Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tagged By A "Meme"

Damn. I’ve been tagged for one of those blog “memes” (which is somewhat akin to the sociological term, HERE). In short, this is one of those phenomena of the blog world, which I consider to be similar to viral email chain letters, but more interesting. The rules are thus:

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

I have Tantalus Prime to thank for this, from a comment he left in a recent blog post. Normally I would ignore completely, but I have to admit to a certain bizarre interest in meaningless facts about strangers and thus assume you have the same interest in me. I’ll be a good sport this time, as I have a good deal of respect for Tantalus and his blog site, even if he is a damned robot. But I’m going to bend the rules in one regard, and completely break the rules in another. I’m bending by only talking about my facts/habits as regards to science, health, or working in biotech (the whole point of this blog, don’t you know). I’m flagrantly breaking the rules by not passing it on to eight other blogs. I don’t care to be part of the virus. So there. If you as the reader are so inclined, you can consider yourself “tagged” and take it upon yourself to continue the chain.

And if any of my tens of readers decide to tag me again, I will ignore completely, delete your comment, and leave a nasty-gram on your blog site. [insert scowl and gnashing of teeth]

So here are my eight random facts/habits about myself in regard to science, health, and working in biotech:

1) When working late at night or on the weekend at my biotech company, I sneak upstairs to the R&D Director’s office and snag some chocolate from the dish in his office lobby. Then, if I’m having extra trouble staying awake, I go up to the executive conference room. There’s a little food prep room with a fridge adjoining to the conference room. The door to the prep area is usually locked, but I crawl through the little service window between the rooms and steal a cola from the fridge. I consider this “donation” a tip for my undying loyalty and late night work, and since the only employees who got a bonus this year were the top executives, I’m not sorry at all for my theft and will likely continue illicitly feeding my late-night caffeine and chocolate addiction.

2) When I was around 11 or 12, my mom got me a kid’s chemistry set. It was a plastic affair with dozens of little bottles of compounds and some basic equipment. She also got me a basic microscope. I loved my little “lab”. It was probably the one best purchase she ever made for my career. But early on I lost the instructions (if there were any), and had little idea what experiments to do with it all. I had lots of “brilliant” observations on my own, though, like making tar out of wood, and discovering that the pH indicator, phenolphthalein, can also work as a preservative (using mashed poke berries as a model). This allowed me to use the berry juice as a non-molding purple ink to write with.

3) I once discovered a population of endangered lilies in the Rockies of central Idaho.

4) I daydream about leaving biotech and bench science and doing work for some forest ecology topic, as I had a couple summers of my college years. But there’s little money in it, I’m out of shape, and there are few full-time, year-long positions with which I could support my family. I’ll keep daydreaming. Maybe some day ….

5) A Bunsen burner leaked and started a fire in a histology lab I worked in during my Master’s studies years ago, made worse in part due to ignorance of an undergrad researcher and lab shelving that had been painted with flammable paint. There were a lot of flammable solvents around. I attempted to snuff the fire by inverting a giant beaker over it, which only shattered the beaker and made the fire spread. I then put it out with a fire extinguisher. What a mess. I let the undergrad clean it.

6) Because of the highly bureaucratic way my evil biotech company is run, it is almost impossible for lab rats like me to innovate new products and techniques there these days – a far cry from the way we used to do things at my work. So I have gone to doing unapproved, “underground” experiments to follow my intellectual curiosity whenever I get a few hours of unexpected down time (which, unfortunately, almost never happens now). I have told no one about them, and if asked, I will deny it. Maybe some day, when innovation is truly allowed again, I’ll reveal some new product ideas from it all.

7) I’ve nearly drowned twice (once in a swimming pool when I was around 10 years old, and once while undergoing river rapids training for the U.S. Forest Service in my college years). I had another close call while canoeing with my family as a teen. Perhaps I was saved by good karma, since I had saved a girl from drowning in a YMCA swimming pool when I was about 9 years old.

8) I love bugs. Almost a decade ago I was an entomologist, dissecting beetles, fruit flies, and moths to study their physiology, making observations about insect behavior, and collecting a particular family of beetles. Most of my studies were centered around insect reproduction. So much so, in fact, that when a friend’s grandmother heard what I did for a living, she dubbed me “Mr. Genitalia.” I don’t mind the nickname.

There you go. Eight “science” factoids about moi.

Tag, you're it, but only if you want.

Image taken from HERE.


Tantalus Prime said...

Thanks for playing. I admit that I probably should have done as you did and let the virus die with me.

Angry Lab Rat said...

Actually, it's fun to share.

Anonymous said...

Since no one else took you up on the 'TAG', I will! If I'm lucky, I may get to eight items...

1) I got my MS degree in reproductive biology and have done nothing job-related in that topic since grad school (out in 1980) except writing a paper on Viagra. OK, it was a fun paper to write, lots of "patient satisfaction" and "partner satisfaction" surveys to write about...but, c'mon...I went to school to help sell the little blue pill?

2) My husband-to-be fell for me (so he says) 'cause I could talk about decapitating rats in such a cool manner, especially about the little rat guillotine that we used in the lab!

3) My twin 10-yr old sons find it really strange that I know how the male urinary tract and its external parts work, even if I'm not a guy (OK, that is a little bit of an rebuttal to item #1, above).

4) My mom, a retired nurse, is now calling me with medical questions! Yep, I'm now the family expert on new drugs, drug side-effects, and all things pharmaceutical.

5) I left the world of big pharma after 9 years working for a non-pharma company (in the land of the "moon and stars") who wanted to become big pharma. I've been freelancing for more than 11 years and former coworkers fail to recognize me at conferences. Do I look happy, rested, successful, homeless? Don't know, but I go over and re-introduce myself to them just to watch their expressions!

6) Despite having worked in animal research for many years (mice, rats, rabbits, cats, dogs), I still find the idea of scraping chewed-up mouse parts off my porch (thanks to my cat) pretty darned disgusting!

7) Having grown up in suburbia, worked in big cities (both Detroit and Boston), and then moving to the country (more cows in our county than people), I think that I like "farm living a la Green Acres" more than the other two! No traffic (other than tractors and the school bus), no long commute (12 steps to my office), and the wardrobe can't be beat (shorts/t-shirt, bathrobe, etc.).

8) Of course, after thinking about #7, I do miss health insurance (covered by my husband's policy), business lunches (paid by my employer and NOT by myself), frequent flyer points. However, not enough to go back into industry for a living.


Anonymous said...

Ooops, make that "husband" in #2, we've been married for 13 years.

Angry Lab Rat said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I salivate at the thought of going "freelance".

Anonymous said...

C'mon over to "the dark side"! It isn't really all that scary, just need to find your niche and lots of mentors willing to help you find work!


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