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.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Hello Friends:

I am very thankful to all of you for your recent comments. I feel a need to mention them specifically:

Jonathon, Tekiegreg, Phil, Nameless, Dweeb, and Mike.... your words have been very helpful in allowing me to affirm that my logic and mindset have not been faulty. You six are careful and well thought-out fellows and yet you too have been banished from that fellow's blog.

Anvilcloud, Just Let Me Be Me, Jonathon, and Mike.... thank you for the advice concerning the CD-RW problem I have had. This upcoming week is the first week of the Fall semester, so I may not get to try out your suggestions until Thursday or Friday, but I will definitely use your advice and report back on my findings.

I am not sure what to do concerning that fellow's blog. As an educator (a professor as the name of this blog suggests), it pains me when people have significant miscommunication and misunderstanding. I have worked my entire adult life in trying to communicate with others about topics so that we can learn from eachother. Some of the time, my efforts are rather traditional.... I do sometimes have a traditional, large lecture course where I must simply give and describe information to students. However, in most classes, I strive to create an interactive, hands-on, environment where information is shared and discussed. Additionally, in some of the upper division undergraduate and in virtually all of the graduate courses I teach, I try to create an environment that is usually called a seminar. It is a beautiful sort of classroom model for having a true dialogue amongst peers..... be they students, faculty, or others in the community. When I have a seminar course, it usually is the best learning environment that can arise for all concerned... the faculty, the students, and the administration..... everyone learns, everyone is filled with satisfying new knowledge and ideas, and everyone feels their efforts were well spent.

Perhaps it is naive of me, but this "seminar" sort of environment is how I view the BLOG world. In the typical BLOG environment, the writer of the blog is the "facilitator" or the "professor" who guides the general direction of the effort in this environment with his/her words and ideas. Yet (at least in my view), the people who write in the COMMENTS section are equally if not more important to the success of the seminar endeavor. The commenters have a dual role of both "students" and "teachers". They are students of the ideas of the original blog writer, but more importantly, they are also "teachers" of the writer of the blog so he/she can grow and develop and expand himself! I truly relish the comments I have been kind enough to receive and freely admit you have all helped me to grow and think more.

So, what does this mean about the fellow who has grave misunderstandings of me? Well, as an educator, I have a dogged determination to try to help this fellow see an alternative view. Therefore, I shall continue to write, well-written, kind, and intelligent comments for him. However, as it is likely that the fellow will delete them perhaps without even reading them, I shall also post my comments in my own comment section of my blog so others may read them. If others would like to do the same that is fine by me. What I would suggest you do (and what I plan to do myself) is to cut and paste the following on the top of the comment you wish to post that was something you posted from the other fellow's blog:

This comment is simply a copy of a comment I made on blog . It is being archived here for you to view if desired:

[copy of your comment on the other blog]

Thank you again, for all your comments and suggestions. Please continue to write so we may all continue to learn from eachother.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hello Friends:

As an educator, it is disturbing when you find that people misunderstand you. In regards to the individual of whom I discussed below, this person seems to believe that I am some "spammer" fellow he had previously had to deal with. Unfortunately, that misunderstanding seems to be at the root of his rancor towards me. In case this individual reads this message, I am not the "spammer" person you speak of. I am planning to simply continue with my kind, well-intentioned, and friendly comments to him on his blog in a belief that he will eventually realize I am a person who is interested in his writings and simply comment like others. Hopefully, over time, he will come to see that there was a misunderstanding and that he assumed incorrectly that I am some previous "spammer" type he had trouble with earlier.

Onto other matters.... I am not sure if I am technologically inept on some items or if they are simply too damn hard and glitchy to use. The item I am speaking of is the CD-RW disk. I am reasonably well versed in computer technology and have used a writable CD drive for several years. However, I have never been able to successfully use the REUSABLE version of CD, the CD-RW. I have, in an effort to transport some large files, had to use a CD-R (one time use only) and then throw it away after making edits on another machine. It seems so wasteful. But, when I try to use the CD-RW, it a) either does not work, b) is somehow incompatable with the other machine(s) that I use, or c) it seems to get "stuck" making the CD-RW.... taking more than 15-20 minutes to write onto the disk.

I simply do not understand why the CD-RW technology is so seemingly beyond my understanding. Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated!


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Hello Friends:

Have you ever found that sometimes people grossly misunderstand you? Fortunately it does not happen often for me.... I feel I am a fairly easy-to-read, open book. For the most part people find me kind-hearted and reasonably generous. Most people find that I have a gentle, but pleasant sense of humor. But on occasion a person, for no reason I can fathom seems to get riled up about me.

For instance, there was a fellow who was interested in photography and talked quite a bit about it. He was what could be called an advanced novice. I too have an interest in photography, yet I am at best an average novice. At the same time, where I live there really is not any sort of photography club or group that is active. I approached this fellow about discussing photography and photography issues.... hoping to find an e-mail friend with similar interests. We had a few e-mail conversations and then all of a sudden, abruptly he became rancorous and rather unpleasant towards me. At first I thought he might be having a bad day or two.... and so I wrote back again. He then became more irate.... irrationally so.

To me, unfortunately, this was very disturbing. I kept looking at couple of notes I wrote to the fellow. Nothing I could see in my messages seemed negative, and I could not figure out any way my e-mails could be construted as anything but friendly, casual conversation. Even though this was many, many months ago, I still once in a great while try to send this former friend an e-mail just to see a) if I can figure out what happened.... because I still cannot figure it out and b) to see if there is a way to start afresh. Thus far, no luck.

It seems especially sad when it is incomprehensible.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Hello Friends:

I am exhausted. I shall talk more later, but I wanted to make note that I did reach the 8000 mark on my counter.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

I am feeling a bit better today than I have in a fair amount of time. After receiving a rather harsh "slap in the face" from my wife the other day, I had been feeling even lower than dirt. She said something that was not meant by her to hurt or demean me, but unfortunately did so very badly. For a few days I felt empty or hollow inside. But, this morning, the two of us were able to finish talking through the situation, and I now feel she understands why her words hurt me so. After our talk, I had 3 large mugs of very strong coffee and three pipes and am feeling quite content.

Fortunately, also, the family medical crises have stayed at a homeostatic norm.... at least for the moment. I am hoping and praying that they continue to stay stable.

Sometimes I miss how I feel when I am extremely joyous and happy. I miss that feeling of accomplishing creative and helpful things for my family, my friends, my society. However, today, I am more than content to simply feel average. It is such a relief.


Monday, August 09, 2004

Life is still rough at the moment, but it is staying somewhat stable.

An interesting note for your amusement and contemplation:

Today is the 40th anniversary of when I first grew my beard and moustache. I have not shaved (other than to neaten my neck or the edges of my cheeks) since that time.


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Life has (knock on wood) seemed to settle into an even-keel once again. The illnesses that had happened, the horrors of the last few weeks have seemed to quiet down for a while, so I am feeling a bit more calm.

As a man of science, a man with a logical predisposition, with the stereotypical grey beard, pipe, and wire-rimmed glasses... the whole nine yards, I typically am not a superstitious sort of individual. However, I cannot help but feel a myriad of superstition and dread etc about my family's well-being. Perhaps it is because the family members are those I truly care about on an emotional, not only scientific/logical perspective. Or perhaps it is because unlike most aspects of my logical/scientific life, the health and well being of my family is something I have only limited control in regulating. But, regardless, I do live in a state of worry, concern, often fear, and sometimes dread in waiting for the "next shoe to drop".... meaning I live in a state of preparedness for the next malady or illness to rear its ugly head upon my family.

I have come to realize that this sense of foreboding or worry has been a very strong motivator and an active part of my life for decades, if not my entire life. And when I think about it, I am always reminded about the old adage "A coward dies a thousand deaths, while a valiant (brave) man dies but once." I think it is a very wise and true saying. The fear and the worry about illness or death to members of my family is akin to living in pain constantly and it is similar to the pain I have experienced at the death of a loved one. So, it is true, that if I could learn to not worry about the future of my family's health, I could save myself much pain. However, in the same vein, as a father, husband, son, etc, it is part of my duty as a caring man to tend to these needs and issues in my family. And, at the same time, I have this thought also coursing through the back of my mind that if I *do not* or *stop* worrying about my family's health issues, then I am also setting the stage for fate or destiny or God's wrath or something else to take over and say, "Well, you do not care enough, so I am going besiege your family with more hurt!".

It is a horrible conundrum of emotions I feel. I truly do not see a way out of this sort of mindset... each option can easily feed back into the other so no matter which route I take, I feel as if I end up losing emotionally.

This is where my mind is at today.