Sunday, January 18, 2009

Setting the Lab on Fire

Given the title there might be some speculation as to what happened in said lab. Did Karen literally set the lab on fire or is she talking figuratively? Well folks my prospects for the figurative sense definitely don't do it for me. While I like the Dishwasher he is way too young for me and I think of him as a friend. I have discussed my loathing of the more my age male grad student before, if you're new I despise him and wish he would go back where he came from (Wisconsin, if it weren't for Loren messing up my stereotype that Wisconsinites suck I'd go into that... way to redeem your home state Loren!), and neither are my type anyway. Oh yeah, the prof's son works in the lab too, also not a candidate for doing the figurative setting the lab on fire thing* being not my type and seriously going after one of my committee member's kids would definitely raise some eyebrows if he were!

All of that to say that I literally set the lab on fire. And by I set the lab on fire I mean I set a fire in the lab. This is actually a somewhat common occurrence given that I use a glass spreader when I spread plate and have to ethanol flame it between uses, as somewhat shown in the crappy video I made in an earlier post about spread plating. Once in awhile while flaming the spreader a drop of burning ethanol (95%) can fall off the stick and land on the lab bench. The black bench top is designed to be fire retardant (or maybe fire-proof, not sure) and so this is not a problem. The drop normally burns until it has burned off the ethanol and then goes out, no need to panic or get excited, it is actually kind of cool to watch. This however was not the case the other night.

Side view

A few nights ago I was plating the last set of samples for the day and talking to Niecey on the phone. The little imp has discovered that if she hits the redial button on the phone that it will call my cell. This works the majority of the time since my family is somewhat anti-social and I am one of the few people who is called using that phone. While a little awkward I am capable of doing most lab work with the phone balanced between my shoulder and ear so I answered and chit chatted with her for a bit. I saw the drop of flaming ethanol drop like I've seen probably 100 times and watched as it went under the test tube rack that I put the used tubes in. At this point I paused to watch it until it burnt out and then started spreading the plate.

Top view

As I was finishing spreading the first of two plates I shifted my focus from the plate to the suddenly up in flames test tube rack! Niecey got to hear what Auntie Kee says when she gets startled with something of that nature, it involved many repetitions of the cuss word Forest Gump made a slogan out of. Thankfully for me she already knows that one and so I was not teaching her a new word, more the proper application of said word. I finished spreading the plate I was on while trying to hold the phone and blow on the rack in hopes that would put out the flames that were quickly growing and burning towards the tubes the rack was holding. Blowing on it did not help, thankfully I was able to finish spreading the plate quickly and then I grabbed the rack and took it to the sink where I doused it with water. The test tubes in it seemed to actually protect the part of the rack they were in, thank goodness! I did NOT need to have that part burn and the tubes to start falling down into the flames. It definitely could have been worse, no one got hurt and it wasn't even that much of a fire. It was a freak accident that will hopefully never happen to me again, especially since I now know that a small drop of ethanol that looks like it burnt out is enough to light up a rack!

Angled Close Up

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~

*While all this talk about doing a figurative setting the lab on fire thing may sound like a good plot for a porno I definitely wouldn't recommend it. Not based on experience mind you, that has so never happened, more from a I know most of what is worked on in the lab and can only imagine the rest. It would be a situation where you could walk away with a STD (aka STI and VD), diarrhea, and purple^ and green^ markings on your butt. If that floats your boat go for it, just don't let me know about it!
^PW, the male grad student, has been working with stains lately, specifically crystal violet and malachite green, he is a slob (one of the many reasons he is the object of my loathing). I have gotten dyed a few times, at first I was confused but quickly figured it out and just sigh and wish my boss would let me whack him with a newspaper like I keep asking her if I can but she keeps saying no...


loren said...

Heeheehee (evil laugh)... oopsies!

The Microblogologist said...

Seriously you all need to cull out people like the lab jerk, they totally give you cheeseheads a bad name!

Weaselmomma said...

You really should now be allowed to cook without adult supervision.

K'man said...

My take (so glad you asked) is that Wisconsinites DO suck. Such is why Loren's family had to pack up and move out of the state.
In fact, were it not for cheese, beer, walleye and Packers, no one could stand any part of the state and it would be renamed West Detroit.
BTW, when you DO decide to set fire to the lab (in a metaphor) you don't need to post it on your blog that your family reads.
Post it on a guest blog over at Loren's. Her blog is much more appropriate for that type of boasting.

The Microblogologist said...

WeaselMomma: I am definitely allowed to cook in both the lab and my apartment without adult supervision. I'm also allowed to work unsupervised, though my boss does not like me working alone for fear I will maim myself (again). Freak accidents like this are not THAT common for me, lol.

Kevin: Thanks, my very foundation was shaken with the concept that not all Wisconsinites and their state suck! Also you don't think my (insanely prude) mother would like to read about my fornicating in the lab!? I was thinking it would be a good way to teach Niecey, who does sometimes read my blog, about the birds and the bees.

McMommy said...

Listen MB (that's my nickname for you because I always screw up spelling microblogbioologisssst)...

You can't be telling me about how you set labs on fire!!! Cause in my head you are all super duper smart and important and people in white coats are all "MB, we need to know your findings on what kind of bacteria that was STAT!!!" And basically you save the world from flesh-eating bacteria.

If I know that you are setting labs on fire, it kind of ruins the image in my head that you are some sort of science superhero who saves the world.

So just lie to me, ok MB??? :)

The Microblogologist said...

McMommy: Hehe, I have trouble spelling it half the time! Err...I mean I am totally smart enough to spell my own blog name and never ever get it mixed up with my job title... And microbiologists are a bit pyrophilic by nature, we flame practically everything. The situation was under control, I am a professional you know ;).

Also I am saving the world with health benefiting bacteria. Most of which fight the bad ones in an epic war in your guts. Have I restored my image? Oh and my boss totally wants my findings STAT, she is pretty important so that makes me important too.

Thanks for stopping by =)!

nonna said...

you left out one way you could be on fire in the lab you know, the GOOD way, as in you are spread plating like mad and doing everything right and just on FIRE. lol but since you weren't i'm just glad you didn't burn up your secret stash of chocolate. you know you have one in there somewhere even if you do get mad at others for eating in the lab. hehe

oh, and WTF! you have McMommy reading AND commenting AND nicknaming you??? soooo jealous :)

The Microblogologist said...

Nonna: I would never write about how awesome I am doing in the lab because that would have that bastard Murphy all over my butt. Murphy will probably bring the contamination fairy along too. The fact I told my boss things were going good and now have a couple contaminated plates proves it! Besides perfection is expected, I am a researcher with OCD tendencies.

You are hilarious but there is definitely not a chocolate stash in the lab. My chocolate supply is in my apartment, were I to bring some to work I have an office to leave it in that is not connected to the path lab, lol. There are rules that I do bend/break but that is not one of them, I have enough problems without picking up one of the bugs the others work with, and how embarrassing it would be!

Not to make you more jealous (lying!) but she also told me she loves me in an e-mail. I am so going to get her to adopt me so I can be a Floridian and kiss this weather goodbye!

nonna said...

an email?!?!?! and an "i love you"???

wait a min. what did you do to get those?? hmmm? was there a little bit of micro mclovin goin on there or what??

cuz ya know..i'm not about that either :)

oh.. and Mr.Lady comments on mine, so there!

The Microblogologist said...

Nonna, a lady never tells ;). It was definitely a sweet e-mail though, if I ever need to blow up my ego on the blog I'll have to ask her if she minds my posting part of it. I don't read Mr. Lady's blog but she is definitely a high ranking blogger celebrity *cough McMommy kicks her ass cough*.