Naughty Loki

Adventures in Marketing

There is a new market in town!  It is not a Large Market, but it is pretty big.  On one hand, it is going to tie up traffic on one of the few good north-south roads. I predict there will be a new accident every day.  On the other hand, all of the shopping carts still have straight wheels!  (I will be attending to that shortly.  Bending one wheel on each cart is a particular joy of mine.)

The Grand Opening crowd is huge.  The humans have already met four or five people they know.

newHEB-crowd

Sigyn is quite taken with the floral department.  The displays are sorted by color, and the white hydrangeas are “just so fluffy!”

newHEB-hydrangea

But nothing beats old-fashioned red roses.

newHEB-roses

I am checking out the produce section for anything weird.

Odin’s eypatch!  I haven’t seen one of these in a while!

newHEB-jackfruit

I think I will demand that the human female purchase one and learn how to prepare it properly.  (I don’t particularly want to eat it.  I just want to watch her struggle with it!)

Somehow we have ended up on the aisle with playthings for littles.

newHEB-dino1

Tsk! Goofy, and not at all to scale.

Augh!

newHEB-dino2

Unhand my beloved you phocomelioid menace,  or these will be your LAST moments!

Hang on, sweetie, Loki’s coming!

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You Can’t Win, and You Can’t Quit the Game

There are Things of Import occurring at the human female’s workplace.  There are Omens. There are Portents of Change.  Sooner or later, there will no doubt be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

What’s afoot?  Not much, only the wholesale replacement of every single first-year majors Biology lab exercise.  You know—the human female’s job.

This new vision calls for two-hour labs rather than three, with much less teaching and less in-depth but more high-tech and “sexy” experiments, with much “cooler” equipment.  The new exercises will appear with the new semester, which is coming up fast.  Is the human female ready? Will the new labs be less trouble to prep?  Of course not!

She doesn’t have a lot of information, but she does know a bit about the new Cellular Respiration exercise.  The students have recently conducted the current incarnation of the exercise.  It’s my favorite exercise, because it involves lots of spilled sugar, sticky-foamy yeast slurries, breakable reaction vials, toxic chemicals, and various and sundry items that should never see heat becoming far too intimate with a toasty hotplate.  The lab rooms are always left a sticky, stinking mess, and I get the best belly-laughs messing with yeast packet totals, randomly making packets of yeast not work, crunching reaction vials, jamming test tubes in the spectrophotometers, and spitting in the bromothymol blue solution so that it turns yellow waaaay ahead of time.

Next semester, it will all be different.  The students will be using  a Very Scientific Apparatus called a respirometer.  The Lecturer whose brainchild the innovations are ordered fifty-some-odd of them.

They came in in dribbles and drabbles.  A few here, a few there, poorly packed, and quite a few in pieces. Here is a squadron of the intact ones.

respirometers2

There are twenty-seven ways of picking up one of these gadgets.  Twenty-six are wrong.  They’re designed in such a way that the glass tubing is held tightly in the plastic frame and sticks up above it, just begging to be snapped off.

As you can see on the instrument on the left:

respirometers

I think thirteen of them came that way, and a multitude of others didn’t have the rubbery tubing.  There have been Pithy Emails to and from the vendor flying back and forth, and though the human female is not part of the bickering dialogue, she’s still had the fun of figuring out where these things are going to live in the lab rooms.  How can something as delicate as a spider’s fart be safely stored?

Turns out, you can pack these little nuisances quite nicely into the boxes that the new spectrophotometers came in—and even use some of the internal packaging as well!

Something is always going on around here.  Honestly (ha! Loki being honest?!), it’s just like that pleasant Midgardian game, Whack-A-Mole.  Just when one problem is dealt with, another pops up.

I have created a………PERPETUAL MOTION MISCHIEF MACHINE!! 

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More Fun With Departmental Computers

Someone begged the Department Head for a new laptop that was much more expensive than their allowance.

Someone got the new laptop day before yesterday.

Someone spilled water in their computer bag today.

ashas laptop

You know, it’s amazing how gray the human male is going, and how quickly.

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It’s Just Something About Butler Hall (A Lesson in Physics)

I had such fun with the lighting in Butler Hall  the other day, that I thought I would spread just a little more Loki Sunshine in that building.

Today the human male, in his role as Computer Fixer, was summoned to one of the labs here.  Seems one of the computer monitors there had suffered a little bump and needed to be checked out.

Butlercabinet

It is a physics problem, friends.  If a bookcase weighing just suddenly falls off the wall from a height of approximately 1.5 meters so that it accelerates at rate a, what is the F when it lands on a monitor?

The solution is left to the student.

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There Is Nothing Like Fine Workmanship

A room in the basement of an adjacent building which, coincidentally, used to be the human female’s office before she moved into her current workgroup, has recently been renovated into a student study hall.  They’ve redone the floors, applied some paint, and added additional lighting.  I coached Slow, Silent, and Costly myself, since everything had to be done just so.

lights1

Note, if you will, that the light panel hangs from four chains (two of which are visible above).  Note also that, with incredible attention to detail, no two of the chains are the same length.

Well done, SSC, well done.

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How to Make the Human Female Lose Her Cool

What’s the best part of the work day?  Lunch, of course!

cooler1

It’s a pity, then, that the big cooling chamber in the break room has died in a cloud of burning-electrics-smell and that the human female and her staff have had to unload all the contents into two large coolers, borrowed from another building, filled with ice, and lugged down the hallway.

cooler2

(later) Good news!  The Department’s Instument Tech was able to repair the fridge, so everything was loaded back into it.

(still later) Bad news!  The fridge has declared, “No, really, I am MOSTLY DEAD.”   Back everything goes into the coolers!  Or, if people are feeling lucky, the freezer’s about as cold as the fridge should be and the fridge is, well, a few degrees off room temperature.

Guess who, armed with a departmental charge card, gets to go and buy a new fridge and arrange for its delivery?

Just try not to lose your ID in the store parking lot this time, eh?

 

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Mischief Update–It’s Not All Pens Around Here

It’s not all pens around here, though you’d never know it by the ink samples on the dining room table.

No, there is a lot of messing with the human female so that she gets her exercise running around.  Take, for instance, the time the stockroom folks delivered a package that patently was not anything she had ordered.  It contained petri plates full of nutrient goo, meant for doing environmental sampling.  She called the Vendor Who’s Responsible and asked whose name was on the original PO.  They told her it was for someone named Craig Bell.  Armed with that info, she searched the A&M directory for anyone named Craig Bell.  She found a Greg Bell, so she called him and said she might have his package.  Then, since the VWR had just sent the good that were manufactured by another company, Hardly Diagnostics, she called them and was told the package was something ordered by one B.E., who actually is in the Biology Department.  So the human female called B.E., who met her in the hallway for a handoff.  B.E. got her plates, the human female had thirty minutes of her day wasted, and I had a good laugh.  Win-win, I’d say!

The human female and her prep staff were in charge of the snacks for the big, ten-day Teaching Assistant workshop that took place right before the start of the semester.  They received a schedule of all the break times and the human female carefully calculated how many snacks and drinks they’d need–six snack breaks times sixty participants, etc..  She went on a huge shopping run.  Then she found out they were responsible for two other breaks, so she had to go again.  I made sure that, on the second run, the Big Box Store was out of the cookie assortments everyone likes so much.  Or rather, they had them, it was just that each one had been opened. No idea what happened there (munch, munch…)

I also saw to it that on one of those runs, the human female’s university ID fell out of her pocket.  She didn’t know about it until she got an email from someone who works on campus saying that someone had found it and put it on the windshield of her doesn’t-work-on-campus boyfriend’s truck in the Big Box Store’s parking lot.  Rather than turning it in to the store, the boyfriend had taken it home.  The human female had to call him up and arrange to get it.  He wanted to take it to some coffee shop he was going to and leave it there.   The human female actually had to explain to him why leaving a card that identifies the worker’s department and which functions as, you know, a KEY in a public place was not a good idea.  She and the human female ended up driving all over the southern part of the city, out in the country, to catch up with him and get the card back.  That was a good one!

The first week of the semester was an absolute joy–for me.  One lane of the humans’ route to work was closed on the first day, and I arranged a fender-bender-tieup on the second.

The Thursday Night Home Football Opener caused as much trouble as predicted.  Traffic was a zoo.  Some employees were told they could leave at 1:00 and others were not.  Students were told to attend their afternoon classes, but some buildings were locked up early so they couldn’t do that.  I worked with the Memorial Student Center to be sure lockers in the MSC were available for the students to stash their stuff so they could go right to the game from class.  And then the next day, I saw to it that offer was rescinded.  Confusion is so exhilarating.

I’m still having fun with Workdon’t.  I had it mess up September’s insurance deduction for a lot of people.  And since the human female was finally able to hire a fourth Tech, I’ve had opportunities for mischief there, too.  He was hired three weeks ago, and he’s not in the system yet as far as anyone being able to code his ID card for the door locks.  Ah, door locks.  Love’em.  I’ve favored some of the Teaching Assistants and Lab Instructors in the same way.  There are all sorts of people wandering around who can’t get where they need to go.

The Purveyor of Squiggly Things continues to be a willing and able partner in the human female’s mental demise.  They are located in one of the states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Florence, so they shut down for a few days.  The human female had to put in her weekly order with them early, and then hope it came in time.  Then there was the time they canceled one item without notice (no Nostoc for you!).  The female didn’t notice it until the shipment arrived without it–no backorder notice had been sent.  Quickly, she scrambled to put in a phone/credit card order with the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things–who also cancelled without any notice, on the exact same item.  The human female and her staff had to make do with prepared slides.  Then on the same lab, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the human female discovered that in one room, the jar of Nitella (a lovely freshwater alga) from the APOST contained no actual Nitella, just a lot of Bazania, a weedy aquatic liverwort that I’ve had fun spreading through all the freshwater tanks on the floor.  The human female called up the APOST to chew them out for sending bad merchandise, but they couldn’t find the PO in their system.  Why?  Because the human female had canceled the order when they couldn’t ship the Nostoc, so the Nitella in the lab was from a previous semester.  Didn’t she look like an idiot for not remembering?  Yes, she did!  And even moreso when she discovered that the Oedogonium in one of the lab rooms was also mostly Bazania.  Have I mentioned how much I like Bazania?

Then, on another order, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things just randomly changed the shipping date from one in September to one in October.  The human female caught it in time.  I still don’t think she’s realized that half of the employees at POST actually work for me.

I’m still playing my favorite game, Vendor Roulette.  The human female ordered a bunch of prepare microscope slides from several different vendors.  She received most of them.  That was too boring, so I had the Vendor Who Was Recently Swallowed by the Vendor Who’s Responsible (VWRSbVWR) send the invoice to the university’s satellite campus–in Qatar.  Never mind that POs are distributed with the email to which invoices should be sent.  Nope!  The invoice went all the way to some foreign fellow in the Middle East.  Someone there sent it to the human female, who let the VWRSbVWR know what to do with the invoice.  That was such fun that I started a whole ‘nother round–VWRSbVWR to Qatar to the human female to VWRSbVWR. That time she talked to an actual person, and it seems to have been resolved for now.

I’m still having another vendor, Lonza, send the human female Angry Past Due Notices for any university invoice, regardless of whether it is hers or not.  It’s such fun that now I’m doing it with a second vendor as well.  She’s everybody’s scapegoat, and I love it!

The last time the human female’s set of teaching labs and prep rooms was inspected, the inspector seemed preternaturally fascinated with the breaker boxes.  In one prep room, he found several slots without circuit switches, and he wrote them up, promising to send a tech to fix this Very Dangerous Problem No One Else Had Ever Found.  Nothing happened.  Then more nothing.  The human female called the department’s safety officer, who promised to put in a work order.  Not too long after, someone from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out and did the job.  A week later, someone else from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to do the same job.  Also, the one worker at SSC who came when he was needed, actually called with updates, and did a good job the first time has retired.  I love it when smoke curls out of the human female’s ears.

The human female lost her yoga t-shirt, and I hid it so well that no one ever turned it in to lost and found.  She couldn’t ask the custodian if she’d found it, because said custodian quit on no notice.  The new custodian can’t figure out how to lock the human female’s office door, or that of her nearest office neighbor, since their locks lock and unlock “backwards.”

Construction continues to make driving anywhere in town a misery.  Lanes disappear for no reason at all, with no warning.  Getting to work is more and more like a video game every day.   And the TexDOT  (i.e., the Texas Department of Ongoing Torture) has just announced that in the next few years, they are going to widen the east bypass around the city.  Yes, the one they just spent five years redoing all the on-ramps on!

And one day, anyone trying to approach the Blocker Building suddenly found there was no actual way to do it.

construction on campus

The human female occasionally likes to listen to books on tape or books on YouTube while she works.  She was really enjoying a good murder mystery.  Too bad I saw to it that the last two hours were missing.  Never fret.  Waiting a few weeks for the book to arrive on interlibrary loan was a good exercise in patience for her.

On the homefront, the felines continue to offer me amusement and the humans bemusement.  The swirly one, at my prompting, has begun a new routine of rubbing up on the human female if she sits on the floor, with each arching rub going a little higher up her back, until she can nibble on her shoulder or her hair.  When she’s not tearing around the house or rubbing, she’s Sitting Funny.

goobercat

I taught her that too.  The humans have since had to barricade that lower shelf of that bookcase you see there, because she likes to NEST.

Aaaaand the human female  is still waiting for the needlework kit she ordered in January.  Some jokes never get old.

So you can see that I have been very busy.  And a busy Loki is a happy Loki.

Sometimes I smirk so hard my face hurts.

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