the Toastmaster

As I reported yesterday, our outgoing Toastmasters VP of education and incoming president suggested that I kick up my participation a notch. And as I reported yesterday, I did.

My first time as Toastmaster last Thursday met with a surprise or two. Rather than meeting in the church’s library where we always did, we were moved to the auditorium. Seems there was some work going on in the library. We moved from a small, intimate space to a large open space. And while I was busy getting folks to fill in on roles to replace those who had not shown up, others were moving the podium from one end of the room to the other to accommodate a speaker who had a PowerPoint presentation and needed the screen at that end of the room.

And here I am, my first time as Toastmaster, trying to make it all work.

"You did a superb job 1st time out of the gate!!"Work it did. The meeting went smoothly. Each person filled their role with competence. At the end of the meeting the president complimented me on doing such a good job my first time in the role and there was applause. Wow!

When I got home I found the anonymous note you see here in amongst my paperwork.

I was pleased.


kicking it up a notch

After I received my Competent Communicator designation at Toastmasters the then vice president of education and now president told me that I should kick up my participation a notch, and take on some roles that I hadn’t before. So I signed up for new roles for July.

Two weeks ago I was General Evaluator, which means I introduced the three evaluators who evaluated the three speakers. I also offered a brief evaluation of the meeting as a whole.

ToastmastersLast week I was Toastmaster: the person that runs the meeting. More on that tomorrow.

This week I am scheduled to be Table Topics Master. That’s where members present one-to-two minute talks on topics of my choice.

In addition I am now an officer. Seems officers were selected on the one Sunday in June when I was absent, and legitimately so due to my nasty cold. I was selected Vice President of Publicity. That was a problem for me, as I attend Toastmasters in Menifee up the road, and I’m here in Hemet. I don’t know Menifee well enough to do the job well. So I negotiated a swap, and became VP of Education. That entails ensuring that people get their proper awards as they move through the program.

That I can do.


a taste of the Eastern Sierra

The family here in town usually gets together for breakfast on Saturday morning. The routine is that my brother, Brian, or my sister-in-law, Bobbie, will call and tell us where everyone is meeting and when. If I don’t hear anything by 11:00 a.m. I will call them.

SchatsThe later happened on a recent Saturday. I called at 11:00. They were in Bishop. They had made a trip to Nevada to see Bobbie’s sister and had forgotten to tell us. Now I could have gotten angry, but Brian asked me if we wanted anything from Schat’s Bakery. Now how could I be angry with an offer like that?

If you’re not familiar with it, Schat’s is a very famous, highly regarded, very busy bakery in downtown Bishop. The town of Bishop in the middle of the Owens valley at the base of the Eastern Sierras.

Terry and I love that part of the world. We have only been there together twice. The first time I was sick and we had to cut our trip short. The second time we had a full agenda and covered the entire length of the Owens Valley, from Mammoth Lakes in the north to Lone Pine and Whitney Portal in the south. It was a marvelous trip.

I told Brian to bring us some Danish pastries and a loaf of Schat’s famous Sheepherder’s Bread. Brian and Bobbie delivered them to us Saturday evening.

It was such a delight to have a taste of the Eastern Sierra here at home.


Secular Music Friday: Coming Out Of The Dark

Another one of those secular songs that is sacred in its own way.


it is art to conceal art

or “ars est celare artem” in the original Latin as written by Ovid

Terry and I enjoy the spontaneous interaction among the hosts on Food Network’s The Kitchen. Well, the scripted spontaneous interaction. They all make appear it so simple, easy, and straightforward. Turns out, unsurprisingly, that it’s not.

TheKitchenlogoI have gained some behind-the-scenes insight into the production process of The Kitchen by following the hosts on Instagram. First, Marcela (@chefmarcela) posted a photo of a sit-down read-through with a room full of hosts, producers, and staff. Really. Just like a scripted prime-time drama or situation comedy. (Do they still make those?) Then Sunny (@sunnyanderson) posted a 360° video view of The Kitchen soundstage. Two of the cameras had big teleprompters attached.

They do a great job of engaging their audience and making everything look unscripted and spontaneous, but the art is in hiding the art.


variant meanings

The good folks over at Snopes soundly debunk the oft-repeated story that the popular Chevy Nova sedan did not sell well in Spanish-speaking countries in the 1970’s because “no va” in Spanish means “doesn’t go.” It just wasn’t true. Too bad. It’s a good story.

But here is a true story directly from my own experience.

In the high tech industry, and perhaps others, there is the term “FUD.” It means “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” As in “The competition is trying to spread FUD about our new product.” In fact, I spent many years in high tech never having heard the term. It was only after that big merger that I heard management from the other company use it.

Logo_fudOnly recently have I become familiar with the Latino food company FUD. From the first time I saw one of their trucks I thought that was strange name for a food company. Fŭd? Really? So I decided to look them up and see what this was all about. According to Wikipedia, the company name is pronounced fo͞od, not fŭd. And it is in fact an acronym for Fino, Único y Delicioso (Fine, Unique & Delicious). Very much the complete opposite of the tech industry FUD.

A little research can clear up a lot.


I don’t like the math

I received a fresh copy of the Pitzer College alumni magazine, The Participant, last week. It contained a piece about the retirement of a professor who arrived at Pitzer ten years after my graduation.

PitzerftnsmHow could that be possible?

I graduated from Pitzer in 1975. I would have attended my 40th year reunion last year with my friends Laurie and Ron had Terry and I not been right smack dab in the middle of our move from Silicon Valley to the eastern reaches of the Inland Empire.

This woman joined Pitzer in 1985 and retired last year. That’s thirty years. By any standards I guess that is a career.

The math works out. But I do not like the math.