"The ONLY reason MTGO didn't die is because MTG is so awesome." - BlippyTheSlug
Internet friends. To some the term may cause jiggles, or a shrug. For some of us, it's part of the life we know. After all, forums are life. Recently, I learned that one of those internet friends of mine is going through some unpleasant times, thanks to immigration laws, and that he is about to face removal. The man who goes all over the MTG-related internet by the user name BlippyTheSlug is about to be removed back to the country where he was born, but has never really called home.
I first met Blippy when we were both posting in a famous (infamous?) site about the magical cards. I liked him from the start. I also found him posting on Wizards' site and found out that he wrote articles for PureMTGO. I even helped him photochopp an image once for one of them. As most of us, he's a nobody in the grand scheme of things, but to me he always stood out as one of those folks committed to improve the community, with his articles, his poetry and what he's mostly known for: player run events, which he openly calls "Nerd Herding" on Twitter. You may have heard about the Overdrive! events played in the Modern format every Monday (currently on hold given his situation). As such, I thought it was important that his story gets out there, not only for any helping hand other planeswalker apprentices might lend, but as a testimony of how immigration laws are one of the worst inventions of mankind.
Blippy, whose real name is Volker, was kind enough to give me an interview via Twitter Direct Message (or twitterview, as I call it). Here it goes:
Gaea's Regent (@GaeasRegent): Hello Blippy. Tell us, how was your first contact with mtg?
BlippyTheSlug (@BlippyTheSlug): Lethbridge, AB,,,Summer of 2005. Me & my smoking buddies sat around playing Rixk, Axis and Allies, etc. One day Jeordie brought over #MTG...
By the end of the weekend, we were junkies. John (my buddy from Lethbridge) is sitting across from me drafting as I type
#MTG for me has ALWAYS been about sitting around getting high w/buds
Gaea's Regent: So you started at an older age than the average Magic player then. You were born in Germany in the late 50s, right?
BlippyTheSlug: Right. Born Germany 1959.
I was 45 when I started playing.
Gaea's Regent: That bio is a good read, but it ends in San Francisco. How did you end up in Canuckland?
BlippyTheSlug: *sigh* very long story
1) I was never naturalized
2) Immigration reform in 1996
3) busted with a roach in 97, combined with another...
... misdemeanor pot possession from 82 made me an "aggravated felon"
4) deported to germany 2003 after 5 years fighting
5) came to canada 2004 to be close to family in Montana
6) you know the last 5
Gaea's Regent: We'll go back to your intercontinental movements later on. Let's go back to MTG: how did you end up "Nerd Herding"?
BlippyTheSlug: Playing in Tribal Apocalypse (Tribal Wars) and Saturday Night Melee (2HG STD). Payouts were iffy, and only if I/we won. I was asked to sub..
..one time at Tribal, and saw how easy it was, and the payout was consistent, and I told both hosts I'd be avail to sub, and both took me up
i started hosting both Tribal Apocalypse and Saturday Night Melee in January 2011. I originally "did it for the money" (I'm still dirt poor)
but ended up falling in love with running events and "giving back".
I also did When World Kaleid (K-scope), Tournament of Kings (2HG STD), Dark Wars (Classic/Legacy FFA), Where Angels Fear To Tread (Modern)
:) Did an event for the Community Cup, too.... Pwn The Poobah
Gaea's Regent: These are online events. What are your thoughts on the MTGO client and WotC in general?
BlippyTheSlug: :/ They're trying, but it's still grinning frat boy Cartman-ism at the top. "fuck you. we do what we want."
As far as the client goes... technically, it *IS* a better client than v3. But they brought it out too early, and ham-handedly.
It's playable now, but barely, and we had to put up with two years of bullshit.
I don't trust WotC coders with a burnt out match. They killed the forums. They killed the mothership. They almost killed MTGO.
(The ONLY reason MTGO didn't die is because MTG is so awesome)
Gaea's Regent: *nods*
BlippyTheSlug: :( I still miss The Gutter/Old Sally. I know DTR is a lot of that crew, but it ain't the same. I don't go to New Sally, hardly, either.
Gaea's Regent: Yeah, we kinda lost track of you after that debacle, until I found you on Twitter. You have quite the following...
BlippyTheSlug: :) No idea why. Half of 'em are "spam accounts" that are muted on my timeline... and MOST aren't MTG related, mebbe 400 or so are
Gaea's Regent: Do you still write poems?
BlippyTheSlug: :) In 140 characters or less. I haven't written anything longer than a tweet in almost a year. :/
you see them
Gaea's Regent: Yeah, I love the ones in Spanish the most. Do you speak the language?
BlippyTheSlug: I had high school spanish, and lived in California a while... soy un vato loco... kinda
(i also make judicious use of google translate)
Gaea's Regent: Jajaja! How about German? You came at a young age to the Americas...
BlippyTheSlug: I speak German as well as I speak Spanish. I can ask how to get to the train station, but not carry on a conversation.
Gaea's Regent: So, you're being removed back to Germany again, what's your situation?
BlippyTheSlug: Passenger in a car, car pulled over, everyone was asked for ID... all I had was Montana license and German ID (both expired) ... game over.
Starting from scratch. Again. Pack my life into a suitcase and get dropped off at the airport. In touch with Social Services in Frankfurt.
Prolly spend a few nights in a "homeless shelter" before I get something set up. Got about CAD$400 to my name. Not gonna die.
Planning on getting my club foot taken care of. (either reconstruction or amputation/prosthetic. we'll see.)
Germany has decent social services, so I should be ok in the long run. Might be a few weeks before I start running events again.
Gaea's Regent: That's good to know, we hope to hear from you soon. No plans to return this time then?
BlippyTheSlug: Kinda sorta, but vague and tentative. who knows what's gonna happen? I may meet the moorish princess of my dreams...
I liked that answer to close the interview, and Blippy only wanted to add a quote by Warren Zevon: send lawyers, guns, and money. Godspeed Blippy, and may God guide you on your quest.
You can discuss this article here.
( G_R ), also known as Gaea’s Regent, is a Guatemalan engineer, who started playing strictly casually in the days of Urza’s Saga. He now juggles his scarce free time between being a family man, being a keyboard warrior, and playing stuff on his laptop - including the magical cards.