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, September 26, 2022



I am in the midst of proctoring the first lecture exam for one of my big lectures..... ~200 students.  I need to roam around through the exam to monitor them,  So, I will be writing brief bullets today each time I swing back to this base area where the computer is located:

  • Ran 11 miles today (~18 km).  Ran on an indoor track because of heavy rain and it was cold (49 F / ~9.5 C).
  • PCS = 5.  It sure would be fun to smoke my pipe.  But I have not figured out a sensible and MANAGEABLE plan to do so without it feeling like "work" when I am so used to "free-forming" my pipe activities.
  • Back when I was an undergraduate, professors would often smoke during exams, and most of my professors who smoked, smoked a pipe.  I remember the fragrances fondly.   I only had one professor who was primarily a cigar smoker.  He taught organic chemistry, so by that alone, he was sort of an odd duck.  
  • I am reading two different books for leisure at the moment.... "The Daughter of Auschwitz" by Tova Friedman, and "The Dark Hours" by Michael Connelley.
  • I have a big research lab meeting with my students this afternoon.  I just recently assigned each of them to two of the five different research projects for this year in my lab.  Hopefully I can get them "fired up" to begin to work more independently and not have me do as much "hand-holding".  If I can get them into that mindset, they will become far stronger researchers even if they make some mistakes along the way.
  •  I haven't gotten a haircut in over two months, so I am starting to take on the visage of a disheveled, old, mountain-man.  I do  not mind it really, but it is TIME for a haircut.  When I get a haircut, though, I do not let the "groomer" cut my beard and mustache as I am seeing how "big" it may be able to become.  For the last several years, I have done my own beard and mustache trimming.... which has been as minimal as I can.  My goal with my trimming is to simply SMOOTH the ends so that it has a "professorial" appearance rather than an old, mountain-man, gold-prospector sort of look.  I am thinking I will make an appointment for this Friday as they have a deal where you can get a second haircut at 1/2 price after the first.... and I will get my younger son to go with me as he has been talking about trying to find time to get a haircut as well.
  • I still at this point have ~50 students still taking the exam.  A truism I have found in this large lecture hall is that the first 3-4 rows of students, when they see the exam, set their jawline, and get a diligent, determined look on their face.... and then dive in.  The middle zone students display a mix of worry and determination typically.  And, the far-back students in the center typically struggle a bit at first, but find their "groove" eventually.  However, there are two small zones in this big hall where students predictably aggregate who end up having rather shocked, "deer-in-the-headlights" look wash through their face as they begin to read the questions on the exam.  These two aggregate zones are the ten or so chairs in the far upper left and another ten in the far upper right locations of the lecture hall.  It seems as if always the smaller subset of students who are rather disengaged about the degree of study and work that physiology requires.... always sit in those locations.  Unfortunately, by midterm, probably 1/2 or more of those in those two aggregates will have withdrawn from the course. Many will try again, however, in a future semester.... and they usually come back with a more focused and energized perspective.   The image I use above is not my U, because of "HIPPA-esque" thoughts at the U, I do not post U photos.  This is just a classroom that I found that looks a helluva lot like mine in terms of numbers of students and even they layout and design of the room.


Blogger Margaret said...

I wish you could post a photo of your beard! Does your wife still dislike it or is she adapting? When I was in Geology at U.W., most of the basketball team sat in the back row. "Rocks for Jocks." I didn't care for that class but loved some of my other sciences which were generally free from athletes. LOL (Astronomy and Oceanography)

Monday, 26 September, 2022  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Proctoring and Proctology …. I don’t know where else to go with that pairing, but I like it. 😀

As far as Netflix, we’re basically on my daughter’s plan. I doubt that I would subscribe myself. We do most of our viewing through Acorn and Britbox and also have Prime, which I assumed almost everybody has.

Tuesday, 27 September, 2022  

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