Knittery Friend

It Might Not Be The Most Important Meal of the Day, But It Is The Most Delicious

We are on a fleeting visit to the Big City to the South to meet up with the Knittery Friend and her family. The smaller members of this family insist on growing at an alarming rate, and they are larger each time I see them! Soon they will be old enough to recruit into my army of minions, so there is that to look forward to.

All of that growing (and the human female’s gluttony!) dictate that the consumption of food should be involved in this visit. An establishment that specializes in what mortals call “brunch” (a very silly word) has been selected. There is quite a wait, and the hungrier members of our party are growing antsy, but I am assured that the cuisine will be worth waiting for.

We are seated inside now. There are no actual menus and we have been directed to an online version. Scroll, scroll, scroll…

There is an entire section of something called “Arnolds.” I’m not sure I even want to guess what that might entail.

We have ordered, and while we wait for our food, Sigyn is exploring the coffee creamer options.

She doesn’t drink coffee, but I suspect that, left unsupervised, she might try to just drink the French Vanilla one straight out of the little container…

It’s either that or start digging into the jam.

Do you think she could eat all of it, even without toast? My guess is yes.

Myself, I am both intrigued by and fearful of this green stuff.

I have so many questions. If it is made with jalapeños (which are a relatively mild green chilli), why is the illustration of a flaming red pepper? Is that merely the brand label? Is “greengo” a play on the word “gringo”? And why “gringo” anyway–is it meant to imply that gringos can only handle the mild stuff? If it’s meant to be refrigerated after opening, why is it just sitting out on the table? And finally and most importantly, can I sneak some of this into/onto whatever the human female orders?

The food has arrived, and I’m still not sure a) what it is that she has ordered and b) whether it would be improved with a surreptitious addition of capsaicin.

Ah. I have been informed that this is something called “shrimp and grits.” There appears to be a great deal of tomato and bacon atop the grits as well, along with two fried triangles of something tortilla-ish. I am still perplexed by all of this, but I can tell just by looking that has approximately three days‘ worth of calories. I can only hope the human female immediately asks for a to-go box and sets aside half of this for another meal.

Who am I kidding…

Must have been good. It disappeared so quickly that I never got a chance to add the hot sauce.

>|: [

P.S. This is a chain restaurant. I hear they are opening one in the city we live in, so I may yet have a chance to have all my questions answered.

We May Have a New Star!

Who doesn’t like apples? (Well, other than the human female’s Knittery Friend, who is allergic.) I myself like a good, tart pome. I’m definitely moreGranny Smith than ‘Golden Delicious.’

My beloved, on the other hand, prefers a more nuanced taste and enjoys apples where the acid is balanced by sugar. She and the human female like old sorts like ‘Orleans Reinette’ and new varieties like ‘Kanzi.’

We are trying a new apple today! I believe it is the 125th apple in the human female’s apple notebook.

Idunn’s Little Apples! This is no shrinking little snack-sized midget! This is a whole meal! What is its name?

You can’t be serious.

Hunnyz’? Really? Norns preserve us, it’s one of those modern apples with a trademarked name and a marketing campaign. And it’s put out by an outfit called “GeeWhiz” fruit.

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Note, if you please, that that second “n” has to be backwards. It’s very important! I may be ill…

Well, the proof is in the sampling, so we’ll wait for the human female to peel and cut it…

Huh. No aroma whatsoever.

(munch)

Hmm.

Mmm hmm. Friends, stoopid name aside, this is a very good apple! Crunchy, juicy, and delightfully crisp without being hard. Sweet, but with enough acid to balance it out and fill the mouth with flavor. Nothing shy about this one!

The human female is jotting notes in her little apple notebook:

“I don’t know if it rates a star yet, but 9/10, would narf again.”

For once, mortal, I concur.

>|: 9

Gonna Be Monday All Week, Part III: Your Order Has Arrived!

The humans order quite a few things online. Admittedly, they like to shop locally when they can, but sometimes it is not an option. Take, for instance, their favorite green cleaner. Not only is it green-as-in-slightly-less-bad-for-the-environment, it’s also green-as-in-green-colored. (A fact of which I approve!) Since it is highly effective at removing cat barf from laminate flooring, it’s a staple in this household, but none of the local stores carry it!

And take, for instance, the short-notice invitation to a celebration for the Knittery Friend’s middle son, who is the humans’ godson. (No relation to the blue-haired goddaughter.) The human female knew just the book she wants to gift him, but it wasn’t available in the local bookshop, not even for order-online-and-pick-up-in-store.

Hence an order placed with the Large South American River, consisting of two necessary but quite disparate items.

Shipping via Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly has been very quick. Look, Sigyn, the box is here already!

The Large South American River is well-known for sending orders in multiple packages. This one is quite heavy, so it could be the cleaner, with the book to arrive separately.

By Thor’s bitty ball-peen! They did it!

Someone at LSAR just pitched both items into one box with a minimum of padding. Finally! I’ve been talking to the workers there about trying to make fewer parcels and about using less plastic and/or styrofoam padding. To be more environmentally friendly, you understand. Let’s take a look at the book.

I’ve not read this one, but Sigyn has, and she says it’s very good. It has an award seal on the cover and everything.

Great Frigga’s Corset! This copy appears to have been damaged in transit.

It isn’t really nice enough to be presented as a gift. Look at those warped, wavy pages. It’s almost as if it got wet in transit somehow.

I wonder how THAT happened… Eehehehe! Not only is the neck smashed in and the lid cracked, the lid’s not even fully screwed on! And the enclosing plastic bag LEAKS! Well done, O River Minions and Parcel Smashers, well done!

Now the human male gets to navigate the Large South American River’s online return and replacement request system, which should provide even more fun.

This is shaping up to be a very productive week.

>|: [

Evcilleştirilmiş kümes hayvanı hakkında bazı karışıklıkların olduğu

Emboldened by their trip to the Big City to the West, which was accomplished without mishap, the humans have decided to risk a trip to the Big City to the South. After all, it has been over a year without a visit to the Purveyor of Pens, and a visit with the Knittery Friend and the Flying Friend and her husband is long overdue. Since the roadsides between here and there are bound to be full of flowers this time of year, and as I have no objection to eating something other than the human female’s cooking, Sigyn and I are tagging along.

The first stop is, predictably, the Purveyor of Pens. The PPP (Proprietor and Purveyor of Pens) has just this minute received in a shipment a New Fountain Pen which the human male has coveted since he first learned about it. How this pen differs from all of his other green-with-gold-or-silver-hardware pens is a mystery to me, but apparently it is going to come home with us. The human female has selected a pair of cheap, perfectly clear fountain pens to put her colorful inks in. They cost about half the price of a movie ticket and about as much as a middling steak, so if she ends up not using them, she won’t feel too guilty.

And then there are inks to look at, notebooks and paper to fondle, and the Eccentric Bachelor Friend who is also along on this trip has found a FEP (Fancy and Expensive Pen) that he absolutely must have. Ehehehe! I am having such fun pointing things out to people and saying, “Isn’t this nice?”, “Wouldn’t you like that?”, and ” You deserve a little treat…” This is going to be an expensive visit!

All of this spending other people’s money really works up the appetite. The humans are meeting up with their friends at a small Turkey Eatery just down the street. Now, I like roast fowl as much as the next god, but a menu devoted solely to Meleagris gallopavo sounds pretty boring.

Oh. My mistake. This restaurant specializes in food from the realm called Turkey, not the domesticated bird. That is a bit more promising.

The humans are all sitting there, chatting, ignoring the small placard with a QR code. I know what’s going on, but it’s more fun to watch mischief ensue. Now the waitress is asking about their order, and the human female has just outed her ignorance by whining, “But we don’t have menuuuuus.” The waitress has instructed her to take out her phone and scan the code. İşte menünüz var aptal kadın.

The Flying Friend’s husband has ordered a plate of something called falafel for the table to share as an appetizer, making an expansive gesture to indicate all seated. What a great opening for mischief. The waitress has somehow misunderstood and has brought a plate of falafel for each person!

(poke, poke, poke) They look like fried charcoal briquettes. Are we sure these are actually edible?

Sigyn says they are made of “chickpeas with herbs and spices.”

“Chick” as in “bok-bok-bok Gallus gallus domesticus,” or “chick” as in Cicer arietinum? Given the confusion about the turkey thing, you can forgive me for wanting clarification.

You cannot fool me! The human female’s chicken sandwich absolutely is of the cluck-cluck-bgawk! sort.

This thing is enormous! How is she ever going to fit it into her face?

(a bit later) Well, she did. It wasn’t pretty, but she did.

The Knittery Friend (who is eating for three), is eyeing the rice pudding, which she has eaten before and has pronounced “divine.” Excuse me, who is the actual god here? *I* will decide whether it is divine or not. Or, rather, I shall delegate the evaluation to my beloved, who is a connoisseur of such dishes.

Sigyn is too busy making “yummy!” noises to render a verdict properly, but I will take her beatific smile and upraised thumb to mean that it meets with her approval. Divine it is!

Çok lezzetli bir ziyafet!

>|: 9

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.

>|: [

Another Stabby Cabbage Recipe

Not too long ago, Sigyn and I helped the human female make CRC. I do not mind occasionally helping in the kitchen. If I am involved, I can make sure that what results is actually edible. Sigyn, I think the humans are Preparing to Cook again. Let us see what’s going on.

The human male is fiddling with a gadget which does not appear to be his phone.

Oh, you’ve got one too?

I want yours! It looks like it has a whip and maybe a bomb on it. Mine just has boring words and numbers.

What do you suppose these are for?

Oh, wait. I recognize these! These go with the electric smoker that the human male likes to play with. One is the remote for the smoker and one is the readout for the thermometer that gets poked into the meat.

The human male is smoking pork for pulled pork, and you know what that means!

Time to make The Slaw.

This is a recipe that the humans made up themselves, based on something the Knittery Friend served them once. It’s the only sort of slaw the human male will eat, and it involves a lot of knifework and unsafe kitchen utensils so of course I want to be involved…

Sigyn likes to help with the carrots.

The human female, who is capable of learning, usually opts to don the cut-proof glove before invoking the shredding device, which is first cousin to the mandolin which tried to amputate her thumb in the Great Mandolin Scalloped Thumb Debacle of 2018.

Sigyn! I know that you like to watch, but please see that you do not fall in!

Idunn’s little apples! That is a LOT of shredded carrot. The human female does not know how to make a small batch of this stuff. (Actually, there are no measurements at all when it comes to the veggies, only the dressing.)

Now we come to my favorite part–the dismemberment and destruction of a head-sized brassicaceous globe of green crunchiness!

Sigyn, this is going to get pretty violent. You may not want to be this close.

Have dagger, will shred!

Prepare for your doom!

Stabbitystabbitychopchopchopshredstabbitystabbity…

Ah. That was extremely cathartic. I highly recommend officially sanctioned culinary mayhem as therapy for repressed aggression.

Time for the pink stuff. Since this is an Asian slaw, we need some of this pickled ginger or gari.

Again, no fixed measurements exist. This is all done by the TLAR method (That Looks About Right.)

That’s it for the vegetable matter. Nothing left to do but to add the dressing…

..which is composed of 4 parts rice vinegar, 3 parts sugar, 1.5 parts canola oil and 0.5 parts sesame oil (don’t overdo the sesame oil–a little goes a long way!), plus a few shakes of Aleppo pepper. The human male just scales up the recipe to make as much as needed and funnels it into an old vinegar bottle. Very handy.

Stir everything together assiduously and serve.

Better yet, let it sit in the cooling box to contemplate its sins for a bit and then serve. If there are any leftovers, they make a great basis for an Asian salad. <sniff sniff.> Mmmm. This stuff is awesome. And, judging from the porky smells that are beginning to waft in from the back patio, this is going to be a night when I don’t need to phone for take out.

>|: 9

A Quick Visit to the Knittery Friend

The humans are going to visit the Knittery Friend and her kin in the Big City to the South.  They do this because they didn’t see one another over Yule and because children grow up so quickly and eternal friendship, blah, blah, blah.

We all know it’s because the Knittery Friend bakes.

So… The not-yet-delivered Yule parcels are packed and ready to take.

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Taffy Cat is certain that the Knittery Friend must be receiving catnip mousies and has very selflessly offered to do quality control.  Stand down, foul feline!  You had two mice of your own at Yule and we all  know that they both vanished not five minutes later.  If you cannot keep track of your own toys, do not go bothering someone else’s. 

On the other hand, if you wish to a) annoy the human female and b) fill up all the gift bags with cat hair, be my guest.

(later)  We are here.  Hug, hug.  Yack, yack.  The highly mobile children, I observe, are almost of an age to be suborned into my army.  I shall have to keep my eye on them…

Ah!  Time for presents.  One of the gifts  is this bottle of ink, for the Knittery Friend is also a lover of fountain pens.

ink with cryptic label

I count five fonts on that box.  Only three are legible, none of which is the name or color of the ink.   Try plugging those squiggles into Google Translate!  But hmmm…. My Loki Sense tells me that there is green ink in that box.

And my Growly Tummy tells me that capicola and mozzarella balls would make a very good afternoon snack.

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The human female never feeds us anything this nice at home.

>|: [

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets—Part I: No, Actually, It IS all Fun and Games

The humans are doing that thing they do again, that Thing that takes days of planning and preparation, that involves moving a lot of heavy things in very hot weather, that involves cooking and cleaning and logistics enough to move an invading army over the Alps in winter without the aid of hippopotami…

I speak, of course, of  the Summer Gaming Gathering.  

There are friends coming from far and wide, including the Blue-haired Goddaughter and the Knittery Friend.  They’ll all be bringing games and food and family members.  Sigyn and I will probably go for a little bit.  I like to try games I can cheat at win, and Sigyn likes talking to people and playing with game pieces that look like little animals.

I have involved myself rather more than usual this year, by making the clubhouse in the humans’ subdivision unavailable for the final two days of the gaming.  The human male and his friends looked high and low for a substitute venue and were just about to plunk down a Lot of Money to rent a space, when one of the gaming friends convinced the local Cookie Sprout troop to rent them their  meeting house for those two days, very cheaply.  I was sad to see the other deal fall through, because I had a kickback arranged, but I am consoling myself with the fact that there will be TWO venues for the humans to have to clean, and the second place has TWO bathrooms, one with not one but two toilets, so the human female will have extra, EXTRA potties to scrub.

The guests are arriving and the games are coming out.  The human male says this one is fun to play.  It has “Explosion” in the name–so I am intrigued.

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Any game that involves pieces that will roll around and get underfoot and go under the furniture is all right in my book, although it would be better if some of the marbles were green. 

This game has cards, as well as markers with strange symbols.

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I think the artwork is giving Sigyn wardrobe ideas.

This next one is getting a lot of play. Sigyn, let’s insinuate ourselves into the fun.  It involves getting someone to guess the Mystery Word using just one-word clues–and no two hinters can give the same clue, or that clue goes away.  That is, one could say “wick” or “beeswax” if the mystery word was “candle,” but if two people say, “wick”, “wick” will not be one of the clues the guesser gets.  So do you give the obvious clue or not?

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Ehehehe!  I just whispered in the players’ ears and ALL of the clues were the same, so the guesser now has to guess the word “parachute” with NO hints at all!  Diabolical.

Oooh!  Ooh! I know!  I’ll make the next guesser have to come up with “the human female.”  All right.  The guesser has his eyes closed, the other players have written down their clues,  and now they are silently comparing notes.  The hints are “botanist,” “cookies,” “clumsy-stupid” (hyphenated words are allowed), and “sweetie.”  Deal with that.

This next game is getting a lot of attention too.  It’s much more complex and seems to have some sort of avian bias.  I think, if one played long enough, one could learn something about birds, and the artwork is quite nice.  Sigyn, unfortunately, is so occupied in trying to keep the eggs warm that she’s having trouble remembering all the rules.

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Those last two games seem to have won some sort of award.   I think it’s a safe bet that copies of both will eventually be coming to live with the humans.  Where the male is going to put them, I have no idea.  If I were nice, I’d make some sort of pocket-dimension spell for him, one that would allow him to store an infinite number of games in a single small room.

But I’m not, so I won’t.

>|: [

Mini-break, Part I: A Not-so-super Sleuth

The humans have snatched the chance to go see the Knittery Friend and her clan in the Big City to the South.  When you’re trying to arrange things to fit six people’s schedules, it can be quite difficult to find a date that suits everyone.  (The baby is isn’t two yet, expressed no opinions, and has no appointments in his  calendar, so he doesn’t count.)

We are taking the opportunity to go to the big museum while we are here.  There is a big exhibit about a famous, fictitious Midgardian detective with preternaturally keen powers of observation.

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Pfft!  I’m the only one with powers here.

The part of the exhibit about the author, his sources, and his methods is really well done.

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Sigyn is a bit squeamish around human skulls, so she is busy reading the old newspapers.

There are little displays about what was cutting edge science in the late 1800’s. There’s a stamp you can collect at every “station.”  Sigyn is tickled because botany is included.

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Plus, she loves stamps!  (But why is the “optics” stamp a footprint?)

One of the displays shows how a paper with a pattern of slits cut out of it can be held over a text to reveal a secret message.

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Hmm.  That didn’t work awfully well, because the rubbing of brass newspaper article they had out for rubbing came out rather blurry.  And the holes their punching machine made in the paper didn’t line up very well with the text.  That resulted in an extra-cryptic message!

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Sigyn thinks the slotty paper’s fun to play with, though.

One room is set up like the great detective’s study, with all sorts of books and props from the stories.  The little notebook has a list of items we’re supposed to find .  The human male has found everything, but how he figured out which of the portraits was Dr.  Beecher, I surely do not know.

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Ehehehe!  The “V. R.” is spelled out with bullet holes in the wallpaper.  That’s fun!

Fandral’s mustache!  Sigyn, look, we get to try to solve a case!  The whole second half of the exhibit is set up like a crime scene and a lab.

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The crime scene has all sorts of clues–a smashed statue, a fireplace full of burned books,  and drag marks.  A seedpod?   Multiple bodies?  Blood spatter?  This is agreeably spine-tingly, don’t you think, Sigyn?

There’s a seed pod we’re supposed to match with actual plant samples, as well as some demonstration chemical “tests” to determine if the seed pod was toxic or had poison added to it.

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I don’t think it looks like a worm.  Sigyn doesn’t think it looks like a worm.  The human female doesn’t think it looks like a worm—and it doesn’t appear to match any of the samples.  One of the docents, though, says its meant to be Wisteria.  The human female remains skeptical.

Also, the human female, in her usual insufferable way, has found a wrong translation in the Spanish part of one of the chemical  test stations.  And the text of the demo test stations seems to suggest there are two “tests” to do on the plant sample, but after a quarter hour of looking all over the room, it seems there’s only one.  She’s starting to look cranky.

Ooo! Here’s the blood spatter evidence.  We’re supposed to match it with the spatter patterns produced by several gruesome penny-arcade-like machines.

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Sigyn is more than a little uncomfortable.  I’d like to go back through and make the machines squirt “blood” all over again, but Sigyn is feeling a bit queasy.  Moving on.

Here we’re supposed to figure out where the bullet must have been shot from to leave a hole in the wall and a spatter of blood on the wallpaper.

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Except some of the text says the bullet hole was above the fireplace, while the bullet hole in the set-up crime scene is to the left of the fireplace, about five feet up.

The machines for making comparison drag marks and footprints in a big sand pit is kind of fun.

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Sigyn and I agree that some of the marks were footprints, but we don’t think the drag marks came from a body.

At the end of the exhibit are more slot punching machines.  We’re supposed to put the card in the ones that correspond with our interpretation of the evidence and punch out a rectangle, and then put the stencil over a message to reveal the final truth.

Uh, oh, based on the docent telling us that the plant was supposed to be Wisteria, the human female punched the wrong slot.  And then the right one.  We can see the message, and we were mostly correct, but there was a lot of this exhibit that was  misleading or just plain wrong.

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There!  I’ve supplied a more appropriate secret message.

>|: [

A Gaming Gathering, Part I: Making New “Friends”

The semiannual gaming gathering is in full swing.  There are people from the Big City to the North, the Big City to the South, the Slightly Smaller City a Bit Further South, and quite a few from around here.  The blue-haired goddaughter and her parents are here, as well as the Knittery Friend and her clan.  When I landed on this rock, getting to know the populace before I subdued them was never part of my agenda, but I seem to know quite a few of them now.  Of course, I can’t be bothered to learn any names, but the same faces keep turning up.

There are some new faces here, though.  Some of these characters appear decidedly… shady.  Sigyn, true to form, trusts everyone and has made a beeline for the strangers.

This large grey fellow is rather imposing.

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Careful, Sigyn!  He appears well-armed.  Though my horns are finer, no doubt he could do some damage with his, for all they appear to be somewhat squishy.

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Guess I needn’t have worried.  Apparently, his name is Rinaldo and he is now on our Yule card list.

Moving on.  I know I haven’t seen these colorful characters before.  Look, you bespotted nobodies, don’t get any ideas.  I am Loki, God of Mischief, and this is my turf!

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Perhaps they are mostly harmless.  I think they may be in search of a good ophthalmologist.  The owlish-looking one has some serious bug-eyes, and the big blue bird thing has the worst case of amblyopia I’ve ever seen.

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And I think the frog-like one is trying to do the macarena.

Oh, great.  Now we’re taking a group photo.

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Sigh. Fine.  I’ll line up.

But I won’t say, “cheese.”

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