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.

Monday, May 31, 2004

It has been a while since I posted. But let me assure you there has been a lot of work. During the last several days I have been bickering and negotiating with a scheister who is more typically called a car salesman. My wife needed a new vehicle and hence I was called in to make sure we found a vehicle at a reasonable price. I REFUSE to get taken advantage of by the scheisters and hence it takes a while. We ended up getting a 2004 vehicle that had a MSRP of $24,000 for just a tad over $15,000 and some change. This of course included the $2,500 we were given for our trade-in vehicle which had amongst other problems.... 155,000 miles on the odometer, a cracked windshield, horribly weathered paint, and a few minor dings. Additionally, many of the electrical doo-dads did not function any longer (interior lighting, power locks, etc. The cretins started out by offering us a "deal" of $500 for our vehicle, and I promptly proceeded to roll my eyes at the idiot.

Therefore, from the start of Monday morning until we agreed upon the price on Friday and took the new beast home, we started at a price of $24,000 and a $500 trade-in to a vehicle that cost $17,654 and a trade in of $2,500.... plus I demanded that we be given an extra set of floor mats. Therefore, our net cost for the new vehicle was $15,154.... plus the extra floor mats.

I know I did a reasonably good job of negotiating when the salesperson was grouchy at us as we finalized the sale. Again, I do not like getting taken advantage of, and therefore, I make sure it does not happen. His grouchiness was the exact inverse of my furry-faced grin as a I shook the fellow's hand and took the keys of the new vehicle for the wife.

* * * * * * * * * *

To celebrate the good deed I did of the automotive purchase, I coaxed my wife (not a hard thing to do) to take the vehicle on its maiden shopping trip.... with the understanding that we would bring the vehicle over to show her father.... and that I would be dropped off with him for a few hours while she and her mother shopped to their heart's content. Before you wonder how this was a celebration, my elderly father-in-law and I hunkered down before the television (it was a cooler day... low 50s... so we did not feel like being outside), discussed politics, drank several seven-and-sevens until we were feeling quite jolly, and smoked our pipes until there was a comforting blue-grey haze about 5 feet from the floor in the television room. Our raucous afternoon continued when both of us snoozed a boozy snooze on our respective Lazy-Boy recliners until the wives (my wife and my mother-in-law) rolled back in from their shopping spree. I traipsed out to the new van and let my wife drive us home.

A splendid Friday was had by all.... except the scheister salesperson!


Monday, May 24, 2004

Yesterday was a bit rougher than I had hoped for in terms of accomplishment, although I still felt on track. I worked for a few hours in the morning, spent a few hours with my lovely wife at the museum in the afternoon, shopped for necessary household items, conducted my weekly ritual of cleaning of the cat boxes, read research articles, read the newspapers, and then ate dinner and relaxed.

Today I am off to a grand start in terms of my early rise (5:30) and have been working through items since roughly 6:00am. In one of my more quiet and philosophical moments this morning (as I waited for the department's coffee machine to brew my first cup of the day) I thought about how my beautiful briar pipes are true and literal friends, almost a furtive mistress for me. In numerous ways, my pipes have assisted me, satisfied me, nurtured me, and loved me. In many ways the embrace I have with my pipes is akin to making love to a mistress. I gently coax the lovely nicotinic nourishment from her bowl with the gentle kiss my lips have upon the stem. The hairs of my moustache and beard quietly surround the stem in affection as I gently, but firmly grip her stem between my teeth. Between each loving puff, I hold and massage her body - the bowl, in the palm of my hand, feeling her warmth permeate into my body. Even the leaf in her bowl fits the analogy I envision in my mind's eye. As I meld fire with leaf (the fire being energy, the leaf being our consumable self), gently coaxing the blessed and magical chimera to form as a glowing red ember of smoky nourishment, I feel as utterly spent and satisfied as if I had coaxed my own lovely wife through a lovely, passionate session of bedded bliss.


Sunday, May 23, 2004

Yesterday was a success! I felt I had accomplished a reasonable number of things.... family, work, personal. It felt very good.

Today is off to a rockier start. Instead of getting up at 6:00am to go work, I instead slept through my alarms and instead woke up at 9:00am. I feel out of sorts and off kilter because of this. However, my plan is to continue with my idea today and to try to shave off extra minutes here and there to maintain my sense of accomplishment. Thus far I have been able to catch up somewhat.

Wish me luck and ample pipe tobacco to make this time of catch-up successful.


Saturday, May 22, 2004



As I continue to shake off the stress and frustration and chaos of the last two weeks (due to the illnesses in various members of my family), I have decided to take the bull by the horns and fix that which ails me. There is a television show (on I believe TLC... or perhaps it is HGTV) called Mission Organization, which has inspired me to turn this chaos of my life back into a serene life of hard work, hard play, serene pleasures and fun. The way in which I can accomplish this task is by working hard to organize myself.

In order to accomplish this goal, I have decided to get up earlier each morning and to use that time in effective work pursuits (such as writing, planning, researching). Hence you see my entry for today is early in the morning. I have been here working at my office since 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning! It has been good, and now I am planning to head home to eat breakfast and to work at activities around the home for my family.

The (additional) loss of sleep should be offset by the benefit of reduction of chaos. I am thinking I will now begin to average between 4 and 5 hours of sleep a night. This is down from my 5-6 hours prior to today.

I am going to leave you here today and head off to pick up a fresh pouch of Sir Walter Raleigh to accompany me in my home and yard work.


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

What can I say? It has been a helluva rough 10 days.

1. Emergency room visits for relatives.
2. Hospital stays for relatives.
3. Illness for relatives.
4. Emergency room visits for relatives.
5. Home care for relatives.

I am fortunate that all has seemed to work out well, but I am restless and out of sorts being out of my routine. I feel frustrated and aggrivated and thankful and sorrowful and tired and angry and relieved and agitated and tense and stressed and on and on.

Perhaps life can return to some sense of normalcy? Let us hope.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004

A stranger in a strange land?

Hmm. Blogger has changed a lot in the last couple of days since I last posted. If I didn't know better, I would swear I was drunk because Blogger looks so much different. Unfortunately, though, I am utterly sober.

Well, like most things, I presume that as time progresses and I get used to the new Blogger, I will become enamored with it and like it as well.

I had planned to describe the ethereal beauty of the new leaf in my pipe today, but the aberrant look of Blogger caused me to lose my muse (I laid my pipe down on the desktop and it is now cold). Perhaps tomorrow I shall write more about the leaf.


Friday, May 07, 2004

For today, I felt it most important that I post exerpts of comments I made on "The Grumpy 'Old' Man" blog today. I think the writer of the GOM blog is a very insightful and thoughtful young man. As an educator, it is always pleasant to find people who understand and utilze the tennets of logic and also have strong writing skills.


Sir! You have written an insightful examination of the college student living in the library, Kevin (aka the HomelessGuy), and yourself. I think you have hit the nail on the head with all three assessments.

While I think Kevin is a nice fellow, he does appear to have some personality quirks that grate on people quite negatively (usually revolving around the way he expresses opinions and his interpersonal skills). I think these very issues are to a large extent responsible for him staying homeless. Additionally, I think that the notariety he has obtained from his homeless blog may actually now be a negative for him.... the fame is hard to give up (which he might risk losing if he returned to typical society). I truly think that if he were to examine those two quirks above he would be able to become "homed" and have a happier life (with his talents in photography or writing or something else) than he does currently with his notariety alone.

If anyone says *anything* negative about the way you were able to go from homeless to "homed".... they are pure and simple idiots. You did and are still doing an admirable job of improving and determining your destiny.... and doing it ON YOUR OWN TERMS! You understand that not everything has to be done your way... you compromise when it is the right path... yet you stand firm on things that are dearest to your heart. Do not let anyone say you are not successful. You are.


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Short post today.....

While reading Plark's blog, he mentioned Oliver the humanzee, and in trying to learn more, I stumbled across an interesting site called:

Science Frontiers: The Unusual & Unexplained

Enjoy! More tommorrow about my adventures from Wednesday.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004


[Note: As you read this post, please imagine your "Frumpy Professor" sporting a broad, furry-faced grin of happiness and anticipation.... almost a Cheshire cat-style grin.]

It is bound to be a good day.... knock on wood. Several items are afoot that should make today be enjoyable. First, the weather is grand! Today is predicted to be bright and sunny (only an occasional occurrence in my cloudy, rain-infused envrion). Second, I have made a truly good start on a grant application I am excited about. Third, yesterday at a boring-as-hell faculty dinner, I let my mind wander into my own thoughts and came up with what I believe could be an excellent sabbatical idea. Fourth, all of my loved ones are feeling fit and healthy simultaneously (again, knock on wood), and the Fifth, (grin.... the perfect designation for this item) my elderly father-in-law phoned me this morning and hinted in a round-about way that he would like to be driven to the pipe shop for new leaf and perhaps have a few drinks afterwards back at his home. I am jumping at the chance! It should be a wonderful afternoon of delightfully rich smoky frangrances, gentle inebriation, and grand, raucous talk about politics, gardening, and life.

Today I feel like a very lucky man.


Monday, May 03, 2004

A bit of excitement is afoot today.... at least for me. As my faithful readers (the handful of them) know, I am a semi-aspiring, perhaps someday, fiction author. As one of many such beasts, I share a common trait with others of this affliction by being interested and enamored with published authors (the lucky bums!). Well, today, a favorite young author of mine.... Michael Connelly, has had a new book "The Narrows" published. And for those of us who purchase the book early, you get a DVD of scenes from the areas where he writes about. Connelly is a crime/police/detective author who has developed a recurring character named Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch who works in the Los Angeles Police Department.

The plan is to go purchase a first edition of the book today, and obtain the DVD as well. The author will be in a relatively nearby location in the next few weeks, and I may go to his book signing to see if he can autograph my copy.