Saturday, December 31, 2011

Judges That Don't Remember You (When You Don't Want Them To)

So there's this one guy. And every time I see him, I think, "Oh no! It's THAT guy," and I'll tell you why in a second, because here's what else I think: "Oh no. I remember that guy. He's an alumni. He judged me. I remember when he judged me. I remember that round, that horrible, awful round. It was at debate camp last summer. It was like my (mumbles to self) 6th round ever. The opponents were amazing and had won tournaments and stuff. And they beat us badly. Mostly me, because I had just given what was possibly the world's worst 1AR. THAT guy probably remembers that 1AR. How could anyone forget? Oh gosh, he probably hates me. I don't want to talk to that guy."

So I don't. Except you know how sometimes you're in a situation where you kind of just have to talk to someone? Well, after a few times of nearly effortless avoidance, that happened. And he said: "Hi. What's your name?" And I said Chandler, which is true. Soon someone said something about this being my first year of debate and THAT guy looked genuinely interested and almost nice and then said, "You do debate? That's cool. You'll love it."

All of a sudden an internal voice of reason that should have been there all along ever since that infamous day in late August came booming in my ears. Judges don't hate you if they vote against you. They don't hold a grudge if you give a bad speech. They forgive you without even feeling like they've been wronged. Often, they don't even remember you later. Which is awesome.

I'm the kind of person that often wishes I was a lot cooler and famouser than I am. Obviously, by definition, I am not. It's a weird feeling to wish that people would forget me, but its a feeling felt by myself nonetheless. I wish my judges would have their memories erased the instant the ballot leaves their fingers (or before, if it means voting for me). I wish my judges would forget my name and what I look and sound like so I never feel awkward around them again. I wish they would all sort of disappear, or maybe that I would. Sometimes. Sometimes I feel really great after a round and hope a judge goes home and writes in his journal and blog and on Facebook about how I won and then never forgets. But that doesn't happen very often.

Oh, by the way. Fun fact: Sometimes, the judges that do remember you and remember voting against you feel bad afterwards. My mom judged a round with two guys on the neg (ironically, one was the brother of THAT guy who judged me) and she really didn't like their Counter Plan and ended up voting against them fair and square. She remembered them later, and felt really bad and hoped they didn't know who she was. It was kind of like how I hoped none of the judges from my bad rounds remembered me, which is interesting.

You're homeschooled. I'd remember you, unless you'd rather I didn't, and then I won't.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finding Speeches Really Far In Advance

I've had the duo I'm doing this year (2012 season) since 2010. I just couldn't find anyone to do it with for a while. This is very uncommon, to have a piece that early. Consequently, you can assume that it doesn't happen often, and it doesn't usually happen to me. Finding pieces ridiculously early can be a bit frustrating sometimes. If you happen to stumble across a good interp or platform idea that you can't use for a while, you're likely to feel impatient. That's ok. That just means you'll be better when it's time.

Even though I said that I don't usually find pieces that early, I must admit that I have at least 4 OIs that I would love to do next year. Four. That's not going to work. But I found them all really early and I adore them all. I'm ridiculous, but don't say I'm the only one. Every once in a while, a CHSADK will come up with a crazy and great idea for a speech or case long before one is necessary.

What do you do then? Well, you have a couple of options. You could say, "Why do anything else? I'm already ahead of the game." and then go lay on your couch for a few months until everyone catches up to you. Or, you could get started on your speech and have it memorized by September and amaze everyone with your superior skills. That's always fun.

Here's the thing: finding speeches is hard, especially when we're prone to procrastination. But when you've got a good one before you need it? It's a super great feeling.

You're homeschooled. Get to work! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

When The Alumni Come Home For Christmas

Last Monday night was a pretty cool night at debate. See, most of our alumni are mean and would rather go off to college instead of hanging with us fun people. But not this week. They're all on Christmas vacation, and evidently there's nothing they'd rather do on their break than participate in an educational activity- aka come to a debate meeting. Like I said, it was pretty cool to see them all again. Lots of those guys graduated the year I joined speech, some the year after and some before, so they're really old. (I didn't even recognize one of them, which made me feel like a total novice again)

Seriously though, us CHSADKs love our alumni. We don't always get to see them, so they can make our Christmas breaks even more special. Reminisce on old resolutions, inside jokes, ridiculous ballots, fun rounds, hilarious club meetings, and other occurrences that I'm pretty sure they made up- it's what alumni do best.

They'll be going back to school soon. We'll miss them again. We'll probably cry and cry. But hey. There's always next summer, right?

You're homeschooled. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Using Breaks From School as a Time To Work A Lot on Speech and Debate

Hip-hip-hooray for Christmas vacation! Within the next 12 days or so, I plan to memorize and block two interps, partially rewrite a persuasive (again), help my sister with her expos boards and, along with my debate partner, construct a negative brief and possibly rehearse an aff case. If it sounds like a lot, that's because it is. I don't know how exactly this will all happen, only that it must. Because I have a seriously limited school schedule for two weeks, and I have to do something when I'm not sleeping in, drinking hot chocolate, and pretending I have shopping to do.

This is not unusual. Us Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Kids scoff at the idea an of Easter break or a Thanksgiving, Christmas, and occasionally Summer Vacation. Those of us who have "school off" will be going crazy doing the fun homework we otherwise may not have time for.

"Break? What is this break you speak of? You mean normal people don't do speech and debate work when school is out? Preposterous!" That's what we'll say. Then we'll grumble like this: "Grumblegrumblegrumble," and stomp off to sit at the computer or stand in front of the mirror or our mothers or whatever and within moments we'll be diligently rehearsing or cutting a speech or some evidence. And we'll enjoy it, too.

Now, of course, there are also the procrastinators who would rather be normal and use a break to relax and chill instead of working. An interesting notion this, but for some of us, it is somewhat inconceivable. We are not used to being "normal," anyway. How is there time for that in all the work that needs to get done?

You're homeschooled. You're a hard worker. Sometimes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Kid With The Humorous

We've all seen him. You may not have noticed him. Sometimes, you have to be part of his little crowd to be able to properly identify him. Or, you can use these handy-dandy tips I've collected for spotting the guy I like to call "The Kid With The Humorous."

The first thing you should know is that it's not called an "HI." It's a Humorous. Why? I don't know. It's just that, often at tournaments, you'll see a kid who's got a really great HI, but he calls it a Humorous. So that's one way you can spot him.

The second way is by noting who he hangs out with. See, people who are really funny enjoy the company of other really funny people. So the Kid will often be found around other kids who have good Humorous Interps. It's not that they're a clique exactly, but if you've done well in HI, you can hang with them. In fact, if you see them, you might think, "There go the HI finalists," which is a fairly accurate description. Basically, they're just hilarious, easy-going youngsters who are all friends and enjoy doing speeches for and throwing things at each other, telling jokes and funny stories, and playing off each other's cues until a whole mass of hilarity occurs. And since HI finals generally consists of mostly boys, there probably won't be many girls in that crowd. Just a bunch of really funny guys doing really nerdy things.

Thirdly, when a Kid with a Humorous is by himself, he's a very awkward individual. Look for him pacing hallways in the rounds or around the campus right before breaks: any time he's nervous, he'll be by himself being weird. One time, I was waiting in a crowded hallway outside a room when one of these Kids walked by me. I could see that he was practicing a speech, but since I knew at him, I gave a casual wave. He kind of smiled but barely looked up from the floor and didn't stop muttering to himself. A second later, his eyes lit up in recognition. "HI CHANDLER." he exclaimed. "I'm practicing my speech."
"Yea... I kinda thought that. Or you're just crazy."
He twitched and shrugged his shoulders. "Well, you know... maybe." He then put his head down and began reciting softly to himself as he shuffled down the hallway. And that was the end of that.

If you don't know any of these Kids, you should try to meet one. As you can imagine, they're really fun to be around. What about you? Do you know any CHSADK's who fit the descriptions?

You're homeschooled. That's pretty humorous.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Talking About Speech and Debate With People Who Don't Speak The Language

Speech and debate lingo is fun. It's also confusing. I totally get that. That's why I love talking to people who don't know much about speech and debate. It's fun to explain yourself to people who don't speak our language.  I was talking to a non-CHSADK friend of mine once about various speech categories. She was tying to remember a specific event.  In an attempt at being helpful, I piped up with, "Well, we have Platforms, such as Original Oratory, which is like a normal speech-speech, Persuasive, which is like a speech-speech that's... persuasive. Then there's Expos, where you can have pictures on boards..." I would've continued, but expos was the one she was looking for. Which is really too bad, because extemp would have been fun to describe.

Sometimes, explaining speech and debate to a non-believer reminds me of how important it is to me, and how it's a huge part of my life. So I feel warm and fuzzy inside. Other times, I feel awkward because they don't understand and exceptionally nerdy because I do. A seemingly innocent sentence such as "After breaks, my TP partner and I headed off to check postings and watched HI semis in IE Pattern A" would baffle the minds of ordinary, sane people. But not us. The abbreviations and various would-be unfamiliar terms become so second nature that we sometimes forget there was one a time we didn't know the difference between expos and extemp, between OO and OI, and that breaking is a good thing.

It's good to translate for the Muggles sometimes. It keeps you from becoming a more antisocial geeky homeschooler. Especially if you catch yourself talking in flow-speak. THAT would be confusing.

You're homeschooled, so you understand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I wrote a Disadvantage last week. I know, I was surprised too. I like that disad. One of my favorite parts is the analogy I included. I can't tell you what it is, because it's a good one and I might have made it up and then you might steal it. I probably didn't come up with it, but still. It never hurts to be paranoid. 
As you know, we like to use analogies in debate. For us, using an analogy is like explaining what we mean without using a lot of words or time in familiar, easily understood terms. Wait, I can do better than that. For a judge, when a debater uses an analogy, it's like a teacher giving her student the answers to a test: it's simple, easy, and doesn't require much thinking. See what I mean?
Before I did debate, I had a particular fondness for analogies. Probably one of first I heard in-round was in a Lincoln-Douglas round last year. I don't quite remember what was being described, only that it involved ice cream that needed to be eaten with a spoon or else the debater would risk looking ridiculous. Which is true. He would look ridiculous. Another was the classic "The four Stock Issues are like the four legs of a table: take one out and the whole table falls." (Some people try to get creative and substitute "cow" for the table, and I totally get why they do that, because cows are obviously 5742x funnier than tables.) When I first heard the table analogy, I didn't even know what Stock Issues were, but the analogy stuck. They always do.

So be creative. Be fun. Be... analogous. 

You're homeschooled, which is like doing school at home.
Wait, no.
You're homeschooled, which is like winning the lottery: both are awesome, rewarding and allow for a lot of great opportunities and blog posts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pen Drills

"Alright, it's time for everyone's favorite opening debate activity!"

A collective groan rose from the crowd collectively. Begrudgingly, we reached into our debate bags and pulled out the first pen our begrudging fingers could find while the evil alumni coaches grinned evilly. "Alright, 'Toy Boat' as fast as you can. You got thirty seconds. Pens in your mouths. Ready? GO!"

I remember my first experience with pen drills. I thought it was hilarious and yet so awkward. What kind of a person recites tongue twisters while holding a writing utensil between his teeth? A debater, that's who.

A couple of years later, at my club's summer debate camp, my next encounter rolled along. Someone mentioned it was time for "pen drills," and I vaguely remembered that name, assuming it was a sort of flowing practice exercise. I was way off. The memories came flooding back as I positioned the pen inside my mouth, trying desperately to communicate something about a chick who had shells for sale at the beach. Or something.

So no, pen drills do not help you with flowing. In fact, they make it harder. Their purpose is E-Nun-Ci-A-Tion. I always feel it necessary to carefully dictate that word. You're welcome. I'm not convinced that pen drills are particularly helpful or if our alumni just like to see us look ridiculous, but I guess when I have to run a case investing in Russian Soldier Shoulder Holsters, all that practice will finally come in handy. Though I probably shouldn't have a pen in my mouth during the 1AC at a tournament. That would be bad. I told my debate partner he's not allowed to do that either. He would though. Except he's the 2A.

It's odd, but I guess a really prepared debater in a similar (toy) boat as myself (probably one heading to Unique New York) would choose a pen to bring to debate not based on its color or level of ink content, but rather taste and texture. The gel pens I have are awful. I try not to use those. They have a weird grip that is just not an appealing taste. I go for the thinner, cheaper ones. I advise you do the same. You gotta be comfortable while ranting against all those spider smiters.

So even though pen drills may be irksome to debaters now, I'm sure you'll thank your coach when you happen to holding a pen in your mouth and someone asks how your mom is and you reply through clenched teeth, "She had shoulder surgery."

Because we all know that's going to happen.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Awesome Tournament Names

I like fun names. I even gave this here blog a ridiculously long name because I thought it would be fun. I like to come up with fun names for posts because it's fun. Though I guess that goes without saying. But anyway. I very much appreciate when the tournament people go the extra mile and come up with an awesome name for their competition. I feel it enriches the whole registering and competing experience. Especially if they have the name on the nametags, medals, and trophies.

Did you know they have a tournament called the "Fun Tournament?" I don't even know where it is or what league it's in, but I really want to go for the name alone. Or what about the Penguin Parade tournament? You can't go wrong with penguins or parades. Both in one place? Ridiculously amazing. Between speechranks results and the Stoa calendar, I find ways to highly entertain myself with the names of various competitions.

Though they may not be quite as unique, the tournaments I go to have cool names too. Like, Concordia Challege, which sounds... challenging. Or San Diego Classic, which makes me think of classic things, like old red cars and record players. I don't know why, but it's true. And then there's IBC/ICC/Riverside/Highlands/Inland/probably a ton of other names. None of the names are particularly interesting, but I've always been fascinated that it managed to acquire so many.

It must be fun to name competitions. If I had to name a tournament, I would call it the Classic Challenge of Fun Parade. Or maybe the Competition Held At Near Distances Largely Encompassing Rome. I really like the acronym on that one. 

What about you? What is your favorite competition name? What would you name your competition?

You're homeschooled. That's fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not Watching Extemp

At a recent Round Robin, my sister said the strangest thing to me. I was very much taken aback. I believe her exact words were, "I want to go want extemp." I told her, quite honestly, that I had never heard someone say that before in my life. Startled and extremely intrigued, I followed her to postings and then to the extemp prep room so we could wait outside until someone walked out and then follow them. We did just that. As I was kneeling awkwardly on the floor of a very small room listening to a real live extemper speak about some event which is current, I thought about how never in my life had I gone to watch extemporaneous, or even accidentally seen someone practice at club. In fact, I didn't even know extemp existed before my first tournament. Now here I was watching one. Much to my surprise, I liked it. So I watched another one. It wasn't boring either. Weird.

People don't typically watch extemp. Maybe if you do extemp, you'll watch so you can get better, but that's pretty much the only reason. I mean, look at me, it took me nearly three years to get around to it. For whatever reason, it seems like most people would rather watch Humorous Interps, duos, and novice impromptu prelim rounds than watch extemp. There are multiple reasons why I suspect this is the case:

1. Extempers make everybody else look bad.
Now I consider myself a reasonably caught-up person, but man. I've heard tell of speeches given on entire countries that I've never heard of. What is that about? Extemp makes me feel like I live in a cave. Under a rock. In the Dark Ages. With a dinosaur. Who doesn't know anything either.

2. Extemp is not that funny.
Fact: People like funny things. Other fact: Current events are not that funny. It's usually that sad stories that make it into the news, and even though extemp is not necessarily sad, it's almost guaranteed not to be funny. Sometimes it is, but still. Why risk it? We all watch HIs and duos which actually are very funny lots of the time.

3. You don't get to watch the prep time.
The best part of watching someone give an impromptu is watching his face during prep time. You can see the wheels of his head turning. For two minutes, he's concentrated. Fully focused. Nothing is going to distract him. Then the timer beeps, he lifts his head up and soon begins to speak. He tells of something marvelous in an impromptu speech that he came up with before your very eyes. Yes, while you were watching creepily, he was creating a masterpiece. They do not let you watch extempers scramble madly through giant boxes and write in itty-bitty handwriting on little cards. It's a bummer.

I'm not saying it's a good thing that no one wants to watch extemp. I'm just saying, it's what happens. Now you know why.

What about you? Do you avoid extemp at all costs, or are you brave and watch it all the time and think I'm crazy?

You're homeschooled. Let's go watch more duos.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exciting Research

At a recent debate meeting, I was put in charge of a mini-research pod and appointed the task of assigning assignments and orchestrating the orchestration of a negative brief which we would be writing. Now, I know what you're thinking: First off, you're probably wondering, "Why were you put in charge?" That's a good question.

Secondly, you're probably thinking, "That doesn't sound very exciting!" A worthy objection. But it is exciting! I started on the assignment I assigned to myself and I was pretty excited. If minds could literally buzz, mine would still be buzzing with Disads, contents of the countless articles I have open on my computer, rejected Counter Plans, Topicality arguments and so. much. more. It's really fun.

Every once in a while, a debater gets excited while researching something. The homework doesn't seem a chore any more, because now you think you've got something good. You can't wait to see what it is or how it will turn out. You can't wait to piece all your findings together in some kind of glorious puzzle of ink and paper that will someday, in some round, prove invaluable. You can't want to tell your friends, your coach, your mom about it, so you do. Yes, every once in a while, a debater remembers why he or she likes debate. And that's really super exciting.

When do you realize you've found a find that's exciting? I'm not sure. It could be as soon as you Ctrl+F an article to find the exact words you're looking for, only to have your eyes find the exact argument you're looking for right around that highlighted portion of your screen. It could be when you're trying to construct a Disadvantage, and your ideas click together perfectly in a Uniqueness, Link, Brink, Impact format. It could be when you're thinking out loud with your mom and she sheds a lot of clarity of the last hour's worth of research so that suddenly it all seems really clear. It could be, but it's hard to say. Whatever the case, the fun part comes from the excitement of exciting research that makes you so... excited.

You're homeschooled. It doesn't get much better than this.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

That Other Club

My loyalties lie fully with my club, Veritas. There is no question about that. I love those guys and I would never leave. BUT. At tournaments, I spend time with other clubs. That's ok. Everybody does this. Well, throughout the entire first year of my speech career, I was kind of a Veritas-introvert who knew only one person outside of her own club, but now I do this. Competitions are some of the only times I get to see these people. One trend I've noticed among many CHSADK's is that they tend to attach themselves to another club, generally one in specific, that sort of adopts them for the tournament, not because they don't have a club, but because they like those other people too. That other club that is almost their's could be referred to as, "That Other Club."

Other clubs are fun. I have a suspicion as to which club is my other club at tournaments. If you're reading this, and you think it's your club, let's just say it is. Anyway, there are lots of reasons why it's fun to have people to adopt you. For one thing, like I said, you don't get to see them a ton probably. So when you do, you have to go crazy and give awkward hugs left and right. Additionally, other clubs just mean more people to scream and cheer and forensic clap for you and give high-fives at breaks. And you can do the same for them. You can play Egyptian Rat Slap or Mafia with your other club. You can ask them what speeches they're doing, and then go watch them. You can debate them and be not-nervous and have a great time. You can do all kinds of fun things with fun people in fun clubs!

The interesting part about having an other club is that the coach of that club probably doesn't even know you're an unofficial team member. Other clubs tend to be just between the kids. That's ok. It can be kind of sneaky. Otherwise someone might think you're disloyal to your club and things could just get awkward from there.

You're homeschooled. You can be on my team.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Coordinating Suits

In speech and debate, something about girl-girl teams, whether in duos or Policy debate, makes the partners want to have matching suits. Sometimes they just go with matching colors, sometimes the suits are identical. Why? I have no idea. I've never partnered with a girl. I'm sure it's really super fun to have the same suit as your partner, I've just never done it. Guy-guy teams don't do this, though. As far as I know. Maybe they have ties the same color, but they probably don't wear the same suits. That shouldn't come as much of a shock.

But it's not only girl-girl teams that match. Last year, my duo partner, who is a guy, and I would often coordinate colors, which was pretty easy since all of my suits were red and black. It didn't actually require much coordination. This year, I'm doing a duo and debating with two different guys who are both about 14 years old. I figured they would have no interest in matching colors, so I didn't even bring it up. They proved me wrong. My duo partner, apparently, has access to a virtually infinite amount of his brothers' and dad's ties, so he can always coordinate with me. My debate partner also asked if we would match at a recent tournament. At first I thought, really? that even occurred to you? And then I was like, ok. We both wore black, but then so did everyone else, so it wasn't really that exciting or special. Still, it's good that I have cool people as partners.

Coordinating suit colors is just fun. It's not necessary for success, but you never know, it might help. Or if not, well, you can have a good time with it and look snazzy anyway. Like those guy-girl teams that both wear pink, That's kind of cool, and sometimes those teams win tournaments. Just saying. Have you ever matched your partner before? If not, you should try it, if you have a partner. If anything, the judge might leave an extra smiley face next to the Appearance box on the ballot. Hey, maybe that box is good for something.

You're homeschooled, and very stylish.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ending Cross-Examination On A High Note

One time, my partner and I were debating this team. That happens to debaters a lot. We were affirmative, and our plan would result in the eventual loss of tax evasion by instituting a simpler tax code that is therefore harder to evade without all those forms and loopholes and whatnot. Not that I know how to evade taxes. Anyway, the neg basically said that our plan was so simple, we couldn't possible generate as much revenue as we do now. Cross-Ex was fun that round:

Me: So what you're saying is, the current system, with its tax evasion, generates more money than our plan would?
Opponent: ...yes.

I didn't actually say any of this in caps or italics, but you get the gist. I could tell by the look on my judge's face that she got was I was going for: logically, a system without tax evasion is probably going to generate more than one where people avoid taxes, despite the stance of my opponent. I was so excited about the outcome of that question that I immediately ended Cross-Ex right there. I had said everything I wanted to, and though I probably could have come up with more less-interesting questions, why not quit while you're ahead?

Cross-Examination fascinated me before I joined debate. It still does. There are a lot of sneaky things you can do to get the judge leaning sliiightly to your side without even making any arguments. Forms of sneakiness are best put at the very end, I think. That way, the judge may be already agreeing with you, perhaps unconsciously, before your partner even starts his next speech. When it comes to Cross-Ex, we like to go out on a high-note, and try to look really confident and smart when we say "No further questions," which is not an inherently intelligent statement, but it could make you sound very smart if you pull it off.

You're homeschooled. No further questions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interps: Interpretive vs. Interpretation

Sometimes, you want to be formal with your speech names. Sometimes, the abbreviations get old. Last year, when I was asked to list some achievements of mine, I decided I'd put down how I placed at the national tournamant the previous year. However, I didn't really want to say, "20th in OI at NITOC," because that doesn't sound that impressive. I decided I'd go with, "Quarterfinalist in Open Interpretive at Stoa's National Invitational Tournament of Champions." Pretty snazzy, huh? Especially the Champions part. They mean the same thing, but that sounds a lot more awesome. Yet, I still had a problem. In fact, I still have this problem. I can never tell when I'm supposed to use the words "interpretive" and "interpretation" regarding interps (which is an abbreviation for one or both of those words. Again, I have a hard time remembering).

This is odd, because interps are kind of my thing. They're what I do. I really should know what "interp" means. Suddenly, everything I know about speech and debate seems less concrete. Do I even know what any of the names mean? Do I even know what speech and debate is? What do I know? The uncertainty is just maddening!

So I found a solution. It's right here. Yes, the Stoa rules. I love this website. Basically, here's the logic behind interpretive/interpretation: DI, HI, OI, any other "I" speech, (Thematic, Original Open, all the crazy stuff the National Forensics League has, ect) and, of course, Duo, are referred to collectively as THE INTERPRETIVE SPEECHES. Individually, they are Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Open Interpretation, Thematic Interpretation, Original Open Interpretation, and Duo Interpretation. Why Interpretation? Why not Interpretive? I have no idea, but now we know. Yes, it's pretty exciting. And quite a breakthrough. Arguably shattering to every misconception you had about interps. I know how you must be feeling.  Don't ever mess them up again.

You're homeschooled. Or home schooled. Or home-schooled. I can't remember which.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Leaving Your Name Tag In The Room

I'm one of those kids who doesn't do name tags while giving interps. I have to take them off. They're too distracting. I used to ask, "Is it alright with the judges if I remove my name tag?" but I recently stopped because it's always alright. Except for one time.

I was watching a girl in my room who gave her speech shortly before I did. Before she started, however, she removed her name tag and a judge asked that she out it back on. It was weird, but I didn't make the same mistake.

Anyway, because I take my name tag off before every interp (except that one time), I try to pick it up again afterwards. I have forgotten to grab it nearly every time, especially at my first tournament. One judge gave it back to me after quarter finals, and it somehow ended up with my friend's mom after semis, which is funny, because I just remembered that that same friend ended up with my name tag at Nationals last year after I left in a room during a prelim round. I can't tell you how many times I have crept back into rooms after giving a speech to retrieve my lost tag, awkwardly smiling at judges while doing so, and trying still to look charming and adorable and not give a bad impression. Somehow, throughout all of my mishaps, I have never actually lost a name tag, but that day may yet come.

I know I'm not the only one who does this. You know I'm not the only one who does this. Approximately 97.6% of people who take off their name tags leave them in the room. It's just what happens. That's why it's so awesome when you beat the odds and don't forget your name tag! Maybe you got smart and set it on a desk near the door so you'd spot it after thanking everybody for doing their thing. Maybe you casually stuffed it in your pocket. Maybe you gave it to someone to hold on to. Maybe you decided name tags are too mainstream and ditched yours a long time ago. Or maybe you got it to hang in a non-distracting way around your neck and didn't have to take it off at all! Brilliant!

You're homeschooled. Don't you forget it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Debaters and Frisbee: It's Ultimate- Michael Sheetz

(Michael's written a guest post before, which was pretty awesome, and for some reason he wanted to write one again! Give him a round of applause, because this post is hilarious.)

Harken back to the long-gone days when Russian foreign policy had just become the resolution for the team policy season and you may discover an alumni and a student, slaving away at a case into which they wished to breathe their sports enthusiasm and knowledge. 

Kyle Helmick and I may have been crazy, but if it was any kind of crazy, it was a genius crazy. We had nearly finished a 1AC that mandated the US send aid to Russia. Not just any boring aid, the 10-million-frisbees kind-of-aid. Statistics of child obesity in Russia were staggering, and proving that Ultimate Frisbee would significantly decrease this problem were easy (Did you know that the only sport that burns more calories on average in the same amount of time as an Ultimate Frisbee game is water polo? Yup, didn't think so. You learn something new everyday.)

Of course, that was until we ran the idea by some parents. First question: "What judge do you think will vote on this?". 

Ok, so we didn't know. But that doesn't refute the fact of how awesome Ultimate Frisbee is. 

If any of you are wondering, Ultimate Frisbee is a sport. A sport where the objective is to pass a disc into an endzone that is on the opposite end of the field. Whenever you have the disc, you can't move, but anyone else on your team may. If that doesn't make sense, just find a homeschool debater and ask them to show you. 

The appeal to debaters, I believe, is the amount of fun you can have by simply throwing around a frisbee. In-between rounds, it's a fantastic way to pass the time, socialize/meet new kids, and talk. Of course, that is until someone gets clocked in the head (which I've seen before. It's really not that bad unless it hits someone's nose)

Back when I started playing UF, I got to play in a group that was in its glory days. Rad people like Amy Van Vlear (The-girl-who-keeps-beating-you-on-fast-breaks-into-the-endzone), Matt Mitt (Am I supposed to even try to defend him?), Sean Hansen (Did he just throw it under my leg?), Cree McCook (With a name like Cree, he's fast. Not fast. fast), Kyle Helmick (Either I'm going crazy or I just saw his arm telescope into the lower stratosphere to grab that), Trevor Scholten (What other fiery ginger can cause so much chaos with just one throw?), and the like were dominant. Being a novice at UF was like being a novice in debate: You kept doing a lot of things but you didn't know why you were doing them or how it could look so easy for everyone else. After about a year though, I picked up on the ropes of UF strategy and people started passing to me. Imagine that!

Three years later, I'm amazed I had never heard of UF before being involved in SAD. 

So whether you've only recently seen frisbees flying around at tournaments or you've been a part of the scene for years, Ultimate Frisbee will always be the second passion in a debater's heart. 

You're homeschooled and you know how to throw both a flick and a hammer. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Awkward Moments in Cross-Ex

See, I didn't know these actually happened until the other day, when I had my first debate tournament. But they do. There are occasionally weird, awkward, and therefore hilarious moments in Cross Examination. But you have to hide your amusement. I'm being confusing. Let me explain with a list and some made-up stories:

Awkward Moment #1: When They Respond To An Argument Instead Of Asking A Question
Debater Numero Uno: So, regarding your disadvantage, you're saying that it would be waste of money to spend $10 billion for every endangered seal, correct?
The Second Person: Yes.
1: Actually, it's $10 billion dollars total, not for each seal, so your Disadvantage doesn't stand.
2: ...oh.


1: my next question...

Awkward Moment #2: When The Wrong Person Starts Asking The Questions
1: Hi, how are you doing today?
2: Good.
1: Ok, great. Now, in response to your 12th Solvency point, were you assuming that our plan actually wouldn't solve?
2: Well, how can it? Do you even attempt to solve for the impending tomato crisis?
1: Yes! It was in our 1AC!
2: But isn't that evidence biased?
1: No! VeggieTales is not biased.
2: ...
1: Are you going to ask another question?
2: No. That's your job.
1: Oh... right.

Awkward Momenent #3: When Someone Forgot About Cross-Ex
1: Thank You and I am now open for Cross-Examination.
2: ...oh! That's me! Ok, so... when you say your value is, umm, Justice, do you mean that that's what you think we, or you, should try to, uh, uphold? Through, you know, valuing Personal Freedom?
1: Yea. That's what a value is.
2: Oh, ok. Thanks. Umm, my next question...

Awkward Moment #4: When Someone Asks Way Too Many Questions
1: So, you say your plan will result in the creation of 24 jobs, right? What kind of jobs are they? Are they really significant? Are they jobs that benefit the rest of the community? Can I get your evidence for that? And a copy of your 1AC? Oh, almost forgot, how are you, anyway?
2: Uh...
1: Never mind, we're out of time.

Awkward Moment Number 5: When They Ask For Evidence But There Wasn't Any
1: Your 4th disadvantage was that of "Death, Destruction, and Nuclear War," correct?
2: Yup.
1: Can I get the evidence under that?
2: There, uh, there wasn't any.
1: Really?
2: Yea.
1: Did you bring up any evidence in your speech?
2: No.
1: ...this is awkward.

Moral of the story is, awkwardness is inevitable. This is homeschoolers we're talking about. No, not just any homeschoolers. DEBATERS.

You're homeschooled. This is awkward.

Monday, November 21, 2011

When People Go To A Room To Specifically Watch Your Speech

There is no greater feeling for people like us who love to be in the spotlight than having an audience. Sometimes you get lucky and go right before someone really popular, so the fan club has to watch your speech before the popular one. Take that, fan club. You have to watch me first. Ha.

However, there are a couple of times when you just know, or at least suspect, or feel like assuming that someone is in your room to watch your speeches. Here are the scenarios:

1. A big, happy crowd

It has to be a happy crowd because people are far more likely to try to catch your HI or Duo than a Dramatic, sad OI, or pretty much anything else. I'm sorry. That the truth. So, if you walk into a crowded room and get the vibe that they really like you, as indicated by smiles, chuckles, laughs, guffaws or something, feel free to assume they camped out in that place to watch you. They love you. Embrace it.

2. The people who sneak into the room right before you start and slither out when you finish

I had one of these at the recent Round Robin. A really talented interper, who happens to be very nice, crept into my DI room right before I started. That speech has very little eye-contact, but when I did see him, he seemed genuinely interested. He virtually vanished the instant it was over. I'm convinced he came to watch me. I don't know for certain, but why not think that? People do that. You do that. I do that. It's a thing.

3. The kids that stalk you

"Hey Chandler, can I watch your speech? What room are you in?" I love hearing this question. Unless you are one of the two other Chandlers in Stoa, you've probably never had anyone ask you this. (No, actually, I'm not the only Chandler. The others are in... Oregon? Texas? I don't remember) But maybe you've heard it with your name. Isn't it wonderful? This time, you know for certain that they came to watch you. Awesome.

4. The traveling fan club
It happens to the popular kids. We've all been part of the fan clubs. We've all seen them. We've all had them leave right before we speak, which is awful. But sometimes, you realize, whoa. You have a fan club. What is this madness?? Awesome. Er.

Have you had any of these happen? Well, you better get ready.

You're homeschooled. Your audience awaits.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Emailing Alumni

I've developed a wonderful habit of acquiring the email addresses of some of my favorite alumni at Round Robins. One fine lad wrote it on a ballot after judging me three times, asking that I feel free to email him with any questions about his comments or about speech in general. And I did. It was awesome. Then I saw him last summer and he told me to email him if I have any questions about debate. I have yet to do so. I haven't thought of any good questions yet.

Additionally, just today at a Round Robin, I spoke to another favorite alumni of mine, who nearly begged me to email one of my scripts to him so he could give advice. He also wanted me to do it for him at a competition sometime because he "loves giving feedback on presentation as well." This kid has won events like 400 times, plus he's awesome, so of course I didn't object. When I saw him, I was actually on my way to asking him if I could email him but he beat me to it.

Here's the thing: alumni miss competing. They want to be part of the action. An inquisitive email may bring tears of joy and nostalgia to their eyes. Or so I'm told. I've actually never been an alumni. Yet.

So grab a few alumni and email them every day for the rest of your career. Any questions pertaining to speech, debate, presentation skills, why Appearance should not be part of the ballot, the meaning of life, which trophies are the best, should medals be given to quarter-finalists who don't qualify, whether Nationals should require three checkmarks, ect. You know, the usual. I guarantee, they will LOVE you. Besides, they obviously have more free time than they know what to do with.

Have you ever emailed an alumni? What did you say? Did they reply? How many pages was the response? Probably a lot.

You're homeschooled. You've got mail.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Flw-Spk = txt spk 4 CHSADKs

It consists of leaving out letters, using an excessive amount of symbols, and tons of abbreviations. I kind of feel bad for people who try to read my flowsheets. Especially my debate partner. I'd be shocked if he could read my handwriting, let alone my shorthand. I'm trying to get better about that.

Some of my abbreviations make sense, like "rev gen'd" which every 2011-2012 Stoa Policy-er should get. Many would probably not make sense to an innocent bystander. I don't even know what they all mean. "Fl tx," I get that one. (Flat tax) This phrase is weird: "-capply respons to DA2- don (no sign) ↓." It took me a minute, but that one says, "Cross-apply response to Disadvantage 2- do not reduce." It made sense at the time. Pretty exciting, I know.

Before I was a debater, I refused to flow rounds. I was convinced I didn't know how. Debaters have their own special language that I couldn't understand. Now I get it. It's not really a special language. It's whatever you manage to get on the page before the next argument comes along, in as many symbols and abbreviations as possible, occasionally leaving out critical vowels so you get an unpronounceable mess that you still somehow understand. 


Ur hmscled. R u gd @ flwing?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to Send Your Debate Partner Messages Via Mental Telepathy-Carey Vandewalle

(Carey is the awesomest person who has ever written a post about telepathy on my blog. Plus she's an excellent writer. Please welcome back... CAREY VANDEWALLE.)

I had an awesome and fantastic and all-around great debate partner. The fact that I only debated in TP for one year was not his fault. Not many guys would put up with all that he did. He dealt with my frustrated sarcasm, late night hysteria, insanely distractible mind, doodles of skull-and-crossbones on my flows, and bad habit of never eating at tournaments. He patiently restated countless clever strategies that had taken several minutes to explain only to get a blank stare and a “oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening” from me. He always laughed at my lame jokes about nuclear weapons. He never got mad when I refused to listen to him during debate rounds, and he faithfully made fun of me when I was being ridiculous. He never flaunted the fact that he got higher speaks about 85% of the time, or the harsh reality that he always got more compliments on his appearance than I ever did on our ballots. Add all this to the fact that he is a brilliant debater, very knowledgeable, and (obviously) an accomplished speaker, and I was certainly blessed to be his partner. Did I mention that he is still friends with me?!  This kid is great.
Now that I have spend a more than adequate time flattering him, I can now get on to my real post. Not that all that wasn’t real. It was! But acting as my ex-partner’s wingman was not my purpose. However, he is single, ladies. 
Anyway, despite how awesome he is, he and I didn’t always communicate very well at the most important times. Those most important times being that critical moment when he is standing at the podium and I am sitting at the table and he is talking at the judge and she looks confused but he doesn’t see because he’s looking at his flow and we’re about to have the other team in an amazing double bind if he can only craft the arguments carefully enough and he really really really needs to impact this crucial disadvantage or it won’t work and he’s not going far enough and he needs to add that one last sentence but he’s not and I’m sitting at the table dying of distress.  You know those most important times? Yea, those times. Anyway, it was at those important times that I resorted to mental telepathy to try and enter his brain and convince him to say that one essential sentence.
I’d casually tried it before, but never at such momentous occasions. It hadn’t ever worked. But I thought, if I’m ever going to make this thing work, it has GOT to be now. That “now” was not just one round. It was at least twice at every given tournament.  
I would sit there concentrating on his mind and repeating my message over and over in a desperate attempt to reach him before all would be lost.  
It never worked.
He would smoothly move on to another argument, little suspecting that he had just murdered his only debate partner. Cause of death? Strain due to malfunctioned mental telepathic communications equipment, and explosion due to distress. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.
You have probably tried this in some form or another, too. Sometimes it really feels like lightning bolts covered in flame throwers and tigers will fall from heaven and obliterate your chances of ever winning NITOC if your partner doesn’t make that all-important point. But you know, they’ve probably felt the same way about you. And despite the fact that you have just died a thousand deaths from the above causes, life goes on.  
But I did not attempt Inception. If I compete in Parliamentary debate, I most certainly shall have a go. So if you’re my partner, and your dreams get real bizarre, you’ll know why.
You’re homeschooled, and killing your partner is a bad idea. Moral of the story, kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buying a New Suit

I remember way back before my first competition, even before my first Round Robin, the time came for me to get myself a suit. I had never needed tournament attire before. My mom and I trekked off to whatever store we had been advised to visit and found pretty much nothing of use, EXCEPT for this one rack that had these skirt-and-little-jacket suits on sale. They were pretty much adorable. I picked out my favorite, tried it on, and we went to pay for it.

Mom (to cashier): This is on sale, right?
Cashier: Well, actually...
Mom: freezes in panic
Me: also afraid
Cashier:'s on clearance.

You can imagine how big that sigh of relief was. I've gotten lucky with suits several other times too. But regardless, suit-shopping is just fun and exciting. A new suit makes you feel all the more ready for the next year. You try it on, straighten your tie, tuck in your shirt, fix your jacket, maybe add a snazzy pin, look in the mirror and think, yup. I'm ready to go win something.

Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt that my suits, and especially my tournament shoes, give me confidence, which, as you know, is helpful in speech and debate. Have you ever felt this way?

I've mentioned this previously, but it really does irk me that "Appearance" is part of the ballot. You can get comments about ridiculously silly things, like having a white hairband with a suit that is red and black and that that is apparently bad (true story). But much to my chagrin, those little box are there, smiling their toothless smiles at us after every competition. We may as well play that game and look nice and feel awesome. Haha, pointless little squares! We win!

What about you? Do you like getting new suits?

You're homeschooled and you look great.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When Your Favorite People Do Really Well At Tournaments

This happened to me at Nationals. Not that I won any events or anything, but lots of cool people did. I love this. There were a few speeches that I had had my eye on throughout the year that didn't win any tournaments here, and then BAM. They win Nationals. I was so proud and somehow felt like I had taken part in their victory simply by rooting for them. It kinda felt like I was part of their team. It was pretty exciting.

We all have those people we like, whether they're our friends who rock at debate or just someone who has a really good speech. We love to see them get trophies and stuff. Their victory is our victory. We were right there next to them, even if they don't know it.

Throughout any tournament, your favorite people may break and generally do well. By all means, give 'em a thumbs up, high five, awkward hug, or a simple "Good job." They would probably appreciate that. And they deserve it, because, they're your favorite.

You're homeschooled. I'm rooting for you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Name Tags

One time, my mom was registering me for a tournament and accidentally entered my name as "Chandler La." I guess the Internet browser recommended adding in "Lasch" and she thought it changed it... It didn't. She got it changed for postings and breaks and stuff, but not for the name tag. (Or the certificate thing, but the tournament people were nice enough to send me a new one.)

Name tags are a beautiful invention. When random kids who know my name talk to me, I can pretend like I know their names too! Most of the time I do. Now. But only because it's on their name tag.

Essentially, there are two kinds of S&D competition name tags: the clip kind and the elastic-necklace-y kind. Personally, I prefer the elastic one. The clips tend to hang off my collar at really odd angles. Not cool. The elastic one I can tie and adjust so as to attempt a spiffy looking result.

I wish everyone wore name tags all the time, not just in tournaments. It's super convenient. And, you'll never again forget how to spell your name! Or anyone else's! Genius. If the name is correct, that is.

The moral of the story is, clip your name tag to your tournament attire with pride. Or slide the strap part over your head and try not to mess up your hair. Name tags are super handy. And I haven't even mentioned their potential as an art canvas, except for just now of course.

You're homeschooled. What's your name? Oh, never mind. It's on your name tag

Monday, November 7, 2011

Friending All of Stoa on Facebook

Disclaimer 1. Some of you do not have a Facebook. That's fine. There is a 98.6% chance that if you are reading this, you are on Google Buzz, or Google+, as it were. Just substitute "follow/follower" for "friend" and "Buzz/Plus" for "Facebook." It should work pretty fantastically I hope.

Disclaimer 2. Some of you are not in Stoa but NCFCA. Maybe. Actually, yes. Just use the same logic as above.

I recently got on Facebook. I'm really late to the game, but what can I say. I'm homeschooled. I don't do trends. Anyway, I keep getting all these "People you may know"s of CHSADK's that I sort of do know. The best part is, Facebook is like, "You have 47 mutual friends with so and so" and I'm thinking, I didn't know I had that many friends but cool. Lots of Stoa'ers on FB are friends with every other Facebook-user in Stoa. Folks, that's a lot of people. I have gotten a few requests from kids I've never met but after a bit of innocent speechranks stalking, I figure out what's up. Then, once I see they are in speech and/or debate, I friend them because I meet really snazzy people that way.

Here's what great about the fact that Stoa kids are willing to be friends with everybody else in Stoa:

1. You have people to wave to at tournaments
One time, my sister was at her first tournament ever and I was pointing out this kid who is just awesome and would later win a lot and at Nationals and stuff. In the midst of this, he turned around and waved at me. My awesomeness points went up by about 250%. It's great to have people to wave at, because you look cool, waving is fun, and our hands don't get nearly enough exercise with all the "Thank you for judging"s. You need to at least somewhat know someone to wave at them, so Facebook friending them is a good way to go.

2. The famous people feel more like real people
Stoa has a decent amount of local legends and small-town celebrity sorts. When you're friends with them on Facebook and looking at their pictures and clicking their links and reading funny stories about their cats or whatever, they feel more like the normal people I always forget they are. It works out in their favor, because now they can be real-friends with awesome people like you without worrying about you asking for an autograph or something.

3. Everybody's not super competitive and angry at each other
I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about speech and debate is that everybody really likes everybody else. I sometimes look at online acquaintances and think, wow, I beat her in a debate round but she doesn't hate me. That's super awesome of her. Or, wow, that guy's way better at speech than I am, but he still wants to be my friend. That, kids, is awesome.

You're homeschooled. "I can be your friend." (VeggieTales ftw)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Those People At Tournaments That You Sort Of Know

One fine day, I was innocently minding my own business outside of an impromptu room at a tournament. The room I was sitting in was connected to a ton of other rooms where a ton of speeches were going on. A lot of other people were waiting to go too. Some kids were sitting on the ground in circles with kids that they knew, but I didn't know anyone there so I was kind of a loner. But then I noticed something about one of the kids in the circle nearest me. It was his nametag I noticed. No, it probably didn't have any pretty decorations. I noticed his name. That's the great thing about nametags: they have people's names on them. Maybe you knew that already. Anyway, as soon as I saw his name, I thought to myself, Oh, hey, I know that guy!

I kind of didn't know him though. I mean, I hadn't ever talked to him before and I didn't recognize him. I just sort of knew him from seeing his name online. I feel like a stalker saying that, but it's true. Now we're friends, so it's not weird that I know his name any more. Which is good.

If you're anything like me, there are probably approximately 1 billion people who you see at each tournament that you kind of know and kind of don't. You've seen their speeches, but you've never talked to them. You've debated them, but you're not entirely sure they know who you are. You're not really friends, you're sort of "acquaintances." Who knows, maybe someday you will know them. I know a ton of people who I only sort of knew a year ago. It's pretty sweet.

What about you? Do you have people who you kind of know and kind of don't?

You're homeschooled, and I sort of knew that already.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Postie's Jig

Postie's Jig (or "Postie's") has nothing to do with being homeschooled, being in speech and debate, or even being a kid. However, people who meet all three requirements tend to be fond of English Country Line Dancing. I guess it's better than the dancing public schoolers do. If you're not familiar with Postie's, it's quite the phenomenon. To a beginner, it seems a sort of beautiful chaos. 
"Okay, ready? FISHHOOK. You, over here. You're a post. You're a dancer. You go there. Hold hands with her. Girls go under, guys go over. Now go with the post. Now hold hands, and the couple closest to the music goes over... NO, OVER! Don't crash! ...never mind. Okay, girls, under, guys, over, post, go, SQUIGGLY. Ok... CAST OFF. Noowww, fishhook!"
And the game goes on. Or dance. Whatever.
It's very confusing. My first time doing Postie's, I was a mess. This one girl in my group would occasionally grab me by the shoulders and push me off in the direction I should go. It was very helpful. My second time was not much better. But my third, oh man. Something clicked. I now see the appeal in Postie's. 
If you don't know Postie's, ask a homeschooler to teach you. It's quite the adventure. We're obsessed with it. Four times in one night? Sure. Total exhaustion? Bring it.
You're homeschooled. Five, six, seven, eight, cast-off!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Panicking During Other People's Speeches

I have not timed very much, but I do time speeches at club sometimes. Like impromptu. One time I timed this kid who spent three minutes on his first point. THREE MINUTES. For a timer, that's very nerve-wracking. Then he had to combine his third point and conclusion because he ran out of time. I felt really bad for the guy, especially since I know he's a good speaker. But honestly, that was the most stressful speech I have ever seen. For me. The kid was fine afterwards, even though I was a quite shaken up.

There are a couple stages we go when we panic during other people's speeches:

1. Eyes get wide. Jaw gets dropped.
"What's going on? What is he doing?" The panic sets in.
2: Fingers Shaking
If you're timing, you'll be particularly intent on your hand signals, making sure you don't miss one and maybe even giving them a little early. But you're nervous, so your hands shake. Imagine your fingers are saying, "Th-th-three minutes remaining."
3. Nervous Glances
Look at the competitor. Now look at the judge. Back to the competitor. Now back to the judge. Repeat steps multiple times and watch for reactions of the judges. Now look down. Then back up. Do it all over again.
4. The Recovery
You freeze. The speaker was lapsing, but now he's coming out of it. You can't believe it. You sit in your seat in shock, and then quickly hold your hand up in a C shape, because the speech is almost finished.
5. End Of Speech
Ahh, peace again.

The whole panicking-while-watching-speeches thing kind of reminds me of a conversation I heard once:

Buzz: Hold on, this is no time to be hysterical!
Hamm: This is the perfect time to be hysterical.
Rex: Should we be HYSTERICAL?
Slinky Dog: No!
Mr. Potato Head: Yes!
Buzz: Maybe! But not right now!

You're homeschooled. This is a time to be hysterical.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When Everybody Thinks You're A Nerd

After my .015 minutes of almost-fame the other day (not to be confused with actual fame), I noticed that I had also been getting some slack for that video of my Humorous Interp. In fact, one website dedicated to making fun of Christians (at least that was my impression) even posted about me and my nerdiness. Lots of people left comments. Here are some that stood out:

"You just got homeschooled." (I'm gonna use that and make it a catchphrase.)
"That is a severe case of homeschooling right there."
"nothing about her that screams 'saving my first kiss for marriage.' nope. not a thing."

At first I was very puzzled. Why would they make fun of me? I'm not famous. What did I do to them? Did they think I wasn't the gifted Googler that I am who was bound to find out about it? Apparently. Or they just didn't care.

The weird thing about these comments are that they are sooo unoriginal. I mean, really. Anyone who has a least one eye can spot a homeschooler a mile away. And the last one is, well, a compliment. I was actually pretty elated when I realized he was being sarcastic. In fact, having a severe case of homeschooling is a good thing, too. But I still couldn't answer one question: what did I do to them?

Then it hit me. I'm a Christian. I'm homeschooled. I'm a nerd. And they were jealous of my bright red suit.

Okay, probably not the last one. Actually someone made fun of that too. I told you they were unoriginal.

Obviously, when it comes to teasing, it's not just me. We all get grief for being antisocial homeschoolers with no friends (except siblings!) and no social skills, and though we may be geniuses, we don't know how to socialize or talk to people in a social environment. Because homeschooling=bubbleschooling.

Actually that would be really fun. A school of bubbles. My bubbles. But anyway. It's kind of awesome that being homechooled means you get to be a nerd and that's fine. Hey, it's better than the alternative(s). (Not being homeschooled, not being a nerd, it not being ok, not being allowed to uses parenthesis, ect.) And here's the thing: most homeschooled kids don't care that they're dorks. Especially the speech and debate type. Folks, it doesn't get much nerdier than us. My sister once said that speech and debate is the nerdiest club besides chess. I disagree. I think Math Club is also slightly less cool. But even though we're dorks, we're ok with that, so ha.

Maybe someday, everyone will be debating and speaking publicly, but we'll say we did it before it was cool. That will be awesome.

What about you? What's your best teasing story?

You're homeschooled, and you just got homeschooled!