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02 May 2015

Another Hectic Week to Usher in May

A week ago Thursday night (23 April) found me and other Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS) board members at Wise Media in Fenton for a meeting with some of Wise's staff. The MoAHS board presented info about our group, its mission, and where it intends to go forward to Wise Media people, and the hosts talked about how they could help the Society in expanding its public presence. A very productive meeting, I thought. More on the Society here: http://moavhist.org.

Work continued to most busy for me at the car rental branch, as we continued working with many customers whose vehicles were damaged in the hail storm three and a half weeks ago. My colleagues and I have pressed ahead and fulfilled these customers' requests, putting in extra efforts at times to get the job done.

I was back at Fox High School in Arnold last Sunday (26 April) to officiate two boys' soccer matches. They went well, including an under 17 boys' contest I refereed. Those teams weren't the most skillful, but I kept the play going and kept a good lid on problems.

The IPMS/Gateway business meeting came here on Tuesday night (28 April), and all the board members attended along with one other club member. We planned the May general and business meetings and discussed club business. Not much needed discussion, and we were done in about an hour. More on the club here: http://ipms-gateway.com.

I went to dinner Thursday night at Pho Manchester, a Vietnamese/Chinese/Thai restaurant in Ballwin, Missouri. This event was with the Dine Out on a Dime Meetup group. We had a good crowd from our group there. This was my first time at this restaurant and with Vietnamese cuisine, and it was a pleasant experience. I had the Goi Cuon spring rolls as an appetizer, followed by Pho Tai, a beef slice noodle soup. I definitely recommend Pho Manchester.

While I was eating, I was getting my computer scanned using FixMe Stick, a virus removal device I had ordered and received in the mail that day. It took about eight hours, but the stick found some malware and viruses on my computer, which were removed. My computer now starts up quicker and runs better. More information on FixMe Stick here: www.fixmestick.com.

After I post, I co-host this month's Writer's Block from ANCA Radio Shows, Autistic People. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discuss fictional languages in writing. Check it out live at Noon, Central Time (10 am, Pacific Time/1800 hours GMT), or catch the archived show later. Here's the show link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2015/05/02/writers-block-10am-pstradio-drama-the-grooming-hour-11am-pst. Later today, I put in a volunteer shift (3:30 to 7 pm, Central Time) at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, an annual used book sale benefitting education and literacy programs. The event began Thursday night and runs through tomorrow (Sunday, 3 May). Hope to see you there! More info at: http://stlouisbookfair.org/.

Later.

23 April 2015

Some Rain Falls; Busy Work Week

One week ago today (16 April), I was at Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS) meeting. They presented--one month late--a program on the 75th anniversary of the Curtiss-Wright CW-20/C-46 Commando transport. The CW-20 prototype first flew from St. Louis' Lambert Field and some C-46s were produced in St. Louis. It was a nice program to give well-deserved attention to an aircraft somewhat neglected by aviation fans. You can learn more at the MoAHS website: http://moavhist.org.

Work has been busy the past few days, due to the hailstorm two weeks ago. It was a scramble at times, but we're getting our customers taken care of with rentals while their vehicles were being repaired. It could be quite interesting the next few days as the customers return their rentals to us, but we'll be ready.

I was at the Worldwide Technology Soccer Park on Saturday night to see Saint Louis FC play Rochester Rhinos in USL action. Rochester won the match 1-0, and the visitors had the run of play, although the home side did give it their best shot. Rain over the weekend cancelled the games I was to have refereed on Sunday afternoon (19 April), but at least I could do some more work on my model workbench. I'm nearing completion on three models for the May IPMS/Gateway contest.

IPMS/Gateway's April meeting was last Tuesday night (21 April), and we had a good turnout of people and models for the "Beauty Contest" (36 entries). More on the club here: http://ipms-gateway.com.

On my off day today, I took my car to the repair shop for a tune-up, then dropped off some magazines as donations to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair later this month. I also mowed the back and front lawns and ran for a bit before lunch. Nice day to be out today.

Later.


16 April 2015

Keeping Busy and Awake; Twins Arive

Last Sunday night (12 April), I was at the Eclipse Restaurant of the Moonrise Hotel, located in the Delmar Loop area of University City, Missouri. I joined others from the St. Louis Space Frontier Meetup Group in celebrating Yuri's Night, commemorating Yuri Gagarin being the first human in space on that date in 1961. We enjoyed a nice dinner and played a game of spaceflight trivia before doing upstairs to the open-air lounge on the roof. We had good weather and enjoyed seeing the sights of the Loop.

I was at work earlier than usual the next morning, to help the branch get a jump start on a busy day. This whole week has kept us hopping, with much demand for our vehicles from customers getting their vehicles repaired from the previous week's hail storm. We have a handle on the situation and have gotten through the week just fine.

All this work and thinking about many things have been making it hard for me to sleep enough this week. I was very for this off day today, so I can catch up with some rest. I also got some materials for my hobby workbench. In recent days, I also did some trials with my new airbrush, including spraying some distilled water through it today so I can get a better feel for the airbrush. It looks like this will work out great for me.

Last night, got the great news that my brother Doug and his wife Helen are now parents of twin boys. I texted my congratulations to Doug. The boys and mother are doing well.

Off to this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting tonight at Creve Coeur Airport, where they will try again to celebrate the history of the Curtiss C-46 Commando. (Computer problems postponed the program from last month.) More at moavhist.org.

Later.

12 April 2015

Easter, Family, Hail, Erik Larson, and Soccer

This past week was quite eventful, to say the least. I celebrated Easter last Sunday (5 April), and went to the airport with my mom that afternoon to pick up my brother Brian and his children, Rowan and Fischer. They flew in from New York for a few days here. It was great seeing them and seeing how much Brian's two children have grown since I last saw them about 3 years ago. My mom saw them more, since I was at work much of the time they were here.

After flexing out of work on Tuesday afternoon (7 April), I cast my vote in the municipal election, then met with Mom, Brian and the children at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. I enjoyed a concrete there with them (they had visited the City Museum earlier that day), and then I came by CRM Hobbies to pick up an airbrush I ordered a few days before.

The next morning at work, the morning sky turned dark and we got hit by some hail the size of marbles, followed by thunderstorms. There was only one vehicle on our lot, so we put it in the cleaning bay right away; however, a couple of others returned by customers did sustain hail damage needing repair. Not many of our vehicles got hit, but we're working hard to make sure our customers are taken care of. This week promises to be most busy for us.

After work Wednesday night, I drove to The Heights in Richmond Heights for this month's St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA) meeting. The meeting for this group of local authors and publishers featured a presentation on editing. (One of the presenters was Janette Lonsdale, a content strategist I have known for some time and for who I have performed some proofreading work.) It was very interesting and confirmed much of what I try to tell people skeptical of my services. You can find out more about the SLPA on their website: http://www.stlouispublishers.org/

Off work Thursday (9 April), I traveled to St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood to join Mom, Brian and the kids for some playtime and lunch before Brian and the children caught their flight back to New York. Rowan and Fischer said their goodbyes to me. I think all three had a good time in St. Louis.

That night, I drove to the Ethical Society of St. Louis in Ladue for a lecture and book signing by best-selling author Erik Larson. I have read three of his earlier works--"Isaac's Storm," "The Devil in the White City," and "In the Garden of Beasts." Larson was talking that night about his just-released book "Dead Wake," about the final Atlantic crossing of the British ocean liner Lusitania 100 years ago next month. His informative and witty lecture was attended by about 300 people (my guess), followed by a question-and-answer session and the signing of his book. Larson signed my copy of "Dead Wake" and I left the building. He's one of my favorite authors for his great knack of writing history books that read like novels, and that tell me something about people and events I thought I knew. You can read more about Larson and his books here: http://eriklarsonbooks.com/

Last night, I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for Saint Louis FC's home opener, vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds. After walking around the stadium, I settled in my seat to watch the match. It ended a 1-1 draw, before a full house. I was so happy to walk out of the stadium, knowing we have pro soccer (football) back in St. Louis. For more on this team, visit their website: http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index

This morning, I was back at the Soccer Park to serve as assistant referee for a Midwest Development League under 15 boys match. It was a rather intense contest between St. Louis Scott Gallagher--Missouri and Sockers FC Chicago, which ended in a scoreless draw. I felt pretty good, despite not having much sleep the night before and not having worked a match at this level for some time.

Later.

04 April 2015

Easter Eve 2015

I was back at Fox High School last Sunday morning (29 March) to referee youth soccer matches. All three games went well, and I ran into a fraternity brother from college, who was helping coach one of the teams in those games. We were able to touch base a bit after that match.

After work the next day, I was at Grand Glaize Branch, St. Louis County Library for the monthly soccer referee clinic, where we had a discussion of International Football Association Board Decisions regarding the Laws of the Game and how we should apply them in our matches.

The next morning, I drove not into work but to a meeting called of Vehicle Service Agents (VSAs) in our area to review procedures for checking in and cleaning vehicles. It was nothing new for me, but a good refresher.

That night (31 March), after work, I was at Maryville University's Auditorium for a talk by writer Blaine Harden, who talked about his latest book, "The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot." It was about Kim Il Sung, North Korea's first leader, and about No Kum Sok, a North Korean fighter pilot who defected tot he US in 1953, just after the Korean War armistice. IT was quite an interesting talk by Harden about that period and how it affects North Korea today. Harden then signed copies of his book, including mine. I came away very interested and informed about North Korea's history. You can find out more at Hardens' website: http://www.blaineharden.com

Friday, after working a full day at the branch, I went to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills, where Saint Louis FC held a Meet the Team party. I picked up a scarf that identified me as a season ticket holder and chatted with two of the team's players, team staff, and some fans. I feel really excited for Saint Louis FC's home opener next Saturday (11 April). This was my first time in Smugala's and enjoyed it quite a bit. More info at http://smugalas.com/ and http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index

Today, I was at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis for the USA-New Zealand women's soccer (football) friendly. After picking up my friend and refereeing colleague Austin Gomez at his residence, we went to the stadium area. Before the match, we strolled through Ballpark Village before going to the nearby stadium. The USA won 4-0 in a match they thoroughly dominated before a crowd of 35,817--the largest to watch a stand-alone USA women's international friendly. Match details here: http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2015/04/04/16/21/150404-wnt-v-nzl-gamestory

Happy Passover to my Jewish friends, and Happy Easter tomorrow to my fellow Western Rite Christians.

Later.



28 March 2015

Soccer, Work, Meetings, and Early Spring Weather

Last Sunday afternoon (22 March) found me at Fox High School in Arnold, refereeing youth soccer games. Of the three matches (under 13-14 boys and girls), I did two middles. (One of the crew mates was new and didn't have any middles.) They went well.

Back to work on Monday morning, and we were hit with many returned vehicles, mostly from renters back from spring break with their families. We got though that and our week was good, overall. We marked the departure of our branch manager and his replacement coming in on Friday.

I flexed out of work Tuesday afternoon (24 March) and came home. That night, I attended the IPMS/Gateway business meeting, hosted by Bill Wagner in Oakville. We planned the April meetings and discussed some other club business.

My off day Thursday included some shopping at CRM Hobbies, where I bought some casting material for model parts. I have a missing part on a kit I'm working on, but these materials should fix that. Late that afternoon, I was at the St. Louis Community College/HEC-TV office building in Bridgeton for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society business meeting. We discussed some society business and went over the upcoming issue of the newsletter, Middle Marker, which is due out next month. I should be getting copy for it to edit soon.

Worked this morning at the car rental firm, and it was a busy time, but we got it done. After work, I had lunch and did a bit of shopping. Enjoyed a pleasant day today, cool yet sunny. We had up and down weather this week, which started warm and sunny, then had cloudy and cool days, with rain and even a bit of snow early Friday.

Later.

21 March 2015

Busy Days Gotten Through

After work last Friday night (13 March), I joined others from the STL Food Lovers Meetup group at Dressel's Pub in St. Louis' Central West End. It was a good night, despite some rainy weather outside, and I enjoyed a good dinner and conversation. After dinner, I walked a block south to Left Bank Books, where I browsed for awhile before walking back to my car and driving home.

I worked at the car rental branch the next morning, then was home to relax. One day later (15 March), I was at Fox High School in Arnold to referee three youth soccer (football) matches. I worked the middle on the first and third matches, both under 13 girls. The first one was a scoreless draw; the last match of the day was decided by a single goal scored at the death.

Back at work Monday, and things have been doing well there of late. The new assistant manager told me this past week how much me and the other car prep person there are appreciated by the staff, and I was heartened by his kind words.

Tuesday night (17 March), right after work, I was at the IPMS/Gateway meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church. We had our Out of the Box Contest, delayed from February, and it drew 43 entries--including three from me. I helped judged the contest in categories I was not entered in. Although I did not win any places in the contest, I was happy to have entered. More on the club here: http://ipms-gateway.com. After the meeting, I edited a few last minute items for the Spring issue of Naturally Autistic magazine, which comes out next month. More info at http://www.naturallyautistic.com.

On my off day Thursday, I had a visit with my dentist for a routine check-up. It was fine, with no further problems. That night, at Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting. We were supposed to have a video presentation on the Curtiss C-46 Commando, but a computer glitch presented that from happening. So, we'll try it again next month. The society's website is http://moavhist.org.

This morning, I was at The Heights for the Missouri Professional Communicators (MPC) monthly meeting. This had a seminar on social media marketing, with three presenters talking about how to employ social media in your business. It was rather informative, with some material I was already familiar with and others I was not. I found this to be time well spent. MPC is on the web at: http://http://www.mpc-nfpw.org.

Later.