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I'm sitting in my cozy little apartment in central nowhere Wisconsin, huddled under a blanket near the fire on my TV trying to keep warm from the freakish coldspell slowly trying to freeze me to death. As my fingers numbingly check my inbox on Smogon I get a mysterious video call on my Skype. I answer it, but at first there is no one there, and then all of the sudden a deep menacing voice informs me that I have been summoned to conduct the next interview for The Smog and I am to be on the East Coast by tomorrow morning.
"But they just had a massive storm there like, literally a week ago!" I reply.
All I get from the other end is a soft chuckle and then the voice says "Good luck."
Well that's reassuring.
My plane touches down in what can be best described as a disaster area, and as I hobble over mounds of wreckage to the address given to me by the mysterious voice, I arrive at the humble abode of our next interviewee. Thankfully, he's seated outside in plain sight underneath the street light, which appears to be the only power source in the area judging by the amount of cellphones hooked up to it in some fashion. My interviewee offers me a folding camping chair and I being the interview.
Let's start with the essentials of a good interview: who are you, what do you do, what do you want to become in life?
I'm a part time college student. I have done work as a biofeedback technician with some neat equipment that uses electromagnetic frequencies. That's the direction I see myself going in right now, looking to get into the medical field.
Biofeedback? That sounds kinda intense!
It is actually low-key. But the results are resounding.
Oh? As in how?
I see a big success rate in the clients I have treated.
Interesting, so do you really enjoy the personal interaction with your clients? I know some people that simply go into the medical field for the money.
I die a little inside saying this knowing I will be forever destitute being a teacher.
I do too unfortunately, but that isn't my motivation. Knowing that you are capable of having a positive impact in someone's wellbeing is indescribable. It is something I discovered as soon as I started practicing and it never really dissipates over time.
Very cool. OK, moving onto Smogon and Pokemon. So you're the head of Tournaments on Smogon; what got you started there and why have you been a part of that section of the site for so long?
My roots on Smogon are unrelated to where I began. The thing that initially drew me to Smogon was the competitiveness of the Wi-Fi section, breeding for top level Pokemon. I transitioned to Shoddy Battle and never looked back. Tournaments appealed to me because that is where all of the revered players participated.
My brain does a mini-explosion hearing that the current head of Tournaments was once a Wi-Fier. Though somehow it all makes sense....
What got you started in actually participating in the staff portion of tournaments?
Hosting tournaments was a major interest of mine. After getting heavily involved in the Smogon Tour, Aeolus gave me a position on the team.
What is it about the Smogon Tour that you like so much? You've been hosting and running it for quite a while now.
It is easily accessible for new players and the format offers a dynamic challenge to all of the veterans. There is something for everyone since each individual tour is its own tournament.
As he says this, a family member of his suddenly bursts out of a pile of rubble about 15 feet away and brushes off the dirt.
"Hey cousin Ralph, good to see you made it through the storm!" KG yells and waves to this apparently part-mole relative of his.
Tell me about the Smogon Frontier too. Who's idea was it originally and why did you pick it up to host it (though user Eo Ut Mortus took up the mantle this latest rendition of it)?
The original Frontier was hosted in 2006. I believe it was EeveeTrainer's idea, but Aeolus is the one who decided to bring it back in 2008. I picked it up after the tournament changed hands several times in a short period in 2009. I knew I could get it running to a certain quality.
A quality that demands a crapload of work. What was the thought process behind having the Frontier portion of the site look as it does now?
The layout of the site predates my hosting it, though I did make subtle changes to stay current with the format.
Care to share any opinions as to why the so-called "unbeatable tournament" has been defeated 4 times in a row thus far?
It's not something I can really explain. On paper it is the most challenging tournament we have to offer.
After giving this bit of a nebulous answer, my attention is drawn to the horde of people suddenly running towards us from the direction of the ocean. KG seems to pay no mind to them though.
Alright, shifting the subject a little bit again, your battling seems to have drifted off since winning the Smogon Tour versus Bluewind. Are there any tournaments yet that still excite you and that you want to be a part of?
Asking the tough questions, haha. It's not that I am no longer motivated to play because there are plenty of exciting tournaments. Tournaments require dedication to make a deep run in and that's just something I haven't been available or willing to do recently. I have participated in tournaments, but more casually. Sometimes the competitive aspect of this game becomes too serious and it's a nice change of pace to lighten up on that.
I can relate lol. If you had to forcibly participate in one tournament this next year which would you do?
ST9. If there is a tournament I need to play in, that would be the one. Getting knocked out of the last one is the last point I remember putting a substantial amount of effort into a tournament. I haven't forgotten about that, haha.
Now a flock of seagulls flies overhead in the same direction the people ran in earlier. I must begin to show a bit of nervousness since KG offers me a can of lemonade curiously entitled "Summer of Kevin". It was actually quite delicious.
Hopefully you will be able to participate in the upcoming tourney and win another trophy to put next to your impressive badgeset. Speaking of the badgeset, you're also involved in a lot of other aspects of the forums as well, including Tutoring and formerly The Smog and Smeargle's Studio. What has driven you to become so deeply committed to the forums?
Tutoring is where I began my contributions. I was still relatively unknown when I was accepted thanks to some very helpful references. That part of the site has always appealed to me because it is an outlet to help other members get involved, whether that be competitively or through their contributions.
You get to know the people you tutor, too. For instance, I tutored Jimbo who went on to run Battling 101 and The Smog, which is how I got involved here, haha.
Ah, that's how the Wi-Fi connection makes sense... As I think this to myself I look down to see that we are now actually floating on our camping chairs in about a foot of water. KG again seems to pay no mind and looks to me to continue the interview.
OK, last two questions I think. What is your favorite Pokemon, and what is your opinion of user Earthworm?
My favorite Pokemon is the spirited Chimchar.
As for Earthworm, he is quite a character. He is meticulous almost to a fault and extremely dedicated to fairness and making the right decision. That being said, he was a great leader in Tournaments and there are practices he lived by that I will look to use when it is called for. That dedication is evident in his play, being one of the most decorated players ever.
As KG finishes I realize that we are now quite literally floating down the street on a veritable river stemming from the ocean.
Awesome, well thank you for taking part in the interview; it was a pleasure talking with you!
I quickly leap from my camping chair and latch onto the wing of a plane escaping the wall of water, and like the gremlin decide to shimmy up to the window and scare the beejuzus out of William Shatner as I make my way back home.
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