Naughty Loki

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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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.”

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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!

(later)

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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A Park, All Right, But I Don’t See Anyone Doing Any Research…

It’s a bright, crisp winter day, and the humans have been doing their best recently to become one with the sitting furniture, so here we all are for a bit of fresh air and sunshine and to make sure the lower extremities still function in an ambulatory fashion.

This is the Research Park on the west side of the University campus. It is quite park-like, but I don’t see anyone doing any research. Except maybe about how much bread a duck can hold.

Whatever you do, Sigyn, pray don’t you feed them too.

They’ll only follow you about, quacking pitifully, and the next thing you know you’ll be asking to bring all of them home with us. It would annoy the humans and terrify the cats which, you know, would be fun, but have you ever had to clean up after ducks? The only thing worse is geese. Oh, wait… *We* wouldn’t be the ones doing the cleaning! Hold onto the duck idea, but wait and see if there are geese. If we find geese, you can bring home as many as you like.

The artificial ponds here are connected by artificial waterways, some of which have little artificial waterfalls.

Sigyn? Sigyn? I’ve lost her. She can stand mesmerized, looking at moving water or machinery, for as long as you will let her. Come, my love. Let’s see what else there is to see. We can always come back if you want to stare at it some more.

What are these weird sticky-up things at the water’s edge?

The human female says they’re “tree knees.”

Pffft! I think she’s finally lost it. Next thing you know, she’ll be prattling on about “shrub toes” or something.

Oh, wait. Bald cypress? I have heard of these, now that I think about it. Strange, knee-endowed, deciduous conifers that like to live in or around water.

Also good for dangling. But isn’t the sun in your eyes, my dear? Why don’t you try dangling in the Chinese tallow tree? Let me enumerate the potential benefits: Just as good for dangling, extra colorful this time of year, and you won’t be so squinty.

Are you enjoying the walk, my love? It makes a nice change from the neighborhood, does it not? We shall have to come out here agai—

Shh! Hold very still! What is that white thing down by the water?

It’s a bird of some sort. I think it is looking for lunch… Quick, human female, take a photo of it so we can look it up later!

Sigh. I’m sure she just took a perfectly horrible photo, but we’ll see what we can do.

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I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Like

I’ve mentioned before that Sigyn and I like to give one another experiences rather than gifts at Yule. Last year, I didn’t think we’d be able to keep that tradition, what with all the museums closed or with limited exhibits because of the plague. I could have magicked us in, yes, but if there isn’t anything good on exhibit, what’s the point?

In any case, I found a museum that has an exhibit Sigyn wants to see, so we are going. We’ll go after hours to minimize having to deal with other humans and have the whole place to ourselves.

And here we are.

Sigyn, whatever is this? It looks like a blocky, knock-off Vermeer.

And this one. It’s familiar, but I don’t recall it being this…knobby?

Oh, wait. These are made out of those little bits of plastic everyone is so fond of, aren’t they? I really don’t see the point of Legos.

Especially if you can’t be bothered to make people the right color.

But, wow.

THAT is rather stunning.

And this:

Not bad, but I can make it better! I can use my magic to make this more fun and less boring and flat:

And as long as we are going 3-D…

Next up, the sculpture hall!!

Must…control…urge…to…switch…heads…

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A Much More Satisfactory Result

The human female is spoiled. She received nearly everything she wanted for Yule. Among her haul was a new kite-string reel, one with raised edges that won’t let the string slip off. And here it is!

Sigyn approves of the color! The new string is very strong and looks as if it will tangle less than the old string. Surely can’t be worse than this:

It is good and breezy out, so we are going to the park across the street for a test flight. Time for some mischief!

Time to assemble. Remember, Sigyn? The dowel ends go in these little pockets.

Ehehehe! The human female has discovered that the new swivel I provided for attaching the string to the kite is too stiff to close. She’s trying really hard!

And trying!

And trying! Good to know that IF she can get it on, it’s not coming off in a hurry.

Beautiful! She’s had to traipse back to the house to get the pliers to get it closed. And now tramp back to the park.

She’s done some reading about now not to have the kite crash every three minutes. The wind is blustery and changeable today–let’s see how she gets on…

Attempt number one: It’s up! It’s up! Look, Sigyn, it’s waaaay up there!

And the new line makes this fantastic SCREAMING sound when the wind picks up!

Oh! Oh! Brilliant! A concentration lapse and a fickle gust downed the kite! The string goes over some small trees, over the clubhouse fence, over the other side of the clubhouse fence, and then down on the grass beyond. She’s going to have to do some climbing, cutting, and swearing, I’m sure of it!

Great Frigga’s Corset! I don’t believe it. I just don’t believe it! She was able to wind and pull, wind and pull, and get enough tension on the line that the kite soared up off the grass and carried its string off both fences and out of the tree! Grrr! We can’t have that! Mistakes in technique should have consequences.

Attempt number two: It’s up again! Looking good…

Aaaand. Down again. This time over the clubhouse roof and down the other side.

Well, poop! She managed to fly it free again.

She even has the video evidence to prove it! (camera dives; kite stays up)

She’s all in a good mood now. I’m going to have to do some serious tinkering with her equipment or she will be insufferably cocky forever. Fortunately, I know where she keeps the kite…

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Spending the Last of the Yule Cash

Both of the humans received some cash for Yule. Quite a bit of that went toward replacing dead electronics, such as the female’s iPad and the male’s computer. Still, the desire to cover some of the computery stuff from the household budget and buy fun stuff with Yule loot remains.

The human male is looking at games. Some of them defy explanation.

Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

Ah. There is a new version of an old standard, one which addresses the main complaint I have with it, namely that it takes longer than three minutes.

Thor’s Bitty Ball-peen! Now the human male is poking other variants at me and saying, “Look, Loki–this would be perfect for you!

My honor and my person thus impugned, I shall be buying this for him.

Not that he’s a drinker, but the stunts and forfeits will drive him around the bend. And then I’ll make a version where he has to draw things…

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