Bogey or Booger? You pick.

During a conversation with colleagues at work today, the subject moved to bogies [boogers].

This is indicative of the level of maturity we share.

It strikes me as odd that of all the things in the world to have a different word attributed to it, solidified nasal discharge would never have been on my list.  Now, for a change, I’m not saying the UK word is better than the US word.  In fact, they’re both a bit strange.

The UK word. ‘bogey‘ is also another word for one stroke over par in golf, or an enemy in an aerial dogfight.  Having “a bogey on your tail” means an enemy is coming up behind you and you’re in trouble…or a toddler got a bit too close to the family dog.

The US word ‘booger‘ is another word for…well, nothing actually.  Booger isn’t anything else, so by definition this word should be THE word for our beloved congealed snot balls.

I think that’s the one we should pick (groan).

Now, since living in Las Vegas I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the quality of my nose candy.  In the UK they were slimier, wetter and more malleable.  In Las Vegas they come out like a large piece of tree bark and can be used to saw logs in half.  This is useful when you’re shy a bread knife.

Obviously this is due to the lack of humidity in the Nevadan air compared to Blighty, but I do miss rolling them up and flicking them at people.

Now I just use them as a shiv.

bark-bogey

My parking is a cut above the rest

Last night I decided to get my hair cut because I was starting to look like 1973.

So I drove to the barber shop, spied a parking space and parked in it. The space was a bit tight (smirk), but I slipped in with ease (even smirkier)

Exciting story so far, right?

I got out of my car and started walking towards the barber shop when I heard a voice behind me.

I whirled around[1] and saw a little old lady sat behind the wheel of one of the cars I just pulled up next to.  She smiled at me and repeated whatever indecipherable thing she said.

“Pardon?” I said to her, very politely and Englishly.

She cleared her throat and tried again, “You a good driver! I seen 3 people try and park there and give up. You a good driver!”[sic].

“Thanks!” I replied smugly.

Little did she know I often fuck up parking my unnecessarily long American sedan like a cock.  Yet I STILL do better than the local drivers here in Las Vegas.

As they say…in a land of twats, the dick is king[2].

car-park

Llllllllike a glove!

[1] Who whirls?  I just turned around normally.

[2] No-one says this.

2017 is already a crazy ride!

Before I start……Happy New Year!!!!!

It’s New Year’s day and I’m working.

My shift started at 4am, so I had to leave the house around 3am.  This meant driving through post-New Year crowds and traffic….in Las Vegas.

This is what I encountered:

  • A mere 45 seconds into my drive an oncoming car veered into my lane for about 10 seconds before realising they were on the wrong side of the road.  I had to stop the car otherwise I would have hit them!
  • A multitude of cars were drifting between lanes without any indicators [turn signals] or awareness of others around them.
  • A few cars straddling lanes for extended periods of time.
  • Lots and lots of red lights.  Seriously, I was at a set of red lights for almost 5 minutes, with no other cars going through the green lights on the cross street!
  • A truck stopped in the middle of the road, blocking everyone.  No reason that I could see.  Also, no driver that I could see.
  • Lots and lots of cars cutting each other up/off.  One driver was so impatient at a red light that he moved into the ‘Right Turn Only‘ lane and then when the lights went green he went straight, cutting up the driver to his left just to get in front.  He pulled over and parked 100 yards later.
  • Lots of loud, drunk people teetering on the edge of the pavement [sidewalk] threatening to walk out in front of my car.

Now, this was the first time I had EVER had to drive to work on New Year’s day in Las Vegas.  I couldn’t believe the experience compared to my normal commute…..

It was no different.

toystorybaddrivers

They pledge allegiance TO the flag….

A couple of days ago, my wife and I attended a Customer Service Excellence awards ceremony.  This was for employees across Las Vegas who had been nominated by their employers for outstanding customer service.  My wife had been nominated for an award and I went along with her because, a) it was my day off, and b) they had a free breakfast buffet.

Oh, and I was proud of my wife, or whatever.

Anyway, the ceremony opened with the MC – from a local radio station – telling some jokes, telling us how honoured he was to be hosting the awards and desperately plugging his radio station.  Well, I say MC…but on the programme guide it was listed as ‘EmCee’.

Does America thinks ‘MC’ is shorthand for ‘EmCee’?

‘OK’ is shorthand for Okay. ‘BBQ’ is shorthand for Barbecue. But ‘MC’ is NOT shorthand for EmCee; it usually stands for Mic Controller…on in this case, Master of Ceremonies (although ‘Master’ was a bit of a stretch).

(rolls eyes)

At the time I was thinking it could’ve stood for something else in which the ‘M’ could’ve been ‘Massive’, or ‘Moronic’, and the ‘C’ could’ve been the only thing ‘C’ could’ve been.

Clowns maybe?

Nah.

Anyway, next on the list of activities listed on the official programme was ‘The Pledge Of Allegiance’.  I was excited for this as I’d never been part of a pledge before so I was intrigued to see it.

I didn’t have to wait long.

Soon, the ‘EmCee’ declared it was time for the pledge and, as one, the auditorium full of people all stood up around me, put their hands over their hearts and started chanting in unison.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

It was a little unnerving that everyone just got up and started chanting together, but it’s the pledge of allegiance so I half expected it.  It was like The Lord’s Prayer at school which I still know to this day because it was drilled into us, day after day, after day.

Now, you may have noticed that I’ve emboldened and underlined the first part of the pledge above; this was the ONLY part of the pledge that I actually knew – from American movies and TV shows – so I had no choice but to mime the rest like the imposter I was.  I felt completely out of place as everyone, including my wife, went into autopilot.

But that wasn’t the weirdest thing.  Not by a long shot.  No, the weirdest thing was the fact that every single person in the place had turned slightly to the left so they were facing the American flag positioned on the left side of the stage. I thought I had successfully fooled everyone with my hand over my heart and the opening and closing of my mouth like a guppy.

Nope.

As the only twat still facing forward, I was a fish out of water…and I looked like one.

fishbreathing

I have to say, it was all a bit creepy.  I’ve become accustomed to the weirdness and eccentricities of American life, but nothing prepared me for this.  Everyone outside the USA knows how dedicated the Americans are to their pledge, but the whole flag thing just freaked me out!

This got me thinking though; what if there isn’t a flag in the room?  What then?

In America, there’s always a solution.

pledgepants

Oxymorons

This morning, as I drove up to the gym, I noticed several cars circling the car park (parking lot) like sharks.

I soon realised they were looking for spaces that were as close to the gym entrance as possible. 

These people were actually trying to avoid having to walk too far. Now, I could understand this behaviour if it was raining or the zombie apocalypse was upon us, but this is Las Vegas; it’s nothing but sunshine and blue skies. 

It’s a hard life.

What makes it more ridiculous is the fact that I saw these pillocks 20 minutes later clocking up miles on the treadmill.

Still, at least these cretins didn’t get my space right by the entrance.

Result.

Goodnight, Sweet Prince.

Yesterday was one of the saddest days of my adult life.

Yesterday, Prince died.

prince in memoriam

I can’t even begin to explain in words what he meant to me growing up, so I don’t think i’m even going to attempt it,  But I feel that I need to say something as a dedication and tribute to, what was, the finest musician ever to grace this planet.

Firstly, I have to commend Las Vegas for their tributes to Prince yesterday.  A majority of the radio stations were playing his songs back to back, Fremont Street added a Prince tribute show to their famous Fremont Street Experience, and a few landmarks changed their lights to purple, including The Venetian hotel, The Palazzo hotel and The High Roller ferris wheel.

The Fremont Street Experience

The Venetian

The Venetian

The Palazzo

The Palazzo

The Linq

The High Roller

Thank you Vegas.

But for me, yesterday was both sad and contemplative.

As I drove home from work, listening to Prince on the radio and crying like a dove as I sang along with “Baby, I’m a star”, I started thinking about all the years I’ve loved his music and everything it has done for me.

One of the best things to have come out of my love for Prince was a friend who I met at college back in the UK.  We had a few things in common; we were both a bit nerdy, we both loved video-games, we both owned Commodore Amigas (showing my age now) and we both had a mutual love for Prince’s music.

That said, we were also very different.  He loved rock music – something I wouldn’t come to fully appreciate for another 10 years or so – and had enough face and ear piercings to warrant being cautious when walking past a fridge covered in magnets.

But Prince was the glue that held us together.  We even started calling each other ‘Cuz’ like Christopher Tracy (played by Prince) and Tricky (played by Jerome Benton) did in the film ‘Under The Cherry Moon’.  It was that ingrained in our lives.

In the 90’s, Prince opened a shop in Camden (Which is in London, in case you didn’t know), and my friend and I would visit regularly.

npg shopnpg shop opening

Usually we would drag girlfriends along with us, who were obviously as thrilled as we were to drool over any sort of crap that had the infamous ‘Symbol’ logo on it.

I can’t remember everything I bought from that shop, but I do still have my Tamboracca somewhere in a box labeled ‘Stuff For Las Vegas’.

I wasn’t leaving it behind in the UK.

No way.

When a Tambourine and a Maraca love each other very much

Over the years I bought every album, bootleg CD, bootleg video (VHS, don’t you know), magazine, book, cassette tape (look it up, kids), tambourine/maraca hybrid and whatever else I could lay my grubby little hands on.

It was an obsession.

Prince was a god amongst musicians and his music connected with me at a level I can’t possibly explain.  And this was without the use of any form of opiates or hallucinogens.

In your face, Pink Floyd.

And when I think about it, I can recall the exact moment when I discovered Prince’s music.  It wasn’t ‘Purple Rain’, nor ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’.  No, my discovery of Prince was the most unlikely of Albums’; it was the ‘Batman’ album.

Seriously.

We were visiting family in Milan (Which is in Italy, in case you didn’t know), and my cousin was playing the Batman album on vinyl.  Straight away I asked her who it was.

As soon as we got back to England, I bought it for myself.

Back then I used to buy vinyl and then record it straight onto cassette tape so as to preserve the vinyl, not realising the loss of quality that involved.

I didn’t care.  This Prince dude was pretty awesome.

Soon after this, Prince released ‘Graffiti Bridge’ and it was monumentally different from the album I had listened to a thousand times, yet somehow, I still loved it.

What the hell?

This was the moment I realised I’d found something special.  Imagine my joy when I discovered there were ten albums before these!

But before I had a chance to go through the back catalogue, he released another album; something Prince did every year!

That next album was Diamonds and Pearls.  From that moment on, I was hooked.  What an album.  Still one of my favourites to this day.

So anyway, back to my story.

As with anything, life got in the way and in 2007 my friend and I went our separate ways.  I must admit that I often wondered how he was doing and what life had thrown at him.

Not magnets, hopefully.

So I bit the bullet and contacted one of my Facebook friends who I knew was still in contact with him and asked her if she would forward a message for me.

I wasn’t looking to reconnect or bring up old wounds, I had no hidden agenda or motive, I simply wanted to convey my condolences.  Even though we hadn’t spoken for almost 10 years, I wanted to reach out and make sure he was OK.

You see, to us, Prince was our friend.  He was the third person in our exclusive friendship. No matter what happened, he was always there, telling us how much he cared.

He was always in our hair.

And yesterday we both lost our friend.

He replied in no time to say he had been thinking of me too and reciprocated my condolences.  That was all I needed.  He was finding it as hard as I was and I only hope he gained some comfort from knowing he was in my thoughts.

And now, here we are.  It’s a day later and I still can’t believe Prince is gone.

No more concerts, no more albums, no more anything.

My only wish now is that Paisley Park makes the decision to release all the music and videos held in Prince’s infamous ‘vault’.

That would be the ultimate gift to the world.

Let us bathe in the Purple Rain, just one more time.

purple raindrops

 

 

Rest in peace Prince.

Thank you for everything.

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