Member Spotlight: Aintza Bisera

Member Spotlight Aintza

 

Atane cautiously walks into the darkened offices of one of his mentors, Aintza Bisera Sedai; the message he had received from her mentioned that he should bring his writing materials. “Aintza Sedai? I’m here…with my quill, ink, and parchment as you ordered…” As he begins to look around, he starts in surprise as his mentor sits mounted on her flaming horse.
 

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“Mistress? Your horse? How? Your offices? The stables…” Atane’s voice trails off.
 

“Oh, Atane, Atane,” Aintza Sedai laughs. “You know Poot, right? My trusty steed.”
 

Atane knew Poot alright, as the horse had made a habit of trying to bite him when given the task of feeding it treats.
 

“Anyway, I wanted to see if anyone would notice if Poot were in my offices; and if they did, what they would say,” stated his mentor.
 

Atane mentally rolled his eyes; Aintza Sedai was a bit quirky and had an odd sense of humor, but she was a good mentor.
 

“You may be wondering why I summoned you, with your writing materials for that matter. Yes, yes. Well, I thought it would be fitting for me to be interviewed for the Tar Valon Times. I mentioned it to Aleita Sedai, and she thought it was a grand idea. So you, my dear boy, will be the one interviewing me. Shall we begin?”
 

As one may expect, this month’s Member Spotlight is Aintza Sedai — Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, Mayor, Moderator, and Game Master. She graciously made time to answer the questions posed to her. Aintza lives in Texas with her husband, Ael, and their cats (including the kitten, Poot). She is a Health Insurance Benefits Agent, which means she tells people what their insurance policies do or do not cover. As with many occupations with an emphasis on explaining services, she encounters many people who take their frustrations out on the person trying to help them. She would ask those reading this to remember that the representative of the company is a person and does not take joy in the suffering of others.
 

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(Aintza and Ael)

 

When asked about her multiple roles in the community, Aintza explained them in this manner: “As Mayor I am membership admin for Citizens and Resident Citizens. When a new person joins, I am their first contact for questions and anything they need! We have some really fun things coming up, so keep an eye out!
 

Game Master encompasses Mafia Admin, Frivolous Fun Mod, and now Online Events/games. So basically, I run and mod Mafia games, make sure things are moving smoothly in the games forum, and help run games in the Tar Valon Discord. For example, every first Sunday I hold a movie watch party – March is Hamilton! And my roles are definitely complimentary, my main goal as an Admin is to make sure everyone is having fun!”
 

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(Stubbz having fun)

 

She is also, as previously mentioned, an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah. She chose Brown because, in short, the Browns are her home. Ultimately, her and her Brown siblings share a very similar sense of humor; not only that, but they have also supported her the times when she has needed their support. She values their honesty, the skill with GIFs, the fact that one can count on them to be passionate and curious about their interests, and that they will tell a person, or group of people, how they feel.
 

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(Poot informing you of thoughts)

 

Aintza’s favorite memory from the Tower also involves the Browns. As she described it, “My favorite memory was actually a pretty low-key Sunday morning at my second Anni talking about Star Wars with Stasia and Ashlyn, two of my Brown Sisters. It was nice and comfy. But I have a lot of great ones.”
 

When discussing guests, and new citizens, she wants to tell them that this community is like no other. She’s met some of her favorite people and best friends on this site; it’s worth sticking around for the people alone. And as Mayor, she’s committed to helping people get acclimated to the Site and the community as a whole.
 

What other interests may she have? Well, if she could have other pets, one would be a Vulptex (from Crait); and the other would be a Porg (from Ahch-To). Both of these creatures are from Star Wars. Aintza also enjoys reading, recently having read all the Bridgerton novels; but she has a particular affinity for Neil Gaiman, especially his work “American Gods.” For her, it stems from the fact that she has always been interested in mythology; with American Gods touching on many different Pantheons and the concept of Old Gods vs. New Gods being of particular interest.
 

Aintza also has some show recommendations: “The Boys” and “American Gods,” but cautions that both of these shows can be very graphic. She would also recommend Battlestar Galactica. However, she states that her preferences in movies cannot be trusted; on the list of movies she enjoys are: the Mummy movies, Beerfest, the original Dune, and anything/everything Star Wars. She demands that you watch The Clone Wars tv show. Now. She’s not brooking any argument.
 

If she were to live in another setting, it would be the Mass Effect world, for it is familiar, yet space can be explored. Also, she is Commander Shepard. Ael will tell you, just ask him.
Thank you for joining us for another installment of the Tar Valon Times Member Spotlight. See you next time!

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Feast of Lights 2020 | VC & Yellow Ajah GCH Causes

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The Great Charity Hunt is an exciting venture undertaken by the members of TarValon.Net, and an undertaking to be proud of. Aleita Taviah kicked off our coverage of The Great Charity Hunt with an explanation of what this project is in the Tar Valon Times. In her words, “a new and exciting approach to philanthropy at TarValon.Net for the coming year”, a “year-long philanthropic challenge, and friendly competition between the membership groups at TarValon.Net”. So, not only can we as members of TarValon.Net contribute to some of our favorite causes, we can also brag when our particular membership group wins.

 

Val’Cueran Cause – Nature and Wildlife Conservation & Adopt a Wolf

 

Val’Cueran’s overarching focus is conservation of the planet, ecosystems, and the life within. One of the focuses of the Heart Guard is the “Adopt-a-Wolf” project. The goal of this project is to continue to foster the introduction of Red Wolves into the wild. The goal for Val’Cueran is to adopt at least one wolf at the highest level (US Dollars $500), in order to facilitate bringing Red Wolves back from the brink of extinction. There are also rewards for contributing at the highest level: a printed photograph of your wolf, an adoption certificate, an American Red Wolf fact sheet, Acknowledgement on the adoption page online, and a behind the scenes tour for you and your family (up to 6 individuals). Already, USD $250 has been pledged and $200 has been paid in this exciting project. Alora Sionn is also planting American Chestnut trees on her property in order to help bring this particular species of tree back from the brink of extinction. Another suggestion from the Company is to use the Ecosia search engine, the usage of which contributes to the planting of trees, worldwide.

 

The Yellow Ajah Cause – Mental Health Advocacy for LGBTQ+ Youth

 

The members of the Yellow Ajah are focusing on Mental Health Advocacy, particularly among LGBTQ+ Youth. There are troubling statistics concerning Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons, according to ThriveWorks, LGBTQ+ individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to have mental illness; Transgender individuals have higher rates of unemployment and poverty than non-transgender individuals. Also, many LGBTQ+ persons have reported feeling stigmatized or discriminated against when seeking health services. One of the organizations that the members of the Yellow Ajah are looking towards supporting is the Trevor Project. They are also looking for suggestions for other communities or organizations to support, so suggestions are always welcome.

 

While the Great Charity Hunt is a competition, it’s one that we would like to be friendly and supportive of each and every community group. So, if a particular member group looks for assistance and/or suggestions, or one feels drawn to another member group’s cause, let’s support one another and work to help each group.

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Member Spotlight: Qamra Daielin

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Qamra Daielin, Gaidin of the Dai M’Hael Company, Mistress of Novices and Recruits, Tech Documentation Orderly, and Tower Gatekeeper is our guest for this month’s Tar Valon Times Member Spotlight. She graciously made time between her cryptid documenting schedule*, her professional life as an airplane broker/appraiser, and her “spare time” being married with a 7 year old. Qamra Gaidin and her family also have two Havanese puppers: Denver (17 months) and Keeper (8 months); Keeper is an aspiring show dog, so one may see Keeper as the winner of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show one day. In Qamra Gaidin’s spare time, she is a gamer who enjoys playing “anything from WoW, to Animal Crossing, to Stardew Valley, to Sims. I play on both PC and consoles.” In her spare, spare time, she uses her musical talents to play in her Community Band and is getting more involved in the Reddit Symphony Orchestra. The instruments that she plays are the flute and piccolo, so one could say that she’s familiar with the woodwind family.

Picture of the two good puppers.

 

Why did she join Dai M’Hael? Well, according to her, it was the inclusive nature of the Company. She came to the Company after she demoted, as a female (a year after integration), and felt welcome and accepted for who she was. And that is one of the things she loves about the Company, that the Company accepts guests (Accepted/Soldier), Bonded, and Aspirants and desires and works to help them feel like they belong there.

 

Qamra Gaidin, as listed, is one of the Tower Gatekeepers; but what does the Tower Gatekeeper do? Well, along with her fellow Gatekeepers, she is in charge in of a lot of the access members get. As she explained, “If you are a Citizen and are summoned to the Tower, we are the ones that set you up with access. If you’re a new member on the site, we are the ones that activate the account to try to keep the spam bots out. As Accepted/Soldiers guest, we are the ones that move people around to the different groups”. As you may surmise, this is an important and busy position.

 

This position is not connected to her position as the Mistress of Novices and Recruits, or the MoNsteR, as she likes to be referred to. So, what does she do as the MoNsteR? First, she is open and available for answering questions, concerns or needs with absolutely no judgment. She is available via email, discord, or site pm, and will get to it as soon as possible. She says she’s around 90 percent of the time, the rest of the time she’s sleeping or documenting cryptids*. And then, even when she should be sleeping, she’s an insomniac, so…she may still be around. Another one of her goals is to find ways for novices and recruits to interact with Senior Members, so that when the Junior Members begin guesting as Accepted/Soldiers, they have good relationships with which they can start and see faces they recognize within each Ajah and company. Qamra Gaidin is also always looking for more ways that Junior Members and Senior Members can interact. She’s also planning a Virtual Field Trip, and so she’s requesting the Heads of Ajah and Company Commanders to check their emails soon.

 

Why the fondness for the term MoNsteR though? Well, it all started when she was a novice, and in her own mind, she called the MoN that, because it amused her, not because that MoN was mean. So, when Qamra Gaidin received the position of MoNR, she thought MoNsteR fit even more. She’s also a fan of monsters in general, with Sully (from Monsters, Inc.) as her favorite.

 

Her role as Mistress of Novices and Recruits connects with one of the changes that has been made over the years. Much is covered about Voluntary Demotion and Integration, but there have been more changes that have been very substantial. One of these changes was the decision to eliminate the ability to send a Junior Member to the Mistress of Novices and Recruits Office. Sometimes Junior Members would pull little pranks or jokes or forget to use honourifics, so they’d be sent to the MoN’s office for penance. “Usually, it was silly things like writing a haiku or I remember one JM who was rather spammy having to go a WEEK posting without using the letter “e”. However, in time, it was felt that it was overstepping bounds on the site and it was made aware that it was intimidating, some JMs felt nervous about “what if” and we didn’t want that kind of negativity on the site so the rules around that were changed. We hope that it is a much more positive environment now.”

 

Another change has been the change from essentially life-long terms. “If you were a Head of Ajah/Company Commander/Mayor/Mistress or Master of Novices/etc. it was basically until you decided to step down. So, it was not unusual to have a HoA for 2 to 4 years+. Same with a lot of the director/administration positions.” As Qamra Gaidin stated, this allows more people to get involved with the Tower in a different way and brings fresh ideas and growth to the site.

 

So, what does Qamra Gaidin want citizens and guests who eventually want to apply to the Tower to know? “That we would absolutely love to have you! Each person shapes the Tower, and the site as a whole and we really DO like meeting new people and learning more about them through the journey through the Tower.”

 

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed getting to know our very own Qamra Gaidin.

 

 

*Qamra Gaidin has been silent on the existence of cryptids and the existence of an observation society within the Tower.

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Sounds from a Spinning Wheel – A Soundtrack for the Wheel of Time

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A Soundtrack for the Wheel of Time” is an interesting project for multiple reasons. The soundtrack itself was released in 2001 on Magna Carta Records, and yet the seeds for the record’s creation were planted in the 1999 PC game, “The Wheel of Time.” Robert Berry was approached by GT Interactive Software and Robert Jordan to do the soundtrack for the game. Afterwards, Robert Jordan also approved the release of the expanded soundtrack album. Adding to the continuity of the project, Darrell K. Sweet, the artist who created the cover art for the books, also did the artwork for the Soundtrack.

 

When I think of music from the Wheel of Time, I tend to think of the sound of flutes, harps, fiddles, drums, and perhaps banjos; not just an Anglo-Saxon sound, but truly a collection of different cultural styles and sounds of music. If the same is what you are looking for, prepare to be surprised. What we receive seems to be progressive rock with a Celtic influence. There are a few songs that I prefer on this album, including “Return to Emond’s Field” and “Traveling the Ways,” as they really seem to communicate the tension and the danger of those particular journeys. Some of the songs have lyrics, including “A Theme for the Wheel of Time” and “Ladies of the Tower;” the difference between these two songs is that the vocals for “A Theme for the Wheel of Time” seem to be muddled on the recording. It is difficult for me to actually hear what the vocalists are singing, apart from the chorus of the song; on the other hand, the vocals for “Ladies of the Tower” are crisp, clean, and are enunciated clearly. My biggest issue with the album is the eighteenth track, “Rand’s Theme (Fanfare for the Dragon Reborn)” because I was expecting fanfare: loud, triumphant music that communicated an important person was arriving. Instead of that, for the first three quarters of the song we got what I would think of as “Farmer Rand” going about his business having a mostly pleasant day, with the last quarter adding in some menacing undercurrents.

 

Is this a bad album? Not at all, Robert Berry is clearly skilled, as are those with whom he collaborated. Is it my favorite album or something that I expected? It is not my favorite album, because the style of music largely is not one that I vibe with, and it’s certainly not the album I expected. If you decide to listen to this album, I would recommend that you go into it remembering the initial project from which this album got its start: A PC game from 1999. If you are intrigued by this review, the album can be streamed on Spotify, and can be found on the iTunes Store. In the future, join us for further reviews and speculations on music inspired by The Wheel of Time and the music for the upcoming television show.

 

Sources for this article:
Magna Carta Recent News
Robert Berry Discography

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