October 2007

National Public Radio has been a staple of my life for as long as I can remember. It started when I was very young, listening to All Things Considered in the car on the way to soccer practice. Before long I was more familiar with Daniel Schorr’s voice than my own grandparents. When I was a latchkey kid in middle school I filled the empty house with Fresh Air every afternoon. In high school I was so mad when I heard they were forcing Bob Edwards out of his job I wrote a letter threatening to withdraw my contribution.

In college, NPR is the only reason I ever clean my room, do dishes, or make dinner. I’m so conditioned for background noise that tidying without listening is unthinkable. Salem’s local station has a terrible format–all classical music and no news or talk–so I don’t listen to the actual radio anymore. Instead I just stream it off my computer. Most days I go for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but every now and then it’s nice to throw on Talk of the Nation and listen to crazies like me call in and question experts.

Right now I’m listening to Garry Kasparov on Fresh Air.


I’m getting pretty sick of going 4-2 and dropping on Sunday morning. Three in a row is plenty, thank you. BD and I weren’t exactly on in prelims, but we were squeaking by. Going into round 6 we were a very respectable 4-1, but we hit a very good Wyo team as a pull up and dropped on T. That forced us to debate in partial doubles, like the “play-in” round of the NCAA tournament. We hit a pretty solid team from host school Puget Sound and dropped 3-0.

The big difference for us this time was mutually preferred judging. Usually, you get screwed (or come very close to getting screwed) at least once at each tournament. The Puget Sound tournament  asks competitors to rate potential judges 1-6, with 1 being the best. Then the tab room makes sure each round is judged by some one both sides like. The result? Happy debaters and happy judges. We won 4 ballots and lost 5 (3 in the outround) and I completely understand and agreed with every decision. That almost never happens.

Four of the last five days have been sunny. This is Salem, Oregon in October. This is absolutely unheard of. The whole campus seems to be buzzing–people are sitting in the chairs by the mill again, reading on Jackson Plaza. It’s totally absurd, and wonderful. It’s almost as good as spring. đŸ™‚

I’m a fairly grouchy person. I attribute my malcontentedness to the failures of other people. Specifically, their failure to do and see things exactly like I do. Take group projects as an example: when I work in a group it seems like other people are always trying to express their own ideas instead of just listening to mine and doing what I say. Don’t these people know who I am? I mean, damn…

Ya’ll don’t even know. Running a tournament is the most tremendous pain in the ass I can imagine. Especially when it’s a high school tournament and coaches add and drop half their teams at the last minute. And then debaters get sick all of a sudden and declare that they can’t compete, and then they compete anyway. And win their round. But you already removed them from the pool, so either you have to reset the entire bracket or ignore the round and just leave them out. But if you do that, crazy high school coaches/moms/bus drivers come and try to eat your liver.

And by the way, you’re totally exhausted the whole time. I should be getting paid for this.

I hate the first work out after a long absence. It’s almost invariably humiliating. Your knees ache after 10 minutes, you’re short of breath, your muscles are cramping, and you’ve only stayed away from the gym for three weeks.

I hate it so much that it actually keeps me from going in the first place. I’ll be trying to find my shoes when I think, oh man, it’s gonna hurt. So I put it off for another week, then another. And then when I finally go, I hurt extra. I can totally see how people end up getting really fat in their forties.

Everyone, meet Clocky.


Clocky is a self-aware alarm clock that jumps off your bedside table and hides from you when you hit the snooze button. Sheer brilliance from some kids at MIT, who apparently have as hard a time getting up as I do.  Apart from hiding from you it also makes weird noises in unpredictable patterns, so you can’t tune it out! Seriously, I gotta get one of these.

See Clocky in action!

Next Page »