Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Debating About Owl City

First of all, there is something I would like to clear up: Owl City is not a band. It is the name of a charming music project by a charming young man by the name of Adam Young (pictured wearing a really cool t-shirt). Personally, I am a big fan of that guy Adam. Not all Homeschooled Christian Speech-and-Debaters are, however. There is a bit of debate in our community about Owl City and whether he's cool or not. (And, you know us, we'll debate anything.) Let me list for you a couple of reasons why I think you, as a CHSADK, should be a big fan of that guy also, besides the fact that his music is pretty sweet.

1. He's a huge Lord of the Rings fan.
Hello? We love Lord of the Rings! Adam often references the "They're Taking The Hobbits To Isengard" video on his Twitter, and during the Superbowl, posted a ton of funny references to the book itself, as if the characters were playing a football game, among other instances. Good stuff.

2. He's homeschooled at heart.
If you read his blog or Twitter page for long enough, you'll soon find out that the guy's a nerd. And that's cool. We're nerds too. Plus, he reads C.S. Lewis. How many people do you know that read C.S. Lewis (or LOTR) that aren't homeschooled? Adam's very personality is very homeschool-ish.

3. He's a Christian.
And super happy about that. I could post a ton of links to blog posts and tweets as if this blog entry didn't have enough blue words as it is. I'll just post a link to his cover of "In Christ Alone" and let you research anything else if you so desire. And I'll post some lyrics:

From Galaxies:

"Dear God, you're the only North Star I would follow this far."
"For He is the saving grace of the galaxies."

From Tidal Wave:
"I was given grace and love, I was blind but now I can see, 'cause I found a new hope from above, and courage swept over me."

In addition to the reasons listed above as to why we should love Owl City, one of the tracks from his newest album, January 28, 1986, consists almost entirely of a quote from Ronald Reagan, and we love that guy!

You're homeschooled, and I strongly urge an affirmative ballot, or whatever. Would it be too cheesy to say "owl-firmative?" I'll say it anyway.

You're homeschooled, and I strongly urge an owl-firmative ballot.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interping in Real Life

It's one thing to have good blocking in an interp, but we don't stop there, do we? No. No, we interp outside of speeches, too. We take very special care to make eye contact with everyone we talk to and don't feel awkward about it. We "act out" conversations we've had with friends, popping between characters and changing focal points. We pay attention to the way other people stand to see if it can be incorporated into a character. And if you're more of the platform/limited prep/debate-y type, you take "talking with your hands" to a whole new level. Admit that you do these things. Well, I do, at least. I hope you do too, because otherwise I'm just weird.

Once you become an interper, there's no going back. You can't read books the same way. You can't watch movies the same way. You can't even speak or stand the same way! YOU CAN'T EVEN BREATHE THE WAY YOU USED TO. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating.

You're homeschooled, and you do interps. All the time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Fear of Public Speaking

I went to camp this week. It was a really amazing experience. One of the best parts was that there were a ton of Christian Homeschooled Speech-and-Debaters at this camp. We had a blast Cross-Exing the speakers, LD-edifying the lectures, and even doing interps in free time. One of the funniest speech and debate moments came in a lecture on fear. The speaker asked, "What is the number one fear in America, even bigger than death?" Several of us looked at each other, smiled, and shouted "PUBLIC SPEAKING!!" at which point we began giggling uncontrollably. Why? Because we do public speaking on a regular basis, something most Americans would rather die than partake in, and we LOVE IT. Isn't that crazy? Yes.

I can almost sympathize with the majority of America on this one. I remember the first impromptu speech I ever saw. It was two years ago. I don't remember what he said in the speech, I just remember thinking "WHOA. He came up with that in two minutes, while I was watching?? How did he do that?" I then promised myself I would neverever compete in a limited prep event. I spent the next year trying to convince myself to face my fear. I then told a bunch of people that I was "doing impromptu next year" so that if I backed out they would peer pressure me into it. Often they asked, "Novice or regular?" to which I replied "NOVICE." Let's not be ridiculous, people.

So why do we like the fear of public speaking? Because to us, it isn't a fear at all. It's almost a lifestyle and it's super fun. Why wouldn't someone enjoy public speaking?

You're homeschooled, and you have a weird idea of fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The LD Secret Society

If you were not already aware of this, you did not hear about it from this blog. I did not tell you about the existence of the LD Secret Society. I am not allowed to. Why? Because it's SECRET.

What is this secret society? It's basically a gathering of Lincoln-Douglas kids who stand around and talk about smart people stuff. Competition vs. cooperation. Popular sovereignty vs. individual rights. Personal freedom vs. economic security. As you may have noticed, the discussions often resemble LD rounds, but there is much more beyond the resolutions. But I wouldn't understand it, because I don't do LD. Yet.

One time I saw five of our nation's top CHSAD LD'ers from this year and last in one circle and then I freaked out. I believe I referred to it as "the society in its holiest form," especially because of the alumnis. Sometimes I'm allowed partial membership into the LD Secret Society because I have LD buddies and I watch a lot of rounds. Also, I consider myself an LD'er at heart and some real LD'ers consider me that too. Plus I can sneak up to them and listen and they won't even notice me 'cause I'm short. (that might be the biggest reason) And I'm not a TP'er yet, so that counts for something. TP'ers are NOT allowed. However, I, despite my occasional admittance, did not even consider trying to sneak into the society in it's holiest form. I would be shunned FOREVER. Especially since they were taking strategy or something.

Do TP'ers have a secret society? I doubt it. Or maybe they do and they're just better at keeping it a secret than the LD'ers are! DUN DUN DUNNN.

You're homeschooled. Ssssshhhhhh...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Either Prepping For Speech and/or Debate In The Summer or Intentionally Not Doing So

It's summer, people. Most of us are out of school now and have so much free time that we simply do not know what to with ourselves. Ok, not quite, but work with me. What's one thing that may/may not occupy our time? Prepping for speech and debate next season.

If you're anything like me, and in general I hope you're not, you might have been panicking three weeks ago because you only had 1/5 speeches picked out for next year (ridiculous, I know) but now you're feeling better, because you're so absurdly obsessed that you've found a platform topic and found and cut an interp in the first two weeks since school's been out. If so, you're crazy.

Of course, your summer preparation may be more like mine when it comes to debate. You know some people have already started writing cases? Why? The extent of my debate prep thus far is this: one time my mom said, "You should run a case like this," and I said, "ok." The next day she changed her mind, and I said, "ok." People who have started preparing already are crazy. So are those who stubbornly refuse, come to think of it, and everyone in between.

Are the people who are not panicking about finding pieces six months in advance smart people? Probably. The ones who picked out this year's speeches three years ago? Arguably. What about the people who have started on debate research? Most likely. What about this of us who just want a break to regain sanity? Absolutely.

You're homeschooled, and the important thing to keep in mind is that we're all crazy regardless.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Praying Before A Round

Apparently I tend to get a nervous look when I wait outside my room at a tournament. I think this because on several occasions my friends have stopped me in the narrow hallway and asked to pray for me, to which I respond, "Awwwwwwww.... ok."

I remember the first time someone prayed for me outside a round. It was actually my first round at my first tournament ever, and I was more than a bit nervous. I knew my speech well, so I wasn't worried about that, but rather that I'd just do something else wrong. I could forget to thank the judges for judging or accidentally thank them for timing or something horrendous. Remember, I was brand new to this. So my nerves probably showed. One of my first speech and debate companions waited outside my room with me and then offered to pray for me. That was awesome. She is awesome.

Since then, I have been able to pray with and for many of my speechanddebater friends. Which is amazing. No one tells us to pray for each other, we just do. I love that. We could all use it, too.

You're homeschooled, and I love it when we pray for each other before a round.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding Speeches

Last summer, I felt like I lived at my library. I was there all the time, pacing the shelves of the children and young adult fiction section, waiting for something to jump out at me. I thought for sure if I walked long enough the perfect interp would leap off the shelf and into my ready fingers. But alas, 'twas not to be. This year, I've turned to Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube to be my guide in finding pieces, and I'm not entirely sure yet how well that's going to work. We'll see.

The point is, it's incredible when you find that perfect piece to interp. It's like, finally everything you've been searching for is coming together and doing so beautifully. Or maybe you think of an amazing topic for a platform and want to sit down and start writing it 4 months in advance. That's ok. In fact, it's awesome.

I am currently in the process of finding pieces for next year. I've had a couple things click just that I want to do next year, and I'm getting really excited. Actually, when I finish writing this, I'm going to go back to cutting one of those ideas. :bigsmile:

So keep up your search. Don't give up. That fantastic piece or clever idea is out there and screaming "I'M OUT HERE FIND ME NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU." At least, that's how I see it.

You're homeschooled, and I hope you have terrific speeches.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I heard a rumor that my club is particularly big on blocking, more so than other clubs.  Like we love it in interps and have lots of it and stuff. This is probably true. I know I like blocking. Lots of CHSADKs do. We can do some pretty fantastic things.

I like blocking that uses various imaginary objects. Best object-interps I've seen? Hmmm, let me think of a few... I love when kids smoke. I know that sounds horrible and evil of me but it's quite amusing... I actually had a character who smokes a big ol' cigar this year. That's fun. I once saw a girl who opened this huge trunk and put her whole body into it and you could see how heavy the lid was; it was brilliant. I saw a duo where two kids were riding in a mine cart and bouncing at the same time and did a really great job. Some friends of mine have a duo where they interp sitting at a table and later on a blanket. Very impressive the way they pull it off. I'll probably never get over the thrill and general awesomeness I felt when a young man I saw portraying a young bull interped picking a flower in his paw and sighing contentedly. I also love when a duo partner slaps or punches the other partner. That's always fun. One of my speeches last year involved me tripping over a dead body so that was interesting. Of course, the old man with the cane thing never gets old.

Something about good blocking can take an interp from good to great. Especially duos. Duo blocking is the best. And you know how we all feel about duos. By the way, pet peeve: blocking in platforms. I like to walk where I want, when I want. Do not attempt to block my non-interp speeches, thank you.

You're homeschooled. That is why you regularly use objects that do not exist.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Breaking When You Don't Expect To

Recently I recounted my realization that breaking is in fact a good thing, but there is so much more to the experience than that. One of the best kinds of breaking (besides finals) is when you don't expect to break, because if you do, it's extra awesome.

I remember at a tournament last year, they were announcing breaks and I had missed the event name, but for whatever reason I thought it was OO, and I didn't have an OO so I kind of zoned out. However, one of my speeches was a DI, but I didn't expect to break because I'd never done it at a competition before so I didn't know if it sucked or not. You can imagine my surprise when they called my name in what I thought was OO. My friend turned to congratulate me and I asked frantically, "What event was it?" He frowned. "DI, I think." Another friend congratulated me and I, now panicking slightly for no apparent reason, said, "Oh thanks, haha, yea. Do know what event that was?" It was DI. It was awesome.

It's a pretty cool feeling, breaking when you don't expect to. I highly recommend it. Perhaps the best thing about not expecting to break is that sometimes you don't, and you don't feel disappointed afterwards. It's more of an "Oh, well. I didn't expect to break anyway" feeling rather than solid frustration. And there's usually the optimistic promise of a next time. Next time I'll show them. Next time I'll break. Next time I'll be awesome.

You're homeschooled, and you're already awesome

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Practicing Interping Objects

One night, I spent a lot of time practicing opening a drawer. Well, not a real drawer. A pretend drawer. It was at a speech club meeting, and in one of my interps a character takes a ring in a box off a shelf but apparently it looked weird so my coach suggested a drawer. I stood facing a wall and practiced opening the drawer, taking out the box, closing the drawer, opening the box, and handing the ring to my invisible nephew overandoverandover again because I wanted to get it right. Well, of course a couple of people stared. Not for very long, because they're used to my antics, but it's kind of weird to see a girl repeatedly opening and closing an nonexistent drawer. Especially because I did it while I was walking at one point.

But seriously, all interpers practice certain interp movements, right? Obviously. I have a weird habit when it comes to this. I can't just let the imaginary objects vanish; I have to put them back. One time, I was practicing opening a canteen that wasn't there, and I set it on the ground when I was done. Another time I was pouring myself a glass of water and I had to put the cup back too. Is this as unusual as I think? Do you do this?

There are certain miming/interping movements that I would really like to do. I've never had a character talk on the phone and I think that's fun. I would also like to do a driving scene some time, because a lot of interpers "oversteer" and it looks off. Still, a big goal is to do an interp with me flossing. How fun would that be? I would look so ridiculous and it would be great! No, better idea: something involving a bow and arrow. Gasp. I could be Legolas from Lord of the Rings shooting down Orcs or something!! Yea! I could so see me doing that.

Blocking. Good stuff. You're homeschooled, and everyone thinks you're losing your mind when you practice interping. But you're not. Well, maybe a little.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Talking To Yourself (And The Wall)

Yes, I did used to think that this was the funniest thing ever, perhaps funnier than The Forensics Clap the first time you experience it. Yes, I sometimes still think that. I am, of course, talking about talking to yourself and talking to the wall. Pretty much all of us do this at tournaments, and we look like we're crazy. Win.

There are a couple of ways to go about this. One is the Platform Practice. This is best performed by standing outside your competition room in the rather thin hallway with your nose to the wall. Or you could also begin pacing the hallway back and forth and back and forth like I do. Once you're ready, simply begin mouthing or reciting your speech. Don't forget to smile and use a lot of big, sweeping hand gestures. You will look like you have serious issues. It will be worth it.

I also recommend the Interp approach. Why? Because it's really funny to see kids walking around a campus making ridiculous facial expressions and turning as they switch characters. Or, of course, talking to the wall. Interps are pretty entertaining, but it can be way more entertaining to see someone performing for an audience that doesn't exist.

I have a friend who promised me that she would never, ever talk to a wall. I smiled and thought back to the days when I was of a similar sentiment. Those days are gone. I can talk to myself with the best of them.

Question: Do debaters do this? Do you ever practice your 1AC or whatever facing a wall? That sounds kind of weird, but then I don't see why it wouldn't happen. Also, I am not aware of a limited-prep method of talking to yourself/a wall, but I'm not saying it doesn't exist.

You're homeschooled, and my invisible audience thinks you're crazy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Today I went to In-N-Out with half of the NITOC attendees. We didn't plan that. I just sort of ran into them there. It's was kind of absurd. I mean, I knew that everyone went to In-N-Out several times during each tournament, but I hadn't really experienced this until now. It's an unofficial requirement, really. Something about homeschoolers and double-doubles works well together, apparently.

I went right after duo finals, where, of course, everyone was. I saw several of the duo finalists there, which was neat, 'cause I was like "HEY. I JUST SAW YOU UP ON THE BIG STAGE." Of course, I didn't say that because that would be creepy. But I also ran into some of my friends there, not that homeschoolers have friends, but you know what I mean. So that was fun.

For those of you reading this who do not live in California and have no idea what I'm talking about, I do hope you have at least heard of the glory that is In-N-Out or perhaps even partaken in the cheeseburger-shaped wonderfulness. Oh, and the shakes. All In-N-Out does is win.

You're homeschooled. Would you like fries with that, animal-style?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Breaking (It's a Good Thing)

It's here. You know you've been waiting for this moment. We in the business refer to this time as "breaks." The stress level is, oddly enough, a lot higher than it was during the actual rounds, because this is the moment. You either make it or you don't. There's no turning back now. This. Is. It.

"Shhh! They're starting! What did he say? What event is this? Wait, stop talking. I can't hear. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh... I BROKE! YAYAYAYAYAY!"

It's a great scenario. We've all seen it time and time again and even experienced it. However, the word itself and it's various forms (break, breaks, broke, ect.) have always been extremely puzzling to me.

I remember watching a speech, probably about a week after I joined speech, and in the speech "breaking" was mentioned and I thought what? I realized that she was expressing a discouraging feeling she had at not "breaking," whatever that was, which seemed very odd to me. I then realized that breaking must be a good thing. It wasn't until my first tournament 4 months later that I learned that breaking means moving on to the next round and not hitting a baseball through a window or something.

You're homeschooled, and I hope you break.