Author: lokispeaks

Ridiculously smart and incredibly good-looking

Predictable, But Nonetheless Fun

The humans have made a last-minute, mad dash to the Biggish City to the West.  As is usual, we have made time to visit the large market they’re so fond of.  (They’re so predictable!)

Sigyn loves nothing more than exploring the produce department.  At the mometn, she is communing with these tiny, solanaceous beauties.

Austin-cm-1

The human male likes the market’s home-squeezed lemon-apple-ginger juice, but I don’t like the stuff.  Can’t stand to be around it.  So I’ve arranged not to have to share the car with any today.

austin-cm-2

That squealing noise you hear is Sigyn finding that the pasta aisle has jungle noodles.

austin-cm-3

I’d bet money, though, that she would probably hug them and not cook them.

Last stop is always the floral department.  The humans never buy anything, of course.  A) It’s too long of a ride back for flowers to be happy, and B) They’re cheap.

The posies sure look good on my sweetie, though, don’t they?

austin-cm-4

She’s my sunshine, all right.

>|: [

Advertisements

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

In the humans’ world, everything connects with everything else.  Cables for this, cables for that.  Camera to computer.  Phone to laptop.  Charger to, well, everything.

This is the human female’s favorite:

bentcable

It’s something called “USB” on the hearty end and “micro USB” on the diamond one.  I’m not sure, but I think USB stands for “upside-down, skewed, or backwards,” which are the three ways of inserting one.

This cable is exceptionally fine.  When plugged in, it lights up, glowing an eerie blue all along its length, like it was made of the tesseract itself.  She uses it all the time, hooking up between the charging block and her phone or tablet.

It’s a pity, then, that the charging block sits on the floor so close to the sofa.  Even more of a pity that the sofa’s a recliner, and that it’s old enough to need a hefty shove to get it to un-recline.  And a pity most of all that yesterday I nudged the charging block so that this lovely cord was in the sofa’s maw.  That heart-bedecked end took the full force of the slam-shut.  It still lights up just fine, but it’s never going to help anything talk to anything else, ever again.

USB=Unfortunately, Sadly, Bent.

>|: [

Sadly, Not Actually Banished…

It’s still hotter than Muspelheim outdoors, the humans are working hard and often get out of the office late, and neither of them feels like cooking.  It’s no surprise then, that “out” is often on the menu.  With the students gone now, between semesters, it’s a good time to try one of the new eateries in town.  I am enthusiastic, because I overheard the female utter the words, “Ban me.”  I have good hopes that the proprietors will take one look at her ugly haircut, her unfortunate visage, and her table “manners” and I’ll get to see them toss her out of their establishment.

It’s a smallish cafe with a limited menu.  Sandwiches feature prominently.  The human male has chosen one that seems to involve meatballs.

bubbletea3

Poke, poke, poke.  Not sure what the green stuff is.

Sigyn says the female’s has “lemongrassy beef, pickled veggies, and ‘nummy’  pâté .”

bubbletea4

That sounds…odd, but the bread is good.  Nice and crusty.

This place is big on cold drinks, too, which is almost more important than food this time of year.   The human female has selected a pineapple slushie.

bubbletea-1

The male has a mango smoothie.  Not sure why the lid says “tea time”…

bubbletea2

Some of the other drinks have what looks like a good handful of little balls in the bottom.  Tiny grapes?  Bubblegum?  Ball bearing tea?  I have no idea.  I don’t trust it.

Well, the humans and Sigyn seem to be enjoying the food, but this has been a bust for me.  No one has made any move to eject the human female.

One final note:  the decor here is minimal.  A colorful blackboard wall.  A plant or two.  An old-timey lantern.  I’ve seen enough.  Come on, Sigyn, let’s g—

bubbletea5

Sigh.  Hang on, sweetie, Loki’s coming.  And then let’s leave, before we ALL get thrown out.

>|: [

 

Mischief Update: Workdon’t Addendum

Because I’ve been extra naughty, my exploits have spilled over into a whole other update!  This one is all about my little gift to the University, Workdon’t, the all-in-one-HR software.

Day by day, Workdon’t keeps on revealing its nefarious intricacies. It’s like one of those big boxes of chocolates. At first, it looks as if all of the goodies have been eaten, but Lo! Take up the waffly paper divider, and there’s a whole other layer of treasure underneath.  So, while the mortals in the humans’ workplace have become somewhat inured* to the yoke of inefficiency that was their first experience of Workdon’t, the revelation of some of the other little “features” of the program has been amusing us all. Or me, anyway–and that’s what matters.

Summertime at the University brings with it the period known as Annual Enrollment. During this period, each employee can choose his or her insurance options for the coming year. It ought to be straightforward–decide on how far you are willing to push your luck with regard to purchasing hedgements against disaster, all the while balancing the concomitant deductions to your paycheck.

In practice, however, things often become Complicated. This year, I decided to meddle with the employees who work nine-month appointments. This includes most of the faculty, who take summers off. Many of them have other funding that covers their summers, making them 9+3 employees. All would be well except for one thing: Workdon’t can’t “math.” Earlier this year, many of them discovered that all of the premiums for the summer months had be deducted from their last regular-semester paycheck, leaving about enough paycheck left over to purchase a large(ish) jar of peanut butter–if that.

All of this had been tidied up, but Annual Enrollment brought to the fore that Workdon’t cannot comprehend multiple payment accounts. I thought it would be funny if all of the 9+3-ers ended up in the system as 9+2-ers. You should have heard the squawking! Apparently that one-month pittance matters to them! Cue HR personnel in all the departments trying to correct this for each person, individually. The Biology Department’s HR person (who wears so many hats that he’s going to open a men’s haberdashery when he retires) manually added a further 1 month to each person’s file. Workdon’t decided, then, that they were all one-month appointments and thus ineligible for any benefits whatsoever. When they tried to access Annual Enrollment, Workdon’t laughed at them. When they tried to pick up prescriptions, they were refused, and Workdon’t giggled. And I laughed too.

Once that was attended to, it was time to make up the annual budget, including all the salaries for everyone in the department. A few, a select and chosen few, will be receiving raises. The Departmental HR person had to open several spreadsheets and various and sundry documents all at once, because Workdon’t does not have a Budget Module. (It has plenty of B.M., all right, but not that particular one.) That’s when Workdon’t’s Presto-change-o Feature introduced itself. Each time the budget-in-the-works was opened, the amounts for each individual had changed. Thus someone who was set to receive a 2% raise might show as due a 2.01% increase the next day, and a 2.3% the next. Each person had to be adjusted, again and again, in a process akin to trying to keep an unhappy octopus fully contained in a loose-meshed bag. One professor, whose monthly salary is, shall we say, “x”, had worked his way up to about 3x by the time all the flailing tentacles were nailed the to the deck. I finally had to let it rest because of the terrible stitch in my side.
Then there’s hiring. Workdon’t has its little idiosyncracies there as well. Initially, applicants’ packets for open positions were screened by computer at Central HR before qualifying applications were released to the individual hiring departments–a complex and tedious process. So tedious, in fact, that HR threw up its collective hands and devolved the whole process upon the departments, where applications must now be screened by hand. The human female is needing to hire a new Tech I (what did you do with the last one I sent you?!), which should offer me many happy hours, as applications from psych majors and English graduates are weeded out to get to the biologists.

Even now, thinking of all of this, I find myself chortling. Oh, Workdon’t, you are my finest creation!

>|: [

*Google “learned helplessness”

Mischief Update–Improvement in My Cash Flow

A busy Loki is a happy Loki, and boy, am I happy! I’ve also found some clever ways to bring in a little extra income, as you shall see.

Mostly, I continue to make the humans’ work environment and strange and surreal place.

First off: Slow, Silent and Costly continues to play dice with utilities and maintenance. Faucets drip or stop dripping at random intervals. Chilled water lines drip spots into ceiling tiles. One section of campus had both a chilled and a heated water outage–at the same time. Another week, most of west campus lost landline telephone service. And recently it came to light that the sewage from a large dorm complex had been tied into the storm drainage system and was routinely discharging gallons and gallons of wastewater into a local stream. (That wasn’t my idea, but I have been amused by the outcry and all of the digging up that fixing things has necessitated.)
Closer to home, two men showed up and installed a new break-room faucet in the human female’s area, unasked for and without warning. The work order for the new countertop in one of the main Intro Bio prep rooms involved multiple entities, none of whom, apparently, was talking to the others. All of the work (remove sink, replace counter, replace sink) had been written up and approved–and was in fact due to begin. Then two plumbers showed up, saying they’d been sent to look at a “leaking faucet.” No, the human female explained, the problem wasn’t a leak, it was that splashed water had, over time, warped the particle board counter and laminate covering. The two men hemmed and hawed, looked at the sink in the counter and its attendant plumbing, said, “Yep, this is a job for a plumber,” and left. Bill a visit from two techs.
The doorlock people finally finished their work, but it did take a while. One day they were delayed because someone who was supposed to show up and do part of a job, simply didn’t.  And once the locks were installed and hooked up, it took several further days before they were activated.  One professor still can’t get into his office.  And another two days for the old locks to be removed. I made sure to adjust the cordless power tool’s whine to the particular frequency that resonates with the human female’s fillings.
The policies of the University continue, at my direction, to remain mysterious and capricious. On the Third of July (a holiday devoted to the purchasing of watermelon, charcoal, and fireworks), the Powers That Be declared that staff could take early release and get a jumpstart on the festivities. Fifteen minutes later, another announcement came out– “Ooops! Sorry! We forgot summer school’s in session! If you’re involved with the actual teaching of classes, you don’t get to sneak out early. Our bad.”
The University’s first home football game of the season has been scheduled for Thursday, August 30th, to launch the career of our new circus-elephant-monikered coach. Since this is a work day, all of the staff and student parking lots are bound to be full. To better serve game-goers, however, many of the parking lots must be vacated. The Powers That Be have given notice that staff in these lots should make alternate arrangements on that day or vacate by a certain p.m.  It was even said that they could get a $10 credit for an Uber ride to work that day.  Most recently, “non-essential” staff have been told they can leave early, so that Moneyed Alums can have free run of the campus. Rest assured, I’m getting my cut.

Oh, the fine folks at Transportation Services are some of my favorite minions. Recently, they “discovered” some arcane tax law that says that the University’s faculty, staff, and students can no longer pay for their parking permits pre-tax. So essentially, parking is going up. More pennies in my pocket.
The University sends out various congratulatory newsletters every week. Here’s a screen shot of one of the most recent:

science

There is nothing like good, clean contrast in web design, and that is NOTHING like good, clean contrast.  When the human female asked the web folks about it, they assured her that the page was coded for maroon and white.  It’s just that the campus’ Exchange email program doesn’t seem to want to talk with the design software.  But they’re Looking Into It.

The University generates a lot of waste. I mean, a LOT, a lot. The hazardous waste, such as is generated by the human female’s program, is all tagged and contained and sent for proper disposal. Recently, the protocol for so doing has changed. Unfortunately for most users, I tickled the license for the software that lets folks fill out the disposal tags and requests online, such that only one user on the entire campus could log in and do it at any given time. Remember, folks, to beat the crowd: before 8:00 and after 5:00 are Hazardous-Waste-o’Clock!

The human female actually is all about the safety. And compliance. She harps on it all the time. Blah, blah, blah, “Use a hemostat to change that scalpel blade.” Nag, nag, nag. “Tie your hair back before you light that bunsen burner.” “Don’t lick that petri dish.” Whatever. Apparently the Vendor Who’s Responsible, though, has its doubts about her, because it asked her again to sign the “I am not going to use this iodine to make meth” declaration again, for the second time in six months. I keep telling her that if she’d let me set up a little…special lab down in the basement we could fund pretty much anything she wants to do with the Intro Bio program, plus have enough left over to stop looking like she dresses out of the charity box.

I may set up that lab anyway.  The price of horn polish just went up.

Negotiations with various vendors continue to be one of my favorite ways of annoying her. She managed to do an end-run around me recently, though. When she called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to change the amount of squigglies in an order, she discovered that I’d changed the delivery date from the 6th to the 9th and was able to correct it. Rats! I was looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

She also remembered to order the 700-plus pig intestinal roundworms that she’d forgotten to order. She forgot the live Penicillium culture, though and had to order it at the last minute on the credit card, with ru$h air $hipping. Meanwhile, it’s almost time for the annual Dead Cat Ballet involving the Purveyor of Dead Things.  You just know I’m not going to let that go off without a hitch. (I can tell you that I already know that there will not be any actual dead cats. They’re on indefinite back-order.)

And the packing slips for all of these orders! Who knew that little pieces of paper could be such fun? I had the new video camera and tripod show up without a packing slip. The packing slip for a couple of items off the human female’s enormous fall order from the Vendor Who’s Responsible showed ALL the items on the order, so that one had to leaf through the many pages to figure out what was in that particular box. Then the free goods that enormous order garnered were sent with double and triple packing slips so that she had to make sure that there weren’t extra free goods her conscience wouldn’t let her keep.

Sometimes, when I run out of new ideas, I just revisit an old one. Remember the hurricane last September? I fouled up orders and shipping and deliveries for weeks, when Fed-up and Exhausted and Unrepentant Package Squashers couldn’t get any live materials in or out of Houston? The human female put all sorts of notes into the purchasing system, explaining the work-arounds she’d had to do and pointing out which goods weren’t coming. The other day, the Bean Counters, trying, no doubt, to be ahead of things when it came to closing out the fiscal year, dredged the whole mess up again, asking her to do receiving on the things she didn’t get, or to indicate they weren’t coming if that were the case. She pointed them at her months-old comment and let them know that, no, there are no more live termites coming in on that P.O.

I don’t let the male rest on his laurels– or his haunches– either. Some server or other is always going down, one round of soft ware updates breaks something the last one fixed, and the parade of clueless users through his office is never-ending. The other day, one of the machines hooked to the network was causing an error message, so Central Information Services disconnected it. Except they didn’t–they mistakenly shut down the system of one of the Department’s super-users, who was in the middle of a days-long backup of his squillionty terrabytes of data. The resultant shouting wasn’t at the human male, but it was human male-adjacent, which was nearly as draining for him and just as amusing for me.

Traffic around town continues to be a sick, twisted joke. I’ve managed to tap into the traffic-barrel rental business, so I have money coming in there, too. The new Diverging Diamond of Death opened this week. I get the feeling that, after it has been open for a while, the local populace will promise me anything if I just put things back the way they were.

Despite my best efforts at further delay, the long-awaited expansion of the church facilities has commenced. The human female is in mourning, though, because the entire beautiful courtyard has been turned into a construction-staging area, and all the trees have been cut down. That wasn’t my idea. I was hoping they could be saved, because Sigyn liked them. She hasn’t had a glimpse of the denuded courtyard yet. I’m hoping to keep it from her as long as I can.

On the home front, the Terror Twins and I keep things lively. Every night I let in June bugs and click-beetles so the felines can have an arthropod frenzy. The click beetles are their favorites because they make! noise! AND are fun to chase. So far, my record is three in one night. One of these days, the human female’s going to tire of getting up off the sofa, catching the clicky little goobers and chucking them outside and just let the kitties have their fun. When that happens, I’ll make sure Flannel Cat eats one and leaves the bug barf in the main traffic pattern in the house…

I’ve recruited the large appliances to my cause. The dryer still turns itself on at random intervals. The little end-stopper thingy came out of the dishwasher’s left top rack-glide, so now it’s possible to actually remove half the top rack completely. And the refrigerator, from time to time, will piddle a little puddle of very cold water into the middle of the kitchen floor. Always, you understand, when someone can discover this transgression sock-footed.

The local market has stopped carrying the humans’ favorite kind of shredded cheese, while no store the humans can find in four different cities carries the female’s favorite flavor of yogurt. I keep offering them more and more opportunities for spiritually-enriching penance and self-mortification– you’d think they’d be grateful, but no. Hypocrites.

I hid last month’s utility bill, and no one thought to contact the company and volunteer payment, so when this month’s bill showed up, it was for two months of triple-digit-heat-fighting AC and dear-Idunn-please-don’t-let-the-lawn-die watering. That was a real shocker, I can tell you. The human male looked like a gaping codfish there for a minute or three.  I took photos.

So, as you can see, I’ve been up to some first-rate mischief, and even managed to monetize it a bit. Life (for me) is good!  I give this update a 9.75.

>|: [

Sabotaging the Snail Mail As Well

Last week, I made sure that the humans got a whole load of judgey, depressing email.  Today, I’m working my mischief on the humans’ regular mail as well.

I know for a fact that the humans enjoy getting the mail.  There’s always the chance (however remote) that there will be a letter from a friend, an interesting catalog, or even the needlework kit that the female ordered back in JANUARY.

Bill, bill, auto dealership ad, flyer for a new pizza restaurant—nothing, really, to make the sixty foot trip to the box in 100-degree heat worth it.

Oh—wait.   Ehehehehe!   I’ve been planning this for a week or two, but I didn’t think it would come today.  The envelope’s just appealing enough on the outside that the humans may actually open it.

See?  It looks important.

brazoz

Civic pride, and all that.

Look!  Kids!   No one can resist giving money to something that’s for kids.

brazoz2

I sent out a thousand of these.  Even if only a few suckers recipients respond, it’ll net me some useful cash.

Fandral’s mustache!  The humans are laughing and pointing.  What?!  The wording is perfect!  I spent a lot of time on this.

This bears closer inspection…

brazoz3

I still don’t see anyth—  Oh.

brazoz4

Oops.

>|: [

 

Remember to Hydrate—If You Can

Brrr!  We had a cold front blow through, so temperatures have been much cooler recently.  Why, only yesterday it was 94° instead of 102°!

It is still summer, though, and it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the workday.  I keep telling the human female that she needs to pull her head out of her surfing and solitaire and drink her water.  Fortunately, there are not one but two water fountains on the floor where she works.  They are even rigged to have those fancy, save-a-spotted-albatross-or-something, eco-friendly bottle filling nozzles.  All she has to do is mosey a few steps out of her office, cross the hall, and…

waterfountain2

Norns’ nighties!  That’s a tad inconvenient!  And the one at the other end of the hall is in a similar predicament.  Tsk, tsk.  I wonder what’s wrong?

Oh, now the building proctor has sent ’round a Stern Memo saying that the drain lines on the fountains on the fourth and third floors are all clogged up because someone individual couldn’t be bothered to use the break room trash and dumped coffee grounds down one of the fountains.

What kind of selfish bastard would do a thing like that?

watefountain3

>|: [