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, October 27, 2010

Who Am I?

This is day three of curtailing my pipe smoking by half by eliminating my indulgence prior to my getting home from work. Thus far, it has been remarkably uneventful and easy. I do not know what to make of that.

* * * * *

Two good Internet friends whose opinions I trust have both given me advice that I may need to take. One suggests to me that I have a brain that is whirring on-and-on 24/7 analyzing everything, and the other suggests that I am never "just myself". Both of the above ideas, are, I suspect, true.

There are times when I suddenly become aware of the notion that I am all keyed up thinking about and trying to analyze all manner of b*llsh*t. I am not sure why this seems to be a default pattern in the way my mind works. I am not sure, but I am beginning to suspect that MOST people DO NOT constantly analyze things and have that mind pattern during all waking hours. I wonder if that is a symptom of my malaise, or a cause of said, or neither?

As for being "just myself"... that comment took me aback too. I do think it is quite true. I am not sure if I can easily figure out how to acquire a state of mind where I am "just myself" and not worrying, fussing, and analyzing each and every little thing. In thinking about this notion... I seem to have a pattern where *unless* I am worrying, fussing, and analyzing...... I am sleeping. It seems I sleep anytime my mind "shuts off" and stops worrying, fussing, analyzing. Have I forgotten how to just "be"? This may sound preposterous or stupid, but I am being quite serious. If I am not worrying, fussing, and analyzing.... the only times I can recognize as not having that state of worry, fussing, or analysis in is during sleep. That is rather pathetic. Damn, even my discussing the topic has me in my typical worry, fuss, analysis phase.
Enough of it!

* * * * *

[Attempt at Levity]

Funniest joke I have heard in a while, and would have loved to use it when I was 100 pounds heavier:

"I was at the doctor's office today and he asked me about my weight again." I said, looking at my wife.

"Yes dear. How did that go?" said my wife.

I responded with, "I told my doctor that inside me was a thin person trying to get out." Then I paused briefly..... before continuing, "The doctor said 'only one?'"

[rim shot]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Motions & Potions

After a rough weekend of a lot of emotions, which were sad, I am again just in the middle of the work week at the U. Today has been reasonably productive, and not overly stressful. I have enjoyed myself this afternoon and evening hanging around with my kids.

In terms of my new pipe efforts, I believe that cold turkey is not workable for me at this time, but also neither is my trying to immediately go into my hoped for eventual outcome of smoking my pipe only 2-3 times a week. So, since many different psychological/educational texts talk about learning to unlearn, that is the approach I am taking at the moment. Today, I started by refraining from my pipe until 3:30 in the afternoon. In effect, I have cut out roughly 1/2 of my typical indulgence. I have kept my indulgences in the afternoon and evening like typical (3 pipes). Oddly, this seemed easy. Easy enough that I questioned myself if I was making progress or not. But, a reduction in 50% IS progress. But because I do not feel it is a hardship, does that mean it is NOT progress? Perhaps this is just the path that I am looking for? I am in a process of unlearning my old patterns, but I am unlearning them in a manner that does not (thus far at least) casue anxiety, or discomfort?

So, I am still unsure if I am progressing or not. Is there a possibility of gain WITHOUT pain? To this so flies in the face of the old adage itself... No pain, no gain. I do not know what to think at this point. But, I will try to mimic today's pattern tomorrow. Perhaps I will know more of what I think about this then... and will know better if my "gentle" approach is worth pursuing or if I should be more of a dictator to myself and "feel the pain".


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Living and Figuring

I think I am in a stage right now where I am trying to simply live and figure things out. That may not sound so Earth shattering, but it does help me to simplify what it is I am doing moment, day-to-day.

A. On the front of smoking my pipe. I am trying to figure out what my next approach/strategy will be. In the mean time, I am trying to limit my indulgences in pipe tobacco to three specific times each day that I enjoy the most:

1. Driving home from work.
2. At the start of the evening.
3. Right before bed.

I am still thinking through many ideas about smoking my pipe and whether or not I should adopt this strategy or that. But when it gels over the next few days, I will report back.

B. On work... I am trying the "busy bee" approach. Just simply plowing in to tasks the moment I arrive and working to get as many things off my plate as possible. This means I am not really interacting with most folks (other than the students in my classes), but that is not really all bad. I think it will allow me to get caught up/ahead and that will help me feel less stressed.

C. On the home front... I am also trying to adopt a more "busy bee" approach, where I try to work on at least one or two small tasks each day in the various projects I have that have been languishing. I am also going to use the "busy bee" approach to handle my wife's sleepiness. Almost like clockwork, within a half hour or hour at most after sitting down for the evening (after the tasks are done with dinner and other family matters), she falls asleep. This can be 8pm, or 9pm, or 10pm. It does not really matter how soon we get to the point of sitting down to relax and enjoy each other's company for the evening. Instead of getting sad or down about her going to sleep (which is my natural inclination, as I want company, conversation, and fun at that time... to me it is the time I look forward to every day to get to spend time with her), I am going to simply start using that time for the tasks and projects I need to do. It will give me a better mindset, will not have me getting as frustrated and hurt by her sleeping, and who knows, it may eventually allow me to pursue a hobby or two I haven't had time for.

D. Walking and Exercise... I am still walking every day. I am not sure of the exact number (will have to figure it out again), but I am right around 750. I went to the gym again this morning after having not gone in roughly 3 weeks. I really should go every weekday like I have planned, as it is very helpful to me emotionally and physically. My posture is better, and I feel stronger when I go. I let my stress and sad mood get the best of me in regards to the gym and in effect punished myself. I am going to start keeping "tabs" (day measures) on how many weekdays I consistently go the gym. Perhaps it will help me like measuring my days of walking with missing a day have.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20 Hours

Well, my first foray into modifying my pipe smoking lasted 20 hours. Although not the length of time I had envisioned (I had envisioned 56 hours for the first step in refraining), I did learn quite a bit. I am going to take the knowledge learned and try to improve on my efforts.

What I *would like* to have as a perfect end goal for me would be for me to be able to retrain myself to not smoke my pipes most of the time, and to be able to indulge on an occasional basis. For me, I would most like to get to a point where I smoke a pipe 2-3 times a week. In my manner of thinking, if I can figure out how to do that successfully, I will have found nirvana.

Yet, it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, as the saying goes. I have smoked a pipe pretty much as much as I wanted to ever since I was a young kid. There were natural fluctuations that occurred, where I smoked very lightly at times and there were long stretches where I smoked quite heavily as well. In my manner currently, I am in a long stretch of what I would call "moderate" pipe smoking... probably on average I smoke 4-6 pipes a day. That is my current, natural rate.

What I have found out about myself in this first of what appear will be a series of efforts to retrain myself to a new "norm" of 2-3 pipes a week is quite interesting. I will work on putting together my thoughts about this for tomorrow.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Grin & Bear It

I had a decent weekend. I went with my wife to a bigger sized city in a nearby state. My wife had a workshop to attend, and I was able to go on the trip for free. It was very pleasant to get away.

We also had our annual Halloween Bash & October birthday party yesterday. It also went well. I dressed up as a biker again (having been out of town, I did not get a chance to put together a decent pirate outfit, which had been my original thought. I tried to model myself after the fellow above.

My wife had a few moments where she was grumpy at me during the weekend. It hurt my feelings, but instead of dwelling on it and getting myself upset as has been my typical response, I worked at "letting it go"... the anger and frustration. I did reasonably well. I am 100% sure in each of the 3 instances where it occurred, that I was not doing anything to make her angry... I was trying to be helpful in each case (NOTE: I also am not saying there are not times when I can be aggravating... I can be am trying to NOT BE so, but I am sure in these three instances I was not.). My wife has a tendency when stressed or tired to be "snappy" and even though it has taken me a helluva long time to figure this out, in situations where stress or tiredness are likely, it is best for me to avoid interacting with my wife. She eventually comes around again to her normal self, and we do not have to be at risk for having an argument.

In my effort to become a better person emotionally and spiritually, I am beginning a new journey to modify my pipe smoking. I am not saying that I am quitting. That idea seems too sad to me. Instead, I am embarking on a plan where I will allow myself two days a week in which I am able to smoke my pipe, and five days where I will refrain. I will only smoke my pipe moderately on those two days.... not excessively. I have picked Wednesday and Friday as the days I will indulge.

Quitting smoking my pipe seems sad to me emotionally, but it is something I should do. Yet, for me, smoking a pipe is something I greatly enjoy and have enjoyed since I was a young kid. I also have (perhaps unfortunately) a whole myriad of different "romantic", "historical", and "familial" ties to smoking a pipe. These are harder in many ways to shed than the shedding the physical enjoyment of the nicotine. I will likely write more tomorrow about this topic.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Wish I Was A Viking

In my efforts to try to stay happier, and to enjoy life more, I have decided to allow myself time to daydream more. It seems that the old adage about daydreaming being foolish and a waste of time was a message I took to heart, because in the past I would often chastise myself under my breath when I caught myself daydreaming.

Well, in thinking about the idea of daydreaming yesterday, I came to the realization that just because I "avoided" daydreaming, does not mean I did not use that time for thinking about things that were not really on task with what I was intending to do. Namely, I *did* recognize that I spent a helluva lot of time focused on feeling sad, feeling edgy, feeling like tearing up and sobbing, or feeling angry.

The reality is that focusing on all that emotional b*llsh*t is really just as big a waste of time as is daydreaming.... but daydreaming is a helluva lot more fun. So, that is what I am trying out. I am going to let myself daydream and fantasize about all manner of different things I would find interesting.

Today, I have been thinking about how fun it would be to be a Viking. Yes, I know all the "real" b*llsh*t... about how the life was hard, the actions tough, the lifespan pretty damn short. I am not talking about the "real" thing. Right now, I am just enjoying imagining all the "good" things that likely could be fantasy... the raucousness, the debauchery, the pillaging, etc... all at the same time getting to wear a cool, spiked helmet, and not even having to shave your neck to keep your beard neat. Grog would be pretty good too, I suspect.

I keep vacillating back and forth between imagining myself to be something like the fellow above and being akin to "Hagar the Horrible".


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Efficiency Matters

I am getting myself back into a routine, where the focus is on efficiency. I want to maximize the time I spend in my work day to get things off my plate that tend to add to my stress. I am also beginning to read the book, "Adrenal Fatigue" out of a mixture of curiosity and perhaps to gain potential insight. I am not sure if I "buy into" anything/everything in the book, so I am currently just scanning it for interest.

I keep thinking that if I handle the required work in my life with as much efficiency and dogged determination as I can while I am at work, I can then more easily "let go" of the stresses of work when I am NOT working. I can then be a better, stronger, happier, and more "present" husband, father, and family member.

Yes, it may be another in the series of "pull myself up by my bootstraps" approach to life, but it is what I know, and I am keeping my hopes up that it may help. I have also gone back (roughly 3 weeks now) to praying the rosary every day. I do so during my walk.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10th, 2010

I am writing this brief post just to mark the occasion of today being 10/10/10. I am a person to normally enjoy numbers of this sort and pattern. I had been looking forward to this date for quite a while.

Yet, the reality is that I am in a very rough emotional state at the moment. I feel sad. I feel lost. I feel as if I am being crushed under the thumb of God for his rancor and anger at me.

* * * * *

Here is a bit of information I linked to about 10/10/10:

10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: Introduction
Welcome random search engine visitor. Many philosophies believe that you somehow ended up on this page for a reason. It is not known if it is the result of predestination, random chance, fate, a higher power, or something else.

This article provides a synopsis of the possible implications of the 10/10/10 date singularity, and of the number ten; followed by a quick metaphysics experiment.10/10/10;

Sunday, October 10, 2010: Mathematics
101010 (base two (binary)) equals 42 (base ten). Oddly enough, this is evenly divisible by the number of days in a week (7 (lucky)); and equally oddly, is also evenly divisible by the number 6 (which is generally designated as being unlucky). Both a Ying and Yang situation seem to be incorporated into this date.

10 (base ten) = 1010 (base two)

(base ten): 10 x 10 = 100

(base two): 10 x 10 = 100

The binary attributes of 101010 lends itself to use by the sciences of fractals (recursive geometric shapes) and chaos theory (the butterfly effect).

NASA deep space photo demonstrating fractals and chaos theory.

10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: Psychology
The number ten seems to give people that warm, fuzzy feeling:

“I won TEN thousand dollars!”

“I got TEN things done today.”

Then of course, there are the ever ubiquitous Top Ten lists. The top Top-Ten lists are (in no particular order):

Top Ten To Do, Top Ten Reasons, Top Ten Links/Websites, Top Ten Music/Songs, Top Ten Movies, Top Ten Headlines, Top Ten Jokes, Top Ten Mistakes, Late Show Top Ten, Top Ten Reviews/Lists.

10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: Historical
Even when taking into account the differences between the Gregorian and Julian calendars:

Nothing significant appears to have happened a thousand years ago during the year 1010.

Nothing significant appears to have happened two thousand years ago during the year 10.

The Dark Ages spanned the 5th to 15th centuries (approximately 450 -1450).

10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: Singularity Summary
Most predictions and opinions concerning 10/10/10 are based on or are rooted in its mathematical uniqueness as a number.

101010: There are three possible outcomes:

1. Something good happens— There is absolutely no scientific basis for this belief. There are no known logical premises for this belief. The belief that something good will happen is based solely on spiritualism, faith, and/or innate optimism. This belief is not necessarily a bad thing; we don’t know everything; the probability is not zero.

2. Nothing happens— This is the most likely scenario. Just because an unusual date number sequence occurs doesn’t mean that something will happen. Usually it’s a non-event.

3. Something bad happens— There is absolutely no scientific basis for this belief. There are no known logical premises for this belief. The belief that something bad will happen is based solely on pessimism of reality. This belief is not necessarily false; after all, things are generally/usually a mess. The probability is not zero.

10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: Survey One:
What do you believe will happen on 10/10/10?
Something good will happen on a global scale.
Nothing will happen (just another day in the neighborhood).
Something bad will happen on a global scale.

See results without voting10/10/10; Sunday, October 10, 2010: The Metaphysics Experiment: Survey Two:
Do you feel lucky today?

See results without voting.


Welcome to Day 10/10/10!

Here are the Survey One results as of 1:10 AM U.S EDT:

5248 votes

The Good: 45%

The Neutral: 47%

The Ugly: 9%

It has been decided, for no particular reason, to leave this poll online and active indefinitely.

The Survey Two results have remained at 70:30 for days, if not weeks. However, as of 1:10 AM U.S. EDT, the percentages are now 69:31.

Here are the Survey One results as of 10:10 AM U.S EDT:

7039 votes

The Good: 43%

The Neutral: 49%

The Ugly: 7%

Nothing untoward has been reported in the media.

The Survey Two results (6091 votes) have remained at 70:30 for days, if not weeks. However, as of 10:10 AM U.S EDT, the percentages have dropped again and are now 67:33.

Here are the Survey One results as of 10:10 AM U.S PDT:

8474 votes

The Good: 41%

The Neutral: 52%

The Ugly: 7%

There are California media reports of flying saucers over the cities of… No, just kidding.

The Survey Two results (7437 votes) have remained at 70:30 for days, if not weeks. However, as of 10:10 AM U.S PDT, the percentages have dropped yet again and are now 65:35.

Here are the Survey One results as of 5:10 PM U.S EDT:

10,007 votes

The Good: 40%

The Neutral: 54%

The Ugly: 6%

No untoward media reports. The neutral category continues to increase as expected. It does, however, look like the hospitals are going to be very, very busy 9 months from now… (The weddings frenzy continues…)

The Survey Two results (8932 votes) are now 63:37.

Here are the Survey One results as of 5:10 PM U.S PDT:

10,706 votes

The Good: 39%

The Neutral: 55%

The Ugly: 6%

The Survey Two results (9606 votes) are now 62:38.

Here are the Survey One results as of 10:10 PM U.S EDT:

11,156 votes

The Good: 38%

The Neutral: 56%

The Ugly: 6%

The Survey Two results (10,035 votes) are now 61:39.