My only class for the day was Biochemical Engineering. We had a couple of demonstrations scheduled using a fermentor of about 10 L E. coli. Only one of them worked. “I am so sad now,” the TA kept saying, because he had put a lot of work into growing up so much E. coli.
It was still interesting, however, to see one of the demonstrations work and also to see how much babying the culture needed–while the professor was lecturing a valve blew off because cells had burst during the oxygen-deprived ride over from the lab and this caused foaming…the TA had to run back to the lab to get antifoam. As it turned out the second demonstration failed to work because the professor had turned off the cooling water when a hose was leaking and forgot to turn it on again. The cells were getting hot and “angry” during lecture, causing the a bad odor along with the demonstration failure.
After lecture, I went to the post office, then returned to dorm–had lunch with Ying, then re-read a first draft of a report. At 3 I met with my professor to discuss this draft, then stopped by the TA’s office to ask questions–this ended up taking until about 5, when I returned to the dorm and did Campus Drive Loop. I took a shower and then met other people who were going to Jia’s birthday celebration dinner.
It was a Japanese buffet in Burlingame. There were 18 people in Jia’s party, total, so it was a little trouble getting everyone together and then getting food…we didn’t have to wait to be served, but we did often use most of the sushi set out for restaurant patrons and we also had to do any cooking ourselves at little grills provided on the table. The table was low, we put our legs into a depression in the floor below it.
After dinner, there was a karaoke outing–some people went back, but my draw group, Huat Chye and his roommate John, and Jia’s friends Xiling, Jim, Qi and Julian, stayed with the trip. The karaoke place was a collection of small rooms each equipped with a sofa, a couple of stools, a table, a disco ball and a TV attached to a karaoke machine. Apparently there is some sort of network of karaoke machines in the place because there was also a phone in each room, which connected users to the front desk and allowed requests (for Coke or water, lower volume, etc) to be made. Most of the songs played were in Mandarin (because the karaoke experts in our group were Chinese, and non-Mandarin-speaking participants were outnumbered) but we got to sing a few songs.
Ying, Fei and I left early with John and Huat Chye.