Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring Peeve

Although this week the thermometer doesn't quite know it, officially Spring has sprung roundabout Exit 151. An, um, exuberant exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show anticipated the day. Notice the lavish use of floral material, topiary, Slinkys, and dryer exhaust tubing – the last, um, wittily mirrored the conduits on the ceiling of the convention center. Anyway, the judges liked it, see the silver plate?

Spring has sprung

There's something about vernal equinoctial light that makes me want to scrub the cave, throw stuff out, streamline. The annual impulse runs smack into another annual phenomenon that includes useless software packaging. That makes me irritable (DH, from a safe distance, suggests extra irritable). It's my seasonal peeve.

Consider this software box, shown with two Familiar Objects for Scale. It's been years since software of this sort has come with a manual, and yet the box could still comfortably accommodate print documentation the size of an urban telephone directory. Inside the box there's a black plastic packing form to take up space. The actual contents – a CD and two rebate forms – have less mass than the two Familiar Objects for Scale.

Unnecessarily large software box   Black plastic packing form to take up space   Actual contents

The useless oversize box and the plastic packing form go straight from the store into the waste stream. Roundabout Exit 151, that means they go to the county incinerator in Newark, the state's most populous city. No surprise that urban asthma rates are up. It's not too great a stretch to conclude that excessive packaging not only increases dependence on petrochemicals, but also contributes to environmental racism. I'd be just as happy to have less packaging.

Naturellement, the Flower Show included examples of the minimalist approach. Here's one from the table setting competition (even the shadows enhance the theme and the edgy secondary triad color scheme). The judges liked this one even better (see the big fancy silver platter).

Big Apple table setting

Discerning readers will have noticed a dearth of knitting content lately and may have surmised I've been distracted by other things. Never to fear, there's some charity knitting in the wings. Implausible as it may seem, DH says it reminds him of the musical Carousel.

1 comment:

Erica said...

It has been grey grey grey here, so the flowers are a welcome change of pace! Thanks for letting us see them.

Did you happen to see the Consumer Reports article about excessive packaging? It's so frustrating -- wasteful, dangerous, and utterly unnecessary.