Category Archives: Travel

Closing Ceremony? Great! What Else is On?

Hey whoah the Olympics is over. We can now resume our normal tele watching routines.

What’s that? There’s nothing good on tele in Britain? Oh what an almighty shame. Because if you travel to the US there’s always something on the box, and by something I mean repetitive reality TV. Its the golden chalice of entertainment. It’s the peaches to my cream. It’s so good it’ll make you want to take off your trousers and helicopter.

My potentially obvious sarcasm stems from an advertisement for a brand new reality television show I saw advertised recently. It’s called ‘Tanked’ and features a couple of middle aged blokes making fish tanks for rich people.
After watching this commercial I travelled to the local fishing lake and caught myself a 5lb catfish. I then drove to the nearest pet shop and repeatedly threw said catfish at the stores biggest, most extravagant fish tank, causing deafening vibrations to the clearly petrified creatures inside, and making the tank look like a disgusting bloody mess. I proceeded in savagely eating the dismembered catfish raw in front of the shops horrified visiting children and their parents.

I wonder where the days went when reality TV actually had an interesting draw. Something attractive about the show that set it apart from the other dribble we witness everyday. Of course gems such as ‘The Amazing Race’, ‘Survivor’ and ‘The Apprentice’ are still around, but these programmes are now feeling a little dated as the years have gone by, and are drown out by poisons that are ‘Orange County Housewives’, ‘Jersey Housewives’, ‘Housewives of Atlanta’ and ‘The Real Housewives of Baghdad’. The only shining light I’ve seen recently is TNTs new series ‘The Great Escape’ – a show where three teams of two must escape from famous facilities or locations of the world. Although the illusion is somewhat lost when contestants are caught by guards and must start from the beginning, as by this point it starts to feel more like an elaborate game of hide and seek with puzzles that have a difficulty level of nursery at best.

However, I can still find solace in my true love that is Hell’s Kitchen which is nearing its climax. There’s something strangely relaxing about watching Gordon Ramsey belittle and embarrass bungling chefs while they argue with each other about whose less crap at cooking.

I think I’m just happy I don’t have to watch Waterpolo on NBC anymore. I was getting horribly fed up of hearing about the Olympics and I’m glad they’re over. Oh, the Paralympics starts in a couple of weeks?

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Big Problems

I think I’m losing my faith in mankind. The other day I was in one of America’s massive superstores and I noticed a bloke get into one of them motorised shopping carts that disabled people use to get round the shop better. Except this guy wasn’t disabled at all, as he so nonchalantly displayed to us when he waddled in through the automatic doors. He just had a rather generous roll of blubbery lard hugging his torso. Of course he really may be disabled, and I’m aware genuinely disabled people use these machines to get around, but I can’t help but instantly pass judgement on this man as this is a trend I’m starting to see quite a lot while doing a shop. Every time I see someone whizzing around in one of these they happen to have kankles the size of basketballs. Maybe these fatties wouldn’t have this nagging mobility problem if they stopped driving around in fatty mobiles. It seems a lot of the citizens of this country can’t get out of this vicious cycle of laziness and double stuffed Oreos.

I’ve got a feeling the Americans are either in serious denial about their obesity problem or they simply just don’t care. Never have I seen a country so readily encourage disordered eating as they do. Sure, mcdonalds may have introduced a new “under 400 calorie” menu, but in the same breath you’ll see them advertising prizes you can win if Americans Olympians do well at London 2012. That’s you winning burgers if other people more athletic than you are achieve great things at the Olympics.

I know you simply cannot take away fatty mobiles, but maybe a different approach is needed. If Twinkies were offered as reward for victors of the dreaded gauntlet that is Super Target the USA might have a new set of Olympians on their hands. Maybe they could redesign the fatty mobiles and have them require a deposit of two jumbo iced honey buns as payment for using the fatty mobile service.

Although I may have just had a stroke of genius. They’re clearly trying to emulate the workings of 34 stone Ricardo Blas Jr. of the Judo event. This case is closed.

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You Need to Score More Goals Man!

Went to a soccer match the other night. This one had a twist though, it was in the USA.

Floridian third division side Orlando City played Stoke of the premier league in what must have been the worst match anyone has ever witnessed ever. Despite this disgusting pile of footballing fecal matter we were watching, the atmosphere the Americans were generating was commendable to say the least. However, there were some things we witnessed that were nothing short of tragic.

The national anthems played before the game, with my sibling and I happily humming along to ‘God Save the Queen’ in half hearted fashion, as we’re clearly too cool for patriotism. Expectedly though when the American national anthem played, people put their hands to their hearts and sang, everyone. What I didn’t expect though was the streamers, confetti and balloons being released when “the land of the free, and the home of the brave” was belted out. By this point I was instantly a Stoke fan, and for the rest of the night I could only picture the Orlando City fans with colourful face paint, honking a horn and driving a tiny car while the children run away in terror.

The game kicked off and was played in typical boring Stoke city fashion, so the vast majority of our entertainment came from the sheer stupidity and cringe worthy quotes coming from the fans sat around us. For example, every time Thomas Sorensen took a goal kick, screams of “you fat bastard” in Britain we’re replaced by “you suck, asshole”. Which frankly sounds like a back handed 9 year old insult you throw at someone when they nick your juice box.

Other nuggets of joy we couldn’t help but overhear from anonymous fans while we were eavesdropping include:

“You need to score more goals man!” – when Orlando went 1-0 down.
“Whoever came up with that is a genius.” – referring to the “you suck, asshole” chant.
“America is the best country in the world.” – a drunk college students comment which was greeted with a high five from a hairy man in the row in front.
“Why is there 4 minutes injury time? There wasn’t even any goals. This is rediculous.” – a man clearly not grasping the concept of ‘injury time’.

The fans were by far the most interesting part of this game. I guess it was kind of nice to hear fans applaud players for trying their best in contrast to English football supporters, who basically tell the players how awful they are as they themselves eat a pasty and drink two pints at half time.

But even so I’d rather see the players get waves of abuse than staff squirming to clean up confetti thrown by overly patriotic Yanks.

Stupid Fish

Fishing is overrated. Maybe that’s just because I can’t catch anything. I get one of them weird feelings while I’m fishing where I keep thinking they’re plotting against me.

They keep suggestively splashing in the water, reminding me that they’re actually there, taunting me. They’ll eat algae off the bottom of small ponds but they’ll not touch my bait, I mean who doesn’t like reduced fat turkey hot dogs?

I read somewhere that fish don’t feel pain. I can’t help but think that’s just an excuse so fisherman don’t feel bad about themselves. If I had been granted three wishes I’d make it so fish can vent their physical and psychological anguish to their captors, then hopefully they’d need some heavy counselling.  That would be after I’d wished for an unlimited supply of spicy tacos and a talking pet chimp.

Maybe I’m just doing it wrong. Those guys on “Hillbilly Hand Fishing” make it look so easy. Just reach in and pull ’em out. When I tried that I got nothing but an old bike tire. Eventually the boredom sets in and the stench of failure invades the air, what the hell is their problem?

I know, I’ll try worms. I pierce the hook through the worm, and submerge it into the swampy depth. After another age of disappointment passes by, the worm looks bored.

I’m boring the bait.

At this point I’m packing in, I’m not letting a worm make a mockery of my pride. I can’t handle the humiliation, I can feel the fish laughing and sniggering at me. I feel bullied and lonely and retreat back to the dock, if I could catch anything I’d release a swarm of small tiger sharks into the pond for instant revenge. That would teach them to play with peoples emotions. Jerks.

What Seems to be the Problem Officer?

Got pulled over yesterday. I’m on holiday and it was the type of pullover that would make any inexperienced, hormonal, pasty, post – teenage driver stain his undergarments.

I only noticed her in my rear view mirror after I had not completely stopped at a stop sign. At this point I thought my life was over. I was overreacting about as bad as a women’s football coach would after being beaten on penalties at the world cup final, it’s alright, nobody cares anyway.

She didn’t pull me over though, not yet. She decided to stick herself so far up my backside for the next 3 miles I had to just leave her there until it didn’t hurt anymore. The flashing lights then turned on, I pulled over fearing I’d done 65 1/4 in a 65 zone.

She casually walked over to the car. I had a moment of clarity and thought to myself “it’s alright, I got this.”

“What seems to be the problem officer?” I slyly enquired as I lifted my shades.

“License and registration please.” She stated with authority.

She was playing hardball.

“Certainly mam.” This was like an episode of COPS. I must admit I was loving every minute of it despite the growing urine patch on my shorts. She took away my license and I had this horrifying image of myself being thrown onto the car bonnet and being violently searched. At least it was a woman and not the kind of hairy trucker looking man that would eye me up in the prison shower.

“Here you go”, she said as she casually handed my license back to me after faffing about in her police-car mobile. Then she just drove off and left me. No explanation.

I felt like I’d been stood up on a date. I didnt even get to first base. Not even a hug. Is this how Americans usually get treat while driving?

I think I’ll get a job at KFC and serve a police officer. While they’re stepping out I might just stop them and ask:

“Do you like fried chicken?”

When they answer I’ll just walk off with a side order of righteous swagger.

Diary of a Disgruntled Flyer

I wonder if anyone actually enjoys flying.

I would like to meet that person. Perhaps take them on a date and get to know them better. They must be truly remarkable.

Upon suffering multiple long distance flights in a short space of time I’ve discovered flying does not get the slightest bit more enjoyable despite the impressive array of playing cards and paperback novels you’ve brought with you.

As for in-flight entertainment frankly I’d rather catch up on The Teletubbies than the latest romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and another robotic one-dimensional “actor”. And even if it is a film you were looking forward to it’ll be instantly underwhelmed by the 8 inch fuzzy, discoloured screen positioned uncomfortably close to your face because the gentleman in the seat in front decided to put his chair so far back he might as well have just rested his head in your lap listening to whale noises while you cradle him to sleep.

Children screaming and kicking chairs while you eat your chicken pasta which you masterfully chose instead of the roast cardboard and vegetables. But suddenly your beaming smile and new found sense of self appreciation for making the right choice crash lands when you notice your 5 star cuisine looks suspiciously like the child’s vomit sat in the row next to you. And probably tastes like it too.

I can’t help but feel excitement though when the lady with the cart comes over to feed us like cattle and pass us little boxes like there’s a spellbinding surprise inside that we can’t wait to unwrap like a child with an early christmas present. This atmosphere of anticipation is soon replaced with disappointment and humiliation as we all try so desperately to utilise the 4 inches of space we have to try and butter the minuscule piece of wholewheat bread like elephant seals packed into shoe-boxes. Cursing our gullible naivety because the butter is still frozen and we’ve already destroyed the last morsel of food we’re rationed until landing.

But I suppose the satisfaction of landing makes the journey more worthwhile. The noise of the wheels crashing against the runway being greeted by applause marks the end of a horrific ordeal like a woman giving birth or the end of the Academy Awards.

A Frank Guide to the USA

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A definitive guide to a few things you may notice on your trip to the USA, some of them you may find interesting, useful (most likely not) and mildly amusing. Bear in mind all of these points relate purely to the state of Florida, so to be honest this list is quite shallow and unthoughtful as the points are being used to generalise the rest of the 3,794,101 square miles of the US (obviously wikipedia’d that). But by this point I’m pretty certain you’re past caring.

1. A lot of things generally don’t make a lot of sense. You’ll find yourself repeating the phrase “that’s stupid” more times then you’ll play “spot the guy under 200lbs” at Wal-Mart. I’ll make a sub-list.

  • Speed Limit Signs. Instead of a clearly visible red circle with a number in the middle they need a large white sign saying SPEED LIMIT underneath the number in baffling thin black letters. Huge common sense fail.
  • Road signs rarely tell you where you’re going until you’re actually at the junction. Usually you don’t mind until you realise you’re in the wrong lane when its always too late. Cue frustration.
  • Sales tax. When something is advertised for $5 you expect to pay $5 right? Don’t be so stupid, you’re a moron and this assumption instantly makes you a massive bellend. You pay $5.35.
  • You have to wear a seat-belt by law but it’s alright to sit in the back of a pickup truck unprotected.

I could honestly continue this list but I don’t want to keep you reading all week.

2. Facial hair is in abundance. For some reason the people of the USA think its fashionable to sport a big bushy mustache complete with a potbelly and trucker hat. Ignorance is also in abundance apparently, as evidently they’re unaware that in 2012 that image makes you look like the village pedophile.

3. You’ll most likely hate 90% of American television. If you don’t enjoy watching reality shows featuring rich, talent-less, attention seeking women with half of the programme watching adverts about the newest innovation in vehicular design or the latest steakhouse to put on an extra 5 stone, then you may be out of luck. What a shame. Although if the masterpiece that is “Kourtney an Kim take New York” doesn’t tickle your ever-so-curious fancy then please do not lose any sleep, I’m sure you’ll find a reality show featuring any other uninteresting subject you can think of. My favourites include “Storage Wars”, “Bayou Billionaires”, “Ink Master” and “The Next Great Baker”.

4. When you buy something the person selling it to you will most likely be EXTREMELY friendly. When you walk through the door you may even occasionally be greeted with “Hello there!” before you’ve even thought about buying anything. You could just be going to use their toilet but they still act like it was love at first sight the moment they laid eyes on you. Compare this to the horrifically rude unhelpful cretins that populate most of our shops in Britain purely to fuel their cocaine addiction whilst feeding their gremlin-like devil children they had with their cousin(perhaps exaggerated). You’d be forgiven though for thinking American bundles of sales-assistant joy constantly have the heavens radiating from they’re shiny posteriors.

5. Going back to television, they censor absolutely everything apart from occasionally the word “Shit” and even the word “Ass”, but they then bleep the word “hole”. Don’t even think about nudity. They even blur out a little bit of arse crack.

6. And contrary to popular belief, everything is actually much bigger. This includes people, meals, cars, parking spaces, houses, egos and people. Everything’s massive. You’ll see 16 inch pizzas in the supermarket, the pre-dinner snack for the 500lb land mammals who’ll then waddle to the local eatery to gorge on 30 hot wings before they tuck into their entrée.

So there you go a few more-than-handy tips to help you on your way to living the American dream. I don’t know what that means neither.