Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On The Killing of Mice

I've been killing mice. Those that haven't died of their own volition of course.

Just today, I've murdered 18 mice. A few weeks back, I killed another 23 mice and I'll be doing lots more further down the road. Well, okay, It wasn't I that killed them. My supervisor gassed them, then another person perfused the worms out of them. All I did was count the number of worms present in their system. And anyway, they died for a good cause. To rid the world of schistosomiasis. Okay, well, not the world. Parts of Africa and the Carribean and the Middle East I guess. Still a just cause.

It's interesting how the worms develop in the system. Nice pink healthy livers and lungs become grotesque, deformed nodulous brownish-grey things because the worms lay eggs in them. The spleens become engorged, swelling to about three times its size. The lungs too are affected, becoming hard, scarred things as the juvenile schistosomes pass through on their way to the liver.

Left: Healthy liver.

Right: Schistosome infested liver

Until next time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


As is obvious, I've updated the template of this blog. I know it's been stagnant for a good long while now but it is to be hoped that with this, comes renewed enthusiasm to record the minutiae of life as it goes on.

As to what has been going on, there's really been nothing much to say. Despite erroneous assumptions by a certain friend, I am still continuing with my honours programme. It is simply that there was nothing of significance, or perhaps relevance, to write about.

I must leave it at that as it grows late and I have spent more time than I should have already, changing the template.

Until the next time,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Honours - Week One

So, my Honours year has begun. Week one wasn't too bad. A lot of paperwork to do. There was the staff induction process, where I had to run around, getting my photo taken, my ID card made, my computer login created and I had to meet all the different important people. Not forgetting the safety training I had to do. A whole safety manual, an hour-long fire safety course online, and a two-hour long quarantine accreditation course online. Unfortunately there were no spare computers, so I'll have to lug my 4kg laptop there and back day after day.

As for lab work, that was minimal, only making several buffers and reagents as well as some stock media for use in culturing yeast. I can't believe how much I've forgotten over the last two years though. Simple things I should know and remember... all gone. Sigh. I was also shown some mice I'd be working with and the worms I'll be challenging them with as well as the snail hosts. At least I'm not as squeemish as I used to be about mice... all thanks to my brother's hamster.

That's all for week one. Not a bad start to the project.

Until next time.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year, New Toy

I thought I'd start off the new year with a good note, despite several mishaps that marred the ending of the last year (which I will detail soon, or at least, when I get around to it).

Introducing, my new toy:

The Nokia 6210 Navigator. (No... I didn't take the picture myself)

I'd been looking to replace my old phone for some time now. I was really bugging me, the way it's so thick that it bulges out of my pocket everytime I go out with it. When the battery began to die, these thoughts returned in earnest.

After much searching, and considering of various phone models and plans and so on and with help from a couple of people, I finally selected this one (Other contenders were the iPhone and the Nokia 6600 slide/flip as well as the Nokia 6220).

I'm enjoying the phone a lot. It's got high speed internet (although I have to be careful of download quotas), a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, a GPS navigation system and a Symbian operating system. Best of all, at 14.9 mm thick it doesn't stick out of my pocket like my old 21mm thick phone did (well... not as much anyway).

No gripes about it yet, unlike when I first got my N6288.

Until next time,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blustery Day

Another post on the weird weather we've been having here in Brisbane over the past few weeks. There were the huge thunderstorms last week, as detailed in my previous post, with three nights of record rains. All of a sudden, as suddenly as it had started, it cleared up on Friday and not a storm cloud in sight since. The weather is still weird though. We're approaching into summer, so I guess it's no surprise that Friday and Saturday were hot. So hot in fact, that I ended up tossing and turning in my bed on Friday night, only getting to sleep at 4.30 am, waking up at 9 am for my 11am shift. That was a 'pleasant' time. The upside is that I managed to clear my laundry backlog.

Clear skies after the rains.

The weird part about the weather is that it ended up cooling down these past few days. Huge winds were blowing down in the city and last night was really really cold. Standing in Adelaide Street felt like being in a wind tunnel.

Aftermath of the storms was that the river turned brown. All the debris, detritus and dirt from the floods washed into the river, causing this murky muck. You can see leaves, shoots and branches all washed away, sedimenting by the riverside. Worst part is, all CityCat services were cancelled from Friday night until Tuesday, making it really inconvenient for me to get to work, as I hate taking the bus. It is understandable though, as all the debris in the water makes it hard for the Cat to operate. On the way to the city on Friday, as the boat was travelling along, you could feel the bumps as some bit of debris or other impacted on the hull.

The 'soup' that is the Brisbane River.

Until next time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stormy Weather

Grey skies and inclement weather we've been having over the past few days. Sprung up as a bit of a surprise that. First inkling of it was a slight drizzle on Sunday which then turned into a storm, a magnitude of which apparently hasn't been seen in Brisbane in years. Newspapers are calling it a generational storm. I, being on my way home and seeing the drizzle, decided to wait it out a bit and went window shopping. What a mistake that was. I ended up getting soaked to the bone walking back from the CityCat in the middle of the storm. Huge winds and torrential downpour all around me.

Above: The view of the storm from the City CityCat Terminal.

Apparently the storm was so great that it caused AUD75 million in damages, with over 8000 claims on insurance for the damage and killed one person who was fell in a drain while trying to photograph the flooding waters.

Above: Another view of the CityCat Terminal with the storm raging away.

Since then, it's been raining intermittently over the past few days. Overcast days with occasional showers and large downpours every night. In fact, I can hear a large gush of rain just outside my window right now, seeming to be another record storm. Good news for the drought situation I guess. Last night's downpour exceeded half of the rainfall for the entire month of November, being 70mm bringing the collective rainfall to 170mm and filling the dams to 42.6%. While it is good for the drought, it's bad for the rest of us. No sun, chilly winds and rainfall does not make good weather to be out in. Add that to the fact that my laundry has been piling up for two weeks, making me almost out of socks.
Above: My two weeks pile of laundry

I wonder when this will end. I'm getting tired of all this wet weather.

Until next time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eyes Wide Open

Yet another post dealing with my insomnia.

Didn't sleep the whole night this time. Guess that'll teach me to drink 6-7 cups of tea, trying to retain my attention for some last minute cramming.

Last subject up ahead. This morning I have Parasitology theory with the practical exam on in the afternoon. Not quite looking forward to it. There's reams and reams of stuff to remember. I hope my sleep addled brain is up to the task.

It's not that bad though. The morning really brightened my mood for some reason. There's just something about being awake when the birds start chirping and the dawn light creeps across the sky. Very peaceful and calming. Hopefully that's a good portent for what is to come.

Wish me luck.

Until next time.