Becka (miss_rynn) wrote,

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Lab business

Equipment. Last week, after years and months of whining, I finally got my own set of pipettes. Eppendorf research grade ones, including a 2-20uL, 20-200uL and a 200-1000uL. Finally I am done with using the shithouse general-use pipettes which are completely inaccurate. At last I no longer have to beg for the use of accurate pipettes from the one woman in the department who seems to ABSOLUTELY REQUIRE the use of SEVEN pipettes at once - an entire set for DNA work plus and entire set for PCR work. What the fuck is up with that.

Anyway, I have my own set now, and it brings me JOY. There is nothing like finally being able to reliably count on being able to use equipment which is accurate. I have hidden them, like the five year old I am, so that no-one else can sue them. Mine mine mine.

Change. After much whining of others, I have changed lab benches. Sure, it's just across the room, but given that I have no cupboard space or drawer space (because everything is already full) it meant a fairly major opperation. I have whole bunches of stuff, chemicals, consumables, pens, notebooks and the like, and it's all out on display. It took a while to organise, but it is all taken care of now. Considering it took me a few years of working here before I got a lab bench of my own anyway, I'm just happy that I've moved into an area of little traffic. Fewer people milling about my bench means fewer people to mess with my stuff.

I know that sounds petty, but when you are a scientist you have to rely on your equipment a great deal. You don't want to be in the middle of an experiment and find that something you need is missing because someone else 'borrowed' is. And don't get me started on autoclaved stuff - either someone has opened a tip-box and coughed all over it, or they have used all of the sterile stuff in bags which you lovingly prepared in bulk so you wouldn't run out.

Filthy sneaks, the lot of them.

Mice. I've started my mouse modle once more, and this one is a much large one. As a result, yesterday I had to deal with something like 74 mice all by my self. I work with BALB/c mice, little white, sweet-natured things which are usually quite a pleasure to work with. But not yesterday - oh no. Maybe it's because they aren't used to being handled yet, but they were all really really squeaky and squirmy, and generally hard to deal with. Not biting like Black 6 mice, but jumpy like CD28s (I think that's what they are - the really cute brown ones with shorter faces).

Typically, if one of the mice I work wioth squeaks, I let go of it (keeping a hold on it's tail so that it doesn't get away too far) and give it a breather. You know, let it sit on the back of my hand, let it look around, have a bit of a sniff, and generally calm down. They don't squeak because they are in any pain, just because they are stressed out a little. Needless to say, this slowed me down immensely.

I've never had so many attemped jail breaks in my time working with them. I'd be busy scruffing one of them, while others would squirm their way out of the box and want to go exploring across the table. I was in the middle of feeding one, when the next thing I knew there was a second mouse crawling up my arm. BALBs never jump, but I had to keep fishing mice out of my ice-bucket when they attempted to leap for freedom. Hopefully they'll be more used to handling when I dose them next.

Creeping Parinoia. I've had such a bad track record with this model that I am becoming super-parinoid about getting everything right, namely the chemostat. A few months ago I started adding my supplements to the media the day before I use it and leaving it in the incubator overnight, just to make sure that it wasn't contaminated. These days I am so scared about screwing up that I second guiess myself. The slightest haze in the media and I am filled with indecision, usually leaving the media an extra 12-24 hours just to be sure. This is not helped by the fact that my media, containing a fairly high concentration of rabbit serum, is normally slightly hazy.

I just want this to work so very badly, so that a) I can validate my previous results and b) so I don't have to repeat the fucker. I can feel the threat of an impending anxiety attack just *thinking* about the chemostat being contaminated, so I'd better sign off.
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