schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
Vienna EUDC (European Universities Debating Championship) is over! Orgcom did a great job, I've heard only good feedback. Fortunately I had only small tasks and I could even take some time off for necessary other things. I got about six hours of sleep a night, but I usually need about eight so I'm exhausted. Part of that is probably also the heat.

Bad time to be tired though: tomorrow starts choir week! I'm already excited. (Still tired though. Two more days in between would be great.)

Successful tasks completed today: first time doing my laundry in my own apartment with the new washing machine, no problems.
Tasks not completed: sort all the apartment documents and papers, and read through the energy company's contract. Eh, it can wait. I do still need to pack my bag today.

I didn't have a lot of free brainspace today anyway, so I decided to watch "Kingsman." I heard/read mixed reviews so I didn't watch it before, but LK told me it's fun and I wanted something easy tonight.
I'm not quite sure how much I like it, but it was entertaining. light spoilers )
schneefink: Parker grinning, from First David Job (Parker smiling before jumping off a buil)
I went to debate training again today! I haven't debated in months because of a combination of feeling like I don't have the time and being sick at inopportune times. I was happy to find out that I can still debate :) I think my speech was good, though it could of course have used more analysis.

Things I (partially) forgot about debating:
- The importance of knowing your teammate. I didn't today, and I misunderstood him during prep time, so he came with arguments that were a) not good, some of them even simply wrong, and b) partially contradicted what I said (which he should have noticed, but whatever.)
- The frustration when your partner doesn't say what you think they should, even though you told them, and you're convinced your points would be far better
- The frustration when you have an excellent POI (point of information, a question you offer during the other side's speech) and the speaker doesn't accept your question
- "I don't know if they really believe X or if they just say that because they have to for their argument, I really hope it's the latter."
- The frequency of "there's the core of a really good argument there but wow the presentation is not good."
- "This is really wrong but the speaker is on my side of the house so I shouldn't wince too obviously."
- The mindset of following a debate and slotting arguments together in patterns, how nice it is if the pattern fits and is interesting and has a solid foundation
- How nice it is come out of a debate with an opinion based on solid arguments

We debated "The Southern States of the US should ban the use or display of the Confederate flag", I was the first opposition speaker. Closing government won: opening government had a huge missing link between "we ban the symbol and then racism will disappear", and closing made that link. Closing opposition was confused about Kanye West (tbh I think we could have come second if my partner had been better.) Unfortunately we didn't get as much into symbols and their meanings as I wanted to, but it was still interesting. (Also interesting was that almost nobody brought up freedom of speech and whether or not the state is allowed, I think that was partly because everybody in the room had some experience and could guess how that would go.)

I hope I'll have more time to debate in the near future :) It's almost the summer holidays so I don't even know how many trainings there will be in the near future, but I'm optimistic.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
AV is busy, no Bab5 until February :(

Yesterday I went debating again. For the first time in weeks, because some weeks I didn't have time or wasn't feeling well etc., so it's been a while. I judged, for the first time in even longer, and it was a lot of fun. There were some better speakers, some new ones (who were eager for feedback, which is always nice to see), and a decent debate despite the fact that we had at least four different definitions of a key term (patriotism.) I'm now among the "veterans" in the club, which is funny.
I hope I'll have more opportunities to go in the near future, I miss it sometimes. But in the meantime I'm using what I learned in discussions and when reading the news.

Today I'm going to look at an apartment! I'm excited.

I found out that shortly before the Hockey World Championship, team USA and team Canada will play preparation games in Vienna :) Hopefully with none of my favorite players because they'll still be in the playoffs, but it'll be very good hockey to watch. Not sure if I should go only with DD so we can talk about all things hockey fandom, or try and take as many people as possible to get them interested in hockey. I could do both for different games, but I tend towards the latter because I can talk hockey with DD any time. (And have I mentioned how great that is?)

Second to last question for the December meme, by [personal profile] alasse_irena: Who is your favorite Doctor, and why?"

The first answer that came to mind was "one and eight." Referring to the new seasons, I haven't even watched the old ones. So the Ninth and Twelfth Doctor. They're also the Doctors where I feel like I have a somewhat good grasp on who they are, their character, their journey etc., while the Tenth and Eleventh are more vague in that regard. Of course that's most likely also because they had more seasons.

If I had to pick one, I think I'd pick Nine. The first Doctor I watched, so there's also some nostalgia there. I really enjoyed Nine, I especially enjoyed Nine with Rose, and Nine + Rose + Jack is still my favorite group. They were so much fun together! They were very good for each other and cared a lot. And then there's a tragic ending :( Jack is left behind. But for a while the three of them travelled together, and fortunately the episodes are cut in a way that makes it possible for there to have been many adventures that we just didn't see.

Busy week

Oct. 7th, 2014 12:31 am
schneefink: (Fleury)
I had a busy week! (Today is also busy, but I'm taking a break. In my pyjamas at 1pm. What.)

Monday was the second choir practice this semester. We're 85 people and I know perhaps ten names, this is going to be hard. But I think the songs we're singing are pretty cool :) There'll even be a choreography element. I'm really looking forward to it.

One of the new people is a girl from Canada who just moved here a month ago and speaks barely any German, so I translated for her a bit. She said she's from Alberta, so I decided to use my knowledge of Canadian stereotypes and asked her "Oilers or Flames?" Flames, and apparently it's a big topic in her family because she has relatives in Edmonton and they even dress strategically when they skype. I also told her about the Dan Radcliffe quote "If you want to annoy a Canadian, when they say 'hockey', ask 'you mean ice hockey?'", and apparently it's completely true because she went on a three minute rant. I loved it.

I'm the last person in my family not to get sick this autumn, I only have a bit of a sore throat. Let's hope it stays that way.

I got some work done - I actually met my goal for the day on Wednesday! That was a fantastic feeling, I could do what I wanted in the evening without feeling guilty. That happens very rarely.

On Thursday I met with a friend at uni to study. I had a bad day, but with her help I at least got some writing done, which is good :) Not as much as I wanted, but in hindsight I had my expectations set waaay too high.

Then I went to a two hour meeting on debate tournament tabbing, came home around midnight, and I knew I had to get up early on Friday. So I exercised a lot of self-control and didn't watch the Pens season opener against the Ducks. I "just" got up half an hour earlier on Friday to watch the highlights on dtmts.

6-3 against the Ducks! Duper with four points in his comeback, Sid with almost a hatty, Hornqvist and Comeau with their first goals as Pens, Maatta with three points! Friday was a long day, but every time I felt down I reminded myself of the 6-3 win and was excited again. Yeees! My excitement about this hockey team is not rational, but it makes me happy. (When they don't lose in the playoffs. Shut up.) Literal flailing and everything. I haven't even seen the interviews yet, I'm scrolling down my Tumblr dash to find the game gifs, I want to watch the highlights again, and I really hope I'll find a place to download games. (Tips?)
Leafs today! And I'll probably sleep again, because I need it. (Otoh it's Saturday? Let's see how much I get done today.)
NHL hockey is back!

Friday morning I participated in a debating workshop for school students (unfortunately my group of students wasn't really engaged and the topic I was given wasn't good, but whatever.) Then I met with LK and AV, we went shopping, cooked, went to IvB's birthday party, and then left early to watch the end of Bab5 season 1. It was fantastic. Details in a different post because otherwise this'll take too long.

It's LB's birthday today. The present I ordered him still hasn't arrived even though I paid for express shipping :( He also didn't let me hug him, because *coughs* I might have forgotten his age during the birthday song. In my defense I sometimes forget my own age and I had very little sleep! But still.
I still need to buy the ingredients for the cake tomorrow.

I also have a list of OTW things to do, plus high goals for studying and some other minor stuff.

One of those, an unexpected thing, is that I found out that CP, a good friend from the debating society, makes FB posts against feminism. I know it's most likely a definition problem mostly, but it still hurt. Feminism is for me the belief that women should be equal to men, and it also respects the fact that this is currently not the case. So if someone is against feminism I feel disrespected and also less safe.
We're both debaters, so we should be able to discuss it rationally. (LK and AV said they already tried...) I have to try, because it's important to me, and I'm optimistic that I can convince him. But it's unpleasant and unexpectedly stressful.

Btw, I'm also writing fic! Several hundred words this week in response to a kinkmeme prompt. I was very surprised, but I like it.

So, I should probably get started. Maybe by getting dressed.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
There's currently very unpleasant debate club drama going on. I have to get involved because it's the right thing to do, and I completely hate it. It's so bad that if things continue the way they did I might be forced to leave the society. Which on the one hand I would be extremely sad about, because I love debating! I met so many friends there, I learned so much, we organize great projects, and I still think spreading debating is important. But I can't accept how the society is currently run. And I'm insulted that "they" apparently thought they can get away with what they're doing without protest or resistance. Watch me.
We'll see how it works out.

Yesterday I met with LK and AV and we continued to watch Babylon 5. Remember how I recently talked about how much I love space politics? It's like someone made Babylon 5 just for me.
1x10 - 1x14 )

The reason why we didn't watch more episodes is because LK was making goulash at the same time. It took 8 hours to make, and it was the best goulash I ever had. Completely worth the prep time.
(Apparently it should be even better today! But I can't try it because I have a class reunion. Well, in theory - I still didn't get the information at what time.)
schneefink: Teyla and Sora with drinks, laughing (SGA Teyla and Sora cheerful)
I'm back from choir week! It was great. I also danced, I had soo many bruises and sore muscles that in the middle of the week walking was painful, but it was fun and the final show looked good. I also participated in the folk music ensemble for the first time, that was fun as well. And we had good pieces in the main choir.
I noticed that I needed a lot more sleep than in previous years so I didn't have as much time for socializing, but there was some and the people there were very nice. (One evening we played werewolf for hours, it was fantastic, even though I felt terrible the next day.)
I really want to find another choir next semester :) I even have one or two candidates in mind, looking forward to it.

At the entertainment evening I sang a song and spontaneously decided to accompany myself on the guitar. I hadn't played guitar in eight years or so, but it went fine!
So when I got home I took my old guitar, tuned it, and tried if I could still play. (Melody, not accompaniment.) I can :) I wasn't surprised, just that it went this well, while my mom was surprised that I could still do it at all, even though I used to play for many years before recurring tendinitis forced me to stop.
So far my hands seem to be fine! I'll keep trying in the next few days, and maybe I'll take one class or two just because of posture etc and then keep playing just for fun.

At choir week we had a schedule for each day and it worked quite well, I hoped I could carry some of that into my days at home but so for it hasn't really worked. I'll have to figure it out somehow. Still don't know what I'll do in two months...

The European Universities Debating Championship is currently taking place in Zagreb! A livestream and recordings of rounds can be found here. Several people from Vienna are there, best of luck :)
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
I'm doing that thing again where there are so many things I want to post about that I write nothing. So, random things in random order.

- I took a vacation day tomorrow, and I'm so glad I did. I did a lot this week, mostly meeting with friends, which I love but with work it's very tiring.
For example on Monday I went with a friend to the film festival at Rathausplatz because she'd never seen Disney's Fantasia. (It's not as good as I remember it from when I was ten, especially the Pastorale - surprise!racism that I never noticed before, stuff like that - but most parts of it are still fantastic.)
Tuesday is by now semi-official film night, only we decided to cook together first, so we didn't have time for a whole movie. We had a great time in the kitchen, food was delicious, and we watched the beginning of The Fifth Element.
Wednesday was debate training.

- Debate training! We had several new people, so we had a pro-am room (one experienced debater + one novice in each team.) "My" novice did really well for his first speech! Prep is a work in progress, but that's normal. The motion was "TH regrets the Arab Spring" - when he said he doesn't know anything about that I said me too because I was trying to remember how many years ago it started and how many countries were involved except the few I did remember, but it turned out he actually had no idea what it referred to, which did surprise me.
Later on someone tried to tell me that all muslims want to install sharia law everywhere, "I'm not anti-muslims but", absolutely refusing to listen, it was so bad I just stopped engaging him after a few minutes. I know these people exist, but I don't expect to meet them in the debate club :( (With some luck he won't stay long.)

- The current debate in the media about gendered language is driving me absolutely nuts. There are some good articles, but the vast majority of comments are just so stupid, their whole way of argumentation is just... it's so dismissive, condescending, it's painful to read and it makes me so angry at the same time. Just - URGH.

- I'm currently reading "Superman: Red Son" and enjoying it a lot so far. Tomorrow I'll have time to read! And swim! And sleep in in the morning!

- There's currently a fest about SGA's ten year anniversary going on. I feel sort of ambivalent about my lack of enthusiasm for it: SGA has been such an important part of my fannishness for so long, and SGA fandom has been very important for me for a long time, so to find out that I sort... barely care, at this point, feels very strange and a bit sad.

- Today I found out that Vienna has a women's ice hockey team. I mean it's sort of logical, I just never thought about it, never read about it, never heard about it... I'm sort of pissed about that, actually, and perhaps more surprised than I should have been. I'm definitely going to watch when the season starts again.

- Tomorrow I'm going dancing with a girl I met recently and like a lot, I'm really excited about it. More hopefully later.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
Today was our debate club's last regular debate meeting before Christmas, so traditionally we did a fun motion. Last year's was "This House Believes That Batman is better than Superman", I'm so sorry I missed it! But last year we didn't have a chocolate fountain and fruit :)

This year the motion was "This House Would demand retribution from the Rebels for the destruction of the Death Star." L. and I were first government because we were the biggest geeks in the room.

It was a lot of fun! We decided to talk about the destruction of the second Death Star, not the first one, which removed much of the opposition's "self defense" argument. And their faces when L., who did the first speech, defined it thus were funny to see: "Wait, there was a second Death Star? Shit." Hehehe.

We concentrated on proving that the Empire was a legitimate government and the Rebels were terrorists, that their activities were immoral, that there had been damage to civilians, and that the Empire had the right to demand monetary retribution to prevent lasting economic damage to the whole society. Second government tackled the "who is evil" question, which was tangential to the debate but very interesting, and it was a prop sweep.
We could also have chosen the crackier route of "we are evil, therefore we demand retribution because we can", but I don't think it would have been as interesting.

Some interesting/funny things that came up:
L. had a nice argument where he claimed that the whole conflict came down to paying taxes (starting with the trade embargo of which nobody can ever remember the details), and he portrayed Leia as "the 1%." Opposition came with "no taxation without representation", only Leia had actually been a Senate member and was a member of the Rebellion even before the Senate was disbanded.

Opposition tried to portray the Empire as evil, but couldn't prove why. First opp tried "they restrict freedom", but in a way that left anarchy as the only alternative, which made that easy. Then they tried "they killed people", but the Rebels did that too. They also tried "they demanded too high taxes," hehe. They came with the "they killed the Jedi" argument, but C. from second government did a beautiful explanation of why the Jedi are actually the evil ones: they are outside the law, they manipulate helpless people to get their way, they believe they are better than anyone else, they attack a democratically elected Chancellor just because he follows a different philosophy etc.

Then there was the question of whether or not the Empire was a legitimate government, but unfortunately it wasn't argued well from either side. Government said that the way they came into power was legitimate (elected!), opposition said they aren't legitimate because they're evil, but nobody really got into "under which circumstances does a government become illegitimate?" We had some of "Just because you don't like what the government does or a member of government commits a crime (e.g. Alderaan) doesn't justify becoming a terrorist and committing terrorist attacks", but it wasn't engaged on enough. A pity, because that was actually one of the key questions, or should have been in my opinion. Admittedly he few thoughts that went in that direction didn't go very far because we don't actually see much of the Empire in the movies, so it would have been hard to do.

Second opp, who completely missed the point of the debate ("the Rebels don't have to pay because they won!" *sigh*), tried to argue that obviously the Empire was evil because Luke was the hero of the story, which gave me a nice opportunity to talk about George Lucas, traitorous rebel sympathizer, and how we have to look past the propaganda and understand what really happened. That was fun.

Other things that came up were the justification for having WMDs, whether or not there were construction crews on the Death Star, and who was the real hero of the Star Wars movies (Darth Vader, obviously.)

Afterwards, L. wrote to me "I think the debate today slightly ruined Star Wars for me because I don't think anything we said was actually wrong." I certainly think several things we said were exaggerated, but unfortunately I have to agree at least partly :(
Whatever, Star Wars never made any sense anyway, especially not the prequels, just don't think about it or pick the parts of the Extended Universe that support your view of things.
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
I wonder who would win if characters from my various fandoms entered a debate tournament...

Eight teams for two semi-finals: Jennifer Keller and Radek Zelenka (SGA), Azula and Mai (A:tla), Sophie Devereaux and Nate Ford (Leverage), Luke Smith and Rani Chandra (SJA), Neal Caffrey and Elizabeth Burke (White Collar), Treize Kushrenada and Dorothy Catalonia (Gundam Wing), Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner (Avengers), Charlotte Lu and Mary Bennet (LBD)
Much too detailed explanations )

Who wins? Not sure, but I would bet on Sophie and Nate.

Debating

Jul. 30th, 2012 04:52 pm
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (FF stand before cliff)
I want to write about debate! But I'm not sure how, so this will be mostly unstructured rambling, read at your own risk. (Structure, structure, structure! I'm actually getting better at that.)

I am currently feeling very enthusiastic about debating. A big part of that is that I think that I'm getting better and better and it - details see below - and winning (or second place) feels great. At the same time I see concrete things to improve that I believe I can successfully work on. I'm convinced that next year I'll be going to be European Debate Championship, and I don't think I'll end up at the bottom of the tab!
I also have many friends in the debate club, and the frequent meetings and parties and barbecues are wonderful. If only there were less communication problems - it's ridiculous how many people in our debate club have massive difficulties in non-debate discussions.

Sooo, actual debating! I took part in a debate tournament in London, where to my surprise our two teams from Vienna were the only non-native speakers. Oops. I was debating with AP, who I hadn't debated with very often before, but I think we did quite well (and at least once when we didn't it was because he screwed up his speech.) The judges gave good feedback, the debates were good, and motions were okay (This House Would allow companies to pay a higher salary to employees who contractually agree not to have children, THW not imprison people whose racist remarks cause offense on social media forums, THW prosecute toppled dictators for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court rather than in a national court or tribunal, (Keeping the budget constant) THW direct spending cuts at the elderly rather than the young. That last one became hilarious when the third team decided to make fun of it and we got to hear a lot about global warming conspiracy theories.)

Then we had a regular meeting, two social get-togethers - one "everyone brings Arabian food", and one to watch The Princess Bride - and last weekend was the two-day goodbye party by and for AP, who is going to Ireland for a year. He invited the whole debate club, so of course there was a barbecue, cocktails, and four rounds of debate. Two of four teams and one guy of the third team are going to Euros, LK and I were the fourth team, and we got the most points! 9 in 4 rounds (max: 12), quite good. With great motions that I'm going to do in more detail because I remember them better and have the notes still lying next to me.
R1, TH condemns the circumcision of male children, position: closing opposition (CO)
A topic that's currently widely discussed in German media and there were at least three articles I could have read but was too lazy. We got second, mostly because the government side concentrated too much on the religious aspect.
R2, Given the emergence of a strong artificial intelligence, THW grant them equal rights to humans. Position: Opening Government (OG)
I love the motion, and I loved our position. Unfortunately we only had 5-minute-speeches; normally we have 7, but we'd hiked up to a hill with a beautiful view and were afraid that it was going to rain any minute. Trying to define and build arguments on the meanings of consciousness, self-awareness, human rights and their ethics & morality in 15 minutes prep time wasn't easy, but fun. In hindsight we should have explained what an AI was in more detail: both LK and I are science fiction fans and didn't think that people would confuse AIs with robots. One team seemed to argue entirely on the basis of the movie "I, Robot": "They'll fight against us!" I was trying to think of slavery analogues, but none of the other teams would have known the Ood, and I thought about the house elves too late. We won, which always feels extra nice if you're 1st gov.
R3, TH Believes the public education system should raise the aspirations of children from disadvantaged backgrounds beyond that which is realistic to expect them to achieve. Position: Opening Opposition (OO)
Unfortunately OG screwed up the definitions, and their direction always majorly influences the whole debate. They picked working class children as the group from disadvantaged backgrounds that they wanted to focus on, which is a very poor choice because a) many examples would have worked much better with immigrants, for example, and b) they failed to define "working class", which has different meanings in every country, and for this debate we had an international judge chairing via Skype (!). Their example for a poorer family was one where the main earner is an electrician, which is not really a bad job (to be fair, we managed to sneak in that example *g*) We won, partly because nobody challenged our assumptions.
R4, THBT the private ownership of guns is beneficial for society. Position: CG
We had difficulty with this in prep time, and then first government really screwed up. (We need guns to defend ourselves against the government because it is oppressing us, you have the right to shoot a policemen when you think he's trespassing on your rights, and we have to be prepared for civil war soon. To make matters worse they set the debate in the US, where people already have a lot of guns, and made it into "everyone should have guns." Nothing made sense.) But we couldn't contradict them, so we tried to ignore them and concentrate on the sources of violence, power imbalances in society etc. We got 3rd, which I'd have said was fair, but then during feedback it became obvious that the judges hadn't listened to us when they told us what we should have said by basically quoting to us exactly what we did say. -.- LK, who is not the most diplomatic, got into an argument over it with RH, who handles these things poorly and ended up yelling at him that he didn't deserve to be here because other people need the training more. WTF, how should the teams going to Euros train if you let them compete against newbies, and LK and I were the strongest team in the room. So that was a sudden unpleasant interlude near the end.
But I made good speeches, I learned a lot, and I'm happy about that. In the least two speeches I finally managed to calm down enough to eliminate most of the "uhm"s, mostly because LK told me twenty times to take deep breaths.
(In the unlikely case that someone is interested in one of these motions, I'd be happy to elaborate :) )

Another great thing about debate club are the people. Only there's this 'thing' with LK that sometimes results in uncomfortable moments: he's not very diplomatic, he's direct and sometimes almost aggressive when arguing, and he doesn't hide the fact that he's one of the most experienced and best debaters we have. Many people in our debate club don't like him because they find him condescending and/or insulting. I can see where they're coming from, but from what I've seen it's mostly a problem of both sides not understanding each other's communication styles and getting everything horribly wrong. It's like watching trainwrecks. I never had that problem with him (possibly because it reminds me of my father and I had to learn how to deal with him) and LK has become one of my best friends. (I also have a completely platonic crush on his girlfriend, who is amazing, seriously, that woman. A geek, a fantastic cook, a computer programmer, a musician, and just all around wonderful.) He was the one who invited me to Doctor Who nights. :) Apparently all debaters love to gossip, which is great for letting of steam but becomes uncomfortable sometimes when they complain about LK and I'm the only one in that specific small group who wants to defend him. You'd think that debaters should be able to deal with people who have different opinions and assumptions especially well, but the opposite seems to be the case, they all seem to be trying to "win the debate" - but without actually employing the argument skills they've learnt. I have no idea why! It can get frustrating at times.

This post is less unstructured than I feared, huh. I even did rudimentary signposts ;)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
Yesterday we had a debate training in Budapest! \o/ Three teams from Vienna and one team (with changing members) from Budapest, so it was almost a private training for us by M.Z., the head of their club and a very good debater. I slept in the car on the way because I only got two hours sleep the night before and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to think, but actually it went very well and was a lot of fun!

more details (rambling) here because I love talking about debating )

Today, after five hours of sleep, was the Austrian's Women's Run! It was a lot of fun. Because I couldn't persuade any of my friends to run with me I made my own motivational team. The Doctor and Aeryn Sun were the most effective: 5k in a little over 35 min, and considering that I didn't train at all I'm happy :)

And now, before I start panicking and counting the hours until the *"§$=§"$% paper is due, I will stop procrastinating and get some sleep.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
I am procrastinating by making a list of Avengers reaction posts, because I love reading squee, and (more importantly, tbh) I really don't want to study for this exam. -.- I'm going to hate myself tomorrow.

Yesterday in Economic Policy we had an actual discussion in class, yay! And later one of the other guys sent me an apology because he felt he was too harsh and unfriendly. Which is nice of him, only I thought it was a rational discussion. When I was a teenager I often got into fights with my parents because they misinterpreted my tone, it took me ages to figure that out, and I'm still a bit afraid of it sometimes. This is not helping.
Most discussions I have these days are in debate club, and in BPS format the goal is to beat your opponents' arguments. Unlike in the German OPD format, you don't have to be polite, and nobody takes it personally. (Theoretically. It doesn't always work. There's a reason why there's a mandatory handshake after each debate.) Sometimes I have to remind myself that other people don't have the same training.

Debate mode was also useful when we were divided into small groups to prepare pro/contra statements. My partners were surprised that I asked the professor for definitions of the words used, said that our side was so obviously wrong that they couldn't think of anything, and in the end appeared very surprised that I had come up with all our arguments basically by myself. I didn't do it on purpose, people! More people should learn how to debate. (Which is why I'm currently coaching a class of 13-year-olds! More about that later.)

Speaking of, the topic of my presentation was (the history of) neoliberalism, and it was actually quite interesting. While researching I discovered dozens of blog posts from 2009 until now in which some of the world's leading economists accuse each other of having absolutely no idea what they're talking about. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad, and scary if you consider how much power and influence they have.
(I'd love to provide a link, but I haven't found a good write-up or starting point yet, and my own search path was very erratic. You could search for "Macro Wars" and start there, I guess.)
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
*collapses in an exhausted heap*

The last four days I participated in a scavenger hunt. It was organized by students from the Technical University. In teams of eight people (at most) we had to look for 202 items, some of which were a live coachmen with goulash, a 1,5 meter hobbyhorse made from paper maché, a raw whole chicken egg in an undamaged bottle with a bottleneck of no more than two centimetres (nobody got that one), an Eiffel tower made out of specific fruits, a Julian Assange action figure, all team members with French nails and ball clothes, pedobear, lots of stuff from companies that no longer exist, and more items that were ridiculously difficult to get, many of which I can't translate properly or that wouldn't make sense without context. Oh, and there were also "find that person" games in Vienna. Time was important. My legs are sore.

Most of the team didn't know each other in advance, so we met an hour earlier in a nearby café. We exchanged anecdotes - meaning that I kept pestering those who'd participated before how they'd acquired the things on the old lists - and then our team leader opened his bag and pulled out a Star Trek phaser. "Just in case," he said. Okay, I said to myself, obviously he's more of a nerd than I'd thought.

Item 173 on the list: a LARP weapon. Whooo-hoo! So he knew what he was doing after all. ;-)

We had a lot of fun, but it was exhausting. We, or at least I, overdid it on the first days and didn't have any energy left today, but everyone implicitly agreed to stop being overly ambitious and in the end it was fine. 16th out of 28, not bad. And the first few teams had approximately 170 of 200 items; they must be crazy.

Sadly, we forgot to take many photographs. Maybe next year.


Tomorrow is "open motion" at debate club. This means that the motion will be vague (eg. "TH totally would", which became the orgy debate at the last party), but the first speaker has more liberties: he can specify time, location, and universe. So for example tomorrow we could have a debate "This house, as the Galactic Senate, would dissolve the Jedi Order" or "THW dissolve Slytherin" or "TH, as the orcs in LotR after Sauron's defeat, would demand asylum in Gondor" or things like that. (Suggestions welcome ^^)

This promises to be so much fun! I hope I get to debate.


More randomness: LB is reading Dresden Files now. xD I am, apparently, reading Homestuck. I don't know how that happened. My genficathon fic is coming along slowly (had to take a break because of the scavenger hunt), but I'm still hoping to get it done in time.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
How many of me does it take to change a lightbulb? One. *feels accomplished*

For the longest time I felt younger than I was. When I was 18 I felt like 16, when I was 19 I felt like 17. Now I'm 20, in words: twenty (the mind boggles) and I feel like 19. Relatively speaking I grew up. How did that happen?

I'm taking eight courses this semester. I don't know what I was thinking. That's a lie, I know exactly what I was thinking: last semester I took six courses and had a lot of free time left. However, the courses I'm taking now are a lot more work. But I will succeed! Somehow. Only because most of the courses are actually really interesting, even econometrics. And I'm meeting nice people and most lecturers are okay or good, which is a relief. The downside is the studying, studying, studying. (It's always the same with good intentions, but I'm trying very hard.)

I'm still having fun in the choir, and also in the debate club. I went to debate club for the first time about two weeks ago and it's wonderful. I'm planning to make a post about it (tentatively titled "Orgies For Everyone" and yes, this is totally relevant to the topic) to share my excitement with everyone and maybe spare my family, but every time I start I fail to convey all the fun and awesomeness that is debate club.

My fic for the genficathon is very stubborn. I really have to work on it, and every day I find another plothole. On good days I can resolve one. This method leads to moments such as "what do you mean, that's my main conflict? I just added that element for fun two days ago!" and "wait, does that mean I actually need a resolution for that?" (Answer: yes. Still looking for it) and "do I really need to have full personalities for twenty OCs?" (Answer: hopefully not.) But it's fun! It has the potential to become a good story. I only hope I can finish a rough draft in time to be considered for fanart.

I feel comfortable in my little world bubble. Every day I can only take so much looking at the world at large - Japan, Libya... I pray the situation for the people there gets better soon.

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schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
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