17 November 2017

SLIFF Concludes, Plus Work and Meetings

One week ago Thursday night (9 November) found me at the Tivoli Theatre (https://www.landmarktheatres.com/st-louis/tivoli-theatre) in the Delmar Loop for my second volunteer assignment of this year's St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) (http://www.cinemastlouis.org/about-festival). I handed out fan ballots and demographic surveys for the film "The Light of the Moon," a drama about a woman in New York City dealing with being raped. This screening replaced the originally scheduled film for that night, "The Upside," which was pulled before the festival due to the sexual harassment allegations against its producer, Harvey Weinstein. "The Light of the Moon" was very well done, and I stayed after the movie to catch some of the panel discussion on sexual assault, as well as helping collect ballots and surveys.

Back at work the next morning, it was a usual busy (for much of the day) Friday, but all went well.

Saturday morning (11 November), I drove to the Missouri History Museum (https://mohistory.org/) in Forest Park for my next SLIFF volunteer stint. I helped pass out ballots and surveys for two films screened there: The French (but dubbed into English) animated feature "Mune: Guardian of the Moon," a nice family-friendly film; and "Nat Bates for Mayor," a documentary about a mayor's race in Richmond, California in 2014. I was able to get a break midway through my stint, so I grabbed lunch at Bixby's restaurant (http://bixbys-mohistory.com/) and browsed through the Museum Shop (https://mohistory.org/shop). In the latter, I found copies of the book "The Aerial Crossroads of America: St. Louis's Lambert Airport," which the Museum has published and which I helped out a bit in research.

After my shift ended at the Missouri History Museum, I went to Coffee Cartel (http://www.thecoffeecartel.com/) in the Central West End for a latte. I sat in the shop for awhile enjoying my beverage and the view out the window.

After a break at home, it was on to Winifred Moore Auditorium at Webster University (http://www.webster.edu/) for my fourth SLIFF volunteer assignment. This was a screening of a restored print of "Wanda," a 1970 crime drama that was written by, directed by, and starred Barbara Loden. It was quite a good movie--very sparse dialog, no music, a basic movie that was the antithesis of Hollywood product. I enjoyed the movie, in between distributing and then collecting ballots and surveys.

Home on Sunday, I worked on the November issue of The Arch Scaler News, the newsletter of IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/). This month, I am taking over from Brad Vaughn as newsletter editor, a job I held in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, with advances in word processing and desktop publishing, I can do a much better quality newsletter than I did back then.

That night, I was at Brown Hall at Washington University (https://wustl.edu/) for my fifth and final SLIFF volunteer assignment. It was providing surveys and selling concessions at the documentary "Intent to Destroy." It was about the Armenian Genocide just over 100 years ago and the making of the 2016 feature film "The Promise," which was set during that time. I was most impressed by this film, seeing film and pictures of that period that I had never seen anywhere before. I came home tired but happy to have helped out in at least a small way in making SLIFF a success.

I followed a busy (as usual) Monday (13 November) at work with a meeting at Christian Academy of Greater of St. Louis (http://public.cagsl.net/) in Overland for the monthly board meeting of Viva Brasil STL (https://www.vivabrasilstl.org/). Carolina Holtmeyer, the board president, invited me to attend because she and other board members think I would be a great fit for their board. I went with an open mind, but came away with a good impression. I told them I would be interested in serving on their board for 2018. Elections for that will be held at next month's board meeting.

After work Tuesday and Wednesday, I came home to work on The Arch Scaler News. I assembled the articles and photos into a document that would be sent via email and US Mail.

Early yesterday morning, I drove to the corner of Bayless and Union/Weber in Lemay to buy a newspaper for Old Newsboys Day (http://www.stltoday.com/old-newsboys-day/). Held one week before Thanksgiving since 1957, this program raises money for St. Louis area children's charities by volunteers selling a special edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Articles inside the paper tell of the children impacted by these charities. People paid what they could for the newspaper--I paid $5 for my copy.

Back home after that, I finished the newsletter and printed a handful of copies at OfficeMax (https://www.officedepot.com/) in Mehlville, for those members who wanted a mailed copy. Then, I got postage on them at the Post Office and mailed them out. That night, I send the majority of members The Arch Scaler News via email, along with a copy of the revised Constitution and By-Laws, to be considered at the meeting this Tuesday night. I was very happy to get this first newsletter of my new stint done.

Last night, I was at Creve Coeur Airport (http://crevecoeurairport.com/) for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. This event was the launch of the new book "Swift As An Arrow: The Story of Thomas Benoist, Pioneer American Aviator," by Melody Davis (grand niece of Benoist) and Gary R. Liming, a board member of the Society. I bought a copy of the book, signed by the co-authors, and watched a slideshow on Benoist that Liming presented to the audience. Several descendants of Benoist were in attendance at the meeting. I also put in my reservation for the Society's Christmas party next month, to be held at Creve Coeur Airport.


09 November 2017

TigerCon, SLIFF, and Scott Kelly in Town

Last Friday morning (3 November), per usual, I stopped by Krispy Kreme (http://krispykreme.com/) to buy some doughnuts for my colleagues on the way to work. The day went well at work and all hands were able to get our vehicles cleaned and positioned on the lot before calling it a day.

My IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) colleague Bill Wagner came by my house the next morning to pick me up, then drove to Hazelwood to pick up our mate Nick Elliot before before heading to Columbia, Missouri. We--and others from the club--were there for TigerCon, the annual scale model contest presented by IPMS/Central Missouri Scale Modelers (CMSM) (http://www.cmsm-ipms.org/). After a pretty good drive, we three arrived at Hickman High School, the show venue, and checked in our contest models. (I had four entries.) We touched base with others there, including our fellow club members, admired the models in the contest room, and shopped among the vendors. I bought one aircraft kit and two tools from vendors there.

I also helped to judge automotive entries in the contest, which went rather well. IPMS/CMSM said this was the most number of attendees and contest entries for TigerCon, which was in its 7th year. I did not win for any of my entries, but a few of my club mates won awards. I also won an aircraft kit in the raffle. Overall, a nice day in Columbia for us. We got back to town early that night.

Sunday morning (5 November) found me at Kolping Fields in south St. Louis County, officiating youth soccer matches. I refereed the first match and ran lines on the other two. They went well, and the warm and humid weather for this time of year meant I wore my short sleeve uniform shirt.

That night, I was at .ZACK (http://www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org/zack/) for my first volunteer assignment at this year's St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) (http://www.cinemastlouis.org/about-festival). I scanned tickets for attendees before they entered the theater to watch the documentary feature "Working in Protest." (My friend Kim Althage was among those who attended the screening.) Myself and the other volunteer were in the lobby during the screening, and right afterward took fan ballots and demographic surveys from the attendees. The ballots were counted and the venue captain then reported the results to SLIFF organizers. It was a pleasant night to be out at the movies.

Back to work on Monday morning, and we had one very busy morning with many customers coming in to pick up or drop off vehicles. I was sure kept on my toes. We got through the day just fine, though.

After work on Tuesday, I went to St. Louis University High School (SLUH) (http://www.sluh.org/) in west St. Louis. I attended a talk by former astronaut Scott Kelly (http://www.scottkelly.com/), who spent 340 days aboard the International Space Station in 2015-16. The event was presented by Left Bank Books (http://www.left-bank.com/), and my ticket to the event included a signed copy of Kelly's book, "Endurance." Ramanath Cowsik, James S. McDonnell Professor of Space Sciences at Washington University of St. Louis, interviewed Kelly about how he became an astronaut and his experiences in space. Then, Kelly took a few questions from the audience. It was a most interesting talk--informative throughout, with a bit of wit. I am very much looking forward to reading "Endurance."

Work yesterday was well--after a calm late morning and early afternoon, we had a most busy late afternoon. We still got it done, though, exceeding customer expectations.

Off work today, I spent time helping Mom out in trimming some shrubbery, doing my laundry, and starting work on this month's issue of IPMS/Gateway's newsletter, The Arch Scaler News. (I'm now editing this publication.) This afternoon, I headed to the Plaza Frontenac Cinema (https://www.landmarktheatres.com/st-louis/plaza-frontenac-cinema) to watch a SLIFF film. Going in free thanks to the voucher I received for Sunday's volunteer shift, I saw the Belgian/French comedy "Lost in Paris," which I and the audience found very funny. Tonight, I'm at the Tivoli Theatre (https://www.landmarktheatres.com/st-louis/tivoli-theatre) for a SLIFF volunteer shift. Hope to see you there!

I also have SLIFF volunteer shifts Saturday at the Missouri History Museum (10:30 am to 3 pm) and at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (6:45 to 10:30 pm), and Sunday at Washington University's Brown Hall (7 to 10 pm). Maybe I'll see you there.


02 November 2017

Communicators, Model Cars, and Halloween

We had a good day of work at the rental branch on Friday (27 October). Jesse, a new vehicle service agent, reported for work with us that morning. He, like Marvin, was an older man there to work part time. I really appreciated the extra hands in the wash bay, and so do my colleagues. We also said goodbye to management assistant Kory, who was leaving our branch and car rental to work for Enterprise Car Sales (https://www.enterprisecarsales.com/) in Manchester.

The next morning saw me going to the St. Louis Artists' Guild (http://www.stlouisartistsguild.org/new/) in Clayton for the Missouri Professional Communicators (http://www.mpc-nfpw.org/cpsiteframepage.lasso?-token.lpuserref=113815.113118) meeting. After a continental breakfast, we took in a presentation by Deb Reinhardt (http://www.deborahreinhardt.com/index.html) on the National Federation of Press Women (https://www.nfpw.org/) work shop in Alabama in September. Deb recapped the workshop speakers and their presentations. Janice Denham then gave a talk about MPC's communications contest, and those in attendance talked a bit about themselves and any lessons or tips they have from their careers.

Sunday morning (29 October), I was at the Kirkwood Community Center (http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/content/City-Departments/1856/community-center.aspx) for the Midwest Model Vehicle Association--St. Louis (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/MMVAStLouis.html) Fall Swap Meet and Model Contest. IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) had a table with a model display and some club literature, and I helped staff our table and provided several models for the display. Additionally, I was able to walk around the room visiting the other vendors, chatting with scale modelers I know, and admiring the contest models. This was a nice show and we got the word out on our club.

Back at work Monday morning, having three car preps in the morning was quite a difference, as we got through the backlog of returned vehicles in rather short order.

Halloween was the next day. Enterprise (https://www.enterprise.com/en/home.html) branches were all decorated for the day, in themes chosen by each branch's manager. In our case, it was the long-running television game show "The Price is Right." The lobby was decorated with signs like those on the game show's initial game, and we--Manager Cory, assistant manager Miranda, management trainee Tyler, and I--wore color coordinated outfits, while Jesse was the master of ceremonies. A judging team from the area office--costumed as dolls or something like that--came around to evaluate our decorations and costumes, as prizes would go to the best branch setups. All in all, it was fun.

Off work today, I first went to the Firestone Complete Auto Care (http://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/) in Mehlville, where they installed a replacement hubcap on my Corolla. Mine had gone missing soon after I drove off that lot a week ago, probably due to it not being fully installed in a likely inadvertent misstep. I greatly appreciated this gesture, which was done in about one minute and at no charge. Great bit of customer service by the staff there.

I then had my semi-annual dental exam in Kirkwood. My teeth were cleaned, and the dentist noted no problems with my teeth. I then celebrated with a mocha and coffee cake at Kaldi's Coffee (https://kaldiscoffee.com/) in downtown Kirkwood, before going home for lunch.

Before I go, two plugs for this weekend. First, I'll be in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday for TigerCon, a scale model contest presented by IPMS/Central Missouri Scale Modelers (http://www.cmsm-ipms.org/). I will join with several other IPMS/Gateway members to attend and support this show, which will be held at the Event Center of Hickman High School from 9 am to 2:45 pm. Hope to see you there.

Sunday night, I perform my first volunteer assignment at the Whittaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) (http://www.cinemastlouis.org/about-festival), which begins tonight. I will be at .ZACK in midtown St. Louis from 7 to 10 pm. I have four other SLIFF volunteer assignments: Tivoli Theatre, Thu., 9 November, 8 to 11:55 pm; Missouri History Museum, Sat., 11 Nov., 10:30 am to 3 pm; Winifred Moore Auditorium at Webster University, Sat., 11 Nov., 6:45 to 10:30 pm; and Brown Hall at Washington University, Sun., 12 Nov., 7 to 10 pm. Hope to see you there!


26 October 2017

Attending a Fundraising Barbecue, and Getting Car Repairs Done

I drove to Creve Coeur Airport (http://crevecoeurairport.com/) Saturday afternoon (21 October) to attend a fundraising barbecue being held by the Gateway Chapter of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (https://armyav.org/st-louis-missouri/). It was a really nice event, which was partly an open house for the Chapter. I was able to tour their hangar at the Airport, where a Bell UH-1H Iroquois (also known as a Huey) was being restored. The Chapter also has a Bell OH-58 they are restoring, which I also saw at the event. Besides those aircraft and a few others on display--including a Douglas EA-1E Skyraider--several classic cars and motorcycles were on display.

A few of my mates from the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) were there, and we sat together for a nice buffet-style dinner with barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs, and bratwursts. A cover band performed live music, and they had raffles and silent auctions at the event. Proceeds from this barbecue would going to restoring the Chapter's two helicopters.

Sunday afternoon found me at World Wide Technology Soccer Park, refereeing girls' matches. I had the middle on the first match of the set, and ran lines on the other two contests. Things generally went well.

Back to work Monday morning (23 October), and we had Marvin working in the morning to help me in cleaning and driving cars. This was most welcome, and we were able to stay ahead of things during the day. This week has gone well for us.

After work Tuesday night, I drove to Rick Keasey's house in Edwardsville for this month's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting. We planned next month's meeting and discussed other club business, especially a proposed revision to the club's Constitution and By-Laws. It looks like it will be ready to present to the membership rather soon. I also presented my proposed revisions in presentation for the club's monthly newsletter, which I am now editing. The board members attending agreed these pages looked good.

Off work today, I took my Corolla to Firestone Complete Auto Care (http://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/) in Mehlville early this morning to deal with some noise I've been hearing from the undersurface of the car in recent days. The mechanic told me it needed quite a bit of work: Replacing a front wheel rotor, replacing the brakes, and replacing all four tires. I decided to bite the bullet and have it done, which it was by midday. It will be quite a financial hit for me, but Mom assured me this means peace of mind for me. I agreed.

This afternoon, I drove to the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library (https://www.slcl.org/) in Oakville. It was the first time I've been there since renovations were completed last year. I walked through the library, getting to know the lay of the place, seeing where the books and other media were stacked. I also got a new library card; my previous one was lost. I noticed a few books I may want to check out of there in the coming weeks.