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.

September 2nd, 2015
Theme:   3D Printers, Open Source, and Torrent Sites

August 26th, 2015
Theme:   Fast Food vs Haute Cuisine

Once someone mentioned their love for kimchi, our meeting theme swiftly transitioned from “Fast Food vs. Haute Cuisine” to “We Want Kimchi and We Want it NOW.”

Tonight’s creative uses of kimchi included kimchi food trucks, kimchi lotion, and kimchi mints. We all seemed to agree that although kimchi is one of the smelliest side dishes, it tastes delicious.

Our two prepared speakers tonight, Paula and Juergen, did a fantastic job.

As Paula mentioned in her last speech, she absolutely adores dogs. This week she went further and explored dogtology, a dog-centric religion. How much do you love your dog? If you love your dog like a family member, you might be interested in reading more on dogtology. One of our members received a free copy of the book Dogtology by Jeff Lazarus. Happy reading!

Our second prepared speaker, Juergen, enumerated the many places he’s traveled and the food he had the opportunity to eat. “When I think of a location, I think of food.” For example, when he traveled to Kyoto, Japan, the “exotic” food was a baked potato. When he traveled to Seoul, Korea, he ate a hamburger with three french fries served in a pillbox. But when he comes home from traveling, he always realizes that his favorite place is his backyard.

Karolina, our Table Topics Master, asked questions that resulted not only in the outpour of appreciations for Kimchi, but also comments on GMOs, Soylent, and interestingly, tiger penis soup. It always interests me that each week, our members continue to come up with informative, whimsical, or thought-provoking answers.

Many thanks goes out to Marlene who acted as Toastmaster tonight, our Grammarian Ray and our Ah Counter Farzad.

We meet Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00PM. Please check us out; we’d love to have you as a guest.

- Mellodee

August 19th, 2015
Theme:   Nouveau Riche

The meeting started out with Marlene telling us how wealth many times allows people to avoid the consequences of their actions.

Moving on to our Prepared Speeches, our first speaker, Farzad, discussed his fear of public speaking and some of the ways he was learning to combat his fears. Our second speaker, Bob, decided to allow the crowd to tell him the who, what, when, where, and why’s of his impromptu speech known as a 5W. We laughed as he spoke of Bill Cosby’s chance encounter with Bill Clinton in the year 2050.

Next, during our Table Topics section, Joe provided plenty of interesting questions about the Nouveau Riche or New Money for members and guests alike. Fernando, never one to disappoint, decided to discuss 50 cent and his path to success after being shot 9 times. While Alicia decided the best way to a sell a house is to show each room as a potential copulation area. Smart move, in my opinion.

Our evaluators, Mellodee and Marlene, evaluated both speeches superbly. They used what is commonly referred to as the sandwich method. The sandwich method starts with telling someone what they did well, followed by suggestions for improvement, then ending again with more praise. This allows the speakers the opportunity for maximum growth because they understand not only what they need to work on, but also what they did well.

Nearing the end of the meeting, our Toastmaster, Max, handed out ribbons for 

Best Speech: Bob

Best Table Topics: Fernando

Best Evaluator: Mellodee

If you are worried about being forced to participate, there’s no need. We are all at different levels in our journey and we were all just as nervous to speak in front of a crowd as you are. We are a diverse group of people who enjoy a wide range of topics to discuss. Please join us. You won’t be disappointed.


August 12th, 2015
Theme:  Wanderlust 

Hi out there to all of you who are interested in experiencing the adventure of publicly speaking in a friendly yet challenging place.  Our Contrarians Toastmasters group fills that bill.

On August 12th, Our meeting theme was “Wanderlust”.  After our Sergeant at Arms, Jeremiah, called the meeting to order, and our president, Jeff, welcomed us and assembled guests to the meeting, Alicia delivered the opening thought based on the evening’s theme.  Her thought, considered as it was by her own frequent travels, was essentially that ‘There’s no place like home”.

Mellodee Ng ably hosted as Toastmaster.  She introduced our evening’s Timer/Vote Counter, Roxanna; our Grammarian, Jeff;  Ah Counter, Farzad, and Leadership Manual Evaluator, Karolina.  

Then Mel introduced our evening’s first Prepared Speech speaker, Rich Lombardi.  Rich delivered his first toastmasters speech, his Ice Breaker, lovingly titled, “My Wife’s Husband”.  In the early going his speech was a “paean” to his wife of many years then an expression of love of country and an admonition to pursue personal freedom without dependence on federal help.

Roxanna bravely volunteered to be our second speaker, diving into a briefly prepared reply to our club members’ offered ‘5 W’s’- the “who, what, why, where and when” of speaking.  The who:  Donald Trump, the when, the 1950’s, the why: mom taking him to the hairdresser’s.   Roxanna boldly launched into her own polemic against “The Don”, delivering a rousing polemic.

Mel then introduced Paula to host the impromptu speaking portion of the evening, Table Topics. Each week a different member of our group is invited to fulfill this role, and Paula, in her first foray into the task , fulfilled it with wit and forethought.  She brought in her laptop and used the group’s projector to present slides of beautiful places around the globe.  Then she called Contrarians and willing guests to ‘project’ themselves into the slide’s locations and tell all assembled what they’d do there, how they’d spend time, etc.  A Rorschach test (if you will) that gave us all a chance to experience the speaker and the place

Mel then handed the podium to me as General Evaluator to introduce our Evaluators for the evening’s prepared speakers.  Nayan evaluated Rich’s speech and Max evaluated Roxanna’s. 

Awards were presented for best prepared speaker, best table topics speaker and best Evaluator by Mel.

In our brief business segment of the evening, Jeff introduced Darlene and Raymond McCullough, Officials from Division 4, Area G and F respectively, who invited us to participate in the upcoming Fall Speech Contest that will be held at Mesa Verde United Methodist Church in Costa Mesa on September 18th, 2015 between 2 and 5pm. In advance, we and the other participating clubs will send the winner of our Tall Tales speaking contest to this event.  

We’d love to share our speaking experiences with you and invite you to become like ourselves, members. Hope to see you on Wednesdays at 6:30pm !


August 5th, 2015
Theme: Foreign Food

July 29th, 2015
Theme:  Orange County Vanity 

July 22nd, 2015
Theme: Reality Shows

Reality Shows was the theme for this evening’s meeting.  Max gave the opening thought and he  shared a story of when he was encouraged by a family member to watch  Survivor ( it was also one of my personal favorites). After a few seasons, the constant drama lost its appeal on him and he stopped watching the show.  Reality shows are not for everyone, myself included. 

 Max was also our toastmaster for the evening and introduced the  speakers and their evaluators.There were several speeches scheduled for this evening. Farzad was our first speaker, and he gave his icebreaker speech.  He shared the different methods he used to improve his English, (walking up to complete strangers and starting a conversation)) and how he overcame his fears of  public speaking. The reason he joined Toastmasters, like all of us who join, was to improve his public speaking skills.

The next speech was given by Alex. The title of his speech was “Why your password sucks.” His speech was on password security, and how easily and quickly, hackers can access your password(s).He shared the 25 most common passwords, such as 123456, monkey1, abc123, letmin. As it turned out,  of our members was guilty of using one of the common passwords. I know I will be paying closer attention to my password setup!

Our last speaker  of the evening was Roxanna. The title of her speech was “Expectation versus Agreement.” She is a life coach and explained the difference between expectations and an agreement. For instance, someone who doesn’t communicate their expectations, puts the responsibility on that person. When you make an agreement, they like to keep and honor that agreement.

After the speaking portion, Mellodee, was the table topics master. Several members got to participate in a game of “Bachelor” and we enjoyed how contestants came up with reasons why they should be picked. In the end, the bachelor decided not to go with anyone, and chose “self love.”

At the end of our meeting, we tallied the votes for three categories:  Best Speaker, Best Evaluator, and Best Table Topics.  Roxanna won best speaker, Alicia  won best evaluator, and Nick won best table topics. 

We meet every week on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. If you are interested in joining a Toastmasters club, you are more than welcome to join us a guest. 


July 15th, 2015
Theme: The Death Penalty

The death penalty meeting was kicked-off by no other than our resident prison insider, Roxana. 
She told a great story about the strategic thinking of those inside death row and how it defies conventional wisdom

The very first time in his short TM career, Joe was tasked with Toastmaster duties for the evening. 
As he introduced the speakers, he gave the members a brief description of each prior to being introduced. A nice touch. Great speeches by both Melodee and Jeff.  
Jeff made the room feel like we all learned something. (I don't recall much)
Melodee's speech was interesting as she talked about volunteering and being exposed to sexism. 

Table Topics Master Alex conducted a stellar effort in this segment. The Death Penalty is almost always a politically charged and polarizing topic. 
Even after being challenged by Rich, Alex held his position and continued on with facts. Alicia took home the coveted Table Topics prize with her impromptu 'fluffy' story. 

Meeting wrapped up with Melodee winning Best Speaker and Angela winning for best evaluator

July 8th, 2015
Theme: Secrets and Lies

At the Contrarians, you quickly grow appreciation for the effort our members give towards our meetings. Angela’s research on the five most common told secrets and lies was not only informative but engaging and funny. I uproariously laughed when she told us that the most common lie is “I don’t lies.” Why? Because I am definitely one of those people! Shhh, don’t tell anyone!

Our Toastmaster Alicia ran a well-organized and smooth meeting. She remembered to tell our guests that our meetings are separated into three segments (prepared speeches, impromptu speeches, evaluations) and gave short but sweet introductions for our prepared speakers.

Ray, our first speaker, gave an impromptu speech titled “What I think about thinking.” How do you know that you know something? Well... Ray came to the conclusion that actually, we can never know! We can never be 100% certain about anything! Therefore, it behooves us to ask questions, explore, and experiment.

Our second speaker, Nayan, used his storytelling skills to discuss “Social Norms and Arranged Marriage.” An interesting topic, one that got my ears piqued, he requested that we all look into our lives for the moments in which we rely on social norms. For his efforts, he won best speaker. Fantastic, Nayan!

Our last prepared speaker, Karolina, shared a deep, personal story involving a friend of hers who asked for her support during a dark period. She wanted to make clear that we have a “Right to Be Unhappy.” We have a choice. We don’t have to follow the pervasive advice “Be happy.” She ended her speech by gracefully reciting W.H. Auden’s poem “Funeral Blues.”

After the prepared speeches segment, Jeremiah re-energized our members with a hilarious reminder that never do we need to tell truth, especially during Table Topics. However, with questions on topics like infidelity, Edward Snowden, murder, and farting, members chose to answer honestly. Or...did they? We’ll never know, will we?

Our evaluators, Joe, Sean, and Wayne, respectively, gave intriguing and balanced evaluations of our speakers. I always enjoy hearing evaluations; they not only help improve my skills as an evaluator but as a speaker.

Finally, our Toastmaster Alicia handed out the ribbons to best speaker, best table topics, and best evaluator.

If you’re on the fence about coming as a guest, don’t hesitate! Fun times await you!

- Mellodee

July 1st, 2015
Theme: Police Brutality

June 24th, 2015
Theme: Socialism

Tonight our current officers’ term ended and we thanked our outgoing president Ramesh for his wonderful job and leadership he has given to our club over the past 6 months. He received a big hug and a tie around his neck from many of us. We just like to improvise and have fun. 

Tonight 4 guests visited our club and followed our meeting. 

We had two prepared speeches, one of which was Paula’s Icebreaker. She gave a powerful and engaging speech about who she is. She emphasized how much she feels supported by our club, so that she can grow her confidence and evolve as a person and as a speaker. 

Sara was our second speaker. In “What animal area you?” she pointed out the characteristics of zoo animals as a comparison to us people in our work environment, and what we need to be balanced. Also, what a leader needs to know in order to work well with all the different “animals” and their traits. Her speech was entertaining and interesting, and her props were the cherry on the cake. Some of our members wore Sara’s animal hats all through the meeting. 

Joe did a great job leading his Table Topics segment about socialism, and we heard some interesting impromptu answers. If you don’t know anything about a topic it’s a great challenge to smoothly switch to a different topic. 

Mellodee and Fernando were our speech evaluators today, both delivered valuable feedback for our main speakers. 

At the end of our meeting we welcomed a new member into the club.

Our president Ramesh then called all outgoing officers to the podium to give a short speech about their work during the last term, making way to the new officers and wishing them well. 

After acknowledging our guests we ended the meeting at 8:15 PM. 

See you all next time!


June 17th, 2015
Theme: Pornography
Pornography?  Really?  We need to be really bold to speak about this subject. And you were not disappointed.  Because at The Contrarians, no topic is taboo.  Our Opening Thought Speaker, took us into a trip of where Pornography was originated, the revenue of 3 billion annually online and as a whole 13-14 billion annually and what happens after your 1st exposure to it. Also, how it has affected men and women in many ways, including of course, their relationships.

We also had two inductions into our club...Congratulations Jurgen and Sasha, welcome to our Club!!

Our first speaker of the night was Fernando.  It was  great speech were he used metaphors in order for us to understand how can we feel based on our surroundings.  He even delivered part of his speech in Spanish, and it seems that only Sara understood that part.  But the best part was the word he invented... "metamorphicly speaking"

Then, we had our 2nd Speaker Rick, that not only he said he was delivering his last speech with us, he talked about the 3 things he has learn by doing Toast Masters.

Back to our Table Topics, Mellodee, our Table Topic Masters, touched again on our Theme of the night...And what a way to get us all out of our comfort zone with questions like...  (I better not)  you should have been there!!  The word of the day was "flaccid"  that might give you an idea. 

Our evaluators Niemn and Bob did a great job evaluating our speakers.  They showed their perspective and provided feedback on what our speakers did great, what they needed to work on, and what other things were a highlight in their speech.  

In the final segment, we got the time report by Ray, the ah counter report by Joe and the grammar report by Jeremiah.  

Finally, we did a drum roll to choose our best speaker, best table topic speaker and best evaluator and given a ribbon by our President and Toastmaster of the night Sean...Rick, Joe and Niemn respectively.  Then he welcome our new guests...it is always great to see new guest visiting us.  

So what are you waiting for to visit us?  See you next time...Sara


June 10th, 2015
Theme: How much is too much?

With a theme such as How Much is Too Much? so many things come to mind that, really, anything could happen. Boy was I in for a treat.

The meeting started with an insightful opening thought from Sara on How Much is Too Much? reminding us that things such as water and exercise can be harmful in extreme uses thus moderation should always be taken in consideration.

Mellodee graciously welcomed the audience with explanation of what to expected for the evening asked members to explain their roles.

Our first speaker, Niem, shared insight on our brains amygdalae and cortex, how they overlap and compensate in fear and distress. Niem was courageous to answer questions potentially leaving him open to running out of time.

Sean shared his experience with his loss of a parent and the subsequent question of satisfaction/enjoyment in life. All of which left some of us to reconsider our choices and pursue of happiness. 

 Joe took the podium with a simple statement; A, B, C. Always Be Closing. This astute acronym stuck with Joe after watching the film Glengarry Glen Ross. Joe shared how any situation in life can be conducted as a sales deal and how these skills can improve the desired outcome of such situation.

Mellodee spontaneously introduced Ramesh to fill in as Table Topics Master who generously took on the role at an instant and cleverly created table topics by asking the audience to fill the blank in How much is too much of__________ while randomly choosing members for an impromptu speech.

As you can imagine, we heard speeches about:

How much is too much dessert?

How much is too much money?

How much is too much word-of-the-day?

How much is too much sex?

How many is too many kids?

 You can probably imagine laughter in the audience.

The General Evaluator followed by inviting each evaluator to share their observations on what the speakers did well and offered great insight on how to improve further speaking skills.

After the General Evaluator shared his observations about how the meeting was conducted and what could be improved upon, the Toastmaster returned to the floor for the awaited segment of Ribbon Winners!

The winners were: Joe for Best Prepared Speech, Marlene for Best Table Topics, Karolina for Best Evaluator

Looking forward next week's meeting as always : )

~ Fernando

June 3rd, 2015
Theme: I Love You

May 27th, 2015
Theme: Drought In California

May 20th, 2015
Theme: Club Elections

May 13th, 2015
Theme: Music Through The Decades

Who says that it would be stressful to speak before a big group, especially after a long working day?  Our Toastmaster members and guests once again prove that notion does not apply to Contrarians.

Even though the meeting started a bit late because of unexpected parking issue, our ToastMaster, Nick, and Table Topic Master, Mellodee, were able to run the meeting right on-schedule.  Nick, with his unique fanciful story-telling skill, did not leave any meeting moment unfilled.  Our new member, Sara, impressed us all with her moving ice-breaker speech, which won the best-speaker ribbon. Mellodee’s evocative questions about music did get both members and guests to improvise verbally and nonverbally – a guest showed off his hip-thrusting skill during his impromptu speech.

Having fun while polishing public speaking skill – that’s Contrarians’ mantra. 

May 6th, 2015
Theme: Food Desserts in America

Each Contrarian meeting is different from the last, but definitely no less interesting or entertaining. 

Tonight our meeting began with our president Ramesh, donning a faux mustache and then joining him on stage were Nick, John and Fernando, all four standing at the front of the room looking very suspicious in their faux mustaches looking at everyone in the room. With uproarious laughter from the galley, the men parted ways without a word and our evening was off to a very Contrarian start!

Our opening thought was brought to us by our VP of Membership, Karolina, who taught us how to properly zest a lemon. Very fitting since our theme for the evening was Food Desserts In America.

With a packed house and a full schedule, our Toastmaster, Rick, introduced us to our speakers for the evening. 

Sean was up first with his speech titled “Why Nice Guys Finish Last.” He shared stories of his life as a self professed mamas boy and how he had lots of friends that were girls but no romantic interest from them. He was stuck in the “friend zone” for being such a nice guy. Many people are nice because they want something in return but he believes you can be altruistic in your kindness and still get the girl, which he has since proven, recently marrying his longtime sweetheart!

Our second speaker was one of our newest members, Nayan, who gave his icebreaker speech sharing his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. He shared the story of how he became hooked on this great NBA team and the excitement of his first game. 

Mellodee was our final prepared speaker for the evening, driving home what a good fit she is for our Contrarian club by talking about pole dancing, hookers and masturbation. She expressed to the ladies in the room the importance of not needing a man to enjoy yourself. Way to keep us blushing, Mellodee! 

Never a dull a moment during our fun meeting, as our Table Topics Master, Bob, had us salivating with his impromptu questions related to Desserts in America. 

During our final segment, our three evaluators, Niem, Ramesh and Marlene, gave their respective speakers valuable feedback on what they did well during their speeches and a few tips on how they can improve in the future. General Evaluator, Alicia, followed up with a quick evaluation of the overall meeting. 

And finally, our Toastmaster, Rick, handed out ribbons to the best voted in each segment. Congratulations to the winners!

If you want to have a crazy, fun time improving your speaking and leadership skills, don’t let another week go by without visiting us on Wednesday nights at 6:30 PM. You seriously won’t regret it. 

~ Alicia

April 29th, 2015
Theme: Alcohol

April 22nd, 2015
Theme: Suburban Sprawl

Today we had more guests than we have ever had before! We started our meeting with yet another new member induction. Our club has been growing steadily, and it is always exciting to observe how new members change the club’s dynamics. 
Jeremiah started the meeting with his opening thought about suburban sprawl. Our Toastmaster Bob introduced our first speaker Roxanna, a brand new member. Her very first speech, the ice breaker was called “Working Title”. We club members love to listen to ice breakers because it gives us the opportunity to get to know our new members. And it was no different this time. Her speech was about her being a life long learner packed with interesting stories of her life.

Our second speaker was a guest speaker from another club. We had the honor to listen to Daniel's speech “Remote Control”. He was rehearsing it at our club before facing his competitors at the district speech contest in a few weeks. It was an inspiring and at the same time, humorous story about taking control of his own life. Since Daniel is a very experienced speaker, it was a great opportunity for us to learn from him. 

Word of the day was “snollygoster”, and everyone who participated in table topics was reminded to use it in their improvised answer. Marlene was our table topics master and had prepared lots of great questions. 

Rick then evaluated Speaker 1 and did a truly fantastic job. Instead of evaluating Speaker 2, Daniel himself came to the stage and gave us all tips on how to speak based on his project.  After the business segment another fun and interesting evening ended right on time. 


April 15th, 2015
Theme: Haves and Have Nots

April 8th, 2015
Theme: Food Deserts In America

The theme of this week's meeting was Food Deserts. There was a great deal of amusing confusion over whether it was Food Deserts or Food Desserts. Many of the more contrarian members went with their own take on this issue. Joe provided the opening thought, explaining the desert concept to many who had not heard of it before. Desserters remained unphased.

We had a brief induction ceremony for Alex, our newest Contrarian, but no stranger to Toastmasters. Knowing the drill, he immediately leaped in as our timer.

Toastmaster Ramesh provided fantastic introductions for both of our speakers tonight: Karolina and Daniel. Karolina related a personal tale about her lifelonging struggle with perfectionism and the problems that it causes in her speech, "Imperfection". Daniel delivered his icebreaker, "Here, Then There", describing his history with Toastmasters and his determination to use it to overcome his own fears and challenges in speaking.

Tonight's Table Topics Master was Jeremiah, his first time at the role. He asked a mixture of questions, touching on both Food Desert and Dessert related topics. Several guests participated, and perhaps the meeting highlight came in the form of a debate between Ray and his brother Ben: Which is better, cookies or ice cream? Both delivered fantastic arguments, and so the question remains perhaps unresolved.

Sean was the evening's general evaluator, introducing tonight's duo of speech evaluators: Bob for Karolina, and Alicia for Daniel, both of whom did a fantastic job. The meeting's Ahs were then recounted by Fernando, and Melodee delivered an extremely thorough Grammarian report. Sean's meeting evaluation followed, praising and critiquing many aspects of what had been a delightful meeting. He went over time.

Toastmaster and President Ramesh then announced the evening's winners: Karolina took Best Speaker, Alicia best Evaluator, and the newly inducted Alex won Best Table Topics for his take on "If you were a vegan NASCAR driver, which unhealthy food company would you have as your sponsor?". Several guests provided their feedback that they had enjoyed the meeting, and then things were brought to a swift and timely close. I for one am certainly looking forward to the next one!


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