Breakfast to the 6th Power

All six of us are crammed around a small table in OB for breakfast. It’s Sunday morning at the Little Chef, where all four children can get exactly what they want–from sweet and sour chicken to chorizo or gyros. As if your stomach can even look at those kinds of food before 1pm. Devon, 15, asks his brother Tyler, 11, various math questions to keep his mind occupied while he waits for his Greek platter #1. It’s a small table and there is no choice but for the rest of us to listen in and participate.

D: What’s the square root of 16 plus 4?
Ty: 8
D: What’s 13 plus 5 squared?
Me: Um, wait…it’s..
Ty: 38
D: What is 12 squared minus 20
Ty: 124
Me: Hey. This isn’t fair. I want to play. Can you keep them under 10 please? I don’t know them when you go higher.

The lady in the booth behind us turns around and says, “Ya. Really. Could you keep the numbers under 10?”

We're Screwed

We’re Screwed
March 2003
by James Colburn

Re: digital imaging and the lack of security when it comes to your work.

We’re now no better than caricaturist at the county fair putting big heads on small surfing bodies.

Also in the March issue of The Digital Journalist:

The Realities of Flying in the Post 9/11 World for Photographers
March 2004
by Dirck Halstead

Re: the hoops we go through to fly.




The Weekend

Had the kids this past weekend. It was marvelous.

We took many photos, some of which will be available as soon as my pc stops acting like it’s broken. I know it’s faking.

The kids rode the train back home. Alone. I put four on and four got off on the other end, so I guess it went well.

Will I ever get used to this sharing-of-the-kids world?

Got my first partial sunburn.

Got new socks at the swapmeet.

Got tall, red & pink flowers for the entryway.

No Time

I looked down to check my watch and found that it stopped at 3:07pm yesterday. It was a weird, eerie moment of no time.

I wish I could stop time for real and take a long nap.

Shut Down by Frito-Lay

You may or may not know that I was building a site for children’s art. I bought the domain name You know, cracker jack in the ol’ “a person or thing of marked excellence” way. At any rate, after working on it for weeks and weeks, doing research and making various promotional material, I received a letter from Frito-Lay, care of a messenger that made me sign for it, that told me to cease and desist any further claim to the domain name

It also included phrases like, “You should be aware that the mere act of registering a domain name which is identical or similar to another’s trademark may be considered an act of “cyberpiracy,” as the term is identified by the Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which is an actionable offense.”
I wrote back:

February 9, 2004
Faith S. James

Dear Faith S. James,

It is with surprise that I read your letter. It was in no way my intention to try to rip of Frito-Lay by using the name In the dictionary, crackerjack is a term used for “marked excellence” (which will be the page heading for every page in the site). was set up to be a place for children ages eight to seventeen to show their writing, art and photo work. I fail to see how anyone would confuse the two things.

I’m just one person; not a huge corporation with patent lawyers to check things out for me. I guess I’ll have to take your word for it that I’ve somehow inadvertently done some kind of infringement.

Is there anyway I could get you to look at the site and decide for yourself that it in no way is any kind of threat to your company? By perusing the pages, I’m sure you will find that it is purely an educational tool for schools and parents to help their students and children. I have invested so much time and effort in this project and I have so many teachers around the country awaiting the site launch on March 1st that it is a huge inconvenience to me to have to change all my press and published materials. I beg you to reconsider.

If you are interested in finding out more about me personally, as a way of judging my character, you can find out more about me on my on art and photo site here: . I am an artist, photographer and contributing writer.

If, after looking the site over, you still feel the same way, I will relinquish my rights to the domain name, but I’m hoping you’ll see that I in no way pose a threat to you or the popcorn in a box called cracker jacks.

Feel free to contact me by phone to discuss this matter if you wish. Or, I’ll be looking for another letter from you.

Leah Peterson

I didn’t send it registered mail, which was not smart in retrospect. Last week I received another letter that basically said they haven’t received a letter from me and that they wanted to hear from me ASAP or else. So, I called, got her FAX and email and sent the letter again.

The reply:

“We acknowledge receipt of your email with thanks. Please note that while we appreciate your position we simply cannot allow anyone to register a domain name which will dilute our famous CRACKER JACK trademark, regardless of the content of the website with which the name is being used.

Therefore, we must ask again that you confirm in writing within seven (7) days that you will contact your registrar and abandon this domain name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

And here is my favorite part. They gave me some suggestions:

“For your convenience, we note that the following generic domain names were available at the time this letter was drafted:”

It’s funny and sad.

I gave up the right to the domain and I guess I’m moving on.
But I’m a little bitter….

Today's Letter

hi my name is Israel. I am from chihuahua, mexico, right now i am working for the minority business round table in washington dc. While I was looking for information about Dr. Carl Nelson i found your article about him, i really like it and enjoy it, nice work!
I am here in washigton because my government sent me to do a research about the Export Management Associations.

Israel R.G.

Dear Israel,

I enjoyed interviewing Dr. Nelson very much. He and his wife are wonderful people and welcomed me into their home even though they were busy with holiday preparations.

Good luck with your research in Washington! Very nice to hear from you and thank you for your nice comments.


It's Official

I’m looking for a new job.

I’m not too proud to ask my friends for leads.

If you know of anything “out there” in the San Diego area or something in another location as long as I can virtually commute, please let me know.

More details to come.

My Car

If you know the history of me and my car (23 Oct 2002 The Curse of the Car), you won’t be surprised to learn that last night it was broken into. Back small window, driver’s side, punched in so they could unlock the door. Went through everything in the trunk and jockey-box. They stole about 30 undeveloped one-time use cameras with photos my sister took of her kids for a children’s book I am/was helping her with. They also took the cute change purse Joe’s mom gave me for Christmas. One can only assume they, too, must have a first name beginning with ‘L.’

Broken glass everywhere.

They left the Minneola on the passenger seat along with a Tigers Milk bar. They obviously don’t know good food when they see it.

The best part? My car insurance lapsed a few months back and I haven’t paid the fee to get it started again.

So, there you go.