If you stick around long enough, they give you cake

Last night was the long-awaited Senior Banquet, the chance for the university to lavish all its love on this year’s graduating class.  Many people were extremely excited for the event, but honestly, I had forgotten about it until only a few days before.  Oops.

Although the banquets put on by my university in London were much more lavish, it was an enjoyable event.  We had the opportunity to get our photos taken for our LinkdIn profiles.  The meal was catered by Sodexo.  The food itself, though, was much better than what is provided in the Dining Hall.  Thank goodness!  We had a tasty meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and salad.

After everyone had been served, our Student Body President and Chancellor gave speeches and the Alumni Association tried to get us to buy little bricks with our names on them.  (Yeah… not doing that.)

Here’s a photo of my roommate (who runs the blog The Happy Lifeaholic) and I at the event!

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Despite feeling socially drained afterwards, I enjoyed the banquet.  It’s always nice to get dressed up.  It also goes to show that if you stay in one place long enough, they give you cake.

And cake is glorious.

 

Festival Palomino

I love music.  I love good music.  I love good music live.

When I heard about this great new music festival in the Twin Cities, it only seemed natural to go.

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This year marks the first year of Festival Palomino, a day of music put on by Minnesota band Trampled by Turtles.  It took place at Canterbury Park in Shakopee and had tons of fun indie rock/folk bands.

Although the heavy crowds didn’t show up until later in the day, my friend Eva and I arrived around two, just in time for the first band.  Most of the afternoon was spent sitting in the grass soaking in the summer sun, talking and enjoying music.  We wandered around, looking at the merch tables and food vendors.

It was a great day for people watching, as events like this draw in all the hipsters.  I got a bit envious of all the lovely flannels (even though I have a healthy stock of my own in my apartment) and wondered at the meaning behind all the interesting tattoos.

At around four o’clock, a big thunderstorm hit that forced everyone indoors.  Eva and I parked on a bench for two hours where we chatted and did more people watching.  I ran into a guy I knew from high school, and she bumped into a former roommate.

At one point during the storm, a lady approached our bench.  Impatiently, she looked down at us and said, “We’re leaving.  Do you want our food tickets?”  Naturally, we said yes, and she handed over seventeen little squares of paper.  Later, we splurged on two pieces of pizza each and a shared Ben & Jerry’s cone.  Free food, for the win!

Now, if you remember my list of influential albums from a few weeks ago, you’ll know that I love The Head and the Heart.  You can probably imagine my excitement at finally getting to see them live!  Eva and I were right up close, about twenty feet from the stage.  They were PHENOMENAL.  Oh my goodness.  They sound just as good, if not better, live than on their albums.  One of my favorite things about them is that the main singer (the one in the middle on my photos) is a natural performer.  The way he gestured and sang certain words reminded me of the storytellers in old folk stories.  The sun was setting as they played, and I was sucked in by the words and the music.

 

 

The headliner and sponsor of the concert was, of course, Trampled by Turtles.  I will admit, I only dabble in their music.  There’s just so much out there that I’m never sure what to listen to.  During their set (which was over an hour) I only knew a couple of songs.  We were not as close to the stage this time around (having given up our spots in favor of food).  But I still enjoyed them immensely.  You can’t be a Minnesota indie folk music fan and not see Trampled live.  It’s something you just have to do, and I’m so glad I did!

Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles

Because it was so hot during the afternoon, Eva and I both forgot to bring our sweaters into the festival.  In the evening, after the sun set, we rather regretted this decision.  Standing in the crowd, pressed uncomfortably close to strangers, certainly helped.  But at one point, while shivering away, I said to Eva, “I know how to get warm.  We just have to knock out a hipster and steal their flannel.  Goodness knows there’s plenty of them to choose from.”

No hipsters were harmed, don’t worry.  But the temptation was real.

23 insights into judging speech

Speech kids, listen up.

I was on the Speech team all four years of high school.  Now that I’m graduated and well into my college years, part of me has held onto my Speech kid background.  How?  I moved from a competitor to a judge.  Instead of being the person talking to walls, I’m the lady with the folder that everyone fears.  When I enter the room, the chatter immediately hushes and the air brims with awkwardness.  As I scribble on critique sheets, I can almost hear the speaker’s thoughts: “Oh gosh, she’s writing.  Why is she writing?  She hates it.  She’s going to give me a terrible score.  Oh gosh.  Why did I think this was a good idea?”

Frankly, I love judging.  It’s all the perks of high school speech with more down time, no stress, and (best of all) FREE HOMEMADE FOOD.  Not to mention the fact that I get paid to do what I love.

Speech judges don a particular mindset when walking into rounds.  Consider this a glimpse of that mindset: a sneak-peek into what’s going on in our minds as we scribble away on your critique sheets.  Keep what I say in mind next time you’re at a speech meet–you never know when it could help!

So… here we go.

  1. Judges want to like you.
  2. Negative critiques do not mean your speech was bad!  It just means there’s room for improvement.
  3. We want you to improve!  We want to see you push your performance to be the very possible best!
  4. First impressions are everything.  Within the first minute of your speech, we pretty much already have you placed.  So make a good first impression.
  5. Speak with energy!  Be bold and confident–if you look like you are excited about what you are speaking about, we will be too!
  6. Don’t hold your script in front of your face.
  7. If you’re in a performance category, utilize characters.  Please.
  8. In addition to the above, make your characters as over-the-top as you can.  There’s nothing worse than flat characters.  Make them dynamic!  Even if it’s uncomfortable and you look ridiculous, GO BIG!
  9. If you’re in Prose, stop being in Prose.
  10. If you really have your heart set on being in Prose, please pick something innovative.  If I have to sit through another selection from The Lovely Bones or A Child Called It, I’m going to punch someone in the face.  (Okay, I’m  hyperbolizing a bit.  But still.  Do something original.)
  11. Also, Prose kids–that weird calm, soothing tone you all adapt during narrative portions of your speech?  Don’t do it.  You all sound exactly the same and it makes it hard to tell you all apart.
  12. Negative critiques do not mean we hate you.  They mean that we want you to improve!  We are trying to be helpful!
  13. If you’re in Great Speeches, PLEASE use a rhetorical method more original than Aristotle’s stylistic proofs.  I’m sick of hearing about ethos, pathos, and logos.
  14. Other cool rhetorical methods include Bitzer’s Rhetorical Situation, Metaphorical, Feminist, etc.  Do your research.  There’s so many cool ones to choose from!  (And no, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is NOT a rhetorical model.  So don’t use it.)
  15. Also, while on the subject of rhetorical models… please use them correctly!
  16. If you’re in Info, don’t do your speech on a disease.  It’s so boring.  And, please, don’t explain at the end that a family member suffers from said disease.  Yes, this sounds awful.  But it doesn’t further the informativeness of your speech and just makes it cheesy.
  17. If you’re going to pick a stupid, unoriginal topic in Info, be creative about it.  I once saw a girl do a speech on flowers and she talked about how they were used in ancient cultures and it was super interesting!
  18. Poetry kids–for goodness sake, pick something good.  None of this sappy contemporary nonsense.  Let’s see some Tennyson!  Bring out the Whitman!
  19. If you’re in Creative, make sure your script is well written AND well-performed.  You can do an amazing performance, but if the script sucks, you’re screwed.  And vice versa–if your script is amazing, but you can’t pull it off, you’re not going to do well.  Balance is key.
  20. Please, please, please DO NOT TALK BETWEEN SPEECHES.  Or eat.  Or text.  Or make weird noises.  Or do anything that isn’t sitting quietly and patiently.  Between speeches, we judges are trying to gather our thoughts and give last-minute comments.  Don’t be distracting.  It’s really annoying.
  21. Don’t sass the judge–especially when their back is turned.  Contrary to what you may think, we CAN hear you and we hold the power.  We can (and might) dock your score for rudeness.
  22. If we rip your piece to shreds on your critique sheet, it’s only because we care about you and want to push you to be the very best!
  23. Speech is fun.  SO HAVE FUN!

Also, if you think awards ceremonies are boring now… wait until you become a judge.  They’re ten times worse.