Monday, September 15, 2014

"If it's not going to put a dent in the world, quit"

Failure's an option
I recently read The Dip (2007) by marketing guru Seth Godin. I'm a daily reader of his wonderful blog and I had also checked out Purple Cow and Small is the New Big - all three of which are fantastic reads - so when I found this book about "when to quit and when to stick" in the Queromedia library, I knew I had to bring it home with me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

If I Stay

If I Stay by R.J. Cutler
"You're my home now"
Last night I watched If I Stay, the movie adaptation of Gayle Forman's bestselling YA novel from 2009. The book has been on my to-read list since forever, but I have yet to get to it. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production wasn't really on my radar, except for the constant social media push provided by insanely talented Kick-Ass and Carrie actress Chloë Grace Moretz, who totally reminds me of my goofy Swiss cousin Elisa. Or nah? Anyway, I'm a huge Moretz fan and I was very curious how she would fare in a drama film.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets 2014 offseason
Back to the Rockies
2013-2014 record: 36-46

The Denver Nuggets had a tough campaign in 2013-2014. The front office was shaken up, Brian Shaw came over from the Pacers to replace George Karl, and do-it-all forward Andre Iguodala (acquired from the 76ers in the Dwight Howard trade) was shipped to the Warriors. Add already-recovering Italian stud Danilo Gallinari and season-ending injuries to Javale McGee, sparkplug Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson to the equation, and you can see why the Nugs weren't necessarily clicking on all cylinders. With a healthy core and the addition of Arron Afflalo (shipped to the Magic in the Dwight Howard trade), Shaw's Denverians should be much better in Year 2.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Milwaukee Bucks

2014-2015 Milwaukee Bucks
The Young Bucks
2013-2014 record: 15-67

The Bucks got a bit carried away with last year's Riggin' For Wiggins tank fest, beating the tank-happy 76ers at their own game, and collecting a franchise-low 15 wins in 2013-2014 to improve their odds in last June's NBA Draft. Unlike Philadelphia, GM John Hammond doesn't intend to stay in the lottery forever. He added No. 2 pick Jabari Parker and some solid pieces to his young core, brought in a new coach to guide the youngsters, and is generally steering the franchise in a new direction.

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons 2014 offseason moves
The center of attention
2013-2014 record: 29-53

The Detroit Pistons were a bit of a mess last season. Their towering trio of bigs - Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith - didn't really gel on the court, coach Maurice Cheeks apparently didn't get along with Smith and Will Bynum, and the team generally lacked a system. The arrival of former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy will solve at least some of their problems, and while they won't be contenders, they should at least be able to churn out a few more wins in 2014-2015.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"We need to be cautious and smart and ruthless"

The Killer Order (James Dashner) review
The before!
On my recent trip to Turkey, I finally finished the Maze Runner trilogy by beststelling author James Dashner. My Maze-crazed sister Margot had also brought The Kill Order (2012), a prequel to the series, so I decided to check that one out, too. I'm always a bit skeptical about prequels - oftentimes they're just obvious attempts at milking the success of something - but Margot (and Marlon, and Sarah) assured me my reservations were unwarranted. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Chicago Bulls

Pau Gasol to Chicago Bulls
Pau chicka wow wow
2013-2014 record: 48-34

I don't know how they do it. Even without superstar point guard Derrick Rose (who tore his meniscus just 10 games after returning from an 18 month ACL recovery) and Bulls lifer Luol Deng (traded for Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks at the February deadline), they still managed to grab the No. 4 seed. Sure, Thibodeau's pesky troops got over-run by the Washington Wizards in the first round, but it's not hard to see why: their hard-ridden core guys and rag tag crew of in-season additions simply ran out of gas against the excited kids from the capital.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Dallas Mavericks

Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks
Chandler Bang in the Big D
2013-2014 record: 49-33

Just 3 short years ago, the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title. Last year, they barely made the playoffs, taking the Champion San Antonio Spurs to 7 games before ultimately falling short. With Shawn Marion gone to the Cavaliers, Mark Cuban decided to surround re-signed championship holdover and Mavs franchise hero Dirk Nowitzki (3 years, $25 million) with a healthy mix of veterans and youngsters, drastically improving their odds in the Western Conference.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bad Neighbours

Bad Neighbours by Nicholas Stoller
On Sunday night I watched Bad Neighbours. It was raining outside, I enjoy the works of Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and I craved some laughs. I was pretty confident that this Universal Studios comedy would do just the trick. Especially with director Nicholas Stoller at the helm. You might remember him from such films as Get Him To The Greek (2010) and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008).