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Lab is very peaceful today. I'm the only one here. Listening to loud grrl rock which is something I can't really do when there are other people around.
The undergrads are arriving on campus in droves. They started to swarm on Thursday of this week and now there is only a small stream of them trailing in. Thursday they blocked off the streets around the freshman dorms. It was crazy, there were hundreds of expensive SUVs, shiny station wagons, new minivans. The amounts of money displayed were just obscene. And people were loading shiny new electronics into carts. New computers, microwaves, refrigerators, stereos. I kept wanting to see some kid drive up with his parents in a beat-up old station wagon and wheel hand-me-down stuff into the dorm. I'm still waiting.
Now it is Sunday and I'm back in lab running the western for the new RNAi attempt. I've never done this before, but most of the rest of my lab has been doing this for a while. I hope that the RNAi I ordered works out. We use Dharmacon for our oligos. I guess they're pretty good.
Tomorrow I'll develop the film that I put down on Friday morning. I hope it works. If both things work, it means that I'm a step closer to a paper. This next week is going to involve long hours. I'm fractionating a big prep of nuclear extract through some columns. The first two take a while and it ends up being a couple of 20 hour days in a row. The nice thing is that I live 15 minutes walk from work, so I don't have to calculate in commuting and all that crap.
I have to go to bed early tonight so I can make it through this week without wanting to throw glassware at my coworkers.
Again with the elutions
Since I last wrote in here, I've been working on the same project and making limited headway. It is easy to do protocols that I've done before and that are done regularly in the lab. Now I am faced with learning new techniques and progress has slowed.
My second project is still going strong. And hopefully I'll have some concrete data in the next few weeks. There are some technical details to iron out, but I'm convinced that they are not going to be too bad to deal with. It makes me nervous when I'm optimistic. I'm not naturally an optimist, so there must be something wrong. Perhaps inhaling a little too much ethanol in the tissue culture room.
I just read Frank Miller's book, Ronin for the first time a few days ago. I think I'm going to sit down and read it again tonight, because I feel like it has enough layers that I'm missing a whole slew of stuff in it. This isn't how I generally feel about comic books (graphic novels, whatever you want to call them).
Reading things on this site I'm reminded frequently how bloody ignorant I am of things computer. I wish for a translator or a guide to explain things to me. Then again, I already have enough to worry about with the dreaded pile of journal articles on my desk.
Five minutes on the timer
The euphoria of new discovery is starting to dim as I move into the next phase of work. I feel more sure of the associations of these proteins, and now I have to deal with their functionalities. This is harder for me because it will involve assays that I've never done before. Some of the assays will be new for my lab, so I'll have to optimize them myself. This is all fine with me.
I've done one of the assays already, but it didn't work. I'm going to try out a new set of conditions on it in the next couple of days. I should really do this today or tomorrow, but I'd like to take Sunday off for a change. I want to go to a used bookstore and be hedonistic. Spend the morning and afternoon in bed reading. Maybe take a walk somewhere pointless.
Ask me why I chose to be a scientist. Go ahead, I dare you.
I'm an idiot.
And in other news this week: my research continues to have good results. I'm slowly finishing the "pinch me" phase and beginning to believe that the results are real. I've done multiple gels to make sure of this. I have to start slogging away at functionality stuff tomorrow. Today was a waste. Meetings and lack of sleep make for a fragmented day.
Did you know that Jackie Chan has a sucessful singing career. One of my coworkers was sitting at the tissue culture hood and listening to him on her walkman. I've got my little mp3 player for that kind of situation. I've been listening to a mix that I originally made for my parents when they were planning on driving cross country.
Maybe I should have included Jackie Chan.
I should be washing my IPs
Every Monday for the past several weeks, I've met with friends to watch (shame, shame) Joe Millionaire. We sit around, snack, drink wine and make fun of it. I'm not sure what we'll do next week. I'm sure FOX will come up with another figurative trainwreck for us to look at. I'm cutting it kind of close tonight because I haven't even looked at my cells yet. But I'm really looking forward to a little brainless television along with some tasty stuff and maybe a game of scrabble.
I think I'm going to lose heavily at scrabble tonight. I'm feeling burnt out from all the little detailed pipetting. And from getting excited repeatedly about these silly proteins.
Ok, back to those IPs.
late night thoughts while listening to column drip
I took most of the next day off. I slept until two and then got a sandwich at the nearby deli. Then slept again until almost six. Then back to work from seven until ten-ish. I'm still a bit tired.
I'm still running out the gels on the samples I was doing on those columns. In the meantime, I've gotten the new antibodies I was waiting for and I can start the reverse IPs. I was also able to show that the proteins that we found through sequencing my complex actually size in the same fractions as well. I even tried something that we didn't see in the sequencing, and although the antibody is kind of crappy, I see bands. Not in the sizing though. It could be too dilute and the antibody could be too old. I am going to try to borrow some from a friend in another lab.
Enough of the science babble.
I am watching Titus as portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. I keep wincing as things get impossibly worse and worse for the protagonist. I'm fascinated by the mix of different costumes and artefacts. There are notes from many different centuries and all. I just spoke on the phone with a friend and she was horrified that I am watching it and liking it. She was really affected by some of the scenes with Titus' daughter Lavinia. I'm trying to be good and not talk about the plot directly.
We're starting to have an idea of the possible proteins involved with our protein of interest (POI) and there are some interesting candidates. Every time the guy who does the protein sequencing for us stops by, I drop whatever I'm doing and run over to look at the paper. So far there are three interesting guys to look at. I've already ordered antibody for one of them, the others will have to wait for a while.
I can tell how excited my boss is because he's told me I'm not allowed to tell anyone what the interacting proteins are. So I've been going around with one of those shirt eating grins on my face all day. I know it is evil, but "I know something you don't know." Hee hee.
I also just found out that this fairly well known scientist across the way from us (he's HHMI funded) has a secret addiction to reality television. He's an older man with an English accent, who is well respected for his work. Apparently he hasn't watched television in the past twenty years, but lately he's been lured into watching Joe Millionaire and (even more shamefully) Hot or Not. He's been freaking out at work because he's afraid that his wife and kids will find out his shameful secret. I can see the Jerry Springer show now, Famous Research Scientists Dirty Little Secrets.
Back to work now.
Methods and Materials
It is difficult to convey how excited I really am about this stuff. I dream about it last night, and not in that nightmarish dreaming about work way that I've dreamt in the past. We aren't a clinical lab so there probably won't be direct applications to how we treat cancers in the near future. But there could be applications in a slightly more distant future. It is so frickin' cool.
The research life is pretty intense - I usually do a six day work week and spend about ten hours a day in lab. Some weeks are worse than others. This weekend was painful. I was here late on all three days and have little data to show for it. O fortuna, velut luna. Or something like that.
I am not hugely computer literate, but I try not to ask dumb or long questions. I feel a little out of place on this site in terms of my lack of computer and programming knowledge, but hopefully that isn't going to make life difficult.
I'm still learning the etiquette of these boards, so please bear with me while I learn.
Topics of interest to me
books - generally fiction, but I also have a soft spot for travel essays. I don't get to travel much myself, so I have to do it vicariously
molecular biology - obviously. I like gene regulation stuff.
Anime and graphic novels - I'm just getting into this. I'm female and never got to see much of this stuff while growing up. Now that I'm a little older, I've decided that I was definitely missing something way back then.
Scrabble - I still kind of suck at this, but I like playing.