Month: September 2018

Sometimes I Don’t Know My Own Strength

I don’t always plan my mischief down to the last detail.  Sometimes I will just leave a little vortex of chaos lying in wait someplace, all ready for one of the unwary humans to step in.  (I like to be surprised.)

I left such a spell in the kitchen-dining room yesterday.  I expected a dropped fork or a smear of jam on a borrowed library book or perhaps even a burned pork chop.  Nothing happened yesterday, but I have just heard the most enormous CRASH and some colorful language, so I think it may have been triggered!

Great Frigga’s Hairpins!  Be careful, my love, there is very great deal of broken glass in here!

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And rather a lot of something wet…

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If the human male’s mutterings are to be believed, he was trying to lift a twelve-pack of fizzy water up off the floor.  Somehow a bottle of beer (whose six pack was sitting next to the fizzy water) “hitched a ride” on the carton of water but then let go at a height of approximately four feet.

The destruction is most comprehensive.

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Now the human male has some housekeeping and decontamination to do, all the while keeping curious felines out of the beery carnage.  I don’t know what he planned to do today, but whatever it was, he is not getting to it any time soon…

Ehehehehehe.  Good one.

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Gastronomy Week, Part V: But Ah, Me– I’m Such a Dunce! I Went and Ate Them All At Once.

Well, I didn’t, actually, but I’ve always thought that particular bit of Mr. Shel Silverstein’s doggerel was quite apt–for the human female, at least.  Don’t get in the way of her fork when she’s hitting her stride, is all I’m saying.

But still, I was looking through some old photos today, and I found a fair number that are of my beloved and me sampling various sorts of Midgardian cuisine.   Just so no one can accuse us of being picky eaters, I present this evidence:

We tried the new Vietnamese noodle house next to the place where we had the yummy sandwiches not too long ago.

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You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are noodles under all of that lemongrass beef, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, peanuts, and crispy onions.

We also tried the spring rolls.

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I was deeply suspicious of the dipping mixture, until I figured out it was peanut sauce and not chocolate pudding.  I’m adventurous, but shrimp and chocolate pudding?  That’s a hard “no.”

Sometimes, on the way home from work, we’ll all stop at a salad bar and make our own foliaceous concoctions.  Lettuce, spinach, peas, carrots, cucumber, peppers, apple, nuts, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, cranberries, croutons, spicy rice crackers, sunflower seeds, and one olive for each of us.

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Plus that mini corn muffin there.   And an egg. 

On a colder day, we tried a pot pie from the same establishment.

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I’m not a trained chef, but I don’t think it counts as pie if it’s just stew with a pastry hat.

The best burgers in town come from a little dive of a place owned by a nice Korean family.  I have written of this place and its confusing decor before.

burgerhouse

Sigyn is excited because she found out she can request grilled onions.

Then there was the time the humans decided to make their own gyro sandwiches.  That requires the construction of a “meat brick” to shave slices off of, and they actually found a recipe for one!  This is an actual, foil-wrapped brick with a loaf of meat under it, getting good and dense.

meatbrick

I know. It seemed silly to me, too.

On hot days, when all we want is a little something, Sigyn and I like to get sushi.  We both like the California rolls and the Philly rolls.

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But I loathe this green stuff with the white hot fury of a thousand suns.  Which, incidentally, is how it makes your sinuses feel if you eat it.  (Worst guacamole EVER.)

And, finally, a photo we took at the midsummer medieval concert we went to.  There’s always a little reception afterwards.  It is Sigyn’s contention that something like this counts as a serving of fruit.

St-Cecilia-dessert

Works for me.

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Gastronomy Week, Part IV: Ich möchte Schnitzel essen, bis die Schweine nach Hause kommen

In keeping with the theme of revisiting old restaurhaunts, we are back at the German Schnitzel Emporium today.  On our previous visit, we learned a lot about sauces and consumed a mountain of fried meaty goodness.

The human female is ordering her usual, the Wiener Schnitzel.

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I understand that she has a lemon out in the car, since the last time she came, the kitchen was actually out of lemons, which means she ate Nekkid Schnitzel.

This place is fun, because there is a lot to look at while we wait for the food.

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Sigyn, please tell me you checked to see if that was lit before you clambered up and in.

The half-liter steins are quaint, but not terribly comfortable for sitting in.

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Fisi, I suspect you do not want to eat that.  It may be calorie-free, gluten-free, and kosher, but I hear it causes cancer in laboratory hyenas.

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Sigyn is admiring the checked ribbon on the menu’s spine.  Contemplating a new frock, my love?

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The human male’s beer has arrived.  It is a Dunkel something-or-other.

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I guess if I lean over a bit more, it will be a Dunkeloki!

Our meals are here!

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Bad Fisi!  Let go!  Sigh.  I can’t take that beast anywhere, and I suspect it may be time to get Fisi’s eyesight checked, as hyenas are not generally known for their love of potatoes.

On ever prior visit, the Dessert of the Day has been something chocolate, and the human female has been forced to sit and watch while others partake.  Today, though, the menu features vanilla cake!

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And there is great rejoicing!

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Gastronomy Week, Part III: Revisiting An Old Favorito and Meeting Some WFOUS

The humans are taking the daughter of an old friend out to eat.  Poor thing–she’s just started attending Texas A&M and the humans have adopted her.  I can’t think of anything more terrifying.  But they do tend to feed their friends, so today they are introducing the child to the little local Cafe Centroamericano.

We have eaten here before.  Or, rather, the humans ate and I had Grave Misgivings.  Today, I might just try the food, having read that pupusas are actually just little corny pillows full of meat and cheese and that “cacahuate” indicates “peanutty goodness.”

Mmm.  There are chips and salsa for snacking while waiting for our food.  I always approve of chips and salsa.  There are no chips or salsa on Asgard or in Jotunheim.  It’s one of the few things Midgard really has going for it.

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Since we were here last, the eatery has acquired some WFOUS–Wooden Fruits of Unusual Size. This strawberry is large enough to recline in!

strawberry

This one, I believe, is supposed to be a papaya.  I have never had a papaya…

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…and since the human female describes them as a “cross between kerosene and barf,” I think I will remain content in my ignorance.

I have no idea what this one is supposed to be.

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The human female has identified it as a cashew apple.  She says the curly bit on top’s where the cashew “nut” comes from, but I think she’s making the whole thing up.  It looks like a mango with a goiter, if you ask me.

The cafe has a shelf or two of grocery items.  Sigyn, let’s take a look, since our food is not quite done yet.

Sigyn, of course, has gravitated to whatever is labeled in red.

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My Allspeak tells me that this half-clad fish-lass is hawking sardines in a chili-laced tomato sauce.  It falters, though, on “pica pica,” suggesting that that means…. “pica pica.”  Whatever.  I’m not inclined to sample.

You could be forgiven for thinking that a Central American cafe would stock mostly, well, Central-American items.

But no.

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What even?

May I be excused?  My brain hurts.

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Gastronomy Week, Part II: The National Food of Texas

At work, the human female usually dines al desko at lunchtime, but today her work group has gone out to eat, celebrating several people’s work anniversaries.  The human female has now been in her current position five years and with the University thirty-three.  Old. She is definitely old.

The human female’s boss–whose treat it is—has chosen the venue.  It’s a casual restaurant, one of those where diners give their order at the counter and then sit and wait for it to come out.

You can tell it’s a classy place by the salt and ketchup holder.

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And what is the fare?  Barbecue, of course!  This place is all about smoky, saucy dead critters of all kinds.  The human female has chosen a sliced brisket sandwich.  Sliced brisket is the national food of Texas.  I have learned, during my sojourn here, to appreciate it.

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It is also a favorite of hyenas.  Bad fisi!  Drop it!

Or else steal me another slice.

Nom nom nom.  There is a lot of beef going on here, along with buckets of “sides” and a gallon or so of sauce.  Which means there are definitely some greasy chins and hands around this table.

Good thing there’s a roll of napkins right here.

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Grab me one, will you?

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Gastronomy Week, Part I: Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

The calendar may say September, but I can assure you, it is most definitely summer outside.

Each evening brings the same litany from the humans.  “It’s too hot to cook.”  “We got tied up on campus and now it’s late.”  “I wish someone would go ‘poof!’ and make dinner magically appear.”  Blah, blah, blah.  Whine, whine, whine.

Truth be told, I could actually go ‘poof!’ and make a gourmet dinner appear.  But I won’t.  Why?

1. TANSTAAFL–The human female is already good and lazy.  Giving her an “out” by magicking up a meal wouldn’t teach her anything about patience, menu-planning, or time management.

2.  Buying (and then cooking) food helps support the local grocetoriums.  Store clerks get to keep their jobs.  Texas farmers and ranchers sleep a little better knowing they have the humans’ coins in their piggy banks.

3.  I’m petty.

So, they cook.  Or not.  Tonight they are most definitely NOT cooking.   Instead, they’ve invited some friends round for a “cheese tasting.”  If you put it like that, it sounds so much better than “hot and lazy.”

I’m interested to see what the humans have chosen.  Sigyn likes a good double cream brie, while I go more for the hard, aged, nutty cheeses, the kind with enough attitude that it’s even money whether you’re going to eat it or it is going to knock you down and rifle your pockets for loose change.

Look, Sigyn, the human female put the good dishes out.  They match and everything.

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And there are grapes, apple, and several sorts of crackers.  This looks promising.  But get to the cheese already!

Ah. That’s more like it.  In the back is a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese dusted with some ancho chili powder.  And if I’m not mistaken, this pile is Manchego.

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I do like a good Manchego.

Oh!  And see that one down in the lower right corner?  That, Sigyn, is the superior comestible known as thousand-day Gouda.  See those little crystals?  Pure flavor.

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Truly, a cheese fit for a god.   And what’s that you have there, dearest?

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I recognize that!  That is the year-old Vermont cheddar that the human female shoved into the cheese drawer and never got around to eating.  It is now two-year old cheddar and is as sharp as my wit.  Good choice, beloved, good choice.

We are rounding out the cheese board with a soft, mellow Beemster Graskaas, made of the first milk from cows turned newly out into tender grass and wildflowers in the spring.

And then there’s…that stuff.

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Wensleydale with cherries.  That is not a proper cheese.  I… Just, no.

Now, pass me some water crackers and a few of those grapes.

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A Tale of Pipettes, Part II: The Great Un-boxing

It is time.  Time to tackle the huge shipment of pipettes that arrived in less than pristine condition.  This is a portion of the boxes–the good ones:

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The smashy boxes have been segregated to the front desk so their degree of smashiness can be ascertained.

The human female and her staff are now proposing to start unpacking and see just how bad the damage is.

It’s not looking good…

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The corrugated carnage is of the extremest sort.

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Hmm.  The pipettes themselves seem actually to be unharmed.  Pity.

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Oh, well, can’t have everything.

It’s like some malicious math problem:  If there are thirty-nine boxes, two product boxes per box, and three pipettes per product box…  Plus packing cardboard.  The human female and her staff have become automatons.  Open carton.  Take out boxes.  Open boxes.  Pull out the cardboard straps holding the pipettes and remove the fancy-cut-and-folded cardboard inserts.

So. Much. Cardboard.  I am making a castle out of the empties.

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This is possibly more pipettes than have ever been assembled in one place at one time in the history of the world.

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In each box there is also a registration card, a booklet in a bag, and two boxes of pipette tips, each its own plastic bag.

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It’s a recycler’s nightmare.  The human female and her techs are nursing dozens of paper cuts, and there are at least four carts of flattened boxes to be hauled out to the recycling bin.

Each pipette also arrived with one or two tags hanging from it.  Hmmm…  Scan the code and enter info for a chance to win something…

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And nothing in the fine print says I can’t enter 300 times.

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A Tale of Pipettes, Part I: Getting Them Here is Half the Fun

Quite a number of the laboratory exercises that the human female and her staff have to prep and support employ very Precise Scientific Devices known as micro-pipettes. These are capable of measuring out infinitesimal aliquots with great accuracy.

Image result for micropipette

That’s the theory anyway.  In practice, the students forget to use them with the disposable tips, adjust the volume to ten or twenty times the required amount, and hit the tip discard plunger instead of the uptake/dispense button as often as not.

Recently, the Powers That Be have decided that these teaching lab pipettes are a disgrace, a blemish, a true PR nightmare for the Department.  An edict was issued that they be replaced, one and all, and one of the professors who is in the progress of overhauling all of the lab lessons ordered one hundred sets, each with three pipettes of varying sizes.

Folks, that is a LOT of pipettes.  They were quite eagerly awaited.  I mean, who, faced with the task of checking the calibration on a whole floor full of pipettes, hasn’t fantasized about chucking them all out the window and starting afresh.

Some of them arrived.  Some of them didn’t.  Unrepentant Package Squashers insisted that the missing TWO PALLETS had been signed for.  But signed for where?  And by whom?

Some diligent phone calling by the ordering professor eventually turned them up.  In the Biggish City to the West.  Yep, delivered to the wrong university entirely.  After some argling and bargling, Unrpentant Package Squashers deigned to pick them up and to deliver them to Central Receiving on this campus.

Then it was just a matter of getting them here.  The human female suggested that the fine folks at Central Receiving be enlisted to deliver them (as the CR folks have proven themselves prompt and dutiful in the delivery of dead cats, but the ordering professor wished UPS to make good their delivery or refund the shipping fee.

The pallets were coming!  They didn’t come.  A date was fixed!  And discarded.  They were coming on Friday!  No, Monday.  No, Tuesday!  Finally, an independent moving company was hired to bring them.  A company that had– it must be mentioned–just the week before dropped an expensive and fragile instrument off a delivery truck no fewer than three times between Building A and Building B on the campus.  Moreover, they propped the mangled package up in hopes that no one would notice the damage.

People noticed.

So here we are today, awaiting the two pallets from the movers. The humans are hopeful, if possessed of more than a little trepidation.  They know not that I slipped said movers a little tip to deliver the goods in an… amusing condition.  I can hardly wait to see in what condition they arrive!

Oooo!  Here they come!  Two pallets, a total of thirty-nine boxes.  Most of them look pretty good.

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Others, not so much.

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Ehehehe!  That one’s good and crumply!

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Yikes! Ehehehehe!

No, wait, this one’s my favorite:

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I have a feeling that the un-boxing is going to be interesting indeed…

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A-swim in Paper

Sort and chuck as they will, the humans’ abode is generally awash in paper.  Bills, receipts, magazines, books, playbills, notes, wrappers.  You name it, it piles up around here, on any available flat surface, recycle how they may.

Truly, I fear that someday one of the towering piles will topple over and bury my beloved Sigyn.

Still, the various cellulosic bits afford ample opportunity for small bits of mischief.  Nothing major, just small nuisances to keep the mortals muddled.

For example, I think it’s funny to make the mail arrive looking as if the postman’s been noshing.

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And the other day, I saw to it that the print registration on the grocery circular was off.

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By Odin’s Crummy Depth Perception!  At first, I planned to convince them that it was in 3D and that they needed special glasses.  In the end, I pretended that it was perfectly clear and asked innocently when was the last time they had their eyesight checked.

Sometimes, though, one or another of the papery bits doesn’t make sense.  This tag is from one of the human female’s recent extravagant purchases, a simple colored T-shirt.

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Is that the size?  Pet small?  Great Frigga’s corset!  I knew she was cheap, but I had no idea she was shopping at the pet store.

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Teeny Little Mischief Update

I don’t have time for a full mischief update today, but I can tell you how the broken refrigerator drawer turned out.

The human female found the superglue.

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Pardon me, “Krazy glue ®.”    Must be specific.  (Mortals set great store by brand names.)

Then she had a good hunt ’round for the plastic bit that had broken off.  Hadn’t she put it in a safe place?  Why yes, she had!

I’d moved it, of course.

It was then time to reunite drawer and plastic bit.

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That is when she noticed that the corresponding bit on the other side of the drawer was also gone.  Thanks to my mischiefy magic, she was quite unable to figure out where exactly the bit she had went, or how to attach it.

Thus, the drawer remains unfixed, and there is a little, anonymous bit of plastic awaiting the aid of someone more clever than she.

All hail the status quo.

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