Category Archives: Daily Life

Cats and a crazy fear of prison

Bloody cats.
I wonder if anyone else finds cats as annoying as I clearly do.

They’re completely two-faced for one. They rub themselves up against your trousers without permission, then try and scratch at you when you attempt to stroke them.

I can get around this by simply never visiting anyone who owns a cat.
Sadly though, they (the cats, now the owners) leave their house and shit in my garden.
We’ve put down spikes in the dirt so they have nowhere to comfortably squat, and chicken wire around the fences to stop them climbing through, and still they get in somewhere.

All that pales into insignificance though, compared to the piss-taking wanker that seemingly wandered into my house this morning.
No doors were open – it literally scaled a wall and climbed through a window.
My girlfriend shooed it out, but it did make me wonder. At what point can you legally kill a cat that wanders into your house? Can I claim self-defence?

I’ve found that when visiting anyone with a dog, they inevitably ask “oh – are you alright with dogs?”
Never do they ask “do you hate cats, by any chance?”
They’ll offer to shut the poor dog in the kitchen, but will they nail the catflap shut while I’m there? No.
As it goes, I’m fine with dogs. They’re mostly friendly, loyal, fun.
When’s the last time you saw a cat on a TV show because it had saved it’s owner from otherwise-certain death? It’s never happened!
Go on! Throw a stick for a cat! I bet you any money it won’t bring it back.
When’s the last time a cat swam a long distance through shark-infested waters, and survived on a near-deserted island?

Dogs = better than cats. It’s pretty clear.

Cats are not deemed in law to be owned by anyone, as they’re not trainable in the same way as dogs. Many cat-lovers have badges proclaiming they are a slave to “Fluffy”, but they’re actually deadly serious.
Also, if you run over a pet, different rules apply for dogs and cats. If it’s a dog, you must report your kill. If it’s a cat, you don’t have to, as they’re semi-wild animals.
Given they’re not in any sense endangered, I wonder if I can legally kill this cat if it wanders into my kitchen again.
It would seem not, as proven recently by lawyers.

If I knew who it belonged to, I’d seriously think about collecting it’s feces and putting it back in the owner’s garden.
Other possible options to rid myself of this cat, include sleeping tablets and traps, and are very long winded.

A Crazy Fear of Prison

A while ago, an acquaintance of mine (I won’t describe him as a friend), asked to borrow a bag from me.
He just wanted a normal holdall type bag to put some clothes and a laptop in, to visit a friend.
He specifically didn’t want a laptop-style bag, as he didn’t want to advertise his electronics to muggers.

He borrowed a bag, and several days later I got it back.
Rather than putting it away though, I’ve left it out for months, wondering what to do with it.
You see, the acquaintance has been known to smoke weed on a fairly regular basis, and I’ve no idea if he transported any within my bag.
I can’t see any, but I don’t own a sniffer dog to make doubly sure.
A normal sane person would have dismissed it. What if he did? What’s it really matter?

Sadly, the irrational side of me started thinking about the occasional people who get stopped going through customs with “2 grams of marijuana” in foreign countries, and end up in jail for years on end.
At some point I might have some money and take a holiday. You never know. It could happen.
It’s bad enough, when asked if I’ve left my bag “unattended at any time”, that I let someone borrow it for 3 days in 2008, but there’s the possibility of milligrams of marijuana residue now.

I don’t want to take the risk, so yesterday I emptied this bag, and hung it out on the washing line in the rain.
How long does it take to wash off marijuana? Anyone know?
I’ll give it a week.

Hotpoint – the best a proofreader can get?

I’m fairly determined to make my first post semi-happy.
However, when I sat down and started writing, what came out was my fears for the global economy.
Given that, I think I’ll save that one for another day, and write the next thing on my list.

I’ve become a total pedant.
Maybe I’ve always been one, actually.
This week, I’ve been continuously annoyed by the broken washing machine in my kitchen.
I can’t really afford to replace it, but I can’t find anything on Freecycle, and second hand ones are selling for almost as much as the likely cost of repair.
As I’m nearly out of clean clothes, I’ll be doing something about it tomorrow.

While looking for a repair company, I noticed Hotpoint themselves offer an after-sales out-of-warranty repair service.
Upon reading through their website, I spotted an embarrassing typo, right there in the “About Us” section.
As I tutted to myself, I recounted this on both Twitter and to my sister via MSN messenger.

This is where the pedant in me comes out.
Instead of ignoring it as most people would, I composed the following message and sent it to them via the “Contact Us” section:

As my washing machine is broken, I have been looking at your Hotpoint servicing details.
I couldn’t help but notice, while reading: http://www.hotpointservice.co.uk/hs/pages/content.do?keys=ABOUT_US:PAGE&keys=ABOUT_US:HISTORY
…that you say two interesting things.

“We are open when you need us and our operators are on hand to answer your call every day including weekends and bank holidays on 08448 224 224.”
BUT you also state: “Call us at your convenience – 364 days a year”

As there’s 365 days in most years, I was just wondering which day you get off? I’m guessing either Christmas Day, or Easter Sunday?
It must be nice on leap years, because you get a second day off then.

Thanks for your time.

Ben Park

While I was doing this, I remembered I’ve been meaning to email Gillette about some of their products, so I figured that while I was in the mood, I’d have a go at that too.

Hello,
I have been using your Gillette shaving products from the time I first started shaving, until now.
I started with a Sensor Excel razor, and progressed to my current Mach3.
I started with your foam, then switched to gel, and most recently to your new Fusion HydraGel (with Aloe and Glycerin).
I am aware I am using the Fusion gel WITHOUT the Fusion razor. My apologies for this hideous faux pas.

Upon exiting the shower recently, my current girlfriend described me as having “just the nicest smell ever”, and I thought you might be interested to know, as it’s mostly all involving products that [Proctor and Gamble] make.
I assumed it was the HydraGel (I had recently started using), but I have got her to sniff that on it’s own, and it seemingly isn’t that alone that she loves.

### I stated the secret, magic formula, here, removed for web viewers ###

This combination, specifically culminating at it’s most aromatic around my ears, seems to please her greatly.
It’s always possible it’s affected by me somehow, or that she’s simply mad, but I thought I’d let you know in case this turns out to be a winning formula for a new product.

Thanks for your time, and if you wanted to send me some money-off vouchers, a free razor (well wrapped), or whatever, they’d be greatly appreciated.

-Ben Park-

P.S. Despite the adverts claiming “the Lynx effect”, every woman I’ve ever spoken to about their products say that Lynx smells like a “teenage boy’s bedroom”. I’ll be sticking with my Gillette products, and keep up the good work.

P.P.S. My only slight problem with your Gillette products is the sheer number of different ones available. I have no idea if Glycerin is better than Vitamin D, or whatever.

The saddest thing is that I’m actually excited to see if I get a reply to either.

Edit: 7th April.
Hotpoint replied:

Dear Ben Park

Thank you for your email,

We are closed Christmas day only.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Taylor
Customer Care Team
Indesit UK

And Gillette also replied:

Hello and thanks for your email.

We’re grateful for your interest in our products and have passed your helpful comments to the department concerned.

Kind regards,

Suzanna

Consumer Relations

Lasagne – the dinner party

Last night I went to a friend’s house for a kind-of dinner party.

I had worried about this since I was first invited. It’s not a formal dinner or anything like that – just a dinner party consisting of me, two friends of mine, a friend of theirs I don’t know very well, and that friend’s mother.

I’m passed the point in my life where awkward silences in conversations bother me much – I was concerned because of the food aspect. 


On the phone originally, the host had seemed reluctant to decide on the food to be served. Later conversations had suggested pie and chips – there’s not an awful lot to go wrong there. Even if its a pie containing something I don’t like, you just leave the odd ingredient – it would have been a store-bought pie and oven chips. Nobody is offended really, and nobody enjoys it too much. It’s a happy bland medium.


I arrived at the party with some things I was lending the host. This was probably my only saving grace the whole night.


I’d been there, not really making much in the way of conversation with anybody for a short while. 

I haven’t really done anything in weeks. Not much to talk about (that’s why this blog hasn’t been updated in so long). 

After a while, I casually asked somebody what food we were having tonight. 

“Lasagne”.

A slight panic set through me. 

If truth be told – I’ve eaten lasagne before in my life, once. It was a Tesco “Finest” one a few years ago, that I’d resorted to when I’d ran out of most other foods. I’d ate about a third of what was probably a one-person’s dish to start with, and then gone to pudding. At the time, I don’t think I’d eaten properly in a day or so, and really it could have been anything and I’d have eaten a bit because I was hungry. That said, I still didn’t eat all of it – so I can’t have enjoyed it much.


Back to the current day, lasagne was served, I tried it – wasn’t really loving it.

To make this worse, the other guests complemented the host on his culinary skills, repeatedly, while I sat there planning what I was going to say when I was eventually found out.

If it had been just me and said host, this would have been a lot less embarrassing.

I picked through the lasagne, and ate the mince.

The host mentioned several times he wasn’t rating the mince in this particular lasagne, and it had been cheap at the butchers and he didn’t know why. Is that a get-out? The truth was, the mince was the only bit I was finding alright. I decided against that particular get-out.


Eventually after it had been mentioned how slowly I eat, and people had asked if I was “struggling” with the meal, I came clean and told aforementioned host that I didn’t really like lasagne.

He apologized a lot, which made me feel rubbish – as he’d done the whole thing from scratch.

I picked out some more mince and ate that, then moved my knife and fork to the 6.30 position.


Now, at this point of my life, I’d like to think I’ve seen everything on the internet, that is ever likely to gross me out. Anything that is going to make me feel uneasy has been done on The Word, Eurotrash, Wudja Cudja, or in close up prosthetic detail on Nip/Tuck. I was wrong.


No sooner had I relocated my knife and fork, talk started from the mother at the meal, of how I couldn’t “waste” that food. 

It continued for a few minutes while I resisted the urge to sarcastically mention about starving children in Africa. I got that a lot while I was younger. “There are starving children in Africa, who’d kill for that you know”. My suggestion to post it to them was never met with much appreciation.


We rejoin the party, as the friend of a friend and his mother, agreed to portion up my leftovers on their own plates and eat it.

To coin an American phrase, “Ew”.

I’d eaten around, between, and throughout the remaining food. It’s not like eating half a burger from the other side as someone else, and leaving the “join” in the middle.


Don’t get me wrong – I’ve eaten off other people’s plates before, shared spoons, etc. One night I helped out with a computer problem at a house filled with female uni students, and when a cute one (I’d consider her a long way out of my league) had offered me some apple crumble from her spoon, I’d gladly taken it.

That’s the difference. I’ve shared plates, spoons, etc.. with people I’d been sleeping with, or who wanted to sleep with. Not with friends. In the same way I wouldn’t keep their chewing gum warm in my own mouth, I wouldn’t eat off their plates.


There are some circumstances where the “fancying the original owner” rule needn’t necessarily apply. As mentioned before, if you were physically starving and needing nourishment – I’d forgive the above. If you were stranded on a desert island, and it was this or death – fair enough. This was not the case with either of the people fighting for my leftovers.


I sat incredibly uncomfortably as they finished my half-eaten dinner for me, just trying to keep my own down. 


After those two had left the party, I mentioned this to the remaining guest at the party. To my surprise, he didn’t see a problem with it!

He went as far as to say he’d trust me not to have any sort of diseases that could be picked up via saliva. To try and force my point across, I said “well how do you know I don’t have any? How do *I* know I don’t have any?”. It’s pretty unlikely really. I’d have to come in contact with other people to pick up any of those diseases, and I’ve not had so much as a kiss in months.


I never thought I’d say it – but restaurants aren’t so bad. When I was the only one who didn’t have a starter at the office Christmas party, nobody really made a big deal out of it. Nobody was fighting for the small amount of rice I left after the main course. At least you get options, and if you don’t like it, you don’t see the chef personally.