Thursday, July 31, 2014

In which we're back, at least for a little while

Yeah, I haven’t posted in ages, and maybe longer. And since I’ll be on vacation soon, I won’t be posting again for ages, but if I don’t start to push myself in the right direction, I may never start up again. And let’s face it: the season is upon us.

Last night I worked with Adam Torson on a podcast. I should be able to mix it tonight and put it out tomorrow. We go over the proposed LD resolutions. I had wanted a couple of other folks to join us, but they bowed out for one reason or another. No problem. I’ll get them next time. The thing is, doing the podcast does require a modicum of tech skills on their part, since just recording Skype has been problematic (although I’m thinking it may be because I’m using the Mac Mini, and if I go back to the MacBook it may work better; we’ll see). So you can’t just grab someone at the last minute if they’re not prepped. I do want to get this out before the voting begins. And it will be under the auspices of the NDCA rather than TVFT.

See. I have been doing something.

Yale opens tomorrow morning, and everything looks set. I’ve even got some Sailors signed up. The Pups have a disclaimer they’re asking people to sign, which is a little problematic. More on that as things develop.

Jake opens tonight with the traditional “We Stayed Up for the Midnight Show and All We Got Was Jar Jar Binks” opening. I’ve tried to talk O’C out of it but he says it’s now a tradition, which is his blanket explanation for anything that a normal person (i.e., me, as compared to him) thinks is nuts. Whatever. You try to talk him out of it. I give up.

And for those following at home, the DisAd is now a mere two weeks away. Although a bunch of the DAs have been out frolicking in Vegas with the Nat Soc of the Dark Arts, so for them, it’s already vacation. Me, I’m working up a storm at home. Someone’s got to do some work around here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In which, having nothing good to say, we become slightly rude

I’m trying to get Bietz and Palmer together for a podcast discussion or two on the next batch of LD rezzes. Probably next week. And we’ll see if we can do it in such a way that others can join in. Easier said than done, since I tried this last time and got nowhere, but we’ll keep at it.

Slowly but surely I’m getting a handle on the new DJ responsibilities, and the pressure is lightening a little. I’m able to eat lunch again, for instance, without working at the same time. I’m still finding lots of online articles of debate to share, but I’ve been shooting them all over to the NDCA twitter account. Which means I’ll shut down the virtual magazines next time I have a free minute. They were fun to do, but there’s really no time for them anymore. If I find a non-debate link that I just have to share, I’ll toss it into Fb, which more and more becomes people throwing in links they think they just have to share. The VCA knows I’ve never been all that addicted to Fb, unlike some people who, if you post the slightest thing, comment on it or like it before you’ve even removed your fingers from the keys. I don’t get it. Nobody on there is saying anything all that interesting.

This weekend we’re going with O’C to Mallios’s restaurant in NYC. Mallios is ex-Bronx, alum and coach both, and his place is apparently quite the spot. It’s the first time for me. I have to admit, I like it when a Bronx person goes on and succeeds. It so rarely happens… Not since Bobby Darin, really. Although there are those who might dispute me on this. (Some people just never liked Bobby Darin.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In which we rev our engines

I’m breaking in a new P&L at the DJ. That’s always fun. The best parts are: 1) convincing the money people that the creative people (so-called) can trouble their pretty little heads enough to fill in a simple spreadsheet, and 2) designing a simple spreadsheet that actually can be read and understood at a glance that isn’t filled with abbreviations for things that used to be the standard phrase that we don’t use anymore. This sort of thing does keep one's head in the game.

Drawing close to August 1 means polishing tabroom files left and right. I got a room list from the Pups yesterday; they’ve got enough space to host the Summer Olympics, if they get in the mood. Having access to multiple big high schools in the area doesn’t hurt. I might have mentioned that this year LD is back at Hell House, with Friday on campus, which is my preferred combination. If we had been at The Other Place, I would have had to change the geography a bit, to insure that tab, the ballot table and the judges’ lounge were all right next to one another. The further from tab the judges get, the harder it is to find stragglers. One thing that’s the same in both places is the lack of civilization anywhere nearby. If you’re doing debate in any way, shape or form at one of these schools, you’ve got nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. And I'm assuming once again that there will be no wireless, so you don’t even have Netflix. In other words, go to your rounds!

O’C has gotten Rather Large Northern Borough Roman Numeral Something or Other started on tabroom too. What he’s got that nobody else really has is judges up the proverbial wazoo, which means that certain normal ways of handling hires and whatnot are rendered moot. And of course, he has the Jar Jar Midnight Madness Registration, although I think he set it for the wrong midnight. Oh, great. The teeming millions all get their s’mores ingredients and their bonfires and their single malts ready (okay, the kids at the camps probably don’t do the single malts) and it turns out that the tournament opened a day early and it’s filled up already with Brazilian ex-soccer players too embarrassed to show their faces in their home country so all you get for staying up late is a waitlist notice and that bitter memory of Phantom Menace.

All of this means I need to attack Bump in the near future. Feh. Anyone wanna buy a used tournament?

Monday, July 14, 2014

In which mostly we tell you to go somewhere else

I can't recall if I ever posted these numbers here, although I might have. But I wanted the wider distribution of the NDCA, so I just posted it there: The real issue, following this, is whether to fiat 1-2s and/or 2-3s over 3-3s or less, or solicit choices, or what-have-you. That will be the next order of business.

Meanwhile I'm trying to get Bietz and CP on board for a discussion of the next batch of LD topics, with an eye on turning the podcast into a broadcast. I failed miserably at it last time, but beaten though I am, I remained unbowed (or vice versa). The best conversations will come when they're open to all. Easier said than done, maybe, but we're working on it.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend updating the calendar, and most things have found their time and place. The Pups is heating up, seeing that registration opens in 2 weeks. Theoretically Big Jake should also be heating up, seeing that registration opens at midnight in the traditional Jar Jar Binks "if we're waiting on line at this ridiculous hour it must be good" approach. Whatever. O'C tells me that debate camps around the country have parties to celebrate the start of Jake registration. Which indicates to me that debate camps around the country would have parties for anything under the sun, including throwing one every time an ant crosses the pavement. I really do think, by the way, that since every other aspect of Jake is named after someone or something, the registration should be named after Jar Jar. It just seems so...right.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In which we update on the state of our calendar

So all I said was that we needed to fix up next year’s schedule, and there was a flurry of what I’d pretty much call total unresolved confusion, and the one thing I can categorically claim at this moment is that next year’s schedule is, in a word, unfixed up.

First, there’s the MHL Workshop. The choices are problematic, either too early and competing against Georgetown, which I didn’t even know was a conflict and all of a sudden the northeast is breaking down its doors, or on Yom Kippur, which is a pretty obvious conflict: Georgetown, I don’t know from; God, I have a clue or two. Which leaves a Sunday, Oct 5, as the most likely day. I polled the teeming millions, and got a fairly supportive response for the Sunday date, although mostly the responses ranged from meh to whatever.

And of course there’s the usual question of which comes first, the MHL or CFL in October. We asked EDM, but of course he was sipping champagne and eating bonbons on a high speed train across the Iberian peninsula, and told us he’d get back to us if he ever returned to New York, which if I were him, I wouldn’t even consider.

Then there was the question of whether Newark was definitely changing its date. I buzzed Jonathan and he confirmed it, so now we head off to Jersey the week before Lexington, leaving the week before Scarsdale open. We were going to put a big open UDL into what was the open weekend in January, and everybody loved that, but I’m not sure how they all loved it when I told them not so fast, not so fast, and we switched it. All right, fine. I’m penciling in the UDL the weekend before Scarsdale, and I’ll go whether they have it or not.

Then there’s March. I think what we’ve done is set the CFL Grands for the weekend of the 7th and NYSDCA for the weekend of the 14th, although various heads of debate state have yet to chime in with confirmations. Still, I’ll pencil it in. This leaves the NYS National Society of the Dark Arts district tournament and the NYSFL regional tournament up in the air, but they are small items that can’t really command a weekend of their own, things being what they are.

The moral of this story is, don’t buy any plane tickets for any of the local tournaments in New York that you weren’t going to come to anyhow.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

In which we point out how the DisAd will transpire

We have established some guidelines for DisAd14, which begins in exactly 6 weeks.

First of all, everyone must go on “it’s a small world.” If we have to, we’ll strap people to the mast of the boat, Odysseus-style. And we will not allow Kate to arm herself with a slingshot.

We will not be hiring a wheelchair-bound person to get front-of-the-line access to the attractions. Apparently the Disney organization is now wise to this ruse, and only lets wheelchair-bound people do “it’s a small world” and the Hall of the Presidents. (Then again, if O’C decides not to come, maybe I’ll give Abhi a call, just to sound him out on things.)

We will not tweet every time a certain person on the trip squeals like a 12-year-old girl. We can’t afford the extra data charges.

We will make no snide comments when O’C goes off to get Cinderella’s autograph. Again. (Well, let’s be realistic: we will make no more than five minutes of snide comments, promise.)

JV will not swear once in the presence of a poor innocent child. (He will swear multiple times.)

Seriously, members of the DisAd will be allowed to wander off at will, despite the fact that I have planned out every single second of the trip from the moment of arrival, including potty breaks, catnaps, snacks, sips of water (not so many that they incur extra potty breaks), eye-rolling, mad dashes through the crowds at the end of the day to get on the buses first honed through years of speed-walking through tourist-thronged Manhattan streets, etc.

If anyone falls behind my schedule, we will abandon them without a qualm. This is war, people. Bloody feet don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Speaking of which, with any luck the mini-golf game of me, JV, Kt and Richard will not result in bloodshed. Or at least too much bloodshed. However, it will no doubt be the most serious segment of the trip. This is not a foursome that wishes the other player well. (“Your ball went into the ditch and was carried away by red ants and dropped in front of that rattlesnake? Well, the rules say, play it as it lies. Here, have a tourniquet.”)

We will not lie and say things like, no, that elevator in the Tower of Terror is just decorative, all you do is walk around the hotel and look at the dust and then come out the back. People are still complaining that at the DiDeAd we failed to mention anything about a certain Everest descent going backwards...

We will not wait for an hour in Diagon Alley for the Gringotts ride and then whine that we preferred it back in the olden days when it was the Jaws ride.

If certain members of the DisAd decide to drink their way across the world at Epcot, we will not discourage them, especially if they’ve beaten us at minigolf earlier in the week and we think we can trick them into playing again, this time completely intoxicated, for double or nothing.

We will not complain that we’re getting up every morning at the crack of dawn. This is a vacation, people. If you want to relax, go back to work.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

In which we thank God we're not members of the National Society for the Dark Arts (yet)

Great googly moogly!

TOPIC AREA: Sports in the United States

Choice 1 – Resolved: On balance, students in grades 6-12 in the United States benefit when their schools offer interscholastic sports.

Choice 2 – Resolved: On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.

You know, I haven’t posted a lot lately, being all tied up in the new DJ, but sometimes I realize, I really don’t have to post. After all, you know as well as I do what I’m going to say about these choices for Sept-Oct PF. I barely even have to think it. The only way Choice 1 will ever win the vote is if all the voters are non-PF people who want to punish this upstart division for some perceived sins or other that I can’t imagine. Which means Choice 2 is a shoo-in so that we can discuss…what…exactly? Presumably that pro sports already has enough money and doesn’t need the subsidies. Which is a pretty weak argument against the needs of most local communities to get the income derived from any corporate investment. The thing is, there’s no question that either these are a good idea or a bad idea, because the evidence, once one bothers to look it up, is highly unlikely not to go solidly one way or the other (and, as should be clear, I’m guessing in favor of benefits to the community, but whichever it is, that’s what it is). The facts will be what they are, and once the question of the financial benefit is established, in most civilized societies the discussion would be over. Then again, most civilized societies don't engage in Grand Crossfire. I say we just argue against sports, period. Anything that gives us Dennis Rodman, Luis Suarez and Tonya Harding should be ridden out of town on a rail, obviously.


I can’t wait until Oct 1, when the November topic is announced. I mean, how bad can it be?