29 April 2021

One Shot Down, One to Go

Yesterday (28 April) was my off day from work for this week. I began it at the Holiday Inn St. Louis--Creve Coeur (https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/st-louis/stlcr/hoteldetail?PID=9069228&_PMID=99634975&cm_mmc=CJ-_-5250933-_-9069228-_-www.ihg.com-_-366dca26a95011eb820af0cd0a82b820&glat=AFFI&setPMCookies=true&cjevent=366dca26a95011eb820af0cd0a82b820) for a networking event organized by the Job Seekers' Garden Club. I didn't really find any recruiters that I was looking for regarding positions in public relations or publishing, but someone from an accounting firm told me of some firms I should look into for such positions. I thanked her for the information and we exchanged business cards. At least something good came out of that event for me.

Then, it was off to Micro Center (https://www.microcenter.com/) in Brentwood, where I bought an external hard drive for backing up files from my laptop. I also got a set of wireless headphones for free, a customer loyalty gift from the store.

After shopping, I made my way to the Central West End of St. Louis. Browsing at Left Bank Books (https://www.left-bank.com/), I found a new book for sale, "The Bomber Mafia," by Malcolm Gladwell (https://www.gladwellbooks.com/), which tells of technology and best intentions collided during World War II. I bought that book and look forward to reading that in due course.

I walked across the street to Mission Taco Joint (https://www.missiontacojoint.com/) for lunch. I had two tacos--one chorizo, the other fish--along with chips and salsa. It was great to be able to dine in one of my favorite meal spots.

For dessert, I walked across Euclid again, this time to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (https://jenis.com/). I walked out with a scoop of sweet cream biscuits and peach jam ice cream, which was most delicious. I enjoyed the ice cream in my car.

After a short trip to south St. Louis, I returned to the Central West End. This time, it was to the BJC HealthCare (https://www.bjc.org/) Clayton Avenue Building to get my first dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. After checking in with the intake nurse, I was directed to another nurse who injected my upper arm with the Pfizer (https://www.pfizer.com/) vaccine. I then sat in a waiting area for 15 minutes, just to make sure I was fine after the shot. I also made an appointment for getting my second shot in three weeks, also at the Clayton Avenue Building. Feeling no ill effects, I walked out of the building, got into my car, and drove home.


18 April 2021

At Fleacon 2021

Just before 2:30 am yesterday (17 April), I left home to drive to Monticello, Iowa. I was going there to attend Fleacon 17, the annual scale modeling contest and show hosted by IPMS/Alexander Lippisch (http://lippischmodelclub.org/). After nearly six hours (driving plus stops for refreshment and break), I arrived at the show venue, the Monticello Berndes Center (http://www.ci.monticello.ia.us/parks-and-recreation/).

This was my first time at this club's show, and I was going both as a representative of IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) and as IPMS/USA Region 14 coordinator (https://calendar.ipmsusa3.org/region/region-14-mid-central). Despite wearing face masks for safety during this COVID-19 pandemic, attendees were having a good time.

Arriving at the show site, my three contest entries were registered and then taken to a judging table, where two judges looked over my entries. After they recorded their scores, my models were released to be placed on the contest tables. This was my first experience with this system in an overall contest, although when I had a armor model entered at KC CON last year in Kansas City, Missouri, that used a similar judging system. (The rest of KC CON's model contest used the standard judging system for IPMS/USA contests.) I entered my 1:48 scale Jupiter-C Explorer 1 rocket in Real Space, my 1:48 Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis in Aircraft, and my 1:700 Turbulent in Ships. Depending on the judges' evaluations, a model could receive a Gold, Silver, or Bronze awards, and there were no limits regarding how many awards could go in each category.

I got to chat with several attendees, including Bill Kreuger, Alexander Lippisch's chapter contact; Jeff Hearne, IPMS/US Region 5 (Midwest) coordinator (https://calendar.ipmsusa3.org/region/region-5-midwest); Jim Coatney, Hearne's predecessor as RC-5; and Joachim (Joe) Lotz from IPMS/Plastic Surgeons (http://www.ipms-plasticsurgeons.com/). It was great having face time with people I had mostly or only known via email and social media. There were 30 vendor tables at Fleacon, and it was fun to browse among the kits and related products on sale. I came away with four kits for my stash. I got lunch there at the Berndes Center. A walking taco, chips, and soda were most satisfying and very inexpensive. There was a very nice crowd on the day, helped in part by the pleasant weather for all of us who traveled from as far as Wisconsin and Nebraska, and in part by this being the first scale modeling show in this area for many months. (Fleacon was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.) Walking around the contest tables, I was impressed by the number and quality of contest entries on hand. The final tally was 214 models entered by just over 60 entrants. My three entries were in very good company. I also bought a few raffle tickets. Besides the regular sort of scale modeling show raffle (kits raffled off to winners of regular tickets), there was a premium lottery with higher cost tickets for special kits. The latter prizes were given away just prior to the awards ceremony. I did not win any of the regular and special raffle prizes, but that's fine. I always enter raffles at these shows to show my support for these events and their organizers.
The awards were announced late that afternoon to conclude Fleacon. individual awards for the models were announced. My Turbulent earned a Silver in Ships, while Bronze awards were bestowed upon my Jupiter-C in Real Space and the Spirit of St. Louis in Aircraft. I was most happy to receive these awards. The major awards (such as theme, best of these categories and Best of Show) were then presented.

The hosts asked me to speak briefly to the crowd, and I thanked everyone for coming as well as promoted upcoming contests in Region 14--including the Regional contest IPMS/Gateway will host on 11 September in St. Louis. Then, I packed my models and said my goodbyes to Jeff Hearne (including posing for a joint selfie) and to Bill Kreuger. I also chatted with someone from the the Blackhawk Model Builders Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/441475143864531/about) from Burlington, Iowa. Several of their members were at the show. They are seeking to join IPMS/USA, and I gave the representative my support for this effort.

After I departed Monticello, I stopped in Marion, Iowa to refuel my car and to get dinner from the drive through lane at Culvers (https://www.culvers.com/) before resuming my journey home to St. Louis. I mostly listened to the radio during my journey, although I did play some CDs in my car during parts of the trip up and back. They included a compilation of Brazilian music that Starbucks (https://www.starbucks.com/?utm_id=bi_cmp-376187578_adg-1233652236403352_ad-77103379775987_kwd-77103416797954:loc-190_dev-c_ext-_prd-_sig-785eacefb5a9155ce210cc93d5dc1082&utm_source=bing&utm_term=starbucks&utm_campaign=BR-Brand-HighVolume-Desktop-Exact&utm_medium=cpc&utm_query=starbucks&utm_matchtype=e&msclkid=785eacefb5a9155ce210cc93d5dc1082&utm_content=Brand%20-%20Starbucks) came out with in 2014, and two jazz CDs: the classic 1959 album "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis (https://www.milesdavis.com/) and the 2004 album "Motifs" by the French ensemble Paris Combo (https://www.pariscombo.com/). They all made my journey more pleasant.

I made a stop in Hannibal, Missouri to stretch out and get some refreshment last night before arriving home after 11:00 pm. I covered 654.3 miles (1053 km) on the day. I was tired when I got home, but happy about how the day went.

IPMS/Gateway meets this Tuesday night (20 April) at Affton Elks Lodge 2635 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635). I am making a presentation on current Chinese military aircraft colors and markings. Hope to see you there!


31 March 2021

New Chair for the Home Office

After dinner tonight, Mom and I went to the Office Max (https://www.officedepot.com/) store on Lemay Ferry Road in Mehlville. She bought herself a new chair for her home office, which I helped her to assemble, and she offered to get me one for my home office. The chair I have been using could stand replacement, so I agreed. 

At Office Max, I found a nice mid-back hair, the Brenton Studio Jaxby, in black mesh and gray fabric. It was on sale for $89.99, $60 off the regular price, and it was good enough for me. So, with Mom providing the charge card, I bought the item and took it home. Assembly took approximately 20 minutes, using the enclosed Allen Wrench and hardware. Now, I have a nice office chair, whose height and tilt tension could be adjusted as needed. I will be most happy to have this chair in my home office.
I took care of a bit of IPMS/USA (https://ipmsusa.org/) Region 14 business this morning, updating the chapter contacts in my region on the rechartering process and other matters. I also messaged a few contacts about whether or not to adjust my editorial services fees.

A new month begins tomorrow--no fooling.


07 March 2021

Soccer Refereeing Returns for Me

One week ago today (28 February), the Spring Season for the St. Louis Youth Soccer Association (SLYSA) (Home - St Louis Youth Soccer (slysa.org)) began for me as a referee. I worked three under 14 boys matches at World Wide Technology Soccer Park (SLSG Facilities - Soccer Park | St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club (slsgsoccer.com)) in Fenton. The games went well--I had the middle in between two matches as an assistant referee--but lightning in the vicinity caused a 30-minute delay in the first half of the first match. This pushed the rest of the day's games behind schedule, but nothing we can do about that.

Today, I was at the Lou Fusz Soccer Complex (Lou Fusz Soccer Complex - St Louis Youth Soccer (slysa.org)) in Maryland Heights for four under 12 boys matches. One of my partners and I took turns refereeing, so I was in the middle for the second and fourth games of the set. My two middles involved a team from Illinois, which won their matches handily. They outscored their opponents today by 21 goals to nil. This was in one of the lower divisions of the age bracket, so the overall quality of play was not that great. However, this one team did very well in their matches today.

After the matches, I stopped by Cold Stone Creamery (Birthday Cakes Cupcakes Bakery - Cold Stone Ice Cream (coldstonecreamery.com)) in Creve Coeur on the way home. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, I ordered the Coffee Lovers Only combo of coffee ice cream, roasted almonds, Heath Bar, and caramel. All of this was served in a waffle bowl. Delicious! It was a good way to reward myself for such a good day on the pitch.

Back to work tomorrow morning.


21 February 2021

A Frozen Fortnight

The past two weeks here in the St. Louis area have seen sub-freezing temperatures. Just this past Friday afternoon (19 February) did the temperature break 32 degrees F (0 degrees C). At times, the wind chill factor dropped to as low as -20 degreesw F (-29 degrees C). In that time, we got approximately 6 inches (15.2 cm) of snow. This combimed with ice on the road to make travel difficult at times during that stretch. I stayed inside as much as possible during this fortnight, venturing outside only for work. It was tough sometimes at the car rental branch when I had to step outside, though having layers of clothing on helped. Last Sunday morning (14 February), I drove to STL Athletic Center (https://stlathleticcenter.com/) in Fenton, where I refereed four boys soccer matches played indoors. These were 7-a-side matches for under 10 and 11 teams, with me as the sole referee. They went well, for the most part, and I was happy to get back to refereeing with the spring outdoor season beginning next weekend.
Cold and snowy roads caused the Affton Elks to close their lodge (https://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635) to IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) last Tuesday night (16 February), forcing the club to cancel this month's meeting. It would have been the first one I would run as president this year. IPMS/Gateway will try again next month, on 16 March. Off work last Wednesday (17 February), I went with my Mom that morning to Walmart (https://www.walmart.com/?&adid=22222222224226138098&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=e&wl1=o&wl2=c&wl3=10387014087&wl4=kwd-64003623973:aud-808579512:loc-190&wl5=89382&wl6=&wl7=&wl14=walmart&veh=sem&msclkid=e96e7fbcffbe111c4aa51f8e5764484b) to shop for groceries and a new toaster. In the afternoon, I shoveled show off the driveway. Fortunately, the dry snow was easy to remove from the driveway and front porch.
The past two Saturday mornings had meetings of Missouri Professional Communicators (https://www.moprocommunicators.org/) that I attended via Zoom (https://zoom.us/). The General Meeting on 13 February featured two guests: Author Vivian Gibson ("The Last Children of Mill Creek") and life-writer Linda Austin ("Cherry Blossoms in Twlilight: Memories of a Japanese Girl."). They spoke about writing memoirs, using their experiences in suggesting how we could do similar written works. A Planning Meeting for upcoming meetings and activities was held yesterday morning (20 February). 

With the weather getting warmer this week, the snow and ice will melt away. Getting around on foot or vehicle will be much easier.


23 January 2021

Mr. President (of IPMS/Gateway)

After work this past Tuesday (19 January), I went from work to Affton Elks Lodge 2635 (Elks.org :: Lodge #2635 Home) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (IPMS Gateway Chapter (google.com)) meeting. We had the final 2020 Modeler of the Year Contest, delayed from November, plus nominations and elections for this year's club executive board (e-board). I was one of two nominees for President, and members attending then voted. After jokes about possible voter fraud (alluding to the 2020 US Presidential election), I was announced as the winner. Outgoing President Rick Keasey (who could not run again this year due to term limits) said he would recognize the result and handed the office off to me after this night's meeting.

I previously served as club President a few years ago, but I am honored to be chosen again by my club mates to serve in this role in 2021. We continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cut into meeting attendance and model contests around the country, but I am happy to accept the responsibilities of this office. Granted, I will also continue to serve as editor of the club's newsletter (The Arch Scaler News), run the club's public relations and social media efforts, and serve as Region 14 Coordinator for IPMS/USA (IPMS/USA | By Modelers... For Modelers). However, I feel I can handle all these jobs at once.

The meeting Tuesday night also had an interesting presentation by Jim Victor on pre-dreadnought battleships. It was a fine night and hope to see more in the months to come--with more attendees to boot!


17 January 2021

Getting Out the IPMS Gateway Newsletter

Yesterday morning (16 January), I completed work editing this month's issue of The Arch Scaler News, the member newsletter of the Gateway Chapter of the International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS Gateway Chapter (google.com)). I usually get this out on a Thursday but delays in getting some content set it back until yesterday. Not having had a meeting last month, due to pandemic-related public gathering restrictions, and not much else in content meant this month's newsletter would be a thin one. Still, I was able to make it work.

After proofreading the copy, I took it to Office Max (Office Depot OfficeMax | Official Online Store) in Mehlville to run off three copies for those members without email access. After printing up the newsletters, and adding mailing address labels, I took the copies over to the United States Postal Service (Welcome | USPS) store at South County Center (South County Center | St. Louis MO (shopsouthcountycenter.com)). There, I bought stamps, which I affixed to the newsletters before putting them in the mail collection slot.

That afternoon, I emailed the newsletter to the rest of the membership, as well as some other parties. The latter include area hobby shops, IPMS/USA (IPMS/USA | By Modelers... For Modelers), and chapters in IPMS/USA Region 14, which includes IPMS/Gateway and for whom I serve as its Region Coordinator.

IPMS/Gateway holds its next meeting this Tuesday night at Affton Elks Lodge 2635 (Elks.org :: Lodge #2635 Home) . They will hold nominations and voting for this year's officers, the final 2020 Modeler of the Year Contest, and a presentation on pre-dreadnought battleships.