Welcome back to yet another edition of Poutine with Pals! This time I sat down with a friend south of our border, former POTUS Trekker Tlumac.
I met Trekker several years ago during one of his POTUS terms. At the time I'm sure we (more like I as MoFA and eCan) were trying to sneak back into the good old bromance days. Over time I've gotten to know him better and can say what a down to earth stand up dude, I think you guys are in for a treat. Trekker4PotUS!
Trekker with a little forewor
😨Thanks for inviting me to be interviewed for your paper! It is definitely a pleasure to be here. I would say it’s like, what? Six or so years in the making? It’s absolutely crazy that I am coming up on my sixth anniversary of winning my first PotUS election. At this point back then I was mustering support and asking for advisors for advice on new advisors
1. Tell us a little about the RL Trekker
TT: I am not all that interesting, so this part may be a bit boring. I’m just a guy in his thirties living under a pine tree in the great state of Maine. Mainer born and bred. Spent most of my life alternating between being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, and making fun of people who think freezing is cold.
I played football, wrote poetry, and sang back when I was in school. After school activities were pretty much reserved for stacking firewood, hauling brush, and being outside. For fun I read books, listened to music, played video games, and explored the woods. Typical redneck stuff.
State mandates concerning Covid have made the last year has been REALLY REALLY REALLY boring.
About the only thing that I was doing before that I still am doing in the same way is the small stuff. Driving in town to pick up my grandmother so she can get her shopping done. Running friends around. Family stuff. Otherwise I am at home now because nothing is open that I need/want to go to.
klop: A redneck? In my interview? How could that happen!
2. RL Hobbies and Interests?
TT: I have so many freaking interests. It is seriously ridiculous. I genuinely find the universe intriguing. From the smallest thing to the biggest, it is all majestic if we find the right way to gaze upon it. From the caterpillar crossing the road to massive starship rockets currently under construction that will be one step closer to true space travel. It’s hard not to find something fascinating, even if it only interests me for an afternoon.
It’s going to sound uber geeky, but the bulk of my free time goes into reading and writing novels and short stories. Storytelling, lore, legends, fantasy, science fiction, and horror are my true loves. It is lucky for me (or perhaps because of it) that those elements encompass pretty much everything else I find entertaining.
Pre-Covid, I spent a lot of time at the local movie theater, making use of their movie subscription service. I will watch pretty much anything in large format, at least once.
Reading is a passion, as touched upon earlier. I am a slow reader, but I put in more time than the average person reading. So I hit 70+ books a year. Last year, being home all year, I read significantly more than that. xD 80% of that was in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Gaming is great. Done all genres over the years. RPGs and Simulations are my favorites. My all time favorite game is Chrono Trigger.
Writing is my main jam the last couple of years though. Fiction, mostly, as it provides a much needed vent from the stressors of life. Immersing myself in a constructed world is a wonderful way to unwind. It becomes even more so when that world is one of my own creation
klop: Woah Trekker the writer! You guys need to check out his paper & maybe one day we'll get to see a teaser of his other writings?
3. Best RL adventure you've been on?
TT: There’s been a few. Uh probably the time I met a young woman online when I was 19, moved across the country to be with her, and then ended up working as her father’s laborer for a while he drove truck for a nation wide moving company. I got to see a lot of the country that way. We covered around thirty states while I was riding with him. It was a big deal to a kid who grew up in a town of six thousand people, and the biggest “city” he spent much time in was around twenty-thousand people.
I got to see a lot of cities and it was a fascinating experience. The most beautiful city was Salt Lake City, at least from a distance. We came up on it after a couple hours on the salt flats and just as sunset was hitting. So yeah, it was really pretty to see the lights of the city sprawling.
California was a trip for me. As stated before, I grew up in a rather underpopulated (relatively speaking) area. So riding through southern California on the highway was so weird. Every mile was a new city/town marker, each of them having WAY more people than Maine’s largest city. And the eight lanes in both directions was truly insane to me, especially as they were basically super-long parking lots as slow as traffic moved. Up here pretty much all the inter-state is two lanes wide, and pretty much always moving at 65 mph or more
klop: Trekker, you've had some very different adventures, I appreciate your perspective. I think everyone can say they dislike traffic no matter the size!
4. Tell us a story of your first experiences in eRep
TT: Ugh. My first experience with eRep was pretty forgettable. It was spring of 2009 and I was supposed to be moving to Texas.
Well, I got sick and missed my flight. I was stuck in my room for a week and stumbled upon eRepublik. I have no memory of how. Honestly it wasn’t that important to me. I played it for about a week before my next flight, and then forgot the game existed for three years. xD
It wasn’t all that hard to do. I had other things on my mind when I moved to Texas. And when I got there the only internet I had was my phone. And this was 2009, so it is not like using my phone for internet was a via option. I am sure that my Facebook and Myspace missed me dearly during that time. Lol
It wasn’t until 2012 that I came back to the game. I think it was one of the old email bursts they used to send that got me to log back in.
klop: I think we all stumbled upon this game and never really left
5. Tell us a story of your first experiences in eUSA
TT: My first experiences with the eUSA were not good. As stated in the prior question, when I returned to eRep, I had eIndonesian citizenship. Naturally I tried to emigrate from eIndonesia to eUSA.
It did not go well.
In 2012 the eUSA had a problem with PTOers. Me, not knowing anyone ingame, had no idea that PTO was even a thing. So I tried messaging a few senators asking about citizenship. Most didn’t respond at all. Some asked for bribes, ranging from 5,000-10,000cc. No one mentioned the IES or that there were meta-game channels to gain citizenship.
Not really anybody’s fault, I suppose. Kind of a fall through the cracks deal. I didn’t see the IES link in the profiles of any of the senators I had messaged, which was common practice even a year later. And I picked the wrong ones to try to talk to.
Now is where the story gets weird. So after months of applying, the application expiring, and then re-applying, I finally got a useful message from a senator. Said his party believed in immigration and they would be happy to get me into the country. They, personally, didn’t have any citizenship requests left that they could grant, but they would talk to someone in their party and get me approved. The next day I was told to reapply and I was approved almost immediately.
The helpful senator was Ronald Gipper Reagan. Yup, that Ronald Gipper Reagan.
So I started off in the country with only one eFriend and it was the guy that everyone hated. I parted ways with him a few months later, and ended up in the Federalist Party and the Easy Company. That is where I really got started in eRepublik.
6. Greatest player you’ve ever met? (Yes more than one is fine, as long as you say why.)
TT: There have been a bunch of great people I have met because of this game. If it were not for the people I met here, I would not have stayed in the game long, and I would not have returned to it. For the sake of not appearing to pick favorites among those left, I will only mention players that are eDead (to the best of my knowledge)
Shmoop: He and I were newish together in EZC and we hit it off. He was probably my first close friend in EZC, and definitely one of the reasons I came out of my shell. I am not a particularly social person, though I try to be friendly. When I was still just a two clicker making the occasional wall shout, he was always there to reply. Pretty soon we struck up a friendship. He played a big role in me hanging out in this game long enough to make the other connections that kept me here.
Oblige: He was one of the kindest people (outside the Fed or EZC) to me when I started to rise in politics. He was always good for advice, help, or to talk things out with, and he always wanted no credit for it. Which makes sense, considering his in-game name was literally derived from the concept that those in power should seek to help those without it (noblesse oblige)
bigcdizzle: The guy was someone that I looked up to when I first got into Fed and EZC. But also, he was hella fun to talk music with. He knew what was going on with music from a musician's perspective, and I spent all the weekends in my 20s hanging out with bands and studied music theory in college. It was cool to talk to someone about stuff like that.
ischelle: It was always interesting to talk to ischelle. She was the one that convinced me to join Politics and War when everyone else was doing it in 2015. Half the time she was watching Bob Ross painting on Twitch. She was a great listener and had a lot of empathy. I had a lot going on when I left the game in fall of 2015, so I appreciated that trait greatly. I am pretty sure that she was the last person I lost touch with when I left eRep.
There’s many more players that I consider great, but I would be talking forever if I didn't stop myself now.
klop: Only player I could say I met on this list was Oblige. He helped mediate (as PotUS) an agreement with Italy at the time where we would've been wiped. Cool dude.
7. Favourite in game moment?
TT: Okay, so this question is actually the one I feared answering the most. The game was a major part of my life, literally hours every day for just about two years. That is a lot of time to form favorite moments. There are a lot of really good memories tied into eRep. And I did form those memories. There were some contenders that were memories I cannot share, because they were either private moments or were/are still not (and likely never) general knowledge. Those aren’t my stories to tell. Others were grand moments like my largest military campaign as PotUS (AS on the Republic of Macedonia). Some were largely symbolic actions by others that meant the world to me (when I got promoted to officer and, later, XO in EZC).
So difficult was this question that I started rifling through my newspapers from that time period. From there I start reading articles from others (players and organizations). That always casts me down the rabbithole and I find introspection there. It aided me again. I found it in a WHPR from day 2750
I can, without any doubt, state that my favorite moment in the game was the eWedding I had with BeachBro. That time period was literally the pinnacle of my time in eRep. My eRep had cascaded politically and socially for the 6 months before that, piling up into a mountain towards the ending of my second term as PotUS with the eWedding.
It was a great day. Almost all of my eFriends were in attendance, especially those I had grown really close to during my time ingame. WildOwl, Aeriadne, Yui MHPC001, rainysunday, greeling. And so many others. The IRC chat room was packed. We made it a big state spectacle, invited foreign powers, published a bunch of articles about it, even had a couple wedding crashers that WildOwl had to bounce. And we filled it with heart-warming gooeyness.
It was a really great moment in my eLife that helped distract me from some really heavy things going on in my RL. So for that, it is hands down my favorite. Life is all about timing, and that could not have happened at a better time. I needed that warm moment back then, if that makes sense?
The whole eWedding thing was popular before I joined the game. In the spring of 2015 it had a resurgence ingame. At least it seemed that way to me. But that is how the idea of eMarriage really came about to me. I think while I was PotUS I hopped into three or four chats for eWeddings of my friends, and at least a dozen eWeddings for foreign nationals who sent me invites ingame or IRC.
I thought it was pretty silly the first time I heard it. It is definitely silly. People go all out for a virtual wedding, full of ceremony with roles to fill.
At the time I wrote:
“I have read that eMarriage is silly and ridiculous. And this is absolutely true. But if you ask me, this world needs a little more silly and ridiculous in it. Sometimes a thing does not need to be logical or practical to be beautiful. Such is the point of things like eWeddings. To be a part of something that is both silly and sweet and fun for the sake of nothing more than being happy.”
It is still as relevant now as it was then.
klop: So much amazing in this answer!
7. Mary Chan: What's your favourite pizza combination?
TT: Pizza pie is a wonderful thing. I have a long history of loving and hating pizza styles/brands.
If it is frozen pizza, the choice is Red Baron: Special Deluxe. It reminds me of my grandfather, as he always had that in the freezer. So it is a major nostalgia thing. Second choice frozen is Tony’s Pizza: Supreme. Tony’s brand is surprising close in flavor/styling of Red Baron classic crust, but usually significantly cheaper.
Freshly made pizza is definitely from the local House of Pizza. I get pepperoni, bacon, and onion.
Digiorno. I’m sorry, I know a lot of people swear by Digiorno, and that’s cool. I just do not care for it. It tastes like cardboard to me and usually makes my mouth itch. xD
8. Mary Chan: What's your jam? (for both music genres/artists and the bread spread)
TT: Breaded Blueberry. I love all things blueberry. So if blueberry is available, it is always my choice. (I even once cooked a turkey with mashed blueberries injected into it for flavor. It was surprisingly not terrible. xD)
Music: Musically jam is harder to pin down. I can usually find something redeeming in almost any music. Red Hot Chili Peppers are far and away my favorite. But then I also jam out to Bob Marley, Rage Against the Machine, Primus, All-4-One, and really the list keeps going, so going to stop here.
9. Thedillpickl: Ask Trekker who his favorite people to hate on USForum were and why.
TT:Hmm. I didn’t really spend a ton of time on the eUSforum. I spent a bit of time there for congress, gov jobs, and as ePotUS, but I was not fond of the forum. It served its function, but I did not hang out there for anything other than business. I just checked, I have just over 1100 posts there for my eLifetime. I am absolutely positive that at least 800 of those are from my three months as CP. So I don’t think I ever developed favorite people to hate on there. If I did, I cannot remember who they were now. The grievances were clearly not important enough to me to remember.
Back in 2015 pretty much every party (and many MUs) had a private forum, and a couple IRC channels. I had accounts for Fed Party and EZC MU forums, and hung out in all the IRC channels I was granted access to, which was more than enough for me. In IRC there was some smack talk from time to time, but was usually pseudo posturing along party lines, and it was generally superficial. It takes a lot for me to hold a genuine grudge against someone.
Sorry Dil, that is probably a far more boring answer than the one you wanted. If I had deep seated and enduring political rivals, they were entirely one way. Everything else was short-lived, or right as I was leaving the game.
klop: Ugh, forums... Remember those guys?
10. What's something you want to do after the pandemic is over?
TT: I dunno. Dancing in the rain? Take a bath with a supermodel? Force GRRM to finish Winds of Winter? Start licking door handles again? I don’t really have any post-pandemic specific plans.
My plan is essentially just to keep trucking along.
I’ll probably be back at the movies a lot, once all this is over. That is assuming the local theater reopens and they still have the movie subscription plan.
Other than that it will just be nice to be able to have big gatherings again. I don’t need a lot of human interaction, but getting out to karaoke once or twice a month would be great.
Assuming my finances settle out, I would love to travel and/or relocate, preferably to a place without winter. Or, at least, a place where winter is worth it. I am not a fan of double digit negative temps in winter, and I could use a major life change. xD
klop: Keep trucking along, could not have said it better myself
I am not ruling it out as a possible eventuality, but not at any point in the immediate future. I have not tried to make the necessary political allies since returning, I am not as up to date on foreign and domestic affairs as I would need to be, and I am not ready to commit that much time to eRep at present. Hell, I am not even in an uncontested T5 party.
Right now I am just trying to have fun and recapture that feeling that made me want to be logged in and active everyday. Right now that mostly means working on growing the new party I am in. That’s been fun, but it is very slow work. Not a lot of undecided minds left in the vapid wasteland that most of us are clinging to. I have brought in few people new to the game altogether, but it is particularly challenging explaining to my friends and family why this game meant so much to me 6 years ago when there are so few people left now. The game is really stacked against new people.
So….. Yeah…. Um… Probably not right off, but who knows? xD
klop: Trekker4PotUS comments get extra gifts, so comment away friends!
Thank you Trekker for your time and the excellent answers. As always, leave suggestions, questions you want answered or people you want to see interviewed in the comments below!
Next up is former (and future?) eCan and current eAussie legend Lawkee so stay tuned for that one! It will feature the same general questions but also include an AMA format next time so leave any questions you have below!
Finally, as usual every comment gets 1000 units of free food!