Author: lokispeaks

Ridiculously smart and incredibly good-looking

So… About That Ice Machine

I mentioned last week that the ice machine at the human female’s work broke the other day.  It malfunctioned just as everyone was battening down for going into exile, but its misbehavior (and my mischief!) started long before then.

Last November (Great Frigga’s corset, has it been that long?!  I’ve been remiss, remiss, remiss in posting updates.  I’m so far behind I could behave until Yule and still have stories to tell!)

This is the inside of the machine.


It’s always full of ice.  For some reason, I feel quite at home here.


Anyway.  Last mid-November, the ice machine at the human female’s work broke.  The bit that attached the actual ice maker to the chute had come loose and it was spewing ice out of the top of its stack, rather than shunting it down inside.  And with it spewing out the top, it was never reaching the,”Hang on, I’ve made enough ice.  I should probably stop now,” point, so all of  the extra ice was going all over the floor.

And melting.

Prep staff refastened the chute to the maker with zip ties.  For a while, everything was fine.

Then the zip ties broke.  So they replaced them.

And it broke again.

Meanwhile, Slow, Silent, and Costly had been invoked.

Then I turned the mischief up a notch.  The Facilities Coordinator got cranky, because she wasn’t getting any updates from SSC.  Then the human female and her staff heard that a part had been ordered and it would have to wait.

They were surprised then, when someone showed up almost immediately to fix it—with more zip ties.

Cue a flurry of bewildered and scarcely civil emails between all parties.  Was the cursed thing fixed or not?  Was a new part still imminent?  No one knew what was going on, and I had to hide in the custodial closet so my laughing wouldn’t give me away.

Then in early December, more conflicting messages appeared.

“The ice maker’s fixed.”

“No, it’s not.  I’m here to fix it.”

“How many open work orders on this thing are there?!”

“None, ’cause it’s fixed.”

“Says you.”

Eventually, the chute got fastened to the maker again, with what are delightfully known as Worm Gear Hose Clamps, which have held up— until a few days ago.

The building’s shut up, the machine’s turned off.  No one knows if SSC is working during the shutdown or not.  Prep Staff mopped up the water before they left, but they know…

Oh, they know

That something unpleasant awaits them when they return, because this:


…will be about fifty gallons’ worth of melty bailing in the bottom of the bin.

Unless, of course, it leaks.

>|: [


She’ll Feel A Fool, All Right, In About Another Week

The human female’s team at work has been scrambling busily, trying to turn in-person  classes into online classes.  The lectures have not been too difficult, but turning the labs into online experiences has been more challenging.  For the Heredity unit, the students usually observe crosses of  various mutant strains of Arabidopsis.   Normal seedlings have hairy leaves:

seedling with hairs

…but some of the mutants are bald.

Regular seedlings behave like proper plants, but some of the “special” ones are trans-genic–they’ve been gifted with the DNA that makes them produce a protein that glows an eerie green under blue light.

f1-hybrids-gfp1 x gl1

If they don’t have the glowy gene, they don’t show up at all under blue light–they’re just dark shapes:

homozygous gl1-no gfp

Since there isn’t a way for the students to have a petri dish of seedlings to look at, the human female had the bright idea to make sets of virtual seedlings.  She came up with little images of hairy and bald plants, and has been making spreads of what they’d look like in regular and blue light.

It’s very painstaking work.  She had to wrestle all the inheritance patterns and do the math to figure out how many seedlings should be hairy and glowy, how many hairy and not-glowy, how many bald and glowy, and how many bald and not glowy.  Then she had to divide up the hundreds of fictitious seedlings into twelve sets such that the students can only figure out the inheritance patterns if they score their seedlings their arrays and then pool their data with folks who have the other sets.  Each set has to be laid out exactly the same way in the visible light view and the blue light view so that the plants can be scored accurately.

It involves manipulating layers and layers of images.

She’s stepped away from her desk for a moment.  Let’s just scoot some of these little plants around, shall we?  (I don’t need to use a mouse–I have magic!)


Let’s see….I’ll take out two of the hairy/glowy ones and substitute a hairy/not glowy and a bald/glowy.   And I’ll shuffle them around in the blue-light view…  And I’ll make set G a duplicate of set B…  And then I’ll re-label set J as set number 7

And then I’ll throw in another mutation that makes them grow upside down, and…

…and then I’ll fix it so that her original files show on her computer screen, but the changed ones will go up on the server for the teaching assistants to give to the students.

I will not get to call her April Fool today, but next week, when the assignment is given out and the frantic phone calls, texts, and zoom sessions begin, the tears and wailing of the human female will be very sweet indeed.

I can wait.

>|: [


Pretty…Pretty…Also Pretty (But Sigyn is Prettiest)

This is the time of year when the yard yields many wonders.  It is also not too warm yet, so come, Sigyn, let us explore!  (Read:  Let us sneak out of the house before the human female asks us to do chores.  Her being home all day is getting to be quite annoying.)

Well, will you look at that!

sweet william

The sweet william that the human female planted last year has made a reappearance.  What a ghastly color!

Ah, this one is not quite so garish.  Lyre leaf sage can have flowers in any shade from white to true purple. There’s a lot of it about.  This is the nicest one.

yard sage

They do say that purple is the color for Midgardian royalty.  Pffft!  What’s wrong with green and gold and black, I ask you?

Ah.  The grape hyacinth is back, too.


It may say it’s grape, Sigyn, but do not trust it!  I licked it one year, and it definitely does not taste grape.  Bleargh.

You might have better luck tasting these wild onions.

yard onions

The human female planted a few bulbs one year and now there are dozens.  It’s how you know it’s spring.

And here’s the other way you know…

yard pink

The pinkening of the lawn has begun…

>|: [

Marital Bliss is the Spice of Life (But Cumin Doesn’t Hurt)

Astute minions and those who, unlike the human female, can count past five may have noted two very important facts.

1. There are now over 1,900 entries in this journal of my route to conquest.


2. This past Saturday was our sixth anniversary.

On March 28th, six years ago, Sigyn and I were married (possibly) in what must have be one of the strangest ceremonies ever performed.  (If you would like to meander down memory lane, the wedding is here, while the story of our romance begins a little further back on about the 12th of February, 2014.

Although I could certainly have magicked my beloved and myself to some exotic and romantic location, I am married to someone who is very much a rule follower, and Sigyn was adamant we follow the shelter-in-place rules currently afflicting   this portion of Midgard.  It took us a couple of days to decide what we want to do, but eventually we settled upon preparing and enjoying a delicious meal at home.

We begin by caramelizing some onions.


Is there anything that smells better?  I think not!  Sigyn would like to stir, but I am doing it from a distance, safely and with magic.

I am all for jumping straight to the protein, but I know my sweetie is big on vegetables, so we are going to steam some potatoes and carrots.


I have always thought that those expandable steamer baskets are one of the cleverest Midgardian inventions. Very cunning.  Sigyn isn’t as enamored of the articulation as I am —I think its principles could very well be adapted for armor— but she does like to make it fold an unfold “like a flower.”  Over and over.  And over.  It was all I could do to convince her to let it serve its purpose and to carry on with our preparations.

Next, we want to add some cauliflower.

Ah, yes.  That most august brassicaceous capitulum.


Odd to think, is it not, that it belongs not only to the same genus, but to the same species as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi?  My idiot “brother” Thor used to tell everyone that it was also the source of the notion of a Vegetable Lamb but, as we all know, the herbaceous ovid is more likely a mistaken interpretation either of cotton or a very strange fern. 

With the cauliflower broken up and steaming away, it is time to examine the defining ingredient of this dish:


The human female bought this, on the strength of a taste she took of a dish that was being sampled out at the local market (back when such tastings occurred.)  I am sure she was saving it for a dinner for herself and the human male, but cum dormieris occasio deesset, as they say.

I will also make sure that the company that makes this sauce stops making it or goes out of business, because depriving the humans of something they’ve come to like is one of my chiefest pleasures.

The best part about being a mighty sorcerer is not having to to touch raw fowl.  I have magicked the chicken thighs into bite-size chunks, which are now making the acquaintance of the nicely-browned onions.


How are the vegetables doing, Sigyn?


As you can see, I have poked a carrot, and that tells me they are done.

Simmering all the ingredients together in the sauce has yielded up a lovely Indian dish.


Mmm.  Just the right amount of oregano.  (That is, none.)

Let us enjoy this feast, my darling.  Here’s to us and many more years of happiness!

Mini-Mischief Update

I have not been idle.

Some highlights from the days of preparing to move all University classes on line, getting staff to work from home, and generally settling into what is the new “normal.”

–One teaching assistant had a computer whose microphone didn’t work.  but only with the virtual meeting program she needed to teach.  It was fine otherwise.

–One teaching assistant is incommunicado and failed to “show up” to stream her lab section.  Cue scrambling to email all the students the link to enter another teacher’s lab section meeting at the same time.

–The human female’s Prep Staff and some of the Lab Instructors have been frantically videotaping experiments, dissections, living creatures, and microscope slides before they are banned banned from being up on campus and not just banned.  When they tried to upload two labs’ worth of material, they discovered the memory card in the camera was empty.

–The video meeting software on the human female’s laptop works, but it refuses to acknowledge the existence of her University email program.  She can schedule a meeting and send the invites with her home email program, but that’s Unprofessional, so she has to copy all of the info out of one email message, open the other program, and send it that way.

–She cannot also click a link in an email and join a meeting.  She’s got to get the video program running and then cut and paste the code in.

–Sometimes there’s a lag on receiving virtual meeting invitations.  The first day, the human female got one two hours after the meeting was over.  People are texting one another the meeting invite codes as insurance.

–But since text messages are also delayed, well…

–The human female’s building is without reverse osmosis water, critical for watering plants and animals.  Prep Staff had to haul two carboys from the second floor of a different building in order to have enough to last a while. Construction in the building (scarcely begun and now to languish for who knows how long) is suspected of causing the outage. (But we know who’s really to blame.)

–The final shipment of live material never arrived.  No explanation, no apology, just no Hydra, no Planaria, and no centipedes.  I’m thinking of having the invoice show up, though… Or maybe I’ll make it impossible to cancel the PO.  Ever.  I haven’t decided which yet…

–And then there’s the ice machine.  Ah, the long saga of the ice machine.  More on that anon…

>|: [


Mischief Outside for Hilarity Inside

Now both the human female AND the human male are working from home.  They’ve each staked out their territory and the place is covered with laptops and cords and monitors.

You might suspect that, with no computers to fix hands-on and no ordering for classes for the human female to do and no coworkers pestering them in person, I’d have fewer opportunities for mischief, but you’d be wrong.


With a side of wrong sauce.

<Loud, clang-clattery noise!>

Eehehehe!  Look at the human female scramble!  She thinks it sounds like the metal blinds in the bedroom being mangled, but that would be weird, wouldn’t it?

Uh, oh, where are the felines?

The felines, dear minions, are in fact in the bedroom.   They are engaged in FLINGING themselves into and through the blinds in a frantic attempt to catch one or both of the green anole lizards whom I have invited to do their head-bobbing display just outside the window.


The human female has now raised the blinds in an attempt to keep the Terror Twins from destroying them.

Which just lets the felines see the lizards better.

Great Frigga’s corset!

Look at Taffy Cat jump!  She has quite the vertical leap and has just caromed off the window pane in an attempt to catch lizard number two.


Who is peering down from the top of the pane just above the latch.

Eehehehe!  I should have brought popcorn!  The human female has snatched up Taffy Cat and is endeavoring to wrestle her out of the room.  Taffy Cat is protesting this procedure, and just as she is being heaved out the door, Flannel Cat has tagged in and is headed for the windowsill!

Now the female has gone back to evict Flannel Cat and Taffy Cat has streaked back in!

It’s like watching a squirrel trying to fit  two walnuts into its mouth.  Put one in.  Put a second one in and the first pops out.  Shove the first one back in, the second one pops out.

Repeat ad infinitum et ad absurdum…

Awww.  She’s managed to get both cats out of the room and has cruelly shut the door to take away their fun.  The house is all quiet now.

Until tonight…

When I let a june bug in…

The humans have a very tall living room ceiling…

And a tall cat-tree…

And the Terror Twins forget cats can’t actually fly

>|: [

A Boxful of Color, Part II: 나는 정말이 세트와 놀고 싶어

Sigyn and I are revisiting the colorful box of mix-your-own inks.  I was finally able to extricate Sigyn from the color-mixing beaker.  I do not understand her compulsion to put things on her head or to climb inside them, not at all.

But let us now examine what else has come with this box of inks.

Ah.  An instruction booklet.  That could be useful for people who, unlike me, do not know everything already.


There is a sample color chart card.


Hmm.  I am not sure I follow this.  Some of it seems to work, and some of it does not.  If it works like a regular crossing chart, wouldn’t emerald plus emerald equal emerald?  Instead, it’s a much bluer green…  And since when does yellow plus yellow equal gold?

While Sigyn tries to figure it out, I shall examine the color-it-yourself postcards that are included.

This one features a bridge, which, if the box is to be believed, should be colored purple.


Sigyn is intrigued by this one.  The statue appears to be wearing glasses.


I wonder if the actual statue has glasses, or if it is just drawn this way?

Uncolored line drawings just beg to be colored, don’t you think?  If some color just happened to get on these the human male would have only himself to blame, for leaving the kit lying around, right?

Let me at those droppers and beakers!

>|: [

ed. note:  For more info, see this review.  Not my review, not my blog, not affiliated, yadda yadda…