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Jul 30 2013

Not my best day

I might be cranky today. Little sleep last night — a bad back ache is keeping me groggily awake. And today is the day the custodians shut me out of my lab so they can strip and wax the floors, an extremely annoying yearly ritual.

If you run into me on the street, don’t say hello, I might bite.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    evilDoug

    I would be more than a little nervous about volatile compounds in wax strippers and even waxes in a lab where the fisheses air supply was from room ambient. unless the intake had “scrubbers.”
    I’ve seen stripping and waxing operations where they make very free with spray bottles, aerosolizing god knows what.

  2. 2
    Mike

    Ah yes, waxing and buffing. More years ago than I care to remember I helped a guy who frequented my gas station with a strip and buff job he had at a tire store. I spent 3 hours lying on my belly catching the angle of the light just right to make sure there weren’t any dry spots. The whole time I laid there I cursed myself for saying “Sure I can help ya, I got nothin better to do”. Now I can’t even look at a floor buffer without a great sense of despair and melancholy falling over me.

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, go ahead and terrify me some more.

    This is an annual event. All the scientists complain bitterly about the schedule; they close off whole hallways and access to labs for days at a time. There were several days earlier this summer where I was locked out of my office.

    I don’t care if the floor in my lab is shiny or not. It’s a working lab. In Philadelphia, my lab had a floor of poured concrete painted beige and grey cinderblock walls, and I liked it.

  4. 4
    Zeno

    Universities are run by the custodial staff. Cross them at your peril!

  5. 5
    anuran

    Get a therapeutic massage and take a nap. You will feel better.

  6. 6
    chigau (違う)

    floor wax
    teehee

  7. 7
    Rob Grigjanis

    Do you know the cause of the back ache? Mine (worst bouts triggered by things like picking up fallen apples, or shoveling snow) has been almost eliminated by doing the superman exercise, couple of sets of 10, three times a week.

    http://x3sports.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/superman-exercise-.jpg

    I was reluctant to start doing them, as I have fairly severe disc degeneration in two lower discs (forget which), but haven’t had any problems at all in the 14 months since I started.

  8. 8
    chigau (違う)

    I’ll vouch for the superman exercise.

    [And think how much nicer it will be to do them on a sniny floor ;)]

  9. 9
    marko

    @chigau
    You can teehee all you want, her floor looks fabulous, even after washing with that strong detergent.

  10. 10
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PZ in a cranky mood?
    Grab yer popcorn everyone and lets light the Creationist Signal…

  11. 11
    george gonzalez

    Way back when I worked in a science lab, the custodial department was WAY overstaffed– they waxed the hallways, on the fourth floor, at least twice a week, where there were like three people walking by a day.

    They wanted to wax the labs every week. My boss grumbled about this, as they’d spatter wax on the bottom 3 inches of the equipment racks.

    In another lab of note, at MIT i think, they stored years and years of data on DECTapes near the floor (700kilobytes each!). The floor buffers with their big AC motors did an excellent job of degaussing the tapes, over time. Years of data lost.

  12. 12
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    @5:
    PZ strikes me as more acupuncture oriented…

  13. 13
    Kevin

    @5 — Oh god no.

    I was at a major event for my company, where I was the sole holder of the data being presented to about 500 people. During slide review the night before the meeting, I developed back spasms. My boss had the great idea of getting me a massage through the hotel we were staying at. We’re talking therapeutic massage from a licensed professional.

    Bad idea: After a half hour, she pronounced me “done” — and then I got the worst spasm I’ve had in my life. It quite literally took me 45 minutes to get off the table (without the masseuse’s assistance – because she was afraid of the liability). She called security and my boss.

    Let me tell you, that is no fun at all. Not even a little bit.

    No one touches my back. No one.

  14. 14
    Alverant

    Good! I need someone to go to the Chicago Sun Times site and read the current batch of “letters to the editor”. There’s a pro-voter-id fascist and a “pro-life” idiot there who needs to be corrected. I said my part, but the more the merrier.

  15. 15
    scooterskutre

    This will cheer you up:
    Joshie Unchained- Confessions of an ex-Hasid
    Joshie Berger on the extremes of Hasidic Judaism in the US. Escape to Atheism. Homophobia. Joshie and the Food network.God intervenes and we lose Shawn.

    http://skeptiles.com/skeptiles-episode-46/

  16. 16
    moarscienceplz

    I don’t know why PZ is so grumpy about losing access to his lab. Why doesn’t he just move to the one inside the hollow volcano? Or is that one too full of British agents and commandos?

  17. 17
    duce7999

    Jesus walks into an inn and hands the innkeeper 3 nails then asks, “Can you put me up for the night?”. Better or worse, PZ?

  18. 18
    Sili

    In another lab of note, at MIT i think, they stored years and years of data on DECTapes near the floor (700kilobytes each!). The floor buffers with their big AC motors did an excellent job of degaussing the tapes, over time. Years of data lost.

    I’m not gonna blame the custodians for that one. Serves them right.

  19. 19
    blf

    In the variant of the magtape degaussing story I heard back at University multiple yonks ago, the type of tape wasn’t said (so I assumed it was probably the then-usual 9-track reel-to-reel) nor do I recall the location / institution ever being said. I’ve always used the story as a warning to be careful about where any magnetic media is stored.

  20. 20
    boskerbonzer

    PZ – Doesn’t the university have some Extreme Biohazard or High Radiation Area or Biochemical Mutation Testing Station signs you could post on each door into the fish room? One of those might work to keep the contamination crew out. If you get called out on it, say it must have been some grad student’s idea of a prank.

  21. 21
    sisu

    Scooterskutre @ 15 – thanks for the link! That looks really interesting.

  22. 22
    Rich Woods

    @moarscienceplz #15:

    Or is that one too full of British agents and commandos?

    I see the cousins have been intercepting our signals again. Damn! Is nothing sacred?

  23. 23
    blf

    Why doesn’t [Pee Zed] just move to the [lab] inside the hollow volcano? Or is that one too full of British agents and commandos?

    This is why it’s important to have not only a decoy hollowed-out volcano lab, but also a backup hollowed-out volcano lab in case the real hollowed-out volcano lab suffers from a case of oversexed underbrained imperialists going Pew! Pew!

  24. 24
    AJ Milne

    I’m having one of those days myself. Because of one of those nights. Or really: several in a row. Despite efforts to live right and all, I keep lying awake ’til 3am; much of this probably has to do with this muscle injury thing making sleep a bit iffy*. So I’m feeling kinda ragged and grumpy and slightly achy right now. And am now into the ‘stay awake and avoid running heavy machinery until a reasonable hour and hope to just pass out properly for the next REM cycle at least’ phase of this misery. So commiserations.

    (*Actually got a physio appointment for that this eve… Which is mixed. If they want me to do cardio, I expect making long muscles actually burn O2 at this point is like to feel a lot like drawing blood from a stone… But the rest of it’s probably all good, under the circumstances.)

  25. 25
    evilDoug

    Doesn’t the university have some Extreme Biohazard or High Radiation Area …

    If it were up to me, anyone who did that would get a very brief view of an Exit sign on their way out after having been fired. It is grossly irresponsible.

  26. 26
    anuran

    #13 – A good LMT will know when to switch to other methods.

  27. 27
    Thomas Holtz

    Yeesh! I HATE wax week…

  28. 28
    DLC

    PZ@OP : my sympathies about the backache. been there done that. recently replaced my 12 year old bed with a new one because of that very reason. Had to save up for it, but it’s worth it.

    Chigau (meh)@6 : your commercial had a commercial in it. beware for the third level — a commercial in a commercial during a commercial, will set of an infinite recursion. . .

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