Its been an even longer time…

June 19th, 2007

I always start these things with much enthusiasm that peters out in about 5 minutes. On the off chance anyone is interested, lets have an update on what has changed.

  1. We are homeowners. We bought our first house (a 3 bedroom terrace in a less desierable part of town) back in January.
  2. I went back to Uni (October 2006) to do an MSc in Systems Biology. This should lead to a PhD starting October ’07.
  3. Hamsters have changed round a bit. We still have Archie and Reggie (Theo passed away in May). Robos we have Psyche, baby Redrum, and “the girls”, Alysia, Zosima, Little ‘un and Pearl. We acquired a breeding pair of winter whites (who despite a lot of effort on the male’s part have yet to produce babies), Hank and Peggy.

They say nothing ever changes but the shoes, which clearly is not true. I have 2 new pairs of shoes since the last post.

Oh dear, its been a while.

August 10th, 2006

Life has been busy recently, and there are a few things I should probably add, back date etc.

In May, we went to Thorpe Park for Sam’s 21st, which was really good. I’ll steal some pics off Mike and add those.

The start of June I handed in my project, waited to see if I had a viva, then finally got my result. I got a 2.1. We also went to Drayton Manor, which was fun. At the end of the month I returned to Market Research, its just for the summer…its just for the summer.

July, graduation. I am now officially Emma Picot BSc (Hons) Biochemistry. Before that, we had a night in Blackpool, great fun, and saw some red squirrels at Formby.

That’ll do for now.

Stupid Americans

May 15th, 2006

Apparently, .com is for American sites only. If you have a .com domain, that implies you’re from the US. That means you!

All us little British Chaps and Chapesses should settle for the lowly .co.uk, and keep our grubby mitts off the shiny, golden .com. If we use it, we’ll only confuse people, despite America having .us (try www.grouphug.us if you’d like an example). Although from what I was aware of, .co.uk was originally a business suffix (.org.uk being an organisation, ac.uk a British Educational institute, .gov.uk UK government et cetera). There is a .uk but that seems to be rarer than the .us.

Clearly, .com is an abbreviation for .communist, so for all you Americans who pledge allegiance, I urge you, avoid .commies!

An end to lab fun?

May 15th, 2006

I realised today I only have a fortnight left on my lab project. At first, the actual subject seemed pretty boring, but now i’ve really got into it. Having struggled so far with one half of my mutants (three times they’ve died, I only have one surviving to produce protein). Now there are the opportunities of extra substrates, possible inhibitors and…crystallisation!

 I love crystallisation, my first experience (beyond copper sulphate and a bit of string) was back in January in our “Structural Molecular Biology” lab. We took a tray with 24 wells, and using a range of pH and bits and bobs, found out which was the best to crystallise. Of course, we only looked at what actually crystallised, not the structure etc. I don’t understand the whole turning scattered electron images back into a real 3D structure, but it’s amazing.

I’m starting to realise maybe I am getting too into this whole science thing.

In other news, I was chatting to Adrian (one of the doctors in the lab) at lunch time, and saw Sarah from the other side of the hall. Rather than “hello” she shrieked “What is wrong with your eye?”…turns out its gross and bloodshot (and has been all day) but no one thought to point it out. Sometimes people are too polite. Trouble is, I didn’t spot it until it was brought to my attention, now my eye stings and feels a little strange.

Bad backs…

May 12th, 2006

Mike and I have both hurt our backs. Stop your sniggering, its nothing of the sort. He noticed his was sore last Thursday (but it recovered for the Beer Bus). It started again on Tuesday, I walked straight from the lab to Tesco, and noticed when I got there my back was a bit sore (I assumed from a heavy bag). He was limping, this carried on through Wednesday, and mine stayed as a dull ache. Woke up on Thursday in agony, as did Mike. People in work told him to go home as he was limping so much. He took today off, but I had to go in, thankfully I finished early. Restful weekend it is.

I think we need a new mattress, but bloody hell they’re expensive.

Pets and other animals.

May 10th, 2006

I found out today that someone I know has a “pet” squirrel. It was bought to him as a baby and he refused to have it put down (they’re illegal to keep, or return to the wild – greys only). As one who adores squirrels, I was, of course, extra excited, although I must admit a little disappointed that they don’t turn in to tame little lovable pets, but seem to still have plenty of wild instincts. Still, its cool. In return, I shared that I own several hamsters.

While walking down the hill back to the bus stop, I saw several baby rabbits again. No baby ducks yet, I hear there are some at Gibbet but i’ve yet to see any in the fluff. 

The Beer Bus

May 6th, 2006

Last night we went on a tour of the black country on a bus, with beer. Apart from it turning up 30 mins late, it wasn’t a bad evening. God knows what the awful beer served on the bus was, but by the time we got into the pubs it was great fun. There’s nothing more hilarious than a bus of drunk people you don’t know.

Alchemy

May 2nd, 2006

I spent most of today purifying a protein using IMAC, its a modern form of black magic, such as that practised by the wizards of old who searched for the best enzymes to keep their white-wizard underpants white as white can be. Basically, you have a protein tagged with histidine residues, poor it through sepharose containing nickel ions, and then elute (with something to chelate the ions, or something which binds competitively, at increasingly higher concentrations). This isolates your his tagged protein from all the others (which either don’t bind, or bind less strongly and wash off sooner). Still, I prefer to ignore all that chemistry behind how it works, and focus on the more important fact: Its Magic. Its that sort of thing that makes me love biochemistry.

 Also drove up to Birmingham to sell the robo’s old habitrail, so that’s Theo and Archie’s new cage paid for!

 Also its the new series of Lost starting tonight, I rarely get excited about TV but I enjoyed the last series so much (sometimes its fun to be a sheep). I really hope they can keep the idea going, as frankly towards the end of the last series the plot did seem to get a little bizarre, but maybe the writer is just weird.

And the winner is…

May 1st, 2006

Today I won the “Hamster Article of the Month” competition on Hamster Heaven. I was the only person to write (and have an article accepted) in the month though. As I am on the review panel for articles, is that some sort of insider trading?

 My Prize

Yet another first post

May 1st, 2006

Well, I didn’t get on too well with the last blog, it looked like i’d need to learn something in order to customise it better/change the themes, and generally get it to look like it matched the rest of my site. So here we go again!

 So far, so good. I’ve manually moved the posts from my old Blogger blog (yes…not much happening there. I got annoyed after I wrote a long post and it was eaten).