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!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

[Oh, thaat's why I've been getting so many views...]

This spiffy little chart shows how many views this blog has been getting in the last 7 days. The astute observer may notice a series of rather unusual spikes, one in particular, on the 27th of October. Why is that there? Why did I get more views on October 27th than any other day since I've started the blog? I've been wondering that for two days. 

Then I noticed something else. My video on YouTube of my Humorous Interp on a book titled Stuff Christians Like by Jon Acuff started getting lots of views right around that same time:
See? Weirdness. The A, B, C, and D refer to things like "First referral from" and "First embedded on Google Reader," and I thought, what??

I clicked some more buttons and found and followed one of the links that had been directing people to this video and later to this blog.

It was this link, from the official Stuff Christians Like blog upon which this one is based.
This post was posted on October 27th.

This isn't a normal SCHSADKL, but I thought you all should know. See you tomorrow. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Asking People What Events They're Doing

It's a classic conversation. Whether you're at a tournament, summer camp, English Country Line Dance, or catching up on Gmail or Facebook, if you're talking to a fellow CHSADK, someone may/may not be contractually bound to ask:

"So, what events are you doing this year?"

"Well, I'm working on this OO, but it might make a better Persuasive. I'm not sure yet. Or it could be an expos if I can come up with something good to put on boards. And then I have this duo, but I don't have anyone to do it with yet, so I may end up doing it as an OI if I can. I'm looking at this other piece that could either be an HI or a DI. I haven't decided. I'll either do apologetics or extemp, but not both, because both of them involve boxes and the thought of doing two events which require the use of a box hurts my brain. And I'll do impromptu, and I was thinking I would do regular impromptu so I had a better chance of qualifying, but I may do novice because the competition is easier. I'll do TP if I find someone to do it with or LD if not or if I change my mind and I'm thinking about doing Parli too. So yea. What about you?"

If you read all of that, I commend you. When people ask you what events you're doing and it's still early in the season, it can be hard to give a concrete answer, and hard to listen to a non-concrete one. It may be hard to give any answer, but especially a short one. You've been contemplating what speeches and debate stuff you may end up doing, and the only way to explain it without sounding (too) weird is to say exactly what's on your mind. Or risk saying something like:

"So, what events are competing in this year?"
"Oh, you know... the usual."

Or maybe you did decide a long time ago, and can't wait to tell people about your speeches and cases and future plans. That could take a long time too. You could just say something like what I say whenever someone asks me what I'm doing:

That kind of works.

Sometimes, asking peole about their speeches and stuff is just a way to have a conversation. Sometimes, people actually do care and are genuinely interested in what you have to say. It's hard to tell how you're being asked, so you have to have a good answer either way.

You're homeschooled. What's your plan?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tournament Nightmares

I have weird dreams. I had a dream once that I had put myself on a waiting list to do LD at a tournament just for fun. Twenty-minutes before the round started, I found out I was competing. I sat down to write an aff case, but then I drove somewhere and the car caught on fire so I couldn't go back and debate. I had a dream once that I could not remember if I broke at all in the entire tournament, and they were about to announce finals. I had a dream once that a competition was being held in the Haunted Mansion and Jack Sparrow was there. Even though my dreams may be a little out of the ordinary, speech and debate dreams are not uncommon. The worst of these are the tournament nightmares.

You forget your lines. You forget your suit. You forget your evidence. You forget your expos boards. You forget your shoes. You forget your apologetics box. You forget your script submission and you're at a tournament 10 billion miles away from your house. You get lost. You oversleep and miss the tournament. You show up for a debate round barefoot and in pajamas. You give a speech in the wrong room. Your debate partner cancels at the last second and you have to debate in Policy by yourself. You take last place in all of your events. The list goes on.These are the nightmares you could be having. And now, you probably will. Hahahahaha. Sorry.

Now you may be thinking, invisible reader, "Chandler, why would we LIKE tournament nightmares? This is not SCHSADKH, Stuff Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Kids Hate!"

True. But I'll tell you why we should like tournament nightmares:

They don't really happen!
Sure, things can go wrong at a competition from time to time. But nothing like a tournament nightmare.

You're homeschooled. Sweet dreams.

Monday, October 24, 2011

When People Go Along With Your Crazy Ideas

Christian homeschooled speech and debate kids like a lot of crazy things. Like interps. Those are crazy. And debate rounds. Why would anybody argue for fun while other people are watching? It's weird. And limited-prep? You'd have to be insane. And the way speech and debate takes over your entire life? That's kind of crazy.

But you know what else is crazy: when you have a crazy idea and other people go along with it. Like a really wacky speech idea. You think it's brilliant, but you suspect no one else will. Then they do. It happens. It's wonderful. Or it could happen with a debate case that seems crazy, but it works.

Or it could happen with an obscure blog called Stuff Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Kids Like. Someone might, hypothetically speaking, write said blog wondering if anyone will like or even read it. Then it becomes official and that someone starts posting nearish to every-other-day during the school year and frequently in the summer as well. Then she might notice one day that she's coming up on 100 blog posts, and that her blog is being read by more than one person a day (a lot more than one), by grown-ups and kids, people she didn't mention the blog to, people she doesn't even know, people looking up Julian Smith to see if he is a Christian or was homeschooled, and even by people from places like Malaysia who probably found it by accident and don't understand any of it.

A blog like this is a crazy idea, but this is the 100th post. People are still reading. More and more people. In fact, as of earlier today, the blog has already received more views this month than any other month. That's exciting in a blogger-nerd-obsessed-with-stats kind of way.

You're homeschooled. Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Your Second Year

I've talked a lot about novices and the first year of speech and/or debate. If you don't believe me, search for it on that little bar on the right side of the page. Frankly, there's a lot of material in novice-ness. But there is something I have yet to adequately explore: the second year.

The thing about the novice year is that it's confusing. Maybe you've had a ton of siblings do speech and debate before you, so you kind of had a head start, but it's different to actually do it yourself. The novice year is a learning year. Yea, people win events at their first tournaments, it does happen. But not that often, and not to most of us. Most of us spend the first year learning the ropes so we can be fantastic in the second.

That's what's so great about your second year: You've got the hang of it. You know what you're doing. You got this. You learned stuff and now you can win stuff. Or at least do your best knowing that your best is better than it was prior to your second year. That was probably confusing... you can win stuff. Like, trophies. You can also pretend that your novice year was forever ago and now you're skilled in speech, an expert on extemp, a professional platform speaker, doubly-dextrous in debate, accomplished in apologetics, ingenious at interps, and good at other stuff too.

I know for me, my second year was great. If I got my feet wet my first year, I dove in head-first my second. And there was no going back, man. No going back. I'm not really sure of a water-related analogy for my third year, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Very excited.

You're homeschooled. That's exciting.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Being Off-Book

Scripts are irritating. Well, sort of. They're great because they tell us what to say. As long as you have your script in front of you, your interp or platform is bound to go somewhat smoothly as long you don't lose your place or forget how to read or something. In that respect, they're very nice. That's why I wanted to be the 1A- because the 1AC is scripted. It's the easiest speech in the round! Of course, the 1AR is the hardest, but I'll worry about that later.

But still, it's a great feeling to be off your script, or "off-book" as the actor-types call it. No more trying to awkwardly hold your script while doing your interp blocking with one hand. No more tucking it under your arm for the parts you absolutely need two hands for though you may struggle with memorization. No more inconvenient podiums. No more lack of eye contact for fear you might just lose your place in your lines. No more passing the only script you have to your duo partner so he can say his line and give it back to you. No more glancing exasperatedly at the kid holding your script for you in case you forget something, which you did. No folks, this is the part where your interp is real. You've found your piece, cut it, practiced it, and now you're practically ready for competition.

And then you make a bunch of changes to your piece and you're back on-book again. Such is life.

You're homeschooled.... Line, please?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Being Jealous of the Timer

Have you ever seen a really long speech and all you think is, "Wow. This is a really long speech," and the longness of it all is just overwhelming? Well, I have. Trust me, those speeches are long. Well, in actuality, they don't have to be particularly lengthy for me to be annoyed. Just slow and/or boring. This used to happen to me often when I watched debate rounds that I could not follow. I would glance at the timer and wish I could know what the little screen read. Somehow the knowledge that this speech may be almost over might give me comfort of some sort. But I never have that knowledge. It is at moments like this that I wish I was the timer.

This is an absurd thing for us SCHSADK's to wish, because as you know, timing is no picnic. Not just anyone can do it. More often the timer should wish to not be the timer. That would make more sense. But when I'm watching a long and/or confusing speech or debate round, I'm not really in the mood to make sense. So I try to communicate telepathically with the timer:

Me: (Dude, please look at me.)
Timer: -doesn't look at me-
Me: (C'mon, how much time is left?)
Timer: -doesn't look at me-
Me: (Seriously. I'm sure if you just made eye contact, I would somehow know how much time is left and my soul would be thus appeased and I could survive the rest of this speech.)
Timer: -doesn't look at me-
Me: (This is not working.)

Is my jealousy of the timer rational? No, of course not. But rationality is not a concern when you're hopelessly bored. Have you ever noticed how people glance at the timer from time to time during a long speech, but never during a really good one? This is why.

You're homeschooled. I hope this post wasn't too long for you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tournament Memorabilia

Today I pulled a rather large bag out of my closet that I don't use a lot because it's rather large. In fact, I don't think I've used it since NITOC. I usually bring it to tournaments because I can fit lots of fun stuff in there. Consequently, I find lots of fun stuff in there. Just this morning I found that little book they gave us at NITOC. You know, it has a map and a schedule and the ever-changing IE patterns, ect. I like finding that kind of thing, because it's like, oh, hey, I got this at that one tournament. Cool.

You know what else I find? Impromptu topics. Some kids keep their topics after every speech, stick them in their pockets, and forget about them. Yea, I am one of those kids. Although one time I tried to keep a paper and and a judge wouldn't let me. I don't know why. Anyway, a few days after the tournament, I'll find the papers in my giant bag, so I take them out. I have a few topics from my favorite speeches on a bulletin board in my room.

Tournament memorabilia bring back good memories. And it's more than just papers they give you. I mean, you get nametags, ballots, giant yellow envelopes, certificates saying that you participated, medals, and of course, TROPHIES!! I mean, you can get a lifetime's worth of stuff which the rest of the world thinks is useless junk at just one tournament! And then at the next one, you get more!

Seriously though. Tournament "junk" serves as a great reminder of the wonderful things you're doing and learning in speech and debate. Take that, rest of the world.

You're homeschooled, and you like stuff. Obviously.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Old Resolutions

I hear you talk about environmental year. Sometimes India year. If you're old: illegal immigration year. If you're ancient: NATO year. And that's as far back as I hear talk of. Since I wasn't in debate for any of those years, I have no idea what you're talking about. Much to my chagrin, debaters are fond of reminiscing. Now that that year is over and long gone, they can laugh about all those stressful rounds and late-night research that they once tried to forget.

Someday in the future, we'll all be laughing and saying, "Dude, remember Scandinavia year? That one case with the astronauts and the peanut butter? I can't believe we ran that case, but we won with it so many times, it was awesome!" and all the novices will be like, what? That's ok, though. Novices are going to get confused whether or not you try to confuse them. We've all been there.

Yes, someday the very resolutions that we used to or currently hate/dislike/abhor/whatever will be history and we can just stand back and shake our heads and smile because inside we're absolutely sick of revenue generation, personal freedom, foreign policy, government legitimacy and all that other stuff. It's cool though, because we won't have to deal with it. That will be nice. We'll have much bigger worries. Awesome.

Resolved: that you are homeschooled and you like reminiscing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being Used As An Impromptu Example

The other day, I was practicing my duo at a club meeting. Right as we finished, my friend Grant walked in and stood by the door. As I was walking out of the room, he whispered, "I used you in an impromptu." Flabbergasted and intrigued, I composed myself and responded with an ever-eloquent, "What?" We stepped out of the room and he told me the whole story. Turns out the speech was about exploring and illuminating things or something. He talked about how I take the stuff Christian homeschooled speech and debate kids like and write about it on this here blog and make it, quote "awesome." Kid, keep it up and you will do well in this event.

That was the first time I had ever been talked about in someone else's impromptu speech, to my knowledge. I thought it was pretty cool. As long as I'm not being used as a negative example type thing, I have no objections. This kid I know recently heard that he was once an impromptu example. Oddly enough, he requested that the speaker please never do that again, even though he was a positive example. Apparently he found it creepy. I don't know why. I think it's awesome.

So watch out. I just might use you in an impromptu speech. Stay on my good side, people. You never know what I'll do.

You're homeschooled. Try to set a good example.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quoting Speeches

I do this all the time. I quote your speeches, I quote my speeches, I quote your friends' speeches, I quote my friends' speeches, I quote famous speeches, I quote speeches I saw four times, I misquote random speeches I saw once and can barely remember. Everybody does this. Call us sentimental freaks, plagiarists, or just plain nerds, but that's the truth.

Every year, several people come up with extremely quotable speeches, probably interps. I mean, a platform can be quotable too, but it seems less likely. Frequently-quoted speeches are typically HIs, funny duos, or funny OIs. Humor is just more fun to quote. A non-funny duo, OI, or even a DI can be quoted, but there would probably be only one quotable line in the whole speech which represented some great and powerful moment or turning point. But Humorous Interps often have a lot of lines that we like to say, as I'm sure you've noticed.

Now you may or may not be wondering, as I once wondered myself, what about stuff that is said in debate rounds? Do people quote those too? Well, yes, but that can get a little odd. See, no two debate rounds are exactly alike. So if somebody said something funny in a round, it's quite possible that the only people who will ever hear that line were the ones watching the round. (Unless that line is said a lot). The problem with quoting people in debate rounds is that you can only quote them around people who also saw that very same round. I've done this before. It's tricky, but oh, so fun.

"You're homeschooled." -Me

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Awkward Hugs

"First thing you gotta know about me is, I'm a hugger!" -Lotso, Toy Story 3

I've covered hugs before like a long time ago, but I recently noticed that there is so much more to this fascinating subject. I'm an awkward hugger and people, so are you.

Homeschoolers are nerds. Nerds are pro at being awkward. Consequently, homeschoolers are pro at being awkward, but you knew that already. We're weird, but we're a friendly bunch. I mean, obviously homeschooled kids are antisocial and have no friends and yeawhatever. But we still give out hugs, which are practically guaranteed to be awkward. There are a couple of ways to go about this:

1. Hug Them Before They Get The Chance To Object
Of all of the awkward hugging strategies, this one has the most guaranteed uncomfortableness and is a guaranteed hug. It's what we call a win-win. The trick is to do exactly what the title says: hug someone before they get the chance to not hug you. Front hugs work better, but regardless, just go for it.

2. I'll Hug If You Do
Typically performed as a side hug, but a regular hug works too. Basically just stick your arm out as if you were about to hug someone and see if they hug you. Warning: they might not. Bonus points for awkwardness, but you don't get a hug, so you kind of lose.

3. Just Wave
Say you're in a group of people, and one of them is leaving, so everyone is giving them a hug. But you decide you'd rather just stand and wave. That works too. The lack-of-awkward-hug can be an awkwardness in itself.

4. The Tournament Buddies Hug
If you see somebody at a competition that you know but not super well and you're not sure whether or not you should hug them, you should. They might not agree and may even feel uncomfortable, but it's cool. They'll be ready at the next tournament.

You're homeschooled. Are you a hugger?

p.s. click here to read the classic Stuff Christians Like post on the side hug. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Quick note- the word Alumni is plural, yes? And the singular is... Alumnus? But I don't think speech and debate can have an "alumnus," exactly. Or at least we don't for some reason. I mean, it seems like we have an alumni (singular) and a bunch of alumni (plural). Maybe I'm wrong, but in speech and debate-speak, that seems to be how it works. So I'll do that. That... was not as quick as I thought it would be. Anyway.
As you know, junior high/high school speech and debate leagues have an age limit.  If you're out of high school, you're out of the league. (That's why we end up with super-seniors.) Well, I guess you're not out of the league exactly, just out of the competition, because we all know that the alumni don't like to leave. Many of them stick around for a while. They show up from time to time wearing t-shirts from the national tournament 5 years ago, talking about how "Back in my day, it was hard to qualify. You young whippersnappers have it easy." The alumni are fun people. We like them for three reasons:
1. They coach us. 
The alumni have been there and done that. They know a thing or two about what we do. They're really good at giving feedback for speeches and in debate rounds. I sometimes try to give people advice but it doesn't fly. It's because I haven't graduated yet and am apparently a moron. But most of us agree, the alumni know everything. Many alumni will admit that they miss their days of speech and debate, so they try to help the rest of us out.
2. They judge us.
I have a love/dislike relationship with my alumni judges.
Subpoint A: You can tag this as: Love (In case you were flowing my blog)
Ballots from the alumni = best ballots ever probably. I got a really great ballot one time from an alumni I remembered from the speechranks homepage in his senior year. He had a lot of very helpful things to say about my speech, and I mean a lot. Both sides of the paper were full of beautiful, priceless words that I could actually read, but just barely. Alumni are great.
Subpoint B: You can tag this as: Dislike (not hate)
Alumni judges = scary. Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but I once had this one alumni judge who I happened to know was one of the top ten speakers in the nation according to speechranks the previous year. Cue nerves. For some reason, I get especially nervous around alumni. They know stuff (see point 1). I could do something horrible and then they might hate me, and we don't want that.
3. They don't compete!
You know how it works: every year there are a couple of kids who are just especially amazing and win a lot. Fortunately, those kids are usually seniors. They get to the top and then they graduate and stop competing! It's fantastic! You can still be friends with them, but they don't beat you at tournaments anymore, which is very polite. Thank you, alumni!
As much as I hate to admit it, someday I'll graduate and be an alumni too. I don't know if I'll be the type that never leaves, but I hope so.
You're homeschooled, and we just can't get rid of you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crying in Speeches & When The Judges Cry In Yours

I've watched a pretty good amount of DIs. Back when I used to have one, I would usually watch the entire room. I've also seen several at club meetings and others here and there in competition. Basically, it's a lot of DIs. Do you know how many I have not cried in? Around three. I cry a lot in DIs. And duos. And sometimes OIs. And HIs, but usually out of laughter. But people, I am not the only one.

Interpers are kind of weird, obviously. The good ones pour their hearts and souls into their speeches. The great ones get other people do to the same. Like the judges. Bonus points. I'm one of those interpers who gets very wrapped up in an amazing, good, or even halfway-decent speech, hence the tears. I'm easy. But the judges? No, sir. They are not easy. They are, in fact, hard. Get a judge to cry and you are nearly guaranteed to avoid that ominous Fifth & Below. Of course, you aren't literally guaranteed, because judges are just as weird as interpers. We love our judges, but still. It's true.

Are you the type to cry in speeches? My friends, who are used to my antics, just kind of shake their heads and pat mine when I tear up in the duo I've seen four times already, so I'm probably a bit of an odd case. But other people cry in speeches too, right? Right? C'mon, help me out here.

You're homeschooled. Have a tissue.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

When The Other Team Urges A Ballot In Your Favor

Back when I was non-debater, I jokingly wondered if anyone had ever urged a ballot for the other team. A bunch of people told me that this happens a lot, which surprised me. I found this kind of strange and kind of hilarious. Now that I've been debating for like... 2 months, I know it's true. Even in my limited experience I have had my opponents practically beg the judge to vote for me, to which I offer no objections.

Would it be bad to take advantage of such a slip of the tongue? Probably, but it would be fun too. "Judge, even the negative team agrees: an affirmative ballot is warranted." Hmm... Maybe I'll try that in a practice round sometime.

The very idea that you can tell people to you vote for you still seems odd to me. We don't do that in speech. Can you imagine ending an impromptu by saying, "By the way, I deserve a first place and the guy that went before me should get a Fifth & Below." You would probably get kicked out of the league or something.

You're homeschooled. I'd vote for you.