Thursday, October 18, 2018

In which Cookie Monster is spotted in the vicinity

It was Tuesday night when I first couldn’t get into tabroom. I had cleared some of the Tigger waitlist and was going back to finish up. At which point the bottom fell out of everything. If you’re reading this, you probably had the same problem. Eventually we learned that one had to clear cookies to fix it.

This was obviously a problem and not a user problem, otherwise it wouldn’t have been widespread, nor would it have occurred on the 3 computers I accessed, as well as my iPad and my iPhone. If you’re interested in learning more about the subject, there is actually a website called, which in its way reveals that there is also a non-naughty application of Rule 34. Meanwhile, resetting cookies means reentering your passwords on, oh boy, everything. On every device. Is this some secret plan on CP's part to wreak vengeance on the debate world at large?

In any case, getting halfway through a waitlist is like getting halfway through [please enter your preferred humorous metaphor here, as I’m very busy these days]. But I did finally finish it up. I left a bit of room for latecomers, but the main lot has been determined. I did the debate divisions and Congress; JV will handle speech (if he hasn’t already). There were very few suspect entries, at least as compared to Rather Large Bronx, and a number of those proved to be real despite their look of shenaniganation.

The big thing this time will be partial obligations in PF. While this is pretty much becoming the rule now in LD, schools that only do PF will be rather taken aback by it. I don’t think it will have much affect on the actual rounds, but there is a perceptual aspect to it. It shows that PF is taken seriously, at least on the back end. No, it doesn’t eliminate parent judges—nor would I want to—but it does clarify who’s doing what, as did the mandated paradigms at RLB. Did the paradigms help much in striking? Hardly. Could it have helped teams prepping for a round? Absolutely, if they chose to use it. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t.

Meanwhile, this Saturday is the first NYCFL debate event at Regis. 3 rounds, 2 or 3 levels each of PF and LD, lots of newbies, judge training, paper ballots (because God himself couldn’t get the Regis wifi to work) and a superior judges’ lounge. Not that we let the judges lounge all that much with a 1-4 ratio. With luck, tabroom will be working. If not, I’m sure there’s index cards in the building somewhere. And plenty of cookies in the judges' lounge.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

In which we debrief on RLB

I spent way too much time last night and this morning not getting into tabroom. I was halfway through clearing the Princeton waitlists when the guillotine blade fell. I would log in and immediately my session would expire. I’m trusting that this will be fixed by the time you read this. Otherwise I’m quitting forensics and getting in competive checkers.

Meanwhile, back at Rather Large Bronx…

I talked plenty here about the leadup to the tournament. A big one like that has leadup up the wazoo. Much time is spent going over entries, massaging judge lists, that sort of thing. And then the day arrives, and you get down to it and actually run the damned thing.

Tab was pretty much a five-star operation: Kaz and Pennsylvania Jeff on Policy, myself and Catholic Charlie on LD, and the Paginator and a new guy, Nathan from Orlando (who says he’s never been to Disney World but he has been to Epcot, which I let pass because, well, otherwise he was a fine fellow). This is the kind of group that can handle any contingency, and if there isn’t any horrible problem, can create one in the blink of an eye. If I hear one more joke on how your beloved LD team has perhaps in the past managed to delete a round, I will [insert appropriate turn of phrase here; I don’t want to stop and think of one at the moment]. For us, the complication was prefs and partial obligations, which I had done once before at 2018’s Bigle X. But that one had the dreaded 9 MJP tiers, in which mutual is defined as almost mutual (and which I’m trying to talk Kaz out of for 2019). Here, we were sticking with the norm. And stick we did. Those judge assignments were amazing. The best one, as it turned out, was for the sexydecimal round, where it was pretty much perfect when it was double-flighted, and when we did it as a single flight, it was also pretty much perfect. A lot of people got home a lot earlier on Sunday as a result.

There seemed to be fewer incidents overall this year. One LD judge, all on his own, ate 45 minutes off one prelim round as he noodled to come up with a decision. I called him into tab and suggested gently that he might want to speed things up in the future. (Well, maybe gently isn’t the right word.) He had a nice 0-4 round after that to help him resolve the path he would take going forward. Afterwards he was the first to hit start and the first to come to a decision. If you need me to gently suggest anything to someone, please let me know.

In other news, the usual parent judges tried to weasel out of Sunday morning, although we were nice enough to purge the worst of them and post a standby list. We’re not totally evil. The Paginator, who at one point looked at this blog’s recent entries and was disappointed to note his absence, acquired the new nickname of Marty Meat. The most interesting discussion was asking what the advantages of having independent entries might be, given all the disadvantages (like the one out-of-state school that suddenly was revealed as chaperoneless). We talked about with Rose JT about salvaging the Monticello tournament next year; some good ideas were proposed. (I really missed that one this year; it’s a sentimental favorite of mine.) There wasn’t, to my knowledge, a single evidence-violation protest. Something tells me that this particular strategy for winning rounds has made its stink pretty well-known around the activity. Every single PF judge had a paradigm. And of course, every LD judge. Not surprisingly, a few old hands were unaware that the wiki was kaputi. “Oh, no, I have a paradigm. I’ve been judging since the Coolidge administration.” Keep up, people! Coolidge is no longer in the White House.

By the way, think of that. Silent Cal. How much would you give to have that be the present Chief Executive’s nickname. And Quite Flows the Don…

Monday, October 15, 2018

In which we check in, because we should

Big Bronx in a nutshell:

We did well. There were issues—there always are—but nothing terribly serious. And there were great moments of wonder, as when we decided to give a single-flighted Doubles round a go, and it came out perfectly sweet. I admit to checking it more than once out of sheer disbelief, but it was what it was. And it was good.

But the best part of the tournament, at least for LD, was the end result. Two young women fought their way through a tough field of national competitors and made it to the final round. Then, in a show of solidarity, they decided they wished to be co-champions. I love what this tells other young women in the activity. That you can do it. And that you are not alone. Is there a better message?

More details to come.