The Game Plan Podcast – Episode 1

With the NBA season slowly coming to a close, I brought my good buddy Chris Morrison, analyst and host of the Hooper’s Log podcast over on NBALead, to talk about potential landing spots for some of the players that have no contract or options for this summer.

As always, the podcast is available on my YouTube page as a video and in audio format on my SoundCloud and soon, ITunes!

NBA Draft Lottery 2017: Winners and Losers

Who won the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery?

The NBA Draft Lottery took place last night, and with it, the future of many teams either became brighter or sunk further into the depths of despair.

There were a few teams that now have much more to look forward to come draft night, while others will feel the need to panic and hope a player will fall to them at their position. Time to break down the Winners and Losers of the 2017 Draft Lottery.

Winner: Boston Celtics

Boston is in a very good position for multiple reasons:

They are not only competing in the Eastern Conference Finals against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers for entry into the NBA Finals, they also just secured the number one overall pick in the draft.

Their core is locked up for another season, barring the impending free agency of former first round pick Kelly Olynyk and the replaceable Amir Johnson.

They have young, overseas talent ready to step in on the roster. Headlined by Guerschon Yabusele, a big-bodied young player with the potential to become a solid two-way stretch forwards, and Ante Zizic, a high motored big man that many hope can fill the starting center spot next season.

They have last year’s number three overall pick in Jaylen Brown, who had a rather impressive start to his career on a team that is competing for a championship.

Lastly, they also have the ability to make room for another max-contract free agent this summer to pair alongside last year’s addition of Al Horford.

Celtic’s fans have a lot to be happy about in their future.

Loser: New York Knicks

The team with in the most turmoil failed to get any luck going their way on the night they needed it most. With the eighth pick, most of the top options for New York will be off the board barring a crazy shake up in preference.

“I think that we’re good at what we do,” is what President of Basketball Operations and subject of much of the New York fan base’s ire, Phil Jackson said when asked about their position in the draft.

That statement is unfounded and if we are being honest, probably won’t change in the near future. Jackson has done nothing positive for the team besides drafting Kristaps Porzingas and has all but guaranteed he wants Carmelo Anthony off of the team before the season starts.

If the former championship coach is deadest on moving the insulted Melo and running his outdated triangle, then we might see the Knicks fall into the lottery team category for years to come.

Winner: Los Angeles Lakers

No one really thought the Lakers were going to lose out on two first round picks, but the possibility was there. Magic Johnson seemed slightly nervous about that fact, but I feel it was more for comedy’s sake and bantering with Joel Embiid.

This is good news for LA in multiple ways too. LaVar Ball has stated throughout his many media appearances that his son and presumed second overall pick, Lonzo Ball, will only play for the Lakers.

“I just think it’s lined up for him to be a Laker.” – LaVar Ball

If the team sees that the player fits their system and are willing to add him to their rebuilding process, then no one will need to hear Daddy Ball complain on the air again.

Something that only Fox and ESPN will lament over.

Magic and Rob Pelinka have cap space, picks and players to work with now as they try to return the purple and gold to their former glory.

Loser: Phoenix Suns

It was really a bad night for any small market team, but the Suns got the shaft compared to some of the other franchises.

They came in with the second highest chances at the number one slot. Instead, they walked away with the fourth pick, and dashed hopes of a player that will likely be gone by their selection.

They have a promising young core in Devin Booker, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss to name a few. They are missing the player that will be the go-to for them though. They have their scorer in Booker, but who will be their distributer?

Eric Bledsoe can’t stay healthy, they traded Goran Dragic and IT and Brandon Knight is not the answer. Fultz or Ball would have helped them tremendously, but now they need to work with what the basketball gods have given them.

Winner: Sacramento Kings

Two lottery picks? Let’s hope that they have better luck this year then their track record shows from previous drafts.

Winner: The Process

Hey Sam Hinkie, you doing ok? I know you don’t work for the Sixers anymore, but I swear your name must be legend in that town by now.

With the third selection in this loaded draft, Embiid announcing he could be back in less than a month and a slew of other young talent to look forward to, this franchise could be another young riser in the East.

State of the blog

Cale writes about how BoosterBlogs has gotten to where it is today, future projects that are in the works and how the crew plans to tackle upcoming challenges.

As of this previous weekend, BoosterBlogs has officially become a registered domain. It took a lot of planning on the part of myself and my VP Collin, but in the end I am just happy this side project has come this far.

I originally made this site on WordPress because I liked the name and wanted to start writing independently. Nothing really came of that until I wrote my 2015-16 NBA Season preview, which ended up landing me a gig over on NBALead.

I came back to the website briefly when I wrote a few pieces for a class during my freshman year of college and needed to post them to my own site. It was then I decided to bookmark the idea for a dedicated run on BB for the future.

Thankfully things played into my favor during this most recent semester of college, the end of my sophomore year, so that I had a good amount of spare time on the weekends to start this up. Collin, who I knew previously from working together in NBALead, was also working on his own site and I reached out to see if he was interested in contributing.

What spawned from that partnership is nearly two going on three full months of constant content flowing from our collective brains as the two of us try to build this thing up.

He has anchored the site for nearly three weeks as I have been busy moving back home from college, adjusting to my new work schedule and started more projects for the site.

The state of the blog has never been better over our four-month life span. Here are some things you can expect soon.

Collin is going to be on vacation soon, but his articles will continue. He is our lead writer when it comes to sports and going forward he will have control in that department, barring my occasional column and anyone else we bring on.

My columns will return this week after taking an absence. I have some topics I really want to write about and I think that you all will enjoy and learn something from them.

Our coverage of eSports will be expanding from just our weekly League of Legends recap that Richard puts out. I will start covering more professional Super Smash Bros. competitions and the ELeague Street Fighter V events I watch.

Other content will also be joining our normal content. I am bringing The Gameplan Podcast to BoosterBlogs in the coming weeks. This will feature discussions about sports, video games, eSports and a lot more.

On top of that, I have also started streaming again on my Twitch channel. Those streams usually consist of myself and occasional guests playing games we find fun or interesting. They frequently turn into Q&As with the chat as I answer questions about anything you ask. If you want to talk to me about a specific topic or just need some background noise while you work, that’s the place to go.

After wrapping up all those upcoming projects, I do have one final announcement.

We have only gotten this far due to the dedication both Collin and I have for what we do. We are thankful to each person that reads our work and shares it with others.

That being said, the two of us are not enough to make this thing reach its full potential. We have three writers on staff, one of which is only a weekly column writer, and that will eventually make us cap out to how far the site can grow.

If you know anyone interested in writing that just wants to get their thoughts on a subject or maybe even become a contributor to the site on a frequent basis, please contact us or share our site with them so we can get in touch. Editing is provided and nearly any topic is accepted.

Thank you for your time and support. We hope you continue to like our works.

Signed the Blue and Gold duo,

Collin Loring and Cale Michael.

Playoff Predictions of the first degree

It’s that time of year NBA fans, the playoffs are here. Fourteen teams have been sent home for the year, and sixteen remain, ready to compete for a title. With such an interesting post season awaiting, Cale and Collin offer up their first round predictions:


Eastern Conference

 

Boston Celtics (1) vs Chicago Bulls (8)

 

Collin: Boston versus Chicago will be a fun series, for the Celtics fans. I will say this however, both team went 7-3 in their last ten games of the season, but Chicago was fighting for its life. The continuation of this disorderly system ran by Hoiberg and the front office guarantees an easy series win for Boston. Don’t doubt Jimmy Butler takes one game in a shining performance. 4-2 Boston 

 

Cale: As a Celtics fan, I want to say it will be easy for us to take the series, but I can’t guarantee that. Despite how dysfunctional the Bulls have been all season, Butler is the best two-way player on either team by a mile and if he has a big series the Cs might have issues. I have no faith in Hoiberg as a coach so that is a plus. At best, I can see the Chicago taking one of the first two games in Boston. 4-1 Boston

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs Indiana Pacers (7)

 

Collin: This is one of the more interesting match ups, and one I will be paying close attention to. Paul George has been on fire, and averaged 30.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his last ten games this year. Although he’s averaged 24.7 points a game against Cleveland, he’s only lead his team to one win out of four games against LeBron this season. Cavaliers have had a rough finish to the regular season, but will take the series after a sloppy start. 4-2 Cleveland 

 

Cale: With the first game in the series featuring little to no defense and coming down to a missed shot by C.J Miles, I think it is safe to say the Pacers put the Cavs on notice. Coming into the postseason the biggest question mark for me was Cleveland’s defense. I don’t think they will be exposed in this series, but in the future, I wouldn’t be so sure the King still reigns. 4-0 Cleveland

 

Toronto Raptors (3) vs Milwaukee Bucks (6)

 

Collin: I’m a firm believer that Milwaukee can land an upset over Toronto. As they’ve shown in the past, (round 1 against the Bulls) they can be resilient in the face of elimination. In their most recent game together, Giannis was a huge problem for the Raptors. He finished the game with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists all while shooting 62%. We can’t forget the Raptors mid-season additions, who have really found their stride in the final month of the season (Ibaka: 14ppg/7rpg/1.2bpg in last 10). It will be through an immense defensive effort on Milwaukee’s end, but their size and length will pull through in the end. 4-3 Milwaukee

 

Cale: Going into the first game, my pick was Toronto. After the showing from Milwaukee my faith is a little shaken, but I will remain pact. I think the diversity and depth of the Raptors will eventually wear down the Bucks. Please for the love of basketball though, let P.J Tucker guard Giannis Antetokounmpo more in the second game. Put positions out of the way, that is the matchup I want to see going forward. 4-2 Toronto

 

Washington Wizards (4) vs Atlanta Hawks (5)

 

Collin: There’s no doubt in my mind that the Wizards will silence all doubt in this series. Washington finished the season 49-33, their best record in over 30 years! John Wall and Bradley Beal have really meshed as a back court, and their bench rotation has been a key for their success. After a great start to the season, Atlanta has fallen apart and shown huge signs of inconsistency. Should Millsap remain healthy, this series could likely go to seven games. Nonetheless, the success of Washington is hard to look past. 4-2, Washington

 

Cale: In the words of Bill Simmons. Atlanta is like the crazy drunk guy at the bar that everyone wants to steer clear of. They have about five wing players that can knock down three-pointers and with the low-post pairing of Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap, I don’t know if the bigs on Washington will be able to slow them down. The bench will be the deciding factor for both teams. Looking at you Ersan. 4-3 Atlanta

 

Western Conference

 

Golden State Warriors (1) vs Portland Trailblazers (8)

 

Collin: Damian Lillard and the Trailblazers had a strong finish to the regular season, going 7-3 in their final ten. Lillard even had the audacity to announce: “Blazers in 6,” when asked about facing Golden State. Dame, we appreciate the enthusiasm, but Portland is 0-4 against the Warriors this season (including a 135-90 blowout back in December). Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the same Warriors team that went to the Finals back to back, but they’re simply on a different level of basketball. 4-1 Golden State

 

Cale: KD is back and Nurkic is questionable. Not much to say here. Unless Damian Lillard can drop 60 or get some major help from more than just CJ, I see no challenge. 4-0 Golden State

 

San Antonio Spurs (2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (7)

 

Collin: Alas, the poor Memphis Grizzlies have found their fate once again in the hands of San Antonio. It’s rare that Pop and the Spurs get taken down in the first round of the playoffs, and sadly I don’t think Memphis is capable. I will say this for the Grizzlies: they are a strong defensive team and have tied the season series, 2-2. For this reason, I’m giving them one Mike Conley-Marc Gasol performance that results in a win. 4-1 San Antonio 

 

Cale: The last stand of the grit and grind. Z-Bo will get his in this matchup but after the first game it is clear LaMarcus Aldridge is ready to play. Tony Parker even turned back the clock for an 18-point performance. Tony Allen’s injury is going to open a hole that I think the Spurs will take advantage of. 4-1 San Antonio 

 

Houston Rockets (3) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (6)

Collin: Houston vs Oklahoma is the series we all deserve. It’s (arguably) the top-two candidates for the MVP award facing off once again. A Russell Westbrook that wants to win is a very dangerous one. Against the Rockets and his former teammate, Westbrook is averaging 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists per game while shooting around 45% from the floor. As much as we want to root for Russ, we can’t deny that he’s up against the best offensive team we’ve seen in years. Harden has been phenomenal and he’s got two sixth man of the year candidates in his secondary rotation. In honor of the season he’s having, I say Westbrook pulls his team to three wins. 4-3 Houston 

 

Cale: Hometown bias aside, I think the Thunder have the most to prove in the playoffs outside of the two teams that played in last year’s finals. Russell is out to destroy anyone put in front of him and he has some beef with Patrick Beverly from a previous postseason matchup. This will come down to if OKC can keep the score even remotely close. The abundance of shooters on Houston will make it difficult, but only time will tell us the victor of the MVP Bowl. 4-2 Oklahoma City

 

 

Los Angeles Clippers 4) vs Utah Jazz (5)

 

Collin: I’m counting on the Utah Jazz to pull this one out for the underdogs. As a team they’ve emerged as one of the biggest surprises this season. Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and Rudy Gobert have become a not so big three and lead this team to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Los Angeles Clippers are known for their lack of championships and failure in the post season, and I don’t expect them to disappoint in this match up with Utah. The Jazz are fighting to make a name, and have played just as well (if not better) as Los Angeles. Chris Paul and his squad certainly have playoff experience, so I’m predicting a push for seven games. 4-3, Utah

 

Cale: One game in and the predictions of this series being the one to watch is already looking accurate. The loss of Rudy Gobert just seconds into the game is a crushing blow to Utah, but the depth of their team and key performances from veteran role players have the series leaning their way. I don’t know what the Clippers need to do outside of be more efficient, but even without Rudy, Gordon Hayward and crew look poised to take the next step. Key factors will be the return of Gobert and if Derrick Favors can stay healthy.  4-1 Utah

Why fanfiction is “real” literature

When someone says that they read fanfiction, most people laugh at them and say it is not real literature. However, that would be like saying that reading an article or some magazines is the same as reading fanfiction.

All of those things have one thing in common. They are something based off a source material that the author has given their own spin. Magazines use opinions and small blurbs of information on popular people and topics. Articles usually consist of a person’s thoughts and condensed information about a specified subject.

So what makes them legitimate sources when fanfiction is both? I am not saying that opinions on fanfiction being less than normal publications are unfounded, but people should not be mocked for enjoying it.

Stereotyping fanfiction

Yes, it isn’t rare to find stories on the various large fiction sites that are poorly written or just someone putting themselves into the story for the sake of becoming God.

Yes, it takes some time to get a feel for finding the good stories out of the large quantities that are posted daily, but in my opinion it is well worth it.

Once you find the fandom you want to delve into the site opens up and you learn how to find the stuff that fit your interests.

Despite the stereotyping, no, not all fanfiction is smut written by horny teenagers in their parent’s basement. Pardon the crude wording, but I think it was necessary.

I haven’t personally written anything related to fanfiction since before my freshman year of high school, but since January of 2013 I have been very active on fanfiction.net.

Does this mean I went from being a high school athlete and outgoing person in my community to a shut in? No. Nothing changed except for two things.

The amount of time I spent reading nearly tripled and I learned of new fandoms that in turn led me to watch or read their source material. The only thing I lost in the exchange was sleep on nights when I get hooked on a story.

The stereotype is there and can be proven true, but just because it is present does not mean the majority of the writers and readers can be classified under it.

Don’t judge a book by its cover… even when it is online and doesn’t technically have a cover.

Looking deeper at the medium

For a first-time user that drops into the vast internet library that is fanfiction.net, it can be pretty intimidating. Not hard to believe when a show like Naruto has a basic library of 412K stories and Harry Potter fans have taken it even further with 763K.
It has taken me roughly four year to finetune the system I use for finding compelling stories and even still I read a lot of the bad to get any of the good.

My personal preference of search options feature looking at the most favorited stories that are above 20k words and under any rating. That seems to yield the stories that have the highest reader base and quality on that site.

Digging through a lot of the bad stuff for a few years I noticed my tastes evolve and the number of stories I consume weekly has increased. Reading fanfiction has increased my reading speed a fair amount and opened up a lot of new shows and books to my viewing list.

The time it takes to narrow down your interests and find the good stories in the sea of mediocrity is well worth it.

Bonus to the bad stuff you will need to read though, you will have fun stories to tell and appreciate the good stuff more.

Do I recommend it?

The final verdict for me is based on preference. I love reading how people interpret the stories or expand on the worlds from shows and other media I have seen. There are very few times I have been disgusted in anything I have read on the site and if you have any interest in seeing differing perspectives on established material I highly suggest giving it a try.

Just… be sure you know what you are getting into… and beware any sour, yellow fruit.

How to get past Writer’s Block

Writing something can be an arduous task for many people. Take it from someone who writes for a living and as a pastime, sometimes the words just won’t come out right.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on your project. It might just need some extra work to get it done. Here are some things that help me when I have writing troubles.

Working in the right environment

The place you work plays a huge part in how your mind functions while working. A huge reason most people who work from home either invest in a dedicated office or often go to other places to work is that your mentality changes depending on where you are.

Personally, I find it easier to work in my dorm room or bedroom at home rather than the office I am provided at work. I feel more at ease in my own are where I can control the events happening, but for others this isn’t the case.

I have a lot of friends who are successful enough as self-employed workers that they can afford their own office spaces. This allows them to leave their work in the office and relax more at home. It can put your mind at ease knowing that specific places are for relaxing, while others are meant for working.

I recommend setting aside specific times for working on projects and trying to keep yourself in the same area each time. This could improve both productivity and the likelihood of avoiding more bouts of writer’s block.

Listening to the right music

If any of you lovely readers are anything like me, then I assume you like rocking out to your favorite tunes when doing anything. But most people don’t realize that the choice of music can greatly affect productivity.

Personally, I listen to Jazz or Instrumental music when I really need to focus on something, but outside of that anything works. My roommate can’t do homework when anything with words in it is playing, so he tends to lean to movie soundtracks.

Studies show that people who listen to classical music while working will have higher results than those who listen to rap. Of course, this is subject to change based on each individual person, rap is actually pretty common in the playlists I frequent on SoundCloud when studying.

To help with this I would advise making different playlists for studying and other activities. That will give your brain ques on when it should be focusing on work versus working out for example.

Don’t get discouraged

It is easy to struggle with something and get frustrated or discouraged with the progress you are making. That is normal and is a side effect that comes from the brain when something just doesn’t line up for you.

It will take effort to work around it, but don’t force yourself to push through if you don’t have to. Sometimes work is work and you have to meet a deadline, but for personal projects, the best product is one that comes with ease.

Sure, having to think about something normally means more effort is going into it, and that is true in most cases. However, creativity is a fickle mistress.

Effort is one thing, but the spur of the moment thoughts that spawn the most revolutionary and original ideas can only come if the brain allows it.

Try not to force yourself to think on things if they become stale. Give the thoughts some breathing room and once the air is fresh, take another stab at it.

This list is by no means perfect. In fact, this was written in a single setting at 3 a.m. in the morning while listening to a copious amount of NateWantstoBattle.

Despite that fact, I hope something in this article will give you a boost when next you face the block all creative minds must overcome.

2GG Civil War: Crew Battle Wrap Up

If you want to watch the event before you read my wrap up of the article, here is the full event as seen on the 2GG YouTube channel. 

Going into the crew battle portion of the 2GG Civil War, many people though Team ZeRo would take it in a landslide. Looking back, it was an amazing feat for Team Ally to come as close as they did and it was an amazing showcase for some of the biggest names in the competitive scene.

It was a little bit of a shock for the event to start with two heavy hitters right off the bat, but Team ZeRo led with their captain, TSM ZeRo, and in response, Team Ally sent in one of their big guns in the form of RNG Dabuz. It was a close set and for the majority of the first few stocks, the event was a three-stock tournament, Dabuz seemed to be in charge, but ZeRo came in late to pull off the victory 3-2 with a single stock remaining in the Diddy Kong/Rosalina showdown.

The general thought in the chat at the time was ZeRo would be able to take at least a stock off whoever came in next so they could keep the lead, but that notion was squashed when Cloud9 Ally, the captain of Team Ally, stepped onto the stage and knocked out his fellow captain in their classic Mario vs Diddy battle.

NRG Nairo was the next up for Team ZeRo as he brought out the first Zero Suit Samus of the event and managed to take two stocks from Captain Canada before being brought down by the mighty Italian plumber. This gave Team Ally a single stock lead that would continue for most of the battle.

In response to the one stock holder Ally, Team ZeRo sent up one of their wildcard players in Trela. The wandering warrior stepped onto the big stage and traded stocks with Ally as they maintained their lead.

EG Zinoto emerged as Team Ally’s next contestant, putting Trela’s Ryu away with his Diddy 2-1 and building the lead for his crew.

The homecourt hero 2GG Ranai rode in on a shining Gyroid to battle Zinoto. His Villager took the final two stocks off Zinoto’s Diddy and lost only one in a match that featured a lot of zoning and slingshots.

It was a battle for Japan in the next match, LG Abadango stepped up with his Mewtwo, hoping to outzone Ranai and keep his teams lead. He managed to take both of Ranai’s stocks, but lost two of his own. It was a surprise to see Ranai lose that one as he controlled the momentum for most of the fight.

CLG Void jumped out for Team ZeRo and cleaned up an easy stock with some fancy Sheik play to bring the competition closer.

The next matchup between VGBC Pink Fresh and Void was arguably the closest match in the tournament as both players started with three stocks. After some well-placed Witch Times and dominant air-combos, Pink Fresh’s Bayonetta took the close game and the lead for Team Ally.

The first of three turning points came next, when MSF Larry Lurr traded stocks to eliminate Pink Fresh with his Fox. He then went 3-1 against Team Ally’s wildcard Ned and his Cloud to bring Team Zero into the head spot.

Arguably the best remaining player on Team Ally at the time, DNL Marss cleaned up Larry before going 3-2 against FOW’s Ness to take the lead once more.

He finally went down to IMT Anti as they traded stocks.

Anti proceeded to go an even 2-2 with his Mario against TeamRival Mr. E’s Marth as he was eliminated after shrinking the lead back down to one stock.

Thus, in came the MVP of the event, 2GG Komorikiri, who finished off Mr. E 1-1, took down Elevate Mr. R’s Sheik 3-1 and took the final member of Team Ally, DNG Kameme 2-1 as he was finally taken out.

This allowed Team ZeRo’s closer, FOX MKLeo to wrap up the crew battle with a 1-0 Marth/Mega Man matchup.

This gave the Iron Kong, ZeRo, the win and Team ZeRo were named the victors of the first Smash Civil War.

A Deeper Look at NateWantstoBattle

When most people think of poetry they think of the traditional, on paper kind. Their thoughts drift to that of haiku or romantic poetry that they have heard, read, or learned about in school. While that is the most well-known form of poetry, one of the most abundant forms is music.

The average person doesn’t consider music as a form of poetry, but instead they put it in a category all by itself. This isn’t a wrong way of looking at it, but many others, including many respected historians and poets label music as one of, if not the most popular form of poetry.
Nathan Smith considers himself as someone who goes against the norm of the music industry. Even before becoming the big-time personality he is today, he advocated for his listeners and fans to do what they cared about and not what would get them the most payout.

The base of his fan community is built on how relatable he is and the feeling of friendship he conveys in each production he is involved in. His work ethic and slow build up to his current standing brought more people into his corner as his productions picked up steam. He is the embodiment of the phrase “started from the bottom, now we’re here.”
Nate ‘NateWantstoBattle’ Smith was born in Richmond, Virginia on March 1, 1989 and works out of an office in Los Angeles, California with his roommate and editor Brett Ultimus. He has been uploading music and other videos on his Youtube channel since 2013.

He has revived his second channel where he uploads gameplay and vlogs in his spare time, while his best friend Hunter ‘dookieshed’ Hughes has also moved out and into the same office so they could continue working together. He has recently started going on tour and announcing projects for both 2017 and 2018.
His work mainly consists of covers of video games and anime theme songs. He has stopped doing parodies of songs as he stated he prefers working with the original product rather than messing with it. His focus on gameplay has shifted to only the occasional series on his secondary channel and his co-op commentary with Hunter on their collaboration channel NateandDookie.

He has announced another completely original album and the sequel to his popular cover album ‘Thnks Fr Th Cvrs’ will be released between summer 2017 and 2018 and he has released many characters he will be voicing in the upcoming months in Funimation’s dubs of popular anime. In March, he launched a Patreon for anyone who wished to help fund the projects he does on his channel.

The fact stands that NateWantstoBattle was not the first and will not be the last independent musician to achieve success. He is however one of the most interesting examples.

He actively talks to fans and tells them to follow their dreams. He frequently hold question and answer streams hosted on his Youtube channel so he can get to know people in his online community. Most musicians would be limited to at event fan interactions, but Nate actively seeks it on social media and in his production.

Conventions around the United States and even a few overseas will fly him out so that his fans get a chance to meet him at their venues. His gaming background and videos opens another avenue for people to feel an attachment to him. When people watch him play games and tell stories with his friends it feels like they are conversing with him. This makes him seem more like a friend than an idol to the thousands of people who frequent his videos.

This lets him impact people on two major levels. Both as an inspirational person who for some is a goal they wish to reach and others can look up to, while also being a friendly person who anyone can view as a friend.

I picked the title song Sandcastle Kingdoms from the album of the same name to analyze for this article to give you all an example of his musical stylie. This song is a perfect showcase of how Nate’s individual style mixes with his lyrics and the unique type of instruments being used in the background.

The theme of both the song and album is time passing and how things change throughout the years. The opening of this song leaves you with an uncertain feeling because the sounds used at the beginning are not traditional. From there it talks about death taking everything and oceans full of dreams with someone being stuck on an island, alluding to the end of life and the many dreams left unfulfilled.

Strong reference to people not being able to trust their own words in life is used a few times and strengthens the base message of change in people. The entire beginning of the song is just comparing the goals of people in life to those of the dead before pulling them all together by saying it is all the same.

The theme never changes throughout as the lyrics move from talking about death being the end all and only your name meaning something to waking up and doing something to change your fate.

The song makes commentary about social structure and following blindly with no information being wrong and yet common. A few lines about kingdoms could be related to religion if you look hard enough at the context, but Nate tends to stay away from controversial topics in his music.

The final two lines in this piece strike two chords to the core. “Maybe one day you’ll find humanity. Until then don’t you dare say that we are the same…” The first strike is the theme culminating with this finale. The people who are dying without realizing their dreams and those that are just blindly following others are nothing like the people who put their all into getting everything they can out of life. And until they realize those faults they will never be the same.

The second strike is that this is a reference to one of his other top songs ‘No More’ which has a very similar theme (Smith Youtube). That gives fans some insight into the more serious context of the song. This is a great piece that has a lot of similarities to an elegy. The take on humanity and the undertone of helplessness is a great driving force to a strong song.

As of late Nate has taken a more personalized approach to his productions. Doing more and more original songs or covers of things he personally enjoys rather than the popular ideas. His tone has shifted from all fun loving and laid back to a friendly and yet emotional style that has seen his channel art and posters for recent works change to something that fits this new him.

Fans have shown their love for the new style and it appears to have amplified his already astounding creativity. But, while his style and look might have changed, his motives and message are still the same. I think his tagline sums it up better than I ever could.

“Hi, I’m Nate! I make music about anime and video games and other stuff I like. I hope you like it, too!”

Why I chose to blog; origins of BoosterBlogs

With as much free time as I have in the day, many of my close friends find it odd that I decided to start my own blog while also writing for another and my college newspaper. I honestly don’t blame them for their confusion either, seeing as I write a minimum of six articles a week without counting this blog.

One of my passions in life is writing, if the above statement didn’t make that clear enough. I find it to be relaxing and a good way to let out any emotions I have built up without the need for expressing them outwardly. I like to think I am a friendly and open person, but emotions and I tend to lack an understanding between us.

The reason I made this blog was to talk about things that my other outlets wouldn’t let me put out on their medium. Having my friend Collin and his pal Richard help out is just a bonus that helps me keep the site updating more frequently with content. With the creation of this blog, I allowed myself to open up my horizons and move past some previous attempts at putting myself out there.

Before this blog, I frequently tried my hand at running a Youtube channel, as many people in my age group do. Starting out I did fandubs of popular anime with friends back in middle school before branching off with people I met through those projects to do bigger things. I still offer my voice and talk to many of those people to this day, but my focus has shifted dramatically.

Following that stint, I moved my content into Pokémon related content. Mainly focusing on competitive battling and team analysis, I uploaded weekly for nearly an entire year before school caught up with me and I stopped altogether. It was fun to make content exclusively for my favorite game franchise, but towards the end I just felt that wasn’t for me.

Cue my introduction to DBZL or Dragon Ball Z League. A completely community run league where AIs battle it out in the PlayStation game Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3. The characters in the game are split into themed teams and on the forums the people on each of those teams customize their characters and battle it out like an actual sports league. I saw this and since I was a big fan of sports and Dragon Ball, I jumped right in and started playing.

I made some close friends as I became more active, I frequently talk to many of them. At the start of season six, I decided to make a fan run podcast about the league and posted about it on the forums. Thus, the Y-Cast? Was born. We are currently in the third season of the podcast and have made a dedicated channel for it and any related content. I have taken a step back and rarely involve myself with the league as a player anymore, but I do edit and make graphics for the podcast and keep myself updated on my team.

The last project I truly worked on independently of a joint work was Super Smash League. An offshoot of DBZL where I implemented the same aspects but instead with Super Smash Bros. 4 on the Wii U. I recorded it every Sunday, but do to a lack of interest and scheduling conflicts, I have put that to rest now.

I have a podcast that I still plan on doing once my current semester of college ends, and I hope to continue it through the next school year once I have a format down. It will be uploaded on my personal Youtube channel and SoundCloud, while a post will be made about it on the website once it is updated too.

Outside of the podcasts, none of those forms of content creation caught my interest. I plan on trying a scheduled live stream where I play games with friends and host live Q&As or podcasts soon, but that too is just part of what I want to do.

The videos on Youtube I enjoy the most are the people who can break down a topic in depth and provide detailed insight into why something is how it is or why something happened. I follow dozens of creators who make videos that analyze shows and movies, or breakdown concepts for them. It intrigues me when people that had nothing to with the project can provide such insight into the medium.

I want to try my hand at this video essay style when I get the chance because I feel it is right for me. I don’t care how successful they are; I just want to get my opinion and insight out there on topics concerning more than just sports.

That was the main reason this blog exists. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and consider myself an expert when it comes to the NBA. But I don’t want that to be my only product.

I like so much more than just athletics. I have vested interests in movies, animation, video games, books, comics and so much more. Limiting myself to only sports on the other two websites isn’t good for my writing style and I will not continue that trend.

As I exemplified with my recent article on the Timberwolves and what they can do to get better, I am not against posting interesting sports articles here. I just intend to make them the minority. Collin is the sports guy on this site, I want to be something different.

I have many ideas that will bring more to the table than just my weekly Samurai Jack review and occasional look into other things. I want to start talking about other shows that I am passionate about, like One Piece, and games that I recommend people to play.

The entire name for the site was spawned purely from the affection I have to my favorite superhero, Booster Gold. His comics are dorky, sci-fi adventures through time, but at the same time provide insight and a deeper understanding for one of the laughingstocks of the DC comicverse. I can always turn to his comics to have a good time, and that is what I want this site to be for other people.

… plus the name was really catchy…

Eventually I will implement video and audio into my content here on the site, but until I can find a good way to do so I hope you readers can still find something to entertain yourself with while you read.

To quote the namesake of my website,

“Well, how about the 411? I’m pure gold, ladies and gentlemen. I am the greatest hero you’ve never heard of… till now!”- Booster Gold

What are the Minnesota Timberwolves missing?

After getting two consecutive number one draft picks, one of their own and the other being picked and traded to them for Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves have some large expectations building with every season that passes.

After Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007, the T-Wolves have been one of the franchises at the bottom of the league. None of the players, headlined by Al Jefferson and Sebastian Telfair, from the KG deal are still in Minnesota and nothing came of any of the picks.

Fast-forward a year later and Minnesota had the number three-pick in the draft. They really liked what they saw in Love when he worked out for them, but the general feel in the league at the time was that he was a stretch at the third spot. Most front offices thought they would trade down and take him at four or five, instead they made a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that sent O.J. Mayo – the player they took at the third slot – and other players for Kevin Love.

Love played six seasons in Minnesota and people thought the front office was going to build around him for the future. That plan never came to fruition and in the summer of 2014 the Cleveland Cavaliers made a call to ask on Love’s availability once they won the draft lottery. The Wolves loved Andrew Wiggins and were ready to pull the trigger on the deal, however, Cleveland wanted a guarantee that Love would resign with the team in the following offseason. Kevin told his agent he wasn’t interested and the deal seemed off.

That all changed when LeBron took the blankets off of his secret project and announced he would be returning to Cleveland after four years in Miami. That broke the barriers around the Love-Wiggins deal and following the draft, Love was gone and Wiggins was in.

Other than Wiggins winning the Rookie of the Year award, Minnesota had another less than stellar season. Que lottery victory and the subsequent drafting of Karl-Anthony Towns and the outcry of a franchise turnaround. With a core of Ricky Rubio – Wiggins – Towns, people were raving about the young guns in the North.

Move forward another year and Towns is named Rookie of the Year, yet no postseason berth for Minnesota. They landed the fifth pick in the 2016 draft and grabbed the supposed replacement for Rubio in Kris Dunn. As we near the end of the ’16-’17 season, nothing seems to have worked.

Dunn has not panned out despite showing small glimpses when he gets time as a backup to Rubio and Tyus Jones. Wiggins and Towns have hit it off after starting two-guard Zach LaVine went down with a season ending ACL tear as they fight for the final playoff seed in the West. This raises a very important question for Minnesota: What do they need to do to get over the hump?

The Options

Minnesota has a multitude of options and avenues open to them if they truly want to stop the 13-year playoff drought that plagues their fan base. Cap space is partially open, for now, they have assets other teams might want and a good young core that they can experiment with for years to come until they find something that works. They just need to reach out and take a few swings.

The simplest option would be finding players in free agency that would be willing to come to Minnesota and play with Towns and Wiggins. Many players might jump at the opportunity for the right price and that is a good sign. The Wolves badly need to find someone to fill the power forward spot that can complement Towns downlow and many options are available this summer. The issue with this scenario is finding the right price that won’t break their cap space completely.

Next up is a trade. Minnesota has a lot of younger players that are going to be up for extensions soon, *cough* core of the team *cough*, so they have people to move if they want to remain flexible with under the cap. Players like LaVine and others are valuable for teams that are rebuilding and if they fetch a good price, why not pull the trigger?

LaVine’s presence is redundant since his skillset is nearly identical to Wiggins and they are proven to play better without him. Meaning they are free to dangle him in front of teams like Philadelphia or Orlando who might bite and send draft picks and veterans in return for the two-time dunk champion. This is a gamble on the ceiling LaVine might have versus building around the two sure fire players they have now.

Finally, they could draft well. This has proven to be a safe route, but with their young core improving every year, they won’t be able to do this forever. After this draft, they won’t have high odds of being one of the worst teams in the league anymore and they will have to move to one of the other paths. If they miss the playoffs again this season, which is seeming likely, they will likely have a lottery pick in the upper single digits that might field them another franchise talent in a loaded draft class.

Only time will tell which way they will chose to build around Towns and Wiggins, but for now let’s see what players might head to Minnesota to help them improve in the wild, wild west.
With Wiggins and Towns locking down the starting three and five spots respectively, and an improved Rubio at the one, that leaves two starting jobs open. If they due trade LaVine for a higher draft pick or he comes back less than 100 percent from his injury, that will still leave big gaps.

JJ Redick is a name that pops out instantly to me as someone who would fit well in Minnesota. He is a great shooter and solid defender, a large improvement over LaVine in that particular category, who can come in and make big shots and help spread the floor. His veteran presence in the locker room will be good for the younger team. It will take a pretty penny to gain his services, but it might just be worth it.

Serge Ibaka is a rental that might help the depleted Raptors in the playoffs, but that is still no guarantee they will pay to keep him after this year though. His defense has taken a step back as he works more on his offensive game, but he is still an above average defender who can spread the floor with his three-point shooting. Another big contract player who could help right away in a starting role.

Paul Millsap appears to be out in Atlanta after his recent injury and if he wants to make some money and be the veteran leader on a team that fits him, Minnesota might be the perfect match. The criminally underrated forward plays constantly well on both ends of the floor, and looks to be at his peak. For the right offer, they might get him at a discount. He is probably the best fit for them at that position since he can spread the floor, rebound, post people up and defend well.

Blake Griffin is the longshot here. He will want the max of the max and rightfully so. The Wolves would love to have the dunking machine who can spread the floor, but with Wiggins and LaVine, if they want to keep him, coming up on their first real NBA deal extension and Towns following a year later, committing 30 plus million to Griffin might not be high on their priority list.

Derrick Rose has looked healthy with the Knicks, and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau knows his game well. Should the team really want to move Rubio and run with Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn for the future, Rose at a bargain salary, under 15 million for two or three years, might be a great fit. He doesn’t need to be the primary scorer and if his passing skills can improve, his career might have a small resurgence.

The Timberwolves have a bright future ahead if they just stick their hands out and grab the necessary pieces to improve.