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, December 27, 2010

New Day A'Coming

I have been thinking a lot about blogging, and how I have been a bit lax of late in posting. While this week may still be a bit on the scant side, I am taking a firm stance on having as a goal a 365 post presence here in 2011. I am not sure how many folks check back here every day though, so if you do read this, please give even the briefest of comments this time so I can estimate who has left the fold and who is still here.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Myriad of Maladaptive Neurons

To be frank, there are a helluva lot of things I should be working on at the moment. I am proctoring a final exam, and have brought other exams from earlier in the week to grade, I have scores to input into my grading spreadsheet, and I have two books that I have received through inter-library loan that I need to work through before their due date next week.

Yet, my mind is muddled and unfocused at the moment. My neurons are not being as cohesive and focused as I would like. I feel no ambition to do anything. I have been sitting and day dreaming. About what you may ask? Not much of any merit. Nothing particularly deep, nor racy, nor Earth shattering or wonderful like hoping for world peace. Just a bunch of simple, easy to imagine nonsense that I can focus on for 5-10 seconds before my mind flitters onto something else. Here is a sample list:

1. Imagining smoking my pipe.
2. Imagining drinking some brandied eggnog.
3. Imagining driving around in my old (and nearly completely restored) Beetle.
4. Imagining being in San Diego.
5. Imagining being in Mexico.
6. Imagining smoking my pipe again.
7. Imagining being interviewed on a book tour (not that I have a book finished).
8. Imagining drinking a tall gin and tonic.
9. Imagining eating a big bowl of pistachio and double chocolate ice cream.
10. Imagining spring.
11. Imagining sitting out in the sunshine.
12. Imagining having another pipe.
13. Imagining a hazelnut pie (I have never heard of such a thing, but in my mind I have been thinking of a recipe for one that is a modification of a classic pecan pie recipe with some other flavors and ingredients.)
14. Imagining drinking a boilermaker.
15. Imagining a double cheese, italian sausage, green pepper, onion, and pineapple pizza.
16. Imagining eating at the wonderful Eastern Indian restaurant we ate at during our travels this summer, and recalling the incredible meal sampler plate which came with small versions of 10 different entrees.
17. Imagining floating in a swimming pool on a beautiful Summer day.
18. Imagining smoking my pipe.
19. Imagining sitting outside in a large field on a scorching hot Summer day and having cloud cover arrive and a cooling, gentle rain fall upon me.
20. Imagining eating a large, spicy Mexican dinner.

Pathetically mundane, perhaps, but that is where my mind is at today.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To Continue

End of the semester hassles, preparation for the holidays, a great deal of work-related b*llsh*t, and a general feeling of malaise kept me from finishing the essay that is just prior to this one before it posted the picture. So, I apologize for the delay and the disjointed, unexplained image.

A very good mentor and friend of mine passed away on Friday (actually a week ago from this past Friday as I write this). He was a my barber for over 40 years (prior to his retirement), and he has been a friend and mentor much longer than that.

When "Wally" first opened up shop nearby, both my father and I would go to him. He was a very traditional, old-fashioned style of barber,. And, the talk in the barbershop was very traditional as well. A lot of hunting images on the walls, ashtrays filled-to-the-brim, hard-backed chairs (well worn) aligned two walls as men and boys sat in them and waited their turn. It was a very comforting spot.

When my father became ill and could not leave the house, I called Wally at home and asked him if he would be willing to give my father a haircut at home. He was much more than willing, and even though my Dad was gravely ill, he greatly appreciated his haircut from Wally.

During the many years since his retirement, I would often happen to see Wally as he and his very tiny wife would travel about town, going from store to store. It was always nice to see him and it was great chatting with him. I always reminded him how I especially missed how he trimmed my beard and moustache, and told him that I had to learn to do it myself after he retired, as I did not trust the barbers I have had since that time to not mangle me into looking like some sort of monstrosity like this fellow (although I admit I wish I had the darkness still in my own beard and moustache).

Several years ago, Wally had a heart attack, but he made a decent recovery. Next he had a hip fracture and replacement. That seemed to take some of the wind out of his sail, but he struggled back into acceptable health again. It was only a few years ago that I could see a significant decline in his overall physical demeanor. I had been thinking about him a lot recently as I had not seen him about nor gotten to speak to him since September. It was my wife who saw his obituary in the newspaper on Sunday morning. Yet, when my wife told me over the phone (I was at work, taking some measurements on my research animals (to keep the day as open for us to do things as possible, I went walking at 5:00am, and was in my lab/office by 6:30am). She called me and told me she had some "very sad news" to give me. Unfortunately, I guessed that it was about Wally before she had said anything further.

I will miss him greatly.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Friend and Mentor

Monday, December 06, 2010

Taco Salad

It was a rough weekend all around for me. Flu is infecting the family. Vomit is everywhere. People are listless and cranky. I am the only one not sick, so I am responsible for the cleaning, and since no one else is eating, I am basically making my own food. Even though I *can* cook pretty damn well when I want to, my tastes for food this weekend were VERY repetitive, but delicious (to me anyway). Below is the basic design I have repeated every evening since Thursday:

For the past four days:

1. I have gotten a very large mixing bowl, and made myself a large "taco salad".
2. Basically, I crumbled up a bunch of corn chips.
3. Heated a half a can of jalapeno enhanced refried black beans.
4. Put on a large scoop of hummus.
5. Crumbled up 3 falafel patties.
6. I added a couple of scoops of sour cream.
7. Threw on half a can of black olives.
8. I diced one and a half HUGE Spanish onions.
9. I diced four tomatoes.
10. Topped it all with as much lettuce as I could fit heap onto the bowl.
11. I then added half a jar of slasa.
12. Finally I topped it with a sprinkling of cheese.

I then ate the whole thing... the whole damn thing. And every day I made it exactly the same way. I have eaten this four days in a row now, and if the rest of the family is still upchucking all over the place, I will clean up and probably eat the same thing again tonight. Just to set the record straight... the image above is NOT the taco salad I made... that puny, pitiful concoction wouldn't have filled a 1/3 of the 18 inch diameter bowl I used for my concoction.

I had initially thought today about writing about the more difficult hardship to befall me and the family this weekend, but I am not emotionally up to it at this time. Perhaps tomorrow I shall talk more about it, but basically, there has been the death of a close personal family friend and it has been very difficult.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trying A Video Embedding

I have not tried this before, so please bear with me. I think this brief video is fun and I would like to master that folding method so I can sometime in the future do it and surprise my wife. I think her jaw would drop in amazement.... my typical method of dealing with shirts is to either a) toss them into a corner, or b) if I am motivated, put them on a coat hanger.