library

She’s Been to the Library Again, Part III: What a Gruesome Little Volume

Surely the rest of the plants in this watercolor floral alphabet can’t all have such hideous appellations.  Do turn the page, dear.

eyebright

“Eyebright.”  That’s not so terrible.  Interesting–it was used to make soothing eye drops.  The human female is always putting in eye drops.  Perhaps I should concoct an eyebright potion for her.  I could add a little cayenne to the mixture.  That’d make her dillbery fots go pucka-twill.

Next!  Oh, now, look, Sigyn–aren’t these familiar?

daisy1

Those are exactly the daisies we saw all over London.  That painting you’re admiring is just about life-size.  Let’s read the little poem.

daisy2

Ack!  Horticultural beheadings!  I’m sorry dearest. I had no idea this book, though lovely, was so prodigiously violent!

Let’s see, between the two books the human female brought back, we’ve had dubious condiments, plants named for bodily organs, and vivid descriptions of greensward-based mutilations.   Sigyn, I’m not sure which I find the more disturbing prospect–that the human female just grabbed a couple of “planty ” volumes without examining them and considering your delicate sensibilities, or that she did peruse their content and checked them out thinking we’d be delighted.  Either way, I think you’ll agree–it is high time to hide the human female’s library card!

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She’s Been to the Library Again, Part II: Hand-painted Horror

The book we looked at yesterday had some of the bizarrest plant names I’ve yet encountered.  Surely the other book the human female brought back for Sigyn will feature vegetative with less repulsive monikers!

I looks promising, anyway.  The frontispiece is quite well done.

floralABC

Sigyn, I predict  you will like this one!

scabious2

It’s certainly an attractive volume, featuring lovely watercolors and a little poem for every letter in one of the Midgardian alphabets.  S is for…  I can’t quite make it out.  What does that say, Sigyn?

scabious

“Scabious”?  Truly?  This plant with pretty  purple flowers is pustulently  known as Scabious?  What, was “Scarlet Pimple-nel” already taken?  Why not “Great Clotted Carbuncle?”

I give up.  Midgardian plant names are just too weird.

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She’s Been to the Library Again, Part I: A Spikenard by Any Other Name

The human female, always on the prowl for something to read, has been to the library again.  No telling what she’s brought back.  Could be Australian poetry or quilt patterns, or maybe some obscure botanical text that no one but her has checked out in twenty years.

bookstack

Huh.  She says she checked out these for you, Sigyn.  She wanted to show them to you in the library, but we didn’t tag along with her this time.

wildflowers

Isn’t this one of the books you and she were drooling over in that fancy antique book store in London? Or if not, isn’t it by the same fellow?  I wonder if the illustrations are as nice?

twopage

Very pretty.

valerian

Great Valerian.  One supposes that there are inferior valerians which did not rate a lithograph.  Sigyn, what is the name of the plant you’re reading about?

spikenard

Ehehehehe!  “Spikenard.”  “Spikenard.”  “SPIKEnard.”  “spikeNARD.”  What an odd word—it sort of rolls around in the mouth and sounds like either a smallish, scaly dragon or a move that is illegal in Greco-Roman wrestling…

What’s the next one called?

treaclemustard

TREACLE mustard?  This is a plant?  Sounds like some sort of revolting condiment only Volstagg would eat.  What’s on the next page?  Wasabi molasses?  Ketchup clotted cream?  Urrrr.

Turn the page!

bladdercampion2

“Bladder Campion.”  Of course.  I shall plant some in the garden, right next to the Pancreas Blossoms,  Bowel Berries, Appendix Weed, and Spleenwort.

Who comes UP with this stuff?

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Walkies in the Library, Part VI: Onward, Upward, and Awkward

In all of our peregrinations around and about this library, we have yet to find any books on the fine arts. Do you suppose that is because this is an Agriculture and Engineering school…? One would think that some genteel donor would have bequeathed a few cherished volumes to the collection. It can’t be all bovine A.I. and physics.

Oh, goody. The human female is doing that eye-rolling thing she sometimes does when I am the tiniest bit critical of this hallowed institution. The fine arts books, she lectures me, have been moved into the adjacent library annex, where they repose with the vast collection of video and audio materials and where they have more room to breathe. Room to breathe, one supposes, the rarified air of Culture, rather than the plebian air that smells of hay, machine oil, or ledger ink (there is also a sizable College of Business on this campus.)

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Visiting the sections on music, architecture, and the fine arts gives us an excuse to revisit the stairwell tower and the annex. As I have pointed out before, the stairs in the turret spiral the wrong way.

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That is still on my list of things to fix. Out they will come, eventually. Today, however, I am in search of ideas for the construction and furnishing of my imperial palace. (I have decided that re-doing the library as my seat of glorious conquest–as I once planned–is just not feasible, so I will have to start from scratch.)

Have we found the architecture section yet? Sadly, it appears we have not. What Sigyn and I have found is the library’s collection of sheet music. This, for example, is a book of songs from what Midgardians call the "Two-Door" Era.

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I surmise from this manuscript that the "Two-Door" area was thus named because when the drunken choristers started trying to sing multiple different parts at once, with a time signature change in the middle of a bar, the audience en masse tended to clap hands to ears and decamp with all alacrity and one exit was not sufficient.

(This song reminds me: I haven’t heard from Thor for a while. I wonder what my "dear" "brother" and his cronies are up to?)

Ah here we are. The human female has kindly located for me several gargantuan books just bursting with highlights of the various artistic traditions of this planet. Take, for example, this ornate carpet, hand-knotted by the nimble fingers of Persian craftsmen.

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Meh. Pretty, I grant you, but not really my style, and not nearly green enough.

This textile is more to my liking. It is an embroidered tapestry the size of the Midgard Serpent, depicting the conquest of the human female’s favorite island by the human female’s ancestors.

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Spears, arrows, horses, bloodshed, regicide, evil portents of doom and victory–this never-ending tea-towel has it all. When I complete my conquest, the celebratory banner shall be twice as long and three times as wide. I will appear in every scene. It will be glorious.


This next elephantine folio contains drawings faithfully copied from an ancient temple in the land of the Nile. Remember our little hunt for Anubis? I developed a fondness for Egyptian art. It is visually quite striking.

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Look at the detail-work, Sigyn! The feet are all weird, and the all-profile style is a bit repetitious, but it is bold and exotic, and I like the decorative writing.

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This fellow has got everyone to kneel and people are fawning all over him. I am definitely taking notes now! "Limestone carvings" is absolutely going on the list!


I shall also commission several free-standing statues of myself. This Roman one is all right, I suppose, and the subject looks wise enough…

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…but altogether too genial to be any sort of effective emperor. I shall be much more imposing in marble.

Sigyn has peeked ahead several hundred years in the sculpture book and seems to be examining the work of someone named Dontatello very intensely.


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Sigyn, what are you-? Sigyn!!

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Walkies in the Library, Part III: This is more like it.

I have nudged my "walking" companions along to the section of the library which features more feelers and fangs and fewer roots and flowers.

Sigyn! Look at this book! All full of great, glittering insects in glorious photographic detail!

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A whole page of red ones for you; a page of green ones for me. Don’t you wish they lived here, and were this big, so I could put one in the human female’s bed?

Oh, yessssss. Thissssssssssss issssssssssss sssssssplendid. A whole book of ssssssnakessssss.

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Ehehehehehe! At first I thought the family name was "Boingidae," which would be a very good name for a family of rubber snakes. And oh, I quite like this little fellow. Such a cunning little pointy face. Is it too early to begin making my Yule wish list?

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Walkies in the Library, Part I: Looking out and back.

The human female likes to go for a walk on her lunch break at work. Since it has been so hot and humid lately, she has taken to doing her walking in the library. She tells herself it is exercise, but truthfully, she is so easily distracted that she is always stopping to look at something and doesn’t cover a lot of ground.

Sigyn and I often go with her. We like the view from the walkway connecting the fourth floors of the library and the annex.

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Look at that horizon– this part of Midgard is FLAT. Trying to find a suitable prominence on which to build my palace is proving problematic.

That tall building that sticks up so much houses the Meteorology Department and actually creates its own weather. When it is windy, a vortex of air surrounds it. I like to station myself there on stormy days and watch the students and faculty as they try to close their umbrellas upon approach. It can’t be done, and the doors don’t open without a mighty struggle, either. Delightful!

We like to snoop and leaf through the myriad books on the library’s shelves. Some of them are quite old, by human reckoning. What do you have there, Sigyn? Ah. This is an old Botany book on the familial affiliations of flowering plants. It’s a classic. Says a dumpy Midgardian botanist book nerd I know.

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Here’s another venerable tome. Sigyn likes the illustrations. Yes, dearest, I think the curators would mind if you colored the pictures.

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Yes, even if you stayed within the lines.

Now she’s found this garrulous little owl and is attempting to have a conversation with it.

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Shhh, Sweetling. Heads are beginning to turn!

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A map (Here there be Lokis)

Or one Loki, anyway.

On my way out of the library, I have noticed this fine, quite detailed, three-dimensional map of the campus. Seeing the contours of the land should make siting my palace easier. (Good drainage is so important. However, there really isn’t any terrain to speak of in this part of Midgard. I have seen griddle cakes* with more relief.)

It would appear that a spot in front of the Systems Building, near the main entrance to the campus, would suit. I could have a hill erected so that my palace would command the view in any direction, and it would look well at the end of New Main Drive. I can stock the golf course ponds with swans and aquatic monsters. The tall Oceanography and Meteorology tower is a bit of a distraction, though. It will have to go.

Oh, and one other thing. I prefer a precise North-South-East-West alignment, and this whole place is off by about forty-five and a half degrees. Sloppy! Rotating everything will take a bit of effort, but I believe everyone will thank me in the long run.

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*Now I am hungry.