The stench of oversharing

May 30, 2014

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

What would Benjamin Franklin make of all this interweb malarkey?

During a chat about the perils of Facebook this week, a workmate reminded me of the old saying that compares houseguests and fish, but I reckon the internet has given Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote even more oomph.

The United States founding father and inventor of the lightning rod and bifocals said that both fish and visitors stink after three days but I suspect that if @bennyF happened to be around today he would extend his range of things that stink to the pleasingly alliterative families, friends and Facebook. And perhaps he would shrink that timeline, too, because three days is a tad generous when it comes to smug status updates, drama queen moves and pointless hashtagging.

It’s a strange old world we now live in, where social networking via Facebook and Twitter means we know a whole lot of stuff about almost total strangers and even more about our nearest and dearest. And that can make things more than a little uncomfortable.

There’s that person you followed or friended because you met them at a friend’s party or they made an interesting comment on a friend’s Facebook or Twitter feed: suddenly you are getting all their updates and know the intimate details about their life that should really be saved for those who know them well. One person who friended me after a chance meeting via a mutual friend-of-a-friend and a cold beer shared with the world every angry word between her and her then-partner, the perils of menstrual cramps, a three-week battle with thrush, an ongoing comparison of the best home cures for constipation for those following the Atkins diet, her brother’s relationship woes, her thoughts on the pedigree of the aforementioned brother’s “cheating slapper of a girlfriend” and the financial crisis facing one of her colleagues. Until she popped up on Facebook, I didn’t even know her last name or where she worked, but after hitting that little button to accept her friend request I knew far more than I ever wanted to about her life, and the lives of those around her.

After just a couple of weeks, I quietly deleted and blocked her and hope to never run across her again.

But perhaps even worse that the over-sharing semi-stranger is the over-sharing family members. It’s easy enough to block someone you don’t really know but when family members are littering your feed with drivel you’d rather not have to read, it can be a lot more awkward. It’s all about attention seeking, from their I’m at the gym/my child is a genius updates to the endless photographs of every boring, mundane meal they stuff into their gobs, or those cryptic “life is so hard” posts designed to have everyone asking in their very best pretend-concerned-online-voice: oh, are you OK 🙁

I don’t care about your latest sweaty efforts at the gym, I don’t care that you believe your child is some sort of prodigy (besides, my cat is a genius and furry, that’s even better), and I certainly don’t care about your Sunday roast. Sure, if you’ve been to an awesome new restaurant, share your thoughts. Or if you’ve just had an amazing degustation menu, show us all a photo or three. But if you’ve just dished up meat and two veg? No one needs to see that.

And if you ever feel compelled to make one of those drama queens posts telling the world how hard things are for you, then when a concerned friend or followers asks if you’re OK you reply with “I don’t want to talk about it”, be prepared to be unfriended. You aren’t Greta Garbo and you really aren’t that interesting.


Eleven Miracle Hair Treatment

May 29, 2014

2014-04-elevenMy hair’s been in a bit of a state over the past year or so, with my heart problems and heart medication combining with recovery from last year’s surgery to make for dry, brittle hair.

Apparently, it’s a fairly common complaint with the series of health issues I’ve been dealing with and I got so fed up with my hair a few months back that I made a trip to the hairdresser to have it chopped off.

It’s still dry and brittle, just a lot shorter.

Because of all that, I was very keen to try out this product that is so popular with the Aussies: it’s the number one selling hair product across the ditch, apparently.

You apply it to the middle and ends of your hair after towel drying, then you simply leave it to dry. That was great for me because I’m incapable of driving blow dryers and the like (I’m a bit of a hair-tard), so anything that doesn’t take too much thought and/or effort has got to be a good thing.

I goes in quite smoothly and doesn’t feel sticky or heavy. When it dried, my hair felt really smooth and silky. Better than it had for a long, long time.

OK, so I realise it’s simply coating the outside of the hair and that my bonce is STILL actually dry and brittle, but it looked better. And sometimes that’s all we ask for.

And the added bonus is that it protects your hair against sun damage.

I’ll definitely be buying this again.

ELEVEN Miracle Hair Treatment (RRP $32 for 125ml)


Play that funky music …

May 29, 2014

And now for something completely different, and something of a trip down memory lane for those of us who are of a slightly more, ahem, mature vintage: do you remember the Benny Hill Show and it’s catchy little theme tune that usually involved the wee bald guy and Benny Hill himself being chased by a bevy of scantily clad women?

The Awakenings Festival is an annual techno music festival in the Netherlands that features cool dudes and dude- ettes shaking their groove thangs (or whatever the young’uns call them these days) as shown in this video:

The music isn’t really to my taste and the dancing does look a bit like they are auditioning for roles in The Walking Dead, but I guess I’m not really the target market in this equation.

But I digress. Some bright spark has taken the Benny Hill music and overlaid it on this video to produce a mash-up of epic proportions:


Sebamed Anti Dry Defence day cream

May 22, 2014

2014-04-sebamed-daycreamThis day cream comes with an alphabet soup of added vitamins and good-for-you stuff and I was pretty happy with the result.

All in all, this one’s pretty good and left my skin feeling clean and smooth but not greasy. It smells fresh and clean, not heavily perfumed.

The idea with this is to apply it while your face is still damp after cleansing, which helps lock in moisture.

Looking at the price on this one, it’s not bad value but I still prefer Kiri day cream, which is made here in New Zealand.

SEBAMED Anti Dry Defence Day Cream (RRP $22.50 for 50ml)


A night at the theatre, with chunks

May 19, 2014

Oh Jasmine, we’ve never officially met but I just wanted to say that I am glad we had the good sense to put some distance between you and us on Friday night. And I can’t help but wonder just how you are feeling today.

Who is Jasmine, you may ask? And indeed, that is a good question.

booze-warningWe went along to the 2 Degrees Comedy Convoy show (part of the NZ International Comedy Festival) on Friday night and after finding our way to our seats, we settled in for what we hoped would be a bit of a giggle. And then they arrived: a gaggle of already drunk, raucous, cackling, swearing young women who lined up in the five or six seats in the row behind us and proceeded spend the first half of the show kicking the backs of our seats and knocking over the booze they had apparently smuggled in (full sized bottles of wine). There was a river of cheap wine and beer trickling under our seats but the little coven behind us still somehow managed to get more drunk even though they were sharing so much of their booze with the floor.

But the show was good and the laughs were coming thick and fast. Unfortunately for us, Jasmine had the loudest, most obnoxious laugh ever heard. It didn’t really sound like a laugh … it was more of a Yeti mating call.

And that noise emanating from our dear Jasmine was so loud and invasive, it attracted the attention of Paul Ego, the poor bugger trying to perform on stage. To be fair, he took the piss out of her while managing to extract some information out of the gentle wee soul, which is how we all came to know that the woman behind the headache-inducing noise was a teacher named Jasmine, with a surname that sounded surprisingly like Hairy Target (something that gave Ego a tangent to explore … ).

Half-time arrived and I was wondering if I could handle another hour or so of Jasmine screeching in my ear. While I was pondering this, the girls all decided to pop out during the intermission. As they all left their seats and managed to hit every poor bugger in the row in front of them in the head with their arses and I’m pretty sure one of them farted on the way past. Do these people not know that leaving your seat isn’t a contact sport?

Anyhoo, I suspect a trip to the bar was the initial plan. However, by the time they returned I’m not sure if they made it that far.

Jasmine needed a bit of help to get back to her seat and looked a tad ill. I suspect she may have spent the intermission having a bit of a chuck.

Hubby and I both had the same idea: do we really want to sit here? This girl looks like she’s gonna blow (chunks) and we don’t want to be in the firing line. There were some empty seats a row in front of us and we thought about moving there but instead headed for the rows at the back of the theatre.

Ahhhh, the second half of the show kicked off and we were able to sit back and relax, and enjoy the comedy without the risk of bleeding eardrums from shrieky Jasmine.

The nice usher lady was sitting behind us, giggling away at the comedy offerings and enjoying herself.

Then I heard a noise. Ooh, I thought, that sounded a little like someone throwing up. Half a dozen rows in front of us, Jasmine and her friends up and left. In a hurry.

About a minute passed, and all of a sudden at least three rows of people stood up and did a runner. Yes indeedy, Jasmine has tossed her cookies.

Some of those people left the show completely, some noticed the other empty seats at the back of the theatre and sat there. The nice usher lady and the bloke who was on the door when we arrived then had to clean up the mess as the show went on.

It stunk, both literally and figuratively. Although, they managed to deal with the literal stink with a can of air freshener.

While Jasmine was a bit of a numpty for getting trollied and chucking up in a crowded theatre, her friends were worse: not one of them was a drunk as her, in fact one of them appeared quite sober, but instead of getting her out of there when it was obvious she was so green ’round the gills, they took her back to her seat and just tried to get her to drink some water.


Anyway, if you know Jasmine the teacher with a surname that sounds like Hairy Target, pass on my good wishes and gratitude that she waited to do her technicolor yawn until after we’d changed seats.

PS: The show was awesome! The acts were Paul Ego, Justine Smith, Markus Birdman, Carl Donnelly and Jarred Fell … all of whom were very, very funny. And not vomit-inducing at all.


Color Club Poptastic nail polish

May 18, 2014


I really wanted to love this. The colour was that awesome bright pink shade on the left, which was a bit of a shocker for me:  I don’t normally do pink colours at all, and especially not bright pink, but this was just so bright and cheerful that I couldn’t help smiling.

And once painted on the nails, the colour developed an amazing depth. The first coat looked a little wishy-washy, the second coat still seemed a bit thin. However, the third coat set the colour and delivered something incredibly vivid.

Unfortunately, the stuff just doesn’t stay put. Even with a top coat. It’s as bad as the cheap stuff from the $2 stores. But a tad more expensive.

COLOR CLUB Poptastic Nail Polish (RRP $14.95 for 15ml)



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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