Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the month “July, 2014”

Parents and Social Media

This post comes out of a conversation I had on Twitter. I made the comment that parents need to have Social media accounts so that they can have a meaningful dialogue with their children. The quote I stole from the presenter I was listening to was “You wouldn’t take your kid swimming if you couldn’t swim.”
I thought it would be just one more tweet in the Twittersphere – ignored and moving on. But it gained a bit of attention, and started a lively discussion.
I’m going to paste the conversation here, because Twitter is a hard place to have a good conversation. Feel free to weigh in. I’m also going to post it, and then edit it when I get to a proper computer, so that I can add in some pictures and links to yesterday’s presentation from the AP at Kilbreda.

Here goes, in some vague order but with no guarantees:
Dan: what! Thats not true surely…I cant swim but take my kids to swimming lessons …
Fiona: But are you the one teaching them to swim? 🙂
Dan: no of course not …. but will get in the water with them… I am an esafety advisor btw for ceop and afp

Emma: No you dont. Dont need to be a swimmer to teach swimming. Dont need a SN account to understand SN
Emma: dont agree you need SN account to protect kids. You need to supervise your kids’ account #havetheirpassword
Fiona: Spying on them? No thanks.
Emma: it’s called parenting.
Emma: How else would you recommend parents see what their kids are doing online?
Dan: hiya, not sure what you mean ..how do they see?
Emma: suggested having passwords was “spying” on kids. Wondered how she suggests knowing what kids are doing
Fiona: just developing an open, honest relationship with them
Emma: That is definitely important, but also not enough. Abuse is not always because they did something wrong. More often because someone else did. Keeping tabs on their account aids watching other people. dealt with so many abused kids whose parents thought they had good open honest relationship

Dan: not all teachets on twitter or social net… thats also an issue
Emma: Why do they need to be on twitter. What if their kids are on Whatsapp or Snapchat? Do they have to create?
Dan: I agree.

Dan: I put a free site together http://t.co/yUtnJLB96Y and its got a parenting section
Dan: Why do they need to be on twitter. What if their kids are on Whatsapp or Snapchat? Do they have to create?
Dan: having done loads of presos to parents in uk and aus ..same issues everywhere for them.
Emma: Yep. Usually the knowledge gap between the two and a fear or lack of motivation by parents to close it

Dan: I agree but parenting is complex… lots of analogies. . Analogies are mostly stupid. Need to focus on the issues.
Dan: fr example do you need to be a football player to coach football
Damian: you need to have played football to coach it ^properly^… Surely
Emma: No, you need to understand the sport I have seen coaches who have clearly never kicked a ball in their life

Emma: I have never used snapchat or Instagram, but am well versed in problems therein and what parents can do.
Dan: absolutely I use most but but not all of them


Ok, that’s the conversation so far. Excuse spelling and grammar errors. I’ve just copied and pasted directly from the Twitter feed.

There is a lot more in this, but not during keynotes. I’ll write more about it tomorrow.

Two final tweets from me:
I can’t talk to my students about Scrillex. I haven’t listened to it. Likewise I need some experience with SM to have a dialogue.

Parents who make decisions about their child’s SM use w/out experience can make judgements based in fear rather than knowledge. #DLTV2014

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Cosplay Hate

This all started with a conversation on Facebook:

Names Feegled out to protect the innocent.

Names Feegled out to protect the innocent.

The conversation started at around 10pm and my brain wasn’t up to the challenge of mounting a suitable defense. So I left it. Away on holidays in the Grampians, I finally got the strength together to write this. I know I’m not holding a popular position (or at least, not one that people are happy to state out loud), but I do believe I’m write. So here goes.

A couple of years ago, I took the family to Supanova. They hadn’t been to a convention before. I was catching up with my Discworld convention committee.

We marveled at the costumes. My favourites were a pair of Doctor Whos (Four and Seven), a wookie in a hockey jersey, some steampunk Ghostbusters and a lovely pair of Poison Ivys. And that was only a smattering.

supanova

When we stopped for lunch, I started people watching in earnest.

And now I’m going to join in on an Internet controversy with the statement I made to my wife on that day:

People need to wear costumes based on their body type.

Wait! Don’t run off! There are caveats. There are reasons. There are exemptions. There are excuses. But yeah, I’m coming down on the Dark Side (with cookies).

When you are dedicated to worlds other than this one, and show your dedication by letting your imagination run wild and your inner child free, the mainstream is going to stop and, not getting it, judge. So we find ourselves making excuses:

“I get so little time to relax. This is a way for me to be myself.”

“Getting into costume is a way to further immerse myself in a world I love. It’s almost like getting into the book.”

We don’t need to make excuses. Most of the people I know have no fear of what the “real world” things of us.

And even that’s ok. It’s fine. To paraphrase: Wear what you wanna wear, be what you wanna be yeah-eh-eh.

“I love Buffy, so I’m going to the con dressed as Buffy.” So what if he is a 200kg body builder with more hair on his body than Sarah Michelle Gellar has on her head?

And I swear, I Truly believe that statement, no matter how much flak I’m going to get over this post. If he wants to wear a Buffy cheerleader skirt and carry a stake, that’s fine.

As long as he knows that he is a 200kg, hairy-backed body builder; that dressing as Buffy is a patently ridiculous act and that he’s making a statement, or simply having fun with the character, fine. Joss has done worse to Buffy himself. Be Buffy. I salute you. I will laugh alongside you and be happy. But if I’m laughing at you, you’re wearing the wrong costume.

me as supermanI wouldn’t dress as superman. Or rather, I would dress as Superman, but I would be a Superman who has really let himself go. I’d have vindaloo stains on my S and a doughnut in one hand with little Kryptonite sprinkles.

And that would be OK.

If, on the other hand, I decided to be Superman, and dressed as Superman, in the tights and stretchy suit, because I LOVE Superman and want to show the world my love for Superman –

– Then I have failed. You don’t honour Superman by being a poor imitation of Superman. You can honour Superman by parodying him, by being playful with a beloved character. But I don’t believe you can love Superman by being him when you’re clearly not him.

Rant. Rave. Get it over with. Now read on. I’m giddy with the power of free speech. I feel like Andrew Bolt. Without the racism.

There is a movement on various Social Networks to call out cosplayers who dress inappropriately and make fun of them. They search for photos of cosplayers that they judge to be ridiculous and post the photos so that people can laugh at them.

This is reprehensible. These people should be dressed as My Little Ponies and dropped off at a biker bar.

I don’t believe that anyone should be attacked for their body shape, age, gender or colour. And I’m not going to attack anyone. I celebrate and truly enjoy diversity in cosplay. There is an infinite universe that can be realized through our imaginations. The key word here is

IMAGINATION

I’m blessed in that all of my cosplaying companions have overactive imaginations. I’ve never seen anyone I know dress in anything less than a marvelous outfit. And these costumes range from a certain combination of regular clothing to an orangutan suit and beyond. Money isn’t a factor. Size or shape isn’t an issue. The success or failure of a costume comes from the amount of imagination and dedication that goes into a project (and many many energy drinks the night before).

The people who don’t have any imagination shouldn’t be ridiculed either. And I’m sure they don’t want my pity. Or to know that I’m aiming my pity at them. And, to be honest, I’m probably not pitying them. So that’s OK.

But they need friends who, before they choose a costume, can suggest:

“Hey, I’m pretty sure we can paint you up like a Binar. That would suit you perfectly.” Or “You’d make a brilliant Doctor. Let’s get you a sonic screwdriver.” Or “If I stick a shiny H on your head, you could be a Hologram on Red Dwarf.”

This is my point. Not “You can’t be Superman” (although I’m pretty much saying that, in the case of Superman) but that, with a little imagination, anyone can create a costume that suits them, is clever, worthy of praise and raises the bar of cosplay.

When did cosplay become a word? Dressing up. Fancy dress. Anyway.

  • Be a wookie in a hockey jersey.
  • Be a steampunk Ghostbuster
  • Be the Doctor.

But maybe rethink the Robin Hood outfit.

Damian as Robin Hood

I don’t always follow my own advice.

The Conspiracy Train

lunatic fringeA woman came up to me on the platform while I was waiting for a train into the city. I was reading Mr Mercedes by Stephen King and she started asking questions about it. She seemed a bit needy for conversation but not raving. We went from books to the media and how popular culture messes with our brains.

“You know,” she said, “I thought Fargo was a real story. That’s how manipulative the media is.” I really should have paid more attention to that statement. “And the music,” she continues. “You know, I took my husband to see the Thomas Crowne Affair, when we first met. The music in that movie manipulated me. I think I fell in love with my husband because the music in the film made me.” The marriage, she says, was a terrible idea.

I absolutely agreed with her contention that music in popular culture was manipulative. After all, I’m a Media teacher. I was putting together a verbal thesis in my head to hold court, when the train arrived and we headed into the same carriage (I couldn’t think of a reason not to).

On the train, she showed me News in Two Minutes, a YouTube daily presenting important news stories in two minutes. I had been deciding whether to move to a different carriage with some flimsy excuse (there’s a blog in itself) until she mentioned this. At this point, I figured it was interesting enough to check it out. I thought I might be able to use it on my radio show when the news program crashed (which it does on a very regular basis).

The big story was an outbreak of Ebola in Africa and she was worried because refugees from Africa were seen in Italy with blood coming out of their eyes. They were taken to hospital, released into the public and later the hospital was locked down.

While she talked, I googled. Here’s a link to the Ebola scare on the WHO website. I wasn’t really reading what I found, but I was finding it all quite compelling. I hadn’t quite put everything together yet, although I was looking at the pictures accompanying the news and wondering whether the sources had been verified.

Anyway, apparently the outbreak has been blacked out of the media “because of the World Cup”. I nodded sagely, although I have no idea why this would be the case. “Nothing has been printed in the papers. Obama has denied everything.”

I was shocked. Ebola! An outbreak! I added to my collection of bookmarked sites so that I could check it out later (which is now). She noticed me bookmarking and googling and luckily didn’t find it rude of me.

“You have to check out HAARP,” she said, pointing to the phone. “I was talking to my friend overseas for ages and in the morning they had painted a chemtrail cross over my house to mark me for later.”

Ah, I thought, and was instantly less worried about the Ebola outbreak. My conspiratorial fellow traveller had predicted an earthquake in Lilydale the day before it happened. She didn’t explain how that fitted into the conspiracy network, but I think it’s to do with HAARP.

I was relieved when she left the train three stops later. Sooner or later she would have realised that I didn’t share the crazy and then Bob knows what would have happened.

But now I have a stack of new conspiracy resources to look at. Let’s take a look at some of the sites I scribbled down as she chatted to me.

HAARP

chemtrailI thought I’d already mentioned this in Finding Damo, but I couldn’t find it. Project HAARP = High-frequency Active Auroral Research. It allows the government (yeah, as if it’s really run by the government) to control the weather. It is a technology that allows the user to control people’s minds. It could very well destroy the ozone layer. And it can radiate people to death.

Here is the chemtrail thing. Apparently there is a trend to seed clouds with heavy particulates. Which would make sense if you were about to zap them with ELF waves. So every time you see an unusual cloud, you’re probably looking at a HAARP transmission.

Alex Jones

alex jonesIf you want some good hearty conspiracy for breakfast, Alex Jones is your man. He’s a radio presenter in the States, and he has his finger on the pulse of everything conspiracy. He has a podcast, which is well worth checking out. INFOWARS! The latest episode starts with the upcoming revolution coming July 4th. “Will it be a peaceful or a violent revolution?” Only you can tell. Listen now!

More info from Forbes, where I got the accompanying picture.

Club of Rome and the Georgia Guidestones

I lumped these two in together, because apparently they both deal with population limitation. Let’s have a look.

The_Club_of_RomeFrom the website: “The aims of the Club of Rome are: to identify the most crucial problems which will determine the future of humanity through integrated and forward-looking analysis; to evaluate alternative scenarios for the future and to assess risks, choices and opportunities; to develop and propose practical solutions to the challenges identified; to communicate the new insights and knowledge derived from this analysis to decision-makers in the public and private sectors and also to the general public and to stimulate public debate and effective action to improve the prospects for the future.”

From their website and most reputable websites, they seem like a think tank, a theoretical group coming up with ideas to make the globe sustainable. It is only when you scratch beneath the surface (i.e. check out the conspiracy websites) that you find the sinister underpinnings to their organisation.

According to excerpts from the Modern History Project, one of the stated goals of the Club of Rome is to radically reduce Earth’s population, by strategic wars, manufactured diseases, famines in third world countries and genocide. The US branch of the Club of Rome was apparently responsible for the last three wars, and the MHP attribute the AIDS epidemic to the Club of Rome as well. NATO is basically run by the Club of Rome, as is the United Nations, according to these sites. I tell you, if any of these conspiracies are actually true, we are in some serious trouble.

In a similar vein are the Georgia Guidestones.

Guidesontes1The Guidestones are a series of granite monoliths in Georgia, US. They list 10 precepts in 12 languages. On the capstone, in different languages, reads the phrase: “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason”. They appear to be designed as a post-apocalyptic guide to rebuilding society. They work as a guide and also as a modern day Rosetta Stone. They were funded by a secret society and anonymously, so as not to take away from the message. There is no indication that anything sinister was meant by the raising of the stones, but a series of conspiracy theories surround the precepts, especially the one that reads: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.”

If the guidestones are actually meant to be for a post-apocalyptic society, then this precept isn’t such a big deal. It becomes an issue when current groups try to figure out how to get the planet’s population from 6 billion down to 500 million. What happens when someone figures out the answer and acts upon it?

A scary world

There are a lot of nutters out there. Mostly Harmless, as the HitchHiker’s Guide states, but all it takes is one evil genius looking at the wrong website and we’re in a pile of poo. Keep an ear to the ground, people. Look for the signs. Wear the tinfoil hat to protect yourself from mind-control and hope against hope that with all these conspiracies, we don’t end up adding alien civilisations into the mix.

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