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.



Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.

There is a little known fact that American children are made of glass.

It’s true; they’re such delicate little snowflakes that the mere thought of them near danger results in the country childproofing everything!

Think of the children!”

I’d rather not; you can get arrested for that shit.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the roads outside schools. There are big signs indicating a ‘School Zone’ with yellow lights that, when flashing, indicate you must slow down to the speed limit shown on the sign.

The Police are VERY vigilant of this I’ve been told.  After all, “Think of the children!


These speed limits vary from 25 mph all the way down to ‘Get out of your car and push it‘, and start about 30 miles outside the ‘School Zone’.  “Think of the children!

At face value this is a great idea, but I have never EVER seen an unsupervised child cross the street outside a school. This isn’t The Goonies.  In fact, I’ve never even SEEN a child outside a school when the lights are flashing.


Oh, wait, that’s not true.  I have seen kids outside when the school kicks out.

Hundreds of little miracles, hands firmly held by their parents or being loaded into cages.  At these times there are Lollipop men/women (crossing guards) walking out into the street, slowing and stopping the traffic.  These people make the flashing signs redundant.

Take a look at this..

This is a Google street view of the school I actually attended as a 7 year old boy in England, with a school I go past regularly here in Vegas (and the inspiration for this post).


Anyone for Frogger?

Back in my day (insert Yorkshire accent here) you left school and crossed the street between parked cars by looking both ways before doing so.  It was called ‘common sense’, or ‘not wanting to be splattered by an oncoming car’.  The speed limit was (and still is) 30 mph.  It’s slow enough to stop if a child runs out, and fast enough to speed up if a child runs out.  We like choices.

But in America we have to drive 15 mph in case, god forbid, an unattended child should run out of the school, across the vast car park (parking lot), past the planters and shrubs and onto the wide open road that has no parked cars obstructing them from view.

Seriously, I could be doing 70 mph and see these little angels coming.

I’d have to work really hard to actually hit one. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Those fuckers are fast.

In this mollycoddling nation of snowflakes and participation trophies, the little lambs are never let out of the sight of their parents who usher them from the school building to their oversized SUVs like a celebrity leaving a nightclub.


So why do we all have to slow down from a measly 35 mph to an awkward kiddy-fiddling kerb crawl?  I get nervous when I have to drive by a school slowly, especially with only one hand on the wheel.

10 to 2.

Eyes straight.

But seriously, where is that healthy respect for traffic we all had growing up?  What happened to looking both ways when crossing the road?  Where is the Green Cross Code?

People need to ‘Stop‘, ‘Look‘ and ‘Listen‘.

Instead they ‘Don’t Stop‘, ‘Don’t Look‘ and ‘Sue‘.

In every country in the world, pedestrians need to watch out for oncoming traffic…but in America, traffic has to watch out for oncoming pedestrians. It’s ridiculous!  I know I’ve touched on this before, but it baffles me how backward this is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate for road safety…..but not as much as I am for natural selection.

Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.

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’.









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

Coming live from Las Vegas!

I’ve made it!  I’m here!

I now live in Las frickin’ Vegas!

welcome to LV

What a massive cow shit of a difference from Crawley in England.

We arrived on Tuesday and it’s now Thursday, so I’ve had a little time to get my bearings.  I know I have a lot left to experience, but even in this short time I have some early observations that I want to share.These observations will be separated into three headings; Driving, Shopping and “Oh, you’re From England?”

The first of these is:


It all looks so easy.  The roads are about three times as wide as those in England, most of the cars are automatic and the speed limits are lower…so by rights it should all be smooth and easy.

Not so.

There are no road markings!  Ok, I exaggerate, there are a FEW road markings, but only a fraction of what I’m used to in England.  This makes junctions mildly terrifying.

Also, they don’t really make it clear that a lane is ending on the three lane road you’re on, despite the fact that the road doesn’t actually narrow in width.  For a guy like me who is used to specific lanes (WITH road markings), it gets a little unnerving that you’re now effectively driving on a lane and a half.

Then, out of nowhere, the lane you’re in suddenly becomes a mandatory left or right turn with minimal warning and you’re somehow expected to deal with it without impaling yourself on the massive 18 wheeler in the correct lane!

Over here it’s all about signage.  Small postage stamp sized signs with full sentences to read, positioned in obscure places tucked away out of your field of vision.  Well, except for ‘STOP’ signs; they’re EVERYWHERE!  In addition, they require a mandatory stop, even if you can see that there aren’t any cars coming for miles around.

These octagonal bastards are used a lot at four-way junctions (or ‘intersections’) where the rule is: ‘The first person who gets to the junction and stops is the first person who gets to go’.  I suppose it makes some kind of vague sense until you arrive at an intersection the exact same time as someone else; then it becomes some kind of weird Mexican stand off.

I miss simple ‘Give Way’ road markings.


Then there are the traffic lights.  Where do I start?

In the UK they play a simple role; red for ‘Stop’ and green for ‘Go’ (with amber as the transition between them).  In Las Vegas they seem to have different rules depending on which junction you’re at, whether it’s a Thursday or if your star sign has the moon rising in Aquarius.

For example, you should stop at a red light if you’re turning right, right?  Nope, you CAN turn right at a red light, that is UNLESS the microscopic sign fifteen feet above you tells you ‘No turn on red’; that’s nearly caught me a few times.

Then if you’re turning left, you can obviously do so if the left arrow is green, and you can’t if it’s red….but if it’s flashing amber you can turn left providing the lofty sign says ‘Yield to Traffic’.  Surely that means you have to stay still and let traffic pass?  Nope, it means you can turn left providing it’s safe to do so.

traffic signal hell

Then there are flashing red lights that sometimes mean stop and sometimes mean there are lights ahead….or is that flashing amber?

Did I mention that if you’re in a lane designated for turning left or right, you STILL have to ensure your indicators are on.

Plus, the speed limits are laughable.  Near our house it’s a 35mph limit on a road the size of a UK dual carriageway, which is 60mph.  These are long, wide roads with plenty of room, so why so slow?

With the speed limits, Stop signs, unmarked roads and traffic lights from hell….it takes forever to get anywhere.

All this in a country where 32% of citizens own guns.

Still, one thing that the USA does do right with regards to motoring is the price of fuel and the fuel pumps that lock into place.

Although, if I hear Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “When I See You Again” on the radio one more time, I’m going to make it 33%.


One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to in the USA was the sheer magnitude of adverts (or ‘commercials’) on the TV.  Every 10 minutes, for 10 minutes.

I have to say the frequency of these interruptions is a bit annoying, but at least the adverts are better than those in the UK.  American commercials tend to be funnier and more upbeat.  Plus, hearing all the side effects of some miracle drug or another is just laughable.

‘Want to reduce your blood sugar?  Ask your doctor about Fuckitol.  Side effects may include dizziness, high blood pressure, impaired vision, rectal bleeding, the loss of one or more limbs, nasal collapse and excess navel hair.  So ask your doctor about Fuckitol today”

Now, I know this next thing has been covered a million times on a million blogs, but adding tax to your purchase at the cash register sucks!

This is mildly annoying when buying clothes and stuff, but we bought a laptop at Best Buy and I got stung for $26 extra when I came to pay for it.  At least in the UK you paid what it said on the label.  I miss that already!

Today we went to Barnes and Noble, which is America’s answer to Waterstones.  But that’s where the similarity ends.  This ‘bookshop’ had (in addition to books) Movies, toys, movie merchandise, a café and restrooms.  Yes, this bookshop had toilets!  It seems that almost every shop (or ‘store’) in Las Vegas has toilets.  This is where England gets it wrong.

No-one likes to shop on a full bladder (or bowel).  Well done America, you win with regards to retail.

“Oh, you’re From England?”

No matter where we’ve gone over the last 3 days, as soon as someone hears my accent I get asked where I’m from.

Most correctly guess England; some still think it’s Australia.

As soon as they learn that I’m from England, they tell me they have a cousin/uncle/sister in law that either lives in England/Wales/Ireland (pick one), or originally comes from there.

I don’t care.  Just give me my laptop.

My favourite (I can’t bring myself to use ‘favorite’ yet) encounter, however, was in Trader Joe’s; an organic and vastly overpriced supermarket.  The cashier was loving my “British accent” and asked me “Is it always foggy in England?”

foggy london

Yes, and Jack The Ripper still roams the streets of London.

Now, this is only after three days of being here.  God only knows what experiences I’ll have going forward.

I can’t wait to find out.

I’m walking here!

Today on Oxford street in London I saw a man get beeped at by a black cab driver as he crossed a side road.  The traffic lights had changed before the guy had finished crossing and the cabbie wanted to ensure the man knew it.

Believe me, from his two fingered salute I’m pretty sure he knew it.

Without uttering a word, these two strangers had engaged in the following conversation…

Cabbie – “Come on mate, I haven’t got all day here. The lights have changed and I need to turn left into that street, but you’re causing me to delay that turn by a further 4 seconds.  So i’m going to beep my horn at you unnecessarily just so you and those around you are alerted to the fact that you’re taking too long!”

Man – “Fuck off”

I love London. I really, really do(n’t).