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 31, 2003

I have figured out how to have a counter on my site. With this I hope to see how (hopefully) traffic will improve.

If you read this blog and find it even mildly interesting, I urge you to sign up for notification of updates or comment on the topics of your choice.

Today, I had planned to play "hooky" from work a bit, and leave in the early afternoon to spend a couple hours in my favorite pipe shop. I had heard that a few new varieties of leaf were going to be available today. I was mentally salivating like Pavlov's dogs most of the morning while I thought of the adventure.

Unfortunately, I did not get to visit the pipe shop. As students are getting ready to register for January classes, I had a steady stream of students all afternoon (after my classes) seeking advice about their courses and their programs. It is helpful work, and it is nice to have that one-on-one time with the students, but after about 8 or 9 of them in one day, you get fairly tired. I did not get to leave until nearly 5pm and as such it was too late to get to the pipe shop (45 minutes away) and back today.

Maybe I will be able to sneak out tommorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Some days are chaotic without anything happening to make them so. Today was one such day for me. Nothing much happened out of the ordinary. It simply seemed as if I was unable to accomplish anything other than the minimum required to get through the day. I taught my classes, conducted the minimum of research I needed to for the day, graded papers, and thought about grant work. But thoughout the entire day I felt harried and out-of-sorts. The feeling was as if I were not accomplishing anything of merit, and at the same time what little I did do was too damn slow to be useful.

I did not have a morning briar this morning before my shower. But there are many mornings I forgo the pleasure of the burley leaf. I drank three cups of coffee this morning at work, but that did not improve my mood. I did not feel energetic, so I could not find a task I really wanted to do, and therefore when I concluded what was mandatory for the day, I sloughed off. I really dislike the feelings I have on those days.

Driving home was a hurried experience also. It was the time of my first pipe of the day, but it did not offer its usual sense of relaxation and gentleness I enjoy. The burley leaf was the same as always, the ritual of filling the bowl and lighting the leaf etc was the same as always as well, but the net effect did not soothe. The drive itself did not soothe. Everything felt out of synch.... in a rush, or better stated, I felt I needed to rush through everything to keep in synch.... and I was still losing the battle.

It was.... one of those days.

Monday, October 27, 2003

A question I have begun to ask myself is.... "How do I attract people to this blog?" In a broad sense, what I write has to be at least mildly interesting some of the time in order to attract readers. In order to attempt that goal, I will be writing thoughts, ideas, and behaviors that are true, and real, and vivid to me. Sometimes the thoughts will turn towards the philosophical (such as in that "what it means to be a professor" strand) other times my mind will wander over human ethology... the study of human behaviors (an example is seen in some of my pipe/briar posts), and still others may be rather hedonistic (for example my dreaming about intoxication). I truly do not know if my topics will attract many others, but I hope that I do find a readership.

In a more tangible way, I have tried submitting my blog to several search engines. They each say they may take several weeks to crawl through my site to evaluate it for POSSIBLE inclusion.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

As I sit here in the early morning, having a first briar of the day, I have been ruminating about what it means to be a professor. To be a professor may in a stereotypical sense invoke images of a frumpy fellow, with a beard and pipe (an accurate portrayal of me, actually) but those are only surface trappings (and infrequent ones at that) of the profession. Most professors are not frumpy, do not smoke a pipe, and only a large minority of the male professors sport a beard & moustache. However, a deeper truism for the profession is that most professors are truly locked in a battle of the mind..... at one end attempting to find ways to help others (students usually) understand the world around them in ways that the professor has discerned, and at the other end to strive to find and understand something new and hopefully relevant to the world.

These in a nutshell are the goals that I have for myself, and even though my effort may vary considerably from day-to-day in this regard, I do see it as a very noble and worthwhile mission.... something that I have fortunately chosen as my life's work and equally fortunate it is something that I am reasonably well suited to pursue. If there is a mission for this blog, it is simply to allow others to see into the mind of a professor in the trenches.... an attempt to show how his mind works, and how he thinks on a more intimate level than is typically seen. I do not represent all professors by any means, but I do think I have similarities in many ways to many of the cadre of people who choose this profession.

I will now go get a cup of coffee, have another briar, and read the Sunday newspaper.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Today is the start of a new day, but will it be a day that is good or a day that is bad? I do not know, but in my gut the impression I have for today is that it will be somewhat sour. Work has been progressing in a satisfactory manner... my students seem mostly average to a little above average this semester. I have a few students who are top notch as well. But at this midpoint in the semester I am feeling that same old rush/hurried aspect of life that is in my mind, rather debilitating. I have so many tasks I must juggle and keep from falling that if I think about it too long it becomes overwhelming. This is the odd part, though... what do I do about it. Yes, I will work at the items that need doing, and yes I will of course seek solace in the bowl of my beloved briar pipe, but what else?

For me the answer has been to imagine the pleasure and soothing nature of being drunk. Sometimes it is a situation where I become intoxicated at deer camp, or sometimes simply at home, or sometimes on the beach next to the lake. Sometimes I imagine being drunk at a bar and starting a brawl, sometimes I imagine being drunk and having a fling with a woman I just run into that evening.

To me this odd sort of mental game where I imagine and take pleasure in being drunk is rather odd. In real life I drink rather lightly (perhaps a dozen or so drinks a year) but I have been drunk on occasion in my life and have even had a handful of hangovers when I was younger. The aspect of this fantasy that I have that is thought provoking and/or disturbing is the intensity of relaxation and enjoyment I receive from these fantasies. I *could* drink like a fish and I *could* be drunk as a skunk every night if I wished.... but in the real, day-to-day world I don't wish for that. I have too many things I wish to accomplish, too many people that depend on me, too little time to try to make a difference, too little time to make a mark in life.

Why then does my fantasy life so frequently revolve around something I could easily do in real life but dont? I find it interesting and perplexing.

I need to go shopping now, for I am almost out of pipe tobacco.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

All right, now I have at least created a subscription line so people can get the postings I add. I am still not sure if I have done this correctly, but I have a headache from trying to figure out all the *incorrect* ways I have tried to get a subscription form previously. I am very hungry for a pipe and I think I will head out and nurse my headache away with the lovely nicotine I can obtain from the briar pipe.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Today is the start of a new day in the writing of blogs. It is the day I have decided to start my blog called the "Frumpy Professor". Why is this such an occasion? Because it will be a great blog? NO. Because it will be an exciting blog? Again, NO. Is it because this blog is going to better society and/or mankind? Again, NO!

What this blog will hopefully do is to allow me, a rather frumpy, furry-faced, middle-aged, pipe-smoking professor the chance to expound on my thoughts, complain about injustices I perceive personally, locally, and/or globally, and occasionally wax semi-poetically. Some days I *may* be interesting to read, while on many other days I may be as dull as dust. But within this "montage" of thoughts and ideas I hope to be able to shake some of the "demons" out of my brain and perhaps leave those spaces open for happier, more tangible items.

A notice is hereby given that I am not going to be concerned with spelling and/or typographical errors. This is not a class, and therefore I am not going to be concerned with those matters. I will, however, strive to be clear and reasonably focused in my writing.