Sunday, February 25, 2007

if my life depended on sterile technique, I'd actually survive today

Yep, my cells were plated last night. There is no sign of a bacterial infection, we have a winner! I am now dealing with the stinky stuff and will be on the microscope by 11am at the latest. Mind you, now that this is working other things aren't. When flies die prematurely, like before you can cross them to a transposase to maybe mobilise the P element again, that sucks. Having to tell the supes that the fabulous idea of not waiting for the new transformants to come through, just crossing the old stock, on the wrong chromosome, to a transposase, isn't going to work because the old stock is dead. That sucks. Maybe I won't tell him. Well, not yet.
Enough of the nerd speak, I know that a whole bunch of people (well maybe 5 or so of you) didn't understand that and didn't want to. What else is news you ask me? Well, SKW, housemate and new public servant, is moving out. She's found a place closer to her job in the south. She's moving sometime in the next month, she failed to tell me exactly when. I am pleased to know that she won't be living out of her car after E moves in. Yep, we've got a new housemate lined up. So, it's all things a changy in my house.
JJF has applied for the AFP and has been accepted for testing. It would be hilarious if he was in the feds.
I have joined film group again this semester and went and saw Children of Men on Saturday night. I managed to sit, once again, next to the freak in the theatre. Hooray! I don't know how I manage it but I do. Almost every time there is a reasonably full session of a film, the freak sits next to me and wants to chat, during the film. Buh! Apart from that though I really enjoyed the film and absolutely loved Michael Caine. He's fabulous, "pull my finger".
I have dancing tonight. I'm teaching a whole bunch of people in the ANU Bar, come along at 6.30pm if you have nothing to do. It's going to be shirtloads of fun. I have made a playlist and it includes a lot of Cab Calloway. I have found he's a really good guy to listen to when you are running at the gym. Something to do with the pace and beat of his stuff. It's great. I particularly like 'A chicken ain't nothing but a bird'. Apparently you couldn't fool Columbus, because Columbus was smart, a chicken ain't nothing but a bird. Anyway, dancing should be good fun. We had a whole bunch of people there last week and it went really really well. We even made a small profit. Woo!
Oh yeah, I bough stripper shoes last week. Will post a photo when I get one. They are hilarious. Almost impossible to walk in, but they do the job for pole dancing and that's the important thing. They have clear soles and are black patent leather. *roar*
I don't think there is anything desperately interesting left in my life of the last little while, how sad. So I'll head back to the stinky chemicals and the biohazard hood and bring more tales of crap here later.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

if my life depended on sterile technique, I'd be dead

So, trying to do the stinky experiment this week. You know the one with the cells that I either kill or won't attach? Yeah, those fuckers. Well, turns out my sterile technique isn't. I completely suck at tissue culture. Now this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone out there, least of all the woman who has been forced to transfect cells three times already in an attempt to get this experiment working. I think I'm cursed. The worst of it is, I am reliant on someone else to do stuff for me, to at least get transfected cells. This means every time I fuck up, the more work she has to do and I really don't want to waste her time like this. It's so frustrating. So I've had my little cry in the office, the advantage of being in the lab so early, you won't get caught. Now it's time to go to the fly room and hope like hell I haven't infected them with bacteria. At least there is little risk of that.
What to do with all the spare time I have now acquired? A bit more self-flagellation should do. Then maybe some hitting something very hard. I'm rather unimpressed that they've taken the boxing bag down at the gym, I could do with hitting the crap out of something.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

hands up who gets to go the beach tomorrow. ME!!!

Tomorrow morning is going to be a busy one for me. I'm picking up BT to take him to the gym at 5.30am. He's going to Singapore tomorrow, and doesn't want to drive to the gym and then have to drop his car back home, before coming into the city to catch the bus to get to Sydney, to get to Singapore. So I'm driving him to the gym first thing.

I'm then heading to the last boot camp of the season. It's been a hard 4 weeks. I'm still bloody sore today from yesterday morning with Vince, the hot Jamaican.

After boot camp, I'm into the lab briefly to get some fly work done and to have a shower.

Then I'm off to the airport to pick up the boy.

Then we are going to the beach!!!

We're off to Narooma for two days of sun, wearing a hat, sea, without jellyfish I hope and relaxation, read: shagging. I'm very much excited. Then after the beach it's back to Canberra.

Saturday night we're going to the Stomp at the Albert Hall for some good tunes and the dancing. I think I'll be mostly doing the dancing and the boy will be listening to the tunes and eating his body weight in chips that are usually on the tables.

What's news you ask? I have bruises again from pole dancing. On the tops of my feet no less. I have sore muscles from boot camp. I have tissue culture cells that hate me and don't want to spread out like good little cells. I handed out a lot of flyers today advertising my swing dancing class. ANU, Monday night, at the bar, 6.30pm, $10 students, shit loads of fun. My flyers read:
Good music-guaranteed
Great dancing -guaranteed
Getting laid- guaranteed*
*not a guarantee

It got some giggles and amused me. I hope some of them turn up! Otherwise it's hanging about with Chris and trying to stop myself from drinking lots of beer.

Most importantly in the next little while though is the visit from the boy. I am hanging out to see him. It's been about 6 weeks and I'm ready for a visit. I'm not sure when we'll see each other next, so I'll have to make the most of his visit. Work is going to get very busy from now on and I don't know how much time will be devoted to travelling. But I've rabbited on enough about that already.

Oh, yeah, and I settled with the insurance company today. Give me 6-8 weeks and I'll be richer. How much richer, you may ask me in private.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

why I suck at tissue culture and other stories

I've got one experiment that requires tissue culture left to do. It's a positive control for the really shit labeling system that I was trying to get to work in Drosophila. Unfortunately, I suck at tissue culture. I have no idea why I suck so badly at it, but I do. I had cells ready to go yesterday, but they weren't adherent enough, so I figured I'd leave them for the night and get in early this morning. Which is great in theory, but not so great in practice. I get here at 6.15am and find that the cells are flat, they are all spiky and not looking great. Certainly no good for the labelling steps that were required. FUCK! So now I'm in the process of trying to get more cells set up so that maybe I can do the labelling this afternoon. Maybe. It's so frustrating to suck at something that others find so simple. This time I don't even know what was wrong with the cells. Only that they weren't right. At least last time it was obvious that I had bacteria wriggling around in there.

I even got someone to do the transfection for me so that I wouldn't contaminate the cells too early in the process. I wish I'd been able to convince that same person to get the cells onto the slide for me. Maybe if this fucks up and I don't have any cells to work with I can convince her to do it. It's a massive favour to ask, but perhaps chocolate will be my friend and get me the help I need. Or diet Coke, or sushi?

Onto other stories. Last night we had an awesome thunderstorm. I made it home just in time to avoid the rain. I got to sit inside and just enjoy the fact that the garden was getting some water and that I didn't have to go out again. I had the house to myself. LJS was doing a bomb search (she's in the bomb squad, how cool is that?) and SKW was, as I found out later, in Sydney for some purpose or other. On a side note, SKW has started her new job doon sooth and is looking for somewhere else to live. With the rental market so tight, I think it's been difficult. This has meant that bomb-girl and myself have been asking around for a new housemate. Not to put the mockers on it, but I think we may have found someone. Will tell more when I know more. But it could be really, really good!

So anyway, doggo and I spent the night in front of the teev,waiting for my lamb curry to cook. I've made this curry before, it's from a packet mix from the indian shop, that is below the pole dancing studio. It's a very, very hot curry, or at least, hot to me. But it's so goddamn tasty! I made enough for three meals and added chick peas for a bit of variety. I'm quite looking forward to eating it. It did, however, take a long time to cook. So it was a late one for me last night, which made getting up before six even more fun.

What else you ask? I'm off to a WIS (women in science) yum cha today. Should be good for a giggle and full of pork and prawns to boot. Last time I went to yum cha in Canberra, I ended up going with a muslim and a jew. You realise how much pork and prawns are in yum cha when two of the 6 people you are eating with, can't/won't eat them. But I love a bit of pig and am not too adverse to the shellfish, so today will be great. I'm looking forward to the pork buns and the various dumplings and all that good stuff. I'm salivating as I type.

Yesterday, thinking of food, I went to the multicultural festival. This predominantly consists of lots of food stalls and displays of various national dances and music on two stages. I was watching some, guessing here, dancers from Vanuatu(?) while eating some souvlaki. I had to leave, though, when the song came on that had approximatly the following lyrics "We're your mate. Something something great." It was really painful to listen to. Give me crazy singing, give me drums, give me interesting instruments I've never seen before. But please, don't go into the 'look at us, we're Aussies, we are. See, we're using the term mate to show how we are totally Aus'. I'm completely convinced that they're Aussie. I don't need some John Howard-esque use of mate and mateship to convince me that you belong here. I'd much rather see you showing off the culture of the country your family came from originally. Even if they came here 200 years ago. You can, I would hope, as an Australian, be proud of where your family originally came from, and be proud of the stuff you get up to here. I know I am. I love all the German stuff, and it is definitely part of who I am. Got to love a bit of bratwurst and sauerkraut and punctuality. I don't know where I'm going with this rant, so I'll stop. Suffice to say, the dancing was great, the song was shithouse.

I'll get into the joys of little britain later and tell you all about my 'I'm the only gay in the village' t-shirt. But for now, I'm off to the fly room to collect me some virgins and yell at the little bastard to breed!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

little britain

I'm going to little britain live tomorrow, in Sydney. It's going to be awesome! I have a friend who I'm currently doing the pole dancing course with, who went in Melbourne. She loved it. I think I'm going to have to do something to ensure my face doesn't hurt from too much smiling/laughing. Yay!

I had a really good meeting with my supervisor today, huzzah! Looks like I'm going to Europe to go to two conferences. The first is a cell/molecular/developmental biology conference in Dresden and the other is the 20th European Drosophila Research Conference in Vienna. It's going to be great fun. The boy and I are going over together and looking for work/visiting people while we are over there. I'm very excited about it. It also gives me a good goal, get my lab work finished before then. I'm probably going to have to book tickets pretty soon. At least I'll get my ticket funded. The rest I'll have to fund myself, but that'll be okay I'm sure. So, I'll be off in late August and back by the start of October, end of September at the earliest. Yay for science and yay for nature magazine that showed me the first conference, which you can find more information about here:

Okay, what else is news? My friend JJF has actually really decided to leave Canberra, after threatening it for 2.5 years. He's apparently sick of the whole place and is looking to move to Melbourne or Perth. I've got my fingers crossed for Melbourne, but that's just me being selfish and wanting to be able to hang out with my mates. BT is about to head off to Singapore for a family holiday and his delightful girlfriend GT is about to go to Vietnam, then Singapore. Lucky buggers! Because BT is one of three boys, GT gets a lot of attention from BT's mum, and gets lots and lots of really tasty food. I'm quite the jealous. I wish I had someone so delighted by my presence that they cook me really good food.

Oh and as a final note before I go to the gym, we cleaned our carpets on Saturday. The three ladies of chez Scullin hired a steam cleaner after the cleaners cancelled on them. It was hard work, especially as it was hot on Saturday, and the crap that came out of that carpet and not even worth thinking about. But the carpet is now quite lovely and clean-er. I don't think it would hurt to give it another going over. But I'm buggered if I'm doing that again, it really was hard work. Add to that the wet carpet smell that you get after, it'll be a while until I want to do that shit again.

Friday, February 02, 2007

laptops, bootcamp and pole dancing

New things in my life include, a macbook, bootcamp and pole dancing classes again.

I love my new shiny laptop! It's white, and pretty and is going to be dear friend over the next year while I write my thesis and work hard. Hooray! I got it yesterday and am just waiting for the IT guys to come and install all the software I need on it. Then it's bombs away and I'll be going nuts! Wheeee!

Bootcamp has been going for two weeks now, I've been 3 times. It's been hard work, especially getting up at 5am. I am always nervous when I have to get up early and as a result I end up waking up too early, or having nightmares. I had a horrible on on Wednesday night about dismembered corpses being found in my building. I woke up at 4.30am, freaked out and needing to pee. Buh! But apart from my nighttime silliness, the bootcamp itself is pretty good. Tuesday we have Vince, who is 6 foot, with lovely muscles and a lovely accent. I think he's from Jamaica or somewhere like that. He rolls his r's as he tells us to rrrrun, rrrrun! *roar* He's also really enthusiastic, and that helps with motivation. Thursday is Michael, who I think is pretty bored training us. But we still work hard, just with a little less enthusiasm. I'm enjoying the energetic feeling I get after the early mornings with lots of exercise. But, the evening slump, which had me in bed at 8.30pm last night, is less great. Two more weeks to go and I'll see if I'm any fitter as a result.

Pole dancing started on Tuesday night. I have my first bruise of the season and it's all good fun. I'm going with a good mate from work. We laughed ourselves silly and I think we're both looking forward to next week.

Hmmm, what else is news? I'm going to Sydney next week to see Little Britain live. That should be great fun. I'm going with my mate JJF, we're driving up and maybe staying with his brother. That would be good, as the brother has a pool! Whee! We'll be coming home the next day, I have too much work to do to spend the weekend in Sydney, fun though that would be. Work is going well, just a little busy. I'm getting rather excited and have lots of plans. I have a meeting with the supes on Tuesday. I am hoping to be well organised for that meeting and present an outline for my introduction. Anyway, work to to, flies to do horrible things to. Best be off.