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Top of the World - Interview with Sean Kazmi (soslowpoke)
Soslowpoke is a regular contributor to such online Pokemon sites as Zeo or School. He is also a Master Professor for Illinois. Let us see what he said about Pokemon. Also, please excuse the Yu-Gi-Oh insults. If someone would have kept his mouth shut I wouldn't have had to........
Phil: Howdy Howdy Howdy Stranger... tell the fine folks here your name, age, residence, and where you play.
Sean: Okies, well my name is Sean Kazmi, I'm known as soslowpoke all around the online world anyway, I'm 15 and I live in a suburb about 20ish miles away from Chicago, Illinois and I don't really have a formal place for playing since I hope between 2 local leagues here, but the best known place I go to is Pastimes in Niles
Phil: Interesting, very interesting! What kind of decks do you like to play at Pastimes in Niles?
Sean: Well like I said I don't go there that often but as for all around I've still been playing Revelation Kingdra integrating card-e with it but now I'm experimenting a bit with Beedrill, Politoed, and such.
Phil: Any certain card sets you enjoy? Anything you wish would be burned for the homeless?
Sean: Well I really like Neo: Revelation...its just full of everything that can be played- Crobat, Misdreavus, Entei, Suicune, Magcargo, Parasect, Kingdra, Ho-oh, Lugia, SMOOCHUM (rofl), TR's Hideout.. I could keep going on. As for sets that need to die...there's nothing I really didn't like except for Base Set 2 that sorta came out when Base Set 1 was still plentiful...didn't find any use for the set (even though I still insist on collecting =x)
Phil: So you collect the cards? I do not know many competitive players that still do that... how do you manage? I could just see you ripping off kids you bad bad person Sean!
Sean: The only kid I rip off is my own brother but he usually steals them back anyway =\. I sorta just started off collecting and then when a kid in the locker room in 6th grade gym class (yes we had to trade in the locker room because the cards were banned from school -_-) brought this funky looking Pikachu and Aerodactyl with an ugly brown stamp on it. After trading him my prized holofoil ditto for them (rofl) I later found out that I could have gotten those cards from the league- and more new ones were to come so I decided I could collect by actually playing. When I actually first got into the game I bought an average of 2 boosters per week so that just basically built up my collection.
Phil: How was the transition period between the coolest fad ever and towards evil satanic/only looosers play this game for you? Got any interesting stories?
Sean: Well, before I got into the game at my elementary school I was outcasted from my friends because I didn't know what the heck a pokemon was. Then after I was tired of having play on the swings by myself at recess I decided to find out what this thing was all about- I watched the TV show, got the video game, then I got 2 boosters- one having an electrode, the other having an imposter professor oak- 2 cards the biggest collector in school needed. So naturally I trade him and I have half the commons and uncommons in the set- COOL. Then I start buying boosters and I eventually rose to the top of being the coolest Pokemon collector in school.....then I moved over that summer. New Jr. High, new people, everything. And over there Pokemon was already out like a fat chick in dodgeball- but of course I didn't know that. So my first day of school I go around asking people if they like Pokemon. I find one friend out of 100 inquiries and me and him are ridiculed throughout 6th grade for being the only ones who liked Pokemon (well...openly admitted to it anyway)...Then over the next summer I wisened up and just went with the crowd and made fun of it like everyone else. I still played though, I was content. Oh and one more in 8th grade when I went to the WCSTS2, I had to take the Friday off school. Now if my mom weren't a teacher there she woulda simply called and said I was going on vacation but naturally since she was going too she had to tell everyone where we were going and why. And then my French teacher catches wind of this and she goes and tells her 8 year old about it and whenever I'd see her she'd yell out "MY MOM SAID YOU WENT TO CALIFORNIA FOR A POKEMON CONVENTION!!!"
Phil: Hey Hey, I didn't ask for your life story (chuckle, chuckle) but that is funny with the little tyke. Anyways, what do you think about the new rules that are being released with EX: Ruby and Sapphire?
Sean: =\ srry...anyways I like how they're trying to make the card game more related to the video game (like one retreat per turn) but its just too many changes at once and it woulda been better if they'd just introduce them one at a time. I'm just sure some confusion will come up at some of the wotc conventions this summer
Phil: How are you going to handle the confusion locally with players that attend your tournaments that you head judge?
Sean: hmm I dunno...try to prevent the store from selling the theme decks? ::shrugs::
Phil: So, how did you get to your Master Professor status? Backbreaking work I could only imagine. Probably cut down a rainforest to print the Compendium out.
Sean: Well...it was always just something I planned to eventually do but since the programs up at the end of august I decided now was the time and plus the stores in my area were not willing to donate any prize support so I decided to get some of the older league kids and give them a go at official tournament play and ran a couple tourneys with them- they were hooked.
Phil: What is the most important advice you would give to a beginner judge? What about a player just starting?
Sean: Beginning Judges: Have patience- a lot of it. You're gonna run into a lot of 'stupid people' in your judging career not to mention people who are as new to playing the game as you are to judging it. Players: Play as many different people as you can so you can pick up different playing styles and deck idea. Oh and both groups: Watch out for Alex Brosseau. He may sit on you or whatnot = X
Phil: Have any interesting experiences with the Pokemon TCG?
Sean: Well, my brother and I went to Worlds last year and placed 2nd in their Team Multiplayer Sealed Championship- the funny thing was that our first round was the first time we actually ever played team format. And uhh coming back from Worlds I sorta 'formally' met TRCassidy as she was sitting right infront of us and then a few months later we went to her Homecoming together.. she's a great player and great friend /end mushyness
Phil: Awww, a match made in Pokemon... I can recall many, well actually one relationship involving Pokemon. Unfortunately the girl broke up her fiancée, the store employee who was running the league, when he was forced to go to prison for a few months. Maybe that wasn't a good example. Which brings me to my next question: Bad times with the game?
Sean: Nothing really that bad actually now that I think of it. I have, however, met quite a few jerks online (other than you.. jk :-P) whom I won't name..
Phil: Speaking of online, you work/contribute/make it look like you do stuff for Pokeschool.com. Tell us a little bit about this site.
Sean: Well Pokeschool's in my words sort of an underdog site. You'd think no one visits it but I've had wizards staff comment me on how good and organized the site is and I'm not even the webmaster. We also get TPC and PUI reps that visit us to- they like it. As for what the site is, its just a small fan site that eventually evolved into a bit bigger news site with daily updates guaranteed. I came to the site as a news editor and eventually wound up in my current position as Online Play coordinator. I've run tournaments, leagues, and whatnot online for Pokeschool. (We actually have a tournament this Thursday- check it out!)
Phil: Ah well I don't think anything would compare to good the good ole Pojosama... *cough* what site? *cough* Anyways what do you think about Wizards of the Coast performance with the Pokemon TCG?
Sean: I think they've done a lot for it and go a bit undercredited/underappreciated for what's really going on behind the scenes there. Sure they make mistakes but if we were in their shoes we'd make mistakes too and prolly more or bigger ones.
Phil: What's your opinion on what Nintendo/Pokemon USA should do with the game now?
Sean: Give it back, rofl.. Actually I think they should just carry on how Wizards did it- organize a professor program and all the other good stuff. What they really need is an employee who's really close to the community like the MTs are so they know what's good or bad instead of consulting those little surveys that come in theme decks.
Phil: Okay, listen carefully on this one: If you could go back in time and tar and feather one employee at TCG Research and Development that created a card you dislike, which card would that be and why?
Sean: I'm going to say Expedition Alakazam because it just gave people crazy ideas.. "oooooh this cards big and shiny- I can build a deck out of it" ... I've just played against so many decks that using that card that just suck. I am still convinced that out of all the decks with Exp. Alakazam in it, the theme deck MTM built is the best by far.
Phil: Are we going to see Soslowpoke at GenCon and Origins this summer? Or will we have to tar and feather you to fly over?
Sean: I'll be at band camp during Origins but I'll be at GenCon hopefully all 4 days.
Phil: What did you have for lunch today? What are you having tommorow?
Sean: Raman Noodles...yumm...probably the same tomorrow.
Phil: Is there any competition up there in Illinois that you hate playing against? Like certain people? Names please, we want to personally call them.
Sean: Umm for some reason I don't get paired up against them in tourneys, but *some* of the 'big players in Illinois are Jason Klaczynski (sp?) (Ness), Alex Brosseau (Big Chunks), and Vincent Blasko- I refuse to say that Jon Schweppe (RaNd0m), and Matt Alvis are worthy competition =P (and yes I know I'm going to get shot for this...^_^) also Alex is a handful at tournaments when I judge...(and 2 chairs full..hrhrhrhrhr)
Phil: Now I'm sure you must have a life outside of Pokemon, Sean... right?
Sean: No... I don't. Well actually I do, what do you wish to know?
Phil: Hey Hey, I'm asking the questions here
Sean: Well ask me something then.
Phil: What do you do outside of Pokemon?
Sean: Oh that's so specific....well during the year I'm pretty much wrapped up in school (me actually having potential in life and all...) I've got Marching Band during the Fall and I'm on the JV Tennis team during spring so its winter when I don't really do much. I guess since school's out this is sorta my return from a long hiatus of...just being unnoticed for a bit =x And umm yeah.. so to sum it up I do band, tennis, soccer, and other fun stuffs with my lady friends o.o
Phil: Lady Friends? Lets keep this PG, please. Anything I forget to ask you?
Sean: Hey I didn't say what I do with them...And I dunno, you're supposed to be the inquisitor.
Phil: Anything that you would like to add then Mr. I think I Should Reply To Phil With Big Words Like Inquisitor?
Sean: Yes actually, since I didn't mention them in the interview, visit www.pokemonzeo.com cause they're a cool site that I "contribute" to. Also I forgot to add that I play the short-lived Harry Potter TCG that sorta...like died :-(
Phil: Its dead my friend, its dead. Let it go, please.
Sean: NEVER you could at least update the darned site!
Phil: For the love of Grffindor, let it go!
Sean: OMG you spelt it wrong. You probably play Yu-Gi-Oh too don't you?
Phil: Thanks for the interview... I've had enough of you and your dictionary full of words.
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