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.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Not the Best...


Today has not been the best day.

1.  Even though I am just a smidge ahead of where I need to be, I still need to be a full-blown cyborg to maintain that little, tiny, tiny edge.

2.  I had a damnable Department Meeting today.  I felt my resentment rise up in my throat like bile for the two individuals I have had a long-standing dislike of.  Their b*llsh*t was getting on my nerves all week long, and even my 9-mile runs could only dissipate some of the anger I felt about them.  

3.  My oldest daughter had an emotional "melt-down" today, and while I was able to eek out time to be supportive, I know I was not particularly successful.  

4.  My wife (not meaning to) accidentally spilled a bunch of permanent dye over several important things, and I had to spend a pretty sizeable chunk of time working feverishly to try to prevent the stained items from being permanently ruined.  I think I was able to get out.... with a helluva lot of elbow grease and a lot of unfortunate chemicals.... I think was able to get out ~95% of the dye.  Some of the items still in question are now running through a wash cycle in the washing machine after all of my hand effort.  

I want to take a nap, but I have to get back to work.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Not Sure If....


I am not sure if this is only a "pipe dream" or if I may actually be pulling ahead somewhat in my cyborg work?  I am actually a few steps ahead in two of my classes and basically on pace with the other three.  Having that little bit of wiggle room..... not having everything always be being finished at the last possible moment.... I so miss that.  It feels a little bit like it is starting to return.  

I am so NOT used to having things have to be cutting it so close to deadline in my classes.  It is a direct result of having to reformulate damn near everything to be available in a MEANINGFUL electronic format.  Added to that, the amount of time I GET to work on the content development is relatively scant because as I have stated..... so much of my time is devoted to IT duties and e-mail answering.  

Speaking of "pipe dreams"... last night I actually DID have a dream that I recalled this morning.  It was just of me visiting, rummaging around, and chatting at my favorite pipe shop.  Nothing unique or profound.... just a simple exploring of the store sort of dream, talking with the proprietor, and sampling several blends while I was there.  It was a dream that had me wake up feeling quite happy.  And, when I awoke, I could swear I had the lingering flavor of the shop's house blend pipe tobacco on my tongue, and the neurons of my mind seemed to even "feel" that delightful, gentle, oh-so-beautiful cascade of contentment as typically would happen from being awash with the ephemeral, satisfying smoke from my pipe as well.  It was such a wonderful, albeit odd way to feel upon awakening.

It was raining harshly with significant wind when my feet hit the floor at 4:55am.  And, it was a "balmy" 41 degrees F (5 degrees C).  But, with an early meeting this morning, it would be the only time I could get my run in.  I was like a drowned rat upon my return, but I did complete every soggy step of my 9 mile (14.5 km) journey this morning.  I did not see another soul on the trail.  I guess no one was as much of  a damn fool as me to run in the icy cold rain. :)  I am striving for a milestone of sorts, if I can do it.  More about that later IF I am able to actually get closer to that milestone.

At 162 pounds this morning (73.4 kg or 11.5 stone), my BMI was 21.1.  My resting heart rate when I awaken has been hovering around 52-54 bpm.  The heavy rain, high winds, and the darkness of my run this morning did NOT make me lightning-fast by any means, but I did end up running at an 8:54 minute/mile pace (5:30 minute/km pace). When I hit the end of the run, I had an exertion heart rate of 140 bpm, so I did do myself some aerobic good.  Besides looking like a soggy rat... when I stopped running, I quickly grew quite cold.  Having a nice, warm shower before heading to the U was really helpful.




Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Total Robot

 I am exhausted this late Wednesday evening, having had another exceptionally long day of “roboting” along.  But, in one way it was better than the last several days in that I was involved with dealing with subject matter content.  WHAT?  I dealt with the subject I teach, and was not just constantly being an IT person?  Yes.... I was reading and grading papers.  I graded 5 different writing assignments today.  It was all electronic reading instead of actual papers.... but it was a helluva lot more interesting than purely IT work.  

I was thinking a bit about the differences in students getting back their “papers” this time too.... they click on a button and see an electronic version of their paper with my grade and comments.  Before, they got my old school, red ink comments and grades on actual paper.  And, it used to be even occasionally mentioned to me back then that the kids could detect the aroma of my pipe tobacco on their papers.... as in the “old days” I usually smoked my pipe all the while I was grading papers too.  I remember one kid suggesting the way his paper smelled was “quaint”.  Bah.



Tuesday, October 20, 2020



I cannot use "cyborg" each and every day, so I will spice up my writings during this state of being grafted onto a machine perpetually with a variety of other synonymous terms.  Today, I am going to go with being an automaton.  

In the state of being an automaton, I find that I have even fewer dreams that I recall than usual.  I attribute this to my perpetual state of dead-dog tiredness.  My wife even notes that she has on several occasions awoken worried about me as I have not moved at all during sleep and she sometimes cannot even say for certain that I am breathing until she nudges me and I grumble (I am not cognizant of any of this).  Typically I move around while sleeping quite abundantly, so this suggests to me that I am fully "tode mude" (German, for "dead tired").

Today actually is the birthday of my sadly deceased father-in-law.  He was an  incredibly important friend and a second father to me as well.  This is the third birthday we have reached since his passing.  I miss greatly our discussions, I miss his advice, I miss his being my drinking and pipe smoking buddy.  

In a little bit more than a month, it will be my deceased father's birthday as well.  This year he would have been 97 years old.   I greatly miss him as well.  I have one of his pipes in the rack in front of me as I speak.  I miss him for his great wisdom and guidance and advice.  I miss his being my pipe smoking buddy too, even though it has 26 years now since he has passed. 

This pipe is beautifully shinny and polished, as I recently (on Sunday) rotated into this rack all freshly shined up pipes I had not had out in my racks for a while. I have so many beautiful pipes, and eventually they all get their turn to be on display in my racks.  When not on display (or in my pocket), I have most of them in a storage box, and I have always regularly rotated through them on what is approximately  a month-or-so basis.  My three pipe racks that are the pipes I keep "out-and-about" in a given cycle are a) the one in my home office, b) the one in my U office, and c) the one in my garage. It is always pleasant to see all the old friends who had been in hiding for a bit, come back out during a rotation.  I liken each transition to being akin to a new art exhibit just for me to view each time I swap them out.   


Monday, October 19, 2020

Man as Machine

 I had thoughts of “The Matrix” running through my mind much of the day.  Covid-19 cases are surging in my region.  We are at levels again that are the same as when the shutdown occurred with levels expected to continue upward.  But, the “powers-that-be” at the U and in the K-12community and in the community are turning a blind eye to this reality and chugging onward and forward.  We, in my neck of the woods need to shut back down.  

If we shut back down, as far as my work... I would still be a cyborg.... but it would be easier to be a cyborg..... I would not have to do ~1/2 of my load face-to-face..... AND still provide for the quarantined students an “alternative”.  I could instead devote all my time to making the best on-line stuff I could.  

The 1/2 I do have that is fully on-line is running predictably.... students who are quarantined and students who are not, receive the same educational effort.... and it is only one effort.  It is hard, it is damn hard..... but a lot less damn hard than providing DOUBLE the lessons of “face-to-face” and online simultaneously.  

If I get Covid-19.... my age puts me at risk.  If I gave up my beloved pipes.... for 32 months now..... to die of Covid-19.... what an utter waste of my time this was.  


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Tired- Long Day

 This cyborg is damn tired.  

I did however, hit my goal or running 50+ miles this week.  52 to be exact.  That is all that is keeping me sane.  I can hardly stand to be on the computer or even worse, to look at my U e-mail.  The nonsensical, but needing to be answered questions need to be answered.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Cyborgs & Pipes


Apparently being a cyborg has affected me in regards to pipes.  

During this time of being a damn cyborg, I can say that I have not had the deep longing, the deep yearning arise within me for a beautiful bowlful of burley or any of my other pipe tobaccos.  

Do not get me wrong, however.  I still think about my pipes and pipe tobaccos.  In the few stray moments where I allow my glance to waiver from the damn computer screen, I do gaze upon my pipe rack in my U office or my pipe rack in my home office.  When I finally rest my head upon the pillow at night, and have perhaps a minute or so before I fall deeply asleep, I think of beautiful pipes to buoy my tired mind. 

Also, do not get me wrong.  I would love to smoke my pipes.  I would relish feeling the ember of tobacco warm the bowl of the pipe as I hold it in my hand as I draw upon the stem. It would be as if I were to meet an old, dear friend.

And, I didn't really notice until I looked at a photo from 3-4 years ago.... my mustache and beard has lost all of the gentle red/amber hues on the hairs surrounding my mouth.  I am now simply a fully uniform grey. That feels a bit sad.

But, the deep, deep yearning, the pure, passionate longing.... being a damn cyborg has quelled that deep, deep desire. I think perhaps it is akin to how a fly can distract.  Being a cyborg is distracting.