28 December 2012

Happy Days: Starting New Job, and Christmas

I started with the car rental firm on Thursday morning, 20 Dec., with orientation at their HR office. I just over one hour, myself and three other new hires (including one who's also working at my location) filled out paperwork, went over company policies, and were issued company shirts and beanies. We also got our first work assignments. The weather was OK that morning; not so much that afternoon, causing postponement of that night's Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting.

I was at the rental location in west St. Louis County by 7:30 am to start my work. I learned from my supervisor about cleaning the cars: taking them to a nearby car wash, if necessary, then vacuuming and wiping the interior before putting them on our lot ready to rent. I was there until early that afternooon. So far, so good.

I was at Christian Academy in Maryland Heights for five futsal games the next afternoon (22 Dec.). I had one game that got real contentious and needed real close watch, but the rest of the contests were fine. After coming home to shower and change, I was at Del Miller's house in south St. Louis County for his annual Christmas party. It was a fine time, seeing several mates from IPMS/St. Louis and others Del knows. Several attendees congratulated me on the new job and we had plenty to eat and drink.

After a rather low key Christmas Eve (including an evening church service at Calvary), Christmas Day was quite nice. I was most pleasantly surprised to receive a NOOK HD reader from my brothers. It wasn't on my wish list, but it was most appreciated. After a hitch in getting signed on with this tablet, it has been working real good. I've already downloaded a few book samples and two books to it. I also received four DVDs on my wish list; "Help!" (1965), "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), "The Piano" (1993), and "Von Ryan's Express" (1965). My parents' friend Cindy Strohm came for the day and helped prepare a delicious turkey dinner for us.

Early the next morning, I was on the job at the car rental place, doing my work cleaning and prepping cars, plus occasionally picking up and dropping off rental customers. It was a full day (with lunch break), and I did the same yesterday.

Back at the job this afternoon, then at the IPMS/Gateway business meeting tonight.

This is likely my last blog post of 2012, so in case I don't post here sooner, Happy New Year!


19 December 2012

A Great Christmas Gift Arriving Early

I received great news last Monday (17 Dec.) about a job. More on that later.

Last Friday morning (14 Dec.), I was at Gravois Bluffs Shopping Center in Fenton with my fellow IPMS/Gateway member, Tom Bogacki. We presented our $400 check to the US Marine Corps Reserve for their Toys for Tots campaign in Metro St. Louis. Our club has raised funds to donate to Toys for Tots annually since 1990, and I know the Marines really appreciated our efforts. I got word out on our donation to IPMS/USA and to local media, although our happy news was overshadowed by the tragedy in Connecticut that same morning.

I was refereeing soccer and futsal the next day, starting with running lines on two National Premier League (NPL) girls' matches at the Soccer Park that afternoon. It went rather well, with no incidents for our crew to deal with. That night, I was at Creve Coeur Racquet Club for four youth futsal matches. The next afternoon found me at GameTime in St. Peters for four more futsal matches.

Late Monday afternoon, I received a phone call from the auto rental firm I had interviewed with six days before (Tue., 11 Dec.). They called to offer me the customer service job, as a part-time vehicle service agent. Basically, I'd be cleaning up, topping up and preparing rental vehicles for their next customers. I accepted right away, and the human resource person told me to report for orientation Thursday morning (20 Dec.). I'm really looking forward to getting started with this job, and we'll see what happens from there.

I was in a very good mood that night when I was at the Eastern Missouri Soccer Referee Association (EMSRA) party at d. Dooley's 026 Grill in Fenton. A bunch of us referees were there, and we had a fun time socializing, eating and drinking.

Early next morning, I took my Corolla to the dealership for an oil change and service check. The technician recommended some other service--some of more higher priority--and I went with some now and others will wait for early next year. After I got home, I finished up my Christmas shopping for the family. That night, IPMS/Gateway held its monthly meeting at Calvary Presbyterian Church. We had elections for next year's officers--I was re-elected vice president--and we had our annual model kit recognition contest, which I scored very well at.

This morning, I attended the Job Readiness Training meeting at MERS-Goodwill. It was my last one, since I found work, but I was able to provide inspiration for my fellow job seekers. This afternoon, I began in earnest getting out my Christmas newsletter (which I send in lieu of Christmas cards) to family and friends. I was mailing out those that could only be sent by U.S. Mail today; the rest of the list can be handled via e-mail.


13 December 2012

A Ray of Hope Before Christmas

Last Friday afternoon (7 Dec.), I had a phone screen interview with a car rental firm for a part time customer service job. The interview ran for about 10 minutes, and went real well. I was then invited to interview for this position at their west St. Louis County facility the following Tuesday morning. More on that later.

Saturday night, I was at the May Center of DePaul Health Center for the IPMS/Gateway banquet. I brought in the awards to be presented that night and took money for some attendees that did not pay at the meeting. I also introduced our speaker, Daniel Alwine, a World War II US Army Air Forces radio and gunnery instructor who worked as an engineer at McDonnell Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas) after the war. He was a very engaging speaker and his address was very well received by the audience.

The weekend was rather quiet, although I did gather some info on the firm I was interviewing with on Tuesday (11 Dec.). The day before, meeting with my career advisor, we went over questions likely to come up and how to respond to them, as well as questions I should ask. The interview went real well, I think. I should hear back as early as tomorrow (Friday) on this one and I could start work (should I get this job, of course) as soon as next week. Fingers crossed.

That night, I was at the marketing firm Switch for GO! Network's after hours networking for life. It's the first of planned monthly networking events after work hours at a different location in the metro area each month. Not much happened for me at this one, although I did get a lead on a job opening.

Wednesday afternoon, I was at the Missouri National Guard base at Jefferson Barracks, photographing an F-4E Phantom II fighter serving as a gate guard. I took a bunch of photos of the aircraft, which I plan to use for an article I want to write on this particular aircraft. That afternoon and evening, I proofread copy for an IT firm's brochure.

Today, I was at the Missouri History Museum for a News at Noon seminar, presented by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. This program talked about the challenges of covering religion in newspapers and news websites. It was an interesting program, I thought.


06 December 2012

Strangely Warm for the Start of December

Rick, Melissa and Alex headed back home Friday (30 Nov.) after spending Thanksgiving with us. They had a real fine time here, and we (my parents and I) really enjoyed their presence for Thanksgiving. The next day (1 Dec.) was sunny and surprisingly warm (temperatures hitting the low 70s F). I drove up to GameTime Sports in St. Peters late that morning for my first futsal refereeing of the 2012-13 season. A scheduling mixup delayed my games by over 30 minutes, but my partner and I got our three games in pretty well. The first match (these were under 14 boys) was rather contentious, but the other two went much calmer.

After my games, I drove to the University City Library for the initial meeting of the STL Aspies Meetup group. There were seven of us there, just getting acquainted. Most of us then went to Fitz's a couple of blocks away for dinner. That was most enjoyable; it was also my first time at Fitz's.

Up early the next morning (Sun., 2 Dec.), I was running lines on two Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) girls matches at the Soccer Park. It was unseasonably warm, getting to about 75 degrees F (24 degrees C) by the time the last game ended. These games went well.

Monday afternoon saw me meet my job search counselor at MERS Goodwill, and we discussed some firms I should look at for part time work. I was supposed to be on that night's Naturally Autistic Radio show, but the host emailed me that afternoon to say my time was moved up an hour from what I was slotted to be on when I agreed to this interview two weeks ago. I could not change plans that quickly and did not do the interview.

At the GO! Network workshop the next morning (4 Dec.), I took in a speaker's program on how to generate a strong, positive first impression. It was quite nice. That night, I was at the Thornhill Branch Library for the IPMS/St. Louis meeting. Before this meeting, I and several others in the club put models into the library's lobby display case, where they will be for the rest of December.

Back at MERS Goodwill Wednesday morning for a job readiness training session, I heard about illegal interview questions and how to deal with them. I also started to apply to some part time jobs. This afternoon, I was contacted by one of those firms, wanting to call me for a screening interview. That will take placed tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. Wish me luck!

Back to scale modeling, I've been working on a kit recently: Monogram's 1:48 scale Mosquito. I'm doing this as a B Mk IV bomber, out of the box. I should have this done by the February 2013 IPMS/Gateway meeting, with its Out of the Box contest.


29 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 with Family, and Futsal Starts Soon

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday with family (more on that later), I didn't post last week. So, here's my best try to catch up.

Friday the 16th, I worked the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) at Plaza Frontenac Cinema. I helped staff the volunteer desk, and watched a French language Canadian film, "Sense of Humor," a dark comedy involving two touring comedians and a serial killer. Rather enjoyable, actually. SLIFF ended the following Sunday night (18 Nov.) with a party at the Contemporary Art Museum in midtown St. Louis. Rather interesting event, as the awards were announced. You can get a wrap up of SLIFF at www.cinemastlouis.org.

That weekend (17-18 Nov.), I refereed youth soccer--the last weekend of the fall outdoor season. The games were at the Scott Gallagher Complex that Saturday and the Soccer Park that Sunday. No problems with these contests. After the Sunday games, I headed right away to Robert R. Hermann Stadium for SLU's NCAA tournament second round match with Fairleigh Dickinson. Unfortunately, SLU lost 2-1 in extra time to end their season. It was a fine year overall, although disappointing in how it ended.

Back-to-back Monday nights (19 and 26 Nov.) found me at referee clinics. The first of these was the in-service outdoor clinic, where we went over the Laws of the Game changes for this season and other points of emphasis. I also got my 2013 referee patch, having proved I paid my registration fee and passed the written and fitness tests. The second one was the futsal recertification clinic, which also went over the Law changes and points of emphasis. Having passed the test and paid my registration, I also got my new futsal patch. The new season starts this Saturday, and I have three games.

My brother Rick came to town for Thanksgiving, with his wife Melissa and son Alex. We all had a fine time together, with a nice turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day. That night, we drove through the Winter Wonderland light display at Tilles County Park. I enjoyed that.

IPMS/Gateway had its general meeting on 20 Nov., and we had a very nice turnout of people and contest models. I helped judge the model contest.

Last night, I was at Frontenac Grill for a happy hour with a meetup group, Midtown Mingles for Singles 40 and Over. There were about 12 of us there and I had a fine time socializing with them.

Head's Up: This Monday night, 3 Dec., I will be interviewed on Naturally Autistic Radio. The program, Digivations, airs at 5 pm Pacific Time (7 pm Central Time; 0100 GMT Tue.). You can get more info at www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show.


16 November 2012

Three Nights at the Movies, and Old Newsboys day

I was out at the Soccer Park in Fenton this past weekend on game assignments. Saturday late afternoon to early evening (10 Nov.), I had under 14 boys matches. They generally went well, although the first match--my middle--did keep me occupied, with four yellow cards handed out. Otherwise, things went well. The next day, I worked four 8v8 matches, which went well as far as the teams went. Not so much with the weather; It poured rain during my last match, and I was soaked to the skin. Fortunately, being on artificial turf was a plus in getting this game in, as was they fact this last game had 25-minute halves. (The three previous ones had 30-minute halves.)

After getting home and drying out from my games, I was at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema for the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF). I was a volunteer at SLIFF and helped as an usher and source of information to patrons. After passing out ballots to attendees, I got to watch one of the features playing that night, "Teddy Bear," a drama from Denmark. Really interesting film; I was impressed. (For more info on SLIFF and its presenting organization, Cinema St. Louis, visit www.cinemastlouis.org.)

Tuesday morning (13 Nov.) found me at the weekly GO! Network workshop in downtown St. Louis. The program on setting goals for your life and career was quite interesting. The next morning, I was at a job readiness training session at MERS Goodwill in south St. Louis County, getting advice (much of which I have heard before) on interviewing. I was back there today talking with a recruiter who mentioned some part time jobs I could apply for now. That night, I was at the Hi-Pointe Theatre in Richmond Heights, Missouri for a SLIFF screening. It was the premier of a documentary, "Envisioning Home," about two long-time public housing advocates in St. Louis. A real interesting film, shedding light on something I did not know much about. (I used a coupon for a complementary admission that I received for my volunteer shift Sunday night.)

Yesterday morning (15 Nov.) found me at the corner of Lemay Ferry Road and Victory drive in Mehlville for Old Newsboys Day. It's an annual fundraiser for St. Louis area children's charities, in which donations are taken for a special edition of the Suburban Journals newspaper. I and Randy Johnston manned the corner for about 3 1/2 hours and sold some papers, while doing our part for a worthy cause.

After I got home, I took in a two-hour webinar on improving your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of getting hired. There was some interesting info in this program, but I passed on the high priced (nearly $800) customized service the webinar host was offering. That night, I was at the Moolah Theatre & Lounge in midtown St. Louis with others in the Midtown Mingles for Singles 40 and Over Meetup. We saw "Skyfall," the latest James Bond movie, and I loved it. I'm a big Bond movie fan and this latest film is one of the best in the 50-year-old series.

Tonight, I'm back at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema for another SLIFF volunteer shift. This will make it four movies seen this week--a record for me for sure!


08 November 2012

Pounding the Pavement, Knocking on Doors, and Victory!

Last weekend was the homestretch in the 2012 election campaign, and I was in the thick of it. Saturday afternoon (3 Nov.), I was in Oakville doing Get Out The Vote (GOTV) for Governor Jay Nixon's campaign. I contacted assigned residents to see if Nixon could count on their vote, and reminded them of their polling place. If the people I wanted to see weren't home, I left a hanger-type flyer on their door, listing the statewide Democratic candidates and their polling place.

The next day, I pulled double duty, starting in the late morning with GOTV for Senator Claire McCaskill's campaign (and, secondarily, other Democrats on the ballot) in University City. Late that afternoon, I worked GOTV for President Barack Obama's campaign in south St. Louis. That session had me paired with a partner, Shannon, who was very good to work with. (I've been working solo on my other canvassing this campaign season.) I also made some GOTV phone calls for Obama Monday morning and early Monday night, as well as calls for volunteers in Wisconsin and Virginia.

Back with the Missouri Democrats in their Glendale office on early Monday afternoon (5 Nov.), I was sent to Brentwood for more McCaskill GOTV. So far, the canvassing I had performed showed most voters I did talk to (a small percentage of those I tried to contact) were supporting McCaskill. Late that night, I was sent to Rock Hill to leave hangars on targeted voters' doors. It was a challenge, finding house numbers at night, but I did get to over 70 houses by the time I was finished about 12:30 Tuesday morning.

After a brief bit of sleep, I was up at 5 am on Election Day (Tue., 6 Nov.), going to cast my vote at Nazareth Living Center. I arrived about 5:40 am, 20 minutes before the polls opened, and was the ninth voter to receive a ballot there. After casting my votes (all on a paper ballot, which was scanned there to record the totals), I came home to eat breakfast before heading out to Glendale once more. Starting from 9 am, I made three GOTV runs for McCaskill: in Rock Hill that morning, Brentwood early that afternoon, and Ladue late in the afternoon. In between runs, I did have time to rest a bit, eat and drink. The campaign office was abuzz with activity as staff and volunteers came and went. My thanks for Allie Woods, Christine Flynn, Mark, Daria and the rest of the campaign office staff for all their hard work these past few weeks.

I got back from Ladue before 6 pm, then was sent to Berkley Middle School to help watch the polls before it closed at 7 pm. There was concern about long lines and possible voter intimidation; however, when I got there around 6:35 pm, there were no such worries. After the polls closed, I headed towards west St. Louis for dinner at Steak 'n Shake, then to the Chase Park Plaza Hotel for the Democrats' party. In the hotel's Khorassan Ballroom, many Democratic supporters and staffers gathered to watch the returns. We got word around 8:30 pm that McCaskill was projected the winner, and we all cheered loudly. Around 9 pm, McCaskill appeared on stage to make her victory speech, thanking all of us volunteers for the hard work and the voters for their support. Another big cheer came into the room around 10:20 pm, when President Obama's re-election was called by CNN.

A little while after that, McCaskill's campaign staff and volunteers were invited into a side room for a reception with the senator. AS she did with the others, McCaskill shook my hand and thanked me for all my work on her behalf, which I welcomed and congratulated her on her re-election. I stayed for a little while, then left to go home. Before that, I was briefly interviewed on-camera by a St. Louis TV news reporter, trying to get reaction on the re-election of Sen. McCaskill. I haven't seen myself on TV yet, but I'm sure I sounded fine.

In the period of Saturday through Tuesday, I must have been to about 350 residences. I was good and tired, but happy about the result. Most of those I voted for (candidates and issues) passed. That included Scott Sifton for state senate, for whom I had worked a phone bank in recent weeks.

Now, back to reality. I did some proofreading for an animal feed firm's marketing materials on Tuesday morning (between voting and GOTV) and yesterday. Tomorrow morning, I interview with MERS to see about getting some help in finding work.


01 November 2012

A Weekend of Refereeing, and the Campaign Homestretch

Last Saturday morning (27 Oct.), I was at the SLYSA Complex in St. Charles for three u14 games. I worked the middle on the first and third matches, both for girls. The games went well, and the weather was real nice (sunny, temperatures in the upper 40s to lower 50s Fahrenheit). The man refereeing the second game of the set was getting an informal assessment, so I tried to help him as much as possible.

After showering, changing, and eating, I was at the Scott Sifton campaign headquarters in Affton for a rally, that included Governor Jay Nixon and other statewide Democratic candidates. It was a thrill to be in the room (which was full) and to meet the governor and other dignitaries. It made my campaign work feel more worthwhile and I was more pumped to finish the campaign.

The next afternoon at the Scott Gallagher Complex, I was working three under 14 girls' games, including one middle. They went well with no real issues to have to deal with.

Taking care of myself, I got a flu shot at Walgreens on Monday morning (29 Oct.), and was out canvassing for Sen. Claire McCaskill that afternoon. I did more canvassing for McCaskill Tuesday late morning-early afternoon, and again this afternoon. I'm still confident McCaskill will pull off re-election this coming Tuesday.

After canvassing on Tuesday, I decided to switch cell phone service and phones. After having been on a contract basis with CREDO Mobile for 2 1/2 years, I switched to Virgin Mobile's monthly no-contract service. This is primarily for cost reasons. Also, I got with the program and selected a smart phone to go with the service. After a delay in making sure my CREDO service was ended, my smart phone was activated yesterday afternoon. It's taking me a while to get used to it, but I think this will work out very nicely for me.

I was at MERS Goodwill in south St. Louis County Wednesday afternoon (31 Oct.) to talk with their director about vocational rehabilitation services. They would like to help me find some part time job to tide me over until I can find the full time work I seek. It was a good, frank meeting and I look forward to working with them on my job search. That night, I was on the Sifton phone bank. The campaign staff is feeling good about his chances on Tuesday.

Tomorrow afternoon, I interview for a part time, seasonal job with a department store. I hope I get it--it would be a boost to my finances!


26 October 2012

Running to Pass the Test

I had a busy weekend of soccer referee-related activities, starting last Saturday morning (20 Oct.) on the track at Ritenour High School. There, I took and passed the annual referee fitness test, which is part of my recertification process. Myself and 12 other referees were at Ritenour and we all passed the three-part test. It started with a 12-minute run around the 400-meter track. I completed just over 2000 meters (5 laps) in the 12 minutes; for my age and grade, passing was covering 4800m. After a short break, I ran the 200m dash, covering the distance in just over 37 seconds. (The time to beat is 45 seconds.) Finally, I ran a 50m dash in about 6 seconds, which was better than the 9 seconds I had to beat. Now, all I need is to attend the in-service clinic next month and I'm recertified for another year.

After the fitness test, I came home to shower, change, and later drove to Soccer Park for three youth games. They went well, although my legs sure felt sore by the time the last game ended. The next day (21 Oct.) found me at the Scott Gallagher complex for two games. (Originally, I was scheduled for three games, but the first game of the set was cancelled and the assignor let my crew know about it the day before.) I was tired, but satisfied with a job well done when those Sunday games ended.

This past week found me knocking on more doors for Claire McCaskill, canvassing on Monday afternoon, Tuesday late morning, and yesterday afternoon. Some rain on Tuesday cut into my canvassing work in Chesterfield, but overall I did the best I could, and the campaign staff greatly appreciated my efforts. Wednesday night (24 Oct.), I was back at the Scott Sifton campaign office, calling voters for his state senate campaign. It seems to be going well, with less than two weeks go to until Election Day (6 Nov.)

Last Tuesday night (23 Oct.), I drove to Tom Bogacki's new residence in south St. Louis for the monthly IPMS/Gateway business meeting, in which we planned November's general meeting and discussed other club business. I've invited a retired McDonnell Douglas engineer to speak at the club's banquet in December, but have not heard back from him yet.

That's it for now. Later.

18 October 2012

A (Literal) Damper of Late

Late last week and into the weekend, I proofread a book manuscript my brother Rick sent me. It was for a scholarly book on democracy in Russia, and I did not find too much that I felt needed correcting. Rick was most appreciative of my effort on this one, and I may have other such jobs coming to me in the next few months.

One week ago (11 Oct.) found me canvassing for Sen. Claire McCaskill in Chesterfield. After returning to the campaign office early that night, I joined in a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) session hosted by an organizer. Myself and the other volunteers found out about the effort we'll need for McCaskill to win next month. Quite informative and enjoyable.

Friday night (12 Oct.) found me at Sportport, refereeing games in a youth soccer tournament. The games went fine. (They were among the first of this tournament.) While there, one of my colleagues mentioned about a possible job opening at his employer and wondered if I was interested in it. I said yes and he'd do what he could to help me with that effort. Stay tuned.

I worked youth league matches last Saturday. Our crew was short-handed, with only two referees there. (The third was called away to do State Cup matches that day.) However, the coaches understood and the games went fine. I was supposed to work more tournament games at Sportport on Sunday, but wet grounds from overnight rain ended that assignment before it began.

Monday afternoon (15 Oct.) found me back out canvassing for McCaskill, this time in Webster Groves. It was a pleasant day to be out and I did find some success for the candidate. I'll be back knocking on doors again later today.

I opened up Calvary's fellowship hall Tuesday night for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. We had a low turnout of people and models for the monthly "beauty contest" (where attendees vote on the models on the table, with the winning model earning its builder a prize). We did have three first-time attendees, so our publicity is helping in that regard.

Last night, I was in Affton calling voters for Scott Sifton's state senate campaign. Fortunately, we were indoors, as it rained quite a bit that night. (The rain delayed play in the Cardinals' game that night.)


11 October 2012

Movie Going and a Class Reunion to Remember

Last Thursday night (4 Oct.), I was at the Great Escape Gravois Bluffs Cinema in Fenton to watch a special 50th anniversary screening of one of my all-time favorite movies, "Lawrence of Arabia." The movie was digitally restored to the latest high definition standard, with great images and sound. There was a mini-feature on the restoration process before the movie was screened, along with introductions by Martin Scorsese and Omar Sharif (Sharif Ali in "Lawrence"). It's a long movie--about 4 hours long, including a 15-minute intermission--but well worth it for me. The only other time I saw "Lawrence of Arabia" on a movie screen was in 1988, when the film was first restored to its original form.

Earlier that day, I canvassed for Claire McCaskill's re-election campaign. I did so last Monday afternoon and will do again today.

Saturday (6 Oct.) was quite a day for me. First, I was at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Illinois for the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum's Fly-In. I helped staff a model display for IPMS/Gateway in the display hangar. Four club members brought 27 models for the display, which was well-received by the visitors. (Unfortunately, the dreary weather that day kept the turnout low.) During the noon hour, I took a break from the display to phone in my co-host segment of "Writers Block," the monthly Naturally Autistic Radio program. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed music lyric writing, offering up our perspectives on this genre and playing examples of music we particularly like for the lyrics. (In my case, it was Billy Joel's hit "My Life.") You can download that show from the website http://www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show.

Back to the display, I met two gentlemen who had interesting stories to tell: one with a collection of hobby-related motion pictures, the other about his time working for McDonnell Douglas. Both are candidates for speakers at an upcoming IPMS/Gateway meeting or banquet.

That night was the one I was really looking forward to: the 30th year reunion of the Mehlville Senior High School Class of 1982. The event was at the Upper Deck Sports Bar & Grill of the All American Sports Mall in Mehlville and we had a great time all around. Well over 100 classmates and significant others (in a few cases, the significant others were classmates) attended and I heard nothing but praise from classmates I talked to regarding how this event came together. It was so neat to see many classmates I have not seen in person for years--in some cases, 30 years. In a way, I wish it could have lasted all night, so I could spend even more time with them. At least now we can touch base more with classmates online until the next reunion.

Sunday afternoon (7 Oct.) found me at St. Louis University High School for Premier League soccer matches. I worked three games on SLUH's soccer pitch, with two middles--back-to-back. One of my crewmates had begged off his middle, as he already had worked a lot of games that weekend, so I said I would. Fortunately, the matches all went well.

Last night (10 Oct.) saw me working the phone bank for Scott Sifton's state senate campaign. Hard to believe that Election Day is just under four weeks from now.


04 October 2012

Passing the Assessment and Being in the Dark

Last weekend was a most interesting one for me. I started Saturday (29 Sept.) afternoon off at All on the Same Page Bookstore in Creve Coeur, where there was a book signing by my friend Linsey Daman. She was signing copies of her book "Bridging St. Louis: One Cultural Step at a Time," which she published this past summer. It talks of her life and on founding and running the Cultural Arts Center of St. Louis. Linsey also signed copies of two other books she's written: "Water Blue," a collection of poetry, prose and short stories; and, "Windershin," an animated mystery thriller. Two vocalists performed in the store while I was there. You can find out more on Linsey and the Cultural Arts Center on their website: http://cacstlouis.com/.

I could only stay a little while, as I then had to drive to the Scott Gallagher Complex in Maryland Heights for three Premier League U18 girls' matches. My middle came in the first match, in which I also had my maintenance assessment. The assessor observed as my crew and I officiated the match and he talked with me after the match. Overall, I passed the assessment, with just a few minor areas to improve on. It was a competitive, yet largely uneventful match (at least in terms of major incidents needing my attention). I was most gratified by his comments (which he included in his written assessment sent to me two days later). The other two matches went well, except for a major injury near the end of the third game.

The next morning (30 Sept.), I was back at Scott Gallagher for three under 14 boys' matches. I had the first match in the middle, and I was able to employ the suggestions my assessor gave me the day before in that game. Late in the match, I had to send off a player for denying his opponent an obvious goal scoring opportunity, for which I had to write a report for the league office. Otherwise, Sunday's games were fine.

My parents had an electrician at home Monday (1 Oct.) to fix some wiring in the dining room. That was fixed; however, he inadvertently cut off power to my bedroom directly below. (I didn't discover this until after he left the house.) I had to plug in a lamp and my TV using an extension cord into the office next door, until the electrician came back yesterday morning (3 Oct.) to fix that. So, I was (sort of) in the dark for awhile, but all's good now.

I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting Tuesday night and helped man the phone bank for state senate candidate Scott Sifton last night. That was done early, due to the presidential debate last night.

Big Saturday coming up for me: Model display, online radio show, and class reunion. I'll be at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Illinois for the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum Open House. There, I'll help man IPMS/Gateway's display. During the noon hour (Central Time), I'll phone in my co-hosting role on this month's edition of "Writers Block" from Naturally Autistic Radio. You can tune in to the program, which Blog Talk Radio streams. Details at http://www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show/radio-drama-writers-block-saturdays/.

Finally, Saturday night is the 30-year class reunion for Mehlville Senior High School's Class of 1982. I'm on the committee putting this event on, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll let you know how that went in my next post.


27 September 2012

Some Happiness and Disappointment

Last Thursday (20 Sept.) started slow at home, then picked up greatly for me in the afternoon. I was sent to west St. Louis County to canvass residents for Claire McCaskill's reelection campaign. I hit about 90 houses in about 3 1/2 hours, getting the word out and judging voter reactions. The campaign staff was impressed. That night, I was at Creve Coeur Airport for the monthly Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting, which included some videos on aviation history in St. Louis and on the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The weekend included some soccer refereeing under very pleasant weather conditions. Saturday morning and early afternoon (22 Sept.) found me at the SLYSA Complex, working four 8v8 games of under 9 youth. A nice change of pace for me (I signed up for these as a fill in that week), and I got to try to mentor some younger referees on how to call the game. The next day, I worked three under 14 girls' matches at the Scott Gallagher Complex. I'm back there this weekend, including a game Saturday afternoon where I'm being assessed for my recertification.

Late Sunday afternoon, after a shower and change of clothes, I attended a St. Louis Transplants party in Frontenac. It was at a residence that is up for sale. Very nice and large place (too rich for my blood), but I got to chat with a few other guests there. Nice way to pass the time.

Monday afternoon (24 Sept.), I got an email from the marketing agency I interviewed with earlier in the month for a temporary brand ambassador position. The note said that they had filled the position and that I was not needed. A surprise to me, as I was led to believe at that interview that I had the position and would start training on Tuesday. The HR person wrote back to say they apologize for giving me that impression. A major disappointment, to say the least, coming on the day before I was to have started training for this position.

Monday night, I attended the monthly referee in-service clinic at Grand Glaize Library, with a fine presentation on properly using advantage in games. The next night, I braved a thunderstorm to drive to Doug Barton's house in Foristell for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting. The October meetings were planned and other club business discussed.

Yesterday afternoon, I canvassed for McCaskill in Ballwin, getting to about 60 houses.


20 September 2012

It's Now Feeling Like Fall

The temperatures have dipped to a more seasonably normal for this time of year. After all the heat of this past summer, I like it--mostly. The only downside now is that the change in seasons is the problems in my sinuses. Fortunately, it's only a short-term thing.

One week ago last Tuesday night(11 Sept.), I was at Crusoe's in Oakville for the Mehlville High Class of 1982 reunion committee meeting. We made final preps for the reunion on 6 Oct., with status of numbers of people attending firmed up. I also got to chat with a classmate I had not seen in person for some years, Cathy Capkovic (now Krepelnik). I'm glad she's doing well and looking fine.

One week ago, my niece Rowan turned a year older. I made sure I got my wishes to her, via her dad (and my brother) Brian. Also last Thursday, I canvassed for Claire McCaskill in Sunset Hills. I was able to hit about 50 houses in 2 1/2 hours for the campaign. I'll be back to that this afternoon.

Saturday late morning (15 Sept.) found me at the SLYSA Complex in St. Charles refereeing youth tournament games. I was scheduled for three games, but found out when I got there that my first scheduled game was cancelled. (An 11th hour change, I think.) So, I waited until I did work the two games. They went well and I was happy. The next afternoon, I worked two men's games at DeSoto Park in St. Louis. I was on the line both games, with the respective referees being assessed. The assessor generally gave good grades to both referees, and also thought I did very well overall in my duties as assistant referee. Good words to hear, as I have my maintenance assessment coming up later this month.

Last Tuesday (18 Sept.), I opened up the fellowship hall at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. The model contest drew 20 entries, including two I finished that afternoon: a Chinese J-10 fighter and a D.520 in Bulgarian markings. Neither won anything, but the important part was to enter. We had 20 entries in the contest, with half in the "Anything Asian" special category.

Next week, I'm in training for my brand ambassador job, which starts in early October. Looking forward to that.


10 September 2012

Labor Day, Labors and the Show in Eureka

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post here. I've been meaning to do something sooner, but just didn't get to it until now. Here's my best effort to catch up:

Thursday, 30 August, I canvassed in west St. Louis County for Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign in the afternoon, then went to Creve Coeur Airport for the monthly Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting. I also sold trophy sponsorships for the IPMS/Gateway to the West Invitational to two area hobby shops. (More on that show later.) Saturday afternoon (1 Sept.), I co-hosted the monthly Writer's Block program from Naturally Autistic Radio. I was to have refereed youth tournament soccer that Labor Day Weekend, but wet weather that Friday and anticipated for that weekend caused it to be cancelled. A disappointment, for sure. I did wish Brian and Gretchen a happy wedding anniversary that Sunday (2 Sept.), and did the same for Rick and Melissa two days later.

I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting on Tuesday (4 Sept.), in which we had a pretty good turnout of attendees. The next day, I received a call from the marketing agency Switch, inviting me in for an interview for a part-time brand ambassador position I applied for early in August. I was back canvassing for McCaskill on Thursday afternoon, then prepared for the interview.

Friday morning (7 Sept.), I arrived at Switch to fill out paperwork, then a brief interview. I had the job, along with some others who applied for the post, and was told the job's particulars. I'll attend a two-day training session the last week of September, then the job runs for two months from the beginning of October. Should be good to get some work experience, some money in, and try out some more skills. That night, I went to Hitters Choice Cages in Eureka to help set up the IPMS/Gateway Invitational for the next day.

Up early Saturday morning, I went to Hitters Choice Cages for the show. I helped with show admission during the morning, and helped judge the model contest that afternoon. Overall, it was a great show: good turnout of attendees, vendors, and models. I stayed for an hour after the show to help take down the tables. I came away with a tired, but happy feeling after the good show we in IPMS/Gateway put on that day. After changing at home, I drove to the Soccer Park in Fenton to watch St. Louis Scott Gallagher Under-18 Boys Academy team play the US Under-17 Boys National Team. The US came from a 2-nil deficit to win 3-2, getting the deciding goal two minutes from time.

The next morning, I was back at the Soccer Park, this time to referee under 14 girls' games. I had the middle on the first game in the three-game set, and they went well. Then, I drove up to Charles Forrester Park in Vinita Park for the IPMS/Gateway picnic. It was nice socializing with fellow club members and their significant others.

Caught up now, I believe. I should have another entry later this week to stay on schedule. Later.

29 August 2012

Soccer and an International Festival

Last Wednesday night (22 Aug.), I refereed two girls' soccer matches at Sportport. They went well, with no major issues encountered in either match. I got a nice workout from them.

The next afternoon found me with a vocational rehabilitation counselor in Maplewood. We discussed how her office can help me find work and we brainstormed some ideas. I hope to hear back soon on any recommendations to act upon. That night, I worked a phone bank for state senate candidate Scott Sifton, drumming up support ahead of the general election in November.

Friday night (24 Aug.), I was at Robert R. Hermann Stadium for Saint Louis University's men's soccer season opener vs. Indiana. It was a great turnout of fans, especially from the students. (Many freshmen attended, grouped by their dorm floor or by being commuters.) However, it was Indiana taking away the points in a 2-1 defeat of the Billikens, a rather even match that came down to a SLU own goal midway through the second half. Disappointing, for sure.

The following afternoon found me at The World Cafe in south St. Louis for a meet and greet of the Human Sexual Relations in the 21st Century Meetup. There were about 10 of us there, including many I had not seen before in this Meetup group. We had good, frank discussion on being sexual in these times and I got some good tips for staying safe. That night, I drove to 3 of a Kind Bar in Overland for my friend Mark Anthony Jones' birthday party. It was a nice time, talking, drinking, watching the Rams game on the big screen TVs in the bar. Several people from Stress Free Fridays, which Jones co-runs, were there.

Sunday (26 Aug.) began for me at the Soccer Park, refereeing three girls 8v8 games (under 10 through under 12). I had middles on the first and third matches in the set, and worked with two younger officials. The games went well, with no real issues to deal with. After that, I came home to shower and change, then drove to Tower Grove Park in midtown St. Louis for the annual Festival of Nations. This weekend event features food, crafts, music and dance from various ethnic groups in Metro St. Louis. I really enjoyed browsing among the food and craft booths and listening to the music.

I got some referee business done on Monday, by paying my registration fee online that afternoon and attending the monthly referee in-service clinic that night at Grand Glaize Library. Attendees were briefed about the Memorandum of changes to the Laws of the Game, and went through a video quiz on deciding if this was a foul or not and what card, if any, should be issues for this situation. A rather informative clinic. The next day, I took and passed the online test. Now, all I need to be re-certified for another year is: 1. attend an in-service clinic, date to be announced; 2. take and pass the annual fitness test, date to be announced; and 3. pass the maintenance assessment on a game I have a month from now.

Last night (28 Aug.), I hosted the monthly IPMS/Gateway business meeting, in which we planned next month's general meeting, discussed late matters regarding our Invitational on 8 Sept., and talked about other club business.

This upcoming Labor Day Weekend, I co-host Writer's Block, the monthly Naturally Autistic Radio program, on Saturday (1 Sept.) at 10 am Pacific Time (12 pm Central Time; 1800 hrs GMT). Details at www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show. I'm also refereeing tournament soccer this weekend.


22 August 2012

Back From a Great Time in the LA Area

While on vacation in the Los Angeles area last week, I visited the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica last Thursday afternoon (16 August). It was a recently-opened museum and had some nice exhibits relating to aviation in Southern California and particularly on Douglas Aircraft, which was based in Santa Monica. I was photographed by a museum volunteer in the captain's seat of a Boeing 727 nose section at the museum. It was a fine time and I did some shopping in the museum's gift shop.

I had jogged with Doug early that morning, but we decided not to jog again the next day (17 Aug.) to give our tired muscles some rest. I did walk from Doug and Helen's apartment to the third Avenue Promenade and back, a round trip of about 2.5 miles (4 km). After lunch Friday (another fine one Helen prepared), I drove to the Pacific Battleship Center in San Pedro to visit the battleship USS IOWA (BB-61), which opened for tours just over a month ago. I was impressed by the ship--a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War--while touring it. They had the main deck and some internal spaces open for visiting (including the captain's quarters, bridge, and midships crew mess area), with other spaces to open in the coming months. I had a fine time there.

After visiting IOWA, I drove to La Palma to attend the monthly meeting of the International Plastic Modelers' Society Orange County Chapter (IPMS/Orange County). It was held in a meeting room of the LaQuinta Hotel and Suites there. I was very impressed by this group; there were about 40 people present, with a monthly model contest and three demo programs one could watch. The 20-minute demos were arranged so one could see all three presentations, which I did and found very helpful. I introduced myself at the meeting and gave my regards on behalf of IPMS/Gateway and IPMS/St. Louis. The IPMS/Orange County president asked me to pass their regards to the chapters I belong in. I also chatted with several members, including one who I've been in touch with online for some time.

Doug, Helen, and I went Hollywood on Saturday (18 Aug.), as we toured Beverly Hills and Hollywood by car. Going up into the Hollywood Hills, I have my photo taken by the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign. We also toured Hollywood Boulevard, including Grauman's Chinese and Egyptian theaters, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hotel Roosevelt (site of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929), and the Dolby (formerly Kodak) Theatre, the current Academy Awards ceremony venue.

That night, while Doug and Helen took in a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I drove to Sherman Oaks for dinner with my friend Sara Roverino, her husband Gary and their two young sons. It was great catching up with Sara (sister of my friend Beth McSpadden) and meeting the men in her life. A fine time was had by all.

Before departing for St. Louis last Sunday late afternoon (19 Aug.), I had lunch in Santa Monica with my friend from SLU, John Burnes. We caught up on things happening in our lives and had a wonderful conversation and meal. Doug took me to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where I caught the American Airlines flight to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL), where I arrived at about 10 pm, Central Time. There, Mom picked me up and took me home. On the flight I read more on my computer the e-book "Let's Get Trollied (The Return Legs)" by Liz & Julie.

Last night (21 Aug.), I opened the fellow ship hall at Calvary for the monthly IPMS/Gateway meeting. I gave a brief recap of my vacation to the attendees, and passed on IPMS/Orange County's greetings for IPMS/Gateway. We had a judges' seminar in advance of our Invitational on 8 Sept., showing attendees what contest judges look for in the entries. For me, that was a good refresher for the judging I'll do at our show.

I'm off refereeing girls' soccer tonight.


16 August 2012

"I Love SM" (Santa Monica)

Last Saturday (11 Aug.), after doing some preliminary packing for my vacation, I worked the Mehlville-Oakville Alumni Association (MOAA) table at the Mehlville High Class of 2002 reunion, which was held at Kirkwood Station Brewing Co. Myself and another volunteer had MOAA activities info and we persuaded many of the alumni attending to fill out contact information forms for the association's database. It was a nice time for volunteer work, before returning home that night.

The next morning, with my bags packed, Mom drove me to Lambert-St. Louis International airport (STL) for the flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It was a nearly four-hour flight, but I occupied most of that time reading an ebook on my laptop. The book I started was "Let's Get Trollied (The Return Legs)" by Liz & Julie, two British stewardesses with their second work on their adventures and misadventures. I had read their previous book, "You f'Coffee Sir," and have become quite a Liz & Julie fan.

Doug was waiting at LAX to pick me up and we drove us to his home in Santa Monica, where his fiancee Helen and their dog Sake were waiting. That night, we went to The Home Depot Center in Carson to watch the SuperClassico between CD Chivas USA and LA Galaxy. The Galaxy won, by 4 goals to nil, with Landon Donovan assisting on all four goals. It was a blast for me to watch a match at this venue, and Doug and Helen also liked it a lot.

Monday afternoon (13 Aug.), while Doug was at Work, Helen took me to the Santa Monica Pier. On a gorgeous sunny day, we strolled along the pier, road the ferris wheel, and I played the arcade games while Helen watched. I won quite a few tickets from those, which I redeemed at the arcade for a toy jet fighter and two plastic bling rings. A fun time for sure.

Midday Tuesday, I drove to the University of Southern California (USC) campus in Los Angeles, borrowing Doug'a GPS-equipped car. After getting lost because I did not set the GPS properly and making my way through traffic, I arrived at USC. After parking in the public garage, I walked to the Accounting building for a meeting with Dr. Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at USC's Marshall School of Business. Like me, Dr. Perner also has Asperger's syndrome, so it was a great meeting of like-minded people. He said he could put me in touch with publishers for which I could do part-time editing and fact checking work, and said I was interested. Dr. Perner also gave me an autographed copy of his book "Delightful Reflections: Quips, Conjectures, and Pontifications." Perner gave me a guided tour of the USC campus, including showing me the Film Studies Center.

After my visit at USC, I drove to the nearby California ScienCenter, where I browsed among its exhibits. These included a few aircraft displayed outdoors (including a DC-8 jetliner and an SR-71 spyplane), and three American manned spacecraft (Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo). The space shuttle Endeavor will be displayed at that center starting this fall.

Before visiting the ScienCenter, I walked by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena, both of which are near the ScienCenter. The Coliseum hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, and is home to USC Trojans football. (The only other Olympics stadium I've visited is Washington University's Francis Field, from the 1904 games.)The Sports Arena is used for USC men's basketball.

Yesterday morning (15 Aug.) Helen took me to Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades for a bit of beach time. Unfortunately, it was not sun time, as it was cloudy while we were there. We mostly relaxed and read, but I got towards the waterline and dipped my toes into the Pacific Ocean. It's been a long time since I've been on a beach.

I've eaten well so far, including some fine dishes Helen cooked up, plus we dined out the last two nights. Last night, it was seafood at Fish Commerce Co. in Santa Monica. Doug and I jogged yesterday morning and early this morning, going from the house to the beach and back--a distance of about 2.6 miles (4.2 km).

Doug and Helen gave me two shirts they recently bought on a trip to Italy. One's a replica Italian national soccer team jersey, the other's a German national soccer team polo shirt. Both fit me well, in more ways than one.

Last night, I was watching the Mexico-USA friendly on TV, from the Estadio Axteca. I was over the moon seeing the US win 1-0, their first victory over Mexico in Mexico. U-S-A!

Off to more adventures before I fly back to St. Louis Sunday. Later.

10 August 2012

Victories at the Polls and the Olympics

Last Saturday afternoon (4 August) started with my co-hosting this month's episode of "Writer's Block," a program on writing from Naturally Autistic Radio. Tim Pylypiuk and I read samples of our writings as we discussed how reading such works aloud is affected by the words on the paper or screen. A fine program, as usual, and we'll be back with another episode on Sat., 1 Sept. at 12 pm Central Time (10 am Pacific Time). Show info at www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show/

Before that show, my parents and I welcomed my cousin Bertice Brown and her husband Ed, who were traveling from their home in Alabama. We had a nice few hours with them before the Browns resumed their travels.

That night, I went to the Scott Sifton for State Senate campaign office in Affton to make some Get Out The Vote (GOTV) calls on Sifton's behalf. I made more such calls on Monday afternoon (6 August) and Election Day afternoon (7 Aug.). Early that Tuesday, I cast my votes at the polling place. Sifton won the Democratic nomination by just over 1000 votes and will go for the senate seat this November at the general election.

Also on Tuesday morning, I was at the GO! Network workshop at St. Patrick Center, where I participated in some speed networking with fellow attendees. I got some good feedback on my elevator speech and a couple of leads, plus I was able to help others with my feedback and leads. Additionally, we received a part-time job posting for a marketing job, which I applied for. I should hear back in the next week or two on that one.

I ran the IPMS./St. Louis meeting Tuesday night at Thornhill Branch Library. A light turnout (only four members), but at least we got in a bit of discussion. I brought in my two more recent completed models (the Bf 109G-6 for the Same Kit Contest and the MG from Slam Fest, both at the July IPMS/Gateway meeting). Additionally, I brought in my current project, a 1:72 scale J-10 fighter, which is coming along OK.

Like many of us, I've been following the Olympics in London the past two weeks. I've been camped in front of the TV and computer following the events and enjoying the great variety of sport on offer. That's a big draw of the Olympics for me. As you may expect, I did most avidly follow the soccer competition, including the women's gold medal match won by the US yesterday. These games have plenty for us referees to discuss, good and bad.

Last night (9 Aug.), I joined with some other Barack Obama supporters in Affton to meet and discuss how to help him win re-election in November. I'll likely start with helping register voters in this area, before moving on to phone bank and canvassing.

After a last blast of 100 degrees F (40 degree C) high temperatures early this week, the highs have dropped to the low 90s F this week. Finally, after two months of searing heat and virtually no rain, some relief.

This Sunday morning, I'm off to visit my brother Doug and his fiancee Helen in Santa Monica, California. They invited me to come visit them and to be a tourist in the Los Angeles area. I'll be there for a week and I'll blog from there next week. Looking forward to this trip.


03 August 2012

A Bit of Rain, Then More Sun and Heat

I had a nice weekend, while inside. Temperatures stayed around 100 degrees F (40 degrees C) throughout the preceding week. Last Saturday afternoon (28 July) found me at the Scott Sifton campaign office working the phone bank for three hours. The other volunteers and I found the usual mix of undecided voters, a few going towards either primary candidate, and a few not wanting to participate. Overall, the campaign is feeling good heading into the primary election this Tuesday (7 August). More info at www.scottsifton.com.

It was sunny that Saturday; however, it was rainy the next day. Mind you, the rain was welcome after having gone about two months without it. however, it did cause difficulties while I was out canvassing for Senator Claire McCaskill's reelection campaign. The rain caused my canvass sheets to get wet and to stick together, making it difficult to separate the sheets and keep them dry while recording voter info on them. I had to call this off early, after visiting 20 houses (the goal was 50). The campaign staff was appreciative of the effort, though, and hope to have me back during the general election campaign. (The rain also caused cancellation of the sand volleyball outing the St. Louis Friends Meetup was to have had at New Ballwin Park that afternoon.)

The brief respite of Sunday gave way to a return of sunshine and heat on Monday 30 July). That night found me at the referee in-service clinic at Grand Glaize Branch, St. Louis County Library. It featured a video program from England on the right and wrong ways for referees to approach pre-game and post-game duties. The videos were rather entertaining and gave us plenty of food for thought. It won't be long until the fall season gets underway.

Tuesday morning was spent at the GO! Network workshop at St. Patrick Center, where we had a presentation on elevator speeches. That's those brief (up to 60 seconds) personal pitches you'd give to prospective employers and others who may be able to help your job search. I used this to fine-tune my elevator speech. After the general workshop, those of us on the communications committee had a meeting to discuss using social media to spread the word about GO! Network.

I was back at Sifton's headquarters Wednesday night (1 August) to work the phone bank again. I confirmed my availability for get out the vote efforts up to and on election day.

At home, I worked on a scale model that I should have ready by the September IPMS/Gateway meeting. It's a 1:72 model of the J-10, a new fighter plane for China's Peoples Liberation Army Air Force. I have the fuselage and wings joined together just now.

Also during the past few days, I touched base with my brother Doug about my visit to see him and his fiancee in Los Angeles later this month. I'm looking forward to this trip, as I'll visit some sights in LA and perhaps do a bit of networking while I'm there.

Tomorrow (Saturday, 4 August), I co-host this month's edition of Writer's Block from Naturally Autistic Radio, streamed through Blog Talk Radio. Tim Pylypiuk and I will discuss reading what you've written, with the two of us reading examples of our work. I hope you can tune in at 12 pm, Central Time (10 am, Pacific Time; 1800 hours GMT) for the show, or catch the archived edition. Details at www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show/.


27 July 2012

Still Hot Outside

For the better part of the past two weeks, temperatures here have reached 100 degrees F (40 degrees C) or higher. I've tried to stay inside as much as possible. Looks like it will get a bit cooler soon, so that's nice. We can really use some rain here--it's been real dry.

I was indoors last Saturday afternoon (21 July) at the Scott Sifton campaign office, making calls to voters for about three hours. I also did so the following Wednesday (25 July). The primary election is coming up real fast--Tuesday, 7 August. The Sifton campaign's feeling good, though, and so am I.

Sunday afternoon (22 July) found me at DeSoto Park officiating Latin American Soccer League men's matches. Both went pretty well, although the considerable bare patches on the pitch threw up quite a bit of dust. I was able to stay well hydrated throughout the day, and had no ill effects, despite the hot weather.

Early in the week, I got some editing done for Naturally Autistic magazine's next issue, which should come out this fall.

Last Tuesday morning (24 July) found me at the St. Patrick Center for the weekly GO! Network workshop, which featured a speaker who's written about people out of work in recent years. That was quite interesting. That night, I was at the IPMS/Gateway business meeting, hosted by Marion Morris, in which the August meetings were planned and other club business was discussed.

Last night, I was at the conference room at Husch Blackwell in Clayton for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's monthly meeting. The program celebrated the 40th anniversary of the F-15 Eagle's first flight, with film, displays, and the presence of several people involved in the project, including the pilot of that first F-15 flight. Before that meeting (which had a very nice turnout), the Lambert Airport History Project met to discuss progress on this book. I had a few questions regarding my role, which I felt were answered as best as could be for now.

I was camped in front of the TV on Wednesday and Thursday watching the women's and men's soccer soccer competition at the London Olympics get underway. Looking forward to these games, which official begin today with the Opening Ceremony.


19 July 2012

A Two Model Night

Last weekend started quietly. I worked on finishing touches on the 1:48 scale Bf 109G-6 I was building for the IPMS/Gateway Same Kit Contest this month. (More on that later.) Saturday afternoon (14 July) I was at Scott Sifton's campaign office helping work the phone bank. The campaign's going well so far. Sifton appears (to me, at least) to have more support among likely voters than his primary opponent. I also made calls for Sifton last night.

Sunday afternoon (15 July) found me at New Ballwin Park in Ballwin, Missouri for the St. Louis Friends Meetup. Nine of us came to play a bit of sand volleyball on the park's sand court. I had never played sand volleyball before and it was a long time since I played any volleyball, but it was a neat time. I got into the sand a few times trying to dig out the ball, and I needed a good toweling off when I got home.

The next day, I started a fact check job on a book manuscript my brother Rick sent me. I should have that done in the next day or two. Rick told me to just look for any obvious factual errors in the manuscript. So far, I've found none. I also made my flight reservations for my trip to Los Angeles next month. Details on that trip in due course.

After attending the GO! Network meeting Tuesday morning (17 July) in downtown St. Louis, I was home getting ready for that night's IPMS/Gateway meeting. I had the fellowship hall at Calvary Presbyterian Church ready by 6:15 pm, when the first attendees arrived. We started the meeting early, at 7:00 pm (rather than the usual 7:30), to have the annual Slam Fest. Modelers had two hours (7 to 9 pm) to build and finish a model, after which it would be judged by meeting attendees, each of whom would select the best model. I did Glencoe's 1:72 scale MG sports car, which was one of four Slam Fest models entered this year. It took third place, and I won a $5 gift certificate from CRM Hobbies for that.

This meeting also had the Same Kit Contest, in which club members built Pegasus Models' 1:48 scale Bf 109G-6 E-Z Snapz kit. There were nine models that were entered; thirteen modelers signed up for this back in February. My Bf 109G-6 used after-market decals. (This was an out-of-the-box contest.) Although mine didn't win, I was happy with the effort.

I'm off to a St. Louis Transplants Meetup tonight in the Central West End. Should be interesting.


13 July 2012

Surviving the July Heat Wave

Last Saturday (7 July), I co-hosted the monthly edition of "Writer's Block" from Naturally Autistic Radio. Co-host Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed comedy writing, as pertaining to TV sketch comedy and situation comedy programs. I think it went pretty well. Then, I was at the Scott Sifton campaign office in Affton for my weekly Saturday afternoon phone bank for the state senate candidate.

The next morning, I was at DeSoto Park in St. Louis to run lines on two Latin American Soccer League games. Both games were rather interesting: The first was terminated in the 76th minute due to a mass confrontation between the teams; while the second went the distance, but had a player from each team sent off early in the second half for an altercation. Then, I dashed off to Sportport in Maryland Heights to referee four 3v3 games in a tournament. I was rather hot and tired by the time I got there. Fortunately, the games were shortened (7-minute halves, instead of the usual 12-minute halves), due to excessive heat wiping out the previous afternoon's matches. All of these games I worked went well and I held up OK. For the first time in over one week, the high temperature was below 100 degrees F (40 degrees C).

Monday morning (9 July) found me standing outside the Tesson Ferry Branch of the St. Louis County Library registering voters. The deadline for registration to vote for the 7 August primary election was two days away (11 July). In the nearly 2 hours I was there, I registered two voters, while volunteers with me signed up two more. A rather satisfying time for me.

The Mehlville High Class of 1982 reunion meeting scheduled for 10 July was called off at the 11th hour, due to low anticipated attendance. I did go to Crusoe's, hoping to make the Mehlville-Oakville Alumni Association meeting; however, I did not see anybody from that group. I did chat briefly with two of my classmates, who did not get word of the Mehlville '82 meeting being called off, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

Wednesday night (11 July), I was making more calls to voters for the Sifton campaign. This campaign seems to be going well for Sifton at this point. The next day, I spoke with an intake counselor from Life Skills regarding assistance in finding employment. She suggested I volunteer with a local organization (check with the United Way on those opportunities), and to meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Missouri Department of Employment Security. I hope to do those steps next week.

Last night, I was at the Regal St. Louis Mills Stadium 18 & IMAX in Hazelwood, Missouri. This cinema hosted a special 60th anniversary screening of the classic musical "Singin' in the Rain." There was a sold-out crowd at that screening (I had ordered my ticket online a couple of weeks ago) and it was a delight to watch this beloved classic with many other like-minded movie fans.


05 July 2012

A Scorcher of a Start to July 2012

I've spent as much time as possible indoors these past few days, with temperatures outside topping 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) during that time. It has been as hot as 106 F, but it should go down to the comparatively balmy mid-90s on Sunday.

Last Saturday afternoon (30 June) found me indoors, helping staff a phone bank for state senate candidate Scott Sifton's campaign. I made about 125 calls in three hours, with many that I called hanging up when I called, but I did talk to some voters about Sifton. The primary election on 7 August is one month away, so there's plenty to do until then, but I feel confident that Sifton will win his primary. (For more on Sifton and his campaign, please visit www.scottsifton.com.)

Saturday night found me at the Pool House in Creve Coeur, Missouri for the St. Louis Transplants party. This group is for people who moved into Metro St. Louis from out of town or St. Louisans who'd like to help these transplants better know our area. There was a very nice group there--about 50 people, I'd guess--and I really enjoyed meeting and talking with several of them that night. This was my first event with St. Louis Transplants, and it won't be my last.

I got some work done on two aircraft models I'm hoping to finish in time for the IPMS/Gateway meeting on Tue., 17 July. One of them is a Pegasus 1:48 scale Bf 109G-6 that I'm building for the club's Same Kit Contest. The other is a Smer 1:72 D.520. Now, I have most of the exterior paint done, with touch ups to follow in the next day or two, followed by decals. I should have photos of those models posted here in due course.

Speaking of models, I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting last Tuesday night (3 July). It was a short meeting--I didn't feel like we should stay that long on such a hot night--but we did discuss options for electing club officers and for our club's web presence. To be continued.

Despite the heat, I had a fine Independence Day holiday on Wednesday (4 July). That morning, I was in Webster Groves to march with Scott Sifton at the parade through the city. There were about 15-20 of us that accompanied Sifton through the 2-mile parade route from Webster Groves High School to Memorial Park. Once we got going, it wasn't so bad getting through the heat. Afterward, I went to a party at a nearby house with Sifton and other politicians and candidates. After that, I just relaxed at home. I just wasn't in the mood for much else.

Dad's doing OK. The therapist made her final visit here to check up on him and to lead him in some exercises. Slowly but surely, Dad's making progress.


29 June 2012

The Heat is On!

It's a hot one here in St. Louis. As I write this, the temperature is 102 degrees F (39 degrees C), one degree shy of the expected high temperature today. It reached 106 F (41 C) yesterday--a local record for this date-- and the forecast calls for highs of 104 F (40 C) tomorrow (Saturday, 30 June) and Sunday (1 July). Stay inside as much as you can. I know I will.

Last weekend was rather quiet, with not much going on. Monday night (25 June), I was at Webster University's Sunnen Lounge (in the University Center) for a program presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. It was titled "Access Across America" and was presented by Dr. Joey Senat, a media law professor at Oklahoma State University. He spoke about how reporters can press local, state and federal government agencies for open records, in order to hold agencies and individuals accountable. Dr. Senat's talk went into the resources that reporters can access and ways to obtain these records. The presentation also showed how individual citizens can use these same methods to press for government transparency. A rather interesting presentation, I think.

The monthly IPMS/Gateway business meeting was Tuesday night (26 June) at Doug Barton's house in Foristell, Missouri. The board (myself included) planned next month's meetings, and discussed some other club business. Wednesday night (27 June) found me at Scott Sifton's campaign office in Affton for a three-hour phone bank shift. I had some problems early with a computer glitch (I ended up restarting the computer and program) and much indifference among the voters I called, but overall it was well. I also meet Sifton before I left for the night, and he thanked me for helping on his campaign. I wished Sifton best of success.

Last night, I was in Clayton for a special meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MAHS). Instead of the normal monthly meeting, this was a meeting of the Lambert St. Louis Airport History Project (LAHP). This is an effort by MAHS members to put together a popular history of the airport by Lambert's centennial in 2020. I'm planning to help some colleagues in researching and writing on some areas of the airport's history, and to coordinate models and miniatures of Lambert and aircraft associated with the airport over the years. Should be interesting.

I wish I had better news on the job search, but I don't. I did leave follow up messaged with two organizations I applied to recently. Waiting to hear back on those.

Dad's slowly getting better, with his regaining strength and dealing with his neuropathy. My one knee's getting better (I think it was a slight pulled meniscus) and I should be able to resume full running next week.

A head's up: The new season of Writer's Block from Naturally Autistic Radio airs next Saturday, 7 July, at 12 pm Central Time (10 am Pacific Time; 1700 GMT). This is the hour-long program on writing and editing from the autistic perspective. I hope you and yours can tune in. More on this show at www.naturallyautistic.com/radio-show. The show is streamed on Blog Talk Radio. You can sign up for free there at www.blogtalkradio.com.

I hope my fellow Americans have a happy and safe Independence Day on Wednesday, 4 July. Later.

21 June 2012

Summer Comes, and It Feels It

Last Saturday (16 June), I was at Grasso Plaza in Affton for two hours in the early afternoon. I and another volunteer were out to register voters in advance of the primary election on 7 August. My partner signed up two voters, but I did not. To be fair, we had little foot traffic where we were, due to the heat. (Two volunteers working earlier in the day signed up seven voters.) At least I helped do my own small part for good citizenship.

The next night, I was in Dellwood to referee men's indoor soccer at the Dellwood Arena. I haven't refereed indoor (walled) soccer in a few years, but at least my partner was a veteran of these games and gave me a run down of the rules. We had three games scheduled, but only two were played. The arena isn't air conditioned, so it got rather hot and humid. Fortunately, there wasn't much running for us referees. (For the players, it was different.) Also, it's rather informal, and we had no real problems with players.

Monday afternooon (18 June), I took my Corolla in for service at Weiss Toyota Scion, where I bought the car in February. They gave it a good inspection (per usual), and they changed the oil, rotated the tires, and changed the cabin air filter. The oil change part was on them, thanks for a letter they gave me when I bought the Corolla. The service technician said my car's running great. He recommended some air conditioning service, but I wasn't ready to pay $80 more for that at this time. (It's not urgent service.)

At Calvary Presbyterian Church on Tuesday night, I set up the fellowship hall for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. We had a fine meeting, with a good turnout of models for the Model of the Month "beauty contest," plus Chris Merseal's demo on using pigments to weather models. I presented a slide show of the IPMS/USA Region 5 Convention last month, projected onto the screen off my computer. Afterward, I cleaned and rearranged the furniture in the hall before locking it up for the night.

Last night, I was working a phone bank in Affton for Scott Sifton, who's running for State Senate. I made over 75 calls in about 1 1/2 hours, contacting residents to get a feel for Sifton's level of support in advance of the primary in August. I'll be doing the phone bank once a week for a few weeks prior to the primary.

Dad's still working to get upper body strength back, but otherwise he's OK.


15 June 2012

Networking in Various Ways

Last Saturday morning (9 June), I drove to Smartt Field in Portage Des Sioux, Missouri (St. Charles County) to help IPMS/Gateway with a Make & Take program. The local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was hosting their Young Eagles, a youth aviation outreach program, in conjunction with local Boy Scouts studying for the Aviation merit badge. (This was a merit badge I earned as a Boy Scout, back in the day.) Myself and four other club members ran the Make & Take, in which the kids were given simple to assemble model kits (of aircraft and cars) they could put together. We offered advice and help as they requested. In the end, the kids got to take their models home with them. We had about 12 kids take part and I helped a few of them with their models. I really had fun with this and I hope we got a few more modelers out of this event.

The next day, I was at DeSoto Park to officiate Latin American Soccer League games. I had the middle on the first game, between two of the league's better sides, and that went well. The second match of my shift, between two of the league's worst, had my partner on his toes, and I was helping him as best I could. In the end, though, it came off rather well.

I had a rather busy Tuesday (12 June). First, I was at The Hive@44 Business Coworking Community in Fenton for the Yellow-Tie networking event. That went pretty well, including talking with a bus charter company's rep who had good words about a firm I had just applied for a part time proofreading job the day before. (I'll follow up on this opening early next week.) Then, I drove to downtown St. Louis for the GO! Network meeting, which had a panel discussion on using recruiters and staffing agencies to help find work. It was rather interesting talk they gave. That night, I was at Crusoe's in Oakville for the monthly Mehlville Oakville Alumni Association meeting. There, I gave an updated on the Mehlville '82 reunion (the notice came in my email that night) and offered advice to three Mehlville '88 grads looking to do a reunion in the near future.

Late this afternoon, I was at the new Benton Park facility of Back 2 Basics Marketing for their open house. (They moved into their facility about two weeks ago, one of their people told me.) I had a nice time, networking with some of the people there, including several Back 2 Basics employees. Letting them know I'm out looking, they are keeping me in mind for possible freelance work in the near future. After that, I headed to the Fountain on Locust for a dish of ice cream and an iced tea. I was tempted to stay for cocktails (they had a 1960s theme night), but I was rather short on cash and had plenty of alcohol already in me, thanks to the punch at the Back 2 Basics open house.

I'm off to help register voters tomorrow. Hard to believe the primary election is just about two months away, and the general election is about five months away.


08 June 2012

Here's June

Not much happening to start this month. I wish more were happening for me, but that's not the case, I'm afraid.

Dad was back in the hospital for a few days late last week and weekend, due to pain he had in his back and lower abdomen. Nothing showed up in the biopsy, so he is back home now. He and Mom say they are happy I am here to help them around the house. I'm glad to know that, although I'd much rather be back out on my own.

Officiated two men's soccer games last Sunday (3 June) at DeSoto Park. The games went well, with no major concerns to deal with among the teams. (I ran line on both matches.) I'm back there this Sunday afternoon for two matches.

Last Tuesday (5 June), I ran the IPMS/St. Louis meeting at Thornhill Branch Library. That night, I presented a slide show of the IPMS/USA Region 5 Convention in Overland Park, Kansas last month. This was well received by the members in attendance. We also started membership renewals and discussed starting a Facebook group, which could supplement or even replace the club's website.

I'm off to Smartt Field in Portage Des Sioux, Missouri (St. Charles County) early tomorrow (Saturday) morning, to help run a Make & Take for IPMS/Gateway. Youngsters with the Young Eagles program of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) will be there to put together model kits. I'll tell you about that in my next post.


31 May 2012

Quiet on Memorial Day

Last Wednesday night (23 May), I was with the St. Louis United FC group at The Pasta House Company in University City. We enjoyed some appetizers and beer (the latter from 6 Row), and I watched my well-heeled colleagues bid on teams taking part in UEFA Euro 2012 next month in Poland and Ukraine. Several hundred dollars was bid in this Calcutta auction, with half going to the winning bidder and half to a priest in Honduras who's helping improve lives through soccer.

The next afternoon, after a call from my financial adviser who was touching base with me, I attended a business networking event at The Hive @ 44 Business Coworking Community in Fenton. It was the grand opening of the place, where several small businesses have space to start and grow their firms. I did meet a few people there who may be of help in my job search, and my friend Kimberly, who works at The Hive, was co-hosting the event.

It was a rather quiet Memorial Day Weekend for me. No soccer; a youth tournament scheduled for that weekend was called off. (Insufficient interest by teams, I think.) I was going to help register some voters Saturday afternoon in Concord Village, but the person who was supposed to meet me there with the materials did not show. I waited for 25 minutes before calling it a day. What a waste.

I was home Sunday to watch auto racing on TV: first, the Grand Prix of Monaco; then, my favorite, the Indianapolis 500. Monday afternoon, I went to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Town and Country for their annual St. Louis County Greek Fest. It was an ethnic festival; food, crafts, dance, music. Lots of fun and they had a great crowd. It's one of my favorite ethnic festivals (as is its bookend, the Labor Day weekend festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis).

Tuesday (29 May) found me at GO! Network's workshop in downtown St. Louis. The group is shutting down by the end of June, unless am 11-th hour addition of funds came their way. I did chat with two fellow job seekers, so maybe we could help each other out. Tuesday night, I went to the Mehlville High Class of 1982 Reunion Committee meeting, where we went over the classmates contacted and those to be contacted, as info on our reunion in October will be emailed by this weekend. Plus, we got to chat about old times.

Dad was rushed to the hospital this morning. He's been complaining of pains in his lower back and abdomen and hasn't slept well at all. Hopefully, the doctors will get that fixed soon.


23 May 2012

The Answer is: Two Road Trips

The correct question: What did I do this past weekend? More on that shortly.

Mom turned a year older last Friday (18 May), one day after she helped Dad come home from the nursing home. Dad's adjusting pretty well to life back at home, although he still has some pain issues. Therapists come here to help Dad with exercises to help him regain his upper body strength.

I really hit the road this past weekend. Early Saturday morning, I left St. Louis and drove to Overland Park, Kansas (a Kansas City suburb) for the IPMS/USA Region 5 Convention. Several IPMS/Gateway mates were also there, including two who were there as vendors. It was quite a nice affair, doing a bit of shopping, promoting our Invitational this September, socializing with fellow scale modelers, and participating in the model contest. I had two models in the contest (one in aircraft, the other in automotive); neither won, but that's OK with me. Just to enter was victory enough. I did help judge in armor and there were some real good entries which made it hard to determine the top three in some categories. I also took a lot of photos of the models and the show, which I will be presenting at the next IPMS/Gateway meeting. It was a satisfying show and I drove back to St. Louis, arriving that night.

Early Sunday afternoon (20 May), I got back in my car and drove to Chicago, arriving there early that night. I was in Chicago to attend a contestant interview for the game show Jeopardy!, having passed the online test a few weeks ago. That interview was late Monday morning to early afternoon at The Westin--Michigan Avenue, on the north end of the "Magnificent Mile." In about two hours, I: provided the show's producers with contact information and signing an agreement on eligibility to participate as a contestant; took a 50-question written test on various subjects; and, played a mini-round of Jeopardy! with signaling devices, and answered some questions about myself from the coordinator. I felt real good about the process. As a result of this, myself and the 17 others who attended are in the Jeopardy! contestant pool for the next 18 months. There's no guarantee I'll get called to come to Los Angeles to be a contestant on the show (there's about 1500 in the contestant pool, and about 400 regular contestants on Jeopardy! in a year), but at least I'm on the radar.

Also, during that session at The Westin, the coordinator asked us to check under our chairs for a Jeopardy! pen taped to the bottom. Whoever did find that pen won the Jeopardy! video game for the Wii game system. Well, that lucky person was me! I don't have a Wii system, but told the coordinator this gives me an excuse to get one.

Before and after the Jeopardy! session, I drove around part of downtown Chicago, up and down the "Magnificent Mile," as the stretch of North Michigan Avenue with its high end shops and hotels is called. Thus, I stayed well away from the NATO Summit and the protests that was happening well to the south of where I was going. I also drove on a bit of Lake Shore Drive, and had Aliotta Haynes & Jeremiah's 1971 song "Lake Shore Drive" running through my mind.

The Corolla performed brilliantly on my road trips. I was getting up to 37 miles (59.5 km) per gallon (3.8 l) for the highway driving, and there were no mechanical problems at all. From Saturday morning to Monday night, I drove about 1200 miles (1931.2 km).

Back in St. Louis, I was at Larry Ehret's apartment in south St. Louis last night (22 May) for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting. That went well, as we planned the June meetings (general and business) and discussed other club business. I'm off to the St. Louis United FC meeting in University City tonight. Should be fun.


17 May 2012

Doug Visiting; Dad Back Home

Dad was in the nursing home--Nazareth Living Center--when he turned 88 years old last Monday. He came home today after his stay there. I know he's glad to be back on familiar found, and so are Mom and I. He'll still be going rehab for his recovery from hip replacement surgery and regaining his upper body strength.

While Dad was still at Nazareth, my brother Doug flew in to St. Louis from Los Angeles a week ago for a visit. He and I visited Dad and Doug got to spend a few days back here. He showed my parents and I photos of his trip last month to the Bahamas, where he successfully proposed to his girlfriend Helen. Before he flew back to LA on Monday night, Doug invited me to come to Los Angeles this summer, and is offering to help with expenses, and I intend to take up this offer.

I had soccer games last Saturday night (three youth games at St. Louis U. High) and Sunday afternoon (two men's games at DeSoto Park). They went well, including the first game Sunday, when a colleague was getting his annual maintenance assessment. He passed that and the assessor also appreciated myself and the other assistant referee to helping our partner out. After the Sunday games, I came home, showered, changed, and joined my parents and Doug at Nazareth for Mother's Day dinner. (I got some flowers the day before on behalf of my brothers and I, which Mom received with great surprise the next morning.)

Tuesday night at Calvary Presbyterian Church, IPMS/Gateway had its May meeting. Being a contest night, it was a build night and I got some work done on an aircraft model I just started. I also won a gift certificate to CRM Hobbies for having my completed trivia quiz from the club newsletter drawn at random at the meeting.

Last night, I was in Clayton for the monthly Missouri Aviation Historical Society meeting, which featured a talk about a pioneering pilot and flight instructor from southeast Missouri. Prior to the meeting, I was with about 12 others at the initial working meeting for a group planning a history of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. This would be written for the airport's centennial in 2020. I'm offering to help with research, fact checking, proofreading, and rounding up info on Lambert from IPMS members.

Mom's birthday is tomorrow, and this weekend I have two long distance road trips. Saturday, I'm off to Overland Park, Kansas (Kansas City area) for the IPMS Region 5 Convention. Back home that night, I then head for Chicago on Sunday. I have a Monday late morning interview with a contestant coordinator for the game show Jeopardy! If I pass the interview and the quiz, I'll go into the pool of contestants for the show. Wish me luck!


09 May 2012

On My Feet in Various Ways

Last Saturday (5 May), I co-hosted this month's edition of Writer's Block, from Naturally Autistic Radio. Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed comedy and horror writing on the May show, which is now available for podcast download: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2012/05/05/writers-block-10amradio-drama-11am-hollywood-hijinx. We'll be back for a new Writer's Block on Sat., Sat., June 2 at 10 am PT/12 pm CT/1700 GMT.

The next day (Sun., 6 May) was a busy one. I started at the Kirkwood Community Center, where I spent nearly 1 hour at the Midwest Model Vehicle Association (MMVA) model car contest and swap meet. MMVA has shows there on the first Sunday in May and the last Sunday in October. IPMS/Gateway had a table at Sunday's show, as they usually do for the May event, to promote us and our Invitational in September. Our club debuted new promotional brochures, postcards and information cards, all very nicely done. I shopped a bit before leaving the show for Laumeier Sculpture Park in nearby Sunset Hills. There, the St. Louis International Connectors (SLIC) Metup got together to walk a trail there. About six of us were present and we walked, admired the sculptures in the park, and got to know each other better. It was a fine time, although rather warm for such an outing. (It was unseasonably warm that day.)

Late that afternoon, I was at St. Louis U. High to officiate two boys' soccer matches. My middle in the first one (an under-16 contest) included my sending off a player for getting two cautions in the match, both for unsporting behavior (here, fouls that injured the opposing player). After we got done that night--and the second match was delayed for 15 minutes due to lightning threat in the area--I had to write out a report on the sending off. I turned that in to the league office the next morning, along with the game cards.

Monday night, I went to the Maplewood Public Library for another SLIC Meetup. This time, our group coordinator, Linsey Daman, demonstrated flamenco dancing, aided by videos of flamenco performances. It was very nice and I learned a lot about this kind of dance.

Tuesday morning (8 May), I was in Creve Coeur for a Yellow-Tie networking event at Centerco Office Suites. It was pretty nice, meeting a few people for the first time, including a freelance copywriter. That night, I was a Crusoe's for the Mehlville Oakville Alumni Association (MOAA) Board Meeting. As Mehlville Class of 1982 representative, I updated the board on the reunion plans, and the board discussed some other matters.

In the meantime: Dad's still at the nursing home, doing OK one moment, and wracked by pain the next. Hopefully, that will be fixed soon. I did a bit of proofreading this week for an editor's client. Additionally, I got IPMS/Gateway's bid proposal for the 2014 IPMS/USA National Convention closer to completion. I should have that wrapped up tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, my brother Doug comes in from Los Angeles for a few days. Should be fun.