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Archive for August, 2013

Understand Parole & the Current Witch Hunt

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Originally I was going to stay right out of this national conversation about parole because it’s mainly been a witch hunt against the faceless criminal enemy. Hey that’s a cycle of our society. But at this point there is so much rubbish information floating around it has become time to explain what parole is and why we need it. Because the alternative is far more dangerous.

First, understand that parole is an eligibility at the half way mark of any sentence greater than 12 months. It’s not a right. A non-parole period is when a court deems on the crime and circumstances that an added danger or penalty should be recognised. Non-parole periods are always greater than half the sentence.

I hope that makes sense, because it often gets reported like a non-parole period is a reward. In fact, it’s an added penalty imposed at sentencing.

The second feature of parole that you should understand is that time served on parole can be of any duration from that remaining of the original custodial sentence up to three or more times in length. This is an offer by the Parole Board that the prisoner weighs as whether to accept parole or to continue serving his sentence in prison. Choosing to serve one’s time in full is considered, in prison, the mark of an old school hardened villain. A prisoner who is going to re-offend is ALWAYS better off not taking parole.

And if parole is taken by the prisoner and conditions breached then the offender can be revoked back to prison on the Parole Board’s order as if their time never stopped. Parole merely suspends the clock in a sentence. If it isn’t breached then parole ends and the sentence remaining is forgiven. If it is breached, the sentence is resumed.

So, if a prisoner serving eight years is given a non-parole period of five years and it takes another year to get parole that leaves two years outstanding. By that stage they have served six of their full eight years in prison. The parole period they will be released on would be for at least their time remaining or as long as another six or eight years depending on the board’s parole offer against the remaining two years to serve.

And if a prisoner has finished parole then a minimum of the entirety of their original sentence has passed, or greater. I point out this detail because it is often reported by lazy journalists that the offending parolee should have been in prison when an offence had occurred later than the expiration of their parole. In truth, they would have been in the community when they offended at that point. Sentence completed. Hard time served in full.

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We make Cyser, not Cider

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Mead making (mazing) is one part booze creation, one part libation consumption and three parts a focus on public education about the art, science and romance of mead.

A classic example of that social misunderstanding about mead crops up nearly every time we introduce people to cyser.

“Oh,” they say. “Cider?”

“No,” we reply. “Cyser. It’s like cider in that we use crushed apple juice. However, unlike cider, we add honey for the yeasties to consume (rather than ordinary old sugar).”

“Oh.”

“That 3KG-10KG of local honey (plus fruit and spice) added to a 23 litre glass carboy of local crushed apple juice makes an entirely different product than cider. The amount of honey and the variety of spices and the nurturing of healthy yeasties in the honey fermentation process have profound affects on the style of cyser.”

However, the best part of mead making is when you get to open somebody’s eyes to a new way of seeing alcohol. That can’t happen without putting a taste to their lips.

“Ohhhhh, that’s cyser.”

“Don’t get us wrong. We drink cider, too. We might even make some here and there for personal consumption in the future. But what we really like to make is something entirely different. We make cyser.”

Vocabulary & Communication in Art Photography

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

The truth is that the vast majority of photographs I’ve ever made have come into existence within the last six years. And they’ve mostly been rubbish from a technical perspective.

All but a small handful of those better photographs haven’t had anything to say. They’re disjointed pictures. Photographic practice. Pictures of strangers having coffee or technical explorations of light on still life objects.

I know people will argue with me about the difference between photography as art and general photography (particularly commercial work). However, I live in an artist household where painters paint and printmakers print; where cupboards are filled with drawings, shelves are covered in ceramics, walls blossom with remnants of past exhibitions and drawers are a tinderbox of ideas in the manufacture of expression.

Art has something to say. Art is about ideas.

If you’re making art in any form you might be a genius like Picasso; I strongly doubt it. Most of us are more like the hard working Cezanne with a need for patronage and a good deal of luck. And art is usually about hard graft over many years and comes from a delicate balance between absolute self-faith and self-doubt in equal extremities.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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