel almost by happenstance one day on TV and I was hooked. I have since watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it never appealed to me the same way this series did. Over the course of 5 seasons, the show goes through numerous twists and turns, and manages to walk a line on which it can tell a serious story but also not take itself so seriously that it can't have fun at the same time.

3) Futurama - Volume 4

Futurama is a great show, and I chose Volume 4 as the best of the 4 sets of the series' original run. For my money this show equals the best years of the Simpsons in terms of quality, and every disc in the set has at least one episode guaranteed to make you howl with laughter.

2) Burn Notice - The complete 1st season

A cable series on USA Network, Burn Notice had me hooked from the moment I saw it. Part MacGuyver, part spy show, all cool, Burn Notice follows Michael Westen, an American spy who finds himself ostracized from the espionage community and now has to spend his time in Miami figuring out why he was blacklisted and earning money by taking on odd jobs from wherever he can get them. Throw in Bruce Campbell as Michael's ex-spy buddy Sam as well as Michael's gun-happy former IRA on-again off-again girlfriend Fiona, and there's just a great mix of action and humor all wrapped up with a mystery that needs solving. What's even better is that the show is back for its 2nd season in just a couple of weeks.

1) Psych - The complete 1st season

Here it is, #1 on my list. Psych is a hilarious series that follows the exploits of Shawn Spencer. Trained by his cop father (Corbin Bernsen in a scene-stealing role), Shawn has incredible observational and deductive skills, which would make him the perfect detective. Only problem is that Shawn doesn't want to be a cop, so he instead phones in to the tipline with whatever he picks up off of TV. One day that gets him hauled in and accused of being an inside man. With the police unwilling to believe some random guy could just pull accurate info out of nowhere, Shawn announces himself as a psychic, and puts on a huge show to convince everyone that his abilities come from the realm of the paranormal. From here Shawn and his best friend Gus set up a psychic detective agency to continue helping the police while keeping up the facade of Shawn's mysterious gift. This show just oozes comedy from every angle, from the slapstick antics of Shawn's psychic episodes, to Gus's straight man playing off of Shawn's insanity, to the bungling detective Lassiter, it's just a spectacular show to watch and this DVD set is a great place to get caught up before the show returns to the USA Network in mid July

So that's my list, hopefully you wouldn't be disappointed by trying out these TV series.


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