My latest rant

Sometimes I just need to rant. Be afraid, you are my captive audience.

Hotting up for the big NZ political Idol show

September 17 is the political version of the NZ Idol final. Without the singing, of course (thank goodness for small mercies).

As we all know, too much of anything is bad for us — as the South Korean man who up and died after playing Starcraft online for nearly 50 shows. The same goes for politicians.

Everything in moderation. And let’s face it, they’re all so damn boring we’re unlikely to want to have to spend too much of our time listening to them anyway.

David Lange was a politician who wasn’t boring. No matter whether you supported his policies or not, there’s no denying the man was incredibly clever, witty and respected.

Mr Lange, who died on Saturday night, was to New Zealand politics what Mohammed Ali was to boxing — a clever, colourful, flamboyant character who makes all who have followed in his footsteps look like bland imitations.

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Remembering fashion fads and mistakes

The wrong choice of apparel is the quickest way to make yourself look like a total knob or a dinosaur, or in the case of Motley Crue, both. 

There I was, innocently minding my own business, watching the Live 8 spectacular on Sunday when all of a sudden the band that time forgot appeared. 

Admittedly, back in the 1980s, I thought Motley Crue was okay. I even looked at the band members product-laden hair with a touch of admiration. 

Fast forward to 2005 and there they all were, on my TV screen, looking pretty much unchanged. The same clothes, the same hair-dos. Im not even sure they’d showered since 1985. 

Fashion can be a strange thing but perhaps Oscar Wilde summed it up best when he said: “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months” . 

Current fashion trends are more than a little confusing. First we have little girls being dressed in crop tops and tight mini skirts to look like pocket-sized trailer park trash. 

Then there are the grown women, many of them in their 40s and 50s, wearing little girl clothes — pink frills and fluff, polka dots, mittens and ribbons. I’m not sure which version I find the most disturbing. 

If you want to have a giggle at fashion transgression of bygone years, in the 1970s has a good range of clothing and fads to poke the borax at. Sister sites In the 80s and In the 90s cover the next two decades. 

Fiftiesweb has fashion fads for earlier eras, and also covers slang, music and pop culture. 

Looking at the changing fashions over the past few decades, the pattern for everything old being new again is pretty obvious but there are some trends that should stay in the past. Mullets and sideburns spring to mind. Oh, and 1980s hard rocking dudes need to move with the times. 

Perhaps Carson and the rest of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy boys need to pay a visit to Motley Crue.

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Graceful aging and spandex

It started off like any other Monday — opened one eye, crawled out of bed, staggered towards the kitchen to get up close and personal with a cup of tea, got attacked by the cat, prised open the other eye, found the morning newspaper and settled down to read it.

That was when it hit me. I spied the date. I was mere days away from being the mother of a 16-year-old (insert Jaws theme music here).

Yesterday was the big day, and now my wee lad isn’t such a wee lad any more. Happy birthday Nick and I must admit, I feel a tad old.

I know they say age is only important for dead fish and good wine but my moments of age-related paranoia aren’t helped when our own Southland Times Uptown Girl columnist Sarah Kilkelly talks about going to see the movie Jurassic Park when she was just a kid.

Oh, and Sarah, don’t click that link, there are scary dinosaurs galore.

The movie that was my generation’s biggie was, of course, Star Wars — although I’m sure that year of release must be a misprint, 1977 is nearly 30 years ago. That would make meah yes, old.

john-lennonI was born in 1966, the same year the first episode of Star Trek screened in the United States, Billie Jean King won her first Wimbledon singles title and John Lennon famously proclaimed the Beatles to be more popular than Jesus.

John Lennon’s death was another defining moment for my generation. No kiddies, his death doesn’t sit alongside that of grunge rocker Kurt Cobain. Lennon grew up with a whole generation of fans and collected new ones from the next generation, he was as important as Elvis.

Without the spandex jumpsuits and cheesiness.

That’s another thing that doesn’t always age well — fashion. Although, right now retro is the latest thing so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

The 80s was one of the most unkind decades for fashion. I can’t help wondering if a few thousand years from now, scientists will be disturbed upon viewing photos of Michael Jackson’s glove, David Hasselhoff’s Speedos and Linda Evan’s three-storey tall shoulder pads in Dynasty.

Hell, I’m disturbed already by those images, and I had pink, spiked hair in the 1980s.

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We all have hate lists — don’t we?

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

If you have anti-virus software on your computer you’ve probably noticed a flurry of activity during the past couple of days with new virus definition updates coming thick and fast.

If you’re not already familiar with Symantec’s Security Response site, now is probably a good time to pay a visit. You’ll find information on the latest and greatest in the world of viruses and other nasties.

Hackers, virus-writers and other assorted script kiddies sit at No 6 on my list of people I’d like to bitch-slap Yes, I have a list and it’s quite comprehensive. Right now, Nicole Kidman occupies the top spot and I suspect I’m not the only one out there.

Ralph Fiennes is next on the list. I know everyone just loved The English Patient but come on, the name is Ralph (with a fffff at the end). It’s a name is of English origin so where did the pronunciation Rayf come from?

Besides, I dont like his hair.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that Britney Spears is at No 3. No explanation necessary for that one.

The smug bloke on the judging panel for NZ Idol last year is next — he made such an impression on me that I can’t remember his name but his attempts at being the mean judge were about as effective as me trying to pretend I’m sensitive.

But I digress — back to No 5 on my ever-growing list, purveyors of spam emails. According to the Pew Internet and Life Project, people are receiving more unwanted junk in their inboxes but minding it less.

What people? They didnt ask me. If I had my way they’d have public floggings for those irritating little bottom-feeders.

Sticking with the topic of net nasties, Symantec is planning to include spyware protection in its latest Norton security package and is offering a beta version the spyware software.

Opera has also beefed up security with its latest offering.

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Message for a pervert…

A special note for my very own pervy reader I appear to have cultivated: If you’re going to send e-mails of that nature, it’s much more effective if the smutty bits are spelt correctly.

You might find http://www.dictionary.com/ helpful.

Please, step away from the keyboard and wash your hands. And don’t do that, you’ll go blind.

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Moving, schmoving…never again

Eight years ago I said I was never moving house again. This time I mean it.

You didn’t get a column from me last week because I was too busy unpacking. In fact, by my normal deadline time I still hadn’t hunted out all my computer cables. Not that it mattered because I couldn’t have connected to the net anyway.

In an attempt at being semi-organised, I’d made calls to Telecom, Contact Energy and Sky TV the week before we moved. Telecom had a hiccup with the phone connection and it wasn’t until I called them on my cellphone the morning after we moved that it was connected. Jetstream and Sky took another two days (the Sky technician was sent to the right street, right number, wrong city).

There was no explanation from either company. I did get an apology from Telecom’s customer service chicky but it just wasn’t the same when “Oh, we’re sorry” immediately followed me saying: “An apology would be nice” .

In the past I’ve always found Telecom’s service spot on so I was more than a little disappointed.

On a brighter note, all things electrical seem to be working. However, we got our power account last week. It said the final reading was transferred from a house we haven’t lived in for eight years.

The Service Quality Institute’s wide range of videos, books and courses might prove useful. Or we could just stick with the confusion, and take a look at Sign Language, which features a collection of photos of humorous, bizarre and/or confusing signs from around the world.

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MEET YOUR BLOGGER

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.

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