Month: February 2020

Deranging the Strange Arrangement With Grainger–Now With Bonus BAMN!

A box has arrived for the human female.


Well, I don’t know if I’d call her “one who gets things done,” but I certainly am.

You see, this box represents several weeks’ worth of first-class mischief.

Humans are clumsy by nature, always dropping things and breaking them.  Last semester, the students broke a number of the glass graduated cylinders used in the urinalysis experiment.  Terrible things, students.  Can’t be trusted.

At any rate, the decision was made to order a bunch of plastic cylinders that the feckless little darlings couldn’t break.  So the female ordered 24 of one size and 6 of another, so as to fit the hydrometers on hand.

And she waited.  And waited.  Finally, exasperated, she called the vendor and was dismayed to learn that they had never received the PO at all.  So she jumped through all the hoops and asked the Bean Counters to re-send it.

And they did.

So she waited some more, and still no box of plastic piss-jars.  She called the vendor again, who told her yet again that no such PO had ever been received.  At this point, the human female recalled that it had been long and long since she had ordered from this vendor, and it occurred to her that, back in the glory days of BAMN, the program administrators wanted all POs to be emailed to a person, rather that to a helpful or useful address not tied to a transient and mortal meat-sack.  She asked the person on the other end of the phone what address would actually reach the orders department.

Armed with this little nugget of information, she contacted the Bean Counters and asked them to transmit the PO one more time.

You can see by the presence of the package and all of this boring wrapping paper that a shipment eventually resulted, so how did it come about?


Not long after the PO was transmitted to the vendor for a third time, the human female had a missed telephone call, and then an email, from chipper customer service rep saying that if the human female would call them, they’d be more than happy to set up an account and process the order.


Everything involves an account these days, so the human female called and proceeded to try to navigate the vendor’s byzantine account setup.  The Helpful Person on the other end of the line (trained by me, of course) tried to walk her through the whole process but the human female could never quite get her to understand that the University is a rather large place and the Biology Department only a small part of it–and the human female smaller still.  The Helpful Person wanted to create an account for the whole of the Department and make the human female the contact person for it—or perhaps the person in the stockroom, since that is the delivery address.  Or maybe whoever is in charge of Departmental Billing…

After about twenty minutes of internal zip codes, building abbreviations, and increasing frustration on the part of all parties, the human female had finally had enough.  Abandoning the idea of an account (for which she did not wish to be Responsible), the human female asked if they could just abandon the notion of an account and process the order some other way.

Why, yes!  Yes, they could!  Relieved, the human female launched into placing a guest order with the credit card.  Everything went swimmingly right up to the point where the Helpful Person read out the total.

Including tax.

Rule One of purchasing:  The University never pays tax.  Ever.  Slight snag, yes?

No worries, the Helpful Person told the human female!  All she had to do was make the purchase, request the tax refund form, fill it out, provide a copy of the University’s tax exempt paperwork, and sit back and wait for the tax to be refunded to the card.

At this point, if the human female had been listening instead of grinding her teeth, she’d have heard me giggling in the background.  It’s a known fact that initiating a tax refund stunt like that would make the Bean Counters purple in the face and bring on a spitting apoplexy.

Followed by a stern reprimand and a lecture about Rule One of purchasing:  The University never pays tax.  Ever.

It was at this point that the human female reached her limit.  She thanked the Helpful Person for their help  time and rang off.

Next, she contacted the Chief Bean Counters and asked them to cancel the PO entirely.

Now, obviously, here are the cylinders.


So how did she get them?  She remembered, belatedly, that this particular vendor has a punch-out right at the front of the purchasing software site, one that takes the user straight to the catalog where they can load up a cart and check out easy-peasy.  Once the PO was cancelled, she logged in, went through the punch-out, put in the order, hit a button, and took delivery about 48 hours later.   No problems, no tax, and no escaping that it was her own incompetence that led her down the garden path in the first place.

Well, I may have helped a little.

So now there is a full set of plastic cylinders for the urinalysis experiment.  The Prep Staff are always quick to point out that it isn’t really real urine, just something they whip up out of water, food coloring, and chemicals.

Theoretically.  No one has yet connected the strange results they keep getting with my capacity to quaff and process ale…

>|: [


Enough Plants! Time for Some Mischief!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had enough flowers for one week.  Time for some mischief.

Hmm.  What to do, what to do…  I know, I shall enlist the assistance of my furry minions, the Terror Twins.  I have been training them, you see.

They have become quite adept at sleeping and shedding on the human male’s jackets and tote bags.

cats on coats

As well as the human female’s pillow.

flannel and taffy

Is that what I think it is?


No, it couldn’t possibly be.  The cats simply aren’t allowed to jump up on the stove.



I’m especially proud of Flannel Cat.  She’s got quite the sensitive, artistic nature.  She has recently become quite intrigued by some of the intricate papercut art she’s seen on the internet.  Projects like this:

Flannel’s not there just yet, but she’s made a good start…


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Pretty, But Where Is She Going To Put Them All?

As Sigyn and I have discovered, there is more than one book in the parcel!  Just where the human female plans to put more books, I’m sure I have no clue.  The house is just about as full of books as it is possible to be.  But that is all right.  Clutter induces stress, and stress gives her gray hair and wrinkles.  I’ve about got the conversion rate of clutter to cronehood worked out, and when I do, I shall publish.

Come, Sigyn, let us see what else is in the bag.

I called it:  plant book.

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Why all the interest in the flora of Britain?  It’s not as if she can afford to retire and move there.  She’s just going to make herself miserable with all of this.

More watercolors.  Photographs too, but mostly watercolors.

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This is a very botanical book.  There are slanty scientific names and detail drawings and plenty of other whatnot.

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It’s a very untidy book, though.  All plants are drawn as if they’ve just been pulled up along with all their cohorts, grasses and other wildflowers and roots and dirt and whatnot.  Sigyn says it’s “very true to the field botany experience.”  Perhaps.  It’s giving me ideas about tracking plant bits and mud into the house.

Ah.  Looks like we have another nature diary.  More watercolors.  More Britain.  She likes what she likes, I’ll give her that.

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Aw, Sigyn, sweetie!  I didn’t know this one had hurty pictures.

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Maybe Mr. Owl is just… rescuing his little friend Mr. Mouse.   Yes, I bet that is it.

What is it with these nature diary people that they have to hand-write everything?

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I should think that would be tedious in the extreme.

This one has bits of poetry in it as well.

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Poetry AND Latin.  Her brain is going to turn to mush.

There is one last book in the package.  I predict it will be….

A book of British Plants, illustrated with watercolors!

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I swear I don’t know where all of these are going to go.

A page of pansies.

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The illustrations in this one are certainly tidier.

Sigyn thinks this is the same little purple vetch she found in the front yard the other day.

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Vetches get around, so I shouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

Oooh—what’s this very,  very prickly yellow-flowered one?

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The dodder’s the strangly thing.  I want to know what it’s on, so I can plant some right near where the human female has to walk…

And you thought I didn’t like gardening!

>|: [

I Need *All* My Minions!

Minions and fans,

If I’m ever going to successfully take over Midgard, I need every one of my minions.  I got a note today that one of them is going through a rough time.  Will you all please drop by my post from earlier to day and let darkangelshelp know that every minion counts?


>|: [

A Predictable Parcel

The human female is very predictable.   After living in proximity for so many years, I can tell you exactly what she likes.  Books.  Plants.  Books about plants.

Thus, I have a sneaking suspicion what might be in this hard, squarish parcel which has just come for her, all the way from Britain.

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Sigyn thinks we shouldn’t open it without her permission, but I don’t give a fig.  Besides, these plastic mailers are so…flimsy.   Maybe we’d better examine the contents just to ensure that they’ve arrived safely.

By Jormungandr’s pointy teeth!  I was not expecting an amphibian!

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That is some rather nice watercolor work, though.  Let’s have a look at the rest of it.

See, Sigyn!  I told you!  Plants!

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Sigyn is quite taken with the bryony, but I want to see more about this toad.

Flip, flip, flip.  No more toad thus far.  The whole book is full of intricate watercolors.

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Of the kind the human female wishes she knew how to paint.

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She’s going to equal parts drool over the illustrations and gnash her teeth that she couldn’t replicate them if she tried for a thousand years.

Definitely my kind of book!

>|: [

Pity Cake

It’s the human female’s birthday.  Would you like to hear something truly pathetic?

She had to make her own cake.

Truly!  Even in Jotunheim, whose denizens are, in fact, barbarian savages, someone having a birthday is not expected to provide their own dried, salt fish for the festivities.

But such is life when you have no local friends who bake.  (Or friends at all.)

She’s brought the confection into work today.  I believe there was some munching, but there’s a significant portion left.


Let’s unwrap it and see if it’s any good.


Upon closer inspection, it appears to be a bundt cake with some sort of reddish goo inside.


(Poke, poke, poke)


I don’t trust it.

In the end, there’s only one way to fairly assess her culinary skills.

Munch, munch, mrrf.


Amaretto cake with raspberry jam!

If she did have friends, they’d be missing out!

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