Rice Husks and Video Games

I was dehusking some rice seeds today in order to sterilize them.
I was dehusking some rice seeds today in order to sterilize them.

Rice seeds grow with a husk around them. After the husk is removed they look like the rice you buy in a store.

Sometimes the seeds from a particular strain don’t grow right.

The lack of growth often happens because a fungus infected the seed from the start.

The fungus is removed by washing the seed.

The husk needs to be removed first to ensure the seed is fully cleaned, just like you have to take off all of your clothes to ensure your body is fully cleaned when you shower or bathe.

While I was washing the seeds in diluted bleach I talked with one of my friends in the lab about streaming Hearthstone.

The oldest member of the lab besides the professor (I sometimes call him the lab fossil) overheard us and was curious about what streaming was.

We described it to him and he was a little surprised that people would want to watch others play video games.

He’s seen his son play first person shooter (FPS) games and he dislikes them, but not for the usual reasons.

The lab fossil dislikes FPS games because they don’t match reality.

He feels they teach people that if you die/fail you can just get a do-over where you try again.

The real world and the real battlefield doesn’t work that way. If you die in real life, you’re dead.

You can’t respawn, you can’t start over from the beginning. It’s over.

He told us about when he was in the army for two years.

All the time they would do drills and the drills were about staying alive.

Not about shooting and killing others no matter the consequences to yourself like in FPS games.

One of the first things the lab fossil learned is that if you hear gunfire, you should immediately drop to the ground (something people in gang neighborhoods already know).

He told us that the way you survive a battle is by finding cover, not shooting your gun.

He said bullets are heavy, you don’t want to waste them, you might need them later to survive.

My past experience with army veterans is that they never want to talk about their experiences.

Out of respect, I’ve never asked them to recall memories that might be painful for them.

This was one of the first times I actually got to talk about war with a soldier, even if he’d never been actively deployed.

It was a good learning experience.

-Mister Ed

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Exhausting Day

Really long day at work today.

I got to work today to count some germinated rice seeds.

Rice grows best if its put into water to sprout before planted in dirt.

My lab puts the rice seeds into petri dishes in an incubator and waits a week before transfering them into pots at the greenhouse.

I checked to see which seeds had germinated in the incubator and two out of the hundred I put there last week had failed to germinate.

I redid those two for next week, then I set out for the greenhouse.

I wasn’t planting those germinated seeds yet though. First, I collected seeds from one of our older crops of plants.

Then I came back to drop of the collected seeds and grab the germinated seeds.

I went out to a different greenhouse in a fenced in area.

I’d set up the pots to plant them in earlier this week, but the watering system hadn’t been set up for them.

I don’t know how to set it up, so I called my boss and he sent over someone to help me with it.

He helped me put it together and taught me how to set up the dripper water system myself next time.

I realized I’d forgotten to bring labels for my plants, so I asked that guy to go bring them for me.

I started planting the rice and he came back later with some labels, but they were the wrong ones.

I apologized for not being specific enough about which labels I needed and sent him back to get the right ones.

He found them and brought them back around 5.

I stayed there until about 6 to finish planting all the seeds.

The gates for the fence around the greenhouses close at 5.

I called my boss for the combination on the gate lock, but my cell reception was bad and he kept cutting out.

I ending up lifting my bike over the 7 foot fence and then climbing over after it.

I got home with my back side covered in water from carrying the germinated seeds around in their petri dishes full of water and extremely tired from working in greenhouses for about 6 hours.

Gonna sleep like a log tonight.

-Mister Ed

Marriage and Gender

I had an internship for my last two years of college. I worked in a biological research lab studying rice genetics. After I graduated I left the lab, hoping for newer and brighter things. Sadly, I did not get into grad school as I planned. My backup of finding a biotech job didn’t work out either. I started a new internship studying nematode genetics and was rehired back at my old job working with rice.

In the time since I’d left the people working in the lab had rotated somewhat. A few people had left and a few had joined. The core of the lab knew that I was married, but the new people did not. I ended up in the position of training a few of the new student hires, a man and a woman. The woman is studying to be a pharmacist. The man was originally a pre-med student. He even joined a pre-med focused fraternity. Then he took some plant biology classes and joined the rice lab. Now, he wants to be a plant biologist.

I was working with each of them separately today and the topic of my marriage came up. I am twenty-two years old, married to my high school sweetheart, and barely out of college. This throws a few people off. While after college marriages were common a few decades ago (and still are), many people see it as rushing into a relationship. I’m confident that I made the right choice. I’m also sure that there’s some person who’ll say, “Blah-blah percent of marriages of people under 30 end in under blah-blah years. What will you do if you get divorced?”

Honestly? I never prepared for divorce. It’s not something most people plan for when they get married. Why would you? Marriage is supposed to be forever and getting a pre-nup makes it seem like you don’t think it will last forever. If that’s the case then why get married? Our eight month anniversary is coming up on Valentine’s Day and I have a feeling that it’s gonna be great. Both of us are extremely happy to be with each other and we recognize that every day.

I mentioned my marriage to the pre-pharm student and she did not react in the typical ways (“You’re married?!” “What?” “Really?” etc.). She didn’t really react at all. She thought it was perfectly normal to get married right after college. So normal in fact that she didn’t even mention the timing of it.

When I mentioned my marriage to the plant bio student he said, “I was wondering what that ring on your finger was for.” He’d thought it might’ve been a wedding ring, but he wasn’t sure. Maybe when he saw the ring he thought, “That looks like it could be a wedding ring, but how could a guy that young be married?” He’d considered the possibility, but he wasn’t sure.

The thing that struck me most about these conversations was that the woman had thought it normal to be married after college and the man had not. It matched perfectly with traditional paths after college. Society pressures women to get married after college while men are pressured to advance their careers. In a few years, the man finds a younger woman just out of college and they get married. The pre-pharm student, being a woman, projected her own expectations onto me and reacted differently than others have in the past. The plant bio student reacted as other men have in the past to the news, with shock that I’d tie myself down so soon and not focus on my job.

Just a little slice of life that I liked.

-Mister Ed