Toastmasters Meme

What Did I Miss: 11/19/2020

While this humble author’s laptop rebooted twice at the beginning of the meeting and was heartbroken to miss almost everything until the end of Table Topics, it was still a great meeting.

The Magnificent Manny Thosy led the meeting with his theme, “memes” and his word of the week, “laughter.” Fortunately, Manny had plenty of memes to show that evoked laughter.

The Ah Counter, Area 23 Director Matt Corrales, got an assist on his duties from his mother who was appropriately ruthless with the bell. She legitimately caught my ‘so’…so…well done. She should be armed with the bell at every meeting.

The Table Topics Master was Jacob Hilt and while I missed the question, I did get to see why the group chose to award Guest Mark Wang’s answer about his love of Dad jokes, the Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon.

After a break last week for an all Table Topics extravaganza, we had 3 great speeches.

Budd Barmeyer introduced us to his partner and their 3 silky chickens (which look like Muppets). He gave us some facts about chickens (they’ve been great fighting anxiety and depression), talked about their preferences (televised thrillers and crime drama), and plugged one of their social media accounts (https://www.facebook.com/Tannerthechicken not to be confused with Tanner’s Chicken Restaurant in Cumming, GA (https://www.opentable.com/r/tanners-chicken-cumming).

In a speech titled, “The Alternate,” Dave Zarella spoke talked about how disappointed he was with his performance in the Area 9 Humorous Speech Contest. What went wrong? He skipped his morning workout, had a cappuccino, couldn’t see the audience reactions, or maybe it was just a different crowd. Whatever it was, it was still a good enough performance to earn him 2nd place which makes him the alternate who will go to the Division contest if the winner cannot. He received a video of his speech but couldn’t watch it all the way through but he remembers a shaky start that culminated in crutch words and xeroxed lines.

Club Secretary Kris Manske earned the Best Speaker Ribbon with the story of a bike trip with her friend from Madison, WI to New Orleans, LA by following the Mississippi River. She illustrates how we should support each other and have each other’s backs when a man drives the pair 50 miles away to a campground when it is pouring rain and the road is narrow. There was also mention of a police escort through an area but she’s saving that for popular demand (so start emailing her now).

First time General Evaluator, Kalina Cardoso, led a well-prepared team into the evaluation section of the meeting. Chris Hammell won the Best Evaluator ribbon with his masterful (That’s right, I called myself masterful. If you want to call yourself masterful, you write this excellent blog) evaluation of Kris Manske’s speech.

With their assignments last night, both Kalina Cardoso and Chris Hammell have completed the first level of their paths. Kalina has also held all meeting roles.

And last, but certainly not least, we voted in a new member, Raymond Samson.

CLUB 7 CALENDAR

11/26: Thanksgiving – no meeting

12/3: On December 3rd, we are having a “Spin the Role” meeting where all roles will be decided at the meeting. Will you be a speaker, a grammarian, Toastmaster? Instead of a grab bag, we’ll be using the magic of random computer magic to choose the roles.

12/24: Christmas Eve – no meeting

12/31: New Year’s Eve – no meeting

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

Club 7 Members at DiMilles

What Did I Miss: 11/12/2020

Last night we gathered at DiMille’s and had an in-person meeting for the first time in 7 months. We had pizza, table topics, and fun talking to each other in person. Over Zoom (the meeting was broadcast live) we even had a guest hang out throughout the meeting and even participated in table topics.

Vice President of Membership Sureal Sparx led the meeting and his word of the week was “Glory.” Club Alumni, Monica Feliz and Lynette Benitez were in attendance. Lynette even rejoined the club (welcome back!).

Sureal gave everyone two table topics questions and the first one, for everyone was, “How are you feeling and where are you feeling it.” Answers ranged from “normal everywhere” to “a lot of love in my heart.” From there, he employed a wheel of names which he would spin and then you would choose even or odd and a random number generator selected your question from a list of 364.

When Should you reveal a secret you promised not to reveal? Yesica Vazquez answered that you should reveal it if it compromises your integrity or may compromise you in the future.

What is the best decision you ever made? According to Area 14 Director Corinna Koehler, starting her bachelor’s degree because she met amazing people and it was f#$%ing fun.

What could society do without? Eric Linder showed his dark side by revealing that society could do with less….oxygen! Too many people are breathing and he feels like there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be breathing his precious oxygen.

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from them? Vice President of Public Relations Tomo Osako revealed that she was drunk as she sang Christoph and Eric’s praises as her mentors. Eric even had her to his house once and…he was a perfect gentleman.

As Tomo answered, a car honked its horn and Corinna admonished it with: “shhhhhhhh!” Did it work? The car stopped honking so you tell me.

How much money per month is enough to live comfortably? Kalina Cardoso took us through her thought process because she’s comfortable in a one studio apartment. But to live in her dream house on oceanfront property, send daughter to school, and ski more, 20K per month is the magic number.

Who is the strongest person you know? Chris Hammell (ahem…that’s the author of this blog) told us about his father’s struggle with trigeminal neuralgia and heart attack.

If life is so short, why do we do things we don’t like and like things we don’t do? (say that 8 times fast) Vice President of Education Christoph Kubitza explained that he had pressure from society and his parents who told Christoph what to study in college. He crossed the Atlantic so he could break away and do what felt good. His advice: Do what you love (Unless you like depriving people of oxygen, Eric Linder!).

In one year from today, how will your life be different? Lynette Benitez is excited. She’s going to places like Puerto Rico, Florida, and Washington DC to have adventures all over the world. But at this moment she is working on her physical and mental health and trying to live in the moment.

What has life taught you recently? Club Secretary Kris Manske talked about Essentialism which is a book she’s reading that teaches you to tear down what you don’t need. A company went from 5 day, 40 hour work week then stripped out things like meetings and found they could work 4 days, 32 hours a week and accomplish the same amount of work.

What makes you smile? For Bob Dietrich: Foot rubs. He doesn’t have a foot fetish (the gentleman doth protest too much methinks). Massages make him smile. Foot rubs can be sensual and not sensual but can they be both at the same time? Bob puzzled his way through these questions which will haunt and give me the giggles for some time.

What is the best part of being you? Monica Feliz is a lifelong learner who loves learning every day and having experiences with new people. She’s also happy being an optimist.

Where do you spend most of your time while you’re away? Dave Zarella described a work environment before computers then moving to a tiny amber screen on a word processor. Now his computer is so powerful he can do anything with it. He spends most of his time tied to a computer.

What things in life should always be free? Club President Jon Berman as socialist leanings now. It used to be, when we wanted to eat, we could hunt and when we needed shelter, we could find it or build it. Today, if you have no money, you don’t have access to food or shelter. Luxuries are the only things that shouldn’t be free (Oxygen isn’t a luxury, Eric!).

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? Sergeant-at-Arms Jeremy Johnson wouldn’t change a thing. Everything he’s done and everything he’s been through has made him the man he is. He tries not to make the same mistakes but otherwise, those mistakes have brought him to DiMille’s to answer that question.

What are the primary components of a happy life? For Immediate Past President Alberto Alvarado, finding your closest five friends is important. Hopefully one of them will be your soulmate. And if you find a job you enjoy, you will never work a day in your life. His advice: live with child-like enthusiasm (He said as I wondered if my Star Wars Stormtrooper action figures (not dolls) would be waiting in my mailbox when I got home so I could pose them (they were)).

Who would you like to forgive? Club Treasurer and District 5 Club Growth Director Joyce Persichilli told us about her ex-husband. They married when they were young but he was [redacted in case Joyce wants to run for office one day]. Joyce took home the prize for Best Table Topics Speaker but it would not be the only award she left with (that expert level foreshadowing).  

Then we received a Grammarian’s report from Lynette, an Ah Counter report from Christoph, and a Timer’s report from Tomo.

Sureal closed the meeting by telling us to believe in the system and believe in each other. Then Jon opened for Club Business and there were a number of exciting and stirring bits of business.

Alberto started by presenting Club Treasurer and District 5 Club Growth Director Joyce Persichilli with flowers and the Grab the Gavel award for being a great mentor while he served in the district and always helping to guide him as our Club President. It moved her to tears and was a great way to start Club Business (in my own opinion).

Not to be outdone, current Club President Jon Berman popped up and answered the challenge by awarding a trophy to Alberto for serving two consecutive terms as Club President while shattering the record for educational awards.

Christoph reminded us that Officer elections are coming up and encouraged us all to think about helping the club stay on track and offering support to incoming club officers as well as training from the members who are currently serving in those roles.

Sureal announced that Bob won the Area 13 Humorous Speech contest and will compete at the division level in March next year. Chris Hammell competed also and secured last place. He’s not bitter but if the winner and runner up are…say…deprived of oxygen (this is a hint for Eric Linder) then Chris would have no choice but to go (oh no, did I just join the dark side?).

Christoph announced that we lead the district in 8 DCP goals and we are third highest in educational awards (15). Eric first emailed us about this impressive accomplishment last Monday.

Yesica acknowledged and thanked her division from last year, including Jon and Sureal, for all of their hard work.

CLUB 7 CALENDAR

11/14: On November 14 at 8:30am, Area 23 Director, Matt Corrales, has organized a speech contest so feel free to log in and watch as amazing speakers deliver great speeches and support Matt: https://d5tm.org/event/northern-division-online-area-contests-area-18-23/

11/26: Thanksgiving – no meeting

12/3: On December 3rd, we are having a “Spin the Role” meeting where all roles will be decided at the meeting. Will you be a speaker, a grammarian, Toastmaster? Instead of a grab bag, we’ll be using the magic of random computer magic to choose the roles.

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

What Did I Miss: 10/15/2020

Last night, we held a very successful Open House with 15 guests including Guest Speaker Eric Gillman, past members Amin Iman, and Alexandre Jacquet, and the Art Institute’s Bernie Nofel. For those who don’t know, Bernie used to bring each of his student groups in for one Toastmasters meeting to see what it was all about and we can’t wait until we can welcome him and his students back in person.

Club President Jon Berman, was our Toastmaster of the Evening for this event. His theme was Opportunity and his word of the week was Venture.

Vice President of Membership Sureal Sparx led Table Topics by telling the audience to use the following in their answers: Where are you, who are you with, and describe your sensations and what you smell. Then he showed each participant a photo. Guest Ricardo described being at a store picking fruits & vegetables to cook with his family. Guest, and Club 7 alumni, Amin Iman described going to the San Francisco fish market with his cousin. Guest Irene described a baking class in which she melted sugar with a blowtorch on top of crème brule. Guest Jess described watching a Chargers game in Pacific Beach with her friend. Best Table Topics Speaker, Guest Bernie Nofel, described (and rhymed) a tall tale about his background in mercantilism and the world’s leading importer and exporter in Timbuktu.

Chris Hammell (hey, that’s me) shined a spotlight on the Toastmasters Accredited Speaker Program (and revealed the results of a survey some members of Club 7 completed for research on this topic).

Jacob Hilt spoke about leadership lessons from the military and being an adaptable leader.

Best Manual Speaker went to Guest Speaker Eric Gillman, who took his sales and Zoom expertise to share 3 Zoom Do’s and 3 Zoom Don’ts (which would have been useful before my speech that night (*blush*)).

Vice President of Education Christoph Kubitza led a well-prepared evaluation team. Vice President of Public Relations Tomo Osako delivered a funny, specific, and supportive evaluation of Guest Speaker and Toastmasters Hardhat’s Club Member, Eric Gillman’s speech. In telling him that he should say what he’s going to say then remind people of what he said at the end because, “people are dumb,” she secured the Best Evaluator win for the evening.

Next week our Club Treasurer, and District 5 Club Growth Director, Joyce Persichilli, will be your Toastmaster of the Evening.

And, as a reminder, Humorous Speech Champ, Dave Zarella and International Speech Champ, Bob Dietrich are going to the Area 9 Contest to represent us TOMORROW, October 17thBookmark this page, https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-9/ , and stay tuned for more information.

Also, there are several other contests being run by our members who are serving the district as Area Directors and they could use our help. Please reach out to any of them if you are free on the following days.

October 24 @10am: Corinna Koehler, Area 14 Director (https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-12-14/)

November 14 @ 8:30am: Matt Corrales, Area 23 Director (https://d5tm.org/event/northern-division-online-area-contests-area-18-23/)

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

What Did I Miss: 10/8/2020 (and surprise announcement at the bottom)

Celebration was the theme of the meeting this week and the word of the week was jovial and there was no one better to lead that meeting than Elaine “Cookie” Dusetzina with help from her two daughters.

Table Topics Master, Budd Barmeyer, asked questions that contained the theme and we were treated to everything from people’s best celebrations to why we should celebrate even small victories. For his answer on remembering to celebrate these small victories, Alberto Alvarado was voted Best Table Topics Speaker before flying away in a helicopter (I know you thinking I’m lying, but if you weren’t there…it totally happened).

Corinna Koehler talked about her early mistakes in trying to be a leader. She was one of two extremes, a micromanager or a best friend. Today she’s found a leadership style that allows her to develop her team’s skills while keeping them focused on their goals. I handed her my application after the meeting (again, if you think I’m lying but weren’t there, you should come next week).

Ruben Figueroa, talked about one of the first Coronavirus cases which included a stint in the hospital followed by reinfection and a subsequent re-hospitalization. He discussed the many symptoms and the damage scientists are finding in the lungs and the pancreas. He didn’t have time to discuss the vaccine and the crowd booed him vigorously (look, if you don’t want to come to a meeting, you’re going to have to take my word for it).

Sureal Sparx introduced us to the idea that choosing your own name as an adult could help you craft the person you want to be and make you feel more in control of your life. Further, it can be the key to adulthood – a real benchmark in which you can change your name and feel empowered to take control of your life. He even had learning steps when you’re a certain age like being able to explore your values. For this novel and thought out approach, he earned the Best Speaker vote….before ascending to heaven on a cloud (okay fine, all of the last sentences of the speaker summaries are lies – you should still show up and see these amazing speeches in person).

Alberto Alvarado led a well-prepared evaluation team. Antonio Garcia won Best Evaluator with an evaluation of Sureal’s speech which included specific, supportive ways in which he could improve. Antonio pointed out that he and Sureal started around the same time so it should be no surprise that they both walked away with Best Speaker and Evaluator last night.

Next week is our Open House and our Club President, Jon Berman is going to lead us to glory!

And, as a reminder, Humorous Speech Champ, Dave Zarella and International Speech Champ, Bob Dietrich are going to the Area 9 Contest to represent us Saturday, October 17thBookmark this page, https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-9/ , and stay tuned for more information.

Also, there several other contests being run by our members who are serving the district as Area Directors and they could use our help. Please reach out to any of them if you are free on the following days.

October 10 @10am: Sureal Sparx, Area 1 & 6 Contest (https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-areas-1-6/)

October 17 @9:30am: Elaine Dusetzina, Area 9 Director – Bob Dietrich and Dave Zarella are competing here (https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-9/)

October 24 @10am: Corinna Koehler, Area 14 Director (https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-12-14/)

November 14 @ 8:30am: Matt Corrales, Area 23 Director (https://d5tm.org/event/northern-division-online-area-contests-area-18-23/)

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

November 12 @ 6-8:15pm (Gavel drop at 6:30pm): Toastmasters meeting will be replaced with Table Topics Mania on the outside patio at DiMille’s. Members only. RSVP here: https://tinyurl.com/sd7pizza

What Did I Miss: 9/17/2020

With the power of positivity (the theme was Positivity), Manny Thosy made his debut as the Toastmaster of the Evening and led a great evening packed with members and plenty of guests.

Past President (and all-around good-guy), Jose Barajas, led our table topics session where participants pitched different ideas. Elizabeth, one of our guests, took the best Table Topics ribbon for her answer on glassblowing.

Kalina Cardoso’s speech project was to revisit a previous speech. She spoke about inner-work to unpack our baggage. I had seen the speech before and enjoyed it the second time as well. If you missed it both times…maybe you hate fun.

Best Speaker winner, Matt Corrales, enlisted a family member to demonstrate how to spot a Covid-iot (though no advice on how best to repel them).

Jacob Hilt led his first evaluation team as the General Evaluator. International Speech Champ, Jon Berman’s evaluation of Kalina’s excellent speech (Jacob described it as ‘thorough and constructive’), nabbed him the Best Evaluator ribbon for the second week in a row.

And, for the first time in memory, because we didn’t have a third speaker, we had extra time so Jose Barajas returned and we were treated to more Table Topics. During her answer, Kris Manske even gave us a tour of her crib and showed us a new gadget helping her get more organized (…now I’m wondering if that was hidden advertising…hmmmm).

And, as a reminder, Humorous Speech Champ, Dave Zarella and International Speech Champ, Jon Berman are going to the Area Contest to represent us Saturday, October 17thBookmark this page, https://d5tm.org/event/southern-division-online-area-contests-area-9/ , and stay tuned for more information.

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM