|How am I ever going to know which color to choose?|
For the accent color we chose Craftsman Brown. Or as Nate likes to call it, Inoffensive Brown. But seriously, what exactly is "Craftsman Brown" supposed to describe? Is Craftsman a generic term, or is it the name of a specific personage? You know, like Craftsman Brown is Encyclopedia Brown's blue collar brother, or Farmer Brown's wayward son who didn't want to raise corn anymore. Is there an Unskilled Laborer Brown as well? Who comes up with these names? Was the color Craftsman Brown inspired by something in particular, or were the Sherwin Williams folks just lightening/darkening a basic brown by different degrees and dubbing the resulting colors with the first word that came to mind? If I had a microphone, and a trenchcoat, and a cameraman, and I saw a Sherwin Williams executive climbing out of the back seat of a nice car with tinted windows to make their way into an office building, I would totally harass them with these questions.
The thing is, if you were to mix Roycroft Vellum and Craftsman Brown, you wouldn't simply get Roycroft Brown, or Craftsman Vellum. No, instead you'd get "Morning Latte" or something like that. Actually, Morning Latte is far too descriptive. It would be something more puzzling, like "Farmhouse Simplicity."
In addition to our Labor Day labor of painting, I spent a good portion of the day relaxing and reading. Unlike holidays such as Thanksgiving, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or Memorial Day, where you have the day off work but should really give some thought to the reason for having the day off, Labor Day is a holiday where the whole point is to rest from your labors. Therefore, time on the couch with A Song of Ice and Fire is guilt-free.
|When you play the game of thrones,|
you win, or you drivel
Reading a novel seems just as easy to me as watching television, but I suppose there is a real difference between a novel, even a poor one, and a poor television show. While an episode of Battlestar Galactica may be roughly equivalent to a chapter of A Song of Ice and Fire, the same cannot be said for A Song of Ice and Fire and Wipeout. The difference is in how much thought occurs. In a good novel or show, you have to be mindful of character development, and foreshadowing, and underlying messages. But having said that, it is possible to read through A Song of Ice and Fire and not think too hard, basically allowing yourself to slip into a zone where little mental engagement occurs. Case in point: Yesterday I was reading a bit of A Storm of Swords when I came to a scene where one character is telling another character a story. The story being told is supposed to serve as a parallel to events that occurred with the family of the listening character while also providing insights to the reader about the larger plot of the book. The character, who is a boy, does not pick up on the parallel between the symbolic figures in the story being told and his own family members, so the character telling the story keeps asking "Are you sure your father never told you this story before?" Of course, this prodding from one character to the other also serves as the author Martin's way of prompting the reader to pick up on the insights being offered, making it a little easier for the reader by saying "See? See? Are you understanding what I'm telling you here?" Now, this is my second time reading the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series, and this scene does not ring any bells from my first reading. So yea, despite how painfully obvious it seems this time around, I'm pretty sure I glossed over this chapter last time, and instead of picking up on the insights as Martin intended (and tried to highlight), I must have just read it thinking "Hmm, that's a nice story this character is telling!" Not much mental engagement.
Thus far I've really been talking about fictional books and shows, but there are obviously also books and shows from which you can learn history, or science, or whatever. And while it is perhaps more admirable to read a novel than to watch a television show, it is even more admirable to read some book that educates you, because it can potentially teach you things that will make life more rewarding or more interesting. Sure, reading A Song of Ice and Fire may impact my life by causing me to use phrases like "must needs" and think in terms of jousting, but it won't necessarily tell me about how the financial markets can hope to turn around, or even how to make an omelette. Don't get me wrong - I think that even a novel can hold great value for educating us about life, but it is still easy entertainment more often than not.
|Not a dilemma|
That brief brain fart I experienced reminded me of a time in high school when I had to deliver a book report to my English teacher. The book I had read was Fools Die by Mario Puzo, and as I discussed the book with my teacher, he asked me "So, what does the title mean?" And unlike with The Omnivore's Dilemma, I couldn't come up with a good explanation. Today I would probably say something about how the story features all these characters who rise and fall, and how they succumb to the harsh world, and how the main character is a survivor, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's happy, or something like that. Instead, I said something like "Well, there are all these characters, and they end up dying, and the main character says 'Fools die,' and....uh....for some reason the one character kept saying 'Are you sure your father hasn't told you this before,' and uh....."
Probably the real answer is just that Mario Puzo thought it sounded like a cool thing to say.
Anyway, this did not happen with The Omnivore's Dilemma, and it was convincing enough that I decided to try doing some grocery shopping from local markets and such where you can get locally grown food. The first thing you notice in one of these markets is that things are significantly more expensive. So why shop there? Well, for one thing you could argue that there is a cost to the environment when purchasing mass-produced food. But a better argument, in my opinion, is simply that if you want to have these nice little markets in your neighborhood, then you have to give them some business, because otherwise they'll close. So when shopping at a local market, it's probably best to just go in to see what they have available, and plan to buy things you want regardless of the price.
On my most recent trip to one of these community markets, the list of purchases looked like this:
- Romaine lettuce
- Krema peanut butter
- Dark red kidney beans (canned)
- Colby cheese
- Wasa bread
These few purchases took me to a bill of about $20, but the local peaches are really good, and the local lettuce was really fresh. Strong qualities on which to base a buying decision! As for the beans, you can check them out here, and see how wholesome and neighborly the website is compared to a corporate behemoth like this, what with their corporatey flash animation and their corporatey Twitter account. Nice try B&G Foods! You'll have to do better than invoking the name of a famed teenage girl martyr to get me to buy your can of beans! Now away with you!!
|Mmm, so creamy, so self-righteous|
Which, I might add, would be a great name for whenever Sherwin Williams needs to go one shade lighter than Roycroft Vellum.