Lego Loki

A Late Summer Walk, Part II: Puffy Things and Dangly Bits

This is a good time of year for white, poofy-puffy things.  Sometimes it is seed heads; sometimes it is the flowers themselves.

The human female is laying claim to this one, saying it is her “Kania.”

mikania2

Well, mortal, what if *I* want it?  Huh?  Do you truly think you could take anything from me if I really wanted it?

Sigyn, ever the peace-maker, is rightly pointing out that there is oodles (her word) of this vine rambling all over the ground here.  Plenty for the human female, for me, and for Sigyn.  Hel, there is even some if Fisi wants to widdle on it.

mikania

Sigyn has found her own fluffy white bed.

eupatorium

Say, those flowers look very similar to the Kania ones.  Oh.  The human female says the plants are related, “belonging to the same tribe of the Asteraceae, the Eupatoriae.  Note the slender style branches.”  How very…boring.  But I do think I recognize the plant.  I put some in the humans’ front flower bed last year.  It was quite robust and grew to a great height before producing an abundance of these dirty-white flowers.  This spring the human female discovered it had left about a half a million descendants, all over the flower beds and the lawn.  She is still pulling them up!  Note to self:  Do it again next year.

These white flowers are all very well, but isn’t there something a little more colorful?

sesbania1

Clever Sigyn!  Yes, these are very showy.  Wait for me, and I shall climb up to join you.

Curses!  I seem to be…

sesbania3

… caught on something.

>|: [

A Late Summer Walk, Part I:

The human female gets sort of…twitchy… when she hasn’t been out in the field for a while, and Sigyn is always up for a romp outdoors. Which means, of course, that if they want to go out and ogle flowers, I’m obliged to go along to make sure the human female does not drop my beloved on her head or into a sticker bush while boosting her up to smell some posy or other. Plus, it is a known fact that the human female has no sense of direction whatsoever. Someone has to make sure Sigyn makes it home. (The human female can get lost and stay lost for all I care.)

Fisi has insisted on accompanying us today.

walkies

Traveling with a botanist and a Sigyn is usually agonizingly s l o w, because those two have to stop and examine everything. Having a hyena along makes us even SLOWER because apparently hyenas, while possessed of some cat-like qualities, are canid enough to want to stop and sniff and wee about every six seconds. Fisi, if you’re coming, come on.

Late summer is a good time to study grasses. The human female is rattling off a lot of garble that she says is the Latin names of the grasses in flower. But it could also be random handfuls of letters from the Scrabble bag that is her brain.

grasses

That’s quite a lovely bouquet, Sigyn. But are you sure all of those are grasses?

When it is as dry and hot as it has been recently, the rule for finding flowers to look at is: Go Where the Water Is. Thus, we are on a sort of mini trip to the little pond/sluggish creek that is right in the neighborhood. (Good–it should be harder to get lost. But not impossible. Remember whom we are dealing with.) When we’ve had rain, it’s rather exciting, because the pond rises enough to overflow and drool across the sidewalk on its way to the storm sewer. There are frogs and turtles and willows and tiny fish. I remain vigilant, however, because this is where the human female once tried to throw me in.

The pond margin is very flowery. Sigyn has lost no time in climbing this Primrose Willow. Look at her–isn’t she adorable? She has such a beautiful, petal-like complexion.

ludwigia1

What a nice shade of blue this one is! The human female says it is called Ovate False Fiddleleaf. Um. Sure. I believe that is why most people use its slanty name, Hydrolea. Do be careful, dearest! It has some wicked spines, and there is one just above your hand.

hydrolea

Your plant is very pretty, but I like this one too. (Assumes know-it-all-botanist-voice) Observe: this is a Knotweed. There are pink ones and white ones. They have curiously knobbly nodes that have little fringey turtlenecks. Yes, that is the precise botanical terminology. Would I lie?

knotweed

Pfft! Who needs a degree in plant nerdity? I could be a botany instructor right now.

>|: [

Mischief update–Messes of all sorts

I know I updated recently, but I’ve just been so busy!

1. We appear to have survived the first week of the semester. I added a few touches, though, like the student whose biology lab schedule said merely, “to be determined.” It’s still not entirely clear where he belongs. The human female thinks he is a transfer student who has to take only the lab portion of the course and not the lecture. It’s hard to tell because he doesn’t actually show on any roster.

2. All the vendor fun has begun in earnest. I had the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, who usually goofs by shipping live materials by 2-day air rather than overnight, finally ship with the correct Fed-up and Exhausted service. On the wrong day. One of their shipments that was mailed properly (after the human female corrected them) arrived sans three jars of Euglena. Personally, I’m of the “what’s a few flagellated microbes more or less?” school, but apparently, in her crazy world, it matters.

3. Sometimes it’s best not to pry too deeply into the why of what she orders. This week, it was–I jest not!–bull semen. Just WHAT is she going to do with that??? She said something about cell structure, blah, blah, blah, but I suspect she’s at work with the Athletic Department to come up with some sort of bovine-human hybrid linebacker. After she placed the order, I had the sales associate call her back to let her know that the liquid nitrogen tank rental was going to be double the price she’d been quoted. Just because.

4. In other cow-related news, she’s had some bovine serum albumin (that’s a thing?) on backorder since forever. It *almost* got shipped, but I tampered with the production facility and that whole batch failed inspection. Ehehehehe. Today she got a notice that a nice, new batch will ship in January 2016 (assuming it passes.) Her freakish experiments can’t wait that long, so she cancelled that order and ordered from the Vendor Who’s Responsible. It’s a lower grade reagent, but since she’s only going to use it to concoct fake urine, it will do. (Seriously! Do you think I make this up?) Just to mess with her head a bit more, I saw to it that the 100g jar was cheaper than the 25g jar. (Who says all my tricks have to be mean?)

5. I bunged up the copier with a sheet of labels inserted properly.

6. I put a typo in an offer letter so that the new lab prep staffer got a 20% raise with just two weeks’ service. And then had it taken back.

7. I convinced the floor custodian that the human female was out to get her, and she quit.

8. Which raises the question–Who will clean the nice, new restrooms? Yes! They are finally finished, and overall they are very nice. If you like taupe. Except they still have no hall doors. Those will be installed over the Thanksgiving break, so that the mortals can all be thankful for privacy. In the meantime, I’ve applied the Loki Touch to all the space-age gizmos. The automatic flushers flush very exuberantly. But on their own schedule. Sometimes it’s, “Um, hello?”, and other times it’s, “Whoa! Meeting has NOT been adjourned!” Yes, friends, using the restrooms is a crapshoot. The motion-sensor sinks deliver a torrent or a trickle as the whim seizes them. My favorite, though, is the automatic towel dispenser. It is like some delicate and shy wild antelope. It must be approached with care and tenderness, from just the right angle. Sudden movements will startle it into immobility. One has to put out one’s hands just so, in a spirit of supplication…holding an offering of alfalfa pellets. I tinkered with the ones in the library as well, since the human female is so often there. Those are of the forced-air variety and proudly proclaim that they can dry hands in 12 seconds vs. the 42 of other brands. They run for 3.

9. Remember the dual half-empty peanut butter jars in the cooling unit? The human female finished one, so the other day I suggested it was time to buy and start another. (This is no simple task because she insists on the ridiculous “old-fashioned” sort that one has to stir and stir and stir to get the floaty oil mixed in with the nutty part. She usually shortens the process by, over a period of several days, turning the jar end for end every time she goes by, letting the oil rise up back and forth. She always ends up with the long-handled spoon, though, goopy to the wrist, having anointed herself and the counters with a spatterment that would have made Jackson Pollock proud.) The brainless wench complied and purchased another, forgetting jar number two. What with the jar of regular smooth peanut butter that the human male keeps for concocting Asian sauces, there are now THREE jars in there!*

vVuvgZv21RWvkXTbzJ1PNIoLBrErsvjJg3eFDv_eF6I=w915-h774-no

Note, if you will, that the newer jar is smooth, when she really wanted chunky. I do so like to help with the marketing. And this morning, when she took it into her head to take peanut butter and an apple for lunch, I changed one of the partials into a second jar of apricot jam, so she was forced to take the full, new jar. At room temp, it’s really sloppy. She’s eating at her desk. That’s bound to go well.

In other news, the authorities found the radioactive package I had cleverly hidden, so it’s back to square one on that little project. I shall have to redouble my chaos initiatives for next week.

>|: [

*plus one in the pantry…

The forecast is for more heat

I know, I know, it was very naughty of me to meddle with the contents of the pantry. But truly, it wasn’t THAT mischiefy. The humans, after all, are rather adventurous eaters. They’re not up to sheep’s eyes in honey or raw seal blubber, mind you, but they have been known to sample the cuisines of other parts of Midgard.

The female, though, always requests that things not be too spicy. A dash of the flavorful but relatively mild Aleppo pepper is about right. She’s very used to unscrewing the jar lid and just shaking it blindly two or three times over whatever she’s cooking.

FUxel49NZu8hxiIJIts9j6CtjfcDjzh-Sq9pWAYv_6w=w479-h641-no

8KkK59ovqlwwJr0WCRQSc4NdgebPn3GE6osUt4n5wzg=w479-h641-no

I think I’ll just hide this….

>|: [

Biryani, anyone?

The humans pride themselves on being organized about the meal planning and the shopping. The female, especially, tries to make sure that healthful vegetables make regular appearances on the table and that leftovers are used in a creative and timely fashion. It’s rare that they are caught out with nothing to cook for dinner. This week, they have some delightful dishes planned.

Which is why they will be completely derailed when they open the pantry to find that all of their staples have turned into strange ethnic foodstuffs that they have no idea how to eat.

yrf6l6_H9Rzb5l8KhqccIxACW1qL9IEg5BfNt1XnZrg=w892-h666-no

That’s not counting the durian ice cream in the freezer and the black radishes in the icebox…

>|: [

Mischief Update–Special Back to School Edition

“Howdy!” That is what all the local Midgardians are saying. That and “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.” I don’t understand what either of those means, though I gather that they are especially appropriate to say on the first day of the new University semester.

There are 50,000+ students, a host of faculty, and about a squillion staff all flailing about, trying to remember how to function in an organized manner. I am doing my best to orchestrate the chaos. Permit me to elaborate:

1. The first order of business was taking the University’s centralized information hub down. Despite the fact that the Computer Hellp Desk says everything is working, most people cannot log in to check class schedules, registration, room numbers, etc. Anyone who did not print out their course schedule or memorize it is groping blindly. How these silly mortals rely on their electronic devices! Look, it’s a love note from CIS (Computational Instability Surprises):

H9e_TqBJdIuRxBWyhhisCMEyV5iQ5XtJh6O2I50dCgU=w715-h379-no

2. I have poked my magic fingers into the door locks again. Several teaching assistants have been unable to enter their classrooms via key card, while the human female’s office door was unlocked when she arrived this morning.

3. Acting on information I supplied, the campus bookstore has told all the Biology 111 students that they need the fifteenth edition of their lab manual. Or else maybe they need the 2015 edition…. Whichever it is, no one can find one! Ehehehehe! We are on the ninth edition, and there IS no 2015 edition! The ninth edition is copyright 2016 because it has debuted late in 2015. Who says large textbook publishing houses have no sense of humor?

4. The students are required to provide their own goggles for lab, and they were all reminded via email to bring them. Usually the Chemistry Club sets up a table in the hallway and sells them, and the human female has had their sales schedule posted prominently all over the third floor. I tracked down the goggle-sellers just as they were heading up here and countermanded their orders. No one showed up on the third floor. Watching Prep Staff play phone tag with the Chemistry Club and fend off distraught undergraduates has been most amusing.

5. Everyone on distribution list “A” (which is practically everyone) received this notice in their in-box:

“A shipment from SEE Co, located in Edina, MN may have been misdelivered somewhere on campus. We need your assistance in locating this package. The package is a medium sized cardboard box of about 20 inches on each side and weighs about 27 lbs. The outside of the package has a logo from RITVERC and has UN2910 marking. It was shipped by Fed-up and Exhausted Ground and “delivered” on Friday, August 21. Records show it was signed for by “KHOUSELY.” If anyone has information that could help us locate this package, please contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office immediately at (555) 123-4567. Your help in locating this package is greatly appreciated.

Important Person, Assistant Vice President Office of Safety and Security”

Those mortals who have been inquisitive enough to look up with the code means have encountered this information:

MB-fkGRI5rCZvew5rxJh9k_7Bs7eUsxP_SoB-7y6-gk=w325-h224-no

Then the human female did the Google and found this: “SEE Co. offers electronics, cryogenics, software and Gamma-ray sources” Turns out they deal largely in certain isotopes of Cobalt.

It’s still missing! I think they’re out of leads, especially since a search of the University’s directory turns up no one with the surname “Housley.” Concerned citizens are asking lots of questions. Questions such as: Why did it take a week for people to be notified? Who is this Captain who does NOT need to be notified? Where is the package now? What does someone want with all that radioactive material? Ehehehehe! I’m not telling. Sigyn, have you seen my Geiger counter?

6. But let us face facts. New semester and missing mutagens notwithstanding, the big news here is that the mortals’ favorite ice cream is back in production. Such a tizzy! The local news station was doing live coverage! The first cartons were to hit the local grocery store shelves at 6:00 a.m. today. People began lining up at sparrowfart.

20ziLLfL6ulAez0LYLXHkf-xWvJpqr8VjU2Dav98Yz8=w1047-h590-no

The human male, though much aggrieved that his favorite flavor was not among the four that the company has put back into production, was somewhat minded to be part of this insanity. I helped him along by inciting the cat to yowl incessantly at 5:30 a.m. As long as he was up, he decided to join the crowd, some of whom arrived with spoons. Unbeknownst to all these customers, however, I had delayed the truck and it had not even arrived as of 6:30, much less been unloaded and ice cream put on the shelves. He returned home empty-handed.

So where did the ice cream end up? At the other grocery stores in town.

WvFfXSP-rd8ooDXZ4CUNhK-W6F00aLAQlzYbBzGlyyE=w560-h747-no

I believe the appropriate acronym for this is “FUJIGMO”…

>|: [

A micro-vacation, Part VII: Final gastronomical festivities

We are rounding out the micro-vacation by having a meal with the human female’s knittery friend and her family. A restaurant specializing in Turkish food has been selected. It is–I jest not–back in the same neighborhood with the pen emporium, the bookstore, and the ice cream sandwich truck. A whole city to explore and these mortals largely confine themselves to about ten square blocks. Pitiful.

Still, it might be interesting to try. By Heimdall’s shiny wind-up toy! What is that? The server has deposited a small bowl of aromatic green sludge upon the table. I don’t trust it. (Yes, it IS green, but look at it!)

30hzfTtkMxafXQ0iJsIRRTWLjO7JUTQI7bIMKTOVp0A=w837-h641-no

Sigyn! Sigyn, are you actually trying it? What is it? Oh, I see–a fragrant oil with herbs, for dipping this soft, flat bread in.

1A2p1xYBbrcELdA5IQKrlRGky1YUuQ8Zh0SSlzeZf1k=w923-h641-no

Mmm. This zatar and pide bread– I like them!

Ah. Here are the entrees. They seem to consist of meat roasted on skewers, served atop some savory grains, with a bit of tart salad alongside.

su7sQGui_Pt0jSjadBhd-aVPKffhgP8YD78bmFULywE=w911-h641-no

Sigyn wants to know what the white stuff is. (Nibble.) It is a salty cheese, Sigyn. Try it. I think you will find it pleasing. No, I think they called it "feta," not "fetid." Yes, I’m pretty sure. Mostly.

I think the humans are going to sit here and talk and laugh until they are thrown out by the waitstaff. While we wait, my dearest, would you like to sample a dessert? Let us ask for some of that sticky-flaky pastry the diners at the other table are enjoying.

lXGVi9UF7njitv51gdohs2bYg8b5SzzlnA9to2O4Lc0=w792-h641-no

Look at all that syrupy deliciousness. I scarcely know whether to eat it or bathe in it! Ack! NO! Sigyn, I WAS JESTING! DO NOT WADE IN THE SAUCER, SIGYN!

One much-needed bath later and we have at last left the restaurant. The humans are visiting an exotic food emporium as their last stop before leaving town. It is an amazing place. Some sort of mechanical bread roller-coaster is taking balls of dough, moving them through an overhead oven, ferrying them above the shop floor, and sending them down to be bagged. The aroma is almost a meal in itself. The human female has picked out her favorite kind, rich with sesame seeds and flavored with something called mahlab. (The way that woman eats bread, it is a marvel to me that she is not large enough to stick in doorways.)

Sigyn, stay close. You could easily get lost in here. Fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, more breads, spices, wines, teas, and confections of every kind are piled tantalizingly on every side. I do not know what half of these items are.

06WtH2PveQnGcMVayOLGBwTn2kFCYvXOAQAlaQInA7Y=w723-h641-no

The human female is not buying any of these today, but she has had them before and says they are crumbly but delicious, if one likes cardamom. Do I like cardamom? I do not know. But apparently they have been making them since the Midgardian year 1942. One supposed they would have quit by now if these things were awful.

What have you there, my dear? Whatever it is, the recipe goes back even farther than the cardamom cookies.

NY4OoiVWyRfBeqasOcPdY64U4wOifECgKGkj8MbYDuk=w670-h641-no

Loukoum… Loukoum… Where have I heard that before? I know! Sigyn, this is what is also known as Turkish Delight. Do you not remember, the traitor, Edmund, ate much of this candy when he was a guest of the White Witch in that book by Mister Lewis? Would you like to purchase some to try? Do you want the almond sort…

HW5aczSYa8JlxZ1Ey9keF-3YG84c-r1q8Max-S7vmOQ=s641-no

…or this kind, with the green nuts and the green box?

Grrr. The human female refuses to buy either sort. Instead, she has selected from the bakery counter a dense, delicious-looking layer cake redolent of ground almonds and marzipan. If I know her, she is planning to eat it all herself. Just for that, I will have it tip over in the ice chest on the long trip home, so that its decorative swirls of almond cream are smashed. Serves her right.

The humans are checking out. Nothing remains but to climb back into the automobile, along with the CD’s, the books, souvenirs, and all the other clutter that this micro-vacation has generated. Have you had fun, my dearest? I have, too.

And I will finish off my little holiday with the looks on the humans’ faces when they arrive home to find that the cat (upon pre-arrangement with myself, kitty treats forthcoming) has left a nice juicy hairball in the middle of the living room floor.

There’s no place like home!

>|: [

A micro-vacation, Part VI: Excess and opulence to rival Asgard’s

After a lunch of quadruple-P museum cafe food (pre-packaged, pretentious, and pricey), we are ready to drive a mile or so, play “hunt the parking space” again, and visit another museum.

Can you guess which one?

This is the Museum of Fine Arts, and we’re here to take in an exhibit about the Habsburgs. They were a family who sat on thrones over much of the part of Midgard called “Europe” for many centuries. Their strategy seems to have been to breed enough offspring to marry into every noble family there was. Bouncing baby Habsburgs everywhere! Look, here are two of them. Brothers, I think.

uv-MJvuONfDMswnc7uqEOzY226a2-_8ZaFUCzCo3yCk=w538-h641-no

At first glance they appear to be friendly, don’t they? But look, you can see the older doesn’t quite trust the younger. This is all too familiar. Run, lad! Run away! Older siblings will make your life a misery! Plus, you’re probably adopted.

A wind trio is warbling period music in the gallery, just to set the tone. There are a lot of fine and fancy things on display. A carriage. A sleigh. Portraits. Costly, ostentatious, and uncomfortable furniture. Gold, silver, and other elaborate treasures. Observe this–a seashell encrusted with precious metals and Midgardian sea-deities. Decidedly vulgar.

SGiVM9RAEe9yxf8twkhNLHp9b-yMI5MlWPBK7H8VNbk=w434-h641-no

And that thing behind it is a jumped-up coconut. Gaudy, that’s what they are.

Sigyn and the human female are most interested in the textiles. There’s a rather splendid tapestry that is taking up one whole wall. Foliage, coat of arms, foliage, martial figures, more foliage, more arms, more foliage, blah, blah, blah. Asgardians don’t “do” coats of arms, so I find them to be so much incomprehensible geometry, but I can certainly appreciate good weaving. (Frigga is good at it.) The human female says that most of the plants are identifiable

_-vVcLqdpSPsYYLJrJOOyieBICpZzQUXKk1eqk_HL5o=w959-h641-no

Even I can recognize blackberries and clover. Sigyn is in raptures.

There is also a great deal of embroidery. The human female is sort of moaning softly and Sigyn has her cute little nose pressed up against the glass, trying to see each stitch. She says the gold work is impeccable.

h7fXOAe4l-D7kaT3Djm3ueTzoXHfwAGWf7puMrY0g-o=w799-h641-no

It’s certainly neat. And I will allow that this is a striking uniform.

EJBnA143wnEFQzoXMSfDIo9VDqAhgr5pPTVKP3-_kbk=w481-h641-no

Black and gold is always appropriate and tasteful, no matter the occasion (especially if there are touches of green.) What’s that you have over there, Sigyn? I’m trying to make out what the design is–

YRVrrfmpNO4WR-Wd_I-j_ROncGkDNXOPPExjFa8YOR8=w846-h641-no

The human male is saying it’s a golden sheepskin, something to do with a group of knights and nobles. “Good day, My Lord. Why, yes, I AM a member of Ye Olde Sheepe Carcasse Club.” Sorry–“Order of the Golden Fleas.” That’s Renaissance and Early Modern Midgard for you–all gold and shiny on the surface, but still making a big to-do about vermin-infested animal hides.

And here’s another version, a bit more skilfully rendered.

L8XwjoQrgM8mhedKc6VCsBltNq6GZ8eYUNKLKZVuOZk=w774-h641-no

You can see more of this garment here, along with a few others that are also part of this exhibit.

You know, Thor and his buddies did something similar when they were young and stupid, making themselves a super-secret little club whose emblem was a necklace made of silver herring. I changed their tacky jewelry into real herring at a feast once. As usual, there was quite a lot of alcohol about, and it was approaching dawn before anyone figured out where the fishy smell was coming from.*

Ah, family.

>|: [

*They all just thought it was Volstagg.

A micro-vacation, Part IV: Why we actually came to the museum

As much fun as the dinosaurs and saber-toothed cats are, the humans have actually come to the museum this morning to take in an exhibit about recent archaeological finds from China. Bronze Age stuff from two or three thousand years ago. (Back when Odin still had binocular vision.) Apparently it’s very different from anything else ever found.

This imposing fellow greets visitors to the exhibit. At seven feet or more, he’s an arresting presence.

Apparently we are to imagine him covered in gold and holding an elephant’s tusk. I don’t know. *I* think green is more imposing, and a scepter with a Mind Gem would be more intimidating… But that’s my schtick.

Oooh! Look at this. The identification tag says it is a tiger, but I think it looks more wolfy. (Which reminds me–I wonder how dear old Fenrir is doing?)

Sigyn’s favorite item is this very fine replica of an intricately-carved gold disk depicting birds in flight.

It *is* a pretty thing.

This jade knife, though, is more to my taste (green and pointy.)

Somehow, I think they will not have replicas of this on sale at the gift shop.

Speaking of jade, we have now finished with the ancient Chinese trinkets and have entered the Fabergé exhibit with all of its carved stone, gems, enamel, and gold. Sigyn, remember as you look around that all of these jeweled pretties belong to one family. They live here in Houston and have graciously lent their entire collection, including the famous Nobel Ice Egg, for display. Photographs scarcely do all this beauty justice.

Sigyn, of course, is immediately drawn to the carved hardstone flowers in their rock-crystal “vases.” The lily-of-the-valley blossoms are made of pearl,

while the gone-to-seed dandelion’s fluffy bits are rendered in natural asbestos fibers.

Dratted glass gets in the way of a really good look, doesn’t it? (Better photos here and here)

This triple bell-push features three little jade elephants:

Ehehehehe! Sigyn, look how fun! This elephant is a match-holder and striker. His body is made of a river stone. (Grrr. I HATE photographing through glass!)

I may not know much about art, but I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship evident in all of these items. If there weren’t so many people around, I would take a little something as a present for my dearest. Sigyn, just in case I can locate the fire alarm, which is your very favorite piece?

>|: [