Author: lokispeaks

Ridiculously smart and incredibly good-looking

Mischief Update: A Lot to Pack Into A Month, Part III—Odds and Ends

So much mischief, it won’t all fit in one post!

Remember the parking lot/garage foul-up?  I hinted that the humans might end up back in the garage, having to hike from there into work every way.  Well, back they are, since their parking space is currently behind a fence.  A fence, I’m tickled to say, that went up behind their car one day, meaning that the human female had to undo some wires and dismantle a joint of the fence so that they could get the car out and drive home.  And people say *I* am into vandalism!  The whole parking lot project was supposed to be over on January 29, then a memo that came out that advised parking patrons that there’d been yet another delay.  Late last week, parkers were told that their spots would be available today.  Ehehehehehe.  No.  Who knows when–or if!–they’ll ever get their space back.  Do I even need to mention that there’s no provision for reimbursing them for the difference in price between a reserved, numbered spot and the free-for-all that is the garage.

Meanwhile, purchasing continues to offer many opportunities for me to make the human female’s life a nightmare.  She did eventually get the termites she had to emergency order from the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things when the Purveyor of Squiggly Things shut down operations for a few days, due to the same ice storm that knocked out the first day of the semester here.  Unfortunately, said termites all lost the will to live and were engulfed in some strange fungus within forty-eight hours.  In a tizzy, the human female turned to one of the entomology labs on campus, one that studies structural pests.  They were happy to give her a small bucket o’ blattodea.

She also arranged for some of the program’s micropipettors to be repaired and calibrated.

Image result for micropipette

The repair people were accurate and speedy, but the paperwork they gave the human female didn’t say “Invoice” at the top, so the Departmental Bean Counters wouldn’t pay it.  She had to ask the repair folks for more paperwork.   When she turned that in, someone dropped the ball somewhere, because the Pipette People have sent her a nastygram, asking where their payment is.

The human female had to order some of these the other day:

Image result for volvox

That’s the remarkably photogenic green alga Volvox.  Given that they are living, breathing things, one has to loosen the cap on the jar immediately upon receipt.  Unfotunately, one of the jars in the human female’s shipment had been opened prior to packing, so it was–alas!–spilled all over inside the carton.  The human female called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to ask if they couldn’t just put a replacement jar in with the following week’s supplies.  That’d make sense, wouldn’t it?  Oh, no no no!  The POST insisted that materials from different POs couldn’t possibly be sent in the same box.  They were perfectly willing to ship a single jar air freight, overnight at their own expense, but no way was a jar of Volvox going to be put in with anything else.  Some days I don’t think I will have to do much at all to take over this realm.  They are going to inefficient themselves out of existence with no help from me.

The human female continues to look for errors in the online textbook that’s going to be adopted in the fall.  She’s in chapter eleven and has twenty-plus pages of notes.  She found one figure that has 8 separate things wrong with it and was properly horrified.  Then she found another with 10 errors…  I’m not sure she realizes I’m messing with it all before she looks at it and fixing it after she’s been through.  I just like to watch her get all exercised and red-faced.  She can send those corrections to the publishers all she wants. They’re just going to toss them in the garbage, I’m sure.

Everyone around her and the human male has had the flu. They haven’t—yet—but have had their share of colds and snotty noses.  It’s winter.  It’s cold.  It’s drizzly.   Everything is damp.  Everyone feels at least a little unwell.  The human female is lucky when she has three staffers in place, let alone all four.  Consequently, she’s been doing a fair amount of lab prep.  Today, two of her techs are out, and even though she is sick, she came in to help prep!  Stop whining, woman!  Hefting microscopes and wiping down lab benches is good exercise.

So there it is.  It’s been a busy month.   All in all, I give it a solid eight out of ten.

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Mischief Update: A Lot to Pack Into A Month, Part II—Doomed to Disappointment

The human female doesn’t need any more Stitching Stash, and that is a provable fact. She will have to live to be two hundred and fifty to use up half of what she has in the way of quilt fabric, thread, and needlework projects.  But she always likes to look at things and to order more.

She received some money as a Yule gift last year, and after much pondering and hemming and hawing and driving everyone up the wall with her indecision, settled on these two designs.


She wrote to the designer of that red one and asked if the separate squares could be substituted into the squares of the sampler, since she didn’t want to stitch two Yule goats.  “Yes,” replied the designer, “But those aren’t goats, they’re deer.”  Here’s a towel, mortal.  You can wipe the egg off your face.

When she finally unclenched her wallet and went to actually order them online, it was only to find that I’d massaged a few electrons and the website refused point blank to honor her gift certificate.  She tried again the next day, calling the shop directly.  They couldn’t get their software to accept it either.  Eventually they did allow as how the GC hadn’t been redeemed yet, and they agreed to process the order, somehow managing to insinuate that the whole muddle was all her fault.

In any case, she won’t get a chance to stitch them any time soon, because a) she’s still busy ruining quilting on that cowboy thing, and b) the bird kit is shipping from a different part of Midgard and can take from 3 to 12 weeks to arrive.  Give or take, estimate-wise.   So, no joy there.

She has a birthday this month (and oh!  How it galls me to have to share the same one-twelfth of the calendar with her!), and after a lot of deliberation, she decided that, as she sometimes designs her own pieces, it would be useful to have the latest thread color card from Da Most Colors, a very popular brand.


Sigyn was looking forward to its arrival almost as much as she was, because it actually has little samples of all the threads and Sigyn likes to look at them and imagine what she’d do with them.

The human male agreed that this would be a sensible and useful gift, so he tried to order one.  However, between when he first saw it advertised and when he clicked to purchase, the company had all sold out.  A bit of sleuthing on the human female’s part turned up a supplier in this part of Midgard, who had them at a very attractive price.  Boom!  Ordered!

Boom! Currently sold out, possibly shipping next month…

To console herself, she contemplated ordering this kit online.


She’d stumbled into the motherlode of kits from Russia, designs she’d never seen before.  So exciting!  But then she noticed that a number of them looked familiar as artwork, not as kits, and she started to wonder about copyrights, etc.  Now, if it had been me, I’d have ordered the kit of summer flowers because it was much prettier and included lots of green hit the “buy” button anyway because copyright/schmopyright, but she’s such a goody-goody that she regretfully closed the browser window.

And I know you’ve heard me mention the human female’s bad trotters.  (Everyone’s heard.  All she does is WHINE.)  The minute she gets one problem cleared up, another surfaces.  She’s in search of comfortable shoes.  (It’s amazing how many of Midgard’s women spend their lives in this pursuit.   Hela’s houseslippers!  I’ll wager that if I magicked up some cute but comfortable shoes I could win over half of the planet in one go!  Note to self: look into this…)  Recently, she ordered what she thought might be her answer.  They arrived speedily.


And departed in the same fashion.  She has now given up any hope of ever being able to wear anything even remotely “cute” and is just looking for “does not make me want to gnaw my leg off.”

I can do this all day.

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A Perfect Present

The human female’s birthday was on Tuesday.   She has now passed up merely “old” and is rapidly approaching “decrepit.”  I did not observe her birthday or get her anything, because, really, what did she do?  She was born.  Her mother did all the work.  If you ask me, SHE deserves the consolation prize for putting up with such a child for so long.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  My sweetie and I spent a lovely evening canoodling.  The humans, boring couple that they are, went to sleep early.  I did not send them any valentines because a) I don’t love them and b) I’m cheap.

Today, though, my conscience has pricked me just a bit.  I have relented.  Taking advantage of the post-holiday sales, I bought the human female a tiny box of chocolates and these lovely snapdragons.


They should suit her very well.

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Mischief Update: A Lot to Pack Into A Month, Part I—It’s All Falling Apart

In keeping with my resolution to be more diligent in providing updates on my mischief-making, I submit for your admiration my doings in January and the early part of February.

I have been reaping great satisfaction from the work of my minions with Slow, Silent, and Costly.  It’s really very simple—I fiddle with the faucets in the human female’s prep rooms, she calls the service people, and then I sit back and watch the fun.

Sink 1:  This was in the main prep room.  Lots of solutions to be made.  Lots of dishes to do.  Constantly in use.  Which is why, when it suddenly started spewing water out of the top of the faucet stack whenever it was turned on, the human female and her staff were more than a little annoyed.  They turned in a work order.  Nothing happened.  They waited, with dishes piling up.  A week later, the human female called to…nudge… Slow, Silent, and Costly into action.  “Oh,” they informed her cheerfully, “That job’s been assigned, but the person it was assigned to is out on leave.  Would you like us to expedite it?”

You know how in cartoons smoke comes out of people’s ears when they’re really angry?  It really does do that!  I had no idea!

Well, Slow, Silent, and Costly did send someone out at last.  It took him three minutes to disassemble the backflow preventer, adjust a tiny flexible plasticky part, and call it all good.

When S, S, & C sent a follow-up satisfaction survey, the human female raked them over the coals.  Later, though, she had to eat a humble potpie when she realized the survey was actually about a plumbing job from last November.  There’s nothing like timely feedback!

Then there was the other sink.  The one that’s sort of not there anymore.  I loosened up some epoxy and applied a rust spell to some brackets and the whole double sink just fell down inside its cabinet!  Well, the human and her staff wasted no time in turning in a work order.  One of them even attached a photo of the sink lying there with daylight streaming through its mounting hole.  Nothing happened.  Then more nothing happened.  The human female pulled up the work order, only to discover that–ping!–it was closed.   Several people had been out to look at the sink without ever speaking to staff.  The first pair had said, “Yup, it’s broken.  We’ll get the plumbers out here,” and submitted a bill.   The second pair had come and gone without consulting anyone.  They entered the room, saw a different sink with a teeny little drip, fixed it, and billed hourly rate for two plumbers.  The human female has complained over the phone and via email.  Despite assurances that someone would be right out, the sink is still in its little hidey-hole and somebody owes someone over $100.00.  Maybe next week….

Then there were the fume hoods.   The one in room 311 had a light that was out, but because a fume is Safety Equipment, the human female and her staff can’t simply go buy a glowy tube of the appropriate length and just bung it in there.  Oh, no no no no!  They must submit a work order.  The hood in room 313 was was too exhausted to exhaust.  No air movement at all.   There’s another work order, because it would make too much sense to be able to put both on one WO.  Well, one of the Prep Staff helpfully attached the billable account number to both requests.  Those requests bounced because hoods are attached so they fall under general maintenance.  I suggested to S, S, & C that it would be too confusing to just take the account numbers off.  Instead, I had them cancel those two WOs and make two new ones with different numbers.  It took another week or so for them to get fixed—on two separate trips by fixers, of course.

It’s a wonder the human female and her staff get anything done at all.  Take, for instance, the other week when a steam leak was discovered under the building.  That meant that the steam to several buildings had to be cut off.  No autoclave for you!  It doesn’t take long for waste to pile up, and there were sterile nutrient media plates to be made.  “No worries,” everyone was told.  “You can take your things over to the Pretty-New-But-Already-Falling-Apart Building and use their autoclave.”  Which was doable, though trying to transport liquid agar across campus without it cooling in the flasks and setting up into something no one will ever be able to get out held precious little appeal.  The steam jockeys had to wait a while for the lines to cool down (the steam is super-heated), but they did have the leak fixed the same day and folks just had to wait for the pressure to build up again.  Which it did.  Which it did so well that when it all went online again the next day, it blew out another leak.

And on the homefront, I’ve got two faucets  on…a…steady…drip.

And I’m just getting started.

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The Grand Bench Paper Saga

Do you see this stuff?


It’s bench paper.  Think of it like a waffley diaper for lab benches.  It sops up any spills, cushions glassware a little bit, and gives students a place to doodle their initials and little hearts and the occasional “biology sux.”  The human female buys rolls and rolls of it every semester—ten lab rooms, three long benches per lab, plus side counters, plus all the prep rooms.

That’s a lot of diapers.

She always orders the same product from the Vendor Who’s Responsible:  six cases of two double rolls each.  This semester, when she plugged the product number (which you’d think she’d have memorized by now, but nooo) into the search box of the website, it brought up several options, one of which was marked “exact match for product xxxxx.”  Usually, that means that something’s been discontinued and what’s tagged is the next best thing.  Dismayed that her usual product wasn’t available, she regretfully ordered six cases of the suggested stuff.

True to form, the Vendor Who’s Responsible had the six big boxes in the stockroom a few days later.  It was immediately apparent, however, that what arrived was NOT in any way like the regular bench diaper.  It was thin and slidey and not waffley at all.  The human female was full of twelve kinds of indignation and fired off a pointy memo to the vendor rep.

And then, looking at the order page again, she realized that the one that said “exact match for product xxxxx” actually WAS product xxxxx, and the product she’d ordered was the next one down the page.

And just how does that crow taste now, mortal?

Shamefaced, she contacted the rep and started pursing a return.  She was hoping to get pre-paid return labels, even though she knew the error was her own and she didn’t DESERVE them.

There followed one of my best efforts at fouling up paperwork.  Messages went back and forth between the human female and the vendor and the rep.  A message was sent with labels as an attachment that got overlooked.  She had to have it pointed out to her.  Labels got printed out and taped on, and all the big, heavy boxes got lugged down to the stockroom for pickup.

Then (and this was a stroke of genius on my part!) someone at the Vendor Who’s Responsible decided that since the human female was pursing a return, what she actually needed was a replacement, so they shipped one more roll of the wrong diapers.  So now she had to try to get them to understand what happened and get ANOTHER return label sent to her.  It came, and that’s when she discovered that the previous six labels had just been address labels and not actual pre-paid freight labels.  She had to request six more of the right sort of label.  They sent them as an attachment, but only five would print, and since each had a separate Unrepentant Package Squashers tracking number, she had to have a sixth.  The Vendor Who’s Responsible had to send the whole shebang over again, then the labels had to get printed out and taken to the stockroom and taped over the old labels.

So, finally, about a month after the initial order, all the boxes went back and the human female could order the right table diapers.  It turns out that the university has a no shipping charges, free returns policy with the Vendor Who’s Responsible, so the human female wasn’t out any actual money.  BUT the chagrin and inconvenience involved were so enormous, and having six enormous boxes taking up all sorts of room while waiting to go back was so annoying, that I’m calling the prank a success anyway.   It was a real WOMBAT.*

I’ll be sure to remind her boss of this next time evaluations come around.

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*Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time

Warm and Stupid

I won’t lie.

Well, I will, because LIESMITH, but not about this:  I’ve been messing with the weather.  All the cold, drizmal, popsicle toes days we’ve been having this winter?  All my doing.  Can you blame me?  I’m a Jotun.  I like it a bit on the nippy side.  And if I get to laugh at the human female bundled up in cozy pants and a wool sweater and two pairs of socks and a blanket so that she looks like a deranged grub, I like it even better.

The human male is the household’s first line of defense against the chill.  When the thermometer hits about 40F, he starts making hot spiced cider.  He sets up the crockpot and it just simmers for days at a time.

Look–he’s got a new batch going now.



(sniff, sniff)   Mmmm.


Apples, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, orange peel, and cinnamon.  Lovely.  He and the human female and Sigyn–and anyone who comes into the house, really– can fill up a mug or a thermal cup and sip away to their heart’s content.  It’s a sure cure for the winter blahs.

And a sure mess on the kitchen counter.


So, yes, we go through a lot of cider and spices around here.  See?  Here’s a new jar of cinnamon sticks now.


I will contribute to the process by opening the jar.  The metal cap’s a little tight.


Very well, the cap’s off.  And there’s another cap underneath!  What foolishness is this?


And under that cap, a paper seal!   By Idunn’s itty bitty apples, this is most frustrating!   It is smelly tree bark, people, not the crown jewels of Vanaheim.


(stabbity, stabbity)

And now, dear friends, we see why humans will never rule the galaxy.


Just look.  It’ll come to you.

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