Cereal (name) Killer

I have a packet of Weetabix on my desk which is drawing a lot of interest from my work colleagues, mostly because it’s not every colour of the rainbow, caked in sugar and more sugar, and isn’t represented by a cartoon tiger, captain, or fucking leprechaun.

What cereal ACTUALLY looks like

I’ve had comments like, “What the hell is THAT?”, “It looks like hay!”, “Is that rabbit food?”, and “It’s so weird!”; you know, all the encouraging and open minded thinking I’ve come to expect.

But my favourite was about 20 minutes ago when someone walking past my desk stopped, looked at the box, and read the name of it out loud to himself in the form of a question.

Naturally.

Now, us Brits know it’s pronounced ‘WEE-tabix’, with the emphasis on the ‘WEE’

(He he).

But he pronounced it with the emphasis on the ‘TA’ part, and dropped the ‘Wee’ to a ‘W’, so he said:

“wTA-bix?”

I nearly spat my cereal all over my laptop.

What a wn-KER

 

The chronicles of Squid-dick

I know, I know….I haven’t posted anything recently and I’m sorry. Although, weirdly, I’ve had more email subscriptions in the last few weeks than a Nigerian prince has in a year.

Hmm.

Anyway, not one to complain, I thought I’d share a conversation I literally overheard at work about 10 minutes ago.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.1

Dumbelina – “Hey, Tarquin! What’s the name of the ramen place we’re going to later?”

Tarquin popped his head up from behind his computer, clearly preoccupied with something he was watching or masturbating to.

“What?”

“The ramen place.”, she continued.

Tarquin stopped for a beat and blinked twice; “What ramen place?”

“The one we’re going to at lunch.”

Tarquin paused again, desperately tring to cling to a conversation he was clearly not understanding.

“What about it?”, he replied, rapidly losing wood.

“What’s the name of it?”

“Oh…”, he said, finally getting a grasp of the conversation, now that he no longer had anything substantial to grasp, “…I think it’s called [insert the name of the ramen place here because I can’t remember it for the life of me!]”

“OK, thanks T-Dog2; I just wanted to have a look at the menu.”

“Uh huh”, he mumbled as he went back to whatever it was he was doing to himself.

There was a brief silence, punctuated only with the tapping of keys and the faint clicking of a mouse button.

“Ah, here it is”, muttered Thumbelina as she found the website.

> click <

Pause

> click <

A longer pause (Jesus, some people surf the internet slower than a sloth wearing a heavy backpack, trekking through deep snow, wearing flippers)

“What the hell is this?”, she half said to herself, but I suspected was intended for those around her (including me) to ask, ‘What’s that?’.

No-one did.

She continued clicking.

“Deep fried octopus balls??”

I choked on my coffee.

“Ha ha ha…er, excuse me; sorry!”, I said through caffeinated coughing.

Now having an audience, she attempted to engage me in conversation, “Right?? Octopus balls!”

“Ha, yeah right”, I said wryly as I continued checking Facebook – er, I mean continued working – realising I had a blog post happening right now….live! I smiled to myself as I wondered what she would say next. Would that be it? Would that be the only amusing thing she’d say about the menu from ‘that ramen place’?

Nope.

She continued down the list muttering the occasional ‘Oh’, and ‘Eeuw’ before exclaiming, “Ooh, french fries!”.

Maybe the ramen place is called McDonalds?

“Tarquin, they have french fries! Oh wow, they have french fries with gravy!”

Tarquin didn’t care. He was laid back in his chair, sweating, and smoking a cigarette.3

We’ve all been there

1 – Stupid
2 – OK, maybe I’m embellishing here a little bit.
3 – See 2

No swearing please

I’m in the gym again as my inability to put on socks without a run up is getting on my tits. 

My man tits. 

So,  anyway,  there’s a notice in here warning against swearing. We have to ‘be mindful and considerate to others’. 

Of all the places to ban swearing,  you’d think the last place would be a gym full of big ‘manly’ men and women. 

Fuck me,  what a pussy whipped bunch of cunts. 

I’m not feeling the holiday flavour

Halloween is long gone and thanksgiving is not far behind us…but pumpkin fever is still strong in America.

Everything is pumpkin flavoured (flavored) over here:

Lattes, pies, sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), cereal, doughnuts (donuts), yoghurt (yogurt), crackers, tea, cream, wine, cheesecake, bread, chocolate, tortilla chips, salsa, marshmallows, moonshine, beer, bagels, jelly (jello), pretzels, milk, pancakes, crisps (chips), cream cheese, ice cream, popcorn, almonds, oatmeal and lube.

Delicious ūüėČ

The thing is, it’s referred to as¬†‘Pumpkin Spice’, but it’s not ACTUALLY the flavour of a pumpkin. ¬†The worrying thing is, I don’t think many people here realise that.

“I love pumpkin!”, is something I hear a lot, but to be honest I don’t think anyone here knows what a pumpkin really tastes like.

I’ve asked many Americans if they’ve eaten pumpkin and the answer is usually “Er,¬†hello? ¬†Pumpkin pie?” followed by a derisive look.

Ah, bless ’em.

You could make a pumpkin pie from mashed carrot, swede (rutabaga), turnip or even baby food and they won’t know as long as it tastes like ‘pumpkin’.

So, to set the record straight, this is pumpkin spice.

pumpkinspice

And this is pumpkin.

pumpkinflesh

This is a vegetable. Can you say v-e-g-e-t-a-b-l-e?

They’re very different.

I HAVE eaten pumpkin and it’s nothing like the spice. ¬†If anything it’s like the bastard lovechild between a swede and a honeydew melon.

But less sweet.

This misrepresentation of a flavour bothers me and I don’t know why. ¬†I think America needs to have flavourings that are more representative of the fruit or vegetable it’s supposed to be.

Like grape.

 

Pardon my French…er, I mean American.

Last week I was walking behind an American woman who was holding hands with her young daughter and talking to two young French girls.  She was asking them about France and how to say certain words in French.

As I got closer I heard:

‚ÄúSo, how do ya’ll say ‘Camden‘ in French?‚ÄĚ

There was a pause as the two girls looked at each other bemused, and then turned slowly back to the woman.

One of them replied:

‚ÄúEr, Camden eez ze name of a market in London, no?‚ÄĚ

Woman ‚ÄúUh huh‚ÄĚ said the woman, not getting it; ‚ÄúSo how do y’all say it in French?‚ÄĚ

There was another pause as the French girl tried to decipher if there was something she missed, or a meaning she hadn’t considered…or if it was simply a stupid fucking question.

Finally she looked back at the woman and gave the only answer she possibly could.

‚ÄúCamden‚ÄĚ

The French have another word that’s the same as English.

Imbécile.
Really dumb

Spelling it out really doesn’t help me.

I haven’t really put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – recently and this is due to two simple factors:

  1. I have recently started a new job at the company I work for and have therefore been preoccupied with not fucking it up.
  2. I procrastinate more than (note – come back and add example here)

This isn’t to say I haven’t been making notes of life events; I have.¬† It’s just a case of sitting my arse down and actually writing something.

The irony is, I actually started drafting this post…got sidetracked…and in the meantime posted something else entirely.¬† Well, now I’ve decided to sit down and at least attempt to finish this entry.

To manage your expectations, this isn’t a big amusing moment in my life, but more of a mini-rant about a gripe that I never realised was a gripe until it began rearing its ugly gripey head.

And this isn’t the only gripe.¬† To be honest, there are a few small issues here in America that I simply wasn’t prepared for.¬† For example, America doesn’t seem to have a word for ‘peckish’.

I’m sorry….what?

I used it in a sentence the other day at work and was met with lot of blank faces.

No word for peckish?  Really?

That evening I went home and asked my wife if there was an American word for ‘peckish’ and all she could come up with was ‘a little bit hungry?’.¬† This astounds me in a nation that is known for being in a constant state of graze.

Saying ‘I could eat’ isn’t quite the same.

Also, another unexpected gripe is the fact that most people I’ve met can’t read the 24hr clock (or ‘Military Time’ as they call it here).¬† I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen them deducting 12 on their fingers and quitely mouthing the words.

“So, 17:00 is…(counting on fingers, under breath) 16:00, 15:00, 14:00, 13:00, 12:00, 11:00, 10:00, 09:00, 08:00, 07:00, 06:00, 5:00.¬† it’s 5pm, right?”

Amazing.

Admittedly I do remember struggling with this myself, when I was SEVEN.

Anyway, back to the case in point.

I speak to a lot of Americans on a daily basis at work and, more often than not, I need to take their email address.¬† This isn’t anything out of the unusual, except for the way they read out their email address.¬† It simply baffles me.

Me – “What’s your email address?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Apple, V as in, erm, Van, E as in Everyday, S as in Sam, M as in, erm, Mary, I as in Insulin, T as in Tommy, H as in Happy”

 

Small pause.

 

Me – Sorry, you said that so quickly, so it was D for Delta, A for Alpha…”

Them – “No, A like Apple”.

Me – “What’s the diff….er, I mean, can you repeat it for me?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Ask, V as in Vanessa, E as in Egg, S as in Sam, M as in Mary, I as in, erm, (Inbred? Idiot? Imbecile?) Illinois, T as in Tree, H as in Hello”

 

(Usually always completely different words from the first attempt).

 

Another pause.

 

Me – “So, ‘DaveSmith’ then?”

Them – “Yes”

Me – “Ok….?”

 

There usually follows an unnecessary pause while the customer assumes I magically know their email domain name.

 

Me – “And the rest of it?”

Them – “What?”

Me – “Davesmith…..at?

 

Longer pause whilst they try and understand that I’m not a fucking mind reader.

 

Them – “@gmail”

You’ll notice the lack of “.com”.¬† In the US, if they don’t say ‘.org’ or ‘.net’, then it’s an assumed ‘.com’.

This has caused me no end of problems when I give out my email as I still use my ‘.co.uk’ address.¬† This usually takes some explaining and is met with a blank, open mouthed stare.

Drool optional.

So this is my issue, why don’t the majority of Americans actually say their email as it’s written?¬† I could understand if it’s something like 15t8f725d54it4@blah.com, but it rarely is.

It’s usually something that can be read out like ‘davesmith’, ‘rockdude’ or something laughably awkward like ‘sexxychick’ or ‘hotmama’.

These last two are particularly interesting when you can hear little kids in the background.

Seriously love, have a different email address when you’re shopping; your poor husband must hate calling on your behalf and being asked for it.

At least I understand why HE prefers to spell it out rather than say it.

I was talking to my wife about this and she said a customer had given her “K for Knife”.¬† What next;¬† ‘P for Pneumonia’ or ‘J for Juan’?

Sometimes I try and help them out and they disagree with my suggestion.

Them – “P as in, erm…P as in….”

Me – “P for Peter?”

Them – “No, P as in….erm, Psalm!”

double facepalm

F as in Facepalm

You may have noticed, from the examples I’ve given, there appears to be no grasp of the phonetic alphabet here; at least the official one.

How do I know this?  Because it confuses the shit out of them when I use it.

For the uninitiated, the phonetic alphabet is:

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – X-ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

Admittedly, I have spoken to a few people who have used the phonetic alphabet correctly and I’ve openly commended them for it.¬† It’s a nice refreshing change from the random selection of words I’ve heard.

Mind you, there are a few unofficial phonetics that seem to have become the standard, even thought they’re not.

These are:

B – Boy
M – Mary
N – Nancy
D – Dog

I hear these every time.

And yet, oddly, they don’t use C for Cat.

Hmm.

I have a C word they can use.

types of cat

A very ‘British’ cup of coffee

I’m currently at work and I’ve just been to make myself a mug of coffee.

Here’s what happened.

I poured the coffee, added sweetener (I try and avoid sugar from a health point of view, despite the fact that sweetener is nothing but chemicals…but hey, less calories right?), and opened the fridge to get a carton of milk.

One of my colleagues was pouring herself a coffee, saw me add the milk to my coffee and said “How very British”.

I looked at my coffee confused for a moment, then at her, then back to my coffee. What’s very British?¬† Coffee?¬† Er, I think you’ll find that’s a very American thing.

Then she placed her cup under one of these bad boys…

CoffeeMate

…and starting pumping her beverage with Hazelnut…erm…’cream’?¬† Is it cream?

(Shrugs) Who knows?

I smiled at her as she pumped 6 doses of this stuff into her coffee and said “I used to use that until I saw the calorie content.¬† That’s why I went back to using milk”

She looked at me blankly for a moment.¬† I couldn’t tell if she was trying to comprehend what I’d said or if she was recuperating from having to count all the way up to 6.

She eventually replied with “And you guys put milk in your tea, right?” as she curled up her nose in disgust.

“Yes we do.¬† Actually it’s only you guys who don’t”, I said, a little defensively.

There was a pause.

“Yeah”.

She had clearly lost her way in this conversation and went back to stirring her mug of Hazelnut ‘cream’ with a bit of coffee in it.

As I walked away I turned back, smiled, and said, “Tea with milk is epic”.

She laughed.

I don’t know why.

I don’t think she knew either.

Don’t ask…

My wife is ill.

Living in America I should really say¬†‘my wife is sick’, but I can’t use that sentence without wanting to add ‘and twisted’ on the end.

So….my wife is ill.

Very ill actually.

She has spent most of the day – and last night – coughing, sneezing, throwing up and sporting a high temperature. ¬†What’s even worse is the fact¬†I had to cancel our 6:20pm showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It’s such an emotional time.

Unfortunately I couldn’t cancel the tickets¬†online with the same ease I booked them, so I had to put on outside clothing and drive to the cinema.

Sorry, ‘Movie Theatre’.

Sorry, ‘Movie Theater

(rolls eyes)

After a 35 minute drive I arrived at the cinema and headed into the noisy, bustling foyer.  I navigated the slow, shuffling popcorn munching morons and made a beeline for the box office desk.

The young girl behind the (bulletproof?) glass called me over and I pushed my pre-printed ticket under the glass towards her.

“I need to cancel these tickets; my wife is sick (and twisted) and so we can’t make the 6:30 showing”.

She smiled, took my tickets and proceeded to scan stuff and type things on her tiny little keyboard.

After a few seconds she said, “So I have to ask, where are you from?”

Did you have to ask?

“From Vegas, born and bred” I replied, with a smile.

She looked at me blankly, an emotion came across her face (ooer!) which I can only describe as bemusement. ¬†No, wait….confusion; the word is confusion.

I decided to help her out.

“Just kidding, I’m originally from the UK”.

She smiled (out of relief mostly) and what followed were the usual questions of “How do you like it here?” and “How is it different from the UK?” etc.

After a minute or so¬†of “I don’t miss the clouds and rain” and “Well, the TV over here sucks” she smiled again at me and slipped me my refund receipt.

Before I could thank her and leave, she hit me with this one…

“Let me ask you one more question; since you’ve been here what stereotype of Americans have you found not to be true?”

Wow, this was an interesting one.  Where do I start?

Actually, where DO I start? ¬†I couldn’t think of a single stereotype off the top of my head and here I had this young girl smiling at me, expecting an answer…..an honest answer.

Naturally.

So I went with the most common stereotype; the one that is synonymous with Americans, known the world over.

“Well, there’s the stereotype that Americans are stupid…” I began.

Her face dropped.

The foyer fell silent.

I felt like that out of town stranger who had walked into a saloon in the Old West.  Even the popcorn had stopped mid-pop.

She looked mortified and started spouting some bollocks about the revolutionary war and the fact that it was actually the English fighting the English or something.  I tuned out to be honest.

Hey, she asked the question.  Be prepared for the answer.  Well, half the answer in this case.

Before I could say that I found that stereotype to be (mostly) untrue, she looked behind me and said “Next please”.

Oh dear.  Touch a nerve did I?

As I got in my car I smiled to myself as I nearly said,¬†‘Americans are very easily offended’.

Cunt.

See?

ron offended

Wait, she DID¬†ask for an¬†American stereotype that I had found not to be¬†true…right?

Right?

Getting it right on 01/01/16

Happy new year everyone!  Welcome to 2016!

It’s at this time of the year that America gets it right. ¬†There are so many occasions where they get it oh so wrong…but not at new year. ¬†No, this is the time they get it oh so right.

In fact, they get it right twelve times a year.

So what am I talking about?  Allow me to go off topic for a change.

There are a lot of things in life that have a natural progression; night follows day,Ernie follows Bert and things that ‘must come down’ follow¬†‘what goes up’…it’s just the way things are.

A lot of things are incremented based on their size.  Think about it.

  • X-Small / Small / Medium / Large / X-Large.
  • Baby / Child / Teenager / Adult.
  • Second / Minute / Hour.
  • Month / Day / Year.

Er, wait, what? ¬†I’m sorry, did I just say Month / Day / Year?

Sorry, my mistake! ¬†I can’t believe I said that!

What I meant to say was Day / Month / Year….obviously! ¬†I mean, who puts the month before the day?

Oh yeah, America does.

In America, for some reason, they do it arse about face. ¬†Not only do they write their dates in the wrong chronological order, they’re blissfully unaware of it. ¬†In fact, whenever I have this conversation with my¬†newfound American friends they look at me with genuine surprise and say “Really?”.

They have no idea.

When I first¬†moved from England this caused me some confusion.¬† For example, today’s date in the UK¬†is 02/01/15, but in America that’s considered the 1st of February.

How did this ever become a thing?  Was Yoda teaching in early American schools?

By US logic, 8:30pm should be written as 30:8pm, right?

Actually¬†it should be written as 20:30 (or 30:20), but the 24hr clock (or ‘Military time’ as it’s called over here) seems to confuse most people too. ¬†It’s practically¬†a necessity to use ‘am’ and ‘pm’ to tell the time.

So, for twelve times a year they get it right. ¬†The 1st of January, the 2nd of February, the 3rd of March etc… all read the same way in America as it does in most of the world.

For 12 times a year, correct America gets it.

date_format

 

The power of AI

Today‚Äôs post isn’t about a particular incident or experience that has happened to me recently. ¬†Instead I want to comment on something that causes my eye to twitch.

twitchy eye

In order to do this, I need to highlight the power of the letter ‚Äėi‚Äô. ¬†Let’s do a little test.

Below will be a variety of words which change with the addition of the letter ‚Äėi‚Äô, in both the meaning and pronunciation. ¬†I want to focus on the latter.

If you’re feeling participative, or not in an awkward place like the toilet, mid coitus or at a funeral, then say these following words out loud.

Mad ‚Äď Maid

Pal – Pail

Brad ‚Äď Braid

Pad ‚Äď Paid

Lad ‚Äď Laid

Crag ‚Äď Craig

Now, if you‚Äôre English, the ‚Äėi‚Äô infused words will¬†have changed; the¬†‚Äėai‚Äô now rhyming with Pay, Say or Day. ¬†This would’ve been consistent across all these words.

If you‚Äôre American, you pronounced the last one as ‚ÄėCreg‚Äô.

Yes, ‚ÄėCreg‚Äô.

I have never understood why this is the case.¬† Like the words ‘herb’, ‘basel’ and ‘pasta’, the name ‚ÄėCraig‚Äô is one of the words that America has difficulty pronouncing correctly, despite not being related to Italian cooking.

Prior to moving to America, the name Craig hadn’t been one I’d encountered much in my life.¬† I knew one at school and, other than him, the only other Craig I know of is the singer Craig David.

That’s it.

But in the USA, the name Craig (Creg) comes up a lot, not because I’ve met a lot of Craigs, but due to a small known website called Craigslist (Cregslist). ¬†This means I get to hear ‘Creg’ on a lot of¬†occasions.

Lucky me.

This is exacerbated by the fact that a major street in Las Vegas is also called Craig.  I cross that bastard every day.

So, by this logic, the name Meg should actually be spelt ‚ÄėMaig‚Äô but it isn’t.¬† Yet, the name Megan is pronounced ‚ÄėMaigan‚Äô.

Twaits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, I’m very aware that the word ‘Sad’ becomes ‘Said’….but let’s not¬†talk about it, OK?

Thanksgiving…it’s not British don’t you know?

Today is Thanksgiving.

I’m at work.

“What??”, I hear you cry.

“On Thanksgiving!!??”, you continue.

But let’s be honest here, I’m English; I don’t give a shit about Thanksgiving.

It’s not that I dislike it or anything, but it’s just not something that’s been in my life, like tampons.

It’s there, and I’ve seen it on TV a lot, but that’s for someone else to deal with.

Plus, my side of the family are a little over 5100 miles away in England so we wouldn’t have been together anyway, enjoying a holiday none of us celebrates based on something that never happened in the UK and is entirely America in origin.

You’ll be surprised how many people have asked me if we celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK.

(shakes head sadly at the state of the education system)

It also baffles me why Americans think we celebrate the 4th of July over there too.

I suppose, if they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (Irish) and Halloween (Celtic), why wouldn’t we celebrate Independence Day?¬† After all, it’s a holiday that commemorates the United States’ independence from the British Empire.

missing you

Sounds a hoot.

In fact, I think I’m supposed to be offended.

But I’m not, because I don’t care.

Tampons.

The only 4th I celebrate is Star Wars day in May.  The nerd in me loves the pun.

To be honest, I seriously believe that no-one here knows why they celebrate the 4th of July, only that it has something to do with Will Smith.

will the fuck

Are we speaking the same language?

OK, I’ve been in the USA for 7 weeks now and, as you can imagine, I’ve experienced quite a few differences between here and the UK.

I could talk at length about the lethal plug sockets that occasionally terrify you by sending¬†out¬†little sparks when you plug something into them, but I actually want to focus on something we all know is there, but I haven’t touched on it yet.

I’m talking about the differences in English and American-English.

usa uk language

This is causing me a little distress as I now work in an office where everyone spells the American way, or – as we English call it – the wrong way.¬† It’s exacerbated by the fact that every computer I use keeps telling me my spelling is wrong. ¬†In fact, as I type this on my US bought laptop, I have a few red squiggly lines under perfectly spelt words like….well….’spelt’!

But it doesn’t stop there.

I have to live with the¬†fact that they insist on dropping the ‘u’ from many words like ‘colour’, ‘flavour’ and ‘neighbour’ and then¬†have the audacity (or is it ‘adacity’ America? Hmm? ¬†Is it? ¬†IS IT?) to tell me that the English actually inserted these rogue letters unnecessarily.

Apparently the¬†ENGLISH made these amendments to the ENGLISH language that means it isn’t actually proper ENGLISH.

I beg your fucking pardon, mate??

Sorry, sorry, I got all English there!

Sorry.

I suppose I can’t be too dismissive of their version¬†of our beloved language. ¬†It’s a valid language after all, and it’s not like they’ve dropped the letter ‘o’ or anything.

American counts.

Another thing that’s causing me issues is the way they’ve changed words that end in ‘ise’ so they now end in ‘ize’; words like ‘summarise’ now becomes ‘summarize’ and ‘apologise’ becomes ‘apologize’. ¬†It annoys me further that my fucking (sorry, ‘fcking’) laptop is putting red squiggly lines under the English versions of these words as i’m typing this.

Speaking of my laptop, I’ve noticed that American keyboards switch the ‘@’ symbol and the quotemarks (“”). ¬†That hasn’t caused me to fuck up emails at all. ¬†Not once.

Also, I don’t have a ‘¬£ ‘sign on my keyboard anymore. ¬†I have to hold down the ‘Alt’ key and type 0163; not at all annoying when emailing the UK about monetary matters.

Anyway, I’ve had the¬†conversation about the whole ‘ise’ versus ‘ize’¬†with my colleagues at work and they insist it’s because the end of the word sounds like it should end with a ‘z’ and not an ‘s’. ¬†They look all smug and pleased with themselves right up until I ask them to spell ‘rise’.

It’s fun watching them try to come up with an answer like a man trying to quickly explain to a vet why he has half a ferret sticking out of his arse.

Sorry, ‘ass’.

Also, if they use the letter ‘ize’ to emphasise (sorry, ’emphasize’) the sound at the end of the word, how come they haven’t changed the word ‘surprise’?

Then there’s the classic one I always hear from both the Yanks and the Brits, the contentious word that is ‘Aluminium’.

Now, this isn’t an idiotic pronunciation of the same word¬†akin to¬†the Americans’ butchering¬†of the word ‘herb’ by removing the ‘h’ and pronouncing it ‘erb’; this is actually the removal of the letter ‘i’ in the word so it’s effectively a different word. ¬†Let me put them one above each other so you can see the difference.

A L U M I N I U M

A L U M I N U M

This one I can deal with. ¬†I’m OK with it. ¬†It’s spelt differently and will therefore be pronounced differently.

I even accept that the word ‘theatre’ is spelt ‘theater’ here, although I recently found out that a building that puts on plays is still a ‘theatre’ and a place that shows movies on the big screen is a ‘theater’.

Actually, fuck it, I take it back; the whole ‘theatre/theater’ thing is a load of bollocks.

But going back to what I was saying; I can also accept that Courgettes are Zucchinis, Aubergines are Eggplants, Coriander is Cilantro and Swede is Rutabaga.

Yes, Rutabaga. ¬†That’s a real word; no red squiggly lines or anything on that one.

I’m also fine with a bonnet being a hood, a boot being a trunk, a wing being a fender and chips being fries whilst crisps are chips.

Confused yet?

Biscuits are cookies, taps are faucets, trainers are sneakers and mobile phones are cell phones.

It’s a fucking minefield I can tell you.

What I can’t accept is Pasta being pronounced ‘Paster’ and Basil being pronounced ‘Bayzel’. ¬†Basil is also a man’s name and you get it right when it’s a man’s name and not a ‘erb.

These are¬†the exact same words we use in England, so get it right America. ¬†How hard can it be? ¬†You also spell ‘Parmesan’ correctly, but then pronounce it (almost) the Italian way with a ‘g’ in it; ‘Parmigian’.

Bonkers.

Also, it’s ‘Autumn’, not ‘Fall’. ¬†Where did this change come from? ¬†Did someone point at the falling leaves,¬†grunt the word¬†“Fall” and it stuck?

We don’t call Summer, ‘Suntime’ or Winter, ‘Cold ‘n’ Wet’, so stop it.

Now.

And don’t get me started on ‘fanny’ and ‘growler’. ¬†In American a fanny is your bum, and a growler is a type of large beer bottle.

In England, both words mean ‘vagina’.

Visits to micro-breweries have been interesting!

growler

But after all is said and done, I can’t chastise (spelt with an ‘ise’; no squiggly line) the Americans for their language. ¬†I knew most of this before I moved here.

Except ‘rutabaga’. ¬†No-one expected ‘rutabaga’.

I had seen enough US TV shows and movies to have an understanding of the differences in English and American-English. ¬†It’s actually the differences in the language and the bizarre quirks that makes it all so interesting.

Sooner or later I may need to bite the bullet and start using American-English in my blog. ¬†I haven’t decided yet if i’m going to, so let me know if you think I should or shouldn’t.

I’ve even started calling the last letter in the alphabet ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed’ as we do in England. ¬†This wasn’t through choice though, this was a necessity. ¬†If you say ‘zed’ here, it’s either¬†not going to be understood, or someone will think you’re referring to¬†their redneck uncle who married his sister.

Which come as no surprize.

pants

The DMV was everything I expected it to be….unfortunately.

Yesterday I needed to go to the DMV to begin the process of applying for a driving licence [license].

To all my fellow Brits across the pond, the DMV (Department Of Motor Vehicles) is the American equivalent of the DVLA (Driving and Vehicle Licencing Authority) but with more attitude, sneering and total disregard for anyone and everyone.

We had, in fact, been there the day before at 7:30am which was half an hour before they opened. ¬†However, the queue [line] was already about 80 people deep, so we said ‘fuck it’¬†and decided to go shopping for some delicious home comforts at the international market.

I’ll write about this another time no doubt.

So yesterday we arrived at the DMV at 7am; a full hour before they opened, ¬†We were still about 40th in the queue [line]. ¬†Luckily the sun wasn’t beating down on us making me sweat through my shirt, so that was nice.

It’s amazing watching Americans queue up. Us¬†Brits are renowned for our amazing ability to queue. ¬†If it was an Olympic sport we’d win gold every time, next to moaning about the weather and apologising [apologizing].

The queue was snaking around (what the Americans call) the ‘planters’ and getting quite long.

DMV queue

This is a real satellite photo…honest.

Now, let me ask you a question; where would you join the queue? ¬†I mean, REALLY think about it…where would you stand if you turned up and saw¬†all these pink dots, er, I mean people?

At the end of the queue maybe?

Well, some Americans decided to go down this route…

Dumbfuckery at its finest

Dumbfuckery at its finest

I seriously couldn’t believe the nerve of these people. ¬†They were blatantly attempting to join the queue by giving the snake a second tail.

My wife and I were stood right on that corner, so she¬†politely and with an air of “don’t you fucking dare” pointed out that the back of the line was behind all these increasingly angry faced people. ¬†She may have appeared like she was smiling, but I think a more accurate description would be ‘snarling’.

It amazed me that these twats¬†looked genuinely surprised; like i’d¬†kicked them in the balls without warning.

These people didn’t actually realise what they were doing, which isn’t reassuring when you consider they all have¬†driving licences.

Anyway, once the offices opened we all shuffled in to….well, the same queue, but indoors. ¬†At least it was air conditioned, which was nice.

We got to the desk in no time and was greeted by the clerk who took our details including our phone number (the DMV staff all seem perplexed that we didn’t have a mobile [cell] number and had to take what’s called a ‘home number’). ¬†We were then given each a form to complete and told to take a seat in the waiting room until the last four digits of our phone number was called¬†over the tannoy. ¬†The clerk said it wouldn’t take long as there were only 2 people in front of us.

Great.

So we sat down and completed our forms.  And we sat.

And we sat.

And we sat.

We ignored the dickhead sat next to the ‘please wear headphones’ sign with his phone blaring out YouTube videos.

And we sat.

People came and people went, but we still sat there waiting for our number to be called.

After an hour my ‘smiling’ wife went and rejoined the bastard queue from hell and was told by another desk clerk that our number HAD been called and we missed it.

Er, no we fucking didn’t.

It seems that your number is only ever called out once.  If you miss it you have to rejoin the queue and register it again.

Apparently they also text you to notify you that your number has been called.

No cell phone number, assholes…remember?

Our number must’ve been called in the 4.2 seconds it took to walk from the front desk to the waiting room.

There was no way we could’ve heard it because they don’t have the same tannoy speakers announcing the numbers anywhere else BUT the waiting room; not even in the toilets!

That makes for a nervously quick visit if you’re on your own.

Anyway, our number was FINALLY called half an hour later and we went over to desk 12 and took a seat.

The woman behind the desk – let’s call her Bitchelina – barely looked up at us and said “So what do you want?”

roz blink

Not “How can I help?”, or “What can I do for you?”. ¬†No, she went with “So what do you want?”

My wife explained that she needed to renew her licence, change her surname [last name] to her married name and change her address. ¬†I got halfway through explaining that i needed to apply for a US licence when Bitchelina barked, “Why did they send you to ‘Admin’?”

“I don’t know, we were just told to….”

“You shouldn’t have been sent to ‘admin’. ¬†Why did they send you to me?!”

How the fuck should we know? ¬†Ask the person who sent us;¬†don’t sit there and talk to us like we’d somehow decided it would be funny to come over to your desk and fuck up your day.

Anyway, Bitchelina huffed and puffed about it, moaned openly to her colleagues that we were in the wrong place, stopped processing us on several occasions to socialise with colleagues and generally made it blatantly clear that we were an inconvenience to her.

She was rude, abrupt and only seemed to ask questions that consisted of a maximum of two words.

I had two words for her, and one of them was ‘off’.

(The other was ‘fuck’…in case you were wondering).

Anyway, once I had proven I am a real human being by providing a passport, US visa, proof of address (which still had to be verified by my wife), bank details, birth certificate, blood and urine sample, a cheek swab, the big toe on my left foot and my unborn first child, she thrust the paperwork I needed and grunted in the direction of the testing office.

Before I left I asked her to clarify if the driving portion of the test accepted hand over hand steering, or if it had to be hand to hand (like in the UK).

She didn’t know.

Of course she didn’t.

And that was probably my fault, somehow.

At this point I realised just how true the portrayal of the DMV is in TV and films. ¬†The staff there are truly awful. ¬†It’s where personalities go to die.

Anyway, I went to the testing office, handed over my paperwork and was allocated a machine to sit at for the written part of the driving test.  The machine resembled a cash machine [ATM] complete with touchscreen.

dmv atms

I sat down, pressed the ‘Start’ button and the screen advised there would be 50 questions, of which I had to answer 40 correctly.

No problem; I’d read the Nevada State driving manual and knew all there was about the rules of the road, what the road signs meant, how to navigate the road markings and how the traffic lights [traffic signals] work.

Question 1 – What is skidding?

Oh come on, this is going to be easy!

Question 2 – What do you do at a red light?

This is going to be a walk in the park!

Question 3 – How heavy should a baby be before they can sit facing forward?

Er, what? ¬†Ok, no problem…I can skip it and come back to it.

Question 4 – If you suspect a driver is drunk, what telephone number should you call?

How is that relevant to driving?  I took a guess.  A wrong guess.

Question 5 – If you have an accident, other than the driver, who else should fill out an accident report?

a) A passer by

b) Other passenger(s)

c) The registered owner

Well duh, it’s obviously the other passengers as they would’ve been there at the time of the accident. ¬†Nope, it’s the registered owner.

What??

Did you know that you can also lose your licence if you’re convicted for graffiti? ¬†Nothing to do with vehicles or driving, just the simple act of defacing property with paint.

I didn’t either.

Needless to say, I failed the test.

Bollocks [gosh darn it]

Not only did this mean I felt stupid – considering it had probably been passed by people with an inability to understand the simple act of queuing – but it also meant I had to resit the test. ¬†Imagine my joy when the ‘examiner’ (the woman sat behind the counter scratching her arse [ass] and probably scrolling through her Facebook news feed) told me that I can only do one resit a day.

You mean I have to come back again tomorrow?

Shit.

roz closed

So that evening I read the booklet cover to cover – including the date it was published (July 2014) and the number of staples used (2) – because i’d realised that the written test wasn’t about learning the rules of the road, but testing if you’d actually read the booklet. ¬†If it’s in the booket, they’ll test you on it.

This morning my wife and I went back to the DMV at around 10am, queued up, got snarled at by the desk clerk, gave our telephone number, ran to a seat in case we missed our number being called out, paid the resit fee and went into the testing room to be sat in front of the ATM again.

This time it¬†didn’t ask questions about babies and telephone numbers, naturally.

This time I passed.

Then I was directed to a desk where Bitchelina’s cousin was sat. ¬†She told me I had to wait until the 23rd of September for the driving portion of the test. ¬†That’s a month away!

Then she sternly said “You can come along any day and get yourself on the standby list, but there’s no guarantee you will get a test and you can be sat here all day”

I wanted to make sure this option was¬†in ‘addition to‘ having a scheduled test, rather than ‘instead of‘, so I replied, “Oh, so I¬†CAN¬†have the test earlier than the 23rd September?”

She repeated,¬† “You can come along any day and get yourself on the standby list, but there’s no guarantee you will get a test and you can be sat here all day”

That’s not really answering my question.

“So it IS possible to attempt a standby test even if I have a scheduled test in September?”

Without flinching she replied,¬† “You can come along any day and get yourself on the standby list, but there’s no guarantee you will get a test and you can be sat here all day”

2 weeks flashy

Hopefully you’ll get the movie reference, and not photo-sensitive epilepsy.

Each telling of this sentence became more and more insipid; like a piece of fruit gradually decomposing.

strawbaerry rot

Although this particular piece of fruit was bitter to begin with…like a lemon! ¬†Yes, she resembled a rotting lemon.

Hmm, that’s not a sentence I was expecting to write when I began this post.

So that was my first (and technically second) experience of the DMV.  It was a service so far removed from the expected level of customer service you get in the USA.

Maybe they should work on tips like they do in restaurants, then the DMV would be a delightful place to visit.  But until then, they will remain to be a bunch of Demeaning, Monstrous Vaginas.

(See what I did there?)

I will no doubt write about the driving part of my test when it occurs. ¬†It may be on the 23rd of September, or¬†any day when I can get myself on the standby list, but apparently there’s no guarantee I will get a test and I can be sat there all day.

Are we becoming a nation of idiots?

In the past I used to believe that America was home to¬†some of the dumbest people on the planet.¬† After all, they have no¬†clue about anything¬†outside America and their grasp of sarcasm and humour (or ‘humor’) is as tight as a slut’s vagina.

But after meeting my wife, who is from Las Vegas, I’ve had a lot more exposure to them (Americans, not¬†sluts’ vaginas)¬†and I’ve come to realise that this belief¬†isn’t true.¬† I mean, it’s true of a lot of Americans, but it’s not fair to tar them all with the same brush.

Since my wife came to England I’ve started seeing the country through her eyes and cracks are beginning to form.¬† I’m slowly¬†noticing that¬†we are a lot more flawed as a nation¬†than I realised, or cared to admit.¬† It’s like peeking behind the curtain at a magic show to see levers, pulleys and a white rabbit taking a colossal dump into a top hat.

England is also home to some of the dumbest people on the planet.

Case in point:

Last night, on the London Underground, my wife and I got off the train at Victoria station and shuffled with the masses towards the two upward escalators leading to the surface.  There were two guys in front of us and as we approached the escalators, one of the guys took the left escalator and the other took the right.

Neither of us paid any attention until one of the guys started talking to the other.  With a distance of around six feet between them and the combined noise of the escalator and the throng of chatting commuters, I should say one started shouting to the other.

Guy 1 – “So what happened next?”

Guy 2 – “What?”

Guy 1 – “I SAID, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?”

Guy 2 – “Oh, right. Well she decided she was going to work Saturday¬†instead”

Guy 1 – “She was going to what?”

Guy 2 – “PARDON?”

Guy 1 – “SHE WAS GOING TO WHAT?”

Guy 2 – “WORK SATURDAY INSTEAD!”

Guy 1 – “AH, I THOUGHT SHE MIGHT”

Guy 2 – “WHAT?”

I couldn’t believe it.¬† These two guys were together!¬† It wasn’t that busy in the station which meant they weren’t herded accidentally onto separate escalators; they’d CHOSEN to do that.

I looked back at my wife who was staring at them in disbelief.¬† She looked back at me, rolled her eyes and mouthed the words “Why the fuck?”

As we reached the top of the escalator my wife shared her thoughts with me.

For fuck’s sake¬†England!

When an American living¬†here rants about the sheer stupidity¬†of people around her, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

england fail

This Conversation Literally Moved Me

This morning my wife and I attempted to sleep off a weekend hangover on the train.

We’d just managed to start snoozing when a loud mature American couple boarded at Gatwick Airport.¬† Not only were they talking loudly to each other, it seems they’d also struck up a loud conversation with a loud Canadian student who had boarded with them and they had all taken a seat (loudly) on our quiet carriage.

This will go down well.

Not only was their conversation loud, it was boring…..its way into my skull.¬† They were talking about how old the student looked compared to her actual age.

“Oh my Gaad, you do NOT look 31 years old does she Bob!?”

“No Fran, she does not!”, turns to student, “You do NOT look 31 years old!”

They asked her what she was studying (Accountancy), where she was from (Calgary) and even drew comparisons between her and their children.¬† If I’m honest,¬†comparing this 31 year old Asian girl from Canada to Bob and Fran’s¬†25 year old Caucasian daughter felt a little shoehorned into the conversation because, god forbid, Americans don’t talk about themselves.

In fact, an American’s favourite word is ‘I’…..oh, and “fries”.

It was at this moment my American wife became a full bonefide Brit.

She turned to me, rolled her eyes and said “let’s move carriages; I can’t deal with this shit, especially¬†first thing on a Monday morning”.

It worked for me….just like the ‘fanny packs’ and socks/sandals combo didn’t.

USA tourist

Common sense gets the shaft.

This morning at Goodge Street Underground station I heard the following announcement:

‚ÄúLadies and Gentlemen; please be aware that lift number four is currently out of service while we perform essential routine maintenance‚ÄĚ.

Fair enough.

There are no escalators at Goodge Street station but there are four lifts*, so we’d either use one of the three remaining lifts or take the spiral stairs to the surface; all 136 of them.

Fuck.  That.

But the announcement didn‚Äôt stop there (although I wish it had); “Please use the remaining lifts one to three, or take the spiral stairs‚ÄĚ.

Oh my god I am so thankful they told us that otherwise we could’ve been stuck down there for days.

state the obvious

*Or ‚Äėelevators‚Äô to our American brethren who may be confused**

**At the word ‚Äėlift‚Äô.