Speaking our Minds with Passion, Respect, and Confidence!

Welcome Members and Visitors! 

Listed below are our latest meeting snapshots to give you a flavor of the challenging, thought-provoking, and FUN times to be had at a Contrarians Toastmasters meeting!


February 28, 2018
6:30 PM ~ Wednesday
Location: Atria Woodbridge, 1 Witherspoon, Irvine, CA 92604
(3rd Floor Conference Room)


February 21, 2018
Meeting Theme: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

February 14, 2018
Meeting Theme: You Can If You Think You Can

Members attending: Chandra, Terrence, Mike, Casandra, Linda, Nayan, Rich, Bob, 

Speakers: Linda and Chandra

Evaluators: Bob and Nayan

Table Topics Master: Terence

Toastmaster and General Evaluator: Rich

Meeting Summary

Nayan opened meeting on time as stand in for President Paula.

Meeting ran smoothly even though numerous members were at home celebrating Valentine’s Day with their spouses.

Rich’s - Opening thought was how Premier of Israel, Netanyahu responded in a positive manner to the leaders of Hamas who presenter him during a recent cease-fire with a nicely wrapped box of camel dung.

New member Terrence did a great job as TT Chairperson at last minute even though it was his first time as TT Chairperson.

Table Topics Theme Education ~

Casandra did a great job for her first time as Timer and vote counter.

It was nice to see guests for second week in a row volunteer to participate in Table Topics.

Award Winners:

Table Topics – Bob,

Best Evaluator - Nayan

Best Speaker - Linda

Most Improved - Terence

Meeting ended on a high note with introduction of guests.

February 7, 2018
Meeting Theme:  The Stock Market

Another great meeting with the popular Contrarians Club.  We had three great speeches:  a great skiing story from Garrett showing his body movement skills, Milind delivered a powerful motivational speech and Nayan provided a case study for "trying something new" and other ways to motivate employees at performance reviews.  Our theme tonight was The Stock Market and our Table Topics Master, Rich, guru of all things economic and political had some great questions.  We had 3 guests who participated!  Cassandra, Chandra, and Rich all gave outstanding evaluations, with Cassandra killing it on her first time as an Evaluator and just joined our club a week ago.  We elected two new officers after a couple needed to step down from their role.... Cassandra is our new Vice President of Membership and Terence is our new Sergeant at Arms.  Love the enthusiasm of the new members!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker:  Garrett
Best Table Topic:  Chandra
Best Evaluator:  Cassandra
Most Improved:  Cassandra

Can't wait for next Wednesday!

January 31, 2018
Meeting Theme: What I Know for Sure Is.....

Contrarians never disappoint and this week's meeting was no exception. Cassandra Garcia joined us as a new member - Welcome Cassandra. Garrett set the tone of the meeting with a opening thought. Linda did a great job as a Toastmaster in quickly filling up the missing roles. Thank  you to returning guest Greg for taking the Ah counter role. Chandra took the challenge of the 5W's and delivered an amazing speech. Rich and Mike's speeches showed variety and depth. Rich is now the second member who delivered the speech for the new Pathways program. Table Topic Master – Bob ensured that members/guests had opportunity to sharpen their impromptu speaking skills. 
All evaluators (Terence, Milind, and Paula) provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluation. Congratulations to Terence for filling the evaluators role for the first time. 

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Chandra
Best Table Topic - Nayan
Best Evaluator - Paula
Most Improved - Cassandra

January 24, 2018
Theme: Prescriptions for Living

Evaluators one, two and three (Charlotte, Judi and Garrett) did a great job.

It was nice to see two guests Greg and Shiraz were comfortable enough to participate in Table Topics.

Terence's Ice Breaker showed we are attracting excellent new members.

Toastmaster Sanjay ran a very smooth and organized meeting.

Table Topic Master – Medi had good questions but needs to ask members with no roll or minor rolls before he calls on GE, EV’s and Speakers.

Comment on Pathways: We all need to understand Pathways not just new members who are Participating in the Pathways program.

Thank you Nayan for presenting a very thought out and informative speech on a Pathways Overview.

And the awards went to:

Best Speaker - Terence

Best Table Topic - Garrett

Best Evaluator - Mike

Most Improved - Terence

Wednesday January 17, 2018
Theme:  Do As I Say, Not As I Do

What a great meeting!  The Contrarians never disappoint!  Judi was our Toastmaster for the first time took full control of the meeting. ..  Nayan delivered an informative speech about information he learned about Pathways ending with a CTA.  Garrett gave a fun speech on water management, yes I said fun.  He made it memorable with his fantastic images he described.  Nayan was the Table Topics Master and our theme was “Do as I Say, Not as I Do”….. For the Contrarians we had some interesting responses.   We had three returning guests this evening who thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and one who is signing up to be a member!  Love it.


In the end, the awards went to:

        Best Speaker - Garrett

        Best Table Topics - Charlotte

        Best Evaluator - Linda

        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Mike


Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Theme:  Dangerous Selfies

This week's topic of "Dangerous Selfies" made for a very exciting (but safe) meeting. Chandra did a great job of facilitating the meeting as Toastmaster. We were very excited to induct Terence as our newest member. Mike gave a great opening speech inspiring us to overcome our fears. Milind followed up with an entertaining speech stringing together stories about the crazy people he has met over the course of his life. Rich brought the prepared speeches section home with a speech on investing in assets. Stephanie was the Table Topics master, and did an awesome job coming up with thought-provoking questions about danger and selfies! We had three new guests and one returning guest, all of whom enjoyed the meeting! In the end, the awards went to:


Best Speaker: Rich

Best Table Topics: Terence

Best Evaluator: Judi

Most Improved/Breakthrough: Stephanie


As always, looking forward to our next meeting!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Theme:  Reviewing Our Goals

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Theme:  A Christmas Story

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 
Theme: Deja Vu

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 
Theme: Dating Rituals

Awesome night!  A Contrarian theme:Dating Rituals!  We had the honor to induct a new member, Stephanie.  Paula was the Toastmaster and led a great meeting.  Stephanie gave her Ice Breaker right off the bat, Rich gave a report on the achievements and Alexey talked about positive self-expectancy.  Linda was the Table Topics Master and came up with some interesting questions that delivered even more interesting answers. We had two first time  guests and a returning guest. Glad I didn't miss out on this one!

In the end, the awards went to:

        Best Speaker - Alexey

        Table Topics - Milind

        Evaluator - Brendan

        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Stephanie

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 
Theme: Brevity is the soul of wit

What a fun night!  The Contrarians never disappoint!  We had the honor to induct two new members, Mohan and Judi.  Garrett was the Toastmaster for the first time and killed it..  Milind delivered a heartfelt lesson on the meaning of the American Flag and Mike told the story of his trip to Japan with great pictures.  Bob stepped up at the last minute to take on the role of Table Topics Master and came up with some great questions that delivered even better answers.  Horse sashimi....had to be there.  Garrett was officially elected Treasurer for the term starting January 1, 2018.  We had two guests this evening who thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and a return guest signing up to be a member!  Love it.

In the end, the awards went to:
        Best Speaker - Milind
        Table Topics - Taka
        Evaluator - Rich
        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Mohan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 
Theme: Special Event - Pathway Update

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 
Theme: Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Pros and Cons

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 
Theme: Halloween Event

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 
Theme: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 
Theme: Tattoos, Piercings and Body Modification

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 
Theme: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff 

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 
Theme: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 
Theme: Leaders – Natural Gift or Made

Another great Contrarians meeting.....  We had the honor to induct new member, Garrett.  Nayan was the Toastmaster extraordinaire.  Sanjay spoke from an advanced manual with a speech titled: Everything else can wait, but....  Rich delivered an interesting "Letter to Nayan" based on politics and government.  Alexey brought it tonight with being the Table Topics Master with some very thoughtful questions on leadership, the theme of the evening.

In the end, the awards went to:
        Best Speaker - Sanjay
        Table Topics - Medi
        Evaluator - Garrett
        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Garrett

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017 
Theme: Fact or Fiction?

The key to a smooth meeting flow is to have roles confirmed by members ahead of the meeting. We are pleased to report that 92% of roles were confirmed on time. Clearly when we utilize the easy Speak website to confirm roles this contributes to a well-organized meeting. Also 12 members advised attendance on time via easy Speak. This is a great tool and I encourage all members to make it a regular part of their meeting update activity. Irina Wallace, one of our newest members, delivered her 2nd speech and is moving right along with her speech presentations and taking on roles. Garrett Rapp, also new to Contrarians, gave a great Table Topic speech and has taken on several roles. We appreciate their  contribution to Contrarians!

And the awards went to!

Best Speaker – Rich Lombardi, a Toastmasters veteran and wonderful speaker

Best Table Topics -  Garrett Rapp

Best Evaluator – Nayan Ajbani, also a Toastmasters veteran and one of our best evaluators

Most Improved – Irina Wallace

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 
Theme: Your Biggest Lie?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 
Theme: Excellence or Perfection?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 
Theme: Ridiculous Job Interview Questions

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 
Theme: If You Won a Lotto

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 
Theme: Blend In or Stand Out?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 
Theme: Regrets, I've had a few

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 
Theme: Out With the Old, In With the New

Tonight's meeting was hosted by Rich, who did a wonderful job of keeping the energy high and the show running on time.
 We had several people not show up to fill their roles and had to spend extra time in the beginning of the meeting assigning them, although this was still an entertaining portion of the evening.

Milind gave a speech on Communism vs Capitalism and the other 2 speeches we completely impromptu by Bob and Brendan. 
Brendan had a very interesting topic, but went over his time limit and did not qualify to be voted for best speaker. 

Our district director was also attending the meeting and provided an expert evaluation and an engaging table topic. She noted that our club was on track, if not exceeding everything that we are required to do as part of Toastmasters.

Tonight’s winners were:
Best speaker: Bob
Best Evaluator: Puala
Best Table Topics Speaker: Zenaida 
Most Improved: Linda

Wednesday, July 27, 2017 
Theme: The "A ha" Moment

Tonight was another action packed meeting with three great speeches and many Contrarians’ type table topics questions.

Alexey shared a nice opening thought by telling everyone that we all have an “Aha!” moment at some point in our life.
After that Bob, Toastmaster for tonight’s meeting, took control of the meeting and made sure all the segments are completed on time.

The first segment of the meeting was prepared speeches segment. In this segment we heard three great speeches on different topics.
First speaker was Paula, who gave an impromptu speech from one of the advanced manuals. In her speech Paula talked about how she got hooked to Contrarians Toastmasters club. She also shared many benefits of being a Toastmaster.
Second speaker was Irina, who gave her first a.k.a. “Ice Breaker” speech from CC manual. In her speech Irina shared with us her story from her childhood and key lesson “Integrity, being honest to admit who she is” she learned.
Third speaker was Linda, who gave her second speech from CC manual. In her speech, Linda also shared her personal story and key lesson “Capture the moments with your loved ones” she learned.

The second segment of the meeting was Table Topics a.k.a. “Impromptu Speaking” segment. It was led by Rich, who asked members and guest questions on various topics, mostly related to our meeting theme.
The third and final segment of the meeting was evaluation segment. It was led by Sanjay.
In this segment, the three speech evaluators, Nayan, Charlotte and Rich provided constructive feedback to three speakers. After that Sanjay gave constructive feedback on overall meeting.
During business segment of the meeting, we elected Alexey as our new VPPR. Congratulations Alexey on your first role as a club officer.

Tonight’s winners were:
Best speaker: Linda
Best Evaluator: Rich
Best Table Topics Speaker: Charlotte
We were also lucky to have one awesome guest “Rocky”. 

Wednesday, July 05 @ 18:30
Theme: Summer Adventures
Location: Atria Woodbridge, 1 Witherspoon, Irvine, CA 92604

Wednesday, June 28 @ 18:30
Theme: Course Corrections

We have been meeting consistently all year round but have yet to catch up with importing data for the meetings between October and December 2016.  Will do that as soon as feasible!  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday June 21, 2017
Love or Respect

Wednesday June 14, 2017
Perception or Reality

Wednesday June 7, 2017
To be or not to be

Wednesday May 31, 2017
Circle of Love

Wednesday May 24, 2017

Wednesday May 17, 2017
Spring Forward

Wednesday May 10, 2017
Cartoons and Comic Books

Wednesday May 3, 2017
Spiritual or Like-Minded

Wednesday April 26, 2017
Leader of the Free World

Wednesday April 19, 2017
Constitutional Rights

Wednesday April 12, 2017
Trendy or Trending

Wednesday April 5, 2017
Corporate America as opposed to Global Corporation

Wednesday March 29, 2017
Open House

Wednesday March 22, 2017
Theme: School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education

What a fun meeting we had tonight! 15 members and 4 guests were present to listen and give feedback to three prepared speeches. Mike opened the meeting with his opening thought to tonight’s topic “School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education”. Nayan, our Toastmaster, had the agenda ready and all the helper roles filled. First off, Rich gave an informative speech about taxes. Mau presented another one of his interesting, inspiring talks and Steve rehearsed his “Smile” speech before participating in the Saturday District competition. What a treat to listen to what everyone had to say! Next, tonight’s impromptu segment Table Topics was led by Sanjay. He had prepared questions to the topic “School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education”, which led to both fun and serious approaches. We thereby also learned about some members’ delicate pasts, which just goes to show how comfortable we are and the support that we feel in our club. Karolina then led through the evaluation segment by introducing the three evaluators. Chandra gave constructive feedback to Rich, Milind to Mau and Zenaida to Steve. We ended the meeting with our grammarian and ah-counter report, a general meeting evaluation by Karolina and the awards given out by our Toastmaster Nayan. Our president Paula greeted our guests and announced our open house and anniversary event next week. Thank you all for a fun and educational meeting, as usual.

- Karolina

Wednesday March 15, 2017
Theme: Speech Contest

Wednesday March 8, 2017
Theme: Dangerous Selfies

Wednesday March 1, 2017
Theme: Social Media

Wednesday February 22, 2017
Theme: Eat to Live or Live to Eat

Wednesday February 15, 2017
Theme: Life and Death

Wednesday February 8, 2017
Theme: V-Day

Tuesday October 18, 2016
Theme: The Fashion Industry

Tuesday October 11, 2016
Theme: Airbnb Rentals

Tuesday October 4, 2016
Theme: Baby Boomers vs. Millennials

Tuesday September 27, 2016
Theme: The Great Outdoors

Tuesday September 20, 2016
Theme: Humorous Speech Contest

Tonight, Duward gave a rousing and hilarious speech about his time in a college dorm room known as Room 15. We laughed as he spoke of  drunken rubber chicken fights and neighbors constantly bothered by the vibrations made by the sound of Room 15's eclectic taste in music. Afterward, we all had a chance to evaluate his speech.

For Table Topics, everyone was asked a question by the person who spoke previously. This lack of theme meant we were allowed the opportunity to explore a wide variety of subjects for the remainder of the evening. Paula won the ribbon for Best Table Topic this evening.

Please join us and find out why we all love to be Contrarians.


Tuesday September 6, 2016
Theme: Labor Day

Contrarians speakers are a bunch of aspiring orators who work hard to polish their speaking craft.  Our prepared speakers, Steve and Lynn, truly fired up the Contrarians Prepared Speech session; both eloquently spoke about the beauty of living a self-determined life.  Kudos to Steve and Lynn, who succeeded in enthralling, inspiring, and persuading the audience.  Our speech evaluators, Nayan and Sandy, displayed their critical listening skill in giving specific, helpful critiques to the prepared speakers.

In our club, all members are motivated to speak better.  Not only do we strive to make our speeches, prepared or impromptu, perfect, we also help each other to achieve a common goal – to become competent speakers.  Come to join the Contrarians and see us in action!

- Niem

Tuesday August 30, 2016
Theme: Happiness

Tuesday August 23, 2016
Theme: Higher Education

Tuesday August 16, 2016
Theme: The Summer Olympics

Tuesday August 9, 2016
Theme: Modern Dating

Tuesday August 2, 2016
Theme: Technology Addiction

Tuesday July 26, 2016
Theme: Myth & Legends

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring.  We started the meeting with the induction of two new members, Rebecca and Rio.

Niem served as a superb Toastmaster who also delivered an opening thought on our theme for the evening.  He was helped by Marlene as Timer, Mau as Ah Counter and Farzad as Grammarian.

We had a full night of speeches beginning with Rebecca delivering a fantastic Icebreaker, Paula “rallied the troops” around her speech to get our club to President’s Distinguished Status and Sanjay gave a wonderful persuasive presentation from an advanced manual.

Our Table Topics portion of the evening was led by Chandra, with thought provoking questions leaving our members to decide myth or legend.    Our evaluators for the evening, Mark, Lynn and Steve did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Paula won Best Speaker, Mark won Best Table Topic, Steve won Best Evaluator and Lynn was Most Improved.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday July 19, 2016
Theme: Reality vs. Expectations

Tuesday July 12, 2016
Theme: Expression

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring.  Chandra guided us through the meeting as Toastmaster.  He was helped by Mark as Timer, Bob as Ah Counter and Marlene as Grammarian.

We had a full night of speeches beginning with Helen, Alex and Jose giving his Ice Breaker

Our Table Topics portion of the evening was led by Steve, who but an interesting spin on Expressions.    Our evaluators for the evening, Farzad, Sara and Mellodee did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Alex won Best Speaker, Dan won Best Table Topic, Mellodee won Best Evaluator and Helen was Most Improved.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday June 28, 2016
Theme: Climate Change

It was Sandy’s first time as a toastmaster but the way she conducted the meeting it looked like she had already taken this role many times. Good job Sandy, keep it up!!

Our first speaker was Farzad, who shared a few tips on how to become a better influencer. If you want to know more details, like Farzad, you can read the book “Shortcut to Influence”.

Our second speaker, Zenaida, talked about what are possible causes of “Mass Murder in USA” and what is her solution to this problem.

Our third speaker, Steve, talked about how Starbucks has become a marketing giant over many decades.

Paula was the table topics master for tonight’s meeting. She asked many questions from the “Road Rage” book. Each speaker had to pick one quote/sign from the book and tell everyone how it affects climate change.
You got to be at the meeting to see yourself, how people came up with many creative answers using their own personal stories and that too in 1-2 min speech!!

During evaluation segment, Rich, Milind and Chandra provided constructive feedback to three speakers, while Sanjay gave a general evaluation of the whole meeting.

Tonight’s winners were:
Steve (Best Speaker), Chandra (Best Evaluator), and Jeremiah (Best Table Topics Speaker)

We also had three first time guests and few returning guests.
Overall it was a fun meeting. If you are a visitor, come check us out on any Tuesday at 6:30PM.


Tuesday June 21, 2016
Theme: Deja Vu!

When the meeting theme is Déjà vu, you are in for a pleasant surprise and today’s meeting didn’t disappoint anyone. Paula gave the opening thought and nicely set the platform for the meeting.

This evening we had three speakers. Chandra, Sara, and Mark gave a speech on topics ranging from Financial Freedom, 4 enemies, and Scared to Death. Each speaker did a great justice by actively engaging with the audience and provided valuable information to all.

Our table topics master was Bob. Bob allowed the meeting to flow rather than dictating with his own questions. It was something new for the contrarians

Our evaluators for the evening were Steve, Marlene, and Sandy. Evaluations are crucial to member’s success as the constructive feedback allows speaker to improve in the future speeches.

At the end of our meeting, our timer Sara tallied the votes for three categories:

Best table topics: Jeremiah

Best evaluator: Sandy

Best speech: Mark

This was a fun meeting with a mix of serious and lighthearted tones. We also had three special guests. Our toastmaster was Mellodee and she did a great job of keeping a tab on the time even though we started about 5 minutes late.

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

-Nayan Ajbani

Tuesday June 14, 2016
Theme: Gun Control

Gun control was the theme of the evening. Marlene gave the opening thought and shared countries with the strictest gun control measures. In Germany, anyone under 25 has to pass a psychiatric evaluation, and in Italy, to obtain a gun permit, you have to establish a genuine reason to have a firearm, pass a background check for both criminal and mental health. In  the U.K. and Japan, handguns are illegal for private citizens.
This evening we had several speakers. Jeff gave a speech titled “Breaking the ice – again”, Steve wrote a poem he wrote about Mohammad Ali titled “Fly like a butterfly and Sting like a bee”, and Mark gave his icebreaker speech and shared the work ethic encouraged by his grandfather, who immigrated to the U.S from Italy as a child and eventually owned his own company. 
Next was table topics and Karolina was our table topics master. After that was the speech evaluations segment, where the evaluators give their feedback to the speakers.
At the end of our meeting, we tallied the votes for three categories:
Best table topics: Sandy
Best evaluator: Jeremiah
Best speech: Mark
We meet every week on Tuesday evenings at 6:30. If you are interested in joining a Toastmasters club, you are more than welcome to join us a guest.

Tuesday June 7, 2016
Theme: Everyday Conversation

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring and it started off with John and Alicia strangely taking measurements of Jeremiah while he was getting the meeting started.  Even stranger, they were measuring for a coffin, all in good Contrarian fun.

The meeting continued with Alicia as Toastmaster for the evening and she was helped by Sanjay as Timer, Mark as Ah Counter and Sandy as Grammarian.

We had two fabulous speakers going head to head (and one was an icebreaker!).  Milind, ever the character, delivered an impactful speech about procrastination and Alex, who shared that he is a smart ass – in the right club!) delivered an icebreaker speech that won us over.

Our Table Topics portion of the evening was led by Mellodee, who in Contrarian fashion changed up the subject at the last minute.  Geared with props and all, we had another truly awesome table topic session full of laughs and truth, including Mark’s love for gambling with children’s lunch money.

Our evaluators for the evening, Dan and Lynn did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Alex won Best Speaker, Farzad won Best Table Topics and Dan took the prize for Best Evaluation.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday May 31, 2016
Theme: Summer Fun

Summer fun  was the theme for this evening’s meeting.  Farzad gave the opening thought and shared  his recent trip to the Grand Canyon as part of the beginning of his summer fun.   Summer usually marks the beginning of fun trips.

There were several speeches scheduled for this evening. Alicia was our first speaker, and she talked about how food was her medicine after she stopped being a food zombie. After changing to a plant based diet her medical issues improved and have never returned.

The next speech was given by Chandra and he spoke about how he found himself unhappy despite having a a new baby, a  great job, and a new car. Realizing he needed to change, he spent several days meditating and practicing yoga, and afterwards,  noticed a a positive change.  The experience made him realize happiness was internal and could be controlled.

Our last speaker was Helen, who gave her first speech, known as the ice breaker. She was born and raised in France, and moved to Wales in the U.K. For her undergrad studies. From there she spent six months traveling across countries. Over a year and a half ago, she was transferred to Irvine, CA, and has recently accepted a  transfer to Canada. In addition to her global traveling, she will be pursuing her pH.D in Canada.

After the speaking portion, it was time for table topics and Sara was  the table topics master. Nayan talked about his recent Fitbit challenge and had won by walking over 20,000

steps a day in the last several days. Karolina shared her favorite time to go to the beach was at sunset, and Jose had a summer goal to learn how to dribble a wall.

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

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


Tuesday May 3, 2016
Theme: Dangerous Selfies

Tonight was a first for our Contrarians Club. Long time Toastmaster, Rich, gave a unique presentation from an advanced Toastmaster manual. The objectives for his presentation were to facilitate a discussion with a group.

He chose the very versatile topic of drones and divided the club into 4 separate groups, asking each group to brainstorm ideas on the beneficial uses of drones as well as the potential downside. Two of the groups were asked to give examples of military drone use and the other two groups were asked to brainstorm on the non-military uses of drones.

Each group had a delegated spokesperson who stood up and shared their group’s ideas with entire club.

This project was a wonderful way for everyone to work together, share ideas and even allowed our guests to participate in a non-threatening way.

Rich did a great job of facilitating the discussion and presenting his own ideas on the topic.

Our second segment of the evening was delivered by our Table Topics Master, Sasha. Our meeting theme was “Dangerous Selfies” and Sasha asked some thought provoking questions that seemed to bring out the best in all of our members and even the brave guests who volunteered to speak.

With so many fun questions and creative answers, there was a lot of laughter from the audience as our Table Topic speakers entertained us throughout the night.

During our third and final segment of the night, our General Evaluator, Alicia, evaluated Rich’s discussion as well as the rest of the meeting.

As the meeting came to an end, our Toastmaster, Farzad, delivered the closing ceremony and handed out a ribbon to our Best Table Topic speaker which happened to be the always entertaining Jeremiah!

If you have never been to a Contrarian’s Toastmaster meeting, you have no idea how much fun you’re missing. Some people have told us we should charge an entrance fee for the entertainment value alone. We love hearing that! We would also love to see you at the next meeting. Join us every Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. We hope to put a smile on your face.

Tuesday April 26, 2016
Theme: Minimum Wage

Tuesday April 12, 2016
Theme: Etiquette in Today's Society

Tonight’s theme, etiquette in today’s society, seemed rather dull at first but the Contrarians quickly showcased their out-of-the-box thinking. They never shy from a challenge.

Lynn, our Toastmaster tonight, flawlessly guided us through the meeting. Having recently rejoined the club, she’s quickly getting back into the swing of things. We’re glad to have you back, Lynn.

Our two prepared speakers, Sara and Ed, delivered phenomenal speeches. Sara discussed the importance of the mentee-mentor relationship, especially touching on the mentee-mentor Toastmasters program.    

Ed, meanwhile, one of our newest members, gave his first speech. Having already presented us in the Table Topics portion of the area contest, he is making swift strides towards becoming an accomplished speaker.

Paula, tonight’s Table Topic master, asked creative questions that inspired equally creative answers ranging from proper gift giving and receiving to proper bathroom etiquette. Our members persistently give it their all.

Afterwards, Sanjay and Chandra evaluated Sara and Ed respectively. Evaluations are unquestionably crucial to Toastmasters’ success; a good evaluation is never harsh nor brutal but honest and sincere.

We meet every Tuesday night. Everyone is invited - including you.

  • Mellodee

Tuesday April 5, 2016
Theme: Men vs. Women

Tuesday March 29, 2016
Theme: Celebrity adoration

We had so much fun at our meeting this week. Our 3 speeches included Steve informing us of his deep, deep and perhaps inappropriate love of pizza. Millind spoke of the benefits of failing and how failure is necessary in a process leading towards success. Finally, Rich gave a wonderful speech about technological advances simplifying modern life.

Alicia was our Table Topics Master for the evening. The topic was "Celebrity Adoration". Alicia taped pictures of celebrities on the walk with questions on the back. Her creativity in leading Table Topics allowed us all to have a wonderful time filled with laughter and anticipation.

All 3 of our speeches were well critiqued in the evaluation section of our meeting.

Please join us and experience the joy of attending a Contrarians meeting.


Tuesday March 22, 2016
Theme: All things Fernando

The Contrarians once again lived up to the spirit of the name of the club.  The table topic, which was well run by the Master Nayan, was all about a departing member of the club, Fernando.  Fernando, a well-liked Contrarians speaker, has tremendously improved his speaking skills since he joined the club.  His confident, hilarious speaking style has recently made him a repetitive winner of table topic competition.  And he did it again at his farewell meeting.  A sweet and memorable departure for Fernando.

Our first-time Toast Master, Steve, managed to run the meeting with minimal glitches in spite of a late start.  Steve's smooth co-ordination helped prepared speakers and evaluators deliver their speeches well and on time.  Farzad, with his confident delivery of speech, and Kristen, with her attentive listening skill, were respectively the best speaker and evaluator of the night.  Only in Contrarians Toast Master club do aspiring members quickly develop leadership and speaking skills in a camaraderie atmosphere.

Even though Contrarians members are serious in mastering their speaking skills, they also love having fun.  They do often get together for casual dining and sharing life experience.  Eureka! was their latest get-together place.

Please come to visit and see Contrarians in action.  You may not want to leave the club after the first visit!


Tuesday March 15, 2016
Theme: Club Contest - International Speech and Table Topics

Tuesday March 8, 2016
Theme: Adventure travel

As always, we had a great meeting with Karolina as Toastmaster and Jeremiah stepped up to do the inductions for the evening as well as other Contrarians who took last minute roles – thank you!  We missed are start time by a few minutes, but we are working on that, right?  Denis delivered opening thoughts on Adventure Travel with some fantastic quotes.  We had three fabulous speeches including Steve helping us to overcome mediocrity, Sasha provided us the omnipresent question of why you can’t spend less than $300 at Costco and Rich convinced us to become landlords.  We had an entertaining table topics segment and our new members Ed and Corey really stood out.  Our Evaluators Farzad, Nayan and Marlene all did a fantastic job.  Farzad challenged Steve, Nayan came through with a spot on evaluation and Marlene provided a great overview of the wealth of information Rich provided as well as some good suggestions.

Tonight's winners:  Best Speech – Sasha, Best Table Topics – Ed and Best Evaluator – Nayan

As always, I can’t wait to see what next week brings!


Tuesday March 1, 2016
Theme: Conspiracy Theories

Tuesday February 23, 2016
Theme: GMO Foods
This was a really fun meeting with a mix of serious and lighthearted tones. It started with the opening thought by Bob, who spoke really knowledgeably about GMO (genetically modified organisms) with supporting evidence and statistics to support his statements. This was followed by the introduction of the meeting by president Jeremiah who was bombarded with snowballs (crumbled paper balls) by the toastmaster contrarians. Sasha prepared an excellent list of table topic questions ranging from self-aware pumpkins to weaponizing peanut butter. Karolina gave a very informative and strong speech about post traumatic stress disorder. Jeremiah gave a 5W speech and caught the contrarians by surprise by opening up about his personal sex life. The evaluators were Rich and Niem. They were both very positive and gave great feedback for the two prepared speeches. Tonight’s winners: Best speech (Karolina), best evaluator (Niem), and
best table topics (Alicia).


Tuesday February 16, 2016
Theme: The Stock Market - Enjoying your 101(K)
Tonight’s meeting started right on time. Jeff gave a nice opening thought by sharing few quotes from the famous book “Prophecy” by Robert Kiyosaki.

Marlene, the Toastmaster of tonight’s meeting, introduced her helpers and then handed off the floor to Table Topics Master Nayan.

Nayan has prepared many questions related to meeting theme. Sasha and Chandra responded to individual questions, while Sanjay/Farzad and Sara/Dennis participated in debates.

In the second segment, Fernando and Paula gave 5W (Who, What, When, Where and Why) speeches while Rich gave a fun and educational impromptu speech on 401K.

Fernando in his 5W speeches shared a fun story about his grandma and his trip to Italy and waited until the end to bring his 5Ws (Bernie Madoff, Tampons, Private Jet, 1960 and Sex).

5Ws for Paula include: Fidel Castro, Christmas Party, Montana, Yesterday and Shopping spree. She used her story telling skills to tell us how Fidel Castro fell in love with her by seeing her picture on her website and how in the end she got $10K gift card from Fidel to go on shopping spree.

Rich, in his impromptu speech, shared his knowledge about 401K and some of the myths that young people have :).

Evaluation segment was led by general evaluator Sanjay. Chandra, Jeff and Sasha gave constructive feedback to Fernando, Paula and Rich respectively. Bob provided ah-counter report while

Karolina provided grammarian report. Sanjay summarized what we did well and the areas where we could have done better as a club.

Tonight’s winners were:  Fernando (Best Speaker), Jeff (Best Evaluator), Sara (best Table Topics Speaker)

We also had three special guests. Overall it was a fun and education meeting.

See you all next week.


Tuesday February 9, 2016
Theme: Prostitution

It was awesome meeting this week; we had three ICE breaking speeches with good mix of self-introduction with heart touching personal stories and good exposure to digital music. You can always expect exciting speeches with inspiring stories and exposure new areas of knowledge from contrarians. Overall it was wonderful meeting with some humor mixed serious thoughts on prostitution. 

Don’t miss the next week meeting themed on:  The stock market.


Tuesday February 2, 2016
Theme: Marijuana Legalization

Well the February 2nd meeting had a wonderful whiff of fun and was loaded with interesting speeches and answers from our Table Topics participants. Rich gave a Speech about Freedom, Chandra about Diamonds and Steve about inventions that have moved our society forward over the years. Sara lead the stoned table topics segment with multiple respondents. Eventually the winners were announced as follows: Best Speech: Steve Higgy, Best Evaluator: Nick, Best Table Topics: Fernando. Looking forward to next week: Prostitution. Drugs, Sex and...the Contrarians!


Tuesday January 26, 2016
Theme: Presidential Election Debates

We had a great meeting as always, but tonight was really special because we had two brand new members in our club giving their first speech. Steve and Milind gave their Ice Breaker speech. It is very interesting their approach. Steve told us a little bit about himself and specially how we have to decide of who we want to be and become in life and how to make a difference in others. Millind spoke about the importance of being authentic in everything your do, including speaking in public. During our Table Topics we have various speakers improvising and speaking about our them for the night: The Presidential Election Debates, Karolina made it really fun when she made us write a question regarding the topic and put it in a hat, and wow!! we got a great debate and interesting approaches to the topic. Finally, we had our evaluation segment were Paula and Jeffrey evaluated our speakers. Their energy enthusiasm and feedback were very positive. Just another night at the Contrarians...

Tuesday January 19, 2016
Theme: Alien Nation...the truth is out there

Tuesday January 12, 2016
Theme: Veganism

This evening we began our meeting by inducting four new members: Steve, Dennis, Nicholas, and Kristen. We welcomed each of our newly inducted members and pledged to provide them support during their Toastmaster journey. We had our first volunteer from one of our newly inducted members, Steve, who accepted the volunteer role of Sargent-in-Arms. Way to go Steve – thanks for stepping up to the plate!
Farad gave the opening thought on veganism and shared his thoughts that all diets should be personalized; there are different foods for different people. As someone on a paleo diet, he noticed his brain process improved when he reduced his carbs and sugar intake.  Something to think about next time we take a big bite out of a cheese pizza.
In order to give Sanjay time to prepare for his impromptu 5 W speech, we reversed the order of the meeting and we did our table topics first.   Alicia was our table topics master for the evening and she always brings enthusiasm to her role. Fernando was asked what vegan means to him. He said he thought he would save money when he dated a vegan. However, she was always able to smell the most expensive vegan places during their trips to San Francisco . She found a place that served expensive crickets- he advised un not to trust vegans! Alicia shared vegans don't wear leather, feathers, visit animal parks or go to the circus.
Sara gave a motivating speech on 2016 goals and gave us five steps to achieve our goals in 2016. Tonight’s winners: Best Speaker: Sarah, Best Evaluator: Niem, Best table topics: Karolina.

Tuesday January 5, 2016
Theme: The Art of Love and Money - Contrarians Club Open House Potluck!
Guest Speaker Todd Creager will be coming to speak on the Art of Love and Money. Great event with 50 attendees! Food was awesome, special thanks to Alicia for organizing the Potluck food, Sara for scheduling and organizing the event and special thanks to our newly installed president, Jeremiah who displayed his leadership in the face of being forced to get people out of the venue in a timely manner!

If you would like to know how the meeting went, check out our Meetup group and see what attendees commented! http://www.meetup.com/The-Contrarians-Toastmasters/events/224468231/


Tuesday December 15, 2015 @ 6:45PM
Theme:  War on Christmas?

Apparently there is a war on writing Snapshots! I am sure that this will be fixed with our new Executive Committee starting their term January 1, 2016. 

It was a fun meeting from what I remember and that is that Alicia was Table Topics Master and Jeffrey won Best Table Topics. It's been so long he almost forgot what that felt like.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to everyone in the club for their contributions to this great organization. Looking forward to another successful year of growth and we will miss members lost due to changes in their lives or our club location and schedule. 

Please join us at our New University Park address next year: 

University Park, 
1 Beech Tree Lane
Irvine, CA 92612
We will be kicking off the new year with a Contrarians Club Open House on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 from 6:30PM-8:00PM.


Tuesday December 8, 2015
Theme: The Refugee Crisis

At the Contrarians, you can always expect the unexpected. At the instant that you think it can’t get any better, it does. That’s the heart of our club - the laughter, the amusement, the kindness.

Tonight, Angela once again showed her brilliant depth and sweet elegance. She did not ask any leading questions; instead, she maintained a respectful and sensitive demeanor. She was the best choice for Table Topics Master, and an inspiring one to boot.

Since she became the Vice President of Membership, Sara has wanted to do an open house. Her idea finally came to fruition. To celebrate a new year, a new term, and a new location, we will host an open house January 5, 2016. High-fives to Sara for making this happen!

Our second speaker, Nayan, always chooses topics that speak to the heart. Soulful, his remarks generate a lot of smiles in the room. We’re glad to have him as a member.

Jeff, serving as Toastmaster, did a splendid job. Our attendance wasn’t very high, probably due to the upcoming holidays, but he made sure that every role was filled.

At the Contrarians, every meeting is better than the last. Come check us out - you won’t regret it.

- Mellodee

Wednesday December 2, 2015
Theme: Dogs vs. Cats

Wednesday November 18th, 2015
Theme: Facebook

November 12th, 2015
Theme: The Monkeysphere

With a theme such as The Monkeysphere, there was question marks in my head over what the heck The Monkeysphere could be. Soon as the meeting started Jeremiah answered the question in his opening speech. The Monkeysphere is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships and care about. The number being 150 people.

After the insightful opening thought Jeffrey did not hesitate to share his prepared speech about Change. Jeffrey explained that while turning 40, it can be difficult to accept change but in the right mindset one can welcome change for the best givien great examples of why change has affected him in a positive way.

Jeremiah again took the floor as Table Topics Master. He had us each write on a piece of paper the worst job we could think of. He then had had each of us pull a paper from the bag and have us create an impromptus speech as to why such job was the best job in the world. Each member went up explaining why such job was perfect for them which had us laughing in tears over each one of the members answers.

Throughout Table Topics we heard the benefits of being a pooper-scooper, a proctologist, a president, a pharmaceutical salesman, etc. We also heard about catching crabs, the medical cure for crabs, eating dribble meat, why Mellodees open door policy, incorrect American ideas about China & Iran, as well as, Johns story about a terrible accident and two dollar bribe to get into heaven.

After settling down from Table Topics, Angela gave Jeffrey his speech evaluation. He had good pointers on how to make his speech more impressionable.

Overall the the meeting was great and I cant wait to go again.

- Fernando

November 4th, 2015
Theme:  Equal Opportunity

You just never know what exciting things will be happening at a Contrarians Toastmaster meeting.

Tonight we began with a short but lively display of limbo as our President was welcomed to the stage. Several members and a guest took turns getting limber under a broomstick as the audience members cheered them on. 

Our opening thought on the evening’s theme of Equal Opportunity, was powerfully delivered by Max on why exclusivity should be eliminated.

Long time member Wayne was our Toastmaster for the evening guiding us through our speech segment. We enjoyed three incredible speeches given by Farzad, Chandra and Jeffrey. Each speaker shared important, heartfelt and unique messages that were informative as well as entertaining. 

Our impromptu segment called Table Topics was run by Nayan who asked important questions related to our Equal Opportunity theme. We heard from both members and guests during this fun and exciting portion of our meeting. 

General Evaluator, Alicia, introduced our evaluators for the evening. Roxanna, Bob and Rich each gave their assigned speaker valuable feedback on what they did well during their speeches and what they could improve upon in the future. 

After an entertaining ah counter report from Jeremiah and grammarian report from Paula, plus an overall evaluation of the meeting given by Alicia, our Toastmaster Wayne held our closing ceremony and introduced the winners of each segment. Congratulations to Chandra for Best Speaker, Rich for Best Evaluator and Paula for Best Table Topics. 

Come join us in person for the full Contrarian experience!

~ Alicia

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