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Speaking our Minds with Passion, Respect, and Confidence!

Welcome visitors and members! Listed below our Club Announcements is our latest weekly meeting snapshot to give you a flavor of the challenging, thought-provoking, and FUN times to be had at a Contrarians Toastmasters meeting


August 6th, 2014
Theme: Space Exploration


July 30th, 2014
Theme: US Military Budget

July 23rd, 2014
Theme: Your Privacy (vs the NSA)

If you value your privacy and have anything to say about it, you should have been at the Contrarians Toastmasters club tonight! 

Our meeting was stacked with great speakers and a room full of members and guests. Your Privacy Vs. The NSA was the theme and we started the evening off right with new member Nicole giving the opening thought, expressing how she felt about this much debated topic. 

First time Toastmaster, Sean, ran the show and we heard from three fantastic speakers. We started with Marlene, who talked about the daunting task of teaching her daughter how to drive. Next up was Fernando, who gave us valuable lessons and techniques for getting rid of red eye in digital photographs. And finally, we heard from Steven who announced he would be leaving our club next year to travel and explore the world.

During our table topics segment, first time Topics Master, Ramesh, prepared great questions for us on a wide range of subjects related to Paris Hilton, a drug cartel business, Google whistle blowers, dead bodies to dispose of, a gadget that could be invented to only spy once, plus a whole bunch of other great topics. We don’t call ourselves Contrarians for nothing!

Our final segment of evaluations was led by Alicia who invited Sanjay, Bob and Niem up one by one to offer guidance and valuable feedback to their respective speakers Marlene, Fernando and Steven. Each speaker was given worthy praise and beneficial advice for advancement on their next speeches. Alicia completed the segment by offering up praise and feedback for the overall club meeting as well. 

When the evening came to a close, Sean handed out ribbons for Best Evaluator, Best Table Topics and Best Speaker. You’ll never guess who won!

To find out, come join us Wednesday nights at 6:30 PM at Northwood Community Center in Irvine. We’d love to see you there!

~ Alicia

July 16th, 2014
Theme: Lower Birth Rates

Tonight marked the 2nd meeting of Contrarians in our new digs at Northwood Community Center in Irvine.  There was barely a spare chair in the house as a half score of visitors equaled the number of members who took to seats.

This evening’s theme was “Lower Birth Rates”. Steven delivered a fact filled opening thought, musing on the significance of our country’s declining birth rate, concluding that soon we’ll experience a bounce as our recent recession abates.

Lynn hosted as this evening’s Toastmaster.  Sean served as this evening’s timer and vote counter. Niem performed double-duty as Grammarian and General Evaluator.  Steven served as Ah Counter.

This evening, we proudly inducted two new welcomed members into the club:  Denny and Nicole. 

There were (count them) three prepared speeches this evening:  Lani delivered her 2nd speech, asking the question: ‘Are memories real and do they define who we really are?

Following was Ramesh, whose inspirational speech was titled “The Three Essential Steps to Achieving One’s Goals”

Third was Karolina, whose speech title was “First Impressions”.  That is, first impressions of America as a newly arrived emigrant.   Karolina’s poignant window into the American soul merited her presentation as the evening’s Best Speaker.

This evening’s Table Topic’s Master was our new club president, Alicia.  In typical Contrarian fashion, Alicia chose to exercise the ‘other side’ of speaking… Body Language!  What better way to do this than through a game of charades.  After explaining the task with caring encouragement, she presented us with a basket full of word strips, five words on each strip.  Laughter prevailed as we party animals got to talk with our bod’s and give our mouths a rest.   Fernando took honors as the favorite Table Topics ‘Speaker’ without ever having uttered a word.  But he made up for that by taking the prize for best Prepared Speech Evaluator, evaluating Karolina.

The evening was all the more meaningful as we said goodbye as members to two of our past presidents and fellow Contrarians:  C.J. and Amir.  We’ll long remember their speeches and official contributions.

Please join us in creating new opportunities for friendship and great speeches!

~ Bob

July 9th, 2014
Theme: Failure of Technology

We kick off this Toastmasters Club meeting at the beautiful NEW location at Northwood Community Park!  Our Sergeant at Arms, Sean M2 fattened us up bringing his mom's wonderful baked goods, chocolate pistachio salt cookies, sugar cookies and salt brownies!  Did I tell you she is a professional pastry chef?  

Sean M2 started out the speaking segment with his second speech "Sean and the Dodecahedron of Destiny".  Turns out the most popular game in the world is not FIFA soccer, but using your imagination in aspects of life.  He lead us through a D&D tale of fantasy of Sanjay the Bold, and Alicia the Fairy.  Unfortunately Sanjay rolled a low number on the dodecahedron dice and failed to escape the dungeon!

Our table topics section was extended with only one speaker tonight - we covered 11 table topics with 2 debates.  Bob and Sanjay hotly debated the topic of Edward Snowden vs the NSA, national security over the right to privacy.  Sean M2 and Lani argued over a defective product launch, one looking to release the product knowing it will fail, and the other willing to lose market share to take the time to fix the bugs.  Lots of oohs and aahs from the audience.  

One first time guest, Laurie bravely got up and told us a story of encouraging herself to be a better public speaker, by attending and joining two other Toastmasters clubs this week, and potentially joining the Contrarians club!  That is showing some gumption!

Our repeat guest, the maid of honor, Nicole stepped up and vividly told us a personal story of how Karolina's Toastmaster speech inspired her to make plans to move to Europe next year, AND volunteer to talk in front of hundreds of people at a conference in NYC.

A last shout out to Denny who took his first step, and gave a table topics speech.  The first step of many to his goal of giving a Father of the Bride speech.

There were a number of last minute cancellations, which allowed other members to step up to the plate and take over roles.  Thank you Sanjay and Steven.

Thank you Alicia for taking the initiative to improve and create new voting ballots.

Applause to Lani for the Best Table Topic, and Alicia for Best Evaluator.

Thank you all for making this a memorable Contrarians TM meeting!!!

Be sure to attend Next Week:

Theme: Lower Birth Rates
Vote for Outstanding Toastmasters Award
What other goodies is Sean M2's mom baking?!?!  Wear your fat pants.
and Club Executive Committee meeting, after the regular club meeting.

~ Wayne

July 2nd, 2014
Theme: Speech Therapy

The theme this week was Speech Therapy, and Sean M2 gave us our opening thought on how speech impairments and disabilities are really important things to keep in mind.

We kicked off a new Toastmasters year by having CJ introduce Robert L., our district area governor, to Contrarians and honored guests. Robert graciously dismissed our previous officers and installed new officers by passing down the gavel.

Niem had signed up for an impromptu 5Ws speech, so our Toastmaster Wayne shuffled the agenda a bit. The 5W challenge was to give a speech on

Who: Madonna
What: Eating
Where: Underground
When: on the 4th of July
Why: because she was (our word of the day) neurotic!

To give Niem some time to think, Sean M2 started an interesting Table Topics section by asking really intriguing questions on how speech impairments might change someone's life. How would you communicate if you couldn't speak? What if you were deaf? What would happen to Deaf Culture if technology gave you the chance to regain your hearing?

After Table Topics, Sanjay went up to give his speech on How to be a Distinguished Club, which was informative and quite fitting for the new term. Niem followed after, telling an engaging and entertaining story from the 5Ws we presented him.

CJ led the evaluation section, with Sharon evaluating Sanjay and Mahdi evaluating Niem.

Alicia, our new President, adjourned our meeting after hearing some wonderful commentary from our guests.

Happy New (toastmaster) Year! :)

~ Lani

For past meeting snapshots, please re-visit our 'Meeting Snapshot Archives' page