Birthday Bulls

On account of my impending birthday, significant other May likely felt some obligation to present me with a gift.  I hadn’t really given her any ideas, but she managed to come up with the fantastic plan of taking me to a Bulls game.  She came over Sunday and surprised me with cinnamon rolls from scratch (made with actual yeast!) and tickets for that evening’s event, drastically altering whatever plans I had in mind.  Her thought behind the gift was that it would be a great opportunity to up my Chicago cred by getting me initiated to the happenings of the city.  After a 45 minute drive we parked up along the street a few blocks away.  I can’t believe people actually pay $25 when gratis options are so close.  These cinnamon rolls do look a little odd, but they were gooey throughout, and made for a glorious breakfast.

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We entered the doors on the complete opposite side of where our seats were, but after circumnavigating the court settled into our lofty, section 305 perch.  I was excited about this whole experience, partially because I was now doing something great that until recently represented no part of my agenda, because I was there with someone special at her first NBA game, and then finally, in the spirit of the gift, I was indeed getting to do something 超シカゴ.

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As a pregame event I was impressed with the draw and excitement levels.  After a little bit of APP’s ‘Eye In The Sky’, things got going. The Bulls were up against the Charlotte Hornets – yes, they are the Hornets again – and the crowd was into it.  It rekindled memories of the Charlotte bed comforter I had in my youth.  The Luvabulls were impressive as well…  The teams traded leads early, but by the end of the 1st the Bulls were up, and stayed that way for the rest of the game.  The Hornets did bring it within two right at the end to keep it exciting, but it was nice to walk away winners.  Also, because they hit 100 points and won, we got coupons for a free Big Mac, making us feel like winners too.  Getting out of there was no problem since we weren’t parked in the traffic fray, so we scooted home and got ready for another week of reality.  ありがとう芽依!!

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Fall Apple Outing

I recently had the great pleasure of giving May her first ever experience with apple harvesting.  It was a lazy Sunday, but the finest of fall days, so we made sure get ourselves outside and do something.  We were coming up on the end of the picking season, and this was pretty much going to be our last chance at getting out for this classic, Midwest fall activity.  We jumped on US-14 and rode over to Crystal Lake where the signs advertising various orchards began popping up.  Here is an unexplained picture of gourds, which I really think sets the mood for this seasonal post.

10732983_10152689756481878_894447691_nOur quick internet search had turned up information on the All Season Orchard, but just as soon as we pulled in the parking lot we were ready to leave.  The place was a circus, and seemed more like tourist trap.  I wouldn’t have cared if it didn’t come with an exorbitant entrance costs, but the whole of it just didn’t fit the image I had for the outing.  Instead I drove us down the road a few minutes until we hit some little local place with almost no one else there.  The Prairie Sky Orchard was jaaaaaaaaaast right.

10726781_10152689757006878_59024028_nWe checked out the shop to get our bags and receive a rundown on what we were supposed to be doing.  The lady at the register said that they were pretty much picked out for the season, but that we should be able to find enough.  We weren’t really looking to walk away with bushels full, and the 1 dollar a pound price was so much better than what the other place was asking.  The first thing I noticed was that the trees were significantly smaller than what I’m used to, an expectation that is based on the only other place I had ever gone picking back in my youth, Crane’s.  I also noticed that there were no apples….until we got to the back of the small grove.  We found a nice Polish couple willing to snap a picture for us.

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Many of the fruit still on the trees was well past its prime, and lots of it had been attacked by birds and bugs, but there were still enough suitable for eating.  We ate as we picked, and I was reminded how much the taste of apples can vary.  It is easy to assume that they are simply red or green varieties, but when you can sample them back to back to back the taste profile becomes more pronounced.  Honeycrisp are the best, though these were not those.

10733426_10152689757536878_1395102231_nAfter ringing up our 3ish pounds of apples each, we were back on the road.  May wanted to hit up a Michi no Eki equivalent, and Tom’s Farm Market was perfect.  There was a roadside market loaded up with local produce, handicrafts, and fall treats.  We got some hot apple cider, pumpkin cheesecake, and also walked around admiring the gourds and pumpkins.  We were also salivating at the thought of the Chinese food we were going to get on the way home. This mini adventure was indeed a success, and we were both happy to have fit it in before the end of the season.  The ride home was a treat for the senses, with the vibrant colors of fall on display, and the wonderful aroma of Sweet Pineapple Chicken.    I assume that this was Tom himself, and I felt pretty cool.

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Chubby Wiener Work: Riot Fest

For the last couple of years the Riot Fest has been another music festival present the Chicago summer rotation.  It consists of three days packed with below average rock music that I don’t generally care much for.  There were a couple of headliners whose name I at least recognized, but that was about all.  This isn’t so much the sort of place I would have gone to myself, but thanks to an opportunity to join the Chubby Wiener food tent team, it happened.  May knew someone, who knew someone, that ran the tent, and they were looking for some help.  I was more than happy to join her, and even drag two friends into it as well.

We showed up, got 3 shirts for just the four of us, and then got to work.  May and Dirksen basically did nothing for the first while, but Spencer and I were hard at work.  In the photo below you can see us starting to get the hang of it, while those other two just loafed about behind the tent.

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Business started out a little bit slow, but things were booming during for the dinner hours.  People were lining up to pay big money for these delectable meat tubes, and we were scrambling to get them served.  Spencer would take their order and cash, and I would relay their desires – ‘ONE CHUBBY EVERYTHING…ONE CHEESE FRY!!!!!!’.  The food team would throw them together, and then I’d pass ‘em along to the happy customers.  We also sold corn dogs, veggie dogs, and Diet Pepsi.  Water? Regualar?  Nope, just Diet Pepsi.  It was genuinely impressive how quickly we were churning these things out.

In exchange for my slave labor, I got to have an atypical Saturday with friends, eat some incredible Chicago food, and also gain free entry to see a couple shows.  The extent of the benefits will be realized next year though, since having served on this shift means that going forward I can work the mornings and see those bands I actually care about. This basically gets me a free pass into next summer’s Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Chive Fest.  Cubbby Wieners are fantastic.

Work Outing: Chicago Architectural Tour

Every summer my company gathers together for some sort of group outing to take part in a Chicago based offering.  They’ve done rooftop Cubs games before, afternoons at the Arlington Racetrack, and now also the Wendella Boat Architectural Tour.  It was hard to really think of the Friday as a work day, because by 10am we were all piling onto a bus to get out of there.  They had filled a couple grocery bags with chips, sweedish fish, and other goodies that we got nowhere near finishing.

Traffic was bit slow, but we arrived just in time for our reservation at a fairly nice restaurant.  It wasn’t wielding the weight of a Michelin Star or anything, but it offered a nicer atmosphere and was very appropriate for a business lunch.  We had a shortened menu to chose from, but I was still very happy to come away with some Lake Superior Whitefish.  The meat was sitting on a bed of potatoes and spicy peppers, and it was altogether delicious.
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Once we finished up, it was back onto the bus and over to the Wendella Boats dock, located on the Chicago River just off of Michigan Avenue.  The rain was coming down while we ate, but did let up to provide a gray sky and brisk temperature.  We could at least enjoy the upper deck and get the most out of our surroundings.
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It was clear that there were plenty of tourists on the boat, but for good reason.  The guide sitting at the front had an incredible number of things to say about most every building – when it was built, the architectural significance, its name and purpose, and generally some other unique tidbit.  He also delved into all sorts of trivia relating to the city’s origins and monuments.  We went up then down the Chicago River and through the gates to get out to Lake Michigan for the skyline view.  There was a whole lot to take in on this tour, but all was certainly worthwhile.  Paying nothing out of pocket for the outing certainly helped.  I’m glad to work for a company that does this sort of thing from time to time.
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The ‘Hope Experience’ & ESL

I was recently asked a few questions by Hope College student Katy Carlson ’13 who is traveling a bit and blogging about it.  Hope is partially sponsoring her journey in exchange for detailing those experiences where she concatenates with other alumni abroad.  I’m now back stateside of course, but she as someone who one day seeks to become an English teacher reached out to some other grads who had shared such experiences in different parts of the world.  Here were my responses to a couple of her questions, as well as a link to those by the rest of her interviewees:

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Justin Bussies – 2010, Management/International Studies Majors, Japanese Minor

Where did you teach English abroad? What were your daily experiences like?
Given my language background, I was able to land a position on the JET Programme, where they placed me in the rural Japanese village of Shionoe on the island of Shikoku. I was the only foreigner around, so I was really able to get involved in the town. Classes at some of the schools were really small, and my smallest school had a grand total of 7 students. Because I had a car I could get around and explore at my leisure. I also truly loved the experience of being called Justin Sensei.

What kind of training did you receive for this job?
As for training and qualifications… I had none. The JET program doesn’t require any specific background, but through the application process they seek to find genuine and capable people. Having studied some Japanese certainly didn’t hurt my chances.

What would you like to tell others about your experience?
Really, the three years (2010-2013) that I spent there has done everything to shape me as the person I am today. My travel resume grew from just the US, Canada, Japan, and Ecuador to 57 countries by the time I got home. It ignited a curiosity in not just foreign culture, religion, and politics, but learning in general. I spent a lifetime growing up in West Michigan, and now I have an appreciation for how much larger the world really is. I have wonderful friends stationed all around the world.
Andy Nakajima was the prof who opened the door to that, by being a captivating professor of Japanese. Additionally, the continued support I received through Amy Otis and the rest of the International team made it all work out. I was also a Centurian, so tracking down some fellow friends in various parts of the world was wonderful.

More of Katy’s writing can be found here: https://blogs.hope.edu/roundtheworld/alumni/back-to-school-part-ii/

Justin Cooks Chicken

Since the start of bachelor living (I don’t really count those three years in Japan) I’ve been making an effort to improve my quality of life.  I’ve made an investment in my surroundings, also taking an actual interest in what I wear, etc., but another of these great awakenings is taking place in the kitchen.  I did a lot of cooking in Japan, but the only goal for those meals was to sate hunger – I blame the lack of familiar ingredients for the apathy.  Now that I have the full arsenal of three American supermarkets within just a bit of me, and a respectable kitchen to work with, I can finally figure some of this stuff out.  I’ve also thus far managed to bamboozle May into believing the charade of my cooking prowess, and it is my intention to let that deception ride on as long as possible.  Neither canned soup, Healthy Choice microwave dinners, PB&Js nor pasta with just a jar of sauce dumped in is going to accomplish that though, so actual effort is necessitated.

Despite putting consideration into healthy ingredients and sometimes laborious preparation, I am always looking for ways to save money in the kitchen.  To the average American, simply buying more of something is the answer, but I actually wanted to try a slightly different approach, especially one that would offer up a learning experience as well.  So rather than just going to Sam’s Club for a big bag of frozen chicken breasts, I employed my Dutch eye to seek out two whole, BOGO birds for about 16 dollars – not bad for 17 pounds worth of once-living-creature.  Seriously though, how can something that has to be fed, housed, raised, slaughtered, cleaned, packaged, and shipped to the point of sale be of such minuscule value?IMG_3688I didn’t really know how to go about turning the floppy, gutted carcasses into succulent food, but the instructions on the back made it seem simple enough.  I put some wire racks across backing sheets to serve as makeshift roasting pans, and then once seasoned tossed them into the oven.  I’m sure that there are all sorts of things I could do to better crisp up the skin and add flavor, but they all just add unnecessary sodium and fat.  The instructions said to put some water in the pans below them, so with that they spent the next 2+ hours just baking away.

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The next part of the job was something that legitimately interested me, carving the thing.  Come Thanksgiving every father is assigned the task of skillfully dismembering a massive bird, but where does he learn this art I wonder, years of trial and error before the kids are around/old enough to remember a sloppy job?  Having no innate knowledge of the craft myself, I turned to the educator of the modern world: YouTube.  One can learn absolutely anything there, and I received a personal lesson from Gordon Ramsey.  Not helping my cause was the inferior cutlery that I had to work with.  My roommate bought a knife block shortly after I moved in, and it was clear that he opted for the cheapest set on the market.  Not only is there no boning knife, but they are all dull, some rusting, and others with misshapen edges.

The first bird involved a lot of trial and error, and trying to locate the joints for dismemberment was a chore.  The limbs and breasts went easily enough, but separating the scraps and succulent meat morsels from the back were just not going well for me.  I eventually tossed the knife and carving fork aside and resorted to rummaging the bird corpse around and picking at it manually until it was deemed sufficiently denuded of nutrition.  Fortunately though there was a second bird to practice on, and this one ran a whole lot less afoul.  I did still work the remains off with my fingers, but any onlooker might have actually taken my intentional cuts before that to mean I knew what I was doing.  My roommate descended as a vulture to pick at the carrion and unwanted skin.

IMG_3692In the end, I ate a drumstick to reward myself for triumphing over the 3.5 hour task, and shredded the rest of the meat for use in further culinary escapades.  Once in that form, there are a great many ways that it can be used.  Also, I know that a gravy could be made with the congealed juices, or a broth with the bones, but I was in imminent need of neither and instead reunited them with the giblets in the trash.

Overall I had a good time doing all of this, though it did command the majority of my evening.  I’ve got some new cooking/man skill development started, though they would benefit from the practice that will come the next time I see these birds are on sale.  The other byproduct of all this hard work was of course a a great deal of chicken, which sorted into bags and frozen shall provide me with cheap satisfaction for quite some time.

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Concert Time: Devo & Arcade Fire

There I was, just sitting at my desk on what was shaping up to be an average Wednesday, until I get a phone call that changed everything.  Friend Mike, who I oft hosted for lawn beers, asked me if I wanted to see Arcade Fire and Devo perform at the United Center, that day…in his boss’ fully catered luxury box.  The answer was an obvious and enthusiastic ‘yes’, so he picked me right up from work, with the T-Tops down, and we were tearing down the highway.

We were some of the first ones there, and once gates 2 1/2 opened up, we strutted over to our suite.  No one else showed up for another half hour, but that just gave us the chance to lay into the mini fridge and cheese platter.  The box was on the lower level at half court and offered a view from the stage flank that was neither too perpendicular to nor far from the action on stage.  The plebs were milling about as I enjoyed my blue and brie on high.

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Finally, the rest of the group showed up, as did our own personal meat carver.  I really don’t know how to assess someone’s carving prowess, but after tasting what he placed on my plate I was very much satisfied with his work; that was some of the finest meat I’ve eaten in a very long time.  There was also a dessert cart that came by and provided me with a perfect piece of carrot cake, and some sipping liquor in a small chocolate cup.

20140827_185235The music kicked off with Devo, which you may [or may not] recognize as the creative force behind “Whip It”.  They apparently live in Rockford, IL and were willing to join the tour for just this stop.  I must admit that although I knew very little of their catalog, it is always great to witness any icon that has made a lasting contribution to pop culture.  They are quite a bit older now so something about the performance seemed odd – it was just so far from their normal audience.  We amused ourselves by considering that both my dad and I could have seen them open for someone.  They of course wore their signature hazmat suits, and unmistakable red energy domes, along with several other matching get ups throughout the show.  I can imagine that these were some quirky guys back in the day, and worthy of their cult favor.

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There was some DJ entertaining the pit between sets, which I actually thought made a lot more sense than people just standing in silence.  Once the stage was set, the army of Arcade Fire members came on out, 10 in all.  I must admit that I only knew one or two songs by them, but as Grammy winning artists the overall quality of the music was high enough to be entertained throughout.  There wasn’t a whole lot of transition talk between songs, just boom boom boom – music.  At several points during the show, there were people walking through the audience and on stage with enormous heads.  It was bizarre.  I have an awful camera on my phone, but this at least shows our proximity to the stage.

20140827_212853Once everything was wrapped up, I laughed at everyone working, almost competing, to vehemently agree with what our host thought of the show.  Of course it was a great performance, but I can’t imagine that the older members of our party truly felt as they were all suggesting.  I was very grateful to have had such a first experience at America’s largest indoor arena (by size, not capacity), and also to see some live music.  Mike and I wouldn’t get home until after midnight, and I just dumped myself into my bed once I got there.  What a Wednesday.

 

 

Business Tripping – The Morton Arboretum

The other day I was extended the opportunity to take a field trip along with my coworker Ed to the Morton Arboretum for a green industry event.  It is located about 45 minutes south of my work, in Lisle.  I haven’t really seen many of these sorts of green spaces so far, so it was a great opportunity to not only get out of the office, but scope out a potential picnic spot.

The two of us piled into my car and took off, arriving just in time to practice for the Bags tournament.  Ed had never before played this Midwest lawn game staple, so the practice was much needed.  The boards were pretty far apart, slick, and at a low slope, so it was basically impossible.  We got a bye through the first round, and then got blanked 21-0 in the second.  We were not at all worthy of the 100 dollar prize, but we nursed our wounds with the catered food and drink.

20140807_100935Following food we justified our presence by walking around the different booths, trying to take in as much as possible.  None of the companies here were directly relevant to the products that we deal with, but our attendance was pitched simply as an opportunity to learn more about what else was out there.  I talked with a nursery, soil amendment blender, landscaping equipment manufacturer, one of our distributors, and to some guy about green roof technology.  The takeaways each did more to round out my rather limited knowledge of the industry.  I also learned a thing or two about Live Walls, which are clearly exciting.

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Since we were already there, the two of us decided to walk through some of the rest of the arboretum.  The grounds were sprawling, and far larger than we had either the energy or interest in exploring.  We strolled through the conifer section, and also a hedge maze.  This was all that we really needed to confirm that it would be worth revisiting at some point, and perhaps in the fall to capture the changing leaves.  There was an unexplained series of pillars among the pines that caught our attention.

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The last thing we did was walk through the lobby to grab a drink and absorb the history of the massive 1,700 acre expanse.  I was surprised to learn that the ‘Morton’ part of the name comes from Joy Morton, of salt company fame, and this used to be his farm.  After that we took off, to drive back to Buffalo Grove.  It was a nice excursion, on a perfect day, that really helped to break up the workweek.  Hopefully I’ll have the chance to steal away on a few more of these outings in the future.

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Friends In Chicago From Afar

For some weeks May’s friend Charles was planning on visiting her here in Chicago, and I volunteered to help with the hosting duties on account her absurd landlord.  I’ve not formally made any mention yet, but this ‘May’ of whom I speak is in fact my girlfriend, and the ‘Charles’ character is a friend that comes from the year she spent in Argentina.  He is also the first friend that I’ve had the opportunity to meet.  Based on her descriptions Charles seemed to me a bit fastidious, so I knew that making the right impression and getting his blessing would yield some positive effects.

My apartment was already going to be a little crowded with the two of them over, but then I got a message from college buddy Spencer about he and his girlfriend’s imminent arrival.  A month or so prior he mentioned a trip back  from Japan and that he wanted to visit me, though that was the last I had head of it.  Spencer is fairly useless when it comes to communication and staying in touch, as you can see from our transcript below.

[6/9/2014 Justin Bussies: don’t be such a stranger, and let me know when you are planning on being home!
[7/4/2014] Spencer Warn: Hey happy fourth it’s official I will be back next month for a few weeks see you then
[7/6/2014] Justin Bussies: YES!
[7/31/2014] Justin Bussies: hey, which days will you be home this month?!
[8/8/2014] Justin Bussies: Call to spencerwarn, no answer.
[8/12/2014] Justin Bussies: you going to be here in the next couple of weeks?!
[8/15/2014] spencerwarn: Ya that is the plan I am swinging in to Chicago this weekend so get ready if we crash at your place
[8/15/2014] Justin Bussies: WHAT? Tomorrow!?

So for that Friday night, I took Charles over to the Brauhaus for his first ever plate of glorious curds, and May was kind enough to sponsor the round of beers.  It’s a German bar but I generally go with the Lion Stout, from Sri Lanka.  We were able to sit outside and talk a bit before heading back to mine.  I was possibly trying a bit too hard to foist myself into the conversation with charm and wit,  but we all seemed to enjoy each other’s company throughout the evening.  This selfie turned out a bit blurry, but here we are destroying those fried morsels of joy.

10410435_10152325883268506_7784123384585112884_nThe next morning they did things downtown, while I waited at home for Spencer and Aya to roll in.  I hadn’t seen the two of them in over a year – since my days in Japan – and I was really looking forward to it.  They showed up about 15 minutes before the train we needed to be on was set to depart.  The grand plan was to get downtown to meet our fraternity brother Nate, and also link back up with May and company for the rest of the evening festivities.  The one hour ride passed quickly as we reminisced on the days of yore, caught up on the more recent happenings of life, and dusted the rust off my Japanese.  A short hour later we arrived and began our stroll towards Nate’s apartment, stopping for a few pictures along the way.

10614023_485786924858277_1698987850_n Here was a nice one that Aya snapped outside the iconic Chicago Theater.

10617751_485787161524920_1248852241_nNate had just moved to within a block of the Michigan Avenue Mag Mile, and this was my first time seeing the new digs.  He had readied a couple sixers of Chicago brew and then led us to the roof of the building where we could enjoy them in the open air and surrounding beauty of the skyline.  It wasn’t long before the lovely May and her two friends were able to join us.  We finished our drinks before heading over to Timothy O’Toole’s for some food and additional beverage.  The Centurian men posed for a couple of pictures.

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Things were great at O’Toole’s, but we had a 12:30am last train to catch, and time was running short.  Everything looked like it would work out perfectly, but goodbyes took a little longer than expected, and we wound up having to run the second half of the way.  The five of us only barely made it aboard before it started chugging away from the platform, and we pretty much just collapsed into our seats, sweating and moribund.  May and I used a balloon that some random guy gifted us back at the restaurant as an impromptu prop.

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The next morning I awoke to the heavenly aromas of a cooked breakfast.  May took it upon herself to do up some eggs, sausage links, and biscuits, while also providing fresh doughnuts, coffee, and orange juice.  There are few things better than not only sleeping in on a weekend, but also waking up to something like that.  Spencer had already dropped Aya off at the airport that morning, so the remaining four of us went to town on the plethora of food.  I handled the dishes, of course.

10616542_10152327504058506_1070764796645599896_nWe spent Sunday afternoon at the Woodfield Mall, where I continued my wardrobe investment campaign.  I made the plastic melt, but such is no matter when when one considers the mileage rewards and values being reaped!  Back at home, I set to cooking some BBQ pork and green beans.  Things turned out alright, and after a quick cleanup we settled into the final chapter of the weekend, which was just a nice evening of chatter.  Spencer and Charles each stayed another night, while May returned home.  I got to bed at my normal 1:30am, since I like to be fresh for Mondays.

Throughout the weekend I was able to embrace my hosting duties and shoulder the responsibility of everyone having a great time – I get that from my mother.  I too enjoyed the opportunity to see those that I don’t often interact with, and make a positive impression on some new acquaintances.  Weekends like this are never long enough, and always take it out of you.

 

Toastmasters: The Beginning

Something I’ve started recently at the behest of my employer was to join one of the nearby Toastmaster Chapters.  I didn’t know what this club was about but when checking online for a meeting location, was surprised to find that there were over 240 chapters in the Chicagoland area, and that the one that I’ve affiliated myself with has been around since 1970!

We gather the first and third Monday of every month at the Palatine Library from 7-9:00.  This makes for a long start to those weeks, but my work is happy to let me bank the comp time to use as I please, which is nice.  I always like to scheme excursions and such, but time and money are of course the limiting factors.  Fortunately though, this helps to mitigate one of them.

The meetings are really well run, and are in a lot of ways similar to those of my fraternity business meetings, just infinitely more productive.  Things actually remain cordial throughout, and each element of the meeting it appropriately addressed before segued into the next.  Most attendees take part in the 30 second Round Table discussions, where we go around and everyone takes a stab at speaking on a particular question.  Then are the Table Topic discussions, which are minute long, extemporaneous speeches given on a mystery topic by three or four people.  I generally try to take part in these every time.

The second half of the meeting is filled with the prepared speeches, and followed up the evaluators’ assessments.  I’ve so far done my ‘Ice Breaker’, and also entered into the Humorous Speech Contest.  For the first, I just had to talk a bit about myself, and in the latter spoke on my failed attempt at getting into Yemen.  I certainly did not win a heads up dual against chapter president, and Distinguished Toastmaster (4th degree Black Belt equivalent) Jerry, but all seemed happy with my willingness to get up there and go for it.  Having coached my Japanese students through a few years of speech contests, it is good to experience it from the other way around.

I have nine more speeches to go until I’ve earned my Competent Communicator (CC) certification, and such is my goal.  Also, by fulfilling some of set positions of the meetings, such as Grammarian, Timer, Evaluator, etc., I’m able to work towards my Competent Leader (CL) award.  I figure that I’m there for my employer, especially since they’ve paid for it, but I want to get the most out of it too.  I’m a strong believer in professional development, and taking every opportunity to become a better, more valued employee makes great sense to me.  One’s ability to move up is not based solely on the amount of time put in; qualification and capability will always be an important factor.  I’ve been at my company for about 6 months now, and it is already clear that confidence in speaking is an asset, especially if I hope to navigate towards an [international] sales role.  At the very least though, I’ve got the ‘Enthusiasm Award’ under my belt, and you can never take that from me…

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