Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday in the Lab

Ahoy! So I've been working at the lab today since 2:00, and man, I'm feeling good about it. It's like one of the first times I've felt like a real graduate student since I've gotten here. Perhaps a large part of the reason for this is the fact that grad students really like to complain about long hours in the lab, and I haven't been able to do that yet. Somebody'd always be like

"Man, I just left the lab, and did you know it's autumn now?! Ridiculous how much they have us work."

And I'd always mumble something vaguely affirming in their direction, just so they don't realize I am a massive slacker who, in fact, does things entirely unrelated to chemistry in his spare time. But now? Now, whenever a fellow student complains of working weekends, I can nod knowingly, basking in the bond of shared suffering all grad students theoretically share. But that's not all-- If I'm feeling especially successful, I could instead peer at him over the rims of my lab glasses whilst saying nothing, as if to say "Surely this is nothing to complain about, lazy person." And then I'll swagger past, head high, while the unfortunate fellow I've just shut down thinks to himself,

"Now that's a graduate student."

The possibilities are limitless.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reviewing Articles in Biochem Class: A Parable

Professor Heron: All right, what does everyone think of this toaster? Useful? Important? It appears to make delicious toast.
"That Guy": Well, Professor, that may be so, but I'll have you notice that it does not scramble my eggs.
Professor Heron: I don't--
"That Guy": Hapbupbup! I'm not finished. Nor does it assist me in driving to the mall on weekends, or-- and this is the final straw-- give me back massages when I arrive home in the evening. I pronounce this a mediocre device, worthy of nothing but rejection and belittlement.
Professor Heron:

tl;dr: Toast is delicious.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the one hand, I've got stuff to do... (part one)

On the other, I have blogging to do! And the blogging gets much harder the further I go from the event on which I am blogging. Which, in this case, is Sakuracon! I have thus compiled a step-by-step guide by which you, too, can live the Con experience!

Step One:
Find a bus going from your own location to the Con. Step outside, wait for bus.

Step Two:
Realize that you are attempting to catch the 2:00 AM bus, while Father Time, despite your elaborate and strongly-worded threats against his person, stays resolutely in the 2:00 PM area.

Step Three:
Go to Google Maps again after reacquiring access to a computer. Find a separate bus going to the Con.

Step Four:
Realize that you had the wrong stop, and that the bus did, in fact, go by ten minutes ago on a parallel street right next to you. Venting your rage on a nearby trash can may assist you at this stage, but this step is purely optional and can be taken at your discretion.

Step Five:
Go to Google Maps again after reacquiring access to a computer. Check and re-check time and location of the bus, including days of service. Print out a detailed map. Go back to bus stop. Wait.

Step Six:
The bus doesn't come. FOR SOME REASON.

This is you. Trufax.
Step Seven:
Realize the fundamental truth of Murphy's Law, and the ineffable cruelty of the universe. Realize that your own pitiful existence is as naught when set against the terrible, icy void between the stars. Realize that you need to check Google Maps again.

Step Eight: Arrive at Sakuracon! Recall the fact that glomping is an entirely acceptable form of greeting here-- especially of greeting Captain Hammer! Which is you.

Above: Sakuracon.

Step Nine: Compliment other cosplayers on their costumes. This act actually loosens you up considerably, drawing you further into the camaraderie of the Con, enabling progression to...

Step Ten:
Burst into song at the slightest provocation. Join a group doing Caramelldansen. Get many more friendly glomps by attractive womenfolk.

Step Eleven:
Find someone cosplaying from the same show (in this case, a Doctor Horrible.) Decide on impulse to conscript said congoer for the cause of obtaining more photographs. Wild success ensues, particularly after conscription of a second Doctor.

Depending on the size of your group at this point, you may or may not be able to pick up the larger congoers, and eventually the Convention Center itself.

Step Thirteen:


"What the hell, Aaron! Why would you even have a flashlight out now?!"

Step Fourteen:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Man, I haven't written in a long time. Too long of a time, in fact! So here I am, rectifying the situation. Nothing too much has changed with me since last quarter, except that the OChem class is less intense than last quarter's. Well... there is one other thing.

I'm actually starting work in lab!

And I don't mean what I've been doing last quarter, which really amounted to preparing to start labwork. I mean I'll actually be beginning my research now. Crazy. I've got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it means I can stop bugging Natasha whenever I want to get something done, because now I know how to use most of our lab equipment in a fashion not likely to get myself maimed, burned, or horribly scalded. Plus, I'll actually feel like a member of the lab now, not a random outsider that keeps showing up to lab meetings for some reason.

On the other hand...

I've never performed any novel chemistry without the guidance of a professor or a more-senior student. There was my senior thesis, it's true, but that was actually very limited in scope, and mostly just involved me, some proteins, and the QCM-- no real, honest-to-God chemistry required. So replicating reactions from journal articles alone will be a novel experience for me. And a good one, I think! It'll be neat to really, truly start doing some chemistry research. Particularly since I've just gotten to the point where I can understand what's being written in journal articles germane to my project, and why it's significant, and in what ways it's indicating areas of potential progress in my field.

So on balance, I think I'm looking forward to getting this show on the road! If nothing else, it might mean a decrease in those dreams where I'm several weeks into the semester before suddenly realizing that I've missed several lectures from the really brutal engineering class which I absolutely need to pass in order to graduate, and then I realize the finals are tomorrow and tomorrow is now and I can't find the finals building, also I don't have any pants, where are my pants WHERE ARE MY PANTS.