Monday, February 27, 2006

Fat Tuesday approaches

Is it that time already ?

I was in New Orleans several years ago (my 22 yr old was in diapers.) It was 1984. I was in Nawlins to work. Nawlins is how natives say it. If you say it any other way, the natives will gather around to take your money.

It was an exciting time. The World's Fair was there. The Space Shuttle was flown in for that, piggy-backed on a BIG JET. I was working on a building on St Charles Street, a major parade route and 2 blocks from Bourbon St.

On the actual day of Mardi Gras, I left town. We (Family and I) were living there in Slidell, just across the short (5.1 miles) bridge over Lake Ponchertrain. The long bridge was over 28 miles. The days leading to the event were strange/exciting enough.

As I said, we were on the parade route. We had 5 bucks of scaffolding up at the building. I was doing stucco work. When we got off at night and went home, parade watchers would climb onto our scaffolding and watch the parade. We would return the following day to find our scaffold strewn with Mardi gras beads. Every other day we would chase a sleeping wino out of our port-a-let.

Following MG, we were still inundated with party'ers.

We had an agreement with a neighbor to use her water for the several weeks we would be there and we would pay her water bill for that month. I was at her house, using the hose to fill our drinking water jug. It was my turn. An attractive gal came by and asked if she could have a drink. I informed her that the cups were around the hedge at out water set-up. She decided to help me carry the jug. When we got it set, I gave her a cup, she drank her water, and gave me a kiss for my trouble.

She then asked if I had a cigarette. I told her that I didn't smoke and suggested that she ask the guys working on the scaffold already. Many of them smoked. She yelled up to them about getting a cigarette. They asked her what her shirt said. It said, "Show your tits at Mardi Gras."

They said, "Well?"

She did and the cigarettes came flying off the building.

Such is Mardi Gras.
I hope Katrina didn't kill the spirit of the celebration. I further hope that the revellers keep in mind the condition of the city. Mardi Gras is about letting of steam. Nawlins might be in need of some gentler steam venting this year.

Party. Party safe. Party on.

Friday, February 24, 2006

No particular reason

I was in the mood to write a couple mornings ago while students worked on a switched/hot/split receptacle circuit project. I was concerned about one of the students seeming inability to address some upcoming and ongoing issues. This is what popped out. You might want to know, I am slightly empathic. (If you aren't sure ... It means I can feel what others feel sometimes.) This is a combination of what I felt from the student and what was/is already inside of me. I hope you enjoy it, or if it relates to you, I hope it helps express what you might feel.

Hiding place

Long ago I stopped listening
For that Ollie Ollie in free
I knew that "it" would be
Forever seeking the hiding me

There are moments of bravery
Letting foolish bravado abound
And other days of silence
Hiding even from the slightest sound

I have enviously viewed
The adventuresome sort
Running headlong into the unknown
Laughing at fates retort

That life is not for you
My fearful heart cries
I'll disagree with all my rage
And other passionate lies


I hide

February 22, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And then a long day

It was a long day yesterday. I stayed over at work for 2 hours to work on my internship. The state requires me to complete a one year internship (which you have, no doubt, heard me whine .. er .. talk about in past posts) to continue teaching. I have no problem whatsoever with that. The problem is that they require me to spend 70 hours out of class with my resource teacher advisor. This 70 hours can be spent in many ways, but one of them cannot be while I am being paid for working. My RTA will be reimbursed when we finish the cycle. He will get a check for the nearly two weeks worth of hours he spends with me (as if my glittering personality isn't enough remuneration.)

I will get nothing. Well, I will get nothing, that is, except for the benefit of his years of experience as a teacher to help me along my journey. The problem with that is this: He rambles and rarely stays on task. It drives me insane. All I can hear are the beating of native drums in my head and a resounding chorus singing , "seventy hours" over and over again.

Still, it has to be done. So, tonight, after my day of work, I will spend another 2 hours with my RTA. Then, tomorrow night, after work, just before the weekend explodes all over me, I will spend yet another 2 hours with my RTA. In the mean time, I will practice looking enthralled. I will work on my 'oh, that's interesting' appearance. (Who says I am not cut out for state government work?)

It is time for me to go. Y'all have fun.
You are going to be doing what ?
Oh my, that's interesting ....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

You are not the last to know

I think everyone has that reality show mentality now. They all want to keep you in suspense as long as possible. They lead up to what they are going to say while making you think it will go one way, then the other way, then they hit you with the whammy.

I got a letter in the mail yesterday from the Lexington Legends Professional Baseball Club.

It said:
Dear Ronald,
Thank you for auditioning to perform the National anthem at a Legends baseball game. (ut-oh) We appreciate your interest in our team and all the excitement surrounding our upcoming season (the big let down is coming). There has been tremendous enthusiasm and support ( yeah yeah, come on with it) in building what we believe to be one of the best organizations in all of Minor League Baseball. (I am sunk)

It is with great pleasure that we are looking forward to your performing of the National Anthem at Applebee's Park for the 2006 season. (WHAT !!!)

The letter went on to give info and request info for scheduling .. but it was all 'blah blah blah' to me. It took a few minutes to soak in so that I could read the rest.
Students here ... more to follow

Monday, February 20, 2006

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I grew up partially in the city and partially on the farm. Twice in my life, while growing up, we lived rurally. Once was in Winchester when I was in 4th and 5th grades. The second was in Woodford County, from the time I was a sophomore until I was married.

I remember throwing stones into the pond on one of the farms. The stone would impact the water and make an immediate splash. Then, if you were inclined to watch, you would see the ripples expanding outward in ever increasing circles. Depending on the size of the stone and the displacement of the water, the ripples could be small or large. They could extend a short way and dissipate or extend to the shore and even rebound.

Then there were the ripples created by the water from the splash hitting the water as well. These were always smaller and less intense than the ripples caused by the stone.

If you stayed and watched, you would see that the ripples expanded until they reached the edge of the body of water, and then they would rebound back and eventually converge on the very spot the stone entered the water. The stone was gone. It was no longer in sight. The ever expanding effect, however, was still evident.

Life is like that. The things we do are like a stone splashing in the water. There is an immediate effect like the splash. Then, the ripples begin to expand out from that splash.

Some thing we do create very few ripples. They affect only the immediate areas of our lives. I call these ‘low level personal’ decisions. They can include many different things from the simple to the complex, but generally only affect me. There are several different routes I can take to get to work. I can go old 60, or interstate 64, or Todds Road. Any of these will do almost the same thing. They will take me to my job. They don’t have lots of impact on my life. They could. If I have an accident on my way to work, would I have had an accident if I had taken one of the alternate routes?

Then, there are ‘moderate level decisions’. They affect me and those in my immediate family. They can include decisions regarding health and safety. They can include job decisions, housing decisions, and other stuff like that. They can affect us in moderate ways and sometimes major ways.

We are looking at houses now. One reason is that we are cramped where we live now. One of my rants is about the amassing of ‘stuff’. That is another blog on another day. Another reason we are looking is to be closer to work. Then, there is the ‘tadpole’ factor. (Tammy heard me call someone an ‘asshole’ on the cell phone one day as I was driving home [yes, I was using my Bluetooth handsfree] and thought I called them a ‘tadpole’ … so now, bad drivers and general jerks are called ‘tadpoles’)

Our TADPOLE is named John. You have noticed from other blog entries of mine and Tammy’s blog ( the stories about John.

He was involved in an altercation with Chris on Halloween night, which involves a chokehold and a knife. John had Chris in a chokehold and Chris, fearing for his life, pulled his knife out and got free. The ripples from that have been expanding. Chris will have to deal with the consequences of his actions, as will John, eventually. John had some unexplainable stab wounds that would require Chris to be a contortionist to accomplish. Add to that, the harassment that John has perpetrated since the event, and he will have many converging ripples to contend with later.

I am not addressing the guilt or innocence of Chris. He was guilty of bad judgment. He is nineteen. Good judgment comes from experiences. Experiences come from bad judgments. Was this incident Chris’s fault? I don’t believe so.

We are living in the ripples of this act, however.

So, we are looking to move with this in mind. We were looking to move before this incident. We have intensified the search since it happened. Part of the problem is that the street upon which we live is a major thoroughfare between two main streets in Lexington. There is always traffic, both vehicular and foot traffic, going up and down out street. The kids love to hang out on the porch. There, they are exposed to all manner of people, both good and bad. I am ready to be somewhere we can hang out on the porch and not be interrupted by bums seeking cigarettes or drunks looking for the bank, of idiots on steroids looking to cause trouble (our tadpole.) I know that wherever we go, we face the possibility of crime. It is everywhere. I am just tired of it walking around on our porch.

We don’t really live in a bad area. Our neighbors are, for the most part, good people. There are several business owners on the sides of us and across the street. Behind us, however is a low rent area. Further down the road is the same situation. That is not to say that anyone that can’t afford high rent or house payments is inherently bad. There are criminals in the good neighborhoods as well. They just steal in classier places.

The decision on where to live is a vital one now. I do not want to move out of one hot spot and into another. We are investigating one particular house in a small town. We have talked to the neighbors and the mailman (well, the stand in mailman) and are confident that it is actually the quiet neighborhood we were led to believe it is. There are still factors to be determined. The chief indicators are that we are almost ready to make an offer, pending the collection of some data. (That sounds like a definite maybe.)

Anyway, that is the way my mind works when it comes to decisions. Where will the ripples go and what will happen when they converge back on me?

It is a simple complex process.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another fun filled weekend

Actually, it has been a fun filled weekend. There was much 'want to do' stuff and not much 'have to do' stuff.

Friday after work, I went to my Principal's new house to look at some electric that was supposedly repaired. She was concerned. I alleviated her concerns and assured her the repair work was good. From there it was home to my honey.

We went out Friday night to karaoke. We were there long enough to sing one song. There was a party of 4 sitting at a table behind us (we chose to sit at the bar) that was way obnoxious. It was enough for us to decide to come home early. We were home by 10:30 (Yep, party animals that we are.) Chella wasn't real happy with the way the evening was working so she was happy to see us home. Pete (upstairs neighbor) wanted Chella to babysit for his 2 year old son. He wanted her to babysit overnight. Tammy and I discussed this and certain conditions had to be met before we would say yes. One of those conditions was that Tommy (his brother in law and Tammy's cousin) not be there. Tommy is 28 and mentally retarded. He is mostly functional. He just has the mind of a teenager. Well .. The answer to question one was that Tommy would be there overnight. BUZZZZZZ wrong answer.

Justin, Chella's BF agreed to babysit. That presented a few complications. Chelsea could not be at Pete's while they were gone and Justin was babysitting. Justin couldn't be here because he was watching Billy. That effectively ruined her chances to see him that night. THEN, Justin's mom called. It seems that Justin missed the second half of the school day and one of our long standing rules is that if you are too sick for school, you are too sick for BF or GF visits. Further, he was to visit to walk Chella home from school and then return home. His mom asked that we bring him home the following day (after she was informed of the babysitting snafu) and that he would be grounded from visiting or calling the rest of the weekend.

So, Chella was bored and parental company is better than no company.

Saturday, I scared the kids. I was nice. I try not to do it very often. It is hard to keep your mean parent ogre status if you keep doing these random acts of kindness. I took the kids to Joseph-Beth book store and told them to go forth and buy books. Tammy and I went to the coffee shop. Tammy had a Double Expresso Macchiato. Now ... Tammy is hyper active, and caffeine has a reverse effect on her. It calms her down. That is, it calms her down until she hits an overload. That Double Expresso Macchiato was enough to met and exceed her tolerances. She was a wall bouncer after that.

From there we went out to eat at Corky's BBQ. The food was good and the company was better. We had fun (which, as I said, scared the kids rightly.) Then we went to the Family dollar. Chella has been begging for a certain pair of black pants for over a week. I would have given them to her the first day but it is too much fun to watch her beg and try to be nice. When she got there, the pants were gone. She found some other black pants that suited her though. She is now priming her begging for a shirt to match.

Then it was on the homestead.

Sunday was a slow day, which I like a lot. We made a pt store run to buy some supplies for Ava the python. That turned out empty handed. We went to Friends and Co to eat some lunch and meet Gary (old Friend/best man at our wedding) whom we hadn't seen for a while. Kyle was with us. Gary loves Kyle and Kyle loves him right back. It was good to see Gary.
Then back home.

I had a Board meeting this evening in Versailles. We kept it short. It started at 7 and ended real close to 9. So, now I am home, have blogged, and am ready for some warm waterbed snuggling.

See y'all later ...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sneaky Jail & John Michael

The article says:

Attorneys for country music singer John Michael Montgomery entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf yesterday in Fayette District Court after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of a controlled drug and concealing two loaded handguns.

Montgomery, 41, was alone and headed to his rural Jessamine County home after leaving the Austin City Saloon, a Lexington bar where he regularly performed before becoming a star, when he was stopped by police, his attorneys said yesterday.

He also was charged with having a prescription drug not in its proper container, disregarding a traffic control device and improper turning.

The article went on to say a few other things, but the one thing that got me was the way the article went on about JMM leaving the jail through a side door. It elaborated that there was a large crowd of the media waiting to question him. It alluded to the fact that the jailers might have done something improper by allowing JMM to leave from the side and avoid the media. It pointed out that the jail had released prisoners from the side previously, but only for security purposes and not because of celebrity status.

Puh-Lease !!

He was drunk, carrying pills in the wrong bottle, and carrying two hand guns without proper paperwork (which his attorney assures that he has and most assuredly will by the time court comes around). He didn't murder anyone. He didn't assault anyone (the police said he was very polite). However, having a gaggle of reporters gathered at the front door of the jail is a security issue. They were there to impede on the privacy of a citizen.

I don't cotton to drinking and driving, EVER ! It happens everyday in Lexington. People are arrested every day for it. People go in and out of the Fayette County Jail for it on a regular basis. Yes, they exit from the front door. It is rarely to a group of story hungry journalists.

This guy (the reporter) glazes over the majority of the charges and jumps all over the jail for allowing JMM to leave discretely.

With an opportunity to say something about drunk driving, or handguns, or even misuse of prescription drugs, waving, no, jumping up and down in front of him, he sidesteps and attacks the jail for not giving him the opportunity to confront an embarrassed celebrity.

The nerve of the jail ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Intimate peek

Here is your peek into my Valentine's gift to my honey ...
Words fail

Mere words could never adequately describe what I see in your smile. For all the powers housed in the delicate composition of words, languish in failure when they try to tell what this simplest of gestures implies.

It is as if the tip of the summation of your love breaks into view for the entire world to see. They see it with eyes of distance. They see it with eyes of ignorance. They see it with eyes full of doubt. However, in my eyes, it is the plainest utterance of your heart. That plainness, that simplicity, that effortless expression carries the volumes of love written on the tables of the heart. Your smile assails my senses. I melt in its fervent heat. I am blinded by its radiance. I am filled of head and heart. I am overwhelmed. I fear that I will drown, but that fear is a strange comfort. It shakes me to my being. It stirs the seat of me. I am touched in every fiber of my mortality. All of me is left dripping, saturated in the declaration of this undemanding gesture.

I am left wondering how I will stand, but being carried aloft. My strength is gone, save the strength to love you. The facade is torn asunder. The mask of my bravado is wilted away. I am left defenseless. My heart is naked and exposed, yet I am without fear. My heart has found the wellspring it has sought.

Here I may die. Here I may live. Whatever I may do from here, I will do so carrying your love and the branding of your smile.

Where words have failed, your smile has abounded.

Your Poet

Say it aint so

Oh my gosh.

Big boobed animal rights activist Pamela Anderson is boycotting the Kentucky Derby. Yum Brands is sponsoring the Derby. Yum brands owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and a couple other fast food places.

Apparently, the thought of the cruelty to the horses and the cruelty to the chickens is just more than she can take. She says that she may never come back to Kentucky at all. Anderson asked KY governor Fletcher to remove a bust of Colonel Sanders from the Capitol last month. He refused said request.

I am thinking we should just closed the doors to the state and all move out. Can you smell the sarcasm?

I am all for the ethical treatment of animals, but I also know the first recorded animal kill by some being other than another animal took place in the beginning in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit and hid their nakedness with fig leaves, God slew an animal and gave them the skins for clothing.

From the beginning, animals were intended for the food and needs of mankind. They were created to serve mankind. Before internal combustion engines and Massey Ferguson farm tractors with CD players and air conditioning, farmers plowed their fields with oxen. We have created other methods for farming, but we have never created anything to replace eating.

I recall an incident that happened to Tammy when she went to the pet store to get a feeder mouse for our python. The clerk was all aghast about the idea of feeding one animal to another. tammy told her she needed to rethink that hamburger she had for lunch and the leather shoes she was wearing.

Ms. Anderson and her PETA friends can stay home on Derby day, and they can avoid the eleven herbs and spices, and other meats. As for me, I will go if I can get in. I will eat KFC or Lee's famous recipe. I will enjoy my tacos and pizza. I will do so with a clear conscience.

Run, horses, run

Monday, February 13, 2006

What a weekend !

OK ... It has been a weekend.

Without going into details, Chris is out of jail and Tammy can sleep better. I am sure she will fill in the blanks when she feels up to blogging. I will include some details of the 'feeling better' part.

Friday, we went to court and the judge released Chris ROR as long as he stays in Nicholasville. If john shows up there (the Victim's Advocacy has to tell him that Chris is in Nicholasville,) then it is plainly harassment.

Friday night, I took the kids to Mom and Dad's house for a bit while Tammy and I went out to eat. I know the kids can stay at home on their own. Chella is 15 and Kyle is 10, so it isn't an issue, but Tammy wanted a 'no worry' night. If the kids are at home, there is always the chance they will be outside and the 'victim' down the road might begin his harassment. This way, there was no chance of that.

Tammy and I went to Friend's & Co. For a nice sit down supper. We had a great time. We visited with some old friends. We ran into some distant family. We ate slow and talked. From there we went to Todd's Karaoke. We parked in front and never made it out of the truck. It was still early for karaoke, so there was no need to rush in there, and before we decided to go in, we decided to leave. We picked up the kids and came home. It was a good night.

Saturday, started good. Our real estate agent called to see if she could push our morning appt back to 11. That was fine. The kids were going with us. I went outside to start the truck and warm it up. As I opened my door, snow fell into the truck. I brushed it out and realized this was great packing snow. So, while the truck warmed and everyone got ready, I made a few snowballs and stockpiled them in the truck. When Tammy and the kids came out, the snowballs started flying. They thought I had lost my mind.

We went to Mt Sterling to take some measurements of the house. We met and talked with the neighbors. It seems the neighborhood is relatively quiet. Mostly older folks, she said. Quiet we can deal with. Tammy has chosen the house as the one, but knows it might not work out, so she is optimistically cautious.

From there we made it back, through the snow, to Lexington, where we made preparations for the class and party that evening. We (being mostly Tammy) make the party trays and bring the drinks and utensils. Tammy made her spinach dip (which was delicious.)

The class was good and the party was as well. Our mortgage broker was there. We had a chance to talk to him. He is awaiting some papers from us and he is ready to write the letter to the RE agent saying we are already approved.

We left early and got home around 11:30pm.

I think we drifted off to sleep around 2am. Tammy fell asleep on my chest.

Sunday was good as well. We just puttered around the early part. Then at 2pm, we started heading to Fayette Mall for the 'audition'. I was auditioning to sing the 'Star Spangled Banner' for one of the Lexington Legends Baseball games. I was plenty nervous.

I finally, (after an hour of hearing the song sang) got to the stage to do my version. I could hear the wavering in my voice. Tammy said she didn't notice it. After I finished, the girl running the sound board complimented me on it, the guy doing the intros complimented me, and several around the stage.

In front of the stage about 100 feet away was a coffee kiosk. Tammy wanted coffee (surprise). As we made our was past the crowd that was there to watch, several people stopped me to compliment me on the singing. Even at the coffee shop, people we talking to me about it. I think that is a good sign. We will see. The Legend's told me they would call or write me.

Then it was off to Nicholasville to see Chris and take him some supplies.

From there, it was back to Lexington. Tammy was asking what I might want for supper, since she forgot to lay anything out. I decided to celebrate the audition and took everyone out to eat. We ate at Cheddar's, one of our favorite restaurants. The food was great. The atmosphere was relaxed. A great experience.

Then to the house, and settle in.

The rest of the evening was mostly without incident.

Oh yeah, Tammy's not feeling well thing ... She started running a fever again this weekend. She isn't feeling great. Still yet, it was a wonderful "just before Valentine's Day" weekend.


Friday, February 10, 2006


I wont steal Tammy's thunder, but the news is good !

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The second ends ... The third begins

I have finished two of three cycles in my internship.
All involved in assessing my progress are happy to report that I am progressing. There is still much work to be done. There is still much time (unpaid) to spend. There are still beads to be sweated. However, this is the time for a breath between cycles.

I am calling Tammy right now to see if anyone in the family has been arrested today. I don't know if she has been keeping you informed, but every day is a new adventure.
Nope ... None of the kids got arrested today.

This is a good day.

Tonight is the Wednesday Gathering of our group. It will be good to socialize with folks that have more to talk about than kids and school. We are looking forward to it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Deadly Cartoon

I was reading the world news today and caught the growing story about a cartoon published in a Danish publication. It was a caricature of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. It seems that the Muslim community is in an uproar about this depiction. They have been protesting and rioting.

It is just a cartoon.

One of the pictures carried by one of the news agencies (AFP) showed a young Iranian woman holding a sign proclaiming, "No-one is allowed to insult Islam". Following pictures are of different groups of protestors burning and tearing apart the national flag of Denmark. Isn't that an insult ?

It is ok to insult a country by burning their flag in protest but they cant depict your religious leader in an insulting fashion. I haven't seen the cartoon. I don't know how insulting it might be, but, just yesterday security forces opened fire on protestors, killing at least 4. Four people killed over a cartoon ? There is too much going on in life to die for a cartoon. I believe in God, but He is big enough to defend himself if there comes a time he is insulted by a cartoon depiction of himself (and there have been many).

Can't we all just get along ?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Whewwwwww !!

Observation # 2 in Cycle #2 is completed.

My Principal sat in on my last class. We talked about conduit bodies and junction boxes and how to figure the fill capacity for each and how to determine the necessary size. (No ... I have not forgotten my promise when I started this job just over a year ago ... I will not go into the details of the lesson on here.) She was late coming for the observation. There was a smoking incident that occurred just prior to the beginning of the class. She was, however, able to do one hour of observation. I can breath now ... Until next Tuesday, when Dr Davis will be here from EKU to observe me.

This week is almost over. It has been and continues to be hectic. Those of you that know the family and the ongoing situation know where that comes from. (ending a sentence with a preposition .. I know .. Just aint in the mood to fix it.) you may refer to for more details, if you choose.

This will be a working type weekend for me. I, also, will be going out Saturday morning to look at houses in Winchester. We were to look at several last night. The first had mold issues and with two in the house allergic to mold, it was a quick 'no'. The second and third had contracts that were just written on them in the two days since I checked last. That was a bummer. Ricka (RE Agent and friend) came to the house and we looked up more houses online. We found 9 that fit our parameters. She met Malcolm, Lacy, Dude, and Ava. She shocked herself by actually touching Ava (3 feet ball python).

I, also, have to work on my portfolio for my internship this weekend. Fun, fun.

Anyway ... Tonight might be Karaoke ... Tomorrow night is definite karaoke.

Warming up my pipes here. La la la la la la la la ... Can you hear me running the scale? Or is that ruining the scale?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Splashing in the shallow waters of the psyche was safe enough.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," I heard the voices say.

The flapping of the curtain was drawing my attention. I could see a hint of the wonders that lay behind it. The colors seemed so much more brilliant than those around me. The sparkle was so alluring. Behind the curtain, yawned the mouth of the cavern to my soul. The colors flashing deep inside were hypnotic. Like a moth to the flame, I made my way to the lights.

I walked through the mouth of the cave, in spite of the warnings. The waters grew deeper as I moved forward. Deeper and darker they became, the more I traveled toward the glowing lights. As the lights became brighter, the water became darker. In the shallow of the clearing, the water was light and the colors dim. Here, the contrast was stark. The lows were lower. The highs were higher. My steps were heavier, but the air was lighter. I forced my eyes to open as wide as possible to capture the brilliance of the light.

Looking over my shoulder at the mundaneness of the shallow, I wondered why anyone would want to stay there.