Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When Friends Judge You

Have you ever walked into a room where you were about to compete, and then stood off the side and waited to give your speech? You probably have. Or for the debaters out there, have you ever waltzed over to the side of the room that corresponds with your side of the resolution (p.s. I used to know without even thinking that the affirmative always chills to my left, their right. Then I started debate and I guess I was filling my head with different, sometimes less-essential elements, namely how long the 2NR is and the importance of being polite in Cross-Examination and remembering to write my name on the board and the various ways I could force myself to faint so as to avoid the 1AR when it's just one of those rounds, and other such bits of information, resulting in the sad truth that I consistently to this day forget who is supposed to stand where. Yea. I don't know if the directions I gave you before were correct. As credible as bloggers are, you probably shouldn't quote me on that one...)

... where was I? Oh yea, have you ever waltzed over to the side of the room that corresponds with your side of the resolution and started unpacking your giant debate bag for the next twelve minutes? All the time, right? And then you look over at your judges, or the judge comes capering into the room behind you, and you think, waiiiitt a second. Are you supposed to be judging me? And evidently, they are. (note: this author would never publicly advocate biased-judging, or any other breaking of Stoa rules. Except for possibly... never mind. I'll tell you later. Maybe.)

I've had various judges of questionable knowledgability of myself judge me multiple times. I guess they're able to put any and all biases behind them, such as that one judge that I've now had four times in three different speeches. The highest he ever gave me was fourth, which he then crossed-out and switched to 5th & Below. It seems that he's really good at not playing favorites. Or he's not and he just doesn't like me. Apparently being friends on Facebook doesn't mean anything these days. When did that happen?

I guess the best kind of time a friend of yours can judge you would have to be at a tournament where it doesn't matter and you don't have tab all mad at you guys (you know how tab is. They're great, but they adhere to certain rules and stuff). Perhaps at a camp tournament, or even a Round Robin. In such non-qualifying scenarios, I've seen clubmates judging clubmates, friends judging friends, Parli partners judging Parli partners, ect. It seems that when it comes to practice tournaments, generally my friends feel that they are still too biased in my favor and therefore do not judge me. Not sure if I should be grateful. Probably yes. Anyway.

It is kind of fun to have judges you know. Maybe you feel a little more at ease, as if you're just giving a speech for a friend back at club. Maybe you feel a little more bold, so you make tons of jokes because you know your judge and you know he'll laugh. Maybe you'll try to bribe them beforehand, which I have never ever ever done like ever but it didn't work anyway so don't tell on me. Remember, friends are fun, not food. Or something. Judges are friends, not food? That kind of works.

You're homeschooled, and I'm judging you right now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brand New Speeches

It's exciting. You've been to the library a thousand times, you've found a book that smells like a potential interp, you've cut the thing and printed it out, or you've selected your platform topic, written the thing and printed it out, and now what do you have in your hands?

Nothing. So you walk over the printer and pull out the pieces of paper with the fresh ink and now what do you have in your hands?
And brand new speech.

Just like that. Whoa. That was cool.

It's exciting! I get excited just thinking about it. Next year is upon us, and that means lots of new speeches for lots of people. Just today I was editing one, and just last Monday I was reading several for parents and coaches. Did I mention this is exciting? I know I'm easily excited, but seriously, it is.

It's fun looking for speeches, and it's fun cutting them, but it's also kind of frustrating some times. You know that moment when you've looked virtually everywhere and can't find any interesting piece, or any topic that seems to fit you? Or when you're past that stage and you're not sure how you can get your speech to be less than 12 minutes? I've been there many, many, a lot of times. But it's cool because you're past there now. Hypothetically. Because now you have a speech, and that's the best! You get to practice with characters, you know, different voices, postures, mannerisms, all that interp-nerd stuff. And blocking. Blocking is great. I recently worked out a pretty sweet sword fight scene in my duo for this year. At least, that's the goal. It will be sweet someday, we hope. And I have to practice holding different kinds of guns for another speech, as well as falling in a pit, riding trains, and possibly a horse. It's fun! Or you get to work with gestures, what you want to emphasize, brainstorm ideas for your boards, and make sure your argument is really clear in all those great platforms you're planning. Of course, the really fun stage is coming soon: memorization! Yea, I know, memorization is not that fun. I mean, being off-book is definitely a great feeling, but the process of getting there can be tedious. Still, having new speeches is great.

Why? Well, besides the technical stuff we covered, brand new speeches are fun because you hope great things will happen. Right? You have a new speech. You're set. You can only go up from here. Isn't it exciting?

Someday, speechranks 2012-2013 will be filled with speech entries. And that won't be for a few months, so lots of those speeches will be kind of oldish and memorized and blocked and cut and stuff. But right now it looks something like this:

Because the speeches we have are so new that speechranks hasn't even heard of them. And probably no one else has either.

You're homeschooled. You new that.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Terrific Debate Words

HEY YOU GUYS. Do you know what today is? Today, friends and acquaintances, officially marks the official day of the official 200th post of Stuff Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Kids Like!!1! And I haven't even run out of ideas yet! The 100th post doesn't even feel that long ago. Feels like, I don't know, October or something.

So I'm a little excited. And those of you who have been here before may be thinking "Psssh, non-unique." Well... yea. I'm customarily excited. Maybe you weren't thinking that. Well, guess what? I was. Why? Because "non-unique" is and has perpetually been my favorite debate word. Other dear units of language include "permutation," and the more recently-discovered "parametricize," which may/may not be spelled that way (feel free to correct me), and which never came up in TP. A shame. (I just remembered that LDers tend to not be fantastic at spelling anyway, so... whatever)

Now, there are a lot of words in debate. Especially if you're a fast talker. But, there are, in addition to normal-people-English, terms that don't come up an awful lot. Some of them are awesome. Some of them are not awesome. There is a key difference. Notice the word "not." There it is. There's the difference.

But you may be wondering, well hey. What is it that makes words terrific anyway?
Allow me to demonstrate. There are essentially three ways a debate word can be a great word:

1. Splendorous Sounds
If a word sounds about 6.022 × 1023 times more complex than it actually is (ie, parametrics), or perhaps if a jargonistic phrase is made to sound so important no one besides you could possibly comprehend it (ie, burden of proof, emphasis on the burden) or maybe if such a word/phrase is in Latin (ie, a priori), it probably fits this category. For those who may not be aware, parametrics refers to a narrowing down of the resolution. I only learned it like, a month ago, so I get excited (I know, non-unique) about explaining it. If you're in LD and you're in Stoa and you're on the aff, then you can parametricize the rez (Privacy is undervalued.) to say that privacy is undervalued in the US, Nebraska, Antarctica, your backyard, and/or wherever your philosophical heart desires rather than saying its undervalued all over the place. Because we're debaters, there's some dispute about whether this strategy is legit, but clearly it's fun to say and is therefore perfectly acceptable in this expert blogger's opinion. Policy-ers will tell you bloggers are not credible but psssh. What do they know? Moving on. Burden of proof means what you have to prove to be right. Over in TP land, the aff has the burden to prove that such and such policies actually should be reformed and the resolution is therefore true and they win. A priori means firstly and importantly. Easy, right? Other terrific words include specificity, vagueness, extra-Topicality, and mutual exclusivity.

2. Dashing Definitions
Some terrific terms are easy to understand, but not necessarily to pronounce. Or if they are, they should sound cool anyway. Contrariwise, a word could, potentially, sound only semi-cool but mean something interesting and therefore be considered terrific. This is where expressions like "non-unique" come in. See, it sounds cool, sure, but the reason non-unique is my personal favorite ever is that you can use it in regular conversation all the time! And yea, hard-core debaters find ways to use any debate term in real life all the time, but I've already used non-unique twice in this post not counting the times in this paragraph and that one other time. So ha.

3. Spiffy Spelling
Kritik. Why the heck is there a K? In fact, why are there two Ks? Who comes up with this stuff?

Actually, according to my good friend Wikipedia, it's derived from the German word Kritik, which means critique.

Ohh, I see how it is. English wasn't good enough for you, was it, founders of debate theory? Ridiculous.

But then again, the funky spelling is a little cool. In fact, I might even go so far as to say it's terrific. There. Category 3 has now been covered.

That's all I got for ya today. Thanks for coming by. Do you have a favorite debate word? Another justification for what makes a word amazing? Do tell.

You're homeschooled, and pretty terrific yourself.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Asking For a Copy of the 1AC

oh, sticky notes. I used at least 3 or 4 every round. Both sides. And another for blog post ideas.

This is a digital recreation of my flowpad and a sticky-note containing Cross-Ex questions in my not-as-long-ago-as-I-tend-to-think days as a TPer. A 2N, in fact, who, as the 2N, would ask the 1A questions in the Cross-Ex following the 1AC so her partner could madly scramble for arguments. You may have a suspicion as to where my priorities seemed to lie. And guess who almost-always remembered to ask for the 1AC?

My partner, as I was sitting down after forgetting AGAIN despite the red arrows, stars, exclamation points, and additional note-to-self. Of the 24 rounds we did in competition, I might have remembered 3 times. Maybe. I feel like that's a generous number. (and yea, apparently this sort of thing is a theme with me)

However, despite my tendency to forget to ask for the 1AC, I was always happy when one of us remembered because it can be pretty helpful. You know, when you're listening to some wacky plan and you're thinking things like, "What? Is that really what they're advocating?" or maybe you notice something weird like, "There was no evidence under any of these advantages." or maybe your mind is buzzing with 2,059 DAs and you're trying to determine the 4 or 5 you'll have time for and you're so busy thinking that you totally miss an entire argument. It happens. And you lean over to read your partner's flow and of course he missed it too. This is when asking for the 1AC comes in handy. Just fill in the blanks during the next speech or prep time. Easy.

Additionally, it gives you the chance to evaluate evidence and sources. "Aha!" you say. "The 1A intentionally mispronounced the name of their solvency advocate, so I didn't catch before that he is the man largely credited as being the most uncredible man on earth! I'm so glad I remembered to ask for a copy of the 1AC and got this brilliant argument!" or "Aha!" you say. "There's a whole non-underlined and therefore not-read section of this card that explains why everything in the underlined section is false! This is beautiful! I'm so glad my amazing partner remembered to get a copy of the 1AC so I could see this!" It's moments like this that make it all worth it.

Recently, as you may have detected, after a season-or-so in TP I switched over to LD (meaning I either joined or left the dark side depending on who you ask) and GUESS WHAT YOU GUYS. They hardly ever ask for copies of the 1AC AC there! I mean, I guess I kind of already unconsciously knew that, but still. Why this is the case is beyond me. Maybe because there are less evidences to evaluate, solvency advocates to utterly smash, or subpoint taglines to miss. Maybe. I don't know.

Moral of the story is, as is so often the case, don't be like me. Be more attentive. Ask for a copy of the 1AC because... because, why not? It will only benefit you. Or it won't. It can't hurt, right? I mean, paper cut maybe. But yea. It's worth it. That's why we like doing it, after all.

You're homeschooled. I'm pretty sure, and I didn't even have to ask.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doing Speeches No One Has Ever Done Before (That You Know Of)

Why is it important to us to do speeches that no one has ever done before? Well, if you've ever seen an interp on Pride and Prejudice or Little Women, then you know it's not always important to everyone to do a speech that no one has done before ever. But sometimes it is. And we like it and this post is therefore Topical. So ha.

My new LD coach told me I'm not supposed to end arguments with So ha, but then it became kind of a joke in our club (not that I was saying it). Plus this isn't really an argument. If he's reading this... ha. That's all I have to say.

Sorry. I actually have more to say about the post at hand. On the screen. I guess if you're reading this here blog on a mobile device (or caressing your laptop... never mind) it could be both at hand and on-screen, but only about 4% of you guys do. Which reminds me. If you are of that 4%, you may officially consider yourself a CHSADH, for Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate Hipster, which is also a valid moniker for those of us who insist on doing speeches that no one has ever done before that we know of, even though it's not always important to everyone to do a speech that no one has done before ever. But sometimes it is. So ha.

Advantages of hipsterness? Well, it's certainly admirable to be original. For some of us, original means controversial, but for others, it means thinking outside the box. My first interp/speech ever was on a novel entitled "Bloody Jack." If you're wondering why I thought that would fly in the Christian homeschool community, I have no idea. But fly it did. However, judging by the title alone, I'm faiirrlly certain I was the first to run that piece by script submission. My first HI was so obscure, one judge went so far as to say it wasn't an interp at all! Talk about non-mainstream. (also, he gave me third place. Apparently he thinks non-interp interps are at least a little bit cool) My first platform was a little odd as well, but, in my opinion, in a really fantastic way. It was also quite political with lots of numbers, and not one of your typical girl OOs which tend to be on abstract and fuzzy concepts. But at the time, none of my speeches were "girl speeches." Not only because I often had more guy characters than girls in interps, but also because the nature of the pieces and speeches themselves were abnormal. What can I say? I'm a speech hipster.

Sometimes. Apparently at other times, I'm not. I realized this after selecting a platform close to my heart that had evidently been covered before, though not quite over done. Yet. And I realized this after selecting one interp and being told that it was very popular a number of years before, and then discovering a few months later than it had won Nationals many millenia before I even knew speech and debate were separate entities, let alone that I might enjoy both of them. Silly Chandler. In fact, I didn't find out someone won with my piece until last Nationals when I thought "AND IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN" and then it didn't. But I'm cool with it.

Other advantages include avoiding the risk of the ballots telling you the person before you had the same piece or topic. That's gotta be annoying. At the last NITOC, if my calculations are correct, approximately 18 ballots could have been noted with such remarks, and 18 saying the speaker after you had the same topic. All of these ballots were in finals, by the way. It could have happened a lot more often earlier on. And whether it did, I don't know. Oh by the way, at least two of the ballot-receivers were not negatively affected but in fact won their respective events. But still. The comment would get old.

Additionally, it's fun to be weird. You're homeschooled, for crying out loud.
I don't have to tell you twice. But I will.

You're homeschooled, for crying out loud, and it's fun to be weird.