Month: April 2015

A soup quandary*

On the one hand, it’s always amusing when a tweak of mine means the human female ruins dinner.

On the other hand, this assemblage looks as if it could turn into something I might actually want to eat.

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On the one hand, I have done rotten produce before and I don’t like to repeat myself, but I could certainly arrange a little freezer burn on the beef ribs…

On the other hand, I sort of want to see how she’s going to pull off using Chinese noodles and Italian tomato paste.

What to do, what to do?

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*Soup Quandary is a great band name.

Spring on campus

The human female says that when the University campus was built there was nothing here except cotton fields. How boring! Now there are buildings and parking lots and non-cottony plants. Still boring.

But boring is what the human female does best! She has dragged Sigyn out to look at the campus plants. I’m along to make sure Sigyn comes to no harm and does not get lost. (This campus is so vast that it would be very easy to take a wrong turn and wander for days.)

Do you know how you can tell when it is spring in Central Texas? The leaves all turn brown and fall from the trees! Truly! The live oaks keep their leaves all winter and then abandon them just in time to grow new ones. Silly backwards plants. I mean, just look at this drift of fallen leaves and catkins. In April!

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Sigyn thinks they’re fun and crunchy to jump in. I think they’re itchy and a little sneezy.

All right. Moving on. This plant is less itchy and sneezy, more flowery and pokey. I have a proposition for you. I will wager you anything you care to name— Drop Sigyn anywhere in the world, and within five minutes she will have found a holly to sit in.

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The human female says it’s Burford Holly and that this one is a girl. Burford is a terrible name for a girl.

This plant has a name I won’t even try to pronounce. The flowers smell good, though. A bit citrus-y.

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Sigyn, what are you doing up there?

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Ah. "Reveling." This is what reveling looks like.

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Bleurgh! Sigyn and I disagree about these purple Texas mountain-laurel flowers. She likes the smell. I most emphatically do not. My nose is frankly offended by their cloying fake-grape aroma. Sigyn finds them "yummy."

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You enjoy the purple soap-candle-cheap-soft-drink blossoms all you want, dearest. I’ll be over there waiting for you. Waaaaay over there.

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Let’s end our little gallivant around campus with something we can agree on. Do you like this shrub, Sigyn? Do you know, I do too! It is most…exuberant… in its profusion of pinkness.

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But it is not the pinkness I admire. (I do not "do" pink.) It is the bold refusal to abide by the rules. The flowers are supposed to have five petals, but it makes flowers with six or even seven if it jolly well feels like it. It also thumbs its Rosaceous nose at deer and rabbits, remaining persistently un-nibbled. Bees like it, though, so Sigyn, be sure any blossom you smell is uninhabited before putting your pretty little nose in.

Had enough landscaping for one afternoon, Sigyn? Me too. Let us repair to the human female’s office. l believe there is a very important report on her desk that is just begging to have all of its tables and figures rearranged before it goes to the Division Head.

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Bzzzt! Wheeeeeeennnnnnnnnn!

The young Midgardian whose party I have taken over has received some interesting gifts. Chief among them is a set of electric components with which one can build any number of gadgets and tinkerments.

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I am quite adept at circuitry. Such a tantalizing array of potential mayhem is irresistible.

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The kit has come with a booklet containing instructions for various projects. I think… let me see… We shall build THIS ONE!

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We shall need these two pieces, plus that thingummy over there. No, the other one.

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The Ticking Screecher is complete!

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Sigyn, light of my life, you might want to cover your ears, or better yet, let us leave the vicinity, for I have added a special, magical, Loki touch to this device.

Once activated, it will never, ever shut off, even should the batteries be removed…

Ehehehehehehe! Oh, dear me—look at the time! Off we go!

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Loki, God of Party-crashers

Midgardian small ones grow up so quickly. But then again, their lives are so short, that I suppose they must rush. They also take great note of the anniversaries of their entering the world. Such a fuss for a swarm of mayflies.

The small son of the human female’s knittery friend is having a birthday today. Sigyn would like to attend, since the knittery friend has been kind to her. She also wants me to go with her, since there will be a number of people there and she is feeling a bit shy. Dearest, must we? The mortals are driving to attend the festivities, and two hours cooped up in the car with their nattering and execrable taste in music would be enough to drive a saint to murder, and I am no saint.

Sigyn has been known to become a little queasy when we teleport. Thus, a compromise between the slow, nattering, strangling way and and the fast, nauseated Sigyn way.

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Um, my sweetling, while I commend and admire your bravery, would it not be better for you to join me in the cockpit?

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<later> We encountered some turbulence on the way here, but it was still better than either alternative. We have arrived, so now the party can commence!

The knittery friend has created a themed cake for the birthday child. I have improved it with my presence. Neither small game-piece monsters nor six year old Midgardians are half so terrifying as Loki!

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<still later> The Midgardians and their boardgames! They seem to play them at every opportunity. Today’s boxed chaos is called "Rhino Hero."

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Hero? Snort! Rhinos are notoriously weak-minded, and it was the work of a moment to suborn him to my cause. Welcome, Caped Ceratomorph!

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Dragged out into the field…again, Part II: There’s a fine line between beauty and death.

A few more photos from our rambly, scrambly day:

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Old Plainsman. Indeed, it is a bit stooped and wavery. (Or perhaps my innate, all-powerful godhood has inspired it to genuflect. I shall, of course, accept its obeisance.)

The human female says this is a “Fringed Puccoon.” Suuuuure it is…

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To me, that sounds like the name of either some exotic tropical bird or a very unpleasant social disease.

This coral honeysuckle was flowering above our heads, up where hummingbirds can reach it easily. Sigyn wanted to know what color the flowers are inside, so I magicked a blossom down. Look! The inside is orange!

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We have been out here a long time, and I have poked a tendril of magic at the human female to cause her to begin to think that it is time for her lunch. She often brings snacks along but has failed to do so today. Would it be too evil of me to suggest that the crunchy bulbs of Zigadenus nuttallii (Nuttall’s Deathcamas) would be yummy? It would certainly cut this hike short!

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While the peckish mortal fossicks about for botanical comestibles, Sigyn and I can enjoy a nice rest in this magnificent specimen of Penstemon cobaea.

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Sigyn wants to creep inside and examine the bee-guide purple markings. Be careful, my treasure. You’d fit just fine, but the flowers are quite slick with nectar and I wouldn’t like you to slip out and fall!

Hmmm. The female has declined to sample the Zigadenus (damn!) but has consented to return home (about time.) Say farewell to the outcrop, Sigyn. If you are a good girl, perhaps we can come back another time.

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Dragged out into the field…again, Part I: Steep going.

I was hoping that the human female *might* eventually get a little bit sick of looking at flowers. Sigh. No such luck. It’s a cool, cloudy afternoon, and instead of napping like most civilized Midgardians, she has Sigyn and me out traipsepassing on what is undoubtedly someone’s private property.

This not just botanizing, it’s exercise. This is a rocky outcrop so tilty that you could kiss the ground while standing up. You know, if you wanted a mouthful of Oligocene sandstone…

Must say, though, that the view from the top is rather nice.

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The human female says she likes this place because she discovered a very rare plant here and got to name it. If I found a new plant, I would name it after Sigyn, but the foolish mortal squandered the only chance she will ever have to make her mark on science and saddled the poor plant with an unpronounceable string of syllables that is most unlovely.

So apparently, this outcrop is a last little bit of largely undisturbed prairie. I have filed this away as possibly useful information if I ever grow really angry with the human female, since it would take only a very small fire or a soupcon of dynamite to remove it –and her beloved plant– from the map permanently.

Sigyn wants to show me something. What have you got there, my pet?

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Oh, very pretty. Didn’t you once have a hat like these?

This is a handsome flower as well.

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Parts of it are still wearing their furry winter underwear. Get with the program, plant! It is spring!

These yellow daisies are showy, aren’t they Sigyn?

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If you want to play he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not, I will pick one for you. (I will give you a hint: He loves you.)

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Sometimes nature is unkind. (Not for the kiddies)

Another day, another nature walk. Sigyn has found some buttercups in this wet ditch. (Oh, great. A wet ditch. I can tell this is going to be one those days when the human female gets home and the human male will look her up and down and ask if she left any mud in the outdoors.)

Buttercups are hard to photograph, because the petals are so waxy-shiny that they’re surrounded by a perpetual glare.

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Sigyn says the look like they’ve been cut out of extra-fancy wrapping paper, the kind you get on gifts from expensive department stores. I wouldn’t know. I don’t give (or get) a lot of presents, and malls give me hives.

She’s asking what that is up there along the road. I see it, Sigyn, but I can’t tell what— Oh.

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You’re right, Sigyn. That is an odd place for a bunny to take a nap, but we, uh, shouldn’t wake him up. He’ll have a nice snooze and then go bouncing off into the long grass. Tell you what, sweetie, let’s go sit in that tree over there. It looks as if it might be full of flowers.

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Sometimes it is useful to be the God of Lies.

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Home Disimprovement

The humans’ home is comfortable enough, but it isn’t new, and bits of it are in need of repair. Case in point: the ceiling fan in the parlor is possessed of a four-lamp light fixture that has begun to “eat” light bulbs at an alarming rate. With a little coaching from me, it has developed a taste for the really expensive 100-wattcompact fluorescent ones that, even sucked dry of all life, present a toxic waste hazard that gives everyone the twitches for fear they may break.

Therefore, the humans have enlisted the help of a friend in an attempt to detach the light-kit and fix or replace it. I am lending my aid as well, because that’s just the sort of helpful fellow I am.

The tubular brass arms are reminiscent of a wind instrument. How baroque. Hmm. I do not think the switch is at fault.

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And I am reasonably certain they will find no fault in the bird’s nest of wiring. Yet.

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Remind me… Is the black wire the ground?

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Or is it the white one? And did I mention that I learned a few tricks from Thor and can short out puny Midgardian wires like this with a mere thought? Zap! There goes another one! Aw. That is most regrettable–the humans will have to go and buy a whole new light kit.

These are the fancy, scallopy light shades from the old fixture.

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Fancy, but boring. Everyone has these. Dare I hope the humans will choose something sleek and a little more modern?

Ah. They have returned from the hardware store. Now this is more like it! Smooth and alabasterine and not at all scallopy. I approve, but I will not tell them that.

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Here is the new lighting fixture. Not as curly and hunting-hornish as the other.

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It also appears to have simpler wiring. Should I summon another zap? No, wait! I have a better idea. (And by “better” I mean, “More likely to cause tooth-gnashing and the exchange of blame-filled rants among the humans.”)

Oh, look, the new light kit actually comes *with* bulbs. Convenient, that.

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Let me see if I can read the wattage on one of them. Ehehehehehehehe! I think I can do better!

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There now! Forty watts maximum! All four together will scarcely be equal to one of the old lights! Ha! Let darkness and chaos reign!

Back up the old fixture goes, for now. Other than making the mortals go up and down the ladder and to and from the hardware store, the best part of this, the final indignity, is that they’ll need the receipt to return that new business, and I have already put it away someplace very, very safe. Safe safe safe. Soooo safe. I mean, what could possibly be safer than the pile of already-entered-into-the-checkbook receipts that are headed for the shredder?

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There’s something in the air…

And that something is the sweet smell of flowering Acacia. I must admit, this is one plant I actually like. It is prickly, unpredictable (some years it does not flower at all, not a single plant locally), and a delightfully garish shade of yellow-orange that clashes with everything except school buses and No. 2 pencils.*

I am not one for perfumes, but Sigyn is quite enamored of the soft, licorice-like fragrance of the flowers. On still, humid nights, these flowering trees are smellable all over town.

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Natural history lesson: Giraffes love Acacia the way the human female loves cookies. Sigyn has always wanted to meet a giraffe, so for her birthday today, I have gathered some branches of Acacia and sent out a tickly little “come hither” spell.

That was quick! We have only been standing here a few minutes, and already a couple of the gangly camelids have sauntered by to sample our offerings.

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I surmise that the one I am tempting has eschewed the traditional reticulated pattern in favor of gaudy neckware.

Sigyn is going to have hers domesticated in no time.

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She has charmed the spotless one as well. Careful, Birthday Girl–it is a long way down!

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Lest you think I have become too soft-hearted, cavorting in flowers and feeding errant members of the Artiodactyla, I present one of my best pranks ever:

I parked the humans’ vehicle beneath one of the trees with the moon roof open and then summoned another giraffe.

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Not only will they have to somehow induce the giraffe to exit the vehicle, they will have the unenviable job of removing giraffe-produced Acacia byproducts from the upholstery…

All in all, a mighty fine day.

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*They also match Kodak film boxes, but those are becoming scarce. I would like to go on record as saying that is NOT my fault.