(14-23 September 2003)
23 September 2003
-With the completion of tonight's shift, perhaps the worst week of work I have ever done in my life is on the brink of closing. Basically, nothing is going right. I am making several mistakes, people are expecting alternatively too much or too little of me, & the house is in a general state of difficulty. At this rate, I feel unable to count on much of anything in this context.
-The M's have pretty much packed it in. How a team can so thoroughly collapse in the second half of the season in back-to-back years defies explanation. It has been so trying to watch them continually lose to Anaheim & Texas after decimating the entire AL in the first half.
22 September 2003
-The fact that, after yesterday, I'm still up for going to work today is a very good sign.
-Via e-mail, the Fantasy APDA II draft is underway. I was randomly given the 2nd pick. Segal, Russo, Zimmy, & maybe Emily are also involved. Should be a party.
-So many things continue to remind me that ADO needs to be worked on soon, a lot. But I keep planning trips & fun with my free time. I just need to find a writing groove compatible with a full life, which I didn't have to do 2 years ago. I've talked about this a lot, but it keeps frustrating me. It is a sixth done & I continue to say that it's the project I want to work on now & it will be completed someday. Maybe even before the end of next year!
-Off the hook.
21 September 2003
-Finished up yesterday with my first-ever game of Settlers of Catan, a wonderful strategy game in the tradition of 1830 or Diplomacy, but with hexes as the basis of the board. So it changes every time, like 1830 on the computer with computer-generated maps. I was able to edge out Emily & Stina for the win via a brick-making cartel, but I would love to play the game many more times. It's limited to 4 players, though, so it's not quite like Diplo or 1830.
-The longest day was today. Basically, our house went to hell at work & I learned exactly why this is such a difficult job.
20 September 2003
-My reading comprehension took a big fat dive yesterday for reasons unknown to me, but both Amy Phillips & Adam Unikowsky, who are great people, politely pointed out that I have egg on my face regarding my comments from yesterday. In trying to trace my mistake... that Adam was somehow implying that Princeton beat NYU in Nats Quarters '01 (though he does state the opposite, quite clearly in fact), I realized pretty quickly why I made this egregious error. It's because Unikowsky was highlighting an opp tactic that was utilized by that particular incarnation of a Princeton team throughout their career. I automatically assumed that they would be using that tactic, even blinding me to other ridiculous possibilities (as Amy pointed out to me, she would not be running a case steeped in IR such as that). In fact, this tactic annoyed the living daylights out of me when that Princeton team did it, usually because they did it in a manner that still failed to opp the case at all. They would often say "we don't like this case, so we will poke fun rather than discuss any issues related to it". So debate kids watching at home, be warned that in adopting this tactic of sidestepping the case to opp it, you don't take it to the point of actually failing to beat the case. & furthermore, hope that if you simply fail to accurately depict what someone else just said, they are as polite as Amy & Adam in pointing out your error. Obviously, the whole point of this page is historical documentation, so I will not alter my comments from yesterday, but know that they are wrong.
-Meanwhile, though LD Cusick does point out some excellent historical information on prior opposition to hanging chads in my new home state, I still believe very firmly that the only reason for this delay in the recall is political alignment with Gray Davis. & I know most people believe in good ends trumping their bad motivation, but I'm not one of those people.
-Zimmy has committed to Fantasy APDA II, & makes a further claim on Chris Russo's interest. I have to say, I only now realized (funny that it was Chris Russo's name that made this occur to me) that Fantasy APDA might be a dubious thing to bring to potential APDA judges for the coming year. While I trust almost everyone involved in judging APDA these days, it still gives me pause to think that one of the competing subliminal motives one might hold in one's head would be a silly competition designed to be fun. I'm really amused that I didn't think that any dinos who are 1-3 years out of APDA would be affected, but I did think that Russo would be. Of course none of them (except Segal & Zimmy I guess) were judging as much as Russo when I was on the circuit. Part of my mental lapse here, of course, is because I'm on the west coast & probably won't be judging any APDA at all this year.
-It's easy to tell from this page, as well as other aspects of my life, that I still miss debate. Brandzel has suggested that I try to start some sort of post-collegiate league & we've discussed why such a thing doesn't exist now. My main contention was that people who liked debating in college (or high school) go on to become politicians or lawyers, & thus practice some form of rhetorical speaking competition professionally. Brandzy noted the generally horrible quality of political debates as compared to college debates, & also that law is rarely about head-on debate but more like competitive speech with lots of cross-examination. &, of course, what about the people who don't go into law or politics? I'm still pretty reticent to try to organize anything like this, mostly because I'm not a networky person like Brandzy, but also because adults just seem too busy & serious to want to invest in something as recreational as debate. But I don't know. Anyone have thoughts on post-collegiate debate? (Dinos who won't stop debating on APDA don't count as post-collegiate debate.)
19 September 2003
-Jordan Segal & I are sad to have not been able to be a part of the first-ever Fantasy APDA Draft. Thus, we want to start the second-ever Fantasy APDA Draft. I figure we have a few days before anyone actually posts results for the first 2 tourneys of the year, so we can go ahead & get one organized now. This one will be, despite Unikowsky's reservations, a normal non-price/auction pick series, with people selecting in order, then reverse order, & so on. It would have to be conducted online somehow, which might be tricky. Let one of us know if you're interested (even if you were in the first-ever draft & just can't get enough APDA).
-Cusick points out that the recall election stall is not an issue of mindless partisan political bickering, but actually a move to enfranchise voters. A lot of my refutation of this idea is going to rely on pure cynicism... I don't believe that voters, whether their chads hang or not, are going to be enfranchised. The fact that nobody was bothering to fix the hanging chads problem before there was a politically charged reason to do so indicates that no one really cares that much about making sure every vote counts. & whenever there's a close enough election to justify a recount, the audit of the election that follows will indicate many more reasons than chads that people lost their vote. Which creates the lovable paradox that we saw in Florida... the only time that every vote really needs to be counted is the only time that not every vote counts. The irony of course being that when there isn't a need for every vote to be counted (i.e. a non-close election), then it doesn't matter if every vote counts, because they don't. Finally, most importantly, no one seemed to care much about these poor disenfranchised voters last election cycle, in 2002. Gray Davis didn't care at all then, even though he was standing Governor, raised no issue about these voters, & let them vote away with chads hanging in all directions. Dubious, no?
-Also, back on APDA, I think Unikowsky did a great deal to oversimplify Zirkin's & my Nationals Semifinals round in 2001. Granted that it was not the strongest case we had for such a situation, & I have long regretted running that particular case. However, I don't think that case was ever beaten solely by the argument that Western governments were doing a great deal to set up the governments of Japan, Germany, & Austria at the time of the UN's formation. I still maintain that not inviting those nations until the late 1950's is one of the largest mistakes in the UN's history, & this may be why that case was my favorite case of those that still lost a pretty decent number of times. Ultimately Zirkin was reticent to run new cases & we had burned almost all of our cases against either other people at Nats in earlier rounds or against Brian & Scott over the course of a year where we hit them pretty often. But I'm getting bogged down. The other thing I wanted to point out here is that, no matter how much Unikowsky liked Princeton A's 2001 Nats Quarters opp, they still actually lost that round to NYU-A. I think Amy would be very surprised to learn that she was not in fact a Nats Semifinalist that year.
18 September 2003
-I've talked to so many people today that my voice is getting sore. With many of them, I've discussed the great difficulties I've had, for the first time in my life, making new friends in my current environment. Not only does this make staying in touch with those old friends that much more vital, but it makes me wonder if this lack of new friends trend will persist on for the foreseeable years. Basically, the problem is threefold. First, a work environment simply lends itself less towards friendships than a school environment. People are more focused on themselves, busier, & generally have more solidified friendships elsewhere. They also, generally, don't want to see the people they work with any more than they have to, because those people remind them of work & not time off. Second, work does not select people based on the type of people I tend to befriend the way that college & high school did. This one is a bit tricky & I've done lots of thinking about it. At first I mostly felt like it was a straight-up intelligence issue... while I work with lots of very nice people, they are not selected for intelligence the way that 'Deis kids or especially APDA folks were, or even Academy kids for that matter. Also, in those environments, there were hundreds of people to choose from, so finding the few that one most got along with was easy, while at work there is a fairly narrow field of people one actually has the opportunity to spend time with. But I don't think it's about intelligence, deep down, because I was able to make good friends in schools that didn't select for that prior to high school. I think it's more an issue of dorkiness... environments like APDA & my friendship groups at 'Deis & AA were easily selected for dorkiness... the fact that we were all dorky people was implied, taken for granted, & that built a level of acceptance that made it easy to be friends. Meanwhile, Seneca is not selected for dorkiness... many people still seem to be spending their time trying to be "cool", bafflingly unaware that high school ended 6-10 years ago. Third, (& I know this problem doesn't apply to most people) most people revolve their social lives around alcohol & lots of it. & while I don't terribly mind going to a bar once in a while to hang out, I think of bars as a positively wretched place to get to know someone & solidify a friendship. Especially when people become intoxicated & behave either less like themselves or like some monstrously exaggerated form of themselves. In either case, it's more appealing to stick with the scattered friends (& few local friends) I've got rather than branch out to spend time with people who probably won't be as good friends. & I could be wrong... it's early yet. But the only new friends I've made in a year or so are people that Em met through PIRG (which somehow does seem to select for dorkiness, at least in part, as can be seen by how many ex-PIRGers I'm friends with)... it's a little depressing.
17 September 2003
-Treatment reviews continue to be extremely disheartening. Reading about the life history of kids that end up at Seneca makes Kafka & Chekov look like cheery tributes to the potential of human good. But they make it much easier to accept the kids' behavior, so I'm all for them.
-How I love the 3.5-day weekend!
16 September 2003
Happy Birthday to Ben Brandzel
Happy Birthday to Greg Wilson
-JSegal could put up with everything I've said except the last movie I enjoyed in a theater. He is a strange, strange man. But I secretly suspect he stopped taking me seriously even before that. Something about the "crazy pinko hippie" rhetoric. Heh.
-Pat & Lemon's Fantasy APDA picks did a lot to confirm that I don't have a great sense of who is on & off the circuit this year. I guess that will change soon as I'm still on APDAnet & following the circuit, but I'm surprised that some people are seniors, while others still have a year of eligibility. I guess Specian sort of redshirted his freshman year, so that's why he's still got a year left, so that explains some things. Most others are explained by the fact that I'm old.
-The M's are pulling what the BoSox normally pull this time of year. Now the only thing that can save us is the BoSox actually doing their September job this September.
-My quarterly statement actually revealing how many copies of LB have been sold is being released today. Sadly, I think it will be mailed rather than e-mailed, so I'll still have to wait a bit.
15 September 2003
-Blast! The recall is stalled, if not over. Proving once again that courts will put a halt to any functioning attempts at reviving our democracy we have. Anyone who didn't fix their hanging chad problems after 2000 deserves what they get. Also, anyone who really believes that's why the election has been suspended is also looking for any excuse they can to keep Gray Davis. Look folks, when more than 50% of Californians polled in every poll since the movement began have said they would vote to remove Davis, that means it's time for him to go! Even if he was starting to buy a couple of those percentage points back, it's time for democracy that isn't based on the lesser of the two evils. For once. Please.
-Blast again! I have missed out on the first ever APDA Fantasy Draft. Very disappointing. Pat Nichols can give you the gory details, in which Adam Jed proves his own alleged numeric supremacy, among other things. I see this very much in the same vein as my annual APDA NCAA-style Nationals bracket, a way to make APDA more like a college sport. I like it.
-In a surprise move, Jordan Segal disapproves of my comments from 4 days ago. I really don't want to get into another 10-post debate where he & I have no chance of meeting anywhere near the middle. Suffice it to say that when one doesn't believe there is a difference between war & other kinds of murder, the justifications of so-called "just war" start to disappear. Killing is killing. Whatever ends may appear in one's head to justify that don't change the facts that the act one is committing is basely, innately wrong. I do feel that there's something a little more tragic about civilians dying than military personnel dying (it's just better human beings who are passing away, as we feel worse for Gandhi dying than Charles Manson), but that certainly doesn't justify killing military personnel. I also feel that as tragic as killing civilians is, it's a greater tragedy for humanity to reclassify civilian murders as "collateral damage". Finally, I do believe that it's morally arbitrary to feel greater pain for people who are closer to you being killed. Especially when Americans feel that September 11th is the greatest tragedy in the world for years, while millions more die violently every year. It wasn't an event that shocked the world, it was an event that shocked Americans who've long been used to not fearing a violent death by an organized group. That complacency is exactly why America is disconnected from the rest of the world, & why it's important to stop seeing foreign citizens as "collateral damage" in the fight to establish American supremacy over oil.
14 September 2003
-"Freaky Friday" actually is good like many people have been saying. Granted, it took me going with Seneca kids (it's about the only childrens' movie out right now, except "Finding Nemo" which everyone's seen many times) to actually see it, but it was definitely fun.
-Sundays, I always come home tired & wired. A combination that having to have lots of energy for hours on end will always bring about. A gobstopper less of emotions, & more of levels of functioning.
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