Sunday 13 December 2015

For Me, The Fun is Over....

I have retired.  I expect this to be my final post to ‘Fun With Microbiology’ (What’s Buggin’ You?).  For those interested, the preceding post explains my circumstances.  Some of you who may have stumbled upon my blog post entitled ‘Toys’ , about the photographic equipment used, may already know about how this blog came to be.  For those who don’t, perhaps I can offer a short summation here.

In 2006 I had a personal encounter with a microorganism – a non-work related infection which left me a paraplegic.  During my convalescence, my wife suggested I start a blog to pass my time.  I had no idea what a blog was but I soon learned by posting about my other interests; my canoeing adventures became ‘Tales from the Paddle’ while my attempts at building stringed musical instrument were documented in ‘Thunderhouse Instruments’. Stories and descriptions, each supported with photographs.

My employer held my position until I could return some two plus years later.  On my return I discovered that our lab had acquired digital photographic equipment to document interesting cases.  The Nikon camera came first, followed some time later by the DMD-108 digital micro-imaging device.  Surprisingly few cared to make use of this equipment.  With my love of photography, I was quite happy to take command and photographically document interesting specimens that passed through our lab.

With my disability came a change in transportation.  I exchanged my van for a power wheelchair.  Now held captive by the schedule of our regional disability transport service, the bus would frequently deliver me to my workplace over an hour before and pick me up an hour after working hours.  I began to occupy these extra hours before and after work by photographing interesting organisms and specimens that I or my colleagues had come across.  What to do with all these photomicrographs?  Why, start another blog!  Well, continue one actually.  While convalescing, I had toyed with the idea and uploaded a few ‘film’ photographs then both hastily and jokingly entitled the blog ‘Fun with Microbiology (what’s buggin’ you) –a title I have ever since regretted.
And so it started.  Slowly at first but soon found myself expanding the content.  I now look back at the earliest posts and wish I could go back and rewrite and re-photograph all those wonderful isolates.  I have always found frustration with textbooks that offer one small black and white photo or worse yet, only a line drawing tucked into a corner of the page.  I thought, if one photo is worth a thousand words, twenty photos must speak volumes.  These are fascinating organisms which develop over time and one small photo does not do them justice.  While the blog was to be about all microorganisms, I found that fungi were the most photogenic and so they came to occupy a disproportionate volume of posts within this blog.  I also discovered that pursuing microorganisms and their features with the camera was one of the best learning experiences one could have.  It beats the #@&% out of any three day, thirty pupil course.

There are so many more organisms I had hoped to cover…

 Rhodotorula rubra on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar

I have also been frustrated by finding many scientific papers are not freely available and must be purchased from the author or authorized distributor.  It is sad that scientific information cannot be freely shared by all interested, yet I do realize incurred costs must be covered.  All the photographs but one on my blog site were taken by myself and are my property.  I freely share all photographs within this blog with those who may find them of use.  I only ask that you not claim them as your own work and give this site or myself credit.

I cannot see any circumstances which would allow me to continue meaningful posts.  So the fun for me has ended.  I hope yours continues….

My grateful thanks to my colleague D.D. whose guidance, support and infectious enthusiasm made the contents of this blog possible.  Further thanks to all my colleagues for their friendship and support. You know who you all are. 
For my immediate colleagues, I am updating a DVD containing power point presentations of all the Fungal isolates presented on my blog.  I hope to have copies for you soon…

 Coming soon for my immediate colleagues

Lights out...
(I hope your fun with microbiology continues!)

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