Bits and Pieces

I am exhausted!

Today at lunch I did a 2.5 mile outdoor jog/walk. The weather was nice and the run went quickly. After that I came back to the office and packed up for my first move in eight years. We’re implementing a new program that requires co-location of team members, so I moved from a modest desk on the first floor to a much larger cube area on the second floor. It’s pretty sweet. But there was a lot of cleaning up to do – eight years of accumulated business plans, training documentation, hundreds of file folders filled with things that might someday be useful or necessary – but not so necessary that they require formal logging and storage – little gadgets and anniversary doo-dads, and five – count ’em five – separate containers of floss. Five floss barely beat out the four chapstick that  I found squirreled away in different drawers. Many, many trips up and down the stairs.

But now I’m moved in and I have my computer and the internet back up, so life can continue. Gads, my knees are complaining, though.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get 8-12 inches of snow. Frickin’ Minnesota spring.

Here’s A Thing Going Around the Internet. It looks like it originated on Santa Cruz Biotechnology Facebook page. I apologize for not providing a transcript. This is a very wordy image, a list of 54 “Ways To Tell That You’ve Been in a Lab Too Long” and there’s way too much to type up. But I will type my top six favorites:

1. You use the word “aliquot” in regular sentences. (Oh…this isn’t normal. But…aliquot is such a useful word!)

6. You flinch when you hear the word “significant”. (And “hypothesis” and “theory.”

23. You always seem to use the microscope after the person with the impossible close together eyes.

33. Warning labels invoke curiosity rather than caution

43. You’ve left the lab wearing a piece of PPE because you forgot that you had it on. (It’s always my safety glasses.)

46. You’ve bent down to pick something up off the floor only to scatter the contents of your top pocket under the largest machine in the lab (EVERY. DAMN. TIME).

48. When you start making patterns in your pipette tip box as you take the tips out. (I once made an X-Wing.)

There are a few on here that make me think NOPE.NOPE.NOPE (#25 – I’ve never wanted to drink distilled water from the lab). Also a few that make me think that the person who put this list together has jerkish tendencies (#28 – Who rolls their eyes and talks down to non-scientists who inquire about your work? Not cool.) But overall, I recognize waaaay too many of these.

 And here are a few of my own:

*You’ve argued about whether it’s spelled “pipet” or “pipette”.

*You’ve had to explain the difference between a 1:10, 1/10, 1 in 10 and a 10-fold dilution.

*You’ve gotten annoyed because someone left an empty glove box in the holder.

*It sometimes feels like you have to defend your equipment against your coworkers with a sword and shield.

*Who spilled some unknown white crystalline chemical on the weigh scale and didn’t clean it up? Was it you? It was you, wasn’t it?

*The prospect of of having to explain your mixed study results to a cross-functional team fills you with dread.

Any of you lab people have any to add?

Bits and Pieces
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6 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces

  1. 2

    * Reading a warning label and realizing that a particular warning is there because of something you did, and then showing everyone as a badge of honor.

    * You’ve ever considered trimming your hair by dipping it in acid.

    * You realized that because you screwed up the timing, you’ll have to come in on Saturday to take samples – and you’re relieved because it gets you out of some social obligation you were dreading.

    * You wear the labcoat around the house (especially when cooking!) because it makes you feel smarter and more competent.

    * You’ve mocked someone for not knowing what a centrifuge does.

    * You’ve spent hours staring at the Periodic Table on the wall while you wait for something to finish doing whatever, trying to spell words out of the elements and wondering whether the resulting molecule would be stable or even possible. (Hmmm… RhUBArB… no, that doesn’t work, I used boron twice… CYClOPS? That would probably explode or something…)

  2. 4

    *You hit a trash can with an ejected pipette tip from across the room.

    *You can put test tubes in a rack four at a time.

    *You can carry a large stack of 96 well plates in each hand.

  3. 6

    Don’t work in a lab but someone in my family does. Well, I believe. Because he never talks about it, and, yeah, well, look at 10. I don’t really know what he’s doing. I would like to help him for a day to see what it really contains to work in a lab, maybe then I understand all the points of the list, although I understand a few anyway. They’re funny though.

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