Author: lokispeaks

Ridiculously smart and incredibly good-looking

What They’ve All Been Up To, Part II: Some Work While Others Play

We can continue the update about what everyone has been doing by visiting the workshop of Iron Man (AKA Tony Stark, AKA rich snark-meister who flirts with Sigyn because he knows it pushes all my buttons.) What futuristic project is he working on now?

Ah. Not futuristic project, but restoration of an antique. Stark is fixing the Winter Soldier‘s Soviet-era-tech nightmare of a robotic arm.

“You should be good to go, now, Buck.”

“Thanks, Stark.”

“Let me know if it gives you any more trouble. Oh, and I gave you an upgrade. You now have a built-in remote. No more hunting in the couch cushions when you want to change the channel or turn off the stereo. It’s fully programmable. You can map different functions to different finger movements. I put in a few to get you started.”

“Like what? Stark, what did you do?

“Relax, Sputnik! Nothing much. Just, uh, maybe don’t snap your fingers unless you want to order a bunch of random crap from the Home Shopping Network…”

Uh, oh. I believe fisticuffs may be imminent. Moving on!

Here we are in the rec room. Looks like Cap has rounded up a few buddies to play a game of Animal Upon Animal/ Tier auf Tier.

It’s Peter Quill‘s turn, and I can tell you from experience that a) getting another kangaroo on there is going to be problematic and b) Rocket is probably cheating.

Of course, placing your pieces while dangling from the ceiling is hardly legit…

And they say I don’t play by the rules!

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What They’ve All Been Up To, Part I: Fisi, No!

Looking back over this journal, I realize that it has been quite some time since I have written about anyone other than the humans (ugh), the felines (furry minions), Sigyn, and myself. Nary a word about the other people beings in my circle of acquaintances. Blame that on 1) Social distancing, and 2) the fact that I don’t actually like any of them.

Be that as it may, I suppose it might be mildly amusing to fill you in on what they have all been doing. Let’s start here.

This is the beautiful wedding quilt the human female’s mother made about twenty-seven years ago. It has been treasured and well-loved, but it is now showing some wear and some popped seams.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! It’s as I suspected, that thrice-damned hyena has been contributing to the decay by using it as a chew toy. I thought I smelled a whiff of Hyaenidae.

Fisi! Bad hyena! Spit that out RIGHT NOW!

Unfortunately, this is not the only area of damage. Luckily, my beloved is quite handy with a needle and thread.

A few darns in a few holes, some tiny whipstitches to re-close the open seams, and everything will be snuggly cuddles once again.

Every job needs a Snoopervisor.

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Malus Sanguineus

The human female has a new apple! This one is called Lucy Rose.

That’s not a very descriptive name, is it? Of course, considering that the yuckiest apple ever spawned is called Red Delicious I suppose I shouldn’t rely on names to mean much.

Hmm. Medium sized. Yellow heavily striped with red. Let’s see what it looks like inside. I’ve heard rumors. I want to see if they were correct.

Great Frigga’s Corset!

This was billed as a red-fleshed apple! I think they exaggerated. Truly, it merely looks as if it is hemorrhaging.

(crunch, crunch). It’s juicy enough, and has a pleasant flavor, but for my money (ha! I never spend a dime on groceries in this house!), Pink Pearl is a better apple.

Recipe: Pink Pearl Apple Carpaccio |

The coloring inside tends to be better-dispersed and, since it’s more pink than red, it doesn’t look so much like it needs immediate transport to the Emergency Room.

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Minimum Effort, Maximum Annoyance

Signing up to work with the Purveyor of Tiny Shinies to fabricate a website and manufacture hundreds of misleading photos just to make the human female unhappy with an online purchase was a LOT of work. Sometimes a big prank is worth it, in terms of effort, but sometimes I just want something quick and easy, you know?

Let’s see…. Today I think will be…

Annoying Toilet Tissue Day.

It’s wound loosely on the spool, and the two plies aren’t actually “quilted” together.

I also rolled it so that the perforations on the two plies don’t align. Every time she tries to tear it, she’ll get several inches of single ply, a few inches of two ply, and a double shreddy mess as the two plies tear off at different points.

I know, I know. It’s a small thing, as mischief goes, but with minimal effort, considering the human male bought a multipack, I will be annoying her several times per day for a week at least.

It’s all about the payoff.

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Oh, The Holly Bears a Berry… (Nearly Wordless Wednesday)

My beloved had so much fun dangling in the snowy holly last week that she wanted to do it some more. Sadly, the snow is all gone, but the bright berries remain, so please enjoy Sigyn in her natural habitat!

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It’s All About the Tiny Shinies, Part II: Not as Advertised

You see, what the human female does not know is that I have been working with the Purveyor of Tiny Shinies to create their online catalog. At my suggestion, the beads have been photographed under high light and with some back-lighting. Ostensibly, this is to highlight the various features of the beads—the different lusters, coatings, linings, and layers of glass—but in reality… Well, let’s just watch her meet her new beads.

Take these, for instance.

They look like this online:

In real life, they’re just…almost black.

What looked like this online, a nice mixture of purple and bronzy orange

Looks like this out of the package:

And even the ones that were supposed to be very dark, with hints of purple and maroon:

…manage to disappoint in person.

The rosy pink ones?

I believe the word for this is “Meh.”

Of her order, there are nine things she wants to send back. She is now wearing what I have come to call her “Mopey Puppy Face.”

Is Your Dog Lethargic? | Lethargic Dog Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

It’s not one I like to look at, but I do love to give it to her!

Ehehehe! Now she’s got to write to the POTS and ask for a refund or something, all without sounding like a whiny entitled female whose name starts with “K.” We’ll see what the POTS says.

Meanwhile, I’ll be busy with POTS working on the images for their newest shipment of pressed glass flower beads from the Czech Republic. I bet I can entice her into ordering at least one strand…

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It’s All About the Tiny Shinies, Part I: Discoveries

I’ve noted here before, multiple times, that the human female has an unnatural fondness for beads, the tinier and shinier, the better. Recently, she divested herself of some of her Yule gift money by purchasing some more beads online. (I did a few magical tweaks to her order before it went in, of course.) Today, a crinkly sort of package has arrived. Sigyn, let us go see if the beads are here.

It’s the right size for beads. I shall open it and deprive her of the pleasure.

Can you see anything?

“Yes, wonderful things!”

It’s quite the haul!

And apparently this Purveyor of Tiny Shinies (POTS) likes to include a little candy treat as well. I shall just… sequester that before the human female can spot it.

Oh, wait. Don’t eat that, Sigyn! I’ve had that candy before. Tastes like… red plastic. Let the human female have it.

I approve of these green beads.

Sigyn is intrigued by this blue spirally thing.

No, my love, I don’t think the POTS is including true fossils in with bead orders. What gives it away? I would say the neatly drilled holes—and the fact that the packing slip says, “laser-etched ammonite focal, included as a free gift.”

Sorry. I know you’re disappointed. But not half as disappointed as the human female’s going to be when she examines the rest of the order…

(to be continued…)

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More Questions Than Answers

The human female is back out at the herbarium in her little hidey hole, doing plant nerdery again.

She’s working with Pseudognaphalium. Many of the species are quite furry, which Sigyn finds absolutely irresistible.

I find Sigyn absolutely irresistible.

Before she can make additions to the distribution maps for the various species of Pseudognaphalium, the human female has to make sure all the sheets are correctly identified.

This is only some of them.

These plants are a mess, and I’m only a little responsible for it. They used to be mashed with other fuzzy, non-showy-flowered plants in a much larger Gnaphalium. But then some botanists said, “No, no! The ones with the fused pappus bristles must go in Gamochaeta and the others, the ones with separate bristles, must go in Pseudognaphalium. Only a few can remain in Gnaphalium. It’s a moral imperative.” Their pronouncements sounded good enough, if you don’t know that some species have pappus bristles that cohere in a ring that is easily broken up into single bristles. Does that count as fused bristles or not? It’s all very wishy-washy.

(And what’s a pappus bristle, anyway? Damned if I know! I’m just parroting some of the nonsense the human female is spouting so you can hear how ridiculous she sounds.)

All the species have older names, which means there are a lot of old sheets and records hanging about with outdated nomenclature, and before the plant nerds figured out that there are more species than they originally thought, all the plants were pigeon-holed into fewer species. That makes for more misidentified species.

Sometimes, it’s easy to bring things up to date. For example, according to the Flora of North America, reports of Pseudognaphalium macounii in Texas are actually based on specimens of P. viscosa. So theoretically, one could just change the names. Macounii is viscosa.

Except when it’s not. In the Olden Days, plant nerds didn’t always have good reference books or materials, so things were often misidentified. The human female can’t just automatically change all the P. macounii to P. viscosa. She’s got to key everything.

See? This one’s just P. obtusifolium, the really, really common species.

This is P. arizonicum, one that usually grows away out west, but this was collected in the Hill Country, in the central part of the state.

What was it doing there? I have no idea! Neither does the human female. And neither of us knows why it and another were correctly identified but stuffed in the wrong folder. Or why there were folders of P. obtusifolium in two places. Or why collectors couldn’t be bothered to flatten out the leaves on their specimens so people could tell if they are decurrent but not clasping, clasping but not decurrent, both decurrent and clasping, or neither decurrent nor clasping. Not to mention whether the hairs are thick enough to warrant “tomentose” or not. Are the leaf blades concolor? Bicolor? Pffft! Too many choices!


So now she’s worked through all the Texas materials–you’ll be excited to know she was able to separate out P. pringlei from among all the P. canescens— and everything is annotated and tidy and she’s back at home doing the distribution maps and— Great Frigga’s Hairpins! The collection includes only one sheet of P. helleri (which is supposed to be about like P. obtusifolium, except the stems aren’t white-woolly), from one of the counties down on the coast. She was just about to color the county in on the map and make a note when she noticed that all its other counties are up in the northeast corner of the state, hundreds of miles from the coast. Sometimes it’s zebras, but usually it’s just horses, so most likely she’s misidentified it and will have to go back out to the herbarium to drag that one sheet back out and look at it again.

She will never, ever be done with this project.

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Mischief Update, Retiree Version

I bet, mortals, that you all thought I would get *soft* after the human female retired, not having students and vendors and shippers and faculty to make mischief with, didn’t you?

It amuses me when I’m underestimated…

There is plenty to do to tarnish the humans’ “golden years.”

First of all, the humans still have to deal with Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly. In a bold move of compound inefficiency, a large Purveyor of Books in New York City, at the human female’s sister’s behest, mailed two books to the human male for Yule in early December. I convinced them to utilize a hybrid, two-carrier approach. Their shipper handed off to Usually Smashes in the middle of December, at which time they vanished from this plane of existence. The vendor doesn’t know where they are, and they wouldn’t tell the sister who the first shipper was, nor will they replace the volumes until they have been missing for a month. Usually Smashes has them listed as “in transit” and refuses to do anything more. Will the human male have his books before the month is out? Who knows?!

The human female mailed a box to the Floristy Friend in a different city and I promptly hid the tracking receipt. She mailed some yarn to the Knittery Friend in the Big City to the South before Yule and tried to check its tracking. Usually Smashes directed her to text the tracking number to a certain other number, which yielded no results other than a return message, hours later, that incurs fees to read. Over the weekend, the human female tried to mail a box to another friend in the northwestern part of the state, hauling the goods, a sharpie marker, the address, and some packing tape with her, only to find that a) on Saturdays the nearest post office is only open between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and b) when she brought the goodies and a flat-rate shipping box home from the open lobby of the closed post office and packed things up to take to post office #2, I packed up the sharpie in the box. It will make a weird, if useful, addition to the contents of the box…

Nor are the humans now exempt from dealing with the University. Yes, the same University that sent out a widely-distributed email telling everyone who was tested for plague on campus in recent days that they may have received a false negative and that they all needed to go and have antibody tests done. This was followed shortly by an, “Oops! That was a mistake!” email, and now no one knows what’s going on. I’m not tampering with tests, you understand, just comminications.

And then there is the whole “insurance thing.” The humans were eligible to continue their University-provided coverage, with the billing handled by a third party. The first bill for each of them came at the end of the first month of retirement and was for two months, that one and the next, with another bill following each month. Then they each received a letter that the University was going to be taking over the billing in January (handoff orchestrated by me) and that retirees could have the premiums deducted from their pension checks, if they filled out the proper forms. Which was all well and good until the humans got muddled when each of them received a letter from the third party saying that they had missed a premium payment and Were In Danger of Losing Their Coverage. After spending the better part of two days on hold with the Third Party, the male was told, “Oh, we’re not handling that anymore; talk to the University.” The human female contacted the University and received a speedy response: “Oh, a bunch of letters got sent out in error, send me copies of what you have and we’ll sort it out.” That was several days ago now. The humans still don’t know what, if anything, they owe, who they might owe it to, or whether they’re actually covered.

The human female tidied up her windowsill plants (too lazy to repot them yet, but the defunct ones were jettisoned and the others relieved of their dead foliage) and left a space on the broad dining room sill serve as a feline vantage point. The furry beggars insist on sitting in the window anyway, but now they can do it without knocking stray Saintpaulia specimens to the floor. I have taken advantage of this avenue for kitty mischief, encouraging not one but both to get up in the window and shove the plants even further afield. Moreover, I have taught them to use this as a vantage point from which to bat at the bird silhouette that keeps avians from crashing into the window, swat at the nearby ficus, and play patty-cake with the palm tree in the corner. Taffy, especially, likes to work out her naughtiness on the plants and is quite immune to verbal reprimand, gentle “swats”, lobbed shoes which carefully miss, and being put in time out. The squirt bottle works, if you can catch her with it. All in all, it’s a good way to distract the human female from her writing. In all of the hubbub, last week the ficus went over completely, scattering soil and leaves all over the floor. That was fun.

I’ve been helping with craft projects also. The human female sewed soft cloth roll-up holders for fountain pens for the human male and two of their friends. Clever design and not to difficult to sew, but more entertaining for me since I saw to it that on roll #2, the dark green thread ran out completely with four inches left to sew and no more in her thread box. She had to remove the bobbin, wind some of it onto a second bobbin, and then use the second bobbin as the top thread. Of course, after she finished sewing the roll, she found not one but two spools of dark green thread. On roll #3, which was a different color, I arranged for the thread to break about every eight inches. Ehehehe! That spool is going in the trash! Or maybe I’ll distract her and she’ll forget to toss it and the next time she tries to use it it will all happen again…

Then there was the failure of the potatoes to bake satisfactorily in the pressure cooker, the leaky bedroom window, the jury summons, the property tax bill, and the leftovers that froze in the back of the fridge…

So, yeah, not bored.

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