When I started at UR, I inherited some of the equipment that had previously inhabited my lab space under the direction of my predecessor: some bench top shaking incubators, an electroporator, a -20 freezer, etc. and two balances. The analytical balance has been quite a model lab member, but the top-loader has had some issues. Every now and then, it decides that it doesn’t want to turn on forcing you to fiddle around with the power cord until it is situated appropriately. This morning, however, it seemed to have given up completely when I was weighing out some broth to autoclave. I was this close to pricing out new balances and purchasing a new one to dispel the constant headache. But before giving up, I called in our expert instrument director, Diane. When she starting playing with the cord, we were able to get it turned back on… for about 25 seconds… until we tapped the power cord ever so slightly. We then discovered a compartment for battery power and eight AA batteries later, we were in business. We’ll order a new cord in hopes of complete resurrection, but for now I’m just happy for two functional balances!
As I was struggling with the balance this morning trying to get it to turn on, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies in college: Zoolander. Anytime I am struggling with electronics or computers, I feel like hitting them and making noises like Derek and Hansel. Luckily I have people like Diane who can calmly tell me “it’s in the computer” and fix the issues. (Okay, this is where the analogy falls apart because we did solve the problem without throwing the balance to the ground and shattering it into pieces, but I’m sure you know what I mean.)