Wednesday, September 29, 2004

How to be a debater

If I had to outline certain defining characteristics for being an LD debater, this is probably how I would prioritize my list (which has, as it turns out, exactly one item).

#1. Debate. Debate, that is, as a verb, imperative. I attribute it to the lack of good TV on Tuesday nights, but I have never had a team with so many people showing up for meetings, and never debating. For some reason, of course, they nonetheless consider themselves adequate to judge others. Last night, having a tutti meeting, aka a tutti fruitti, we had people hanging off the rafters. 4 years worth of them. Half of them haven't debated in this calendar year, and show little interest in changing the status quo. Two of them volunteered to judge at Regis.

So I guess my next rule is, no judging unless you're: 1. a senior whose survived three years of me; or 2. an active debater. You prove yourself to be an active debater by having debated since 9/1/04. Inactive debaters will not be solicited as judges.

Inactive debaters, in my estimation, fill a much needed gap. I certainly don't need them at the "lecture" meetings, where I talk endlessly and amaze myself with my garrulousness. I can't imagine why they would want to listen to the 88th lecture on the definition of rights, or the 195th browbeat on signups. And I don't need their input at chezes, because there's only room for real players at the chez, not fellow travelers. I guess there is a place for freebooters at the brainstorms. The brainstorms are, theoretically, beneficial to all of us as we explore the deep background of topics. It's educational. That's about the only place the debateless are welcome.

I'll start acting accordingly next week. Meanwhile, no one identified the Zardoz quote. I only put it there because I'm tired of everything being too easy. Henceforth, whenever I blog, I'll do a new wave, and vice versa.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ac-cent-tchu-ate the negative

Last night's chez was an illuminating affair. The topic has resolved itself into very simple brackets: should a society value higher the claims of self-determinism or social welfare. Sort of like Debate 101. Or maybe Debate 1. Not that cases will all be so elegant—Justin warned us of the feminist negs, for instance, thin slices of the pie used as full pie plates, a word for which is had by your local pomos—but at least the underlying goals aren't whacked out. Which makes it so easy to work with the novices.

Speaking of which, we lost a few of them this week, but maybe not. There has been much tsimmes over the lack of an announcement of the second meeting. (There is no greater joy than a non-event fomenting revolution. Even the cavalry known as the former Javelin charged in.) In any case, the Novice Coordinators will go shrimping over the next few days, collecting their catch at a Monday afterschool meeting. We are still encouraging raw recruits to fall in. And we will almost definitely be folding a couple of Middle-Schoolers into the group. I'll have to talk to Kaz about that, as she also has had Middlers in NFA's program. Whatever's fair, we'll do. Should be interesting.

For the record, I am exceeding dubious about a certain young woman's ability to identify wave files. Unless there's a list somewhere that I don't know about, the new one should do the trick. For that matter, I am exceeding dubious about a certain young woman's familiarity with Big Blue Bear, or whatever the hell it is. Can she also identify each of the Teletubbies? Read a book, consarn it!

And finally, is it really true that Captain Ben has gone over to the dark side?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The thunder down below

So I just sat in this meeting for an hour during which my stomach rumbled incessantly, and at high volume. People look at you when this happens, wondering what it was you ate for lunch in the cafeteria, hoping that they didn't have the same thing. It's nice to be back in my office again.

Debate team meeting number two is tonight. Two novices have actually signed up for the team, so I'll remember their names, plus there's Perry, which gives us two Perrys, and no poker player worth his salt would forget that, especially if he's holding three of a kind. There were some other folks too, who I'll know when I see them, if they return. One of my novices, it turns out, is a junior, so we'll fast-track him. Maturity is something of an advantage in this game, and an unfair one. A stiff learning curve for the junior then, but he strikes me as up for the challenge.

Meanwhile, I've switched to the Prince of Persia. Neither Ursula nor that thing in Montro's belly were responding to my attacks and it was getting tiresome. And the clicker that tells you how many hours you've wasted on a given game was running out of digit space. Of course, the new game has all the controls in a different place, and I gather that mastery of the medium requires mastery of the idiom. So be it. Until I get so frustrated that another disk goes flying out the window.

Tomorrow night, a chez moi for topic discussion. Justin seems to have a nice fix on the neg that should pin things down for everyone. And so to Yale...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I am atwitter...

... over the prospect of tonight's first meeting. I am so atwitter that I've opened up the wave file db again. The new one is an easy voice (if you're an old fart) but a tough film.

By the way, never actually say the word atwitter out loud. Nothing good will come of it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Let us pray

Saturday was the CFL directors' meeting. And a splendid time was had by all. To begin with, Marcia discovered square bagels. These are not to be confused with Manchester's albino bagels, but they did set a comparably goyische tone for the proceedings. There was lots of juggling of dates and locales, perhaps the most important being the creation of one Grand Grand rather than two separate Grands, this in response to some conflict with an NFL thingie. The debaters amongst us ironed out most of the debate dates. Lakeland is now in February, with Scarsdale filling the open slot. This leaves an October weekend perhaps permanently open. The MHLs have landed, and Bergenfield's been cleared up. Not much left to do but show up.

More discussion of the use of old OOs in Dec than, literally, any other item. Who knew how tender a topic this was? The National CFL wants to allow it, and that will probably ensue. Nats is in Milwaukee next year, for those who are interested. Not a bad venue; if you fly that Midwest Air or whatever it is, they serve homemade cookies. Now that's aviation!

O'Cruz says he's now looking at March again. Ah, the Wandering Tournament. I remember reading about that in the Bible. He could also conceivably take the open October weekend, but that would be a stretch planningwise. Speaking of planning, the Bump invite is now done, including the pdf. Has anyone ordered the food yet?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Meat and potatoes

We seemed to agree easily on the aff Tuesday night. Privacy in support of a variety of ends. Why privacy is important enough to be worth it in the first place. Folks have various ideas about what its worth is, but that's the gist of it. And it is an easy topic to research, insofar as there's about a bazillion articles and books out there. As we always say, read the articles for their positions, not for their quotes. Still, the neg is a little foggy, at least in my mind. It's that bright line connecting the pieces that I'm missing.

The Hunk looked loaded for bear. I'll tell you, one day you're an Ewok, the next you're the VBI Hunk of the Day. Where do you go from there? Of course, Ewok is the best nickname since Wheaties, and I can't even take credit for it.

Saturday is the CFL meeting. I have to say, I have an awful lot of conflicting schedule information. When is Lakeland?When are the Bergenfields? The MHLs? Regionals? Lots of stuff to be ironed out.

I gather that the Nov-Dec resolution ("Using guides in videogames is morally corrupt") will have special meaning to some of us. There is a feature when I save KH that shows me the number of hours I've spent (AKA wasted) on this thing. Who are those hearty souls that play these games without help? I think I'm sort of tiring of this one, and have a few others cued up. Different universes and all that. Too bad I don't know anything about sports. Those games look really good. But just when I'm about to throw Donald and Goofy to the wolves, I make a breakthrough and run through a new hour of cutscenes (thank you, IGN). We'll see.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Filling up the empty hours

Since the inaugural meeting is next week and not this week, I had oodles of time to upload the pdf of the speech judging rules from the CFL. Oodles turned out to be less than sufficient. I can see the thing when I open it straight, but it keeps getting "damaged" when I ftp it. So, if anyone wants it, I'll mail it to them. It's way too long to print multiple copies.

I've coordinated my thoughts on privacy for a, well, private meeting with the Yale folks Tuesday. But they do need to get started. I still haven't sorted out how I'll separate oldbies from newbies in the meetingage at the school versus the chez, but I'll figure it out eventually. They all do need to be together a little bit at the start so that the newbies will recognize their elders, if there's ever a lineup or anything.

In a rash act of forensic violence, I ripped Holy Cross from the sked and added Villiger. In either case it's a pay-as-you-go for Speechifiers, but Villiger remains strong and HC has gone to hell in a handbasket, or so I am told. No point in not spending your parents' money on the good stuff.

If any sophomores are actually interested in volunteering for scut-work team positions, btw, now is the time to let me know. And if one more person tells me it's Spock on the wave file... Of course it's Spock, you ninny! You should give me a crappy prize for that one. It's a nice way to ease the newbies into the site, n'est-ce pas? Vulcan utilitarianism.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Slouching toward Montrose

So we've set the inaugural meeting for Wednesday at 7:00. That's always a fun event, seeing the eager faces of all the prospective newbies. We also get to see the eager faces of the returning oldbies. One wonders who won't be showing up this time out. I've got a few guesses, but I'll keep them to myself. I've alerted the capitans and hardware engineers to set things up for the library.
Polished up the invite some more. I think it's ready to pdf. Hell, we've already got an entry, some guy from Arizona. If registration continues at this pace, we'll be filled up by Yom Kippur.

Finding myself desperate for distraction, or distracted for desperation, I visited the VB site. Jeesh. I noticed there was a loosely inaccurate version of our invite, for one thing. I was afraid that maybe Bent or Matt might have taken over Hunk of the Day from Ewok, but young Insler's place in debate legend seems secure. I was seriously amused, or amusedly serious, over the discussion of elitism in debate. Let's think about this for a second. A few dozen schools in the country can afford to send kids on airplanes to faraway hotels with hired judges for a selected group of tournaments. Most school systems can barely afford books. How many parents can or are willing to pay the bucks themselves? Elitism? Not deliberately. Social Darwinism. Mais sur, mon ami.

It does seem like VB is the website to be if you're a debater with an enormous amount of time on your hands, in any case. One longs for the days of the LD-L, when the baloney was delivered straight to your mailbox. I'm not quite sure why I go out of my way to annoy myself with anything relating to "the national circuit."

George Soros rules!