14 January, 2011

The Day My World Stood Still


Have you ever had one of those days when everything you did seemed like it just had to go wrong? That single day you would remember for the rest of your life for all the undesirable reasons? Have you ever experienced being an Anti-Midas, where instead of turning into gold, everything you touched turned into crap, reeking of nothing but failure, anger, and frustration? That day when you could do nothing but just watch in amazement how perfectly all things went down one after another, like a tumbling line of dominoes?


How did it feel? You would let out just one damn sigh. Well, you know, I just had one of those days. It felt terrible.


And what's worse is that I actually had two of those days. Two consecutive days of bad luck featuring failures so epic it would've made a really good A Series of Unfortunate Events reality show edition.


It was a Wednesday when I realized that being a bad karma magnet and a scientist is an awful combination. That morning, I just knew something was up with me. I was just feeling like it's going to be a bad day. And well, oh dear Lord thought it would be cool to make my intuition right.


My experiment for that day was voltammetric analysis of ascorbic acid in Vitamin C supplement tablets. I put on my lab gown, my safety goggles, gloves and mask... and then... everything went wrong like everything just HAD to go wrong.


The instructor HAD to change the buffer solution to be prepared in hopes of obtaining better-looking data. It took me thirty minutes to recalculate the amounts needed to prepare the solutions. I almost had a mental diarrhea. That was a lot of math!


I HAD to make a mistake in preparing the solution by diluting it three drops too much. I HAD to prepare that solution again. The Weighing Room supervisor HAD to see me wiping the analytical balance with tissue paper and think I was doing something wrong with it. He then decided to stand next to me while weighing all the solids, making myself much more careful and so much slower as if I was experiencing arm cramps. When the solutions were finally prepared and set up for analysis, the data HAD to turn out wrong anyway. The instructor told me that I could change the parameters until it all worked perfectly as expected (the experiment is new to the curriculum so it hasn't been optimized). It took me more than two hours to finally see the correct good-looking graph for the data for the first solution. It was glorifying. Now all that was left to do was to run seven other solutions, three readings each.


The software HAD to crash after the first reading of the second solution in such a way that when I restarted the computer ten million times over, it's still screwed.


I HAD to die for ten seconds.


It was mortifying. I felt like the earth was collapsing underneath my feet and that the fire that was burning inside my head, of temper and fury, was going to be one with hell. I felt the veins in my forehead growing. I tasted poison in my mouth. I felt my soul slowly shrinking. My heart dropped on the floor. I even accidentally stamped on it.


The instructor came in and restarted the equipment. The software magically started up saying it's okay.


The data I subsequently obtained were all screwed up, nevertheless. Obviously, something wrong went down, and something needed to be done to reverse it and to put it back to the state it was in when it was working, but I couldn't do anything. I just had to accept my fate. I finished at 2:30 pm (My lab starts at 7 am and ends at 11:30 am). I skipped lunch and my World Literature class.


DAY 2: New experiment. It's like Oliver's Misadventures Part 2. I had to spill the crystals after I weighed them. The equipment had to crash and stop working properly. I had to break a glass filtration syringe and wound myself. I will have to pay for that glassware I just broke. I will have to always crave for Band-Aids. . .


I have to find a psychiatrist.


Times like this just really drive me up the wall. It's like every bad thing I've done in the past piled up to become such a huge dark cloud of bad karma and it had become too heavy it had to rain on me. But why did it have to be a storm in two days? It should have just showered a little day after day. I could've just tripped a little on Monday or spilled my Coke on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday and Friday.


I should be careful what I wish for.


If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.






kudos to Murphy and his goddamn law for screwing me up.
oliver.

05 January, 2011

Sweet Suffering

Hi, this is Sugar. Let me tell you her story.

In heaven, there towers a thousand kingdoms made specially different from one another in order to cater and indulge every single kind of person there is on Earth, so that once we all get there, we're all fine. There is this kingdom that is most populated, most requested and most favored. In that kingdom which we have all thought of, dreamed of and blissfully imagined during the darkest days and nights of our lives, lives the most powerful queen. 


Her name is Sugar, lord-ess of the Kingdom of Infinite Treats. We all know she's the most liked. We are all also well aware of what she can do and what she does. We are all in awe of her powers-- of how she bestows sweetness on every food she touches, how she gives joy to our taste buds, and makes our world seem to be filled with colors and sparkles. 


For years, she made humankind flourish. She made them all happy with the sweetness she gave to the fruits they would harvest, and even gave the Mayans chocolate to discover. They all loved the sweetness, her magic, and eventually they got hooked, smitten by what they tasted and felt with every sweet bite. They wanted more. They called for more. The Queen, ever so loving, provided until she got tired of it and said enough. There came a time when there wasn't anything sweet because she knew humans had had enough. However the people never stopped wanting for more. They did everything to talk to the Queen Sugar. They built towers, they built the pyramids, the Mayans even said the world would destroy itself in 2012 if the Queen wouldn't give back sweetness. The Queen finally delivered and out of guilt instead offered herself in the form of sweet crystals, an infinite supply of sweetness, which is what we know today as sugar.


That's how sugar got its name. That's according to me.


Well, when humans finally got control of Sugar, I think they thought of making her pay for letting them suffer for that long a time without sweetness. That's how bitter they were about it, excuse my pun. Throughout the years, humans have developed creative ways to torture her.


Humans started forcing her out of sugar canes.


Humans played with her helplessness.


Humans made her Coke. Humans made her brownies. Humans burned her to make caramel. 


Sugar has her own way to get her revenge on us. If we devoured her, she would make us fat. She could give us diabetes. She could kill us. She is still that powerful. Even up to now, she's playing tricks on us. She needs a spanking.


I have had my share of torturing sugar. We must all truly make her pay for what she did a long time ago. Depriving our ancestors of sweetness? Come on! That must have sucked!


This is what I just did to sugar:






I made her a d-arabino hexulose phenylosazone. I made her a d-arabino hexulose phenylosatriazole. I made her a 4-carboxy-2-phenyl-1,2,3-osatriazole.


I'm evil.






kudos to sugar.
oliver.

[Happy new year, everyone! This is going to be a fun year for everyone. I'll keep writing and I hope you guys keep reading! Cheers!]
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