Filler Words, Friends or Foe

Y19M08 Filler Words

Noon Toastmasters Meeting Minutes, 8-6-19

Y19M08D06 NTM club mtg minutes – corrected

August 2019 Exec Meeting Minutes

Y19M08 Temp Exec Mtg Minutes

Noon Toastmasters Meeting Minutes, 7-16-19

Y19M07D16 NTM club mtg minutes

Noon Toastmaster Meeting Minutes, 7-2-19

Y19M07D02 NTM club mtg minutes

Persuasive Speaking

Y19M07 Persuasive Speaking

July 2019 Exec Meeting Minutes

Y19M07 ECNTM Minutes

June 18, 2019 Meeting Minutes




Brookdale Paulin Creek


Start Time: 12:12 pm

End Time: 1:11 pm


11 Members: President MeL Konrad, VP Education Brian Buckman, VP Membership Bert Rangel, VP PR Holly Young, Sergeant at Arms Kelly Cunneen, Treasurer Mark Burchill, Secretary Frank Moraes, Dan Schell, Gabriel Cox, Harry Holland, and Steve Domkowski.

1 Guest: Matt.


  • President: MeL Konrad
  • Toastmaster: Frank Moraes
  • Table Topics: Bert Rangel
  • Grammarian: Kelly Cunneen
  • Timer/Ah Counter: Dan Schell


Brian Buckman: “The Rest of the Story” — Dynamic Leadership Path — Level 2
      Evaluated by MeL Konrad.

Mark Burchill: “Roasting Frank” — Advanced Communication Manual: Roast Speaking
      Evaluated by Gabriel Cox.

New Business

The group is moving its meetings to Sonoma County Tourism:

Sonoma County Tourism
400 Aviation Blvd #500
Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1182

Next Meeting

2 July 2019


Mark motioned that we accept the new meeting location. Gabriel seconded.


The group voted on the new meeting location. It was unanimous in favor.


Kelly banged the gavel. Sounds like a folk song, doesn’t it? You know, like John Henry. Maybe I’ll write something since this is my last set of minutes for Noon Toastmasters.

And while I’m on the subject, I really appreciate all the cards and letters you all have sent me. It is a great hardship to give up this rewarding position. But the truth is that I can’t deprive MeL of this great opportunity to do the minutes. She beat out 15 other people who wanted to bask in the glow of being Noon Toastmasters secretary. I just hope she realizes that the groupies can be overwhelming at times.

President’s Remarks

Currently, MeL is president of the club. And we had some real business at this meeting: we’re moving.

And the new location is great! You can find out more on the blog. The club voted on the change. It was unanimous. It’s always unanimous! I thought about arguing for holding future meetings in Holly’s car, but I held my tongue.

Toastmaster: Frank

MeL introduced yours truly as Toastmaster. I talked about how the new drugs my doctor has me on were making me feel foggy. But as the meeting progressed, that went away. I have a theory about this. I’ve felt that same way in the past and my doctor told me it was stress. So I think I was stressed because I hadn’t prepared as much as I really should have.

Word of the Day: Bombastic

You all may know how much I hate the use of foreign words and phrases for the Word of the Day. I know: I seem like a cosmopolitan guy. And I am! If I could afford it, I’d live in Paris. But I have a hard enough time pronouncing English!

So I playfully introduced χαρούμενα Χριστούγεννα as the word of the day. Yes, there were gasps. But then I changed it to “bombastic.” Here are some of the responses:

  • MeL: Shaggy has a song where he rhymes “bombastic” with “fantastic.”
  • Holly: I make it a point to avoid working with bombastic clients.
  • Mark: The first bombastic politician I remember was the guy who banged his shoe on the table, Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Kelly: “Bombastic” is a word I use all the time but don’t really know what it means.
  • Matt: There is more chance of me being Shaggy than bombastic.
  • Harry: I’m feeling less hip-hoppy after that. Bombastic? I don’t know.
  • Gabriel: Our new meeting place is bombastic.
  • Steve: Bombastic: Trump.
  • Bert: I’m going to give a bombastic speech at our new location at Sonoma County Tourism.

Thought of the Day

Holly gave the thought of the day: “Never turn down your ambition because someone else doesn’t like the volume.” But it made me wonder: what if the ambition of someone else is to lead a nice quiet life?!

Village People

Speaker: Brian

Brian spoke about the founding of the YMCA as a way to keep baseball players in shape during the off-season. He even did the hand signals. It was a good speech following off the Paul Harvey formula, “The rest of the story…”

But… Brian, there’s no need to feel down. I said, Brian, pick yourself off the ground. I said, Brian, ’cause you’re in a new town. There’s no need. To. Be. Unhappy.

Speaker: Mark

Mark is finishing his Advanced Communication Silver, which means that he has given a number of specialized speeches. And today was perhaps the most unusual: a roast of me.

I was slightly fearful because I embarrass very easily and obviously and I feared I would change the room color like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I don’t know if I did.

It was a very funny but ultimately sweet speech. It’s interesting to see how other people perceive you. Based on Mark’s roast: bizarre but friendly and mostly harmless. Thanks, Mark!

Table Topics: Bert

Bert was in charge of Table Topics.

What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done for somebody?

Gabriel: Duty is where you are on guard for 24 hours. I guess when I helped out by doing someone else’s duty.

What is your best vacation memory?

Kelly: I’ve been on so many vacations. I feel like I’m on vacation now. It never ends.

What book has had a big impact on you?

Dan: It’s a book I just recently read, I think it’s called Winterdance and it’s about the Iditarod.

Who do you look up to?

MeL: My father who I thought of last Sunday.

Speaker #1 Evaluation: MeL

MeL said she didn’t like sports so when Brian started his speech she cringed. But as he spoke, that all went away. She said she liked the opening and Brian’s casual style. The transition into the main part of the speech could be more direct.

Speaker #2 Evaluation: Gabriel

Gabriel loved Mark’s speech. He said the jokes were good, it was well organized, and he liked the props Mark used. He also said that even though it was a roast, it didn’t feel like an attack.

Grammarian: Kelly

Kelly pointed out some phrases she liked:

  • Brian: “Started in 1890 and it remains unchanged today.”
  • Mark: “facetious.”
  • Frank: “Mark was nicer than he should have been.”
  • Gabriel: “I like to be victim.”

Timer/Ah Counter: Dan

  • Matt: 3 but/ands
  • MeL: 3 ahs, 2 ums, 2 sos, 5 but/ands
  • Frank: 1 ah (Dan was clearly grading me on a curve.)
  • Gabriel: 3 ahs, 2 ums, 3 ya-knows, 1 so
  • Steve: nothing (Steve replied: “I didn’t say anything!”)
  • Holly: 1 ah
  • Brian: 3 ahs, 1 um, 6 sos, 4 but/ands
  • Mark: 1 ah
  • Bert: nothing
  • Kelly: 1 ah, 1 um, 1 ya-know, 1 well, 2 but/ands, 2 “other.”

We didn’t do timing. As Robert Marley said, “Time is an ocean, not a garden hose. Space is a puff of smoke, a wisp of cloud. Your mind is a flying corn snake hovering through all the possibilities.”

And I handed the meeting back over to MeL.

Wrap Up

MeL wrapped up her final meeting as the president of Noon Toastmasters. At least this particular tenure. She really has been a great president — organized, encouraging, and effective.

Mark was brought before the group because he just completed his Advanced Communicator Silver.

And with that, we start a new year of Toastmasters!


Noon Toastmasters New Meeting Location!

Sonoma County Tourism Meeting Room - View 1
Sonoma County Tourism Meeting Room

Starting at our next meeting on July 2, 2019, Noon Toastmasters will be meeting in our new location at Sonoma County Tourism. When we were considering new meeting locations, we wrote down all the things we would want in our dream meeting location:

  • 25 chairs
  • Storage
  • Quiet
  • Good location
  • Easy parking
  • Wifi
  • Computer Monitor
  • Free

None of us imagined that we would be able to get all these things. Yet we did. So here is the address:

Sonoma County Tourism
400 Aviation Blvd #500
Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1182

Sonoma County Tourism Meeting Room - View 2
Sonoma County Tourism Meeting Room Amenities

New Meeting Time

We are also going to be meeting at a different time. The days are the same: the first and third Tuesdays of the month. But instead of starting at 12:12 pm, we are going respectable and starting our meetings at 12:00.


We will assume you are coming from downtown Santa Rosa:

  1. Take 101 N
  2. Take exit 495B for Airport Blvd
  3. Turn left on Airport Blvd
  4. Turn right on Aviation Blvd
  5. Turn left into Sonoma County Tourism.

You can also use Google Maps to get directions for your particular location.

If you have any problems, give us a call at 707-584-6997.

June 04, 2019 Meeting Minutes




Brookdale Paulin Creek


Start Time: 12:12 pm

End Time: 1:13 pm


13 Members: President MeL Konrad, VP Education Brian Buckman, VP Membership Bert Rangel, VP PR Holly Young, Sergeant at Arms Kelly Cunneen, Treasurer Mark Burchill, Secretary Frank Moraes, Christy Helvajian, Dan Schell, Gabriel Cox, Harry Holland, Stephanie K Thatcher, and Steve Domkowski.

3 Guests: Gayle, Teresa, and Vera.


  • President: MeL Konrad
  • Toastmaster: MeL Konrad
  • Table Topics: Frank Moraes
  • Grammarian: Christy Helvajian
  • Timer/Ah Counter: Brian Buckman


Mark Burchill: “The Winning Proposal” — Advanced Communication: Persuasive Speaking
      Evaluated by Holly Young.

New Business

Officer elections were held. New officers:

  • President: Bert Rangel
  • VP PR: Holly Young
  • VP Membership: Gabriel Cox
  • VP Education: Frank Moraes
  • Sergeant at Arms: Kelly Cunneen
  • Treasurer: Mark Burchill
  • Secretary: MeL Konrad

Next Meeting

4 June 2019



Committee Reports



I’ll admit it: I wasn’t paying attention. When Kelly banged the gavel, I remembered that I hadn’t started my audio recording of the meeting. (What?! You think I remember all this stuff?) So as she recited the club mission, I was in motion. When the recording started, she paused and there was laughter. I was wondering if she had decided to recite it from memory as she recently showed she could. But I don’t know.

I was never a Boy Scout. I’m often not prepared.

President’s Remarks

MeL deigned to join us for the meeting. Her absence from the last meeting was sorely felt. On the other hand, no one missed Mark. We just keep him around to get DCP.

You know, I love Mark. Really! But jokes like that make me very afraid for the next meeting when Mark will be roasting me. Here I am just trying to make the minutes a little bit more fun and what do I get for it? Attention. Sure. And you all know how much I hate that! But for the record, I will be red as a raspberry next week. If I am, Mark will have done his job.

I hope Mark doesn’t take this as a threat, but I have several one-liners ready about his unnatural love of spreadsheets…

Guest Introductions

MeL took the stage and dealt with some meeting minutia. Then she welcomed our guests. Gayle and Teresa had been to the open-house last time. Vera lives at Brookdale. She could only stay for part of the meeting.

Gabriel was a GINO. If you don’t get that reference, look at the last set of minutes!

Also at the meeting was Toastmaster elder Harry who used to do this job. So you know he must be brilliant. (Because I’m so brilliant. You got that, right?)


Gabriel was voted on as a member of Noon Toastmasters. He just squeaked by with a unanimous vote. I know I had my concerns because of his positive attitude, friendly demeanor, and dedication to the group. Who needs that? Am I right?!

MeL brought up the current officers up to the front of the room to thank them. (Us.) They would be: Holly, Bert, Brian, Kelly, Mark, and me. She gave us all Starbucks cards because she knows we are all Coffee Achievers. Except for me: I’m a Coffee Status Quo-er. But that’s being picked.

Then someone had the brilliant idea of photographing us. Generally, I’m fine going through my life believing that I’m skinnier than I am. But every picture brings the cold, hard truth to me. I’m not fond of any cold, hard truths.

Given that all 7 positions were unopposed, Harry leaned over to me and said, “By the rules, the vote can just go to the secretary.” I thought he was joking. You know, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they just left it to you!”

But then Christy was given the floor and she said, “By the rules, the vote can just go to the secretary.”

MeL didn’t want to do that. (People who aren’t at the executive committee meetings have no idea just what an authoritarian she is!) But I was very impressed. Harry and Christy really know their stuff!

The new officers are:

  • President: Bert Rangel
  • VP PR: Holly Young
  • VP Membership: Gabriel Cox
  • VP Education: Frank Moraes
  • Sergeant at Arms: Kelly Cunneen
  • Treasurer: Mark Burchill
  • Secretary: MeL Konrad

And then more pictures were taken!

Toastmaster: MeL

MeL was also Toastmaster for the day. So she got right to it.

Word of the Day: Segue

She put up a picture like the following:

People on Segways

“Do you know what these are?”

The consensus of the group was that it was clearly a picture taken in San Francisco and no one at Noon Toastmasters knows anything that isn’t in a foreign language.

No, people said, “Segways?”

And so the word of the day was “segue.”

This brings up a sore point for any editor. Homophones are our great curse. Seriously: humans think verbally. So we really have to train ourselves to notice the difference between “throne” and “thrown.” But, hey, I guess it is job security.

Some of the answers:

  • Gabriel: “From here I will have to segue into training mode.”
  • Steve: “I segue from my house to hear because 90% of life is showing up.”
  • Christy: “I just realized that this is the segue to the rest of my life.”
  • Vera: “I’m looking at my watch because I’m afraid I have to segue from this meeting to the picnic.”
  • Brian: “My daughter was promoted to 8th grade and she segued right into, ‘Dad, I’m bored; when are we going on vacation?'”
  • Teresa: “This group is a segue into learning because I learned how to spell ‘segue.'”
  • Gayle: “I will be segueing from being a non-speaker to a public speaker.”

Speaker: Mark

Mark gave a persuasive speech with PowerPoint slides to convince us to buy furniture and project management services for the cardiac and catheterization lab at the San Francisco VA. I was persuaded, but then I always am. It’s easy to sell to me. This is why I make it a point to always be poor.

Mark gives unique speeches because of the path that he’s following. Did I mention that he is going to roast me at the next meeting? I’ve figured out what I should do: burst out crying. I probably would if he knew me better. But all he has to go on is my public persona. He knows nothing of my checkered past. Unless he’s contacted my ex-wives…

None of this has anything to do with the excellent evaluation I wrote for his speech. I mention this only because — for the second straight meeting — I managed to lose it before I could give it to him. What’s up with that? Perhaps Mark will discuss it at the roast!

Chickens Gathering Before the Elephant HuntChickens gathering before the elephant hunt.

Table Topics

I was in charge of the Table Topics, which were, in all the humility I can muster, fantastic:

If animals could talk, which would be the rudest?

Bert: Cats are so rude. You talk to them and they don’t even look your way.

Is cereal soup? Why or why not?

Gabriel: If gazpacho can be a soup, cereal can be a soup.

How many chickens would it take to kill an elephant?

Steve: They would all have to surround the elephant when it is sleeping, under its blanket… I’d say we send a thousand.

Toilet paper, over or under? And explain your answer!

Gayle: Over. It just keeps rolling if you put it under. If it is over, you can hold it at the top.

Speaker Evaluation: Holly

Holly said she was a bit confused about the topic and would have liked more background. She asked for more entertainment. And I happen to know that Mark is an excellent tap dancer. So I expect to see that at a meeting soon.

She also emphasized Mark’s many qualities: organization and good delivery.

Grammarian: Christy

Christy pointed out some phrases she liked:

  • Holly: “If I were invisible, I would take a day off.”
  • Gabriel: “Connection is number one.”
  • Gayle: “When Trump had toilet paper on his shoe, no one stopped him.”

Timer/Ah Counter: Brian

  • Mark (5-7): 7:30
  • Table Topics (1-2)
    • Bert: 0:43
    • Gabriel: 0:48
    • Steve: 1:12
    • Gayle: 1:10
    • Teresa: 0:40
    • Holly: 1:03
  • Holly (2-3): 2:43
  • Christy (1-2): 0:42

There were no ahs! Maaayyybbeee.

Wrap Up

MeL checked in with the guests. Gayle said she would be back despite the fact that there is a notable cat hater in the group. Teresa asked about what she could do in the Toastmasters program. And got lots of input. TL;DR: you can do anything you want!

Dan said he would have liked to have Gabriel’s question during Table Topics, “Is cereal a soup?” He continued, “Who shoots the holes in the Cheerios? The cereal killer.”

And since we couldn’t top that, the meeting was ended.

Our next meeting is June 18th.

Segway Tours by Tony Hisgett, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Chickens via PICRYL and in the public domain.