Ask Me Anything is turning into an Internet phenomenon! My cute little buttons are turning up on blog sidebars all over the net! My inbox is almost full to overflowing with fun, tricky, geeky and out-right disturbing questions. This week sees the (popular?) return of The Apron, at the behest of one of the anonymous submissions. Remember, if you have anything to ask, ask me. No ‘Sebby In Doctor’s Jacket’. Sorry, I failed!

Yes, I'm re-using the same pictures. Sorry. New ones next week, honest!

Dear Bearded Wisdom Dispenser [Bonus points! -S]

Is there any fail-safe way to give a cat medicine? Specifically pills, since the liquids are much easier to force-feed.

My cat nearly died of kidney failure and was sent home on two meds. Then he wouldn’t swallow one of them (for one pilling only!) and had to be re-admitted to the hospital and sent home on FOUR meds. He hates me and I feel like a terrible overlord every time the medicating-by-force hour rolls around.

PETA would be shocked to see me in action, shouting at him and cramming things down his throat! I have tried EVERYTHING: wrap him in a towel, coat the pill with butter, dab butter on his face to make him lick it off and swallow, blow in his face, stroke his neck, prise his jaws open and throw the pill down his throat… even a pill gun! Which is guaranteed by the vet, and yet still the little bugger keeps figuring out ways around my tricks.

As he gets healthier it gets harder and harder to get him medicated! His latest method involves working up so much drool that it literally pours down his front, and washing the pill out in the flood.

What do I do with the little @#!%?? Despite the hell he gives me, I do rather like him and want to make this easier on BOTH of us. Heeeelp!

Entertaining the thought of a home-made fur coat,
Scrawny-but-surprisingly-strong Brunette

Well… kudos for trying so damn hard to help your cat! I think I would’ve given up long ago and simply got a new cat — I’d do the same if I had a troublesome baby too. I guess that’s why no woman has agreed to have children with me yet. Hm. Anyway… This is going to be tough, as you’ve tried almost all of the conventional methods — and even a few highly creative unconventional ones! (Did you photograph your cat covered in butter…?)

There are a few other things you can try though! From easiest to hardest:

  • Pill pockets! You can actually buy kitty treats that you can slot the pill into! How cool is that?
  • Hide it in his food? You don’t mention it, but I assume you’ve tried hiding the pill in his food? Some experts suggest using a different kind of food that they’ve not had before, so that they won’t know you’ve tampered with it. Best use whole pills, not powdered, so you know how much (or little) of the medication has actually been consumed.
  • Dissolve the pill. If all else fails, dissolve the pill into a little water or the juice from a tin of tuna. Then inject it into the cat’s mouth with a little plastic pet syringe (which you can probably get from your vet).

Notice how all of these methods don’t involve holding the cat down (or tying it up in a towel? you cruel mistress!) So hopefully the cat should still be your friend afterwards!

How on earth can which I have never installed/used hijack my browser?

Better still how the hell do I rid myself of the devlish blighter? Thought I’d consult a master before I go downloading random “fix” software willy-nilly. Thus far I have run Ad-Aware and Spybot and cleared cookies but to no avail :-(

I didn’t surf any porno sites, honest,
Obviously Female from Dakota

Browser hijacking is horrible! You were right to start with Ad-Aware and SpyBot, both of which are usually very good — but not always capable of resolving and removing everything! You’re a bit lacking in details, so I’ll start with the basics and go from there: first, are you sure Ask hasn’t just become your homepage? Are you using Firefox or Internet Explorer? (The solution will vary wildly dependent on which browser you use!)

It might be as simple as resetting your homepage (Tools -> Options -> ‘Main’ or ‘General’ and just set the homepage to Google!) or it might be something a whole lot more gribbly.  A little searching suggests that the main hijack involves using Firefox, so I’ll just assume you’re using Firefox…!

  • Open up My Computer and navigate to: C:Documents and SettingsYOUR USER NAMEApplication DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles — alternatively, you can type that address into Start > Run!
  • There should be a folder there ending in ‘.default’. It’ll be called something like ‘ym0is63z.default’ — you want to go into that directory, double click it.
  • Delete user.js and user.js.bak. That ought to clean things up.

To be honest, the number of hijacks that you could be afflicted by is probably in the hundreds, and I’ve only listed one way to fix it. If all else fails, have you tried Google’s new browser, Chrome? It’s not perfect, but it’s probably the easiest solution to your problem!

And now a very long one! Before you read, you might want to get a cup of tea and a slice of cake…

Mr Seb,

This morning on a semi-crowded subway car, I encountered a bit of drama when a man 20 years my senior fitted his way into a space between myself and another mid-thirties comely lady like me. After a few beats, I felt this man’s shoe at the edge of mine and then his bag fell against my calf. As there was an empty space this man had just vacated in order to wedge his way betwixt us two and furthermore, since I was in the space I occupied first, I felt no need to move an inch. Therefore, I politely inquired, “Excuse me, sir, would you mind your bag that is touching my leg?” He replied, “I have a bag and you have a bag.” (Indeed, he was showing his brilliance there as we were both holding bags.) Though in truth the ass did position himself near me, so he was actually touching my bag, I recognized my handbag was touching him, so I moved it away from him and repeated my inquiry. He then leaned over near my face and stated, “If you lost some weight, you would have more room.”

Seeing as how I was now dealing with a man-child, say about mental age eight, I responded in kind by saying, “I can lose some weight, but you’re not going to lose your stupid.” Now, I feel my response was adequate. After all, it elicited a boisterous shouting of the word “Porky” from the man on the train, who I might add was clad in a suit. (Quite the professional man, eh?) I definitely wedged under his skin. However, my reply certainly is nothing to send into the history books, and I readily admit that during the fog of my morning commute, I probably plagiarized it from some book or movie.

So here’s my question… [Finally, eh, after a truly Shakespearean/Herculean effort... -S] How would you have responded to the man had you been a witness to this subway folly? I’m also intensely interested in how Apron would have reacted. (I heart Apron.) Thank you (and Apron) in advance for your considered replies.

Well Proportioned Lady with robust self-esteem, despite the lunacy of a deranged middle aged man during a NYC commute


First of all, congratulations on being the first Ask Me Anything that I haven’t had to modify in any way shape or form. Though flowery, your use of language was, I believe, apt. It took me right back to the Middle Ages when men would joust and duel to the death for the privilege of marrying and deflowering the finest of maidens.

As for advice… Do you mean, if I witnessed the situation as the well-proportioned lady in question (i.e. you), or if I was a chivalrous man sitting opposite and watching the sad little incident unfold?

This is where I should probably tell you that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for busy train carriages. As I’ve already alluded to in my ‘Best places to have sex‘ articles, I do like trains. And busy trains really do it for me… … With that in mind, I give you my wisened advice: Sock it to him! Just scream something along the lines of Hey, stop touching me!, leap out of your chair and swing the aforementioned bag at him. There’s no way in this day and age that anyone will ever doubt the veracity of your claim — yay, feminism! — so there’s likely to be little or no repercussions for a dazzlingly protean display of ball-whacking  audacity in front of the other commuters.

However, if you prefer a more temperate approach, I’d suggest you simply ‘take it like a man’ and just take a photo of him with your phone. Then upload it to your computer, scrawl something rude across it with Paint, and put it on the Internet.

[What follows is one of the funniest things I've ever read... but maybe that's because it's 3am and I'm starting to lose it. -S]


Dear Big & Bouncy,

How would I have responded to him?  Um, I wouldn’t have.  I’m way too scared of getting knifed in the neck to start shit with obvious lunatics.  Especially lunatics in suits.  They’re known commonly as “Suitatics” or “Mafioso.”

The real issue here is not necessarily how I or anybody else would have responded– the real issue here is the whole confrontation.  Now, you say you love me, and I’m truly touched and flattered by that.  And, honeybear, I love you too, so I know you won’t mind when I tell you that both you and the suit-wearing dickhead were both behaving like five-year-old children on this particular subway ride.  So, maybe the guy shouldn’t have placed himself in between you and the other “mid-thirties comely lady,” but he did.  The last time I checked the New York State’s penal codes, standing in between two people on a subway isn’t a crime, even if there is space elsewhere in the car.

Right?  Right.

Here’s the sad, cold, hard, unpleasant truth of life: in subway cars, people touch each other.  To me, if I can ride the MTA from Brooklyn to Coney Island without enduring somebody’s finger in my asshole or their chin-zit on my shoulder, then I think I’ve done pretty okay for myself.  So his shoe was at the edge of yours.  So his bag was touching your leg.  Jesus Christ, you sound like a child in the back of the Oldsmobuick with your older brother on a family vacation to Hot Springs.  “He keeps touching me!”  “She won’t stop licking my seatbelt!”  “He keeps shoving his fingers in his eye sockets and rubbing the goo on my t-shirt!”

Um, yeah.  Get the fuck over yourself.

Seriously– if you had just endured his shoe touching yours and his bag touching your leg, you wouldn’t have made the totally unnecessary comment about his bag touching your leg, the comment that escalated this whole series of events.  And he wouldn’t have called you “Porky,” which I’m sure you’re not.  Now, was he in the right for doing that?  Certainly not.  He obviously wasn’t brought up by kind, egalatarian, loving parents.  And, if he was, he probably killed them and ate them the morning of this unfortunate subway ride– chalk his brusque comment up to a little indigestion.

I’m willing to bet that this isn’t the only instance of Subway Drama that has involved you, has it?  Honestly, if you’re going to live in NYC and ride the MTA every day of your life, you’re going to have to get used to people mashing your buxomness, stepping on your Nine Wests and breathing pickle steam down your neck.  That’s just the way it is.  And I tell it like it is.  ‘Cause I’m a 20 something blogger, and I’ve got snark leaking out of my ass, little bitches.  Don’t stand next to me on the subway, some snark might get on your skirt.

That about wraps it up for another week! Share my Ask Me Anything buttons around! (How smooth am I? Getting better at this self-promotion thing…)

I had a few personal questions trickle in this week, which I don’t mind, but they’re outside the scope of Ask Me Anything. Feel free to email any questions you might have though, or perhaps you might find the information you’re looking for on the ‘About‘ page. Alternatively, I might compile a few personal questions and post them all at once — but that’s getting awfully close to those list-style Internet memes that I do so despise.

The blowback 69
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I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.