Some things just defy normality. Some of them are named Kanye and have recording contracts. Others are here.

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.


The butler iceberg did it

titanicA common phrase I hear around the office is “people are stupid” and nowhere is that more evident than online.

This week’s example of one of life’s special people:

Does the Titanic sink at the end of the movie or does it have a happy ending,wont be up to watch the end…thanks
(this one was from the Trade Me message board)

Hmmm, I worry for our future.



The key to getting it right

Dear New Zealand citizens,

If you don’t know the name of our country’s Prime Minister you have no right to whinge about him. I am sick to death of seeing all the hand-wringers on the Trade Me message board getting stuck into everything he does while getting his name wrong: it’s John Key, NOT John Keys.

Perhaps we should have a basic intelligence and general knowledge test before allowing people to vote. And perhaps before they breed, too.


Embrace the chaos


It’s not a garden gnome



Smile for the camera

There are times in life when there really isn’t anything you can say except: WTF???

Dude, nice mask but damn, you could have worn a cape. Or pants.


Fountain attempts to drown passing woman

In my Online column this week,  I linked to the infamous “stupid woman falls in fountain as she walks and texts at the same time” video (click here and scroll down). Now the news is out that the aforementioned stupid woman is planning to sue the mall because no one came to her aid.

Well, of course they didn’t. They were all too busy laughing. Just like the rest of us. I mean, come on: if you’re stupid enough to be trying to text while walking and you just happen to fall into a fountain, it’s your own damn fault.

Maybe it’s her who should be sued. For polluting the fountain perhaps?

Or for being a fecking embarrassment to women everywhere.



Family portrait?



How great are you?



Dodgy pursuer offers Facebook lesson

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

 The internet’s a strange beast and its users are often even stranger.

Yes, I know I’m one of those users so am possibly strange, but my strangeness is well-hidden and relatively harmless to others.

Most of the time.

A report this week that a Facebook user in Hastings was lurking about the place friending Invercargill schoolgirls and claiming to be a local himself has had most of us scratching our heads: what was he hoping to achieve by the deception?

He was caught out when one of the girls he’d connected with online turned up at his fake Invercargill address.

The main reason for my own head-scratching in wonderment was that the girl thought it OK to go meet this guy at his house.

I understand that not everyone online is dangerous and know several couples who have met online and formed lasting relationships but I reckon it’s a bit naive to assume it’s safe to meet someone for the first time at their house.

What if they are a psychotic stalker? What if they want to abduct you? What if they want to force you to listen to their Barry Manilow CD collection? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

I guess when it comes down to it, the problem with teenagers is that that are just that: teenagers. At that age we all thought we were the proverbial 10-feet tall and bullet-proof and the possibility that something bad might happen to us wasn’t entertained.

So listen up all you young ‘uns out there: be wary, be suspicious and be safe. Have fun online but don’t be too trusting because you never really know if the person you are chatting with really is who they say they are.

It’s a bit like that old joke about the miner from outback Australia posing as an 18-year-old lesbian online so he can get his kicks talking to 18-year-old lesbians, such as Bubba the truckie from Tennessee who is posing as an 18-year-old lesbian online so he can get his kicks talking to … well, you get the idea.

DISCLAIMER: Dear rabid Barry Manilow fans, please don’t send me emails, threats and links to “awesome” Barry Manilow videos in an attempt to convert because it won’t work.

In fact, someone calling himself “Barry Manilow’s number one fan in China” has already tried and failed.

Oh, and views expressed in this column are not necessarily the views of The Southland Times. Because for all I know, our editor and/or general manager might be quite fond of shaking their groove thangs to the dulcet tones of Mrs Manilow’s little boy Barry.



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