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23 April 2017

Interests Meetings and Honors for My Writing

Work this past week was good. Monday (17 April) was the last day at Ellisville for our manager, Justin, who became manager of our Florissant branch. It was hard to see him go, what with the great job he did, but am happy for him moving on in the firm. Justin told me he was very appreciative of my work with him and the Ellisville branch these past few months. We should get a new branch manager in the coming week.

After work Tuesday night, I was at Calvary Presbyterian Church ( for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( general meeting. This meeting featured a demo by Marion Morris on removing mold seams from aircraft canopies, which I found most informative. We also had our Model of the Month "Beauty Contest."

Off work on Thursday (20 April), I stopped by Dierbergs ( in Creve Coeur to get some miniature cupcakes. I took one package of these treats to the Enterprise ( branch in Creve Coeur as a belated thanks to Scott for filling in at Ellisville recently and for Miranda recently passing the Management Qualification Interview (MQI). They greatly appreciated my gesture. I took the other miniature cupcakes over to our Chesterfield branch, where they were also warmly received.

That night, I was at Creve Coeur Airport ( for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( meeting. Steve Dobronski, a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, was the guest speaker. He's currently F-15/F-18 Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) global product manager at Boeing ( and Dobronski spoke about improvements to the F-15 Eagle in recent years. It was a most fascinating presentation, complete with PowerPoint slides and video of F-15s in an air combat training exercise.

Since this past Friday was pay day, I stopped by Krispy Kreme ( in Fenton on the way to work and bought a douzen doughnuts for my Ellisville colleagues. This was greatly appreciated by Assistant Manager Cayla and Management Trainee Lauren. It got hectic the last couple of hours, but we got our customers most satisfied.

Yesterday, I was at the St. Louis Artists' Guild ( in Clayton for the Missouri Professional Communicators ( Spring Connect Luncheon. The event began with greetings and tastings of wines from the Missouri Grape and Wine Board (, followed by a buffet lunch. This was followed by brief remarks by MPC President Janice Denham and by Kathryn Nahorski of the St. Louis Artists' Guild. The featured speaker was former St. Louis television reporter Betsey Bruce, who retired last December after 46 years with Channels 4 and 2. Bruce spoke on "The Growing Conflict Between Journalism and Social Media," and it was quite a fascinating speech. She also took a few questions from the audience.

Then, Denham returned to the lecturn to present the awards for the 2017 MPC Communications Contest. There were entries submitted by 11 MPC members, including myself, and all three of my entries were honored. Two press releases I wrote and disseminated for IPMS/Gateway last year were recognized in the News or Feature Release--Single Release category. I took First Place for my release announcing the IPMS/Gateway Invitational Model Contest and Swap Meet last September, and Second Place for my release on the club's donation to Toys for Tots last December. The judges praised my releases for being succinct and kept to one page each.

I also earned Second Place in the Feature Story--Magazine, Newsletter, or Other Non-Newspaper Print Publication category for my piece on Missouri aviator Charles Morley, which ran in last year's edition of Middle Marker, the journal of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society. The judges noted that it was a very interesting article about a local hero, and that the pictures helped tell the story of Morley's tragic death.

I was most humbled and honored to receive this recognition from my peers. This was my first entry in this contest. I should tell you that I am the only male member of MPC, and the judges were all females within the organization. That First Place entry is also going on to the Communications Contest of MPC's affiliate, the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), with results to be announced later this year.

I wanted to go to a bar to celebrate, but one was not open yet and the other was packed with hockey fans following the St. Louis Blues' playoff game that afternoon. (The Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild in overtime to win the first round NHL Stanley Cup series.) I settled for St. Louis Bread Co. ( in Brentwood, where I treated myself to a frozen mocha drink.

After I got home, I changed clothes and headed to Smugala's Pizza Pub ( in Sunset Hills, where I caught the Pub2Park but to Toyota Stadium and Saint Louis FC's ( match against Charlotte Independence. I took in the St. Louligans ( tailgate in the parking lot before marching in with them to the stadium. Unfortunately, an early lead by the home side did not stand, as Charlotte won the match, 2-1.

Home now, with youth soccer games to officiate tonight.


16 April 2017

Easter 2017

A week ago last night (8 April) found me at Toyota Stadium of World Wide Technology Soccer Park for the Saint Louis FC ( match against defending United Soccer League ( champion New York Red Bulls II. I went early to take in the nice tailgate put on by the St. Louligans (, then marched into the stadium with them. Saint Louis FC took an early lead before Red Bulls II surged ahead, then the home side retook the lead to stay with two late goals. We St. Louligans were a most happy group that night when all was said and done.

After a relaxing time at home the following day, I went to Fox High School in Arnold to officiate two youth matches early that night. Both matches went well for myself and my crew.

Back to work Monday (10 April), and we at the rental branch kept things moving positively. I flexed out Tuesday afternoon, as I would work the following Saturday morning. My off day Thursday (13 April) saw me help out in the yard a bit, until the lawn mower suddenly stopped and I could not restart it. I may look to get it looked at later this week.

Friday morning, I received word from my manager Justin that he has been promoted to manage our Florissant branch, starting early this week. I congratulated him on this move, and he thanked me in advance for my help during the time he's been at Ellisville.

After work yesterday morning, I went to West County Center ( I ate lunch in the food court (specifically, from Mandalay Asian Cuisine), then shopped at Barnes & Noble ( Taking advantage of a 20 percent off coupon, I bought the book "The Marne, 1914" by Holger H. Herwig, about the World War I battle. Started reading it and it's most interesting so far.

Easter was spent at home, apart from this morning's service at Calvary Presbyterian Church ( On the way home from church, I ordered pizzas from Cecil Whittaker's Pizzeria ( to take home for lunch with Mom. After lunch, Mom served a Easter tradition here, a lamb cake. (No mutton, though; it's pound cake baked in a lamb-shaped mold, with white icing and coconut.) I spent the afternoon and early evening watching "The Great War," ( the American Experience three-part film from last week, off my DVR. A most interesting series on the US and World War I.


08 April 2017

Soccer and Voting--No Fooling

After working at the rental branch last Saturday morning (1 April), I came home to relax. Late that afternoon, I headed to Smugala's Pizza Pub ( There, I had a beer before catching the Pub2Park shuttle bus to World Wide Technology Soccer Park and that night's Saint Louis FC ( home opener against Ottawa Fury FC. After arriving at the Park, I joined in the St. Louligans ( tailgate party in the parking lot.

We marched into Toyota Stadium as a group for the match, which Saint Louis FC won 3-2. The home side scored two early goals to take the lead, then Ottawa pulled one back, then leveled it late in the match. Saint Louis FC won it two minutes from full time. We St. Louligans were one most happy bunch. Saint Louis FC hosts defending USL Champions New York Red Bulls II tonight. Should be a dandy match.

The next day (2 April), I went to Fox High School to officiate three youth soccer matches. My middle came in the second match, in under 14 boys. The matches all went well.

Back at work on Monday, this past week has gone well at our branch. We kept busy and kept our customers satisfied.

After work Tuesday (4 April), I drove to ROC Ministries ( in Mehlville to cast my vote in the St. Louis County election. I voted for Proposition P, a sales tax increase to help police forces in the county. (It passed.) I also cast votes for the Mehlville school board and Mehlville Fire Protection District directors. I was disappointed that City of St. Louis voters defeated Proposition 2, which would have provided sales tax money for a soccer stadium. I'm afraid this will end the ope of St. Louis getting an MLS franchise.

It was movie night right after work on Wednesday. I headed to the Marcus Wehrenberg Des Peres 14 Cine ( to watch a revival screening of the 1959 classic "North by Northwest." This was part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series, presented by Fathom Events (, which brings classic movies back to cinemas--the way they were meant to be seen. There were about 30 to 35 people in the theater with me. It was the first time I saw "North by Northwest" in this way (the previous times were on TV or DVD), and it was great to watch. There are more Big Screen Classics coming this year--"The Graduate" is later this month--and I look forward to seeing them.

Relaxing at home this afternoon, apart from helping some family friends remove some of my late father's woodworking supplies from our basement. I did some shopping and errands this morning.


30 March 2017

Refereeing, Work, and a Work Video

Work at the branch last Friday (24 March) went very well. It was hard work making sure the vehicles were ready to go, but satisfying when they were rented out and our customers were most satisfied.

Relaxed at home on Saturday. The next day, I was at Kolping Fields in south St. Louis County to officiate youth soccer matches. The three matches I worked with my crew went well.

Back at work on Monday (26 March) and the work week has been quite well so far. After flexing out Tuesday afternoon, I went to the company's administrative center in Overland to watch a new vehicle inspection video. I and four others viewed the 11-minute video on vehicle inspection procedures. This was a good refresher for me, knowing what to look for and how to go about it.

That night, I was at Marion Morris' house for this month's IPMS/Gateway ( business meeting. We planned next month's general and business meetings, and discussed other club business. By the way, I did not get the Regional Coordinator position I applied for a few weeks ago. That's fine, though; it was a good learning experience.

Back to work yesterday, with a thin staff. Our assistant manager has been out sick since Tuesday Still, we got it done in good order.

Off work today, I took care of my laundry and deposited some money in my credit union account. Off to dinner with Mom later today.

This Saturday is the home opener for Saint Louis FC (, against Ottawa Fury FC. Looking forward to it, especially in joining the St. Louligans ( in rooting for the home side! By the way, the St. Louis Cardinals ( open their season Sunday night at home, against the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.


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 ( 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 ( 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.


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 ( for dinner at Fritanga Nicaraguan Restaurant ( 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 ( contest this month. Sunday (12 March) found me at World Wide Technology Soccer Park ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( on Dorsett in Maryland Heights. There, Saint Louis FC ( 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 ( for this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society ( 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 ( 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 ( 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.


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 ( 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 ( Invitational.

My off day today started with a trip to Jiffy Lube ( 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. ( for a coffee and pastry. After that, I walked to the nearby Great Clips ( 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.