coolohoh: Biohazard (Biohazard)
Yup. Loads of posts. So far I've... made a post on Fishing MJ... And now I'm making my second post of the day here.

Next up will be an update on Storm Freaks, and a post on Nihongo Manabu.

It's a happy day.


I don't know...


I had a farewell lunch with a colleague. She's one of the few they hired to take care of all the equipments.

I didn't even know she was leaving till Wedn when a "Sorry you're leaving" card landed on my desk.

This person... She's the one who took over my seat by the office door and I got kicked to my current seat. And sorry indeed, it's really sad to know that's she's leaving. Nowhere as sad as unsup, but it made me once again think about whether it's worth staying. (But I'm really, really lazy to find a new job...)

She's a really cheerful person, and one of the few whom I actually talked to, and we talked quite a fair bit too. Had occasional lunches together. Talked about Pokemon Go... Like, she once whatsapped me at 8 in the morning about the pokemon go halloween event. Lol. It's really fun being with her.

And most importantly of all.

She knows her stuff.

She's in charge of loads of equipment, and she knows how to work with the equipment. Not saying that she knows all the equipment, but she has this familiarity with working with equipment. She's at ease with them. I guess that's what you can say about me with the equipment too. Or with technology and computers in general. Like I was watching her open up the particle size analyzer one day and the way she handled the instrument and screwdrivers and stuff. Well, it's like what I would have done. And that, I tell you, is practically impossible to find in my workplace. Like people don't really know what they are doing. They aren't comfortable with the equipment, they don't have that sort of confidence. And they've never worked with things like screwdrivers.

I, on the other hand, grew up helping my dad assemble IKEA furniture, and would dismantle everything possible (and put them back) in my pencil case during class. When people are like "I'm so proud of myself! I assembled the table from IKEA myself!" I'm like... Erm... That's what I've been doing since primary school? Ok not all by myself since I wasn't strong enough, and some big items you really could use a little help. But it's part and parcel of my life growing up. And as I'm typing on my iMac now, my table that my mac is sitting on is from IKEA. The chair I'm sitting on is from IKEA (only like a month old too!), and so is the floor to almost ceiling shelf right beside my table. And I had a part in assembling them all. (My dad was kind and helped with the chair, he doesn't have to anymore, I'm strong enough now.)


Like when I was doing Raman microscopy... They have a motor to rotate the focus knob, and apparently the clip/grip thing keeps coming lose. It needs a tiny allen key to tighten... So I asked the person in charge, the other girl in charge of all the equipment, for help. (Because I don't have a hex key, especially one of the size!) She came back with a set of keys, and tried one of them. And she was basically just turning, and turning, and trying to turn, but not quite getting it. So I volunteered to try. One turn. Opps. Wrong size. The hex key was too small, and the key got in, but was just a tad too small and was turning in the thread. The small sort of feeling you get when I use a cross screwdriver that was too small. Or I didn't press down hard enough and the screwdriver just slipped from the tracks. "You'll spoil the threads if you do that! And then you won't be able to screw or unscrew that anymore!" My dad would scold.

She would have been turning that thing forever if I didn't tell her that... (Exaggeration of course, but you get the idea)

Later on she found the right sized hex key and got her buddy - the person she's leaving - to help.


And you know what? That person who's leaving, she's barely been here for a year.

Not just her, so many people are leaving, or have left. New people, old colleagues. So many of them are leaving.

Why am I still here?

To collect my salary I guess.

This couple of weeks I've been busy though. But the good thing is that at least I'll get a message in the morning at around 10am telling me the work that needs doing. At least there's been some marginal improvements in communication.

Some good news: I've started looking at this course about word press that I signed up for long ago. We'll see if he teaches anything I don't already know. I'm going to look at some hosting plans though. See if they'll have black friday sales next friday. I'll go for unlimited hosting with unlimited domains this time. Gotta decide on my domain name for the next project...

So, so many things I wanna do. That has nothing to do with work at all.

Side note: Secret santa on SF! I got my secret santa gifts already! Yay me! I *might* make something myself, with my 3D pen, if I have the time... But well, I've hit the dollar value already so at least I'm good to go.

Oh! So many Are You Happy logos and stuff... I want to make something with my 3D pen, or do some eraser carvings...

But I gotta finish up the posts though! Cause my friend who did her undergrad and PhD in UK is finally done, and back in SG for good. And I'm meeting up with her tomorrow. Looking forward to the meeting loads. She's probably my closest friend. In terms of being able to relate to each other I guess. Well after that talk with the US friend I'm hard pressed to decide between the two but...

With this friend, she's a chemist. So yeah, she can understand my science geekiness, though she's not head over heels in science like I am. But so much we have in common... I got her two rilakkuma welcome back gifts - a mug and a folder. I hope she still likes rilakkuma. Lol.

Alrights. That's all for now... I guess?
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Recently that's all I'm talking about? Being tired? Lol well yes I'm really sleepy today... but I actually want to talk about something else in this post but I can't think of a better title.

Anyway. Somehow, after my ranking dropped to 67 place, it climbed back up to 62 again? o.o
Thank you to all my friends, supporters, silent readers, stalkers.... you! That means you, thank you for contributing to my site traffic! XD

Had a CNY celebration at work today. Free food... won 20 bucks supermarket voucher at the lucky draw... probably will by some snacks for the lab people. No idea what to buy though? Chocolates? >< We'll see.

So the RF I was helping approached me and asked if I'll be interested to help prepare and maintain the stock of qpcr standards. Of course I agreed. I have nothing better to do now anyway? And why would I turn down the opportunity to learn more things? And make myself useful... gonna get the RF to teach me FISH and confocal too. Attended the training session for confocal but really... i wont remember till i actually get to use that thing. Yayayay! I'll get to learn confocal! Finally! That's like... my main goal? Well I do want to use the TEM too. But the confocal is really the most useful microscope in biology. It'll really add a lot to my CV if i get the chance to master it. And i think the asst prof aka my... handler? She's really looking out for me now... she was the one who told me that the RF was gonna do FISH and asked me to learn from her after all! XD It's gonna be fun! Yay!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Weekends are coming!

So far so good, I managed to watch everything from last week besides TSD... and then there's this weeks Sho NewsZero cuts, VSA, and the cut from TOKIO's concert. Ok. Still a lot of things to watch once you list it out! Lol! Gotta finish that trans by tmr too.... since i'm going out on Sunday! Hurrah! Meeting my sec school cca mates. My junior plus the other friend I just met last month. Yay! It's been such a long time! The three of us are just gonna talk all night! Ha!

Went for a couple of talks (ok just two) over the past few weeks... signed up for another next... tues, or wedn? I'm not as interested in that though, but it's by my institute... well just a little interested, but not that interested. See! That's the problem. All the stuff I'm interested in is NOT from the institute I'm in. Different areas of interest indeed lol.

Oh wells. After the bad day yesterday... today didn't end that badly. Well I had hoped it would end early... but ended up having to run a gel. At least I didn't have to stay too late though! And well... after sending the results over... she mailed back asking what concentrations of the gel I use etc, cos my ladder always separates out so nicely! Again! Last time she asked and then realized it was the exposure, so I thought the mystery was solved. But somehow it seems not? I don't know. But that was the second time she asked me what conditions I use! And it's ironic because the protocol was something I got from their group! Everything! Besides the gel running condition, but I only used the standard one you can find anywhere online. 110V for 25-30mins... cos at 25 mins the dye is still quite far from the end of the gel. Usually 30 mins if I have the time. then I'll just turn the power back on for a while before I take the gel out because I always leave it alone and come back later, so I don't take the gel out immediately and I'm kinda scared that it might have diffused out or something? Well then again we soak the gel in EtBr after that for even longer. No just... just... wait what? My gels are better? But.... how? Aren't you doning the same thing? It's pretty simple and pretty standard isn't it. Agarose gel electrophoresis. It's stuff I even learnt in sec school. Something even sec sch kids can do. Ain't no rocket science. Best of all I got the protocol from them... hmmm... that really amuses me though. Saw her when I queued up for the shuttle bus, she was ahead of me in a queue and she was checking her phone... and she smiled at me, a little wider than the usual 'hi' smile. And I smiled back even wider. I'd just replied to her mail before leaving the office after all, and I was still feeling so happy + amused. Ahhh. But yes, that kind of neutralised that epic failure I did yesterday. No seriously. She's really nice. She didn't like flip or anything when I asked her about the dilutions. Like really, such a big, stupid mistake. And there I was talking about other people's mistakes. Ahhhhh. Actually I did kinda suspected. But i hate unit conversions and stuff and didn't bother to stop and ask. Meh. I wasted so much of the reagent.

Another PhD student has started doing qpcr. Now I'm kinda interested in his results... because I was checking my past work done and recording stuff into my notebook yesterday, and realized that for one set of experiments I did, the DNA conc I used was different from what the instructions she mailed me. I absolutely can't remember if she gave any other verbal instructions otherwise... but if she didn't, it means that I made a big mistake and she didn't even tell me about it? And there was another instance too, when I added stuff onto the plate wrongly... well not too major though, just the standards were gone but thankfully she could use the standards obtained previously. Nah maybe she's just a nice person. Or I just do things well enough. Yet not well enough for myself... one mistake is always one mistake too many. Meh. When it comes to work, or stuff that I care about, I become quite the perfectionist...

(Then there's the stuff that I don't care about. Like the grammar, spelling and punctuation of ranting posts like this...)
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Sooner than I thought.

Go an email early this morning asking if I'm free to help another group.

So yup, work has started. It seems like there isn't THAT much work to do? Maybe. Don't know. Hope so. Lol!

So all my plans to translate more stuff, share more Japanese vocab etc, write more fics... that will really depend on how much spare time I can find at work.

Of course, the good thing is that I'm confident in my ability to work fast, once I've done things once or twice and gotten the hang of it.

The ability to work fast.

It's important.

Otherwise how would I be able to get away with waking up so late every morning, arriving to work even later still, and still go home at a very decent timing? Even when I have experiments to do!

Efficiency! It's very important!

Anyway on LJ. Finally did a bangumi review again. I realized that using subbed videos is actually good. Because I don't have to type out what they say.... because I've actually done it once already LOL. Anyway despite that entry being really brief, it still took me over 2 hours to finish! Lol! Somehow that's the fastest I can do w/o turning the review into just a collage of screencaps and isn't particularly informative... Oh wells. All the time I saved at work goes to Arashi. Translations, fics... reading translations and fics... HAHAHHAHA! Oh wells. The irony!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Making art using science.

I came across this really cute photo while searching on google...

And it turns out making art with gel electrophoresis is exactly what this workshop is teaching people to do.

Cute! Hahaha!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Bad news. I didn't manage to finish a single post on my holiday again. Yes. Again!

Good news. I managed to hit, and even exceed my subbing target last night. Despite having wasted the whole afternoon away at trying and failing to take a nap. Not too bad. I think this episode is much easier to translate too so that helped a lot. Now to continue the work and finish the episode by Saturday.

Another bad news. I'm so freaking sleepy today. Should have slept earlier but I was trying to hit my target. I'm always back at work on Mondays more sleepy then ever... Instead of feeling refreshed after a good rest during the weekend... Its always the opposite for me? Sigh. I should try and change that ne? Doesn't help that I signed up for an equipment training later on so I need to be awake. Cos I do want to learn how to use that thing. I think I'll wake up later though. Once I have something to occupy my mind. And tmr I'm going for some seminar too. And next month... I signed up for some seminar as well. We'll it's a good thing you get to learn something and it's a good change from just lazing around. Or running around the lab... And it's interesting stuff too, else I wouldn't have bothered signing up.

Back to the equipment training. It's a cryostat that was actually bought by my former group. Apparently they didn't even use it once though lol. I wonder if I'll have chance to use it next time...


Dec. 15th, 2014 11:33 pm
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
I'm been missing from LJ for a long time! It was another busy period for me again! Last week in particular was crazy! Did a grand total of 14 plates of qpcr. Together with gel electrophoresis and stuff. Gotta do another 3 plates tmr...

Last weekend was spent packing... so much so that I didn’t have time to read aya's fic at all! And I had promised her to beta it last weekend. Sigh. Tmr is gonna be a bad day. I needa finish those 3 plates AND still have to go to the health services for my hep a/b vaccine. Went today, paid but, and then the nurse tells me they have no stock. Says the stock will be here tmr. They are so freaking disorganized. Seriously. The first time round, the nurse wasn't around and I had to go back the next day too. ZZZZ! So freaking troublesome! And I'm on leave from Friday till next year! Going on holiday this Sunday till the 29th Dec, going to Beijing and Harbin! It's gonna be cold! So yeah, been buying stuff for the trip and all.

Finally updated the masterpost on RNA with the fic octavia posted days ago, and finally did the membership requests on DNA. J's been doing some for me, thanks J! So yeah, with the holiday, I wont have any new projects out for DNA till next year...

Right... that's all for now I guess!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)


Chem is try?

Chem is try, trying to make the most of every lesson

Chem is try, trying desperately to stay awake during lectures and tutorials

Chem is try, trying to make the most of every second and minute

Chem is try, trying to waste away your precious youth by making you learn something so obscure and incomprehensible

Chem is try, trying to finish your practical on time

Chem is try, trying to make sure you don’t spill that bottle of nitric acid

Chem is try, trying to wash all the apparatus with distilled water AND complete your practical on time

Chem is try, trying to wash that sodium hydroxide off your hands and stationery

Chem is try, trying to work out your practical questions

Chem is try, trying to keep your practical worksheets clean

Chem is try, trying to get the exact value for titration

Chem is try, trying to wash off that screened methyl orange stain from your fingertips

Chem is try, trying to hand in your assignments and tutorials on time

Chem is try, trying to understand the questions in your assignment

Chem is try, trying to outsmart your classmates

Chem is try, trying to be half as good as the best person in your class

Chem is try, trying to keep cool when the classroom is so stuffy

Chem is try, trying to keep warm in that cool freezing LTs

Chem is try, trying to out read and out learn your batch mates

Chem is try, trying to remember everything in the lecture notes

Chem is try, trying to pawn your classmates in every test

Chem is try, trying not to fail the next quiz

Chem is try, trying to get that attention of your teacher (cos you really love chem.)

Chem is try, trying to hide from the teacher (cos you have no idea how to answer the next question)

Chem is try, trying to get that wonderful feeling of ecstasy when reading up on chemistry

Chem is try, trying not to fall asleep on your chemistry notes

Chem is try, trying to make your teacher teach faster

Chem is try, trying to make your teacher explain yet another time

Chem is try, trying to make everything more fun than it already is

Chem is try, trying to convince yourself that chemistry might actually be fun

Chem is try, trying to show off your extensive knowledge

Chem is try, trying to hide the fact that you barely know enough stuff to pass

Chem is try, trying to teach others about chemistry when the teacher fails to do so

Chem is try, trying to learn form your classmates when your teacher just can’t teach

Chem is try, trying to convince others that chemistry is fun

Chem is try, trying to persuade your parents that you really shouldn’t be taking chemistry

Chem is try, trying to convince yourself that chemistry is the only subject you are currently taking

Chem is try, trying to convince yourself that chemistry does not exist on your timetable

Chem is try

Now I get it, now I see.


Was trying to open another folder, but Finder (the equivalent of window's explorer in Mac) lagged a little while scrolling down and I ended up click another file instead. Which turns out to be a word document containing the above.

This was a little... something that I wrote back when I was in Junior College. It started when one of the lecturers was going through the chemistry exams, and he/she said that a student wrote the following at the back of the exam script:

"They say that ignoranceis bliss,
but now I know that what I do not know can hurt me too."

Must be a humanities student who wrote that hahaha. Then the lecturer proceeded to tell about us that "chem is try".

It was rumored that the chem teachers in my JC always sets super, duper, ridculously hard chem exams... even though our teachers kept telling us that they lowered the standard a lot in my year, we didn't believe them...

Chemistry used to be my favourite subject. My favourite of all the sciences... but eventually... my lack of aptitude for mathematics, which is used a lot in physical chemistry, and more importantly, my loss of interest thanks to my inept chemistry teacher killed my interest for the subject. JC was the dark days of my life. The dark days that stretched through to my uni life... I simply lost interest in studying... teachers taught PURELY and SOLEY for the sake of getting you through this stupid national exams called the A levels, and that was that. I studied for the sake of knowing, learning, expanding my horizons. I don't study for the sake of passing one stupid fucking exam just to get into university! I don't study for the sake of studying! That whole attitude and culture of the school just turned me off learning. I stopped learning. Only studied and read through the lecture notes for what it's worth. I didn't even do a single of the past year exam questions or mock exams from other schools... Thankfully, somehow I managed to make it through. Probably by virtue of the stuff I learned back in secondary school I guess... and I still did decent enough to get into a course that I liked, and wanted to do.

I was at a loss to study bio or chemistry then, but in the end my poor results in H3 chemistry pushed me away from chemistry. I guess I didn’t study enough, didn't practice enough... but I was really glad I took it anyway. There were times when I wondered that maybe I should have taken chem istead of bio, but I might have died in all the physical chemistry classes. And even though I do love organic chemistry, I wasn't THAT good at it. Then again I merely learnt on my own. And during options lessons in secondary 4. JC... they didn't really teach much. Even in the H3 classes they didn’t explain throughly enough, it's like you were mostly on your own, and they were teaching uni level stuff, not just basic year 1 uni stuff, I feel that it was more than that. Well some of my friends with seniors in uni taking pharm chem told us that what we learnt in sec 4 options was their year 1 uni intro modules stuff... And it's true, I had some chemistry intro modules and it's stuff we learnt in sec 4, plus a little more.

So that's how JC was. Boring, uninspired, unchallenged. Where we were challenged in H3, the support wasn't enough for us to grasp the content throughly, and prepare us for the exams. We knew the basics taught in lecture what they did not even show us once how a particular mechanism can be appiled in more complicated structures... but bam that's exactly how the exam questions are. Ok, I'm smart but sadly not smart enough to figure it out on my own. Not motivated enough too maybe. But overall it just left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Not to say that JC was completely wasted. I did still learn things, though not as much as I would have if I got to stay in the same secondary school enviroment for another two years. I took H3 chemistry and learned all the stuff about lead compounds, structure activity relationship etc... well I don't exactly remember all the details about it but I grasped the main concepts that was enough. I did more spectroscopy methods... well actually scrap that. I learnt about all those in sec 4 already and JC didn’t really add to that knowledge. I did learn more in uni though, MALDI, TOF, advanced NMR... And I did take part in this thing called the Science Research Program and spent a lot of time, very enjoyable time back in the same group as I went to interships previously for in IBN. And I went back after JC too, it was really fun times and I learnt a lot, a lot.

I've always been good at grasping concepts, and really that's a hell lot more important than remember small details like the structure of all the amino acids. Which I still can't remember right now. I would remember them all if my research worked with thouse, but I've not done such research yet so nope. Anyone can memorize facts. And granted there are occupations and instances where you need facts on hand. But take away those pressurizing moments, and in the research world, when you spend time thinking and planning experiments... its understanding and being able to apply what you know that counts. There's always the computer, and there's always the Internet, and there's always google, pubmed, or whatever search engine you use to find the relevant facts, papers, information that you need. Of course you need to know something to know what to look out for in the first place. That is why you need to know the concepts. But I don't waste my time trying to torture myself to memorize some formula because I can just look it up. Or save the formula in a place like Evernote for my own reference in the future. I suck at memorizing such stuff and so I leave it to other gadgets remember it for me.

It's my broad interest and all the chemistry background that I have, coupled with my ability to quickly grasp knowledge that allowed me to get on so comfortably in this job so far. I have absolutely no background in environmental engineering... but I could understand that set of masters course notes that my sup threw at me well enough, so that I'm not lost in their meetings and discussions. I feel comfortable, at home even, with the equipments used because I know how they work, how they function. My sec 4 options and IBN training ensured me that. That said, I would still go back to life sciences for my PhD though. I miss it. Cell culture and all. I miss them. No matter how much I learn now about environmental eng, I still feel like a pretender, I still don't know even half as much as the rest... the PhD students, the RFs. I'm a foreigner in a strange land and I know that. My own forte there is like qPCR, and even then it was only something I picked up recently and I've not had the full range of experience with it yet. For one, I've not really designed my own primers before.

Oh wells. Its lunch time, so I shall end my rumbling here. Till next time!


Jul. 25th, 2014 12:10 am
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Was a tiring day in the lab today.

I just lied on my bed and slacked for over an hour before i even felt up to doing anything...

On days like this I wish I had one of those small laptop tables for use in bed... then again, I have too many wires connecting to my laptop. The power cord, a USB hub that's connected to my mouse (very important!), a charger, a USB powered fan, the cooling fan (that seems to be dying and needs replacing)... and the only other USB port on my macbook is connected to an ext HD. Then there's the Ethernet cord too. Recently I've switched to using the Ethernet cable instead of wireless, just cos its so much faster. The cable is a leftover from the time we put the router in my room whereas the router had to be connected to the TV (we signed up for Internet TV service then) in the living room. Now it’s the other way round. Router in the living room, and my Ethernet cable to my lappy haha. The router location sucks. Somehow. The wall or something... there's really bad interference. In my sis's room just like... 10m away she has problems with the wifi connection. When lying on my bed I often am unable to connect to the wifi on my phone. And that's just like 10m away too!

But back to the lab. The big boss asked me to help with testing some parameters of a batch of industrial samples, and the samples came today so it was a pretty mad rush for me to finish the testing. All the results will be there (well actually I have to manually measure one set of results) tmr morning... I hope it all goes well so I don't have to repeat...? I highly suspect I might need to repeat 1 experiment though T.T

But well... learnt how to use two new equipment today. The TOC/TN analyser - which is actually my group's equipment, and the conductivity meter - which is really easy to use, just like a pH meter.

Sis is coming back from Aussie tmr. Hopefully I don't have to repeat too many experiments so that I'll be able to join my parents at the airport...

Pfttt another flight crashed today. Air Algeria did I spell that right? Sigh. What's with all the sudden problems with the flights recently? Its been quite a while since I saw so many airplane related accidents in such a short time no?

Initially wanted to do some translations tonight, but nope, I was just way too tired. Well at least I did do like 4 mins worth of video this morning... And at least next Monday is a public holiday and at least I can get some... rest?

Let's see how things go tomorrow... but I think it'll be another really busy day at the lab too. Alrights. Its only 12am but I'm freaking tired today. I shall head to bed... good night!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)

So i picked up my N4 cert at the Japanese cultural association yesterday... And of course with the voucher I signed up for N3 as well. And yes, I got back my 55 bucks for the N4 registration as well. All because the examiners phone rang. Thank you miss examiner, whoever you are... :P

Now all that's left is for me to go and buy my book and Kino... speaking of which.. damn! I should have followed my parents out earlier... they were going orchard road, and I could have just walked over to Kino myself while they did their shopping... darrrrrnnnnnnnnnnn why didn’t i think of that earlier??? Damnn damnn damnnnnnn! Arghs. Oh wells. I didn’t want to go out because I did a little bit of stretching this morning and the scab over my ankle erm... broke? And puss is coming out again. I'm on leave tmr for the doctor's appointment so... arghs.

Oh yes. A correction to my previous post. MMDA airs in april and not last week. Two weeks break... nachospaprika made a mistake and since I hadn't watched VSA then i didn’t know any better :P I watched it last night though, together with last week's AnShi. Somehow I mistakenly moved it to my ext HD even though I've not watched it yet. I even uploaded the mirror to mega but i didn’t watch that episode. Lol just what was I doing? Downloaded the full episode of J's nep league as well and i shall watch it in a while. Was trying to do up my half done VSA review but didn’t get very far.

Hmm work updates... my monster comp was taken away from me :( Sadded. But it can't be helped. My sup didn’t like it too since it was purchased with our group's budget, but we aren't doing any computation that needs that much processing power, but the guys from the other groups are. Previously one of them have borrowed my comp a few times to run his program already, but then more people wanted to use me comp. In the end they just found another comp for me to use. No more 30 sec shutdowns and instant excel file opens. Aw. I do understand it though. The stuff they are running... it took over 6 hours on that monster comp. On the mac the guy was using, it ran for 3 days non-stop, and was still not finished. Now if i was running that sort of programs, I'd want a workstation to run it on as well. I would hate having to wait 3 or 4 days for one calculation to finish, when there's a better tool available to run the experiment, and said tool was 'not being used'. That monster was definitely an overkill for my work needs. Of course I enjoyed how stuff loaded instantly and all, but I'd probably be able to make better use of the processing power if I had that monster at home. Like how I'd be playing a video, doing a blog entry, while having the previous entry being uploaded... my poor mac can barely handle that now... and if it’s a PC i can just open up maple and afk online - simply because my computer can take it. Right now my home computer... arghs its dying. It took over 10 minutes to start up word the other day, when my sis asked for help editing her project work. The monster certainly set me new goals in terms of dream computers though. A 6k workstation huh? I'd like to have that at home someday :P Someday... in the distant future... hahaha. By then workstations will be even more powerful that it'll make the monster I used look like a piece of cake huh? XD

But yes, the troublesome thing is that I have to reinstall all the apps i had. All those customization stuff. This time round I backed up all my downloads, so I don't have to re-dl each of them... BUT i forgot I should have exported some of my settings as well. Like the phrase files for phraseexpress... Now i'll have to key in all my phrases again. Or my hotkey settings for some other programs... gah. I'll try and back up all the stuff into dropbox the moment i finish setting things up this time round. The three time I'm changing comp in 3 months huh? The 'new' one i got isnt that bad. 4gb RAM i think, couldn’t find the ram thing under device manager, but the windows about system page says 4gb. 3.3giga hz processor, duad core... which isnt too bad really, but its so slow compared to the 8-core monster. Still specs wise it beats my old mac hands down. 2.4ghz duo core, no wonder its so slow ne? Esp with the 10 thousand apps I run in the foreground and background. That new comp gave me a headache though. I keyed in a wrong value when setting up outlook, and then outlook kept crashing every time i opened it. Had to dig in the user account settings to change it to make it work. Then i installed the phrase express add on for outlook, and after that my outlook couldn’t open again. Didn’t have time to restart my comp and see if it's fine after that... bleah. Hope it'll be fine. Worst still, Tuesday I'd be busy in the lab with DNA extractions, and extremely busy too if they really did add more reactors as Santosh said they would. Normally I do extractions on Mondays but I'm on leave tmr so... :P So i'll probably only get around to tinkering with my computer on Wednesday.

My sup... he was really nice about it. He asked me to speak to him before I leave and it make me really worried for a while. I was thinking 'just what did I do wrong?'. And he dragged me out of the office to talk too. Turns out that he just wanted to apologise about the computer, and didn’t want our boss who sits right beside me to hear about it. She was the one who asked that I change comps after all. He got me scared for a while though... :P

Work load wise... for now I'm really ok. Might be bad when I have to do DGGE next time, but now I'm quite free actually. I can do the preparations for DNA extraction much faster now... i can prepare the qPCR plates really fast too... took about an hour preparing everything from scratch, that's much faster than the 1.5hrs i took just one plate earlier. even nanodrop readings are taking me lesser time as well. Last Monday i finished the dna extractions AND all the nanodrop before what... 5:30pm? That's a far cry from the 6 or 6:30pm it took me previously, and those were without doing the nanodrops too. Plus Monday i had to add in two samples at the last minute as new stuff came in. Yup, I am really pleased with my performance last week haha. I like challenging myself like this, to do things faster, rearrange my work flow so that i can be more efficient. That's why i always check the time when doing my experiments, so that i'll know exactly how long i need to finish a particular job. That way I can plan my work better. Of cos it goes without saying that the quality of the results must not be affected. You're doing things fast but not haphazardly. I'm pleased to say that for the most part my qPCR results are within 0.5 cycles of each other... except for those where there were problems with the DNA extraction and the duplicates showed a huge difference. That I don't know why... I think its really the low efficiency from the kit though. The yield is really really low compared to another kit (but its too late in the project to change, just a mere 3 months left anyway). And the whole thing is automated so its really not my fault. (Sample prep is really, really simple. No way I can screw that up!)

Hmm I like running qPCR plates. I quite like the plate preparation process. Hmm here's how the plate looks like. Pulled from a random website that google showed me.
You run the thing in a machine that looks like this:
The machine is pretty big, and from my previous work place when i asked for a quote, its around 80k SGD, which is more than my whole year's salary.
Hmm here's another picture of the 96 well plate, that shows the pointy wells of the plate.

Well the plates that I work with, unlike the first picture, is completely white. Totally, absolutely white. The letter and numbers are there, but its just raised lettering of the white plastic, so it can be a bit difficult to see at times. So what you have to do is to take a marker and mark on the side of the plates. Like half way though the columns, and every two rows. That's the usual way, but it depends on your plate layout. If you have a particular layout you may want to mark your plate differently and accordingly. Its just to ensure that you don't load the wrong stuff into the wrong well - which can be quite a trouble considering that its just a sea of opaque whiteness. Its hard to even see if you've loaded stuff into a particular well or if its empty. So yup, you do need a certain degree of concentration while loading that stuff. Oh and the pipetting. You're dealing with really small volumes here. For the template I'm using just 2ul. That's 2 micro liters. Which is like... this small little drop that you can barely see if you're like 30cm away. Hmm... You know 1 ml? That's like... a few droplets of water? Or like 1/500 of a 500ml bottle of soda? One micro liter is 1/1000 of that. Imagine. So yup I'm putting that little wee bit of water (plus other stuff) into each well. If you're not careful half your sample ends up on the tip and doesn’t get into the well, and there goes your results. Oh and you do need decently steady hands too. You don't need to be a surgeon, but if you go around jabbing into the wrong well you're going to contaminate everything. I like leaving each little drop of water on the side of the wells, and spin it down later. Just so I can tell which well i've added the stuff to and which well i've not. Also makes it easier to load the stuff in IMO. But that's just my personal habit/pref.

Hmm... is this stuff interesting? Of are you bored out of your mind already? :P In anycase I'll be stopping here, got videos to watch! XD Till next time!
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
Ironically its at work when I have the most time to browse LJ. Like in the mornings when I reach office really early. Or even if I'm not so early... Work is supposed to start at 8:30am, but most ppl come in around 9:30... my lab exec starts work around then too, and I don't see the need to enter the lab any earlier myself so... that means I have an hour of 'free time' on my lovely big screen comp. Which means I can browse LJ, forums, etc... And often when I fail to find anything interesting to read, I end up creating new posts and entries. And regretting how I'm at work and unable to continue working on my half done (been over two months!) TV review... But by the time I get home I'm mostly too tired to do anything but lie in bed and use the phone. Last week I didn't use my comp during the weekdays at all! I surprise myself sometimes. But I guess last week was kinda tiring. For my leg at least. Went to the career fair on Tues and Friday with my sups. And while the Tuesday fair turned out to be pretty boring as usual, Friday's saw Duke NUS participating, and they kinda gave me hope. The exhibitor said they viewed additional activity/skills on equal weightage with grades, so things like work experience would definitely be helpful. So that gives me renewed hope for my quest to get a PhD. So I gotta do well in my work, and i'll need to get recommendations from my sups too. Duke NUS requires what... 3-5 recommendations. So yup, work experience will definitely be helpful for me here. Its been a short two months, and I've only started lab for like a month... so I'm hesitant, or rather restraining myself from saying that I don't like this field of work I'm doing. But sadly that's what i feel atm. I don't see myself doing this waste water treatment stuff for my PhD and beyond. Not unless there's a way lot more bio, even then I think I'd prefer to work with eukaryotic cells rather than bacteria cells and fermenters. Yeah, I see myself going back to doing cell culture in the future, and Duke NUS certainly has a lot of those kinds of research. But its good. I'd never realise that i want to do that, like really, really, want it, till i did this job of mine. Plus, getting to learn to use all those instruments is definitely going to give me an advantage over my peers. After all I already know all the cell culture techniques. They know them too, but I know TEM and GC and what not that they don't know. I'd love to learn confocal and NMR too, there's a confocal here, so hopefully I'll get the chance to pick it up in the future. Confocal is used in biological applications ALOT, so it'll be a huge advantage if I can pick it up. Huge advantage VS fresh grads that is. Yeah work experience will definitely give you that. Haha... I've set duke nus as my dream institute now... i don't know if I'd actually end up there, but I'd definitely work towards getting my PhD. I'll definitely be going back to a more life sciences kind of thing for my PhD, and in the mean time my goal shall be to learn about the operation of as many machines as possible... and there are a ton of expensive equipment in here. First TEM i guess. Thinking about all the stuff I'm getting to learn gives me a lot more confidence in getting into a PhD program haha... hopefully whoever i wish to work with in the future will be similarly convinced...
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)
So so so!

I've been working for two months now! Ok. Not yet... that'll be in like... 2 more weeks. But hey, I've gotten paid twice already :P. Cos pay day is in the middle of the month, so I'm paid for feb already. I probably wont notice that its pay day, if not for the fact that they actually send an email out like two days in advance. And of cos i get really happy once i see that mail. Initially i thought it was only because it was the first time. But it came this month too... well I'd know by next month i guess.

But yes, so far so good at work. Monster computer is a joy to use... ah and i mentioned last week that i got to attend the TEM training, and that was interesting. Can't wait to learn how to do the sample preparation. Though I still have no idea what kind of experiments my group plans to do with that monster of a machine. Its huge, the main column is floor to ceiling height, and it takes up a small room. Personally i like SEMs more, being able to see the surface of stuff is just so cool, but apparently TEMs are more expensive. It’s the most expensive microscope too apparently. Amazing stuff huh? I guess its because the voltage needed for TEM is higher than SEM or something? Idk... just a wild guess. Shall try and read up when I'm free... interesting stuff...!

Was talking to my friend (a chemist currently doing her PhD) and she said she just learned how to operate a NMR manually last year. Cool stuff too. Those NMRs are huge ass machines, and the god ones are really expensive too. I have no idea how much that monster TEM that we have in the lab costs, the engineer trainer who taught us has no idea either, though he heard you can by a HDB flat with that... he reakons that it costs like 2 million or so. Idk... a quick google search suggests that it doesn’t cost as much? I'm definitely curious though, I'll try and throw the question to my boss when there's a chance. But stuff in science is really expensive. Being an intern at IBN somehow made me immune to the cost of all these stuff. Not say immune, but more like... prepared for it? Yeah. I know those chemicals and equipment are god damn ex so I'm not surprised when you tell me the price. Like a qPCR machine costs 80k. And a single micropipette costs ~280 bucks in my institutes store (they bulk buy commonly used stuff and sale it to us). I withdrew 5 pipettes from the store the other day, and was so happy that i finally got my pipettes... the lab manager was like, 'why you take out so many as once? you really need to use them meh? if you lose them you'll need to pay for them one ok! do you know how much they cost?' Of course I knew how much they cost, because I checked out the price on the store list earlier. And its not really that expensive. Grant, if someone decides to prank me and steal my pipettes, i'll be missing 3/4 of my monthly take home salary (yeah, i wonder if my asking pay then was really too low but oh wells...) But there's a ton of CCTVs in the lab so i doubt anyone would want to risk their job for a bunch of pipettes - that's pretty much useless/worthless outside of labs anyway. Plus, its not like those are multi channel pipettes - about 10 years ago i saw a brochure about an offer for pipettes, $99 for the normal single channel ones (that now cost ~280), and $999 for the multi channel ones. I have no idea how expensive the multi channel ones cost right now.

Here's a pic of single channel pipettes:

and multi channels ones are for use with multi well plates - most commonly the 96 well plate, which basically has 8 x 12 wells.

Personally i prefer the eppendorf brand pipettes better. There's these other ones too. That I just  found out is the Rainin classics by mettler toledo. Those ones don't have a brand on them or something so i was always wonder what brand they were...but yeah, those by MT are generally tighter - both the push button thing to suck the liquid, and the knob to adjust the volume. What's more, the volume adjustment knob is that thin thing at the top, at makes it really hard to turn when you are wearing the blue nitrile gloves that are oh so slippery - and somehow those are the ones favoured by my institute... they are supposed to be more resistant to acid which we do use quite often but... I'd prefer if they stock more of the white rubber ones as well - so that people can chose to wear those when not working with acid. I've dropped a couple of tube caps already due to the lack of grip. And gosh i struggled so much trying to open some bottle caps (again, lack of friction) that i gave up last Friday and used one of those white rubber gloves as a 'gripping mat'. I'd have put them on directly if not for the fact that L size is too large for me... I only wear M sized gloves.

But yup, that's the world of labs and science. And an expensive one at that. Me and my mentor used to prepare our own ELISA plates (ELISA stands for Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbant Assay by the way, i learnt that from my mentor and never ever forgot since then), because it was cheaper that way. It takes a long time though, you add stuff, incubate, wash out, add in new stuff, incubate, wash out etc... there's one part that requires incubation for like... 8 hours or something really long. Basically you can just leave it overnight, which is what we do. Otherwise buying pre-made plates cost something to the tune of 3,000 bucks each. Which means that each experiment you do, you're spending more than my monthly salary. And that price was from like... 8 years ago. I think the price is about the same now still... cheaper because of inflation but still! Ah and the amount of plastics generated... especially in cell culture. All the serological pipettes.... scary stuff i tell you. When i did massive cell culture at my old work place I would fill up a whole bin each time i worked. That's one whole bin, that's about waist height, in one go. Gosh the impact on the environment. I'm definitely influenced by my old mentor - he used to lament about the wastage all the time, and he tried to reuse as much as possible - while still keeping the science safe and contamination free of course.

Ah... I get so excited when I talk about science. I've been thinking about writing the science related fanfic... but i guess it'll suffer the same problem as all my other fics. I get stuck on the story. Right now I'm totally stuck on my fics. No idea on how to develop my fics. And the so called science fic i have in mind? Its even worst. I can't even make up my mind on what roles i want the members to play, or what roles i should have at all... *shakes head*. Guess that'll take me another 2 or 3 years to write lol!

Ok back to the title! Gyoza and ramen! My dad wanted to pick up the digital to analog converter he ordered yesterday, and so the whole family went along, and after that we had dinner at ramen champion... because i wanted to. Well it was my treat so... :P But really, the ramen there is possibly the best you can get in Sg. The shops in there are supposed to be the top stores from Japan or something... but you can get a variety of different ramen there, from Hokkaido to Tokyo to wherever else... I've been there twice or thrice before, but i forget. Didn’t walk around yesterday cos my ankle was giving me grief... I loved the ramen that's supposed to be no. 1 in popularity in Tokyo. The pork + garlic taste of the soup was fantastic! And here! I remembered to take some pictures to share :P

We order a gyoza too, and I must say the gyoza was... interesting. It was basically a gyozatakoyaki. Inside were the flour used in making takoyaki... and other takoyaki ingrediants too. Interesting though i was expecting a normal gyoza.

Ah that's about it for today I guess. Guess i spent way too much time talking about the science bits as usual... ><
coolohoh: Biohazard (Default)

Yes, this is late news i know, but i think its of enough importance that i should post here.

I actually by some miracle (actually, it was twitter who alerted me to the landing time) followed the rover landing through the NASA live webcast and saw the tiny pictures that got mailed back through odyssey.

There's actually truckloads of information regarding the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) on the NASA webpage.

This is the one of the 1st pic taken by the rover. (All pictures are credit of NASA/JPL-Caltech)


Here's another, can see the shadow of the rover here


There's a ton of video and other stuff to read on the NASA webpage, do take a look. A whole bunch of videos available on youtube too...

At the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) during the rover landing


How the rover landed on Mars an explanation - the Seven Minutes of Terror

July 2017

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