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 ( not to be confused with Tanner’s Chicken Restaurant in Cumming, GA (

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.


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

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, , 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 (

November 14 @ 8:30am: Matt Corrales, Area 23 Director (

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM

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, , and stay tuned for more information.

I hope you’re all doing well,

Chris Hammell, DTM