**I Still Object!!
What a thing to have to do on my day off. Go from getting kicked around at work on Sunday night to having to get up early to be over at the courthouse in Sycamore. Blech. And then to find out that they are trying to seat not one, but three, juries. Double blech. Not that I was overly concerned about getting picked, especially if it was a drunk driving case. Since part of my job includes drawing blood samples for the police, I usually get a pass on those right off the bat. So they took the 85 of us that were there and split us into 3 groups, one for each case, and we went to our respective courtrooms to begin the selection process. By now, it had to be getting close to noon, and we all had to be there by 0930. The judge came in, explained the case, introduced the lawyers and the accused, they selected the first 12 potential jurors, and we broke for lunch. Half of my day off was now gone.
At least I was in a city I knew and there were a couple of good choices for lunch. Unfortunately, Taxco was closed, so I opted to head over to Shawn's for a sandwich and a mocha. After a good mocha and a fairly dry sandwich, I meandered back to the courthouse. My second run through the metal detectors at the front door confirmed my opinion that the female Asian sheriff's deputy working there was quite a cutie. I wandered up to the 3rd floor jury room, sat by the window, and once again pulled out the paperback I had brought to pass the time. I had already put a 100+ page dent in it, and I had at least half an hour to kill before court was back in session. At least it was a good book.
Back in the courtroom, the jury selection process continued. They had only managed to seat four jurors before we broke for lunch, so the attorneys had 8 more left to agree on. I had been sitting there the whole time watching how the process went. The attorneys usually asked the same set of questions of each potential juror. So, in the time I was sitting there, I must admit to trying to figure out how I could answer any given question to get myself excused. But it wasn't looking like they'd even get to me. And so it went for the next couple of hours. The judge would make her little speech, and then the attorneys would both get a chance to question the potential juror. They managed to get four more seated, and threw out who knows how many before I was called to take one of the now empty seats in the jury box. I was then treated to the speech I had already heard a dozen times before from the judge. Then the judge asked me a question, the wording of which I don't exactly remember, but to which my response was that police officers should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen. That answer didn't seem to go over very well. When I mentioned that I was also responsible for collecting blood samples on persons suspected of DUI, the state's attorney dismissed me without even getting up from his chair.
So, back to the jury pool I went. By this point it was past three o'clock. Then, one of the judges came in and told us all that we would need to call the courthouse after noon the next day in order to see if we would need to come in to repeat this process all over again for a 4th trial (which they assured us was highly unusual) that was on the books for this week. Then they let us go home. We were all somewhat cranky. Even stealing a glimpse at the cute deputy by the metal detector did little to lift my spirits.
The next day, when noon rolled around, I was on the phone to the courthouse. The pre-recorderd message informed me that I did indeed need to report to the courthouse between 1315 and 1330. I was thrilled. After calling work and telling them what was going on, I gobbled some lunch, threw on some decent clothes, and made a beeline for Sycamore. My favorite deputy was there again. I headed up to the jury room and got settled in. The room started to slowly fill with somewhat grumpy and fairly vocal potential jurors. Seeing other people from the previous day on their way out of the courtroom, their duty served for the year, probably wasn't helpful. The bailiff checked everyone in, and the general muttering continued. Another half hour or so went by, when the judge from the case I had been excused from came walking in. She proceeded to thank us for coming in, but the case we were supposed to be seated for had been granted a continuance. We were free to go, and we wouldn't be called again for at least a year.
Looking at my watch, I saw I had plenty of time to make it into work. I was sooooo thrilled.
**Aw, Aint It Purty?
The ground is once again white thanks to an inch or so of new snow here. It's that really light, poofy snow that really likes to blow around. While it was coming down I noticed that it wasn't even in the form of flakes, but little needles instead. I call it 'greasy' snow, because it doesn't stick to anything, not even itself. So, your feet, your car, and the car of the idiot behind you driving too fast just slide around over the top of it. Fun, fun, fun.
**Feche La Vache!
Got tickets for the matinee show of Spamalot on the 25th of this month. Probably gonna take the train in, and I'm going to check and see where Trader Vic's is in relation to the theater. And I'm going to do my best to forget what the cost of the tickets was and just enjoy the show.
**Wait...You Pee It Out?
How does a tropical parasite end up in the frozen wasteland of DeKalb? Apparently, you let an 8 year old go swimming in a lake in Africa, and poof! schistosomiasis! What's that? Check out this article and get back to me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schistosomiasis
Pretty gross sounding, eh? Anyway, the doctor sent a urine sample on this kid and wanted it checked. My first thought was that the doctor was out of his flipping mind. My second thought was how the hell was I going to check for that? We don't do much in the way of parasitology here, so references are kinda scarce. Still, the ONE book we had was enough to point us in a general direction, and the good ol' internet supplied the rest. After spinning down the entire sample, I had maybe 0.2cc of condensed sediment. Not a whole lot to work with. The one good thing was that the eggs, should they be there, are huge (microscopically speaking, that is). I mixed up the sediment, put a drop on a slide, coverslipped it, and tossed it on the microscope, fully expecting to see nothing. Which is exactly what I saw, aside from a whole bunch of white blood cells.
Then, there it was, plain as day:an egg. And where there is one, there are more. Sure enough, as I continued to scan around the slide, more and more came into view. Frankly, I was stunned. This was one of those things that you hear about in MT school, but usually with the caveat that it's something you'll never see in real life. And here I was, seeing it in real life.
Now, the part I didn't know: these little critters apparently have a diurnal life cycle. So when they're in your nice dark bladder, they're just hanging out, basically sleeping. When you piss them out, and the daylight hits them, they switch on. Which means they start hatching. And simple as they are, they really can't tell the difference between daylight and the light that comes from the source lamp of a microscope. Can you see where this is going? I was quite enthralled by my discovery and spent a lot of time looking at my discoveries under various magnifications and light configurations. Until I saw what looked to be an empty shell. Odd. I didn't remember that being there before. Maybe I had just missed it in my initial scan. And my second scan. And my third.
Then, from the edge of the visual field, movement. I recentered the field, and there was a free moving cilliate, trying for all it was worth to move around a big clump of white cells. I knew that wasn't there before. The cilliate that is, not the white cells. The eggs were hatching. Right there on the slide. How freakin cool is that?
Now before you all wig out, what was hatching out on that slide is only infective and dangerous if I was a snail. I've been called a lot of things in my day, but I don't think that 'snail' was ever one of them. If you checked out the diagram on the article I told you to read, you'd know that. Did I mention that there was going to be a quiz? Anyway, I got to spend an evening watching the eggs of this tropical parasite hatch and release the free living intermediate form right before my very eyes. probably the neatest thing I've seen in my profession in years.
**Maybe 2010?- The hits just keep coming for Dhawk. Sorry about all the bad news, kiddo.
**Write On!- Kittyluv gots some of her writing mojo back!
**Tiki X3- Many thanks to Kari and Big Bri for adding to the ranks of my tiki collection! Kari was kind enough to contribute what are now the smallest and next to smallest tikis in said collection. Big Bri passed along a neat little tiki toothpick holder that he picked up god knows where.
**Is it a wreck or a trip? Sometimes it's really hard to tell. Even from where I sit.
**She wasn't wearing the perfume I like, so she deserved all the peanuts in her purse. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
**Did I mention the cute deputy I saw this week?