Monday
Jan172011

what I’ve been doing instead of blogging

Monday
Jan172011

package design update

Almost two years ago, I posted an account of the process of creating designs for a new line of frozen foods called Good Food Made Simple®. Most prepared convenience foods are junk, with way too much fat and sugar and salt and long lists of preservatives and colors and such. But GFMS products are to be “made from ingredients you can understand”—my client is betting that people who won't eat junk food will still appreciate convenience, or maybe that people who want convenience will appreciate the better quality.  I think this is a good bet. The first product was prepared frozen steel cut oatmeal.

The product was just trickling into retailers when disaster struck: the contract manufacturer who was actually making the stuff went belly-up. My client, who’s had more than their share of this sort of bad luck, remained convinced they have a good concept, and went looking for another manufacturer. Fortunately they found one, but the new factory’s production line could not be adapted to the same shape of frozen oatmeal “pucks,” so the packaging had to be redesigned to fit the new shape. Those are some of the new packages in the photo at the top of the post.

I've learned that it can take real determination and persistance to get a new product onto the market.

In the meantime, new products have been developed for the line. There are now four flavors of oatmeal in retail 2-packs, two flavors in club store 8-packs, and egg patties, both whole egg and whites only. Hot cereal blends with ancient grains like quinoa and farro are coming soon, as well as breakfast burritos, a couscous/quinoa side dish, potstickers, and more. The oatmeal is doing quite well in the first Costco region to take it on (in Texas—go figure) and is coming soon to Hannaford stores in my own area. 

Sunday
Jan162011

stirring in my sleep

This hosting service costs me an annual fee, and despite the passage of a year and a half since I last posted, I have ponied up the money—somehow unwilling to let it go. I just now came back here to read over old posts.  Some of them I barely remember, while others seem to me as if I wrote them only days ago. A few make me proud that I wrote them. A few more are downright embarassing. Will I start posting again? I’m not sure, but if I do my focus will be different. In the first go-round, I wrote about news and politics, along with bits and pieces about design, old ads, and life in my corner of Vermont. I was trying hard to post regularly, in the hope of developing an audience, something I manifestly failed to do. If I start up again, it will be irregular and personal, and I'm not going to worry about whether anyone reads it.

Sunday
Jul262009

gone fishin’

I seem to have a severe case of “what's the point?” disease. I know there is one (a point, that is) somewhere buried in the activity of writing posts here, but at the moment I'm having trouble seeing it, so this is to let you know that I am not going to worry about it for a little while longer. When I feel like posting again, I'll drop an email to the few occasional readers I know about. In the mean time, go read Obsidian Wings, Digby, LG&M, Balloon Juice, or any of the other fine blogs on the list at right. Thanks.

Tuesday
Jul142009

a sadness

It’s one thing when I don’t feel like posting trivialities here for a few days. It’s quite another when Hilzoy decides to hang it up. Her sane, civil, and very smart commentary at Obsidian Wings has been a rare source of the wisdom we ought to expect, but almost never get, from professional philosophers. I will deeply miss her.

Wednesday
Jul082009

roadside blossom of the day

This appears to me to be Arrowwood, Viburnum dentatum, based on my wildflower book and about 20 minutes of poking around via teh Google. The toothy serrated leaves look right, and the flower clusters look right, but none of the photos I've found in print or on the web has that reddish ring-shaped marking. So maybe I'm wrong. V. dentatum is often grown as a decorative shrub, but I found this growing wild by the side of the road.

Wednesday
Jul082009

bygone american automobiles VI

Here’s another one, from 1947. Once again, Wikipedia has the history.

Tuesday
Jul072009

no sympathy

I’ve seen younger bloggers, expressing some guarded sympathy for Robert McNamara. But no sane person of the boomer generation or older—no one who actually lived through the Vietnam war era, whether veteran or bystander—feels anything but contempt. You can separate sane from crazy on that criterion alone. The young who have gone all squishy after seeing "The Fog of War" should go back and read some history. McNamara’s late perception of (some of) his errors is cold comfort for the millions of dead and maimed civilians, the ruined lives, the names on that black wall in Washington, and our ruined polity. Think how different the world might look if not for that stupid, unnecessary war.  Joe Galloway is on the mark.

Tuesday
Jul072009

final palin post

Stupid narcissism, or narcissistic stupidity—you choose. From ABC News:

But as for whether another pursuit of national office, as she did less than a year ago when she joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the race for the White House, would result in the same political blood sport, Palin said there is a difference between the White House and what she has experienced in Alaska. If she were in the White House, she said, the "department of law" would protect her from baseless ethical allegations.

"I think on a national level, your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out," she said.

There is no “Department of Law” at the White House.

Monday
Jul062009

roadside blossom of the day

Rough Fruited Cinquefoil, Potentilla recta. I think.