Lest You Think I’ve Been Idle…

Baldur’s biscuits!  Looking back at this blog, I realize that it has been an age since I posted a Mischief Update.  I’ve been busy with other…things, and the human female has been monopolizing the computer.  But she’s doing some actual work at the moment, so I will try to summarize.

The human female returned to work after her recuperation to find that some misguided individual had plugged/unplugged/switched/turned off/relocated or otherwise tampered with all of the cords for the two fish tanks, leaving them with no running filter.  Now, the lungfish was unperturbed because lungs, but the reef tank suffered a catastrophic drop in water quality.  I kept Sigyn away so she wouldn’t see the human female wobbling atop a stool with her foot in a boot, trying to scoop the poor dead fish from the top of the tall tank.  Then she had to remove two moribund brittle stars, one of which fell apart as she tried to do so and one of which was still writhing in the discard bucket.  Now, this piscicide was not my doing, but I did enjoy watching the human female hobble up and down the hall fetching nets and buckets and trying frantically to reach the aquatics tech on the phone. She walks so funny, especially since her not-chopped foot is bad too.

On her second day back to work (the very day she was cleared to drive), one of her colleagues threw his back out and had to be taken to the healer.  I finagled things so that it was the human female who had to take him, and I had a good giggle watching her struggle to push him (at nearly twice her weight) in a wheelchair, get him down the elevator, put him in her tiny car, stow the wheelchair, and then reverse the process to get him into the clinic.  Well, the doctor *did* say he wanted her to put some weight on that foot.

She’s still paying for the whole foot thing, too. I had a chat with the hospital and the insurance company, because it’s more fun if the bills trickle in a little at a time instead of all at once.  It’s also fun if the folks at the check-in desk for all of her pre- and post-op appointments tell her there is no charge but then she gets billed anyway.  I coached the service representative on what to say.  “It’s a courtesy not to charge you but to just roll it all into the inexplicably large tab for the surgery, the anesthesiologist, and all the supplies.  So you owe it, but we think it’s kinder and less confusing to tell you that you don’t.”

To round out my selection of medical and medical-adjacent mischief, I tinkered with her prescriptions.  The Tiny Blue Pills had been on automatic refill with the mail-order pharmacy, but when the human female’s doctor gave up and quit, the prescription lapsed from auto–but no one notified her of that fact.  She was mere days away from running out (and trust me–no one wants to see that!) by the time it occurred to her to inquire and put the order in herself.  She was told that no,  you cannot re-activate auto-refill without a new prescription from the new doctor.  Well and good, but how about an interim prescription until the now-ordered medicine arrives?  She got one, but the local pharmacy wouldn’t fill it, because the mail-order pharmacy had just filled it.  So she asked for just a few days’ worth, which usually isn’t a problem, but I had the local pill-pushers suddenly say they couldn’t do it and  refer her back to mail-order for authorization.  They in turn sent her back to the locals, saying all they needed was an override code. Still with me?  Another trip back to the local pharmacy, and she finally had a few of the precious rounds to swallow.  Another, unrelated call to the mail-order pharmacy to check on her headache medicine reveals that this one cannot be put on auto-refill at all because some cretin coded wrong.  It thinks 11 pills (all they’ll let her have in a month) is coded in as an 11-day prescription, which is not eligible for auto-ship (only 30- or 90-day ones are.)  Funny, she needed one of those as soon as she hung up the phone.  It was all good fun, but I think I prefer her better when she’s medicated, so I may not do this again.

Until the next time…

I saw to it that there was some first-class BAMN goodness waiting for her upon her return.  The invoice for all of the dead cats she was finally able to purchase from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (And Sometimes Dead Things) was returned UNPAID!  A few phone calls and emails revealed that those defunct kitties were ordered so long ago that the departmental account number had changed in the interim.  The human female suggested that the transaction be transferred to the NEW account.  Because that would make sense. No can do!  The bean-counters had to re-open the old account, put money in it,  pay the invoice, and then close it down again.  It was fixed. No, it wasn’t–there was another, newer invoice that bounced in the same way.   It positively tickles me to think that the human female’s name is probably on the industry equivalent of the “Do Not Accept Checks From This Person” list.

The Affair of the Unpurchased Cats was such a lark that I had to try it again.  Not long thereafter, the human female received a cranky email from the Purveyor of Dead Things asking WHY the large shipment of Dead Thing Paella and other assorted specimens (the one that arrived in August and involved the Dead Cat Ballet) had still not been paid for.  That resulted in another flurry of emails and calls between the vendor, the bean counters, and the human female.  Apparently the invoice (upwards of $14k) had been electronically mislaid.  So that’s two Hot Checks lists she’s on…  If I can keep this up, there won’t be a purveyor out there who will take an order from her.

Then there were the Special Small Opaque Black Microcentrifuge Tubes she had to order via the Vendor Who’s Responsible’s very, very broken BAMN punch-out.  She keyed the order in, put the goodies in the cart.  And it was empty.  She restarted it.  The price was wrong, because it added the Special Extra Teeny Opaque Black Microcentrifuge Tubes instead.  She got that straightened out eventually, but what should have been a five-minute purchase ate up considerably more fun than that. I had time to make popcorn and settle in to watch.

While she was still getting places on her little knee scooter, I tweaked the elevator one morning, so she had to carry the thing up two flights of stairs.

The ice machine went on strike the week all the labs needed ice.

The door on oom 324 spent one day refusing to open with anything other than the master key.  The next day, I had it refuse to lock. With an exam set up inside.

I pointed out to the copier that the elevator, the ice machine, and the automatic door locks were having all the fun, so it took itself offline. When it was coaxed back online, it decided it didn’t need codes and let everyone have unlimited copies for free.  Then it decided its energy-saver shut down period should be about one minute.  I don’t know–what do you think should malfunction next?  Is it time for microwave sparks?

When one is stressed at work and recovering from an injury, good nutrition is important.  The human female purchased a packet of dried apricots to keep in her desk for “healthy” snacking.  Imagine her surprise when she opened them to find I had doctored them with some sort of vile chemical (don’t ask  me –I don’t know what it was.  I just went in the prep room and grabbed something) and they were inedible.  That occasioned an indignant return to the market, so now the folks there think she is a trouble maker too.

The Feline, already on prescription food and several daily meds, came down with a bug that required the humans to administer an oral liquid medicine every day for ten days.  Would the cat eat it on her food?  She would not! (I taught her well.)  Catching her, holding her down, and squirting it into the flailing beast provided a healthy dose of drama to each day, especially since said medication makes her FOAM at the mouth like a rabid weasel.


And as a final unfortunate event, the humans’ credit card was hacked.  What? No!  I know nothing about that.  And no, I don’t choose to explain my recent acquisition of three pounds of gummy septopuses and six shiny new knives.  I’m hurt you would even think to ask…

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Mischief Update: Cramming It In and Wasting Time

The Midgardian calendar may SAY that it is autumn, but it is still uncomfortably warm for my taste.  Only the fact that the days are noticeably shorter than they were gives any hint of the season.  The human female grows more frantic this time of year because my meddling and plotting mostly gets condensed into the available daylight hours, yielding a higher mischief per hour (mph) figure.

I have mentioned before that the human female is decrepit in many respects.  It has reached the point where physicians have determined that she needs pointy interventions to render her foot functional.  She showed up to her pre-op appointment the other day, not knowing I’d had a word with the medical team–who went on to to describe to her a procedure that she was not having.  She finally was able to convince them that no, she did not want her bones sawed up, and the surgery was duly scheduled. She ran around like Sleipnir avoiding the farrier, taking care of all sorts of errands against the day she was going to have to become immobile for a week.  Such preparedness!  I couldn’t let that stand, so I spread some flu germs around and she became ill and had to reschedule.  Many of the preparations will have to be made over again.  Another month and a half of fretting!  And when she frets, the human male is annoyed, so it’s a very nice package deal.

I do try to keep the human female off balance.  In her job, she gets many queries from the general populace, usually having to do with plants, which she knows a bit about.  I like to mess with her head sometimes, though.  Last week, I made sure that the call about maintaining a colony of spotted ground squirrels was left in her voice mailbox.  She’s not allowed to ignore messages, so she was forced to call back and admit her woeful ignorance.  What should the next random question be about?  I was thinking underwater welding, but I’m open to suggestions.

I have been working more closely with the students in the human female’s workplace.  Last week, they were working with some nasty enzymes, and I arranged three separate chemical spill incidents.  (Usually, over-filling reagent dropper bottles is enough, but sometimes I have to nudge the students into picking up reagent bottles by the stoppers.)   This week it is nasty chemicals, flammable alcohols, and flames, so there have been more accident reports to fill out.  She always says she needs more to do at work, but then she complains when I give her something.  Wishy-washy hypocrite, that’s what she is.

I have stepped up my spam email production.  Far East Publish!  Give the Dog a Luxury! Stop! This Luxury is not Ready Yet!  Best Impact Factor:: Call for Paper!   Vacancy #627! It’s an odd sort of post-modern poetry. To make it more surreal, there are a few in every batch that purport to be from herself.

Oh, and Dead Things.  Dead Thing Paella.  Attentive readers will recall that the Purveyor of Dead Things (PoDT), owed the human female upwards of 400 clams and nearly 700 squid from this fall’s course order.  She arranged with the PoDT to hold all of these invertebrates and ship in one big batch with the 24 stiff kitties they owe her from LAST DECEMBER, which TPoDT assured here were Ready To Ship Any Minute Now And We Mean It This Time.   So she gets a ship notice–minus any tracking info!–for 241 clams.  Now, that’s enough for a sizable batch of Dead Bivalve Linguini, but it isn’t the whole order.  She called the PoDT, who said, “Oh, no, it’s all coming.  And don’t bother to talk to your account rep.  She’s leaving.”  Cue a scramble to choreograph a small but important Dead Thing Ballet.  A whole pallet of boxes arrived.  Early.  With very little warning. No packing slip, just a hand-scribbled tally of contents.  This tally, of course, listing contents only by product number and not by name.  “Fine,” says the human female, “I can look up the product numbers. ” And she could have, if the PoDT hadn’t assigned some arbitrary, made-up number for half of the items, necessitating opening each of those boxes to see if, in fact, they contained squid who had octopodically shuffled off the mortal coil.

Two days later, in a separate shipment, some cats arrived unannounced.  Real, actual, dead cats. The human female had ordered 10 triple-injected kitties and 14 double-injected kitties, 8 male and 6 female.  What do you think she got?  No triples!  Only doubles–5 male and 9 female.  Recall that there is a shortage of defunct felines. Thus, defeated, she meekly signed the packing slip and offered thanks for what she received.  She suspects I told the PoDT to just ship whatever (and I did!), but she can’t prove it.

And of course, dealing with all of these orders means dealing with BAMN.  There are rumors it might be replaced, so I am making sure it will go out with a bang if that’s the case.  The university has rolled over a new fiscal year, which means there is a new account number.  Too bad that the old one comes filled in on all of the human female’s orders. She has to delete it and then search for the new one–usually twice, since the program will not just let her type the numbers in.

Nor, when she braves the tragically-flawed punchout to the Vendor Who’s Responsible, can she enter an account number on the PO.  At all.  In any way.  This always makes her feel stupid, and she has to work with the departmental accountant, which makes her feel stupider.  By the time I am finished with her, you will be able to put her self-esteem in a gnat’s thimble. Or the pouch Odin keeps his kindness in.  Something tiny like that.

But sometimes BAMN just likes to tease. From time to time, it will throw up an “Invalid subcode 9999, what were you thinking, you stupid person?” error message.  Which would be educational and correctable if, you know, “9999” was actually entered into the subcode field.  Which it never is.  No amount of typing or deleting will convince my beautiful program that the subcode field is and always has been EMPTY.  When this happens, the human female has to send the whole mess to the departmental accountant, who issues instructions, which don’t work, and the whole mess goes round and round until the dead or squiggly or toxic or whatever items are successfully ordered and the human female is banging her head on the desk.  I can eat up half an afternoon with this!

BAMN also likes to keep users informed of its progress.  “Your PO is ready for submission.”  “Your PO has been submitted.”  “This PO has been sent to the vendor.”  “This PO has been paid.” “This PO, now paid, has been cleared.”  Lots and lots of mail. This week, I had it urp up a dozen “Your order has been sent to the vendor” notices–for orders she made as long ago as August, for goods that were received weeks ago.  But let us not say we failed to tick all the boxes!

Let us also not say that all the orders always actually get TO the vendors.  The human female ordered a shipment of small, tentacly invertebrates from the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things (APoST), because it is too warm where the regular PoST is for the tentacly beasts to be happy at the moment.  The day for their arrival came.  No tentacly beasties.  She called APoST who had NO record of the PO at all, let alone shipping it.  She was able to place the order over the phone, but the whole business swallowed another afternoon, and it was cutting it close to have the critters here on time.

Finally, on the home front, the shower is dripping, the cobwebs are approaching Halloween Decoration status, and all the doors squeak.

Coup de grace: She made herself a beautiful pair of dangly opal glass earrings.  I hid one, and I’m not saying where.

I give it an eight.

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Mischief Update: Little Things Mean a Lot

The past week or so looks like the collision between a train carrying aluminum to the recycling plant and Billy Joe Bob’s Bait Barn–cans open, worms everywhere.

In the human female’s workplace, this is the first week of student labs.  The students, many of them first-semester freshmen, mill about like motherless lambs.  There is the one who confuses her Chemistry and Biology schedules and misses lab.  There are the ones who can’t read their schedule and show up in not just the wrong section but the wrong COURSE.  And there are the ones who come to the office to complain that their ID cards won’t let them swipe to enter the labs.  Look, children, just because you see the instructors swipe in doesn’t mean YOU get to.  But since I’ve seen to it that some of the electronic locks randomly refuse to recognize actual authorized card holders, I can see that someone might misunderstand how the system works.

The first week of labs means it’s TERMITE TIME!  The split delivery plan actually worked.  Or it would have, had the damned hexapods managed to stay alive.   The human female swears she spent all week on the phone, ordering replacements and tracking the incoming shipments on Fed-up and Exhausted.  It soon bored me, so I had the chat window for shipping from North Carolina to Texas show up in French.  Also, it was loads of oodles of manies of fun driving up on to campus which was in kicked-over-anthill mode in the celebration of the first home football game to deliver the termites shipped to her house. She wonders if they are doing something wrong in how they house the  delicate little creatures, since they die if you look at them funny.  Again, no.  Accommodations are satisfactory.  I merely tell the little white crawlers bedtime horror stories about the experiment they’re to be a part of, and 70% just up and die of fright on the spot.  (Ballpoint ink is surprisingly terrifying.)

In other Squiggly Things news, you will be relieved to hear that the local bovine genetics company (We-R-Cowspunk) is still selling gift certificates.  Says so right on their website.  Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Is it time for yule shopping already?

BAMN continues to delight me and baffle the mortals.  Some high mucky-mucks met with the tribal chieftains of BAMN recently, and made it quite clear just how large of a rubbish heap it is.  One user brought in a Voluminous Binder documenting the 1,400 problems he had had with the 2,800 orders his group had placed.  The human female hasn’t ceased whining about BAMN, either.  She has discovered that when she receives the jolly little “This PO #xxxxx has been sent to the vendor!” email, she has to consult the spreadsheet she meticulously keeps, log into the website, pull up all of her requisitions that have been sent to PO, and try to match the e-mail with the requisition. When she has only one open requisition, it’s not that hard.  But on a busy day, when she’s made more than one order, she has to open all the just-gone-to-PO ones in BAMN, click on the requisition number, and find out what the new PO # is to make the match. Because they’re not the same.  (And then click on the PO number if she actually wants to look at it.) She’s asked that the emails tell WHICH requisition # has been turned into PO #xxxx, or at least mention  the vendor, but pfft! where’s the fun  in that?  Since BAMN generates one email when a requisition is submitted into routing, one when it converts to a PO and is sent, one when it is approved for payment, and one when it is paid, her mailbox is as full as Volstagg after a three-day food bender.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!  Sometimes the vendors bobble the ball.  Two so far this semester have either e-mailed or come by in person to inquire with varying degrees of civility why they have not been paid.  Usually it is because they failed to notice the giant “Bill To” address on the purchase order and have not submitted an invoice. It’s not the human female’s fault, but she gets to track down and clean up the messes.

Ah, September…  It’s that time again, the start of the Fiscal Year, when all the university employees’ insurance benefits can be updated.  Everyone was encouraged to log in and make sure their current coverage choices are accurate.  Of course, I arranged an outage on the website for that day–do you even have to ask?

I do hope the humans’ policies are up to date–they might need them.  Three sinks on campus have tested positive for huge amounts of lead, and there is small but growing epidemic of flu.

Engineering continues to try to take over the whole campus.  They now have designs on the second floor of the human female’s building, space her department sorely needs.    Also, Engineering wants all the service courses on campus (English, History, Biology, etc.) to move to issuing only grades of A, B, and C, so their students can have a higher GPA when they take these courses.  Now, I’m no mathematician, but someone has to be below average, right?  Still, their power-hungry bullying certainly has my attention. I am strongly considering jumping ship and joining them!

Parking and Transit, in a move certain to please Bean Counters and no one else, has decided to sub-let all of the 24-hour reserved parking spots in two campus lots, to make them available on home football game days.  This way, they can collect money on the spaces TWICE.  The human male is most definitely not amused, since no one ever asked him it this was all right, and since he has to come up on campus on weekends to do nerdly things with computers, and he would like to park in the space he pays $$$$ for, thankyouverymuch.  He says he can’t imagine who came up with this terrible idea. (Innocent whistling…)

The human male received a bill for the cop-pay for his eye exam–which he had already paid, since the battle maidens at the desk won’t let anyone pass without paying first.  It amuses me to see that payments post up to a week later than bills.  Everyone loves extra paperwork and the phone calls to straighten it out, right?

The humans’ shower is dripping, the front lawn looks positively leprous, the aged feline keeps missing the litterbox, the “check all the tires” light came on in the car yesterday, and the driveway needs weeding again.  All part of a special little thing I like to call Death By Little Things.  No one problem is large enough to do the humans in, but taken all together, they can some days erode the will to keep going.

It really is amazing how little things can really get to a person.  Take last week for instance.  It was nearing 6:00 p.m. and the human female was alone in her office, preparing to leave for the day, when suddenly, BOOM!  “Ah,” she thought.  “‘Tis the folks testing the cannon for this weekend’s football game.”  The boom was followed by a pop!, sirens, and then several long minutes of what was unmistakably automatic weapons fire.  The echoy-nature of a campus full of tall buildings meant she couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from. Alarmed, she called the campus police and asked whether there was some exercise being conducted by the Corps of Cadets or whether the campus was under attack from agent or agents unknown.  After being put on hold, she was informed that it was just a drill and that everyone should have received the advance email stating time and date.  Ehehehe!  With just one deleted Distribution-A email memo, I panicked everyone in earshot.

Supervillain tip #248:  Humans–the more tightly you wind them up, the more spectacular they are when they finally do snap.


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Mischief Update: The Top of the Roller Coaster

It’s that time of year again in the humans’ workplace.  Summer projects are winding down, and preparations for the fall semester are ramping up.  It’s like the top of the roller coaster:  Nowhere to go from here except down, with the concomitant screaming, unexpected turns, and occasional upchuck.

The students are back in town, which means driving, parking, and eating out have gone from pleasant pursuits to full-contact sports.

The City finally came and picked up the dead oak carcass that was decorating the front yard, so the human female is not confronted with her horticultural shortcomings each morning as she leaves the house.  No, the dead spots in the front lawn will just have to suffice for that.  The lawn is looking particularly patchy, as 8+” of rain in the last two weeks have precluded mowing.

I taught the front bathroom toilet how to make a startling high-pitched squeal.  Cue new float assembly.  Home repair is such fun.

You will recall that the human female has initiated a split-delivery order for termites.  She thought she had the situation well in hand, after having corrected the initial snafu.  Not so!  The Purveyor of Squiggly Things called to remind her that her requested second ship date was Labor Day, and thus no labor would occur.  Since the POST does not ship on Saturday or Sunday, the human female has had to stipulate that the insects be shipped to her home on the previous Friday for Saturday arrival.  She attempted a delivery like this once before, and a tag-team foul-up involving me, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, and Fed-up and Exhausted resulted in the delicate little beasties being delivered to the loading dock on campus, where they languished and eventually perished in the early fall heat, while the human female sat awaiting them on the other side of town.  Will we have a repeat of this tangle this year?  Stay tuned to find out!

I am sure you are all eager to know:  Is there any progress on attempts to acquire the rest of the ingredients for Dead Thing PaellaWhy, yes indeed!  There has been a little flurry of back-and-forth e-mail between the human female and the Purveyor of Dead Things just this very morning.  The cephalopods are present and accounted for, with clams just now entering the processing stream.  Does the human female want squiddies now and bivalves now, or should the PODT wait and make a mega-shipment when the clams are done?  One shipment, please! That way the 24 dead cats on back order since last December (don’t you love a PO that stays open between one fiscal year an the next?  I know I do!) have a theoretical hope of hitching a ride.  “But what of the lampreys?” you plaintively ask?  (Or maybe you don’t ask, but I shall tell you anyway.)  The lampreys are supposedly inbound. As are the fourteen dead, naked felines ordered from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (who also sells Dead Things), which the human female ordered from POST because the PODT had kitties on back-order since last December. In the meantime, the Anatomy and Physiology instructor has requested 25 more cats for next fall, which need to be ordered NOW if there’s a hope in Hel of obtaining them before 2018.

Fall 2018…That is when one noted Seller of Computers told the human male the urgently-needed laptops ordered for the Anatomy and Physiology labs would be available. They later amended that date to mid-September of this year, which is better, but not really satisfactory, as they are needed when the semester starts, and it is going to take some time to load up the software on them.  And that would be the virtual-cat-dissecting software that A&P is switching to because of the Dead Cat Conundrum! See how I have brought things full circle and tied them with a sparkly green bow?

Oh, and last week the human female received a call from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things asking about the simply enormous order for Mr. Unfamiliar Name in the Biology Department.  A little sleuthing turned up Mr. U. Name in the Biology Department of one of the university’s satellite campuses.  So close! She almost ended up with a ton of supplies she didn’t need and can’t pay for.

The humans have attempted to relieve some of the dead-animal-related stress by purchasing entertainment at a discount.  One of the local video and bookstores has been “circling the drain” for quite some time and has recently announced that it is going out of business. FORTY PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING! their advertisements screamed.  So down the humans hurried, only to find out that no, only the used books are 40% off.  The next week, they announced a massive SALE!  The human male (who should have known by now to call ahead) went over on his lunch hour only to find out that that sale did not apply to that particular store.  All hail Loki, god of misleading advertisements.

I have also taken over the position of god of unwanted Spam. (Wait, that’s redundant.  God of Spam.) The university’s mail program used to have a pretty good filter, catching most of the spam and unsolicited offers of riches, larger mammaries, and enhanced sexual prowess and just chucking it into oblivion.  I’ve been tinkering, and now the spam filter just flags all of these and then sends each user a huge daily (or twice or thrice daily) post stating, “We have quarantined all these and you may wish not to view them.”  Then it lists them.  Fifty or sixty or seventy at a time.  Sex dating online!  Make love use best men’s health medicine!  Perfect mood with strong health!  You are a winner! This would not be so bad in and of itself, but I have set it up so that each gargantuan serving of garbage goes back nearly three weeks, meaning users get notices of each message a dozen or more times before it ages off the bottom of the list.  As well, each BIG dump of verbal refuse is accompanied by a smaller dump of 7 to 9 messages, as if the system is gleefully interrupting with, “Oh, hey, look!  More crap here!” (This is the e-mail equivalent of  the Imodium not having taken effect yet.)  I’ve also arranged matters such that a good handful of messages in each user’s box appear to come from the user.  Congratulations, human female! You’ve just offered a lucrative job at K-Mart to yourself!  Pleas to the campus IT Help Desk result in 1) a copy of the plea being returned to the supplicant with no further verbiage, 2) a brief note which boils down to “Yeah, sucks, doesn’t it?” and 3) absolutely nothing.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Mischief Update if I didn’t have BAMN shenanigans to report.  One of the human female’s most reliable vendors, He of the Gloves, Bags, and Booties, dropped by to politely ask why he hadn’t been paid for the delivery he made back in June.  It turns out that with BAMN, which requires the human female to log in and do receiving for all received goods, she is no longer scanning packing slips and forwarding them to the Department’s accountant for payment.  The vendor was not presenting an invoice to BAMN or the Department as the human female was assuming he had.  It’s all cleared up now, but the human female looked petty and miserly for a bit there, which is not a good look on her.  I should do this more.

In other BAMN Receiving issues, the human female finally got in the very last of the huge fall order from Vendor Who’s Responsible.  In one of my finer touches, the program, when displaying a large PO for doing receiving, displays only 5 line items.  The user must manually expand it.  After the user  selects an item, receives it, and saves the receipt thereof, the view defaults back to just 5 items.  Every. Single. Time.  Also, saving the receipts as the items come in does not actually result in the receipts being submitted for payment.  No, the human female unknowingly ended up with a big pile of “open” receipts” that all had to be submitted in a two-screen process for each one.   My favorite part, though, is how if a user needs to view the PO to remind herself what has been received/submitted and what has not, the only way to do it is to hit the generate a receipt button, which makes a new receipt with its very own number, a receipt that may not actually have any received items on it.  It just sits there, open, until it is manually cancelled.

And the human female just sits there, open-mouthed, with a blank stare.  I think she might be broken…  Have I gone too far?  Should I relent in my campaign to reduce her to tears and bring the university to a screeching halt?  Should I be rethinking my life’s choices?   Hmmm.


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The Dead Cat Ballet, Act 2…

I am still messing with the human female’s tiny mind with regard to yesterday’s large shipment from the Purveyor of Dead Things.  It’s so easy, there’s scarcely any sport in doing so, but I do so enjoy the faces she makes!

You may recall that yesterday’s shipment was short a large quantity of inedibly-pickled seafood–namely clams and squid.  There were three mystery shipments inbound from Fed-up and Exhausted, which the human female was hoping contained the missing invertebrates.

What did today bring?  More confusion!

The three shipments did actually show up at the human female’s workplace.  I say “three shipments,” but what she received was five boxes. Someone can’t count!  The five boxes, visually, seemed too small to contain all the missing items. What would they hold?  Squid? Clams?  Something else entirely?  Yule all over again!

The boxes contained….bivalves, bivalves, and more bivalves!  Two hundred and two of them, to be precise.  Usually, they’re packaged in bags holding 5 or 10, but quite a few of these were packaged individually in lots of plastic each, making them bulkier and more annoyingly wasteful.

But where are the squid?  We demand squid!  And the 202 clams don’t tally with the 204 on the big packing list from yesterday.  More delightful conversations:

HF: Um.  We’re up to our knees in clams, but still short–we requested eyebrow-level amounts of clams.  And we are, alas, still squidless.  And the math’s still wonky.

(I may have neglected to mention that the original order was for 647 clams.  Some have been on back-order since the very first, which makes whipping up a big batch of Dead Thing Paella more than a little problematic…)

PODT:  You are right. That is a lot of clams and a lamentable insufficiency of cephalopods.  We have done some research.  Your clams and squid did in fact not make it into the big shipment.  But when the order paperwork was processed, we saw clams and that triggered an inventory.  Know what we found?  Clams!  So we sent you some,  via Fed-up and Exhausted.  Please check our math:  202 clams actually visibly present in your possession + 204 clams listed on yesterday’s big packing list but regretfully AWOL + 241 on back-order = 647.   Plus 688 squid.  And 10 back-ordered lampreys.  To say nothing of the cats we still can’t cough up. Do we get a gold star?

HF:  Sigh. For now, yes.  Pleeeeeease send me more of my dead things!

PODT:  Yup.

Hooray! Mystery solved!  But you know me, I can’t let the fun end there.  Surely I can wring some more out of this jest.  There’s still receiving to do!  Which means BAMN!  I’ve made myself some popcorn and settled in to watch the show.

All right, we have material from two POs in the big shipment, because the seven male sharks were supposed to come last year but the PODT only sent females then so it’s males today.  But wait!  There were supposed to be seven NEW sharks also, smaller ones for the freshman class.  Augh!  There are only seven sharks on the packing slip. Which seven sharks did the human female get, the LS03586 all males or the LS03575-any-gender-goes? HOW DID SHE MISS THIS?!  Quick! Panic! 

Ehehehee! Now she’s sending frantic emails.  One to her minions:  Run down to the Dead Things room and see which Chondrichthyes are currently residing there!  One to accounting:  Wait! Don’t pay the invoice on the order I just did receiving for!  And the eye-rolling e-mail is coming back. From accounting:  Take a breath, woman, the invoice hasn’t shown up yet.  From Minion #1:  Hold on, I’ll check!  From Minion #2:  What are you rambling on about?  Check the last page of yesterday’s big packing slip.

Great Frigga’s hairpins, what a moron the human female is!  She is the only person I know who can LOSE a page of a multipage packing slip when it is stapled to the other pages.  Granted, the printout of the three five mystery Fed-up and Exhausted boxes got shuffled in there, but still.  There it is, in black and white.  All cartilaginous fishes fully accounted for.

Heh.  Now she’s sending “nevermind” e-mails.

What an exhausting morning!  But I think we finally have all the questions answered?  Where are the rest of the squid and not-back-ordered clams?  Still with PODT.  Where are the lampreys?  On back-order.  Did we get all the sharks?  Indeed we did.  Is the human female losing all her marbles?  Yes, by the handful.

So we are left with just one mystery.  A box has been left for the human female, and no one has a clue what it is.  She’s opened it, and it still doesn’t make sense.

misdelivered order

RNA?  D1000 reagents?  None of this is familiar.  It’s either a misdelivery or the early stages of a nervous breakdown and dementia.

I know which my money’s on.

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Mischief Update: Yes, Again Already!

It seems as if I just wrote a Mischief Update, but I’ve been really busy. If I don’t jot it all down today, I might forget!  Let’s see…

You may recall that in seasons past, I have tinkered creatively with the electronic swipe-card door locks in the human female’s workplace. I purposefully haven’t done much with them recently, and everyone was nicely lulled into a false sense of security.  So this week I decided that two of the lab doors would start showing “Invalid Facility” whenever someone swipes. Not “Invalid Card” or “Bad Scan”–No, the whole building is not recognized at all.  Staff managed to get one of the doors open via a connecting door to another room.  So now that one won’t LOCK.  The lock shop on campus tried to re-boot the doors over the network, but no joy (naturally.) So now the human female and her staff are just waiting for an actual live person to show up…

The human female, rightly appalled at her advancing avoirdupois,  has taken to arising just shy of sparrowfart and walking a mile or two in the neighborhood.  I simply cannot allow her to develop feelings of superiority over this.  I’ve had a little midnight cobbling session with her shoes, so now every time she goes out, she comes back footsore and miserable.  Shoes aside, I suspect she consists of inferior construction and is possessed of substandard-cartilage.  She tried to make an appointment with the podiatrist but was informed that she’d have to secure a referral from her PCP, who can’t see her for about ten days.   By then, she’ll probably have given up all the walking in favor of sleeping in and eating donuts anyway.

She tried to balance the checkbook the other night.  She’s so hamfisted with the calculator that she mashed in $3,000 some-odd instead of $30, which put her waaay off balance. She accused the calculator of malfunction.  That’s right, monkey woman, blame the tools.  She found and fixed her error, but she works in ink, so the checkbook register for last month rather resembles a work by the Midgardian painter Pollock.  This annoys the human male to no end, so hey! Two-fer!

I got to laugh as she noticed she’d had a wrong answer in a character state matrix table for all the chordates, one she’d supplied to all the teaching assistants LAST SEMESTER.  Sometimes she doesn’t need my help to look stupid.

You may be wondering about the state of the ongoing Defunct Feline Conundrum.  Ten stiff, bald kitties arrived, courtesy of the Purveyor of No Longer Squiggly Things.  Fourteen more are promised from the same source.  The Purveyor of Dead Things has finally come up with FIFTY that they propose to send in the annual large, multi-pallet shipment of embalmed critters.  This large shipment launches what is colloquially known as the Dead Cat Ballet, a complex operation involving a semi, a smaller truck, two pallet jacks, three phonecalls, two emails, a work order, an elevator, multiple dragooned personnel, buckets of sweat, and the partial temporary demolition of a doorway. Fenrir’s fetlocks! The whole production puts the opening of the Midgardian Olympic games to shame.  So many ways I could muck this up–it’s hard to choose! This year’s ballet will be a bit smaller, owing to the presence of fewer Defunct Felines and an inexplicable shortage of both lampreys and clams.  You will be pleased to know that pig hearts, sheep eyeballs, and earthworms remain plentiful.

Meanwhile, the Purveyor of Squiggly things has managed to mangle the shipping for the first fall order of squigglies. This order includes live termites which, owing to their delicate nature, tend to shuffle off the mortal coil at the drop of a hat (or a frown from me.) The human female has learned the hard way to split the order so that a fresh supply arrives midweek.  I got my clever hands on her order and the Purveyor of Squiggly Things scheduled the two batches to ship via Fed-up and Exhausted on sequential days.  She thinks she has disabused them of this notion and corrected the dates, but there’s really no telling, IS there?

There are disturbing rumors that the University may abandon my glorious BAMN software and return the previous, much-loved ordering software.  As you can see from the above, I am QUITE capable of doling out heaping helpings of agita with just the vendors and shippers (Unrepentant Package Squashers, how I love you!), so while I am a bit disappointed, I am not altogether downcast.

The local constabulary are not the cretins I imagined them to be.  They have managed to track down two of the volunteers in my community service project involving auto glass.  The humans were requested to mail the police the receipt for their windshield replacement.  Too bad they couldn’t find it!  I have hidden it most carefully and secretly, along with their insurance card.  They have copies of both documents, but the mislaying of the originals is going to nag at the female for the foreseeable, so I am still in the plus column on the whole project.

The Blue-haired Goddaughter is lodging with the mortals for a fortnight or so.  I can use this!  She and the human female share a few interests, such as staying up far too late giggling, reading works of speculative fiction and discussing them in front of the human male, and geeking out over certain British actors  (to one of whom I bear no small resemblance.)  By the end of the visit, the human female will be a writhing mass of underslept bad habits with sore feet, and hence even more susceptible to mischief.

And finally, in the The-Norns-Must-Love-Me category, I found this most excellent item while out walking the other day.


Now, what to do, what to do…?

What do you think, 6.5?  Not my most productive week, but I do have prospects!

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Mischief Update: Is Mischief an Event at the Olympics? (part II)

Why, look!  There’s more wickedness over here!

Every now and then I act against my Frost Giant nature and fiddle with the cold rooms in the human female’s workplace.  Two weeks ago, both of them went out.  What, you don’t like 80 F for storing things?  They got fixed over the course of several days, during which time the repairman asked for the human female’s cooler key approximately ninety-five times.  That was such fun that I decided to do it again!  Only one’s out this time, though. I saved some mischief for the electrical outlet in one of the lab rooms so it could make pretty sparks.

(Augh!  The human female is listening to the same video again!)  I think she’s become quite obsessed.  She has tried to buy a DVD of one of the group’s concerts, stalking Amazon, Amazon UK, and ebay, but there appear to be no region 1 or region-free DVDs available.  I tantalized her with a a listing for one, but it turned out to be for Europe.  Then she saw another advertisement, but the seller wasn’t in the same place as the merchandise, so he couldn’t check. I can keep this up indefinitely. So if you notice that the view counts for this video just keep climbing, it’s because there is one person in Texas, watching it over and over.)

The human female has recently hired a new lab prep tech.  (She goes through them at an alarming rate.  They say they’re leaving for grad school or better jobs or to join the circus, but really, it’s to get away from her and the weird things she leaves in the break room fridge.)  There were two very strong candidates.  The top pick was most enthusiastic when offered the job, but as soon as a background check was mentioned, she quickly changed her tune and declined.  Whatever for?  Nothing could be as embarrassing as what’s in the human female’s file, surely?

Sweet Glittery Bifrost, but it is hot today!  Outdoors is no place for a Jotun like me.  I can use the heat, though, to distress the human female.  A twitch here and a nudge there and the sprinklers don’t quite work as advertised.  Remember all the lovely plants the she planted back in March?  Well, first they stopped blooming.  Then they pined for cooler weather.  Now they are almost entirely dry, brown, and crispy.  The nursery has a free-replacement-within-a-year policy, but she is too embarrassed to dig them up and take them back!  Eehehehe!  I can see her now, “Excuse me, but even with my two degrees in horticulture and botany, I was unable to keep these poor, unfortunate plants alive for longer than six months.”  I’m sure the nursery has her face on a poster in the back somewhere, right over “Do not sell plants to this woman” in 48 pt. type.

The aphids and spider mites, though, don’t mind the heat.  They’ve taken care of the milkweed, sage, and marigolds the drought hasn’t decimated. Hugs and kisses to my little arthropod friends.

The nutsedge, grass, and assorted weeds in the cracks in the sidewalk and driveway don’t mind the heat, either.  They’re the greenest part of the yard!  I just love bermudagrass.

All this heat means that one has to be very strongly motivated to want to do anything outdoors, and any outdoor tasks are performed as early in the day as is polite and accomplished as quickly as possible.  A dab of magic on the lawn mower’s throttle cable and another on the clamp that holds the cable’s little housing means that all attempts to start the mower result in the cable clamp coming off the handle so there’s not enough pull on the throttle.  I got her to waste a solid half hour the other morning, trying unsuccessfully to get the clamp to stay put.  Finally, she did an end run around the cable, wedging the throttle open with a piece of wood.  Very well, mortal, you have bested me in this one thing, but may I point out that by the time you began to mow, the heat index was already flirting with triple digits?  I still win.

Later that same day, the humans, showered and cool, ventured out to what was billed as a Food Truck Festival at the local Expo Center.  Twenty trucks, plus 120 merchants inside the pavilion, full of crafts and antiques.  Sigyn and I tagged along because it sounded like an adventure.  I will admit to being torn between having it all be wonderful so that the humans would wander from truck to truck in the heat and get all nasty sweaty again and having it be a total bust.  Sigyn was looking a bit on the warm side, so I decided on total bust.  Nine food trucks, three of them shave ice or ice cream, and the others serving nothing novel, exciting, or appropriately priced.  The most interesting one was the one that is parked on the campus almost every day of the week.  Indoors, things were no better.  Maybe fifty vendors, all selling complete crap (the human female has underwear older than your antique table, lady.)  The “entertainer” was singing a song about punching someone in the face. Classy!  We left in short order.  All in all, it was $5.00 admission the humans wish they had back!

As satisfying as listening to the humans grumble about the heat is, most of my mischief these days is channeled through–what else?–BAMN. It’s a good thing the human female doesn’t mind a little gambling, because she never really knows if it’s going to work.  Sometimes the contact person that the program sends orders to isn’t at the company anymore and the orders hang up in limbo.  Sometimes the vendor has two addresses in the database and only one works.  Do you feel lucky today?  Do you?

But mostly, summer is when the human female puts in the giant enormous COLOSSAL order with the Vendor Who’s Responsible, for all of the upcoming year’s chemicals, glassware, plasticware, and suchlike.  It was a big order this year, some forty-five or so line items.  I’ve mentioned before that the punch-out for this vendor was due a YEAR ago.  A punch-out is a good thing, because it lets a buyer use the vendor’s online catalog and just drop things in the cart, rather than typing out all the catalog numbers and product descriptions.

Well, good news!  The punchout is finally ready!  Armed with the painstakingly crafted and revised quote from the Vendor Who’s Responsible’s customer service rep,


the human female eagerly fired up BAMN and started shopping her little heart out.  She was so careful, making sure she wasn’t ordering cases when she needs single bottles or ordering blue pipette tips when she needs the yellow ones.  She got ALL DONE and then looked at her cart before entering order info.  That’s when she discovered my help.  The items at the top of the list had been added four times, so there was four times as much of everything as she needed.  The items in the middle of the list had been added twice, so she was signed up for double goodies.  The items on the bottom of the list….failed to appear at all.  Poof!  Vanished!  Ehehehe!  A teensy bit of effort from me with the code meant two lost hours of the poor mortal’s time.

She tried again the next day, carefully inputting the order in the old way, item by item, typed line by typed line, saving early and often.  Finally, finally, it was perfect.  Click. Submitted!  She then had a long, hard e-mail conversation with her customer service rep and one of the BAMN liaisons, outlining all of her multitudinous woes.  That’s when the customer service rep told her that if she’d go up to the “my account” button and pull down that menu, she’d see a “my quotes” option.  Poking that would bring up the appropriate quote, which she could dump into a shopping cart with just one click!  Too bad, so sad, must remember that trick for next year!

So the Very Large Order went in to the vendor, but I’ve seen to it that it continues to misbehave.  Since items on it ship from various warehouses at different times, the human female is getting daily deliveries from all over the country.  It’s like Yule, but with packing slips and no toys!  Highlights of the festivities include:

–Having to fill out the “I am not going to use this to make illicit drugs” paperwork.  Again.

–Discovering that the P.O. number for this giant order doesn’t show in BAMN in her list of P.Os.  To do any of the receiving, she has to go to the list of all her requisitions, look it up by the requisition number, click on that, then click to open the P.O.

–Coping with the fact that once she gets to the P.O., BAMN’s default is to display just five lines of any order, so she has to tell it to “display all.”  Then once she’s checked off and saved what has actually arrived, it refreshes to only showing five.  Every. Single. Time.

–Keeping track of what has arrived when.  For example–three one-liter bottles of diethyl ether?  One of them shipped on one day from one city.  The remaining two followed the next week, arriving from a different place.  I keep hearing her mumble something that sounds like “herding cats,” but that can’t be right.

–Enjoying the fact that anything that ships directly from the Vendor Who’s Responsible comes with a packing slip that lists every item on the P.O., even if only one item is included in that particular shipment.  One bottle of creatinine arrives?  Here, have eight pages of useless paper!

–Making note of what has come in without any paperwork at all.  Six bottles of something or other showed up one day with no packing slip.  Two days later, a packing slip showing the six bottles showed up in a box they weren’t in.

–Receiving a telephone call from the Chemistry stockroom (different department, other side of campus), letting her know that they had her Benedict’s solution.  She got them to agree to label it correctly and explicitly and give it back to the delivery courier.  I’ve had a word with the courier, and it’s anyone’s guess whether it’ll ever actually arrive over here.  I am guessing it’s in Cairo.  (The Egypt one, not the U.S. one.)

I am opening a betting pool on which item in the order is going to be the last to show up.  My money’s on microscope slide cover slips, because the Vendor Who’s Responsible never has enough on hand.  The human female wrote “may substitute cover slips of similar size and thickness from this or other manufacturer” on the order, but my money’s on an indefinite backorder of this one particular product.  I’ll keep you posted.

The final kicker?  BAMN has behaved so abominably (Thank you!  I do try.) that the University has told colleges and departments that they can switch back to the previous, beloved ordering software if they choose.

A$ long a$ they pay for the $witch.

Is this the point where I should talk about the 4% budget cuts that loom upon the horizon?

Good times.

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