Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2 out of 6? Perfect!

"Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly, I can!" Then get busy and find out how to do it."

~Theodore Roosevelt

I was grinning.

I shut the small viewing window on the front of the gel doc, an instrument that allows me to see and photograph the bands of different size DNA fragments which I had separated in an agarose gel. The bands, highlighted by the ghostly UV lights below the black tinted glass, were glowing brilliantly in patterns resembling the impression a spiral binding might leave on uncooked pizza dough. This little window gives me a pleasant view down onto my handiwork while protecting my eyes from burning into cancerous nodules protruding from above my snout after too much undiluted UV exposure. I clicked a few buttons of the digital camera menu toolbar on the computer screen to clarify and brighten the image, and took a snapshot.

Beep. Click. Done.

A few clicks later...
The photo came creeping out of the small, whirring, Mitsubishi printer. I tore it slowly and carefully across the serrated edge and held up the new photo. Everything about this was more pleasing than normal. Two things caught my eye and made me smile, yet again. A particular glowing band in lane 3 and 6, corresponding to the 2 KB mark in lane 7--the ladder. The other 4 lanes had no band at 2 KB. This remarkably small piece of data led me to some powerful conclusions.

I made some stupid remark to Jean and Brianne about the beauty of those two bands to which they rolled their collectively 4 eyes.

Those two bands meant a lot to me. To my thesis. To others in my lab group. A year of work, probably more, potentially saved from the magic "redo" box. Instead of attempting to troubleshoot and reinvent my previous work, I would only have a couple of small steps to perform. My mood reflected this potentially good fortune and I literally bounced off to my desk where a bottle of 15 year single malt awaited me.

And then, of course, the gym for day 1 of this weeks training.

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