Posts Tagged ‘#interestingread’

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Amazon provides a wonderful service, it’s very quick and easy and hard to fault. But If there is one thing that I do not like about their service it would have to be the wasteful packaging.

Usually when I purchase merchandise, I like to go to the shops and buy it the old fashioned way from the merchant. I find that this helps to reduce mistakes, packaging and the length of time I have to wait before I can actually get my hands on the product. Occasionally though I am lucky/lazy and I find a deal or two online and I think to myself, why not.

So the other day I ordered a couple of kitchen utensils from Amazon. A standard spatula set to be precise, and this is what turned up.

The box is massive, it’s around the size of three size ten shoeboxes side by side. Surly this must be a mistake. This box is far too big for what I ordered. Oh well I guess I should take a look inside.

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Wow, a ton of packaging. It must be protecting something really fragile and valuable. I wonder what it could be.

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No way.

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Really. All this, for this!

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I’m grateful that I have my spatulas but they could have just sent them in a small padded envelope. I know it’s a small nitpick but it has massive consequences on the environment. Keep up the good work Amazon but reduce the packaging.

Sebastian Bowen.
The Fishtank Podcast.

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What the hell is going on with the music industry these days? Did I miss a memo that said music videos are now three minute pornographic adverts?

There is a huge difference between embracing your sexuality, sexualisation and sex. Everything now looks like a scene from a porno. There appears to be a lot more skin on show and every video seems to be promoting the same image and the same message, sex sex sex.

It’s got to the point where I cannot let my child watch any music videos in fear of polluting his mind. Whilst I was writing this I was deciding whether or not to attach some example clips or links. I decided against it because I didn’t think it was necessary, everybody knows the type of videos I am referring to. Additionally I did not want to inadvertently advertise or promote any of these atrocities so I have only used a few images to get my point across.

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Over the last two decades music and sex have become synonymous. The record companies keep pumping out garbage and people keep lapping it up like dogs around vomit. The quality of music has declined and the level of sex required to sell these talentless artists has increased. I don’t even believe we have seen the worst. Record companies will continue to push the boundaries of decency and we will continue to allow them to.

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I recently took my six year old nephew to a birthday party, and the amount of young infant girl’s twerking and simulating sex on the dance floor was uncomfortable to say the least. Some of the parents looked embarrassed but not concerned enough to stop them, and the others were actually proud of their children and encouraged them to carry on.

I asked one parent if she thought that type of dancing was appropriate. She said she didn’t, but the kids learn this stuff from the television so there is nothing she can do.

WTF do you mean there is nothing you can do! Change the channel Or Switch it off!

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People behave like just because these videos are not advertised with an 18 certificate they are powerless to stop their children watching it. That’s madness. I control my household and I am responsible for what a child will experience when they are in my house. The same way I would not let a child watch a horror movie or any other material that was not age appropriate.

Try and think back to when you were five years old. I am pretty sure that you were not watching anything like the rubbish we see today, so don’t you think that your own children deserve better. The parents that try to make the argument that it’s just music and they are just dancing, are seriously in denial and failing their responsibility as a parent.

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If you seriously want to get your children into music then teach them how to read and write music and play an instrument. Yes instruments, do you remember them? Also dance does not need to be limited to sexual simulation there are many different forms of dance, so don’t talk rubbish to me. It’s because I can read, write and play music, which is why I am able to differentiate between good music and bad music.

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It’s not just the music videos either; the stage performances are just as bad, if not worst. I’ve seen images of parents cringing at concerts as they are forced to endure some teenage kid who’s far too young to be gyrating in their little daughters face, for over ninety minutes. I would argue that most stage performances these days are similar to what you would expect to see in a seedy strip club. If you wouldn’t allow your child to enter a strip club then why are you inviting similar material into your home?

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I don’t think this is a case of me getting old or being out of touch with society. I am genuinely shocked at some of the footage that is allowed to be shown in the daytime for our children’s entertainment, and I believe it will have damaging effects on them in the future. I was shocked and disappointed to read this week about the rise in children under the age of 10 being arrested for rape in this country, this cannot be ignored. Please click link for full story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9687121/Children-as-young-as-10-arrested-for-rape.html

We are also experiencing a massive rise in paedophilia in England, every week more and more paedophiles appear to be coming out the woodwork. We have a responsibility as adults to protect children and to monitor what they are exposed to. In a future article I will be focusing on the sexualisation of children within today’s media, I do not believe it is unrelated to the rise in paedophiles and abuse on children.

The next time you find yourself watching filth on the television and there’s a child present, remember you are the responsible adult in the room so do your job and SWITCH IT OFF.

Sebastian Bowen.
The Fishtank Podcast.

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The amount of times I hear people moaning about teachers receiving too much holiday, only shows how little people know what is really required to educate a child.

Having grown up in a house with a parent who was a teacher and now as an adult I find myself living with another one, I can tell you nothing could be further from the truth.

The amount of time spent planning for the next lessons or marking books from the previous ones, seems like a never ending task. If the job is done right it should take a long time.

A teacher who actually cares about her pupils will take the extra time to ensure that they are able to engage and capture the attention of all of there students, no matter what their abilities may be.

My partner is a science teacher, a very good science teacher. She teaches at an all girls Catholic secondary school in London. Our evenings are not spent sitting in front of the TV watching mindless programmes. Instead she is busy designing interactive PowerPoint slides, planning experiments, marking books or answering an abundance of administrative emails.

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A pupils school day may end at 15:30, but a teacher is lucky to get out of the building before 17:00. After returning home there is only time for a quick coffee break then it’s back to marking books and planning for the next day. This can take up to five hours every evening.

This is the same for the holidays. 75% of that time is taken up marking, planning and preparing to return to the classroom. I don’t think any teacher gets the opportunity to fully enjoy their breaks without stressing about the next term.

Imagine returning to work to face hundreds of new children waiting to be inspired and waiting for you to shape and mould their future. To many people that is a very daunting prospect.

Marking books correctly is more than just ticking the right answer and writing a score at the bottom of the page. You have to be able to give constructive criticism or deserved praise. That requires you to have a connection with your students and understand their unique abilities. Being able to identify when a child is underachieving or has made improvements.

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The job is more than a job. It’s about nurturing and encouraging children to think and understand the concept of learning. Pushing them to the next level in a meaningful way so they themselves can look back and see their own progress. When the job is done right a child will know he or she has learnt something that day.

In this article I have focused on the imaginary ‘free time’ that people believe teachers have. I have not even begun to talk about the difficulties within the classroom dealing with difficult children, disruptive children and children with emotional instabilities coming from unstable households. All of this is just a fraction of what a teacher is expected to deal with on a daily basis.

So the next time you find yourself talking to a teacher, and you have the urge to say ‘I would love to be a teacher and get all that holiday’. Instead stop yourself, and ask yourself, do you actually have what it takes to be a teacher? Refrain from the usual condescending comment and tone and just say, Thank you.

I would like to thank all of the great teachers in the world. Keep on inspiring, keep on encouraging, keep on teaching. We all would be nowhere without you.

Sebastian Bowen.
The Fishtank Podcast.

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Ever since I was a young boy I have seen TV commercials advertising toilet paper, with the aid of animals.

What the hell is this about?

The connection between soft animals and soft toilet paper is lost on me.

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It’s weird to me that anybody would choose to associate or market a product with something that has absolutely no need for it. No animal other than humans, have ever used toilet paper. And no animal I have ever touched has ever felt like toilet paper. So what’s the link? There is no link!

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Try wiping your bum on a cat and I’m pretty sure you will loose something in the process.

Yes I agree some animals do feel nice and soft but I can honestly say I have never had the thought of using one to wipe my arse. I can’t see how that would be a good situation for either me or the animal. Plus I am pretty sure the RSPCA would have something to say about it.

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The toilet paper industry is the one industry that does not need to rely on cheap gimmicks for the simple fact that everybody needs to shit, so everybody needs toilet paper. Unless of course, you want to use your hand.

The advert should be short and simple like:

Avoid This!!

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And Buy This!

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Done! No nonsense.

Sebastian Bowen
The Fishtank Podcast.

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To whom it may concern at Nestle,

My name is Sebastian Bowen. I recently purchased one of your many delicious products this morning and was pleasantly surprised. Although I have been a fan of the brand for 32 years, I had never tried this particular product before from your fine selection of merchandise.

The particular product I am referring to is the Hazelnut KitKat Chunky Bar. Two syllables spring to mind, yum and me.

First of all let me congratulate you on the evolutionary and revolutionary design of the KitKat range. When other chocolate bar manufacturers went for a two finger bar, you guys knew from the beginning that four fingers are better than two. I tell my wife that all the time.

It was a genius decision, please continue to praise whoever came up with it. Even on the odd occasion when I do have a two finger KitKat, I always end up having two of them thus consuming four fingers anyway.

I have been aware for some time that you do produce a three finger bar, but unfortunately as of now it is still a myth to me, I am yet to come across it in any shop. If you could tell me where to locate one I would be very happy.

Since the launch of the Chunky KitKat in 1998 it has been a regular addition to my daily lunch box and has brought much joy to a variety of break times. Not since the 1920’s when KitKat was first launched has there been a more inspiring bar. One can only imagine the excitement amongst the people when the bar graced the shop shelves with its presence for the first time.

A good friend, and long-time pen pal of mine Yoshi E Honda, regularly teases me about the extreme variety of KitKats available to him in Japan. He claims that Japan has 200 flavours of KitKat but I told him that couldn’t possibly be true. Please can you clarify if this is true with a list, and if so why are they not available over here for us British consumers.

I managed to find some images on the internet (see at the bottom of the page) but it’s hard to believe anything you see on the internet. Yoshi said that in Japan you can have any flavour you like. It seems a little unfair. Proof is necessary, please confirm.

Anyhow the actual reason for my letter is two fold. Firstly I recently discovered that you have discontinued the Hazelnut version of the Chunky KitKat to allow the Mint version to flourish.

It’s my understanding that out of the four new flavours you presented to us, the Mint flavour was allegedly voted the best by the British public. But having spoken to many other KitKat fans like myself, I do believe this is a mistake.

The Hazelnut bar was the far superior bar out of the four flavours, followed closely by Chocolate Fudge.

Although the Mint is a nice addition, I feel there are other confectionary products on the market that already have this angle covered. Such snacks as After Eights and Aero which are both fine products that you already own and manufacture, have catered to the chocolaty mint loving section of society.

Mint winning was just a little too obvious and cliché, evidently chosen by people that were not KitKat connoisseurs like myself.

Anyway this ship has now sailed and there is nothing I can do about it. However I felt it was necessary to voice my opinion, and highlight your obvious mistake.

I digress to my second point. As stated in my email earlier I have long been a fan of the four fingered version of the KitKat and have enjoyed it countless times. However since the birth of the Chunky KitKat I have always been torn between the two.

One day whilst I was solving another one of the world’s problems I had another eureka moment. Why doesn’t KitKat produce a four fingered Chunky KitKat? It makes perfect sense. Also instead of the standard single flavour for each finger, instead each finger could be a different flavoured Chunky KitKat. What could be more awesome than that! The answer, quite simply, is nothing.

I believe this is a great idea, one that should be rushed to the board of directors immediately. An idea like this is a game changer and will propel profits so high that the CEO of Nestle will be sitting on his new luxury cruiser, sipping champagne whilst thinking to himself, recession, what recession?

If you do not choose to go forth with my invention that’s ok, I won’t take the news too harsh. Besides I have already commissioned a chef to put together a prototype of what the four fingered Chunky would look like. I am happy to send you an image of this providing you promise not to steal my design.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Keep up the good work.

Sebastian Bowen.

P.S here are the images I found please send confirmation.

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Nestle Response

Hello Sebastian,

We are always pleased to hear from our consumers. At Nestle we have people who continuously work on testing, developing and evaluating new product ideas.

Before a new product is launched we carry out market research into the needs and requirements of our consumers and we record all the comments received. Sometimes ideas which appear to be new may already have been explored.

We are very sorry but we are unable to accept creative suggestions from outside the Company. However, we are still very grateful to you for spending so much time and effort on your idea.

Unfortunately we do not sell every flavour of KitKat here in the UK. We do a lot of research into our brands and have found that the consumers’ tastes vary a great deal between different countries and cultures.

There is a wide range of flavours of KitKats available in the Japanese market although I am afraid I cannot get hold of the full list of flavours for you. Although you could take a look at the Nestle Japanese website: http://www.nestle.co.jp/.

The KitKat team are constantly reviewing the range of flavours we offer in the UK and this includes looking at what is available in other markets.

I can assure you that your comments have been noted and will be highlighted to the KitKat team ready for future development meetings.
We are sorry you had this experience with one of our products and thank you for giving us the opportunity to comment on this matter.

Zoe Nudd

Contact Centre Executive, Consumer Services.

My Response

Hello Zoe,
Thank you for responding to my previous letter. In response to your letter I have a few points I would like to touch on.

You mentioned that market research is always done before the launch of a project. How can I become a part of this? I think I would be a valuable addition to the team. I believe that refusing to accept any ideas from outside the company is a really bad idea. Consumers are the best people to tell you what is right and what is wrong with the product or the brand.

It is disappointing that the UK has such a limited selection of KitKats compared to Japan especially when the UK is now a diverse mixture of people from all ethnic backgrounds. I am sure some of the pallets of the UK citizens would surprise you.

The link that you sent me (: http://www.nestle.co.jp/) is only helpful if you can read Japanese. Although I am learning, I am unable to read the webpage at this time. However I was able to find a website (http://www.weirdasianews.com/2010/03/18/japans-strangest-kit-kat-flavors/) that highlights some of the many different flavours available over there.

To say that Japan has a little more flavours is like saying Dubai is a little hotter than London. It feels like the UK is miles behind in the evolution of the KitKat.

It looks like whoever was in charge of the decision making in the marketing team has been on a break for a very long time. I would like to offer my KitKat expertise to the marketing team as I believe I have a lot of ideas that could benefit customers in the UK. I would be happy to share those ideas with you on your request.

I hope that the KitKat will someday find a brighter future on British soil and become a much more diverse bar of chocolate than it currently is.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen

Nestle Response

Thank you very much for your reply.

Unusual flavours of KitKats sell abroad but there is not enough demand for it in this country at the moment. We do a lot of research into our brands and have found that consumer’s tastes vary a great deal between different countries and cultures.

To have your ideas shared with the company you may be interested to know we have a Consumer Panel. The Consumer Panel is a database of consumers that we may contact on a regular basis asking for their input and idea regarding new product concepts or changes to established products.
If you would like to join our Consumer Panel, please complete the following survey by using this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZPB2VXL

I have also contacted the KitKat Brand team and let them know of the comments you have raised in both of your previous letters.

We hope this information will be helpful and thank you for your interest and loyalty to our products.

Yours sincerely,

Zoe Nudd
Contact Centre Executive, Consumer Services.

My Response

Hello Zoe,
Thank you once again for responding to my letter.

I am aware that different countries have different tastes but I am not sure that the British public are even aware that some of these flavours exist. How can they possibly know what they want if they have never been shown what is available. It sounds a little unfair to me.

I think next year’s Halloween would be a great time to test some new or strange flavours on the British public. Tomfoolery is widely accepted around that time of year.

Thank you for informing me of the Consumer Panel, I have signed myself up and I am awaiting the next stage. I think it will be fun to share some of my favourite ideas.

How exciting would it be if they decided to go ahead and make my Jamaican Jerk Chicken flavour or Strawberry and Mango flavour? That would be awesome!

I am glad to hear that my ideas have been passed onto the KitKat Brand Team. I am sure they will appreciate what I have done. I assume that they will not rip off my ideas. If I see any of my flavours out on sale I will of course expect you to send me a cheque in the post. I hate to be hard on you but times are hard for everybody at the moment.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen.

Awaiting Response

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To whom it may concern at Evian,

I have been buying Evian for many years and find your product innocent refreshing and delicious. Since my first experience when I first tasted the sweet sweet comfort of the South of France minerals I have been a big fan of your liquidy treat.

At one point in my life I became totally obsessed with your water and I was spending anywhere in the region of £100 – £150 a week on Evian. I used to cook with it, clean with it, wash with it. I found it to be a great solution for acne relief and other skin irritations.

I still currently use Evian to water my plants and hydrate my three cats, H, Two & O. The cats really love it; they genuinely look healthier every day. I would be happy to send you images of them if you are interested in seeing the results of many years of adequate hydration. Maybe pets could be a new market that you guys could break into I’m sure other pet owners would agree.

Anyhow, the reason for my letter is to highlight something you may or may not be aware of. It was something that a friend of mine pointed out to me one day when the two of us were in the back garden relaxing and drinking Evian. All of a sudden Tony shouts out Oh no! And then begins to laugh hysterically. After what felt like an eternity he was able to wipe his tears away and compose himself.

He stated the reason why he was laughing was because Evian spelt backwards was Naive and I was stupid for believing it. I didn’t want to admit it at first but he was right. It was written on the bottle plain as day. I tried to defend Evian by telling him that in 1829 Mr Cachat first started bottling the water from the Sainte Catherine spring Evian-les-Bains, France, the same fresh pure spring water that has been used in every bottle across the globe.

I told him that it has been recognised as having medicinal qualities and has helped many people all over the world. This only made him laugh even harder. He said the water represented a true reflection of how naive people are today then he continued to laugh some more.

Tony said he is positive that all this water comes from some tap in England somewhere, where they treat it with chemicals to give it a unique taste. He then proceeded to take out his laptop and show me some damaging evidence on YouTube.

I told him this was all nonsense and completely fabricated of course but he kept insisting that I had become blind to the truth.

After he finished laughing for the third time I asked him to leave, however the damage had been done. I couldn’t help but think maybe he was right. Maybe this water does not come from France like I have always been led to believe. Now that I think about it I don’t know anybody that has been to that part of France for a holiday or has even mentioned it before on their travels. It’s strange that such a magical place with one of earth’s life sources is not publicised or visited more often. I have now added it to my top ten places to visit before the end of the year.

Anyway please could you help me shut Tony up and confirm that Evian is and always has come from a spring in France and not a tap in England? Just to be on the safe side I will refrain from drinking anymore Evian until I have your response.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Sincerley

Sebastian Bowen.

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Everybody has a horrible neighbour you don’t trust and would be happy to see leave the area. A few weeks ago I received this poorly written hand delivered letter in the mail.

It took me five minutes alone just to stop laughing at the way they spelled the word neighbour.

Dear nayba

My name is Jan from number 14. My son James will be doing a sponsered walk to raise awarenes for a charatee

His 2 mile walk will be taking place on the 17th of this month (next week) on the common. If you would like to sponsa his walk per mile or as a 1 amount please rite down the amount on this letta and return it to number 14.

Give whateva you can it does not have to be a lot a couple of quid will do.

Jan.

My Response

Hi Jan,

Firstly let me congratulate you on finally motivating your son to do something with his life other than terrorising the neighbourhood. I am glad to hear he is putting his energy into more positive endeavours these days. There may be hope for him yet.

Unfortunately I will not be able to sponsor a donation on this occasion due to the fact your son still owes me money for vandalising the back of my property.

On another note two miles is not a distance that I would consider a challenge, I walk up to five miles a day just to and from work.

You also failed to mention any specific charity which is odd considering you are trying to raise awareness for it. So I can only assume that both the charity and the walk are imaginary and all proceeds will end up in either yours or James’s back pocket.

Also is there any reason why James did not take the time to write the letter himself. The way it reads gives the impression that James is a child. Although he may act like one most of the time, that’s just an unfortunate side effect of your parenting skills.

I wish you all the best of luck in the future your friendly neighbour at number 8.

Jans Response

Dear nayba,

How dare you fuckin talk about my son like that. James ain’t done nothing to your property. He may have ad some troubles in the past but he has calmed down a lot now. I am a great mom and I have raised him and my others to have respec for peeple. We all make mistakes in life nobody is perfect.

The charity is real and so is the walk. If you dont want to sponsa him you could have just said no instead of being a dickhead.

Jan.

My Response

Hi Jan,

I am sorry that the truth hurts and your vision is so blurry. The troubles in the past that you speak of were just last week. On Tuesday on my return from work I witnessed James and a group of fellow idiots trying set fire to a letter box.

The only reason why he may appear to have calmed down from time to time is because you are witnessing the sweet satisfying effects of marijuana. If you want him to remain calm I suggest you keep him medicated.

It is true we all make mistakes in life and in your case it was your son James. But at some point you need to learn from those mistakes, but you didn’t you carried on and made four more children. I pray they turn out to be better human beings than their predecessor.

Anyway wish you all the best for the future from your happy neighbour at number 8.

Late that night I received this note in the mail

Your a fuckin idiot you betta watch your back.

My Response

Hi Jan,

I can only assume due to the similar poor use of grammar that this last note came from your residence. I just wanted to point out that it is impossible to watch your own back but I will keep it in mind.

I assume James did the walk on Tuesday how did he get on. I tried to show support by turning up at the common but the groundskeeper said there were no scheduled sponsored walks that day. I must have went to the wrong place.

Jans Response

Fuck you!!

To the delight of everybody in the neighbourhood the family were evicted two weeks later due to rent arrears.