Sunday, November 04, 2007

That time I was a CSI

Ok, remember that time I said I was taking this CSI class, and that I hoped we'd get to all kinds of crazy things, like dust for prints, and that I'd keep you updated? Here's yer update, folks.

The class is awesome.

I mean, in some respects, it's totally boring. It's been dumbed way down so that Art students can take it and pass it and fulfill their science requirements. Science students actually aren't allowed to take it, it's that easy. It's the Earth Sciences of college. Which, awesome, who doesn't love easy. But also, there isn't a heavy emphasis placed on learning things, because we all know why we're here.
So the actual class part - boring. I do crossword puzzles online. But the lab part? SO rad. Almost immediately, we got to dust for prints. And we're all rubbing our fingers on the sides of our noses and through our hair to make them all greasy, and then pressing them onto flat surfaces, and then dusting all around like we don't know where the fingerprint is, and hey! Malfeasance was commited here! But I had just showered, and so I was pretty greaseless and we had to take a lot of prints so that we could practice the different ways of processing them. So I've run out of nose-grease and my hair is clean as a whistle, and I hear Leslie saying that if we need greasier fingers we can come up to the front and use some of the hand lotion, but I'm not looking at her when she says it, and when I finally make my way to the front there's just this tube of miscellaneous jelly so I smear some of that on my thumb and go back to making prints, and it makes some pretty well-defined prints, but it isn't until twenty minutes later when I'm back up at the front that I see the container of hand cream, on the other table. And the tube of jelly is gone.
So that was fun. Also fun was the time we had to study our hairs under the microscope. Joel and I have often remarked on how somethings are awesome on the body, like hair and skin, and just SO gross off of the body. For reals, though, think about it. My head-hair is so fabulous, and Joel will run his fingers through it, but my pile-of-hair in the shower is disgusting, and no one wants to touch it. (In a slightly related manner, somethings are tolerable on the body, like band-aids, but totally unacceptable off the body. I don't think there's anything more universally revolting than a body-less band-aid.) So examining our hairs under a fairly powerful microscope was an excercise in revulsion, but also kind of interesting. Especially when your hair has three distinct colors between root and tip.
We've also done some things with DNA that I won't try to explain because I don't understand them. Suffice it to say that we were processing some DNA and then running it through a thing, and when the thing came out the other end, there was one lane that didn't have any DNA, and that was mine. I totally botched that one.
We had an entomologist (bug scientist) come in and show us a bunch of slides of dead bodies with bugs on them. She also showed us videos of an experiment she did which involved dressing pig corpses up in clothing, leaving them in a house to rot for a month, setting fire to the house, and waiting for the neighbors to call the fire department. I will take up entomology as my second career.
We'll have another speaker in a few weeks on blood spatter patterns, and then we have a lab where we get to make our OWN blood spatter patterns (with fake blood) and let me tell you, I will be dying a violent death. Everybody better wear their lab coats.
So all in all, yes, it's been exactly like CSI. A bit tedious with some awesome moments. Oh yes, and we aren't allowed to wear contact lenses in the lab, and so two thirds of the class shows up in our dorky glasses from the twelfth grade, and you can tell who doesn't wear them all the time because we go to scratch our eyes, and end up poking ourselves in the lens. Idiots.

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