Member Spotlight: Vendri al'Varrak
Author: Taelinn Dolivras, July 2014
This month's Member Spotlight features someone our Soldiers know well and who recently won an award for his amusing posts.
That's right: it's Vendri al'Varrak!
For those of you who don't know him, Vendri is the current Captain of Soldiers here at TarValon.net, and has been since January 1st of this year. I was looking forward to interviewing him, not only because he occupies this vital position on the site, but also because he seemed like someone it would be fun to get to know. I mean, it's not just anyone who wins the "Most Entertaining Board Poster" award!
I started off with the standard question I ask everyone: Who are you, both in Real Life and on TV.net? Vendri's answer certainly fits with his reputation. "I'm pretty much the same in RL as I am on TarValon.net," he began. "I like to joke around and have a good time, and to help others have a good time (sometimes by making myself look foolish lol). The only real difference is that in RL, when at work or at home, I can be really grouchy. Luckily, you people are so awesome that I don't have that problem at events. In all seriousness though," he continued, "there's not much to tell. I'm the middle child, I have two brothers and two sisters. I don't have any special wonderful job, I don't have a wife or kids of my own to talk about, and I don't have any insanely awesome talents. I'm a simple guy. I like to play video games, talk to my friends, do whatever job I'm doing at the time to the best of my abilities, and then at the end of the day go home and hang out with my brother." He may claim to be simple, but there's nothing simple about the rest of his interview! Read on and find out more.
We continued by discussing how he discovered the Wheel of Time series, which I always enjoy learning since people find out about the books in so many different ways. "In 5th grade we had this program where you had to read a certain number of books per semester, and by doing so you could earn points to buy prizes," he told me. "So I was walking through the school library looking at fantasy books (the only kind I liked) and basically just looking for titles that sounded cool. So when I found The Eye of the World I skimmed the prologue and checked out the book. Needless to say, I fell in love with the series instantly. I think I must have read and re-read it 3 or 4 times that year. My library didn't have The Great Hunt and my parents weren't really keen on buying books for me when they could buy video games for all of us. Luckily, I was able to obtain copies from the public library." I then inquired about his favorite book and character in the series. Out of all the books in the series, The Gathering Storm is his favorite. "I love the last Chapter with Rand's revelation on Dragonmount," he told me. As for his favorite character, he chose Perrin Aybara. "I always identified with him in adolescence," he revealed. "These more recent years not so much, but throughout Jr. High and High school I was Perrin to the core." My final question about the Wheel of Time referred to the release of the final book. When asked how he felt about the final book being published, he was a little unsure."On the one hand I'm glad to see the end, to see what we have all been waiting for all of these years. On the other hand though I feel like it just wasn't enough. Like there should have been more to it, more of what happened after," he told me. Hopefully we will learn a bit more someday!
Our next topic of conversation was TarValon.net itself. I asked Vendri how he found out about the site and why he stayed. "I found TarValon.net while looking at the home page of one of the cons, either D*con or J*con," he told me. "I was working third shift at the time and didn't have much else to do so I spent 8-12 hours a night 4 nights a week spamming the boards and #wheel, getting to know people and having a good time. So, basically, I stick around for the people [and] the connections I've made here." He was unequivocal when it came to answering my question about his favorite think about the site: "Events. Getting to see everyone and meet those I haven't met yet. [It's] always a blast." I then asked him about his favorite memory of his time on TV.net and favorite event that he has attended, and the answer was the same. "My first RL official event, Fall Ball 2013 at Salt Lake City... It was just an all around blast," he reminisced. "I met so many awesome people that I had already grown close to online: My Sedai Nymala, one of my mentors Locus, Eli, Keisha, Lyara, Kaldam, everyone. Had such an incredible time. Hearing Locus and Yelenia do Karaoke (lol) going up to the room with Locus and Kaldam for Fireball, shooting tequila with Mother Viv (admittedly bad tequila). Probably the best part was when Locus, Ivanor, and I went back to the hotel to relax while everyone else was doing tours. We got swimming trunks and got in the hot tub to relax. Put some music on the phones and chatted with each other, went from the hot tub to the pool to the sauna to the pool to the hot tub to the pool to the sauna to the hot tub. It was an extremely relaxing afternoon." Sounds pretty good to me, too!
The conversation then turned to how Vendri found his home here on TV.net. "I was convinced as a Recruit that I was going to go a different direction [than DM]," he revealed. "However, when I Guested with [them] I had so much fun chatting and joking and getting to know them that I couldn't see myself going anywhere else. Still can't. They are a phenomenal group of people, and by that I mean the DM Sedai as well. Couldn't ask for a better family." When asked about how he chose his Tower, name, he replied, "Vendri and Varrak are my two most commonly used character names in video games. So I basically combined them and put al' to make it sound WoT-like. #protips." And a good tip, indeed!
We then talked about his current position: Captain of Soldiers. I asked him what he enjoys most about it, and he winked as he answered, "Aside from working under Sa?" Cheeky! But he continued, "I like getting to know the Soldiers. When you're a Gaidin you can get to know them or not, or only get to know the ones Guesting with your Company. Being Captain gives me the opportunity to get to know them all. Sure, I might not talk to each one individually as much as I'd like, but I like to think I've gotten to know some of them extremely well." I then inquired about his reaction to winning the Most Entertaining Board Poster Award for the 2014 Members Choice Award. "It felt awesome," he admitted. "One of my big character flaws is that I have a need for a approval and that should satisfy it for quite awhile . Honestly though, it really was great to be elected to that award. I love this community and the people here more than I can put in to words and I'm really glad that I bring entertainment and a smile to so many people. It's a big accomplishment in my book." An accomplishment and a gift to all of us here at TV.net. Keep posting the way you do, Vendri!
I ended the interview with one final question, and in true Most Entertaining Poster style, Vendri answered it with skill. I asked him if there was anything else he would like to add, and he replied:
"Hmm. Bow chicca bow wow, that's what she said, and of course: I got 99 problems but 70% of them can be solved by either Red Bull of bacon."