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23 March 2017

A Model Contest; Looking Good for Visitors

The work week started off busy as usual on Monday (20 March), with plenty to do--in my case, getting cars prepped for rental. It was a push, but we got it done. After work, I completed assembly and finish on the Hawk 1:72 scale Bf 109F-2 for the Same Kit Contest at the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting the next night.

At work on Tuesday, after getting through the early rush of customers, I got the wash bay cleaned and straightened out. Our branch was hosting important visitors from the company the next morning, so we needed to get our branch looking great for them. It was all taken care of by the time the work day ended.

After work, I was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. My Bf 109 was one of five entries in the Same Kit Contest, which we had along with our usual Model of the Month "Beauty Contest." The choice was by popular vote of attendees. Mine was tied for second place. Not bad considering the effort needed to get my kit in passable shape. A good effort, I think.

Yesterday morning, the visitors did come to our branch. It looks like we made a good impression on them.

Off work today, I got some needed rest, and got some refills for my printer and one of my ink pens. I plan to work on my taxes later today.

Later.


19 March 2017

Nicaraguan Cuisine, Soccer, and Jury Duty

A week ago Friday night (10 March)--after a day at work, where I brought in doughnuts for my colleagues--I joined five others from the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-Restaurant-Fans/) for dinner at Fritanga Nicaraguan Restaurant (http://www.fritangastl.net/) in the Benton Park neighborhood. It was my first time there, and my group mates and I really enjoyed the dining experience. I chose Carne Asada (marinated beef sirloin tips), with Gallo Pinto (red beans and rice) and Tajadas Verdes (crispy green plantain strips). A very good night, and another restaurant I can highly recommend.

I did some work on a model over that weekend, getting ready for a IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) contest this month. Sunday (12 March) found me at World Wide Technology Soccer Park (http://saintlouisfc.com/soccerpark) refereeing three youth soccer matches. I was in the middle for two of those matches. All of them went well.

I reported for jury duty Monday morning (13 March) at the Circuit Court of St. Louis County (http://www.stlouisco.com/LawandPublicSafety/CircuitCourt) in Clayton. I was summoned before, in mid-2013. This time, after waiting a few minutes in the jury assembly room, I and 46 others were selected for the jury pool for a civil trial. We went into the courtroom, seated in the audience area, with the judge, court reporter, clerk, plaintiff and her two attorneys, the defendant and his two attorneys, and the bailiff. This was a medical malpractice suit, with the plaintiff claiming a podiatrist and his practice damaged her one foot trying to freeze out a nerve ending. The plaintiff's lead attorney asked a number of potential jurors if anything would prejudice them on a jury. This went on the rest of the morning. After a lunch break--I walked over to Chipotle (https://chipotle.com/) and ate there--the defendant's lead attorney interviewed the jury pool. I told him I had seen podiatrists several times in recent years to deal with foot injuries from soccer refereeing, but assured the attorney I would not be prejudiced. After waiting an hour outside the courtroom, we potential jurors were led back into the courtroom and the 12 jurors and two alternates were seated. I was not one of them. The rest of the pool was dismissed with the thanks of the court. I then went to work at the rental branch for the last 90 minutes of the day.

Work at the branch this past week went very well. Our new management trainee, Lauren, joined our team this week. She joins Manager Justin, Assistant Manager Cayla, and Management Assistant Kory behind the counter.

After flexing out of work Tuesday afternoon, I went home to work more on my model. That night, I went to Syberg's (http://sybergs.com/) on Dorsett in Maryland Heights. There, Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) held a Meet the Team party, in which several players were in attendance. I talked briefly with them and they all were upbeat about their hopes for this coming season.

Off Thursday (16 March), I worked on my model. That night, I went to Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. There was a presentation about nose art on aircraft of the US Army Air Forces' 4th Fighter Group, which was based in England during World War II. Lynn Chilberg and her husband, Howard, presented video about her father, Donald E. Allen, and presented prints of the art Allen did during the war for the 4th. The Chilbergs also offered prints based on Allen's art for sale. I didn't have any money on me to buy right then, but I may order a print or two from them in the coming weeks.

I worked a full day Friday and on Saturday morning. After worked a while on my model, I went to Saint Louis University (http://www.slu.edu/) to cheer on Saint Louis FC against Tulsa Roughnecks FC in a pre-season match at Robert R. Hermann Stadium. I joined with the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/) to march into the stadium and to sing and chant in one section of the stadium. I also received a new group scarf I ordered a few weeks ago. However, Tulsa won the match 3-0.

This morning, I went to Kolping Fields in south St. Louis County to referee three youth matches. After running lines on two matches, I was in the middle on the third. All these matches went well.

Later.







09 March 2017

Work and Seeing Scale Models

Work has gone well this week, with Monday (6 March) very busy as usual. We had busy and slow stretches on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bottom Line: We had our customers completely satisfied and we had a sense of accomplishment.

After work Tuesday night, I traveled to Mark Twain Hobby Center (https://www.hobby1.com/) for the Mark Twain Hobby Club (formerly IPMS/St. Louis) meeting. They had about 40 people there, crammed into the meeting room, to see a presentation on World War II US Army combat uniforms, with a PowerPoint display along with actual uniforms from the period. It was a most interesting presentation. I showed off the two models I completed last month and plugged this September's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) Invitational.

My off day today started with a trip to Jiffy Lube (https://www.jiffylube.com/) to get my Corolla's oil changed. I also had the tires rotated and the fuel system cleaned there. I then went to St. Louis Bread Co. (https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html) for a coffee and pastry. After that, I walked to the nearby Great Clips (http://www.greatclips.com/) to get my hair cut. My hair was overdue by about two weeks for a cut, and I was so glad that my hair is at a much better length for me.

I did my laundry at home and waited for a phone call. I was supposed to be interviewed by phone for a part-time, volunteer position, but the interviewed forgot about it and we'll try it again this Saturday.

Later.

05 March 2017

Doughnuts, Futsal, Oscars, and Soccer

A week ago Friday morning (24 February), I stopped by Krispy Kreme (http://krispykreme.com/) in Fenton to buy 12 doughnuts, which I brought to the car rental branch. As usual, the treats were much appreciated by the staff. We had plenty of work to do on that Friday, but we got it done to get out just after closing time.

My quiet weekend that followed ended with futsal games at Competitive Courts & Conditioning Center (C4) in Creve Coeur (http://www.c4stl.com/). It was my first matches I refereed in the season, and they were on the last day of the season. Anyway, my partner and I had three matches, with the last two (one of under 15 boys, and the last of high school boys) being most competitive. It was a satisfying shift.

After stopping at McDonald's in Des Peres for dinner on the way home, I watched the Academy Awards (http://oscar.go.com/) on television in my bedroom. As usual, I was intrigued as to who would receive what Oscar. I was shocked as virtually everyone when the Best Picture winner was originally announced as "La La Land," then having that swiftly corrected to "Limelight," I haven't seen any of these movies yet, but I hope to see them before too long.

That Sunday morning, I registered to attend this year's International Plastic Modelers' Society/USA (IPMS/USA) National Convention this July in Omaha, Nebraska (http://www.ipmsusa2017.com/). I am greatly looking forward to this event.

Work this past week has gone very well. Plenty to work on those days I'm in, but with my colleagues I got it done and kept our customers satisfied.

I flexed out Tuesday afternoon (28 February) as I would work the following Saturday morning. After some time relaxing and having dinner at home, I headed to Bill Wagner's house in Oakville for this month's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting. We planned the March general and business meetings, and discussed some other club business.

I did some work during my free time this past week to get some materials together for my income taxes. I need to get on to that soon.

After work yesterday morning, I had lunch at Olive Street Cafe (http://olivestreetcafe.com/) in Ellisville. There, I enjoyed a Muffalata with a side of onion rings. Before returning home from lunch, I washed my car at Martian Car Wash (http://www.martiancarwash.com/), also in Ellisville.

This afternoon found me at World Wide Technology Soccer Park (http://saintlouisfc.com/soccerpark) in Fenton to referee my first outdoor matches of the spring season. I worked four under 12 9v9 boys matches on a small-sided field. Our crew was short one person, as that person failed to show up. (I let my assigner knew of this matter.) Fortunately for my partner and I, the games were not too much trouble for us.

Back to work in the morning. Later.


23 February 2017

Busy Nights and a Mini Road Trip

Back at work on Monday morning (21 February), I welcomed a new crewmate to the Ellisville branch. Jesse, our new Vehicle Service Agent (VSA), reported for work. He is new to the firm, and I showed him where everything is in the wash bay, how to clean and park the vehicles in an efficient manner, and where all the repair locations in our area were located. I think he will do very nicely in the job. Having a second vehicle prep sure would help us out in some peak times during the week.

I spent that night after work at my model workbench, finishing up my two model contest entries: a 1:32 scale 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and a 1:72 scale ZiL-157 fuel truck. The next night, I took them to the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/). My models were among many entries in the Out of the Box Contest, the first of four to determine Modeler of the Year. Neither was judged good enough to place in their respective categories, but each entry earned me two points towards Modeler of the Year: One for entering, and one for the contest's Special Category (Out of the Box). The next contest is in May. Our meeting also featured a demo on basic modeling techniques. There were five first-time meeting attendees, and I (in my capacity as Vice President) gave each a sanding stick as a thank-you gift for coming.

After a full day of work yesterday (22 February), I changed from my normal work clothes into a suit and tie, then made my way to The Country Club of St. Albans (http://www.ccstalbans.com/). The clubhouse hosted a lecture and dinner program, La Culture Francaise. The speaker, a French linguist, spoke about the French region of Brittany and its distinct culture and language, with assistance from her PowerPoint presentation, a doll of a Breton woman in native costume, and books and postcards from the region. Following the lecture, the crowd of about 12 people sat down to a three-course French dinner. I chatted over dinner with several attendees, including a magazine publisher. He asked me to send me some work samples in the coming days. It was all a very nice evening.

My off day today was quiet at home, but it started on the road. I left the house early this morning to drive to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After getting some doughnuts from a Dunkin' Donuts (https://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en.html) in town, I drove to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) branch. There, I gave the doughnuts to Liz, the branch manager who previously managed the Ellisville location. She was very happy to see me and to accept the doughnuts, and she introduced me to the staff. Liz and I chatted for a few minutes, getting caught up on things, before I left to drive back to St. Louis. It's always great renewing acquaintances with people you worked with, as they can come in handy down the road.

Later.




19 February 2017

Two Meetings, Two Dinners, and an Exhibit

Late in the afternoon one week ago Saturday (11 February), I drove to the Schlafly Tap Room (http://schlafly.com/tap-room/) in downtown St. Louis for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/). The supporter group for Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) met to discuss their plans for the upcoming season and to hear from the team. Saint Louis FC officials--including my Saint Louis University classmate, team CEO Jim Kavanaugh--spoke about how they are most optimistic about the upcoming season, and about the latest on the effort to get a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team in St. Louis. I and the approximately 350 people there had a real fine time.

Right after this meeting, I headed to Sanctuaria Wild Tapas (http://sanctuariastl.com/) in the Grove for dinner with the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group (https://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-Restaurant-Fans/). Five others from the group joined me for dinner at the Latin American restaurant, which features small plates for sharing. I ordered some Papas Croquetta for the group, and sampled from other plates our group ordered. A cocktail washed down the good food. We had a real fine time at Sanctuaria, and can highly recommend the restaurant.

The next day, I drove to Taqueria el Bronco (http://www.taqueriaelbronco.com/) in south St. Louis for lunch with six others from the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group. We enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine in a no-frills setting, with most reasonable prices. I ordered two tacos--one with carnitas, the other with chorizo--with beans and rice. Another very fine place I can recommend. After lunch, I walked with three others from our party down Cherokee Street to Diana's Bakery (https://www.yelp.com/biz/dianas-bakery-saint-louis) to buy some freshly baked pastries. This is another wonderful place to go.

Back at work on Monday (13 February), we had a rather busy week for the most part. Plenty of work, and plenty of customers for our vehicles. I did my best to stay on top of things, and to help our branch exceed customer expectations.

I flexed out of work Tuesday afternoon, as I would work the following Saturday morning (18 February). Off on Thursday, I headed to the St. Louis Public Library's Central Branch (https://www.slpl.org/locations/CENTRAL/). I was there to tour their exhibit, "50 Years of Blood, Sweat and Cheers--A Tribute to the St. Louis Blues and their Fans." The Grand Hall included a manekin of Blues goaltender Glen Hall making a save in front of goal, with the goal judge box behind it. Dash boards from the Arena were also displayed there, along with an all-time Blues roster, a list of Blues award-winners, and portraits of Blues greats. An exhibit hall on the third floor featured 50 years of Blues memorabilia: Player sweaters, sticks, programs, tickets, posters, photos, pucks, and souvenirs. There was a timeline of Blues history along the wall, and a speaker played a loop of Blues radio play-by-play calls. I also got to take a selfie in front of a green screen there, with the image added to one of three backgrounds celebrating Blues history. The exhibit runs to 4 March, and I highly recommend it to any Blues fan.

I came home to sit for a webinar on job search strategies aimed at the older job seeker. Some information I had heard before and others were new to me. I left the webinar after I learned that the presenter's fee for her fully helping out job seekers was in the four figures--too rich for me.

That night, at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/), I attended the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. It was an aviation open mike night, with attendees invited to tell their aviation-related stories. I led off with tales of my first airplane flight as a 12-year-old Boy Scout and a flight to Europe some years later.

Well into Friday afternoon at work, my assistant manager Cayla asked me to take keys for some vehicles on our lot to the traffic center in Berkley, east of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport. I needed to get the keys delivered by 5 pm, so the traffic people could come the next day to take the vehicles off our lot. I did, and then went home; Cayla told me there was no point in returning to the branch for just a few minutes at day's end.

After work yesterday morning at the branch and lunch, I came home to work on a couple of model kits I'm looking to finish in time for this Tuesday's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting. It will be a push on one kit, but the other is virtually done. I also worked on the models today.

Last night, mom took me out to dinner at TGI Friday's (https://www.tgifridays.com/) in Concord Village. We had a coupon I received for my birthday that was used there. I ordered the Jack Daniels grilled chicken and shrimp, which was most tasty.

Later.







11 February 2017

Plenty of Work and Doughnuts, and A Birthday

Work this past week went well. Plenty of vehicles to clean and ready for rental. Plus, some driving of vehicles to pick up and drop off customers, and ferrying them to and from drop locations.

My birthday was this past Tuesday (7 February). It was low-key, which was just as well at my age. After work, mom had dinner for me, plus a nice cake. She gave me a history book, "Once in a Great City," by David Maraniss, plus a shower caddy for my shampoo and body wash.

Off work Thursday (9 February), I bought 24 doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (https://www.krispykreme.com/) and took them to Enterprise's Airport location. The staff behind the counter really appreciated the treats, which I got in honor of my former Ellisville colleague Hannah becoming their assistant manager. (She wasn't there when I came, but the staffers would let her know.) I then bought some mini-doughnuts at a convenience store and dropped them off at the National/Alamo branch at the Airport. I left them for the attention of the manager, Maggie, who was away when I came by.

During my free times this week, I worked on two models I'm seeking to finish for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) contest on 21 February. I should finish the car this weekend, and have the aircraft ready to paint early next week.

Yesterday morning, I admired a full moon in the sky as I drove to Krispy Kreme, where I bought a dozen doughnuts to bring to the Ellisville branch. They were well received as usual, especially as we had a very busy day with many vehicles to prep.

I'm off to a meeting and dinner later today. More on that next time.

Later.