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, April 30, 2008


A favorite author of mine (of the many I have) has always been Ernest Hemingway. I have copies of virtually all his books and short stories, and I have roughly 35 biographies about his life (As a side note, I am extremely fond of biographies and have hundreds in total... mostly about authors, scientists, and political leaders.)

Tonight I went to a presentation about Hemingway and participated in a Hemingway look-alike contest. It was quite fun. I am going to try to put more detail into what occurred in my next post.


Monday, April 28, 2008


Perhaps I am a creature of habit after all (grin). It seems to be that I am feeling more "normal"... not ecstatic or jovial, but at least "normal". It could be me forcing myself back into a routine (posting regularly, eating more healthily, exercising more, consuming more fluids), it could be the lengthening daylight, it could be the improved temperatures, or it could simply be something else... but I feel perfectly adequate.

It may sound odd, but I have decided to explore a form of art involving the use of mosaic tiles. You may have seen this craft on various television programs (HGTV often has them). For some reason, the artistry, the hands-on nature of the work, the tangibleness of the tile seems highly appealing to me. I am envisioning creating objects not like what are on the programs on HGTV.... patio rocks, counter-tops, vases and the like. Instead, what I hope to do is to create artistic wall hangings and two dimensional and three dimensional clocks using these tiles with a Seurat - pointillism feel.

It should be interesting and entertaining.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Preparing to Update

In the next week or two I am planning to update the look of my blog. For many of you my thoughts of updating may seem quaint... I simply will change a few colors and update the links.

But, there are some things I would like to consider adding. A friend, Andrew, has suggested I add capabilities to allow RSS feeds of my site. I have thought of this previously, but have a few questions:

1. Why would people want to read blogs via RSS feeds instead of simply visiting the blog?

2. Is there a reason *I* would want to use RSS feeds to read sites I like?

3. Is it easy to add code to a blog to allow RSS feed capability?


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trying Weekend Posts

Trying to keep my spirits up (my head above water at any rate), so to keep up the routine, I thought I would also post on weekends. I did go visit my elderly father-in-law yesterday and it was a nice time.

Today was a difficult day energy wise. It may be due to the sudden change in weather. We have had temperatures in the 60s and 70s the last few days and it is of course, wonderful. However, it was a rather dramatic rise in temperatures over only a day or so and that often catches people off guard. It takes a bit of time to acclimate to the change. Several people at work yesterday complained of extreme tiredness, and today both my wife and myself were not able to work at our tasks with the same intensity as usual.

I am considering three new activities/tasks for this summer. 1) I want to spend some time painting, repairing, and redecorating the home, 2) I want to find a new, enjoyable hobby to pursue, and 3) I want to refresh my colors on this blog and reupdate my links.

There were several times today when I was having especially strong thoughts about my beloved mother. All I have now are these thoughts, so I have to cherish them.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday - Make-Up Day

Today is the day I designated for all the students in all my classes to have to take any make-up exams they needed from the semester. I started this single day make-up policy about four years ago because a) the shear number of exams I gave in a semester (this semester I administered well over 1000 exams during the semester)and b) more and more students were requesting make-up exams.

The semester before I enacted this policy, I counted the number of make-up exams requested and it was 104! That is roughly 10% of the total. The shear number of make-up exams and the wide array of schedule conflicts meant I was administering make-up exams all the time in this old method. I hypothesized (correctly, I believe) that the vast majority of these 104 requests were due to students a) not being prepared or b) students getting stressed out.... not due to a serious illness or family emergency.

This semester, with the new policy, I have only 9 requests for make-up exams! That an order of magnitude less! It is less than 1%! So, the policy seems to have done its job... reducing my workload, making students take responsibility for their educational life (not requesting make-ups because they feel unprepared) and still leaves the option of a make-up for legitimate excuses (severe illness or family emergency).

After the make-up exam session and a few meetings today, I am seriously contemplating visiting my elderly father-in-law this afternoon. A few refreshing libations would be very pleasant indeed. In anticipation of this relaxing time, I have also refrained from my beloved pipe since roughly 8pm last night... I do this so that my first indulgence with my pipe while relaxing with my father-in-law will even more delightful and relaxing.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Such A Hectic Day

It is that time of the semester... so many tasks to do, so many students to console. I have not had a moment to sit, let alone think or write. I arrived at 7:50am and did not leave until 6:20pm. When I got home I was so beat I just sat and did not even talk.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pleasant Outcome

I am very pleased that Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Primary on Tuesday. Her 10+ % victory is something that I feel is very good for the nation. I think she is currently a far better candidate for the job than Sen. Obama.

Please do not get me wrong, I think Obama has a great deal to offer. But I think Sen. Clinton is far superior at this juncture.

If I could shape the political landscape to my own liking, I would have the two of the be forced to sit in a room and agree to WORK TOGETHER so that Clinton would run as the presidential candidate and Obama would run as the vice presidential candidate. I think the two together would be a sure thing in the election this November.

There is additional method to my idea as well... if the two of them would be smart and run together as I outline above... we would have a chance at 16 years of GOOD government and GOOD relations with other nations. Hillary could be president for the first eight years and Barack could be president during the second eight year period.

Could you imagine all the wonderful things that could be accomplished if that were to happen? A good economy, progress on a cleaner environment, fuel efficiency standards with substance, improved funding for science research, improved funding for arts and humanities, increased funding for education, a real health care system for all.

Damn, I hope it is not just a pipe dream. Please, Hillary and Barack, join forces as I have suggested and make a REAL valuable contribution to our nation and the world.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forcing Myself To Do

I am trying to force myself to do my normal day-to-day routines regularly again. It is true in so very many aspects of my life including blogging. While the "pseudo-zen" lack of feelings and emotions does not feel painful, it truly is not conducive to my accomplishing my normal goals and aspirations.

It is much like the old inertia argument. A body at rest stays at rest, whereas a body in motion will more easily stay in motion. I am protected, but stuck in a vanilla bland world of no emotions. It feels safe, as if a cocoon, but there must be a way to return to activity and yet stay content, feel protected, and although it may only be a pipe dream.... perhaps feel happiness again.

I would like to feel happy. I do not know how to find that state again. I hope this return to daily blogging will at least be one step towards finding that happiness.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Waiting to Wait

Life has been moving at oddly disjointed speeds of late. I am at one moment extremely busy and have no time to think, but then the next moment I have nothing I can convince myself to do... even though I have any number of tasks that vie for attention.

Philosophically and physically I am utterly neutral. I am not thinking or experiencing emotions as far as I can tell. A lack of emotions is both odd and yet very comfortable. Perhaps it is what is meant by "zen"? Blunted or non-experienced emotions make it so that I do not feel and it seems perfectly ok. Are emotions overrated? Could it be that emotion is simply a negative artifact of our development towards thinking higher level thought?

It matters not what I do from day-to-day or moment-to-moment. Life is simply a linear progression to the end where we reach the destination.

What do I look for in life currently? Comfort, gentleness, quietness. Anything else is meaningless.

Other, of course, than the love of my wife and kids. I suspect I will write more tomorrow.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Pipe Dreams?

It may not have been a pipe dream. I do not feel the euphoric sense of happiness I spoke of Wednesday, but I still feel my idea has merit and is worthwhile pursuing... and I do not feel despondent. I feel rather neutral to slightly content from a psychological perspective. This is still a tremendous improvement of what I had been feeling.

In a nutshell, I anticipate I will attempt to create a "research group" with this fellow. Now, I suspect this could be useful to both he and I, so I anticipate he may go along with it. I am formulating in my mind various scenarios on how to accomplish this goal. I will allow it to further ruminate prior to taking action and prior to expressing it to you, my readers.

* * * * *

I purchased a cup of flavored coffee today, the first I have consumed in perhaps 6 weeks or so. I shall see what effect this has upon me. Perhaps I will be jittery and unfocused. I must admit it tastes very pleasant. It is a roasted pecan flavored Kona blend.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Germ of An Idea

I am not sure if it is the rush of exhilaration from indulging in my briar (aka a pipe dream) or it is reality, but I feel pretty happy and content this afternoon. I even have the possibility of an idea that may make my situation tolerable. I am going to continue to ruminate on the possibility for a while before I try to put the thoughts down onto paper. But, it feels as if there is a possibility of hope.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Que Sera, Sera?

I miss all of you desperately. I wish I knew what to say. I wish I knew what to suggest. I wish I knew what to do in order to pull myself up by my "bootstraps" and feel better. I continue to pray to God and explain to him my fears, my worries and my grief and to ask for help.

I have been trying to shed things in my life. It started as a manner of atonement. I gave up my enjoyable coffee and caffeine products roughly 5 weeks ago. I gave up chatting with others on the Internet roughly 5 weeks ago (I used to spend an occasional late night chatting politics on a few sites). As is typical for most men, I used to supplement the sexual relief and pleasure I received from bedding my wife with occasional self manipulation to release tensions. I too gave the self manipulation up five weeks ago. I have never been a huge drinker, but I used to enjoy spending an occasional afternoon with my elderly father-in-law and have a few drinks as we chatted. It has been several weeks since I gave that up. And, I am working my way towards giving up my pipe as well. I have decreased to 1-2 bowls per day, but it is difficult as of now for me to go beyond that decline.

Is my new life a manner of atonement? Or am I attempting flagellation of myself for my sins? Does it matter? Do I even exist anymore? What will become of me? I cannot focus, I feel muted. Where do I go from here? Is there anything else I can strip away from mywelf to keep me from being hurt further? If I remove enough of the old me, perhaps I can get to a core that is bland, vanilla, but resilient so that the hurt will reflect away from me instead of infiltrate my soul.

I miss who I was. But, to think of who I was only makes me cry. I am not he. I do not know who I am, but...

Que sera, sera, I suppose.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Neutral, Vanilla, Emotionless

I have decided to devote my time towards working to crawl my way up to a state of no emotions, an attempt to feel utterly neutral and devoid of feelings. In that way, no one can hurt me any longer. This emotionless neutrality will give me protection and may even allow me to heal. It shall be far, far better than the current alternative.