Truth Interview Thursday Spotlight - Shua Verde

After a few weeks off, we are back with a new installment of TITS! This week we are celebrating one of our own admins, and the man who typically is on the interviewer side of these, Shua Verde. Since we are putting him on the hotseat this week, I (Witty) took over the reigns as interviewer and commentator to give Shua the full TITS experience. 

Let's start with the basics, Shua. What do you do for work?

I am an Assistant Branch Manager for a bank. I kind of fell into the industry right after high school back in 2004. There’s a running joke in banking that it’s the most accidental career, as no little kid grows up wanting to be a banker. (Maybe the Gambit kind, but that'll get you banned around here) The vast majority of my colleagues started in banking as a temporary job while they searched for something they really wanted to do, and ended up falling in love with the industry. That’s pretty much how it went for me too. My older brother worked for a bank and pulled some strings to get me a job as a teller. I have worked my way up over the years and have become incredibly passionate about what I do. The bank I currently work for is amazingly holistic and client focused. We don’t have direct sales goals like we did back in the day, and we really are focused on building relationships with our clients and doing everything we can to empower their financial future. I know it sounds like I’ve drank the Corporade®, but I really care about my clients and it brings me a tremendous amount of pride when I can help them improve their financial health. (Wholesome Shua is best Shua)

Aside from video games, what are your other pastimes and hobbies?

I am an avid fisherman. I got my first fishing pole for my 3rd birthday. It was a Mickey Mouse themed spincaster rod. One of the very few memories I have from living in California (we moved to WA right before I turned 4) was casting the practice plug into our swimming pool and reeling it back in. I actually caught my first salmon when I was 4 or 5 years old and it was longer than I was tall at the time. I really love being able to teach other people how to fish. It’s just pure catharsis for me. I also really love hosting my friends and family for game nights and dinners. I love cooking for other people, and often go way overboard on complexity to try and wow people. I really enjoy gardening too, but I don’t get to do it often because I live in an apartment, so I find myself volunteering to help friends build gardens and redesign their landscaping. When I do eventually buy a place, I’m gonna go full Jumanji on it. 

What's a skill you have that you take pride in?

I am weirdly good at catching and throwing things that aren’t meant to be, while being horrible at it with things intended for it. If you throw me a set of keys, I’ll hook the ring on my pinky, but if you throw a football right at my chest, it’s likely to hit the ground. (I immediately went to the Buckner episode of Curb after reading this)

Any other fun facts about yourself?

I’ve had over 35 broken bones but have never been put in a cast. Both of my thumbs are double-jointed. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few celebrities, including Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey Jr., Russel Wilson, Marcus Trufant, (are Seattle pro athletes really celebrities, it is Seattle still....) Kyle Kinane, Dave Matthews, Lisa Lampanelli, Glen Plake, and Alex Trebek (one of the coolest moments in my entire life) (I would have to agree). I also have a tattoo of a stylized NES controller on my arm and am hoping to eventually get many more. 

How long have you been gaming and what's your gaming history like?

I’ve been playing since I was probably around 3 years old when my older brother would let me play on his NES with him. I remember sitting on the end of his bed, playing Contra on NES for hours and hours before we finally managed to beat the game. I eventually got good enough at the game that I managed to beat it by myself WITHOUT using the Konami code.  One of my biggest regrets with video games is ever falling for GameStop’s horrible trade-in program. When I got my N64, I traded in all of my NES games (286), SNES games (174), and all of my accessories, and I barely got enough store credits for a few N64 games. (F*cking Gamestop) Remembering back to what I used to have, I had several games that would be worth $100s now… I have owned over 25 different consoles and handhelds over the years too.  One of my all-time favorite memories was a LAN party I hosted in high school for HALO 2. I had picked up a business router from a garage sale and bought a spool of RJ45 to make cables long enough to stretch across my parents’ house. We had 20+ people over playing HALO and having a blast. (That does sound awesome) I was with a group in our bonus room, and we had a mix-CD (remember those?) playing on the stereo. Someone didn’t like whatever song was playing, so they went over and skipped to the next song, while also accidentally hitting the repeat button. The next song that came on was Take On Me by AHA. We played HALO 2 for over 6 more hours with that song on repeat. Now every time I hear it, I feel the need to play HALO PvP (aaaand now the synth hook is gonna be stuck in my brain all day, thank you) 

What are your favorite foods, music, movies, TV, etc?

Food: Sushi. Full Stop. If I made enough money, I would eat it every single day. Aside from that, I’m a big fan of just about everything and will try anything 3 times before deciding I don’t like it. (Oddly specific, but okay) My only caveat to that is with spicy chilis. I have a low tolerance for capsaicin, and it can wreak havoc on my GI, so I have to be careful there. (I am excited for the Wheel of Doom despite the lack of spicy on it) For music, it really depends on my mood and what I’m doing that day. I don’t really have a favorite genre of music, but my favorite bands ever are Dave Matthews Band and Barenaked Ladies. They’re just good fun music, perfect for a drive on a sunny day. Movies and TV are all over the place too. I’m always a sucker for anything Marvel or high fantasy. Snatch is my favorite movie of all time though. 

Is there any significance or story to your Gamertag?

It’s actually just a simple play on my real name. If it wasn’t super obvious, my first name is Josh. (It took me longer than I'd like to admit to make this connection honestly) Back in high school, a friend liked calling me Joshua because he knew I hated it (I will ban you harder than Pentad if you call me that). One day, he stuttered when saying my name and it came out as “Shua”, someone else caught it and said that sounded cool, and I’ve gone by Shua ever since.

Let's get to the Destiny and Clan stuff now. When did you start playing Destiny, and what drew you to the game?

I actually did a beta test group through Microsoft for Destiny 1 and absolutely loved the feel of the game. I played D1 much less than I wanted to, because my friends didn’t really get into it, and I didn’t yet know how to find a clan, so I stopped playing after a while because there’s only so much you could do solo. I came back to it right before D2 launched because I wanted to see if I still liked the feel of it. I did and I ordered D2 right away. I was drawn to it initially because it was being made by Bungie, and they did such a great job with HALO. Plus, I really love the idea of being a crazy powerful space wizard and throwing all kinds of magical attacks at aliens.

When did you join Clan Truth?

I joined about a month or two before the Truth Civil War. (I looked up the date, Aug 14th 2018) I found the clan through the Reddit recruitment post and immediately fell in love with the people here. I've been in many clans/guilds/groups for different games over the years, but nothing has felt quite like Truth. It's just so familial here.

When did you become an admin and how has it been since?

I became an admin last fall. It was something I very much wanted to be, because Witty and crew have done such an amazing job building and developing an incredible community, and I wanted to take on a bigger role in that growth and giving back to the group as a whole. (Wholesome Shua still best Shua) I've had some major ups and downs over the last 4 years or so, and this community has been a real anchor of sanity for me. With the growth we've seen in the last 9 months, we've been able to introduce new community features like the TITS, build up a website (go buy some merch) (seriously, go buy some merch), create official social media accounts, and more! There's more cool things on the horizon too!

What is your primary/favorite class and why?

I picked warlock from the get go, simply because in any game that gives me the option of being a warlock/mage/wizard/sorcerer/etc., that will always be my first choice. (A wise choice indeed)

Who has the best jump?

Warlocks for sure. (Shocking answer, I know, but the correct one) Warlock jumping may not have a recovery option if you edge off a cliff, but I watch where I’m going. Plus, it makes platforming so much easier being able to glide your way onto platforms. Titan jumping is more fun than hunter jumping, but I find it more difficult to land cleanly on platforms with it.

If you could remove any one weapon from the game, which one and why?

Felwinter. All shotguns really, but especially that one. I prefer medium-long range play, so shotguns have never been my forte in any game.

If you could design an exotic weapon or armor, what would it be?

For a weapon, I would love to see an exotic homage to the M1 Garand. I would have it so that you cannot manually reload, only upon emptying the clip. The perk would be that for every kill within the magazine, you get an increase in power upon reload. For armor, I would love a Warlock armor piece that allows you to throw your rifts out at a short distance. It wouldn’t be super OP, but it could have some great tactical use. (But I would constantly be screaming Go Go Gadget Rift! And for that, I love it)

If you could date any character(s) from Destiny, who and why?

Either Ana Bray or Sloane. Ana is incredibly smart, and a total badass. Sloane is Sloane.

What Destiny characters would you ship together that aren’t already?

Failsafe and Rasputin. Imagine the chaos. (Insert Chaos Disco emoji)

Now onto the fun stuff. What was the inspiration for TITS?

When I became an admin, I wanted to do something fun and unique for the clan, especially as we were hitting a huge amount of growth and seeing so many new folks joining the Discord server. I thought it would be interesting to start doing weekly interviews with folks from the clan to get to know them better and start building a deeper community. They have been incredibly well-received, far more than I expected, and I am absolutely thrilled about that. I am so thankful for this incredible community, and I want to find ways to give back whenever I can.

How many pairs of shoes do you own, and how many are green?

Currently, I would guess probably around 20 or so total pairs of footwear. I don’t think I have any that are fully green. I do have a pair of black Nikes with a green swoosh, though those are just about ready for the dumpster at this point. (you need MAS, Clan Truth x Nike collab when?)

Who really is the best-looking admin?

Well, I haven’t seen what all of the admins look like, so I can’t fully answer this question. Everyone has their own tastes and opinions, but I think my favorite admin to look at has to be Disconinja. How can you look at him and not just want to hug him immediately? (I can feel Kabr's sadness from here at this answer)

Who’s your favorite Bleach character?

It’s hard not to say Ichigo, because he really is my favorite, but he’s the main character, so I feel like I should pick someone else. I think Chad is an incredible character that I would have loved to see get some more spotlight and development. Sure, the peaceful quiet giant is a bit of a trope, but he’s so focused on defending the people he cares about, that he’s wholly willing to risk his life for them is really quite endearing.

If you were a captain of the Gotei 13, what would your shikai and bankai be?

Oh shit… that’s a really tough question to answer. (hat-tip to Animal for the first good stumper) There are so many really interesting things already existing within the Gotei 13, but I think I would need something originally to myself and not just a direct copy from an existing character. I’m not a main character in that world, so I wouldn’t want something completely OP. I think my Shikai would be something where my sword can create small wells of gravity, not dissimilar to the pull of a Warlock’s vortex grenade. The Bankai would be an amped up version of that where I could create larger/stronger wells of gravity, creating almost a tether to my enemy, potentially sundering them if enough tethers connect.

If pay, work hours, etc., weren’t an issue, what would be your dream job?

I think being a fishing guide would be incredible. I just worry that I would risk losing my love for fishing by turning it into a job. (Im actually surprised you didn't say OnlyFans model)

What is your worst dating story?

Hmmm, I’ve definitely shown up for a date only to have the other person not actually be who I saw in the app. I believe the youngsters call that catfishing. (you said you liked fishing, but i guess not catfishing - this joke inspired by Jack) I called her out on it and she admitted to using her sister’s pictures instead of her own. I had a different first date that had her parents nearby in the restaurant where we met so she could introduce me if we hit it off. We were nearly 30… I would say the worst one was on a second date when my date casually mentioned her husband that I didn’t know existed prior to that moment.

Which admin (if any) do you think could make it out of the Hunger Games alive?

Ohhh this is a good one. I think Cephalopod would be taken out quickly. He’s tall and therefore would be a target. Duchess, Disco, and Jack are all too friendly and I don’t think would be willing to actually do harm to anyone else, so they wouldn’t win. As high of an opinion as I have of myself, I am out of shape and would likely be too winded for combat by the time I found a weapon. Saylor and Oblivion would be too confused about being the same person that they would have a breakdown. Honestly, I think Banditt has the best chance of survival. She takes no bullshit and would likely attach various weapons to her nub and slaughter the rest of the combatants.

What is the best animal sound you can make?

I can do a pretty convincing sheep bleat as well as a howler monkey yell (do I smell a new channel points redemptions for the Twitch channel?)

You have to spend 1 year living anywhere other than PNW before being allowed to relocate home. Where are you moving to and why?

It’s #1 on my list of places I want to visit. Of course, Tokyo is where I would spend a lot of my time, but there are many places around the country that I would love to see.

Pick your Mount Rushmore of bald+bearded men. Defend your reasoning.

HHH – He’s one of my all-time favorite professional wrestlers and has done a ton of incredible work in the last 10 years to build and develop a lot of new stars. 2. OfficialGale – Have you seen those legs? 3. Sean Connery – The best James Bond. 4. Geist – I’m afraid he would hurt me if I didn’t include him.

Describe your ideal dinner meal.

Sushi prepared by Chef Morimoto. Whatever he chooses to make, I will eat. I would also like to have my family and a few friends that love sushi join me.

When will we get a Shua calendar in the Truth store?

Sooner than later. (If you don't think the conversations about an admin calendar haven't happened, you'd be dead wrong)

Hasbro is making a Shua Verde action figure. What two accessories would it come with?

A fishing rod and a chef’s knife. I can’t imagine anything else would be better suited.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Anthony Bourdain, alive. (good answer) I admittedly never paid much attention to Bourdain while he was alive. I saw a few snippets here and there of his show, and he seemed smarmy to me. After his passing, I learned more about him and realized how admired he was in the culinary world, and I would love to have the opportunity to eat and talk with him.

Tell us two truths and two lies about yourself.

I have driven a car over 160mph. I can lick my elbows. I have a pilot’s license. I have survived a fall from over 100 feet.

What non-dairy item would make the best milk alternative?

Cashews. It’s the only “false” milk I’ve had that comes close to the creaminess of the real thing.

What’s a conspiracy theory you kinda believe to be true?

That the US government has definitive proof of alien life. (I agree, as I casually don my tinfoil hat to complete this interview)

Who would win in a fight, you or Pentad?

Currently? Me, but Pentad is going to become a papa soon, and that comes with an automatic 50% strength increase. Hacks I say.

Why are you the way that you are?

Who the fuck knows? I would blame my numerous head injuries, but I’ve always been a bit weird.

What’s the most gimmicky home gadget you own?

I don’t know that I own anything really “gimmicky” as far as home gadgets go. I follow Alton Brown’s belief of not owning many unitaskers in the kitchen, so I haven’t bought anything from an infomercial. (It's the veggie spiralizer for me) I guess the closest would be having Amazon Echo devices in my home that I mostly use for controlling my lights and answering debates between friends.

What fictional world/place would you most want to visit?

So many of them, it’s really hard to narrow it down. If I’m still stuck as plain ol’ human me, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere that could be too dangerous for me. However, if I were to have the same powers/abilities as the main character(s), I think I would most want to travel to Alagesia. So long as I could be a dragon rider of course.

What is something that looks easy-peasy lemon squeezy, but is actually difficult difficult lemon difficult?

(Okay I typed the question this way on purpose and chuckled to myself for way too long afterwards) Casting a baitcaster fishing reel without getting a birdnest in the line. They are the type of reels that most bass fisherman use, and they take a lot of practice to get the right feel. But once you know how to do it, it looks super easy.

Your favorite bar is putting “The Shua” as its newest cocktail? What’s in the drink?

Oh another toughie! (taking due credit for this one) My cocktail preferences change constantly, so there would need to be many different ways to make the cocktail. I can say that it would most likely be a shaken drink served over a large ice cube, with a good development of flavor. But to make it easy on myself, I would just copy the “Morning, Peaches” cocktail from a bar in Boise, Idaho. It was hands down the single best cocktail I’ve ever had. It was made with bourbon, peach liqueur, lemon juice, coffee liqueur, and vanilla. (sign me up) It sounds like a super weird combination, but it worked so incredibly well and the flavors developed slowly throughout the sip. It was divinity in a glass.

What is the most embarrassing story about yourself that you’re willing to share?

I don’t really feel embarrassment easily (see the various pictures I shared for proof), but I think I know the kind of story you’re looking for. (got him hook, line, and sinker) Back in high school, I would help the theater crew with building sets and setting up sound and lighting when I was between sports seasons. One year, the theater teacher asked me if I would be willing to understudy for the role of Emcee in the school’s production of Cabaret (I know, I can’t believe a high school put on that show either… and we did not pull anything from the original) as not enough students had auditioned. He promised me a class credit if I did, so I agreed. Early in the morning on the final day of the play, the teacher called me in a panic because the student playing Emcee had caught the flu and he needed me to perform, so I had to rush to school to have a whole new costume made for me since I was nearly a foot taller and over 100lbs heavier than the other guy. The crew pulled off a miracle and made my costume in time for the show to start. I barely knew the lines and have no voice for singing, so I had cue cards at the ready when I marched out on stage. Now I want you to picture this, high school age Shua, about 60lbs lighter than I am now, dressed from the ground up in the following, 5-inch platform knee high leather boots, fishnet stockings, mini skirt, WWII German-esque officer’s jacket, full makeup, slicked back hair, and a military cap. I had to then march out on stage, singing and dancing to the opening theme of Cabaret. (and on that day Shua's OnlyFans was already being nurtured) As if I wasn’t nervous enough, word had spread that I was going on stage, so the back of the auditorium was PACKED with the rest of the football and wrestling team. Thankfully, this was in 2003 or so, so cell phone cameras and Youtube were not really a thing yet. I will say though, as embarrassed as I probably should/could have been, I had an absolute blast with it. A side note on this for anyone unfamiliar with the play, the opening act is the character of Emcee welcoming the audience to a show inside of a Cabaret Club, complete with female dancers in lingerie. Yes, we performed this in high school, yes, the girls were still wearing lingerie, yes, their parents watched us on stage in an awkwardly close performance, and yes, the teacher did get suspended after the district realized what actually happened during the play.

What is the best bird?

Crow. All corvids are cool, but crows are my favorite. (nods ornithologically)

If you could hold Truth Con anywhere besides PNW where would it be and why?

Iowa. Seriously. While there isn’t much sightseeing or anything like that to be excited about, it’s about getting together as a community and enjoying each other’s company. Also, I feel like flights and accommodations would be relatively inexpensive, and it’s fairly central within the continental US. Also, Disco would be there to welcome us.

What style of craft beer represents Shua?

Stouts and porters. Give me beer that can hold up a spoon on its own.

If you could safely eat any inedible object, what would it be and why?

Like, as many times as I wanted to without harm and it would be fully digested? Probably plastic. Then science could figure out how it works and we could find a better way to remove all of the plastic and microplastics from our planet. That or glass, I feel like I would do well on AGT by eating glass.

If you could relive any moment in your life over again, what would it be?

Oh definitely this interview, in fact, let’s do that! (Shua tried to copy and paste the interview like 6 more times, but that would have been a bit much, just like Shua)

Shua - thank you for all you do and for being a good sport for the interview. Sidenote: this shit is not easy to do, and Shua deserves all the respect for taking the time each week (when he remembers kek) to put these together. Be sure to tune in to Shua's Twitch channel  this week and especially on Saturday at 12PM PT/ 3PM ET for his featured stream for the Bungie Foundation charity event!