May 31, 2008

Frustrations of Field Work

I set out to do field work this morning. That was my first mistake.

I'm very much in need of specimens, but fate is not cooperating lately. Today, that took the form of thunder and lightning that wasn't supposed to arrive until much later. Within an hour after arriving at a site near Purgatory Chasm I was making a dash back to my car. I don't mind a bit of rain. It's just water; I get wet, I dry off again. No big deal. Lightning is quite a different story, and since I'm looking for polypores fungi I need to be under the oldest, tallest trees almost by definition (older trees tend to harbor more mature perennial polypores, after all).

I've just come back home empty-handed, essentially having wasted a couple of gallons of gas. I'll have to go out again tomorrow. On the plus side, the impending thunder storm is sure to bring out some interesting fungi and, hopefully, get the beetles more active as well.

On the downside, my plans for the day are pretty well wrecked. I was going to be in the field until 2:00 or 3:00, then take my specimens back to the lab and start extracting DNA. I was then going to do my PCR and get everything ready for the sequencer for next week, meaning that I was going to simply spend the night at the lab tonight. The landlord's son just graduated college and will be having a party here tonight, and LL's out of town anyhow, so sleeping at the lab would have been ideal — if I had something to get done in the meanwhile.

Since I have no specimens, though, I don't have anything to do there. I'm hoping that the party downstairs will be small and/or end early. Otherwise, I may still go crash on a couch in the bio building tonight if I can't sleep here — since I have to get up early and go make another try at tracking down some specimens.

I must admit, I'm in a relatively pissy mood today. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

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