Ducking hell, they’re everywhere …



Achieving inner peace

I am passing this on to you because it definitely worked for me today, and we all could probably use more calm in our lives.

I looked around my house to see things I’d started and hadn’t finished, so I have managed to finish off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how bludy fablus I feel rite now.

Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u blody luvum!!!


(Disclaimer: No, not really … my cardiologist would have a fit!)


Upated: Home invaders (and men are idiots)

The discovery of some unexpected visitors in our home this week was a bit of a shock. After hearing a sort of dripping sound in the bathroom for a while now, I was wondering if either there was something leaking inside the wall (a potential nightmare after the sneaky ceiling leak we had in the same room earlier last year that took a couple of weeks to track down), or that we possibly had a family of wetas living the good life in our bathroom wall.

bug-bee (1)Just the other day I finally remembered to take a look out the window on the stairs, which faces the external wall of the bathroom on the side I’d been hearing the sounds, to see if I could see either something leaking or evidence of wetas in the neighbourhood. You know, like a weta welcome mat, or a weta-sized four-wheel-drive parked outside. But no, there was no sign of anything weta-related or leak-related. However, there was something else. Well, hundreds of something else: fecking bees wasps*. Yes, we have bees wasps living in our bathroom wall.

Ick. Totally ick.

I’m not pleased by this turn of events at all, in fact I’m more than a little creeped out by the fact that the noise I’m hearing in my bathroom is the sound of a gazillion little bees wasps shuffling around inside my wall.

What makes it worse is that it’s been so bloody hot this past week but I can’t open the windows on the back wall of the house for fear of being invaded by the winged beasts, since there are so many of them buzzing around the place: you really do appreciate the meaning of “a hive of activity” when you see the actual activity that goes on in an actual hive! Anyway, thank God for air conditioning.

On the day I made my discovery, I broke the news to Fluffy (aka my long-suffering but well-insured husband) that we had a wee problem living inside our walls. His immediate response? To wander around the back of the house, take a look at the entry point that was surrounded by bees and then poke a stick in it. Our unwelcome tenants weren’t impressed by that turn of events and came pouring out of their home sweet home to see off the intruder. I was surprised that the old bugger can still move pretty quickly when pursued by a bunch of pissed of insects.

But really, what is it with blokes? Why do they feel the need to do stupid things like that? Is it just a fixation with poking things in holes or is it something more?

Anyway, the bee assassin* has been hired and will be here on Tuesday to do the deed. I’m looking forward to having my house back.

Note 1: Did I say bees? Turns out they were wasps.

Note 2: Fortunately, the skills required of the average bee assassin are quite similar to those required of a wasp hitman. The dude hired to kill our winged house guests initially looked at them from the safety of the window on the stairs and while admitting that he normally wasn’t keen on killing bees, he said he understood our need to get rid of them since they were living in our wall and there were so damn many of them. However, after popping outside to have a closer look at their entry point, he discovered they were actually wasps. And because of that, he was actually quite excited about disposing of them. And I was excited for him. The wasps, however, weren’t particularly excited about the outcome.


And the winner is … Chorus

Get ConnectedThe gushing news reports would have us believe that everyone in Dunedin is celebrating their little corner of the world winning the much-hyped Gigatown competition but let’s be honest: it’s Chorus that should be doing all the celebrating.

This year-long marketing “competition” was a brilliant marketing ploy for the company: the lovely citizens of the various towns and cities wanting access ultra-fast broadband took part in quizzes and promotions that used the “gigatown” tag, and directly promoted Chorus. In return, they got the opportunity to be the town finally selected for the big Gigatown deal.

I’m not saying that ultra-fast broadband wouldn’t be an awesome outcome, and getting it for a while at a reduced cost is even better. And the $200,000 development fund and $500,000 community fund Chorus is offering is the icing on the cake. But really, how good is that proverbial cake? The publicity Chorus has received from this competition is phenomenal, with news stories popping up everywhere each week to keep the momentum going. How much would that level of promotion over the course of a year have cost the company? I’m betting a lot more than the probably-tax-deductible $700K they’ve stumped up for those two funds.

There’s no doubt Dunedinites will benefit from getting UFB, and getting it at a discount is not to be sneezed at. However, we already pay too much for fairly average broadband in this country so in reality, the prize is probably more of a “UFB at the price it should be” offer.

Congratulations Dunedin. And congratulations Chorus: I’m not having a dig at you guys for running a marketing campaign masquerading as a competition, because that’s how all giveaways work. However, dragging it out for an entire year or more is pretty impressive.


Weather or not you believe it …

The whole global warming debate continues, and while it’s hard to see it as global warming when we froze our collective arses off here in New Zealand last summer (but had an almost tropical winter), there is no doubt that something dodgy is happening to our climate.

So let’s call it climate change, which covers all the weather wonkiness and makes it easier to comprehend for those who stick their nose out the door on a chilly day and proceed to bitch about what a crock global warming is because “it’s so cold” and that they can’t believe how cold it is in Southland all the time. Because, of course, their short-term memories have been frozen into a state of malfunction by all the cold weather last summer that so they conveniently forgot the incredibly mild winter and pretty spectacular spring of the year before. Oh, and the awesome autumn we enjoyed this year.

But I digress. Sea levels are rising, average temperatures are up and greenhouse gases are at 800,000-year highs. Bugger.

In this video, Hank Green (my favourite geek) from SciShow explains an October 2013 report by the United Nations about global warming and tells us five things we really need to know about our warming world.

Yes indeed, it is getting warmer.


Dr Lewinn’s Essentials hand and nail cream

2014-06-DrLewinnsThis is the third or fourth hand cream I’ve trialled this year and when looking at price and performance, it’s probably the best.

The label says it has all the vitamin letters you want showing up in a good hand creams (A, B and E), making it incredibly nourishing, and the inclusion of aloe vera also makes it quite healing.

It has a mild and pleasant fragrance that is well and truly inoffensive and it absorbs into the skin quickly, so there’s no greasiness.

A great product at a pretty decent price.

DR LEWINN’S Essentials hand and nail cream (RRP $29.99 for 100g)


Ice, ice baby

It seems like everyone in celebrity-land is jumping on the ice challenge bandwagon at the moment, with a raft of famous faces taking part in a soggy challenge in the name of a good cause.

And it has to be said: Bill Gates has geekified the whole thing and taken it to a new level.

Do I detect a spot of deja vu? Didn’t we already do that here? OK, so our watery warriors were acting in the name of the Cancer Foundation and the northern hemisphere Johnny-come-latelys are raising awareness of ALS, but you get my drift.

For anyone who may have been residing under a rock for the last little while, the ice bucket challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water on your head to promote awareness, and to encourage people to donate to the cause. If you do the challenge, you also get to nominate others.

Celebrities have taken to it like the proverbial duck to (icy) water and the ice bucket challenge has exploded on social media.

Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of grumbling about it all online, with complaints about it being a waste of water, the whole slacktivism argument and reminders that we’d be better off just donating to the cause.

While I usually agree with anyone who pokes a sharp stick at slacktivism, in this case I reckon it’s pretty inoffensive. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or motor neurone disorder, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is a terrible illness that offers little more than a grim and short life for those diagnosed with it. Every muscle in the body eventually atrophies until the sufferer dies

Awful, truly awful.

A friend of my in-law’s died from this disease and each time they visited her they saw her struggle more and more just to swallow, to speak. Just to breathe.

It’s also relatively rare, so anything that raises awareness has got to be a good thing. Awareness means there is more chance of research, and the more research there is, the better the chance of one day finding a cure and/or prevention.

While I’d like to hear that all those well-paid celebs uploading their cutsie videos are also chucking a few dollars at the research fund, I can’t feel to peeved about them putting the spotlight on this disease.

Slacktivism normally bugs the living crap out of me, particularly when it’s done via Facebook or other social media sites. You know what I mean: the stupid, pointless status updates about how there are people in this world with [insert illness/fear/whatever here] and how if you are brave enough you’ll copy and paste this post into your own status to show your support. Ooooh, yes, very supportive.

Or the equally stupid, equally pointless cryptic updates that involve mention of the colour of your undies, or some outrageous statement about being knocked up to raise awareness of breast cancer but with the warning to not let the men in your life in on the secret, just to make it fun. Um, sure. Because we all know breast cancer’s fun, right? And cryptic messages that we keep secret from half the population? What an awesome way to raise awareness.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

The ice bucket challenge is raising awareness. Let’s just hope it also raises some cash.

Oh, and really northern hemisphere dudes, us Kiwis were a tad tougher about the whole thing, it being the middle of winter and all!



Dr Lewinn’s Skin Perfect primer & foundation

2014-05-DrLewinnsA couple of foil sample sachets of this product arrived with my May Goodiebox subscription, and because there was so little else’s in the box to review I thought I had better give this stuff a try.

The primer delivered on its promise of leaving my skin smooth and soft and I would definitely look at buying this again. Coverage felt light but complete.

However, I wasn’t such a fan of the foundation. I ignored the fact that the colour was totally wrong for me (gee, thanks Goodiebox), and judged it purely on how it felt and how it covered. All-in-all, it looked a little patchy and felt a bit heavy, which surprised me.  I think I’ll stick to my L’Oreal CC cream.

DR LEWINN’S Skin Perfect primer and foundation (RRP $45.90 each for 30ml)


Bye for now

I’m on holiday until the 19th so am off to Aussie for a week or so. Hopefully it’ll be a tad warmer than it is here right now!

And we’ll be back, of course, in time for the opening day of the whitebait season on the 15th.


I do … in debt


According to Quartz, the taste for ridiculously expensive weddings is nothing new, but I’m finding it hard to get my head around the average spend in 2013 of an eye-watering $29,548.

I get that brides want their big day, but holy crap that’s a lot of dosh. That’s a deposit on a house, or a decent start on one.

Or a honeymoon.

Or a new car.

Quartz, says that figure represents 49 per cent of the median household income, and while weddings back in the 1930s averaged 25 per cent of household income, it’s almost worse because that was in the middle of the Great Depression, when so many were out of work and the economy was pretty much fecked. Hmm, that sounds familiar…

But I digress. Am I some sort of freak of nature? I spent a fraction of that on my wedding and even now, 18 or so years down the track, have no regrets about our cheap day: the most important thing for me was that our parents were there, and they were. We hurried along our wedding date because my mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse so our wedding went from “we’ll probably get married in the next couple of years” to “we’re getting hitched on Saturday”. That decision was made on a Sunday afternoon, back in March 1996.

I hired a dress (couldn’t find one I liked, didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for something I’d never wear again), bought my shoes at the Warehouse (where every bride gets a bargain …), the real estate agent did my hair for me during our open home (we were trying to sell our house at the time, and we actually bought another house that same day), and soothed the nerves of my very, very nervous matron of honour with alcohol.

All up, I think our big day cost maybe a couple of hundred bucks.

It’s not what you spend that makes it work.



Jillian "George" Allison-Aitken

I live in the deep south of New Zealand, where smelly dairy cows are taking over from sheep in the livestock stakes. My hometown is the small but perfectly formed city of Invercargill, which is also the hometown of the original boy racer, Burt Munro. Find out more about me here.


Click for Invercargill, New Zealand Forecast