The Curse of Profanity

Posted Sunday, July 24, 2011, 10:23 PM

When I was younger, in High School and after, I didn't swear very much. Then in my early 20s I started to swear a lot, though it felt clumsy. Now I have found the equilibrium, and my swearing has evened out. I think I do it appropriately.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said of everyone. Some people swear way way too much, in my opinion, and it really bothers me. Swearing has a purpose. It's not just a rude word to say when feeling defiant, something naughty you can get away with. And it really shouldn't be every third word in every sentence you speak.
  • If something heavy falls on your foot, or you trip up on the pavement, then curse as much as you like.
  • If someone is deserving of being insulted, then give them the full profane treatment.
  • And if it is the perfect zinger that makes the joke funnier, then swear like a sailor.
Outside of that, there is no excuse for it. I'm one of the last people to advocate censorship just because it offends some staid old stick-in-the-mud, even if that offended person is me, but if you dilute the effect of swearing, or use the words inappropriately, they lose their power, and then what's the point of swearing at all?

You need to have harsh, forceful words you can say at the appropriate time, to release tension, emphasise a moment, or to throw that perfect insult. If those are taken from our vocabulary and get lost in amongst regular words, then how do you let off steam? New words? We don't need new words, we have perfectly reasonable swear words already.

I listen to a few podcasts. They're like talkback radio, without the phone in, and without the ads. But the hosts are not beholden to anyone, not even their sponsors, and can swear if they want to. That is a welcome freedom, if they choose to keep things at the aforementioned appropriate levels; but some are just repellently profane, with horrific swearing coming from everyone, hosts and guests. Never-ending and inescapable, an otherwise entertaining hour of commentary can be ruined by grotesquely excessive effing and blinding.

Pull it back a bit, people. Don't dilute the perfect way to emphasise a stressful moment, you're ruining the fun and usefulness of our colourful language.

Myki is Hinky

Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 1:06 PM

Myki cards are the new wave of metro tickets. They're meant to last years without a hitch. Mine lasted three weeks before failing.

Here's what happens if your Myki card stops working:

You have to take it to one of two locations, both in the city. That's an inconvenience of monumental stature. The city sucks for a single journey - it takes two hours out of your day even if it's a quick in-and-out, and there's nothing to do in the CBD that you can't do better in multiple other spots across the suburbs.

Once at one of their two stores, they assess if you damaged your card, or it just failed due to being made from useless cheap crap. If it is damaged, there's a $10 fee. If not, no fee. Mine was certainly not damaged, so that's fine. If I had opted on posting it in, which is such a stupid idea I didn't mention it before, they could cast judgement on it without your supervision to set them straight. It's nice to believe they'd be honest, but you really can't trust anyone these days.

After filling in a form, they give you a replacement card. However, it's empty. All your money on your old card is temporarily unavailable, so you have to spend to fill the new card again.

Though you do not lose the money from the other card (assuming your card is registered), when you get it transferred it is no longer associated with the Myki Pass (i.e. Monthly), instead it is turned into Myki Money, which is the equivalent of a Daily (more expensive). Why? Because it takes 10 working days, and by then you've not been using those days, so you get fully reimbursed. Fair enough, but TEN DAYS!???

This is ridiculous. 1) Transfer of funds should be immediate and seamless. 2) Card failure should never happen; my Credit Card and ATM Card have never failed on me, after years of use. And 3) only having a limited number of places where this assessment can happen, in less-than-convenient locations, is impractical.

For a system that cost $1.3bn or whatever it was, and was five years overdue, things as simple as replacing faulty cards should be much better handled than this.