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11 September 2014

The Big Model Show; Moving Into New Work Digs

The IPMS Gateway to the West Contest and Swap Meet last Saturday (6 Sept.) was great. I was there at the Holiday Inn St. Louis SW-Route 66 in Sunset Hills from about 7:30 am to help with setting up until just after 4:00 pm to help with tear down. In between, I was taking admission and contest registration fees at the east (main) entrance from show opening at 9:00 am until about 12:45 pm, when I assumed the role of contest judge. There was a great turnout: The contest had over 350 entries from some 70 modelers (including one I had), and some very good quality work. I helped judge aircraft and there were a few tough calls for the top three places in each category. The vendors seem to be happy with business and we all had a great time. Next year, IPMS/Gateway hosts the 2015 IPMS/USA Region 5 Convention, back at the Holiday Inn St. Louis SW-Route 66, on 12 September 2015. Hope you can come.

Right after the show, I drove to the Benton Park Neighborhood in south St. Louis for the Brasil Day STL outdoor cultural festival. This was held on a section of Pestalozzi Ave., right by Yemanja Brasil Resturante. I had a very nice time taking in this festival, which featured food (from Yemanja's food truck), drinks, live music, dancers and children's activities. It was my first time at Brasil Day STL, which was in its second year. (I found out about it from going to dinner at Yemanja a few weeks ago.) I would love to come again next year.

The next day found me at Charles C. Forrester Park in Vinita Park, Mo. for the IPMS/Gateway banquet. They had freshly grilled hamburgers and bratwursts with buns, sides and desserts provided by picnic attendees (I brought two bags of potato chips), plus soda, beer, and water. It was a nice time to socialize with other members and their significant others, while also talking about our show the day before and looking ahead to next year.

Back to work on Monday, as we began preparing our move just a few feet to the east, which was accomplished yesterday morning (10 Sept.). My colleagues and I are very happy to move into our new facility, which is larger and nicer than our old facility. We have computer terminals for all work stations (including those of the car preps), separate men's and women's restrooms, a break room, offices for the branch and area managers, and--best for me and my fellow preps--an enclosed wash bay that could hold two vehicles at a time. The bay has a pressure water hose, a vacuum cleaner, and space for cleaning supplies. This bay is already paying dividends, enabling us to clean our vehicles even when it's raining outside, as it did at times yesterday. We do have to work about a limited number of parking spaces by the branch facility, but we'll figure out something. Overall, I am most happy with this new work place.

Today, on my off day, I had an appointment with my dentist for a routine check up. After my teeth were cleaned, the dentist told me I have no cavities--good news for sure.

Later.

04 September 2014

A Nice 2014 Labor Day Weekend

After working hard on Friday (29 August) and the next morning at the car rental branch, it was time for the Labor Day Weekend. After I came home Saturday, I basically crashed, taking a long nap that afternoon and evening. Apparently, I was rather tired and needed to catch up on my sleep.

Early Sunday afternoon (30 August) found me in the Bevo neighborhood of south St. Louis taking in the 10th annual Bosnian Festival. It's rather small by festival standards, but nice. I had a bit of lunch (Cevapi, grilled beef sausages in a large bun), and enjoyed some music and dancing. On the way home, I stopped by Auto Zone to replace the battery in my car key's fob (which enables remote locking and unlocking of doors), as the battery was running low.

Monday (1 Sept.) found me at home. (Our work was closed that day.) Early that afternoon, I drove to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis' Central West End for their 97th Annual Greek Festival. It's a great event that draws large crowds. Having had a bit of lunch, I just had a bit of Greek pastry and a beer, but it was nice. I saw some Greek dancing on the auditorium stage, which the crowd enjoyed. After being at the festival, I walked up and down Euclid Ave. for several blocks before getting back into my car to drive home. I chilled out at home the rest of that day.

Back to work Tuesday morning, and it was busy (as can be expected coming off the holiday weekend). We got our customers taken care of well, despite the crowded lot that Tuesday morning. By the way, our move to the new building mere feet away from our current location was delayed. Instead of this week, it will be later this month.

After work on Tuesday, I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting at Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles. I gave a plug for the IPMS/Gateway show this Saturday, heard about plans for a new club web site in the works, and offered up my resignation of IPMS/St. Louis president at the end of this year.

Today on my off day, I got the battery replaced on my laptop. The one I had bought a year ago was lately having problems holding a charge. The salesman at the store assured me this new battery will be much better and should last for two years at least. I also finished an e-book I've been reading lately, "Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood" by Mark Harris, which I really enjoyed. I have a new book in my Nook player I'll start reading tomorrow on my lunch break.

This Saturday is the IPMS/Gateway to the West Show and I'm looking forward to it. I'll let you know how that goes in my next post. Here's the website: http://ipms-gateway.com/invite2014.html

Later.

28 August 2014

Surviving the Weather, Enjoying the Festival of Nations

I put in plenty of work late last week and earlier this week. I came in last Thursday afternoon (21 August) to our Ballwin branch, per a request from their branch manager. I did so, and worked my normal shift the next day at the Ellisville branch. My efforts have been most appreciated by the staff, which is most gratifying.

That night, I was at the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting at Creve Coeur Airport, where I took in a presentation on the Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. Dana "Perk" Perkins, a Boeing test pilot, gave a very nice presentation on the aircraft. I also put in a plug for the IPMS Gateway to the West Model Contest and Swap Meet next Saturday (6 September). Looking forward to that show. More info at this link: http://ipms-gateway.com/invite2014.html

Last Saturday and Sunday, I was at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis for the International Institute's Festival of Nations. On Saturday morning (23 August), I was there to see members of the Making Friends Around the World Meetup group, which met there. We talked for a bit and took in a performance of Scandinavian music. That afternoon, I worked a shift at one of the drinks booths, where I helped get cans of beer and soda and bottles of water to customers.

I was at the Festival grounds Sunday morning, helping one of the shuttle bus drivers understand her route, then pulled a shift as a festival ambassador, handing out programs to visitors and answering their questions. After a short break, I then worked to survey visitors about the festival, getting feedback to help in planning the festival in the future. Attendance was down a bit due to the high heat, with head indices (temperature plus humidity) reaching 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), but otherwise it went very well. I really enjoyed being at the Festival and helping out. Seeing all these ethnic groups showing off their cultures (music, dance, art, crafts, and food) is a very good thing to me.

Work this week has been good, despite the heat outside. Yesterday afternoon (27 Aug.), a sudden thunderstorm drenched me as I was cleaning a vehicle. Wisely, I stayed inside until the rain let up. I'm working Saturday morning, but we're off until Tuesday of next week, with the Labor Day Holiday this Monday. Also next week, we're moving our branch location a few feet east to the building next door.

Tuesday night (26 Aug.), after work, I was at Marion Morris' house for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting. We planned the September general and business meetings, and discussed the latest on our upcoming show. In my dad's memory, I have purchased a trophy sponsorship for that show. I'm sure my dad would really appreciate the gesture.

Later.




21 August 2014

Plenty of Work, Heat, and Humidity

If there is any doubt summer is back to normal regarding weather here in St. Louis, this week has quelled any doubts. The heat indices have topped 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), which is not much fun when one is outside working, as I have been doing. In fact, the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through this Sunday. I'm definitely hitting the water as much as I can!

I worked Saturday morning at the branch and throughout this week. The past two days found me on temporary duty at our sister branch in Ballwin, doing vehicle prep work as their prep person is away. At least this branch has an enclosed wash bay, which is most welcome these days in getting out of the heat. Our new branch building is coming along great. The company signs were mounted yesterday morning, and it's closer to the building opening next month. That branch will have two wash bays for vehicles. Hooray!

Sunday afternoon (17 August) found me at Kutis Funeral Home in Affton, playing last respects to my friend and refereeing colleague Paul Dueker, who died late the previous week from a heart attack at age 59. I met a few of my fellow referees there as we viewed the body and gave our condolences to Paul's family. He was a good man and will be missed. You may make memorial donations in Dueker's name to the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame (http://www.stlsoccerhalloffame.com/).

After work Monday (18 August), I was at the Grand Glaize Branch of the St Louis County Library for the monthly soccer referee in-service clinic. We got a rundown on the law changes for the coming season (minor ones in player equipment), and discussed officiating situations at the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil--good and bad. The next day was quite a full one, which included lunch at Wild Smoke, a barbecue restaurant in Creve Coeur. The car rental company's area manager treated me and other full-time vehicle prep people to lunch, to thank us for our hard work. This was most appreciated, and the food there is very nice.

After work that night, I was at the IPMS/Gateway meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Mehlville. We had a good crowd there, plenty of entries (38) in the Model of the Month "Beauty Contest," plus a contest judging seminar ahead of our Contest on 6 September. (Details on that at http://ipms-gateway.com).

This morning, I'm getting my laundry done and some other chores before going into work, back at Ballwin. Last night after work, I was at a Happy Hour with colleagues at Senor Pique in Ballwin when the assistant manager asked if I could work this (Thursday) afternoon, although today is normally an off day for me. I said yes, and will do so. After that, I'm off to this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting at Creve Coeur Airport (http://moavhist.org/).

Saturday and Sunday, I'm a volunteer at the International Institute of St. Louis' Festival of Nations at Tower Grove Park. It's an annual festival of music, dance, food, crafts, and art from various nationalities. This is my second year working at this event, and I am looking forward to it. You can get more info on the Festival at http://www.festivalofnationsstl.org/.

Later.

14 August 2014

A Nice Weekend and a Pleasant Week So Far

I was out and about the metro area last weekend with Meetup group activities. On Saturday late afternoon (9 August), I was at a house in the Central West End for a house party with the Making Friends Around the World group. It was a going-away party for one of the interns, a person from China, and it was nice seeing some people I know from previous meetups of this group and a few new people. It was a nice time.

The next afternoon found me at Shaw Park in Clayton with the STL Food Lovers group. It was the last of the summer's Food Truck Sunday events at the park. About 12 food trucks were present and I bought food from three of them: Holy Crepe, 2 Girls 4 Wheels, and Sia's Italian Ice. The food was tasty and it was nice to enjoy the various cuisine. After the formal part of this meetup in the park, many of us in the group headed to Jilly's Ice Cream Bar in University City for ice cream. This was a very fine time to spend with other like-minded people.

Earlier on that Sunday afternoon, I worked to polish an article I look to submit to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's newsletter. I will tell more once the article is completed and ready for publication, but I can tell you now it should be something I will be most proud of presenting.

Work has been going well this week. The weather has been a bit cooler and less humid than normal for this time of year, which is most appreciated.

Late last night, my brother Rick came into town for a few days. He's helping my Mom out with some business related to my Dad's recent passing. After dinner tonight, we three visited my Dad's niche at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. It was the first time I have been to his final resting place.

Today, I had lunch with a friend, Linda Taylor-Gallup, at Rich & Charlie's in Mehlville. It was our first in-person meeting--we have been Facebook friends for some months now--and we had a very pleasant get-together. Linda and I got to know each other better over a very nice lunch.

Later.

07 August 2014

Into August 2014

I was to have co-hosted Writer's Block on Naturally Autistic ANCA Radio last Saturday (2 August), but the show was cancelled for this month, due to more pressing matters that the host had to attend to that week. I will be unable to co-host next month, due to the IPMS/Gateway show that day.

Work has been going well. Plenty busy most mornings, and towards the end of the days, but midday lulls allowed my colleagues and I to rest a bit and get caught up on housekeeping chores. We welcomed a new management trainee (MT) this past Monday, and said goodbye to another one on Tuesday. (The latter MT is transferring to the airport location.)

Before going into work last Tuesday (5 August), I cast my ballot in the primary election. Voter turnout was light--I was the seventh voter in that polling place--and it did not take me long to vote. I was quite happy with most of the results, although some of the state ballot issues that I opposed did pass.

After work on Tuesday, I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting at Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles. We had a nice turnout of seven people--three of them, there for the first time, were the son, grandson, and son-in-law of one of our members. It was a brief meeting and several of us then browsed in the shop for a bit before going home.

A rather quiet off day today. It was raining most of the day and into tonight, so I stayed home to catch up on some business. That included getting the listing for the IPMS/Gateway Show on 6 Sept. posted onto a couple of online events calendars. Hopefully that will help get a few more people to our show, along with other efforts, such as posting show flyers in area hobby shops.

Later.

31 July 2014

Moving Forward As July Ends

My mother, my brothers, and I are doing fine two weeks after my father's passing. We are moving ahead in our lives, just as my father would want us to do, and living as best as we can is the best way to honor my father's life. My thanks for everyone who has expressed their condolences to me and to others in my family. Your words of comfort were most appreciated.

Work has been going well. I worked all day last Friday (25 July), last Saturday morning, and the first three days of this week. I'm doing my best to keep things moving forward for the branch.

Sunday afternoon (27 July), I went to St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia to see three World War II US military aircraft on display. They were a P-51 Mustang fighter and two heavy bombers: a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator. They are owned by the Collings Foundation and they offered rides in these aircraft for $450. That was too rich for my blood (as much as I would have loved to do so), so I paid just $15 for self-guided tours of these aircraft. I saw them when they were in St. Louis a few years ago, but enjoyed seeing them again up close. I took plenty of photos of these three warbirds, including a selfie of me about to enter the B-17.

After work this past Tuesday (29 July), I joined with three IPMS/Gateway colleagues at the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library in Oakville. There, we put models into the lobby display case, which I reserved for the club earlier this year. Our display--which includes an unassembled model kit, a recent copy of the club newsletter, and flyers for the club and our show in September--will run until the end of August. Feel free to check it out if you're in that area in the next few weeks.

Off work today, I took care of some personal business. This morning, I got the oil changed on my Corolla. Later in the morning, I got my hair cut at Great Clips. It sure needed the trim. I also got my laundry done and cleaned out my email inbox.

Tonight, I was in the Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis with 11 others in the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group. We had dinner at Yemanja Brasil Restaurante, a Brazilian restaurant which I had not been to before. We all had a great time there, with such good food. I had Feijoda de Ogum, a dish of black beans, beef, rice, collard greens and orange slices that is considered Brazil's national dish. This was washed down with water and Capipirnha, the Brazilian national cocktail of crushed limes, sugar and cachaca (spirit distilled from sugar cane). I definitely recommend Yemanja, 200 Missouri Avenue, 63118. Their website is: http://www.brazildining.com.

Later.