Is that the best you got?

A serene mountain landscape.  Looks natural enough.  And if there’s one thing I do love, it’s nature.  Especially natural landscapes.  I simply can’t get enough of them in my daily intake of cardboard box art.

But upon closer inspection, there really isn’t a whole lot there as depicted above.  I’m guessing the green shaded bits represent grass, which pretty much grows in most places.  Then there’s some more shading on what I interpret to be the mountain.  But that valley is looking somewhat sparse, as far as the plant life goes.

Mountains are easy to depict.  Large mound of earth, off in the distance.  Check.  People like looking at mountains, because they’re there.  They’re huge and loom over us reminding us how insignificant humans can be.  But valleys are somewhat harder to depict, because they are anti-mountains, the space in between the hills.  It’s harder to focus on the negative space, and even harder still when the valley just doesn’t appear to contain all that much growing in it.

I just want more from this valley, especially when we’re throwing around the superlatives.  Is this the finest this valley can produce?  According to  the picture, I think not.  Maybe throw a river in there, show some foliage, shrubs, or bushes.  Something.  Draw in a tree or two on the mountain.  That wouldn’t hurt either.

Maybe the valley was left open on purpose, as I’m guessing the Valley brand probably grows more than one type of produce.  Don’t want to be pinned down, I understand playa’!  Diversify.  Not to mention that would lead me to believe all of their produce comes from valleys, when in reality most of the food is probably grown on farms.  Now, I’m not saying the farms aren’t located in valleys, but still.

I do like to imagine a giant, awesome valley, filled with tons of plants, located in some remote mountain range, like Machu Picchu.  But the transportation costs, plus refrigeration, labor, etc, damn, that would equal some expensive ass produce.  Still, I can dream.

Phew.  All this valley talk has got me worked up.  Good thing there’s this.  Now that is some hot, valley action.  And so informative!  I had no idea there were so many.

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Luck be a lady tonight.

Boy, did I get lucky with this post.  I’ve been on a dry spell with a series of mundane produce packages that I could barely ante up the will to photograph, and then bamn!  the Hi Roller walks in the door like he owns the place, and suddenly everything is coming up aces.  And I thought my luck had run out; I came this close to calling out the new line cook as a cooler, but that was just a bluff (she’s got a mean poker face, that one).  Sometimes all it takes is just one more roll of the dice, and you’re looking at sevens.  No matter how you cut the deck, this brand delivers.  Double down on that bet, folks.

I cannot stress enough just how awesome the art of onion packaging is.  This makes me wonder just how fierce and competitive the onion industry is.  Has the competitive market on onion production forced such creative designs as a means to sell their product?  Onions are pretty much a staple in any kitchen, so no matter what, somebody’s going to need them.  Do these designs actually give the company an edge?  Honestly onion brands tend to rotate every other week or so.  Or do they just hire awesome marketers?  The answers, I do not have.  But I do always look forward to the next bag, hoping for some grand design.  Thanks onion people.  You do all right by me.

On this glorious election day (I hope you got out to vote.  Really, it is kind of important), my campaign promise is this: “No onion left behind.”  Not even the one that sometimes slips out of the bag and rolls under the table, sometimes left there for days if someone doesn’t sweep up right at night.

 

This chemical eats through bricks, and causes lightning to shoot from hands.

Warning signs.  Always good fun.  No matter how clear one expects a picture representation to be, there’s always some way to interpret it differently than intended.  This comes from a particular cleaning agent, though I’m not quite sure which.

Short entry tonight, due to the fact I’m still recovering from a minor touch of the plague.  We should be back in good spirits by Tuesday, although I hear this cold going around has an unexpected  comeback period just when you think it’s over.

 

 

My English Major sense is tingling.

Fantastic.  I knew immediately I had to snap this one up today.  My four and half years of college, and degree of choice finally paid off.  Destiny shined on me today, in the form of this box, an ode to a character in a Shakespeare play.  Also chosen mascot to a vegetable I actually do enjoy eating: brussels sprouts.

Except I have to admit I never read the Merry Wives of Windsor, nor Henry IV, parts one or two.  I suppose I’ll get around to it one day.  Only so much time in a day.  I mistakenly thought this character came from The Tempest, a play I haven’t actually read either, though I did peruse Neil Gaiman’s ode to it ala the Sandman Comics several times… Um, maybe I shouldn’t play up the English Major bit so much (or downplay it, as self deprecating as I sometimes get.)

But at least I knew it was Shakespearean.    I consider that a point in my favor.

But why this character?  According to the cliff notes wiki, I gleaned Falstaff as being the Chris Farley of Shakespearean times.  Overweight, funny, loveable, yet carrying an underlying sadness.

Are brussels sprouts the Chris Farley of the vegetable world?  As adults, we are doomed to despise them (according to popular folklore).  Especially our children, and even our pet dogs begging for table scraps won’t touch them (again, popular folklore).  And many people agree they tend to give people gas.  I mean, Chris Farley was a funny, tragically funny, guy.  People of all ages find farts funny.  We recognize the humor of the brussels sprout.  (But sadly not my spell checker.  Still keep getting the wavy red line under the word ‘brussels’)

What is the underlying sadness of the Brussels Sprout?  So unwanted, so unloved.  Sort of round and portly (mostly dense).  Not even the dog will touch them.  A theme we see time and time again in popular folklore.

Kudos to you, oh wizards of advertising.  Well done on this one.  You have successfully used a literary reference, and used it well to represent your product.

This blog on the other hand, perhaps not so well.

And did you know Falstaff has also been used as a vaguely, unpopular meme:

Recheck that wiki page

"An Atlas body in 7 days!"

While particular brand names and their appearance certainly bring me great joy throughout the work day, sometimes you find hidden gems on the bottom of cardboard boxes that are usually non-food related.  This particular image comes from a company that deals us our chicken, and while it may seem odd to include a nifty little cartoon about how to safely lift a box, bear in mind that many boxes, when full, weigh up to forty to fifty pounds.  These boxes may be stored on shelves at your knees, mid section, or even up high, though most raw meat products are kept low, due to possible spillage or leaks, which could taint other unsuspecting food stuffs.  (I’m actually rather glad we have health codes and strict food regulation.  Safety is no accident!)  Depending on your work load for the day, or whether or not you’re the one to put stuff away in the walk-in refrigerators, moving these boxes around can be quite an effective work out.  Not to mention the older you get, the more chances you have to seriously throw out your back.  Hence most service jobs have a clause on the job posting, “must be able to lift up to fifty pounds.”

And for no good reason, random prose I came up with today, while discussing the personalities of two coworkers that clash all the time, despite those two being incredibly similar:

“For two people who are so similar to one another, they just can’t see or speak to each other about the common ground they share.”

Sorry, just needed to write that down.

Lift professionally.  I take that as a challenge.  Although I just don’t think I have what it takes to be a body builder.  I think it’s safe to say that career choice sailed on long ago.

But I did find this image:

From Tshirtgroove.com

I would totally wear this shirt, probably in that annoying, ironic way.  And for future reference, any references to me working out, or my awesome masculinity should be taken entirely as self-deprecating satire.

And then there’s the fact the figures in the image are both male.  Because, you know, only men work out.  Only men are professionals.  And only men lift heavy stuff.  So fella’s, be careful!  (note, this is also satire).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go wail on my pecs.

Elementary, my dear...

I know that the Halloween is tomorrow, and I tried real hard to find something related, to get into the spirit of things, but unfortunately this was the best I could come up with.

For one, I don’t see many pumpkin boxes in my line of work.  Namely because restaurants don’t really serve pumpkin on a regular basis.  Not to mention that I’m fairly sure the boxes that pumpkins arrive in would have to be rather large and ridiculous (think refrigerator size), if necessary at all, and storage of said product would probably be an impossibility, due to spatial limitations (which is probably why many grocery stores simply leave the pumpkins in the outside displays).  Perhaps I’ll ask the local grocery store how they receive them.  Then again, I probably won’t.  I have to work tomorrow.

Here we have the pride of the Watson family.  Upon first seeing this particular brand of onion, I immediately conjured up images of goth people thanks to the all black background.  There’s just something drab and foreboding about it.  Then I imagined the family as Gothic vampires, generations of Watson’s with a deep, secret family history.  Onion growers by day, but in the darkness of night, they harvest onions… and blood.

Which is probably no where near the truth.  (Apologies to any members of the Watson family).   But it is very nearly Halloween, and I’m grasping at straws here to keep this blog awesome and up to par with the times.

Other tidbits of note here:  Four generations of family; four perfect looking onions.  I see what you did there.  Although something about the sheen on the onions looks a little odd, because these onions are definitely not all in the same photo together.  Consider where the light source is.  And I’m having trouble deciding if the onions in the picture are in fact one onion, duplicated through the magic of Photoshop.  Also, the font isn’t as nearly Gothic as one could hope for, but the font color does kind of fit in with the Gothic color spectrum.

Anyways kids, enjoy free candy day.  And remember that the scariest thing about Halloween isn’t that malicious people are trying to poison candy, or the scary costumes, or the things bumping in the night.  It’s that Halloween always reminds me that I really should be all about arranging that trip to the dentist.  Have fun!

Warning: Consuming cantaloupes may lead to Yoga

First, let me just get this off my chest, because it is a burden I’ve had to bear for far too long.  I must admit in good faith, that I am subject to a personal bias against this next product.  Nothing against Del Monte company, or any of their fine, fine produce, but I, the author of this blog, must wholeheartedly swear and acknowledge, that I just do not like cantaloupe.

I can’t stand it.  Nothing ruins a perfectly good fruit salad more, than cantaloupe.  Well, that and Honeydew.  God, I despise honeydew.  I gotta chalk it up to genetics, and whatever it is that controls the mechanisms in our taste buds, but cantaloupe seriously tastes like death to me.  And even my hatred for cantaloupe transcends the taste buds.  The feel of the rind makes me cringe.  Even slicing it open (which should fill me with some sort of delight) gives me the heebie-jeebies.  And please don’t even let me smell it.  I’m about to dry heave merely thinking about it.

Do not even attempt to reason with me.  Leave some pro-cantaloupe comments if you must, but they will be ignored and remain unpublished.  There is nothing that can be done to change the author’s mind.  Nope.  I’m not going to listen.  My hands are shielding my ears.  “La, La, La, La, La”

I remember seeing this a while back, an article about those anti-cilantro people.   Now, I like cilantro.  I think it’s yummy in a nice, fresh pico de gallo.  Or on tacos.  Mmmm, tacos.  Nothing personal haters.  But brothers, sisters, I understand your pain.  I have those feelings, too, but my hate is directed towards cantaloupe.  But sadly, after I found this, it appears we the anti-cantaloupe coalition, are in a vast, somewhat even quieter minority.

I do have to chime in that at our restaurant we stopped using cilantro.  Due to a labeling error of the greatest variety, we began using “Chillantro,” you know, which helps people chill, bra.

Surprisingly, I do not hate yoga.  It’s one of those exercise regiment thingies that remain in a list in the back of my mind, of things I sometimes feel I ought to do, but through shear lack of will, know I will never actually attempt.  Kinda like running.  (Brief pause for personal snickering… I only run when I run away from something.  Sorry runners out there, I just don’t get it).

I guess an aspect of yoga I find unappealing, is the public’s misconception that yoga is some sort of ancient, mystical art, that may transform you into a flame breathing, martial arts master, ala Street Fighter 2.  (I wish.  I’d do it in a heartbeat.)  I’m not going to pretend I discovered this knowledge on my own.  I read about it here.

That being said, I think the main message here is that cantaloupes, like yoga, lead to some sort of health benefit.  Particularly aimed at female yoga practitioners.  But unfortunately I think I won’t find the time to test this theory, as I am not a female yoga practitioner, nor will I willingly consume cantaloupe.  I would not eat them with a goat, Sam I am.

Although the female pictured here does appear to be floating somewhat mystically-like, without any kind of background behind her.  Yet another effect of consuming cantaloupe?  Levitation!

And then there’s this.  You see.  I’ve been warning people for years.

Same brand. Different product. Still macho.

 

And here’s the cowboy:

 

Cowboy up.

It appears I overlooked some things regarding my last post.  Namely the fact I didn’t include the full shot of the cowboy.  I’ll admit feeling a little sheepish now, about my previous comments that the horse appeared subservient and docile.  As the above image depicts, the horse is clearly rearing up its hind legs as if about to kick some sort of onion interloper behind said celebrating cowboy.  Silly me.  At least I think that’s what it looks like.  Or perhaps the horse is trying to buck its master, as this does seem rather rodeo-ish to me.  I don’t know.  I don’t know much about horses.

The bucking theory seems to suggest the cowboy is not in control.  That seems rather contrary to the macho image.  Perhaps this explains the cowboy’s hat flying through the air (but does not explain his improper use of the hat string), although I’d have to do some physics research to determine which way the hat would fly off, if the horse had, in fact, tried to fling the cowboy off its back.  Maybe I’m looking too deep into this.

Speaking of too deep, does the horse/cowboy shadow resemble a cross to anyone else?  Not to mention, would they make a shadow in such a way, given the position of the sun?  Religious undertones?  Is the cowboy Jesus, or the horse?  And what does this mean for the onion?

Ack, this blog is getting no where.

More questions and more on the macho theory:   What is the desired effect in naming a product “macho?”  Who is the target audience?  As a male, I can attest to the fact I don’t think much about onions, like whether or not I appear more manly for buying onions, or less manly for that matter.  I don’t stop and look around to make sure no one is watching me before I pick up some onions for making manly nachos, while I shop at the grocery store.

Generic Male Customer #1:  “Oh, dude, that guy totally just bought some onions… what a sissy.”

Generic Male Customer #2:  “No way, bro, those are “Macho” onions.”

Generic Male Customer #1:  “Damn, my bad.  What a badass.”

But then again, to be fair, as far as my shampoo prefrences go, I do totally buy shampoos designed for men (Man-poos for short).  And vitamins for that matter.  Men’s health formula.  That’s right.  Unh!  Pure testosterone impulse buys.  And sometimes clothes designed for men.  I don’t know, it just seems right.  But, would the ladies shy away from a product branded as “Macho?”  Um, probably not.  Most people are just going to buy a vegatable based on need, and preferred kind (i.e. red, yellow, Spanish, white onion, etc), not brand, and probably (for some) what’s on sale/cheapest.

One close friend of mine, a university professor (I know smart people.), offered up a theory that perhaps the advertisers here are attempting to appeal to those that suggest crying is considered unmacho.  As we all know, men don’t cry and shouldn’t (because we don’t),  and cutting onions make people cry (but not cutting hippies, as the old joke goes… Hay-oh!).  Thus some males may think twice about using onions in their cooking, because crying is not manly.  But not if they are “Macho” onions.  To make yourself feel better about the manly tears, all one has to think about is that they are crying because they are dicing up macho onions.  Those onions are tough, strong and powerful, like you.  Of course you’re going to cry.  They’re manly tears, bro.  You and the macho onions sharing the experience together in manhood.  It’s ok.

Cowboys and onions

Once again we have encountered the use of “macho-ism” in the advertisement of food.  And what kind of icon can we also attribute macho-ness to freely, without remorse, and without dispute?  The cowboy.  Imagine, if you will, in your mind, the wild, wild west.  Big, open sky overhead.  A coyote howls in the distance.  Your throat gets dry from the arid climate.  The sun is very nearly always setting, at least that’s how I picture it in my imagination. And picture this: out on the dusty plains, the lone cowboy, atop his trusty stead, riding into said sunset, saddlebags full of … onions.

The cowboy rides hard, covered in sweat and dust-bowl dust, two days growth of his beard, the dry skin of his cheeks wrinkling underneath, and you know he shaves (when he chooses to) with a straight razor.  Why?  Because that’s macho, dammit.  Then there is the triumphant extending of his trusty cowboy hat, a victory cheer, proof of his determination, his manhood.  All while riding the apparently docile steed, whose head is bowed, or is merely grazing upon some unseen yellow grass.  And look, even that cactus is macho.  Check out those manly spikes protruding from the base.  Damn, those look sharp.

I also have to hand it to the bold use of the word macho, all done up in giant letters, with a tamer, more matter of fact, meek looking “onions” printed underneath.  Although the color scheme may be slightly off, if we’re going for stereotypical male macho-ism, but then again there’s also a giant, blue sun in the background.    For the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to say there’s probably a limited number of inks and colors advertisers want to use on packaging, hence the red to pinkish to white fade of the word macho, as well as the blue undertone underneath.  I’m only guessing here, because I didn’t study advertising in college.  I got me an English degree.  Hence why I’m writing this blog, an effort to use my degree and awesome knowledge base so that one day I might put this blog on my resume, in case I ever try to use said degree.

And now we come to the part of this entry that will probably not end up on the resume, by way of being edited out later.  Not sure if this next image qualifies as Safe for Work, but there’s the warning, just in case.  I’ll even try to put in some space between this sentence, and the image, because I haven’t really looked into the fine tuning of the wordpress yet, and how I can use its tools for the power of good.

 

 

 

 

 

And here we are.  I decided to consult the oracle of Google Image search to do some research on the different types of cacti, because something about the spikes of death near the base of the cactus in the above image cause me some concern.  Do cacti really grow those things?  As if they weren’t dangerous enough.  But then my discovery of this image on the first page completely derailed my entire thought process, mainly because I sometimes have a childish sense of humor, that manifested because I saw this:

 

 

 

Everybody loves a dick joke

I’ve got to hand it to this (apparent) cowboy (I don’t see any onions or horses around).  A very bold man, sitting very boldly close to a cactus.  Macho.

"Nacho" ordinary avocados... get it?

Sombrero.  Mustache.  Nachos.  Macho.  The essences of man.  For what is more macho, than a mustache?  For what is man, without nachos?  A hungry man. And what could possibly make nachos more manly, than avocados?  Avocados with mustaches, and the sombrero, just in case you thought avocados were not manly enough.  At least, I think I’m putting this one together correctly.

Again, we see the need to add gender to our produce (I almost said vegetable, but according to this avocados are technically a fruit).  Simply identifying the avocado as it is, is not enough.  Rightly so.  They don’t really do much on their own except grow from a tree, and then we harvest them.  We cut them in half, knife the pit, pull it out, and dispose of it.  Spoon out the nutritious, green insides and that’s pretty much it.  Eat it without preparation, or mash them into guacamole.  Mmm.  Guacamole.

But these avocados, uh huh.  They don’t take no guff.  I probably wouldn’t want to mess with an avocado that has a mustache.  I probably wouldn’t want to prepare them either.  I once proudly sported a mustache, (though it took some coaxing, and months of long, hard thought to come to terms with the idea, and execution) and I suppose I’d feel some sort of remorse.  Mustache guilt, if you will.

Although if a box of them came in to the shop wearing little sombreros, I’d be all about that.  I’m the type of person that would probably save all of the little hats.  Maybe even try one on, wear it around the office, er, kitchen, until my bosses yelled at me to take it off.  I’d most definitely wear them at home, though.  They can’t yell at me there.  I’m really craving a miniature sombrero now.  Ah, the power of advertising.

But at heart, I think what really perturbs me about this particular macho fellow, is his (yep, identifying him as male) lack of other facial features, beyond the eyebrows.  Mustache, eyebrows, sombrero – check.  All male.  Eyes, mouth, ears, nose, hair on head – nope, not going to do it.  I guess one could add little, muscular arms or something, while we’re in the business of macho-ing this fruit up.

And lastly, I think I’ll try to avoid playing the race card here, but I’m guessing (this is just a guess) this particular brand probably came form Mexico.  I could be wrong.  Honestly.

But on second thought,  hell, why not?  We’ve already made this fruit male, why not add nationalities?  We could give this produce whole life stories, stories about their ancestors, about when their grand parents emigrated to this country, boatloads of young avocados coming to America to find their fortunes, to live out the American dream…

On third thought, yeah, that’s probably not going to work.  We do just kind of eat them (given the current political climate, ponder that metaphor).

Speaking of eating, now I really want nachos.  Nachos dipped into sour cream.  And guacamole.  Oh, damn, now that’s macho.  Except I’m forbidden to eat avocados.  Well, it’s mostly self-imposed, unless I’m home for Christmas, then it is really enforced.  My mom makes some very delicious guacamole every year.  Except I’m only allowed to eat a little bit.  Truth be told, avocados tend to give me gas.  Rather horrible gas, not just the sonorous kind.  The deadly kind.  Not that you all really wanted to know that, it’s just a dilemma for me.  I do really enjoy the avocado, but my body’s reaction tells me small doses, friend.  Small doses.