Sunday, June 22, 2008

The National Forensic Tournament 2008 - Desert Lights, Las Vegas

As the white screen greets me I am forced to funnel all the fond memories, as if fond could accurately describe the feeling awakened in me when I reminisce upon them, from that trip of such proportions, extremes, fun, and competition so as to make my job so much the harder.

First of all, I sense scandal on the horizon like feeling an enormous army of drums before I can as yet hear them that my enjoyment of, and love for Las Vegas will be presumed as to mean I welcomed the sin and debotchery present therein. Ha.ha.ha. Vegas was so much more than I imagined, and really, it didn't bother me.

I would, however, give a word of advice: The Excalibur is depressing.
New York New York, The Luxor, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace, Mirage, Tropicana (the new part, at least) The Venetian, and Treasure Island are much more enjoyable. In addition, Circus Circus, while possessing a highly amusing Amusement Park known as "The Adventuredome", is very depressing as well, possibly rivaling Excalibur?

Now, you wonder, did she not travel to Sin City for debate? Ah yes I did. Approximately 6000 other debaters, coaches, guests, and judges also traveled to that exotic destination to witness the best of the best face each other in ultimate competition. The tournament started at the UNLV Sunday for registration, and culminated in the Proposal of Marriage solicited by Snoho Colin Cole followed by a pomegranate smoothie from Jamba Juice.
Also on that Fateful Day: I was wooed by Kansas State University, Eric Hare proved that he could, in fact, throw a VBI ball over the Student Union Building, Congress was paired with Parli and showcased for my assumed appreciation(it did, in fact, produce exactly opposite emotions), I got my GUEST ribbon, The rest of my team sang karaoke while I videotaped them so they could writhe with hysterics later, I cursed the phrase "right across the street", We discovered how indecisive our team was when faced with the question "Where should we go for dinner tonight?", and finally, I beheld the great Water Show at some casino/hotel/resort on the strip, and was entertained by a Small Medium at Large.

Monday: We awoke at an ungodly hour (a lot of that occured on our trip, which makes perfect sense considering where we were) and traveled to Greenspun Middle School for 4 rounds of Duo/HI heaven. I contented myself with Duo the first round while showing support for our Duo team (killing two birds with one stone), and Dawna and I drove over to Miller to watch DI for round #2. Lunch promptly followed. Round three was awarded an HI visitation by my humble personage, so I watched Suzie from Snohomish and had my first experience with (wait for it...) An HI Round That Was Funny. Round #4 was another Duo round then we left the premises in the shimmering heat and returned to our hotel. Dinner sucked. The air was steeped in excitement, like a fragrant mug of strawberry tea, and it was not long again until we cruised the strip, entered the Venetian, and waited for THE BLUE MAN SHOW. If you have never heard of THE BLUE MAN SHOW, I extend my deepest condolences, because awesome essentially sums them up. For fear of ruining a future show of theirs I hope you will behold, I will give teasers: Paper, Drums, Paint, Audience Interaction, Comedy, Twinkies, Rock Concert, Black Lights, and oh so much Noise.

Tuesday: At the NFL tournament, there are 6 rounds of each Speech event guaranteed. After the 6th round they cut all by the top 60. After that, they continue cutting until for the Final round (preceeded by the semi, quarter, and octafinal rounds) there are the top 6 competitors left. Round 5 Dawna and I watched DI at Miller (she actually judged), and for round 6 we watched our hometeam. Tuesday was probably the hottest day, and a few of us went to DQ for something to quench our thirst and hunger. Let it now be known how amazing Water was. Local water was laced with Calcium Carbonate which 'tasted funny'. Now it did not bother me, but the rest of my team claimed it tasted like poison and idolized bottled water. Ice was my idol, for it alone made life in the hot sun crisp and refreshing. I drank my fair share of warm water, because without ice it stayed cold all of 20 minutes, but throughout the entire trip we all craved water, and any place which gave water was a place which I blessed (like all the coolers of drinks at the schwan party). Anyways...
Our Duo didn't 'break' (the term for making the cut). No Duo from our state did, actually. Our campus also held the HI rounds, and our state faired similiarly in HI. And DI. And OO. In fact, the only speech even to my knowledge we did break in was Extemp, and we only got to octafinals in that. We returned to our hotel and Erika, Dan, and I went swimming, the most refreshing swim I have ever taken. We also made friends with the Kansas City debate boys in the pool too. No Further Information Made Public Concerning Previous Topic. We went to the Schwan party where I was deseprately hoping to 'bump' into Kingston (I saw them at registration but was not given ample opportunity to summon my courage and say hello). I did, however, see Bennett and Bisbee and spent the entire party talking with them about Congress which was exceedingly interesting (hence the fact I spent the entire party talking to them about it). Only later did I learn that Snohomish was on the other side of the enormous park talking to the rest of my team, but c'est la vie, by the time I learned that fact there was nothing I could do to change my past. Now at this 'Schwan Party' (which was basically a huge pavillion with a disgusting Elvis Impersonator who couldn't impersonate worth a stale bean coupled with a few thousand people and a large grassy lawn) there were the most beautiful and abundant coolers of every sort of ice-cold drink imaginable. I had three bottles of delicious ice-cold water, and relished every sip.

Wednesday:The next cut (to the top 30) was made the previous night, so this morning were the Quarterfinals. We went to Hoover dam in the morning and I touched Arizona for the first time - an experience which touched my soul and changed my life forever. The dam was pretty cool, and we got to take this elevator 538' underground into solid rock. That afternoon they made the next cut (top 12) and we ran into Snohomish at Green Valley where Dawna and I watched a Semi round of Duo with Colin, Carly, and Stephanie. It had: Galaxy Video, Rabbit Hole, Someone to Watch Over Me, Wizard of Oz, Minority one, and Beauty pagant one. Galaxy Video was so amazingly hilarious. They were identical twins. Afterwards we caught the stupid Siren Show at TI and also went out for dessert at about 11 (very late for us).

Thursday: We went to Green Valley and Dawna and I caught Expos quarters. The reason Dawna and I were the only adventerous ones who actually wanted to see lots of stuff was that Erika and Dan were off all the time, Elliot had his laptop, and Susan watched Duo. Now if you do not make the Cut in the main events you are eligable to compete in Supplementary and if you don't break in that, Consolation events. I find the whole thing very confusing, but essentially the rest of the state was doing those that day, but our team (Erika and Elliot) didn't want too. Lame. Afterwards we went to the Pavillion to get in line to get great seats for the Main Event of the Week: The Interpretation Final Rounds. The top 6 HI, DI, and Duo on a stage performing their pieces for a panel of 15 judges and 4000 audience members. I had already seen 2 DI finalists in outrounds, 1 HI finalist, and 4 of the Duo finalists, so was super excited to see them again and see the new ones. Sam from Kamiak and Mike from Snohomish sat with us, and guess who introduced the NFL president....THE BLUE MAN GROUP!!!!!!!!! It was so awesome, the entire auditorium was shrieking.

Friday: In the morning the rest of the Final rounds commenced, but we went to Red Rock Canyon instead. We then went to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus which had a really fun water ride. That water ride, in fact, was what made us late for dinner at Claim Jumper with Snohomish (and Shorecrest, if you want to get technical). It was So Much Fun! Erika, Dan, Eric, Colin, and a few assorted snoho/shorecrest chaperones sat at one table, and everyone else sat at this other massive table. Weren't those chairs heavy?! No, I do not go to school in my PJ's. I had a good day! No Trippi-I mean the T-word! Just because I had a Caesar Salad does not mean I am annorexic. Colin is annorexic judging by the size of what he actually ingested. TXTING!!!!!! hahahahahahaha, you guys are so funny, we should make that Friday Night dinner a Nationals Tradition between Snohomish and Edmonds. :D Everyone keeps asking me if Colin and I have engagement rings, it's really funny. Did you end up eating that piece of kale I told you to? You should have. Wow, what a riot. What a fun night.
We (Edmonds) then went back to the hotel and had a party by the pool and Erika and I had a dramatic 'annual' pillow fight.

Well if you indeed did read this long, lengthy, and I'm sure boring narrative if you were not, in fact, present there yourself, GOOD JOB! I commend you. The reason it is so lengthy is I enjoy speech and debate, I enjoy Las Vegas, and I want to remember that trip for ever.

Love to you all,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My new favorite book

Choice Quotes from Captain Blood

• After him, in the uniform of a colonel of the Barbados Militia, rolled a tall, corpulent man who towered head and shoulders above the Governor, with malevolence plainly written on his enormous yellowish countenance. His little beady eyes, closely flanking a fleshly, pendulous nose...
• The Colonel checked, his great face empurpling.
• “A man must sometimes laugh at himself or go mad. Few realize it. That is why there are so many fools in the world.”
• Sitting close thereafter they talked in whispers for an hour or more, and all the while those dulled wits of Pitt’s were sharpening themselves anew upon this precious whetstone of hope.
• The love that is never to be realized will often remain a man’s guiding ideal.
• Because he disliked the man, Captain Blood would not commit himself at once. But because he liked the proposal he consented to consider it.
• Launching himself upon the yielding sand, into which he sank to the level of the calves of his fine boots of Spanish leather, Captain Blood came sliding erect to the beach.
• “Viola!” said he, pregnantly, to the firmament.
• Levasseur gnawed his lip, and changed colour.
• “Dealt fairly?” roared the infurinated Captain. “You...” In all his foul vocabulary he could find no epithet to describe his lieutenant.
• When, with both lungs transfixed, he lay prone on the white sand, coughing out his rascally life...
• Further intrigued were they by the sight of the gigantic Woverstone speeding naked along his deck with a great flaming torch held high.
• Under his breath Lord Julian damned the fellow’s bravery.
• Peter Blood stiffened, and his vivid blue eyes stabbed the bloated face of his enemy.
• He had empurpled in his angry vehemence, and the veins of his forehead stood out like whipcord.
• Not only was there no need for either of them to go, but the Deputy-Governor’s duties actually demanded that he should remain ashore, whilst Lord Julian, as we know, was a useless man aboard a ship.
• There was a great historian lost in Wolverstone.
• M. de Rivarol condescended to be mollified.
• M. de Rivarol, intrigued by his mirth, scowled upon him disapprovingly.
• Resentment smouldered amongst them for a while, to flame out violently at the end of that week in Cartagena.
• One of these fine days, he felt, that for the sake of humanity he must slit the comb of this supercilious, arrogant cockerel.
• A blow to the face could scarcely have taken the Frenchman more aback.
• “I know nothing of filibuster customs.”
• “His bolitics are fery sound, I dink.”
• But from that horrible mask two vivid eyes looked out preternaturally bright, and from those eyes two tears had ploughed each a furrow through the filth of his cheeks.
• “Apple-blossoms!” His lordship’s voice shot up like a rocket, and cracked on the word. “What the devil...? Apple-blossoms!” He looked at van der Kuylen. The Admiral raised his brows and pursed his heavy lips. His eyes twinkled humourously in his great face. “So!” he said. “Fery boedical!”
• Would his his excellency receive Miss Bishop? His excellency changed colour.