Tag Archives: work

Work, and a preview

I’ve been working at the same job for about two and a half years, which is pretty long for a college student. I like to think I’m pretty good at what I do, and I’ve certainly become a competent Lab Technician over time.

What I do is sit here:

With a bunch of tiny vials of this:

Which I move around into other vials with these micropipettes:

Then I put the whole shebang into this machine:

Which is a thermal cycler and costs more than the car I drove in high school. The machine heats and cools and heats again, and eventually I get lots of DNA where there was just a tiny bit to start with. Then I run the samples through a gel full of the mutagenic chemical I mentioned a few posts ago, and then I can see which genes the sample contains.

This process is called PCR, and it’s also used for paternity testing and forensic DNA analysis, as evidenced by this delightful song, advertising the cycler above:

Note: it is someone’s job to make up songs about lab equipment.

So that’s that.

“Where’s the preview?” you ask? Oh yes:

Is… is that black beans soaking with a green pepper?

And some flank steak braising on the stove?

I do believe it is. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the full spread- this is a meal with a 2-day prep period. Get excited.

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Things that shortened my lifespan today

  • Though I set my alarm for 8:30, I instead awoke (for the first time) at 6:45 because I’d forgotten to shut the curtains on my east-facing window.
  • While walking to work I tripped on a curb and skinned my knee.
  • I singed myself on the steam emitted from an Erlenmeyer flask of boiling liquid.
  • The usual, day-to-day use of mutagenic chemicals (wear your gloves, kids!)
  • I was bitten and peed on numerous times by pubescent mice.
  • My boss “rewarded” me for doing a good job at work by whacking me heartily on the back several times.

In spite of these great setbacks, I managed to survive work and I may now, at my leisure, go to the library and then go see Despicable Me later. Awww yeah, Bargain Tuesdays.

Also, here is my current favorite thing: FEMINIST HULK. Best Twitter feed ever. A few of my favorites:

HULK SMASH DOMINANT GENDER PARADIGM! PUT DEBRIS IN COMPOST PILE TO FERTILIZE LITTLE HULK GARDEN OUT BACK.

And:

HULK SAY FUCK PATRIARCHY. HULK NOT HAVE PROBLEM WITH “FUCK.” ONLY BAD WORDS ARE ONES USED TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SMALL.

You can read an interview with FEMINIST HULK here.