My wife and I restarted our family blog today. Scaling the Peak began as an account of our attempt to live more sustainably, with an eye on preparing for peak oil futures. Now that concept is blended in with surviving The Great Recession/Depression II/The Great Reset.
Even after a person is gone from this world, people often tend to remember birthdays. They say: today is the birthday of someone who would have been so many years old. So just in case you're not around next year: happy birthday. "Happy Birthday" by Thomas Ligotti (From DEATH POEMS)
Updating the food tampering story: the grocery store is investigating. We received two phone calls. The first was a bit disturbing, with a staff member asking us questions indicating he was clearly uninformed about the case. Later in the day a second staffer called, demonstrating far more competence, and indicating that he thought this an isolated incident. Investigations continue.
I'm definitely far more nervous as I open every container from a store: orange juice, cheese, whatever. And feel more confident in the food we've made (eggs, goat).
Web 2.0 feedback continues to be excellent. We've gotten a stream of advice and support from kind folks via comments on the previous blog post, via responses to my Twitter feed, and by Flickr. Crowdsourcing how to handle this has been very beneficial. Among other things, these replies are reassuring emotionally and practically. I don't know where this goes next, but it's already a useful example of social software helping offline life.
Here's a photo of the package, right after discovery. Needle positioned over ironic label for greater visibility: Here's the needle alongside a US coin, for scale: More updates as they come.
We had a horrific experience today. It was nearly Gothic in a gory, terrible sense. And it might not be over.
After noon noon I was making an elaborate lunch for my family, plus our splendid neighbors, Tammy and Erik. I had finished baking buttermilk bread, had chicken in the oven, and was prepping a series of omelettes. I took an unopened sausage package out of the fridge, slit open the top, reached inside...
...and noticed a gleam of metal, not one-quarter of an inch from my finger.
A needle. More than one inch long. And sharp.
I looked up from the barely-opened package at my friends, my wife, and my children, as the frying pan sizzled with the last pieces of the previous sausage package. Then I washed my hands, so I could get the camera.
We had bought the sausage from Shaw's, their store in Middlebury, where we've shopped for years. The brand is Wild Harvest. So I called that store to alert them. The manager expressed dismay, and asked me to bring the package down.
We arrived at the store around 4 pm, and spoke with staff. They assured us that Shaw's would investigate the matter immediately, testing to see if there were any other cases of this. They pulled the rest of that sausage off the shelves. We are expecting a call within two days.
I also took this to the Web. First, I Twittered about it (starting here). Second, I asked friends in the Brainstorms community for feedback. Good advice came from both, for which I'm thankful. Third, I hit the Shaw's "contact us" page.
Several friends pointed out recent stories about needles in food in Australia and Japan. That's a bit nervous-making.
What next? Talking with our lawyer. Posting a couple of images to Flickr. Waiting to hear back from Shaw's. Trying not to think about what an inch of sharp metal would have done to my tongue, or gums, or cheeks. Or, far worse, for my wife, or children, or friends. And hoping that this is an isolated event, an accident or a freak act of one-time sabotage.
A strong winter storm has finished dispensing seasonal color to those of us in New England. I've documented the snow, ice, and wind at Flickr.
But as the longest night of the year draws nigh, how best to respond? In a Gothic fashion, of course. We should contemplate the wendigo, classic winter horror deity, or Ithaqua. Steven Kaye draws our attention to the classic Conrad Aiken story "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" (1934). The text doesn't seem to be on the web, but there's the library, and the excellent Night Gallery version (two YouTube parts: 1, 2). Any suggestions for wintry Gothic, for snowy horror?
Coming up next week: Christmas and ghost stories, a fine English tradition.