Oroville Toastmasters “Best By A Dam Site” Club is meeting weekly Wednesdays at noon in person. No more Zoom for now… We hope you can join us and feel free to come visit any time. We’re always welcome to visitors and new members.
Three new members joined the Oroville “Best By a Dam Site” Toastmasters Club recently on Wednesday, August 24. The three new members that joined the club were Henry Altman, Janet Niemeyer and Dave Niemeyer.
Toastmasters is an international organization that promotes skills in communication and leadership development. The members participate in weekly meetings, giving impromptu and planned speeches. Through these fun and challenging activities the members grow in their personal and professional development in the areas of public speaking skills, organization, confidence, and social networking. Members overcome their fear of public speaking by learning new skills. They meet new people of various age groups. They actually have fun and learn to enjoy the weekly challenges.
Oroville’s Toastmasters meets weekly on Wednesdays at noon for one hour. They meet at the Butte County Health Department building at 202 Mira Loma in the “Tahoe” meeting room. Visitors and new members are always welcome. So come join the fun.
With Oroville now the target of mother nature, Wednesday’s Zoom meeting was cancelled as members are scattered into the abyss of evacuation housekeeping…where web time is more productively used figuring if you should run or you might open your home up and invite someone to stay with you. In addition, as is now the norm, PGE turned off power due to winds and then as procedures dictate they must visually inspect the poles before reactivating….except all their helicopters were grounded due to visibility.
Toastmasters Oroville club, “Best by a Dam site” has discontinued in person meetings and resumed their efforts on Zoom. The platform provides unique opportunities and challenges to the normal structure of toastmaster meetings but also readies participants for our new world.
Please join us on Wednesdays starting around 11:45 at the following link:
TODAY! Thanks to our President Cole Garcia’s poor zoom performances, he has found us a new place to conduct meetings with the Butte County offices closed to the public. Lets see how this goes!
We will meet at the Monday Club in Oroville. Its an old white building and it has a Rotary Sign out front. You can pull in the drive way, turn to the right.
Address is: 2385 Montgomery Street, Or0ville , CA 95965
James Souci, probably at first look would not be thought of as valedictorian of the senior citizens scrabble club…but first let me tell you, in scrabble you really needed to place limits on Chinese utterances…cheater. Recently I think of him every day because he died in much of the same manner as those with COVID 19. It was morbid, isolated, demeaning to a life that was so much of vigor. Jim in pain from cancer, competed and won awards…his poetic use of language transported your imagination to the very imagery that he professed.
As I age, the most impactive people in my life I think about every single day. Mostly in a good way…sometimes in reflection…and that I think defines eternity.
For your pleasure here is the transcript of his speech “FAST FLOYD”
In my career as a merchant seaman, I’ve sailed many waters on many ships with seafarers from around the world. Shipmates, so many. Mostly forgotten, some remembered and some I’ll never forget. One of the most colorful shipmate I’ve sailed with, who occupies many pages of my journal was Fast Floyd.
Before I tell you about fast floyd, a preamble is in order. Fast floyd sailed with the Seafarers International Union (that’s SIU) builT and flew his own airplane, lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, and our first ship together was a catamaran, that is two hulls. With that in mind, here’s a chapter in the tale of fast floyd.
I first met him, or i should say encountered him, in Pareaus, Greece, on the Mertoo Sea. The shipping agent put us up at the Naufara Hotel, right on the waterfront. I’m sitting on a sidewalk bench in front of the hotel enjoying a cold beer, the warm weather and all the bustle of waterfront activity, when, like a tornado, crash! Bang! Boom!
-“What the hell was that?” That, my fellow toastmaster, was my introduction to Fast Floyd.
He came barreling out of the hotel like a Sherman Tank, with all patois of an angry seaman, complaining something about his leg.
They can’t find my leg, it’s lost in the septum. (full of exemplatives) Whoa, Floyd, who lost your leg? I’m confused, “I see you have two legs, how many do you need?” “No! man U.A.L. lost my spare prosthesis. Now I notice his limp.
A big guys 6 ft plus, 200 lbs. anyway, multiple tattoos, a small scar intersecting his lips like a cruciform, and an intimidating bearing and countenance. If you saw him lumbering toward you, you would intuitively give him plenty of sea room.
I liked fast floyd. There was a certain impalpable something beneath his rough exterior. He was nobody’s sycophant. A master craftsman, skilled in mechanics, refrigeration, air conditioning and electrical. An artist with a welding torch and at home in a machine shop on a lathe.
Well, his leg did show up the next morning at the hotel. Our ship was set to sail the following day. We caught a launch to our ship anchored in the road stead. Checked aboard and signed articles. We were now shipmates. The next morning the crew is queued up for breakfast, I’m about to give my order, when fast floyd shoved me aside, “hard scrambled and bacon, double order.”
“Hey Floyd,” I ask incredulously, “what’s up with that?” “yea, well I’m hungry and you’re slow, that’s what’s up with that.”
We’d been to sea about two weeks now when I learned something of his bio, as mentioned in the preamble.
One day during the evening meal he sat directly across from me. I write on a napkin “20 years with SIU, twice back came he to sail the blue, in fact everything came to him in two, twin hulls, a pair of wings and a motorcycle wheels too, except fast floyd wears only shoe.” I slide the napkin across the table with some trepidation. He glares at me, (I practiced this look in mirrors) reads the napkin, looks at me again.
Well, now I’m his best friend. He would come to my foisle after work and tell me about his experiences. How he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, the time he was a guess of a texas penitentiary for art works, a euphorium for forgery. He was especially proud of the belt and buckle his brother made him from prison, secretly designed as a weapon as he demonstrated wrapping the belt around his hand until the buckle fit snugly over his fist “Why” I ask, “do you need a weapon floyd?”
“Well man, I’ve only goT one real leg, this one is from a tree.”
“yes, I know all that floyd, so why do you need a weapon?”
“I can’t run so I fight.” I told him if he wore suspenders he wouldn’t get into so much trouble.
And trouble he was. With more time, I could give you several examples. L.B. Calif. Dublin Ireland and other parts. Here’s one…
We’re in Terragonna Spain, an ancient port city going back to roman times. I found a cantina on a hill overlooking the town and neat rows of houses, leading down to the Med. Sea. I’m sitting at a small table next to a large picture window having an espresso and writing in my journal when I here a tapping on the glass above me. I look over my shoulder, it’s fast floyd. It’s 11:30 a.m., he’s been drinking and he’s pissed off.
The only other souls in the cantina were the continero and gendarsa(?), playing dominoes. I bolt for the door and intercept. Too late. He barges in and in his usual poetic vernacular, complaining, this exemplative, floyd and i got kicked out of the mall. I drag him to my table and tell him to shut up. “Jim” he says, “I promise you, I wasn’t causing any trouble. I was just looking at some Toledo swords, when security escorted me out.
I’m thinking do i really have to explain this? “C’mon floyd, you go to the mall in coveralls, no shirt, you’ve been drinking, you’re playing with swords and you’ve got swastikas plastered over your arms!”
After that ride it was several years before I saw him again. I got a bosun’s job out of the SF hiring hall on the container ship S/L Defender docked in Oakland. When I arrived at the ship I looked up from the brow, and there was fast floyd hanging over the bull work. When I stepped aboard he gave be a bone crushing hug and carried on like I was his long, lost brother, come home.
After that ship I never saw him again. I heard he died of an overdose of pills. I suppose my speech could be something of a eulogy. There never was a funeral, not even a memorial.
So today, today,, thanks to you, I brought a shipmates memory alive for a few minutes. I did hear his motorcycle club has his leg on display in the clubhouse.
Hello all; We are now in the world of ZOOM…anyway that is how we conduct our meetings these days…there are whispers of meeting in the park with distancing practices in place…but really that is all about we miss our Toastmaster family.
In a way, this crisis has expanded, burdened and tests our principles where communication towards leadership is the fundamental precept. I thought I was shy in person…but Zoom projections of my ancient face is horrifying “MAKEUP!”. Even the mugshots of our President (of our Toastmasters Club) who in real life is charismatic, inviting, gregarious…. on Zoom…”What is with the Richard Nixon sweat?”…blank wall background???? Where is the “I LOVE ME” documents.
So you see…we are in a very new world of communication to experiment with. That is the job of Toastmasters…to provide a safe place to test, explore and expand on.
So if you are sitting in your bathroom hiding from your kids and hoping for a diversion to give you direction… contact us and we will figure something out, maybe. At least the attempt will give you a reason for sitting in your bathroom
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, OROVILLE TOASTMASTERS, “BEST BY A DAM SITE”
HAS CANCELLED ALL MEETINGS DUE TO THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS.
PLEASE MONITOR THIS SITE FOR ANY UPDATES. GENERALLY WE WILL FOLLOW
THE GUIDELINES OF THE FEDERAL ,STATE, AND COUNTY DIRECTIONS.
Growing up, Poetry and the threat, the challenge or the even the suggestion to read, evaluate, contemplate was always a form of cerebral challenge, apparent unearned punishment and/or personal affront….Somehow the transition from a dictated structure poem to free-flow rhetorical run-on hip hop style has still not helped. As many of us, I want to like poetry…but still it must serve my need for paleopoetic structure, rhyme and melody…with a cadence that supports an underlining message made by witty contrasts, humorous hypocrisy, or possibly a hint of passive/aggressive scolding. I found such a resource in the poetry of our own emeritus poet, Rose Anne Edmondson.
Sadly Rose Anne passed away in November. She was a vital spark to the uniqueness of our club, we were very fortunate to have her lead us in our rhetorical quests…as she was patient in that stern school marm way but always offering helpful advise with warm encouragement to all. All feared her table topics that posed quotes unlearned by titled professors..yet she always cherished our flailing attempts and professed some compliment for even the weakest endeavor. Her biggest frustration was our casual attention to the long established rituals to use the Word of the Day but was always appeased when she was tasked as Grammarian….where those of us who fantasized about Toastmaster awards often had our egos humbled…all as almost a family.
We will miss you Grand Lady.
In the spirit of transparency please review the below. This is an attempt to recap what really happens at one of our meetings. We do not yet have a secret hand shake or prescribe to ritualistic oddities in some basement…but who knows, without “new” blood we could very well disintegrate our tribalism into a morph-ism of special tatoos and ritualistic drinking (my favorite transitional digression)
THOSE DAM TOASTMASTER, Issue 1- 2020 (Note: Public Service Announcement. Someone mentioned the other day that when entering the date in the year 2020 that should never use just 20 because someone can fill in numbers after that for nefarious purposes. This occurred in 1919, 1818, 1717 as well.)
I just recalled that my New Year’s resolution was to address my penance for Procrastination..coupled though with increased stress induced short term memory challenges…the yield appears to be unchanged…whenever. Of course this very document could be considered the essence of distraction from doing more pressing things like my taxes, selling and leaving the state, looking up words in the dictionary from the expansive vocabulary of our President (sorry, it’s like having Tourettes driven Coprolalia)
For those unfamiliar with what exactly this diatribe is about- – This is my infamous meeting recap report that takes our ritualistic, systematic and frankly boring agenda and dissects the underbelly of our meetings to expose and comment on all those special moments in a Fox-News style of journalism so that in the end even the Grammarian looks cool…even when the Grammarian is Rodney….you know Rodney from I.T…who works in the Butte County Mira Loma building’s basement…when it doesn’t have a basement. So I have a few objectives here: To make the meetings seem more exciting to entice a growth in membership, to let those missing the meetings feel left out and wholly marginal in their empty lives, and make those who do go to the meetings Not fear speaking in public but rather fear my summary more unless of course there was some form of enumeration plan that helps me send Floyd (my dog) to charm school…unmarked, small bills please. But really, instead of worrying about how you speak, what your evaluator might say…I sit there, staring with my beady eyes – emotionless, heartless, with cold blood in my veins with the sole object of trying to translate whatever dribble you are trying to espouse into something that makes me look witty, human, and smart…rightly a devious marketing plan…at your expense. Just so you know, I do this within the confines of Evanka’s anti-bullying campaign confines.
Today, Tom started off our meeting…I found him running in the halls so excited that we got our room back! MORE Power Points!…bringing April’s New Year’s resolution back up out of our subconsciousness…when will that event take place?…imagining individuals with 8 collective BS degrees scurrying around to attend to her stinking Apple computer…of course she will have forgotten her power cord in the end being the perfectionist that she is…(thus OMG…next time I guess?)
Back to Tom who really is honing into the MC duties…I think he has plans to be the KEYNOTE speaker to some California Agricultural Commissioners “Defeat Plastic Straws use” convention in Las Vegas or equal in the near future while I noticed just yesterday that I bought a bunch of celery BY THE POUND while it was being wetted down! To you public servants…Taxpayers are WATCHING!
Our steady President was introduced next and I caught the admiration for Tom in Cole’s face as he took command of the dais. He of course sees his replacement since he has seemingly found the exact Bylaw that prevents him from being President for the third time in a row…I am looking for the exception clause Tom…and Tom! Better not miss one meeting! And you do realize if I keep repeating this every single day…you will be President some day no matter if you are qualified, morally fit to do so, intellectually robust enough to address the tasks, or even physically mentally or physically to do so…there is empirical data out there to support this conclusion.
Business included the dates and times for the AREA and Division C contests coming up this year. Somehow a collusion of Toastmasters and Rotary Clubs is in the mix….I actually would prefer the Elks Club (Jan) to take advantage of their RV Spaces…not sure what Rotary would offer except discounts on fireworks? That should be popular in Paradise! A RoseAnne memorial is planned now for the 31st at Cole’s home. Originally it was to be this Friday but apparently someone he doesn’t want in his home agreed to come so he is desperately changing the date until they give up…you know who you are. Be sure you bring your RoseAnne type game…Dan even wrote a poem…as an example.
Our inspiration came from Orr who gave us two lines, both by Martin Luther King Jr: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” and “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” The later expression I am sure PGE will abuse this next summer as we sit in the dark.
As Tom arm twisted the unsuspecting into various rolls, Rodney slithered up and posted the Word of the Day: vi·cis·si·tude….count them…4 syllables! I am still reading the definition…while I simultaneously try to develop a fine algorithm…$5 per syllable to the grammarian – $1 for each use by club members… the only reason I bring it up is that Tom was aghast at $100 per year dues which equates to around $2 per meeting but then Tom we have PATHWAYS! To subsidize our club I tonight, this minute…offer all the firewood you or anyone else as much firewood you would ever dream of, you cut and haul and don’t screw up my Fed Ag Conservation income!
Because I am a little rusty and out of sorts, my review of table topics will be brief. Jan correctly posed the question first and laid the wood on whoever was glancing at their phone. We had 7 table topics that spanned to softball questions like to Tom who was asked “where would you live outside of the US”..Italy duh! I got to you live in the past or present…a very intimidating question because my biggest fear is to become a reminiscing rhetorical grandstander as my cognitive skills withdraw. As a geneogolist, I already realize I am the most boring person at any family gathering (strategically devised ). But our IT pro, Rodney would win the award….a perfect kid except he is big…I mean we all think we were perfect kids which that very deception should make any parent nervous…What is wrong with my kid? He/She is too good? What did I do wrong? Being Big though and ripping shower heads off the wall seems definitive to the premise.
Now April was our first speaker with a task to discuss how to increase the attendance of our meetings. If ever there could be a hybridization of a Jewish and Nun she embodied that morphication…peeking over the dais with a bag of rhetorical “rulers” to punish her “students” with. She was anticipating a low turnout but somehow we had enough bodies to undermine her Catholic type Nun shaming…whew we avoided that one. But this very email is a product of that speech…because I opened my big mouth. Since then though I have had an epiphany; How do we increase attendance…our table topics should be focused on talking about ALL members who are not in attendance…yes Danielle, Gina, Lisa I am talking about you! For me, I am immune as my President has taught me, as long as they are talking about you…you exist and viable…which begs me to wonder if a Toastmaster has every been impeached?
Our second speaker was Dan the Ag Man. First I have to express my admiration…after extensive employment harassment (which seems to be acceptable in the Federal Government these days)..even though he is a subpar Fed in that he is not an Acting Political appointment who is soon to take a NON Political position..he manages to give a speech in front of his subordinates..expressing experiences that should be quarantined to “What happens in the Navy, should stay in the Navy”. As his evaluator, I believe I showed and expressed the amateurishness of his attempt to telling a “Sea Story”…although now I do have a better appreciation of Cameo colored underwear in foreign countries. My vagueness here is to evoke to those NOT in attendance…What was THAT ABOUT? We might even get Jennifer to come back.
At his point my fellow toastmasters I must brush the crumbs and wipe the beer dredges off my keyboard and bid you farewell. I am as I stated out of practice..I am without my past investments…or subjects. You see, while I might be 68 I stopped developing at about 12 years old…so I tend to tease those whom I most cherish…thus if you fall victim of my mighty keyboard…just know it is produced with respect, love, appreciation and of course an uncontrollable urge to test the boundries of our followship.
Goodnight to THOSE DAM TOASTMASTERS.