18 October 2020

Road Trip to Wichita for a Scale Modeling Contest

Early yesterday morning (17 October)--about 2 am St. Louis time--I left the house and started the drive to Wichita, Kansas. The Chisholm Trail Scale Modelers chapter of the International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/361294804031178) was hosting its annual Trail Con scale modeling contest and swap meet.

I had a full fuel tank when I left St. Louis, but knew I needed to make a fuel stop on the way. That, and stops along the way to get some food, energy drink, and use a restroom meant it was just after 9:00 am when I arrived at Midway Baptist Church (https://midwaywichita.com/), the show venue. Not counting the stops, the distance from home to the show site was 444 miles (714.5 km).

One of those stops was at the Matfield Green Service Plaza of the Kansas Turnpike (https://www.ksturnpike.com/), northeast of Wichita. After using the restroom there, I saw a memorial bust of Knute Rockne, the legendary University of Notre Dame football (https://und.com/sports/football/) coach in the early 20th century. Rockne and seven others were killed in an aircraft crash some 8 miles (12.9 km) away, near Bazaar, in 1931.

After arriving at Midway Baptist Church, I filled out the contest registration forms, paid my registration fee, and arrived in the sanctuary for the contest and vendor tables. I entered six models in the contest: three aircraft, two ships, and a space launch vehicle. I also left on the registration table some flyers for the IPMS/Gateway Regional in September 2021 (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) and for next year's IPMS/USA National Convention in Las Vegas (https://www.natslv2021.com/).

Two club mates--Marion Morris and Jim Triola--were already there, selling kits from Morris' vendor table. I started walking around the room, eyeing the vendors' offerings, seeing the models entered so far in the contest, and buying six raffle tickets. I also chatted with some people there I knew, including the Chisholm Trail Scale Modelers' president and chapter contact, Jeff Cadenhead. He told me he had thought to cancel this year's show, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he got enough interest from in and out of the club to put on this show. I would say he made the right call.

At Noon, the contest judges met in a side room for lunch--pizza from Little Caesars (https://littlecaesars.com/en-us/)--before going back into the sanctuary to start judging the entries. I helped judge Cars, Armor, and Dioramas, since I didn't have any entries in those categories. There were some superb entries in the contest and a good turnout overall yet judging went smoothly and swiftly. Awards for the top three in each category--medallions, with or without the neck ribbons--were placed by the honored entries.

I was pleasantly surprised that two of my entries placed third in their respective categories. My Turbulent placed in Ships--Submarines 1/401 or smaller, and the Jupiter-C Explorer 1 was honored in Space/Sci-Fi--Real Space Rockets.

The big honors went to Triola's 1:200 scale USS Hornet (CV-8) at Midway diorama. It won in Dioramas--Naval, Best Diorama, and Best of Show. I was so happy for Jim. This large diorama was easily the talk of the show.

I was tired on my feet throughout the day, and even yawned a couple of times, but I was so happy being in my element. I was also happy that I won three model kits and a book in the raffle. (I sold the book to someone who was most interested in this subject that I, so I got some money out of it.) I also bought two kits and a book from the vendors. 

After the show ended, I packed up my kits and other gear, and said my goodbyes to Morris and Triola, and to Cadenhead. I packed my car with my stuff and began the long drive home just after 3:00 pm. After stops for fuel, food, and using the restroom, I arrived safely home around 10:20 pm. In just over 20 hours on the road and back, I covered 900.5 miles (1449.2 km). My Corolla gave me no problems at all the entire time.

Coming home, I saw on my smartphone that Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/) lost 2-0 at Louisville City FC in the USL Championship (https://www.uslchampionship.com/) Eastern Conference Semifinals. That ended the season for Saint Louis FC--and its existence. The team will fold, unable to continue operating due in part to the pandemic causing financial losses it could not recoup. 

Overall, it was quite a good day for me, and I went to bed last night tired, but happy.


07 October 2020

A Weekend of Chilling and Witnessing Soccer

 Last weekend was largely spent at home, relaxing after a busy week at work. Saturday night (3 October), I was parked in front of my laptop computer, watching Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/) host Indy Eleven (https://www.indyeleven.com/) in the final USL Championship (https://www.uslsoccer.com/usl-championship) regular season match. It was played at West Community Stadium of World Wide Technology Soccer Park, and streamed on ESPN+ (https://www.espn.com/espnplus/?om-navmethod=topnav).

This could have been Saint Louis FC's final match ever (the team is folding after this season), but the home side came through with a 2-1 victory. This enabled Saint Louis FC to finish second in their group and advance to the USL Championship Playoffs. They will play away to Hartford United (https://www.hartfordathletic.com/) this Saturday (10 October), at 6:00 pm Central Time. Yes, I was happy that Saint Louis FC plays at least one more match in its existence. My fellow St. Louligans (https://stlouligans.com/) are certainly happy. We may have a watch party for this match. Don't know yet as I write this.

The next night (4 October) saw me at Sportport International (http://www.sportportintl.com/) in Maryland Heights. I was there to referee two St. Louis Youth Soccer Association (https://www.slysa.org/) under 13 boys matches. The first match started a bit later than scheduled, as the field hockey training session on our field had to end and our field readied for our match. This was my first match since last March, and I was concerned how I would do. Soon, it wasn't such as problem, as it ended up an 11-1 result. The winning side was much better, and fortunately no real problems occurred for me to deal with.

The second match of the night was much closer, it ending up a 2-1 result. It was a much more competitive match, and a bit rougher--I had to issue three yellow cards to keep it under control. All was well in the end, though.


20 September 2020

P-39 Model Done, Entered in IPMS Gateway Meeting Contest

 Last Monday night (14 September), I completed work on my latest scale model, a 1:46 scale P-39 Airacobra from a kit by Atlantis Models (https://atlantis-models.com/). I finished assembly with the pitot tube on the left wing, and replacing two machine gun barrels on the right wing that broke off during painting. 

The next night, after work, I came to Affton Elks Lodge 2635 (https://www.elks.org/lodges/home.cfm?LodgeNumber=2635) for this month's IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) (https://www.facebook.com/IPMSGateway) meeting. The third of four model contests for Modeler of the Year was held. I entered my P-39 in the Aircraft category. It was one of three entries in that category, and it took Third Place. I have no complaint about it, since it clearly was inferior to the other two entries in that category. (While placing it on the contest table, the left exhaust stack came off. I tried to reattach it with super glue, but the glue was bad so I had to leave it alone.)

It was a good meeting, with Show & Tell of several items, and Rick Keasey's talk about his experiences as a KC-135 navigator during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM in 1990-91.

I posted some pictures of my model on several Facebook scale modeling groups, and got some good comments about it. It's a decent kit to build, and if you're not really concerned with fit and accuracy, it is a fun kit to assemble and finish.


13 September 2020

Saturday Dinner at a Mexican Restaurant

 Last night (12 September), I drove to Diablitos Cantina (https://diablitosstl.com/) in Midtown St. Louis. (It's located where Cafe Ventana used to be.) I joined seven others in the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup Group (https://www.meetup.com/Ethnic-Restaurant-Fans) for dinner at this establishment.

We were to have gone to Fritanga Nicaraguan Cuisine (https://fritangastl.com/) in St. Louis, but this was changed three days before due to that venue being unable to keep us together at the same table.

Our group had a table on the patio, where we could sit together and talk. It was good catching up with this group, not having been to a Meetup with them in about two years.

Individually, we went inside to place our orders. I ordered a can of Modelo Especial beer (https://www.modelousa.com/en-US/product/especial), chips and three salsas (black bean, house, and chilanga), and The Austin. The latter is two flash fried flour tortillas with chicken tinga, peppers, onions, and cheese, topped by guacamole and queso blanco. On the side was green rice and Diablitos beans. This dinner was most tasty.

We all had a good time on a pleasant night. I hope to see this group another time at another ethnic restaurant in Metro St. Louis.


07 September 2020

Working on a Model and Two Meetups This Weekend

This Labor Day Weekend is almost over, but I did have a quiet time--mostly at home. I did spend time working on a model kit. A few weeks ago, I started work on a 1:46 scale P-39 Airacobra kit from Atlantis Toy and Hobby ( https://atlantis-models.com/). This is a box scale kit originally produced by Revell (https://www.revell.com/index.php) produced in 1955. Atlantis obtained the molds, cleaned them up a bit, and reissued the kit earlier this year. I decided to get this kit to see how I would do with such a kit.

I finished most of the assembly Saturday morning (5 September), and began spraying gray primer paint. There were a few gaps I had not caught in assembly, so I had to fill those in and respray primer paint. I also sprayed the propeller spinner and wingtips white. Earlier tonight, I painted the propeller blades. Tomorrow night, I hope to paint the undersurfaces.

I should have the Airacobra done by next Tuesday night (16 September), when the IPMS/Gateway (https://sites.google.com/view/ipmsgatewaychapter/home) meeting will feature a Modeler of the Year contest.

Last night (6 September), I did venture out of the house for the first of two Meetup (https://www.meetup.com/) events of the weekend. This one was a Labor Day dinner and social for the Single in the City Meetup Group (https://www.meetup.com/STLSingleInTheCity/). There were 11 of us who met at our organizer's house in the South Side of St. Louis for a pot luck dinner and socializing. It was nice to get together with the others and catch up on things, since we haven't had such a gathering since the pandemic hit last March. One of those in the group, I found out, had worked in IT for Enterprise, but recently left to start up his own business. We had a nice discussion about the firm, the IT program he helped develop for use by the rental branches, and on near term job prospects.

I brought some potato chips and dip for the dinner, but only half of one bag was eaten. I took back those chips and dip when I left to go home, along with half of a strawberry cake another attendee brought to the social. (She didn't want to bring the rest of the cake home.)

Earlier tonight, I joined in a Zoom (https://zoom.us/) gathering with the Sex Positive St. Louis Meetup Group (https://www.meetup.com/Sex-Positive-St-Louis). We had up to 11 members remotely talking about how things are lately among ourselves, and sharing ideas for future discussions. There will be more such meetings every Monday night this month.

It's back to work tomorrow morning. 


16 August 2020

Saint Louis FC Defeats Sporting KC II and Weather

 Last night (15 August), I was at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton for the USL Championship ( https://www.uslchampionship.com/) match between Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/) and Sporting Kansas City II (https://www.sportingkc.com/sportingkcii).

Before the match, I joined the St. Louligans (https://stlouligans.com/) in their tailgate in the parking lot. I made a donation to the St. Louligans' Charity du Jour, Pride STL ( https://www.pridestl.org/). There was a bit of talk about the name and crest reveal two days before of St. Louis City SC (https://stlcitysc.com/), the Major League Soccer (https://www.mlssoccer.com/) team that will start play in 2023.

After the raffle drawing, the St. Louligans walked into West Community Stadium for the match. We were just settling into our seats when word came to evacuate the stadium, due to lightning in the vicinity. We had to go back to our cars to wait out the weather delay. The all-clear did come and the match kicked off about 50 minutes later than the scheduled 7:00 pm start time.

Russell Cicerone put the home side ahead five minutes in; however, Sporting KC II leveled it 35 minutes later. It began to rain as the first half came to an end, and the rain soon came down harder. A report of lightning in the vicinity meant another weather delay. We walked back to our cars to wait this out. It would be about one hour before the second half kicked off.

Mour Samb put Saint Louis FC back ahead in the 69th minute, after several earlier efforts came up short. Joaquin Rivas put the dagger in the 90th minute and Saint Louis FC came out 3-1 winners.

After the match, the Saint Louis FC players came over to the corner where the St. Louligans were located and they sang with us as they do after a win.

Saint Louis FC is on the road this coming weekend, then hosts Louisville City FC next Saturday, 29 August.


09 August 2020

Twice with Saint Louis FC This Past Week

Saint Louis FC (https://www.saintlouisfc.com/) had two home United Soccer League Championship (https://www.uslchampionship.com/) matches this past week at West Community Stadium of World Wide Technology Soccer Park.

The first was this past Wednesday night (5 August), when Sporting Kansas City II (https://www.sportingkc.com/sportingkcii) came to town. The St. Louligans (https://stlouligans.com/) gathered in the parking lot before the match to socialize, then walked into the stadium for the match.

After a scoreless first half, Sporting took a 1-0 lead. Saint Louis didn't give up, and scored in second half stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw. We celebrated like it was a victory.

Three days later (8 August), I was back at WWT Soccer Park for Saint Louis FC's contest with FC Tulsa (https://www.fctulsa.com/). Prior to going, I made an online donation for the "Schlaffle" raffle the St. Louligans have at their tailgates, in association with Schlafly Beer (https://www.schlafly.com/). My ticket was drawn, and I won the night's prize package: a wooden Schlafly beer sign, two Schlafly/Saint Louis FC key fobs/bottle openers, and a Saint Louis FC pre-match shirt autographed by midfielder Russell Cicerone. I put these items in my car before walking into West Community Stadium for the match. The Schlaffle's real winners were that night's Charity du Jour, the National Alliance on Mental Illness--St. Louis (https://www.namistl.org/).

Although Saint Louis had its chances, FC Tulsa proved the better side, running out 2-0 winners. They scored well into the first half, then added another in the 90th minute.

I hope Saint Louis FC finds good form soon, with a rematch against Sporting Kansas City II at home this Saturday night.