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01 July 2015

Looking Ahead to Independence Day 2015

Last Thursday night (25 June), I performed my final volunteer shift for this season of Circus Flora. We had a great crowd under the big top for this performance of "One Summer on Second Street." I helped some customers find their seats, moving one woman with a can find a seat closer to the floor, and helping another customer find his missing cell phone. It was all good and we had another superb performance. Circus Flora's season ended last Sunday night, but I'm already looking forward to volunteering next year. For more on the circus, including making donations to them, visit http://circusflora.org/.

Work has been going very well at the car rental branch in recent days. For me, that included working last Saturday morning (27 July), which went rather smoothly for a Saturday.

That night, I drove to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills, where I caught the Pub2Park shuttle bus to World Wide Technology Soccer Park for Saint Louis FC's match against New York Red Bulls II. There was a sold out crowd that night, but Saint Louis lost 4-1. However, I came away a winner of a cooler. My cell phone number was chosen at random early in the match and at halftime I claimed my prize. It's a very nice cooler, with the Saint Louis FC emblem on it, and I will be proud to bring beer or soda in it to some event. The club's on the road this week, but back home next Saturday; more information here: http://www.saintlouisfc.com.

I switched off with a colleague and am off today and working tomorrow, rather than the usual working Wednesday and off Thursday. After work last night, I took in the weekly staff meeting, then we went to the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings for happy hour. We had chicken wings and beer, with conversation, plus watching sporting events on the TVs there. That included the USA's 2-0 win over Germany in the FIFA Women's World Cup semifinal. The Stars and Stripes advanced to Sunday's final against the winner of tonight's England vs. Japan match. Looking forward to the final.

Before that, I'm looking forward to Independence Day this Saturday and to Fair Saint Louis in Forest Park late this week. My brother Brian will be drumming for Melissa Etheridge when she performs Friday night. I'll go see that show after work, and Brian told me by email today he may get me a VIP pass for Etheridge's show. He'll be in town until late Saturday night, so Mom and I can visit with him for a while before going on to the next tour stop. More on Fair Saint Louis here: http://www.fairsaintlouis.org/. Etheridge's official site is: http://www.melissaetheridge.com/.

Last weekend, I made my hotel reservations in Columbus, Ohio for the IPMS/USA National Convention later this month. So, all I need is to reserve a rental car, and I get an employee discount for that. Looking forward to this trip. More on the convention at: http://ipmsusa2015.com/.

Later.

25 June 2015

One History Discussion, Two Soccer Matches, One Dinner at the Circus

One week ago tonight (18 June) found me at Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's monthly meeting. This meeting was a panel discussion about Project Gemini on the 50th anniversary year of the first manned Gemini flight. Earl Mullins, curator and founder of The Space Museum in Bonne Terre, Missouri (http://www.space-mo.org/), moderated a most interesting discussion with a panel of five engineers and designers who worked on the Gemini spacecraft for McDonnell Aircraft. There was a good crowd at the meeting, including several from the St. Louis Space Frontier Meetup Group, which I am in, and was so happy to see them in attendance. More on that meeting here: http://moavhist.org/2015/06/03/moavhist-to-hold-exclusive-qa-panel-for-50th-anniversary-of-project-gemini/. (There will be video of this discussion to be posted on that website in due course.) More on the Meetup group at: http://www.meetup.com/Saint-Louis-Space-Frontier-Meetup/.

Right after work Friday, I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton to cheer on Saint Louis FC against Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The home side lost 1-0 in the USL match, but granted it was Saint Louis FC's third match in nine days (including a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tie three days before), I should not be too disappointed. Anyway, Saint Louis FC returns to action this Saturday night, when they host New York Red Bulls II. Tickets available; for more info, visit http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index. By the way, I read online this week (http://coachbailey.blog.com/2015/06/20/usl-attendance-2/) that Saint Louis FC is 5th in average attendance among USL teams to this point of the season. The team has averaged 4,573 fans per match--88 percent of Marshall Wireless Stadium's 5,200 capacity. Good going, Saint Louis FC supporters! Let's keep it up.

Late Saturday afternoon (20 June), I drove to Lutheran High School of St. Charles County in St. Peters, Missouri to watch St. Louis Lions face PDL rivals Springfield Synergy FC. (The match was moved to this artificial turf field from the Tony Glavin Complex in Cottleville, Missouri due to heavy rain this past week.) The Lions prevailed, 2-1, on a hot and muggy day. They are on the road for several games before returning home early next month. For more, visit their website: http://www.stllions.com/.

Sunday was spent at home staying cool and working a little on a scale model on my workbench. That night, I was at Circus Flora right after their 5:30 p.m. show to take in their annual volunteer dinner. The circus was thanking us volunteers for all our hard work during this season's show, "One Summer on Second Street." After posing for a photo, we entered the ring where a buffet dinner--including fried chicken, salad, baked beans, and strawberries--awaited. I had some food and took in the moment before going home. I'm back there to help out at tonight's show. "One Summer on Second Street" ends its run this Sunday, but you can still take in this marvelous show. More info, including tickets, here at: http://circusflora.org/.

It's been real hot and humid here this week, but at least the rain has held off (unlike the week before). Work has been going well, although the hot and humid conditions outside (as well as inside the wash bay) makes me realize the importance of staying hydrated during the day. Things are going real well for us at the branch.

Tuesday night (23 June) I was at CRM Hobbies in south St. Louis for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting, hosted by club president Chris Merseal at his shop. Those of us board members attending planned next month's general and business meetings, and discussed a bit of other club business. I also got in a bit of shopping at the store, which was normally closed those nights. More on the club at http://www.ipms-gateway.com/. The shop's website is: http://www.crmhobbies.com/.

Later.





18 June 2015

Wet, Warm Days

I volunteered again last Thursday night (11 June) at Circus Flora's show, "One Summer on Second Street." I was located on the opposite side of stands from where I was the two previous shows. Thus, I got to look at it from another angle. It is still such a great show, and recommend it highly. "One Summer on Second Street" runs through 28 June. Show info, including volunteering (the show still could use some volunteers) here: http://circusflora.org.

Work keeps me busy, as we got plenty of trade at our car rental branch. We said goodbye to one management trainee last week and welcomed another person to our branch staff. I was working last Saturday morning (13 June), with our manager, and we were kept most busy. However, we got through the morning fine. It's been rainy the past few days, adding much humidity to the heat of late spring here. This makes being outside working a bit more challenging, but not impossible.

After work last Tuesday (16 June), I went to Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. I brought in my completed Soviet UFO model, where it was entered into the Model of the Month Beauty Contest. It didn't win, but it did get some good comments. I found out that, due to a lack of completed entries, we won't enter our UFOs at next month's IPMS/USA National Convention, but would do so next year. A disappointment for me, after all the work I put in it. However, I do have two models I hope to have ready by the time the convention starts in Columbus, Ohio on 22 July. More on the club at http://ipms-gateway.com.

I've been paying attention to the FIFA Women's World Cup--on television and on my mobile phone--and am glad the USA made it to the Round of 16. I'm also following Saint Louis FC, who lost it's fourth round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tie at Sporting Kansas City Tuesday night. Saint Louis FC is back home for a USL match against Colorado Springs Friday night. More here: http://saintlouisfc.com.

I'm off tonight to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting at Creve Coeur Airport. The 50th anniversary of Project Gemini will be celebrated with a panel discussion. Should be good. More on the group here: http://moavhist.org.

Later.






11 June 2015

Getting Hot Out Here

It's definitely feeling like summer here in St. Louis, although we're still technically in spring. It is 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) as we speak now, and has been feeling that way the past couple of days. Not much fun when one has to be out in the sun as I am with work at times.

Work has been good this week. It's been busy much of the time, though we did have some welcome down time yesterday.

I finished a model today that will go to the IPMS/USA National Convention in Columbus, Ohio next month. It's part of IPMS/Gateway's chapter entry in the convention's model contest. Several of us in the club volunteered to build the same kit however we wanted to do. The kit we're using is Testors' kit of the Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) that supposedly crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. (The US Air Force claims it was a weather balloon, but a few witnesses and UFO enthusiasts claim it's real.) Anyway, I did mine as a Soviet UFO, with Soviet markings taken from spare decals I have. I'll bring it to the IPMS/Gateway meeting this Tuesday night at 7:30 pm at Calvary Presbyterian Church. More info on the club here: http://ipms-gateway.com.

I'm working again tonight at Circus Flora in midtown St. Louis. Their show "One Summer on Second Street" runs through 28 June. Check it out if you have not already. Info on this show and on volunteering to help out here: http://circusflora.org.

Later.

07 June 2015

Running Off to the Circus (Flora); Witnessing Soccer

A week ago Thursday night (28 May), I was volunteering at the preview night of Circus Flora in midtown St. Louis' Grand Center. This was the night before the official opening night of this season's show, "One Summer on Second Street." I helped the patrons find their seats before the show, monitored people coming and going during the intermission, and helped the patrons leave after the show and collect discarded show programs. It is a very enjoyable show for children of all ages. We have acrobats, a clown, a trapeze act, a high wire act, trained cats, trained birds, and trained horses. "One Summer on Second Street" runs through 28 June under the Big Top. Check it out! For more information, including show times, tickets, and how to volunteer (the show can use some more volunteers), visit their website: http://circusflora.org/.

One week ago (31 May), I was at Columbia (Illinois) High School to referee youth soccer games--the final matches of the Spring season. I was scheduled to work three matches, but my schedule was changed late and I didn't get the word until that morning. So, I only worked two matches, but it all ended up for the good.

The hard work has continued at the car rental branch. We're still getting customers who are getting their cars repaired after the hail storm two months ago. (Yes, the repair shops have been that busy.) Plus, we're starting to get the summer vacation business. With two new people on staff with us this summer, we can more easily handle our customers. If you want or need to rent a car, please check us out at http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/home.do.

I put in another volunteer shift with Circus Flora this past Thursday night. That was after taking care of some personal business at home on my off day from work. After work Friday, I stopped by Epic Sports Bar and Grill in Spanish Lake, Missouri for happy hour. It was Stress Free Fridays' 11th Anniversary Bash. I haven't been to many Stress Free Fridays events in recent months, due to my work schedule, but I did want to hang with them for a bit. It was fun, seeing these folks and getting in a few dances as well.

Yesterday, I witnessed some soccer online and on television. I followed Saint Louis FC's match at Pittsburgh Riverhounds via Twitter (@STL FC Gameday), and was happy when Saint Louis came from 1-nil down to get a 1-1 draw. They are back home this Saturday night against Harrisburg City Islanders. Hope to see you there! For more info, visit: http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index. I followed the last minutes of Saint Louis FC's match while watching the UEFA Champions League Final on television at O'B. Clark's in Brentwood, Missouri. I and other soccer fans--including members of St.Louis United FC--gathered there to watch Juventus play FC Barcelona in Berlin. I and others left happy as Barcelona won 3-1. You can find out more on O'B. Clark's here: http://obclark.com/. For more on St. Louis United FC, visit: http://stlunitedfc.net/.

Then, I came home and watched more soccer on television: The start of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. I'll be following that tournament for sure. Here's the tournament's website: http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/. By the way, the USA opens play in the FIFA Women's World Cup tomorrow (Monday) night against Australia.

Later.

28 May 2015

A Holiday Weekend, and Two Thrilling Matches

Late last week saw much business at the car rental branch, as many customers were renting vehicles for the Memorial Day Weekend. We still had a few customers with vehicles needing repair from last month's hail storm. I worked last Saturday morning (23 May) at the branch, then went to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Town and Country, Missouri for the St. Louis County Greek Fest. This annual event featured Greek food, music, dance, and crafts, plus tours of the church. I have gone there in the past few years and enjoyed it each time. I had lunch--a souvlaki (shish-ke-bob) sandwich--under a tent set up on the parking lot, and later had galatobouriko and Greek coffee in a cafe inside the church. To keep informed about next year's event (Memorial Day Weekend 2016), check out their website: www.stlgreekfest.com.

Much of Sunday was spent at Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Missouri. In the late morning and early afternoon, I officiated three youth soccer games in a tournament. These were all small-sided (8-a-side) games with under 9 to under 11 teams. I ran lines on all three matches--I should have done one middle, but there was a mess up on assignments with the officials on these fields. At least I got these games in and a bit more money will come in.

After coming home to shower and change, I was back at the Soccer Park for Saint Louis FC's USL match against Louisville City FC. It was a thrilling match that was halted by lightning and heavy rain for about 60 minutes. The pause came in the 63rd minute, with Saint Louis up 2-1. After the break, the teams traded goals until it ended in a 3-3 draw. (The pitch was artificial, which came in handy this night!) Much of the crowd went home, but I waited in the car until word came that the match would resume and joined those who stayed around. Quite a match.

Prior to Saint Louis FC's match, some soccer veterans played a brief game that payed tribute to Paul Dueker, a former soccer player, official and fan who died last year. It was fun to see these guys try to show their stuff on the pitch. At halftime of the Saint Louis FC--Louisville City FC match, a portion of the grandstand--where my season ticket is located--was dedicated as the Paul Dueker Stand. A fitting tribute to "Duke," who I was so glad to have known before his sudden passing.

I just relaxed at home on Monday (25 May), the Memorial Day holiday. I did go to the workbench to work on a model for the upcoming IPMS/USA National Convention. It's part of IPMS/Gateway's group entry of UFOs. I should have this done within the next two weeks.

Back to work the next day, we had a busy day at the branch with returns from the holiday weekend and customers renting out for the week (including vacations). I cut out early that day, as I'm working this Saturday. (I traded Saturday shifts with a colleague who asked me to work this weekend.) After supper at home, I went to Tom Bogacki's home in south St. Louis for the monthly IPMS/Gateway business meeting. It was a brief one, but we got our meetings for June planned. More on our club here: ipms-gateway.com.

Yesterday, I worked a full day, which was not as hectic as Tuesday. Right after work, I drove to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park to cheer on Saint Louis FC. They were hosting Minnesota United FC, a NASL club, in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. A large crowd saw the teams play to a 1-1 draw through extra time, sending this match to penalties. Saint Louis FC won the shootout 3-1 to advance to the fourth round on 16 June at Sporting Kansas City. Info here: www.saintlouisfc.com and www.ussoccer.com.

Tonight, I volunteer at opening night of Circus Flora's 2015 show, One Summer on Second Street. I'll be working three additional Thursdays in June on the show, helping with set up, ushering, and cleaning up. Looking forward to it. More on this circus here: circusflora.org. More on this show in my next post.

Later.



21 May 2015

Witnessing Action on the Pitch and the Table

It's definitely late spring here in St. Louis, as the sunny days and warmer temperatures attest. There was good weather for me and my colleagues to service our customers. Still plenty of traffic, due to last month's hail storm and the backlog at the repair facilities. And that's with summer vacation driving season starting this weekend.

It was a warm, humid day last Sunday (17 May) as I was at Seckman High School in Imperial, Missouri to referee some youth soccer matches. The first of the three-game set was my middle, an under-12 girls' match, and I had to send off a player for denying her opponent a goal scoring opportunity. This occurred early in the second half, with the fouling player's team ahead, but the other team rallied back to win. I made out the report that night and sent it to the league office.

I got my 1:48 scale Mosquito model completed Tuesday afternoon (19 May) and entered it in the contest at that night's IPMS/Gateway meeting in Mehlville, Missouri. (I flexed out of work early that afternoon, since I am working this Saturday morning.) The contest was the second of four to determine our Modeler of the Year. I didn't place--realistically, I didn't think it would do well against the other entries--but at least I got a model done, so I get a point for entering. I helped judge the other contest categories and there were some real nice entries. More on the club here: http://ipms-gateway.com.

After work last night, I headed to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Missouri for a second round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tie between Saint Louis FC and Des Moines Menace. It was a chilly, damp night, but myself and most attendees came home happy as Saint Louis FC won 2-1 after extra time. The home side advances to host Minnesota United this Wednesday in the third round. More info here: http://www.saintlouisfc.com. In my section of the stands, I joined in the chants generated a few feet away by the St. Louigans, a local soccer supporters group with a great presence at Saint Louis FC matches. For more on this group, check out http://stlouligans.com/.

I'll be off this Monday, as our branch will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday. They'll be soccer to referee and watch on Sunday. More on that in my next post. Also, next Thursday (28 May), I'll do my first volunteer shift for Circus Flora and its new season. More info here: http://www.circusflora.org.

Later.