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21 May 2015

Witnessing Action on the Pitch and the Table

It's definitely late spring here in St. Louis, as the sunny days and warmer temperatures attest. There was good weather for me and my colleagues to service our customers. Still plenty of traffic, due to last month's hail storm and the backlog at the repair facilities. And that's with summer vacation driving season starting this weekend.

It was a warm, humid day last Sunday (17 May) as I was at Seckman High School in Imperial, Missouri to referee some youth soccer matches. The first of the three-game set was my middle, an under-12 girls' match, and I had to send off a player for denying her opponent a goal scoring opportunity. This occurred early in the second half, with the fouling player's team ahead, but the other team rallied back to win. I made out the report that night and sent it to the league office.

I got my 1:48 scale Mosquito model completed Tuesday afternoon (19 May) and entered it in the contest at that night's IPMS/Gateway meeting in Mehlville, Missouri. (I flexed out of work early that afternoon, since I am working this Saturday morning.) The contest was the second of four to determine our Modeler of the Year. I didn't place--realistically, I didn't think it would do well against the other entries--but at least I got a model done, so I get a point for entering. I helped judge the other contest categories and there were some real nice entries. More on the club here:

After work last night, I headed to Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Missouri for a second round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tie between Saint Louis FC and Des Moines Menace. It was a chilly, damp night, but myself and most attendees came home happy as Saint Louis FC won 2-1 after extra time. The home side advances to host Minnesota United this Wednesday in the third round. More info here: In my section of the stands, I joined in the chants generated a few feet away by the St. Louigans, a local soccer supporters group with a great presence at Saint Louis FC matches. For more on this group, check out

I'll be off this Monday, as our branch will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday. They'll be soccer to referee and watch on Sunday. More on that in my next post. Also, next Thursday (28 May), I'll do my first volunteer shift for Circus Flora and its new season. More info here:


14 May 2015

A Whirlwind of Activity

Work has sure kept me busy of late. Our branch is still taking care of many customers, including many who have their vehicles in the shop due to last month's hailstorm. It's been hectic at times, but we're doing very well.

Saturday night (9 May) found me at Worldwide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for Saint Louis FC's match against Wilmington Hammerheads. A threat of rain kept the attendance down a bit, but those who came saw Saint Louis prevail 1-0 on an 82 minute goal. More info on the club here:

The next afternoon, I was officiating youth matches at Fox High School in Arnold. The weather was sunny for the first two matches I worked, including my middle in the first match of the set. However, conditions worsened during the final match of the day, and lightning struck some distance from our field, followed soon after by rain, just as the first half ended. After waiting out the storm for a few minutes, we ended up abandoning the match.

I have been working lately on two scale models I'm hoping to complete in time for this Tuesday's IPMS/Gateway meeting and the model contest there. Here's the club's website:

Speaking of scale modeling, I registered online last Sunday for the upcoming IPMS/USA National Convention in Columbus, Ohio in late July. I'm looking forward to this event.


08 May 2015

Into May 2015

Last Saturday afternoon (2 May), I did co-host the monthly online radio program Writer's Block, from ANCA Radio Shows, Autistic People and streamed through Blog Talk Radio. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed fictional languages in writing on this show, such as Vulcan from "Star Trek." It is now available on archive here:

After that, I was at West County Center in Town and Country, Missouri to volunteer at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair. This was an annual charity used book sale, with proceeds benefitting education and literacy programs in Metro St. Louis. I worked a 3.5 hour shift as a cashier, and rang up quite a few customers. I did a bit of shopping before and after my shift, getting four books in the process. This book fair returns the same time next year. You can get more info, including donating items for next year's fair, here:

I relaxed on that Sunday, doing a bit of work on my model workbench with a couple of models I'm hoping to finish for IPMS/Gateway's contest on 19n May. I also went to the Kirkwood (Mo.) Community Center for the Midwest Model Vehicle Association/St. Louis (MMVA/STL) semi-annual car model contest and swap meet. IPMS/Gateway had a table there with a couple of car-related group entries we've done and some info on the IPMS/USA Region 5 Convention we're hosting on 12 September 2015. I saw a few familiar faces and admired some nice car models and items on the vendor tables. More info on MMVA/STL here:

Work continued to be busy, with quite a few customers renting from us--many still needing to get their vehicles repairs after last month's hail storm. It's all good, though.

After flexing out on Tuesday afternoon (5 May), I was home and relaxed some before going to the IPMS/St. Louis meeting at Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles, Mo. I showed off my three most recent models and discussed the hobby with the other three in attendance, including a first-time attendee. We had a very nice meeting, I thought. More info on IPMS/St. Louis is found here:

On my off-day Thursday (7 May), I got my hair cut at Great Clips, got my hair colored at home, and went to Crown Vision Center for my annual eye exam. My eyes are fine, and there was no need to replace my glasses at this time. That night, I joined seven others from the South/SW STL County Social Club Meetup at Pi Pizzeria in Kirkwood for dinner. It was my first time at that restaurant and we all had a good time in each other's company there. The food was very good--I enjoyed some good deep dish and thin crust pizza and a salad. Definitely recommend Pi, which has several St. Louis area locations. More info on that on their website:

Relaxing at home now after another busy Friday at work, allowing me to write this post. I'll be working in the morning and cheering on Saint Louis FC that night. More in my next post.


02 May 2015

Another Hectic Week to Usher in May

A week ago Thursday night (23 April) found me and other Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS) board members at Wise Media in Fenton for a meeting with some of Wise's staff. The MoAHS board presented info about our group, its mission, and where it intends to go forward to Wise Media people, and the hosts talked about how they could help the Society in expanding its public presence. A very productive meeting, I thought. More on the Society here:

Work continued to most busy for me at the car rental branch, as we continued working with many customers whose vehicles were damaged in the hail storm three and a half weeks ago. My colleagues and I have pressed ahead and fulfilled these customers' requests, putting in extra efforts at times to get the job done.

I was back at Fox High School in Arnold last Sunday (26 April) to officiate two boys' soccer matches. They went well, including an under 17 boys' contest I refereed. Those teams weren't the most skillful, but I kept the play going and kept a good lid on problems.

The IPMS/Gateway business meeting came here on Tuesday night (28 April), and all the board members attended along with one other club member. We planned the May general and business meetings and discussed club business. Not much needed discussion, and we were done in about an hour. More on the club here:

I went to dinner Thursday night at Pho Manchester, a Vietnamese/Chinese/Thai restaurant in Ballwin, Missouri. This event was with the Dine Out on a Dime Meetup group. We had a good crowd from our group there. This was my first time at this restaurant and with Vietnamese cuisine, and it was a pleasant experience. I had the Goi Cuon spring rolls as an appetizer, followed by Pho Tai, a beef slice noodle soup. I definitely recommend Pho Manchester.

While I was eating, I was getting my computer scanned using FixMe Stick, a virus removal device I had ordered and received in the mail that day. It took about eight hours, but the stick found some malware and viruses on my computer, which were removed. My computer now starts up quicker and runs better. More information on FixMe Stick here:

After I post, I co-host this month's Writer's Block from ANCA Radio Shows, Autistic People. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discuss fictional languages in writing. Check it out live at Noon, Central Time (10 am, Pacific Time/1800 hours GMT), or catch the archived show later. Here's the show link: Later today, I put in a volunteer shift (3:30 to 7 pm, Central Time) at the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, an annual used book sale benefitting education and literacy programs. The event began Thursday night and runs through tomorrow (Sunday, 3 May). Hope to see you there! More info at:


23 April 2015

Some Rain Falls; Busy Work Week

One week ago today (16 April), I was at Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS) meeting. They presented--one month late--a program on the 75th anniversary of the Curtiss-Wright CW-20/C-46 Commando transport. The CW-20 prototype first flew from St. Louis' Lambert Field and some C-46s were produced in St. Louis. It was a nice program to give well-deserved attention to an aircraft somewhat neglected by aviation fans. You can learn more at the MoAHS website:

Work has been busy the past few days, due to the hailstorm two weeks ago. It was a scramble at times, but we're getting our customers taken care of with rentals while their vehicles were being repaired. It could be quite interesting the next few days as the customers return their rentals to us, but we'll be ready.

I was at the Worldwide Technology Soccer Park on Saturday night to see Saint Louis FC play Rochester Rhinos in USL action. Rochester won the match 1-0, and the visitors had the run of play, although the home side did give it their best shot. Rain over the weekend cancelled the games I was to have refereed on Sunday afternoon (19 April), but at least I could do some more work on my model workbench. I'm nearing completion on three models for the May IPMS/Gateway contest.

IPMS/Gateway's April meeting was last Tuesday night (21 April), and we had a good turnout of people and models for the "Beauty Contest" (36 entries). More on the club here:

On my off day today, I took my car to the repair shop for a tune-up, then dropped off some magazines as donations to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair later this month. I also mowed the back and front lawns and ran for a bit before lunch. Nice day to be out today.


16 April 2015

Keeping Busy and Awake; Twins Arive

Last Sunday night (12 April), I was at the Eclipse Restaurant of the Moonrise Hotel, located in the Delmar Loop area of University City, Missouri. I joined others from the St. Louis Space Frontier Meetup Group in celebrating Yuri's Night, commemorating Yuri Gagarin being the first human in space on that date in 1961. We enjoyed a nice dinner and played a game of spaceflight trivia before doing upstairs to the open-air lounge on the roof. We had good weather and enjoyed seeing the sights of the Loop.

I was at work earlier than usual the next morning, to help the branch get a jump start on a busy day. This whole week has kept us hopping, with much demand for our vehicles from customers getting their vehicles repaired from the previous week's hail storm. We have a handle on the situation and have gotten through the week just fine.

All this work and thinking about many things have been making it hard for me to sleep enough this week. I was very for this off day today, so I can catch up with some rest. I also got some materials for my hobby workbench. In recent days, I also did some trials with my new airbrush, including spraying some distilled water through it today so I can get a better feel for the airbrush. It looks like this will work out great for me.

Last night, got the great news that my brother Doug and his wife Helen are now parents of twin boys. I texted my congratulations to Doug. The boys and mother are doing well.

Off to this month's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting tonight at Creve Coeur Airport, where they will try again to celebrate the history of the Curtiss C-46 Commando. (Computer problems postponed the program from last month.) More at


12 April 2015

Easter, Family, Hail, Erik Larson, and Soccer

This past week was quite eventful, to say the least. I celebrated Easter last Sunday (5 April), and went to the airport with my mom that afternoon to pick up my brother Brian and his children, Rowan and Fischer. They flew in from New York for a few days here. It was great seeing them and seeing how much Brian's two children have grown since I last saw them about 3 years ago. My mom saw them more, since I was at work much of the time they were here.

After flexing out of work on Tuesday afternoon (7 April), I cast my vote in the municipal election, then met with Mom, Brian and the children at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. I enjoyed a concrete there with them (they had visited the City Museum earlier that day), and then I came by CRM Hobbies to pick up an airbrush I ordered a few days before.

The next morning at work, the morning sky turned dark and we got hit by some hail the size of marbles, followed by thunderstorms. There was only one vehicle on our lot, so we put it in the cleaning bay right away; however, a couple of others returned by customers did sustain hail damage needing repair. Not many of our vehicles got hit, but we're working hard to make sure our customers are taken care of. This week promises to be most busy for us.

After work Wednesday night, I drove to The Heights in Richmond Heights for this month's St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA) meeting. The meeting for this group of local authors and publishers featured a presentation on editing. (One of the presenters was Janette Lonsdale, a content strategist I have known for some time and for who I have performed some proofreading work.) It was very interesting and confirmed much of what I try to tell people skeptical of my services. You can find out more about the SLPA on their website:

Off work Thursday (9 April), I traveled to St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood to join Mom, Brian and the kids for some playtime and lunch before Brian and the children caught their flight back to New York. Rowan and Fischer said their goodbyes to me. I think all three had a good time in St. Louis.

That night, I drove to the Ethical Society of St. Louis in Ladue for a lecture and book signing by best-selling author Erik Larson. I have read three of his earlier works--"Isaac's Storm," "The Devil in the White City," and "In the Garden of Beasts." Larson was talking that night about his just-released book "Dead Wake," about the final Atlantic crossing of the British ocean liner Lusitania 100 years ago next month. His informative and witty lecture was attended by about 300 people (my guess), followed by a question-and-answer session and the signing of his book. Larson signed my copy of "Dead Wake" and I left the building. He's one of my favorite authors for his great knack of writing history books that read like novels, and that tell me something about people and events I thought I knew. You can read more about Larson and his books here:

Last night, I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for Saint Louis FC's home opener, vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds. After walking around the stadium, I settled in my seat to watch the match. It ended a 1-1 draw, before a full house. I was so happy to walk out of the stadium, knowing we have pro soccer (football) back in St. Louis. For more on this team, visit their website:

This morning, I was back at the Soccer Park to serve as assistant referee for a Midwest Development League under 15 boys match. It was a rather intense contest between St. Louis Scott Gallagher--Missouri and Sockers FC Chicago, which ended in a scoreless draw. I felt pretty good, despite not having much sleep the night before and not having worked a match at this level for some time.