October, 2006 Tar Valon Times

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Tar Valon Times
October 15, 2006
Rhed al'Tere, Editor

Letter from the Editor
Rhed al’Tere

Lots of firsts in this issue of the Tar Valon Times... We announce the first recipient of the scholarship now offered annually by TarValon.net. We introduce a new section of the Times: Tower Graffiti. This section features notes or short rants or random things that members want to say. I’m always accepting contributions to this section via pm to me or email at news@tarvalon.net. The first “Out of Context,” collected by Karalyne al’Meida, is also in this issue. Karalyne collected (in a completely legitimate way, I’m sure) quotes from various people’s posts.

I want to remind everyone of the fundraiser currently going on right now. Dralyn Sedai, Keeper of the Chronicles, has set a goal of $3000. I know not everyone can contribute a lot of money, but remember, if 50 people each contribute even $1, that’s $50. The site has many expenditures, some we don’t normally think about. Hosting is probably the most significant and constant cost. But we also have general administrative costs (paper, ink, etc.), party deposits, licenses for special software, and emergency funds, which are made available to members in need who apply through the Keeper to be approved by the Hall and Warder Council. Our last fundraiser, which started on April 2, 2006, and ran for three weeks, raised just under $2000. Let’s try to beat that amount this time; check the thread in General for more details.

Enjoy this issue of the Tar Valon Times. Comments or questions or interest in contributing can be sent to news@tarvalon.net.

First Annual Scholarship Recipient Announced
by Rhed al’Tere

Valena Dalmere, Aspirant to the Blue Ajah, joined TarValon.Net on July 12, 2004, “two years that I would never want to take back,” she says. Valena found the site when she was doing a web search for illustrations of the characters; “I began to get curious about other people’s visions of the characters, and I wanted to see if they resembled any of my ideas,” she says. One picture linked her to TarValon.net, and though she just closed the site at first, she came back, and eventually she decided to join. “I think it was perhaps the prospect of meeting other fans who shared the same love for the books.”

Valena is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Science program with a major in Biological Sciences and possible a minor in Chemistry. As you can read in her application essay, she is a Pre-Dentistry student. Valena’s is especially passionate about biology. Why? “Well, there is such a broad scope in biology that you can jump right in and head in any direction. Whether it’s studying plants, human bodies, or diseases, it all involves bio,” she says. The constant evolution of the biology field, she says, provides challenges and mysteries that allow her to do the critical thinking she enjoys.

This is the first year that TarValon.Net has offered a scholarship. Any member can apply for the scholarship so long as he or she is in his or her first year of an undergraduate program. Proof of enrollment and an application essay explaining how the applicant’s field of study will allow him or her to be a “Servant of All.” The following is Valena’s application essay:

We grow up under our parents’ wing being pampered by those who wish to serve. We may not think of it in that context at the time, for we think in terms of these services as those who want to generate a business for profit. Perhaps this perception is influenced by our education, especially Social Studies which name these people as entrepreneurs; those who wish to risk their existing money to generate a larger income by establishing a successful business. We may think that the profit motive is the key desire that fuels them, and that in many cases may very well be so.

However if the time is taken to look at these businesses, we may see a connection that is shared between them. Whether it is the waiter that brings you your midday meal, or the scientist who thrives to find a cure for a disease, we can see a root function that exists. They wish to serve. There are many who may not have this pure intention, but there is also a counterbalance of a workforce who truly wishes it, and work to help others as it is their only intention. Doctors, nurses, and dentists are a few of these examples as they are professions in which the individual must enter knowing they are to serve others.

Graduation marks a great shifting point in our life time. Not only do we get introduced into the reality of the real world, but we come to a point in our life where it becomes our time to further our education and bring our own services into the world. It is a cycle, the human race functions on services given and received as we are all educated on different levels and are not capable of doing absolutely everything for ourselves.

I have chosen to enter into the field of general sciences, an option that has a major impact in our health related society. It’s an area with a broad view in different aspects, and it is also accompanied by gray areas, allowing us to dive in head first, experimenting, learning, and improving. This one aspect is what has attracted me the most. You hear everyday about diseases, the incurable ones which may have claimed a life and also miracles that have happened with advances in technology. What a great service this would provide to the community if a cure for cancer was found, if an organ could be re-grown (now like the tooth which can be re-grown with ultrasound vibrations), or even if the cure for the common cold or other viruses could be found. If I could have any impact on those parts, any influence in creating advancements for the world, that would be my greatest achievement of all, which is improving lives and bringing hope. Serving others as so many professions do. Although that is a desire of my own, in which I hope to exceed in my undergraduate year, I do have plans on entering into the dental field, which has been an ultimate goal of mine since grade four. My inspiration came from the work done on my own teeth, which has been quite a few years involving a retainer, getting a tooth extracted and pulled to its desired position, followed by almost four years of braces. It has been a long process, but in the end I think it will turn out to look great. That is what I want to do, it’s an image factor that also carries out a function, to give people confidence if they do not like the way their teeth may be or for personal health. It also holds a field of experimentation, all human beings are different and therefore dental situations that may come forth are not all going to be completed by the textbook. It holds an element of challenge which allows me to problem solve in order to figure out different situations and complete them to my satisfaction. It is a profession that is based on serving the public, to be a servant to those who need the required attention and also to help repay the services to those who have done so for us in the past. This is what I want, it has been a dream, and now I have the opportunity to go for it.

To serve is something we can’t ignore. I hope that I can be of service to others in any way possible. I love working with people, I have done so ever since I began working at my local swimming pool as a lifeguard. I love to work hard, enjoy challenges, and especially like to try to fill in the blanks where there are gray areas in science. I hope to improve the world in any way I can, although it may seem impossible, it could still happen with my whole heart dedicated to it. To add in new ideas, to add a different way of thinking. If that is all I can do then so be it, however if I could be of some service then I know I have done my part.

Summer 2006 Europarty Review
by al'Cary Mandoragon

Recently, a small unknown barn in a small unknown country was asked to play host to a large crowd of drunken members of an internet cult. A campsite nearby was also supposed to be playing host, but due to the sounds of merriment coming from a certain tent, the stay was sadly cut short. In any case, the event I am obviously discussing is Summer Europarty 2006.

Needless to say, much fun was had by all, with the possible exception of Toral Gaidin who seemed to gain more pleasure from various bits of wire that he hunched over, looking remarkably like Gollum (although to be fair, he had a vicious head wound inflicted on him by some uncoordinated lout while playing with sticks). Alcohol was consumed in mind-dissolving quantities, although due to everyone bringing enough alcohol to keep themselves comatose and the organizers laying on enough beer for everyone to bath in (undoubtedly more effective than the showers provided), large and lonely clumps of bottles were left by the time Sunday morning rudely interrupted the fun.

Where to start with the stories? Arien Sedai watching over everyone like a hawk with a camera? Prewan Sedai’s doubtlessly unique raising ceremony? Followed by her going out in public the next day wearing bib and dummy? The curious system of measurement employed by local mapmakers, in which the definition of a mile has been radically altered? The medieval banquet, which I am least qualified to comment on since I was busy eating pizza and hash browns back at the barn? The multiple inductions into the Woohoo? The circle of goldschlagger toasts, few of which could be heard or were coherent?

The list is endless. No doubt those who were not present have stopped reading out of boredom by now. For those wanting more details, check the threads where people have posted photos, or the threads where people have posted accusing me of being female. That, at least, is an in-joke everyone seems to get.

Tower Graffiti
by various contributors

I'd like to thank Roshen Aldazar, for making my day, every day.
--Bakuun Jonayim

So many couples have come together because of this site that it's almost like we all do live in one little city called TarValon as opposed to all over the world. Next thing ya know there will be a little forum popping up next to the guilds that says "TarValon.net dating service".
--Aria Kakarot

For a good time call "1-800-vroom-vroom”

Spotlight on Towers of Light
by Cursor Wrathwind

Ever want to be an Asha'man, only to find out they don't exist here at TarValon.Net? Or maybe you're one of those strong and charismatic ladies who always wanted to pick up and sword and stand in first defense of the Towers alongside the Gaidin. Or, maybe you just like being able to role-play. In any case, Towers of Light is a site where you can do it all.

Founded by TarValon.Net's own Nadine Sedai and Dracaenaa Sedai, Towers of Light offers Wheel of Time fans a unique dual experience. The two ladies started brainstorming an idea for their creation, knowing that "we wanted to really rack out brains on how to stand out and be a little different." The ladies came up with Towers of Light. Nadine (who goes by the name of Isolde Sedai, Amyrlin Seat) describes the site as a joining of both a community, such as our beloved home, and a role-play site. While the role-playing aspect of the site is optional, Nadine describes it as "the fun, creative part of the site." Members of the site can role-play the characters they create on one of three paths, the paths identical to those of the community side. The history of the site sets both the Black and White Towers together at Tar Valon after the Black Tower was largely destroyed in a battle against Mazrim Taim, and as such both the Aes Sedai and Asha'Man paths are available for men and women. Of course, the stoic channelers need their steadfast and valiant companions, the unmatched warriors of the Tower Barracks to stand by their side. The Barracks (under the leadership of a figure known as the Lieutenant General) are open to both men and women, Gaidin and Gaidar alike. A member of Towers of Light can advance down any of these three paths and role-play the same in a world where the Last Battle rapidly approaches.

Another aspect of Towers of Light which the founders are extremely proud of is their "Tower School." Nadine describes the School as their "big project." She elaborates, "We have two annexes in our school, one for Wheel of Time, and another for “real life.” The greatest thing about the Internet is meeting all kinds of new people from different parts of the world. We wanted to take advantage of this and be able to promote a friendly learning environment for our members to really come together. Towers of Light promotes tolerance and respect in its community and encourages people to learn new things from one another. All of this is achieved through our school." Currently, the Tower School offers a multitude of classes to site members, ranging from real world cultures, to art, to Wheel of Time Theories.

Despite great strides forward and a strong starting member base, the site is still in the very early stages. Nadine seems hopeful, setting out her plans and dreams for the site. "A few goals of ours are to, of course, become bigger, be recognized on several Wheel of Time sites as a unique learning themed site, and to get enough membership to be recognized at the different cons that will feature Wheel of Time." It's also poignant to note that Towers of Light has an experienced and familiar staff who strive to keep the site dynamic and offering something new and exciting. As Nadine stated "We do not want to become stagnant and stop growing."

New members familiar with TarValon.Net, once getting past the strange new names, might recognize many of the Towers of Light staff. Besides the Nadine, the Amyrlin, and Dracaenaa, the Keeper of Chronicles, several other members stand out. The Mistress of Novices, for example, is TarValon.Net's Laithean Sedai. Tinnlin Gaidin serves as the Master of Studies for the Real Life Annex of the Tower School, and Cursor Gaidin (yours truly) serves as the Lieutenant General.

Above all else, the site is growing. The Ajahs and Squadrons (think companies) are young and in need of members, and the opportunities abound for advancement and good times. Role-playing has gotten under way and the site is teeming with new life, hopefully to grow. While the site has only been fully public since July, landmarks in membership have been reached. Over 50 members joined in one week alone. With such new energy, opportunity and familiar kindred spirits, the real question isn't whether the site will persevere, but rather...what are you waiting for?

Out of Context
by Karalyne al'Meida

Allin Sha'Maer on her warder, "I may have to apply for a new one. Mine seems to be broken."

Jalen te'Kreg on himself, "No one is immune from my prickish nature."

Miridyth Al'Landerin on Jalen te'Kreg, "Gotta love Mr. Winky."

Rollyn Gaidin on the reason for the new stricter laws for recruits, "We always assumed underwear was a required accessory."

Aidan Sedai on the quality of the tavern wenches ale, "I don't like pieces of stuff in things I drink."

Mother on why the Anni pantless Gaidin competition was a bad idea, "Regardless of the size of your package, you look remarkably silly."

Mother, chastising her warder, "It's so hard to hear you when your boobs are so loud."

Clara ad'Marem, on joining an internet cult, "It can't be healthy for your sex life."

My Pirates Review
by Ismene Gillandred

For folks who have been eagerly awaiting the next installment of the insane adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate crew, this film will not disappoint. Be warned though, those who missed the first movie or who can't stand a cliffhanger ending will not be happy. In every way, this movie is a middle installment: not much exposition and very little resolution. Keep that in mind, and you'll still find plenty to enjoy.

Davy Jones' cursed ocean-creature pirates upped the gross-out factor, making the skeletal pirates of the previous movie seem tame in comparison. A massive fight on a moving waterwheel is the equivalent of the last movie's fight scenes on crack. Elizabeth Swann's father (played by Jonathan Pryce) is entertaining while swaggering around like a toy poodle but is probably most likable when he's lost his wig and is feeling vulnerable.

My favorite part: When the Jamaican witch lady, Tia Dalma, played by Naomi Harris, reminds the heroes that she expects payment, Jack whips out the monkey cage, shoots the monkey and says, "Look, an undead monkey!"

Short pause from Tia… (in heavy Jamaican accent) "The payment is fair."

Milli-fraction of a look of happiness between Jack and his pirate buddies, as if to say "Heh! We're finally free of that darned monkey! Only a freak like her would want it!"

While the movie does end with a big question-mark hanging over it, there's a very Boba Fett-like moment from Captain Jack as well as a wonderfully silly bonus after the credits. Oh well! We'll just have to wait until Pirates 3 to find out what happens next.

15 Minutes of Fame
by Dart Marouvin

Title: Recruit

Tower Name: Garion al' Toray

Member Since: August 2005

RL Name: John

Age: 15, soon to be 16

1. The food I'd die for: crab

2. My tombstone would say: “Better luck next time!”

3. Music genre that defines me: Rock

4. Favorite Wheel of Time character: Aviendah

5. Favorite WoT moment: Whenever Aviendah and Rand fight

6. My light saber would be colored: Red

7. Fvavorite TarValon.net board: Olde Warder and Hen

8. All-time favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan

9. If I won the lottery, I'd: faint...still be the same

10. If I were a cartoon character I'd be: Patrick Star

11. Favorite quote: "Life is like a box of chocolates you neva know what your gonna get." - Forrest Gump

12. In five words, I am: spontaneous, crazy, hyper, caring, loving.

13. I won't leave the house without: my keys and wallet and phone

14. Dream vacation: Alaskan cruise or European

15. If I could be anyone for a day, I'd be: Rand