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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 (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) 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 (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) 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 (http://stlouligans.com/) in cheering on the home side. I was most disappointed as the Blues (http://blues.nhl.com/) 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 (http://www.sccmo.org/237/Airport---Smartt-Field) to visit the museum of the Missouri Wing, Commemorative Air Force (https://www.cafmo.org/). I wasn't visiting there alone, though; my friend Linsey Daman (http://singlesuccessfulceo.com/3601.html) (http://cacstlouis.com/) 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 (http://rednoseday.org/), a fundraiser for childrens' charities.

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

Later.




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 (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) 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 (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) Second Round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (http://www.ussoccer.com/lamar-hunt-us-open-cup) tie against AFC Cleveland of the National Premier Soccer League. I joined with the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/) 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 (http://www.uslsoccer.com/) 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 (http://circusflora.org/),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 (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. It featured a wrap up of the previous weekend's Spirit of St. Louis Airshow and STEM Expo (http://spirit-airshow.com/), 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 (http://singlesuccessfulceo.com/3601.html) (http://cacstlouis.com/) 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 (http://www.mmcl.org/). 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 (http://www.crmhobbies.com/). 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 (http://www.srihobbies.com/index.html), 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.

Later.







15 May 2016

Hectic Days and Nights

A week ago Saturday (7 May), after working that morning at the car rental branch, I was home to work on model kits on my workbench. Late that afternoon, I went to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills (http://smugalas.com/smugalassunsethills) for a beer, then to catch the Pub2Park shuttle bus to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park. I cheered on Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) against Swope Park Rangers, a match the home side won by 3 goals to nil. It was such a fun time.

This past week was a busy one for us at the car rental branch, with Monday morning (9 May) being very busy, even by Monday morning standards. I wonder how we could get things done, but we did.

I spent much of my free time these past few days working on some model kits I wanted done in time for this Tuesday's IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting, with the quarterly model contest. I had hopes to have up to three models to enter, but now I won't have any. One I had to set aside as being too complicated, a second has a ruined canopy (I have emailed the manufacturer for a replacement), and the third is now a no-go as a part has gone missing. Wow, I feel like such a chump.

Mom left town last Monday to visit my brother Doug and his family in Los Angeles for two weeks. I am taking care of things around the house in the meantime, such as mowing the lawns yesterday. For myself, I got a new battery for my laptop this past week. It has been nearly two years since I last bought a battery for the computer, and lately it has not been holding a charge. This new battery should work out very nice.

I worked yesterday morning at the car rental branch. Today, I spent the whole day at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield (http://spiritairport.com/spiritairport/index.jsp), which this weekend hosted the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow and STEM Expo (http://spirit-airshow.com/). I helped staff the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's booth (https://moavhist.org/). We passed out MOAHS business cards with info on the club, and bookmarks promoting the book on Lambert Airport our members worked on that is scheduled for release this November. I didn't spent much time outside the booth, so I didn't get to view the static displays much and none of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Expo, but I did see the aerial displays. They included both the US Navy's Blue Angels (https://www.blueangels.navy.mil/) and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds (http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/snowbirds/index.page), plus the US Air Force's F-22 Raptor, the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18, and some World War II era aircraft. I understand that the cooler and windier than normal weather on Saturday did dampen some enthusiasm, but that today's balmier weather increased visitors to our booth.

By the way, MOAHS meets again this Thursday night (19 May) at 7:00 pm at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/).

Looks like I'll be in Louisville this weekend for the Military Modelers Club of Louisville contest. More on that in my next post.

Later.

05 May 2016

A Hectic, But Satisfying Weekend

After a hard, but ultimately successful week of work at the car rental branch, I had quite a weekend. I spent some free time during Saturday (30 April) morning and early afternoon working on a couple of scale model kits. I'm looking to get them done in time for the contest at the May IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting in just under two weeks from now. In mid-afternoon, I headed to West County Center (http://www.shopwestcountycenter.com/) in Des Peres for the Greater St. Louis Book Fair (http://www.stlouisbookfair.org/). After a brief bit of shopping, where I bought two history books, I reported for a volunteer shift. Four about four hours, I helped count the merchandise customers had selected and supplying the totals per price range to the nearby cashier, and packing the items in bags or (in some cases) boxes. I found it wasn't as busy as at previous Book Fairs, perhaps due to the stormy weather that hit the area late in my shift. Still, it was most satisfying to helping out at this event.

Right after getting off my shift, I headed to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for Saint Louis FC's (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) match against Vancouver Whitecaps II. That was the plan; however, Mother Nature had other plans. Lightning in the vicinity postponed the match. After about a three-hour delay, the match was called off as it was clear that the lightning would not leave the area soon. It will be made up later this season. Hopefully, there won't be stormy weather this Saturday, when Saint Louis FC hosts Swope Park Rangers.

After a bit of sleep at home, I was up early the next morning (1 May) and heading for Six Flags St. Louis (https://www.sixflags.com/stlouis) in Eureka. There, I was a volunteer Course Marshal for the Roller Coaster Race (http://rollercoasterrace.com/), a 10 km and 5 km footrace through the theme park. After some difficulty, I found my station on the course just before the first runners came my way. I was there for about an hour, directing and encouraging the runners as they passed through my position. It was a lot of fun helping out at this event, with proceeds going to Operation Food Search (http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/), which helps provide food to the needy in the St. Louis area.

After my volunteer stint at Six Flags, I headed to the Kirkwood Community Center (http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/content/City-Departments/1856/community-center.aspx). There, I attended the Midwest Model Vehicle Association/St. Louis (MMVA/STL) (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/MMVAStLouis.html) Spring Contest and Swap Meet. IPMS/Gateway had a table there with two model car displays, and I chatted with club members there and elsewhere in the room. I also bought an aircraft model kit from one of the vendors before going home. The IPMS/Gateway display plugged the club's Invitational this September.

I spent more free time this past week working on those models. If all goes well, I will have three kits done to enter in the club contest.

Like quite a few people in and around St. Louis, I have been following the St. Louis Blues (http://blues.nhl.com) in the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Let's go Blues!

Tuesday afternoon (3 May), after flexing out of work, I went home and made contributions on Give STL Day (https://givestlday.org/). This was an effort on behalf of various non-profit organizations. The website was down, though, due to heavy traffic, so I ended up phoning in my contributions. This year, I pledged to: Viva Brasil STL (http://www.e.vivabrasilstl.org/home); Cinema St. Louis (cinemastlouis.org); Circus Flora (http://circusflora.org/); Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-st-louis-region-southwest-missouri); and, Saint Louis Power Soccer United (http://www.saintlouispowersoccerunited.org/).

Later.







28 April 2016

Evading Fake Bullets and Real Rain

One week ago tonight (21 April) found me at Creve Coeur Airport (http://www.crevecoeurairport.com/) for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting. The late Missouri aviator Gene Talbott was remembered, with his movies taken while serving as a McDonnell Douglas engineer during the Vietnam War were screened. They were silent films, but most interesting in showing carrier operations off Vietnam and the shore bases in South Vietnam and the Philippines. We also got an update on the Spirit of St. Louis Air Show and STEM Expo (http://spirit-airshow.com/) on 14-15 May. I am looking forward to that show.

Saturday morning (23 April) found me at Jefferson Barracks County Park (http://www.stlouisco.com/ParksandRecreation/ParkPages/JeffersonBarracks) in south St. Louis County for the annual World War II Weekend (http://2ndrangers.org/wwii_weekend.php). Hundreds of reinactors played American, German, British, Canadian, Australian, and Soviet troops. I came in time for a battle where these reinactors battled--shooting blanks, of course--in demonstrating how soldiers fought in World War II. After the battle, I toured the various encampments where the reinactors talked with visitors and displayed their uniforms, equipment, and weapons. It is always a most interesting time for this history buff.

That night, I was at Worldwide Technology Soccer Park (http://saintlouisfc.com/soccerpark) for the St. Louligans Trivia Night. I joined with others to answer various trivia questions while raising money for the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/) tailgate fund and the Soccer Park refurbishment. My team did very well, finishing second. After the trivia, we watched the Saint Louis FC away match at Sacramento Republic. (Saint Louis won, 1-0.) A very good night overall.

Back to work on Monday after a relaxing Sunday at home. Monday night, I was at home watching the St. Louis Blues (http://blues.nhl.com/) defeat the Chicago Blackhawks and advance in the NHL (https://www.nhl.com/) Stanley Cup Playoffs. Go Blues!

Around midday Tuesday (26 April), we got some stormy weather. Thunderstorms, a touch of hail, and winds battered our area. Fortunately, the worst passed Ellisville. After work, I drove to Rick Keasey's house in Edwardsville for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) business meeting, where we planned next month's meeting and discussed club business. A lot of driving that day.

This morning on my day off, workers came to the house to replace the mattresses on my and my mom's beds. The old mattress was badly in need of replacement, and the new one should work out very well for years to come.

I have a busy weekend ahead, starting with volunteering Saturday afternoon at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair (http://stlouisbookfair.org/) at West County Center. I'm also volunteering at Sunday morning's Roller Coaster Race at Six Flags St. Louis (http://rollercoasterrace.com/races/st-louis-mo-10k-5k-six-flags/). More on all that in my next post.

Later






21 April 2016

"Who are we?" "S-T-L!"

I kept hard at work at the car rental branch late last week, including Saturday morning (16 April). The latter was one of the calmer Saturdays I've been working at the branch--not that many rentals, not that many vehicles to clean and park. It went smoothly, needless to say.

That night, I drove to Smugala's Pizza Pub in Sunset Hills (http://smugalas.com/smugalassunsethills), where--after having a beer--I got aboard the Pub2Park shuttle bus that took me to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park for the Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) home opener against Tulsa Hurricanes. I was part of a sellout crowd of just over 5500--myself joining in the chants of the St. Louligans (http://stlouligans.com/)--but the match ended in a 0-0 draw. Still, it was great fun and I'm looking forward to many more great matches this season.

The next morning (17 April), I was at Sportport (http://www.sportportintl.com/) in Maryland Heights to referee two under 10 boys league matches. These are 8-a-side, on a smaller field with 25-minute halves. It was my first matches since last fall and I did feel a bit rusty at first, but overall things went well.

After the matches, I drove to Shameless Grounds (http://shamelessgrounds.com/) in St. Louis' Benton Park neighborhood for the Sex Positive STL Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/Sex-Positive-St-Louis/). After lunch there--I had the Chauvinist Pig sandwich of ham, pulled pork, and bacon--the meetup had a discussion of Autism & Dating, with a certified analyst and a group member with Asperger's syndrome (like me) leading the discussion. It was very interesting and I got much out of it. The analyst invited me to contact me about how he could work with me to help me out in the social sector, and I plan to take him up on that.

Work this week has been good, and busy. Plenty to keep me occupied, for sure.

After work on Tuesday (19 April), I headed to Calvary Presbyterian Church (http://calvarypresbyterianchurch.org/) in Mehlville for the IPMS/Gateway (http://www.ipms-gateway.com/) meeting. Rick Keasey gave a demo on making display cases, and we had our Model of the Month "Beauty Contest."

On my off day today, I visited the IKEA store in midtown St. Louis (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/st_louis/indexPage) for the first time. I was most impressed by the place, with the size, variety and quantity of home furnishings available for purchase. I bought a couple of small items--a lazy susan for use on my model workbench, and a small picture frame--and had a nice lunch in their restaurant. Plenty to see there and I hope to be back in the near future.

After that, I went by CRM Hobbies (http://www.crmhobbies.com/) in south St. Louis, where I bought some filler putty and a small armor kit, which I hope to finish by next month's IPMS/Gateway meeting. I also have three other kits in progress, and I hope to have them all done next month.

Off to the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) meeting tonight. More on that--and this weekend's world War II Weekend at Jefferson Barracks County Park--in my next post.

Later.


14 April 2016

A Night at the Science Center

Had more productive times the past few days at work. Working hard along with my colleagues, including two new management trainees who just joined the Ellisville branch. They will be strong additions to our location.

Got some scale modeling done the past few days, including work on two aircraft kits. I hope to have one of them done by the IPMS/Gateway (http://ipms-gateway.com) meeting next month, when a contest will be held.

After work last night, I headed to the Saint Louis Science Center (http://www.slsc.org/) for Missouri Aviation Historical Society (https://moavhist.org/) Night. i arrived at about 6:50 pm, so I missed the lecture that started the program, but I did join with others in visiting the Center's current exhibit "Above and behind," which I toured two weeks ago. After some time there, we went to the Omnimax Theater to watch the film "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" (http://www.fighterpilotfilm.com/), which came out 12 years ago. It was a thrilling look at a US Air Force fighter pilot taking part in a Red Flag training exercise in Nevada. I--and other viewers--felt we were flying along on these missions. A very nice night.

Off work today, I had my semi-annual visit with my dentist. Good news: All is well with my teeth. Got lunch and did a bit of shopping before coming home, where I finished doing my laundry and rested.

Looking forward to the Saint Louis FC (http://saintlouisfc.com/landing/index) home opener this Saturday night. I will let you know how that goes in my next post here.

Later.