Friday, July 22, 2011

Like, literally.

Bring elocution classes back into core curriculum, because I am, like, literally, dying of frustration at the anti-grammar epidemic. It appears to be worldwide, but New Zealand I fear has been hit hardest.

I know I have already written about New Zealand's Next Top Model, but I wanted to stay on topic just briefly, for this brief rant.

The drama, the screams and the feigning of surprise, particularly by Bianca, who I suspect knows full well she's a front runner for the title. It's all a load of codswollop, if I'm honest, and it could have been prevented by either selecting older contestants (still risky), or even educating current contestants on "how to fake being a grown up for the next 12 weeks in order to preserve your dignity" (more reliable).

The worst aspect though? The absolute pits?

The incorrect use of 'like' and 'literally'.

The other day I presented the checkout operator with a bottle of water and two Bumper Bars (apricot and chocolate, if you're wondering).

"Oh my god, literally everyone buys those bumper bars, where are they?"
Firstly. Literally everyone?

Secondly. Where are they? Product knowledge and store maps should be first on the agenda when beginning a new job. And if your employer seems a little lacklustre, take the initiative yourself. You should know I was in a Four Square which is typically constructed with, 'like', 4-8 short aisles.

Feeling a little flustered with this near accosting behaviour of the teenager, I pointed to the aisle. The teenager seemed shocked.

"Oh, are they like, all the way down there? Because I thought they were near me, and whenever I go on a break I go to look for them, and like, I can't find them, so I like, forget."


The worst thing? I say like. Particularly when fatigued or flustered. I hear myself, and I cringe. Like, seriously cringe (incorrect use, just there).

We all say like. And it is so damn wrong. So wrong.

-I like apples. Correct.
-I like to watch Shortland Street. Correct.
-It tastes like chicken. Correct.
-I was like, so angry. Incorrect.
-I was like, literally dying. Incorrect. Not only were you and dying not similar, you in fact were not literally dying.
-"He said will you go out with me, and I was like, like, um, yes!" Incorrect. He asked you. Drop the was, drop the likes, just say yes. Even better, yes please.

In summary?


  • Re-introduce elocution classes.

  • Drop the 'like' from our conversation and, I can't believe it has gotten this bad, our writing, unless there is an article, subject or action you are fond of, or two or more of said articles, subjects or actions that you are comparing.

  • Say please and thank you without fail when appreciative, or requesting assistance.

Until next time,

It's 'like' 'literally' killing me....NZNTM

What I love about the Next Top Model shows (NZNTM and ANTM) is the taste of luxury, of fashion, of jet-setting and the admirable drive and shrewd business sense of people like Heidi Kulm, Tyra Banks and now Sara Tetro. The accessories, the clothes, the panning shots of New York City, the amazing photographs that are a culmination of that episode's challenges and the inside glances into the contributing industries. Sheer talent alone makes for good television. These reality show contests remove Gossip Girl story lines and leave us with the arrogance, beauty and fashion that provide the same kind of guilty luxury that buying Vogue and Harper's Bazaar every month does. The September Issue ended with me simply hitting play again and watching it right to the end without pause. My favourite scenes of Sex and the City are the wardrobe and interior design voyeur scenes, where the shot has clearly been constructed to show off every sartorial detail, every gorgeous cushion, wallpapered lounge, vintage furniture pieces.

This sneak peek into the high end, high fashion world is endangered though. It is endangered through the increasing accessibility for young fillies and attention seeking males who race through life at 100 miles an hour taking only the bare minimum in and not once stopping to smell the roses. The priority is, and I'm loathed to revisit the now cliche words of him, but the priority really is Andy Warhol's predicted 15 minutes of fame. Success is fast becoming hollow, with fame being misconstrued as integral part of that success.

The fashion industry has boasted a love affair with fashion, with art, with history. The industry has produced carefully crafted whimsy and endlessly campaigns to be taken seriously (Anna Wintour refers to this in The September Issue). But this generation increasingly show a complete lack of regard for the integrity of fashion and its world. It does not help that The Television Decision often cuts, edits, 'directs' and adds aspects that are presumed will make better television.

The final of NZNTM this year will be held live at Fashion Week. A proudly operated event that has helped the industry in New Zealand go from strength to strength. But do the models know the designers? Or are they happy slopping around in their Glassons gear before slipping into coveted Juliette Hogan and Zambesi wares? Have these girls got stacks of fashion magazines in their bedrooms? Have they followed Miranda Kerr through her fashion campaigns, not through her WHO Weekly photos?

The fashion industry is all about judging a book by its cover. We don't care about the contents, as harsh as that sounds. The industry is shallow, and wonderful and artistic, but we don't care about alcoholic mothers and we certainly don't need Tyra amalgamating her chat show with her visits to the model house. We just want results, and good ones. Otherwise, you are no longer in the running towards becoming the Next Top Model. The July 22 broadcast of NZNTM saw a psychologist come onto set. Really? Could the psychologist not just be part of the crew, just like the All Blacks? You don't see an All Black being dissected on camera by the team psychologist after a poor performance and attributing various faults to past, childhood environment and alcoholic parents. Why should models, who should be behaving professionally at all times, regardless of their circumstances, get that kind of airtime? And if a psychologist is really going to be visiting, do you think more than one session, off camera, might be more appropriate?

The models are young. Unfortunately in this day and age when everyone gets everything right when they want it, 'everything' excludes gaining maturity, or 'growing up' on the spot. But is it really to much to expect a certain level of grace, of respect, hell, of general comprehension?

It's all too easy to generalise. Many young people are budding leaders, determined to be successful, know that success does not equal fame and fame does not equal success. Many of those with a keen eye for the fashion industry DO know their designers, their fabrics, their market. With the help of digital media and exposure to the world's events through communication, youngsters will lead tomorrow's world with a more than capable finger on the pulse.

But oh NZNTM. How you, like, literally, kill me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mainland Heart Island

I don't know what it is about islands that sends me into the deepest contented daydream. Not the Fiji/Raro/Samoa most dream of, or the 'bloody Ibiza' some may dream of being, but the rugged, desolate yet proudly independent gems that encircle this country.

While I have been out to White Island, my backyard Whale Island remains a mystery to me, and I envy those who have just recently been able to partake in a joint venture between local bodies and visit. Secret bays, brand new perspectives of the land you have just sailed from, landscapes which may only define that one island.

Walking to the top of Mt.Manganui gives you the ability to see out to Mayor, down Matakana and up to Slipper. .

New Plymouth even gets little Sugar Loaf as a cherry on top of its land jut sundae.

I spend the final minutes of most flights orientating myself, picking the settled pockets of farmland from the island reserves, or convincing myself that I have never seen that particular island on a map before. Hauraki Gulf especially renders me clueless, even when studying a map of the area. It was exciting to note that Rotoroa Island (owners The Sallies ran a rehab centre, initially under the "Inebriates and Drunkards Act 1906", this drew to a close in 2005, where similar work was then carried out under a more 'bridging' type program so as not to isolate recoverers)has just become open to the public for visiting after the signing of a 99 year lease by society benefactors Neal and Annette Plowman. While I roll my eyes at the thought that there will be 5 or 6 small lifestyle blocks available, it does look like a worthwhile cause...although see my future post on why I think multi coloured umbrella "the arts" is being taken for a ride...anyway! The Coromandel.

When in Kuaotunu, I found myself bowing to Great Barrier, before visiting Coromandel for the first time and catching a glimpse of Waiheke. Great Merc and Red Merc seemed like parts of the mainland from Buffalo Beach, and Mahurangi from the Cathedral Cove walk carpark was tantalisingly close. .

Now that I'm back in the Hawke's Bay, I find myself remembering how in awe I am of the Mahia Peninsula; from here, it takes roughly 3.5 hours to get to the start of the metal. When it ends 45 minutes later, you're barely halfway. I'd love to go to Portland one day, and land some sweet, sweet fish for the table (I may bake loaves, who knows).

Last year the trip over the hill to Waimarama brought me to tears. Bare Island is so beautiful, particularly when seen for the first time by one sensitive redhead at a her favourite driving time: dusk. .

The Chathams. Well for goodness sake. They have their own timezone, and the trees are Tim Burtonesque if ever I've seen a Tim Burton tree.

When I reach Stewart Island, I will be ear to earring, knowing I've conquered Foveaux and summited Allen, done the Raikura track and skipped over to Ulva (does anyone else giggle just a little?). If I could swing an oyster and a yarn with Marcus Lush, then perhaps I'd consider stopping in Bluff, but we'll play that one by ear. .

Stupidly missing the fact that daily sailings to Great Barrier cease at the end of the extended holiday period in February, my Plan A for recent annual leave was relegated to the shredder. Oh how I would have loved to have scrambled atop Mt.Hobson, landed some sweet, sweet fish (again) for my beloveds and their mealplates, meandered on foot, or on the island's bus company which boast's the motto "We Get Everywhere...Eventually". But, the trip must wait, and instead I was treated to an absolutely brilliant week in the Coromandel, ending with a drive up through the Seabird Coast (thankfully NOT true to its name as we drove through) with a stop at Tapakananga and peering into the Ashby Homestead, finishing with a quick trip to Waiheke, to which I had not been before. .

Waiheke. I'm going to be honest. .

It was a bit weird. .

A suburb of Auckland, without the admission of being so. It didn't feel novel, or particuarly special, though I dare say it holds many hearts, just as benign places to some hold a piece of mine.

It felt like it used to be like Great Barrier, but proximity to the port of Auckland has worn it down. Parts of it were genuinely like a New Zealand film; non-era specific but erring on the side of nostalgia. I don't know, the beauty of an island in the eye of the beholder really, but I yearned for a few dinky baches here and there, and really what I got was something not too dissimilar to what Raglan is fast becoming: slightly lacklustre in the genuine department.

Give me the roadless Kawau any day (funny that Marcus Lush's island episode of North has just screened, I've been thinking of islands all week and nowhere near a television. No I'm not trying to be creepy.) .

When I was younger I read in a National Geographic the story of a man...Mark? who was bitten/chomped/near damn killed by a Great White near Campbell Island. Now, that place is barren. And yet, to land on it, have a quick walk, flop on the sponge scrub, chuck out a rod and take some not very professional photos with DOC signage as proof of my landing would be amazing. .

Am I secretly an Island Box Ticker? Maybe, but I'd rather that than be bloody Ibiza. .

Until next time!
L. .

Photo sources:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's that time again...

To take the mick out of people. It's such a delight to do so. But there is a line. Sometimes when I have crossed that line unintentionally, I have this immense sense of shame fill my stomach and I lose sleep for an indefinite amount of time. It's when I have not thought through my fun poke, and upon vocal delivery realise that I just sound mean. Now, spite in taking the mick out of people is not my intention. What my intention is usually is to not so diplomatically (yet if the subject refuses to take themselves lightly it is merely a faux interest in themselves in which I have taken) encourage people/dickheads/lovely people having a self indulgent moment to take themselves less seriously, get off their self elevated golden throne, and have a laugh at themselves. I have them, and I sincerely appreciate people doing the same for me. It keeps one grounded. And mindful of others.

Who am I referring to at this very moment? No one I know personally. My 'victim' is currently selling some sweet Witchery and Country Road items on Trademe. Neither stores exist in Hawkes Bay or in Bay of Plenty, and though it's always better to try things on in store, I do like to daydream whilst perusing for sweet tea cups, outdoor chairs and leather pants (damn it, I still cannot find the right pair!).

Anyway. At the risk of being caught out myself by a fellow mick taker, I'm wagering more heavily on the angle that this girl is dead serious. It makes my point feasible. The following sentence was this girl's catalyst for selling her wardrobe.

Welcome to my auction. I am selling all of fab belongings. Turning into material- free Yogi/ Musician.

(the following free space is silence to absorb the above)

YOU NEVER. NEVER. NEVER SAY SHIT LIKE THAT. People who, for decades, or without making a song and dance about the above lifestyle have just gone ahead and done it, would NEVER SAY SHIT LIKE THAT. People like misguided trade me girl make a mockery whether they like it or not of people who genuinely live and breathe material free lifestyles, or musicians who cannot afford possessions because they would rather write and perform music. It's not always a choice if you are a pursuing something you want so badly, it's not glamourous, or a 'trend' to adhere to briefly, these lifestyle choices can sometimes go so far as to define a person. It's like choosing to become a nun, or bankrupt yourself going organic farming because you 100% believe it is right, not because it is cool or fun to become bankrupt or give up sex for life.

Where have all the genuine cowboys gone? The same place one hit wonder Paula Cole went is my guess.

Until next time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Village Press

Some unashamedly self serving press: the first issue of the newspaper I have started with is out today! Complete with a photo of yours truly holding her face with a balled up knuckle under her chin and all...

The aim is to be more celebratory of communities, rather than knock on people's doors and tack on extra 'tragedies' that continue to plague a family, or dig for dirt that is really just a wrong turn in someone's life.

The Village Press will be a great catalyst for exploring more wineries, meeting local artists, and getting involved in more sports events around the communities of Havelock North, Te Awanga, Clive and Haumoana.


Until next time,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

All Black #1109?

Last night I had a dream. It wasn't about living in a nation where my four future children were judged by the content of their character, but it was relevant to the state of this nation's sporting missus, rugby.

The contents at their most vivid are now hazy, but let me enlighten those who want a touch of bemusement this Friday.
Graham Henry had named me on the bench in this weekend's test against Scotland...being played at Wembley Stadium.

I cannot tell you how pumped I was. My dad was proud, I'd made history by being the first female to be named in the mighty team, people, people were talking. I somehow became shy and started seeking advice from Ian Jones. He told me to call him Kamo. That part was weird.

How did I get named? Turns out I'm big enough to play at international level in the second five spot, despite retaining my 59kg, 5'4" stats in dream world. Nonu had popped his achilles, and when confronted by the media (on a school rugby field no less), Henry was quoted as saying "Nonu is out, Williams is having a baby, and I certainly can't take the field- chortle chortle- Morris has been playing outstandingly lately, and we feel that she is the best person to take the bench despite being a female." I would have thought this type of approach to winning might fly in the current state of cricket, but to have my conscience whip it out for code? Crikey.

But oh how the media loved it everyone! The NZ Herald was knocking on my door, had it splashed across the homepage, One News all of a sudden had recruited Summerfield and he was backing me 100% despite substantial doubt across the rugby world.
I was the new Stephen Donald you might say.

Cut to the changing rooms. Everyone was present apart from McCaw. We were all sitting around. All of a sudden I was (and I can't lie here, I have to be honest) checking out the All Blacks. Now, admittedly I am someone who has picked her Fantasy Rugby team based on looks. But that was when I was stupid and wanted to be controversial when I worked in a warehouse with 8 males, and was interested in rugby for superficial reasons. Nowadays Kieran Read and Tony Woodcock have as much respect from this little ginger neck of the woods as former France fullback Xavier Garbajosa. Does anyone remember him? He played in the 1999 World Cup. Oh, that's right, that year is banished from ever New Zealander's life. Never happened. You can't even get a tax return from that financial year.

You may as well be calling your peer a cotton headed ninny muggins when you bring up '99. Or 'nam, as an aside.

Anyway, the dream. All of a sudden management walks in to the changing rooms. I get excited, we're about to be given our jerseys! We're taking the field soon! I start thinking that I don't even care if I take the field or not (my size and real world a) lack of rugby experience and b) anatomical differences are catching up with me fast). I plan on donating my jersey to a helicopter rescue place (non-descript in the dream). Richie McCaw starts giving the tactical plan for the game. I sit comfortably in my boyfriend's blue jersey knowing that any minute it's getting ditched for a shiny new black clima-cool number.

Then ol' cappie names the team again. As if we didn't know. I almost tune out since we've ben told who makes up the haka pod. This ritual is obviously just another chance to pat yourself on the back for being ruddy amazing, almost deifying yourself for donning the jersey. I then realise everyone's looking at me.

I've been dropped from the bench. Nonu's back. I slip out quietly to have a cry in the stalls. Henry can't look at me in the eye. I'm no deity today.

Graham then finds me and starts justifying my dropping. I can't quite recall the details, but I do remember him saying something about me being able to join the Black Ferns.

Ah, no thanks G. Tempting, but I will pass. I'd get absoutely dominated in that arena. I might be an amazing rugby player that transcends gender, but I'm not after a death sentence.
Until next time!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Conducting Yourself on Facebook: What NOT To Do

Observations have been made about Facebook etiquette lately. Or lack of.

It can be quite cringeworthy really at times. You don't need to be a high quantity user of Facebook to notice these trends, merely a homepage/quick photo checker then out again weekly, or like me, sometimes daily, sometimes 10 times daily, sometimes once a week...ok, erratic.

Some days I vow to shut that bad boy down, others I think it's brilliant.

Here are a few reasons why Facebook is not brilliant at times, people showing their true colours, lack of diplomacy, evident rudeness/busybody nature, or fly by night approach to acquaintances via this social medium.

        On a personal level, admittedly there is the tendency to think I am super funny when browsing friends albums and make ridiculous comments that sound hilarious in my head with the tone, intended pauses etc that are clearly never going to be clear under a photo unless that person knows you so well that they know how you would articulate your comment should it be out loud.

        A day later I re-read in another person's shoes and cringe at myself.

        Telling myself that I am a dick is my usual response.

        To the (now classic, despite it being what? Five years old and the premise for a Hollywood movie. Crikey) faux pas of Facebook (NB: this list is by no means exhaustive):

        The 'one up' comment:

            When commenting on a photo of a 'friend' of yours on safari in Africa holding a baby rhino, don't one up them by briefly regaling the world with your own experience of observing a rhino calf being born and getting to swaddle it etc etc. Let your 'friend' have their day in the sun for goodness sake. You can upload photos of said swaddling experience to your own profile and get the attention then.

            Similarly, when viewing photos of Marj and Jeremy in India, judge the level of your excitement noted carefully- it is one thing to share in a mutual 'find' of another country, but don't use the photo as a platform to tell us that you too have been to all these places. We either already know because we know you, or we don't care because we don't know you.

          Pregnancy is exciting for everyone going through it, or knowing someone close to them enjoying motherhood. If the world has just welcomed baby Fiona Mary Jones, 8lb 8 at 9am this morning, please don't hastily say Congratulations! and follow it with 4 lines on how your boy Robert is now walking. Again, you have your own 354 friends to share that moment with, let the new mum have her moment.

          Weddings are about the couple in the album getting married. Yes you had a fantastic day, but the only bride that should be told how beautiful she looked is the one who features in the album on which you are commenting. Not yourself.

          Examples of the mundane conversation starter status:

          • Laura Morris is hungry.
          • Laura Morris is tired.
          • Laura Morris is bored.
          • Laura Morris is off for a run.

          All solveable problems believe it or not. Perhaps less energy on Facebook, more time carrying out said tasks and solving said hunger/fatigue/boredom issues.

          Unless of course the following are the actual meanings of your status above (in same order):

          • Laura Morris is on a diet and fishing for 'don't give in you look so great' responses, or even a 'Jane Smith Likes This' because Jane Smith swears by crash dieting and condones hunger.
          • Laura Morris was seen on the Social Pages of the Sunday Star Times or '' this morning so everyone will know she was out painting the town red last night.
          • Laura Morris hasn't had an invitation for any kind of outing and would like one please.
          • Laura Morris is fit/attempting to get fit/wanting to convey the image of being fit to cyberspace.
          Examples of 'fishing' with responses that may seem caring, but be warned! It's just nosiness. Remember, if responders have merely noted on your status as opposed to picking up the phone when your status suggests depression or a cry for help, it's not a good indication that they're going to ring, bring around a casserole, block of chocolate, wine, beer or adult video to cheer you up:

          • Laura Morris is sad :( ('oh no, what's up?'/'what's wrong'/'it will get better, you can always ring me if you need to'/'I was sad the other day')
          • Laura Morris is happier. ('what was up hun?'/'great news! what was wrong?')
          • Laura Morris is giving up on it all. ('oh no! that's no good'/I know how you feel!/oh, that's rubbish news, hope you feel better).
          Of course what I will admit is that the flipside of status/photo behaviour on Facebook can also aid the (now cliched) Tall Poppy problem. I LOVE seeing status updates that are moments of celebration and having pride in an achievement (within reason...word it well people, word it well), and honestly, if people feel more comfortable saying they've completed the Boston Marathon and either choosing or not choosing to publish a time than pick up the phone or wait until the family ramble goes out with the Christmas cards, then go for it!

          I'll monitor this closely. I'll report back. I would also love to hear your favourite Facebook whinges. When this kind of gig becomes ubiquitous in such a short period of time, it's the perfect opportunity to get some human nature observations cranking.

          Until next time!


      Think this is a dram worth recommending?