"As an immigrant I decided that a raincoat in Auckland's inclement weather was an essential item. So ... I walked the length and breadth of Newmarket, I called almost every store in Onehunga Mall, Sylvia Park and St Lukes, to be told 'It's not the season for raincoats, try again in winter.' or 'No we don't do raincoats, we do snow gear!' Yes, some sports, and camping shops had raincoats. I was asked if I wanted waterproof or light shower raincoats? The fact that neither were in stock made this question redundant. From this vantage point there appears to be a very big gap in the market NZ. Are all you Kiwis just walking around soggy?"

Christianity begins at home
A driver writes: "I was in the Albany village on Friday afternoon when I heard this car horn go off. What was of interest - as the car that was tooted at and the car following drove by - was three fingers that flipped up from the three people in the car at the same time. Then as they drove away, you could read the name of a Christian parenting organisation all over the back ... "

Seven Sharp host easily amused
A reader writes: "I cringed watching the Seven Sharp item about 26-year-old New Zealander Matthew Jacobs who, after witnessing the gunfire and car chase in Washington DC, made some dumb comments to media and was dubbed the 'Bro Witness'. As the host guffawed, open- mouthed at his hilarious one-liners, all I could think was, 'er, what about the part when the woman with her 1-year-old daughter got shot and killed? No mention of that. Sometimes things on the web are better left on the web'."
Strange shorts
1. Our freedom to doze off, now in danger: The training technology company Mindflash recently revealed a feature for iPads that prevents student inattentiveness during an online course. Facial recognition software notices a user looking away (or, worse, falling asleep) and thus pauses the course until the eager learner re-engages the screen.
2. England's Liverpool International Music Festival offers a solution: The DaDaFest programme featured an ear-crushing sound level especially staged for deaf people's dancing - since they can only "hear" by the vibrations saturating their bodies. The non-deaf should bring earplugs. (Source: News of the Weird)
Picture this: Elephants in India, dressed up to the nines and looking gorgeous...

Science Fiction fans: "My name is Sean Roode. I have come with a request for any creative writers who are interested. For the past few months I have been working on a Science fiction saga and I have reached a point where I am in need of help. The reason for this is as follows. I have created over 60 different alien races for this saga which equates to 60,000 pages of potential story material. The goal that I set out to achieve was to create a universe not unlike star wars, star trek, Halo and Mass effect where you have such a well-constructed universe you can basically write whatever story you want within its framework. I am doing quite well with the universe construction as I mentioned but it has grown to such a point that I cannot handle it solo. As I said over 60,000 pages or more of potential story which If I write a 1,000 page novel each year it will take me till the age of 87 before I finish it that roughly equates to about 20 trilogies. I have begun working on the story for my first Book/ trilogy called Thea but as I have said I need help with it all. Not just to get it down but to make it as great as I can make it." If you are keen to join in and be a part of Sean's vision, go here .

Video: It's not often you get to laugh at mental illness, but the producers of this animated kiwi web series has roped in famous bi-polar Brit Stephen Fry for their latest episode of Terry the Bi Bipolar Polar Bear... (not for kids, okay)
Watch more episodes here...


Video: Bum humour - a dessert mould kit from Japan ...

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at ana.samways@nzherald.co.nz