Saturday, April 23, 2005

Notes from the lab

I've spent this week in the lab, which is a rare occurrence for me, and I've been reminded why it's good that it's a rare occurrence. I neither enjoy lab work nor am I any good at it. Oh, if everything is humming along smoothly and I'm getting good data off the machine, then lab work is fine every once in a while. But I spent the first few days fighting the extraction line, where I was reminded that I have no " body sense", making it extremely difficuly for me to do the precise work required. Finally on Thursday afternoon, after yet another tutorial on how to do things, we figured out what my problem was and I've been able to do the extractions reasonably well since then. Now, of course, I am fighting a cold which is making me even more distracted and accident prone than usual. Speaking of distracted, I think that's one of the things that bothers me the most about lab work, if you want to get the job done right you can't think about anything except what you are doing, and the moment your mind wanders...bam, you've screwed up. As my mom says: "I don't like having to be a robot for the machines." I'm with you, Mom. Obviously not all measurements can be made in the field, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here getting really useful data, but I am more grateful for the people who not only are good at lab work, but like doing it as well. As for me, I'm anxious to go home and see what my field sites look like after a few weeks absence.

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