31 May, 2009

Disjointed Mind Blather

1) I am one week away from a solid habit of being mostly drunk by 6p each Friday evening.

2) Drunk people aren't nearly as interesting as they think they are, except for me. Apparently I am fascinating (people keep talking to me). I've been partying with the other young scientists lately at bonfires, and I am quite impressed at (almost) everybody's ability to retain their scientific acumen whilst sloshed. I got into an argument last night with a plasma physicist about nuclear fusion and had to resort to using immunology jargon as an escape hatch.

3) I regret not going to ASM. I would have had to pay my own way, but now around the labs its like everyone else has seen the newest, coolest movie and I have to just nod along and pretend like I know what they're talking about. I've been poking through the literature of the talks that keep getting mentioned, but this is frustrating because the papers are always ~18 months behind the actual science that was seen at the conference.

4) Apparently I'm a good teacher in the lab. In the past week I have taught a complete lab n00b everything from how to micropipette to DNA extractions. I've also somehow become the departmental point-man on immunofluorescence, which I guess makes sense since experts are only experts because they've made and fixed all the possible mistakes and invented new ones.

5) I do not have enough projects in the laboratory. I want to be busier, or at least doing something that will turn out data. The ELISA I've been trying to develop has been a long series of failures with non-specific binding of antibodies that are supposedly specific at every turn. I've been putting a lot of time into it, but still, it requires some very long incubation times that I'd rather be doing something else useful during.

6) At this point I suspect that my wash buffer isn't washy enough (0.5% Tween-20 in 1X PBS). I'm tempted to reformulate it but haven't yet figured out what I could use that wouldn't also destroy the proteins I'm trying to get to stick together. It's also possible I'm being entirely too gentle with the plates. I've been pipetting 300ul wash buffer into each well 3X. Maybe I should be flooding a flat dish with wash buffer, plopping the plate down face first and shaking it like I'm trying to drown a Gremlin.

7) On that note, the Megablocking Buffer I made up works beautifully (for immunofluorescence at least). It contains 1% FBS, 1% BSA, 1% NGS in 1X PBS.

8) I bought a little Crassula monstrosa the other day. It's so freakishly cute! I have no idea what to name it.

9) The Dirtbombs are awesome. I have been stuck on their music for the past several months. I don't entirely know why they have 2 bass players and 2 drummers, but I don't really care either.

10) I'm really hoping that the PIs in my favorite Friday meeting decide to make another schedule and keep meeting throughout the summer because it's really my favorite meeting of the week. Vaguely: it's several PIs with tangentially similar interests coming together to float data, research proposals, and grants before each other and their labs and hash them out. It's really cool to get to see the bigger context of everyone's research and hear, and take part in, the discussion of the big ideas in the field. It's an escape from daily lab notebook tedium.

11) Speaking of which, I have really got to find a better way to keep notes in the lab. I tend to print out protocols and make notes on them as I'm doing the protocols and then collate them into binders, but then to also write down everything else on a growing stack of legal pads. So far I haven't been copying from one to the other to save paper because I feel bad using so much of it, but perhaps it's worth it. I also feel bad about printing out papers to read, but that's the only way I can make my notes in the margins and strike out what's important. Papers I read tend to have blocks and arrows and doodles going all over the place synthesizing the information (well, the good papers, at least) and until I save up enough for a nice Wacom tablet there's no other way for me to do this. Maybe there are alternatives?

1 comment:

Micropipette said...

Nice blog i like it
Pasteur Pipettes: These are made of glass so that one can get a clear view of the liquid being transferred. They are reusable with the pasteurization process that is affected for cleaning.