Monday, May 28, 2007

My ignorance!

a couple of days ago i was reading the standard operation procedure for the ferrous iron calibration method and i came across this apparatus called Erlenmeyer flask. somehow i seem to remember hearing of such an apparatus before but couldn't put a picture to it in my mind. so, i set about asking the lab technicians what it was. and they were like, "what's that? should be a volumetric flask... but we don't have 125mL volumetric flasks... hmm..." and in the end they asked me to just ignore that and proceed to the next step. so that was that!

when i read another method for a different procedure, i came across this Erlenmeyer flask again. and to prevent myself from sounding really brainless, i refrained from asking my supervisor (who was right next to me) what it was... vowing to look it up on the net as soon as possible. after so many days of forgetting (when i was online) and remembering (when i was at work), i finally got down to checking it out on wikipedia just a few minutes ago... and after all the enigmatic thoughts, turns out it's just another name for CONICAL FLASKS!!! i can't believe i'm so silly!!! (to cover up these silly mistakes/discoveries, i'm keeping it from the knowledge of the chemist and my supervisor... after all, they'll be contributing 40% to my assessment!)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


last week or so, i read an article about the top internet scams/chain mail on yahoo and i was directed to a magazine article about this guy who was an american christian psychologist (or something to that effect) who was swindled by some africans via email scams. i've received some of these emails in my junk mail but rarely. today, i decided to open my alternative yahoo mail which i used for my form 6 editorial board stuffs and my inbox was filled with these similar emails!!! here's a sample (to the readers, please don't believe any of such emails, do not reply because they will call you and sound very convincing) :

MRS LILLIAN NDULOVU. Address 48 Venderbeek Edenvale South African. E-MAIL: Tel:+27-76-32-67-690 PROPOSAL FOR URGENT BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

Dear Friend

My name is Lillian Ndulovu , the wife of Mr. Daniel Ndulovu of Zimbabwe. This might be a surprise to you about where I got your contact address. I got your address from the South African Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg, South Africa.

During the current war against the farmers in Zimbabwe from the supports of our President Robert Mugabe to claim all Opposition Party farms to his party members and his followers, he ordered all white farmers to surrender all their farms to his party members and his followers.

My Husband was among one of the best farmers in our country and because he did not support Mugabes ideas, Mugabes supporters invaded my Husbands farm and burnt everything in the farm, killed my Husband and made away with a lot of items in my Husbands farm.

Before the death of my Husband he deposited with one of the Security Company in Johannesburg, South Africa the sum of US$26 Million (Twenty Six Million United States Dollars). After the death of my Husband, we decided to move to the Republic of South Africa where he

had deposited the money in the Security Company as valuables.
So I and my son (Henry) decided to contact overseas firm and companies that will assist us to move this money out of South Africa because as asylum seekers we are not allowed to operate any bank account within South Africa. We have agreed to offer you 20% of the total sum for your assistance, 5% will be mapped out for any expenses that may be incurred in the course of this transaction and 75% will be for us and the family to invest in your country.

All I want you to do is to furnish me with your entire personal phone and fax numbers for easy communication, or you can contact my son(Henry) on this his telephone number +27-76-32-67-690 Note that this transaction is 100% risk-free and absolutely confidential.

Thanks and God bless. Regards, Mrs Lillian Ndulovu My personal email address:

Industrial training

working has been really tiring... it's not really the work that tires me but more of the journey to and from work as well as sitting around trying to figure out what to do next. i'm doing my industrial training in Permulab and i've been placed in the water analysis lab. i've to admit that i didn't do my research thoroughly when i applied to this lab, so now i'm stuck doing chemistry lab work (which is not really related to biochemistry, but on the other hand will help very much in improving my lab skills)

from my experience in working at the kindergarten and this lab, i've found that there are good days and there are bad ones. i don't know what makes them good or bad, it just happens. in the kindergarten, the children could be devils one day and and angels the next. in this lab, things would go smoothly one day and terribly tiring the next day. perhaps it could be me... my mood or something... but somehow, i've never really experienced this in school or uni.

my first day was pretty good... my supervisor came in late, so i didn't get to speak to him until the end of the day. however one of the chemist taught me some stuff... basically i helped him to prepare stuff... not the real sample analysis. the next day, he was on leave so i really had almost nothing to do... sitting around wasting time... it was a bad day. i thought my third day would be the same but then my supervisor saw me with nothing to do and so he let me read up the manual on free chlorine testing and later try to do the spectrophotometer calibration. so that turned out to be quite a good day. my fourth day was so-so, i spent half a day pouring samples into plastic centrifugation tubes for the aforesaid chemist (who was back from his leave) and the other half calibrating the older spectrophotometer. the fifth day started out good with me calibrating the newer machine but after showing the results to my supervisor, i had to repeat some steps a couple of times. after which the results were still not satisfactory and i had to try calibrating on the older machine. i kind of felt like i was in the way of some of the lab technicians... my day ended by helping the chemist to pound some solid samples into powder form and helping him do some other miscelleneous stuff. (sometimes i get the feeling that the chemist is just using me to help him do stuff... but i guess that's what a trainee is for right? so i must abolish that thought!!!)

i have no idea what's in store for me this week... which starts tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

today was my 2nd day at work. it wasn't too bad but it wasn't too good either... the chemist who taught me yesterday was on leave today and so the lab technician had to teach me... i did pH, turbidity, colour, total suspended solid (TSS), total disolved solid (TDS) analysis today. however the latter 3 were practically demonstrations. so i had alot of time to shake leg... yesterday was better, i managed to do alot of sample digest and a couple of sulfate concentration analysis.

since i had alot of time today, i read some of the labels of the water samples and found that some were from dams etc and there were sewer water samples too... however they were pretty clear, not murky and shitty as i thought it'd be... perhaps it had already undergone treatment... i also noticed that reservoir water were around pH7... so if our tap water was acidic, i'm guessing it was contaminated while travelling through the underground piping...

ok i'm totally dropping off to sleep now... hopefully can type more tomorrow.

Friday, May 04, 2007


i'm amazed that my one week of pure holiday is almost over... i start my industrial training next monday! i hope i'll fit in alright and actually learn useful things. one problem i might face is language... i have a feeling most of the employees are chinese... another problem is i don't have enough pants to wear, since i can't wear jeans and skirts...

my last paper was biochemistry of food & nutrition... it was by far the worst paper for me! i thought it would be quite ok at first, but turns out that the lecturer asked questions that required 10% knowledge from his notes and the rest we have to have super duper general knowledge!!! i wasted so much time reading his notes! i've noticed that people who are clever at talking (glib) usually are really unreliable... you mustn't trust their words 100%... if you do, you'll end up like me... i just hope that i don't get any C's this semester... if i do, my CGPA might just drop to 3.00 or lower... that would be really bad for me...

so lately, as in the past few days... i've been busy designing stuff for a HP contest... i've noticed that my designs are so amateurish; it's due to my minimal knowledge of adobe photoshop and illustrator. so i've been trying to learn illustrator online for the last 2 days... i used to think photoshop was better than illustrator, but now i think the opposite! illustrator has so much potential, just that my capabilities are so pathetically insignificant... but i've learned how to create a brush and use it to design a very simple swirl... now i just have to figure out how to put stalks to the swirls so it looks more elegent. another thing is, i'm hooked on vector designing... it really gives that smooth modern feel to the artwork! as for the contest, i hope i can get by just by my ideas rather than the quality of the artwork... although i'm pretty certain that every aspect counts and have equal weightage.

while researching for tutorials i found a really good website for adobe photoshop, illustrator and flash. so far, i've only explored the illustrator section. it's just amazing what websites have evolved into... for instance, mika's website is so "cool" (i feel so cheesy for saying that word, but that sums it up!) ... i love the leaves clearing away when you scroll your mouse over it and also the pidgeon releasing a good dose of bird dropping when you click him! from that website, i visited the web designer's site and it was really sleek and high-tech (whoa... my vocab makes me sound like an 80 year-old spinster trying to be up-to-date). anyway, it really showed me how much you can actually do with flash! i really want to learn flash now!!! but everytime i open that program i just go blank with all the complicated features and it really doesn't help that i have no knowledge of programming... back to the story, i found out that this holler company designed a website for the 2005 mtv video music awards and i was so "wow-ed"!!! i wonder how much they charged for that website... every page was really interesting... i think i'm a really backward person because i don't come across sites like these often...

ooh... i totally forgot for the moment... we're dog-sitting aunty chan's poodle pup LV... she's so adorable, cute, beary, delightful and mischevious.... she keeps bullying zack, trying to play with him but infinitely chasing him around and finally upstairs. i think she's just craving to nip at his stump of a tail... zack had an episode of low self-esteem when LV first arrived... he was sullen and kept to himself all day hiding upstairs and hiding behind the palm tree in the garden when LV was nearby. now, he's starting to open up but still is keeping the poodle pup at an arm's length.