This Week in Toastmasters: Turkey and Teenage Angst

Lock yourselves in your mom’s basement, throw your favorite vinyl record on the stereo and soak in a pool of teenage angst. It’s…


I’ve been working from home most of this week. When that happens, I get to hang out in jeans and t-shirts, listening to my high school collection of Led Zeppelin records. Right now, I’m listening to “Dazed and Confused” from their first album which, due to reports of all the drugs they were taking when they recorded it, was just as much as surprise to the band when they first heard it as it was to their fans.

Robert Plant: These guys are pretty good
Jimmy Page: They’re us, mate.
Robert Plant: No s**t?
Jimmy Page: No s**t.

My friends and I liked to pretend we were members of the band when we were kids. A lot of people wanted to be either Plant (the lead singer) or Page (the guy who uses violin bowstrings to play lead guitar), but when I was a teenager – 100 pounds lighter, with thick, flowing locks of long hair that hung past my shoulders if you can believe that – I wanted to be John Bonham, the drummer. This was likely because I grew up watching The Muppet Show and Animal from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem was always my favorite character.

Something about him just spoke to me.

Joe and his friends: An Artist's rendition

Joe and his friends: An Artist’s rendition

It was only ten years later that I learned Animal was based not on John Bonham, like I thought, but rather Keith Moon from The Who. My dreams were crushed. Try as I might, I just can’t get into The Who. Oddly enough, John Bonham and Keith Moon died of drug overdoses within two years of each other. But not Animal. He’s still “alive” and kicking!

Go Animal!


We haven’t had an update for a few weeks. Sorry about that. I’d like to say it’s because I had transplant surgery and have been steadfastly recuperating but, in reality, I’m just lazy. I actually DID have the transplant surgery, but recovery has been a breeze thus far (if my eyeball explodes, I might have to rethink that). I’ve spent most of time non-work time catching up on two of my favorite shows: Modern Family and Burn Notice. Naturally, I’ve been thinking of a way to do a Modern Family/Burn Notice mashup, which I call “Family on Fire.” It’s about a family of spies attempting to navigate the intricacies of their quirky interpersonal relationships while hunting down an international shadow organization bent on world domination. It would star Josh Holloway, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Lewis and Roseanne Barr, and it would be set in San Diego.

I’m excited. Are you excited, because I’m excited.


We’ve had a few good speeches these last two weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what they are because I didn’t write them down. I know Shafali Veeramalu and Min Wang gave their Ice Breaker speeches. Congrats! You guys did a great job! We have a few new guests-turned-members as well. Welcome, new Toastpeople! I think I gave a speech at one point but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was. Do you?

Maybe you can help me out. What was your favorite Toastmasters moment of the last few weeks?


That’s right. Next week is Thanksgiving, the annual American tradition where get together with our families to eat overpriced Turkey, drink too much wine, gossip about the crazy aunt who moved to San Francisco to pursue a career sculpting art out of disused, industrial strength CAT tires, and fall asleep on the couch pretending to care who the Lions and Cowboys are playing and whether or not they’re winning. Then we wake up at midnight to stand in line in the cold at Target for six hours, attempting to toss a few elbows at Granny in the hopes that we’ll get 15% off video games our kids will never play.

Happy Holidays, everyone! No meeting next week.


We still need a Toastmaster two weeks from now (on November 29). We also need a Table Topics master, an evaluator, a Timer, and a Grammarian/Ah Counter. Go sign up for something at http://polaris.toastmastersclubs.

I’d LOVE to see some of the new folks step up and take some roles, too. Please let me know if you’re having trouble accessing the site.


  • Our Holiday gathering/party/meeting is Thursday, December 13 at the usual time in the usual location. Laura McCaffrey, Crystal Dong and Liz Foster are planning something. So keep your nose peeled and your ears to the grindstone. Or however that metaphor works.
  • We don’t have a meeting scheduled for December 20, but I’ll be around. If anyone out there will be around and is interested in having a meeting let me know. Maybe we can do something small.
  • We’ll start the year on Jan 10 with a regular meeting.
  • Our Evaluation Contest is Jan 17 (click here for more info on this type of contest). I’m the contest master. We’re working on getting a speaker who is NOT from our club, so it should be fair for everyone. GO SIGN UP!
  • Our International Speech Contest is Jan 31 (more info). Crystal is running that one. Go to the website and sign up for that as well.

Have a good Thanksgiving if I don’t see you. Given the state of my eyesight, that’s a pretty high probability.


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