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30 June 2016

Soccer, Pride, Circus, and Great Heat

Despite temperatures reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) and heat indices reaching 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), the show went on at Circus Flora ( one week ago tonight (23 June). At least the tent was air conditioned, which was a blessing for performers, staff, volunteers, and spectators alike. Another good crowd for a Thursday night, as I was an usher near the band area.

I gave it my best effort at the car rental branch late last week. That included working on Saturday morning (25 June). Fortunately, it was a light Saturday for us, so I didn't feel as rushed as I normally am on those days. A good thing with the high heat and humidity.

Home after work, I rested, then drove to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills ( There, I caught the Pub2Park shuttle bus for World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for the Saint Louis FC ( match against Portland Timbers FC 2. I joined with the St. Louligans ( in cheering on the home side, including a cute one just before kickoff that trolled the visitors. Spoofing a scene from the TV series "Portlandia," we held up paper signs showing a cat with a soccer ball while chanting "Please, Please Win! Meow, Meow, Meow!" That was a nice bit of fun. Even more fun was Saint Louis FC winning the match 1-0, thanks to a second half penalty kick.

The next morning, I drove into downtown St. Louis to walk in the annual St. Louis PrideFest Parade ( This parade was part of the 37th annual festival, which celebrates the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgendered (LBGT) community in Metro St. Louis. I joined with some 400 other Enterprise Holdings ( employees in walking in the parade, which included a stake bed truck from Enterprise Truck Rental ( and three cars from Enterprise Car Sales ( One of them was Amanda, who I worked with earlier in my career before she transferred to an administrative capacity in the organization. After waiting about two hours in the assembly area in Peabody Plaza, our group stepped off onto Market Street for the approximately 1 mile (0.6 km) parade west towards Union Station. We were warmly received by the attendees lining the street.

Participating in this parade, I thought of a high school classmate and a college classmate, both of whom are gay (though I didn't know it when I was in school with them) and how I was doing my own small part to let them know they are fine with me. I was proud to represent such a company in this event, no pun intended. Right after the parade, I got lunch and browsed the information booths near Soldier's Memorial for awhile before gong back to my car to go home.

After a brief rest at home, I headed to Circus Flora for the annual volunteer dinner that followed the 5:30 pm show. The volunteers assembled in the seating area for a group photograph, when we entered the ring for a buffet dinner with fried chicken. I sat with two other volunteers and a ring crew member, chatting between bites of dinner, and one of those volunteers was a driver for Enterprise, so we were able to compared notes on our respective jobs. I also chatted with the circus' musical director and the drummer, letting them know how much I enjoy the music during the show and telling how my brother Brian drummed some years ago for the Big Apple Circus in New York let me better appreciate Circus Flora's music.

Back to work Monday morning (27 June), it was among the busiest of Mondays for us, probably due to customers wanting to get a head start on renting before the Independence Day weekend. We got though the day fine, though, and the past two days were good as well.

Tuesday night right after work, I drove to Mark Carroll's house in St. Peters for the IPMS/Gateway ( business meeting. We planned the July general and business meetings, and discussed other club business and other things. Carroll then showed us his extensive model railroad layout and his scale modeling workshop.

Helping out at Circus Flora one more time tonight. Their show "Pastime" ends this Sunday. Catch it if you can.


23 June 2016

Really Hot Time

A week ago tonight (16 June) found me at Creve Coeur Airport ( for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( meeting. This month's program was airborne law enforcement, as guest Kurt Frisz--a former St. Louis County Police Air Support Unit pilot--talked about the history of airborne law enforcement in the US, and in Missouri and the St. Louis area in particular. After Frisz' talk, a Metro Air Support Unit ( MD 500E helicopter landed at Creve Coeur Airport, and we would look up close at the helicopter and chat with the two crewmen. It was very nice, coming right at dusk. A most fascinating program.

After a hot Friday at the car rental branch, I was back at Creve Coeur Airport on Saturday (18 June) for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's first annual member barbecue. Chris Merseal from CRM Hobbies ( cooked the meat and those in attendance--including my friend Linsey Daman (; and her mom Anne--had a wonderful time socializing. Two big cakes decorated with US flags climaxed the meal.

After this event, I drove to Mark Twain Hobby Center ( in St. Charles to drop off some flyers for IPMS/Gateway ( the club and the Invitational on 10 September--and buying a kit to put together at the club's meeting in three days. (More on that later).

Fulfilling a promise, I put some photos from the Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting and barbecue on a thumb drive and got them to Linsey Daman on Sunday. I also helped her out regarding some aircraft and markings she saw at a recent radio controlled aircraft meet in the St. Louis area.

Back at work on Monday morning (20 June), we kept busy making sure we exceeded customer expectations. A bit of a challenge on this day, due to so many cars to get ready and many customers to take care of in the morning, but we got through it. Generally, things have been well. Hannah, who was at our branch last fall before going to the Airport, came back to our branch last Friday. She's a superb addition to where ever she is based. However, our assistant manager Cayla is out due to an injury sustained in a car accident the previous weekend. Wish her a speedy recovery!

After flexing out on Tuesday, I got home and prepared for that night's IPMS/Gateway meeting, which featured our annual Slam Fest. Members had two hours to assemble and finish a model kit. In my case, it was a B-70 Valkyrie kit that I bought at Mark Twain the previous Saturday. I got it done with minutes to spare, one of eight models completed. It did not win in the popular vote, but that's OK. It was fun to try. Also, my photos from last month's Invitational in Louisville were screened, and I displayed my five award winning models from that show. Additionally, I renewed my club membership for another year.

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the temperature reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), with the heat index reaching 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). I hit the water and thirst quencher early and often, and stayed inside the air-conditioned office as much as possible. Fortunately, it was not too busy.

Off to help at Circus Flora ( again tonight.


16 June 2016

The Heat is On for Sure!

Last Thursday night (9 June) found me volunteering again at Circus Flora ( I was stationed in the center seating area, close to the ring, so I got a great view of the action. The air conditioning inside the big top was most appreciated, with temperatures topping 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) outside. The good sized crowd enjoyed themselves and we had no problems that I was aware of that night. I will be back there next Thursday (23 June); the show "Pastime" runs through 3 July. Hope to see you there!

It got real hot last weekend, with highs topping 90 degrees F and the heat indexes reaching 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). This was especially true in the wash bay at our rental branch, which soon took on the feel of a sauna. Not much fun being outside, even with frequent water breaks in the air conditioned lobby area. However, we got the job done.

After working Saturday morning (11 June) and a shower and rest at home, I went back outside to cheer on Saint Louis FC ( against Tulsa Hurricanes FC at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. The home side won handily by 7 goals to 1, and I happily enjoyed cheering with the St. Louligans ( at the match. Fortunately, I did not have any problems due to the heat.

I found myself working in air conditioned comfort the next day, at the Kirkwood Community Center. Viva Brasil St. Louis ( presented its third annual Festa Junina (June Festival), a Brazilian folk festival. I volunteered to help, and helped staff a children's game booth for about two hours. It was a fishing game, where young children with a pole fitted with a magnet tried to get rubber fish, ducks, or sharks that had matching numbers on the underside in two tries. If the boy or girl got matching numbers, he or she got a little prize. With five wins, the child got a larger prize. It was easy for me to grasp how the game worked and I had a great time with this activity.

After my stint, I got a bit of lunch. The food booths had so much business the entrees were sold out, so I had to settle with a slice of banana bread and some sweets, along with water. I also witnessed some quadrilha (square dancing), which I found a lot of fun. Before leaving just after the Festa Junina ended, I picked up brochures on Viva Brasil St. Louis and on Portuguese language courses offered through St. Louis Community College this fall. I may sign up for a language course. The volunteer coordinator thanked me very much for my help that day and would like to keep in touch with me regarding future events by the organization. I told her it was a pleasure to help and I would very much like to help out in the future.

Work this week had been a challenge with the high heat and humidity, but I have done my best, as have my colleagues, under the conditions. I made sure to drink plenty of water between vehicle cleanings, and to stay in air conditioned areas as much as possible. Due to fatigue on Monday (13 June), I passed on going to that night's Saint Louis Composite Squadron 1, Civil Air Patrol ( meeting. However, my friend in that Squadron, Linsey Daman (; told me by phone the next day that her unit wants to host a presentation next month by Gateway Chapter IPMS ( I told Linsey I will let my club mates know and would very much like to make such a presentation.

Off work today, I made the rounds of some fellow Enterprise ( branches. I took two dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme ( to the Airport location. My former Ellisville colleague, Hannah Gober, happily accepted the doughnuts for the branch. We chatted a bit, with Hannah telling me she is coming back to Ellisville tomorrow (17 June). I was very happy to hear that; she is a real go-getter. Then, a took some butter cookies to the downtown car rental branch, and to the downtown truck rental ( branch, where another former Ellisville colleague, Adeline Wider, is manager. I chatted with her and a colleague there, and got caught up on things. Adeline was very happy to accept the treats from me, telling me these are her favorite cookies. She's another terrific person I have worked with at the firm. I concluded my visits with a stop at the Brentwood branch, where a dropped off cookies with Alex Breuer, the new manager there who was assistant manager at Ellisville last year. He was most happy to see me, saying this brief visit made his day. I was very happy to hear that from Alex, a great guy.

Home, I watched UEFA EURO 2016 ( group stage matches on TV, and got my laundry done. Tonight, I am off to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( meeting, with airborne law enforcement the topic. More on that in next post. I'll also follow the USA vs Ecuador quarterfinal in the Copa America Centenario ( Go USA!


09 June 2016

A Successful Presentation; Fun Times Ahead

Right after work Monday night (6 June) , I headed to Hazelwood Baptist Church in Hazelwood for the weekly meeting of Saint Louis Composite Squadron 1, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) ( I came at the invitation of my friend Linsey Daman (;, who is a mission scanner with the unit. I made a presentation to the Squadron's deputy commander for cadets and two other officers, with Daman present, about both the Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( and the Gateway Chapter, International Plastic Modelers' Society ( and how these groups can help the CAP Squadron with aerospace education for their school-age cadets. Later that night, the leaders asked me to address the cadets on these organizations, which I did, and flyers and membership applications for both groups were distributed. Daman told me later that her superiors in the unit were most impressed by my presentation. I look forward to hearing more from the CAP in the weeks to come.

Flexing out of work Tuesday afternoon, I came home and relaxed. That night, I watched the USA men defeat Costa Rica, 4-0, in the Copa America Centenario (, this kept the Americans in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth. Last night, I saw on TV Brazil's 7-1 defeat of Haiti. I'm pulling for both the USA and Brazil, though they could meet in the quarterfinals.

Worked hard at work yesterday, as we were a bit short staffed. Still, things are going well at our branch.

Off work today, I wisely stayed inside as much as possible, due to heat. It's is just over 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). Highs should be in that area for the next few days. It is definitely summer here in St. Louis!

Off for another volunteer shift tonight at Circus Flora ( Their show "Pastime" is in full swing, so I hope to see you there! Also, this Sunday afternoon, I hope you can come out to 3rd Annual Festa Junina Brazilian folk festival at the Kirkwood Community Center. It will have traditional Brazilian food and drinks, square dancing, carnival games, and more I will help at one of the booths at the event, which is being presented by Viva Brasil St. Louis (; their website has more info on the Festa Junina.

Before I forget: I'll also be at the next Saint Louis FC ( match this Saturday night at 7:30 pm vs Tulsa Roughnecks.


05 June 2016

Holiday Weekend, Soccer and Circus

I worked the first part of the Memorial Day Weekend, being at the car rental branch Saturday morning (28 May). Then, I drove to Kirkwood Station Brewing Company ( for a watch party of the UEFA Champions League Final. The party was organized by Saint Louis FC (, which also launched its new beer, Ale Fleur One, developed by Kirkwood Station Brewing. I had a nice lunch and enjoyed watching the match on TV. (Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time.)

Sunday morning, I stayed home to watch the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 on TV. I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park ( that night to cheer on Saint Louis FC against USL ( rival Rio Grande Valley FC. Along with the St. Louligans (, I had a great time, as the teams drew 1-1.

Monday, the holiday, I went to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church ( in Town and Country for the St. Louis County Greek Fest ( It was very nice, enjoying Greek food and dance performances, plus browsing among the gift items, jewelry, and paintings on sale. I also viewed a travelogue of Greece. It is always a fun time.

Back to work the next day (31 May), it was a Tuesday that felt like a Monday with all the returns from the weekend plus rentals for the week ahead. Our branch got through it fine, though.

After work Wednesday (1 June), I headed to World Wide Technology Soccer Park for the third round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tie between Saint Louis FC and Minnesota United of the North American Soccer League. I joined with other St. Louligans to cheer on the home side, but Minnesota United triumphed, 2-0.

My off day on Thursday was very nice, with plenty of time in Midtown St. Louis. First, I went to the Samuel Cupples House ( on the Saint Louis University campus for a tour, along with others from the St. Louis Historic Sites Meetup. We had an enjoyable tour of the historic house, as our guide told about the furnishings, the architecture, and the people who lived there. After the house tour, I and several others in our group walked to City Diner at the Fox ( for lunch. I had a nice lunch there and conversed with two others in our group who would tour the Samuel Cupples House in the afternoon.

That night, I was back in Midtown for the season's first performance of Circus Flora ( "Pastime," a baseball-themed show, is the circus' 30th anniversary presentation. I was there with other volunteers making sure the seating areas were ready and acting as ushers before, during, and after the show. Oh, and we also got to see the wonderful show. This night was a peanut-free show for audience members with food allergy issues. I will be back this Thursday and on 23 and 30 June. Hope to see you there!

Yesterday afternoon (4 June), I was co-hosting this month's edition of Writer's Block ( Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed plagiarism in scholarly works and storytelling. It was quite an interesting program, and I contributed from my experience in editing. The program--which airs on the first Saturday of the month at 10 am Pacific Time/Noon Central Time/1800 GMT--is available to access and download.

Last night, I drove to Belleville West High School ( to catch the 2016 home opener of Fire & Ice SC (, an amateur women's soccer team. They played Cincinnati Sirens to a 1-1 draw. That match was proceeded by all-star matches with high school seniors--boys and girls--from the Illinois side of the St. Louis area. These all-stars were recognized at halftime of the Fire & Ice match, they being congratulated by 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champion Lori Chalupny.

I went to Calvary Presbyterian Church ( today for their annual picnic, which was held in the Fellowship Hall. It was nice to have a lunch and to chat with several parishioners.


26 May 2016

Rain, Work, Soccer, and Aviation History

We had quite a bit of rain fall here so far this week. That included a thunderstorm on Tuesday (24 May), but no damage around here, fortunately. All that rain will surely help grass and plants to grow.

I flexed out of work on Tuesday, as I'm working this Saturday morning. That night, I was at Brad and Julie Vaughn's house in House Springs for the IPMS/Gateway ( business meeting. We planned the June general and business meetings, plus discussed some other club business.

After working yesterday, I dashed over to World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for the match between Saint Louis FC ( and Vancouver Whitecaps 2. This was the match postponed on 30 April due to lightning. The teams played to a 1-1 draw this night. i joined with the St. Louligans ( in cheering on the home side. I was most disappointed as the Blues ( lost to the Sharks, ending their season. Like many Blues fans, I wished to get into the Stanley Cup Final, but it was a good season nevertheless.

My off day today included doing laundry, washing and adding fuel to my car, and a pleasant trip to Portage Des Sioux, Missouri. I drove to St. Charles County Smartt Airport ( to visit the museum of the Missouri Wing, Commemorative Air Force ( I wasn't visiting there alone, though; my friend Linsey Daman ( ( and her mother joined me for this tour. We went through the small, but nice museum with many artifacts, our guide being CAF Colonel Gerry Spavale. (Full CAF members are designated Colonels.) Spavale then lead us to two hangars on the field, one of which had the Wing's B-25J Mitchell "Show Me." We got to look around the bomber, which was being prepared for appearing at an airshow out of town this weekend. (Two other Wing aircraft--a TBM Avenger and a L-3--were away when we visited.)

Spavale also guided the Damans and I to the other hangar, where some aircraft were being worked on, and to the Officer's Club. Linsey and I posed for some pictures, and we received some CAF literature. All in all, a pleasant time for us. Back home, I got some late lunch and mowed the front lawn. I even briefly wore a red nose, in honor of Red Nose Day (, a fundraiser for childrens' charities.

Back working tomorrow and Saturday morning, and then enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend.


22 May 2016

Happy Day in Louisville

This past week has been quite interesting: Mostly in a good way. Work at the car rental branch was very busy early in this week, but things went well. I did my best to keep our customers satisfied through clean and fueled vehicles and through great customer treatment driving them to and from our branch.

After work Tuesday night (17 May), I was at Calvary Presbyterian Church ( for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( meeting. I helped judge the quarterly Modeler of the Year contest. We had a nice turnout of entries for the contest, including several for the Big Cats special category. I also brought in a model kit to donate to the raffle at our Invitational on 10 September.

Following a full day of work Wednesday, I headed straight for World Wide Technology Soccer Park for Saint Louis FC's ( Second Round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup ( tie against AFC Cleveland of the National Premier Soccer League. I joined with the St. Louligans ( and a nice crowd overall in cheering on Saint Louis FC. (Bill Wagner, a mate from IPMS/Gateway, was there with his cousin, a season ticket member.) The home side won 2-0 to advance to the third round, where Saint Louis FC hosts Minnesota United of the North American Soccer League on Wed., 1 June. More immediately, Saint Louis FC hosts United Soccer League ( matches against Vancouver Whitecaps 2 this Wednesday (makeup of the match postponed on 30 April) and Rio Grande Valley FC this Sunday.

I got my hair cut Thursday morning (19 May) and got preparations done for my road trip this weekend. I also put in my volunteer availability for Circus Flora (,whose show "Pastime" runs 2 June through 3 July in St. Louis' Grand Center. I will be volunteering on the performances on Thursday 2, 9, 23, and 30 June. Hope to see you there.

That night found me at Creve Coeur Airport ( for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( meeting. It featured a wrap up of the previous weekend's Spirit of St. Louis Airshow and STEM Expo (, including still images and video. We also previewed next month's meeting on 16 June and the Society's barbecue two days later. My friend Linsey Daman ( ( and her mom were there and I narrated the airshow photos and video for Linsey.

After work Friday, I was walked around my rental car for the weekend, a Chevrolet Cruze, loaded my models and baggage for the weekend, and headed towards Louisville, Kentucky. I stopped for the night in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Early Saturday morning (21 May), I checked out the motel in Mount Vernon and drove into Louisville, arriving at the KYANA Antique Automobile Club, the show venue and meeting place of the Military Modelers Club of Louisville ( I entered six models in the contest, which drew 252 total entries. I also browsed the vendor room, whose vendors included St. Louis' CRM Hobbies ( I volunteered as a judge in two contest categories I was not entered in. When the judging was over, I was pleasantly surprised to see that five of my entries won awards. I had the only two entries in Space: Real Space, Missiles and Vehicles, taking first place for my USA/USSR Missile Set and second for my Jupiter C. In Ships: Powered Surface Ships 1/401 and Smaller, my Yamato was second and my Prinz Eugen took third. (The only other entry was the winner.) In Figures: Dismounted, 71mm and Larger, my Black Knight of Nurnberg placed third. I have never won this many awards at any one show ever. I had a great time there and told the hosts--including my acquaintance David Knights, the head judge--that before leaving the venue. (I also won a kit in the show's raffle.)

Before heading back to St. Louis, I shopped at Scale Reproductions Hobby Shop (, taking advantage of a coupon I got at the show. Then, I did stop by downtown Louisville and stood outside Louisville Slugger Park, home ground of Louisville City FC wearing my Saint Louis FC cap and St. Louligans scarf. I took a selfie there to show my friends back home that I didn't like Louisville city FC and its supporters, rivals in the King's Cup derby with Saint Louis FC.

The drive home went well, especially as I listened on the radio to the Blues' Game 4 win at San Jose. I took the Cruze home to unload my gear and rest up.

Up later than usual this morning, I made sure things around the house were good before Mom returns from Los Angeles early this week. This included mowing the back lawn (the front lawn was done on Thursday), and getting the mail one of our neighbors held for us for those two days I was away.

Back to work early tomorrow morning and a new week begins.