The 'Shroom:Issue LXIII/Interview
What's up, 'Shroomigos? Glad to know you're back to see another interview. You know, these filler introductions are really hard to write. Maybe I should babble about something here to take up space. Like, Team Fortress 2. My favorite weapon is the Axtinguisher. There's nothing more fun than setting someone on fire and shredding their burning flesh with an axe wrapped in barbed wire. I probably just scared you there. Maybe I shouldn't babble. I'll shut up now.
This month, I decided to interview someone who's been around slightly longer than Smasher (last month's interviewee). After delving into various threads on the forum, I decided an interesting choice would be Ralphfan. Having been a member of this site for nearly four years, and having participated in numerous community events, I figured he'd have some interesting things to tell us.
Once particularly active in the wiki, Ralphfan is now mostly a frequenter of the chatroom and forum. In fact, he has the second-highest post count on the forum. Ralphfan has held various positions of power during his time here: 'Shroom Core Staff, Chat Operator, and Director of the Awards Committee, all up until this year. Despite having held so many administrative community positions for such a long time, Ralphfan has also been the center of some trouble throughout this site's past. Though not always the instigator, Ralphfan has been in a number of fights and flame wars in the chatroom and on the forum, resulting in his suspension on more than one occasion, as well as his demotion from Chat Operator. Ralphfan has calmed down noticeably since then, although he was removed from his Awards Committee and 'Shroom Core Staff positions due to rather questionable work ethics. Needless to say, not everyone is on terms with Ralphfan.
Troubles aside, many people still find they can get along with Ralphfan just fine, and many people still interact with him (at least, on the forum — I can't speak for chat) in a perfectly normal manner. Perhaps Ralphfan's most notable feature is his love for sports. Baseball, football, hockey, soccer, basketball; you name it, he likes it and has a team to root for. He's also an avid fan of animated shows, such as Family Guy and The Simpsons. (His username, Ralphfan, is derived from the character, Ralph Wiggum, from The Simpsons.) Ralphfan also digs such things as Harry Potter, Mario, Homestuck, AC/DC, among many, many other things. More people probably have common interests with Ralphfan than they realize.
Me: Good day, 'Shroom readers. We're back again this month to perform another interview.
Me: This time, with a very familiar face around the community: Ralphfan!
Me: Say hi to your rabid fans
Ralphfan: Hi guys
Me: Well, then, I guess I should stick with my routine starting questions:
Me: When and how did you find the wiki?
Ralphfan: I found it in October 2008 looking for some images for a school project.
Ralphfan: I joined on November 13, 2008.
Ralphfan: So it's been three years and seven months to the day.
Me: Wow, I didn't realize you'd been here that long already.
Me: You've nearly been around long enough to be considered a retro user :P
Ralphfan: I joined the forums on March 10, 2009 and chat around the same time.
Me: You're a really active member on the forum, too. You have, what, 25,000+ posts?
Me: That's pretty impressive, considering I don't even have 10,000. I think only Smasher has more posts than you.
Ralphfan: I can check ... yeah, 25,192.
Ralphfan: I remember when I used to care so much about that sort of stuff.
Me: Lol, a lot of people used to. I think I even created topics celebrating milestone post counts.
Me: You used to be quite active on the wiki, but in recent years, you're way more active on the forum. Why is that?
Me: I would assume you're like me and prefer chilling out to working too hard. :P
Ralphfan: I haven't really found as much to contribute to the Wiki since I haven't actually been playing a ton of Mario games lately.
Ralphfan: And that too.
Ralphfan: Plus I really like the community here, even with all its drama.
Ralphfan: There's something about this place where no matter how frustrated you get, you always want to come back.
Me: Haha, I know what you mean. Nearly 5 years of drama and I keep coming back for more.
Me: I've also found I have less to contribute to the wiki. There's only so much Mario info one person can provide.
Me: Speaking of Mario games, what are some of your favorites?
Ralphfan: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is by far my favorite.
Me: I believe you're the fourth person I've interviewed who has said that The Thousand-Year Door is their favorite Mario game. I feel like I should start up some secret club for us.
Me: What do you like so much about TTYD?
Ralphfan: I've always liked RPGs and I feel that Nintendo put a ton of work into all the background characters and the locations.
Ralphfan: The backtracking at the Twilight Trail sucked, though.
Me: I died so much at that part during my initial playthrough.
Ralphfan: I didn't die there, but I lost a lot of coins fleeing enemies.
Me: Lol, well, I'm stingy and like to save up coins to buy awesome badges, even if it means death. I even shoot for 999 coins. Mr. Krabs playstyle.
Me: I agree that the characters and locations in TTYD have a lot of care put into them. That's partly why I find the game's atmosphere so easy to get into.
Ralphfan: I also like the Strikers series, Bowser's Inside Story, Super Mario World, and the original Super Mario Galaxy a lot.
Me: Bowser's Inside Story, I own and have played a bit of, but haven't come close to beating yet. I decided to beat Partners in Time beforehand.
Me: Super Mario Galaxy I also haven't played much of, but the level design and music are absolutely great from what I know.
Ralphfan: Super Mario World has to be my next favorite after The Thousand-Year Door.
Ralphfan: In fact, it was the first game I ever played.
Ralphfan: The last Bowser fight was ass. Took me almost 20 tries to beat it.
Ralphfan: I was so bad at throwing the minions at him.
Me: Oh yeah, I remember that one. He was in the clown car and you had to throw Mecha-Koopas at him. That was tough.
Me: Let's see...what are some of your favorite non-Mario games?
Ralphfan: I play Madden, FIFA, NHL and MLB a lot. I'm a big fan of all of those.
Me: I've played some FIFA games on the DS, they're quite fun. The graphcs are really clean too.
Me: Haven't played many other sports games, unless you count NASCAR. I guess it's just not really my thing.
Me: That reminds me, what are your favorite sports? Your favorite teams?
Ralphfan: Well, it's tough to pick a single favorite, but I like just about every major sport. I'd say hockey and baseball are my top two, though.
Ralphfan: My favorite hockey team are the San Jose Sharks, and the Philadelphia Flyers are my second team.
Ralphfan: Baseball, I root for the Oakland Athletics.
Ralphfan: Football, I root for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ralphfan: Soccer, I prefer the US National team and Real Madrid. Other than that I just like seeing a good game, but I'll also root for whoever is facing FC Barcelona and Argentina.
Ralphfan: Basketball, I mostly watch college teams and root for the University of Maryland and University of California.
Ralphfan: They're also my favorite college football teams.
Me: My grandfather used to really like the Ravens. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about those teams to really converse about.
Me: Hm, do you think you could share some interesting facts about those teams? Perhaps some things that makes you like them so much?
Ralphfan: Well since it's baseball season, I can talk about the A's a bit.
Ralphfan: Unlike a lot of teams, you can actually go to a game in Oakland without having to sell an arm, a leg and your soul. It's also one of the few places that hasn't been overrun by bandwagon fans.
Ralphfan: I'd say the lack of a new stadium really helps with that. :P
Ralphfan: They're also the subject of Moneyball, which was a nominee for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Ralphfan: The movie is about how they put together winning teams without money to pay players. There's also a book that was written about their system a few years back.
Ralphfan: The movie is easy to watch even if you're not into baseball, while the book is more for fans who like all the advanced stats.
Me: I've actually been wanting to see Moneyball. Even though I don't watch many sports, I'm very fond of good sports movies.
Me: I forgot it was about the Athletics. It must be cool that your favorite baseball team has a movie based around them.
Ralphfan: Aside from the Sharks and the soccer teams I support, my family has a lot of history in supporting all the teams I listed.
Ralphfan: I'd like to take a quick break from this interview to ask that you all follow Loic on Twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/CanadaLoic
Me: Snap, I remember seeing that Twitter account. I need to follow that. Everyone else should do the same to aid the search for Loic.
Me: Where was he last spotted?
Ralphfan: Somewhere in Canada.
Me: You're a large enough hockey fan to go undercover in Canada and retrieve him. I'm putting you in charge of the Loic-Retrieval Effort.
Ralphfan: I'll be in British Columbia for a few days this summer. I can try something then!
Me: Summer in Canada is a ridiculous concept. Everyone knows it's always cold there!
Me: Let's see, I'll head back around to wiki and forum questions again for a while.
Me: Do you remember who your first friend in the community was?
Ralphfan: Dom was one of the first. I also met you, SMB and Tucky pretty early on.
Me: Dom was a pretty odd guy. Definitely really cool, though. I sort of miss him.
Me: I do remember meeting you when you were pretty new. I think we met when you signed up for Fake News?
Ralphfan: Yeah, I think that's how.
Me: That was the start of a pretty lengthy career for The 'Shroom, too. And then later that year, Wayo appointed you and I to help him with the Awards.
Me: You also had an extended career working with the Awards Committee, and went on to direct some very successful ceremonies.
Me: What was that like?
Ralphfan: The two I directed were as different from each other as imaginable.
Ralphfan: The first year I was directing with you, and that was pretty fun. It was tough when you were busy, and the fact that Wayo, the last director, vanished without giving much guidance made it awfully hard.
Ralphfan: It was still fun, though. We had some bumps in the road... For example, a problem with the polls really reduced vote counts.
Ralphfan: Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun to direct, even with all the work that went into it. In fact, I was away the week scripts were due. That made for quite an adventure.
Me: Wayo vanishing was a laughably bad move on his part, but I think it helped in letting the Awards grow out from what Wayo just wanted it to be. We included more awards, tourneys, prizes, and a larger turnout on the forum.
Ralphfan: The 2011 show, I felt, ran a lot smoother. We didn't have too many shitstorms like the year before, we shattered voting records and drew great crowds for the ceremony.
Me: Unfortunatley, I wasn't around to see the 2011 show, but from I have heard and seen, it seemed like a very good show.
Ralphfan: I have a feeling Turb will do even better with this year's show.
Me: I'm very confident Turb will do exceptionally well this year.
Ralphfan: I think my favorite part was hosting the Mafia game last year.
Me: On the subject of Mafia, you're one of the people who's been playing it the longest and the most on the forum.
Me: You've had...a lot of different roles over the years. Which one is your favorite to play that you've gotten so far?
Ralphfan: Hmm...that's tough.
Ralphfan: I like being Godfather a lot, but I also like being Cop or Doctor.
Ralphfan: I remember in Toy Story 3 Mafia I was a really good Godfather. We lost two of our four Mafia members before Day 2, but MG1 and I ran the show from there.
Me: Godfather is such a fun role. It's my second favorite, next to Hypnotist.
Ralphfan: Hypnotist is another cool one, yeah.
Ralphfan: I also really like hosting, and I hope to host another game in the near future.
Me: Your games are usually quite fun. TTYD Mafia was awesome, even if Ninji killed me early on. :P
Me: No prob.
Ralphfan: Well, the first version was great until BluePikminKong fucked it up.
Ralphfan: We had 300 posts on Day 1. Well, 240 if you want to be more precise.
Ralphfan: Anyway, I like the games where everyone gets really into it.
Me: Same here. It's rare to find, but those are always the best games. Lots of info to be scrutinized in people's posts, suspicions run ultra high...my kind of Mafia game.
Me: Do you have any set themes or gimmicks for your next game?
Ralphfan: Well, I have some ideas for some funny roles, but some of the value would be lost in revealing those now.
Me: Understandable. Revealing roles before the game can take a lot of fun out of things. Good to know you're already working on ideas, though. I bet it'll be a fun game.
Ralphfan: It'll probably happen sometime in the fall because I'm going to be away a lot this summer.
Ralphfan: Summer is usually a good time to host because people can be more active, but you also have a few people that are away for extended periods of time that can't play.
Me: Yeah, that latter part is always something to be wary of when starting sign-ups before summer. Most of my games were in the summer and encountered similar problems.
Me: So...what would you say is your proudest accomplishment around the community? It can be anything.
Ralphfan: I guess the award shows. People seemed to like those a lot.
Ralphfan: We were also on time in both of them.
Me: I agree, the scheduling was pretty spot-on.
Ralphfan: I was a real hard-ass about it, but it worked.
Me: Sometimes that's what it takes. :P
Me: Considering you were in charge of multiple shows, I think that's something to be very proud of, especially given the turnout.
Ralphfan: It's nothing, really ...
Ralphfan: ok it's actually quite an accomplishment
Me: you will be showered with gold dubloons and autographed stanley cups later in life for your grand efforts
Me: ...I better roll out my last handful of questions.
Me: This question will be mandatory as long as I'm in charge of interviews, so how about it: What kind of music do you like?
Ralphfan: I like just about any type of rock or metal, and I also like R&B a little. Soundtrack music can be pretty good, too.
Me: Sweet, rock and metal are always welcome. There's some really good R&B out there too.
Me: Might you have any recommendations?
Ralphfan: Well I've been recommending "When It Snows" to people but you already know that quite well, obviously. :P
Me: Nope, I have absolutely no idea who that is because I, in no way, composed and recorded that song. No sirree.
Ralphfan: I also like some dubstep because it's perfectly ok in dubstep to randomly yell "YES, OH MY GOD" or "CALL 911 NOW".
Me: Lol. I have hardly listened to any dubstep, but that sounds pretty funny.
Me: For some reason, those rather random phrases reminded me of something I meant to ask you earlier.
Me: Family Guy or The Simpsons?
Ralphfan: Family Guy. I love them both, though.
Me: I expected Simpsons to be your answer, because of your namesake. Pretty interesting. Who's your favorite Family Guy character?
Ralphfan: Another minor character: Ollie Williams.
Ralphfan: "IT'S RAINING SIDEWAYS"
Me: Sounds like "SPACE WEATHER" to me
Ralphfan: "SWIMMING HOLE"
Me: "Oh, he gon' get it."
The wild Stooben and domesticated Ralphman then ended their travail of invoking comedic material to spruce up their dialogue. Stopping after only a handful of efforts, they then proceeded to regain their dignity.
Me: Ahem...so what are some hobbies you have offline?
Ralphfan: Well, I work as an umpire for a local youth baseball league and I'm involved in a Boy Scout troop.
Me: Very nice! You must like the outdoors a lot.
Me: I bet being an umpire is pretty exciting during a game.
Ralphfan: It is, especially with the older kids when the plays are a lot closer.
Me: Sounds like you've got a pretty sweet gig.
Me: What's it like where you live?
Ralphfan: Well everything costs more here, but that's because the weather is included in the cost.
Ralphfan: At least, that's what I'm told.
Ralphfan: Right now it's in the high 60s [Fahrenheit] and sunny.
Me: Sounds just about perfect to me. No wonder you like being outside so much.
Me: We usually have very nice temperatures here, but it sometimes randomly hails or rains for five minutes at a time.
Me: The summers are hot as hell, tho.
Ralphfan: Yeah, our definition of really hot is usually 85°. Although, out around Sacramento it's routinely 95° in the summer
Me: Yeah, 95* is about average here in the summer.
Me: No summer is complete without one food, tho: Burgers.
Me: Who do you think has the best burgers?
Ralphfan: Of large chains, In-N-Out and Five Guys.
Me: We don't have In-N-Out out here, but I hear they're the shit.
Me: A Five Guys just opened up down the street earlier this year. I will try one of their burgers next time I'm down that way.
Ralphfan: In-N-Out is like Five Guys with fewer menu options but much lower prices.
Ralphfan: Both are good quality. Five Guys is really expensive, though.
Me: Well, then I hope it's a really good burger!
Me: Aaaannnd, I've kept you here for too long already. I need to wrap things up.
Me: So...is this the final question?
Ralphfan: Hmm...I prepared for this question but I'm still not too sure.
Ralphfan: I'm gonna go with yes, though.
Me: HA! Well, you would be WRO—
Me: wait a second
Me: Aw man, it is the last question. :(
Me: You've figured me out....now I have to get you a prize or something.
Ralphfan: A pony would be nice.
Me: With a hockey puck cutie mark?
Ralphfan: Lol yes.
Me: I will have that shipped to you soon.
Me: Well, I guess this is goodbye... Will I ever see you again?
Ralphfan: Someday, in the stars.
Me: I guess that will have to do.
Me: Say bye to your fans!
Ralphfan: My Ralphfanfans?
Me: Yes, lol, that's perfect.
Ralph is a pretty interesting guy. Though he's made quite a few enemies due to his sporadic behavior and "hardass" methods, Ralphfan tries to improve his ways, as well as amend problems, in some cases. I've never known him to run from his problems, but I can't deny that there are many cases in which problems that's he's a part of aren't fixed. But as long as you learn something from your mistakes, it can end up being worth it. Although this hasn't been a particularly good year for Ralphfan or his efforts, he hasn't ran from the community or the people that took action. I think it's entirely possible that he'll turn around again soon and do something to impress people, something that will earn him a second chance with a lot of people. He's done it before, I don't see why he can't do it again.
In layman's terms, this.
That'll be it for this month's installment. Thanks for reading, and tune back in next month!