The best blog I have ever come across (ironic hyperbole only somewhat intended)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This blog. Wow. This is what ROFL must look like. And read like. And, in some posts, stream like.

Because I don't want to rip off this amazing artist (and because I wouldn't know how to repost even if I wanted to)(for a person who writes a blog based on posting interesting stuff, I really should work on being more tech-savvy), I will just do some linking.

To link all of my favourites would be to do exactly what I decried in my first post. And we can't have that. Because all 170 are fantastic and I was getting upset trying to choose favourites, here are three almost-randomly-selected examples of the genius that is Allie Brosh:

1. Expectations vs Reality
2. The Four Levels of Social Entrapment
3. The Awkward Situation Survival Guide (I think this one has already done the internet rounds but deserves a place in my almost-random-selection)


(I worked out how to post pictures! Surely it isn't ripping someone off when I've just gushed about their work, linked multiple times to their page, and professed my undying love for them, right?)

(I chose one without the text, because that felt a little too plagiarise-y. At least we all know I can't draw.)





You oughta know

Yesterday, a list of the ten most unanswerable questions of the last decade was released. I'm not sure what it says about 21st Century mankind; that we are an image conscious, occasionally contemplative, philosophically challenged generation, who are stupid enough to ask a search engine existential questions?

Perhaps one who frequently googles personalised questions such as 'what operating system do I have?' or 'what is my postcode?', shouldn't be so quick to judge.

Although knowing the meaning of life would be useful, I think there are some notable omissions from the list:

1. Does the spinning top fall?
2. How did Paul really know?
3. Where are all of my socks, hair ties, hair pins, and lids to containers/containers to lids?
4. How do I convert fahrenheit to degrees? Why can't it be an easy formula?
5. Why would anyone use Ask Jeeves over Google?

Good friends and good deeds

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In my last post, I grappled with a little liberal guilt, over my shameless promotion of an industry that is, among other things, destroying local, up-and-coming designers. So, this is me walking my talk, and supporting the local industry and a very dear friend who is incredibly clever and talented in what she does. And asking you to do the same (support my friend, but being talented in what you do is also really great).

Some of you may already own clothes created by Melanie Dawson. I do. Many. They are some of the most amazing pieces in my wardrobe. Mel, in her third year of a Bachelor of Design (Fashion), is not only one of the most talented young designers I know, but also one of the most humble. So, after some gentle and loving persuasion, she agreed to enter a radio station competition for a NZ Fashion Week prize package. She had to submit a picture of something she had created and she was chosen as a finalist! I have smugly pointed out that I am not surprised. So this week you can vote for her. Here! Now! Only taking you a few seconds! You have to click through the last three finalists, and vote for number 7 on the last page. 

*few seconds passing*

Oh thank-you. Easy, wasn't it?

Here are some other pictures from this same collection, 'Sealed with A Kiss' (inspired by Klimt's 'The Kiss'):

Talented huh?

It can count as your selfless good deed of the day, and will allow you to feel a little better about all the money you spent on the Topshop site. Everyone wins. 

(Especially Mel.)

How to spend all of your money without leaving your home

Monday, September 13, 2010

I feel like I should start this post about online  shopping with a big, bold BEWARE sign. OK, so I just did. I even underlined it for extra emphasis. Beware, because not only are you at risk of spending all of your hard-earned money, but you also risk incurring additional, sneaky expenses, otherwise known as taxes. I recently learnt this the hard way. The $155-worth-of-surprise-import-duty-taxation way. So, before filling your virtual trolleys with beautiful threads, do check out the value limits, over which nasty surprise taxes will kick in. On clothing and shoes, it is about $NZ330. Under this, it should be free of all taxes, with postage being the only additional cost.

Living in a relatively small city and country means that looking unique can be both difficult and expensive. With only a handful of chain stores, walking down the street and experiencing fashion déjà vu is hard to avoid. Furthermore, NZ's chain stores are largely uninspired and tend to simply regurgitate outdated trends. Some people may disagree or are totally sweet with this, and I’m not suggesting that this is a pressing societal issue that we should all be panicking about, but as someone who sees fashion as a form of creativity and places huge importance on individuality, it can be frustrating. So, in addition to op-shop trawling (definitely worthy of a future post), I’ve become a bit of an online clothing addict. There are so many wonderful independent, small online-stores, which I will deal with in future posts, but today I’m getting some of the biggies out of the way.

My favourite, safe and reliable online store is Topshop. In some parts of the world, Topshop has a somewhat deserved reputation for being overpriced and overhyped. However, compared to the prices we are used to paying in NZ, it’s dirt-cheap - especially with the pound and euro at aPublish Postll-time lows. And while there are far more exciting chain stores in Europe (like my favourite Swedish wonders  Weekday and Monki), Topshop ships worldwide for a fairly reasonable £7.50. It’s also reliable with sizing, the online site is easy to navigate, and the pictures give accurate representations of the clothes. And, with online shopping, these are hugely important considerations.

Here are some shoes that recently have spent a lot of time on my mind:

I've also decided that I should probably buy this to replace my amazing cape that got stolen (read: I left it unattended for hours in a busy bar) last weekend:

See? So easy, so dangerous. 

While Topshop can get a little pricey (especially the Kate Moss and other designer ranges), a much cheaper site that recently started shipping to NZ is Forever 21. It’s perhaps best described as the US online version of ASOS or Primark. This was the site that lead to the nasty import tax incident. Forever 21 is cheap. Very, very cheap. It's also dangerous; just like when you go to Pak’n’Save instead of the horribly expensive New World Metro, you end up buying a whole lot more than you usually would on account of the incredibly low prices. The quality is not as good as Topshop, American Apparel or other ‘high-end’ chain stores, but did I mention it’s really cheap?

Perhaps my favourite store that now ships to NZ is Urban Outfitters. I find their online store a little disappointing, but perhaps that’s because I first encountered Urban Outfitters in this store, which still sticks in my mind as one of the most amazing shops I have ever visited:

It's a cinema that has been converted into a wonderland of amazing clothes, accessories and trinkets. They, like Topshop, can get a little pricey, but they have such incredible, high-quality clothing (not to mention beautiful shops) that I forgive them for being cruel on my credit card.

So that’s a whole lot of links  for anyone wanting to spend some money from the comfort of their bed. I apologise for the fact I've only focussed on women’s clothing. The market for men’s clothing online is pretty terrible (to my knowledge)(which may not be well-informed knowledge). I also recognise that these stores are not 100% ethical in the production of their clothing, and this is definitely something to keep in mind; a dress that costs $15 is unlikely to have been made locally by staff working for a reasonable or legal wage. Also, I understand how the rise of internet shopping is not at all conducive to cutting carbon emissions, and the air miles on a package from the UK to NZ for something I could source locally, is horrific. And, yes, I should be supporting local fashion, especially with friends in the industry and knowing how tough it is for them to compete with these global brands. I also recognise that me simply stating that I am aware of these issues does not relieve me of a conscience, and that actions are more important than words when it comes to living an ethical lifestyle.

Maybe this post should’ve been entitled: ‘How to spend all of your money without leaving your home, and then, after thinking about it for a while, how you can feel terrible about your privilege, and how perhaps you should leave your home and actually go and live an ethical life, that is not exploiting people through cheap labour, contributing to environmental degradation, or supporting global brands that destroy local industries’. 


IKEA and cats and other wonderful things

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's quite appropriate, and perhaps predictable, that my first post features both IKEA and animals. I would've been even more excited to hear IKEA had released a hundred dogs in a store, but perhaps that would've been a bit too controversial. And destructive.

IKEA has become renowned for their edgy advertising and brand-building exercises. They are an incredibly smart company, with the image they project of themselves very carefully and skillfully crafted. And the image of an endearing, humble, down-to-earth, modest and slightly quirky Swedish company has served the furniture giant well. Releasing 100 untrained (only in the filming sense I hope) house cats fits right in with the IKEA brand.

How much do you want to rush out to buy some new throw cushions or a box-set bookcase for your homely, cozy abode right now? Or a new bed for your kitten to get its head adorably wedged in? You suck me in every time IKEA. And I'm OK with that.

(Also, the lost cat? Well, of course. You lose people in IKEA. At least one cat was bound to go missing.)

Trawling (but not the fish variety)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I’ve never actually gone fishing. With my inability to swim and extremely impatient nature, I see little appeal. However, I have a picture in my head as to how fishing works. Basically, you sit with an already-dead fish on a strong string, waiting for a misfortunate and curious little guy to have a nibble. Then, with great excitement and surprise, you leap up, knocking buckets and other important fishing tools to the ground, to reel in this great, impressive beast. Except, more often than not, it seems that what emerges, after much heaving and groaning, is a disappointingly small and wriggly fish that falls short of some code pertaining to required fish size. For the fish, hurrah! Being small and/or unattractive (tried to google the nature of these requirements but quickly become disinterested) saves lives in the ocean. But for the overly excited person on the other end of the line, it must all be very disheartening. I expect that the fisherperson loses interest after too many almost-but-not-quite experiences. Failure is never fun. 

My picture of fishing may be way off. I will probably never know. But if it is somewhat accurate, then fishing is pretty similar to searching the internet. This is not exactly revolutionary; the term ‘internet trawling’ is neither mine nor remotely new. But it is something that has been popping up in many of my recent conversations. As I have honed my own tastes and views, and as my interest in my university studies has slipped to a new low, I’ve found myself spending more time reading blogs, watching clips, listening to interviews and, well, trawling the internet. When I talk about something I’ve read or discovered, many friends complain how they never know what blogs to read, sites to visit and where to find these internet gems; the big fish of the web, if you will. As the internet has expanded, and the amount of information and content we are exposed to has exponentially increased, we have become completely overwhelmed. There is some conventional wisdom around the idea that with too much choice, we effectively have no choice. When everything is a top priority, or a ‘must-see’, nothing becomes a priority; instead everything sits on the same, albeit important, plane.

This blog is about sharing what I’ve discovered on the internet, and in life generally, with the addition of my own insights and thoughts. I hope that it will also open me up to what my own friends and (presumed)(somewhat arrogantly so?) readers view, read, listen to and recommend.

As some of you will know, this will be my second attempt at blogging. Over a year ago I started a blog and, while I enjoyed writing it and receiving feedback, my posts became too long and time consuming to write. And so that blog fell into the dark hole of the internet where so many aspiring blogs remain perpetually. My new-blog resolution is that I will try and keep to shorter, snappier posts, so that I can post more frequently and readers remain interested. But that starts next post.