Month: January 2019

Hobby Hijinks, Part II: About a Billion Beads

I’m continuing to devote my efforts this week to thwarting the human female’s attempts to enjoy her hobbies.  It’s going well so far:  Her mangled thumb is still rather useless, and it is still far too wet outside for enjoyable gardening.  The weeds are happy, of course, but all of her purpose-planted vegetation is looking distinctly underwhelmed.  (Just because we received an extra 13″ of rain last year and nothing has dried out since September…)

Today I am turning my attention to her love of beads.  She has a real passion for the “tiny shinies.”

Looks like a recent order or two arrived today.  Small, plump, rattly envelopes are always exciting.  (I think they’re funniest when they contain baby rattlesnakes, but I can work with beads.)


I’m sensing a theme here.  Blue, blue, and more blue.


I must examine them carefully and see if my magic worked.


Just as I planned! The human female ordered them online, only to find upon their arrival that she already has two of these.

Oh–it appears she ordered some “findings” as well.  It tickles me no end that they call them that.  It is certainly wishful thinking on the human female’s part, as I will see to it that the first thing all these tiny bits of metal will do is lose themselves in her bead box.

Augh!  She’s got churchy bits in there!   Have a look through them if you like, Sigyn, but you know I don’t “do” that sort of thing.


I’m out of here.

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Hobby Hijinks, Part I: Messing with the Mail

Everybody ought to have a hobby.  Sigyn collects glass paperweights and keeps trying to learn to knit.

My hobby is meddling with the human female’s hobbies.

For instance, she and the human male love to travel.  They spend hours, sometimes, planning trips they may never take.  Do that often enough online, express even one iota of interest in a tour company’s offerings, and you’re on their mailing list forever.  I’ve seen to it that the humans are inundated daily with email and web-based ads for cruises, tours, and flights.  (My best work is that one offer that promises $400 airfare to London.  It sounds fantastic, but you only get that price if you fly through Istanbul and take a 24-hour layover.  Ehehehehe.)

Sometimes I have snail mail show up at the house, too.   Thanks to some careful rerouting, this brochure, however, looks as if it has tangled with something a bit more vicious than a snail.

Wolverine, maybe.

Behold the cover!


That is a first-class dog-ear, right there!  Someone took pains with that.

There has also been a “helpful” application of tape to the poor, shredded cover.


More down here on the bottom.


By the Bifrost!  Look at these interior pages!


Tsk, tsk, tsk.  (Ehehehehehe)


The back cover has fared no better.  Though the actual cruise line is probably more careful than our ham-handed postal person–and the ships are no doubt more sturdy than this sad catalog– this whole shreddy mess has rather tainted the idea of a European river cruise.

Into the recycle barrel it goes!

Along with the human female’s dreams of cruising down the Danube…

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A New Friend…

Ah, Sigyn, there you are!  I’d like to introduce you to my new friend.


“Hi.  Name’s Lenny Fiasco, but my friends call me The Eraser.”


His specialty is erasing things.  Mostly evidence of misdeeds.  I figure he can help me cover my tracks and help me indulge in some “creative accounting” in the human female’s work purchasing.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…

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A Walk Around the Block

The sun is out today, even though it’s cold.  Sigyn, would you like to take advantage of the weather and go for a walk around the block(s)?

House, house, park, house… Wait–what’s all that jumble up ahead?

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  More construction!  No one seems to finish anything before starting some new project.  Sigyn wants to poke around a bit–she says there are often “interesting weeds” growing among the bits of building material and construction equipment where the soil has been disturbed.

Find anything yet, my love?  Any good winter annuals popping up among the BPOD?*

Looks like no interesting plants today, but she has managed to catch a dragonfly.


Well done, beloved!  They are fierce and fast fliers.  Your reflexes must be extraordinary!

Fenrir’s fleacollar!  Where did this mutt come from?  Don’t pet it, Sigyn!  You don’t know where it’s been–or if it’s friendly!


Very well.  Perhaps it is friendly.  But if you misbehave, beast, know that I will arm myself with whatever is handy.  Such as this circular saw.


Sigh.  Sigyn will pet anything, and all animals love her.  But I’ve swapped the saw for a blaster, so it’d better behave.


Ew!  Sigyn!  Do you have to let it do that??  Don’t let it lick your face!  I might want to kiss that later!




This is why a) our walks take so long, and b) I know how to get muddy pawprints off red velvet.

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*Big Piles Of Dirt

The Saga of Reginald the Recalcitrant

Friends, let me introduce you to Reginald.

autoclave1Reginald may look like a standard oven, but Reggie is something much more special.


He is an autoclave, an indispensable part of the human female’s Lab Prep team, and 110% my devoted minion.

Reginald gets pressed into service on a regular basis, sterilizing media, pipette tips, and glassware, and rendering biohazardous materials somewhat less noxious.

For him to operate properly, the steam has to be working, all the moving parts need to be working, and his little computer brain has to be firing on all circuits.  Otherwise, the human female and her staff aren’t treated to the sweet, sweet aroma of baking agar.

So recently, Reggie and I launched a campaign to turn the human female into a gibbering mess.  First, I had him clench up his door so that it wouldn’t open.  The repairman was called, and he manged to get the machine to unclench.

Next, Reggie went on strike and wouldn’t work at all.  The repairman came back out and determined that it was most likely one of the three computer boards that constitute Reggie’s brain. Because We Are All Scientists Around Here, he put this notion to the test by purloining the control boards from an autoclave in a lab in a different building and trying them one by one.  Lo and behold!  When new main board was swapped out, Reggie woke up and grudgingly started working.

Did I mention that Reggie is a 1997 unit?  This is lateish middle age in autoclave years.  Finding a new controller board to replace the bad one is going to take some time.  In order to inconvenience even more people, the repairman has decided that the lab from which he stole the replacement controller board is just going to have to make do with only the two new autoclaves they have.  The human female gets to keep the trial board, and he will look for a new card for the unit from which it was pilfered.

While this was going on, I arranged that Reggie’s steam manifold should clog and need to be rebuilt.  (It’s the local water–it’s full of badness.)  Also that the little printer that logs sterilization cycles should be printing on the back of the paper roll, so that the whole roll has to be removed before anything can be read.

More tinkering.  Finally, finally, the human female and her staff had a working autoclave again.

For the time being.  Because, let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time before Reggie blows a gasket–literally–and finally shuffles off his mortal coil.  Or his main steam valve, or whatever.

Thus, the human female having to write another one of her cheery little Notes of Doom and Impending Expenditure.  I.e., “The autoclave is threatening to die, and we should be thinking about replacing it.”   There are rumors that the human female could get a used hand-me-down if someone else gets a new one.  Or that a new one could be possible when the mythical second floor renovation takes place, because autoclaves will be needed on that floor.  The Department’s Chief Bean Counter has said he will ask for three autoclaves for the second floor, so that if funding is short, he can grudgingly accept two.

I love this.  One more thing in the human female’s life that is unresolved, with the promise of future misfortune…

It’s good to have plans.

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Gaaaaaah! They’re Everywhere!

Despite the fact that the human female just bought some quilt fabric, she is looking at fabric online again.  She is over on the sofa, scrolling and clicking and giggling.

What is it, woman?  What has you in such a state?



Oh, no.


It’s hideous!


Make it staaaaaahp.


I think I need to go lie down.

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A World of Untrustworthy Foodstuffs

The International Graduate Students are at it again.  Long-time readers may remember that I wrote about their annual fund-raising food booths several years ago.  (Long time readers may also be as surprised as I am to realize that I have been favoring the world with my thoughts and exploits for five years now.)

The staff of the Biology Department looks forward to this all year because, mostly, the different countries do not make the same thing each time. There is always something different to sample.

I look forward to it as an opportunity to experience the cuisine of all the nations I will one day rule.  Sigyn and I plan nosh our way around the room.

This is plate number one.


Clockwise from Sigyn:  Filipino cassava cake, a delicious pork in adobo sauce, Nepalese veggie patty of some sort with puffed rice and a spicy red sauce, and some little sweet covered with silver leaf that has me quite intrigued…  If I were to go through the line several times (using a different illusion version of myself each time), could I amass enough leaf to be worth it, monetarily?

Plate number two.  


Clockwise from the top, Mexican enchiladas; the Southern U.S. offerings of mac and cheese, twice-baked potato casserole and sweet potato casserole; something with chicken and rice, a tasty little caramel, a Hibiscus cookie; and milk rice with sambal topping.  Interesting.

There’s a little more room left in our tummies, so we are going back for thirds.


The Italian/Mediterranean table had pita chips and caprese bites with mozzarella, little tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic reduction.  There was also a chickpea and feta salad with tomatoes and olives.  Up at the top there you can see the chickpea bread and a rice bread with a green cilantro sauce, all from the Indian booth.  Sigyn is admiring a sweet roll, which came from the Midwestern U.S. booth.  The instructions were to eat it with chili, an idea that I found so preposterous that I refused to comply.  I ate my chili with Fritos, as is only right and proper.

The best thing on offer, in Sigyn’s estimation, is this pudding from Singapore.


It’s made with little tapioca pearls, coconut milk, and palm sugar (the brown stuff.)  It’s delicious!

And someone kindly shared the recipe.  I suspect I will be seeing more of this in my future.

Now I need a nap.

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Fun with Finance

I’ve been a busy little bee.  My followers who read on their phones may need to enlarge the image to fully appreciate the extent of my mischief.


Ehehehehe!  Just when the human female has a shopping list as long as her arm.

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I Had A Visit From My Brother, And It Sucked

I have asked Thor to meet me here today in one of the human female’s prep rooms.  I told him I have something fun to show him.

Here he is now.


“Hail, brother!  It is too long since last we met.  It does my heart full well that you ask for my company!  You are looking well!”

“Uh, yeah.  You too.  Come look at this instrument the humans borrowed.  It has dials and pipes and a fan and all sorts of other bits.”


“Verily, that is a stupendous machine!  My Lady Jane has many devices, but not one of this ilk.  How is it called, and what it its purpose?”

“It’s a vacuum pump.  They are using it to vacuum-filter a large volume of reagent.”

“That is most marvelous.  How does it operate?”

“I’ll show you.  This is where the receiving flask is hooked up.  See?”



“No, look more closely.”

“Aye, Brother.”



“See, Thor?  Just like that.”

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In India, They Just Call It “Food”

The humans are trying a new restaurant tonight.  Well, it isn’t actually new.  It has been here for a number of years.  They just haven’t gotten up off their fundaments to give it a try, despite the fact that they both like Indian cuisine.  Sigyn and I are tagging along.  We haven’t had any good Indian food since London.

You must forgive the photos–the lighting is low and the human female’s phone thinks this is the cue to make everything purple.

The meal is starting in the usual manner, with flat, breaky things.


Sigyn and I are old pros at these.  There should be sauces–

And here they are!  I like the hot one.  Sigyn, of course, is going straight for the sweet one.


The humans have ordered fried pillows.  Why would you do that?


Oh.  I have been informed that these pillows are full of spicy potatoes and peas, and not polyester fiberfill.  The lack of  a “this notice not to be removed except by the consumer” tag should have tipped me off.

The entrees are here.  The female, being both boring and predictable, has ordered chicken tikka.  Woman, you DO know that’s not actually an Indian dish, right?


Perhaps the male will have something a little more interesting.  Ah.  Lamb biryani.  That’s a bit better.  And if you don’t want lamb, Sigyn, you can always fill up on naan.

(later)  We have come to the “steaming towel” portion of the evening.


(poke, poke, poke)  Nice and hot.  All meals should end in this fashion!  When I become sole ruler of Midgard, I shall see that they do!

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