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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Feeling Bushed


It has been a very hectic and busy day.  Not only did I have to do my own 4.5 hours of BIG VOICE lecturing, I had to "pinch-hit" and give another 1.5 hours of lecture for a fellow in the Department who was ill:

Lecture 1 - big discussion of the physiology and biochemistry of how neurons transmit messages.  Part of the focus involved the internal relay of signals via the activity of voltage-gated channel proteins and another facet was focused on intercommunication between neurons via neurotransmitter release and post-synaptic signaling.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this lecture involved how I worked students through the process of how anti-depressant medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, and others of similar ilk alter the synaptic spaces in regions of the hypothalamus.  

Lecture 2 - An extensive lecture on communication behaviors in various animals.  I especially focused upon signals associated with reproductive success and with mating.  A few highlights included descriptions of the male and female sexual behaviors of the rat and their linkage to the hormonal profile they experienced in utero and post-puberty, a discussion of the parthenogenic Whiptail Lizard that is able to reproduce without sperm and egg fertilization and how females share and alternate female-typical and male-typical reproductive behaviors during their sexual activity.  I also highlighted concepts of foraging communication in terms of the dance language produced by worker caste female honeybees to teach other foragers about food source distances and orientations.  

Lecture 3 - A broad based lecture on the nephron, the structural unit of the kidney that is responsible for collecting and concentrating cellular wastes into what we ultimately express as urine.  Perhaps the most interesting side-topic within this explanation of the physiology and biochemistry of the process was in describing zonally where bladder cancers are most likely to erupt and the ecological/environmental causative agents that elevate the risks for such cancers arising... along with guidance for these students on how to best guide their future patients on how to decrease these risks with simple daily actions.  

The above three were my typically classes for the day.

Lecture 4 - was for a colleague who was also  talking about the nervous system.  

Unfortunately, he approaches the topic very differently than I do.  I am (in all of my courses) focused on physiology and the processes that guide and shape how a function, or a tissue, or a behavior DEVELOPS.  And, how that development will ultimately shape health and wellness (in the human based courses) or survival and fitness (in broader based courses that include non-human animals as well as human animals as subjects).  

My colleague teaches very differently.  He is more of a "plug-and-chug" sort of fellow.  He basically presents an array of facts.... often a scattered array.  He is much more of a "detail-and-minutia" sort of fellow where I am most assuredly a "big picture/conceptual" fellow.  So, in order to give a lecture to his students in the same vein as to what they are accustomed to, I basically took his PowerPoint slides and did my best to be minutia focused.  His lectures are rather on the "dry" side.... no segues, no "big picture" ideas, no extrapolations of detail to a bigger whole.  

So, I did that.  Yet, by the end of the lecture, I was dead-dog tired. Rolling through slide upon slide of disjointed minutia wears out my neurons and makes me weary.  I could not help myself.... I added several appropriate segues and real-world examples to try to tie concepts together.  I am sure I did not travel through as many slides in my substitute lecture as he would have done.  He often just reads the details he typed onto each slide.  But, I did my best in doing it his way to not disorient the students.  

I tend to think that each of us is wired to either be a splitter (minutia detailed) or a clumper (big picture/conceptual).  I have LEARNED both sides of this "coin" in my specialty fields..... it is really a requirement of the doctoral experience.  And I can teach both sides.... but my preference, and my teaching joy comes from teaching big picture/conceptual ideas.  At least at my U, I think more students appreciate my style as my courses are almost always maximally full.  His classes tend to offer students more "elbow room".  

* * * * *

  • Ran 11.3 miles (~18km) this morning.  
    • I was feeling a bit off in my cadence.  I kept worrying I was going to catch my toe and take a tumble.  A large part of this is due to my trying to break in a NEW pair of the damnably expensive sneakers I run in. 
    •  I finally had to admit I needed a new pair after hitting a grand total of 2,015 miles (~3,242 km) on my prior pair last Friday.  
    • Most "experts" recommend changing running shoes every "500" miles, but that is only realistic for Mr. Pennybags in Monopoly.... not normal folk. 
    • During the weekend, I grudgingly forked over the $110.00 required for the new hoof covers I ran in yesterday and today.  
    • Even though this new pair is the exact same type and size as the old pair ( I had to search high and low for them too, because there is a "new-and-improved" (read.... even more pricey) model of this shoe at most locations. 
    • Their newness felt odd on my feet, and it usually takes some miles to get them broken in properly to the idiosyncrasies of your feet. 
  • Today, my wife and I are hoping to (in perhaps half an hour) go swimming!  It will be an utter joy to immerse in that water, and wash away at least the outermost layer of my tiredness.  I always feel much more vibrant after swimming.  
  • Tried making a list of items I have to remember to take for my trip to Des Moines later this week.  I am trying to pack light, and my goal is to have everything I need in the one carry-on so travel will be easier. The list is woefully incomplete at the moment, as I was interrupted by roughly 10 or so students across the small amount of time I had to be at my desk.   
  • PCS = 7.5.  It has hovered and persisted at this higher intensity level for months..... I would have to look back, but I think it has been basically sitting in the 7-9 range consistently since AT LEAST late October.   
  • Dinner tonight is tacos.  I am so famished, I am going to make my ENORMOUS taco salad in a rectangular cake pan so that I can fill it to the brim and beyond!  Happily for me, my taco salad (the way I make it) is 100% fat free….. well….. damn close.  There is a bit of fat in the black olives I throw onto the salad.   


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I am surprised you have any voice left after 6 hours. You do seem like the more interesting prof.

Tuesday, 28 March, 2023  
Blogger Margaret said...

You are such a smart guy; most of your lectures would go right over my head. My ex-boyfriend was on Zoloft for depression! (it didn't work very well) Tacos sound delicious to me right now; I haven't had them in years.

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023  
Blogger shrishtyunikart said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023  

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