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LIFE (permalink) 04.28.2014
the good life
as the boys and i were walking into school, i spied a mother who has been training her second grader to walk to school on his own. she has been doing this by stopping walking with him further away each day. she had built up to the point where she was stopping right when the school came into view. this allowed her to still see the child walk through the building's doors (for that next level you see the parents hiding behind bushes sneaking a look to see the kid makes the last leg without issue). on this day the child was about halfway to the building and a good bit of distance separated them.

the boy stopped next to a dogwood tree which had just started to bloom. he looked the tree up and down and then approached it until his nose was just inches from the closest bloom. he stared at the curious fascinating object with a great intensity. an adult might give it four or six seconds of their time but this child became transfixed. twenty seconds passed. then thirty. my boys were goofing off and not progressing much further much faster so i was able to take in this child's obsessed moment. i looked back to the mother to see her reaction. honestly i expected her to be restless, exasperated even, wanting her child to hurry up and get into the school so she could tap-out and return home to her coffee and facebook stream. but instead she stood patiently. seeing my glance she called across the street, "it kind of makes you remember what the saying 'stopping to smell the flowers' is meant to look like."

i smiled and shared my agreement. the boy continued his review another thirty seconds or more and the mother never prodded him on. after about a minute or so the child came out of his stupor and continued his walk. seeing him now you'd never know the two minute distraction took place (i reckon the same couldn't be said of his young mind though).

from time to time i ask my kids to imagine how blown away we would be if certain things were never part of our world and then suddenly one day, they just appeared, out of nowhere. i've used things like trees, clouds, insects, birds, squirrels, rain, falling stars, mountains. how fascinated would we be by these creations? how long would we stare at them? how long would we spend understanding the mechanics of their being? in short, how long would these infinetly complicated and wondrous parts of the universe intrigue us?

i found this child's quiet and unprodded appreciation of the world before him inspiring. further, i have found it has bettered my eye at spotting the signs of nature around me (which presently is full of action as it emerges from hibernation). in fact, in honor of this lesson and extraordinary span of time in our natural world, i'm logging off this week and am going to sit on my porch to enjoy more of my own dogwood's rebirth.

QUOTES (permalink) 04.25.2014
short, sweet, and clean-smelling
the most profound quote, for me, from this year's mancation:
cleaning your room is work.

keeping it clean is not.


PHOTO (permalink) 04.24.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
MARCH 2014

PERSONAL (permalink) 04.23.2014
is this thing on (tap, tap)
my employer recently began a toastmasters group. the second i saw the opiton, i enrolled. one week ago today was our club's first meeting. and at this meeting i had the honor of being our club's first speaker. the first talk you are asked to do as a toastmaster is a six-minute ice-breaker. below is the transcript of my ice-breaker speech.
the name of my talk is who i am and why i'm here.

for a man of my mature years, defining oneself can be a little tricky.

so, i'm going to solve this by starting with my birth and ending at this very moment right here.

that may seem an ambitious goal to achieve in six minutes but i'd guess that for many in the room, standing in front of an audience and told to entertain them for six minutes will feel like a lifetime, so it's actually rather fitting.

to begin.

my name is troy lane dearmitt.

i was born and adopted in lancaster pa.

when i was six, my parents poured their combined wealth on a twin bed in a one room space they occupied. the family fortune on this day came to 23 dollars and some change.

a few months later, my family left the state of pennsylvania in the dark of the night, my father, after fitting as many of the family possessions in the car as he could, rolled it down the hill past the landlord's house to escape detection.

we drove west along the canadian border until hitting the rocky mountains where he turned left.

the money ran out in fort collins colorado. this is where we'd spend the next twelve years. (the story goes, if gas was cheaper in cheynne wy, that is where i would have grown up, but my dad, ever the stickler for a good price at the pump, even to this day, didn't like what he was seeing in cheyenne and thought he could pull another sixty miles from the tank).

aside from puberty wreaking havoc with my hair, the twelve years i spent in colorado were quiet and uneventful which worked well for my demeanor.

when i was 18 my mother started a second career as an std woman for the cdc. translated this means a sexually transmitted diseases woman for the centers for disease control. and yes, your assumption is right, there is not an 18 year old boy on this planet that wants his mom working, publicly at least, in venereal disease, but i'd need another six minutes to get into the neurosis this brought on, but to give you a taste, i'll add the picture that i was usually the only boy in my college class who when pulling his book out of his bookbag would have five condoms spill into the aisle.

six months after arriving in st. louis i was thunder bolted by a st. louis girl. for those that might not know what getting thunder-bolted means, it means after seeing a person, the next thought to come from your mind's printer contain the words 'that is the girl i am going to marry'. and yes, this is like the greatest, most important, most valuable piece of knowledge a young man can ever receive. there is only one exception to this informational windfall and that is when the girl you were thunderbolted by did not get the same message, which was the case here. thus, i got to spend the next eight years convincing here i was the man she should marry (she had many suitors) which in time she did.

as our relationship solidified i assumed between st. louis and colorado we'd be living in colorado. but it is very true what they say about st. louis girls white-knuckling their zip codes because here we are some twenty years later.

and that is how i came to be in st louis.

next, as promised, let me share how i've come to be specifically in this room.

everyone i've mentioned this toastmasters affiliation with, who knows me, has expressed surprise.

the reason for this is for the past twenty years, every job i've had has included or been solely about public speaking.

so people who have seen me talk or work wonder why i'd join such an organization.

the reason is i have a secret.

the secret is before every speaking engagement i've ever done, a war has been waged in my mind.

a war full of shouting and intimidation.

this war was waged before i gave my first talk twenty years ago.

this war was waged last week when i guest lectured in a class of graduate students.

this war will be waged again this friday when i give an hour long talk to 100 law students.

and yes, this war was waged before this talk today.

the good news is in the last twenty years i have never lost this war. i've never avoided a speaking opportunity and every time i said i'd speak, i spoke.

but the smartest among us say that the true victory is not in winning the battle—the true victory is avoiding the war.

that is my personal goal—to not have the war.

and that is why i have come to be in this room today.

and that is who i am and that is why i'm here.

PHOTO (permalink) 04.22.2014
hands down, or perhaps it should be hands up (in joy)
LIFE magazine recently asked the question "is this the happiest photo ever made?" (link). the suggesting winning image was taken by one Alfred Eisenstaedt, picture below.

given a daily ritual i have of looking at another photo, my answer of no came quick as my preference quickly turns to the below photo, Burst of Joy taken by Slava "Sal" Veder, on March 17, 1973 and is captioned, "Lt. Col. Robert Stirm, is greeted by his family, returning home after more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam." (fuller back story).

upon digging further i was glad (and affirmed) to see time's more exhaustive list included my Burst of Joy choice as part of their fuller list of 20 timeless, joyful photos.

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 04.18.2014

KIDS, WEB (permalink) 04.17.2014
so far, so good
people have long chided me that my kids would one day revolt towards this website. the below exchange between bella, age 13, and i affirms my choice, thus far at least. and, yes, i'm documenting this here in case her position ever changes.
On Feb 19, 2014, at 7:26 AM, Troy Dearmitt wrote:
i thought you might enjoy this dCom post from exactly five years ago to the day.

how times change.


On Mar 5, 2014, at  3:45 PM, Bella DeArmitt wrote:
OMG, I haven't had time to reply, but I read it on that day. I'm so sweet,  demonic, and SMART!

Thanks for making this website,

Bella C;D

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.16.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
jack, you're in

KIDS (permalink) 04.15.2014
lieing to a 7 year old shouldn't be this hard.
to give a further taste to the challenge that is raising/educating anthony (referring to), i share the following story which happened just yesterday.

last weekend anthony lost a tooth. sunday night marty helped anthony place the tooth under his pillow. then after he was asleep marty came to my office looking for a dollar bill. she plucked one from my wallet and made the trade. the next morning when anthony woke up, marty asked him if anything had happened. remembering the tooth, anthony looked under his pillow and found the dollar. he held the unfolded bill in his hands, studying it, then cried foul.

hey. this is one of dad's dollars.

uhh. what?

this dollar. it's dads.

what do you mean it's dads? why do you say that?

because it has this notch right here. all of dad's money has a notch right here because of that clip he keeps it in.

uhhh. well. maybe the tooth fairy has a wallet like dads.

really mom.

WEB, LIFE (permalink) 04.08.2014
in short
in the middle of last year, i retired. not from my proper day job but from doing freelance work. in taking five minutes to do the math, i observed that the amount of enjoyment (e.g. cash money) traded for the amount of effort (e.g. my saturday nights) were disproportionate, and wildly so. so i forfeited the enjoyment by no longer buying things (things i didn't need in the first place) and instead of working through the night each and every weekend, would read books, and watch movies with my daughter, and go on dates with my wife, and work obsessively on my cross stitch skills.

and equally important, instead of making things i was essentially paid to care about, i now make things i personally care about. some would call these pet projects and is, i'd guess, what many old men of this generation do instead of diddling with electronics on their basement workbenches. while many of my projects are for private use, today i'm sharing the first public project to come from my reclaimed saturday nights, In Short Books.

click to jump

QUOTES (permalink) 04.04.2014
"Trust those who seek the truth but doubt those who say they have found it."

André Gide

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.03.2014
the night before i went on my mancation ski trip this year, alex and i spent a few quiet moments together before bed. out of nowhere he reflectively said the following:
it's hard on me when you travel.

at delmar harvard i remember i used to slide into my seat at lunch time and the last time you went skiing, i didn't slide in like i always did because i was sad and everyone (at the table) noticed (i didn't slide in) and then i started crying.

but that is the last time i cried at school about you traveling.
what he doesn't know is when he starts traveling, like for college, life, and marriage, i'll be the one not animatedly sliding into my seat and maybe even crying a bit. i hope i come to terms with it as quickly and maturely as he has.

KIDS (permalink) 04.02.2014
not for the weak-willed
a taste of what it's like to babysit the dearmitt-walter kids. note marty's fourth bullet point below.
Bella has 2 dog-sitting jobs today. First, the same location and times on Pershing as yesterday. Second, she walks a dog at Pershing on her own. She will need to visit both dogs before leaving for roller skating.

Rollercade is at 11703 Baptist Church Road, 63128. It takes between 20-30 minutes to get there. The kids will probably have just eaten breakfast.
  1. I would pack snacks for the car ride home, water included.
  2. Alexander needs to remember quarters for the video games.
  3. I don't buy drinks or snacks.
  4. The last time that we went to Rollercade, Anthony discovered that he could fit inside the lockers. So if you can't find him, I would just wait patiently.
  5. We usually put our shoes in the lockers but I don't remove the key. I leave my purse in the car so that it stays safe.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.01.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
slackers need not apply

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