Jun. 2nd, 2016

coolohoh: Biohazard (Biohazard)
Holiday is over.

Back to work...

Got a crapton of emails over the week... Sigh. Unsup raised a really pertinent point. It's the school holidays now and that means my new sup has a lot of time to bother about us. I need to dig up into the old data and stuff cos she wants a PowerPoint... Sigh. I don't remember a thing. Mainly because I was just so bloody focused on doing. Experiments after experiments. Data analysis is all outsourced to unsup. Great. Now I'll pay for my laziness. Sigh.

Then again. I don't really care anymore. I don't know what good will continue coming out from all these. Sure. She seems hopeful but hope alone gets you nowhere. We need the expertise. The equipment. The time. The money. And really, we have none of the first two.

Well at least she got my back with the admins so that helps a lot. Is it like that everywhere? Where the job of the hr and admins is to make your life as miserable and as gard as possible?

I get +^]%{>}%#>£€?]£!] questioned for buying things. For buying consumerables like pipette tips. The admin was demanding to know which project I'll be using it for. Like wtf? Pipette tips? Seriously? It's not even expensive compared to the other stuff I just got. And really pipette tips is like... Its like questioning someone why they are buying pen refills, and demanding to know which project/subject/whatever they are planning to use the pen for. So totally fucking ridiculous. As if locking up all the equipment and forcing people to book before they can use isn't ridiculous enough. I don't know about the other people but I for one feel a lot less motivated to use any of the locked equipment now. I'm even tempted to unplug the stupid box from the monitor. But why should I fucking bother right? I'm on core funding and the things are just done for record purpose only. But no. I won't be bothered to stay back late to get that confocal done. I'll just continue the next day and drag it on and on. They don't need to know how I've worked so hard till so late... And since I can't do it without signing up on some stupid system, I simply shan't work. Go home on time. Why should I even bother? I get paid the same either way. It's not like I'll get a PhD faster or I'll get more papers anyway. The benefits to me is the same. I'll be better off spending my energies elsewhere. Even writing fics. At least I get writing practice and that's a life skill that'll be useful anywhere and everywhere.

I'm surviving I guess. Not exactly thriving. Not exactly slack either. More like. I'm trying to cut as many corners as possible, or just keep putting things off till later because I don't fucking care and I've got a ton more interesting and fun stuff to do. Should I stay here or should I move on? I don't know. A day frankly I don't really care now either. For now I'm a lot more interested in trying to find out about myself. Trying to figure out my own ambitions. Because there's a much longer Road to go besides my short term job woes. And I have a job. I've not burned any bridges yet so I can continue working here. And just looking at the job openings... I don't feel motivated to apply to a lot of them because I can't see myself doing it for long sure. It's just a job. And I would apply if when I finally settle my new Mac and transfer all the data over so I can return dad his lappy. But more than the job application, I just keep trying to envision myself doing that sort of things for the rest of my life. Which is kinda what you get when you pick a PhD topic. At least for the next five years or so. I don't know. I'm still that little kid who wants to play. Forever 16. I just want to do my own random stuff. And I really like DOING the experiments. I don't know if life after a PhD is really what I want. Meh. Maybe I should actually go read some papers properly for once. And stop fooling around. Nah I can't stop fooling around. I just have a fool around less. I don't want to ever grow up. Fooling around is what gives me that craziness and passion for anything. Including life. I want to forever be the kid...

Sigh. Not looking forward to heading back to the office. Because that means I need to put together the PowerPoint. Meh.

Back in my reality once again. Holidays... I don't see them the way many people would. I can't say that I really love going abroad for vacations... Because I'm too lazy to make my own plans and do research for the most part. But when I go elsewhere... I don't know... How do others feel when they visit someplace? I don't have any expectations these days when I go on holidays. That means that I can't be disappointed. And unless I'm at a purely tourist only place say at genting Highlands... I just take in the way the place is... I'm constantly aware that all everything I see is part of someone else's reality. Something they see and go through everyday. And I note and observer the difference. The difference between their and my reality. And really there's no perfect life or perfect place. It all depends on your perspective, and how you want to nitpick. Or cherry pick. It all depends on your priorities and preference. Or maybe just your own experience and your own reality. Met an old Singaporean couple. The typical rich English and hokkien speaking variety who were comparing everything to Singapore... In a patronising manner. What's the point? This is a different place. A different country. Of course it's different. If you want the same, why bother hopping on a plane? Just stay home and perhaps can you shut up and leave us alone so my friend and very kind tour guide can continue telling me about this very place that you seem to hate so much? Such an embarrassment!

So here I am. Back to my reality. A reality where unsup will only appear in my dreams. As unsup was bringing me around... I can't ant help but think about how privileged I am to be there. Observing and watching their little family. How many people can say that they have seen their boss feed their baby? Definitely not many in sg. Things just don't work that way here. The gap. Like the sleeping Ohno and the focused and sharp guy during his solos in concerts. Two completely different person. The mother and the scientist. And the language used too. Her English automatically switches to standard English when anything scientific or about work appears. For me it depends on the other party. Because well. I work with all China Chinese now and we talk work in Chinese. Sigh. I miss the times when I'm talking science with unsup. In like, you know, good old English. Now everything is in Chinese. Yes even the meeting with the boss cos she's from China too. Bleah. Now my English speaking skills are deteriorating. Geez.

For the first time, I can really understand how artists visit places for inspiration. Because I kinda felt the same too. Something that i've been doing for a long time with people, the skill has now evolved to cover places too. We'll not that i've never been observatant. I've always been. It's just that i've only just become acutely aware of my ability.

I've had good teachers in the past. I still remember the comment by my sec three bio teacher in my report book. She wrote something along the lines that I love to stay on the side lines and observe. Yup, that's me. The observer. Just there, passively observing. Unsup is the really observant type too. But I'd say she isn't the passively observing type unlike me. And the things are notice and makes inferences about are different from me... But she has surprised me more than once about her observations about myself. Or maybe it's just intuition. I don't know. But it's surprisingly accurate it's stuff that no one else has ever noticed or said about me ever so thank you. All very timely observations too. Maybe because I don't have anyone in real life that I'm as close to now... Because I really don't have a social life. I don't like going out and meeting new people... Online it's different. I type more than I ever would talk. I can write things that I'll never be able to say. Even if the very same person will be reading it.

I gave unsup the links. For the same reason why I blog in the first place. I like to blog, even though most of the time it feel like shouting into the void... At least it isn't as bad in LJ because I have some lovely regular readers... Who reads through all my lengthy rants (hugs all of you), gets to the end, and make comments. It's really nice to know that you can writing for somebody. Even if I'm just ranting and getting things off my chest for the most part. It's still great to know that people read them. (To all my silent readers, care to drop a little comment sometimes?)

Unsup commented on how it's amazing that I have so many blogs...

Yeah... I'm amazed myself. And truthfully I can't even keep track of how many social media/blog stuff that I have...

Let's try and list 'em and see...

1) There's this. This LJ that you are reading now.

2) There's my random rants blogspot, that I've linked to in my very long winded intro post (that needs another update). It used to be my personal blog... But now most of my personal blogging stuff are here on LJ. I'd fully admit that it's hard to decide which goes where many a times. Which is why my blogspot has been neglected for the longest time.

3) There's my gaming blog. I have tons of screenshots from mobile games, that I should be blogging about... But I'm too lazy to sort out the photos and to blog them so... Screenshots and games have came and went. It used to be mostly about maple stuff, but I don't maple now anymore so... I still want to maple... And I actually can now, because I have an iMac with enough HD space... I just have to force Xp to install in it since bootcamp installation doesn't support Xp anymore (long ago actually) and I don't have any other newer windows installation disk. (Oh, and I need to buy a dvd drive first.) But yeah, hardly any updates here too.

4) There's my crafts blog. It's my latest venture actually. Posting my random attempts at making art. Unsup was amazed at my shrink wrap thing... As with someone who sent me an lj message over my holidays that I've yet to reply. And there I was thinking that I'm doing this really childish stuff as I sat there and mass produced rainbows to give away on storm freaks. I guess it's not that bad after all huh? Well... I did enjoy it though, and I really want to draw more... Some korosensei stuff maybe. Only that... Anyone cares to buy those stuff? Because I... Already have way too many things on my table... :X

5) Oh, there's Nihongo Manabu of course. I'll like to call it more like a website than a blog. It's my most serious venture to date and I'm back to making sure that I get at least a post on it every week.

6) Others... There's some other stuff that I have, a wordpress account... That I'm not really using for anything. Also an AO3 account, that has nothing there as well. And there's the science related cartoon sort of website that I have the idea for, but then I really, really can't draw... So till I get the time to learn to draw... All that's going to happen is that I'll fill up more notes about ideas that I want to draw, but can't.

7) Social media accounts... I'll put them all together because they aren't really blogs... But yeah there's instagram, fb, twitter, tumblr... weibo... what else? I don't know. I pretty much only use fb and insta. When I remember to, I post something on instagram, and the same photo gets crossposted to fb, twitter, and tumblr. One photo kills 4 birds. Nice.

Of course, that doesn't count the number of tumblr and twitter accounts that I have for my websites or Lj communities. Gah. The Arashi bangumi comm and all it's related social media accounts have been abandoned for a really long time now. I'll get around to reviving it soon... I hope.

8) LJ communities. Now this is actually a lot. And takes up a lot of time. Or took. Because I've not subbed anything in ages.

There's...
DNA. My first ever community. And to those who are trying to find it... I'll be really nice and give you a little hint... Check my profile... It'll take you a while to find it but your heroic efforts shall be rewarded. Well, this one has been in a deep freeze for really long now. I've not even had the time to watch any arashi shows. Let alone do subs. So yeah.

RNA. Check my side bar link. It's there. It came after DNA and it's for me and octavia to dump all our fics. All our nicest and craziest creations, and everything else in between. Was also in the deep freeze for about half a year... Till I got some new ideas recently... And like an manic artist I get writing cycles too... And now I seem to be in the height of my literary cycle so I'll try and make the most of it and write as much as I can before it disappears... On it's own accord or due to external influences... (e.g. work)

Arashi bangumi. I came into this one. The original owner isn't into Arashi anymore so she gave it to me for care taking. But then I got really busy too... So yeah... I'll try and revive it again soon.

Storm Freaks. My latest venture... Together with a ton of other lovely mods, who keeps the community alive by posting things that are actually Arashi related. Like Arashi news. Instead of just making up random games like me. (And unsup gave me a nice activity idea, only that it's something I can't carry out because I can't draw. Arashi coloring pages! I'll have to get some artist to draw the thing for me or something.) Thankfully it was a joint venture with many other fans, because otherwise it'd be completely neglected for months...

I guess that about covers it for my LJ communities...? 4 comms... I think that's all the comms I've got/am involved in? Lol. Too many things, I don't even remember... I would have completely forgotten about arashi bangumi if I wasn't making this... (oh, did I mentioned that I had an alternate fb account where I used to post my maple stuff? But is now completely abandoned?)

Meh. I want a staycation... Not even a vacation really, too many online 'duties' to do. Sometimes I think I'm really trying to do too much. All at once. Like trying to study for GRE and JLPT at the same time. Not working well, because it's much easier to study fro GRE since I went out to buy English guide books (even though like, the vocab is really no different from the ones in the book my friend gave me years ago, but that thing is in Chinese.) On the other hand, studying for JLPT grammar is bad. The book is freaking from a Taiwan publisher, and that means it's in Traditional Chinese... and sometimes I get really frustrated because some word that I can't figure out appears... And I have to write the word on my phone to look up the Simplified Chinese word... And then maybe I'll end up even more frustrated because I don't know the meaning of the word at all. Even in Simplified Chinese. Lol. Then I'll be trying to make notes in Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and English. Too $!$!! frustrating and confusing. I spend more time on figuring out the Chinese than the Japanese sometimes. But I checked, they don't carry English Japanese grammar books so... Arghs. And Japanese does translate better into Chinese than English... But meh. I should check out that Tae Kim's grammar guide again. Sigh. 1 month. I really need to study hard or I'll fail this thing. N1 is really a little out of my reach. Vocab wise it's still not toooo bad, but grammar is a little too hard. Oh wells. Let's see how much energy I have left after work to study... My weekends are too packed with *other* duties, and I can't study for really long stretches anyway. More like. Since when do I ever study. Oh wells. Let's see if I can pull a miracle. Lol. I have to stop myself from studying GRE now... Because there's really no time left if I want to pass JLPT. And I want to. So yeah.

Sigh.

In the meantime. I really should get started on making the PowerPoint but...

So lazy. So lazy. I just want to write. My literary bloom is in full swing right now and that means my science levels have dipped. Nah. It's just an excuse. I don't want to do work. Meh. Can't things go back to the pre-unsup days where I just sit around and write fanfics and nobody remembers my existence, and when I have absolutely, I mean literally no work to do. No presentations to make, no papers to be read, no experiments to be carried out, and no quotations to ask for. Meh. Guess it's not possible since they don't have any bio person around anymore. And I just found out, because the equipment support person mentioned it to me, and sent me a photo... That I've apparently been named the person in charge of a whole host of equipments. What the heck? I never heard anything about it from anyone before... Sheesh... I don't even know much about most of the equipment... and in the case of the DGGE, I've never even used it before. Lol. What a joke. That just about sums up everything here. I'm the PIC because there's no one else around. Because no one else does molecular bio stuff. Lolololol. It's like, I'm the king of everything because no one else uses it. The FIA, the qPCR... Even the confocal it's pretty much just me and the phd student using it. I didn't see it in the photo the person sent me, but she told me that I was put in charge of some microscope too. Lol. I don't even know which. And I'm not even really good at using the light microscope... And I've only used the stereo microscope once, and the inverted microscope like never. So I may well have been put in charge of a microscope that I've never used before. Hahaha. I still need to figure out the stupid light microscope and wet mounts. I can't find my bacteria babies on wet mounts sigh. And I don't get how the disk at the very bottom, below the light source works. Lol. Have to figure it out. And still can't find the focus on wet mounts. Lololol. That's probably the last thing I should figure out before I leave this place... Whenever that will be. Well I should at least try the bioanalyzer that unsup had been busy promoting... But yeah... Oh yes... I still have no idea whatever enzymes she bought are kept. I don't care about the results really. I just want to try running that thing so that I'll remember how to use it better. But the damned wet mounts gosh. On filters and with dapi? Easy peasy... But oh you damn wet mounts... I should try a smear first... But then again I don't have trouble finding the focal plane with those cos there's just so much stuff to see, you can't miss it. Sigh.

At least I think I've mastered the art of looking through the microscope with both eyes. Lol.

Hmph. It's late now... What should I do... think i'll just flip my lab notebooks and slink around and stretch my pathetic, aching limbs. I swear unsup was out to kill me on tuesday... Yes it was great fun but geez do you know how unfit I am?

Meh. And I forgot how to do nested pcrs again... Hmm do I use the same primer twice, or a different primer... meh. I'll figure that out next time. Lol. Maybe I should just give up and write the legend of shabu shabu till it's time to go home. Meh.

I'm not making any sense anymore so I'll give up and stop here.

The lab...

Jun. 2nd, 2016 07:15 pm
coolohoh: Biohazard (Biohazard)
Is becoming less and less homely...

From the frustrating hr to the stupid new rules... To the paranoid director who demanded a ton of safety warnings all over the lab making it look more like a construction site...

In the side lab that used to be really scarcely populated... Now there's a huge influx of 'external' people doing non-molecular bio work. And to be sure, it's not an overnight thing. Slowly but surely, over the past half a year or so...

Really, when the FIA was moved in there, and then the waste carboys too, I just thought to myself that molecular biology is dead.

Been dying for a long time now but that felt like the last nail in the coffin. The setting up of the sludge processing thing in the next bench for example... Such stuff really shouldn't be in a molecular bio lab. But who cares? There's no space elsewhere and molecular biology is dead.

Some guys doing stuff in the fume hood at the back, and taking up all the space meant of running gels. As I walked past today he wanted to use the plastic funnel we use for the gel buffer. For some idk what chemical reaction, and the other guy was like 'are you sure this is ok? it's plastic...'. I couldn't take it. I had to step in and stop them. I don't know what has become of the other stuff I use... Like my tips and all the reagents that people borrow and use... It's not the USING itself that I have a problem with, but I'm worried about HOW they use it. *sigh*. Needless to say all the reagents can't be used for RNA anymore. Not that I'm doing RNA at the moment but still...

Oh and I hate it how my sink is constantly getting dirtied!!!! I clean it up nicely, even put the absorbent pad lining and I come back the next day to see the lining gone, and the area marked with splotches of dried chemicals. WTF. They don't even fucking bother to clean up. And many just leave their bottles of goodness knows what there and I'm like wth? It's getting worst and worst now with the new people and the waste carboy right beside my bench. And they keep moving the waste bin really far away too. There used to be two waste bins... Then one of my colleagues had to do something really stupid, and used a waste bin as a pail, and now that waste bin is gone forever and we're back to having a single waste bin in the whole lab. Arghs. So I have to walk down half the lab to throw my waste because every time I move the bin nearer to me it gets moved back because other people need the bin too.

And then there's people who raid stuff from my bench and don't put it back. Like my icebox. And today I went back to the lab to missing chairs... Like they took not one, but two of the chairs in the row and basically left two whole row with just a single chair, and didn't return. It's not like there's still an overload of chairs in the row. It was basically emptied! And I had to go hunting for my squirt bottle and ethanol spray too. And not for the first time. At least my pipettes didn't go missing again this time. I hope... I didn't do a row count... Opps... I guess the missing items isn't unique to this place but... gah!

Sigh. Right from the very start I knew I was in the wrong place. The only biologist in a sea of chemists and (mostly) engineers. What's a biologist to do here? So when unsup dropped the bomb it's like... "Yeah, as expected, there's nothing for us in here..." Plus, whatever was it that we were doing wasn't stuff that made her excited or happy. It just totally sucked because I thought I could bask around in the sun and enjoy myself for another year while working on more side projects before moving onto the next stage... Instead of getting stuck in the limbo where I am now wondering what my next stage should be. Not that this wouldn't happen. I just thought I could postpone it a little more...

I spoke recently with another colleague from a different center... And she remarked about how we have a lot of weird characters in my center. And I was like geez... Even she noticed it too? People like the stupid (retarded even) rf. And a lot of the new people they hire makes me face palm.

Like the project officer they newly hired with no lab experience whatsoever. He used to work in the industry and... I get that they are trying to develop more industry projects and stuff (apparently they are hiring a rf to do business development, and paying only over 3x my salary, and I'm pretty sure that's way more than what a regular rf gets....), but why hire a project officer who can't do lab? That's all the job description of a project officer anyway. Do all the dirty work and all the heavy lifting! You don't need no public relations and sweet talk skills for that. And it's clear from the onset that that egoistic, self centered guy isn't the type who can do labwork. At all. All he did when I tried to teach the trio was complain about how hard everything is, and declaring over and over again how he has no lab experience. Like wtf? That guy has a serious attitude problem. Heck, all the three I taught had. It's not about whether you have the experience or not, it's about whether you want to fucking learn or not. I was just so pissed all throughout that day. Absolute waste of my time. So there's 2 project officers (PO), and then 1 part timer who used to be one of the stupid rf's fyp student. Fyp student coordinated the time with me, and asked if it was ok for two other person to join in to learn. I said sure. And she even asked me that morning to confirm the timing with me. 3pm came and went, and no one shows up. I wait. And wait, and no one shows up. Finally, pissed, I went to freaking look for them (really, shouldn't have bothered, and never will again) and there they were, standing around talking at their bench, apparently doing nothing of particular importance because when I asked if they were free, they left their bench immediately. So I showed them the stuff. No one takes notes. I just keep hearing complains about how long the procedure takes and how difficult it is (it's the easiest stain you can possibly do).

Then there's like an hours waiting time so I send them on their way and TOLD THEM what time to come back. Of course, nobody came back. I had to freaking call them back again. That ego guy goes missing and nobody knows where he is. He doesn't show up till much later. And the rest decides that he should be the one doing the procedure... And that guy seems to wake up and decide that *maybe* he should record down the steps. So he tries to write it down on his phone, but gets everything wrong. When there really is nothing to remember at all. The whole thing can be like, summarized into like... 3 main steps. Of course there's some details here and there... But it's really that simple. But he can't remember a thing. The only one with a slightly better memory is the student. And then the microscope. Bleah. I wanted to vomit blood trying to teach them how to use the microscope. All of them, even the more 'experienced' PO was gushing over how complicated the light/fluorescent microscope is and how high tech it is and everything. Like... FYI, I figured out how to use that thing myself. Well except for that last disk at the bottom which I've yet to figure out which symbol corresponds to which objective. But hey, you can just turn it around till you get a good lighting condition... But nope, those idiots don't even know how to use the very basics. Like the course and fine focus knob. Which I swear is in the same location in every single microscope I've seen. Even those easy 'low tech' microscopes I used in secondary school. But nope, they didn't know that. And then the knob to move the slide position on the stage. They don't know about that too. No kidding. They were asking how to move the slide. Like, don't you have eyes to SEE how the knob is connected to the stage? Can't be helped. Idiots will stay idiots. And then the other PO happily shows off about how her paper (she's second author) is about to get published (has since been published) and pisses me off even more. She asked about the work I'm doing and I said like molecular bio stuff and all... And she's like 'sounds like the stuff I used to do'. And I was just thinking, oh, so you used to do that but you can't use a simple microscope? Like seriously?

It took them more than an hour to learn how to use the microscope. And even then they barely know how to use it. Geez. Absolute waste of my time. I had to stay back to teach them how to use the thing because they are so slow all along, and couldn't even be bothered to show up on time. And I had to stay back even later after that to finish my own stuff, because I had things that HAD to be finished because it was a time series or whatever. It was past 7:30pm by the time I finished teaching them a simple dapi stain, can you believe it? Like seriously.

Then the guy tried it himself once... And of course he had to keep running to me for help, because he hardly remembered a thing... Even though he had someone else's very neat and detailed instructions (that person already left). And he totally couldn't use the microscope at all... After that some other colleague asked me if the microscope was working (it was) because that guy couldn't get a single clear image... Well as far as I know it was working just fine so... *shrugs*

Oh! The best part. The ego guy came up to me and asked about 'that other thing people do the quantify the bacteria'. He couldn't even name it properly. In the end I just guessed it had to be about the qPCR cos a phd student had been trying to run that all day. They must have talked and what not. Lololol. You can't do a simple dapi stain and you want to do qpcr? I simply told him that the phd student had been trying to learn to do it properly for over half a year and still can't get it. LOLOLOLOL. Like an infant who wants to fly before even learning how to crawl.

August 2017

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