Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life On the Fritz

So the great adventure begins! Today was orientation, and the ten other interns in my group and I got to sit through a long (and somewhat terrifying) orientation. Over about two hours we heard about all the ways we could hurt ourselves through accident or negligence (ticks, bacteria in the rivers, crab pinch, cuts, chemicals) and glowing with pride at being called “the best and brightest” in our respective fields.

After a long orientation, a very brief lunch, and an even longer lab orientation (fun, but still enough information to curdle dairy) I was left with no dinner! How are conquering heroes supposed to survive on popcorn and hot sauce?

Whip out the GPS and head for a grocery store! I felt fairly confident about where I was going… until my GPS told me I was in front of a Safeway, and there wasn’t a Safeway in sight! Uhh… I had no co-pilot to direct me, and there were a number of cars behind me that were not comfortable with the uncertain moves I was making with my car. I pulled over at a gas station and punched in the address again. More strange looks and me swearing at my GPS later, I gave up and headed for the Giant I saw down the street.

Groceries attained, albeit at a rather unpleasant price, I told my GPS to take me “home."


I cancelled the search for the address, and tried it again.

Still nothing. Oh goodness, my GPS was having a seizure and I had no idea where I was in relation to where I needed to be. OH HELL.

I did a full shut-down of the GPS, and pulled out into the street in the general direction of the research center. I tried to remember street names as I pushed the “Take Me Home” button frantically on the home screen. I made a turn, and realized that if my GPS didn’t kick in within five minutes I was going to be completely lost. It worked after I uttered a few choice swear words, and I made it home without further incident.

I cooked dinner for two friends who appreciated a fresh cooked tasty meal. Thank goodness that went without a hitch. Tomorrow starts with transferring samples into 70% ethanol from 95% ethanol, then spending an afternoon in a field. And somewhere in there I have to get technical training and have fingerprints taken for my ID badge. Hoo boy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

All Hail the Mighty GPS!

One of my great terrors in life is driving. I can't really explain it, but I'm truly terrified of going down the wrong road and getting lost.

Just today I left home by myself for a fantastic summer internship. I have left home before for things like college, but I've never been driving to these new experiences in a car by myself! I packed the car with most of what I wanted to have at the internship, hugged my parents goodbye, and drove off into the sunset.

Well... it was around two in the afternoon, so there was no sunset. And I had to pull off the road and wait for the GPS to figure out where I was before I even left the neighborhood. The drive itself was relatively uneventful, except for the few times that my GPS and road signgs didnt agree on what the streets and highways were named. For some strange reason, other cars on the highway just don't appreciate you merging back and forth in the highway because your GPS is playing games with you.

Somehow my GPS managed to get me more than an hour from home, and I didn't swerve off the road or take the wrong exit. And somehow I found the security office on the first time, got my dorm key without incident, unpacked, and cooked a mild dinner.

Now I shall retire for the evening, sheltering inside from the sweltering heat, and I hope to tell more tales soon! Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons

Break out the super-fine artist's pens!

This year one of my professors decided to throw us (her students) a life preserver. For our final exam, we were going to be allowed to bring in a "cheat sheet" on a 3x5 index card. We could write whatever we wanted on it beforehand, and use it for the two-day exam. Needless to say, there was a collective cheer from the entire class. We might actually get a good grade on the final exam!

A long time ago when I dabbled with the idea of becoming a professional artist (never again) I invested in a set of fine-line pens that can draw a line as thin as 0.1 mm. I hadn't used them in about three years, and was thinking about giving them away when this project came along. Thank goodness I didn't! 0.1 mm is both tiny and legible!

I spent the better part of a weekend flipping through my notes and finding the facts I just never seemed to be able to remember, finding interesting ways to fit them on an already crowded index card. I wrote so small and so compact that I ran out of things to write long before I ran out of room on the card. It was rather impressive. My professor even said that it was on "the high end" of information crammed onto one card compared to the many she had seen before.

However, the super-sneaky award has to go to my professor. The whole time I was scribbling frantically, I was actually doing a very large amount of studying. Overall I probably studied three times as hard for the final exam than any other. And overall, it was worth it.

By the way, I passed.

The front of the card

The back!