This Week Last Year: August 20th – 26th, 2010

Posted By on August 30, 2011

August 20th, 2010

They stole my blood today. Blood tech was a pro. I told him about my entire thesis before he finished. Extreme nausea all day.

.: Anyone with enough dexterity to write their name legibly can, with a few hours of training and a steady supply of patient guinea pigs, learn how to stick a vein. The man who took my blood knew his way around a needle, yes, but he also knew how to handle people who couldn’t handle needles. I started sweating as soon as he brought the syringe in view, and he knew immediately what was going to happen next.

“So what do you do?”

.: He didn’t bother looking at me, the needle having just made contact with the skin. I knew he didn’t care about my answer, but I also knew he was just trying to distract me, and at the time that sounded like a great idea, so I told him everything. I gave him my elevator pitch on tryptophan inhibition as an alternative to antibiotic selection, and like a professional he pretended to understand everything I told him. Probably only twenty seconds passed, but it felt more like 28 seconds thanks to a quirk in temporal perception that humans experience when afflicted with anxiety.

August 21st, 2010

Lunch w/ Jack & Holly at Skylark – awesome food. Pal did a PCR w/ my primers – the first in a long time – and it worked for him (not with me though). Watched Rocky w/ Holly.

.: Skylark is a diner that’s too good to be a diner. They know they’re too good, they know they serve excellent food at non-diner prices, yet they still consider themselves a diner. They even have a beverage cart.

.: I love Skylark. I love their steak burger with its mash potato toppings and malt vinegar’d french fries, and I love their $5 glass of orange juice because they must go through 17 oranges just to make it. On this day Holly and I met up with Jack, who addressed Holly by her surname, a designation which she claimed she’s wanted to catch on for some time. There’s nothing like informal formality to foster familiarity. Plus, her last name is just way more fun to say than her first.

August 22nd, 2010

Wasted entire fucking day organizing CDs. Stealing WiFi from neighbor brings back bad habits. No more internet.

.: I convinced myself not to buy internet service at my new apartment, reasoning that the absence of meaningless stimulation would motivate meaningful pastimes or at the very least encourage me to leave the house, if only to find a place with Wi-Fi. And for a few weeks it worked! I started reading books again, and I stopped staying awake deep into the night. Then I found that if I placed my laptop in certain corners of the house I could pick up an unsecured Wi-Fi signal from the neighbors and, well, every single one of my internet-influenced bad habits came back. Compounding this breakdown of the will was the Wi-Fi’s broken signal; simply speaking, loading Youtube videos was an activity to be planned around rather than assumed. This meant I would spend more time on the internet, if only to wait for the damn videos to load.

August 23rd, 2010

Back in the lab. Every corn callus contaminated. Fucking hell.

.: These would be the special maize lines sent to us from Hungary. As finicky as corn calli can be, they hold up remarkably well in internationally mailed parcels.

.: I made two mistakes when transferring these calli to fresh media: 1) I did not ensure the new media was properly sterilized, and 2) I transferred all of them in one go. So, when I finally did notice the bacteria freely swimming about everything, I had no recourse but to ask the Hungarians to send another parcel. In the same week. After they had mailed me what was essentially a year’s supply.

August 24th, 2010

Holly had an upset stomach while waiting at my place, so I had Keith run her up some Pepto Bismal.

.: Among Keith’s many virtues is his willingness to help others — he’s downright enthusiastic about it. Telling him, “No thanks, I got this” is about the saddest thing he ever hears. You might as well tell him, “No thanks, go be useless somewhere else.”

.: I was busy in lab and couldn’t leave when I learned that Holly was sick with an upset stomach, so I called Keith to see if he’d be willing to bring some Pepto Bismal up to her. He was and, according to Holly, it was the cutest thing ever.

August 25th, 2010

Jack’s birthday at Edison diner. Switched clothes with Kyan. Put Phil Collins records in the bathroom. Holly did my dishes and made me spaghetti. What a girl!

August 26th, 2010

Hosted Stone Soup for the first time. Three people showed up.

.: When I first came to Jersey, I wanted to uncouple the stress of grad school from the stress of moving to a new area, so I arrived three months before school started. I spent those first months finding new and interesting people. This was most easily accomplished once I was introduced to Stone Soup, at the time a biweekly gathering of various Highland Parkers and New Brunswickians, mostly of the artist variety. I met a great deal of my current friends from those nights, so I was saddened when I learned the main host of Stone Soup was moving and closing shop. Knowing how important those nights were for me when I first started, I readily offered my place as the new spot for Stone Soup activities. The rest of the Stone Soup contingent, however, seem less ready for the change in venue, and on my first night as host only three people showed up. Those three people, though — they got to eat some sweet ass pancakes, so I’m calling this one a success.

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