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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why I Hate Football

Earlier this week, I spoke of my dislike of football (for international readers, I mean american football, not the game we in the US call soccer). I thought I would explain further why I have a negative reaction.

To me, football is the most incredibly dull sport to watch either in person or on television. I cannot stand to watch a football game on televison for two reasons.... a) the players are so indistinguishable from each other (only a number tells them apart) that I have no vested interest in any of them, and b) the crowd roar that is broadcast via television jars at my nerves. Below I attempt to explain both ideas further.

Reason A

To me, if I were to watch sports, I need to feel invested or involved in the pursuit. I feel much more involved and invested when watching sports involving competition between individuals than I do with sports involving teams. For me, if a sporting event is a team activity, my interest will automatically drop to at least 1/2 if not less than for an individual sports activity. There are only three team sports that I actually find tolerable, and two of these are tolerable in only relatively small quantities. The first team sport I can enjoy watching is baseball. The second team sport that is tolerable for certain periods of time is soccer, and the third team sport that is marginally tolerable for certain periods of time for me is ice hockey.

Football (nor basketball, although if push came to shove, I would much prefer to be forced to watch basketball) leaves me utterly disjointed and uninterested. The players have no personality (to me anyhow) on the field. They are akin to faceless blobs of color distinguishable only by number. Additionally, the basics of the game of football are too coarse and uninspiring to me to offer any mental interest. Compare this absence of "finnese" in football to the creativity and coordination of baseball, soccer, or even hockey, and I think you will see what I mean. Football is simply about pushing, fighting and struggling any way you can to force your will upon another team. It is dull as hell to watch.

For me, the sports I truly enjoy are sports featuring individuals. There are so many that are enjoyable: Golf, distance running, track and field, autoracing, tennis, motorcycle racing, swimming, bicycling, etc. And even the relatively new "extreme" sports that a lot of young people perform on ESPN2 (skateboarding, etc) are very pleasant and enjoyable to watch. I become engaged in their efforts.

Reason B

Noise. I, like many people am a person who is sensitive to certain types of noise. However, the TYPES of noise I am sensitive to may be quite different from others, especially those who enjoy football. The crowd noise as broadcast over television or radio literally drives me up the wall. This is an unfortunate aspect of virtually any sort of stadium team sport, and so when I watch baseball or soccer or hockey, I need to turn the sound down significantly if not fully. No one will do this for football (at least in our family circle). The football tv has to be on to a volume that (in my opinion) rattles the bones and threatens to wake the dead for those who like the damn sport.

If I am in the same room with a television with non-stop, loud, active, crowd noise, within ten minutes or so, I am so tense and aggravated and keyed-up that I either have to leave the room or I risk becoming rude to others because of the overload to my senses. Luckily for me, my family growing up did not watch football all that often (my father would occasionally watch a few moments of a game with the sound off to catch a score, but he was not particularly interested long-term.

So, to summarize. I like and enjoy sports. Yet, most team sports are dull to me, and football is for ME, a true abombination.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fire and Brimstone

"*&*!!, $@^%%!!!, and $&!"!!" These are the types of words I utter under my breath when I read the type of essay that my baby brother wrote recently in his blog. I love my brother dearly, but sometimes I do not understand these "moods" he drifts into. What the hell does he expect out of life.... infinity? I think he spends far too much time thinking about our passing and not nearly enough time about living.

Part of me thinks that last statement is true, so I will leave it, but part of me also feels it is too harsh. He is a good fellow and a fine man and father. In our family it is pretty common to contemplate all manner of things (I think most families with "thinkers" tend to be that way) including death. Yet, it sometimes feels unnecessary for him to think this way. I would greatly appreciate if you would comment about it here or on his site or prefereably both.

Thank you.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Warm as Hell, but Festive and Joyful

It was a grand holiday of Thanksgiving here. I had my loving family near, my belly stuffed with ample turkey and all the accoutrements, and the only television that was playing football was easy to avoid (I perhaps should write an essay on why I hate football to help explain). So it was a grand weekend.

In the homefront, I was able to get the entirety of the inside of the home decorated for the holidays, and we have roughly 2/3 of our cards ready for mailing and over 50% of the gifts wrapped. The December 1st goal is still within reach... except.....

Because of an extremely bitter blast of cold and snow from Canada and the Arctic, the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend was bitterly cold and windy and snow-filled (roughly 4 inches). The temperatures were more akin to what we experience in January than around Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I did not get the outdoor lights onto the house and yard. However, the pendulum always swings back, and TODAY we are experiencing a true heatwave for our region for this time of year. Today, the high is anticipated to reach 50 degrees! That is utterly amazing for these parts. I am planning to take advantage of this warmth and place the lights onto the house. My game plan is to sneak out of this place as quickly as I can following my late morning lecture. With any luck, I will be home by noon and I can begin the work.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Work of the Non-Academic Kind

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Family and friends were with us and we had a delightful time. In the late evening after most went home, I went into my den and relived cherished thoughts and memories about my beloved father on his birthday. It was a good evening, and thinking that much more deeply of him was both beautiful and meloncholy, but every so valuable to my soul.

Today will be spent on Phase I and hopefully some of Phase II of the two-day plan of action to decorate the outside and inside of the house... stem to stearn... for the holidays. If I am successful, we will then spend Sunday cleaning our messes from this decoration so we may relax.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Wishes

Here is to a happy Thanksgiving to all of you, my loyal students and readers and friends. You are all my friends and I appreciate you all. If you are so inclined, stuff yourself with turkey, dressing, too many desserts, enough spirits to keep your mind worry-free and relaxed, and for a smaller subset of you (a rare, but noble breed of men) keep your pipes filled with pleasant, richly aromatic leaf! That is my plan, that is my goal.

Special thoughts also go out to my beloved father. If he were still with us, today would be his birthday. This evening, I shall smoke several bowls of tobacco in his honor using his pipes that I have inherited and I shall again read some of his papers I have tucked away. I miss him dearly, he was a delightful father and an honest, sincere, intelligent man.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Toil with Foil!

A brief clarification about yesterday's post. If you did not discern it intuitively, I meant we were trying to have everying that is a major hassle for the Christmas holiday (shopping, wrapping, the tree etc.) finished by December 1st. In that way, we could have a lesiurely month of December to truely experience friends and family.

Today in my research this morning, I have been struggling with how to best use foil in covering and storing some tissue samples I need to place in the deep freeze. The samples need to be kept as fresh as possible so as to be used as food for Planaria in the future, and so I need to devise a way to cover the tray containing the samples to help provide another layer of insulation while at the same time allowing ready access to the samples. I have yet to discover a good method... the methods I try that are very protective, do not allow easy access, whereas the methods that I try allowing access do not seem to add any additonal protection to the samples. I will be continuing to work on this for the better part of the day until I discover a solution to my liking.

A sad note to report.... while in my back-back office today, I was moving books around as I rearranged my bookshelves... and I was smoking a bowlful of vividly strong and pleasant vanilla tinctured burley when I turned my head and the edge of the bowl of my pipe lightly grazed the edge of a bookshelf I was too close to. I was gripping the pipe loosely in my teeth as I was looking where to place the books in my hands, and the pipe fell out of my mouth onto the floor. I have done this occasionally over the years, and am careful to search for and douse any stray embers or ashes that are knocked loose from the bowl when this happens, so that was not a problem. However, either the bowl hit the floor just right, or perhaps there was a hidden defect in the briar used to make the bowl, but when the pipe hit the floor, the bowl split into two asymetrical halves. This saddened me greatly as it was a wonderful smoking pipe... it was one of several full-bent Petersons I have, but this one was an especially good smoking tool for some reason. So, it is a bit sad. I could not bear to discard the pipe yet, but probably should do so. Fortunately it is not especially old, nor is it one of the heirloom pipes I inherited from my father or grandfather, but it still was a nice pipe that I enjoyed.

It may be foolish and sentimental of me, but I may keep the pipe, and perhaps either glue it together to use an an ornament on the christmas tree or a piece of art I can hang on the wall in one of my offices or den, or I may try to put the beast back together another way so that I may continue to use it. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Preparing for the Holidays

One household task that is rather enjoyable is the planning for the Holiday. This year my wife and I have been reasonably successful in our annual vow (which is usually not so successful) to have EVERYTHING done for the holiday (meaning getting the house in order and decorated, shopping for all the gifts, and wrapping all the gifts, and mailing of cards) all by December 1st. We are doing well at the moment and I am hopeful we may have success this year! Ho! Ho! Ho!


Monday, November 21, 2005

Another List

I cannot say the posting of a list is my idea, but rather it is something I have decided to crib from the Sweet Conflict blog. Of course I have substitued my answers and have modified the questions when necessary. Feel free to crib my own and post your own variation if you are so inclined:

The Power of Three

Three ways that I am stereotypically male:
1. My beard and moustache.
2. I enjoy beer and pipes.
3. I am the primary safety net and support for the family.

Three ways that I am stereotypically female:
1. I enjoy shopping if it is a store I like (Think Home Depot, for example).
2. I worry about what others think.
3. I tend to want to discuss things (But that may just be the professor in me).

Three names I go by
1. Prof
2. Pipe
3. Bear (the wife calls me this)

Three parts of my heritage
1. German
2. French Canadian (fur-trapper heritage)
3. Native American (only about 1/16th, not sure of the exact tribe, but I suspect Algonquin)

Three physical things I like about myself
1. My beard and moustache
2. My teeth & smile
3. My eyes

Three physical things I don’t like about myself
1. A little bit of a belly
2. The decline in stamina as I get older
3. My skin... does not tan well, and burns easily.

Three things that scare me
1. Not seizing the opportunity for an adventure because I am too cautious.
2. Death of family
3. Loss of memories

Three of my everyday essentials
1. Pipe (and pipe tobacco)
2. Coffee
3. Time for contemplation

Three LIES
1. I look forward to and relish grading laboratory exams and reports.
2. I think physical intimacy is overated.
3. I think PETA people are genuises

1. I am a good listener.
2. I become angry when I cannot fix a problem.
3. I made a good decision for my mental and emotional health by becoming a professor.

Three things I want in a relationship (Fortunately all are provided by my wife.)
1. Laughter and happiness
3. Smiles
4. Kindness

Three physical things about women that especially appeal to me
1. A vivid smile.
2. Kind eyes.
3. A quirky sense of style.

Three of my favorite hobbies
1. Reading & Writing
2. Smoking & Drinking
3. Bedding my wife.

Three things I want to do really badly now
1. Stop involving myself in the insanity and bullsh*t of college administrative politics.
2. Travel to Antarctica
3. Write a published novel. Published research articles are ok, but the thrill of publishing a novel would be immense.

Three careers I’ve considered
1. Professor (and it was the right choice)
2. Medical Doctor (not good for my personality... it would be emotionally spent and my life would not be my own).
3. Psychologist (a choice that would have been good, but not as good as the choice of being a biology professor like I am)

Three places I want to go on vacation:
1. Ireland
2. France
3. Alaska

Three things I want to do before I die:
1. Publish a novel.
2. Hold at least one of my future great grand children.
3. Travel across the country in a pickup with a camper top (as in Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie)

Three famous people (living or dead) I would like to talk with and why:
1. Theodore Roosevelt... the best president I believe we have ever had. Did not allow bullsh*t to occur during his administration. He regulated the meat industry and laid the ground for the modern ecological movement.
2. Charles Darwin.... his Theory of Evolution paved the way for so much of the field of biology.
3. Sigmund Freud... I would like to talk to him to gain insight into his personality.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Not Exactly Ill, But...

I am not sure what is wrong with me at the moment. I do not have any full symptoms of illness, yet I am feeling a tiredness and lethargy and lack of motivation that is aggrivating. My general mood at the moment is that of being touchy and feeling grouchy . This is one reason I went to work especially early this morning, so as to not spread my mood to others if possible. I have been holed up in my back, back office and have the lights to the lab and my outer office turned off so no one knows I am here.

I had planned to go up North to attend deer camp, but that fell through because of issues here locally... mostly due to illnesses in the family that took precidence. As the male in the family, even with all the talk about equality and equal treatment, it is not so. When push comes to shove, as the elder male, the responsibility for any crisis in the family lands upon my shoulders. No matter how it alters my plans, my goals, it is my duty and responsibility to handle those situations.

While sometimes I wish it were not so, and while today at least it makes me feel grumpy and ornery, my role is set, the constant barrage of needs is never ending and I might as well buck up (sarcastic pun intended) and do my damndest for my family. Do not get me wrong, I love them dearly with all my heart, but my inner self feels like a captive prisoner at times like these.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Under the Weather?

I am taking it easier today as I am not sure if I am getting sick or simply exhausted. I feel blah and want to sleep. It may be the long night of writing and the extremely short amount of sleep (roughly 3 hours total), or it may be the onset of something more annoying. Time will tell. I will talk more tommorrow.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Hunt for Money and Deer

Two goals are on my mind this moring that will occupy most of the next few days. Each one is actually part of hunt, but of two very differnt forms.

The first hunt is for money. The goal is that I have grant deadline that is due today. I have been feverishly writing for the past several days to put together this internal grant application. It is a relatively small grant (~$10,000) but it has a high probability of being funded. And, the best part is that with this small internal grant, the field opens greatly for submission of a much larger (harder to get) grant from the National Science Foundation with the anticipated data this small grant will allow me to collect. The small grant is for two pieces of equipment that will help me better record and analyze rodent physiology.

The second hunt is for deer. The goal I have is to get up to deer camp on Thursday. While deer hunting season has officially started today in my neck of the woods, teaching duties (and the above mentioned grant application) do not allow me to trapse off to the woods today. Instead I shall head to the hunting cabin on Thursday and join friends and family then for the annual hunt. The hunt will likely be again a misnomer for me, as I will likely only spend a short time in the woods this year. I *do* have my liscense, and my rifle is cleaned and ready but, I am not particularly interested in "bagging a buck" this year. If I were to spot a true prize rack on a buck, I would be glad to get a beautiful trophy mount of the head to put in my den, and I would donate the cleaned venison to the homeless shelter. However, the reality is that I am not grandly fond of venison and actually have been eating quite a bit less meat in the last decade or so. So, the drive is not there in my soul. However, I am very much in favor of hunting and feel as a person who does consume meat, that it is my responsibility to be a hunter. To be a meat eater, one should be willing to participate in the whole of the process to attain said meat. I think it is disingenuous for people to be anti-hunting yet they allow others to kill for them so they can buy their pre-packaged chicken, beef, etc. As a meat eater (albeit relatively infrequently... perhaps 2-3 times a week these days), I am very comfortable participating in the whole process of collecting meat for consumption. Deer hunting is one way in which I participate. Fishing, which I find more enjoyable of late, is another passion.

Now, you may ask, why the hell do I go to deer camp if I am not extremely interested in bagging a buck? Well, if you ask that question, you my friends, have never been to deer camp. Deer camp is a place where fellows can gather and shed the tedious trappings of modern society. No ties, no phones, no shaving. Instead, there is ample drinking, boisterous card playing, engorgement on unhealthy but delicious foods, a general slovenly attitude about appearance, and a helluva lot of good times, memories and fun. That is why I am looking forward to deer camp.


Monday, November 14, 2005


Has my muse left me? As of this moment I have no pressing issue I wish to write about. My mind is a rather mushy and hazy at the moment, although is because I got up a bit on the late side for a very early meeting I had with the administration (at 7:45 this morning). Typically I am awake very early (usually by 6:00am at the latest, usually earlier). Today, however, I awoke at 7:10am... and for no reason I can fathom. So, instead of my normal routine, I instead had to hurry through the most basic subset of my routines for the morning. Simply put, all I did was hurriedly brush my teeth, rapidly shaved the neckline of my beard (my neck becomes rather furry after a weekend of not shaving), hopped in the shower, dressed, grabbed my pipe and my bag, and drove off.

Now, hurrying to meet a deadline is not my favorite task, as it is not for others as well. But, for me, it is especially jarring on the nerves and mindset to hurry through the morning. It shows too, as I have had several rough spots already:

1. Although I brought my pipe, I did not bring a lighter nor a pouch of tobacco with me. In my haste this morning, I was thinking I had left a pouch of tobacco and a lighter in my workbag. In order to save time on this hurried morning (which sounded like a grand idea instead of needing to run back upstairs to the bedroom to retreive my most used pouch and lighter off the nightstand), I decided I would simply use the pipe tobacco I had in my extra pouch in my bag holding my work papers and assignments I graded over the weekend.

As I speed towards the University in my vehicle, I grip the pipe between my teeth, drive with one hand (a manual transmission, by the way) and rummage around in my bag for my extra pouch and the lighter. It is not there! No leaf, no flame, no damn luck at all!

I sigh with frustration and a tinge of sadness, but then I recall I can simply use some of my stash in a can of Sir Walter Raleigh I keep in a desk drawer in my laboratory. Likewise, the flame will be no problem as I can use either a bunsen burner or an alcohol lamp, both of which I have in my lab. I could probably scrounge up some matches as well somewhere (in the lab we no longer typically use matches as we have "strikers" now which are basically large, hand-held devices that are flint holders and they make a beautiful spark for the Bunsen burner or the alcohol lamp) if I look long enough.

So, I get to my office and quickly grab papers needed for the early morning meeting and head off. All the while, I am thinking about my pipe. I arrive at the meeting, and as usual it is a bunch of windbags yimmer-yammering about nonesense. Honestly, they are good people who try hard, by and large, but this meeting was pointless. So after the meeting I rush back to my lab and rummage around my lab-desk drawer looking for my can of pipe tobacco, and a striker. I feel like an idiot and a fool, when I open the cannister of Sir Walter Raleigh (the 14 oz can) and of course, it is empty! I was not thinking and forgot I had smoked the last of the pipe tobacco in this canister nearly a week and a half ago and have been meaning to get more (if you recall, I have been smoking a fair amount of Prince Albert lately... partially because SWR has been more of a challenge to find in my usual stores).

I curse quietly under my breath and feel resigned to my fate. I go to my primary office and sit in there dejectedly.... because I have office hours until 9:30.

2. No coffee either this morning! Damn. I can alleviate that right now.

(Roughly a minute later...)

At least part of the morning doldrums can be helped right away by this coffee. I have until 9:30am to sit in my office waiting for students to visit, but then I am heading off to the store. I am bound and determined to not let this fiasco happen again. I am going to travel a bit farther, but I am going to go and buy TWO of the 14 oz cans of Sir Walter Raleigh, probably TWO of the 14 oz cans of Prince Albert, and two new zippered tobacco pouches. I shall leave one can of SWR and one can of Prince Albert in my lab-desk drawer, I shall leave one can of each at home, and I shall fill both new pouches to the brim, keeping one in glove box of my vehicle and one in the desk drawer of my primary office at work.

That should help to prevent another morning like this.

Hopefully, my muse will return along with the melding of flame and leaf in the bowl of my pipe in only a short while.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Not Sure, But Perhaps

Update: Progress still seems good on the experiemtal design! More later.

I enjoy reading novels, and students often find me outside with pipe in my mouth,and my nose buried in a book. Probably half the time it is a science text or paper of some sort, but the other half of the time, I tend to shock the kids by reading some sort of novel. My preferences go towards the classics (Hemingway, Steinbeck, etc), but also lean heavily towards the mystery/crime genre when looking at modern novels). Well, one student this semester has taking a liking to me and he always stays after class and will often stop me in the halls or when I am sitting outside to chat for a while. It is this fellows postulate that I look and act like Sigmund Freud. I find that coorelation to be humerous albeit a tremendous stretch. Well, this week, this young man brings me a science fiction novel tentitled "The Remaking of Sigmund Freud" and gives it to me to read. The author is Barry N. Malzberg. I am not a huge fan of non-classical science fiction (meaning science fiction that tends to be more fantasy and less sci-fi) and am not yet sure which camp Mr Malzberg's work falls into, but thus far, I am finding the work interesting.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yes, Beer is Enjoyable Too

Brief Update: The experimental technique is still looking very promising! More details later.

In response to yesterday's post, a reader wrote to me to ask me about beer and why I considered it different.

Please do not get me wrong, I enjoy beer greatly! Yet, it is a very different beast than are liquors, at least in my opinion. Yes, both do contain alcohol, yet the difference in the quantity of alcohol creates a different set of use strategies for each type of liquid.

Liquors are typically consumed cut down with water, or some flavored liquid like a sodapop or fruit juice. The reason being is of course for flavor and to modify the total alcohol content of the drink being consumed. Alcohol, at the level of liquors is quite medicinal in its effect. It is fairly easy to get "sloshed" with liquors with relatively little volume of fluid. When I mix myself a gin-and-tonic, or a whiskey-and-7-up, I typically tend to prefer the alcohol be at a higher concentration compared to the mix than many. I am a relatively big, robust fellow (6'3; roughly 200 pounds) and in order to obtain the pleasant medicinal effect, I require a bit more of the liqour than say a smaller fellow. This makes perfect sense.

Beer on the other hand, is a beverage all unto itself (except for boilermakers, of course, which is when you take a shot-glass of whiskey and drop it into a mug of beer... very nice). Most times (again except with boilermakers) a person drinks beer in a similar way one would drink sodapop.... as a thirst quenching beverage. The alcohol content of beer is low enough, that in most circumstances, one would not get "sloshed" with beer being consumed at a moderate pace. Instead, the person may get a bit relaxed but that is the typical maximum. Now, do not get me wrong... it is OF COURSE possible to get "sloshed" on beer alone. Hell, it is perhaps the most typical manner for college kids to do so, and many adults still follow that method as well. However, for me, I do not indulge in beer in that manner (and probably have not done so since graduate school long ago), because of the volume of beer required and the speed of intake required to ellicit that sort of effect. I prefer to enjoy beer in another, simpler way, and if I wish to feel "sloshed" I will indulge in gins or whiskeys.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gin is Very Pleasant

Brief Side Note: The experimental protocol mentioned yesterday seems to still be progressing positively. More details as they arise.

As I have said before, I tend to be a man who lives life by behaving in predictable, routine ways. I believe that for most things in life, a particular set of stimuli will lead to a particular response... this is the basis of a psychological construct called "Operant Conditioning". Sometimes, however, I have patterns and routines that I myself am not aware of. The case in point today is concerning gin... that beautiful libation that makes one feel as if they are walking in the midst of a pine forest because of the crushed juniper berries that the alcohol is infused with.

Well, the routine that I had not perceived previously is that when I drink liquors, probably 99+% of the time it is either whiskey or gin (beer is not a liquor (it is an alcoholic malt beverage) and is in another category). The odd aspect is that I have never been aware of the pattern I display in terms of which liquor I choose to consume, until now:

It appears my pattern is to consume whiskies when I am in settings that are casual and non-formal. Likewise it appears that when I am in a more formal setting, I invariably drink gin.

It is an interesting pattern. For example, at business lunches for the University, at weddings, at formal parties, it is my custom to drink gin and tonics. The drink is both pleasantly powerful, and also very refreshing in flavors. On the other hand, when I am talking with family & friends, when I am visiting with my elderly father-in-law, or after I have gone golfing/bowling etc... I invariably drink whiskey... either mixed with 7-Up or water, or I drink straight shots of the liquor.

I am not sure why the above pattern occurs. However it is interesting.

Any thoughts as to why this pattern may exist would be interesting to hear and enjoyable to discuss.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A New Technique

It has been an exciting morning thus far. I have gone "out of the box" so-to-speak, as the young people and Dr. Phil fans like to spout. My rodent research currently is in a form that is rather slow and time consuming. What I mean by this is that the research requires a type of data collection that needs several months of "melding and fermentation" prior to collection. That said, the animals need only minor care each day, and so I have extra research time on my hands.

With this extra time, I have been spending it thus far, in my back-back office, pipe in hand, back to the window (for natural lighting) and nose deep in a variety of books. One of the books I have read, sparked my renewed interest in a small beast called Planaria. These are very small flatworms that are very interesting for their regeneration of neural tissue. A few weeks ago, I went out and collected a few hundred of these beasts in a local stream and began to observe them (under the microscope... each beast is roughly 3-4mm in length).

What I have perhaps discovered is a new experimental technique that may allow me to conduct a whole new, rapid turnover, set of experiments using a technique that is novel and new.

I shall know more in a few days as I watch how this series of events unfolds. Keep your fingers crossed! I will give more details as they are warrented.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Frustrations With People

It is frustrating to say the least, when people get upset at you. Yet, it is more frustrating when they get upset at you when you DID NOTHING WRONG! Anyone who knows me for any length of time knows that I am very much into routines and predictablility. I tend to behave the same way, given the same situation during a typical day. Thus it should come as no surprise when a set of work related sitauations arise and I behave accordingly that NO ONE SHOULD BE UPSET... unfortunately that is not the case. In this particular situation, which is too complex to try to flesh out here in any meaningful way, a co-worker is upset that I did not immediately take the action she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted. Instead, I reacted according to the circumstances, time constraints, and predictable patterns I try to live by. In a nutshell, instead of acting immediately by jumping through the hoops she wanted, I contemplated the situation (which is my manner) for roughly two hours before taking action.

Oh well, I cannot hope to fathom individuals who do not have predictable routines in their lives, nor can I hope to adapt in any meaningful way to those that live life as if on a pinball machine.... being cast about where ever life pushes them.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Prince Albert in a Can

A very strange set of circumstances has occurred with me over the last week or so, and I am at a loss on how to explain it. Because I was out of my beloved Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco, I went to the local grocer to purchase more. Sadly, my grocer was out of the leaf. I had three choices, 1) go to another grocer and purchase Sir Walter Raleigh.... I decided "no" to this option as the store I was at was THE most reliable in having Sir Walter Raleigh on hand... other stores were much more flaky in their stock, 2) go to the tobacco shop and purchase an alternative pipe tobacco.... I also decided "no" to this option as I was not in the mood for the longer drive, and also because I knew my elderly father-in-law was hoping to go with me the next time I went (and he was not available at the time), and 3) purchase one of the other pipe tobaccos my grocer had on hand. I chose option three and had a choice between only two different leaves. Normally, my grocer has four pipe tobaccos on hand.... Sir Walter Raleigh, Granger, Prince Albert, and Velvet. Unfortunately, he was out of both Sir Walter Raleigh and out of Granger (I actually enjoy Granger quite a bit and have substituted it in the past). So, my options were:

a) Prince Albert - an extremely bland, flavorless tobacco with very little, if any kick.

b) Velvet - an odd, "mushy" sort of leaf that I find frustrating as hell to keep lit and even after extensive drying, it is unpleasant.

Therefore, I purchased old Prince Albert. I have been smoking it most of the week and I must say I have grown accustomed to it. It IS bland and has very little flavor and no kick in the head that I can discern. But is has one property that IS pleasant and I have enjoyed this week. It is very easy to keep lit, and it produces very copious quantities of dense smoke that is very white in color. Although the smoke does not give you a pleasant kick, it is plesant to inhale and feels good in the chest.

So, by necessity, I have found enjoyment in old Prince Albert, although I am thinking I am going to pick up my elderly father-in-law and go to the tobacco shop for something more powerful and then perhaps we will pick up a bottle of something good on the way home and make an afternoon of it.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rats 'is' Rats

I stumbled across a very interesting site (for me at any rate) while conducting an Internet search for some background data for an upcoming rodent model study. It is a site called Rat Behavior and Biology and has been constructed by someone named Annie. If I were to hazard a guess, I would predict that Annie is likely a young college student who may have started out having pet rats when she was younger and is now developing through study at a university into a research scientist.

Her site is interesting. I wish her well and hope you visit her site. Some aspects are a few years old, and I suspect those may have been developed while she was in high school or junior high school as the writing style is more muted.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Flavored Coffee

I love and relish coffee almost as much as I do my beloved pipe tobacco. It is true nourishment for my body and soul. Today I am enjoying a special treat of a 24oz hazlenut flavored coffee before I switch to my day-to-day several cups of traditional black coffee (free at work in our Departement, by my mandate). Coffee is akin to a nectar. Others may like to add all sorts of milks and creams to their beverage, but for me, I prefer mine to be black.... full bodied, nothing added to mute the power of it.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

WalMart Rules the World and We Pay For It

WalMart is an evil, oportunistic business that gouges its employess and gouges the US government. When WalMart moves into town, there is an increase in the use of welfare programs (food stampes, EBT cards, etc) because most workers at WalMart will qualify for these programs while employed at WalMart.

Is this insane? Yes. WalMart pays substandard wages and is the model businesses across the nation would like to use. We need to stop this idiocy. It is also being seen with the mindset of businesses wanting to slash wages and benefits for workers (look at Delphi Corporation).

When will people understand that good, sound wages are the most important economic indicators of a country doing right for its people. I am sure we would all love to have the economic reality of Mexico or China, right? Well, if we as a society do not take back control from the evil, money-grubbing, business idiots that do not give a rat's ass about society, we will be in the same economic boat as China and Mexico all too quickly.


Baby Brother Posts Again!

I just noticed that my baby brother posted again on his blog called "Lectures on Life". He could use some encouragement and comments if you can spare a few moments to read his writings.