23 July 2015

In Columbus for Scale Modeling's Big Show

After working 1 1/2 days early in the week, I flexed out early on Tuesday (21 July), got my rental car from the branch, and made final preparations for my trip to this year's International Plastic Modelers' Society/USA (IPMS/USA) National Convention in Columbus, Ohio. First, I opened up the fellowship hall at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. It was a nice meeting with another great turnout of models for the monthly beauty contest (38 total), plus a car model judging seminar. Nice meeting. For more on this club, visit: http://ipms-gateway.com.

Early the next morning, I got into my rental car and hit the road for Columbus. It was about 7 hours of driving time, not counting stops for fuel and lunch when I arrived at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, near the Convention Center. I got registered for the convention, entered my four models in the contest, and began making the rounds of the vendors set up for this year's convention. I saw a few people I know from St. Louis and from elsewhere. I then checked into my hotel, located south of the Hyatt Regency, then went to dinner at Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, a Columbus institution. It was a long wait to get a table (over an hour), but once I was seated, I had a great dinner. After a cup of potato salad, I enjoyed Sauerbraten with kraut, applesauce, small potato pancakes, and a roll. All washed down with a glass of good German beer. To top that off, I had a chocolate creme puff. One of the best dinners I have ever had anywhere (outside home, of course). Definitely check out Schmidt's when your in Columbus. Their website is: http://www.schmidthaus.com.

This morning, after a light complementary breakfast at the hotel, I drove to the Hyatt Regency for the big tour today. I joined with others aboard two motor coaches for a trip west to the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Our group first went to the Presidential and Research & Development hangars, which are separate from the museum complex, to see the aircraft and other artifacts there. After about an hour, we went back on the buses to the museum itself, and spent nearly 5 hours going through the three display hangars full of aircraft and other artifacts. I snapped away with my cellphone camera, taking over 900 images at the museum. Good thing I had a larger in my phone, plus a generous battery pack to recharge my phone. I also took up an offer and signed up as a Friend of the museum, and got discounts on merchandise in the souvenir shop and a snack in the cafe. A great time. I had last visited this museum 39 years ago, on a family trip, but this museum has changed beyond all recognition. A must see for aerospace fans. The museum's website is: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.

We got back on the coaches for the trip back to the Hyatt Regency in Columbus--tired, but very happy. Back at the convention site, I visited a few more vendors that had set up after I had left yesterday, plus spent time in the contest room. It was filling up with more contest models. I also volunteered to be an On the Job Trainee (OJT) judge for the contest, when judging occurs tomorrow (Friday) night. I'm working as a vendor room checkpoint in the morning, then can attend the OJT seminar. I may take in other seminars that afternoon. More info on the convention here: http://ipmsusa2015.com/.


19 July 2015

Hot Days and Nights in Town

It now really feels like summer in St. Louis. Daytime temperatures this past week have gotten to about 96 degrees F (36 degrees C), while heat indices (temperatures combined with relative humidity) have reached 105 degrees F (41 degrees C). It's been quite a challenge anytime I've been outside, be it for work or pleasure. At least my co-workers have been understanding and making sure my colleagues and I get well hydrated and stay inside as much as possible.

Plenty of work going on at the car rental branch, with summer vacation season in full swing. We're all working hard and yet our morale is very good. We truly enjoy our colleagues and that helps make the work day go better.

I've been finishing a model the past few days for taking with me to Columbus, Ohio later this week for the International Plastic Modelers' Society/USA (IPMS/USA) National Convention. Just a last bit of finishing to do and I can get that all done tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to this trip and will give you plenty of info in my upcoming posts. The website for the convention is: http://www.ipmsusa2015.com.

On my off day last Thursday (16 May), I had a blood test done at the request of the doctor who examined me the week before. The nurse called me the next day to say it was good news overall, with nothing that a little adjustment in diet and exercise could not help. I then got my haircut, which needed it.

I was at Creve Coeur Airport that night for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting. We had one of two air traffic controllers who helped talked down a US Navy aircraft who had a fuel emergency to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in 2012. He talked of his experience that day and on being in air traffic control (ATC) work. We also had a presentation on the history of ATC and a local pioneer in this field. More on this meeting and the organization here: http://moavhist.org/.

Yesterday (18 July), I went to the St. Louis Area Sippers Meetup in the Tower Grove South neighborhood of St. Louis. We were to have met at Mokabe's Coffeehouse; however, we found the place was closed for a week while the owners were on vacation. We then found a nearby Saint Louis Bread Co. location and had our Meetup there. The five of us present had a nice time talking about various things over refreshments.

That night, I went to International Tap House in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis to join other Saint Louis FC supporters in a watch party for their match at Toronto TC II, which was being streamed via YouTube. Saint Louis won, 1-0, thanks to a Toronto own goal late in the first half. We'll take it. I will be out of town this Saturday, but Saint Louis FC will be home Saturday night against Oklahoma City Energy. Hope you can Pack the Park! Info at: http://saintlouisfc.com. Check out the International Tap House; their website is: http://www.internationaltaphouse.com/.

After the game, during which I had two beers, I walked next door to Mission Taco Joint for a snack. Their have very nice tacos and other Mexican food, and is worth the visit. Here's their website: http://missiontacostl.com/.

Take care and I will blog again from Columbus. Later.