Sunday, March 18, 2007

As I recall.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream has announced a voluntary recall of a quarter-million pints of its new flavor, Willie Nelson's Country Peach Cobbler (Peach Ice Cream with Cinnamon-Sugar Shortbread Pieces and a Peach Swirl). Was the recall for a good reason, like they'd accidently blended in 100 gallons of lubricating fluid or tossed in chunks of tasty broken glass? Um, no. It's because they didn't print a "wheat alergy" warning on the label or mention "wheat" as an ingredient.

Yes, yes; avoiding inadvertent anaphylaxis is doubtless a good thing. But wouldn't you think a little common sense could be applied here?

First of all, wouldn't the flavor's name ("peach cobbler") or its description ("with ... shortbread pieces") be a pretty good indication that there's flour in it, even if "flour" is absent from the list of ingredients? And thus, a good way to avoid an allergic reaction might be to refrain from eating the ice cream?

And second, pulling the ice cream out of the stream of commerce seems like classic overkill. And if consumers have bought any ice cream and not eaten it yet, "they should discard the ice cream and send the base of the empty container back to Ben & Jerry’s for a full refund." Sounds to me like a waste of perfectly good ice cream. Here's a better solution: "they should make sure the ice cream is eaten by someone who isn't allergic to wheat, even if that means giving it to the neighbors."

I bought my first pint of this ice cream about a week ago, and I can report that it's pretty good. Sufficiently good that I bought another pint of it yesterday - a day or two after the recall. The flavor was still on the shelves.

Also in recall news possibly involving wheat, the manufacturer of store-branded cat and dog foods is recalling boatloads of wet food for dogs and cats, as it might be causing kidney failure. They suspect it's related to wheat gluten purchased from a new supplier (a supplier they won't be using in the future, as you might imagine).

This recall doesn't affect my household. No one here deigns to eat store-brand catfood if there's something more expensive at the store that I can get for them.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Not much to say, of late.

Working like a maniac at the job. I'm about to complete Week Four of this "two week" project, not that I'm complaining. And it'll last at least another month. So my mortgage holder and checking account are both happy.

The cats were happy on Wednesday and Thursday: the weather was warm enough (over 80, and high 70s, respectively) that I left the bedroom windows open for them, the better to sniff the outdoors. Didn't do that today though: as I was driving home, it was snowing.

Snow!! You'd think it was the middle of March, for crying out loud.

Monday, March 05, 2007

An unfortunate spectacles incident.

I got to leave work early today. Or, perhaps, I had to leave work early today.

My glasses fell apart.

A screw holding the frame around one lens decided it was tired, and fell out of the frame, causing my right lens to follow it. No amount of coaxing could get the screw back into the frame properly, especially since I lacking sufficient hands to hold the lens in place, squeeze the frame together, accurately insert the screw, and tighten the screw.

You know, it's tough to read a document and type the appropriate information into the database when everything is in focus through one eye and very, very badly out of focus through the other.

I've learned from enough past experiences to keep spare sets of glasses in the car, so I had the choice of driving to the glasses place wearing (a) the glasses with one lens (guaranteed to cause an accident, (b) glasses with a seven-year-old prescription (guaranteed to ruin my depth perception and give me a headache) or (c) my current prescription sunglasses (guaranteed to look stupid - or possibly stylish, but not on me). I chose (c), sunglasses after dark.

Luckily, the woman at the glasses place has far more coordination than I have (okay, not an especially high standard), and they're repaired. And ready for another exciting day at the office tomorrow.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Waiting for news.

One of the things about working on short-term projects is that you're never sure when it's going to be over. Typically, you get no notice - "what you're now working on will be it, and when you're done, you're done" - and sometimes it's worse than no notice at all (a phone call from the agency when you get home in the evening, telling you that the project is finished and don't go back to the office).

So you get to be good at speculating from the slightest of clues: the amount of work left to be done, compared to the speed the group has been working at, or the approach of a deadline which may or may not be extended, or the frequency of visits from the people in charge, or the level of distress on their faces when a contract attorney leaves the project, for instance.
And then there's speculation based on no clue at all, just wishful thinking. ("Wouldn't it be nice if the project lasted until the next lottery drawing, which I would win and then quit this job...." which tends to lead us into other lines of speculation.)
My current project was described as being "two weeks" long. On our first day, we were informed that we were to have everything finished by the end of the month, nine days hence. On Monday of the second week, we estimated that we had about one more day's worth of work, and on Tuesday, we overheard one of the paralegals on the phone: "You mean today's not going to be their last day???"

Through the next couple of days, they kept finding small things for us to do - mostly reviewing and re-doing work that had previously been done (and done badly) by BigLawFirm's associates who had picked up pieces they could work on and thereby pad their billable hours. But the last of the documents kept looming in front of us, signalling the end of the project.

Until today: they swept through the room and announced that they'd next like for us to go back through all the documents, and determine which documents should be used in upcoming depositions. And that this document preparation work ought to last "at least a month."

Well, good. I'll be able to keep making mortgage payments and purchasing cat food, after all.