Monday, June 30, 2014

Oh Dear, I Can't Pronounce That!

We all know word pronunciation is different in American and English (even the word pronunciation is pronounced differently), but there are a few words I know I can't say in the American way. They don’t really bother me anymore, but I have had a few issues over the years.
I cannot, no matter how I try, say this word with an "O" in it. When I try, it sounds like I'm saying "Moorm". I just can't get my mouth around it. [It also makes me have odd looking facial expressions].  I have decided to keep using Mum.
It's the Mawwl

You wouldn’t think this was a hard one, but apparently "Mall" is said in a particularly American way. I was used to saying Mall as in Pall Mall in London. There's no such thing as a shopping mall in England, they're all shopping centres.  In the US Mall is pronounced with an ‘R" in there somewhere, don’t ask me where, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something similar to "Marrl." I tend to say Mawwl.

Working in a law office, this sometimes gets a bit frustrating (not for me, but for those I work with). Answering the phone and saying Law Offices comes out as "Lore Roffices."  I have been asked why I pronounce it like that, but I have no answer.  In American speak it is said more like "lahh," but I can't make that sound, no matter how much I try. So Lore Roffices it is.  Try it, I bet if you’re British, you can’t do it either.


Yes, I did just go there.  I cannot make these two words sound different.  I can only say "Porn."  Somehow, Americans can change the two words and have them sound like "Porrrn" and "Pawwwwn." So this is a tricky one. You don’t want to tell someone you were watching "Pawn Stars" on the telly and have them think you were watching actual porn stars! Or that you are going to the porn shop to see what they’ve got (not that I’ve ever been into a ‘pawn’ shop, mind you). [A ‘porn’ shop, however, is another story *blush*].

I think it is physically impossible for a British tongue to make them sound like different words. And I know you are trying it now..
Just old junk in here... nothing else
But what about Americans trying to pronounce English words?

There are obviously the words they always pronounce wrong – Worcestershire [Warrr-Sest-Err-Shy-Err] Sauce being the funniest.  But then there’s the other Shires (not sheers), which they say like something out of Lord of the Rings (Wilt-SHY-ERR, Bedford-SHY-ERR, etc). Not to mention Glass-Cow (Glasgow), Moss-Cow (Moscow) and Edin-Burrrrr/Edin-Bro (Edinburgh) . Tsk, tsk.

Having been watching a lot of sport recently [what World Cup? – no comment] I am sick of hearing OOru-gway and then there was Bosnia-Hertzagavna. Oh, and then there's also "Wimbley" that finest of all English footballing venues!

But the worst one, the one that drives me absolutely batty, and they use this on the news, on the radio, in commentary and even people I work with say it … Wimble-TON. Oh good grief! There's a "D" in that word, not a flippin’ "T." I've even heard it with a sneaky "P" in there... "Wimpleton."

Every year, it drives me crazy all over again. So America, Please, please, please say it right, why can’t you??? Wim-Bul-DON!!
Look... there's a "D" in there!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Bit My Finger ?

I've been a bit preoccupied with a certain sporting event lately. Now it's pretty much all over (for us anyway), I found this and thought I would post. It pretty much sums it all up... with a little chuckle thrown in. [Got to have something to smile about now don't we?]

Friday, June 20, 2014

That's a Bloomin' Big Wall

Having lived in California for coming up to 20 years, and living only about 200 miles from the Mexican border, you would have thought I might have ventured over it once in a while.  But no, I've never actually driven across the border.  Don't get me wrong, I have been to Mexico, but only by plane.  And a jolly good time was has by all, I can tell you.

But there was one time when I very nearly made it across.  Back in the days before we lived here, we came for a holiday to look around and see what we were getting ourselves into.  My dad said we must have the experience of going to Tijuana and seeing the sights... or seeing something.  I think he may have mentioned tequila and perhaps a donkey, but I can't remember that far back, and I'm not sure I want to.

So we all got ready for the big adventure and squeezed ourselves into the car.  Off we tootle down the freeway packed in like sardines.  And we drove... and drove... and drove a bit more.  There wasn't much to see, lots of desert, huge billboards, a few shopping centres dotted here and there and palm trees, lots and lots of palm trees.  After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived in San Diego, just north of the border.  "Not far now" my dad says.  The kids cheer and we all perk up.  "You've got everything we need, right?" he says.  "Including your passports?"

Whaaaa?  Uh oh..we needed passports?  Oopsie... "Umm, I didn't know we needed a passport - I left mine at the house!"  I sheepishly replied.  "You do realize we're going into a foreign country?" my dad says.. "You need a passport to get into Mexico, or at least to get out..."  Well, about this time, I was hoping the car would somehow suck me between the seats never to be seen again.  Yes, I had ruined the trip for everyone - bugger!  Needless to say, we did not cross the border that day and I've never been anywhere near crossing it since.  [Although we did stay in San Diego, have a lot of wine and went to the zoo the next day... don't ask me about the zoo though, because like I said, we had a LOT of wine]

I've had a picture in my mind of what the border looked like - something you see in films where there's a barbed wire fence, a big ditch and lots of dirt, dogs and guns.  Something Steve McQueen could jump over on his motorbike.  (Yes, that was a reference to the Great Escape)
So last weekend, we went to an event close to Jacumba, a tiny, blink and you will miss it town right next to the Mexican border.  As we drove through, you could actually see the border fence.  I was a little surprised at the size.  That thing is huge and there's absolutely no way anyone could crawl under, over or through it, let alone jump it on a bike.  It was amazing, America really, really doesn't want anyone getting in...
Nobody's getting over that thing..

...or so I thought from first glance.  We drove a bit further and as I was taking pictures, this happened...

Unless, apparently, you go over there

Yup, the wall just stopped.  And now I'm confused... I wonder what's at the end of the wall that stops anyone just walking around it?  Actually, I'm not sure I really want to know.  :-(
The nearest thing we have in Britain like that is Hadrian's Wall, and we know how well that works.  You just have to go to Rrafalgar Square when Scotland are playing England to know that wall doesn't make the slightest bit of difference. 
Nope - this isn't stopping anyone!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Why USA Will Never Win the World Cup (An Unscientific Study)

 So, it’s 5 days until the World Cup starts and I, for one, am extremely excited.  Maybe this will be the year England will win (or at least not get knocked out on penalties – we can all dream, can’t we?)

I’ve already got my viewing plans mapped out… mostly on my itty-bitty Iphone because during most of the games, I will be sitting at my desk at work.  [Boooo]  I would just like to say right now – Thank you WatchESPN for having an app that I can use and for actually showing the footie.  

All that being said, I’m not sure anyone in America actually knows the World Cup is coming.  I have yet to see any adverts on the telly and none of the shops are showing any interest at all in selling World Cup merchandise.  I took this photo recently in Target (probably one of the biggest chain of shops in the US).  This is their meagre attempt at getting behind Team USA…. Really Target, a couple of shirts, a couple of bags and a Brazil hat??  You do realize don't you there are other countries playing?

It just saddens me that the biggest event in the entire world of sport gets ignored or treated with apathy here.  Yes, the matches are being shown on the tv, but only if you subscribe to ESPN and I had to search for it to find out this information.

So, in the interests of science and world peace, I did a little survey.  Nothing fancy, but definitely a comprehensive study of a cross-section of Americans…. Okay, I sent an email to everyone at work.  I asked the following questions:
  1. Do you know what the World Cup is?
  2. Do you know when it starts?
  3. Do you care?
And the official results are in.  Out of the hundreds of people I asked (well, 19) this is what I got…  and no, they weren’t all girls!

Do you know what the World Cup is?
Well, this was a good start, only one person said they didn’t know what it was.  Most people said “Yes” but they may have just been saying that so they didn’t look silly.  A few people actually got the sport right “Soccer” and one said “Brazil.”  Now don’t get me wrong, Brazil is a good attempt, it is where it’s being played after all, but Brazil is not actually THE World Cup, its the venue!!

Do you know when it starts?
Mostly the answer was “No,” but a few attempts ranging from June (very close), Spring and even August were put out there.  One person said “Yes,” but didn’t attempt to tell me when, so I think that was probably a sneaky “No.”

Do you care?
A pretty resounding “No” on this one… there were a couple of “Not really,” or “Only until US is out” and there was even a “Mehh”

So there it is… America does not care about the World Cup.  And this, my friends, is why the USA will never win.  Just think about it, you're out there putting all your heart into something and at the end of the day, nobody gives a monkey's - a little soul destroying really.  So why bother?
Yes, a long time ago, but at least we've done it once!!
We may all know England are going to begin well, have us on the edges of our seats and then go to penalties... as they do every . single . time . but there's always the possibility that once, just once, we might get it right and win the whole bloody thing.  It's what keeps us going as England fans - it's all about the uncertainty and the what if's and this is something America needs to understand.  Get behind your team, no matter what.  They are, after all, representing your country.  Although I will admit to having a little chuckle every time USA get knocked out!  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Take a Hike (or Not)

On Sunday we decided to take the trail at Griffith Park up to the top.  I had never done it before, but my daughter is a pro (so she tells me).  "It will be good exercise for you," she said, "and bring the dog," she said, "he needs to get out after his surgeries" she said.  [I have the most expensive dog in the history of dogs - two ACL tears in two years with two surgeries of around an arm and a leg each - Yes, it's expensive, but he's soooo cute and quite young so how could we not??]
Oh dear, look at those trails!!!

So off Charlie and I went, out to Los Angeles to meet her. The dog's excited to be in the car on the freeway with his head hanging out the window and his lips waving in the wind.  We get to Griffith Park and up I look at the trail... And up, and up... Oh dear, what have I got myself into?

Off we go and it's all going tickety-boo, until we meet the first dog...Charlie being unaccustomed to other dogs because of his confinement decides he wants a piece of that... Struggle number 1.  And on it went, him pulling me up the hill, wanting to get in the faces of all the other dogs - as if I wasn't worn out enough.  And then, all of a sudden, he's done, finished, had enough and drags me to the shade sits, then lays down, puffing and panting, tongue hanging out.  He would not move, no matter what I did, he wouldn't budge.  I gave him water, which he drank like he was in the Sahara, and then I put ice on his head.  I've never seen a dog so tired that he will let ice melt on his noggin' without even attempting to shake it off - he was that tired.
A very, very tired dog
We sat there for a few minutes (quite a few minutes actually).  I had a couple of snacks in my bag so we ate those (yes, I am such a mum) then attempted to get him up and back on the trail.   Nope, he wasn't having it.  Fast forward and we decide we had better turn around and go back the way we came.  Well, that was not so easy either, stupid dog wanted to keep stopping for a rest.  How do you convince a dog to get a move on and that it will be quicker if he stops stopping?  For a moment there, we even discussed the possibility of having to air lift him out.  Try explaining that to your health insurance company.  We did finally manage to get him back to the car and decided that we should go for brunch instead!**
It was still a great day though and the views from the top (or half way up actually) were wonderful, if a little hazy.  It was extremely hot, which apparently didn't help the dog.  I was so looking forward to getting to the top and having the 360 degree view, but maybe next time.  And I will possibly leave the dog at home.

Yes, that is LA in the distance

So if you are planning a hike up there, a couple of things to remember:
  • Take plenty of water (because the dog will drink it all, even yours)
  • Remember sun block (yes, I got sunburnt - English and the midday sun and all that)
  • Be prepared to spend the whole day there (especially if you have a lazy dog with you)
  • Have a Plan B - Brunch is always good!

Oh, and note to self :  Do not take a dog who has not been on a good walk for 18 months and has forgotten ALL his manners.
** In case you were wondering, we went for bruch/lunch at Spitz Doner Kebab and while it's not exactly the same as an "English" kebab, it's pretty damn close!  And it was absolutely fan-bloody-tastic.  There again, as most of the time kebabs are the essential "after a night of drinking" meal in England, it may very well be the same.  *Grin*