Boot Season

Nina Leen, Life Magazine, 1961

These boots are made for walking,
and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these boots
are gonna walk all over you.

Are you ready boots? Start walkin'!

"These Boots Are Made For Walking" (1966)
written and performed by Nancy Sinatra

Who doesn't like summer?

But the end of summer is always an exciting time for me: it means only six more weeks until Boot Season begins.

In the meantime, I need to get through the awkward gap between Sandal Season and Boot Season, and I'm never quite sure what to wear. (There's a similar Awkward Footwear Season in the spring.)

I'm not a big shoe shopper at all. In fact, it would be fair to say that shoe shopping ranks on the Necessary Adult Activity Scale of Enjoyment™ alongside having my teeth cleaned.

I also hate wearing socks. I know, that's usually something said only by those of the five-and-under persuasion. It's just a thing, OK?

I love boots. I don't mean Nancy Sinatra or stripper boots; I mean just regular, comfortable, more or less flat-heeled, knee high, leather boots that keep your feet warm and look good with pretty much everything.

I don't have or need many pair of boots. I have three: really warm ones that are still fine to wear with skirts to work; plain black leather ones that ditto; and microfiber ones I bought in a vegan moment and that I tend to wear when it's raining. These three pair have gotten me through the last two winters and they're still in fine shape.

I know, this is hardly the stuff world leaders stay up at night and think about. I don't have a world to lead, though; I just try to get through every day as comfortably as possible.


Bower Ponds

I see scrapes in the ice. Shadow-like skaters in the distance. Twiggy trees that part for the bulbous sun.


Stop trying to be profound. Just call out what you see. And don't lean solely on the rods and cones faculty, see with all your senses.


A quiet sky. The heavens rest against an unseen backdrop.

Looking again, there's more.

Much, much more.

lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts » Georgia O’Keefe

Lines and Colors blog has a lovely entry on Georgia O'Keefe, one of my favs. Color choice and composition and technique.

Posted via web from marthasperry's posterous

Choosing Paint Colours

We moved last weekend, and we knew that 2 rooms would definitely need to be repainted; the dining room was a light pink, and the family room was a darker pinkish-salmon colour.

My wife and I ended up going over several swatches of paint, trying to pick something that would go with the existing furniture and the room space. We ended up choosing 2 colours; a light mocha, and a darker creamy chocolate.

The mocha colour was for above the chair rail in the family room, and the darker colour was for under the chair rail. The mocha also went into the dining room, from floor to ceiling.

In the colour swatch handouts, they had mock-rooms painted with these colours, which is how we'd come to choose our colour combination; it looks beautiful in the pictures... but somehow it didn't pan out in our family room; the 2 colours don't pop as much as we'd expected, and despite the colours being correct, I'm not sure what it is about the space that makes the colours seem meh.

I've not put up the chair rail that will divide the two colours yet, and we've not painted the baseboard white yet either... I just hope that once I've finished installing the chair rail and painting the trim-work a crisp white that the room looks as awesome as we'd intended; for now I remain skeptical.

The Deal

ALF sighting

"Here's the deal: I don't know what I'm talking about."

You know who I'm quoting, right?

Well, I don't.

I googled, I twitter-searched, I queried the synapses of my brain and nothing came up. Oh, there were contenders. A good many "You said I don't know what I'm talking about?!" fragments out there. Clearly, this was the polar opposite of that for which I deeply scanned.

Maybe the search engines failed me. Yeah, maybe.

I don't expect it from voices in traditional media, but surely the bloggers would represent.

Apparently not.

In the end I'm no more valiant. I've only peddled vapor quotation wares here. I've admitted nothing.

I'm part of the problem.

Your mileage may vary. I hope it does. Self importance is being democratized by the web, and there's no end in sight. The saving grace is I'm meeting a lot of great people along the way.

See how I did that? That tiny uplift at the end there. I'm an social commentary expert. I specialize in public optimism and private pessimism.

Now you know.

That's what I'm talking about!

Oh Lord Please Don't Let Me Be Miss Understood

Let me drop some science right at the start. I am not a programmer. I do not have a college degree in any kind of computer science area. I don’t work for a start up, or write some famous tech blog. I am a document clerk at a mortgage company, an improviser and a writer. I spend a good chunk of my life interacting with people via this crazy thing called the internet. I am a social media junkie.

Because of all the above statements, do not assume that I am not smart. Do not assume that I am not interested in technology and the future of the world. Do not assume that certain things might be above my comprenhension. And definately don’t assume these things based on what I allow you to see of me and my personality online.

(I will admit some fault to this before continuing. I should be more conscious of how I portray myself online. It can be argued that people will only see what you show them. It can also be argued that people are bad at judging a book by it’s cover. I am working on the how I put myself out there, it’s a work in progress.)

I have always had the problem that I worry about what people think about me. It is one of my biggest demons, and I can beat it back but never really destroy it. Sometimes he is bigger than me, and I can’t ignore him. Other times he is just a nagging in my left ear. I had just reached a nice comfort level with the demon. We were respecting each other’s space, he was showing me that I need to be cautious because they are still looking. And I have learned how to tune him out. The cohabitation was working out nicely, until this weekend.

I expressed an interest in going to Gnomedex next year, there were some presentations I would have loved to have sat in on this year. Not to mention the idea of getting to meet some of the people I spend 90% of my online time with isn’t a bad shake. My “place” at such an event was questioned by a few people. With thoughts along the lines of ‘what would someone like you want with Gnomedex’. I might have gotten more upset than I needed to, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I don’t really express my interest in technology as much as I should, I guess I could outwardly focus more on that interest than the others in my life. Then again, I don’t think I should change the way I function just to make sure people perceive me a certain way. This is a crazy yo-yo to be stuck on. Anyone have a pair of scissors?


Now Legal In A Country Near You.

Posted via web from marthasperry's posterous

Graffiti: Funnier Than No Graffiti - Amazing Incredible!

Obey The Hammer

Posted via web from marthasperry's posterous

Dolphins and Their Ode to Us

One of the funniest Movie-Songs. Too bad the film was horrible. But I just LOVE song. So, sing with me! -

So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear?
You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that
grow around you
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish
The world's about to be destroyed
There's no point getting all annoyed
Lie back and let the planet dissolve
Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your
pregnant women
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish
So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear?
(oh dear)
Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your
pregnant women
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish.

Hello, I'm from the Internet, and I'd like to talk to you about backup

I don't mean to alarm anyone, but:


I don't know what, or where, or when, but I'm pretty sure it'll happen to you. For one of hundreds of possible reasons, you are going to lose an electronic document that is very important to you. Backup can be cheap and easy, and as a brief follow-up to my previous post here, I'd like to make sure you're doing something about it.

Computers get old and break down, houses burn down, online services like Flickr may irrevocably delete all your data on spurious grounds, with no warning, and sometimes you just happily and confidently [shift]+[delete] the wrong file. Here's what to do to make sure you can recover that information (usually):
  1. Compose on your computer, publish to the net - anything that's worth keeping should be composed and saved on your computer, outside the web browser, not typed straight into a web-site. If you've got lots of stuff online already with no copy on your computer, just grab the most important bits first, don't worry about downloading every last Tweet immediately.
  2. Make it easy for yourself - keep all the personal files, from all users on your computer, under a single directory. All modern operating-systems have this as a convention - use it! On Windows that directory is "C:\Documents and Settings", and on UNIX type systems like Mac and Linux it's "/home".
  3. Back it up, this weekend! Run, don't walk, to the computer store, buy a 500GB hard drive (or larger, if you really have more than 500GB of "personal" data), and a USB enclosure to put it in. At the moment that'll cost you well under AU$100 here in Australia, and probably significantly less in real-terms in places like the US. Don't bother with expensive pre-packaged external hard disks with "one touch backup" systems, all you want to do is plug it in, copy the entire contents of that personal directory to it (leave it running overnight if you've got a lot to back up), and then...
  4. Get it as far away from you as possible. Have a family member or close friend store it at their house, or at the very least, take it to work and leve it in a secure location there. If fire, flood, natural disasters or theives do away with your PC, you don't want your backup in the same house.
  5. Repeat every 6 months to a year. No need to buy a new hard-drive and enclosure each time, you can just erase and re-use them, though it would be best to have at-least two and alternate between them, so while you've got one in your house to make the backup, there's another one tucked away safely.
There's a lot more that could be said about more advanced backup strategies, but if you haven't got any backup at all, the above is probably the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to protect the bulk of your data, so when the metiorite hits your home you only lose, say, 6 months worth of data, rather than the whole lot.
So, what are you waiting for? Go do it. Now!

New Habits

I was stopped by the cops while walking/jogging my neighbourhood at night just this evening.

QUICK! — what’s the first thing that went through your mind? (that you imagined went through mine).

Whether I want to admit it or not, I’ve been influenced by the popularity of police behaving badly news stories (I’m looking at you, youtube, digg and reddit). So, benefit of the doubt on my part? Nope.

My instant thought was, they’re going to hassle me about something. The next mind spasm was, what could they possibly suspect anyway? I’m in workout attire with a Nano and earbuds firmly in place in a quiet neighbourhood on a Thursday night before 10pm. I’m on a public sidewalk!


Here’s what happened:

I see the police cruiser pass me. I hear it stop. Then that winding-up sound of traveling in reverse gear. Now the car is parallel to me.

Bright white lights.

I unplug my ears and step toward the light intensity, my pupils frantically constricting. When closer I can finally see two females inside. The one passenger side then says in a sincere, concerned voice:

“Excuse me, we’re looking for a mentally challenged adult wearing blue jeans and a tan shirt; he probably has slippers on. Have you seen him?”

I say, “No, I’ve been down that street one block over and now this one, and I haven’t seen anyone outside actually. Sorry.”

“If you see him, could you call 911?”

“Yes, I sure can.”

“Thank you.”

We part ways.


I’m no runner. Not even a power walker, but somehow I just started a new exercise habit three days ago, so being present in the streets of my own neighbourhood at night is, strange as it sounds to me, a new experience.

So what reason did I have for expecting an RCMP encounter that was based on anything other than doing what a good, capable and resourced neighbour would do given the opportunity and a uniform — even searching the night to find a loved one who has innocently wandered away?

I have unreasonable reasons, but that’s about it. A fight or flight nervous system is a reality for creatures, which includes me; I get that. I just don’t want it to be all that I am. Tonight was a step forward in that quest.


I approached a neighbour (of 2 1/2 years) who’s across the street from us. He stepped out to take his wee dog for a walk. I had breaking local news, so I brought him up to speed. The blue jeans. The shirt. Most importantly, the slippers. Then the leash tugged him onward, and I retired home. It was nice to meet Gary for the first time tonight. Hey! I even remember his name, a memory skill that usually evades me.

I’m liking this new habit.

"Have A Good Night's Sleep. Tomorrow's Another Big Day."

So the other day was glorious. Sweltering hot for our city near the ocean, but breezy and comfortable on the boulevard overlooking the harbor. I took my niece and nephew and my own three children out for ice cream at dusk and we walked along the boulevard as night fell. The kids marveled at the ocean at night, the boats passing through the cut under the draw bridge, the eerie light on the fisherman statue. Nighttime is a whole new adventure for young children and they eat it up like a dollar bag of penny candy. The cousins laughed and ran around in circles, climbed statues, met dogs and generally played as kids are wont to do.

My 3-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son held my hands as we walked back to the car. Out of the still, my daughter looked up to me and said "I love my life." My heart almost burst. My son quickly added "Me too." It was one of those very rare moments when I felt like a successful parent.

Fast forward to yesterday: I asked my 7-year-old if he really did like his life. He looked at me in his very serious way, thought for a moment and then answered in the affirmative. Waiting a moment, he added, "but sometimes I do get sad." I didn't press him further at that moment for an explanation, but my mind raced a bit as to what might be making him sad. He is a worrier and definitely creates stress for himself. A true middle child, he regularly takes on the troubles facing his older brother and younger sister in order to lighten their load and to "make peace." He worries that his toys might get picked up by the vacuum cleaner, he worries that he won't finish his extra work for school. He reminds everyone when they forget a matter and can find almost anything any of us lose.

This evening, he sat quietly reading in the other room, while I read news on my laptop. I called to him - "hey, buddy, what is it that makes you sad." Almost immediately, he came to my side holding an open Calvin and Hobbes book and asked me if I would read it to him. I thought it was a coincidence, that he had ignored my question, was feeling lazy and was simply looking for me to read to him. He is a good reader, but isn't terribly confident in his ability. He offered me the page pictured above. I read it to him, and completely understood his message.

A little while later, I heard him reading it to himself out loud. Didn't miss a word.

Point, most definitely, made.


William M. Vander Weyde (American, 1871–1929), "Ocean Liner, SS St Paul" (c. 1900), from the George Eastman House Collection

This is not a post about addiction. This is a post about love.

* * * * * *

"in·ter·vene (ntr-vn)"

1. To come, appear, or lie between two things:

The human Will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless Soul,
Can hew the way to any goal,
Though walls of granite intervene.

2. To involve oneself in a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development:

Every gardener faces choices about how and how much to intervene in nature's processes.**

* * * * * *

Here's something I'm doing these days that I'd really rather not be involved in: helping to plan an intervention for a friend who's addicted to narcotics.

An intervention is

a specific process designed to break through denial on the part of persons with serious addictive disorders. Interventions . . . involve carefully orchestrated confrontations in which friends [and] family members confront the person with the negative impact and consequences of his or her addiction. The goal of an intervention is to bring the addicted person to acknowledge that he or she suffers from a disorder and [to] agree to treatment. This goal, however, is not always realized.

* * * * * *

Why, you ask, don't I want to be planning an intervention?

Well, it's horrible to face the truth that a woman I love like my sister, a friend I've known since my very first day of college 31 years ago, is a junkie.

It's horrible to face the truth that my friend, a talented, dedicated and highly trained professional, is trashing her career.

It's horrible to face the truth that my friend cannot end her relationship with a man who: trades the drugs she gives him for pot and deals that instead, since he makes more money that way; has sex with a variety of other women and refuses to use a condom; and who recently gifted her with an STD.

It's horrible to face the truth that my friend, whom I would have trusted with my life, has lied to me over and over and over and over again for years.

I want to believe her. I want to believe that she's not risking her career, her reputation, her health, her freedom, her life. (A recent study indicated that, even after treatment, addict death rates are between three and 14 times higher than those in the general US population.)

But I know about addictions. Helping others get help for addictions is part of my job.

I know that we are doing the right thing. I know that we are doing the only thing there is to do.

* * * * * *

I'm not in this alone. Three of us are planning the intervention. Let's call us the four of us Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg. We all met on that first day of college. I, Amy, lived next door to Jo; Beth and Meg lived across the hall.

I know, because we love our friend, that we don't have a choice: even with the few details we have about her life right now, we have an obligation to be tough, to not enable her by giving her advice or by comforting her about her myriad real problems, to refuse to believe anything she says, and to take the risk that she'll hate us and that we'll fail anyway.

This morning, Jo wrote:

I’m not worried about being hated, I’m worried about failure.

I thought about how to respond. The only thing I could come up with was a quote from Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism:

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.

You gotta give it up for Buddhism. Whenever I don't know what to do, I google:

[insert problem, e.g. "failure"] quotation buddha

It works a lot better than the Magic 8 Ball, seriously.

It helps.

So I guess loving someone means doing the best you know how to do. Sometimes it's really unbelievably hard, though.

* * * * * *

*Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American poet (1850-1919)
**Dora Galitzki, former garden columnist for The New York Times

My Grandfather's Data

The urge to preserve the recorded artefacts from our ancestors is basic - the stories we tell to keep their memories alive are so much more vibrant, and more easily recalled and re-told when they're anchored to a photo, a video or a letter. But how do we collect and preserve all that data: the photos, the letters, the videos, the documents and emails? My father's father left behind precious little in the way of recorded information - to my knowledge there's a handful of photos and a letter he wrote to my uncle, which I've seen but not read. No doubt there is more, but not substantially so. It's a simple decision for those who possess these artefacts to preserve them all, to the greatest degree practical. No need to organise and catalogue the contents - there is just so little there to preserve. But things are changing.The physical record of my father is already far richer in content. He has lived through an age when high-quality colour photography became widely available and affordable, first in the form of 35mm film, then in digital photography. He's been writing documents and mail (paper and, later, electronic) on a PC since purchasing a computer (an Intel 80286 based machine with a whopping 1MB of RAM) around two decades ago as a mature-age university student. We've never been the sort of family to make home-movies, but with phones and stills-cameras now offering video recording as standard, the temptation to flick over from stills to video every so-often is becoming irresistible. Even so, thus far the sum of all this information might amount to a only shelf full of photo-albums, a few binders full of documents, and literally a few minutes of video.
Skip forward now to the generation that will call me grandfather (hypothetical, since I have no children of my own at this point). As a third child, whose parents had grown tired of photographing children and their antics, my own early childhood shall retain some level of dignified mystery. However, as point-and-shoot film cameras gained popularity my life, at-least the part of it I spend at family gatherings, has been subject to far greater scrutiny. Now, between my family's photos of me and my own photos of the things in my life, there are literally thousands of images that I'll be leaving behind for my grandchildren to sort through. I've done them the favour of scanning the 1424 frames of my own films that were remotely worth looking at, but I fear it will be small consolation when they find the 8724 photos I've taken on my first DSLR since purchasing it just three years ago, or the tens of thousands more that I intend collect over the next several decades. I still have most of the personal emails I've sent and received in the course of my adult life. It is no slight upon this hypothetical generation when I suggest that the probably won't bother reading even the tiniest fraction of them: I can't imagine anything much more boring than reading through the minutiƦ of someone's electronic correspondence.
This is not the part where I start to rant about the folly of all this vast collection of data and preach a return to "simpler times" when people only recorded the things that "really mattered". Actually I think it's all rather wonderful, and I envy my grandchildren the high-definition, wide-screen, surround sound view that they will have into what will no-doubt be regarded as the quaint, old-fashioned times in which we live. I have just two questions:
  1. What plans, if any, do you have for collecting preserving the data left behind by your grandparents, or parents?
  2. What plans, if any, do you have for curating your own data to present it in the most accessible way for your grandchildren. Will you be leaving behind an unsorted blob of information, or picking out the most interesting parts for easy access? Will you delete all the saucy bits, leave them stand, or lock them in some kind of data time-capsule, to be opened only after all your children have died, to save them the embarrassment?
In answer to the first, since I can produce passable scans of both film and prints, I think perhaps I should take it upon myself to collect the few photos that exist of my grandfather. The second is far more difficult - I expect the most I can hope to manage is to keep the record in a single, largely unsorted, uncatalogued blob. I can't imagine wishing to censor anything. In-fact, I intend to be the kind of old man that drops the most inappropriate details of youthful follies into casual conversation. You have been warned.

That's it... I quit... I'm moving on.

So, I've decided to ditch my iPhone. The reasons were purely financial. It hit me that 10 months into contract I'll have spent $1000 just to have this toy. And it isn't like a computer where I'll be done paying for it. I get to keep paying... over and over to have the iPhone.

And what have I been paying for? Yes, I've used the data piece plenty because it was there. The voice minutes are just piling up though. It would be a nice gesture on AT&T's part if they would have a 200 minute voice plan for like $20 if you have the unlimited data plan. I know, I know... pipe dream.

In addition to the silly cost of keeping the device, there were service issues. The reception in my house is unreliable. I can watch it flicker from no bars to full 3G apparently at random while I'm sitting in the same spot. People were reporting getting my text messages hours later. Sometimes I would receive text messages hours later.

Finally, the hardware itself has some shortcomings: the poor camera and lack of SMS. Granted, the SMS business I knew about going in. The not so great camera was a surprise to me.

If I had sat down and been a bit more focused on reality instead of the dream, I would have realized that I used my phone mainly for texting and SMS. I like sending random picture messages to friends. I take pictures of the jewelry I make and send to flickr to keep track. I post to twitter. I did check my email on occasion. I look up addresses from time to time. I got my money's worth on my old Verizon plan. With the iPhone, I don't feel the same. For the most part, I feel as if I'm just giving money to AT&T as if they were a worthy charity.

In hindsight, I should have been more honest with myself about what I needed in a cell phone and been strong against the sweet seduction of "ZOMG INTERNETS IN MY POCKET!!".

My new LG enV Touch. Forgive the crappy picture, it was taken with the iPhone.

Music Memories & My First Apartment

Listening to Happy Rhodes tonight, I am instantly thinking about moving to Buffalo to live with the man who would become my ex-husband. I moved out of my parents to move in with him. I was 22. I was born and raised in a small rural town outside of Buffalo, and was excited about the idea of living in the city. We found a one room apartment in a rather nice neighborhood. It was a garage converted into living space. One wall was covered with mirrors from ceiling to floor. The bathroom was tiny and there was an out of tune piano in the “hall” area near the door. We didn’t have a tv, we got “online” by checking mail with Pine, and using his college account to get on IRC. I have a lot of little memories, rather than stories, about the place.

I remember our weekly trips to the library downtown, taking the subway down and coming back with piles of books. I remember buying canvases and paint, putting on Susanne Vega, Dead Can Dance and Happy Rhodes and painting late into the night. I remember being broke, really broke. Living on cheetos and coffee broke. I think of all the times I walked to the convenience store near by to get Little Debbie snack cakes, and cheap soda as a treat when we had money. There was the winters, when we would walk to the zoo and pay $1 to walk around because it was so cold. The time that my car got buried in the snow because they didn’t plow our side streets. We lived on rice and ramen, and lots of tea.

We wrote, painted, made paper mache sculptures, celebrated the solstices and lived. We lived hard, we struggled to live hard, but that made it even sweeter.


I rock at troubleshooting.

Went to print something,
the printer did not even whirr up.

So, Tech Support Q #1 "Sir, is it plugged in?"

DING DING DING! - the answer was NO!

I rock at troubleshooting.

To Cloud Or Not To Cloud

First off, let me just say I actually kind of hate the phrase "in the cloud". Same goes for cloud-hosting and all the derivatives. What happened to online, in teh tubes, or the classic "ether"?

At any rate, that's not the point here. The point is the age old question, do you rely on the cloud? We all know the plusses and minuses so let's just cut to the chase: is not having to worry about hardware or maintaining a server really worth not having control over your own data?

Granted, I'm not the kind of person that normally askes this question. When most people ask whether to cloud or not to cloud they're thinking about documents (and whether to keep them online vs. on their own physical media) or perhaps a website (where the actual choice they're facing is cloud hosting vs. a remote server with virtual access). I'm in a different camp altogether: when my server has an issue I get in the car, go to the data center, and get hands on and arm deep into fixing it. And while that sounds like a lot of work (it can be!) it's also pretty darn gratifying. When it comes to work I like the fact that I have total control over my server; it annoys me to no end that I don't have control over the firewall as well.

So from that point of view, what are the perks of choosing the cloud? In the case of this blog, is the ease of setup worth the trade-off of control? I'm starting to think it's not. What are your thoughts?

Things My Father Taught Me

I love my father dearly. He's one of the world's kindest men. As a traditional father figure, though, he's not, well, very traditional. Other than the Superbowl, he has absolutely no interest in sports. He neither taught me to throw a football nor to bat a baseball, and I've been the laughing stock of pickup games from sea to shining sea. He's completely useless around the house: I have never seen the man so much as pick up a hammer to put a nail in the wall. He can't mix a drink or deal a hand of cards, and he never tried to drive my boyfriends away - in fact, he usually liked them better than I did.

Nevertheless, he's been, in his own way, a role model. Lately, I've been thinking about things he's taught me. Let me share a few.


My father has worked in financial services his entire life, so I've learned a lot from him here, but as you'll see, it's not how to pick stocks or arbitrage bonds. His teachings are more basic, as follows.

1. Waste not, want not. This is a foundational wisdom handed down from my grandmother, who, of course, lived through the Great Depression. My father is also a Yankee to the bone. In my family, if you're buying something for yourself, you squeeze a nickel until the buffalo roams off the coin's face. (With gifts, you're allowed, even encouraged, to be generous; see #2)

2. Following from #1, take good care of your clothes and watch your weight. Then, if your style is generic, you can wear the J.Press suit you bought in 1952 to your 50th college reunion in 2004. (From time to time, you do need to invest in a new tie, but if you're lucky, you'll get a really nice one from your daughter on your birthday or for Christmas, or maybe both - remember #1.)

3. Following #1 and #2, if you don't buy anything, you never have to worry about clutter. Most of the furniture in my parents' small house came from my maternal grandmother's apartment in New York - which she moved out of in 1959. All my father's possessions, except for his snowshoes and cross-country skis, fit into his 8x10 home office - including his clothes, which are in a 3-foot wide closet. My own clothes also fit in a tiny closet, but I've actually given away a few things since college, which is a shame, since I see the peasant blouse is staging a comeback.

4. If you must buy something, travel out of state if it saves you sales tax. I buy everything from toothpaste to tomato sauce from - no sales tax and free delivery!

5. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This has two corollaries: buy low, sell high; and what goes up, must come down. I've learned that contrarians may miss the peak, but often, they avoid the crash.

Family Life

My parents have been married since 1958. Like any couple, sometimes it's worse than others, but I believe they've stayed together for two main reasons: my father loves my mother to death, and my parents always stand together in conflicts with my brothers and I. I don't have kids or a traditional nuclear family of my own, but if I ever do, here are a few things I know.

6. If you don't want to do something, don't learn how. Recently, I lived with my parents for a while between life phases. My shock and awe at seeing him unload the dishwasher is now legend. My father pulls his weight in many ways, but he is neither domestic nor is he handy. Every time he sees me do some basic, simple home repair, like fixing a running toilet, he acts as if I'd split the atom. But just don't try to teach him how you did it.

7. Always, always complement the chef. When my mother and father were courting, my mother told my father she'd attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school. In truth, she could barely boil an egg. She learned fast, though, and she became an amazing self-taught chef. After practically every meal, my father tells, her, "Huns, that was the best thing I've ever put in my mouth." Fifty-one years later, he gets a gourmet meal almost every night.

8. Be loyal and keep in touch with your high school friends. Someday, one of them might give your teenage daughter an underpaid job as an au pair for his five kids from three different marriages, thus relieving you and your adored spouse of the burden of her sullen presence around the house all summer.


For years when I was growing up, my father's job involved a huge amount of travel, and sometimes we traveled with him. Now, he won't fly except for emergencies, and he's pretty happy blowing the snow in the winter and mowing the lawn in the summer, but I did pick up a few things in my youth.

9. Stretch your trip. Always get to the airport three hours before anyone else so you can get an exit row or bulkhead seat, even if the flight is only half an hour long.

10. Learn the language only enough to be amusing. Famously, my father once told a French cop that he didn't want the red light ("je ne veux pas le feu rouge"), instead of saying that he didn't see the red light (he would have been trying to say, "je ne vois pas le feu rouge.") Laughter ensued; a ticket did not.

I don't mean to make fun of my father. He's a great guy, and, let's face it, these days, what are fathers "supposed" to teach us, anyway? I feel lucky I learned this much.

I just met the ghost of my dead friend on a tape.

Well, not quite, but close enough.

I found some tapes from various rehearsals in 1991, including songwriting and pre-production for an album that got two-thirds recorded and then failed to happen.

It was weird hearing us back then, both talking and playing, cos we were all very different people than we are now. I hardly recognised myself, even. Happily, we seemed to be much better players than I remembered.

It kind of struck me hard when I heard him talking and playing cos we'd met and become friends at school in 1982. But now here's this guy who's been dead since 1994, pounding the drums like a heavy Ginger Baker or a sober John Bonham or a Neil Peart who'd somehow learned restraint. And, even though these tapes are all kinds of crappy and old and printed through, suddenly he's alive again. For a few minutes at a time, anyway.

It figuratively stopped me cold in my tracks and made me wonder what he'd be doing today if cancer hadn't stolen the rest of his life.

Don't throw out those recorded snippets of friends and loved ones, save them. Our memories slowly (if we’re fortunate) fade with time.

And sometimes, without warning, that slow fade turns into a sudden blackout.

Ice Cream Truck

We got a phone call tonight around 7:45pm... it was our neighbors from two doors down.

"Dean, hear that music? It's the Ice Cream Truck!"

Today was a long hot day, so I sprang to action. My wife actually bowled me over as she made a dash for the stairs. We both yelled for our 4 year old son to get up and come with us to catch the Ice Cream Truck.

We made it outside in record time, and we can hear the music but the truck is nowhere in sight! My wife strolls up ahead of the two of us, and as she widens the gap between us I hoist my son up on my shoulders - he's in his PJs and has no idea why he is not in bed, and knows something is up.

We got to the main street out of our neighborhood, and we still cannot see the truck, but we still can hear the music. We start hoofing it home, and we run into the neighbors that called us.

"Did you see where it went?"

"No...", I answered.

I was on a mission - my wife stopped to talk while my son and I made our way to our driveway. I noticed our neighbor's husband was but a few paces behind us, and he walked up his driveway and into his garage.

My son and I hopped into the car and backed out of the driveway, I was determined to find the truck. As I check over my shoulder I see my neighbor zoom down the driveway and down the road on his mountain bike. I catch up and silently we coordinate that he'll go one way, and I'll go the other.

We stopped and picked up my wife, and we rolled down the windows to follow the music... at first we did not hear it, but once we'd passed the park we could hear it in the distance.

And then we saw a grown man run out and across the street, be barely checked for traffic. He was definitely running for the ice cream truck.

We followed him down the lane way and into the adjacent neighborhood, we were right - he was in line for ice cream. As we looked around for my neighbor on his bike, I saw him veer into view. I waved and he gave the thumbs up; we'd tracked him down.

And was it worth the effort? As we all sat down on the curb to enjoy our treats, my son smiles with a chocolate halo around his mouth; he said thank you, no prompting required.

Was it worth it? It most certainly was.

Microwave Oven UI Standard Project

Microwave Oven User Interface Diagram

Microwave Ovens: Failure is not an option.

In our household if the microwave breaks down, I have less than 24 hours to relieve the crisis. And by 24 hours I mean 24 minutes. Kiefer Sutherland has (or had—I have no idea) a whole television season to work things out. I have no such luxury (nor budget). Our kitchen/meal-making workflow keeps three boys and two adults ready for action every day. It’s kind of a big deal.

Here’s the problem. I don’t need a 42-button cockpit control panel just to heat food and beverage. I want to see two dials. That’s right, no buttons, just two large, easy-grip dials. Power and Time. Really? YES. Leave the worst of the worst to pure software, thank you.

The diagram at the top of this post is a shot across the bow of the microwave oven product design and manufacturing frigate. *the sound of a pee-shooter pellet plinking against a steel hull*

This 2-dial diagram is my rather rustic (i.e. pathetic) rendering of a microwave user interface (UI) concept. Many a kindergarten student could draw something superior to my sketch, but here’s the point: This ubiquitous home appliance needs a consistent, familiar face to interact with.

In today’s world, when I walk up to one at work, or Aunt Betty’s house, or a school, a hospital—you name it, they’re everywhere—I know I’m about to be reduced to an idiot pressing buttons in random formation.

Is it digits + power + digits + start?
Or digits + power~power~power + start?
Or maybe time + digits + (power optional) + start?


Maybe it’s just me.

Where to go from here?

  1. Standardization: Every standards compliant microwave oven features common UI (the 2-Dials or whatever the ultimate design is).
  2. Customization: Add all the secondary features (set time, cooking programs, etc) you wish to meet product line/model goals, but don’t infringe upon the standard, prominent Time/Power UI.
  3. Dialog: Get the appliance end users talking about points 1) and 2) with industrial designers and manufacturers, their reps, their rep’s lawyers and their lawyer’s lawyers—don’t leave anyone out, and stir things up. VCRs are finally dying out and taking the “blinking >12:00<” debacle to its shallow grave. The Microwave is not a lost cause, but if we wait for expensive, next generation touchscreen models to roll out into the mainstream, it will be too late. The shiny new things will be, predictably, overly complicated and each brand-component partnership will design it be impressive as a store demo (i.e. virtual/real button bloat and focusing on how many pie chart shaped whirling LED activity indicators are present).

So maybe the iPhone quickly becomes the snap-in UI faceplate to your breadmaker, blender and yes, microwave, and indie Mac developers sell you a no-nonsense interface from the App Store for $0.99. But this won’t happen to the low-end models which are the ones you mostly see outside your own abode. High tech fantasies won’t help here (do they ever?). Although, while we’re on the topic, the iPhone-can-plug-into-anything ruminations were, joke or not, well under way over a year ago (*waves to Matt* <— with a simple little invite I could make that a Google wave, hint hint).

Dream Come True

The dream, the vision even, is you step up to a microwave at a friend’s house, a cafeteria, a dormitory, the office lunch room, you reach for the standards-based common UI and operate it by muscle memory. Wait for your piping hot morsels. Done. Microwaves for human beings.

So, take the diagram and clean it up, improve it; or crumple it up, shoot for three points and share a completely different design that is the definition of simplicity and effectiveness. Or wordify your thoughts: write a comment here or an entire blog post of your own; leverage those internet-borne social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed Facebook) and join a wider conversation.

I won’t rest until the Microwave Oven UI Standard (MOUIS) Project is fully baked. But I need your help.

I’m not worried about the realization of Skynet, you know, the total domination by autonomous machines. I’ll just be devastated that the robot overlords will think our microwave contraptions were designed for them, and not for us.

The Secret Behind The Real-Time Web From Inside FriendFeed

Since everyone who blogs on here are friendfeeders and probably a lot of friendfeed fans are checking out this blog I give you this awesome video of how the read time web really works

Running a radio station off of an iPod AKA "Broadcasting from the western edge of America.......

.....Outlaw radio at it's finest."
I do a Music show on Saturday nights on our local community radio station. Each Friday night, I compile 3.3 hours of music of various genres from my obscenely large music collection and arrange it neatly into my play list. Each week is dramatically different than the week previous. It is a labor of love and one of the high points of not only my week, but of my life on the Mendocino coast. It is a blast!
The station is KNYO LP Fort Bragg 107.7, My DJ name is Jon Doe (a long story). Yes we do have a web stream but unfortunately it is not on all the time. The "LP" stands for "low power" radio - the type of FCC license we have. I am building a new site for the station to be launched in a few weeks. We run the radio station on $2200 a year, the whole thing is contained in a 24 foot trailer nestled in the Redwoods (our antenna is 75 feet up in a Redwood tree) in my friends Sean and Liz's back yard. We run the radio station like a pirate radio station (but with a FCC license).
I use iTunes to do my playlist and sync it to my iPod. Then I plug my iPod into the station's board and run my show off of it, works like a charm (you can see it sitting alongside Bob's PC in the second picture).
That is my friend Bob (AKA Capt. Crusty) pictured, he does a heavy rock show. Bob was one of the key folks that applied for and received the FCC license with the help of the Prometheus Radio Project (

A Way To Be Social AND Active in the Summer

Last year a friend of mine came up with the idea to start a group that would meet every saturday during the summer and play sports. More specifically, sports none of us were any good at. She called it "I Suck At Sports" or ISAS for short. Each Saturday we would meet and play whichever sport she picked a few days prior, ranging from softball to dodgeball to flag football and so on. What this did was help us get outside on a consistent basis and actually get some exercise. I don't know about any OTHER writers out there, but I prefer to do my writing while sitting on the couch eating junk food! Not only did this make us more active, it also got us to meet new people and socialize. By the end of the summer, it became the time and place to catch up with friends and try to make new ones.

Well, as this summer winds down, I thought I would encourage you all to think about starting your own ISAS group in your own cities. It does take some effort to get started, but when you look back on the summer and see all the fun times you had with friends goofing around and the new people you've met, you'll find it was worth it.

I'm already anxious for next summer!

The Sad Cafe

strawberry crepes

So I'm sitting at home all day today, trying to force a blog post out of my thick skull and failing miserably, when it suddenly occurs to me that I have already written a rather nicely-written post earlier this week and neglected to cross-post it here. This was written as I was perusing my feeds on Wednesday morning. I noticed a rather large number of posts from A-list tech bloggers trying to spin the negative reaction to the sale of FriendFeed to Facebook as nothing more than ill-tempered children who had just had their toys taken away. I could not let that stand, so I wrote this in response.

An analogy, if you will.

There is this diner, a little mom-and-pop place. Great food, excellent service, nice atmosphere. This little diner becomes something of a second home to its patrons, whether they be regular faces or occasional patrons. Occasionally, things may get a bit loose between a few of the customers, but thing tend to move smoothly more times than not. From time to time, there is talk about the prices going up, but the regulars all agree that a reasonable price would be negligible to what they get in return. And as the little diner fills up with people, the atmosphere becomes one-of-a-kind.

And in the city, there are lots of places to eat. One of them, we'll call Big Blue. Big Blue is not a mom-and-pop diner; they are a great, sprawling franchise. Big Blue wants a piece of the small diner, because Big Blue's track record isn't so good when it comes to service or atmosphere. Big Blue is, in fact, pretty restrictive about what happens in its establishments. But the executives at Big Blue recognize the small diner could, one day, be a force to be reckoned with, so they start out by "borrowing" some of the diner's better features, which, of course, don't go over so well when good food and excellent service are not what one specializes in.

So Big Blue does what it usually does when it cannot copy the formulas that were successful for another diner. They wave a large bag of money at the owners and promise senior positions at Big Blue HQ.

The owners, of course, are not fools. They know that things like great food and excellent customer service don't come cheaply or without a great deal of hard work. And quite frankly, they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. To say nothing of the money it takes to run a classy establishment. Restaurants have a nasty habit of going bankrupt in their first year of business, mainly due to lack of funds. And we are in a recession now.

So they take the deal. Much celebration ensues among Big Blue and the diner's owners. Plans are made to keep the little diner as is "for the moment", but nothing firm is announced.

The customers, on the other hand, are less than sanguine about the whole arrangement.

See, the customers really love the place. Many of the regulars love it a bit more than they like Big Blue, which is fine if one is taking out their family for a quick bite. But Big Blue will never compare to the little diner. The regulars love talking up the little diner to their friends and family, some of whom begin frequenting the little diner themselves. Now, everything concerning the little diner is up in the air - the camaraderie, the laughter, the arguments, the people ... everything.

Because the customers are not fools. They've seen before what happens when a larger chain of fast food restaurants takes over a smaller establishment. The cooks are hired away, the better equipment and techniques go off to the home office, the owners who cared about their customers go off to the beach and the management is left to suited nincompoops who care only about the bottom line, the food starts getting blander, and a new group of customers start frequenting the diner who don't get the ambiance that was once there. The old customers start drifting away to other places. The diner starts losing money.

And then, one day, there is a Big Blue where the little diner used to be.

That would be sad enough for the customers of the little diner. Now add to it a group of restaurant critics whose sole job is to go around blathering about how great it is when Big Blue or any other large chain buys up a small diner. They purse their rarefied lips at the great unwashed masses who don't understand how business is done in this fast-paced restaurant business and sneer down their noses at anyone who doesn't understand that now, maybe, Big Blue's menu and service will improve, thanks to the addition of the owners of the little diner to the Big Blue staff and the addition of many of their recipes.

How happy would you be, knowing that you were about to lose your little diner and get a Big Blue in return? And how solicitous would you be anyone who tried to tell you that, in the face of all that has happened before, that somehow, your little diner going away is a "good thing"?

I'd be willing to bet you'd probably wouldn't be happy with the situation. Sure, you could always eat somewhere else. But you'd never have the experience of the little diner ever again.

So, when I see social media blogging fools try to tell me how Facebook buying FriendFeed is somehow a good thing, and how I should just lighten up about it all, I want to throw a pot of hot coffee at them. Because you may be able to change restaurants, but you can never change the experience.

Because, if that's all FriendFeed ever was - some sort of tool, and not a community? Well ...

I might have just stayed home and had a TV dinner.

Cross-posted at thoughts from an empty head.

"I like your bass.

Your beat is nice."

The Meta Spam Scam

Just found this in my spam folder and lol'd:

TEL: +234 7090029007


The British High Commission in Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana and Burkina Faso received a report of scam against you and other British/US and Asian citizens etc.

You are listed and approved for payment as one of the scammed victims, get back to us as soon as possible for the immediate payment of your compensation funds. On this faithful recommendations, I want you to know that during the last UN meetings held in Abuja, Nigeria, it was alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meetings on the lose of funds by various foreigners to the scam artists operating in syndicates all over the world today, in other to retain the good image of the country, the president of the four Countries comprising Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana and Burkina Faso in collaboration with the UNITED NATION through their British High Commission office in Nigeria are now paying one hundred and four (104) scam victims cutting across the whole continents of the world as a compensation to maintain good relationship among other nations of the world, the compensation was dim very necessary by the bodies involved due to the retrieval of valuable properties and money amounting to millions of Un

Due to the corrupt and inefficient banking systems in Nigeria, the payments are to be paid through (Mr. Jonathan Jones) BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria through their funding streams such as the Strategic Program Fund (formerly GOF), Public Diplomacy Project Fund, Bilateral Program Budget and Returns & Re-integration Fund also under funding assistance by the Central Bank of Nigeria in Collaboration with the Bank of America. According to the number of applicants at hand, 84 proved victims has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States, Europe and Asia, we still have more 20 left to be paid their compensations.

Yours was among those that were reported unpaid as at Friday and we wish to advise you to see to the instructions of the committee to make sure you receive your compensation immediately.

Call +2347090029007 or reply to these email immediately to check if the endorsed date suits you.

Note that You will receive your compensations payments via an ATM Debit Card cash able at any ATM center around your country.

Be advised not to have any further contacts with any internet scam artists to avoid any more lost of fund.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

Mr Jonathan Jones.

A scam purporting to give me my money back after being scammed?! THAT'S SO META. Sometimes spam scam amuses me far more than it has any right to do.

Sometimes you just have to face the facts...

... Even if you don't want to.

I'm at the point where I'm having to face the fact that, as much as I might want to run my own business, I don't think I'm particularly cut out for it. I get very excited about the planning stages of any project and enjoy doing all the research required. The actual implementation stage? Not so much...

While I'm sure there's a call for this type of skillset in the real world (somewhere, even if it's not necessarily my current job) it's suicide to try and run a business with these tendencies. Unless I have a team of people I can subcontract work to, running a business is just not in the cards for me. Acknowledging this fact depresses me a bit but I'm hoping it will save me a lot of heartache and frustration in the future.

Happy 60th B-Day The Third Geneva Convention!

Today is the 60th Birthday of the Third Geneva Convention. What I am I talking about you ask?
Here let me show you: (From Wikipedia)

Part I: General provisions

This part sets out the overall parameters for GCIII:

  • Articles 1 and 2 cover which parties are bound by GCIII
  • Article 2 specifies when the parties are bound by GCIII
    • That any armed conflict between two or more "High Contracting Parties" is covered by GCIII;
    • That it applies to occupations of a "High Contracting Party";
    • That the relationship between the "High Contracting Parties" and a non-signatory, the party will remain bound until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention. "...Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof."
  • Article 3 has been called a "Convention in miniature." It is the only article of the Geneva Conventions that applies in non-international conflicts.[1] It describes minimal protections which must be adhered to by all individuals within a signatory's territory during an armed conflict not of an international character (regardless of citizenship or lack thereof): Noncombatants, combatants who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. The passing of sentences must also be pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. Article 3's protections exist even if one is not classified as a prisoner of war. Article 3 also states that parties to the internal conflict should endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of GCIII.
  • Article 4 defines prisoners of war to include:
    • 4.1.1 Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces
    • 4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions:
      • that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
      • that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (there are limited exceptions to this among countries who observe the 1977 Protocol I);
      • that of carrying arms openly;
      • that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
    • 4.1.3 Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
    • 4.1.4 Civilians who have non-combat support roles with the military and who carry a valid identity card issued by the military they support.
    • 4.1.5 Merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
    • 4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
    • 4.3 makes explicit that Article 33 takes precedence for the treatment of medical personnel of the enemy and chaplains of the enemy.
  • Article 5 specifies that prisoners of war (as defined in article 4) are protected from the time of their capture until their final repatriation. It also specifies that when there is any doubt whether a combatant belongs to the categories in article 4, they should be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

The treatment of prisoners who do not fall into the categories described in Article 4 has led to the current controversy regarding the interpretation of "unlawful combatants" by the George W. Bush administration. The assumption that such a category as unlawful combatant exists is contradicted by the findings by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Celebici Judgment. The judgement quoted the 1958 ICRC commentary on the Fourth Geneva Convention: Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. Furthermore, "There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law,"[2]

In addition, the evidence provided to the Trial Chamber does not indicate that the Bosnian Serbs who were detained were, as a group, at all times carrying their arms openly and observing the laws and customs of war. Article 4(A)(6) undoubtedly places a somewhat high burden on local populations to behave as if they were professional soldiers and the Trial Chamber, therefore, considers it more appropriate to treat all such persons in the present case as civilians.
It is important, however, to note that this finding is predicated on the view that there is no gap between the Third and the Fourth Geneva Conventions. If an individual is not entitled to the protections of the Third Convention as a prisoner of war (or of the First or Second Conventions) he or she necessarily falls within the ambit of Convention IV, provided that its article 4 requirements are satisfied. The Commentary to the Fourth Geneva Convention asserts that
Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law. We feel that this is a satisfactory solution – not only satisfying to the mind, but also, and above all, satisfactory from the humanitarian point of view." Jean Pictet (ed.)[3]

Article 51.3 of the Commentary: IV Geneva Convention also covers this interpretation: "Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.".[4] In the words of the International Committee of the Red Cross, or ICRC "If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered "unlawful" or "unprivileged" combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action. Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy."[5]

Part II: General Protection of Prisoners of War

This part of the convention covers the status of prisoners of war.

Article 12 state that prisoners of war are the responsibility of the state not the persons who capture them and that they may not be transferred to a state that is not party to the Convention.

Articles 13 to 16 states that prisoners of war must be treated humanely without any adverse discrimination and that their medical needs must be met.

Part III: Captivity

This part is divided into several sections:

Section 1 covers the beginning of captivity (Articles 17–20). It dictates what information a prisoner must give and interrogation methods that the detaining power may use "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion". It dictates what private property a prisoner of war may keep and that the prisoner of war must be evacuated from the combat zone as soon as possible.

Section 2 covers the internment of prisoners of war and is broken down into 8 chapters which cover:

  1. General observations (Articles 21–24)
  2. Quarters, food and clothing (Articles 25–28)
  3. Hygiene and medical attention (Articles 29–32)
  4. The treatment of enemy medical personnel and chaplains retained to assist prisoners of war (Article 33)
  5. Religious, intellectual and physical activities (Articles 34–38)
  6. Discipline (Articles 39–42)
  7. Military rank (Articles 43–45)
  8. Transfer of prisoners of war after their arrival in a camp (Articles 46–48)

Section 3 (Articles 49–57) covers the type of labour that a prisoner of war may be compelled to do, taking such factors as rank age and sex into consideration, and that which because it is unhealthy or dangerous can only be done by prisoners of war who volunteer for such work. It goes into details about such things as the accommodation, medical facilities, and that even if the prisoner of war works for a private person the military authority remains responsible for them. Rates of pay for work done are covered by Article 62 in the next section.

Section 4 (Articles 48–68) covers the financial resources of prisoners of war.

Section 5 (Articles 69–74) covers the relations of prisoners of war with the exterior. This covers the frequency of which a prisoner of war can send and receive post, including parcels. The Detaining power has the right to censor all mail, but must do so as quickly as possible.

Section 6 covers the relations between prisoners of war and the detaining authorities: it is broken down into three chapters.

  1. Complaints of prisoners of war respecting the conditions of captivity(Article 78)
  2. Prisoner of war representatives (Articles 79–81). Where there is no senior officer available in a camp the section stipulates that "prisoners shall freely elect by secret ballot, [a representative] every six months". The representative, whether the senior officer or an elected person, acts as a conduit between the authorities of the detaining power and the prisoners.
  3. The sub-section on "Penal and disciplinary sanctions" is subdivided into three parts:
    1. General provisions (Articles 82–88)
    2. Disciplinary sanctions (Articles 89–98)
    3. Juridicial proceedings (Articles 99–108)

    Part IV: Termination of Captivity

    This part is divided into several sections:

    Section 1 (Articles 109–117) covers the direct repatriation and accommodation in neutral countries.

    Section 2 (Articles 118–119) covers the release and repatriation of prisoners of war at the close of hostilities.

    Section 3 (Articles 120–121) covers the death of a prisoner of war.

Part V: Information Bureau and Relief Societies for Prisoners of War

The Information Bureau is an organization that must be set up by the Detaining Power to facilitate the sharing of information by the parties to conflict and neutral powers as required by the various provisions of the Third Geneva Convention. It will correspond freely with "A Central Prisoners of War Information Agency ... created in a neutral country" to act as a conduit with the Power to which the prisoners of war owe their allegiance. The provisions of this part are contained in Articles 122 to 125.

Part VI: Execution of the Convention

Consists of two sections.

Section 1 (Articles 126–132) General provisions.

Section 2 (Articles 133–143) Final provisions.


  1. ^ Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War – Commentary 12 August 1949
  2. ^ The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia "Celebici Judgment: Prosecutor v. Delalic, Mucic, Delic, and Landzo, Case No." IT-96-21-T seems to return the Appeal Judgement instead of the Trial Judgement. However the relevant section of the Judgement is available from the University of the West of England Delalic et al. (I.T-96-21) "Celebici" 16 November 1998 Part III B, Applicable law 2. Status of the Victims as "Protected Persons" See: Para. 271:
  3. ^ Commentary: IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1958) – 1994 reprint edition.
  4. ^ Geneva Conventions Protocol I
  5. ^ ICRC The Relevance of International Humanitarian Law in the Context of Terrorism

My back yard.

This is series of photos that I took for my friends book. This is a small family grave plot that originated in the 1860's with the folks who first settled there. It is on a ridge top overlooking the Pacific ocean. Wild white roses grow up there. That is my neighbor, Poet Bill Bradd in the pics. This spot is about a mile north of the Ten Mile river and Seaside beach on the coast of Mendocino County in California.

It is all led to this.

A summer of following events in Iran from Twitter to Friend Feed has now led me to ..... having a blog?! If you would have told me all of this in April, I would have laughed at you. Here we go.

10 Things

I have been a mom a week shy of three years. And this morning, as I tripped over the millionth toy car, I was thinking about the things that didn't happen to me before I had a child. So I have made a list of things that had a good chance of not happening before I had the toddler.

1. I never found a piece of cantaloupe wedged in the couch. Or a piece of French toast. Or a sausage link.

2. I never spent two hours trying to unscrew the battery compartment of a toy lawnmower. (And I never knew they really do make screwdrivers that small.)

3. I never cooked fifteen different dinners for someone until I finally found one they would eat.

4. I never listened to a Treehouse Kids CD until my ears bled.

5. I never could recite the movie Cars line by line. Or Wall E.

6. I never thought chicken nuggets were their own food group.

7. I never thought it was possible to have literally thousands of pictures of one person.

8. I never thought staying home on a Friday night for family movie night would be fun.

9. I never thought a two year old could lock me out of the house.

10. And finally, I never thought a child could bring me as much joy as my little guy. (Yes, I know this one is cliche. But it's true.)

Driving the Bloodway

Watercolor smears bright on dark night canvas to show black the door. Stars fade, smog bands blend and rise with noise of a hundred thousand hungry industrial animals hitting tires down on the freeway.

I belt in, bend the key, torture my ride to life, blink the lights open and grind it into motion.


Little time passes.

Four windows down. Smoke in my mouth, music in my ears fist fighting the roar of wind tugging at my hair. Slam it into 5th, press the slender pedal down, make its throat open louder, press me harder, pass the smaller animals faster...


Orange barrels. Freeway gumdrops. I so very want to side-swipe them. Hear them thump, watch them tumble into traffic and bounce like toys.

...but anarchy is not my way. Not here anyways. I won't be the harm of others. Not here. Not this way. Stretched not to far off the red-light dominoes begin so I let up and slow. Tap the brakes, listen to the sounds sigh away and let the music take over.


Someday, before the sun completes its rise, the neverending construction releases and we un.clot. The acceleration repeats. The noise repeats and we break into sun and merge onto a new artery going west.

Here the wind is different. The patterns are different. Everything is different. It's more aggressive. Smaller cars with three cylinders banging, grills smiling hard in the reflected glare rush into hazard like dumb bugs. They weave and dodge on tiny cutter tires between 18 wheeled giants. Plastic bikes scream like crack-driven fruit flies caught in a rutting fury slice between lanes just to jump the next exit.

I plow forward fighting desires to pull the second lever into 4-Hi and crumple the lot of 'em.

I push hard, signal, swerve right, brake slightly and stomp forward - avoiding death by a fools hair then toss my 2nd smoke out the window, watching it bounce off an asses windshield.

In a second I'm out of the bloodstream. In a minute I'm under cover.

At 5 I'll be covered in blood again...going north.