Goodbye Labtek

November 25, 2008

The alarm in my cellphone went off. I stopped it, and turned back to sleep.

The alarm clock I put on my desk went off. I got out from under the blanket, walked towards the desk, turned the alarm off, and went back to sleep.

Realised that if I went to sleep again I’ll wake up sometime at 10 am and would’ve missed my instructional laboratory. Hence I got up, went to the bathroom and turned on the water heater. Hot water started pouring. Meanwhile…, I went back to sleep.

Took a bath and in the mean time, put instant noodle into a pan of water and heated it. See, women are good at multi-tasking. =)

Finished bath, finished cooking noodle, sat down in my room and had my full-of-monosodium-glutamate breakfast.

Headed out from my residence to campus, for my 8 o’clock class. (Hey, I’m in Indonesia XD)

Finally the class ended. Headed towards the laboratories at labtek X.

Start calling my partner.

Wrote the temperature and pressure down, and there is my partner! Filled down the attendance list.

Took the elevator to the 3rd floor, to the microbiology laboratory.

The water bath is already on, the water is heating at 30 degrees. Things are looking up.

The assistant showed up.

Took the inoculated broth from the shaker. Started inserting the magnet into the broth (actually, it was Mr. Komar who did this. Thanks again, pak ^^). The magnet was dipped in alcohol and then burned, and it caused a hell of a fire (like the show where the man spews liquid -assumably alcohol- to a fire and then the fire dispersed. Or something like that).

Started fussing about labels on the tubes.

The group that will do this experiment after us showed up, to see what they’re doing next week. My partner explained the methods of the experiment etc, while the water bath is being heated.

The water is finally 50 degrees and we’re taking the first sample. The pump somehow was reversed and so instead of sucking the inoculated broth and then discharging it into the tubes, it sucked air and discharged it into the broth. Man…

Still haven’t found the grids on the counting chamber.

Started hating Petroff and Hauser for finding the counting chambers. Counting chambers must be Petroff and Hausser’s way of torturing undergraduate chemical engineering. Or any other person who have to squint one eye to see the obscurely sketched lines.

Broke my first cover slip of the day.

Broke my second cover slip. Come on, anyone who’ve used a cover slip and a counting chamber before, knows just how fragile this thing are.

Broke the third goddamned cover slip. Called for Help. Help said that tomorrow Friend will bring me the cover slips.

Broke yet another, and that left me one. Called Help again:
Help: What’s the matter, nov? (Kenapa nov?)
Me: Emmm…didn’t Friend bring the cover slips today? (Emmm…si Friend ga bawa kaca tutupnya hari ini ya?)
Help: Wait a second. *indistinct talking in the background* (Bentar. *suara ngomong di belakang*)
*thanks for the moral support, that someone in the background…*

Thanks to Mr. Komar (again) who were very patient with my whining, and got all the way to find us the right microscope, our experiment has taken off with a speed that will make my mother proud (nah, apa hubungannya dengan nyokap gw coba).

Help came with a box of cover slips, @50. Okay, I am a klutz. But…50. Really?
*again, thanks to Mr Edwin Wibisono for buying the slips =) also Mr Kevin Marvin and Mr Hanung for understanding my knack of breaking glassware*

Went to lunch. Was actually eating with a friend, who then left his chair for one moment. At that moment, a couple of my juniors passed by. Every single one looked at me, and one had the nerve to comment, “Poor you, eating alone.”
Wait and see, kids, wait and see. Wait until you meet the term ‘instructional laboratory’.
Just wait and see. *evil laugh*

Finished the batch process, and waited for the water bath to cool from 80 to 50 degrees, which took like …forever.

Filled the attendance list. Found out about the fiesta that happened at the laboratory on the ground floor.  My friend’s group broke a total of 2 thermometers, 1 volumetric pipette, 1 stirring rod and I think -if not mistaken- one other thing. Laughed at my unfortunate friend for her unfortunate day.

Got my karma.
Was holding four or five test tubes to wash and one of them slipped, fell to the hard, cold floor, and disintegrated into pieces of pyrex.

Went home.
Bubye labtek… =)


Maksud looo?

November 22, 2008

Sekitar setengah jam yang lalu, karena bosan berada di kamar terus, gw ke supermarket di riau junction.

Setelah keliling-keliling, mengambil barang-barang yang dibutuhkan untuk mengerjakan tugas (baca: cemilan), akhirnya gw ke kasir:
Kasir: “Ada membernya?”
Gw: *mengeluarkan kartu member yogya lalu memberikannya ke kasir*
Kasir: *menggesek kartu ke register* “Kartunya sebentar lagi expire ya”
Gw: *tanpa minat* “Oh ya?”
Kasir: Bulan Desember *mengangkat keranjang*
Gw: “Oh…”
Kasir: *mengambil sebungkus keripik dari keranjang* “Ngemil ya, malam Minggu” *ketawa*
Gw: “Iya. Mbak sendiri, kerja ya, malam Minggu”

Sebenarnya sih:
Kasir: *mengambil sebungkus keripik dari keranjang* “Ngemil ya, malam Minggu” *ketawa*
Gw: *ketawa garing*

Maksud looooo?

I took another stupid test at

Novi, you are somewhat
left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning,
although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do
most things in moderation, but not always.

Your left-hemisphere
dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured,
detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you
seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm
structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of
uncertainty and agitation. You may well suffer a feeling of continually
trying to “catch up” with yourself.

Your tendency to be
organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably
well-established which should afford you success regardless of your
chosen field of endeavor. You can “size up” situations and take in
information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being
classified and organized which causes you to “lose touch” with the
immediacy of the problem.

Your logical and methodical
nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to
your advantage since you “learn from experience” and can go through the
process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.

You remain predominantly
functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory
are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on
details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only
then work with the “larger whole.”

With regards to your career
choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach,
athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician. You can “see
where you want to go” and even be able to “tell yourself,” but find
that you are “fighting yourself” at the darndest times.

Notice how it stated that I can be a good fashion designer?

Okay…okay, it didn’t exactly say fashion….., but a girl is allowed to dream =)

The Count Down

November 7, 2008

My teenage years are about to expire. In about…11 hours, I’ll be officially 20 (I was born on November 8th, 1988 at exactly 6:10 am).

I have since long been reflecting on my life so far. What have I done? What have I achieved? What is my purpose? Does my life have a special meaning, or am I just passing by?

I’ve been a bit too melancholic lately, thinking things that I wouldn’t thought about in my normal days.

I also thought about decisions I’ve made in the past, whether they were the right ones or not. All the mundane choices that I’ve made throughout my life. Or, the one that haunted me the most, choosing universities.

I have a lot of considerations when I decided to choose ITB over NTU and NUS, but I’ve forgotten them by now. And now I’m wondering whether I’ve made the right decision. Whether I should’ve just go to Singapore 2 years ago.

But it’s in the past now. I usually don’t like to dwell in the past, but my melancholic mood had me thinking about things in the past.

I’ve done mistakes, too. And I’ve learnt not to repeat them. I’ve done embarassing things and I know better now. I’ve learnt to differentiate between friends and pseudo-friends and foes. Between hypocrites who speaks sugary words in front of you but trash-talk you to others. I’ve learnt that sometimes (a lot of the times, in fact), it’s better to keep your mouth shut. I’ve learnt not to give in to infatuation, that it’ll make me look really foolish to fall head over heels over someone. I’ve learnt to cherish small details. I’ve learnt…well, the point is, I’ve learnt quite a lot.

But it is my belief that I’m still growing up. That I’m still in the process. That in everything, the process is very important to determine what kind of result one would get (contrary to the Indonesian tradition that ignores the process but rather dwells on the results instead).

Until now, I’m still searching for my purpose on this planet, and I believe that God will show me the way.

Wish me luck. =)

Fermented Vie

November 5, 2008

I spent the last 24 hours in the microbiology and bioprocess laboratory, trying to grow yeast, for reasons I’ve forgotten about.

It started at the previous Friday, when we formulated a nutrient medium for the fermentation. It consisted of several nutrients, 0.1-4 g/L. And the sustrate used is glucose. In this experiment, we used 40 g/L glucose, since glucose is supposed to be the limiting substrate.

The nutrient and the substrate were autoclaved seperately, since glucose and protein will react in high temperature, resulting in a compound that is supposedly poisonous. At least for some microorganism. I read it somewhere in Bailey and Ollis. The nutrient and substrate will make a 2 L solution. So we used 1800 mL to dilute the nutrient, and 200 mL to dilute the glucose

Then, on Monday, the starter is inoculated with Saccharomyces cerevisiae aka yeast. The 150 mL starter is incubated in a shaker, at 30 degrees, overnight. The minimum incubation time is 16 hours, though a lot of practicants preferred more than 24 hours.

On Tuesday, the pain began. The starter is inserted into the fermentor. Then a sample is taken every one or two hours. It was tested in a spectrophotometer, to determine the cell concentration and the glucose concentration. And then a sample of the air from the outlet is also taken with a syringe half-filled with NaOH. Then the syringe is shaked, to mixed the air and the NaOH completely. The mixture is then titrated with HCl, using phenolphthalein as the indicator. This is done to know the concentration of carbon dioxide exerted by the yeasts. The analysis is simple enough.

But imagined having to stay up all night doing it.

At least it’s all behind me now. My next experiment is supposedly an easy one. (yay!!!)

We worked in the same lab with another group of three, who were making yoghurt. They used two substrate: fresh milk (“yuck…”) and full cream (“still yuck…”); and two types of starter culture: a mixture of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bividobacteria (if I’m not mistaken).

They were titrating about 200 samples all night long (yes, all night long), to know the concentration of acid formed, and also testing the acidity with a pH-meter. Then there were several cups of fresh ‘home-made’ yoghurt that were to be tested for organoleptic (I don’t really know what organoleptic means, it’s more or less how much the tester really likes the taste of the test subject).

This group consisted of a woman (let’s call her Miss N), and two men (Mr Y and Mr B). I asked Miss N, who is going to test the cup of yoghurt that she just taken out from the incubator. She answered, “Whoever. But me.” *lol*

Then Mr Y had his first mouthful of their ‘home-made’ yoghurt.

“Sour”, said he, wincing his eyes a bit, “the texture is good, though”.

Mr B (who was always a bit…well…) took his first mouthful, and without even wincing a bit, said, “Yes, it’s sour…, and yes, the texture is good.”

He took another mouthful, “It’s sour”.

And yet, despite the sourness, another mouthful.


Notice that it was about 8 to 9 am in the morning, and none of us have had a good night sleep, or (more importantly) anything to eat. By the time Mr B was taking his third mouthful, I involuntarily shuddered. It felt like my stomach was already producing extra acid from seeing the yoghurt-devouring. And it was not just one cup. There were lots of cups.

And Mr B finished almost all of it.