Three Things About Me: Michael G

Since in Toastmasters I am tasked with writing speeches I thought I’d post them here. It’s where most of my writing happens these days! This one is an “Ice-breaker”, the first speech you do at Toastmasters. I’ve done an ice-breaker before but the new online system Pathways launched, so here we are.

Tonight I have the pleasure of re-introducing myself.

Having joined Toastmasters in 2013 many of you may have missed my inaugural introduction.

Mikey, Harry Potter, Gray, Magic Mike — these are just a few of the names I’ve been given over the years. But here at Toastmasters I’m more well known as Michael with a G on the end.

Initially, I joined Toastmasters to overcome my fear of speaking in public — which is a little silly because you can never really get over that fear (the desire to fit in and be accepted is just too strong), but you can certainly develop skills so that you feel more confident in your ability.

Now my goal is to use public speaking in the digital realm with audio and visual mediums like online videos and podcasts. You probably know what a podcast is, but just in case, it’s like a downloadable radio show where the hosts usually have a chosen topic of discussion. Some have interviews, others tell stories, and some are just conversations about the latest movies.

But that’s all future stuff. I’m sure you all want to know what I’m currently about, which is three things; home ownership, board games, and cocktails.

I have lived in Upper Hutt for all my twenty-nine years on this planet Earth and at this rate, it’s looking like I’ll never leave. In the year Two Thousand And Seventeen, I purchased property with my partner of three years.

And by property I mean my first home. An actual free-standing house, which was my main prerequisite. Sure, there were some nice units out there but for me, I like having my own space. And a deck. Having a deck is nice too.

We decided to buy right when house prices were at an all-time high because we’re smart like that. Really though, ours was an okay deal. Trentham to Timberlea, not that much of a downgrade.

In our new house sits our boardgame shelf bursting at the brim with boxes of all shapes and sizes. Did you know it’s not just Snakes & Ladders and Monopoly anymore? Board games have made a real resurgence in recent years, with designers coming up with new and inventive ways to play.

The problem is, now I’m a boardgame hoarder. Like that show Hoarders, except instead of a dozen cats and stacks of newspapers I have games on my shelf that I haven’t even played.

The price point isn’t anything to sneeze at either. Some cost well over $100, the ones with lots of components such as wooden meeples or plastic figurines. I should really go back to my video games.

Fortunately, now there are board game cafes popping up that let you play the hottest new games for only five bucks. Here’s a tip: Only pick a game if at least one of you have played it previously or have watched a video on how to play.

Last year I visited a board game cafe for my birthday and we spent most of the time struggling over the rules, which lead to some impatient players… especially when some of your friends are ambivalent about board games in the first place.

As well as a board game shelf, we also have a spirits shelf. No, not ghosts. Alcohol!

I don’t know what started it, but I got into cocktails. Now, I’m no bartender. An aspiring one maybe. I don’t have a hipster beard or a bow tie. I don’t flawlessly toss the cocktail shaker behind my head and I don’t pour with one hand behind my back or pour two at once. I measure out each spirit exactly into the cocktail jigger, down to the millilitre. I’m like this with my cooking, scientific precision. If I mess up and go over, who knows how it will turn out? Especially when you’re talking alcohol.

I don’t like cocktails overly sweet, it needs sourness to balance the flavours. My favourites would have to be a Moscow Mule (that’s vodka, ginger beer and lime juice) and Mojitos (white rum, mint, lime juice, soda water & a little sugar). It just so happens I have mint growing in my garden. Did I mention I have a garden? Margaritas are good too. Just watch that tequila.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking this all sounded like an opportunity for me to gloat. Yes, I have a house AND occasionally spare money to buy booze and board games. Yes, I’m grateful.

When you don’t have kids sometimes you do have a little extra money to play around with. We’ll see how these expensive hobbies stack up down the line.

I’m Michael G: proud house owner, board game hoarder and aspiring bartender.

Nice to re-meet you.