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.

Friday, August 18, 2017


We had a meeting yesterday, and there was one person there who alway's is rather obnoxious.  She just is rude to folks.  At the meeting she was in rare form, and was being dictatorial and yet at the same time unfocused and slow as molasses.  Well, she got my goat, so to speak, as I was talking to the instructors about how they needed to have high standards and expectations in their instruction, and that our department tries to aim our intensity of exam questions so that the average student will earn a C or a C+ grade (this is both an attempt to have students demonstrate deep understanding and to avoid grade inflation).  This policy is long standing and is well understood, but some of the newer faculty were ending up having averages that were in the A or A- range because their exams were too simple and their instruction too basic.  That part of the meeting went well, and then I opened up discussion for questions.  One simple question by some new folks were about policies about returning grades to students.  I outlined our standard policy about being careful in team taught courses to work together in determining a uniform method of grade delivery of the instructors were team teaching with another faculty member, when this nasty person speaks up and very rudely says I am wrong and that she only does it "this way".  I felt like telling her in the meeting that she was a rude idiot and did not apparently know or understand how to work with others in a team, but I did not do so and simply restated more firmly the Department's  policy.  She became even more huffy and rude in her statements to me.  I then simply moved on with the meeting.  

Unfortunately, she annoyed me greatly.  And, I unfortunately felt aggravated all the rest of the day.  I still feel resentment towards her.  It is hard for me to figure out how to let this anger go.  Her behavior really reflects badly on her, so I SHOULD just let it go, but I am having a hard time doing so.  


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Very Tired

I got up this morning and did my run at 5 am like usual.  It was a balmy 72 degrees at that early morning hour.  With that warmth and humidity, and with it still being dark out (just before sunrise), I decided to run without a shirt.  This is not typical for me to do, but it felt very nice.  

I then came back to the house, watered and fed the dog and let her do her business while I had a pipe on the back porch.  Then I proceeded to the U.

I find I am extremely tired at the moment. It is not really a physical tiredness, but more of a mental tiredness.  I sit here trying to get a bunch of b*llsh*t done, but I have no focus, nor interest, nor gumption to do any of it.  That is not good.  All it means is that things will begin to pile up and become even
more aggravating.  I wish I could figure out a way to get motivated.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Insturments I Play

I think I have mentioned this once or twice in the past, but music and musical instruments are a strong hobby of mine.  I have a special fondness for a variety of woodwind instruments.  If I were to list the instruments that I am strong enough in playing that I consider myself an adequate amateur player, they would be in order of preference:

1.  Bass Clarinet
2.  Soprano Clarinet
3.  Alto Clarinet
4.  Tenor Saxophone

In the above, I have over the years also had as a hobby the tearing down and rebuilding and refurbishing a variety of these instruments.  I find it enjoyable and relaxing. 

I noodle around, attempting to become adequate on a few other instruments as well.  These instruments would be:

1.  Ukulele
2.  Guitar
3.  Piano

I am by no means proficient on any of the above three string instruments (yes, the piano is often classified as a string instrument), but I do enjoy trying to develop skills in them.

My wife was feeling emotional about a variety of issues yesterday, mostly related to work and a little bit about her siblings.  I was caught in the emotional hailstorm as well as she verbally lashed out at me at one point during the day, although I was not any part of what caused the whirlwind of emotions.  That stung a bit, but I (luckily) stayed quiet and then a bit later we talked about it, and then after her apologies, I then encouraged her to open up about what was going on with her emotions and tried to be a good listening ear for her.  To be my wife's sounding block where she can express the myriad of emotions she has at times tends to be very helpful for her.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Yesterday, while rummaging around in the basement, I looked in a storage area for some picture frames and noticed my alto clarinet case.  I had forgotten about it as I had purchased it long ago as another project instrument as it is not one I regularly play as most bands or groups do not need this instrument as it is I in a different key range from most other clarinets (Eb, instead of the typical Bb for most clarinets).  The Eb parts most groups have are typically covered by alto saxophones.....  if the alto clarinet is used, folks are usually given alto saxophone parts to play anyway.  

But, it made me curious, as I had not looked at it in a long time.  It does need some sprucing up to be sure as it had a rough life prior to my acquiring it.  A lot of the metal keyword was green due to not having been stored well (prior to my purchase) and it does need new pads as well.  The body is scuffed and shoddy.  And, the mouthpiece is a volcanic rubber that is literally brown from age and neglect instead of black as it should be.  These are all things I can fix, as I have done so on many instruments in the past, however.  But, I decided to pull the beast out of the case, and I soaked the lone reed and the mouthpiece in a shot glass of whisky for 15 minutes to cleanse them (and then drank the shot to cleanse my innards afterwards ;)  ).  I then proceeded to put the mouthpiece on the body of the instrument and tried playing it.  Even with its current deficits, the tone was rich, deep and beautiful!   I think I want to rejuvenate this beast now, and figure out some fun way to use it.  I am pretty confident I can bring it back to its former glory.   It is roughly from the late 1940s or early 1950s.   It should be a fun, small project!  It will be quicker and easier than the tenor saxophone I am working on.   I always find clarinets easier, I guess, as I have worked on more of them over the years and know them better.  

It was a nice find.  


Monday, August 14, 2017

Indian Delights

We had the wonderful pleasure to eat dinner last night at a new Indian Resturaunt in town called "Taste of India".  It was a pure culinary delight!  The lentil dishes were excellent, the Chana masala was sublime, the naan tender and flavorful, the mushroom masala was thick and creamy, and the butter curry chicken was pleasantly spicy but in a smooth fashion.  My favorite dish however was the spinach paneer.  It was much heavier on the spinach and the paneer was light and not overpowering.  It had a beautiful earthiness that enticed my palate.

At dinner, I gave my wife a few additional anniversary gifts.  Two sets o ear rings, one a delicate silver pattern and the other a set of petals.  I also gave her another card with a poem I composed myself written inside.  

I happened across two different machines by two different manufacturers yesterday that would estimate body fat percentages by electro voltaic skin measurement.  Although they are not the greatest way to measure kin terms of accuracy, I figure that the two different readings if reasonably close would be reasonably accurate. One gave me a reading of 12.5% and the other 14%.  According to the material I have read, it puts me just inside the level of athletic fitness for body fat.  That was nice to hear!  So different from when I was close to 300 pounds.  Yesterday, I weighed 169.

I just finished my five miles and am sitting out here on the back porch with a pipe and am watching the do as she goes bout eating breakfast and doing her business.  Next I will head to the U and try to get a whole helluva lot of work done.


Friday, August 11, 2017


My elderly father-in-law made it through his surgery ok.  He actually is set to come hoe today.  I will be heading over there to check on him this afternoon.  


Thursday, August 10, 2017


Today is my and my wife's wedding anniversary.   It should be a good day!  

Unfortunately, my elderly father-in-law is having a surgical procedure done today, so it way lays our plans somewhat.  We are going to keep it somewhat simple today, and have a second celebration on Sunday.  


Wednesday, August 09, 2017


I should know better than to look at my e-mails before heading to the U in the morning.  Before I went on my run, I snuck a quick peek at my e-mails, and now I am grumpy.  I was actually livid, but my run helped me reduce that to only grumpy.  The b*llsh*t is starting to accumulate again, and I need to put out a bunch of fires when I get to the U again.  Stupid, unthinking, uncaring people annoy me more than anything in this world, and it saddens me.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Late Start

The alarm went off at 5am as usual, and the alarm must have woken my wife too (her alarm is a different sound and we have become acclimated to our own specific sounds).  I had hit the snooze button to gain an extra ten minutes of laying in bed and stretching.  My wife rolled over and noticed I was aroused, and proceeded to tempt me.  One thing led to another and she graciously allowed me to service her (no coaxing was needed, but her invitation to do so was enticing).  

Afterwards, life felt more sanguine and she and I snuggled in bed an additional hour.  Needless to say, running was not at the forefront of my mind.  

I did not get up to hit the trail until 7am, and by the time I got out there it was 7:45am.  I did do my five miles, albeit a tad slower than usual.  I am now having my first pipe of the day, waiting for the dog to eat her breakfast and do her "duty".  

I will end up arriving later at the U than I had originally planned, but it was well worth it.  


Monday, August 07, 2017


We (wife, me, two youngest kids and two other families (friends)) went camping at a  state park this past weekend.  It was a very nice time!  We were the most "roughingist" family of the three.  One family had a very nice camper, the other family had a tent bit had rather luxurious loping air mattresses (they were a foot thick (30 cm)).  We did I it the old fashioned way and had a tent with sleeping bags on the ground (in the tent).  I am happy to report that all of us did well, and none of us (myself included) were achy or sore from sleeping on the ground. 

We had pretty standard campground food.... Hot dogs, tacos, eggs, etc.  we had a nice campfire each night, talked and laughed, and had fun.  Beer (for the adults) also oiled the late night conversation a bit.  The park had a large lake as well, so we all spent a lot of time on the water and swimming was beautiful once you forced yourself to go under and get used to the cold temperature.  

I just finished my 5 mile run, am having my morning pipe, will he'd into the house to shower and get to the U.  I have big plans to get a helluva lot of stuff off my plate today so I can feel a little ahead of the game as Fall semester is fast approaching.  


Thursday, August 03, 2017


As a professor, reading is, of course a big part of my life.  As a biologist, scientific reading is the lion's share of my reading matter.  I do also read a lot of news items (physical newspapers and on-line), but for me, one of the best forms of reading have to still be fiction.  I have read a lot of "classics" like Hemingway, Faulkner, and many other "high brow" literature through my life, but what I am seeking help with is in terms of general fiction.  I find it very pleasant and useful to read general fiction for a while before going to sleep.  It helps me relax and helps me to prepare for good rest (unlike heavy literature or scientific writings which keep my mind whirring so that I often have difficulty sleeping).  I tend to enjoy psychological or medical/scientific fiction for before bed reading.  And I like serials as well, because I become invested in characters and enjoy seeing the through several books.  A couple of years ago I started reading Jonathan Kellerman's "Alex Deleware" series of psychological detective fiction.  But now I have perhaps only two or three books in the series left (out of around 30), so I need to figure out a new series that I will like.  I have previous to Kellerman, read the series by Robin Cook, so he is off the table, unfortunately.   I am hoping you may have recommendations.  


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Playing Hooky

I think I may not go into the U today, or I may only go in briefly in the afternoon.  I am feeling the need to be away from responsibilities (at work) a bit.  Hopefully it will not bite me in the butt doing this.  All hell could break loose, I guess.  


Tuesday, August 01, 2017


Just sitting here after my run on the back porch as the dog does her morning ritual.   It is a pleasant 65 degrees and I am having my first pipe of the day.  Feeling a bit meloncholy.   Not exactly sure why.  I will head into the U and do my stuff.  Nothing noteworthy about today it seems.