In which I attempt to buy togs

I have fat on my body. A lot of it. It’s pretty obvious when you look at me, and I’m not alone in this. Lots of us have fat on our bodies. Surprise!

No, you would think it was a surprise given what I went through today.

deniseRecently a famous NZ fashion designer said that clothes just look better on slim people. Strange that she’d exile those of us with extra girth to the “never look as good as skinny folk” pile because she’s one of us. Am I allowed to say that?

I don’t think saying we’re second-class in the looks department is reasonable. I think different stuff looks good on different body types and if a designer is so a) shit at designing or b) lazy that they can’t make something look good on someone with more bodyfat, then they need to get out of the game and become a cleaner or maybe a CEO or something.

Anyway, I like the beach. I like swimming. You know what I don’t like? Having poorly designed togs ride up my bottom, or fling one of my mammaries out for public view. I like being covered. Not like a nun, but, you know, decent. And I want to swim. We’re told to move our fat asses, to get exercising. To do something.

So today, I went togs shopping, for something I could actually swim in.

I went to a department store at the mall and saw they had a decent selection (read: three pairs) of togs in my size, so I grabbed a handful and made my way to the torture rooms changing rooms.

First pair did something wonderful to my tummy. It was flat! But as my gaze moved upwards, I saw where the extra flab was. Coming out the sides, under my armpits. I’m not even sure how that was physically possible, but there it was. Breathing is optional, right?

The second pair got on as far as cameltoe would allow. Sure, they were wide enough, but the designer obvs has never seen a chick with really large boobs before, because a pull on the straps make things appear where things should not appear. I had basically created a slingshot for myself. Think Borat, but less sexy. That is how Cate do.

The third pair were created for a flat chested fat woman, of which I’m yet to meet a single one. Imagine a tube with tiny triangles on top. And they wanted $70 for tubey-triangle togs! At least cameltoe togs were only asking $45 for the, um, pleasure of wearing them. I also appreciated that all three pairs were in sullen tones, becoming of a woman who treated a trip to the beach like a funeral. Nothing says DON’T LOOK AT ME like poo brown.

The solution was to go to the fat lady shop and fork out $110 for a pair of togs. Good thing poverty and obesity aren’t linked because ho- wait. Never mind.

city chic togs

Thank you, City Chic.

But I’ll look great, my boobs will be contained, and I’ll be able to swim knowing I’m not going to give myself a black eye. Bring on summer!

Link love:
The bikini in the main picture, City Chic
The one piece I purchased, City Chic

When good internet warriors go bad

By now you will have heard the terrible news about the shooting at the Connecticut primary school.

Not everyone online treated it with the respect the situation deserved. Among those were a handful of Justin Bieber fans, who took to Twitter to express their angst that extended shooting coverage meant that the Biebs would probably not be on the Ellen show that day as planned.


Yeah. Pretty thoughtless, eh?

The People of the Internet tend to be pretty good at sorting this level of herpderpery out – tweets came thick and fast, telling the offenders what was going on, how bad it really was, and giving them a little perspective.

However, it wasn’t long before this started to happen [NSFW]:

abuse1 abuse2 abuse3 abuse4 abuse5 abuse6 abuse7 abuse8 abuse9 abuse10

It’s actually part of a wider trend I’ve been noticing lately: Someone is a bit of a dick online, or just says something someone else doesn’t like, and as part of the ‘community service’ of correcting that person, a line is crossed.

In my opinion, in this kind of situation it’s never okay to tell someone you wish they’d get shot, or that they should kill themselves.

I’m reminded of the recent Charlotte Dawson situ – regardless if you felt she was being a jerk or not, there’s no place for telling someone to “neck yourself”. Some of the recent tweets at The Oatmeal after his pathetic rape joke aren’t winning anyone over to the good side. The Pike River memorial Facebook page I help the Grey District Council manage has receiving end of some of the most disgusting stuff you can imagine, from trolls who see a page like that as “grief porn”. A fair number of those trolls genuinely believe they’re correcting a wrong. Some are just dicks.

In the last two days, I’ve seen people tweet to another user that they should drink bleach, get shot in the face, be mutilated to death, and be beaten to a pulp. Just mocking someone can be bad enough without adding threats and inciting to suicide.

I’m not the moral police, I know that. I’m not saying telling people off online is wrong. I’m not even saying that I think swearing at people is wrong. The shooting, in particular, was a highly emotionally-charged situation, and it’s only human to get ragey, upset, frustrated, scared, annoyed. But as humans, I believe we’re called to something bigger than expressing every unfiltered emotion we ever have at a 13-year-old who is being a bit selfish or thoughtless.

Not everyone treats terrible situations with the respect and care they deserve, we can’t control that. But what we can control is how we act towards those people.

Lets not be a part of making a horrible situation worse.

The worst Facebook updates of 2012

So many people and brands are now gaming for Facebook “engagement” that it’s ruining the platform for a lot of people.

Luckily, not too many of my friends fall for this stuff, but plenty of people have friends who do, so here’s a selection of the more desperate attempts to raise page awareness.

Lets start with this one.

No, I’m going to let my mum die. She knows it, too.


Because spamming your mates with crap always makes you lots of money, right? And cos magic.


Well played.


I liked this four times. It was heaps of fun. Changed my life.


The old “vote with a like or a comment” spam. Also if you don’t vote you obviously hate your country and won’t get any pavlova, which totally puts a dampener on my plans to finish an entire one by myself on Christmas day.


Not pictured: The “one like=one dollar donated” spam, and the “leave your password in the comments to see what happens!” spam.



Do you make social media managers despair?

I’ve been talking to a lot of community managers of high-profile New Zealand companies, and there’s a trend to what they have been saying lately: They are getting worn out from trying to deal with unreasonably emotional people. People who say they are upset about changes to products they get for free, having a go at marketing campaigns for products they would never use, angry that a service isn’t 100% perfect.

It has been a hard couple of years in New Zealand. We’ve had Pike River, the hideous and ongoing situation in Canterbury, a really bad summer, the financial crisis, an election, and although we won it, the World Cup came at a cost. It’s no wonder we’re all a little short-tempered.

Adding to that, in general people have a burning desire to feel innocent; to feel not guilty for our actions. We justify horrible behaviour by saying we are righting a wrong, fighting injustice, protecting others. We convince ourselves that tweeting or Facebooking our thoughts, no matter how rude, is justifiable.

There’s also the commonly-used argument that you shouldn’t be in the public arena if you can’t handle a bit of fire. That’s an okay point, until you start using it to justify swearing at company employees, constantly slagging off celebrities, or hacking websites.

It’s never okay to wish a company’s employees would get breast cancer so they would know suffering. It’s never okay to tell anyone that you want them to commit suicide. It’s never okay to say a product is so terrible it makes you want to kill yourself. It’s never okay to post images of aborted foetuses to a Facebook page, saying you wish this had happened to the product’s makers.

Believe it or not, these are real examples of recent New Zealand abuse on high-profile Facebook pages.

You can, however, have a bad experience and take to social media to offer constructive feedback in an adult manner. I believe that this kind of feedback is welcomed, as it’s incredibly helpful, doesn’t make the community manager think you’re a knob end, and can be presented verbatim to decision-makers for resolution.

Just take a minute and ask yourself if you are being a jerk, but justifying it and absolving yourself with lame excuses.

We’ve had a hard go of it lately, but here’s a way we can start to make the world a tiny bit nicer.

Stop trying to be fancy on Social Media

I have a message for marketers, social media managers, advertising whiz-kids and anyone else who thinks social media needs to be flashy: Quiet in the cheap seats. There’s a rant coming, and it’s got your name on it.

I see a trend hitting New Zealand Facebook pages (although it’s not limited to that medium alone): Big, fancypants apps and huge ad spends that your target audience doesn’t actually care about. Multiple posts pushing to said app or competition or marketing ploy. LIKE or SHARE this post to spam all your friends in the hope that maybe, just maybe you’ll win something.

You know what research shows your audience does care about? Special offers and rewards. Insider intel. Having fun with your brand. Staying on-topic. Not being spammed. So why are you trying to convert people with songs-and-dances that are so off-brand that you know you’re not getting genuine fans?

(via ExactTarget)

But the long term goals are being ignored, and probably because someone’s KPIs are measured by how many ‘likes’ a page gets during the campaign.


*by children, I mean customers. You know, those people who actually fork over their money to use the brands services?

Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop the gimmicks. People will unlike/hide your page as soon as they see they aren’t getting any real value, or because they only liked to win something, and then it’s so much harder to get them back again.

If you want a strong, long-term social strategy, don’t wage it all in a hook. But if you only want good-looking but virtually meaningless stats to sit on a spreadsheet that no one truly understands, go for gold.

Top 40 hits that make me facepalm

It’s always amusing – and facepalmy – when a song with stupid lyrics makes it to the Top 40.

What’s worse is when the lyrics are in equal parts stupid and disrespectful. It’s as if the lyricists don’t have two braincells to rub together.

What if we swapped the genders – make the women the singers and the men featured in the lyrics – would we see them for what they really are? Here’s a sample of upended lyrics from some fine tunes that hit the top of the charts this year – that’s 2012, not 1962.

Whistle – by Flo Rida
I’m betting you love creep mode, and I’m betting you like boys that give love to boys, and stroke your little ego

The moral: Men like boys that give love to boys. It strokes their egos, hard.

Turn All The Lights On – by T Pain
This must be his song, dancing like ain’t nobody else in here, Sexy as he wanna be and he dancing so close to me. I said ‘please excuse you steppin’ on expensive shoes’. He is a perfect ten, this angelic body made you sin. I love the way you get it in, come over here and shake it for a lady – cause you want it

The moral: It turns out men actually really WANT to dance in front of leering women! And true ladies want men to “shake it”. Just mind my shoes, pet. They be pricey.

Sorry For Party Rocking – LMFAO
When I’m in the club, sippin bub, really drunk, and I see a guys ass, gotta have it. I’ma grab it.

The moral: If you’re drunk, just grab some random ass. No one minds.

International Love – Pitbull
I’ve been to countries and cities I can’t pronounce, and places on the globe I didn’t know existed. In Romania, he pulled me to the side and told me “Pit, you can have me, and my brother.”

The moral: Pitbull should have stayed in school, and these lyrics are actually fucking creepy… Even when the genders aren’t reversed.

The Motto – Drake
Some Spanish boys love me like I’m on Aventura… Clubbing hard, fucking men, ain’t much to do.

The moral: When bored, get busy. It makes you look cool.

Leave You Alone – Young Jeezy
[Dear boyfriend:] keep your stomach, inner thighs, and your legs right, while I’m out here focus getting this bread right.

The moral: Women won’t support a man with a beer gut. Get it sorted, guys.

I’m actually sick of this stuff. It’s awful. Why do we buy into it, and let it lace itself into our culture?!

To finish, I’ll paraphrase the worst of them all: Faded, by Tyga and Lil Wayne. These men are class and I hope their families are proud.

  • Women are dogs, so sexual partners get the nickname “Lassie”.
  • During sex, put your thumb in a woman’s anus, and then make her smell it, in the hopes that she vomits.
  • “Pregnant bitch titties” are bad because you can milk them.
  • Have sex with a woman while playing your own music, then break “a bitch heart” once you’re done.

Stay classy, gentlemen.

Things a Twitter addict learned while on holiday

This holiday, I went on a social media fast. No Twitter. No Facebook. I wasn’t allowing myself to see anything remotely work-related. I was having a Proper Break.

Sounded good in theory, but I didn’t realise just how much I used Twitter to keep up with news, and find alternative perspectives from the ones in my head, in the paper, or on the TV.

I Googled "Twitter Troll" and this came up. Pretty much exactly what I look like.

I’ll cheerfully admit, I’m sometimes a Twitter troll*. I’ll make a big, bold, topical statement, and then watch for fireworks. It’s interesting, the reactions you get: From the earnest to the angry, people on either side of the coin will either call you out or triumph their hurrahs!

Luckily, there’s truth mixed in there somewhere. The answer is never black-or-white, and opinion trolling – although must be used with caution – usually starts a fantastic discussion where we can all learn something, gain perspective, or feel grounded.

Another thing I didn’t do this week was share stuff I was reading or watching to Facebook or Twitter. It made me feel very disconnected – it turns out I’ve been using Twitter almost as a bookmark: A place where I can go back later, find the link, and share again. Not to mention the enjoyment my friends get from the good oil. I didn’t get to read their comments. I didn’t get to see what they were sharing.

No, this week, I haven’t been on Twitter. I haven’t seen the 140-character vox pops of people’s take on news and current affairs. I haven’t seen the trending topics. I had FOMO. It makes me feel out of touch, and I don’t like feeling out of touch.

The flip side is, I didn’t facepalm. Not once.

During my holiday, I never felt misunderstood (a misunderstood sometimes-troll? Who would have thought!). I didn’t get frustrated. I didn’t have to adopt the fetal position at all! I didn’t feel scrutinised – that at any moment something I tweet may get twisted and end up in the paper. No stress that a tweet – oopsie! – could come from an account it shouldn’t have. I did not see any of the mob-mentality, angry, angry tweets about something that doesn’t even matter in the scheme of things. I know, I know. Us “professionals” are supposed to wax lyrical about how we’re all amazingly thick skinned, and you shouldn’t be working near flames if you can’t handle heat etc. Wah, wah, wah. But let me tell you: This week, muting Twitter was bliss.

Well, it was very nearly bliss.

I missed seeing my friend’s streams of consciousness. I did miss taking advantage of “anyone free for a drink” tweets. I missed the warm humour and the pithy one liners.  I missed knowing the news when it happened. I missed BexieLady’s amusing pregnant oversharer tweets and TroyRFs ragey bus tweets.


It’s tweets like these that make Twitter what it is


It was also hard to not share my own random thoughts – having a really funny untweeted thought was almost like putting a note in a bottle and then never releasing it to the ocean to see what will happen.

Gawd, I did just write that.

Oh the things I could have tweeted! There was the half-hour phone call with my older brother, explaining why he couldn’t just use his first name as his Skype login, and then working out that he didn’t have an internet connection in first place. That would have been awesome to live tweet.  There was the time my flatmate a random person I was hanging out with,  upon seeing a happy child skipping along the street remarked, “bet that’s a weird little kid… I mean, ‘unique’ little kid. Whatever we’re supposed to call it these days.”

So Tweet-worthy.

But I digress.

The NZ Twitter crowd really is one big whanau. There’s the younger siblings, who bring us Bieber and Gaga and Shore Girls news. There’s the mums who make sure we’re all doing okay and eating our veges. There’s the angry uncles getting drunk and arguing the Demise Of Everything in the corner. There’s the older sisters who say “fuck it” and wear leopard print jeans with tie-died hoodies even though they look a bit mad. There’s the grandparents who are mostly graceful and amazing but turn out to be batshit crazy enough to hang out with the rest of us.

I missed you, tweeple.


*Trolling. Not to make people uncomfortable, or to show a company what a dick I am, but just to get people talking. And thinking, hopefully.

Five reasons Twitter users want to quit

Social networking platform Twitter has many uses – staying in touch with friends, catching breaking news live from the scene, networking with potential business contacts, finding feedback, help and general rubbernecking.

But lately many high-profile users are abandoning the interface, and the reasons are just as varied.

When I put a call out on Twitter about twittexhausion, I thought I had a fair idea how this blog would turn out. Well, I was wrong.

I was inundated with messages. It seems there’s a fair amount of long-term, high-level users who are about to put Twitter onto semi-permanent hiatus. Why?

Shortland Street called, it wants its storyline back

“Did you hear @someone just lost their job?” “OMG did you SEE her tweet?” “I heard that @suchandsuch has hooked up with @thatguy!” “My life sucksssssssssssssssssssssss.”

It’s exhausting, and yet we get sucked into dramas and whines that aren’t even ours.

“So many gloaters, whiners and gossipers,” one user said. “When did it get like this?”

“I’ve almost stopped tweeting as was getting so worked up reading other people’s comments. My stream full of whining! Time off = good for me,” another user tweeted.

“The ridiculous immaturity of some users at times. The gossip. The scandal. The negativity. The drama,” one user said.

“I was worrying and getting angry about things that just weren’t important or getting sucked into dramas without even contributing to them, or knowing the people involved – dedicating head space to the dramas of strangers is just stupid,” another person messaged.

This leads nicely into point two:

Twitter fights, bullying, and inappropriate messaging

Several high-profile tweeters were targeted recently by a bully who posted inappropriate content about them, and a group of young women were targeted by a local tweeter who wanted to see nude photos, then chastised them for not sharing.

“It’s hard. It makes me feel gross. I’ve blocked him now but I feel uneasy when I see other people talking to him,” one user said. “I want to tell them all what he said to me but I don’t want to bring it all up again. I’d rather leave it alone.”

“Enough with the faceless, nameless people who hurl abuse!” another high-profile tweeter said.

I am not my workplace

For those who use Twitter openly for both work and personal use, the pressure to stay “on brand” and above-board can be overwhelming.

As one community manager puts it, “people keep asking me work questions on my own account. I was hoping for some time out but there’s no down time when people know where you work.”

“People’s expectations don’t match reality and that’s taken the fun out of Twitter for me,” another user writes. “People expect me to be on call for them 24/7, and then they abuse me when I’m not. I’m feeling frustrated, sad, overwhelmed and over it.”

Twitter is not the Olympics.

Why are so many Twitter users focused on measuring tools like Klout, follower numbers, RTs and the like? It’s exhausting.

“The need to be the most RTed, or replied to or doing that thing where you don’t RT properly and you mangle my carefully crafted tweet by shortening words,” one tweeter said. “Or worse: Make it into a tweet that uses or twitlonger, just so you can get your name in front of it. That still pisses me off.”

You don’t have to be first with breaking news. You don’t have to have 100 Klout. You don’t need 10,000 followers. You aren’t playing for a trophy. It’s not a competition.

The fakes and the wannabes

“The charlatans, the fakes, the really fucking bad writers who publish blogs about writing and engaging with people but with spelling mistakes. It is as damaging to your brain as watching the E! channel without any of the shows, just the loud, shouty, vacuous promos,” one Twitter user said. “And even though you don’t have to, you’d find yourself clicking links and ingesting the rubbish.”

“Twitter is getting overwhelmed with social media gurus who are regurgitating the same stuff, then wanking each other off over it,” another said. “New Zealand is too small for that kind of crap. It puts me off them and using Twitter.”

“The bigger twitter gets, the more it reminds me of High School, and then [I] worry I’m not cool enough,” another user wrote.

Simone McCallum has blogged about her experience of nearly giving up Twitter – give it a read.

So what can we do about twittexhausion?

Here’s five steps I suggest you take to relieve some of the Twitter fatigue

  1. Have a break. Turn the Tweetdeck off, go for a walk or watch some telly – even if it’s just for a few minutes. Don’t tweet your rage.
  2. Re-assess Twitter’s place in your life. Recognise which of your buttons are being pushed, and why, then deal with that by talking it through with a friend, writing it down, or however you process.
  3. Make a private list, and fill it with people who make you smile. Use that as your main feed.
  4. Assert yourself. If you don’t like the way someone is tweeting at you, tell them – and if you have to, block them. Be polite about it, but don’t stand for behaviour which makes you uncomfortable.
  5. Go out for drinks with like-minded Twitter users and have a big bitch. Get it off your chest, then have a laugh about it. You’ll feel much better knowing that you aren’t alone.

Don’t lie unless you mean it

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

W. Clement Stone

One of my pet peeves is broken promises. I don’t like breaking them and I don’t like having them broken.

And a step back from that means that when you say you’re going to do something, I expect you to do it – because you can expect that from me too.

I know that mistakes happen. I’m not inhuman and neither are you. We all slip a little white lie in here and there. We say we’ll be somewhere when we have no intention of being there. We overhype something. We weasel out of a committment, citing some lame excuse without a second thought. We overlook the thing we said we’d do because it’s not much fun, or not really what we wanted, or maybe we were just being polite in the first place.

But here’s a challenge: Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

If you know you don’t mean what you’re planning to say, don’t say it and if you have no intention of following through, don’t make the promise.

Don’t let your lips write cheques you know will be dishonoured.

If you say one thing and do another, what does that say about your committment, your follow though, your discipline or your honesty? Maybe you really did mean it at the time but you’ve changed your mind – that’s cool, but why not just say that?  The “maybe” function on Facebook needs to be used sparingly. If you’re just clicking it out of politeness, don’t. Just say no.

I am trying really hard to do this, and although it is difficult, I think it’s worth it. I want people to know there is value in my words.

I don’t want to make empty promises, not even to be polite.

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.

 Paul Wellstone, American politician and peace activist