Caitlin went to PetsMart today to get a Betta fish (she was so excited to get it; it was pretty cute). I tagged along with her and Sam (fish consultant extraordinaire) to help pick one out. Well she found a pretty red one that she liked… but Sam pulled out a very nice blue one that I thought was rather awesome. So, um… I have a fish now. Caitlin’s is named Gamma Betta Epsilon (Gamma for short), so of course mine had to be from the rival fish-fraternity Phi Betta Gamma. I just call it Phiji though.
Quote of the MomentDon't do graphics design when you have the hiccups. It really messes up your precision... I say this from experience. -Seth
Today I finished the last experiment of my summer class, Quantitative Chemical Analysis. Chemistry has never been something I’m particularly good at (I consider it my weakest science), but the horror stories I’d been told in no way matched the course. It was split into a lecture component and a lab section; the lecture was basically Gen Chem III. I actually like inorganic chemistry quite a bit because it’s basically all math. However, the lab was… pretty terrible. Of the seven experiments:
- Argentometric Chloride Analysis
- Iron Ore Assay
- Antacid Strength Measurement
- Mercurimetric Blood Chloride Analysis
- Calculation of Water Hardness
- Bleaching Power Assay
- Detergent Phosphates Measurement
I only got the first and the last right on the first try. And in this lab, if you aren’t extremely accurate, you fail. There’s very little difference— tenths of a percent— between a 0 and a 100. My lab skills run more towards bacteria, not mixing chemicals until you get just the right color (some of the color changes are pretty hard to discern accurately, and if your samples are different shades of wine rosé red… yeah.
There’s not enough time to do every experiment twice, and if you’re not careful there’s not enough time to do ANY experiment twice, so you have to be efficient. I got done with the seven experiments at the end of June… but that still wouldn’t give me enough time to redo five. So I took advantage of the fact that you can keep turning in results until you get the right answer. I would select some data points but not others, massage my standards, and even average my answers with the guy’s next to me (each sample is different, you can’t just put someone else’s number in for yours). This got me through two more experiments. I had to redo a couple, and thankfully got better grades the second try. And one of them, I just don’t have any idea how to do it better. So even though I’ll end up with a middling B in the lab, the class is so easy that it balances out. It seems silly now that I almost forewent getting a Chemistry major because I was afraid to take this class!
I’ve gotten lots of time to spend with Caitlin these past few weeks, which has easily been the best part of the summer. Friends are awesome. She comes with Val and me now to lift weights, so we can all get buff together