Back in the U.S.S.R.
(1-10 April 2006)

10 April 2006
[from Waltham]
-Had an absolute team dinner for the ages last night, despite some trouble finding the Legal Sea Foods.  Our party was the reason that one can have private rooms in a nice restaurant.  If only so I could re-enact Rob Greenberg at Fairfield, the emu mating dance, & actually fall out of my chair laughing.  Debate stories of old, debate stories of new, the team, & the best game of old & new... including finding the links that ties us all together, even Beth, Grinberg, & myself.  I walked out of that room with my face and stomach hurting from laughing, & my soul embraced by true team spirit.
-Spent an utterly surreal day bumming around the 'Deis campus & exploring all the old haunts.  Went through the whole library & was reminded why I had enjoyed working in libraries so much... that might yet be the solution for now.  Also went up on the old rocks, through various parts of Usdan (where the old burrito/quesadilla lady recognized me & we had a long conversation!), around the Castle (didn't have the guts to climb the old fire escape with a tour group watching), & even down to the fabled woods in the back.  Also spent a good deal of time hanging out in a new haunt, the great lawn in front of the new student center, which is the kind of comfortable outdoor hang-out we never had on campus in my day, since the lawns around Usdan were always so lousy & small.  I've been wrestling with more of the ineffable benevolence & sorrow of time & the universe today, but I feel deeply grateful for almost all of my experiences.  There is something imminently right with all today.  What a rare feeling for April!

9 April 2006
[from White Plains, New York]
-There seem to be many more senior speeches these days & they're all shorter.  People were complaining about the length of them & I just laughed... I think my speech was roughly 25 minutes, though no one remembers the first 24.
-2 teams in the break!  A 'Deis record!  & we had 2 more teams with winning records that probably just missed.  Mark was freaking out for the whole banquet that he didn't get in & I told him he was being ridiculous.  Now let's see what we can do with this start...
-& so it goes.  2 drops in octos.  Still a great tournament overall.
-It's really fun to chair out-rounds panels at Nats, I must admit.  Almost like being on the other side of the podium.  Well, not at all, but I've had my chance to do a comeback lately, so how could I complain?
-What a great finals case!  What a robbery on the decision!
-Almost every time I've come back to APDA since graduating, I've speculated that this might be my last time at an APDA tournament.  Judging at various Stanfords, 'Deis Nats '03, BU/NYU '05, debating at BU '06... each time has made me wonder if this was it & be fairly sure it was (silly me).  Now, in the latest of these ventures, I walk out knowing that I'll be back since I'm in the tab room for Nats '07.  I love debate.  I don't think I'll ever kick this crazy habit.

8 April 2006
[from New York City]
-Won some money at poker last night, making a deal with Steve Larson instead of playing out a heads-up duel that might've taken all night.  There certainly seems to be more debauchery at Nats these days than I recall from my day, but I might've been vaguely oblivious or focused on my own realm then, rather than taking everything in.  Hard to say.
-It's going to be interesting to see how many teams we get into the break.  Even 2 would be a record, but we might be able to slide a couple more in...
-Best round I've ever judged.  I wish I had been able to tape that sixth round, so I could hand a copy of that tape to anyone who thinks the circuit has declined.  The circuit is always great, & always has great rounds & speakers at the top level.  & they even kept to time!  A truly euphoric round.

7 April 2006
[from New York City]
-Well, it wasn't quite the van ride from the old days, but 'twas still great fun riding down & reviving the tradition of the Flying Car.  I guess someone dropped the ball between my day & the current team, because I definitely remembering teaching people to do the Flying Car my senior year.  We got a great reaction from some truckers.
-There seem to be a lot of dinos around.  It's amazing how quickly the Fordham campus can bring back the memories.
-I can't believe I'm telling seniors 4 years younger than I am how much they'll miss debate.  This is all so surreal.

6 April 2006
[from Waltham]
-Back on campus to help prep the team for Nats.  This morning, Mark & Joel were kind enough to pick me up from the airport & Mark promised a great breakfast spot... which turned out to be the old train-car place that I discovered senior year & absolutely loved, but was never open during the hours I was usually awake (i.e. not morning).  I'm discovering that I really could tell old debate stories for days on end.
-In some ways, the team never changes, no matter who the specific personalities involved are.
-That was my case!  It's hilarious how long some cases can live on.
-I am not good at Karaoke Revolution.

5 April 2006
-Well in anticipation of my trip to Nats this year, I dusted off the old formula for the APDA 64-team nationals scenario.  Here's the 2006 result.  HybrAPDA has really taken its toll, with some highly competent debaters seeming to only show up debating with non-school partners, which makes compiling this bracket much harder & dumps their team ranks down, making for some very interesting first-round match-ups (to the limited extent to which I "know" the current circuit).  Anyway, it's just some random fun as I anticipate the trip.
-Leaving tonight for the Beans, where I'll team up with the 'Deis team to do some late prep, head down to Fordham, & hole up for 3 days of judging & pseudo-coaching.  Given the schedule of the trip, it's unlikely I'll have much time outside debate, but e-mail me if you'll be in the area & maybe we can work something out.  Updates either from the road or upon return, depending on internet access on the road.

4 April 2006
-Sometimes, it's good to be wrong.  A lot of the time, in fact.
-It's also nice to watch the M's win on MLB-TV.  Sexson seems to be coming into his own this year.  It could be a really surprising Seattle season.

3 April 2006
-I don't know which part of the new Fortune 500 is more absurd:  that Exxon Mobil tops the list & was given financial aid by the government, or that Nike is on the list of best companies to work for.  Nike?!  Can we ask some Malaysian sweatshoppers how much fun they're having?  Or does Fortune join the rest of the establishment in arguing that only Americans are people & thus other workers don't count?
-I thoroughly enjoyed my debut game with MLB-TV, despite the saddening result of a 5-4 M's loss.  Two M's rookies imported from Japan homered & I started to finally get used to the idea that I have access to Mariners games again in a big way.  Any baseball fan living out-of-market for their team pretty much has to get this.

2 April 2006
-Selling the old computer to Gris & Anna motivated me to finally consolidate my old MP3 collection & now I have about a thousand minutes of shuffle that are pretty darn good.  I don't think I've been into MP3's for years, but it's a nice resource to be able to go back to once in a while.
-Did someone really hack the APDA Forum or is it just April Fool's?
-By the way, if you've been wondering how you can help promote the Mep Report but just didn't know how, here's your opportunity!  We've currently got a story running on a democratic-style news site called Digg.  If you set-up an account (very simple username/password registration) & vote for us, it will help us greatly.  The site of the story is here & one clicks "digg it" to vote.  You could also just check out the page we've set up that's linked from the site.  Fun stuff, & it seems to be bringing in a new swath of potential listeners...

1 April 2006
-Had an absolute blast last night with Fish, Gris, Anna, Peter, Jacqueline, & Draper.  We dressed up quite nicely & headed out to Chuck E. Cheese's in Hayward to play games & collect tickets.  I was a bit late, but got in some basketball, skee-ball, & a back-rocking Jurassic Park game.  Then we headed out to Castro Village for bowling.  Only Fish & Draper joined me in bowling till the 1:30 closing time, but I took Fish's lunch money in a series of bets.  Suffice it to say that the events of the eve tipped the scales in my favor.  On the way home, Fish & I sang songs & cranked the radio & I was filled with a verve for life that's equal parts joyous & comforting.
-I've spent so much of the day coming up with excellent April Fool's Day jokes to pull on people, but I just don't have the heart to pull the string.  I guess part of it is hearing Greg's story on the last Mep Report & part of it is just that they don't carry the same joy for me that they used to.  I still revel in the old classics, but the thought of giving someone heart-stopping panic today just doesn't jazz me up.  Can't turn off the part of my brain that constructs the jokes, though.
-All my fears about "Thank You for Smoking" seemed to pan out.  While it makes several jokes & cracks at the smoking industry, the ultimate point seems to be that everyone makes moral compromises & has their price at which to sell out.  Seems to be part of the burgeoning war on morals that's been agonizing me for a good long while.

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