Sleipnir’s Fetlocks–It is March already! Time flies when you are having fun. Let me see if I can bring you up to date.
My conniving with the shipping department at The Purveyor of Squiggly Things continues to account for 15% of the human female’s anxiety. In addition to shipping this semester’s termites early, they have shipped the diatoms early and the crayfish (one line item out of six on a larger PO) early, the shipment of ferns arrived smashed into pteridophytous salad and they have consistently failed to apply their own promo codes for discounts. Whenever the human female has to call her account rep, there is a fraught pause before he says a timid hello, because he knows no joy is coming down the wire.
BAMN, with its dying breaths, succeeded in making a few last bits of misery for the human female. Because its programmers can’t count any further than the fingers of a single hand, the screen for doing receiving of merchandise that managed to arrive on time and unscathed will, unless explicitly coaxed to do so, display only 5 items. Should one forget to tab through to the second (or third, or fourth) page, one is left with only a dangling partial receipt, one which frustrates HOHOHO and all the bean counters all the way up the beanstalk. The human female has had a few of these (because she can’t count higher than five either) and has discovered that when one goes in to rectify the partial receipt, there is no actual “submit” button. Well done, BAMN! Oh, and it sent out its last few purchase requests with Fiscal Year 16 PO numbers. It does not go gently into that good night.
But throw confetti, pour mimosas! The human female has at last bidden a fond farewell to my beloved BAMN* and has gleefully switched back to the previous purchasing software system. I…I think those are tears of joy… Tears of anguish are more my thing, though, so I think that when she places the first order with it I will play with her head a little. There! That first PO to the Purveyor of Squiggly things is going to automatically include a comment note she wrote to the campus Higher-up Omnipotent Head Ordering Honcho Overlords (HO HO HO) back in 2015. It was attached to the last order she tried to put through Aggie Buy in its previous incarnation and says, “I think we need to cancel this PO because it is too late and put it through BAMN instead.” Really! And I made it so that she couldn’t delete the comment! She had to write a SECOND comment that says, basically, “Ha ha ha–just kidding! I really do want this stuff please don’t cancel oh crap please I’m not joking I really do need 18 jars of planaria and some other stuff but not the snails because I put them in on a previous order…” Let’s see what HOHOHO does with that!
Well, actually, they won’t do much right off, because even though AggieBuy remembered that old memo, it didn’t remember the e-mail for the vendor. The HOHOHO pasted on another comment saying she had to provide them with one. So the human female emailed the poor account rep to double check it, and then attached a fourth comment to the PO giving it to them. Then she emailed the account rep again, asking him to double check that the new version of AggieBuy is getting the shipping instructions all the way through to the shipping department at the POST. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
One of the things the human female has to procure each term is one unit of bovine blood for one of the laboratory exercises. She gets it from the Texas Vet Medicine Diagnostic Lab. Her recent e-mail conversation with them went something like this, “I need one unit on such and such a date, to be paid for by interdepartmental transfer on account number thus and so.” “Okay, and what was that PO number again?” “There is no PO. We pay this with interdepartmental transfer.” “All righty. As soon as I get that PO number from you I can get this set up.” Round and round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows!
The flowers for the botany lab were hard to get this semester, too. What with the rearrangement of the lab schedule, the Angiosperm lab fell in the same week as Valentine’s Day. This means everything was twice as expensive. The human female played phone tag with the florist for several days, trying to see if they could be brought in the week before for cheaper, but it turned out not to make a difference and the usual date was settled on. So then, of course, I had them come a day late…
HR (which is purported to stand for “Human Resources” but which is closer to “Having Regrets” in nature) at the university has eagerly accepted my suggestions. All employees were instructed to do something or other to get their form 1095-C (C standing, of course, for Confusion). Except the form was not actually at the HR website, and the notification that employees could elect to receive it electronically if they did so by January 31–came on January 31.
I look forward to even more fun with the Workday HR overhaul rolling out this fall. Leave and Payroll and Benefits and Hiring and Performance Evaluation and Employee Resources all in one place! One little tinker here or there could have massive consequences. Someone must be spying on my plans for Workday, though. Folks have already begun to refer to it as Work D’oh and are altering the free tote bags to say same. I guess that’s all right though. This way, they can experience several months of dread before they begin hating it in realtime.
This semester’s students seem Hel-bent on gashing, staining, and poisoning themselves in a mad rush to be the first cohort to achieve 100% representation in the big folder full of Lab Incident Reports. If it’s not Coomassie blue, it’s DPIP–neither of which is any good for the complexion, and if it’s not those two, it’s broken glass. I thought about buttering the rubber gloves in all the labs, but to be honest, I don’t think they could get any clumsier.
(Actually, I quite liked the results of the Coomassie blue spills. I had my own little tribe of partial Jotuns there for a while.)
They also have a distinct inability to keep track of their personal belongings. As the gods are my witness, there is a jacket in the lost and found that is on its second trip through this semester. On its first visit, its owner did come looking for it, failed to identify it satisfactorily as to size, came back a second time with her order form showing she’d mis-remembered the size, and claimed it. It was back the following week. I think the young lady is too embarrassed to come look for it again. Calculators, rings, textbooks, spectacles, water bottles, jackets. We have it all. And goggles. Sooooo many pairs of goggles. Gaggles of goggles.
For some reason, the Campus IT personnel are getting really paranoid about cyber security. They are advocating everyone switch to dual-authentication for their log-ins. Of course, since the website that walks one through the process of setting it up says in one place that the passwords have to be six characters and in another that they have to be seven, compliance has been low.
The campus email spam filters, though, are still letting through gems such as “Say ‘yes’ to an astonishing reward from our Palace!”
Continuing with computers, the checking-for-cheating assignment submission program that the humans’ department uses has suddenly decided that it will no longer score submissions in .docx format. And the big student-management platform has been squirrely all semester. The other day it ate an entire section of students. Just because. (Ehehehehe.)
Then there’s Code
Maroon Moron, the campus’ emergency notification program, that is supposed to send dire and timely warnings of things like gas leaks, suspicious packages, frightening weather, monthly tests, etc. to peoples cell phones, computers, and radios. Last week it was (another) gas leak. I tinkered a bit, and now the “click here to dismiss this warning screen and get updates” button goes to a page with no updates at all. Which is just as well. Because, really, when the tornado is upon you, there is no way that 1,000 students are all going to fit in the basement anyway.
The human female’s little blue car apparently suffered a good bit of damage to the floor of the cargo area in the recent accident.
The aged feline continues to be a big old bundle of fuzzy bother. Just dealing with her medications keeps the humans busy. The other day the human female called to renew one of them, got a recording, and was told to give all the information at a the “beep.” There was no beep. On another med, the human female called to renew and was told she’d have to get reauthorization from the vet. She called the vet, who faxed it in. Nothing happened. The human female called the pharmacy, who said they’d never received anything. So she called the vet, who said, “We did indeed send the stupid thing, and we will send it again. Next time, start with us.” Duly noted.
More phone fun: The human female, like most mortals, abhors what she terms “robo-calls.” Really? I think automated sales pitches, with their cheery fake-bonhomie banter are one of my better inventions! I’m particularly proud of the one the human female received the other day. When she answered the call, all she heard was, “I’m sorry. That’s not a valid extension. Please try again.”
I may not have mentioned before my work with various credit card companies. Last month, the humans’ #2 credit card switched from MasterCard to Visa, all the better to serve them. Two weeks later, their #1 card sent them a perky letter outlining their plans to improve service by changing from Visa to Mastercard.
I like to make each day a little more surreal. Past couple weeks 8.5 out of 10!
*Except for that dismally hanging, eternally open order of chronically-unavailable stiff kitties from the Purveyor of Dead Things from way back.