Member Spotlight: Jalen te'Kreg
Author: Jeffan Caliarthan
2 May 2012
On a cold, lonely day in 2002, a Colin Mathair joined TarValon.Net. By November, he was raised Gaidin. For one reason or another, he left the site, but simply couldn't stay away. In 2004, he graced the Tower with his presence once more with a new name - a better name - a name we have all come to fear hate: Jalen te'Kreg. I asked him what made him join TarValon.Net originally, and this is what he had to say: "In 2002 I was dating a girl who kept raving about this particular book series, among a few others. More of a horror or nonfiction reader than a fantasy reader, I nodded politely but did no more. Then she began talking about a website based off the books and it sounded really odd. Like, kinky odd. Nearly serial-killer odd. When she spoke of attending a party with a bunch of the members I decided to join to see just how dangerous you people were. Little did I know."
That seems a bit odd! From everything I've seen, we're as harmless as a bunch of paralyzed bunny rabbits! I don't know where he got his impression.
Moving on, I asked what exactly got him interested in The Wheel of Time in the first place. His answer was a little astonishing. "I joined the site with approximately zero knowledge of The Wheel of Time. I began reading it purely out of macho pride and not wanting to stay a recruit (citizens had yet to be invented) forever." Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of adjectives to describe a certain Jalen te'Kreg, "macho" is one one of the first hundred to come to mind. Oh well, I guess we can let those MDD boys have their egos.
Jalen is someone that you very rarely see on the boards these days, and that's for a good reason. "Most of my time is spent in the MDD forums. Conspiracies take a lot of work, especially successful ones. It's not easy to pull off a de-facto executive coup and wrest control of the board of directors of an independent website with no one noticing. Luckily my vat-grown ninjas presented a particularly useful option. Since we're in an active season with the admin meeting discussions and whatnot, the Foxhead Conspiracy takes a big chunk of my time." Oh my! "In order to maintain a minimum of visibility I also post in Current Events a bit. General as well. Whenever I get frustrated trying to manipulate a director, the Amyrlin, or Obama both those forums allow me to blow off some steam by giving the virtual sensation of running myself headfirst into a brick wall over and over and over again." Oh my!
In his time at the Tower, Jalen has contributed in quite a few ways. "For several years I juggled positions such at Chat Operator, Forum Moderator of either CE or General, Hall Member and eventually Company Commander of MDD. A decade ago I even sported the title "Tower Apothecary." You'd be surprised how often good poisons come in handy around here." And I didn't even know that the Tower had need of an Apotecary. Oh, the things you learn interviewing old people! "And there is, of course, the above-mentioned Foxhead Conspiracy to run the site in such a way as to keep my company omnipotent, omniscient and unaccountable. You're welcome."
All of this bravado leads me to believe that Jalen is either a 72-year-old crazy cat lady in disguise or a 14-year-old punk skateboarder. When asked about his lack of event attendance in the past years, his answer did nothing to dissuade me from my suspicions. "This is partly due to my own reluctance to come out of hiding with that Hague war crimes warrant still hanging over my head. Mostly it's due to the economy. Running it, I mean, not being a victim of it. Bernanke and Paulson struggle without my direct supervision so it's hard to get free time. The last official event I can remember I actually co-hosted. The Tennessee Party itself went off nearly a decade ago and was an extended weekend of pure terror for me. But I got to meet nice people. Before that I attended DragonCon and had fun. Being surrounded by geeks and nerds puts me in my element, though I tend more towards being a wallflower when possible." Unfortunately, none of the people at these events could be tracked down to verify his story. Suspicious? I think so.
Now, being a Senior Citizen of the Tower, I asked what changes he's seen, and where he sees the Tower going in the next decade. "When I joined we were made up of a few dozen active people. More than five people in our IRC chat constituted a cause for celebration. Parties with more than ten were almost unheard of. I've seen us go from a small, obscure ezboard to a multinational corporation with several hundred employees and ten armed unmanned aerial drone-...I mean, to a fully-functional website of hundreds of active members that has made significant contributions to the Wheel of Time subculture. Watching this evolution occur I've seen us create and maintain that subculture in an adaptive and sustainable fashion. I couldn't be more proud."
Say it with me, guys: Awwwwwww.
"In the next decade our community will face questions as to sustaining our current operations as well as whether we need to encourage more growth and expansion. Our past includes intellectual dominance in the field of WoT theory, major fundraising efforts and several high-profile political assassinations. Where we go in the future is anyone's guess. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that by 2022, TarValon.Net will at least have its own island lair. It's possible we'll have our own moonbase but that's a longshot and depends on several plans I have in the works. But as a community I see us using emerging technologies to supplement the vision and intellectual dominance that has made us a force to be reckoned with so far."
And so ends our spotlight on Jalen te'Kreg. He's an odd man, and one that I don't caution getting near, if this interview is any case. I would have put the spotlight on someone else, but Jalen said that His word must be made clear to the public. I do hope that you all enjoyed it reading about the infamous Jalen. Surely you had more fun than I did interviewing him.