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.


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