Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Debate update and Meeting with big guy

It kind of looks like I'm getting the OK to stay with D1, D2 and Rex out west between nationals -- YEA -- now all they have to do is qualify, which looks pretty good. It took some negotiations with Super Dean, but so far so good...

Now all I have to do is to get the OK to book the tickets myself and not use the expensive and terrible travel agent...

Also -- I have a meeting with big guy in about 3 weeks to talk about my plans for debate. I'm thinking more and more that what I want to do is to build a program someone would like to take over... there are several amazing coaches out there who would probably love BNCC, and if we can develop a solid program for them to step into, we can lure an amazing faculty member who also coaches debate. Debate and teaching philosophy aren't really compatible career paths, so I get little extra out of doing it for the next 10 years that don't have after the lat 9.

"Mr. Wilson" (not his real name...) has, it seems, withdrawn from the debate course. This is sad, but kind of ok as he had a bad habit of not wanting to do full practices, leaving early, missing because he had to work etc.. .of course, the real rant comes if you ask D1 about Wilson's "need to work" -- suffice it to say that D1 both needs to work and manages to debate, and well. It is pretty much his position that Wilson is either lazy or disorganized -- and that Wilson's father can support him, while that is far from D1's situation... and, hmmm -- D1 is being offered scholarships, Wilson will be at BNCC drifiting along for a few more years --- hmmmm....

Although I generally like Wilson, he is a challenge to travel with, as he has some peculiar eating habits. Also, the Rev and Wilson are pretty much arch-enemies... so Wilson's departure resolves that little quandry.

This weekend we get to debate in BN state for the first time this year -- after jerk host changed the rules for his zillions of tournaments, we don't go to them -- and all other BN fall tournaments that had debate conflict with better tournaments in other states within driving distance... so we go there instead. It will be fun to put these two new teams into competition... it will also help me to think about taking Herbie and the Russian to nationals...

Next weekend we go to Notre Dame, with the A and B teams -- I've got to call my aunt to let her know we will be there -- that should be fun... my family hasn't met debaters yet... I'm sure they'll get an insight into me, and I know she'll have some interesting things to say about them -- she's always an astute judge of character.

"normal" life

Today, I only worked from 8-3:30 -- how did I manage that?

Hubby was trying to call me, getting irritated that I wasn't answering the office phone, and I was already on the way home... yea!

He's napping, we are planning to go out to dinner someplace I like, but haven't been to since I started taking Prilosec (my favorite drug ever -- eat normal food and NOT puke in the middle of the night... YEA!!). This is something normal (i.e. non-debate coaches) do... hmm

Sunday, January 29, 2006

16 years ago, or so

Warning -- mushy stuff below -- if you are one of my debaters -- you might want to skip this and keep your most recent meal down...

The first time I visited hubby in MTN city was about 16 years ago this weekend.

He made me spaghetti, we listened to good music and I met the oldest cat in the world for the first time (she was a kitten then... ).

So much has changed, so much is the same... he's still adorable, smart, challenging, passionate and funny. He's still worried about taking care of me and has to do things the hard way if at all possible.

He's no longer in the military, we make more money and have two additional felines (old blind one and too many toes) -- and have lost both my sister and the cat who hated me. We also are living back in the city where we grew-up -- which is both strange and not strange at the same time. He's now the one finishing his degree at BN university, where I started as a freshperson 20 years ago.

16 years ago this weekend, I was returning from MTN city to BN city on a United Airlines flight --- I knew I'd be back in MTN city soon, and that things were going to be different from now on. I had no idea how different they would be -- life with hubby is pretty much like that, an adventure and one that I need.

He says I'm "calming" -- (I, being stubborn, call this boring) -- I know he's the instigator Pam once told me I need to keep from being really a "stick in the mud".

What is pretty freaking amazing is that in a couple of weeks I'll have known him for 20 years -- over half my life. I'm sure I'd be a very different person without him... Probably much less idealistic, more stodgy and a lot less well-educated. I'm sure I'd never have ended up teaching philosophy and I know that I wouldn't have coached debate had I never met him.

Kind of a "Sliding Doors" (movie reference) kind of post...

Public / private personal stuff

One of my favorite rant blogs BitchPhD brings up the problem of situations where people read the blog and make conclusions...

Her situation is pretty extreme, in that a sister-in-law pretty much advised her husband to leave her and take their son with him. She did this, she said, because she read BitchPhD's blog and concluded that their marriage was unhealthy.

The problem is that Bitch PhD's blog, like many others, is a mechanism by which she can blow off stress and possibly find support for her problems. It isn't a complete picture of their relationship.

Although it may seem like I blog about EVERY thought I have -- this isn't really the case, and I'd just like to go on the record now to say that I too blog about stuff I'm worried about or am pissed-off about --- no conclusions should be made about my overall life based on these posts.

Of course, some things should be constant ---- I love both hubby and my debaters (although, clearly not in the same way..). My students will continue to amaze and frustrate me (often using the same mechanisms) and I'll continue to think of BN state debate as "the special Olympics of debate" -- as long as that isn't seen as insulting or pejorative to real Special Olympians..

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Adjunct blues..

This is my last semester on "probation" (what my CC substitutes for the tenure-track) -- at the end of this semester they'll decide if they should keep me or boot me. All indications are that they'll keep me -- I've made pretty decent contributions to the college and my students don't complain very often (1 reached VP level, another dean level -- that's it, not bad for 200+ per semester, plus 100 over the summer..).

Although my current state and school seem to actually treat adjunct instructors as people who need both decent pay AND benefits, it is still the case that they have some problems -- mostly ones of predictability of course load etc...

In my former state, things weren't nearly as rosy -- that is where I did most of my adjunct work.

In my former state, the union didn't cover adjuncts. We were pretty much on our own-- short notice assignments, no offices and embarrassingly low pay for teacihng more students. I wasn't teaching at high-profile research instittuions, rather I was at an average urbanish public university, a semi-selective private university and a combined community and technical college without much focus... The best pay of the bunch was $2,000/semester at the public school where adjuncts were limited to 3 courses per semester and 1 over the summer. The private school was $1800/semester with a 2 course limit and no summer. The community college was about $1300/quarter, with a limit of 9 classes per year.

The math maxed out to about $24,000 per year, with the only "benefit" offered was the opportunity to contribute my own funds (no matching) to a 401K.

What used to make me the most angry was that the tenured faculty at the private school taught the same number of courses as I did. I made $12,000 for the year, they made $60,000. They weren't big publishers -- no rock stars in this department... in my discipline, if a rock star were to enter the state, the only option would be the place I did my grad work... So, these guys sat on a few committees for the extra $48,000/year they got paid above and beyond their teaching. I could have gone to a lot of meetings for that kind of cash.

And.. yes, they had adjuncts teaching business ethics. I took business ethics from an over-worked adjunct. He was great and probably the most demanding teacher I had --- little did I know that I'd be in his position later -- as my adjunct work was at the same school where I did my undergrad...

I have to say that I am very thankful for my opportunity to teach at the philosophy factory--- it is often like working in a factory... but at least the pay is regular, the dean and VP reasonable and my colleagues have a good sense of humor about our factory work. It is kind of my fantasy that hubby could get a job in BN state and I'd be able to stay at my philosophy factory until I'm teaching to supplement social security... my worry is that it won't work out that way... only time will tell.

maybe hubby will forget the grad grind and play poker and video games for a living...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Academic Ignorance

Sometimes I am amazed at how sheltered some people are.

The blog below finds it ironic that a university would like to teach business ethics on a navy base. I think the irony is supposed to be something about teaching ethics to memebers of the military.

What I find so disturbing is the image of the military... killing machines, etc...

Having been a military wife for about ten years, and having actually taught on a military base in Nebraska, I can tell you that members of the military are generally thoughtful, considerate and polite as students. They respect the authority of their instructor and they are motivated to get good grades, as the military won't pay for grades under a C.

In fact, the best class I've ever taught in logic was on a military base and met late on Friday afternoon. They were a cohesive group who could follow directions. They also had a great sense of humor and really seemed to appreciate the fact t hat I would come and teach them at that terrible time of the academic week. I'd teach every Friday from 4-7 if I thought my class would be that good.


Debate Controversy

This is kind of an Us vs. Them kind of thing in this state.

Hubby and I want to coach our teams to be competitive on the naitonal level. We have also had significant debate experience outside of BN state. In our genre of debate, in BN state, this is unusual. For the most part, the coaches and students in BN state aren't interested in what is going on out there... in terms of arguments, styles of resolutions and methods of preparation for rounds.

In our genre of debate the resoution changes every round. In every other genre, they debate the same topic from September to March/April. It is the change of topic that I think makes our genre of debate very educational and challenging. Instead of doing in-depth research into one topic for the year, we do research into a wide variety of topics. We are also not allowed to bring "printed material" into the debate chambers. The rules themselves do not say that we can't consult files or others, including the internet, before the debate.

The controversy I'm contemplating is about, what we call, "coaching in prep". The idea is that, between the time of the announcement of the resolution and the first speech of the round, the team has either 15 or 20 minutes to prepare to defend or oppose the resoultion. As you can imagine, this can be a stressful time in the tournament. Most teams on the national circuit do some level of coaching or consultation in prep. Usually it is mostly a short discussion of possible cases, checking with the coach to make sure the plan and advantages make sense etc... If a team is going to be competitive, they can't be taking dictation from the coach... it doesn't work as the debaters can't defend it.

Most people in BN state think that it should not be permissible to coach in preparation time. In fact, it isn't enough for them that they don't want TO coach in prep, they don't want anybody else to do it either. They will give teams a loss they think have done it, whether or not they can prove it. A school that hosts a ton of little tournaments actually prohibits coahcing in prep in their tournament rules. We disagree that this is good debate, and as such we don't go to their tournaments.

The underlying problem with this attitude is that it comes down to accusations in the rounds, from debaters who dont' have anything else to use to oppose the case. They will say that case is "too good" and imply that somehow the case is thus illegitimate.

TOO FUCKING GOOD -- get that... from an activity that is supposed to be educational. Would I give a paper a C- because it is too good.

Going along with this belief is the belief that our students shouldn't be allowed to consult anything other than the dictionary in preparation time. NOW, we are expecting our students not to talk to anybody about the case they are about to run, nor should they have prepared anything to look at during preparation time. The only resources they have are one another... and they are forced to rely on what is in their heads. For what has been called the "ipod generation" this is pretty scary.

The result is that there are some pretty bad debates that happen in BN state, so bad that someone I met recently called it "the special olympics of debate" and, he was right...

To be fair -- not that I really want to be --
Their argument goes as follows, the competition should be between the debaters and nobody else. The nature of parli is that it is impromptu debate, not policy debate. They think that the lack of coaching or files in prep will require students to learn before the tournament..

Of course... I have a few answers
First: they are college students, they are not experts in Africa, Asia and nuclear arms etc.. why not let them do research and write it down and bring it to the tournament. Why not let them talk to someone who may be in a class that could help them?

Second: if it is coach vs. coach, suck it up and BECOME a better coach. Also, it can't be the case that the coach just tells them what to say--- they'll lose.

Third: We have young debaters who may need some help or reassurance and others who may need someone to moderate their prep time. We also have students with learning disabilities that make it difficult to concnetrate under pressure. If I can help them to get into a round, won't they learn something and isn't that what the local boys say is lacking in our method?

Fourth: as hubby says, during prep they are highly motivated to learn. Tell me any other teaching time in which you have their full concentration for 15 or 20 minutes. Most of the time you have that kind of attention while answering questions about what will be on the test... and even then, they don't give it to you.

Fifth: Why the fuck do you care how MY debaters prepare? If they wanted to stand on their heads in the men's room for 20 minutes, would you care -- no... you claim it isn't about competition, but you get pissed when my community college kids, or my new debaters from the snotty school beat your kids. You know why they beat them -- it is because the judges they win don't have your screwed up view of debate. They are usually "lay" or "community" judges who simply recognize good arguments. hmmmmm.

Sixth: This smacks of elitism to me. IF the U of Big State were to start doing this (yea, first they'd need an actual coach not a van driver..) you'd be ok with that -- if snotty school from south of the metro were to do it, you'd say it is ok... if school that thinks it is much better than it is were to do it, you'd reconsider.. BUT should a community college get out of their place as the easy wins by doing educaitonal things, stop the presses and call them cheaters.

This was the basic controversy last week when I gave my rant about BN State championships.

Debate --update

D1's situation has been resolved with a good meeting with big guy -- I'll take D1 and D2, Rex and the minister to a tournament in Indianna in a couple of weeks.

Next weekend we have an in-state tourney with the younger ones -- D1 and D2 aren't going, as D2 needs to avoid having Friday absences, as he needs to pass Spanish to graduate from high school :)... So I'll have Herbie and the Russian, Rex and the minister and possibly D1 and TN along for the ride... should be fun. It will be Herbie's second tournament, the first for the Russian, the minister and TN ---

I'm also working on getting adminitration OKs for my nationals travel plans. The thing is that the two national tournaments we are going to (provided D1 and D2 qualify, which is pretty likely...) are both in Oregon. One in Eugene and one in Corvallis. Both are a fair drive from Portland and as such the travel plans will make it impossible to make classes on several days. My thought is that we should stay out there between the tournaments, save some money and travel hassle etc... I'd only be coming back for 3 class meetings (two on Tuesday one on Wednesday) as it is. The boys can't stay out there without me, as I have the credit card... Hubby has to be back, as DHC needs him to lecture the Friday between, whereas I need to be in Corvalis early afternoon of that Friday... eek.

The other thing I want is permission to buy hubby a ticket and to buy all of our tickets with the school credit card instead of using the travel agent. The travel agent is another rant all together, but the basic problem is that she doesn't get us good deals (I find flights, call her and tell her what to book -- instead of just putting the info in myself..) AND she charges an extra $30.00 per person to book the flights. This could mean up to $300.00 extra on this trip alone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Slacker wife

So -- I suppose the fact that the following are all currently true makes me a slacker-wife...

1) My kitchen is a mess, and has been since I got home from wherever we were last weekend.
2) My husband washes the clothes, I'm supposed to fold and put them away -- but we are getting our clean ones out of the basket and have been pretty much since school started.
3) It is 1-24 and we still have a Christmas tree in the living room.

I may take down the tree this weekend, but if I don't it will stay up until at least President's day, or hubby's birthday... in February.

I kind of think what I should do is to take the Christmas ornaments off of it and put other things on it... we could have an Easter tree, a "summer -- school is out tree" a 4th of July tree etc.

Days off????

My last day free of debate or school / teaching was before school started. This is the third week of school. I also spent nearly a week of break traveling for debate. While part of that was recreational (ocean day) it is still work (that I love... but I also love watching DVDs, but haven't done much of that lately)...

Friday would have been my first day off -- but my teaching circle has to meet then...so, SATURDAY -- YEA!

I'm not sure what to do with this wonderous day --- I do have new Seinfeld, Arrested Development and House DVDs -- one season of each... maybe I'll be comfortable if I watch all three at the same time.

It wil feel especially good after the week-o-meetings I've had this week...

Today: meet w/ room person for debate tournament AND standing committee meeting --
Tomorrow: meet with dean of students about debate eligibility standards, the architects (why -- I don't know..) and big guy. On top of this I think my teaching circle e-mail list was screwed up (probably by me) so I need to call the circle tomorrow to make sure they can make a meeting on Friday... eek.
Thursday -- no meetings I know about --- only class prep for next week and prep for teaching circle
Friday -- (my brain time -- dissertation work!!! yea!) and then teaching circle at 3:00.

Saturday -- complete veg time...

The next stretch of debate trips is a bit easier...
St. Cloud is one night away
Notre Dame, we'll be staying with my Aunt Hil, and home on Sunday afternoon
State, although probably awful, is only 2 days long -- and President's day weekend, so I'll have Monday off.

then, a weekend off....

then we host a tournament

then we have a weekend off...

then (I hope) we go to Oregon and don't come back until we've done two national tournaments... wow.

then, about 3 weeks off until the last national tournament... then it is just about finals week.

Debate --Maybe, just maybe

D1 and I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with the big guy -- I'm not sure what will happen, but it could resolve the problem.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Debate & education

So many debate rounds have an "education" standard -- which I think is pretty stupid and silly. Often my education has been decreased by my participation in debate (i.e. not being able to get my homework/ dissertation work done because I'm watching another fellons voting round or something..).

Were I a bad judge, I'd just scowl and vote the other way on education... I'm not that way...

I do think that debate travel does educate our students in surprising ways...

D1 & D2 would have gone much longer before they knew the Pacific Ocean is salty.

Also -- Rex, D2 and I would never have had the great mini-class in Indian/Pakistani/Nepal/China relations that we had from our server at the best Indian restaurant in the world. I don't know if Rex and D2 learned anything else this weekend (except that I'm not good with the details of a rental car--) but I know they learned about the perspective of a native of Nepal -- and how India and China need to be balanced or Nepal is toast..

and, the food was freaking awsome.

ahhh, home

Got home about 11:30 last night, it felt so good.

I'm actually taking the morning off... it is actually kind of hard for me. I know I have a bunch of stuff to do at school. I also know that I have junior debaters to coach tonight, they'll be competing in a couple of weeks and need more work.

Still no resolution to the D1 situation. I'm not sure how long we can stay on hold with him -- maybe another week or so before I say it is too late... the problem seems to be D1 not making an appointment with the person they need to talk to. Until then, we can't form partnerships for nationals etc...

but -- for now, I'm going to read some blogs and watch the TIVO, and not think about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Debate -- thoughts of coaching at a CC

There are several challenges---
• You always have freshmen and sophomores, never juniors and seniors… by the time you get them broken in and winning rounds, they are gone and beating your new freshmen and sophomores.
• Many teams and quite a few judges look down their noses at your debaters and your judging. D1 often makes them sorry --- which is a fun moral victory – but, he is the exception.
• A high teaching load makes it hard to travel for competition. With a teaching circle and debate (which is a class with homework etc..) I am still teaching three classes in my major. This is a normal teaching load for most colleges… I have about 125 non-debate students in three sections. For my discipline at my school this is a small number of students, for other disciplines this is a lot.
• It is good that we can get students debate scholarships… it would be even better if some of them had grades good enough to take them.

I’m seriously thinking about not coaching next year – just calling off the debate thing all together. I don’t yet have a solid group of debaters for next year… I haven’t asked for a budget… although that wouldn’t be a “the end of the world” kind of discussion… “I’ve decided that I’m not doing debate anymore, it is too much work and I simply don’t have the time to do it and finish my dissertation… by the way here is X thousand dollars we won’t be spending this year, spread it around…”.

My reasons for thinking about this…
• My dissertation – teaching doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming for the next couple of years… I should be able to find time to do more dissertation work if I didn’t have many weeks where I’m traveling from Thursday to Monday.
• Assuming Hubby finishes his, if he gets a job outside of BNstate, I’ll have to go on the market again – and doing so in my discipline, even on the CC market is kind of hard. Granted, I’ll have a bunch of teaching experience and good recommendations from BNCC,
• The D1 situation makes me sad--- and mad – especially knowing I’d been deceived.
• See the first three points above..
• The travel makes a normal family life difficult – and I might actually want to have or adopt kids sooner or later. The travel also makes a social life or hobbies very difficult.
• I don’t want to do a half-assed program – and jerk host school makes it so that we have to travel to do decent debate.
• Hubby is getting pressure from his advisor (“dick-head of the conference”—DHC) DHC makes some good points…. Namely that hubby isn’t even getting paid to help me and debate is taking away significant time from his work.
• For goodness sakes, it is Sunday morning, 7AM and I just woke up in a Super 8 in Seward, NE. Today we will do a tournament AND drive most or all of the way home.
• Debate politics in my home state SUCK. They think NIFA is “knife-you” but they are 100 times worse… NIFA is dysfunctional for sure – everyone admits that -- BNState is malevolent and condescending at the same freaking time.
• I’m on my third piece of nearly disposable luggage… i.e. I’ve either outgrown or worn out several suitcases in the last few years.
• When I am at home: I sometime think about time in terms of “rounds”, my alarm clock as a wake-up call, get confused when I can’t find my room key on my home key ring, I look for the debaters before I leave Target or the grocery store, I want to call my debaters about 30 minutes before I leave home to make sure they are up…
• I’m 37 – is this what I’ll be doing at 47??? I really hope not. It isn’t helpful for my discipline and I really don’t want it to be helpful for my career (i.e. if I leave BNCC I’m NOT going to start a team again…).

So – why have I done this for 9 years???
• The students – getting to really know and help Rex, D1 (maybe help.. we’ll see), D2 and some others has been very worthwhile. They are smart people and very worthy of my time and effort.
• My debate coach friends are great – and especially at this tournament I get to see them all… from my mentor Mr. Fashion, to my cultural lesbian friends and all the rest – they are great people who are the sorts that are willing to put themselves out for students – willing to travel weekends so they’ll have the opportunity to compete and they are genuinely caring people. These are the ones I’ll miss –
• I’ll miss seeing former competitors and people I’ve judged now judging. There is one girl here who seems to credit my ballots with teaching her to debate. I’m not so sure I really WANT credit for that, but it is probably true. Her coach was one of my debate friends – and I’m not so sure they did too many practice rounds when this girl was around… she’s sweet and seems to have learned a lot from debate…
• I like debate itself. Maybe not all the forms are my favorites – but hearing a well articulated argument – thinking about something in a new way etc – is a very good thing.,
• “Hashmere”, “palm trees don’t exist” “the Pacific Ocean is salty” etc… debaters say the darndest things…

What are my options:
• Quit now – tell them I’m not doing the debate class next year and that I want another philosophy class..
• Hang on for a year – tell the speech people and my dean in the fall that this is my last year, that I’ve established budget lines and the class and that if they want it to continue I’ll help them search for someone to teach speech and coach debate.
• Quit after nationals in March – tell them that Century debate has had it’s last trip with me. That I’m retiring as a debate coach and want to stay home and spend time with my cats…

I think the only reasonable option is the second one…. It gives everyone tons of notice etc… and gives them the chance to choose to keep it going or not.

The problem may come if they really want to keep me doing it. What will they have to do?

• Get me a co-coach… If we are going to do this, we should do 4-5 tournaments per semester. I’m not sure I can reasonably travel to more than 3 per semester… and not back-to-back weekends.
• Release time for debate – no more than 3 philosophy classes to teach per semester. I could do 4 philosophy if someone else was doing the debate class – I suppose…
• Release me from committees etc – my only extra-curricular thing would be debate.

Time to get in the shower, get packed, go win a tournament, stop in Des Moines for some sleep, drive the rest of the way back tomorrow to be at BNCC in time for class, only to come home after debate practice for the newbie debaters about 9:30 PM.. aargh…

The good news is that a former competitor I judged a lot will be here today with a couple of new teams from BN state--- it will be GREAT to see her… again, the female coach friend tournament for me… Of course, the bad news is that if D2 and Red don’t do well we can leave here at 2:30 or so and be home tonight… is that really bad news… well, their not being in elim rounds is bad news, but being home isn’t. Divided motivations or home as a consolation prize, you decide.

Debate -- at home trauma

MB fell while teaching kids to skate and injured her arm. Her cousin/landlord/boss or whatever was out of town, she called hubby who spent yesterday running around taking care of her and everyone else. MB is now staying with us at home – who knows when cousin/landlord/boss will be home, or when MB can function. Rex is her boyfriend, and MB is the debater I’ve had the longest in BN state… and a really good friend as well.

She is now resting comfortably at home with hubby...

Debate -- octs

Elim round… I should be flowing now
Oh my God – this MO is telling me that if Hitler were in prison AND got out, he’d be able to vote --- thus, we shouldn’t allow felons to vote.

And I thought snotty school from BN state was GOOD. They are pretending they are actually IN the US Supreme Court. This isn’t APDA debate. This stuff may be good for them, but it isn’t the way we do things in our form of debate. I don’t think anybody will be surprised by the results…

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Debate - new friend

So -- I intrroduced myself to someone today who shares my view of debate in BNState -- he characterized it as "the special olympics of debate". I think I have a friend... yea!

His teams aren't that good, but they will be sooner or later. He understands the BS that IS debate in BN state, and objects. Sometimes (when he can get funding) we'll have a decent judge and a friendly team on the circuit.

Life is good...

and, I haven't had to judge ANY LD rounds so far. Yea me.

At a tournament with strikes and MPJ, I'd be insulted. Now, I'm feeling lucky.

If I'm not in the elims --- I'll have had a great day...

Debate - revelation...

I just realized, "Voldemort" and a former very unethical and ass-hatish competitor from my almamater look very alike.

It is scary, asshat is slimey in the same way as "voldemort". He makes up crap in the same way as voldemort would if given the chance and he is pretty darned stupid like asshat...

eek -- separated at birth story on the way... I wish I had a camera, I could get a picture of this guy --- it would be creepy for all of you who know Voldemort. Double creepy for me, since I know them both.

Debate - the sacary thing I just said

It is January 20. I had the weekend off before school started, and before that my last day off was last year.


Debate coach qualifications, IV

Not being picky about hotels, when the Super 8 is the best one in town, and it's expensive rooms are 61.95 / night....

Being able to separate your friendships from their good/bad votes on your team.

Being able to go for a long time without a day off.

Debate log, Concordia, part 1

Debate – round 6

To the tune of “Ice Castles”… kind of… I’m tired.

Oh Please, please let this round end
May it never come again
‘cuz I don’t want to remember…..
How it feels to hear you
De-ebate so bad

When I hear you,
Through the eyes of blah

I really can’t do the rest of this – it is just too bad in this round. I think the “education” standard and voter has been turned… for me…

The poor kids on the gov are getting waxed like a surfboard.
They are getting beat so bad their coach could roll them up and tie them on top of the van.

“If they are going to buy crack with my tax dollars, I want to know about it”. The best line from the LO..

I’m bummed Rex and D2 aren’t having a good tournament. As of round 5 they were 3 down… I’m not so sure I expected them to tear things up, but I really hoped they would.

I do think this has been good for D2 and Rex, D2 gets to run what he wants and Rex has a pretty good partner. I do think that with a bit of work together, they should be able to break at NPDA.

What kind of gets to me is that they have hit a really good Truman team rd. 1, a pretty darned good William Jewell team, rd. 3 – a Truman team they beat rd. 2 – one other team I don’t recall.. and Carleton (round 5). They are currently debating UNLincoln… which would be nice for them to win, rah rah rah…

I am currently watching a team from Truman, they are pretty good – and probably underrated if they are hitting this team now – I pretty much decided the round after the LO, and for sure after the MG – that didn’t answer any of the case turns, DAs or Topicality.

I kind of feel bad for the PM in this round. She is trying hard and seems to have a bunch of talent, but her case and plan sucked – and her partner sucked even more. I hate to bash on the poor kid, but he pretty much repeated case in the MG, but that is not answering the decent arguments from the LO.

When I see a team like this, I wonder if she isn’t paired with him out of a basic sexism on her team. This is a real problem in this activity. Women are either seen as “bitchy” and thus are not as good at debating, or they are seen as weaker debaters than they really are and paired accordingly.

After round 6….
Well – it is official, D2 and Rex were either 1-5 or 2-4… and I’m a bit bummed. They say they lost a couple of close rounds (3 & 6) – makes me wonder if it isn’t the suit factor… in a close round, there is an underlying classism that says that someone in a suit is a better debater. I don’t know whether to fight it or give in to it…

I think tomorrow night we will have enough time to go to Lincoln for Indian food.. that would be nummy…

Saturday ---

Since D2 and Rex didn’t break, we aren’t in parli debate today… that means D2 doesn’t debate at all today. The reason he isn’t doing LD is so that he can do homework – hard to argue with ☺..

Sometimes I wonder if I want to do this for too much longer. I usually think this way at this point in the season… since this is my 9th season, it is little wonder…

What IS really nice about this tournament (needed to get me in the mood again… )
• Seeing competitors I judged for four years judging and coaching. At least two or three of them are in formal assistant or director positions, others are in less formal but very important volunteer positions. They are writing ballots and probably making decisions as good as I made when I started judging them (kind of good… but, maybe not great… hmmmmm).
• Seeing the women of Concordia – This is the one shitty-ass town I’d move to in this state… because I could work with the Concordia team. There are MANY smart and talented women on the team and quite a few of which have remained for a while to coach. As a group, they are wonderful – because they remind me that women can survive in this activity… when I read crap about people who are being sexually harassed in debate, I have to remember Concordia.
• Seeing my friends – my good ones ☺ -- I got to chat with the brilliant coach from KC and two brilliant and funny coaches from Omaha yesterday. The male Omaha coach (MOC) has known me for a long time and that is always nice---- I learned a lot from him and seeing him is kind of like seeing family… except that he is funnier and more sarcastic than my family. He also laughs when I say things like “sometimes I wish my debaters didn’t have mouths that worked except in debate rounds”. I also get to see a brilliant coach from CA—which is a kick… he’s good at being the guy in charge, keeping things on time. He is the ONLY person programs should
• It isn’t a huge campus. The rounds are close together and it isn’t cold this year.
• We are probably going to the world’s best Indian food tonight… YEA, the only good thing in Lincoln.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rant update..


According to a pal I'll call Linus, all is better in the jerk host changing the rules department. YEA... he told me he'd let me know the details in person... must be too jucy to put in e-mail. I'm sorry he won't be at Concordia this weekend, I'd like to hear it sooner rather than later. Linus' team will be there, maybe he gave his traveling coach "bam bam" the scoop...

I suppose the bad news is that we have to go to BNState tournament -- bahhhhh humbug...

The good news is that we have enough so-so teams that we are probably going to win the darned thing. Every year the good teams lose and the novice teams win the tournament. This is our year... I love our novices, but they aren't exactly debate gods.

Debate coach qualifications, III (or so)

Infinite patience with debater BS -- both from your own debaters and others... and, on occasion, the ability to act on the impluse to tell a debater they are being an insufferable snob and directly insulting you.

Sharp eyes, for the jerks who want to sneak around and change the rules on you...

The aiblity to be a "freedom fighter" for your kids.

The sense to occasionally buy them army men to play with on the way home...

A sense of humor when the army men attack your position in the front seat of the car.

The ability to love your debaters even in the cirucmstances when the can't BE your debaters.

The ability to nap with your eyes open during a round you've heard MANY times in the past.

Procrastination station, dissertation style

I'm having a hard time focusing right now on my dissrtation... it is my first set of dissertation hours for the semester, so getting back into the swing is a real challenge.

Maybe if I post a little about what I'm distracted by it will help --

WARNING, WHAT FOLLOWS IS A PRETTY CYNICAL RANT ABOUT MY LOCAL DEBATE CIRCUIT -- AT LEAST IN THE FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS. IF YOU CAN'T LOOK AT MY CYNICAL SIDE, DON'T READ ON... Some of this may be egotistical and slanted, it may also be flat-out wrong -- and I hope the situation doesn't occur... but, this is what is bugging me at the moment, so live with it.

BNState tournament seemed to add a provision that the host jerk knows will cause me not to bring my teams to the tournament. He did so by adding it to the on-line event description and most likely without discussion at the BN state meeting in the fall. The good news on that front is that I just got off the phone with the nice and reasonable woman at BNState org saying that they passed increases in the trophies for debate and added speaker awards... FINALLY.

I refuse to let host jerk exclude me and my teams because he has a paternalistic streak. Frankly, I think part of this could be that hubby and I remember when host jerk was a competitor. Hubby beat him on a regular basis -- now his life is coaching debate and he has a reputation at his backwater school as being a good debater -- it must suck for the guppy when hubby shark moves into his pond. He and his mentor at backwater want to keep debate the way they think it was done in about 1997... sadly, they weren't good at debate THEN, why the hell would they want to KEEP it that way.

I also think the most slimey way possible is to add it to the event description on-line -- no notice or anything. I'm sure his idea was that it would slide by and then he and his hand-picked judges could burn us with it like the clumsy-ass way they did it at his own tournament when it looked like we could break.... State actually could be kind of fun this year in a project way -- I can load my 2nd speakers up with a huge coaching in prep / consultation of materials GOOD block and turn the whole thing into a miserable experience for the twit. It will include evidence about how the rule was added in the month before the tournament and not included in the original invitation. Add to that points about small-schools, national competiton and debate paternalism and we have a really good fight. Additionally, IF I get ballots (BNstate tournament regularly leaves debate judges out of the debate pool... big issue... long history... lots of BS) I'll have four opportunities to write essays about how this round could have been improved by coaching in prep.

Maybe I'll just take D1 and D2, they can go 0-4 after breaking at national tournaments and the same weekend they will be qualifiying for NPTE -- just to be a study in contrasts. I'm considering not going with them just to prove that they don't need to be coached in prep... It will prove the illegitimate nature of the state tournament and give us a good reason not to host it next year or to go back in the future.

Also -- I'd love to give this crap to the BNstate major newspaper that did a story on the team a couple of weeks ago... watch the organization go down the toilet when it comes out that they are a buch of cheating ass-hats.

In all honesty, I'd love to see Ms. Reasonable take care of this in her own pleasant way. She is really so nice, everyone loves her and she's on my side. She really doesn't care about our minor debate tizzies -- and she wants to see more schools at BNstate tournament, so I think she'll get it resolved. Also, it will be fun to make host jerk know he was wrong and have to admit it.

ok.. I'm feeling a little better about this.. end of cynical rant mode...

Also, D1's issue should be resolved one way or the other soon. I can't say any more than that -- except that, if you are reading this D1 -- I did try my hardest to make it work out for you with the big guy. We should really talk honestly about all of this with the goal of changing things for good.

I'm not feeling ready to go to Concordia -- because I'm NOT ready... and neither are my teams. Rex is doing a new kind of debate, mostly because they need him to enter to make the field work... he has such a good attitutde about it and we have a new case that is right up his group-X alley... all should be good.

We are also formulating new team eligibility rules. The Dean of Students at BNCC wants to meet about them next week, which should be productive. Big guy is right, we need to have a set of academic standards for an academic activity -- I'm sure Dean of Students can help me finalize them... besides, she and I should be friends -- it will be very helpful if we are....

Now I'm stressing because I pissed away half of my dissertation hours... dammit. I should get started and take parts of it to Concordia with me...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Debate -planning Concordia

Well, looks like D2 and Rex will be our team at Concordia. D1 has to get things straightened out at home before he can go on the road again... hopefully it will work out.

D1 is a basically good person. I really, really, really hope he can get it worked out. It is out of my hands now, I can only do so much ---

D2 and Rex will be a hell of a lot of fun to travel with -- they are a bit bonkers, I'll need to keep them from climbing trees and stuff in Iowa...they've done it before -- of course, I didn't see it for liability reasons. Thank goodness D2 is finally an adult -- it seemed like he was a minor forever...

I can do one more weekend out of town, then I get one off and have a short weekend -- YEA. After that we'll probably go to a tournament where we stop in with my aunt on the way... that will be fun for sure, she's a kick and the boys will love her. It is always scary when debate meets my family.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Debate update, Once again to the big MO, II

D1 got sick this morning and had to pull out of the tournament… it really sucks because we wrote a good case last night… which is unusual … to pop out a new case in the third day of a swing…

Oh well ---

Octs… these are some smart, funny and entertaining debaters – but I really don’t care – I’m SOOOOOOOO tired of LD… mostly the same shit, different mouths (teams mostly run the same positions – some well, some not…)

Looks like D1 may stay home next weekend…

Maybe Rex and D2 will be The Team – we’ll see. Rex has been dying to compete with one of them…in fact, he actually said (in jest) “I’d kill one of you to debate with the other”…

Then… in the hall – some over-privileged jerk kid starts to hack on Community Colleges.. of course, he doesn’t know shit about them -- and his attitude really pissed me off, so I told him so.

Of course, I am judging one of his teammates in quarters --- and she was standing right there. She felt the need to apologize about it to me. It wasn’t her fault that he’s an ass – and I would never hold her responsible for something like that.

Of course, the supreme irony about the situation is that one of their primary coaches would and HAS held all kinds of stuff against D1 and D2, and pretty much told them so in a variety of ways.

The fun bit about all of this is that I got tired of the BS comments and attitudes of one of this kid’s judges – so I decided to fight back. My goal on every ballot where I judged someone from their school, I made comments that were digs at the person who judges and coaches them… They are always, “it is lucky that I don’t judge on X, because some jerk judges do… “. I figure if the ass-hat hates D1 and D2 anyway, there is nothing to lose --- and, if the kids bring it up, then he’ll have to either defend himself or at least see how wrong he really is… So far I’ve managed on all but one ballot – so there are 2 sets of prelim ballots and a few elim ballots with these comments in their file… yea me.

So – tomorrow we head home… we got a new transmitter for the DVD player/computer so we can watch videos on the way home and hear them on the radio… we also got a new Family Guy DVD AND new Seinfeld… that should last me the 8 hours home from here and the 14 hour round-trip next weekend.

Next week should be a treat – very short and way too much to do – really… no sleep between now and then… ick, or “ish” as we say in BNstate---

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Debate -- quote book

So -- we always talk about the "quote book", which is a mythical thing...

For those of you who have never done this part of my job, debaters are very clever and verbal people. They say lots of fun and funny things -- which is probably why I've been doing this so long...

I decided today that I needed to get some of this down --- and my blog was as good a place to do so as anyplace else --

"I write in cursive" & "the cat was a stray, he was giving me that look"

"Palm trees don't exist" & "The pacific ocean is salty"

Me: (from a practice round a long time ago) "they killed Jesus because he was mean to people"

"I don't have 'humanism' anything", "did you spell it with a Y", "no", "dumbass"

"I'd buy you a green house, but not a real green house that's cruel"

Debate -- better today

Today D1 was doing much better -- some good e-mail news and some sleep helped....

He's running a critical Aff -- and in semi-finals the neg challenged him saying that if it is really a sincere advocacy, he'll conceed the round... D1 then stands up, says that he is right that they should just go talk about it and walks out of the round.

dammmm --- by most/all accounts he was winning the round.

The judges went neg -- which is what they should have done.

D1 made a point, which was the reason -- and along the way made a splash....

yea, good debate coach day ----

and, I got most of my grading done that I brought along--- big yea!


Tournament one wasn't so good -- D1 had a bad LD day and it seemed that every dorky decision went against him...

Tomorrow is another tournament, hope it goes better --- trouble is that it is the same set of judges.... one told him that his case was a problem because it was "too true" -- WTF, this is LD, there is not even a norm that says that you have to have a debatable case --- and, this judge's debaters are running minor repair kinds of cases. hmmmmm

Sometimes this activity leaves me wishing I could vote someone off the debate island.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

One way to make my point...

A friend of mine at a snazzy private college was getting static from his department for refusing to come in on Wednesdays when he traveled over the weekend. He'd be in on Monday afternoon, all day Tuesday and Thursday until early afternoon -- then he'd leave for a debate trip and come home VERY late on Sunday night.

At one point a prissy little prick who isn't at snazzy private college made a series of comments about my pal's cushy schedule, getting to travel and all -- on the school's money. This kind of irritated my pal, who was a year or two behind the little prick on the tenure track -- and my pal was worried that his "absences" would be seen as lack of work.

Of course, since I also traveled for debate -- I knew that while it may be very enjoyable work -- travel for debate is not a vacation and requires responsibilty 24 / 7. My pal has been a coach much longer than I, and he knows what a toll this can take on family life. His Wednesdays were family time, as his wife's schedule was flexible and he had a pre-school aged daughter.

Eventually prissy prick said something like, it really isn't that bad is it -- My pal decided to put an end to the comments in a very simple way -- he offered to call the prissy little prick at every significant point in the trip -- at home -- so, he called when he left campus with the team. He called when he got to the hotel after 10 hours of riding in a 15 passenger van (it was late by prissy prick's time..) he called after his 6:00 wake-up call every morning of the tournament, and when he went to bed at midnight... he also called when he left the tournament to drive 10 hours home and called when he got back to campus (about 3 AM). Prissy prick took all the calls, wished my friend well and when he figured out this was my friend's routine 2-3 weekends per month, was my friend's biggest supporter of debate and tenure... probably because he was afraid they'd never find someone to replace my dedicated pal --

Just for the record

It is a long-ass way from BNCC to Columbia, MO -- especially when you can't manage to leave town until afternoon.... this part of MO is VERY dark between towns, dark enough to be "creepy" and to have a scarecrow jump out at you and try to kill you, like the start of a horror movie...

or, mabye it is just driving induced hysteria...


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Work Resolutions

This semester I resolve to:

1) keep my dissertation hours when I am in town

2) use my tournament off-time productively

3) Keep my office organized

4) Stay focused when I am in my office.. (thus, also entailing that I avoid too much of the evil caffene temptation lurking around the corner at the coffee shop... makes me a bit nuts.

Get this...

A good friend and colleague was looking at my schedule the other day and noticed that my debate classes are at the same time. She thought that I had a pretty sweet deal, and expressed some envy over that to her ever-so-sensible partner. Then she realized that I also have the teaching circle gig as a release time responsibility AND I have to travel with the debate class---

that was the end of her envy...

I really do like her, maybe she'd like to go to the out-state but nearly local tournament with me to see how just a 1.5 day, 4 round tournament goes----

on second thought, maybe not -- I kind of like that at least ONE person feels a little envy over my life...

personally, I'm envious that she gets to stay home weekends and gets to leave campus before 6 pm..

Maybe next week..

Debate update, Once again to the big MO

You know when Kirksville, MO is on your WAY TO someplace (not the hell that forces you to stop) - that you are going too far in that freaking car..

D1 got invited to a prestigious tournament this weekend.... so, of course hubby and I are going. This time tomorrow we'll be close to being there... the lovely tournament hotel, probably has wireless etc...

Next weekend I take D1 & D2, Rex & Mr. Souless to a tournament in my old stomping grounds... will be nice to see the old friends again... I'm not so sure Rex Mr. Souless will be up to the challenge, but only time and the tournament will tell. Mr. Souless hasn't competed before, but he is as naturally born a debater as D2 or hubby... so it should be interesting. He's intense on a normal day, I can't wait to see what he's like with a little adreneline in him.

I'm hoping to take D1 & D2 and maybe another team or so to Notre Dame -- if we have the cash and aren't exhausted...

I'm also hoping to have 4 teams, D1/D2, Rex /Souless, Herbie /newbie, Mr. Wilson /new kid -- at a fairly local tournament next month. If they all work out, or don't fall apart -- we could have a decent nationals squad. I'd love to beat some of the fake/cheating CCs out there with a team of students whose ONLY school is BNCC.... that would kick ass.

Also, D1 got scholarship offers from two more schools this week -- one private school in CA, another public school in the inter-mountain west. Pretty freaking cool to have 4 offers... he's hoping for Whitman -- I'd love to see him get it and he seems to be resisting getting his hopes up...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Debate Quotes, 1

"The Pacific Ocean is salty."

"Palm trees don't exist."

D1 and D2 at Fullerton...

D2: I can't find "humanism" anything
D1: Did you spell it with a 'y'
D2: No
D1: Dumb-ass

New Challenges

I'm facilitating a Teaching Circle for the first time this semester. It is nice because it is part of my teaching load, and I'm pretty good at the organizational and detailed work that it includes.... of course, I may be wrong -- we'll see.

The thing that has become a new challenge is that I've figured out that a fellow-facilitator is also an anonymous academic blogger... I'm sure that this person and the blog go together.

My first impulse was to send this person an e-mail of support. This is a person I've liked and enjoyed in a previous teaching circle and someone I respect even more after reading their blog.

Then I realized that the person probably doesn't realize that I'm one of their regular readers -- as I don't ever read blogs from school, and my home ISP is a major national provider.

I also realized that revealing that I'd figured out their identity could result in this person losing a nice support system as well as a great outlet for frustrations I'm very much in touch with...

so, for now -- I've decided to leave well enough alone --- I just hope that when I see this person in the course of our teaching circle facilitator meetings, that I don't reveal something they've written on their blog....

and -- if you think things sound too familiar, leave me a comment :) --- clearly, you've found me too and we'll meet for some crappy cafeteria food...

First Days...

First days of classes today and yesterday.
Good intentions
High hopes
new notebooks
Fresh faces

The same old problems
Work, school, family problems
no money
poorly prepared

will this semester be different?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Weekend plans

Here is the travel schedule, ie. what I'm doing on my weekends between now and late March...

This weekend: off, home from tournament on Thursday
Drive to MO
Drive to NE
Drive to in-state tourny
possibly drive to IN
either state champs or fly to WA
host tournament

of course, after the second nationals I'm done with debate and my teaching schedule includes 1 MW afternoon class and 2 T/Th am classes -- sweet!

No Mommy, don't make me go...

I'm SOOOOO not ready to start school on Monday.

I don't even know what my assignments will be for Wednesday for my MW class, nor do I know what my Th assignments will be for my T/Th classes... aargh.

I could use anothe week, just one more, but BNCC has a ridiculous habit of runnint 17 week semesters -- with some extra days off... sadly, many of these are Fridays, so my m-th schedule means that I actually end up teaching more... of course, this semester a couple of them are Mondays (MLK and President's day) -- so that messes up the courses I have sections of on MW or T/Th....

Things could be worse, sorme friends are finding out they are less than 75%, so are in danger of loosing health insurance, while many others are looking for full-time permanent work and would like to stay doing exactly what I am doing right now.

I'm also taking the summer OFF (first time 100% off since I was about 14, mabye 13) -- of course, if "OFF" includes writing a freaking dissertation (no kidding... really writing the damm thing) -- then I'm Off... Also, planning a couple of trips and a conference---- hmmm I've got to be sure to reserve time to write... maybe we'll go camping and I can write in the woods. My new laptop has amazing battery life, and we go car camping so I can charge my battery as needed.

How sad, I'm already thinking about summer and spring semester hasn't started yet---

Friday, January 06, 2006

More Debate Coach quals

You also have to be able to:
Find food for debaters at any time, in any bizarre city.
Be comfortable in hotel rooms, even the cheap ones you can afford on your budget.
Get up at 3AM to make a 6AM flight ---

Debate days... part 2

The second tournament went well -- D1 and D2 were 4-2 and dropped in octafinals. One of their prelim losses was to a team in the top 3 or so in the country--- and, by all accounts (even that team) it was a close round, and the RFD was nonsense... not that D1 and D2 would have won with a non-nonsense RFD, but still.

I do kind of wonder about their elim loss. They may well have legitimately lost the round, but I find it a bit odd that two of the three judges left the room for about 15 minutes before coming back to write their ballots... hmmm--- not standard. The cynical part of me wonders if they were checking on how their teams had done in elims, and decided to vote up the team they thought was more beatable... but, I could be wrong. What WAS wrong bout their leaving is that they seemed to talk to many other people before they wrote their ballots.... not done. You write your ballot by yourself.

D1 also won a speaker award -- yea!

It is nice to be back in northern state -- I like California and it was nice to see pals etc -- but, being home is nice too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Debate coach qualifications

This tournament I’ve been thinking about an honest advertisement for my job as a debate coach…

In addition to being able to teach and know all about debate ---

A debate coach needs to:

• Have comfortable shoes
• Be infinitely patient
• Have an infinitely patient family
• Not necessarily want to have your break to yourself
• Have excellent navigation skills – driving in new cities and finding your way to poorly marked buildings and rooms every weekend.
• Be able to carry a heavy bag full of grading around, but never get to do it.
• Be able to drive a 15 passenger van
• Have mad travel agent skills
• Have mad budget skills
• Be a flexible thinker
• Be a cheerleader
• Be a counselor
• Be a friend
• Be the bad guy
• Be a diplomat
• Stand up for their debaters
• Push their debaters
• Have a good sense of humor
• Understand irony

Yea – try that for yourself…. MS… see if it is worth the schedule shift ---- you’d find out that you’d rather teach at 7:45 AM AND 6:00 PM rather than do this…

Competition begins...

D1 and D2 won three of their four rounds and made it to elimination rounds. They lost to Berkeley. I’m super proud of them – they are playing in a field way above their experience level and doing well. YEA!!!

I “learned” a couple of things at this tournament –
• “nobody is going to 2 year schools”
• “If you go to a two year school, you’ll get stuck there and never graduate.”
• “If you go to a two year school and transfer to a four year, you have a lower chance of graduating.”
• “The UC Board of Regents has done good things too, like preserve affirmative action.”
All of these are false claims…. A recent study showed that 46% of ALL undergrads are at 2 year school now… hmmm --- quite a slice of “nobody”. It is also the case that, at least from my BNCC, students who transfer to Big Northern University have a HIGHER GPA and are more likely to graduate than those who entered as freshmen… hmmm – gotta love the ignorance.

Affirmative action in education is explicitly ILLEGAL in California…

I also “learned” that United Airlines retirees aren’t getting their pensions… except, that someone very close to me is a UAL retiree and is getting his…

We have the morning off, while they do semi-finals and finals for the last tournament, and we start a new tournament this afternoon.

The bad thing about this tournament is that they are doing a huge policy tournament on the campus as well – and they are sucking up all of the close rooms --- I have a HUGE blister on the bottom of my left foot --- it was wet, I had to walk a lot and it hurts…

Also, I ran into the pal I referenced in the “Cultural Lesbian” post – I was happy to see her. She’s finishing an MA here --- maybe she’ll end up with a job at BNCC next year --- and want to coach debate --- and let me stay home --- h mmmmmm

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Debate Days... part 1

CSU Fullerton…

New Year’s Eve
The trip started out well, D1 came over early, since he missed the last flight and nationals last time I bought a ticket, this is an improvement…. Then D2 called, he was going to be late and would meet us at the airport – which he did, 15 minutes late --- of course, being the travel pro I am, this wasn’t a problem.

Then we checked in – and found out that our Denver flight was delayed enough to cause us to miss our LA connection, so we’d have to go to Chicago first and then to LA – the fun begins.

Next I, along with D1 and D2 got “selected” at security—i.e. we got the pat down and bag search routine. Hubby didn’t---- hmmmm. Probably because his ticket was purchased separately… Of course, I thought it was racial profiling of Scandinavians…

Now we are at the gate, I sent Hubby, D1 and D2 off to ”find food” figuring that food in Chicago wasn’t going to happen – we have only about 20 minutes between flights and on New Year’s Eve, things probably won’t be open. I need to be more specific, as they came back with coffee and muffins.

I hope the Rental Car place(s) – I have two reservations, will still be open and have a car for us when we get t here. Good thing we get to go tonight, as it is too late to cancel our night at the hotel.

More later--- as Hubby does the “Airline” narrator voice--- the fun is just beginning…

Later ---

It turns out incompetence prevented UAL from getting us on the way to Chicago on time either… To catch our connection to LA we had to run between concourses in O’Hare --- going from B to C involves going under the taxi-way on a moving sidewalk etc… We should have had over an hour, we had more like 10 minutes.

We get on the plane to find a set of musical chairs in progress --- Jason and I join in and pretty much refused to move… and it all worked out.

When we got to LA, the luggage was another hassle and back-and-forth… it was kind of a cat-and-mouse game between carousel 1 and 3... aargh..

The bus to the car lot was the only thing that worked well for us… we got to our PT cruiser and were off…. (pretty different than the mini-vans and Explorers we usually drive..). Those things are small -- the four of us barely fit with our luggage.

Finally, about 3:15 AM West Coast time we hit the hotel…. To see the ends of many a New Year’s Eve celebration (lots of black folks… maybe a black CSU Fullerton fraternity/sorority reunion??). I couldn’t stay up the final 45 minutes to keep me awake for 24 hours----

New Year’s Day… leave it to me to start the New Year on a debate trip.

Met D1 & D2 about noon and went to the beach… have GREAT photos of both of them as they first step into the ocean. They are the 2nd and 3rd debaters I've introduced to the Pacific... being from central snowy states, it is kind of common that college students won't have seen the Pacific by the time they get to be decent debaters.

It was an all around fun day, as we saw sets from TV shows etc… wherever we went. – We had lunch in Orange County (wow--- way too much money there, which is another post all together) and ended up on an evening tour of Beverly Hills --- Rodeo drive etc… then dinner and now Hubby, D1 and D2 are working on cases for tomorrow – I’m supposed to be putting my swollen feet up..

D1 and D2 have discovered the following so far in Cali…
“The Pacific Ocean is really salty” and “Palm trees don’t exist” --- both of them find palm trees “creepy”.

Yea… it is fun to travel with them sometimes – I hope Missouri, Nebraska and Oregon are as good to us.

I’m kind of worried, as the tournament smells of fiasco – but, we’ll see. If it doesn’t work out, we won’t come back.... and we often do well at tournaments that smell of fiasco, so it may be good for us in the end.

I’m glad we aren’t planning to go to the Bloodbath on the Beach this year – I’d rather have this fiasco than that one.

More later--- as the tournaments go -- wish us luck, BNCC would like to kick some Cali debate ass!

ps... the hotel is really nice, but the toilet is scary -- it is one of those low water ones with some kind of air-assist flush... hubby and I are both scared of being sucked in...

Cultural Lesbians

Almost two years ago I had an interesting conversation with a bright former debater and current coach about being a lesbian. She'd just been haning out with a cute lesbian friend (CL) when a drunk college kid (we were at a tournament) accused them of both being "lesbos" after CL turned down his drunken advances. CL offered to teach my friend how to be a lesbian -- which got my friend thinking...

I'm not a lesbian and neither was she (now NLF) at the time (don't know about now... lost touch :( ). NLF and I decided that we liked the strong woman thing, we loved birkenstocks and comfortable clothes, but we couldn't deal with the actual having sex with a woman part of being a lesbian. We decided that there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, we just aren't.

As these kinds of conversations go (especially with her, we also decided NLF isn't unsocial, just not a friendship ho..) we decided we needed another term for what we are -- we ended up with "cultural lesbian". It applies to women like us, who are strong and unafraid of being so.

As a result, we end up with more than our share of lesbian friends -- which is fine -- because they are generally in the same place we are.... strongish women, no kids, often a committed spouse and sometimes a pet. We can bond over not meeting some Cosmo expectation of beauty and generally not wearing make-up or taking shit from people.

Hmmm... interesting first post for 2006