asimplechord: (Default)
I was trying to explain to Post-Doc that I have to use the confocal microscope to take slices of the cells I'm imaging because they are mitotic and therefore round like beach-balls, where interphase cells are relatively flat, and that various parts of the cellular structure wouldn't be in focus if I simply focused on one plane.

She suggested that I "squish the coverslip to the slide" to flatten it and get everything in one plane. And she was completely sincere about this being good advice.

I was speechless. Seriously. Squish them flat. Because that'll maintain all the 3D structure I'm trying to investigate. Really. How did she earn a Ph.D.? HOW?
asimplechord: (Default)
Like, shouldn't having a PhD mean you have some common sense? I'd like to think so. But in my lab, APPARENTLY NOT.

About three and a half weeks ago, Post-doc asked me to order her some gamma-P-32 ATP for a kinase assay. She requested a miniscule amount in a very specific activity, and I explained that I would order the minimum, but that it would be far far more than she needed for one experiment, and that the specific activity would probably be higher since the amount she requested was no longer available in the catalog. But I explained that that should be fine, that just meant she could use less or expose her film for a shorter time. So I ordered it.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when she finally decided to do the experiment and was shocked (SHOCKED) to realize that P-32 has a half-life of approximately 14 days.


AND THEN. I find that she's having problems with her cold ATP solution. Which isn't actually the concentration or the pH she needs it to be because she weighed out a small amount and dissolved it in water, but never adjusted the pH with Tris or phosphate buffer or spec'd it to see what the ACTUAL concentration was, in comparison to the spatula-tip of the salt she weighed out and dissolved.

I just. Seriously? There are entire manuals of how to make basic stock solutions. Or she could've asked. But no.

And what, she thought that P-32 didn't decay?





Oct. 6th, 2011 04:21 pm
asimplechord: (SRSLY? (Askars as Brad))
Dear Nikon rep:

This department pays you many thousands of dollars every year for service and help. When I email you a question, the appropriate response is NOT Have you checked the software guide or asked X, Y, or Z how to do this?.

A) Yes, and neither the help section nor the facility director (great with hardware, not so good with the software ins and outs) could answer the question.

B) It is your job. Don't act like I'm inconveniencing you when I ask you to do it.

Also? If the software on the data processing unit can't do something it should, that's a problem. And if in order to analyze our data we have to use that same software, only now instead of being on a work station it's installed on the PCs that run the confocal microscopes, perhaps you should see about fixing it. Because we are charged a whopping $60 per hour to use the microscopes in order to pay for your service contracts, while use of the data processing station is only $10 per hour.

Fucking provide service already, goddammit. We are paying for it.

No love,
asimplechord: (half-faded)
+ J is going to visit in October. \o/

+ I've flailed about Rise Against before. There are no heart-eyes big enough to express my love for this band. Seriously. Tim McIlrath was on HLN's Showbiz News the other night before the MTV premiere, and he's blogged about this song and its video, which was a collaborative effort with the It Gets Better project.

+ I had something to say about songs that are popular right now (including some of Rise Against's and Lady Gaga's Born This Way) vis a vis 33 Revolutions Per Minute, but my brain is fried.

+ Also had some thoughts about Emily's Army's debut album, but haven't really collected them. Except that I am pretty amused by Asslete.

+ Wimbledon! I haven't been able to watch much (just the first few games of Serena and Venus Williams the past couple of days - they were up and down but triumphed), but the Radio Wimbledon app is working pretty well. Far better than Radio Roland Garros did, actually. Rafa made it through with no problems today, as did Deliciano, but Fernando lost to Haase in the second round. Daveeeed plays Ryan Harrison tomorrow. \o/

- Work. I'm so tired of my lab mates. As I explained to the email chain, this happened today. )

+ White Collar. This week's ep? Diana is a badass, y/y/mfy?

+ St. Arnold's Pub Crawl, Saturday. Downtown. I know where I will be!

+ A entered a couple of his beers in a local competition. Their names? Glory Hole Golden Ale and Cock-eyed Porridge (oatmeal stout). I laughed until I cried when he told me what he named them.
asimplechord: (matt/black parade uniform)
Hangtimes at [ profile] eckerlilas' today! For all that we all live in/around H-town, we don't get together enough when we're not standing in line to get into a show. We def should pick a weekend and an actor and have a movie marathon soon.

Also? I cleaned out my closet and cleaned off my bookshelves today. Tomorrow we tackle the kitchen cabinets, and then we'll take things to Goodwill, to the public library, and to be recycled.

Random bullet-points about the Linkin Park show the other night )

In which I ramble about work (again) )

OK. I am going to go drink some Left Hand Milk Stout, be jealous that J went to NYC and saw American Idiot (again), and read an email [ profile] why_me_why_not sent me earlier.
asimplechord: (Vulcan fuck off)
What was I saying about getting through the grant-related experiments and getting back to my own project?

What I meant to say is: it is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

A competitor published a paper on one of the post-docs' projects. Fuuuuuuuuck. Which is shitty, but it happens; that's the way academic science moves forward. We can work around it. But since this competitor has a bigger lab, more funding, and a history and experience on the project that Student has been navigating ever so slowly, we REALLY need to get his crap together.

Which means that in addition to grant-related experiments, I am going to be doing a slew of some experiments that he hasn't been able to get to work for Student's project in order to get it out as soon as humanly possible assuming he doesn't fuck off for another month-long vacation.


(In happier news, I wrote two drabbles last night, and spent yesterday with girl!Brad/Nate porn playing merrily in my head, so perhaps I'm exiting the Death Valley of Writing Inspiration I've been occupying since the holidays.)


Feb. 11th, 2011 08:21 pm
asimplechord: (nobody fucking spoke to you)
I was supposed to go to Austin to see Girl In A Coma tonight, but everyfuckingthing at work conspired against me. Someone horned in on my TC time, a piece of equipment malfunctioned, Post-Doc W had some issues, and then another colleague wouldn't take my word for it that it would be faster if she just let me collect the data for her this first time rather than spending over an hour showing and re-showing her how to use another instrument (which really is not that complicated).

I finally escaped from the building at ~7:15. I got to my car by 7:40. Doors were supposed to open at 8pm.

Fuck work. For SXSW I'm taking vacation days, none of this I'll-get-out-of-work-early bullshit.

So instead I am at home. I have a bottle of cider open, and if A wants anything more complicated than a veggie burger, he's going to have to make it himself.
asimplechord: (SRSLY? (Askars as Brad))
I can't even. This day has been made of fail since the moment I opened my office door. The latest incident:

The post-doc who joined us in November has been running Westerns and saying she's not seeing bands at the correct molecular weight. All this time, she's been doing her analysis using the *native* molecular weights of the marker proteins, not the *actual* molecular weight once they've been modified with a dye and re-calibrated.


She has a PhD. So it's not like she's NEVER DONE SCIENCE BEFORE.

It says right on the spec sheet (which I post on the freezer door for all to see) that those are the native weights, and next to them it lists the ACTUAL, OBSERVED molecular weights for calculations.

What the actual fuck.

I am ready for so much wine, you don't even know. Too bad I have two more hours of labwork to do. >:/
asimplechord: (trying to kill you with his mind)
Things that made me :DDD in the last 24 hours:

1. MCR (as seen pretty much all over my f-list). THANK YOU. I was beginning to fear that we'd NEVER get the new album. Mikeyway working the blond! Geeway and that fuschia mess (if ever there were a hot mess, he is it in the vid)! Frankie's all long-haired and hot again! (NGL, I totally would've lost Iero sex-chicken while he was in Leathermouth mode, but apparently becoming a daddy of twins is working out well for him.)

2. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

3. BRMC released a live session at iTunes. (Also, I get to see them twice this week.)

4. Luuuuuudo in less than one week.

Things that made me :D then :(

1. The Dear Jack Foundation First Annual Benefit Concert was announced. This is a charity that I definitely support for a variety of reasons, and both Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate will be performing so I'd love to go, but it's in LA, on a date that I absolutely cannot travel.

Things that made me >:/

1. Work. Dear Tutorial Grad Student: I should not have to tell you to put some damn gloves on EVERY OTHER MINUTE. Also, if you've weighed something out and it's too much, DO NOT put it back into the reagent bottle, especially if it's touched a surface you touched with your bare, naked fingers. And FYI, that thing you just weighed out is a neurotoxin in high enough quantities. I WASN'T KIDDING WHEN I TOLD YOU TO PUT ON SOME EFFIN' GLOVES.

2. Work. Yes, I'm listing it twice. Because I'm just that annoyed by the introduction of a new student for me to guide on a project that does not dovetail with mine AT ALL, at a time when The Chief is pushing me to finish the last replicates of experiments so we can get another paper out before the end of October.

3. I'm taking the Snowflake for service (again) tomorrow. More $$$ unbudgeted. The air-conditioning is blowing hot air. Which wouldn't be a big deal except this is Houston in September, and it's still supposed to be over 90F for the next week, at least.

This entry was originally posted at
asimplechord: (colored solutions)
New Professor hired a post-doc a couple of months ago.

The post-doc needs help learning his project. Okay, fine. There's always a learning curve.

He borrowed some antibody from us. Actually, I gave it to him. When he had problems, he came and asked me for help. He needed some plasmids, and I gave them to him.

Then he came and asked me - no lie - "How do you figure out which E3 ligase is the one that modifies your protein?"

Uh. Go read the literature; there are a few strategies. I'd start with whatever signaling pathway your protein is in/effected by, and try known ones, and then if they don't work, go from there.

So he borrowed more plasmids. And asked more really basic questions, questions that he should be able to answer without my help if he just READ THE LITERATURE.

Again. And again. He came to my bench with his notebook and asked me to help even when I was obviously in the middle of something. And some of it was stupid shit: what molecular weight is X-protein?

IDK, why don't you fucking Google it? Or ask if I can stop what I'm doing to help you do something a first year student should be able to figure out.

Fine. But today he asked me to explain the relationship between TGFb and X-protein, and I was like, "Uh. That is your project. Perhaps you should read the literature, rather than asking me to describe it to you." And he looked at me and asked, "What papers should I read?"

... O.o

I told him to go search TGFb at PubMed. That was, perhaps, a bit mean. He's going to be buried under papers from now until Christmas if he doesn't narrow his search.

But seriously? He's a POST-DOC. He should be able to figure that shit out for himself, not ask someone who isn't working on his project, who isn't even IN HIS LAB to explain it to him.


Sep. 2nd, 2009 11:20 am
asimplechord: (B.I.T.C.H.)
My hate for UT bureaucracy, let me show you it. )

ETA: I talked to the guy at AACR, and he said that he'd make an exception since I called about it and explained the situation, but it had to be in by the 11th.
asimplechord: (stupid people)
Dear New Student:

a) Blow your damned nose. Snorting phlegm is gross under any circumstances, but doing it every minute or so is disgusting and annoying.

b) If your pants hang off your ass so that your boxers are exposed, you can always TIGHTEN YOUR BELT, and it will hold them on your hips. Otherwise, what's the point of the belt? In any case, I neither need nor want to see your plaid boxers bent over next to my bench.

c) Do not - DO NOT - ever again let me catch you putting an empty bottle back into the refrigerator or on the shelf. We will have words.

asimplechord: (Default)
+ I'm favoritemistake over at DW.

I'm not sure if I'm going to migrate everything, or just start with cross-posting, but I'm going to try to keep all fic and RL entries together over there. It's too much work to keep multiple journals and multiple usernames. I'll make a sticky-post (if the format allows it) with links to all fic. Eventually.

If you have a DW account with a name that's different from LJ, poke me or leave me a note.

+ The Idiot. *growls* We keep two tanks of CO2 so that whenever one runs out, whoever is there at the time (and you can't miss it, the low gas alarm is annoyingly loud) just closes one tank from the top valve and opens the other, never touching the regulators, and notes on the to-be-ordered list that a new CO2 tank is needed. Only he couldn't figure out what he was doing last time it happened (and really, I'm surprised he didn't just work right through the alarm, because he does that for every other fucking timer and alarm that goes off) so he opened both tanks' regulators as far as they could go. It caused the tubing to blow off, and instead of adjusting the pressure, he just taped the tubing together. In the process he emptied one tank entirely, and lost about half the pressure of the other. Which no one realized until the alarm went off today, and when I tried to switch to the supposedly full tank, both were empty.

asimplechord: (science!)
Wednesday afternoon I ran a Western. The Idiot did also.

I noticed when I was setting my transfer up that he had left his gel box out on the bench, full of used buffer, along with the paper liner for the membranes he used for the transfer. (Usually we dump out the buffer and rinse the apparatus off, because the salt will crystalize if you let the water evaporate, and that's not good for the electrode, which is a very narrow platinum wire. Once it's broken or corroded, the apparatus is no longer useful, and rather than selling the parts to fix the electrode, GE Biosciences would rather fill landfills with the old apparatus and sell you a new one. For $400.) I figured he was just busy, and he'd come back and clean up his mess when he was out of the tissue culture hood.

He didn't clean up after himself before I left.

I came in the next morning, and it was still there. I decided to see how long it would sit there, thinking that *surely* he would realize it was his mess.

Oh no. It was still there when I arrived this morning. Still there now, long after he's gone for the day. There is a crust of salt on the gaskets.

I've taken all the other gel boxes and given them to other lab members for individual use. If he wants to use one, he can clean the one he abused. He is not a child, and we are not here to clean up after him.

When is he going to be out of my workplace and my life? However soon it is, it won't be soon enough!

ETA: 22April09, 7pm. Still sitting there. It's been a full week.

ETA: 23April09. Got tired of it being in my way. Moved from the gel-running station to his bench. He appears not to have noticed its presence.


Apr. 14th, 2009 03:27 pm
asimplechord: (science!)
Dear Idiot,

I printed out a schedule with the days I'd be out of lab for YOUR edification. You were supposed to check with me to schedule that RBD assay (because you apparently can't do the fucking thing yourself) BEFORE you infected your cells in order to be sure that they'd be ready for the assay on a day that I wasn't either overbooked or absent.

Telling me today that you'll have cells for me to assay on Sunday? Means nothing. I will not be here on Sunday, and the cells can't be harvested and frozen for later analysis; the assay is finicky enough that it must be done immediately.

No, I'm not coming in just for this. I put in a leave request for this Friday-Monday weeks ago, and I'm going to be rocking out in New Orleans on Sunday.

It's really awesome that you wasted all that time and reagent simply because you can't follow directions, look at a calendar, and plan efficiently.

No love,
asimplechord: (Galaxy Quest)
The Nuclear Regulatory Committee requires six hours of training for anyone who will be occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation.

I performed said training at the Universities of Wisconsin and Utah, and when I moved here, the Radiation Safety Officer received a faxed copy of my certification from Utah, and said that was enough training.

Said person is on maternity leave, and the fax could not be found when the most recent surprise survey was held, so it was requested that I take the class again.

Fine, whatever.

I called and *specifically* asked if production of proof of previous training was sufficient, and was told that even though I had taken the class elsewhere, they wanted me to take it HERE, in case the procedures are different. (They aren't: ALARA through time, shielding and distance.)

So I did - the first half was today, second tomorrow. I had a question about one of the forms, so I talked to Chris, the guy teaching the class (I've dealt with him when I had storage and disposal questions), who asked, "I recognize you; why are you here?"

When I explained, he said, "That's dumb, I know we must have that on file somewhere. If you can produce a copy, you don't have to come back tomorrow."

Awesome. I just have to hope that Utah kept files from >5 years ago and will fax them to him before 9am tomorrow.

asimplechord: (cranky Horntail)
Dear Roadrunner Moving and Storage and BioMedical Solutions,

You had my contact information for a reason: so I could confirm in person the location of the hood installation when you arrived on-site.

No, my lab is not moved into that room yet. We're on another floor at the other end of the building, and I have lab responsibilities, so I can't spend the four hour window you suggested for delivery simply hanging out, waiting for you.

I met the company rep when we first scheduled the installation and sketched out the room's layout, and I explained why the hood had to go where it did (gas/vacuum source, emergency power for the incubators, etc.), but I wanted to be certain it was in the correct location.

You installing it, unsupervised, ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROOM? And then leaving without ever contacting me?


Get your asses back here and put it where it belongs.

No love,


Jan. 22nd, 2009 12:03 pm
asimplechord: (cranky Horntail)
Capslock and bold cannot adequately express my irritation.

1. SEARS' delivery service is retarded. Oh, excuse me, "logistically challenged" is more PC? FINE. I specifically scheduled delivery of our new fridge during business hours yesterday because the loading dock closes before 6pm. Getting a call at fucking 7:15pm from an ever-so-helpful customer service associate asking if I could just go down and open the doors? Useless. No, I can't open the doors. THAT'S WHY I SCHEDULED THE DELIVERY DURING THE DAY. The window for delivery was 3:45-5:45pm, and I TOLD the person who scheduled it that that was cutting it close, because if they were delayed, they wouldn't be able to deliver. Yes, I'll reschedule. Thankyouverylittle.

2. The people who designed the layout in our new TC room were NOT the people who will use it. The TC hood was ordered by yet another party. So, yeah. No convenient place to put the CO2 tanks, only one place to put the CO2 incubators - because they have to be powered by an outlet on the emergency generator - and the hood's fittings are right-handed. Which would be fine, b/c everyone but me is a rightie, and I am ambidextrous. But all the gas, air, and vacuum fittings (fittings, not just pipes, which could be plumbed)? Are on the left wall. We can either replumb the entire room, try to exchange our hood and wait on a new construction/delivery schedule, or string Tygon tubing across the room and into the front of the hood.

Which is a decision I cannot make without The Chief's input. And he is... out of town for the week.

3. The UV light in our old hood went out. I have learned through painful experience NOT to try to replace them myself. FIXT (facilities' repair) will do so. I requested a replacement. It took a week for my request to be filled. Unfortunately, The Idiot, who has difficulties understanding spoken English, was using the hood when the repairman arrived, and asked him to just leave the bulb - he'd replace it.

He did. He broke it. And now he wants someone to come fix it. He said he thinks it is the fuse, not the bulb. Which, okay, fine. If he had let the repairman do his job, that would have been checked and fixed, and we'd be fully functional now.

The Idiot came and asked if I called and asked the repairman to come back. Why, yes. But since it took A WEEK for him to get around to us the first time, I'm not optimistic that he'll be running right back to deal with this.

Why, yes, I love dealing with these problems over and over again. It's not like I have, you know, EXPERIMENTS TO DO or anything.

I am going to go have alcohol chocolate lunch, and ponder Bden/Shane D/s porn that Tabby planted in my brain. My happy-place for the day.


asimplechord: (Default)

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