The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Because of some early meetings, I got up to run at 4:30am this morning to give me a little extra time.  

It was 76 degrees out so I ran again without a shirt.  I almost feel naked when I do that.! It is kind of fun. The weather was threatening rain, so I was solo the whole way. The torrent of rain started at abou the half mile mark and continued the rest of the five miles.  You might be surprised, but it is actually quite fun to run in the rain.  I just keep my baseball hat low so I do not get much rain on my glasses so I can see.  Having a quick pipe and then off to work now.


Monday, August 21, 2017


Today will be the eclipse.  We are not in an area of "totality", but we should still have a pretty amazing time.  I personally do not trust the glasses that are for sale... Even if they have the numbers that suggest they are NASA certified.  There are too manly fakes out there and even if approves, they say "maximum of three minutes viewing" which is to me an indication they are still not safe.  Instead, we will be viewing the eclipse through pinhole "camera" devices I made instead.  I think it will be far safer and more fun.  To my manner of thinking, the safety of one"s vision is more important that seeing the moon travel in front of the sun.  

I had a weird experience on Friday.  I was stung by a damn hornet that went up the leg of my shorts.  I used to work with bees in graduate school for a few years so I ha hundreds of bee stings and I have had perhaps a dozen hornet stings over the years, but this one behaved differently.  I did get the usual swelling and redness, but the next morning, the redness had grown to be my entire upper leg.  But worse, there was a searing MUSCLE pain in my leg with every step I took.  It was very intense and different from anything I had ever experienced.  I had taken Benadryl, and that did not seem to do much.  And, after it happened the evening before, it was just its normal minor inconvenience.  We went out to eat at a Mexican resturaunt with friends (I had delicious fish tacos and a couple Killian's Red beers).   But Saturday morning, all the crazy sh*t was starting with my leg.  Intense pain in the MUSCLE!  

I forced myself to do my run, which was much slower than usual because of the pain.   For the rest of the day I waited and drank a lot of water.  We went to Mass, and after Mass, it was still horribly painful.  So, I went to the Redi-Med here just to be safe.  The clinician looked at the site and said she wasn't sure, but wanted to treat me with antibiotics because it looked so different and she was concerned it might be infected and turn into cellulitis.  

Fortunately, the antibiotics DO seem to have helped.  It is still swollen and red (to be expected), but the searing MUSCLE pain was 95% gone.  In fact, the site of the sting is now growing very itchy ( a good thing and a normal reaction to the hornet's toxins.  I was able to do my exercise like usual and in this morning's run I felt pretty much up to snuff.  


Friday, August 18, 2017


We had a meeting yesterday, and there was one person there who alway's is rather obnoxious.  She just is rude to folks.  At the meeting she was in rare form, and was being dictatorial and yet at the same time unfocused and slow as molasses.  Well, she got my goat, so to speak, as I was talking to the instructors about how they needed to have high standards and expectations in their instruction, and that our department tries to aim our intensity of exam questions so that the average student will earn a C or a C+ grade (this is both an attempt to have students demonstrate deep understanding and to avoid grade inflation).  This policy is long standing and is well understood, but some of the newer faculty were ending up having averages that were in the A or A- range because their exams were too simple and their instruction too basic.  That part of the meeting went well, and then I opened up discussion for questions.  One simple question by some new folks were about policies about returning grades to students.  I outlined our standard policy about being careful in team taught courses to work together in determining a uniform method of grade delivery of the instructors were team teaching with another faculty member, when this nasty person speaks up and very rudely says I am wrong and that she only does it "this way".  I felt like telling her in the meeting that she was a rude idiot and did not apparently know or understand how to work with others in a team, but I did not do so and simply restated more firmly the Department's  policy.  She became even more huffy and rude in her statements to me.  I then simply moved on with the meeting.  

Unfortunately, she annoyed me greatly.  And, I unfortunately felt aggravated all the rest of the day.  I still feel resentment towards her.  It is hard for me to figure out how to let this anger go.  Her behavior really reflects badly on her, so I SHOULD just let it go, but I am having a hard time doing so.  


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Very Tired

I got up this morning and did my run at 5 am like usual.  It was a balmy 72 degrees at that early morning hour.  With that warmth and humidity, and with it still being dark out (just before sunrise), I decided to run without a shirt.  This is not typical for me to do, but it felt very nice.  

I then came back to the house, watered and fed the dog and let her do her business while I had a pipe on the back porch.  Then I proceeded to the U.

I find I am extremely tired at the moment. It is not really a physical tiredness, but more of a mental tiredness.  I sit here trying to get a bunch of b*llsh*t done, but I have no focus, nor interest, nor gumption to do any of it.  That is not good.  All it means is that things will begin to pile up and become even
more aggravating.  I wish I could figure out a way to get motivated.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Insturments I Play

I think I have mentioned this once or twice in the past, but music and musical instruments are a strong hobby of mine.  I have a special fondness for a variety of woodwind instruments.  If I were to list the instruments that I am strong enough in playing that I consider myself an adequate amateur player, they would be in order of preference:

1.  Bass Clarinet
2.  Soprano Clarinet
3.  Alto Clarinet
4.  Tenor Saxophone

In the above, I have over the years also had as a hobby the tearing down and rebuilding and refurbishing a variety of these instruments.  I find it enjoyable and relaxing. 

I noodle around, attempting to become adequate on a few other instruments as well.  These instruments would be:

1.  Ukulele
2.  Guitar
3.  Piano

I am by no means proficient on any of the above three string instruments (yes, the piano is often classified as a string instrument), but I do enjoy trying to develop skills in them.

My wife was feeling emotional about a variety of issues yesterday, mostly related to work and a little bit about her siblings.  I was caught in the emotional hailstorm as well as she verbally lashed out at me at one point during the day, although I was not any part of what caused the whirlwind of emotions.  That stung a bit, but I (luckily) stayed quiet and then a bit later we talked about it, and then after her apologies, I then encouraged her to open up about what was going on with her emotions and tried to be a good listening ear for her.  To be my wife's sounding block where she can express the myriad of emotions she has at times tends to be very helpful for her.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Yesterday, while rummaging around in the basement, I looked in a storage area for some picture frames and noticed my alto clarinet case.  I had forgotten about it as I had purchased it long ago as another project instrument as it is not one I regularly play as most bands or groups do not need this instrument as it is I in a different key range from most other clarinets (Eb, instead of the typical Bb for most clarinets).  The Eb parts most groups have are typically covered by alto saxophones.....  if the alto clarinet is used, folks are usually given alto saxophone parts to play anyway.  

But, it made me curious, as I had not looked at it in a long time.  It does need some sprucing up to be sure as it had a rough life prior to my acquiring it.  A lot of the metal keyword was green due to not having been stored well (prior to my purchase) and it does need new pads as well.  The body is scuffed and shoddy.  And, the mouthpiece is a volcanic rubber that is literally brown from age and neglect instead of black as it should be.  These are all things I can fix, as I have done so on many instruments in the past, however.  But, I decided to pull the beast out of the case, and I soaked the lone reed and the mouthpiece in a shot glass of whisky for 15 minutes to cleanse them (and then drank the shot to cleanse my innards afterwards ;)  ).  I then proceeded to put the mouthpiece on the body of the instrument and tried playing it.  Even with its current deficits, the tone was rich, deep and beautiful!   I think I want to rejuvenate this beast now, and figure out some fun way to use it.  I am pretty confident I can bring it back to its former glory.   It is roughly from the late 1940s or early 1950s.   It should be a fun, small project!  It will be quicker and easier than the tenor saxophone I am working on.   I always find clarinets easier, I guess, as I have worked on more of them over the years and know them better.  

It was a nice find.  


Monday, August 14, 2017

Indian Delights

We had the wonderful pleasure to eat dinner last night at a new Indian Resturaunt in town called "Taste of India".  It was a pure culinary delight!  The lentil dishes were excellent, the Chana masala was sublime, the naan tender and flavorful, the mushroom masala was thick and creamy, and the butter curry chicken was pleasantly spicy but in a smooth fashion.  My favorite dish however was the spinach paneer.  It was much heavier on the spinach and the paneer was light and not overpowering.  It had a beautiful earthiness that enticed my palate.

At dinner, I gave my wife a few additional anniversary gifts.  Two sets o ear rings, one a delicate silver pattern and the other a set of petals.  I also gave her another card with a poem I composed myself written inside.  

I happened across two different machines by two different manufacturers yesterday that would estimate body fat percentages by electro voltaic skin measurement.  Although they are not the greatest way to measure kin terms of accuracy, I figure that the two different readings if reasonably close would be reasonably accurate. One gave me a reading of 12.5% and the other 14%.  According to the material I have read, it puts me just inside the level of athletic fitness for body fat.  That was nice to hear!  So different from when I was close to 300 pounds.  Yesterday, I weighed 169.

I just finished my five miles and am sitting out here on the back porch with a pipe and am watching the do as she goes bout eating breakfast and doing her business.  Next I will head to the U and try to get a whole helluva lot of work done.