Oh Look, Krill!

Oh don't worry. Whales don't eat clownfish, they eat krill.


I’m Supposed To Be Working

Or rather, at least reading the research papers I brought. Instead I’m just sitting here, at the basement of an empty campus and listening to the sounds of construction and the chirping of unidentified birds.

I’ve seen less then 50 people on campus, in the last two hours I’ve been here. It’s peaceful. Maybe just a little too peaceful since I find it too relaxing I even do work. All I want to do is to abandon my books and just lie in the sun for a little bit. However, the skies are turning grey so that might not be the greatest of ideas.

I think it’s just too nice a day to be stuck with just books and coffee for company, making it hard to motivate myself to work.


When Science Takes Over Your Sleep

I couldn’t sleep last night because I was worried that my mussels wouldn’t survive the night. It sucks when you don’t have any control over this.

I know that I’m not the first or only grad student to lose sleep over their project. I don’t enjoy it at all!

I just want this stupid project to get completed soon so that I can finally go back to having a good night’s rest.


I Fucking Hate Mussels

mussels

And I’ve barely started my damn project. The stupid things keep dying on me and have you seen a dead, decomposing mussel? They’re freaking disgusting because they don’t rot, they liquefy!

Now, imagine half a tank of those liquified fuckers! Do you know how rank the entire lab can be?!

Right now I have tank of about 60-70 mussels but when I went back to feed them and change the water today, third of those fuckers died and it was horrendous.

Seriously, if they keep dying on me like this, how the heck am I ever going to get anything done?!

Fuck you, mussels. Fuck you, I say!


So Not Ready For This

mussels

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading down to school to start with my research project. As I lay in bed this morning, thinking of the things that I need to do, I realised that I’m superbly unprepared for it. My tanks aren’t set up, I haven’t mixed the sea water and heck, so many other minute details that I need aren’t even done yet.

For the umpteenth time, I wish that I was a full-time graduate student instead of a part-time student trying to juggle school and work at the same time. I don’t have time for anything and now I’m starting to realise why my peers and my seniors before me took time off from work for a couple of months to do their project.

I’m scared. Very, very scared that I’m not able to finish my experiments and writing up my thesis by end of next year. I feel the panic starting to set in and I haven’t even started anything yet.

I know that I’ve been procrastinating a lot and yes, that’s my fault but now that it’s really starting, just thinking about the scale of the work that I’ll be doing, really scares me.

I’m just hoping for more time. Need a time turner. Like seriously.


The Quest For Higher Education – Learning Independently

mussels

I’m starting my last two years of my Masters candidature and with all the requisite classes done, it’s time to start on my project. It took me a while before I came up with a rough idea on what to do and after talking to my supervisor, I decided to do on the effect of heavy metal exposure on Asian green mussels, specifically on the glutathione levels in the mussels. I’m actually superbly stoked, excited and revving to start on it.

Unfortunately, before I could do that, I need to figure out how to go about to do this in a systematic way. In the past couple of days, I’ve read a pile of journal articles from scientists who have done similar works or what I’m planning to do. I didn’t realise that there were so many variations of the same thing and it confused me to the point of inducing a migraine.


Someone asked me, why didn’t I just ask my supervisor for help. The thing is, I know that my supervisor is the type to make you do your own research and will only help out if you’re really stuck. So I’m trying to learn independently and see if I can come up with a comprehensive, valid experiment by myself. So far, I have a rough idea of what I want to do but the minor details need to be worked out.

I must say that I’m learning a lot. I never knew that there were so many different ways you could do the same thing and trying to pick out the best way to do it, in the context of my project scope at least, is proving to be a little harder than I thought. So far, I’m learning that it’s not easy trying to plan an experiment without having the protocol given to you and that you have to make you own protocol sheet but at the same time, I’m getting a better understanding of the project and why it’s important.

I just hope that all this work will pay off and that ultimately, I get to do the science I want and the way I want it.


The One For Science

I’ve always loved the Science Centre ever since I was a child and I would never turn down the chance to go even if there wasn’t an exhibit going on. Fortunately for me, there was one and my friends and I just had to go.

Last Saturday, the Adventure Crew and I went down to the Science Centre to see the CSI Exhibition. Dude decided to tag along since he was in the area anyway. We decided to take the CSI plus the Centre exhibition package and due to the fact that Dude was a Starhub customer, we recieved a 20% discount. We ended up paying $16.80 instead of the usual $20, so with tickets in hand, we went to the Annexe building where the CSI Exhibition was held.

There were 3 cases to solve and between the 2 of us, Dude and I finished all three cases in under and hour. I didn’t think that the cases were all that difficult; you just need to be observant, a quick reader and well, have an interest in science. I think that my background made me unable to be too awed or wowed by the exhibition. It was cool and interesting but not something that would have made me go, “OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!”


Anyway, we completed the cases and successfully obtained the CSI Diploma that you can get once you’ve completed each case. You can get it emailed to you or pay $8 for it to be printed out at the exhibition merchandise area.

CSI diploma

After a superbly filling lunch at the buffet restaurant near the Omni Theatre, we went back to view the permanent exhibits at the Science Centre proper.

climbing
Photo courtesy of Seriously Sarah

It was fun, playing with the exhibit and rediscovering our inner children (not that my inner child is all that far from the surface anyway). There was a curve wall exhibit for the children, where they were to use Velcro-ed blocks to climb up the wall and press the red button at the top. Due to us being adults and not little kiddies, the Velcro blocks weren’t able to hold our weight, so we had to find other ways of getting to the top, which involved a running start and finding food holds that can hold our weight. If you’re wondering at the lack of pictures, that’s because I was having too much fun playing with the exhibits that I just couldn’t be bothered to whip out my camera and start snapping away.

science centre exhibits

Each of the different areas of exhibits were, in my honest opinion, very well done in a way that would get a child have a greater interest in science and math. The different areas covered various type of science, chemistry, biology and physics, with their own interesting exhibits. However, I wish that the exhibits were a little more robust so that they wouldn’t be under maintenance too often from being manhandled by the kids.

I would love to go back to the Science Centre before the end of the month as we missed the Dinosaur exhibit the last time we were there. Like I said, the inner child isn’t all that far from the surface and she loves dinosaurs. Who doesn’t, right? If you haven’t been to the Science Centre in a while, I would definitely recommend that you go down for a visit, just to let your inner child run free for a while.


It’s Only Wednesday And Yet…

The tiredness I feel is as if I’d gone through the whole week of work, non-stop.

science 1 small

I’m back in the lab again, after not doing an real, hard-core lab work in months. While part of me is groaning at how little time is left for me to hang out in front of the computer, most of me is exhilarated and excited about being back in the lab. I’m running around a lot, looking through my protocols, carrying ice, dodging people as I rush from one end of the lab to the other.

It’s tiring but this is what I live for; to do lab work but not necessarily my project. I’m actually happy being a lab drone. I actually feel like I’m in my element. As long as I can do my own thing without having to interact with too many people, I’m very happy.

Not being in the lab made me forget a few things. No, nothing to do with the science and the using of science equipment. I just forgot how my body reacts to long hours in the lab. I forgot how hungry I get after two hours in the lab, even if I did have a big meal before that. Also, frequent hand washing with harsh anti-bacterial soap dries out my hands badly and makes my nails brittle.

The experiments that I’m currently running will take about a few weeks to finish and I hope that I can finish it without incident, seeing that it’s my first time with this new protocol.

It’ll be interesting for sure. I just hope it’ll be a good kind of interesting.