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.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have not counted up nor posted much about my exercise in a while.  I just quickly went through the calender and found that today is my 1377th day of walking/jogging my 5 miles each and every day without missing a single day.  I am very happy that I have done this.  I feel physically very good!

Interestingly, while looking for an image that had "1377" on it, the only one I found was this Texas farm road sign.  The image itself got me to thinking a bit about Texas.  I do not know any relatives or friends who live in Texas, but the one person I know from the media that I am always reminded of when I think about Texas is Willie Nelson.  He is one of a very, very few celebrity types of folks that I think I would enjoy meeting and perhaps even hanging out with for a bit.  And, he is one of the relatively few country western singers that I actually enjoy, especially when he plays songs that are played with minimal, solo accoustic guitar.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Turn Around

This is not the essay I had planned to write this morning as I was walking/jogging.  At that time, I was feeling rather aggravated, grumpy, and out of sorts.  And, as I prayed the rosary and tried to figure out my feelings, I came to the following notions:

1.  I like and graviate strongly towards structure and order. 

2.  I like to have a relatively distinct plan for my day that I will know, understand and be comfortable with when I get up in the morning. 

3.  I like the feelings I have when I accomplish a task (be it a big "significant" task, or a small or mundane one). 

4.  I like knowing generally what I will be eating for dinner when I get up in the morning. 

5.  Personality-wise, I am probably an introvert, although I can force myself to be a pretty damn good extrovert when the situation calls for it.  The reason I think I am truly an introvert is due to an article I read recently that there is a statistically significant difference in the amount of "alone" time an introvert needs daily from an extrovert.  The gist of the study suggests that introverts NEED some time alone to be with their thoughts, away from others, each day.  This amount of time may be 10-15 minutes a 5-6 times a day, or may be a few longer periods.  The other aspect of this study that was interesting to me was the idea that people who are introverts tend to be more sensory sensitive (meaning they tend to be more bothered by excessive sounds, touches, smells, or tastes, especially those that are not chosen by the person). 

So, what does all of  the above mean?  Well, I can tell you I was grumpy as hell last night and this morning until I put the above 5 points to the forefront of my mind and thought about them.  I know the above are true, and I ALSO know that for the last 4-5 days I have been having days with little to none of those five items.

So, I set up a little experiment with myself and immediately upon getting to the gym, before I even started to weight train, I sat down and wrote out a small list of what I wanted to get done today before I left.

Damn, the order gave me a sense of accomplishment.  The sense of accomplishment elevated my mood, and for the first time in several days, I know what my wife is fixing for dinner and when we will eat.  And you know what?!?  I feel a helluva lot better! 

It is nuts.  I was originally planning to expound on my anger, my frustration, and my aggrivation.... why I was angry, what I was angry about, etc.  But, instead, I turned my mood around and made my day a helluva lot more enjoyable!


Monday, June 25, 2012


I slept well last night (as far as I can tell), but I appeared to wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Within in a few minutes of getting up, a minor mishap (some clothes falling off of a shelf in my bedroom closet) had made me feel irritable.  So, I went on my walk (it was by this time ~5:10am), trying to shake-off the foolish aggravation and annoyance I felt.    It took most of the walk and I had gotten through most of my daily rosary before I felt in a relatively normal state of mind again.

As is my custom this Summer, at the end of my walk, I will sit outside for a spell in a comfortable chair out in the side flower garden of our house, have my first pipe of the morning, and a very large glass of iced-water (64 ounces (aka 1.9 liters)).  It was pleasant.

Then I went to the gym to weight train.  All went well, and I was in my office at the U by 8:10am.  I did a few things, but now I feel extremely sleepy.  I think part of the issue may be that I have a meeting coming up on Tuesday  involving a trio of folks that are annoying beyond belief.  Do not get me wrong, each one is individually a very nice person on a personal level.  Yet, the trio together are a combination of witlessness, cluelessness, and also ruthlessness beyond compare about their respective jobs here at the U.  The three of them are together involved in making my life a torture for the next two days because a) one person has no working knowledge of how to use a computer, b) another person has no understanding of real world application of regulations versus the absolutist, black & white, most obsessively neurotic stance possible on a regulation, and c) the third person has absolutely no understanding of science process but likes to think she does.  It shall be a chance for me to try to practice seeking inner harmony in the face of torture.  


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Return

My sincere apologies to everyone for the long interval between posts.   My absence was caused by a synergistic set of circumstances that kept me from being able to post:

1.  Catastrophic failure of my computer at the U.   This did not allow me to communicate with you as I normally do, and it also created quite a panic in me about getting my research talk out of the machine and also to get it finished. 

2.  I had to work on a open lab computer to finish my work research talk once I got it out of my broken machine, and unfortunately the open lab access was exceptionally limited as it was because the U is refurbishing 2/3 of the labs on campus, so the open labs that remain (in their old state) are in exceptional demand.

3.  Unfortunately (yes, Billy will be aggravated by this) my computer at home... I still have not sat down and fixed the damnable modem issues I had.  I really do need to do this, and in hindsight I wish I HAD fixed it already, for I could have simply worked at home instead of in the student labs and saved myself a lot of headaches. 

4.  By the time I finished the talk, I had to be on my way to the research meeting, where I have been since the 14th.  I just returned yesterday, and today is my first day back at the U. 

Happily, they fixed up my computer while I was away and now I am once again able to write.  So, again, I do offer my sincere apologies.  In my next essay, I will tell you about some of the highlights of my trip!


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Writing & Thinking

Today is a day of writing and thinking.  My goal is to have my research talk canned and ready to go along with the ancillaries (the PowerPoint).  If I can do that today I will be a very happy, furry-faced professor! 

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Now that I am almost done with teaching this intensive, accelerated Spring course, I am letting my mind wander just a bit.  I do have to finish my research talk and go to that conference in about 2 weeks or so, but that should be reasonably fun.  The way most scientific meetings work is that you go listen to a bunch of research data.... some of it is very exciting and interesting, some of it is dull as lint.  But, if you pick and choose well, you can have many more exciting talks than dull.  In the evening, we all typically find old friends we have not seen in a while and go gorge on food and fill our gullets with  plenty of alcoholic beverages... and generally carouse around the city until all hours... or until you wobble back to your hotel room. Then you follow the same pattern (talks, then food and drink)  the next day and so on until the conference has concluded.   Again, if you choose well, and have fun friends to carouse with, it can be a helluva lot of  fun.

Now, after I get back from the research meeting, I am going to set my eyes on setting up a fishing trip or two.  It is just a young sprout of an idea in my mind at the moment, but as I get more of the plan together, I will describe it here.


Monday, June 04, 2012

Kabob Emporium

After spending Sunday morning at the U getting some practical questions set up for the anatomy exam for this morning, I wanted to have some fun, so I gathered up the whole family and together we went briefly to visit my in-laws for a bit before heading out to a nearby town to try out a new Mediterranean restaurant I had heard about.  My wife's parents are not particularly fond of ethnic foods nor of heavily spiced items so they were not interested in going with all of us.

After another 40 minutes of driving we found the place, and it was interesting to say the least.  Inside, the restaurant was moderately clean and tidy, and sitting by a window seat, our view was pleasant and bright.  As with many ethnic restaurants, there was a different flair to the look of the place.... that much we were expecting, but the WAY in which this restaurant was different was rather odd and humorous.

The most obvious feature in the whole place was a massive fish tank which very nearly divided the seating areas into two distinct halves.  Inside the tank were roughly 9 large fish, six of the being very large, bull-dog-jawed piranhas!  They swam solemnly around the tank, not bothering any of the other fish, nor doing much of anything.  Across the top of the tank, and scattered all about any free counter space near the tank were about a dozen similar looking hubble-bubbles (narghile (Mediterranean  tobacco water pipes)).  That was not so odd to see at a Mediterranean restaurant, but what was so weird about them was that each hubble-bubble had a middle segment that was a small FISH BOWL containing two or three small neon fish!  It was very strange.

Throughout the rest of the restaurant there were other ornamental hubble-bubbles (sans the fish) as well, and they were pretty to look at but were purely ornamental as were the fish bowl ones. 

Sadly the food was not as wonderful (nor as exotic) as the decor.  The humus and the baba ganoush were both pretty good (albeit VERY salty), and the tabbouleh was reasonably fresh and tasty.  However, the main courses, both vegetarian (which I and the  kids mostly ate) and the meat dishes (which my wife primarily ate) were not good at all.  The overwhelming issues were that the items did not have a flavor of freshness... not the chicken, not the vegetable kabobs, not the felafel, not the lentils, not the wraps, and even worse, all of the main dishes were exceptionally oily and surprisingly LIMITED in spice!.  It was most assuredly not the best Mediterranean food I have had.  Everyone in my family felt similarly.  But.... still it was just fun, enjoyable, and relaxing to spend the afternoon and early evening with them!!!

On the way out, I asked the waitress if the owner was planning/considering opening a true hubble-bubble style coffee-house where you could enjoy the narghile with a cup of coffee (again, all the ones in the restaurant were for ornamental purposes only).   She said that was exactly what the owner was thinking for the room next door to the restaurant and was thinking of trying to get it open by the middle of fall.   I said that would be very interesting and enjoyable, and she showed me a  picture of the owner on the wall.  He looks like a jolly sort of fellow with a big bushy, black-as-coal moustache and a broad grin and amused eyes that crinkle in the corners.  Hopefully it will come to pass.  I wish there would have been some comment cards about recommendations, for I would have suggested to increase the spice, and decrease the salt and oil in the food.  Perhaps I will send them a letter suggesting that.  It would be nice if the place did well.

On the way home, we stopped at an ice cream drive-through spot. My choice happened to be a cherry "squishy" which was basically a scoop of soft-serve vanilla ice cream with cherry slurpee poured over it and blended together.  I am not sure why that sounded good to me yesterday, but it was something I had not had before.... and it was pretty damn good!  I would have it again.



Friday, June 01, 2012


No, I am not imbibing at the moment (although it sounds enjoyable).  I am just writing exams for students for next week. I may go an do some errands for the household after I get done.  I was thinking of vodka, as I swabbed the tails of my rats as I was working on some research a while ago.  I guess I had better get back to work.