Sigyn needs rescuing

Revenge of the Flora, Part 9

“Hey, Cap!  Heard you over the comms.  Need some help?”

“Sure thing, Widow.  I’ve got giant fruit bears over here and who knows what they’re capable of.”

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“Rocket!  Good job taking that rose-headed bear down!  Can you rescue Sigyn?”

“On it, Cap!”

“Cap–where do you want me?  I’m feeling a real need to wipe some smirks off some vegetation over here.”

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“Keep the daisies busy, Hawkeye, or see if you can get a handle on that giant peach.”

“You got it.  Man, stone fruit just should not be that big.”

“All right!   Time to make some masa out of this corn guy!”

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“And, um, Widow, did you do something new with your hair?”

“Yeah.  Not sure I’m going to keep it, though.”

“Looks good.”

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“We can swap beauty secrets later, Cap.  Right now I think I’ll whip up a little fruit salad. Хорошо, идиоты, кто из вас хочет умереть первым?”

(to be continued…)

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It is Nine Kinds of Macabre in Here

The human female and her minions managed to make it through the first semester of new labs for Biology 111.  Now they’re facing all new exercises for Biology 112.  This course deals with evolution, phylogeny, and the many and varied organisms that inhabit this realm.  The instructor, with an eye to relating one notion to another, has planned an exercise in which the students will examine various vertebrate skulls and use their features, coupled with gene sequences, to come up with a vertebrate family tree.  It sounds both cutting-edge and ghoulish, and I must admit to being intrigued.

Sigyn, the human female says the skulls have arrived and are in room 313.  Let us see what has come!

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That is a veritable plethroa of crania!  And they’re from some outfit called “Skulls Unlimited.” Snort.  Of course they are.  I shall call them the Purveyor of Head Bones.

Some of the skulls are quite tiny.  This one is from something called a shrew.

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Sigyn is surprised at how tiny it is.  But as you should know, my diminutive princess, size is no indicator of fierceness.  A look at the teeth will reveal just what voracious predators shrews are.

The rat skull, on the other hand, just has long, orange incisors.

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And, according to Sigyn, “the cutest little molars ever!”

While the turtle has no teeth at all,

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though its bony jaw is quite capable of snapping up its prey.

Still, it is not always the carnivores that one needs to watch out for–

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Turn my sweetie loose this instant, you perfidious cervid!  Hang on, dearest, Loki’s coming!

Apparently white-tailed deer are not above a little snacking when the morsel is especially tasty.

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The Grunt-work Behind The Scenes

The human female–and Sigyn–are still squeeing about the glowy seedlings.  It’s fun when an experiment works the way it should.  Consider, however, how much effort goes into the preparation for an experiment, all the lowly, menial labor that has to be performed before the students can have their two hours of fun in the lab.  Tasks ideally suited for the feeble intellect of the human female.

Take, for example, all of this pipetting that has been going on.  Each action has to be performed with a fresh, new pipette tip.

Folks, that is a LOT of tips.*  Lower Division Biology used to stuff their own tips into the boxes.  Longtime readers may remember the purchasing gymnastics performed by the human female last fall, when she pitted vendor against vendor to secure the lowest price on refill tips that come helpfully already stuffed into replaceable inserts.   Let us catch up with Prep Staff and the human female and see if the investment has paid off.

The new refillable boxes are clean and sturdy.

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The inserts are super easy to snap in full and snap out when empty.  Here’s one whose useful life is over.  It looks as if it ought to be good for something else, doesn’t it?  So far, though, no one has been able to come up with any good ideas.

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Great Frigga’s hairpins!  The empties do pile up, don’t they?

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The program is going to go through thousands of these every semester.  The human female, loathe to just toss so much plastic cavalierly into the landfill, is going to have to lug them across campus and put them in the plastic recycling.

But still, it’s a significant time and labor saving over buying loose tips and stuffing them.  And let’s address the REAL issue.  With these new tip boxes, is Sigyn any less likely to—

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And that would be a “no.”  Hang on sweetie, Loki’s coming.

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*The scientific term is “metric crap-ton

Shopping and Seasonal Silliness, Part I: They Probably Shouldn’t Let Us In Here

The humans are visiting the local international-type-emporium because the male has learned that they have his super-uber-favorite candy, ginger-flavored gummy bears, for sale.  They are very hard to come by, so he is excited.  The fool has yet to figure out that I routinely divert 99.2% of the supply destined for the U.S. to my own private warehouse.  I’ve a stash large enough now that I could make him dance to my tune for the rest of his life, just by dangling the odd bag under his nose from time to time.

Ehehehehe!  They have made the trip all the way over here, only to discover that there is one (1), count them:  one bag available for purchase!  The mix of simultaneous disappointment and gratitude on his face is both pathetic and hilarious.  My day is made!

But while we’re here, Sigyn, let us look around and see what else is on offer.  We’ve run into some unusual offerings before.

Um.  Wow.

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Next time I feel the urgent need for punny cocktail napkins featuring cartoonish members of the Phyllophaga, I will know where to come.

Sigyn, come look at these!

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I suddenly feel the fridge at the house is woefully under-decorated, don’t you?  And perphaps if I put the hippo and elephant butts right at eye-level, she could finally make some traction on that diet she’s always whining about.

Usually, when we are here, Sigyn manages to get herself trapped in something.  Today, though, I hopes we’ll make it out of here unsca–

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I spoke too soon.

Thankfully, she does not seem to be in any distress.  While I contemplate how to retrieve my beloved, I can ask this deeply philosophical question.  What is cuter that a smiling Sigyn face?

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Multiple smiling Sigyn faces!

Hang on, sweetie.  Loki’s coming!

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Fetching the Family, Part II: A Very Dangerous Emporium (Human Male Edition)

Just down the strip mall from the restaurant is a game store the humans have not visited before.  It is clean, bright, and well-stocked with the latest board and card-based games.  In short, a wilderness of temptation for the human male. 

While he is perusing titles and planning how to spend some recently-acquired bonus money, Sigyn and I can also have a look around.

Sigyn is mostly drawn by cover art.

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Do I need to buy you that one just so you can look at the birdies, my sweet?

Thor’s bitty ball-peen!

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Can I go nowhere without running into my oafish brother’s likeness?  Look!  He and his stupid hammer are up there under the “ME”.  I hope the rules for this game allow for the the bashing of him.  If the box weren’t shrink-wrapped, I’d check.

The human male has made his selections and is ready to check out.  Sigyn, are you ready to go–

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Sigh.  Twenty seconds!  I took my eye off her for twenty seconds.   Hang on, dearest.  Loki’s coming.

There.  Safe and sound.  Dangerous jars of dice and games featuring my brother notwithstanding, this is a pretty nice store.  What is it called, again?  The Gaming Goat?  What an odd name!  And their little mascot appears to be possessed.

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You look mighty cute up there, dearest.  I’ve discovered, though, that if you press down on the base that caprine creature is standing on, it screams like the proverbial banshee.  I think I’ll buy a couple and teach the Terror Twins how to activate them in the middle of the night.  That ought to make the family’s visit a truly memorable one.

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On the Way Home From the Gaming Convention

Well, that was four days of my life I’ll never get back.

The convention is over, but it appears the adventure is not.  The human male has stopped at an odd little shop on his way out of town.  Sigyn, my sweet, would you like to explore?   Yes?  Then let us proceed!

What is this ceratopsian doo-dad?

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A taco holder?  Really?

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No, Sigyn.  No, don’t give me those puppy eyes!  As much as I think cluttering up the human female’s kitchen with strange, unitasker kitchen kitsch that isn’t going to fit anywhere would be fun, I really don’t want to spend money on this plastic dinner dino.

If you want to go for a little ride, though, I’ve no objection.

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I might even join you.

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There.  That was fun.  A good ending to our excursion.  What a trip this has been!  We survived late nights, long games, strange encounters with ecdysiast eggs, and multiple days of the human male’s company.  We’ve scouted out some real estate, taken a frigate for a test drive, and been invited to a penguin party.  Safe and sound, we are just about home free…

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Sigh.

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DNA Stands for Do Not Attempt…

The students are going to be studying DNA in lab this week, and Prep Staff is running a text experiment to make sure that all the reagents and equipment will work properly.

The experiment involves something called PCR.  That stands for …. I’ve never figured out what, exactly.  I’m going to assume it stands for Please Contribute Resources, so I’m doing exactly that.

Because I’m helpful like that.

Anyway the idea is that it can take a teeny, teeny, teeny amount of a person’s genetic material and make a bazillion copies so it can be analyzed.  Prep Staff is getting a sample from various people on the floor.  Obviously, they want the finest DNA possible, so I’m giving them a sample.

I have my little tube full of sterile saline, here.

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Next, I label a cup with my name…

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Well, that was predictable.  Sigyn, my love, you’ve contaminated my cup!  Your lovely DNA is all over it now and I’ll have to get a new one.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  I’m going to swish the saline in my mouth for a moment or two…

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Spit it into this new cup…

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And then pour it carefully back into the tube.

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That is some precious Jotun saliva, right there.

Next, the tubes of saliva will go into the big centrifuge.

But first, a little ride…

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After a spin, it’s all alcohol and primers and a long, boring wait for the thermocycler.  We’ll check back in later to see how it all turned out…

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