Finding Damo

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

Archive for the category “family”

What to do with my corpse

We’ve hit that age. The age of colonoscopies and regular skin checks and worrying about spots and not being able to eat anything you want. I mean, I say we, but I mean me. You might be in your prime and looking at me with dreadful fascination. God I’m glad I’m never going to be that old.

Believe what you gotta believe.

Anyway, we’ve had a few scares over the past couple of years and my daughter is now eyeing us both sideways and initiating conversations about what we want to do with our remains after we go.

And yes, I know that I could unpack that train of thought a lot more. But I choose not to.

One of the more interesting of these discussions was when she said:

“We could cremate your remains and turn them into gemstones and then have them placed in your skull and keep it on display.”

And now I can think of no other way I want to be memorialised than that.

I would absolutely flat out haunt that skull. It is a skull made for haunting. I would be remiss if I didn’t haunt it. I pointed that out to my daughter.

She no longer wants me to be a skull.

But we stuck with the remains being turned into gemstones idea. She suggested that I could be turned into a series of gemstones that could be bequeathed to my nieces and nephews (she specifically didn’t mention keeping one for herself). At this point, I am starting to feel Horcrux vibes. Either that or a quest in a few hundred years where a group of my descendants have to track down the gems and bring them together to… what? Save my immortal soul? Prevent an apocalypse? Power a robot me? I’ll think of something.

So now I am intrigued. Is it possible? Pause for research.

Well yes! Yes I can!

So apparently, a large cremation diamond will take 6-8 months. My family will need “200 g ashes or 10 g hair”. Wait a moment! I could get my diamonds done early! (hunts for clippers)

I can choose my cut (Princess cut, anyone?). How many ashes will I produce? Could I create enough diamonds for four niblings? And I feel like I should give one to my daughter, even though she doesn’t want one. Five is the magical number for remains diamonds especially if there is going to be a future quest.

This is why the government is watching me…

OK, so about 6 pounds. 3 Kilos. More than enough for five diamonds. I’m not going to look up the cost. That is definitely someone else’s problem.

That’s two options. My wife wasn’t overly keen on having my skull cleaned. Maybe an Infinity Gauntlet?

My previous idea for afterlife eternal peace was to be turned into a tree. There are a number of companies that turn you into a tree, having your remains buried in the roots of a sapling which will absorb them and you and the tree become one. Haunting a tree sounds nice.

Both wife and daughter want to be scattered. Tasmania, Halls Gap, up in the mountains. If I was to be scattered, it would be at sea. But the haunting possibilities seem a bit slim. And the opportunity to become a sad drowned cursed spirit seem high. I am more and more happy with the skull idea.

When my daughter floated the idea I immediately thought that I could have the skull placed inside a teddy bear. Chucky and Annabelle eat your heart out! Do I even know a voodoo priest?

But honestly, I fully intend to be uploaded to the cloud when I die, and I can’t imagine being overly worried about what happens to my mortal remains after that.

Oh, just so that it’s on the record: the hospital gets to keep the useful bits before the rest gets turned into diamonds. Make sure you’ve ticked the organ donor button people!

Because the possibilities for haunting and possession go through the ROOF when we’re talking hearts being implanted into other people. I’ve never heard of a haunted liver. I could be the first one!

Locked in and ranting

Ok, so what is it like to be stuck in lockdown? I know that it’s not like prison. I know that I have it pretty easy with my wi-fi and my devices and various streaming services and food delivery (to look after the local businesses). I have a job and my wife has a job and we’re working from home and that is pretty damn good. We have it good.

BUT

My feelings tell me different. My feelings tell me that being limited to 5k mean that I am trapped. I want to leave every day. To go out of that horrible red ring on my Google Maps. I look at the walks I can do and the coffee shops I could visit and I long for them. And the longing makes me cranky and sad.

I don’t have to wear a tie. And I tell you, if they don’t ditch ties after this I will hang myself with one. They are a dead item of clothing. I don’t have to wear business pants. I don’t actually have to wear pants at all, but I do, for the social conventions. And I’m wandering around wearing t-shirts and hoodies every day and I can’t imagine that is doing anything for my mental health.

I’m doing the same thing every day, but it is different to the same thing I used to do when I was out and about. It is getting up in the morning, going for a walk, getting a coffee, coming home, going to my shed, turning on the camera, catching up with my students. And then at the end of the day I go inside, watch tv, cook food, play computer games, go to bed.

Rinse and repeat. RINSE AND REPEAT.

And don’t get me started on the masks. I am vaccinated. I want to walk outside in the sun not wearing a mask. The mask just makes me feel worse. Of course, it means that I can wear my Orange You Glad I’m Wearing a Mask mask. And the recreation of my own face.

I want to see my friends outside of a Zoom meeting. I want to drive down to the beach. I want to play Dungeons and Dragons with my nephews in the real world. I want to take a train into the city and watch TV on my iPad and walk in the parks. I want to go and stay in a room with a spa bath and order room service.

So yes, I feel like I have it better than most, but that doesn’t mean I have it good. I am trying to stay positive but I feel like I’m going through the motions. I do the things that make me feel more healthy, but i also do the comfort things that I know are not doing me good, but it numbs. Numb numb numb.

Pic version of this blog

Old

I’ve hit that age.

Every time I go to the doctor, she adds something to the list.

Last time I went, she looked at her screen and took a deep breath.

A picture of Khaleesi with a bunny on her shoulder.

“OK, So you have high cholesterol. You have sleep apnea. You have psoriasis. You have hemochromatosis, halitosis, osteoporosis and myxomatosis.”

I might have gotten those last two wrong. Do men get osteoporosis? And I’m not sure even rabbits get myxo now. Don’t they get the Khaleesi virus? Wait, no, that’s Game of Thrones. “BOW DOWN BEFORE THE MOTHER OF BUNNIES!”

What was I saying? Oh yes, old.

Old so that the teens wince every time I walk towards them carrying snacks and pronouns. I heard my daughter saying to her friends: “You have to make allowances for the old people. They come from another time.”

I remember rocking up at home in full goth regalia and an earring to shock my parents. It didn’t work. Anyway.

I mean, they’re right to wince. I’m a middle-aged white guy. They have to be wary! We don’t have a good track record. I feel that desire to judge people and pigeonhole them, welling up inside of me, because of my race and social status.

But I will rise above! I created a list. A sort of BIGOTPATCH(TM) that I can use when I’m feeling especially judgemental.

“Damn you, you…” (quick check) “Audi drivers!”

“I really hate… companies that insist on surveys about their performance!” (I really do. Seriously. “How did we do?” Well, you did the thing I paid you to do. Do you want a medal?)

“Go to hell… right-handed people! You have ruined my life!”

Yeah, you know who you are, with your neat handwriting and your ability to use scissors.

Middle aged is a stupid term. And probably needlessly optimistic.

Nevertheless, I got rid of my life insurance this year. I mean, there’s a kick in the teeth for your Peter Pan complex. You’re basically betting a company that you will die before you pay them more than they will pay you!

Not to mention the effect it has on my wife. We bought life insurance and all of a sudden I was worth more dead than alive! I had to look around nervously when I was at the top of the stairs. I kept tasting almonds… in my almond milk latte, but still. That’s how you would do it. And whenever I leave the seat up on the toilet I catch that look in her eye. That speculative gaze, weighing up my earning potential against the instant influx of cash if she bumped me off.

So I convinced her to ditch the insurance. I didn’t mention that it was because it disagreed with my philosophical stance that I will live forever, or that I was stressed out by the target it painted on my back. Just that it was too expensive.

An image of Halley’s Comet taken in 1986. (Image credit: NASA)

Why did this come up? I was thinking about the possibility that I would see Halley’s Comet again. It swings by every 76 years, and the last time it visited I was in Grade 6. The next time is 2061. I’m not saying it’s impossible – I still have two grandparents well older than the age I need to hit to see that. But I’m nowhere near as fit as they are (see above list).

I need to get better at computer programming. I might yet be able to live on in the cloud. Bring on my robot body!

Using FaceSwap

FINDING DAMO BUCKET LIST 2020

A few years ago I put together a bucket list of things I want to do before I die. Last night my daughter was talking about creating her own bucket list, so I thought it might be time to update my own.

But first, let’s have a quick look at the first one. From that list, I came incredibly close to buying a purple suit, but balked at the last second. Now that I have a bit more money I think I need to do another trip down to Rosebud.

No penguin costumes, no troll costume, no replaced eyeball.

In fact, I have to say no to most of the old bucket list. Let’s see.

I have had a play produced – had a couple in fact – through GemCo. You can even buy the scripts. There was a link, but now you need to email them.

I have been an extra in Revolving Door’s Pokemon Resurgence. (here, if you just want to see me). I’ve published Dwarves in Space, and I am in the process of finding a publisher for the ‘Thropes series (again, let me know if you can help). I’ve also won a couple of money prizes for my writing, so that’s good.

I have a guitar, but I’m not playing it. I am playing the ukulele, which is a lot of fun. I have a piano, but I need to get it tuned.

And I still haven’t read any of those massively boring books.

Weirdly enough, a desire to do standup comedy didn’t even turn up on that list, but I have done a few gigs and even entered the 2020 Raw Comedy competition. So that’s an arrow in my bow.

OK, I’m glad I didn’t die back then. Let’s see how my attitudes have changed.

Fashion

  • I want a summer outfit that is properly summer – like the clothes they wear in really hot countries.
  • I still want a purple suit.

Food/Health

  • I would like to magically not care about food and eat healthy, to lose weight, ditch the psoriasis and stop needing the sleep apnoea mask.
  • But failing that, I want to eat the perfect hamburger. The problem is, I have to try all the burgers to find the perfect one. Hence my desire to stop caring about this.

Fame

  • I want to be paid to act.
  • I want to have a book published by a mainstream publisher.
  • I want to be paid for my standup comedy.

Family

  • I would like to be debt free so that we can travel more.
  • I want to get the house fixed up, or move to somewhere smaller and cheaper.
  • I want my family to be happy in their endeavours. The rest can come out of their own bucket lists.

Creativity

  • I want to write a screenplay.
  • I want to finish the Faux Pas first book at least.
  • I want to complete Yarra Noir (and talking to Shereen, I might actually have the plot point I needed to get it done).

Travel

Ireland, Great Britain, Spain and the Camino Trail, back to Japan.

Learning/Reading/Watching

  • I need a movie night once a fortnight to keep up a bit with the movies coming out, as a Media teacher.
  • I want to learn to make games in Unreal, or VR exploration spaces.
  • I want to spend more time learning Spanish and brushing up on my Japanese.

Imagination Master

Voting has opened in the Focus on Ability competition. Please check out our entry and vote for our chance at the Voter’s Choice Award and your chance to win a $50 iTunes voucher daily.

It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy. But hey, I’m always busy. This time, the busy-ness was due to my involvement in this year’s Focus on Ability competition. Basically, I wanted a reason to spend some time with my family in Bendigo, and this seemed like a good one.

So I asked Cai: “I want to do a movie with you, showing your abilities. What do you want to happen?”

And he said: “I want a wizard who lives in a cavern of fire, and I want to do magic.”

So I adjusted my expectations and we started work on the most epic five minute amateur film ever.

And now it’s done. And we have entered it into the competition. And we need your help to get the voting numbers. Below is a voting link, and below that are some of the behind the scenes bits that will get you excited about what we did. It was a mammoth effort involving three families, and I’m hoping it gets the attention my families deserve for all of their efforts.

Promotional Materials

It looks better in the end.

FINALIST!

2019 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards

Open Short Film Section

I’m writing to let you know that my film The Imagination Master is a finalist in the NOVA Employment 2019 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards.

Focus on Ability (FOA) is designed to encourage filmmakers to focus on the ability of people with disability. This year they’re celebrating 11 years of doing just that!

About Focus On Ability:

Based in Australia, this year’s FOA festival had an amazing 245 entries, including 104 school entries and 61 international films. Following successful screenings last year right around Australia, in New Zealand, New York, Zimbabwe and Malawi this year the competition received entries from 26 countries. More info.

Last year’s winners from the Open sections can be viewed here. As you can see, the competition is stiff!

Judges Choice Short Film
Winner – Sebastian Chan – Bus Trip

Judges Choice Documentary
Winner – Kasimir Burgess – Paul

Most Online Votes
Winner – Nicole Molloy & Matt Watt – He Will Walk

Best Australian Actor
George Holahan-Cantwell – Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant

This could be the richest short-film festival in the world, with over $175,000 in prizes to be shared among the winners.

The winner of the Judges Choice Open Short Film section wins an amazing prize! Winner – 1 return ticket to Los Angeles, 6 Weeks Accommodation at UP(st)ART Creative Living, 1 Ticket to the American Film Market, 1 Ticket the Australians In Film Gala Dinner & Membership to Australians In Film, Meetings with International Judges for mentorships, Live Studio Tapings of US Shows, $5000 worth of legal services from Kate L Raynor & Associates, 1 Ticket to Media Access Awards & Acknowledgement, Warner Bros Studio Tour Tickets.

My film is also in the running to win Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Director, Screen Producers Award and…

Most Online Votes – Winner – $5000 cash prize courtesy of Club York

This is where you come in!

Even though I’m confident the judges will love my film, if our local community gets behind me, it might just win the Most Online Votes!

Voting starts 20 June and concludes 3 July: http://www.focusonability.com.au/

Voters go in the running to win a $50 iTunes voucher, but you can only vote once in each category. The six categories are:

  • Australia & New Zealand Schools Documentary
  • Australia & New Zealand Schools Short Film
  • Australian Open Documentary
  • Australian Open Short Filmthis is us
  • International Documentary
  • International Short Film.

Winners attend a red-carpet event at The Concourse in Sydney on 6 September 2019.

Quotes from Martin Wren, CEO NOVA Employment: (FOA was his big idea!)

‘Focus is a constant source of amazement for me. It came as a random thought bubble, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could use the medium of film to highlight the ability of people with disability?” It could change the world!’

‘Now, I’m a Brixton kid – I’m hard as nails when I need to be – but I can guarantee you that I’ll weep at least 5 times when I watch those films. I hear, see and feel people saying things like, “I didn’t know that anyone would ever love me” and “It feels like I’m being destroyed”. I have to go back and replay to check: “Yes they actually said that in my film fest.”’

‘I don’t think, as a person, you can fail to be impressed and inspired by taking ten minutes to see a couple of FOA films. FOA changes attitudes about people with disability and this is important because it’s the first step towards an inclusive society.’

Three stories

I want to tell you a story, but I must tell you two other stories first.

The first is about forest water.

I went up to the Grampians with my wife and daughter, my sister, her kids and husband and his sister. I don’t know why I think all of that is necessary information.

Anyway, I absolutely loved it and the kids had a ball.

When wandering through the lovely morning bush, Shereen taught the kids about forest water. There is a special chi you get from licking the tiny drops of dew off the leaves of the trees. It’s cool and refreshing and makes you feel one with nature.

The second story is that I went to see Hereditary with my wife’s cousin and family.

It’s a beautifully shot film that is deeply flawed while still having a lot of potential. Anyway, there is a phenomenally horrible scene involving beheading and a car and I’m truly sorry if you wanted to see it but came here first.

hereditarycarmini

So, these are the things in my head for the following:

My wife and I were driving home from the mountains and it was lovely and misty and there was dew on the leaves and everything was picturesque. So I had to ruin it with my dark mind.

My wife pointed out the dew on the trees and said “forest water!”

And my immediate thought was:

He sticks his head out of the car, telling his wife “Hey, get closer to the edge so I can lick the forest water!” and then it’s

Licklicklicklick

“Mmmm… Forest water– ow! ow! wait, no aaaargh!”

SMACKsmackSMACKsmack rrrrrriiiiiipppppp

Plop.

Gush gush bleed bleed.

thumbnail

Was it worth the wait?

Pokemon Go.

me in a PokeballI wanted to look at this issue from two perspectives – me the blogger and me the teacher (who is also a blogger). So I’ll put something up here and then do something similar but slightly different over on the PerryPerrySource.net – and then link the two.

Pokemon Go was an incredible effort by Niantic. A year ago, it exploded into the public consciousness. We took over Lilydale Lake chasing Dratini. We scared the penguins down at the St Kilda pier and got shot at by the owner of the Glen Waverley Golf Club while chasing Charmander.

Finding Damo and his buddyLooking at my buddy stats, with one of my Pokemon buddies, I walked over 300km, and that’s just one of many Pokemon companions I have had over the year.

It has been really exciting to see the evolution of the game from a buggy, crashing mess to a completely different buggy, crashing mess.

I kid. The stability of the game has improved out of sight.

I understand that Niantic completely underestimated the impact that PoGo would have on the world. They couldn’t deal with the influx of customers. And then they couldn’t deal with the tracker they had implemented. And then they couldn’t deal with the spoofers and hackers and cheaters who flooding the game with fake names and hugely inflated Pokemon.

When Niantic decided to do a huge event to celebrate the first year of PoGo, I predicted that it wouldn’t go well. I hoped that it would, but I assumed that it wouldn’t. Sure enough, the phone towers couldn’t handle the traffic, people who had flown in from all over the world were left high and dry and the lawsuits have begun.

I want to say “It’s just a game, get over it.” But it seems like more than that. Niantic wanted to create a phenomenon. They created a phenomenon. And they let it loose on the world without any way to control it.

I’m still playing a year later. I take my family on raiding parties to catch legendary Pokemon. We go on long walks to hatch eggs and incidentally explore and discover new places. It’s like playing a board game or participating in a family activity. We’re spending time together, being active and having fun.

I really want to see what comes next. The Harry Potter AR (PottAR?) game seems to be on the cards. There’s a fantastic-looking horror game that uses your phone, although it seems to have been lost in development hell. And there are a HEAP of other AR games that were already well established before PoGo reared up out of nowhere, including Niantic’s own Ingress. There’s a market for augmented reality. With Trump running a country, we need to insert a bit of fantasy over the top of the weirdness that is real life.

TrumPokemon

To the future…

I used StumbleUpon and hit upon this site.

The idea that you send a message to your distant descendants in the future. All of the messages will be whooshed off into space, or into a time capsule, or buried in mud, or something. I didn’t read that bit very closely.

Here’s what I wrote:

a drawing of meI really hope that you know the name Damian Perry as having done something great. Or at least recognisable. Or at least not infamous.

leaving earth angryI hope that you left the planet of your own choice and not because we ruined it for you. If not, I am truly sorry for my generation’s actions.

this is a horseFinish this sentence: a horse walked into a bar and the bartender said: _________________________

Look up the lumberjack song. If you don’t know Monty Python, you should.

Read Terry Pratchett.

Read Shakespeare.

If you’ve invented time travel, come back and say hello.

cats and dogs are coolWe do some stupid things to the planet, but one that I don’t regret is having pets. We have dogs and cats and they make your life so much more bearable. I know they aren’t great for the carbon footprint, but they are good for the soul. Goldfish, not so much.

Does Apple still exist? What number iPhone are they up to?

Do they still talk about 2016 as one of the worst years ever?

Watch Star Wars.

Watch Casablanca.

Watch them as movies, and not as holograms or dreams or whatever they’re using for entertainment these days. I’m pretty sure Empire Strikes Back is still the best of the series, no matter what Disney does to the franchise.

I don’t care how plugged in to technology you are, it is absolutely vital that you get out and play. Being bored is essential for creativity. Paint something, draw something. Use your hands instead of a machine. Sing. Dance. Let your imagination take you somewhere you can’t get using a computer.

come back and visit in your time machineIs Doctor Who still around? Who is your favourite Doctor?

Definitely come back and say hi. I’m sure they’ll have time travel by your time.

Don’t use transporters, because there’s no guarantee that your soul will be transported along with your body. Seriously. Think about it.

transporters steal your soul

The real you is turned into computer information. A dead-inside clone appears on the other side. YOU ARE NOW DEAD.

Have fun. See you soon,

Damian.

Swear Jar

Captain Haddock swearingWhen I was in primary school, we had a pretty good idea what would get us in trouble, language wise. Bum wasn’t ok. Bloody was out of the question. I didn’t even know about the big three until about grade five or six.

I didn’t swear in front of my parents until I started driving. That did it, no problems. When you have the whole family in the car and you’re driving through Bendigo and you aren’t particularly confident and then someone cuts you off- well, the F bomb made an appearance.

My parents never swore in front of us either. Justin and Elise might have different memories, but I can’t remember them ever losing control and firing off one of the big ones. It might be because they were both teachers. I know it’s good for my self-control.

Nowadays swearing seems to be a lot more prevalent, especially among children.

Warning: this post will probably contain a LOT more swearing than is usual. I swear (haha) that it is in the context of the discussion. Sometimes I’ll bleep it out. Sometimes I’ll let it go. You have been warned.

A good introduction to modern speech patterns in today’s children is this:

I was doing bus duty at the end of the day, early in my teaching career when a Prep kid came screaming up the pathway after another kid, screaming “YOU F***ING C***!”

Jaw dropped, I jumped in and stopped this lovely five-year-old.

“Whoa! That’s not ok language! What’s wrong?”

“She called my mother a slut!” the girl sobbed, “and she’s not a slut. She’s a stripper!”

Well, what do you say to that? We’ve gone up a notch from not being able to say bum in Prep to this.

The swearing was so bad in my homeroom (of year 9 and 10 students) that I implemented a swear jar. You swear, you put money in the Project Compassion box. I’m pretty sure we won the charity competition that year.

Smurf YouThe follow up was to try and get them to use something else instead of the swear words. I had some pretty good success with smurfs. Smurfs use it to great effect, so I figured my homeroom could be equally as vague. Swearing dropped dramatically. Smurfing was as frequent as ever. I had to talk to them about intent after hearing “What the smurf do you want you smurfing smurfer? I will smurf you right up!”

When it comes to my own family we’re pretty good. I am a bit of an ogre over swearing. I believe that childhood should be a time of innocence, where things like swearing aren’t part of a child’s vocabulary. I am offended by kids swearing. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Given that, I’d prefer that a child finds a better way of expressing themselves. There’s plenty of time for swearing later.

That’s the background for this:

We were sitting at the table for dinner. My wife said that something was pretty shitty.

“Swear jar,” I said.

“Shitty isn’t a swear word!”

“Yes it bloody is!”

“OK then, put in a dollar for bloody!”

“Bloody isn’t a swear word!”

And so, like all good debates, I took it to Facebook. And WOW did it ever go mad from there. Ten pages in Word when I copied and pasted it to write this. Swearing is an issue wrapped up in political correctness and seasoned with the censorship debate.

Here’s what I posted:

What started it all

“Give me a list of words that would cause a donation to the swear jar. Put each word in its own comment. Like the words you agree with.

“Also point out ones you think are flat out OK in today’s society (OK for ten year olds)”

The first cab off the rank was the c bomb, followed up with “probably literally any racial slur”

“And now I wait gleefully for status comments that are just people swearing.”

And swear they did.

The first list of inappropriate swear words

  • The f bomb
  • Bugger (they need to understand what the word means)
  • Bastard
  • Bugger
  • Slut
  • Bitch
  • N*gger
  • Poofter
  • Faggot
  • Dickhead
  • Tony Abbott

Most of these from a wonderful person I had as a student teacher a few years ago. Teachers know ALL the bad words.

From here the list stopped and the discussion began. The argument was broken into these ideas:

  • Words have no specific “wrongness”. The context is what’s important.
  • Different cultures have different concepts of what is ok.
  • Swearing isn’t as bad as “inappropriate use of language”
  • Making it illegal makes it attractive.

In general, we agreed that the use of racial slurs and words that denigrate women should be out straight off the bat. They are over used in society but don’t add to society.

Insulting someone by calling them a female body part does nothing to advance the status of women in society. And still Australians complain about Muslim women wanting to wear head coverings in our country because it’s denigrating to women (yeah, that’s why you want them to stop wearing them). When you stop calling someone a whiny little bitch, I’ll listen to your argument.

Alternatives to swearing came up. My smurf idea was one. Words like ‘numpty’ and Sugar Honey Ice Tea, pickles or cheesesndwhiskers, muppet or donkey, and of course the really good ones like smeg and frack – to show that you’ve raised your child to be a proper sci-fi nerd.

Here are some of the more poignant remarks, names cut out to protect the swearmongers (some are colour linked – those who consistently got involved):

“Any word is a swear word in the right context. I think kids need to learn appropriate use not that language is bad. Shakespeare used c***. I find it less offensive than the word Muslim in some people’s mouths. Teach her respect and let her have a word for when she stubs her toe. The rest is out of your hands.”

“I love this perspective a lot! Still, I don’t think “Shakespeare used the word c***” is going to fly in front of her principle at school so it’s that odd balance of societal expectations and developing a good respectful kid.”

“Truly, swearing is about context and culture. The utterance of a culture’s deity in one geography wouldn’t raise an eyelid, yet would condemn you to death in others.”

“Is a list of words really what you need here? At 10 she is most likely smart enough to know when she’s offending someone, which should probably be all the criteria she needs. A simple ‘inappropriate use of language’ jar should suffice, with you being the judge of what is inappropriate in the given context. I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if one of my kids dropped an f bomb after a big fright or something, but have definitely pulled them up for referring to a sibling as a bitch.”

“And with that criteria you can handle all those violations of the Queen’s English too.”

“Take each instance on merit. Stubbed toe and swear, we all do. Walking around peppering her speech with cussing to get a reaction, explain why it’s not really the done thing and leave her choose. Don’t demonize words though. As soon as you make anything naughty it has appeal. Making swearing taboo could also limit her feeling she can come to you with issues surrounding language… like body shaming or slut shaming as it’s not swearing but the language is really more inappropriate than a good ‘Oh shit’. If adults have an issue with the use of a word, that’s about them. Take the power away from the word, give the power [to your child] and back yourselves in, because we’re all human, we all pick our nose, fart, chew with our mouth open and swear.”

Me: “No we bloody don’t! There are plenty of ways to express ourselves that don’t involve swearing. She has the rest of her life to swear. For now, she can make an effort and find better ways to respond to situations. It’s about control. If you have enough control over a situation that you can choose a response, that’s a step in the right direction.”

“I completely agree with you Daimo on this one. It is all about self-control and also respect. [We as parents] could swear til the cows come home but we choose not to and I expect the kids to learn the same self-control and respect. That’s not to say I don’t utter certain words under my breath out of earshot at times.”

“Any word can be a swear word. Learning where, rather than what, is what I’d aim for.”

“When followed by a snigger, any of the following might be inappropriate: moist, 69, erection, hard, hump… gotta love the english language”

“Oooh ‘language, #snigger”

Do you allow exceptions for extenuating circumstances:

Warning: Explicit content

Warning: Explicit content

This you’d get a timeout from game. It’s gratuitous swearing and bad sportsmanship. This can be controlled. Damian this is where the respect comes in, not the inevitable slip up we all make at times.

Me: There are slip ups, which is why we have the swear jar. That’s “oops, put a dollar in the jar”. Then there are blatant uses like above, which require a more specific consequence.

I think it should be less a “swear jar than an “unimaginative words jar” – there are much better words you can use to express yourself than these, these are nasty and no one should use them. I like the idea of having a list of other more useful words. In science at school I always make my students write out the lab safety rules, but they have to write them out without using negative language – they can’t use the words don’t, no, prohibited, etc. So the rules become things they can choose to do, safe choices to make, rather than just things not to do.

Research into the hypoalgesic effect of swearing has shown that the use of profanity can help reduce the sensation of pain. This phenomenon is particularly strong in people who do not use such words on a regular basis.

I swear like a trooper as you know Damo but the kids still know not to, at least in front of adults, teachers etc, I’m not sure if they swear to their friends.

P.S My parents never swore, I’m calling it a social experiment to see how the kids end up but at 8 and 10 no probs yet.

I’m against f**king censorship ??

Me: Then don’t f**k it

At this point in the conversation my wife wanted me to explain that our daughter is wonderful and doesn’t swear at all and this is more about us parents. More specifically, she thinks shitty is ok and I think bloody is ok and we both think the other person’s word should go in the swear jar.

Can I add “gay” and “retard” – those four words (including the two in the comments above) are the words that I find most offensive (and I have a fondness for the expletive).

Gay is a perfectly reasonable word to use, even when describing a person’s sexuality, unless it’s done in a negative way.

Unfortunately, “gay” is more likely used in an offensive manner these days, than in its correct form. As per above – it isn’t the word, it is the way in which it is used.

Damian Perry: Seriously, what you just said was totally gay.

Damian Perry: By which I mean totally spot on and fantastic.

Damian Perry: …I’m taking it back.

LOL

Yes, the word gay is misused but if you stomp on its usage completely then I think you have made a mistake. My kids sometimes pull me up when I use the word black to identify a person with dark skin. I ask them “why? Is it bad to be black or something?”. Same with the word gay – are you banning its usage because it is bad to be gay? I would simply stick to objecting to when the word is used in a negative way, and embrace it when used correctly.

I like that idea on principle however, I have lost track of the number of times I have heard kids referring to everything they don’t like or agree with as “that’s so gay” (cue eyeroll)

I’m not into swearing but refuse to make it attractive by making it naughty to the kids. It’s hard enough getting them to clean their rooms without having to clean their mouths too. (My giving them permission has worked well but I still try to lead by example.)

F**kin' Swear JarIt was a fantastic discussion. Most importantly, in the end, I’m pretty sure that the consensus was that, if we were allowed to have a swear jar at all, bloody would be ok and shitty would be a dollar in the jar.

So that’s bloody brilliant.

2015

Everybody has to write one of these, don’t they?

Let’s see. What happened in 2015? It might be just writing at this time of the year, but in my head, the year was categorised by stress. Which is weird, because in 2014 I:

  • wrote two plays,
  • performed in two productions,
  • published and launched my first novel,
  • completed a certificate III in Game Design,
  • holidayed in Halls Gap,
  • turned 40 and was painted into the TARDIS,
  • created a CGI opening for the school production which almost killed me,
  • saw my daughter perform at the Melbourne Arts Centre,
  • had our first cancer scare with our dog Amy and then
  • lost my grandfather to cancer (which doesn’t seem that long ago).

2015They were huge things, and very draining. And still, I finished this year completely shattered and I’m just getting out of it now, after a good few days down at Dromana soaking in the ocean (my calm down place). My 2015 list on the face of it is much longer. This year I:

  • Wrote a book starring my daughter as a werewolf
  • Saw They Might Be Giants (again)
  • Watched my lovely wife graduate from university
  • Ran the school radio show and podcast for a year
  • Spent a week in Sydney
  • Ramped up the school 3D printing program
  • Started learning to program in Python
  • Got my debating team into the finals
  • Had a number of articles published in educational journals
  • Had a reunion of the Five
  • Fixed the shower head
  • Ran the sound for Macbeth
  • Wrote half a dozen stories for a sequel to Dwarves in Space and found them mostly awful
  • Discovered Netflix and Stan and Presto
  • Had a Marvel Universe movie marathon
  • Went to a number of art galleries
  • Attended a few Guides functions
  • Started an educational blog
  • Read the Harper Lee sequel nobody thought would ever happen
  • Flew in a very old bi-plane
  • Finished my wedding video – three years on
  • Celebrated Grandma’s 90th

And that’s just the ones that come to mind going back through my photo gallery. Of those, they were all incredibly positive, life affirming and creative pursuits, which didn’t bring me down in the slightest. So why am I so mentally exhausted?

I think all that I can say is: don’t get involved in politics in the workplace. Just do your own job as well as you can and let what’s up top run itself.

I just wish I believed that was a good idea. Anyway, as always, I promise I will write more in 2016. And I have actual things in place to make that happen. AND I did actually write a lot in 2015 – just not on FindingDamo.

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