Us Brits don’t necessarily say what we mean…keep up, America!

If you’re an avid reader of my blog (and why wouldn’t you be?), then you’ll know that the last 3 years or so has mostly been content around the cultural differences between the UK and the US…and a plethora of fart and dick jokes too.

Anyway, I’ve noticed a few other small cultural differences; one of which I wanted to share with you.

This difference revolves around the phrase,“We really should get together soon and catch up”

 

In the UK

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”

(Translation: “I’m saying this to let you know I like you enough that the mere idea of us getting together socially is something I would enjoy IF we were to do it. But we both know that we’re unlikely to arrange it anytime soon, or EVER, because neither of us really feel like socialising with anyone to be honest. However, please know that if I WERE to socialise with anyone, the thought of doing it with you is tolerable and I wanted you to know that I value you THAT MUCH as a friend to suggest it in the first place”)

Brit: “We really should!”

(Translation: “I am subscribing to this social dance we’re doing. I like you too, but let’s not have this social anytime soon…or ever…unless we absolutely have to, but thank you for asking”)

Me: “Great!”

(Translation: “Phew!”)

 

In the US:

Me: “We really should get together soon and catch up”
(Translation: See above)

Yank: “I’m free this Saturday”
(Translation: “I’m free this Saturday”)

Me: “Shit”
(Translation: “Shit”)

Fancy another? (to be sure, so it is…)

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, so naturally everyone at work is starting to wear green, drink green beer, and eat Lucky Charms (or whatever it is that Americans think the Irish actually do). In fact, some people have been wearing kilts and playing traditional Irish music including ‘Scotland The Brave’.

I shit you not.

I don’t think they realise that Scotland and Ireland aren’t the same place.

Anyway, during this morning’s drive into work, I had the radio on as usual and I was listening to a show called ‘Mercedes in the morning’ in which Mercedes – a woman, not a car – and her co-host, JC (not jeebus christ, just a metro-male called….well….JC) were talking about St. Patrick’s Day and all the fun and frivolity that goes with it.

Hey, by the way, did you know the mascot of Ireland is the Leprechaun? I didn’t! I wrongly thought it was a type of hat wearing fairy from Irish folklore and NOT something used to sell god awful cereal to sugar addicted snowflakes! In fact, I was so taken aback that they called it a mascot that I contemplated calling into their show and correcting them, but then I realised that profanity – an ACTUAL Irish tradition – isn’t really tolerated in the US, let alone live on air. So instead I decided to smile, shake my head disapprovingly and mutter lots of Irish traditions under my breath.

And by ‘under my breath‘, I meant ‘out loud, with the windows down, scaring other drivers‘.

But I digress.

Mercedes said there was a recent study regarding the number of drink-related injuries on St. Partick’s Day.

Really, a study?

She then went on to say that the maximum amount of drinks typically imbibed before some sort of injury occurs is 8 drinks for men and 6 drinks for women.

‘Fair enough’, I thought to myself.

It was at this point that Mercedes exclaimed, “8 drinks?? Who can drink 8 drinks?? I get to 3 drinks and I’m feeling all woozy!“. Then JC said proudly that he would occasionally knock back 8 drinks in his younger ‘party‘ days.

Fuck me, 8 drinks is what you consume at home BEFORE you head out on the piss!

In fact, my friend and I used to polish off a 12 pack of beers EACH on the sofa, and then get all miserable when we ran out.

Maybe if the US reduced their drinking age back down to 18 (yes, it was once 18), they could build up their tolerance sooner and keep up with us expats who are desperate for drinking buddies who can go the distance.

And get a fucking round in, from time to time.

Cheers!

Related image

What it’s REALLY like across the pond

I haven’t posted anything for a long time.  Seriously, it’s been over a month!

I’m sure you’re [not] wondering why this is; well….life has been pretty ‘samey’ recently and there hasn’t been anything that has amused or pissed me off in a while.

Over a month actually.

Anyway, the other day I was asked a question that stunned me into silence so much that it inspired me to write this post.  The question I was asked was:

“Is Christmas day in the UK the same as it is in the US?”

I paused for a moment, blinked a few times, and then gave a polite and sensible reply.

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.

I was sarcastic, condescending and there was a lot of finger pointing and laughing. I won’t lie….I was a bit of a cunt about it.

But honestly, who thinks Christmas is on a different day in the UK!?

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the questions and conversations I’ve been in that highlight the misconceptions Americans have about the UK and Europe in general. I have already touched on some of these before, but they just won’t go away….like syphilis or any of the Kardashians1.

So, without further ado:

We all drink Tea in the UK

Actually….no.

Granted, tea IS a big deal in the UK but there are a lot of Brits that don’t like it, opting instead for coffee. We like to call those people ‘traitors’ or ‘weird’. In addition, Americans also don’t realise that we generally drink tea with milk.

“Oh. My. GAWD!  With milk??”

Yes, with milk.

They go on and on (and fucking on) about how much we drink tea in Britain, but have absolutely NO idea about the tea we actually drink.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked what flavour tea I drink.

“Fruit?”  No.

“Green?”  Still no.

“Camomile?”2  Nope.

“Earl Grey?”  Erm, some people do.

“So what do y’all drink then?”

Proper (black) tea…in a mug….with milk and sugar; very few people use the clichéd dainty little cup and saucer with the obligatory pinky finger sticking out.  Take note America, a proper mug – sometimes with a crack in it – is the ONLY way to drink tea.

Oooh, I do fancy a cuppa right now.

Geographically confusing delights

English Muffins

In America they have ‘English Muffins’ which, aside from McDonalds, I have never seen in the UK ever.

Yes, I know the flag isn’t the English flag. More on that below….

Yet I get told that we all eat them in England because, well, it has England in the name.  It’s either English muffins or ‘tea and crumpets’.  Sorry to tell you this America, but we don’t all eat crumpets all the time with our tea.  If anything, it would be tea and toast.

Mmmm, tea and hot buttered toast….with either Marmite or a nice bitter marmalade.

But tea and crumpets?  Rarely.

Additionally, whilst I’m on the subject of geographically named sweet treats, they also have something over here called:

German Chocolate Cake

I’ve been to Germany several times and never seen this cake.  Do you want to know why?  Hmm?  Do you?  Well, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

‘German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German’

Interesting….considering I’ve been told, categorically, that it DOES come from Germany and I “don’t know what i’m talking about”, so it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that:

a) I’m right, and

b) The people who told me that bullshit, read my blog.

Read it bitches…..read it all!

French Fries

I don’t even want to get started on this one.  Let’s just move on shall we?

French Toast

Nope.  Never seen that in France ANYWHERE.  Toast in France is usually thin and NOT packed to the gills with sugar, butter and death.

Italian Wedding Soup. 

Yep, apparently that’s a thing here too.  I’m half Italian and I’ve been to real Italian weddings and I have NEVER seen this soup. How can this be? 

Oh hello Wikipedia!

Wedding soup or Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a) Italian and b) for weddings.  It’s a lovely soup, but at the end of the day it’s still a soup….and soup can be messy.  Adding any type of sloshy food to people in their smartest attire, and one big white dress, is a recipe for disaster (thinly stretched pun intended).

Belgian Waffles

Now THIS one is actually accurate.  This style of waffle IS Belgian; I’ve been to Belgium a lot and they’re exactly the same as the American ones.  Only, this time, the Americans just call them ‘Waffles’; no ‘Belgian’ in there whatsoever.  The ONE time it’s actually correct to name a food after a country and they don’t do it!

I despair, I really do.

(takes a moment to compose himself)

OK…moving on….

Paris is romantic

No it’s not.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t. It’s grey, grimy, crap and in French.

It’s basically London with less friendly people…trust me!  The Hollywood held perception is that Paris is all cobble streets and baguettes, with accordion music faintly heard on the breeze, when in reality it’s a bustling city with the sound of constant droning traffic.

Oh, and it smells like toilet.  Not ‘Eau Du Toilette’…….an actual toilet.

Yes, it has the Eiffel Tower and yes the architecture is old and beautiful and it has museums and bridges and stuff, but that’s the case all over Europe.  Paris isn’t special in that respect.  Paris is, for want of a better word, a shithole.

Sorry France.3

London is all cobble streets and fog

I’ve touched on this before, but I’ve been asked this more than a handful of times.  Look at the description of Paris above and you’ve basically got London.  It’s pretty much the same, but not in French.  This is useful for understanding what’s being said about me by waiters and shop staff when I’m being overcharged for their lacklustre service.

The English all say things like ‘Tally ho’ , ‘Pip pip’ and ‘Guv’nor’

This is very true. Also, the French say “Sa·cré bleu!” a lot too, did you know that?

I’ve found that a lot of Americans say “Yee-Haw!!” and “Rootin’ Tootin’!!” all the time.

(rolls eyes until they hurt a bit)

British Food is terrible and bland

This is both wrong AND wrong.  In addition, it’s also wrong.

Firstly, it’s difficult to define ‘British food’ because Britain is actually made up of four countries/nations, each with their own foods and palettes.  I can’t speak for the other three countries, but I can speak for England.

Oh, did I mention that there is no understanding of the difference between England and Britain?  No?  Well, more of that in due course…

Anyway, back to the food.  There’s a belief that British food is bland and tasteless.  Ha ha ha ha WRONG!  Despite being a small(ish) island, Britain is located and influenced by all the European cuisine surrounding it, and it’s an international hub for commerce across the planet….so the food is AMAZING!  In fact there are more options and choices in the UK than I’ve found anywhere else, including the USA.

Aside from the traditional British foods like fish and chips, a full roast dinner, a proper ‘full English’ breakfast etc…we also have Indian, Italian, French, American (yes, we do burgers too), Greek, Turkish, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, African, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, German, Blah, Blah, Blah……basically we have them ALL!

And yes, I meant to put ‘Indian’ in there more than once.  I LOVE Indian food and it has become the UK’s most favourite food!  Seriously, the national dish of the UK is Chicken tikka masala!

Mmmm, Chicken tikka masala….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to mankind.

Wait, no…that’s not right.  Let me try that again….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to drunk revellers outside the taxi rank after a night out on the piss.

No, it’s not a fucking ‘Gyro’

Now THAT’S British! (or Turkish actually)

America’s answer to post piss-up nosh?  McDonald’s.

Oh dear.

Europe is a country

Not only is this a belief (just like Africa), it’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who can’t point to Europe on a map, let alone the individual countries it consists of!

Besides, why bother learning about these countries when you can simply visit them at Epcot anyway?

(rolls eyes until they start bleeding slightly)

The UK, Great Britain and England are the same

I can understand why this is confusing, but even after I’ve explained it to one of my American friends, I can still see the lack of understanding behind their eyes.

Then again, it could be the huge doses of sugar and sodium in their diet.

(shrugs)

For clarity, here is a visual breakdown….

It’s like the United States, but with four states, not fifty.

Now, I’m sure this as clear as mud, but allow me to explain.

There are effectively four countries or ‘nations’ at play here.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  The uncoloured area below Northern Ireland is, unsurprisingly, Southern Ireland (or ‘The Republic of Ireland’) and actually forms part of Europe.

Yes, they have Euros as currency.

Confused yet?

Well, the English occasionally refer to themselves as British, but the Scottish, Irish and Welsh don’t…..even though they are.  In the same way that people from Hawaii refuse to call themselves American…..even though they are.

So, when I’m told I have a British accent I do smile to myself as there is no such thing really….unless I include all four accents together:

“I say good sir, the laddie is just a wee bairn, to be sure, so it is boyo isn’t it?”

Hmmm….

And, whilst I’m on the subject of the the UK….here is how the Union Flag came to be:

This is why the flag in the muffin picture earlier was technically incorrect

We celebrate Thanksgiving and 4th July

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been asked if we celebrate these. Oh, wait….I already have!

And, for the record, we also have Hallowe’en4

However, we do not have the following holidays:

  • Labor Day (should be ‘Labour’, but hey, who am I to judge?)
  • Presidents Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Columbus Day

Take a moment and ask yourselves why this is.  If you can’t answer that question, feel free to ask me about it and see what kind of answer you get.

One of the UK holiday days I miss a lot is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day (still also the 25th December).  In the US a few have started calling it DAXMAS (Day After XMAS), but it’s not an official holiday day and serves no purpose other than…well….it’s the day after Christmas.

For us Brits (all four nations), Boxing Day is another Christmas Day and I love it!

“Why is it called Boxing Day?”

Why thank you for stepping in Wikipedia!

All the presents. All the food. All the booze.

 

1 – It’s a reoccurring joke on here, but seriously….when are these harpies going to fuck off and leave us in peace?

2 – I have NO idea why the USA have added an ‘H’ to this word, considering the way they usually hack letters OUT of words.

3 – Not really.  I hate Paris.

4 – It actually originated in the UK!  You’re welcome.

A queer insult.

Sometimes the difference in culture between the UK and the USA rears its ugly, and usually amusing, head. Today was one of those times.

At work we have some internal instant messaging software which is great for employees to communicate when they:

A) Can’t call.

B) Won’t call.

C) Have the social skills of a gibbon with its scrotum in a jar of fire ants.

As my department is like a central hub for any questions or issues from our call centre, we get a lot of instant messages to help out with all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

Here is a conversation I literally just had:

Fran: Hi, I need some help

Me: Hey Fran, it’s Daniel, your favorite Brit 😉

Fran: Hey Daniel! How’s it going?

Me: Pretty good. Busy! So what’s up?

(For security reasons, this part of the conversation is omitted as it’s work related.  Needless to say, I fixed the problem like a boss!)

Me: Done!

Fran: Great! Thanks.

Me: No problem 😉

Fran: Have a great day!

Me: You have a great day too 🙂

Fran: Poof

Now, she meant to imply that she magically and dramatically vanished from the conversation in a puff of smoke, like a genie….or Batman.

To me she ended that conversation with ‘Faggot‘.

I laughed like a drain for at least a minute, solidly.

It was one of the funniest insults I’ve received since living in America, particularly because it was unintentional and from a person who wouldn’t even say boo to a goose (with or without their nuts in a jar of fire ants).

poof

This is also the word we use for an ‘Ottoman’. England is a weird place.

 

I thought this was the land of the Free? 

In the UK there are sales and specials in the shops this time of year.  One of these specials is a 2 for 1 offer known as ‘Buy One,  Get one Free‘,  or BOGOF

This is a little tongue in cheek because the term “Bog off” is a playful version of “Fuck off“. Reserved for your kids pre-moving out age. 

Then “Fuck off”  is perfectly acceptable. 

Anyway,  in America they have the same offer,  but it’s called BOGO.

So you ‘Buy One,  Get One‘.  Isn’t that just ‘Buy one‘? 

I mean,  if I  buy a car,  I get a car. That’s what buying something is…isn’t it? 

So why leave out the word’ Free‘?  It’s not like America doesn’t like that word.  

Well,  except maybe ‘sugar-free’ 

You are what you eat (and you’re full of shit)

Before moving to America, my wife told me how many chemicals and additives there were in American food.  It seems the USA doesn’t have the strict regulations that Europe has regarding the shit that companies can inject into what we eat and drink.

I had no idea to what extent she was not kidding!

I first noticed how much sugar there is in stuff over here.  It’s in everything, but to the Nth degree!  Bread has been the biggest surprise; if you open a bag of bread and smell the loaf [insert toilet gag1 here], it smells like cake.  And cakes here are so sweet they’ve surpassed the maximum sweetness possible by the laws of nature and have shifted into another dimension entirely.

But it doesn’t stop with sugar (ever!).  The adverts (commercials) here use the addition of unnecessary chemicals and additives to promote and sell their foods.

Ice-cream is advertised with “No Growth Hormones!“, burgers promoted as having “No hormones, antibiotics or steroids!” and even dairy products brag about their milk having “50% less sugar“, or cheese being “100% cheese, not 51%“.

51%?  Bit random.

Now, I know this is a scare tactic to make you question their competitors’ products, but was I delusional to assume these products wouldn’t contain this shit as standard?

“Hey! Try our new coffee, made with 100% coffee and absolutely no wood screws or powdered glass!”.

Mmm, delicious.

It’s on a level my wife could never have prepared me for.  Even salt here is packed full of additional ingredients and chemicals, the names of which baffle and terrify me in equal measures.  I mean, it’s salt!  Surely the ingredient of salt should be salt?  I understand the need for an anti-caking agent, but outside that….it should be just salt, right?  Or am I overthinking this?

This unnecessary use of additional ingredients reminded me of something my wife showed me back in England; it was the list of ingredients for McDonald’s french fries in the UK and the USA.  Check this out…

fries-uk-vs-usa

Potatoes, oil and salt.  What more do you need?

And it doesn’t stop there.  Check out this seasonal favourite!

latte-uk-vs-usa

Nothing in red can be good!

So let’s take a moment to digest (or not) that the US version of this beverage has ‘Caramel Color’ in it…twice.  This is an ingredient that has been considered carcinogenic by the Agency for Research on Cancer!

So….Fuck. That.

Now, I’m aware these images have been pulled from the internet and could be utter bullshit….but they’re not.

Or are they? 2

So here are a couple of photos I took of products I’ve seen at work that defy the laws of sense and responsibility.

Recognise these, America?

bottles

I drink a lot of coffee….and it says ‘mate’…what’s not to love?

They’re sat next to the coffee machine looking sweet and innocent (and boy are they sweet!).

They look like cream and they taste a bit like cream….but they’re NOT cream.  They are so far from cream, they might as well be a car.

The fact they’re not stored in the fridge should have alarm bells ringing in your head.  In fact, the word ‘cream’ doesn’t appear in the terrifying list of ingredients at all!

ingredients

Do you notice the first (and therefore largest) ingredient is sugar? It appears BEFORE water!

This shit doesn’t even have milk in it, although there is a milk derivative.

A derivative?  What’s a derivative?

Well, Google defines it as:

Adjective – (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.

Or

Noun – something that is based on another source.

So yeah, it means ‘something that resembles milk, but isn’t‘.  I suppose that’s why it ends with ‘Not a source of lactose‘.  That’s great for those who are lactose intolerant I suppose.  But in all honesty, lactose is probably less harmful to those people than the cocktail of sugar, water and oils in this easy-pump jizz.

Yes, it looks like jizz.  You’ve all thought it.

And it doesn’t stop there.  I saw these packets on a shelf yesterday!

popeyehoney

Wait…Corn Syrup, Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup? What the actual fuck?

It seems Popeye’s took honey and added crap to make it sweeter (what??) and more ‘honey-coloured’!  I can’t get over the lunacy here!  Why not just leave it as honey?  After all, isn’t honey sweet enough?  I didn’t taste it because I didn’t want to be sucked into another dimension.

Also, did you notice the appearance of ‘Caramel Color’ again? Those aren’t pictures of hexagonal honeycomb cells on the packet; they’re human cells dripping with cancer.

soapbox

1 Pun/Play on words intended
2 They’re not

Living in America isn’t as painful as England

I’ve already posted about medication in the US, and I’m sure I’ll post again about it in the future, but here’s an easy to swallow entry (cue pervert smile).

Take a look at this.

pills

Do you see how many there are in this container?  Yes, that’s right; FIVE hundred tablets.  That’s enough for 250 headaches!

And this wasn’t the largest; they also come in 1000s!

This is awesome!

Now, to my American friends and family this may seem normal, but in the UK the largest quantity of Ibuprofen you can get is 24.

Yes, twenty four.

pills uk

This ISN’T awesome.  If anything, it’s Awe-less.  It’s lacking awe in every possible way.

Most UK brands will max out at 16 tablets per pack, but there are a couple of chemists (or ‘pharmacies’ as they call them over here) that stock them in packs of 24 if you’re lucky enough to find them.

In fact, most shops, supermarkets and chemists will limit your purchase to two packs in one transaction.  I assume this is so you don’t have the means readily available to top yourself if the shitty weather (or T.O.W.I.E.*) gets too much for you.

Wow,you REALLY have to mean it in England.

In fact, to successfully overdose in England you’d have to buy over 20 packets, via multiple transactions, across several different establishments whilst adopting various disguises and questionable accents.

That is a serious commitment to the cause.

Alternatively you can just ask a friend to help buy them.

Mind you, if a friend is willing to help you AND you’ve had to undergo all that pissing about getting the tablets, you will probably want to end it all anyway.

At least you’ll have a valid reason.

At least in America you have the opportunity to be spontaneous.  You can be all dramatic and end it all if they give you soy milk in your Starbucks venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots (1 1/2 shots decaf, 2 1/2 shots regular), no foam latte, with whip, 2 packets of splenda, 1 sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon.

Phew, just reading that gives me a headache.

249 remaining.

jesus headache

* ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ – a TV show about useless ‘dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks’ fuckwits doing nothing and yet somehow becoming role models for the younger generation; a lot like ‘Jersey Shore’ in the US, only twice as stupid.

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’s 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 ‘i’.  Let’s do a little test.

Below will be a variety of words which change with the addition of the letter ‘i’, 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 – Maid

Pal – Pail

Brad – Braid

Pad – Paid

Lad – Laid

Crag – Craig

Now, if you’re English, the ‘i’ infused words will have changed; the ‘ai’ now rhyming with Pay, Say or Day.  This would’ve been consistent across all these words.

If you’re American, you pronounced the last one as ‘Creg’.

Yes, ‘Creg’.

I have never understood why this is the case.  Like the words ‘herb’, ‘basel’ and ‘pasta’, the name ‘Craig’ 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 ‘Maig’ but it isn’t.  Yet, the name Megan is pronounced ‘Maigan’.

Twaits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Stop, America….just stop.

Last night I had an encounter with a driver that infuriated me.  It’s something that happens a lot and pisses me off to a level that is unwise in a country where guns are so readily available.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a warning; today’s post is a rant.

Ok, so….this encounter last night involved a 4-way stop junction which, in my opinion, are as effective as chipotle flavoured hemorrhoid cream.

Why the fuck can’t Americans just use roundabouts (sorry ‘traffic circles’) to maintain the flow of traffic like sensible countries? Oh yes, that’s right, apparently they’re ‘confusing’ and Americans don’t know how to use them.

I suppose I can understand that.  It’s a circle.  Very confusing.

After all, they have to simultaneously use TWO pedals AND a steering wheel; how could we possibly expect them to navigate anything other than a huge, wide straight road?

What was I thinking?

Now, for those who don’t know, a 4-way stop has two simple rules; The Stupid Rule and The Vague Rule.

The Stupid Rule dictates that you MUST stop, even when you can see there are no cars coming for miles and miles and miles.

crossroads

Add to this the fact that 4-way stops are at almost every intersection, it makes for a very jerky drive.

Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Ad nauseum

It takes forever to get anywhere.  And don’t even get me started on the speed limits.

I use the word ‘speed’ liberally, of course.

Then there’s The Vague Rule; it dictates who gets to go first.  You see, it all depends on who got to the intersection first.  If you’re there first, you go first.

That makes sense, right?

This never results in bell-ends (no US translation for this one) speeding up to get there seconds before you do, just so they can go first.

Never.

Ever!

However, there is one distinct fault with this rule; one that was never taken into consideration when it was apparently concocted by chimps.

People.

It didn’t factor in the sheer stupidity that people bring to the mix.

Most of the time it’s pretty easy to see who gets to the junction before or after you.  If they’re stationary when you arrive, they got there first.  Otherwise it’s you.

And yet, despite being easy to establish the pecking order pretty sharpish (quickly), there are still those tentative, hesitant, dribbly twats who get there before you and then don’t move, resulting in me and all the other twitchy cars wondering what they’re doing and if we should just go.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only driver shouting words of encouragement like: “GO then, you fucking turd”

In those situations I just go.

Fuck ’em.

So, was it one of these idiots I encountered last night?  Oh no dear sir, it most certainly was not.

No, last night was a whole new level of dumbfuckery.

Now, before I continue, I have a little quiz for you.

Ready?

Question 1:  Which indicator (turn signal) do you use when turning left?

A – Left indicator

B – Right indicator

C – Both indicators

D – No indicators

Question 2:  Which indicator (turn signal) do you use when turning right?

A – Left indicator

B – Right indicator

C – Both indicators

D – No indicators

Question 3:  Which indicator (turn signal) do you use when going straight ahead?

A – Left indicator

B – Right indicator

C – Both indicators

D – No indicators

The answers are: 1-A, 2-B and 3-D.

If you scored less than 100%, please click here.

Otherwise, please continue reading.

So now’s the time for me to set the scene for last night.

I approached the 4-way stop, slowed down and stopped.  The car coming in the opposite direction did exactly the same, a second before me.  There were no cars coming from the left or right.

It was just the two of us.

According to The Vague Rule, he had the right to enter the intersection before me.  He didn’t have any indicators flashing, so he was going straight ahead, just like me.

Naturally, I entered the intersection at the same time as him because, after all, we were simply going to pass each other.  Right?

Wrong.

This cocksmoker was turning left.

This meant he had to stop IN the intersection and wait for me to pass, making sure I could see ‘the error of my ways’ by slamming on his brakes and giving me that look to say I was in the wrong.

At least, that’s what I think he was doing, it was difficult to see past the limbs of his kids splatted against the windscreen (windshield).

How the fuck was I supposed to know he was turning left?

I know why I got that look; it was that ingrained sense of entitlement.  It was HIS turn to go.

Regardless of whether his maneuver interfered with mine or not, it was HIS turn.

sulk cart

I should sit there like a good little boy and wait.

Not this little boy.

This little boy wanted to get out of his little car and punch him in his little dick.

Why do people here have such an inability to signal which direction they’re turning?

My wife tells me that Las Vegas drivers are the worst, but some of the people I work with – who come from all over the US – say it’s a nationwide epidemic.  I’m starting to believe them.

It’s not like they’re driving manual cars over here.  They’re not having to negotiate the clutch, the gearstick, the biting point, etc…  In fact, UK drivers have all that shit to deal with AND they still manage to use their indicators.

No, here it’s a different distraction.  With their free hand they’re either texting, sipping coffee or masturbating.

Like me.

United States of Oblivious

I’ve noticed that some companies and brands in the USA have names and wording that could be considered…well…downright inappropriate and fucking hilarious in the UK.

Case in point…

image

Delicious, right?

Now, the dictionary definition of a growler is:
1. a person or thing that growls.
2. a small iceberg that rises little above the water.

To Americans, a growler is some kind of bottle with a handle that is usually used to hold beer.

image

A growler (snigger)

In England, the word ‘growler’ is slang for vagina.

Over here it’s entirely acceptable to say “Hey, check out her growler” without getting a slap.

In England it’s deemed a bad chat up line to use.

And it gets better.

In the UK we have a verb that is slang for, erm, ‘obtaining a beer foam moustache from partaking in a growler’, if you know what I mean.

image

Know what I mean? 😉

This verb is ‘Mott’.

For my English brethren who have ever seen Celebrity Juice on UK TV, you will have heard (and seen) Keith Lemon talk about ‘motting a lady’.

This is usually met with raucous laughter as he demonstrates it on one or more of his celebrity guests – more often for an American who has no idea what it means.

image

Mott mott mott!!

So imagine my joy at seeing these in Walmart last night.

image

Take a sip, you know you want to.

Although I do have some concerns about these.

image

What’s 9442 miles between friends?

This evening I went to Target which, to my English brethren across the pond, is like Woolworths used to be…but on steroids.

I found what I was looking for and made my way to the till (checkout). 

The guy at the till (checkout), upon hearing me speak, joined the slew of uncultured twats I’ve encountered since moving to America by asking, “So what part of Australia are you from?”

Here we go again.

He could’ve simply asked where I was from, but no; he thought he’d be clever and join the ranks of twattery by asking the question I’ve heard about a million times since I emigrated.

Even if I was from down under, would he have known the area? I doubt it. This guy probably couldn’t find his own arse with both hands. [¹]

It didn’t stop there. He went on to embarrass himself and his country further.

Here is an almost literal account of the entire conversation.

Him – “So what part of Australia are you from?”

Me – “Guess again”

There was a unnecessarily long pause.

Him – “New Zealand?”

Me – “Nope. Where else do they speak ENGLISH a lot?”

He paused again and really thought about it this time.

Him – “Scotland?”

I couldn’t believe it.

Me – “No. Think about it. Where is the most ENGLAND place you can think of that speaks ENGLISH?”

Him – “Well, there’s England but….”

I had to interrupt him. I didn’t want to know what level of ignorance was churning that sentence out of his mouth.

Me – “That’s right, England. I’m English”

He looked at me skeptically and turned to scan my goods though his till (checkout).

Him – “Huh, well you don’t sound English. You sound Australian”.

No I don’t; I sound English.
Do you know how I know I sound English? Because I’m English! That’s where I came from! The Australian accent is completely different.

I was warned that a majority of Yanks thinks we’re either Ozzies or Kiwis, when in fact we’re just Poms.

It amazes me how they can’t tell the difference and then, when corrected, proceed to ask me if I’m sure or – in the case of Captain Cretin tonight – dispute it.

Then, on cue, he decided to tell me about people he knows or is related to that once lived in England or he knew someone in England, or read about England in some book.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fucking atlas.

image

[¹] Also down under

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

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

The Great(?) British Weather?

We Brits hate our weather.

Let’s be honest, it’s a constant battle to try and second guess what clothes would be best to wear for the day.

“But it’s supposed to be nice later”, you’ve said whilst looking out of the window in your pyjamas at the thunderstorm destroying half of your garden.

The warmth of your house feels so lovely compared to the cold touch of the glass, and the fact that half of the neighbourhood’s kids have just flown past your window (being chased by frantic parents) only reinforces the belief that maybe, just maybe, the weathermen are wrong.

Yet, by 2pm, it is glorious sunshine and the massive chunky knit jumper you’re wearing suddenly seems like a bad idea. You’re slowly shrivelling to a sweaty little raisin under the sheer depth of insulation you stupidly decided to don.  Luckily you didn’t wear anything underneath so there’s no chance of beating the heat by shedding a layer without the possibility of getting arrested.

This is why we Brits talk about the weather, a lot. It is unpredictable and ever changing, so of course it becomes the focal point of most conversations.

We hate it. We long for consistency in our weather; preferably involving a lot of sun, plenty of sand and an assortment of brightly coloured fruity beverages with umbrellas in them.

The irony of the umbrellas is often lost on us.

It is because of all these things that we love to travel. We love to go to faraway places and do nothing but eat, drink, shop and tan. In fact, the quality of our holiday is often judged on just how dark we can go.

Also, the colour of choice is brown; the darker the brown, the more awesome the holiday. Dark pink, on the other hand, is as welcomed as it is on a chicken leg at a barbeque.  Burning and peeling is deemed a sign of a bad holiday and, by the laws of British conversational etiquette, usurps weather as the prominent topic of which to moan.

“I was so burned I had to have an ice bath”

“I can’t stop peeling. George A. Romero called me to see if I wanted a job as an extra”

So off we fly, to faraway lands and the limitless experiences that await us. We eat, we drink (and being British, we DRINK) and we meet lots of different people, cultures and customs. We also take plenty of photos and videos to ensure we keep Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on their toes; buying bigger data servers to accommodate our overwhelming need to show off

‘Point of view’ shot of your feet by the pool?

Don’t mind if I do.

You see, these holidays are a necessity for us. We manage to sleep better than we have in years and we allow the stresses of everyday life to dissipate in the bubbles of our in-room Jacuzzi. In fact, whilst having a massage in the spa, all we have to worry about is whether we’ll be having white wine or a cocktail with dinner.

Obviously it depends if we go for the Lobster or the Sirloin.

But we’ve earned it. We’ve worked hard for this. Day in, day out we’ve endured deadlines, emails, phone calls and everything in between. We’ve saved our pennies and now it’s time to cash in and treat ourselves to a little luxury.  This is what life is all about, right?

We simply love our holidays.

Then, when it’s all over and we arrive back in good old Blighty, there’s an odd part of us that looks forward to going back to work.  We look forward to others commenting on how brown we are in our carefully chosen white shirt.

That is unless we’re the type, guide book in hand, running around at breakneck speed to ensure we’re getting in as much culture and sights as possible.

Can’t miss a thing!

We end up spending more time inside buildings than outside them, resulting in us returning home almost the same colour as when we left.

The upside is we have a lot of photos to show you in a well prepared four hour slide presentation.

“Here’s Bob next to a tree”.

“Here’s Bob inside the cathedral”.

“Here’s Bob eating an ice cream”.

“Here’s Bob next to a tree”.

Ad Nauseum.

And after all is done, as we commute to work in the rain, we think about where we were this time yesterday and where we want to go to next.

Yes, we Brits hate our weather sometimes, but without it we wouldn’t have the desire to go out into the world and explore what’s on offer.

Mind you, our summers can be pretty damn good!

Pimms anyone?

British socks and sandals