Tag Archives: The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate

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Crime vs. Convention

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

Part 7 in an 8-part series regressing through the Stanford 2002 APDA tournament.

Last week: Round 3 (re: Enron executives and their wallets)

Today’s round features one of my favorite opp-choice cases from my senior-year case-writing binge. The case was pretty successful, though it did lose handily once. It engaged in a question I generally didn’t believe in, that being the nature of war crimes. While I personally feel that the concept of “war crimes” is redundant, this case posed an interesting scenario as to whether a breakaway republic should use chemical weapons against an oppressive power if the power they’re fighting made those weapons.

This round featured the surprising choice that the republic should in fact use the weapons, which tended not to be the side opposition chose. Generally people sided with the Geneva conventions and conventional war over taking the risky but potentially effective move to break with international law and go after the power. But the round always made for fun international debate that didn’t rely on having just read the Economist.

This round also features one of my more absurd themed rebuttals, something that was generally my signature, but rarely had such tenuous links as this one.

Stanford 2002 APDA Round 2 from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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When the World is Silent, the Mind Comes Alive

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, Awareness is Never Enough - It Must Always Be Wonder, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , , ,

Twice a week, I drive to New Brunswick from Princeton, a 16-mile jaunt that usually takes over half an hour to complete because of the nature of driving in New Jersey. I head up there in the 8:00 hour to arrive at 9:00 for meetings of the Rutgers debate team, usually returning around midnight as they’ve wrapped up.

There are two ways I can make this trip that are almost identical in mileage:

One is to take US Route 1, a literal straight line road that hearkens back to legends of the tsar drawing plans for a railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow. While straight as an arrow, the route runs south of both my origin and my destination, adding a bit of time. More importantly, Route 1 (in Jersey, at least) is perhaps the worst four-lane road in America, a bizarre combination of highway lane structures and traffic with endless stoplights. Despite the lights, left turns are strictly forbidden, requiring “jug-handles” where one exits to the right to then turn onto a crossover lane. There are no conventional exits, just jug-handles. And the thing is filled with trucks and Jersey drivers, who remain the only people worse than drunk New Mexicans, murderous Manhattanites, and raging Massachusetts drivers, somehow blending the worst aspects of all three.

The alternative is NJ Route 27, a pastoral winding road whose frequent elevation shifts are outnumbered only by the number of times the speed limit changes between Princeton and New Brunswick. If Route 1 is the express (or tries to be), Route 27 is the local, plowing through the center of random townships and dropping the limit from 50 to 25 with almost no warning. This is a two-laner (one in each direction) and is frequented by these aging gray buses that seem to run local routes in this thickly settled part of the state. There are no trucks, however, and very little traffic at all late at night, when all the lights are green. There are lights, but probably fewer than on the “highway” counterpart.

After doing round-trips on each, I’ve settled into a vague pattern of taking Route 1 up to New Brunswick in the evening and returning on Route 27 in the middle of the night. Route 1 seems to have a stagnant amount of traffic 24/7, which is more palatable in comparison to the fairly heavy traffic on 27 at around 8:30, but less palatable compared to the emptiness of same past midnight. But more than anything, there’s just something peaceful and rewarding about taking 27 home, soaring through empty silent communities like a high-schooler the night after graduation.

Tonight, however, the road was deader than ever. It was ghostly, the kind of night that inspired Ray Bradbury’s story “Night Meeting”, where a Martian and an Earthling colonist cross paths through the midst of time on desolate night roads. The first leaves were covering the road in some places, sent sailing as I would race through in an effort to stay ever 5 miles an hour above the mercurial legal maximum. I think I passed all of two cars going my direction the whole time, both fairly close to New Brunswick, and maybe 5-7 in the other direction the whole way. In 25 minutes.

There is much time to ponder in such settings, though they have a way of dominating the mental space with their own unique offering. We spend so much time surrounded by people, their structures, the possibility of interaction. To be moving swiftly through a voided landscape is at once solipsistic and comforting, calling attention to one’s place in the universe and focus to the significance of each passing minute. The more I noticed my aloneness, the more I felt both isolated and somehow unified with a larger presence and could feel the awareness of the moment pile upon itself.

I had a CD to keep me company, but its significance was only to underscore the larger reality around, not to take center stage. Like Kitaro on a road to Jewell that suddenly became endless and transcendent, with my Dad so many years ago. The songs were like leaves, like the occasional droplet collected on the windshield, to be considered and passed like most days on the wind.

And then, as Princeton approached faster than normal, and cars six and seven northbound, Dave Matthews Band’s “Christmas Song” came on the disc. And the world of silence, of sleepy village churches and big box brand name signs illuminated for overnight advertising of empty stores, shifted. It transformed to a seventeen-year-old kid who made the decision to buy his first-ever CD (after years of accumulating cassette tapes) because it was the only way he could acquire this song he’d heard just once on the radio that had captivated his feelings about Christmas in a way he could handle as a no-longer-Christian. Who had looked everywhere for a tape, knowing that he already had one DMB tape, finally settling ironically for the older album on CD only and wondering how to deal with the technological shift. Who came home and skipped right to the last track, wondered at the trail of lightning sounds that followed the track, played it on repeat most of the night. It was a cold night, beckoning to Christmas still a couple months out, a night not unlike this one. Then there was a play to direct, a year to get through, somehow, colleges and a future to seek (up). Tonight, not so different perhaps, a novel in place of a play, colleges behind but not forgotten, a year to be savored instead of endured. Perhaps life really does get easier over time, after all.

I listened to the last three recitations of the closing chorus in the stopped car in front of my current residence, smiling at the yellow porch light and the barely visible Christmas lights within, decking the top corner of the living room walls. “And the blood of our children all around.” The last fade of notes, the car switched off, and a gathering of paper for the trek inside. Crossing the threshold, I felt the wind swirl behind me and wondered what message it carried from what past or future self. I am never (and always) alone. But tonight, oh tonight, it all seems to make sense.

I went inside to find Pandora staring at me as though she’d been waiting this whole time.

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Enron and the Cops

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

Part 6 in an 8-part series regressing through the Stanford 2002 APDA tournament.

Last week: Round 4 (re: Stalin vs. Lenin)

Today’s round is the only time in my career where I remember someone running a counter-case against an opp-choice case. Traditionally this practice is considered illegal, so that it’s possible to have rounds between two bad scenarios (e.g. opp-choice, would you rather eat a banana slug or a cockroach, where it would be unfair to counter-case with eating an ice-cream sundae). Nevertheless, this round matched us up with a NPDA team, from the rival circuit to APDA, and they have a slightly unconventional approach.

The round was about a case we wrote specifically for the tournament, whose theme was the Enron scandal and its associated corruption. It was a rather simple case about an Enron executive dropping their wallet and whether they deserved it back or you should keep the money. Because of the counter-case, it ended up being more about police and their role in society.

My MG features one of my few uses of props in a round which, while technically barred, could have very persuasive effect. Sadly, my chalk-eating round was never recorded, so this is probably the best documented use of a prop from my days on the circuit.

Stanford 2002 APDA Round 3 from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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The End of the Season

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Telling Stories, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

It’s October.

There’s a lot of sleight of hand involved in October, but perhaps its greatest achievement is bringing an end to baseball season without generally making me upset about said end. Granted that the excitement of playoff baseball and its association with October helps, but all too often October comes with no real hope for the Mariners and often no hope for any team I particularly care for. (Indeed, with the demise of the Twins tonight, I find myself rooting for, what, a Red Sox-Phillies World Series? Yawn.) Yet October is able to draw me away from baseball with smoke and mirrors and pumpkins. Mostly pumpkins.

Tonight (or rather, the last night of September), I had the distinct privilege of listening to the full game of perhaps the most satisfying Mariner win all season. I mean, strategically it was unsatisfying, given that the M’s were eliminated from contention over a week ago. But Brandon Morrow nearly threw a no-hitter, Griffey hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and the M’s clinched a winning record for the campaign, leaving themselves an outside shot of passing the Rangers for 2nd in the AL West. And Rick Rizzs almost predicted a homer (turned out to be a triple off the top of the wall) on a precise pitch and then nearly had a stroke calling the play he had nearly predicted. All the while, I was reminded of how much I love listening to baseball in particular, how the quiet nights in my room with a game remind me of so many quiet nights in my room with a game from younger years.

The nights have been quiet lately largely because of Em’s efforts to acclimate herself once more to a studying routine, while I try to write and (much harder) find the discipline to code changes for the Blue Pyramid. Tonight, for example, I was working on the tedious conversion of the Book Quiz pages to the new navigation-bar format. I’m also trying to get the jump on the long-awaited Book Quiz II, which I’m hoping to have out by the time American Dream On is ready. The former could not be much less of a priority, however, especially by comparison, though watching the BP’s sagging stats always gets me back on my horse for a while.

Like anything, these projects – even Em’s studying – are all about momentum. Getting in a groove and then finding things satisfying or rewarding enough about that groove that make it worthwhile to stay there. Or, more accurately, to return there time and again, to recreate that space. When the space is wide enough, this is easily done with writing. Pretty much everything one does (or at least I do – perhaps I shouldn’t attempt to speak objectively about what may ultimately be a very personal experience) relies on the renewal of the font of momentum, the benefits of being in the zone. This is perhaps why so many people give up so completely in their place of work and general approach to a day job: the feeling of obligation alone is insufficient to charge the batteries that generally get their best fuel from excitement or passion.

Of course, obligations provide a fear factor and disciplinary onus that those who haven’t completely checked out come to rely on to keep them going through a day job work week. So a big part of the game of these two years is about revving the engines without overt obligation (though self-imposed deadlines help) and pacing oneself with the constant celebrations of milestones in writing, in coding, even in playing basketball or walking the cat (long story, but she needs to eat grass for her digestion). Debate, unsurprisingly, is taking care of itself. If anything, I need to find ways to limit my attention on the debate coaching side so it doesn’t consume the time required for everything else.

Why? Because debate is exciting, innately sort of passionate. It creates its own rewards very quickly. The thrill of one round, the excitement of even one well-answered Point of Information, these things are enough to charge months’ worth of batteries. I have had so many dreams in the past seven years about being back in rounds and wanting to savor a last competitive semester or year. Despite my interest in both, I have had no such heartbreaking dreams about the summer of 2001 or a chance to code a quiz.

The challenge right now, the challenge of a life lived creatively and deliberately in a variety of pursuits, is the create the fire of a competitive event in everything I do. And starting in four days, I won’t have baseball to distract/inspire me.

It’s starting to get colder. Already we’re starting to debate when we’ll have to bite the bullet and actually turn on the heater.

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The 20th Century: All About the Soviets

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Part 5 in an 8-part series regressing through the Stanford 2002 APDA tournament.

Last week: Round 5 (re: Native American Reparations)

Today’s round features one of the best cases I ever hit in my tenure on APDA, run by a future National Champion and his wacky then-partner.

The case was one of the few “infinite opp-choice” style cases that were generally reserved for final rounds. While not technically infinite, the round involves picking something out of a list so long that it might as well be infinite, then having Gov pick another side. Or, as in the 42-way opp-choice on the seven deadly sins that Jeff “Crack” Nelson and I ran in Fairfield finals, having Opp pick both sides.

These cases can be deceptive, however, because they don’t necessarily require a Gov team to prep an infinite number of possibilities, just two (a first choice and a backup). And in this particular round, we didn’t grab their first choice (Lenin), but came close by picking Stalin. The question was who the Man of the Century should be in terms of influence, leaving out moral or perceptual considerations.

So heat up some canned borscht and potatoes and enjoy the round:

Stanford 2002 APDA Round 4 from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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Monday Monday

Categories: A Day in the Life, Duck and Cover, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Days like this, I miss having Introspection. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and uninspired and like I have thousands of things to catch people up on. Just like 2.5 weeks ago, it’s time for bullet points:

  • I spent most of the weekend (36 hours from midday Friday till the end of Saturday) at the Swarthmore Novice tournament.  I had a blast, we had 3 teams go 3-2, I gave a workshop (which was filmed and may be visible at some point on the web), LO’ed the demo round, and judged through finals.
  • On the way back from the tourney, we had an epic time, including me accidentally entering the Penn Turnpike via an EZ Pass lane (and later talking my way out of a $23.75 lost ticket fee at the exit), endless joking with three novices and one of the team’s juniors, and a torrential downpour throughout.
  • Em’s birthday and accompanying party were yesterday, and both went very well.  Emily is now thirty and thanks everyone for making her birthday such a great time.  We had cake, ice cream, enough snacks to sink a ship, and board games at the end with the loyal folks who stayed a long time.
  • Next hosted celebration:  October 24th pumpkin carving.  Evite to come soon.
  • Em and I watched “The Notebook” last night, which both of us had somehow missed seeing.  Though predictable at times, it was pretty amazing overall.
  • For some reason, I’ve just been feeling uninspired on Duck & Cover lately.  I don’t know if it’s feeling disconnected from politics, having disconnected from cable, or not finding much to be funny these days.  I’m hoping to get over that soon.
  • I haven’t written fiction in three days either, though the events of the weekend are responsible for that, not some lack of inspiration.  The fact that three days feels like a major drought is a good sign.
  • I can’t believe it’s not October yet.  That’s also a good sign, that time is going slowly and is thus full, rather than flying by and seeming empty.  Keep an eye out for the annual theme change ’round here soon.

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The Most Open Case that Never Lost

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

While we’re waiting to see if I have the inclination to post my journal from last year’s India/Nepal trip, I figured I could trot out the rest of the Stanford 2002 filmed rounds as a recurring set of content for this page for the next couple weeks. You may recall that I posted Finals, Semifinals, and Quarterfinals early this summer before moving cross-country and getting a bit distracted.

Today’s round continues our regression through the tournament, featuring round five which, interestingly, was against the same team that faced us in Quarters. This was the debut of the case that Emily and I ran about giving $1,000,000 in reparations to every Native American born on a reservation. This case is about as open (easily debatable, beatable) as they come, and yet went on to win a bubble round at Nationals (Tirrell & I overcoming MIT-A in round 6 at UMBC Nats ’02) and Quarters at BU ’06 (sadly beating my Brandeis teammates, Samburg & Collins) when Emily & I went back to defend the honor of dinos against modern whippersnappers. (Incidentally, that round was also recorded, though on audio, and can be found here.)

Like my Lottery case, this one gets much of its power from being something that I fervently believe. But you don’t have to take my contemporary word for it – see how Emily and I sounded seven and a half years ago:

Stanford 2002 APDA Round 5 from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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All Wide-Eyed Like the Rest

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

It was a weekend to examine youth.

Em and I have been watching the Up Series, a continuum of documentaries about 14 British children who turned 7 in 1964. In the first film, they are shown expressing their hopes and dreams for the future, answering a variety of standard questions about the human condition and giving a full range of kids-say-the-darndest-things responses. In subsequent films, their lives are shown to follow or deviate from the prescribed path. While the series was ostensibly made about Britain’s class structure and how opportunities are truly unequal, the films end up being much more about the similarity of people’s lives and, frankly, their simplicity.

Given that Netflix, to which we have recently subscribed, offers most of this series for free and immediate streaming download, Em and I have torn through 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 in less than a week. Crossing the threshold from 28 to 35 gave pause, as we went from watching people younger than we to older in the span of a scant two hours. And while in many ways this transition was the least overtly noticeable, the aging and especially the confrontation of parental mortality were sobering.

More than anything, the impact of this series has been to further invigorate my excitement about where I am at this particular juncture of my life, knowing it may be the first threshold of those offered in the films that my 7-year-old self would have been proud to see me on. I cannot say enough times how much the pain of crossing 30 is dulled by finally embarking on the steps that I have longed to take since I was very young. Watching these 7-year increments in quick succession is a ruthless reduction of the lives of others and reminds any conscious viewer how much waste and irrelevance compiles into a standard human (especially first-world) life. My nightly writing efforts are my only real antidote, though I am drawing much satisfaction from the debate coaching as well.

Much of the weekend was spent conducting the first-ever Novice Retreat for the Rutgers team. For many hours on Friday and Saturday, we (the Rutgers elders and I) drilled and trained the novii in each speech position and general debate strategy. Friday especially gave me a good taste for what high-school teaching might have been like, as I gave three consecutive 45-minute sessions on how to deliver the first speech for the Opposition. Of course the classes were smaller, everyone wanted to be there, it was three sessions instead of seven, and it was one of my favorite subjects of all-time. But, y’know, close enough.

On Saturday, we were able to conduct practice rounds as well as finish up the training, and I think the novii will be about as prepared for this coming weekend’s novice tournament as any I’ve seen on APDA. With any luck, I’m hoping Rutgers’ drought of reaching the elimination (“break”) rounds will be over by this time next week.

Though the Retreat ran very long on Saturday, costing me the chance to help celebrate Greg‘s birthday, it failed to spill into Sunday. Thus we were able to attend the Weakerthans show in Philadelphia as scheduled, after a brief tour of Fish’s house (Em hadn’t seen it) and a lengthy Mexican meal in an authentic dive. The show was great, perhaps the best aggregate setlist for the interests of myself, Emily, and Fish. (Madeleine was there as well, but is less familiar with these Canadians.) But the crowning moment was that John K. Samson finally delivered on my perennial shouted request for “Sounds Familiar”, the greatest Weakerthans song of all-time. Our acquisition of his handwritten setlist (actually the drummer’s, but I presume it’s John K.’s handwriting) revealed that the request had nothing to do with it and it was planned all along, but I’ll take “Sounds Familiar” any way I can get it.

Samson was sick and has put on a bit of weight, but his shiny resilience and abundant joy at performing was still present. We were about three rows back on the floor of the remarkably small World Cafe Live club and were old enough to have parented some of our surrounding attendees. John K. talked a lot and joked with the crowd about requests and seemed genuinely pleased with how nice most of the crowd was. And played a pretty long set considering his condition. Even more than the average show, this Weakerthans set came across as wearied and humble, but resilient, which seems quite reflective of the overall mood in general. The whole world is sick and tired, but we’re not dead yet. And, with luck, we still have something to say.

Night Windows
Tournament of Hearts
Our Retired Explorer
Benediction
Reconstruction Site
Aside
Relative Surplus Value
One Great City! (John K. Samson solo)
Sounds Familiar (John K. Samson solo)
Bigfoot!
Plea from a Cat Named Virtute
The Reasons
Sun in an Empty Room
Left and Leaving
Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist
Manifest

Utilities
Civil Twilight
Everything Must Go!
Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure

As promised, we procured an original setlist. Please note that the encore was changed from “Pamphleteer” to the two closing songs listed above. No other changes seem to have been made on the fly…

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And a Star to Steer Her By

Categories: A Day in the Life, Blue Pyramid News, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Telling Stories, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , , ,

When I lived in Oregon and wasn’t attending sixth grade, somewhere between my acting life and my speech and debate life, I opened a play directed by a friend of my parents with a recitation of “Sea-Fever” by John Masefield.

The poem is brief (briefer than I remember), but conveys powerful imagery of the pull of the ocean and its eternal hold on those who sail upon it. I was adorned in a cap not unlike what I’d worn as Oliver Twist (but newer and nicer) and some sort of scarf that the director had determined sufficiently aquatic. Despite these elements of costuming and the placement of a stage beneath my feet, I think this may have been the birth of my understanding of the power of spoken words. Not the magic of theater, in full regalia, which I’d long known and loved, but the actual power and presence of mere strings of syntax, dramatically spoken.

Of course, there was my third grade talent show rendition of the Gettysburg Address, which I remembered made a couple teachers cry. But I’d been disappointed with my performance there, forgetting some words and feeling immense pressure. I had not felt the command over that performance that I did in the practiced rhythms of Masefield’s cadence.

It is somehow fitting to remember that preface on a night back from introducing members of the Rutgers class of 2013 to the basic tenets of parliamentary debate. Just as every word written makes for better writing next time, so every word spoken has led me to this point in my life. And perhaps I can forgive myself for sacrificing tonight’s writing efforts (unless I can start after completing this post) to the twin duties of education and navigation.

This last is the true inspiration for tonight’s title, for a navigation bar has been introduced to The Blue Pyramid for the first time ever. Over the course of the next few weeks, the navigation system will filter out through the rest of the website. The focal points of this bar also come with an acknowledgment that several projects have been archived, most permanently lost at sea.

I would like to say that this move will usher in a new era of updated content at the site, with quizzes and new projects abounding as long planned. I have learned enough over my millions of spoken words, of course, to know that such promises are of no worth. Either I shall make good, which will speak for itself, or I shan’t, which will undermine the promises’ purpose.

So I present what is done and will call it a night. Perhaps to write briefly before sailing for sunrise.

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

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Raining in Baltimore: Return 2 APDA

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, What Dreams May Come, Tags: , , ,

I spent the weekend at my first APDA tournament since Nationals 2007. In my new role as coach of the Rutgers team, I was ensuring that the team could get there (they have significant transportation challenges) and getting an early gauge on the lay of the land.

Returning to a regular APDA tournament (Nats just feels different, especially if one is in the tab room as I was in ’07) was pretty surreal, though I adjusted fairly quickly. I was surprised at how many people I did know and recognize, most of them freshly minted dinos who are many years my junior. Of course, there were also a slew of people who became three-dimensional for the first time – people I knew pretty well from APDA Forum Werewolf games that I’d never met or seen in person.

The tourney was at Hopkins and I had a chance to see Freez and his (relatively) new place, which is pretty swanky. The original 1904 hardwood flooring definitely being the highlight there. The entire weekend featured buckets of rain, including visibility-limiting sheets on the drive down, which probably aided our getting lost and almost mistakenly heading to Washington DC. Though after this summer’s cross-country trip and some more recent events, I’m seriously starting to doubt the quality and veracity of Internet driving directions.

Surreality aside, I really love APDA and being back in the thick of the community. I enjoy judging, though close calls give me a sensation approximating what I imagine an ulcer feels like. I enjoy the quality of the discourse and the intellectual caliber of the people, something rarely assembled so consistently and thoroughly in any other environment. I’m not going to go so far as to say that APDA is wasted on the young (I certainly appreciated it at the time, as do many of its participants), but maybe it’s more to say that APDA ages incredibly well. Even after college, it’s time well spent. It horrifies me even now to think how close I was to not joining when at Brandeis and how fervently my high school advisers told me there were better things for debaters to do in college than debate.

The Rutgers team did well, going 3-2 with losses only to break teams, and speaking impressively. It’s an auspicious start to what looks to be a breakthrough year. We have no fewer than four (4) meetings this week, serving as an intense week of novice training to prepare for the Swarthmore Novice Tournament in two weeks, so the intensity will not ramp down for some time.

Last night, I had a classic school anxiety dream, mostly about going into my senior year at Brandeis. I had my own place that was nicer and larger than I had reason to think it should be and a slightly different course schedule than made sense. But I spent a lot of time thinking about how not to waste the year, how to appreciate it, and how to make sure to get my diploma.

I woke up, quickly realizing where I was in real chronological time. More importantly, I realized that these dreams will be back in force for the next two years.

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“My Girlfriend, My Parents, and My Girlfriend’s Parents”

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

As fun as the round I posted last week was about Peter Pan is as difficult as the round I post today was. Since we’re going backwards, this round was just before and earned us the right to participate in the fun one.

Debating lurid details of sexuality is never the easiest, but to have the most sexually explicit debate round of my life in front of my parents and Emily’s parents before Emily and I were even engaged was … challenging.

Now this round is for everyone’s public consumption so even more people can revel in Emily’s and my struggle to navigate these choppy waters. Good times.

Check it out:

Stanford 2002 APDA Quarterfinal Round from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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I’ve Wrestled Bigger Crocs Than This

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , ,

Sorting papers sure is fun… or something.

In reality, though, nestled amongst years of dust and old bills are little moments, small time machines that immediately take me back to a precise day years earlier when I saw a movie or received a gift or just wrote down a prescient thought at an important free moment.

Little brings me such joy as these pieces of paper. Which is probably why I’m spending all the time to make sure I keep the important ones – and why I saved so many unimportant ones in the first place, just to be sure. After all, someday either other people will be gone or I will and those pieces of paper will be the only strand left between us on this planet.

But in our digital age, we’re not just reliant on pieces of paper. Though I did watch part of the History Channel series on “Life After People”, which reminded me how profoundly vulnerable both our paper and digital materials are (though I guess plastic soda bottles are forever). Nonetheless, while people are still around, you can watch videos like this.

This one is the second in the series of regressing Stanford 2002 debates; this time Emily’s & my semifinal round. I think this is my mother’s all-time favorite debate round (though she was only able to attend a handful during my career), featuring a contentious clash over the fate of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and the crocodile. It also gives you a rare opportunity to see me advocating things which I pretty much don’t agree with.

Watch:

Stanford 2002 APDA Semifinal Round from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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Old School

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Read it and Weep, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

My house is a mess. My life is kind of feeling like a mess too. So much stuff. What to keep, what to discard, what to try to sell in a climate where there are no buyers. Challenges all. Piggybacking off of my weekend post, I’m inclined to just cut everything down to what fits in a backpack. But then I think of all the books and the possibility of raising a child someday without their parents’ collection of books just seems cruel.

Is that a strange reason to keep 10-15 boxes of very heavy books?

In any event, something I’ve gotten together this week is the resurrection of old debate videos that I have had on VHS for time immemorial (that’s what seven years feels like, at any rate).

I’ll be offering up one of these a week, the first is posted here: on ParliDebate.com, which is developing quite a trove of past debate rounds.

The one/week thing not only makes the releases nice and dramatic, but it’s because Vimeo puts an upload limit on things. The one/week thing will also likely be interrupted when we go on our 2009 Sunset to Sunrise Summer Sojourn, which is currently slated to commence on 7 July 2009. A full schedule of said Sojourn should actually be out sometime this week too.

I really liked the part where I thought I’d have enough time during this month to work on a lot of new web projects and revamping. At this rate, I’ll be lucky if I’ve packed two-thirds of the house by Jake’s wedding.

Or maybe I’m just demoralized today because lifting objects puts me in a bad mood. Always.

If you don’t want to lift your mouse-clicking-finger to go over to ParliDebate.com, here are the Stanford 2002 Finals for your viewing pleasure:

Stanford 2002 APDA Final Round from Storey Clayton on Vimeo.

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