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.”


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.


Sigyn has found her own fluffy white bed.


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?


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

Curses!  I seem to be…


… caught on something.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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

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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!*


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.

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*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.



I think I’ll just hide this….

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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.


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

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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):


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:


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.


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.


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

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