Friday, September 30, 2011

When People Know Your Name

If someone you've never met walks up to you and calls you by name, do not be concerned. This person is likely a stalker. That's ok. You want people to stalk you. It means they've heard of you. And that means you're doing your job.

My first year, there were numerous people who I was convinced were celebrities, and they were. I recently spoke to one of them and felt kind of nervous, even though we had met before. However, I did not ask for an autograph. That would be weird. After all, I already have one.

I'm sort of kind of getting to that stage where kids I've never met or even seen somehow know me. Let me tell you people, that is exciting. I really try to get to know them too, because I like those people. I don't think I am or will ever be at "Fan Club Status" like the kids that I admire (that would be weird) but apparently people like me too. Cool.

Now, you may be thinking: Duh, Chandler, of course people know my name. We wear nametags.

...yea, I kind of didn't think of that until now. Huh.

Well, as much as I love nametags, it's more fun to assume that people would know my name without them. I suggest you go ahead and assume that too. Makes you feel kinda famous and extraspecial.

You're homeschooled. You're famous and extraspecial.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Timing- Felicity Lorenz

(Please welcome the lovely Felicity Lorenz back to the podium umm... blog. She's back with another awesome Guest Post!)

Timers have an easy job. All you have to do is press a couple buttons, hold up some finger signals, and reset for every speech. I mean, c’mon, how hard is pressing buttons compared to giving a 10 minute speech and getting judged on it?!
Oh, you would be so, so wrong.
This season, I decided to time some debate rounds. …It’s much more difficult than it appears. For example, in one LD round, I accidentally hit the ‘Stop’ button during a cross-examination. Another time, I realized I hadn’t pressed the ‘Start’ button – I realized this during the speech. In a TP round, I started the prep time, but was told that I was giving prep time to the wrong team! Sometimes, I even forgot to do hand signals. I eventually got better, but it made me appreciate my timers, who do their job correctly.
But you know what? Timing is fun! It makes you feel like you’re a part of the round. The speakers really try to engage you (mostly because they’re watching for hand signals…). 
The best part, of course, is when you give 10 seconds left. All the sudden, the speaker is speeding-as-fast-as-he-can-because-he-has-five-more-arguments-he-has-to-go-through-and-every-word-seems-to-be-actually-one-word-like-this-because-of-his-speed-which-goes-as-fast-as-the-speed-of-liiiiiiiiiight! 
My other favorite signal isn’t really a signal at all – the nodding of the head. See, the speaker is usually looking at you; thus, he catches this nodding. So, when you start to nod, he starts to speak fast. Except, now he’s-passionately-speeding-because-you-agree-and-that’s-awesome-and-maybe-that-means-the-judge-is-agreeing-too-and-oh-my-gosh-apparently-what-he’s-saying-is-awesome-yaaaaaaaaaaay! 
Those two signals are like, the magical signals.
So, next time you have nothing to do during a round, volunteer to time. You will realize it’s more difficult than it appears. You will definitely appreciate your kid timers, who seem to understand the system more than you do. However, it’s truly entertaining.
You’re homeschooled, and you – TIME’S UP! Sorry…

Monday, September 26, 2011

That Look From Your Partner That Says, "We Got This."

I was at debate camp. Another round of the practice competition was soon to begin. We sat waiting for the judge. I was organizing my pens and paper or whatever at the table and my debate partner was sitting next to me. The affirmative team was doing their prep thing when I heard giggles erupting from their side of the room. I have no idea what those girls where giggling about, just that they were. Loudly. My partner turned to me with an overly exaggerated expression that said, "What's wrong with them?" I leaned over and whispered, "Kids these days..." He grinned with a grin that said, (you guessed it) "We got this."

We got this round. We can so do this. We can win.

And after a couple of rather humbling debates, it was great to feel that way. Especially when we did win that round.

It hurts to lose. It hurts to walk into a round feeling like you'll have no idea what's going on or how to respond and then walk out with your suspicions confirmed. It hurts to stutteringly stumble through speech after speech while wondering why you wanted to do debate in the first place. But somehow it's worth it. It's worth it not only for the moments when everything is in your favor, those moments when you feel like you finally have control, those moments when you can confidently give the kid next to you a knowing smile. Sure those moments are awesome, but they kind of point to something bigger: someday, you'll be grateful for your wins and your losses because they made you a better person.

But we all know that winning is particularly cool.

You're homeschooled. You can do this.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wearing Pajamas When Doing School

Today is one of those days. I slept in today, and eventually climbed down the ladder out of my bed, tried not to step on the books and clothes on the floor, and sat down at my computer with a bowl of cereal. Today is one of those Saturdays where I have homework to do as well as other chores. Hey, I've been busy. That's why I'm still wearing pajamas at 3:30.

The fact that you can wear PJs to school when it's not "Pajama Day" is a huge plus for homeschooling. Pajamas are way more comfortable and often more fun. And sometimes, you're just tired and don't want to put on normal clothes. That's ok, my friend. Be proud of it.

Here's the thing: no one who sees you at home cares what you look like. So why dress up? Why not wear PJs all the time? Only this year, one of my online classes is actually a video conference, so I have to put on real clothes for that. Yea.

You're homeschooled.... zzzzZZzZzzz...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Calling People By Their Last Names

Last week or so, I had a weird dream. What's particularly odd is that I didn't realize it was a dream until very recently when I decided I wanted to write this post and I thought, Oh! I have a great story for that. Then I realized that that story never really happened. I decided to tell it anyway.
(By the way, if I'm just crazy and it wasn't a dream and you're like, "Umm, Chandler, that wasn't a dream. I was there." then please, don't tell anyone.)

So anyway. In my dream I was at some... place with a lot of homeschoolers. Everyone was calling everyone by their last names. And I commented to someone how ridiculous it is to call a homeschooler by his last name when there are a ton of his little siblings in the room who will also respond.

Yea, that was my story. The intro was longer. That's pretty pathetic.

REGARDLESS, the point still stands. Lots of people like to call lots of people by their last names. At first I noticed it with this one kid, then my debate coach, and then everyone. I don't know why. Even I have almost picked up this habit a couple of times. Almost. And again, the last name thing can get confusing because there are probably a bunch of people with the same name.

Maybe because homeschoolers are so un-cool, we feel like we have to make up for it somehow and calling people by their last names is supposedly cool? I don't know. I don't think if anyone called me "Lasch" their awesomeness would increase or anything. I really don't get you people.

You're homeschooled, and I should call you _(insert your last name here.)
Hopefully I pronounced it correctly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Demonstrating for Novices

Let's face it: the new kids are easily impressed. And with good reason. This speech and debate thing is probably new to them. If they're half as clueless as I was in my novice year, they'll be blown away by a two minute impromptu. Even if it only has one point. And that point is George Washington. I know my club is a big fan of demonstrating for novices at our annual summer day camp. I was blown away when I saw my first DI, apologetics, OO, and impromptu. The fact that I still remember them and that that was over two years ago should confirm that.

Most of us love an audience. I know I do. Novices are the best audience you can have. They'll laugh. They'll cry. They'll be so astounded they won't know what to do with themselves. Awesome, right? I mean, you may not want a novice for a timer, but other than that, sure.

Yesterday I did a new DI for my coach. Some new kids and parents watched. It was fun. I hoped they liked it and weren't scared or something. They probably were. That's ok.

You're homeschooled, and you obviously know how it's done.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Judges That Love You

If you pour over your ballots as much as I do, you've probably noticed some familiar and repeated names in the judge box. I certainly have. Sometimes you think:

Hmm, she loved me in this event but really didn't like this one. Why?
or, Oh look, that judge again. Yep, fifth & below again. Awesome.
Or sometimes, you meet a judge who just loves you, and soon the adoration is mutual.

There's this one man I can think of who's probably judged me more than anyone else has in my speech career. That's a lot. He usually likes me, so I don't mind. In fact, he's mentioned the fact that he usually likes me on ballots before. Another example: one women I know judged me in two different events last year, and gave me first both times. These weren't events I often got firsts in, so it was extra special.

What do judges occasionally see in me? I really don't know, but I like it. Now, no one wants judges to be biased, but if a judge is biased in your favor, are you really going to complain? C'mon. And it may not even be a bias. Face it. You're just irresistibly charming.

At the end of day, after losses and bad ballots, it's good to know that somewhere in this dark world, you have a fan.

You're homeschooled. Somebody loves you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Silly Public Schoolers

Last night, I was talking to a public school-ed friend of mine. He was telling me about the Panini and Dubstep club at his school:
Me: Are they two different clubs?
Him: No, they're the same club.
Me: there more than one person in it?
Him: Oh yea! It's our most popular club besides parkour.
Now, I'll agree parkour is pretty awesome, and I adore paninis (though I know nothing about dubstep), but sometimes public schoolers are ridiculous. Like now. But here's what's really weird:  
Warning: this may come as a shocking blow to some of you. Please make sure you are sitting down before you read what I have to say:
Public schoolers think we're weird

Crazy, right? But it's true! I mean, it's true that they think that. We're not weird. Obviously, we homeschoolers know where it's at. They laugh, but they don't know. They don't know.
They think we have no friends. Hello? We have siblings!
They think we're nerds. Hello? We're in speech and debate!
They think we're geniuses. Hello? We are.
Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to go back to reading Leviathan now.
You're homeschooled, and proud of it. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tim Hawkins- Carey Vandewalle

(I have here an excellent guest post written by my good friend Carey Vandewalle. It's pretty much awesome. I hope you agree.)

One of the best things about Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Kids is how much we love to laugh/giggle/poke fun at ourselves.  I mean, you’d almost think we didn’t know how to make jokes about anything else.
Whether it’s because one of us is being genius or ridiculous, smooth or awkward, someone else is bound to point out the obviously hilarious fact: said individual must have been—you guessed it!—homeschooled.
I bet that’s why we like Tim Hawkins.
Not only does he homeschool his own kids (and you remember the oath we all had to swear before not getting on the bus: be ever intensely loyal and partial to our own) but he also makes fun of us.  And we love that.

Any comedian who devotes an entire music video to memorializing the quirks, awesomeness, and violence involved in being “A Homeschool Family” (snap, snap) is bound to be profoundly appreciated.

If you’re suffering from ADD and just don’t have the time, I’m sorry.  But for the rest of you, that’s not all!

Even more than laughing at ourselves, we like it when people hear about how dang smart we all are.  Tim has pointed this out.  While making a series of jokes comparing Christians to Satanists to Atheists to Agnostics, Tim kindly remembered that not every celebration-style categorized soul in his audience was fortunate enough to be homeschooled.  “Homeschoolers, explain to your neighbor what agnostic means.” He drawled.   How we roared.
Ah, yes.  He recognizes our inherent intelligence.  That’s funny.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  But then, not much of homeschool humor makes sense, anyway.  We know it, and Tim knows it.  That’s why we quote his skits verbatim, burst helplessly into giggles when hapless and well-meaning people pray for a “Hedge of Protection,” and sing his songs over and over.  Especially “The Government Can”  because it makes fun of the government, something else we homeschoolers love to do.
You’re homeschooled, and though of course you never listen to The Beatles, you know what Tim Hawkins likes to “Imagine.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

The First Club Meeting Of The Year

Last week was my club's first meeting of the season. I was out of town, so I missed it. My first club meeting of the year is tonight. I'm kinda really excited and kinda really nervous. I have this DI and duo I found a while back that I'm anxious to show people. And I miss my friends. At the same time, I haven't given an impromptu since forever ago. What if I forgot how? Not to mention the fact that it's a bit nerve-wracking when one of the best debaters you know calls you and says, "I'm debating you tonight." Oh, boy.

Nevertheless, it will be good to get back into the swing of things. Summer is over and we all have work to do if we want to be ready this next year. Which reminds me, that's one thing I love about the start of a new season: watching others prepare. My club gets a lot of novice impromptu types each year. I don't particularly enjoy the 2 minute displays of pure nerves or the 5 minute periods of constant rambling. However, I love watching the new kids in about December and seeing how improved they are. It makes me happy. I also love new interps. I get excited to see how they will develop. Last year, I saw a couple of duos while the kids where still on script that I later got to watch in finals. That was so fun.

So the first club meeting... I'm still excited. It'll be weird. I'll watch lots of shaky impromptus. I'll probably be crushed at some point in debate. I'll probably give confusing interps that I'll have to re-cut. That's ok.

You're homeschooled. Get ready.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

When You Say Your Piece Is a DI or an HI and No One Disputes You

When I cut my first interp, I didn't know if it was a DI or an OI. I now know that if it's questionable, it's an OI. But I didn't at the time. I just knew my speech was kind of dramatic and not really funny. (Keep in mind this was back in those novice days where I knew almost nothing about speech or debate.) Then I watched someone else do a DI. I decided that my piece was an OI. That was a good decision.

Lots of times, you want a piece to have a good enough death scene to be a DI, but it's not really happening. Or you want the piece to have people laughing so hard they cry, but really it's looking like you'll land chuckles. So you call it an OI. At least, that's what a lot of the first-year kids do. Ever wondered why there tend to be about twice as many OIs as there are HIs or DIs? Well, the novice thing is part of the reason. Sometimes a piece is just better as an OI even if you disagree. OIs are just easier to find. One of many reasons I love Open Interps.

Anyway, back to my story. My speech was the classic OI. Sort of. I mean, not too funny, not too sad. And that was ok. I wasn't trying for Dramatic or Humorous. I was just trying to act out my favorite book with a cool accent. But sometimes, you are trying to get a piece to be an HI or a DI. And sometimes...


And that's a great feeling. You tell someone, It's a DI, and they say, "Oh, yes it is." as they wiped their tearstained cheeks. Or, It's an HI, and they say "I know! It's hilarious!!" No disputing. None of that, "Have you thought about entering it as an OI?" stuff. Nope.

You're homeschooled. You're funny. Or sad. I don't know which.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meeting People Outside Impromptu Rooms

Something about knowing you're going to give an impromptu soon can put you in a loopy mood. I've noticed this about myself and others. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. It's probably helpful to get into the zone, you know? And it's just fun.

There are generally a good amount of people outside of impromptu rooms. Everyone's just patiently waiting for their turn. Most people aren't particularly anxious to go, unless you're a stud who has a ton of other events to get to. Either way, people outside of impromptu rooms are cool and just like to hang out. They tell funny stories of horrible speeches of tournaments past, ask about your other events, describe earlier tournament happenings, ect. Whatever it is, it's great. I've met a lot of fun people that way.

One time I was outside a room with this kid I sort of knew and a kid I sort of didn't. They were talking to each other when I whipped out my cheat sheet list of my favorite impromptu examples to study up on and ease my mind. (Oddly enough, I used none of them in the next speech. I went a little crazy.) Next thing I know, both of the guys near me are asking "What's that?"
"Oh, just a list of some impromptu examples I like."
"Can I see?"
I don't what I was thinking, but I let them. They probably didn't steal any, but they could've. Both of them read my whole paper, front and back, complete with my later-added scribbled and barely-legible additions. They remarked on stuff ("Really? I didn't know that.") and asked questions about some notes-to-self that I had never expected any one else to lay eyes on. But whatever. My mood was a little off.

One cool thing about that round was that one of those guys went right before me. On a ballot for that speech, a judge wrote, "Your speech was one of three WOW speeches, including the one right before you." Props to that guy.

Meeting people outside any room is fun, but it's great catching them in the impromptu mode. I definitely advise it. Actually, you should try talking to me right before I give an impromptu, and see how weird I act.

Can this loopiness be cross-applied to apologetics and extemp room people? I don't know. I've never met anyone outside those rooms.
Except once when someone said he had to go "apologize, because I did something wrong," but he only said that because he was about to go give an apologetics. (Get it?) I asked, "Why, what happened?" He gave me a blank stare before I reminded him that you can't trust interpers.

You're homeschooled, and I'm definitely a little goofy right now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hypothetical Resolutions

...a phrase which here means, "stuff we want to debate but they won't let us."
So like, not the stuff we debate about in competition. Super cool really fun stuff that would be so ridiculous the leader people would never approve.

For example:
Resolved, that the United States Federal Government significantly reform its foreign policy toward the moon.

How fun would that be?! I don't even think we have any foreign policy directly linked to the moon! Policy regarding it, maybe, but it's not the same. We could make so much stuff up and have a blast.

or for you Values people:

Resolved, when in conflict, chocolate ought to be valued over non-chocolate candies.

In which case (hahaha, "case") I would want to argue aff all the the time. It's my dream.

I know other people have dream resolutions, regarding robots, outer space in general, cadaverously themed Disney rides, ect. What are yours?

Resolved: You're homeschooled, and therefore ridiculous.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Having A Billion Siblings

I am a disgrace to Christian homeschooled speech-and-debate kids everywhere. Why? I only have one sibling. I know I'm not alone in this, but I still feel kind of weird when I meet kids who are one of ten. And all of them do speech and debate. And they're all really good at it. And they all beat me at everything all the time.

Ok, so that exact scenario hasn't really happened. But still. It could. Lots of people who do speech/debate have a bunch of siblings, generally ones who do speech/debate or used to and rocked at it or are timers right now but will win sweeps in about 3 years. I fear those kids. I know some of them. They're scary.

My dad comes from a family of five kids. I used to think that was a really, really big family. I no longer think that. Here it's normal.

For my first year or so in speech and debate, pretty much no one knew I had a little sister, but I do. It's just, I don't know, it kind of never came up. Only very recently did she develop an interest in speech (but not debate. -.-), so she never showed up at club meetings or even tournaments. Everyone probably thought my family consisted of me and my mom and how pathetic is that? I have a sibling! And a dad! And a dog! And Regan used to have a fish named Peter! Really! We're not that pitiable just because we don't overflow our 8 passenger car!

I kind of do wish I came from a big family, though. Most of them seem to like it. I think having a billion siblings would be superfun.

And we've all heard the theory that homeschoolers don't have any friends besides their siblings... Yea.

You're homeschooled, and never lonely.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Being Judge-mental- Michael Sheetz

(Michael actually did judge at that practice tournament I mentioned once, so he actually knows what he's talking about. At least, he says he does. It sounds like he does. Anyway, people, please welcome, Michael Sheetz!)

I always thought being a judge would be a really horrifying experience, ending feeling like someone just dumped 300 tons of Comic Sans text onto you and your flow pad, drowning you in words for eternity. Turns out, it's actually fun! And maybe it's just me, but leaving "your bias at the door" is a lot easier than it sounds. 
Hopefully you're wondering what the title means. I assume most of the readers of this blog are currently involved in SAD, either in Stoa or NCFCA. I certainly am, and that's why judging was such an incredible eye-opening experience. I was able to view each round from the perspective of how effective an argument was and how important responding is. That's why the title is about using your brain to think like the judge, in terms of what actually matters. I was able to judge 3 rounds like this at CUID a few weeks ago (1 Novice, 2 Varsity) and it enlightened me in a way I never would have been able to experience as a competitor. Before I go on, I want to urge any of you who are still in SAD to try to judge whenever you can, even if it's a practice round. It's worth the effort. 
The first round that I judged at CUID was a novice round, which only reminded me how insanely important flowing and E-spec are. The 2nd round was two varsity teams, who both mitigated the round so far down that I had to go through my flow 5 times before figuring out who actually won anything. The 3rd round showed how important respect and patience is in a round, as it was a very mismatched round and the obviously more skilled debaters proved their skill by even helping the other team along. 
The 2nd round was the most educational, personally, as it showed how you can easily drop half of the other team's arguments on purpose and still win the round. Why? First of all, it shows to the judge that you're realistic in realizing that both teams can't be winning everything, so that means you're losing something. That doesn't mean you're not winning something, just that you're being smart. For example (from a TP standpoint), you can concede to their responses on their Harms, but you must outweigh in one way or another. An easy way is just to have two responses. 1) We concede (aka they're right). 2) This is a non-issue (basically, not a reason to vote for them) or, say, Disadvantage outweighs and is more important. 
BAM. You just spent about 10-15 seconds responding to their argumentation and made the argument no longer an issue in the round. Now you get to focus on your Disadvantage (aka offense). This works on the Affirmative side too, as well as for LD. 
And that's the basics of the insight I gained from judging. 
You're homeschooled, and you're not a mental judge. You're Judge-mental.