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: 10/29/2020

Last night we our Vice President of Membership, Sureal Sparx, led the meeting as our Toastmaster. His theme was “Slow Down To Speed Up” and the word of the week was “calm.” And Surreal taught us, and the many guests, some of the secrets of being calm.

In her Pledge & Inspiration, Club Secretary Kris Manske, explained that her internet connection has been stable and dependable throughout the pandemic…until she had a very important presentation. In the interest of Halloween tomorrow, I’m going to purposely leave that on a cliffhanger. You’re welcome.

Antonio Garcia led Table Topics by using the word of the week, “calm” to ask questions about what the calmest place, music, or person is. Chris Hammell won the Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon by talking about the calmest person he knows, his father.

In the manual speeches Gregory Pitts, took home the Best Speaker ribbon for delivering a speech about choosing your priorities. After choosing work for so long, he’s shifted to family and he’s moving back to New York to be closer to the people he loves the most.

In 1976, Club Vice President of Education, Christoph Kubitza stumbled in on leadership when he convinced his fellow Rugby players to assemble for practice. As his life experience grew (French military service, Toastmasters), so did his leadership skills. That’s right, Christoph was in the military. (Because Halloween is tomorrow…) That would explain the sudden, unexplained disappearances in your neighborhood.

Area 14 Director, Corinna Koehler, talks to us about the different mentors (her mother, her friend, Mike, and our very own Christoph) in her life and their different styles. She then talks about her own experience mentoring at Club 7.

Our first time General Evaluator, Manny Thosy, did a great job running that section and evaluating the meeting. (And again, because it’s Halloween…) During his evaluation of the meeting, Christoph appeared behind him. I tried to scream, “Christoph is RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!!”, but I forgot to take myself off of mute and Manny has been missing since last night….

Also, there is one more contest being run by one of our members, Matt Corrales.

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

Club 7 hopes you have a glorious and safe Halloween.

Chris Hammell, DTM

What Did I Miss: 10/1/2020

Self-care was the theme of my meeting this week. I saw an opening on the agenda and I couldn’t resist jumping in. My word of the week was cope because I hope that everyone is doing just that. I also hope that if you haven’t been attending club meetings, you consider making us part of your self-care. We enjoy seeing everyone each week.

What some may not realize about the timer role is that, as the Toastmaster of the Evening, the timer is only person you talk to. Everyone else you introduce but you’re interacting with the timer and they become your most important tool for running the meeting. Manny Thosy made for an excellent partner-in-crime and even kept me from making a mistake.

What can I say about Joyce Persichilli, our Table Topics Master? She was in charge of every Toastmasters club in San Diego County and a few in Arizona. She took the theme and asked members and guests questions about self-care. Member, Corinna Koehler and Guest, Christina tied for best table topics speaker.

There was also a tie for best manual Speaker. Both delivering their Icebreakers, Gregory Pitts and Budd Barmeyer split the votes for best speaker.

Gregory Pitts’ spoke about gaining a lot of success in various endeavors but not feeling proficient in anyone thing. With the help of the book, Essentialism, he is eliminating things that take his time away from the things he wants to rigorously pursue.

Budd Barmeyer, talked about how he enjoys serving people and hearing their stories. He has found his calling in helping and developing others while traveling the world and enjoying the positive energy of others.

Kris Manske gave us an inside look at a mentor-protégé relationship via her two cats, Orange and Velcro. While Orange was a reluctant mentor at first, she rose to the occasion and Velcro learned many valuable skills like mirroring and the assuming the ‘cat loaf’ position. While Kris insists the speech was mostly to show cute cat pictures, it also reminds us that we should have more cats.

Christoph Kubitza led a well-prepared evaluation team which included, Ben Nitti who would be voted into membership later that night. Eric Linder won the Best Evaluator vote for his evaluation of Budd Barmeyer’s speech.

And because I want everyone to have them, here are the links I provided with the theme and word of the week in case anyone needs them or knows anyone who could use them:

Theme: Self-Care (

Word of the Week: Cope/Coping/Coped (

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, , 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 (

October 17 @9:30am: Elaine Dusetzina, Area 9 Director – Bob Dietrich and Dave Zarella are competing here (

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

What Did I Miss: 9/10/2020

Last night, I was late to the party. What can I say? I still had a great time.

Christoph Kubitza led our first post-contest meeting with a full agenda and many guests.

According to Humorous Speech Champ, Dave Zarella’s General Evaluator report, I missed a lot of great things. I missed Kalina Cardoso’s Table Topics session and Kris Manske’s Pledge and Inspiration which got a positive nod. I also missed Jeremy Johnson’s opening as our Presiding Officer.

For Table Topics, guest, Sam Lance ran away with the ribbon as the other contestants chased him (okay, that didn’t really happen in a Zoom meeting but if it were a physical meeting, you guys would have freaked and looked for video of the event).

I came late during Joyce Joyce Persichilli’s speech. From what I gathered from the final two minutes of her speech and International Speech Champ, Jon Berman’s evaluation, she reflected on enjoying the simple pleasures despite the pandemic including using Zoom to connect with family (unless they are very young…then it’s like herding cats).

Corinna Koehler led a talk about all of the ‘unnecessary knowledge’ she has. Do you know why you get a bit of fabric along with the button for a button-up shirt? Do you know what the ‘57’ on a bottle of Heinz Ketchup is for? Then you should have been there. I can’t unlearn any of this – THERE IS NO SPOON…I’m sorry…I can see the Matrix.

Best Speaker of the Evening, Sureal Sparx, spoke about the importance of understanding your audience. Do you know what questions to ask? Do you know how to speak in a way that is familiar to them? Then you should have been there (did I copy and paste this from Corinna’s summary?…maybe, but you can’t prove it). The next time you talk to an audience and their eyes glaze over, you’ll wish you had been here.

And what about Humorous Speech Champ, Dave Zarella’s evaluations team? International Speech Champ, Jon Berman’s evaluation of Joyce Joyce Persichilli’s speech earned him the Best Evaluator ribbon. Meanwhile, Bob Dietrich, Manny Thosy, Antonio Garcia, and club Alumni and all-around-good-guy, Dusstin Coyote did a great job delivering their evaluations.

I hope you can all make the meeting next week as first-time Toastmaster, Manny Thosy will be leading.

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