Jamaican me too hot

During a recent work trip to Jamaica, I was faced with an issue I’ve struggled with in the USA, but in reverse.

Allow me to explain….

In the US, temperature is measured in Fahrenheit, whereas in the UK (and the rest of the known world) it’s measured in Celsius. This has been a pain in the arse [ass] over the last 4 years trying to manually figure out the temperature by removing 30 and then halving it.

No, really!

For example, if the temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I deduct 30 (making it 70 degrees), then I halve it, leaving me with 35(ish) degrees Celsius.

It’s not an exact science, but it gives me something to reference quickly so i’m not a clueless twat almost every day; I leave that to everyone else around me.

So what does this have to do with my trip to Jamaica?

Well, in my hotel room the air conditioning unit was in Celsius. You’d think this would be easy for a Brit, but I have only ever used A/C in the USA and therefore only ever adjusted temperatures in Fahrenheit because England is cold enough to adequately retract a scrotum. As a result, there has never been a need to have air conditioning in the UK. If you want to cool down your gaff [house], you simply open a window, or a door, or turn off the heating.

So with this in mind, you can imagine the irony of having to reverse engineer the mathematics so I could figure out the temperature in Fahrenheit so I knew which temperature to select in Celsius to cool the room down.

Seriously, I couldn’t make this up.

Being a Brit in America can still be a ballsache at times, retracted or otherwise.

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

My brain filter may need some work.

Being a Brit living in America is, mostly, pretty easy.

The main issue I have (other than the stupid way they format their dates, their driving, their TV, their….well, you get my point) is filtering my disgusting and yet hilarious brain from reacting when I find something funny that others REALLY won’t.

After all, offending someone over here is as difficult as fist fighting a baby.

These moments of internal hilarity involve things like growlers, double-fisting and, more recently, this sign I saw on a colleagues desk that was clearly meant to be heartwarming…

You know what’s coming…

It took all my willpower not to put a note on it that reads:

“So are your wife’s tits”.

Does that make me a bad person?

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.

Oh My Word! (Well, not anymore)

The other day I was talking to my family on Skype and I encountered a horrifying moment….I mean, more horrifying than having to speak to my family.

Am I right?  Huh?  Anyone?

Nope….not even a little bit

Ahem….moving on….

So anyway, we were chatting away and I had a moment where I nearly said ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’. This was the first time my English brain didn’t automatically filter out the American version of a word. Usually I can separate all my Americanisms when I speak to friends and family back home, but this was the first time I slipped.

My heart sank.

Two years ago when I was about to move to the US, a lot of my friends mocked me, saying I would have an American accent within a year.

WRONG!

Although I did admit that I would no doubt take on American versions of words because, well, I wanted to be understood.

Use English words; get this look

This got me thinking about all the words and phrases I have actively adopted to be better understood in this land of burgers, guns, and self righteous entitlement. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that I’ve started using to blend in seamlessly with my surroundings.

Let’s start with the inspiration for this post:

Parking Lot – This has replaced Car Park and, frankly, I don’t care.  Both work.

Trunk, Hood and Fenders – These have replaced Boot, Bonnet and Wings respectively. To be honest, I miss the English versions of these words but if I were to use them here, most people would think I am talking about some weirdly dressed bird (aviary, not ovary)

Gas – This has replaced Petrol.  I stubbornly resisted this one for ages; plumping instead to use the word ‘fuel’ as some sort of workaround.  This was initially because Petrol is liquid and Gas is, well, gas…and that’s just stupid.  Then it occurred to me that, in the same way that Petrol is short for Petroleum, Gas is actually short for Gasoline and I’m actually stupid (short for Stupid Twat). However, ‘Gas’ is also used to describe farting which is incredibly confusing when someone announces they have gas.  That never happened with ‘Petrol’.  Not once.

Just saying.

Anyway, moving away from cars; let’s move to clothing…

Pants – This has replaced Trousers and is still as funny to me today as it was the first time I heard it being used on TV when I was a child.  I realise it’s short for ‘Pantaloons’, but that doesn’t make it any less funny, because the word ‘Pantaloons’ is simply farcical!

Pants has always been, and will always be, underwear…or English slang for ‘worthless’, ‘crap’ or just ‘a little bit wank’.

Mind you, if I say Trousers I AM understood in America, but then I’m mocked for being all hoity toity like I’m drinking tea and eating crumpets.  After all, isn’t that what all us Brits do all the time apparently? (rolls eyes)

Sneakers – This has replaced Trainers.  I hate this adjustment because not once, EVER, have I sneaked[1] anywhere in my sneakers…but I have trained in my trainers.  Still, I need to be understood, so sneakers it is.

He he he….’Pants’.  It still gets me.

Sweater – This has replaced Jumper.  To be fair, this isn’t a big deal.  Like a reverse example I gave for sneakers, I have sweated in a sweater but I’ve never jumped in a jumper…unless it has a high nylon content and I’ve touched something metal.

There are other clothing differences like ‘Suspenders’ which is the US word for the braces that hold up your ‘pants’ (snigger), whereas that word exclusively refers to ‘stockings and suspender belt’ in the UK and braces are those things used to straighten your teeth, but I haven’t adopted any of that shit because…seriously, who’s having conversations about suspenders, or braces, or pants.

He he, ‘Pants’.

Aaaaaaaanyway, here are some other words and phrases in no particular category…

Z – This has replaced Z.  Yes, I’m talking about the American way of pronouncing it as ‘Zee’ instead of ‘Zed’.  I do that now.  Deal with it.

At least now the alphabet song rhymes at the end.

Soda – This has replaced Soft Drink.  To be honest, I love this one!  If I were to say ‘soft drink’ I would be understood but I just love using the word ‘soda’.  That said, I won’t use it around my English friends as I don’t want to be accused of becoming a yank!

Limeys eh? Pff!

Elevator – This has replaced Lift…and my brain processes this one slightly different to the others.  This one I have to consciously think about because my brain still desperately wants to use the word ‘lift’.  In fact, I thanked someone for “holding the lift” for me yesterday. They smiled, but they also gave me that look.

Erm…..what?

Napkin – This has replaced Serviette.  The first time I ever visited America, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant and I noticed my place at the table didn’t have a serviette, so I asked the waitress (sorry, ‘server’) for one. She looked puzzled for a moment and said “Yes, that’s me”. It was my turn to look at her puzzled before asking her again, “Have you got a serviette?”.

There was another pause.

“That’s me”, she repeated.

Er, what?

So I picked up my girlfriend’s serviette and held it up. “A serviette, do you have another one of these?” (shaking it passive aggressively in her face)

“Oh!”, she said, “You mean a napkin!  I thought you said ‘Have you got our server yet!'”

I’m pretty sure that sentence is grammatically incorrect, but nevertheless…now I use the word ‘napkin’.  It’s a little change that means I get to wipe my mouth when I get food everywhere.

I’m a messy eater.

Nom nom nom!

Vacation – This has replaced Holiday.  I knew this change was coming; it was inevitable. In America, the word ‘holiday’ refers to a national holiday like the 4th of July (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Thanksgiving (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Martin Luther King day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!) and Labor day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!).

If you’re going away for a trip, then you need to use the word ‘vacation’ otherwise you simply aren’t understood….no matter how much context there is!

“My wife and I are going on holiday to Hawaii”

Whaaaa…?

Cellphone or Cell – This has replaced Mobile Phone, or Mobile. Now, this one is more of an issue with phonetics rather than not being understood. You see, Americans DO use the term ‘Mobile Phone’, but they pronounce ‘Mobile’ like it rhymes with ‘Noble’, and I REFUSE to pronounce it in the stupid way they say it.

Yes, I said it’s stupid. That’s because I have friends here who argue this with me and I like to get the final say.

Ha!

So now I say Cell, or Cellphone.

Get it?

Line – This has replaced Queue. When you’re waiting for your call to be answered by a call centre (center) and “your call is important to us”, you’re in a queue. When your printer has a lot of print jobs to process, it’s in a queue. When you’re stood at the post office behind everyone else, you’re in a line.

Wait, what?

I’ve tried addressing this with my American chums and, apparently, it’s because you are literally in a line. I suppose that makes sense as you’re also in a line when you’re dancing the conga at someone’s wedding. But on that occasion you’re not waiting to be served; you’re awkwardly holding the waist of some stranger in front of you as you shuffle along, kicking out your legs and clocking a child or two in the face.

Laundry – This has replaced Washing.  Now THIS is something I can get behind. I love using the word laundry as it specifically describes the act of washing one’s clothes

He he, ‘Pants’.

It makes no sense that we call it ‘washing’ in the UK, especially when it’s done at a Laundrette (or Laundromat in the US).  A clue is in the name LAUNDRette.

Groceries or Grocery Store – This has replaced Food Shop and Supermarket respectively.  Like ‘Laundry’, I love this change in my verbiage.  I’ve always disliked the fact that when someone in the UK says, “I’m going shopping”, it’s not clear if they’re buying food or a gimp swing.

This is usually remedied by the phrase, “I’m going to do a shop” which is exclusively supermarkety.

Now, moving away from English verbiage that has been replaced with their American counterparts, and onto phrases that have I have adopted and use regularly, much to my shame.

A.F. – This is an acronym (because America LOVES acronyms!) that literally means ‘As Fuck’.  For example, “It is hot A.F. today”, or, as I’ve heard some people say but I can’t bring myself to say it yet but i’m sure I will at some point in the future, “Bomb A.F.”.

This loosely translates to “My word, that was amazing”.

Hot Minute – This means “In a long time” or, as we Brits like to say, “In donkeys’ years”. Some drop the word hot and say “Yo dawg, I haven’t seen you in a minute”, but not me.  If the minute isn’t hot, it’s not worth mentioning…apparently.

Hot Mess – it’s the same as ‘Mess’, but hotter and used to describe someone rather than somewhere.  Allow me to elaborate….

If your bedroom is untidy, it’s not a hot mess…it’s just a mess.  However, if you’re drunk with vomit down your shirt, your trousers (he he, pants) around your ankles, pissing on your shoes whilst singing abusive songs at the clergy, you’re a hot mess.  In fact, you’re the hottest of messes….and you really shouldn’t be in church right now.

All Day, ErrDay – This literally translates to “All Day, Every Day‘, but is a little more ghetto and a lot fucking lazier.  That said, ever since Carl the sausage said it in Sausage Party, I’ve been loving this phrase and I use it….

….you guessed it….

….sometimes.

[1] Or ‘snuck’ as the Americans like to say.  It’s funny how ‘leaked’ isn’t ‘luck’, ‘peaked’ isn’t ‘puck’ and ‘freaked’ isn’t ‘fruck’….but hey, who am I to judge?

Oh, wait….

Give America a little credit

1 year, 7 months and 26 days.

That’s all it took.

Just 604 measly days until some fucking fucker attempted to use my credit card.

Back in the UK I had held a credit card for over 22 years without any fraudulent activity at all and yet it seems that every American I have met has been the victim of credit card fraud.  I wonder why it happens here so often?

Very strange.

Oh, wait, my mistake, I’m talking total bollocks…it’s not strange at all.

As much as I love this country, they’re unbelievably lackadaisical about credit card security. They’re more careless than a micro-surgeon with Parkinsons; it’s ridiculous.

When I moved to America back in 2015, they were in the process of transitioning credit cards from the strip to the chip. This was for ‘added security’, and I so expected to be asked to enter my 4 digit PIN number[1] on every transaction.

Nope.

Apparently all that changed was that you now insert your card into the card reader at the front, instead of swiping it at the side.

Ooooh!

Basically, all it did was introduce Americans to another type of motion…..or ‘exercise’ as some of them call it.

And a lot of shops and stores don’t even use the chip reader because they don’t work or aren’t set up yet!

Not only are you not expected to enter your secret and secure 4 digit PIN, but more often than not you’re not even ask for a signature or proof of identity!

Petrol stations (Gas stations) vary in the way they take credit.  Some ask for a signature, some don’t; some ask for identification, most don’t. It’s a fucking minefield and thoroughly pisses me off when i’m not asked for ID.  I could be anyone!

It gets even worse at restaurants where the server takes your card away and you don’t see it for 5 minutes until they bring it back with a wad of receipts for you to sign. This, I discovered, is plenty of time for them to make a copy and charge it to some fucking clothing company in Beverly Hills to the tune of $650!

Wankers.

Back home in Blighty, the waiter or waitress (I really don’t like the term ‘server’) brings the credit card machine to your table and you enter your PIN number directly into it. The card never leaves your sight.

Not once.

Ever.

It’s such a simple thing and saves a shit-ton of paper.  Seriously, why am I given so many pieces of paper?  I always pause when trying to figure out which one i’m supposed to sign and which one i’m supposed to take home and wallpaper the house with.

And the scariest thing of all is that no-one in America seems surprised about credit card fraud; a compromised card over here is as common as rain in England…or drunken violence.

So now I had no choice but to cut up my existing card and wait for another to be delivered. Thankfully I have another credit card I can use until some bastard decides to help fund some Nigerian prince with it.

Debit cards, on the other hand, need a PIN number to be entered.

I give up.

[1] Yes, I know that PIN stands for ‘Personal Identification Number’, so saying “PIN number” is effectively saying “Personal Identification Number number”.

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.

 

This book is a crock of shit.

As I’ve said countless times, there are words here in America that don’t mean the same things as they do back in England.

For example, the word ‘Fanny‘ means ‘Bum‘ here in America, whereas in England it means ‘Vagina‘.

Say “Fanny Pack” in front of ANY Brit and watch them grin, ear to ear. To me, a packed fanny is something completely different, and usually the result of a good night.

And going off that, the word ‘Bum‘ in America means a homeless person, whereas in England we use the word ‘Tramp‘, which means ‘Slut‘ in the U.S.

It all gets a bit confusing,

Anyway, I saw this in a supermarket yesterday:

dumpmealsbook

Isn’t this what we all do, eventually?

Once I’d stopped laughing and shaking enough to take this photo, I wondered if maybe the word ‘Dump‘ isn’t used as an alternative to ‘Poo‘, both as a verb and a noun.

Nope.

The word ‘Dump‘ means the same in America as it does in England, so I can only assume – considering the full title – that this is a book of recipes than can be ‘dumped’ into a slow cooker (crock pot) and left to cook…with ‘5 Ingredients or Less!’

Either that, or it’s a book of recipes that make you shit yourself.

It’s a crap shoot.

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

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’ 

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!

school_zone

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.

Ever.

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).

skoolsukusa

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.

papped

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.

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

The influence of (s)laughter

This morning I came into work and one of the guys I work with asked me, “Hey, you know the word ‘Homie’; well, in England, do you say ‘Flatie’?”

picard palm

He looked proper proud of himself.  I think he’d been rehearsing that question all morning to be honest.

Anyway, after I’d finished laughing like a corpse, the subject turned to my blog.  It seems one of my colleagues had been reading it and absolutely loves it1.  It was at this point that the joker (let’s call him Castro) asked if his awesome joke would make it onto my blog.

For clarity, Castro is a 6’5″ Black dude, built like a brick shithouse with the ability to punch me in half.

Yes Castro….(gulp)….your joke made it into my blog.

(Please don’t hit me).

hulk-smash

 

1 And who can blame her?

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.

No offense. Oh….wait….

As some of you will know, the over-censorship of media and entertainment in America really pisses me off.

I’m not a child.  I can handle the word ‘fuck’ in a movie filled with uncensored (and apparently child friendly) blood, gore, guts and violence.

Well, this morning as I drove into work I heard censorship on the radio that pushed censorship (and me) to the next level.

It happened during the song, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic At The Disco; it’s a great song with an incredibly catchy chorus.

The beginning of that chorus goes:

‘I chime in with a “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”

No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality’.

Guess which word was censored?

Yep, that’s right, the word ‘Goddamn’ was censored. The irony of that second line of lyrics was most definitely lost here.

I love this song, but the joy of singing along was ruined.

You see, in America religion is a big deal and it’s so easy to offend people.  I knew this was the case before coming in, but I had no idea it was this bad.  The phrase “went to church” comes up in more conversations than I’m comfortable with and a lot of my new friends here in the States are very religious.

This is something I have tended to find out when they casually mention going to church or they post something ‘God-ish’ on Facebook.  When this happens I get a real sense of dread because I have to think back over every conversation we’ve ever had.

Did I say something blasphemous or offensive?

Have I made jokes about God or Jesus?

Did I sacrifice that goat in front of them?

In fact, not 10 minutes ago, this very subject came up at work (not instigated by me, I hasten to add) and one of my colleagues said, “I swear a lot.  I use ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Asshole’ and all that, but if I use GD or JC, then you KNOW I’m pissed!”.

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant by GD and JC.  She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words.

To her, saying ‘God Damn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ is worse than saying ‘Fuck’.

What the Goddamn?

Is it me, or does that seem a bit fucked…er, I mean, ‘Jesus-Christed’ up?  This would go some way towards explaining why the word ‘Goddamn’ was edited out of the song this morning.

A few months ago I said ‘Goddamn it’ at work and got told to watch my language.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was being scolded like a 7 year old by a woman I have heard swear numerous times.

I’ve even started to replace “Oh my God” with “Oh my goodness”.  I hate that I’ve started doing this.

But people here are way too sensitive, and the entertainment business knows this.  Out of fear of being sued,they’re pandering to the masses by censoring the shit out of television.

Unless the customer is paying for it of course.

Netflix anyone?

Nothing on Netflix is censored and I hear it’s a popular service[1].

So, is America OK with bad language, blasphemy and sexual content when they’re charged a premium?  Apparently so.

My wife pays a yearly subscription for something called XM radio in her car.  It’s pricey, but there’s little to no censorship.  It really expands the selection of music they play as they can air otherwise unplayable tracks and, being a premium service, there are no Goddamn, Jesus Christing commercials.

When it comes to TV, the UK have it right with censorship.  Everything is the same as the US until 9pm.  Well, I SAY it’s the same, but that’s not strictly true; they don’t play violent action movies on a Sunday afternoon when kids can see it.  But apparently it’s OK for kids to see heads being chopped off and people being riddled with bullets, as long as there’s no sign of a nipple or someone saying ‘Goddamn it’.

violent tv kids

At 9pm (or the ‘watershed’ as it’s called) it is assumed that your delicate little snowflakes are all tucked up in bed.  After that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to manage what their kids watch.

At 9pm, all bets are off.  The only word that is bleeped out is the word ‘Cunt’.

Sorry; ‘the C word’.

After 9pm, TV is for adults and if you’re easily offended, change the channel.

blasphemy

 

[1] Sarcasm, in case you didn’t realise it.

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

Stroking the Aardvark

Moving from England to Las Vegas has come with its fair share of life adjustments (if you hadn’t already noticed from this blog!).

Amongst these was something I did not see coming.  Something that was never an issue in the UK because it was rarely hot (or warm, for that matter) and the humidity was a lot higher.

Plus it rained….a lot.

So what is this new stress in my life?

Dry skin.

Now, in the past when I have visited this fine city as a tourist, it was always hot and I spent a lot of the time slathered in cream; mooching along the strip, shopping, eating, gambling or simply laid out by the pool getting shitfaced.

All of this was fine because I was covered in enough cream to mistake me for a female porn star at the end of a shoot (pun intended).

In case it wasn’t clear I was always moisturised.

The same can be said now that I live in Las Vegas…but only when it’s hot.  I’m either covered in factor 100, sitting under a huge umbrella or neck deep in a pool.

It’s a hard life.

Without any form of sun protection, I tend to resemble a cooked lobster…in glasses.

lobster shades

I am, without question, the sun’s bitch.

However, it’s currently Winter here in sin city which means I’m covered in layers of clothing rather than cream based chemicals and the lack of humidity in Nevada has resulted in me having incredibly dry skin.  This is especially so on the most exposed parts of my body; my hands.

It was getting to the point where it was hurting.  I was worried about making a fist in case my hand crumbled like dry leaves.  This was difficult because lots of things in life make me want to make a fist.

To combat this I decided to be a bit of a girl and buy hand moisturiser (that’s ‘moisturizer’ to my American friends…just in case you guys aren’t sure what I mean).  So last week I went to Wal-Mart and headed to the skin care aisle.

Fuck me, there are a lot of moisturisers on the market.

I was stood there for at least 5 minutes trying to decide which hand cream would be the best.  I was getting some strange looks from people as I tried to decide which would be the best without spending $15.

Seriously?

$15 for a tube of moisturiser?  That stuff had better be laced with heroin.

Eventually I settled on a small unassuming tube of Vaseline intensive care because…

  1. I recognised the brand
  2. It was specifically designed for hands and
  3. It was fragrance free.  I did NOT want to smell like yo’ mama!

And that was the end of that.  My hands are now pain free and supple.

It’s not an exciting story, nor does it have a particularly witty climax.

Or so I thought….

Fast forward to yesterday at work.  A friend came over to my desk to see how I was doing and, during the conversation, I pulled out my tube of cream and started applying it to my hands.

“Sorry about this.  I know it’s a bit girly, but my hands are so dry.  I don’t usually use moisturiser”

He smiled at me.  It was a smile I didn’t recognise.

“Sure you don’t”, he said.

I was confused.

He continued to smile at me, adding an eyebrow wiggle.

raise eyebrows

There was a further pause as he realised I didn’t have a fucking clue what he was getting at.

“You…you DO know what I’m referring to, right?  You know, ‘moisturizer’?”[1]

The penny dropped.

It was my turn to smile.

“Sorry mate.” I said, “I don’t need it.  That’s the difference between us Brits and you guys”

It was his turn to look confused.

zoolander turtleneck

Peek-a-boo

This did get me thinking about my trip to Wal-Mart though.  To me, I was trying to figure out which hand cream would best moisturise my poor cracked hands.  To others I was openly looking for a lubricant; picking them up, smelling them and basically making a performance of choosing a decent dick cream.

No wonder I got strange looks.

Now that I think about it, people were scurrying away; probably before I had the opportunity to ask them which one they thought would be best for some good ol’ fashioned self abuse.

Us Brits don’t need it.

Not where we come from.

Not in our hood.

Baby Aardvark

Gotta love the little wrinkled bugger….

 

[1] Spelt the American way, because he’s American and would’ve said it that way.

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 interrupt…

I’ve noticed that a lot of my posts recently have been highlighting all the frustrations and annoyances of living in America.  It’s been very anti-USA and that’s not entirely fair

I do actually enjoy living here….there is so much about America that is awesome and I will share events when they arise. However, if I wrote about all the things I like about my new life, my posts would be less ranty and more unicorny and rainbowy.

So in keeping with the negative trend, I want to share something that really annoys me when speaking to an American customer over the phone.

Firstly, let me give you some context…

Let’s say a woman is calling our company to order a new jacket for her son.  She bought a jacket with us last year and wants the same one again but in a larger size.

Got it?

Good.

Now, in England, the conversation would go something like this…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (verbally nodding to demonstrate I’m listening)

Customer – “Now, I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “…but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one but in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.  Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.  Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes, my account number is 123…”

Me – “…123…”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – “…456…”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.  So your account number is 123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(Brings up account details)

 

Right, now here’s the same conversation with an American customer…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (still verbally nodding)

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “No it’s OK; you go ahead”.

Me – “What? No, it’s OK.  I was just listening; you go ahead”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “Sorry, go ahead”.

Me – “No no, please continue”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one as before in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.  Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.  Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes”

– Silence –

Me – (rolls eyes) “So what’s your account number?”

Customer – “123…”

Me – “…123…”

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “Yes, I’m here, go ahead”.

Me – “So you said it’s 123..”.

Customer – “…123…”

Me – “123123?”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – (getting annoyed now) “…yep…”

– Silence –

Me – “Go ahead”.

Customer – “No it’s OK, you go ahead”

Me – (through gritted teeth) “I need the rest of your account number, please continue”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.  So your account number is 123123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(No account details…unsurprisingly)

 

Farkin’ ‘ell!

Now, let me be clear, this isn’t the case with conversations face to face, this only happens over the phone.  If you so much as fart it spooks them like a deer in the headlights of common sense.

During a face to face conversation I don’t have people stopping mid sentence…unless I flop my cock out.

raise eyebrows