Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rain rain go away

So the ride in to work this morning was eventful.

Thunder storms through the night meant we didn't get much sleep. My Wife was wide awake from around 2.30am and the dogs were soon knocking on the bedroom door when the rain started. The lightning was actually so bright and constant it was like strobe lighting at an eighties disco.

I had a meeting at 8am so to make sure I got to the office in time, and knowing how the locals can't seem to drive in wet weather I left home at 5am. Our street and the neighbourhood were pretty bad, with around one and a half feet of water. It was a shrewd move to take the Expedition today!

I managed to get on the Beltway and things were running smoothly until we came to a bit where the road dipped under an overpass. All the water obviously ran to this point and the 5 lane road suddenly reduced to one very slow moving lane.

Once I got through that I came off at my usual exit only to find the feeder road flooded and a long line of cars stopped, pondering their next move. One guy kept on getting out of his car telling people the road was closed and to reverse back where we had come from (back on the Beltway!). He reversed right up to my car but I wasn't going anywhere just yet. At this point, a couple of trucks made a run for it and tried to get through the water. When I saw they had made it, I moved around the crazy reversing guy and went for it.

I managed to get across the intersection but then the road ahead was even worse so I got back on the Beltway. This may or may not have been a mistake as it was closed from the next exit and all cars were being forced onto the feeder.

Now, all of the rush hour traffic had been forced onto the few roads that were still passable, only the traffic wasn't going anywhere. Just the section of road we were all stranded on was passable but there was nowhere to go.

I'd had to go passed the exit I needed for the office as there was no way to get across to the street I needed so now I had to somehow get across to the north bound feeder and either try and get to the office or head home.

The embankment down to the Beltway, usually plush green grass with the odd row of butchered oleander trees now resembled Niagara falls. The water was gushing down from the streets onto the road below.

Two hours after exiting the Beltway, I made it to the office. The carpark was almost completely deserted (and mostly underwater). A few people finally trickled in but most people didn't make it.

The reservoirs close to our house caused flooding of over 8 feet in places. More rain is expected tonight but I hope it clears by morning.

Whoever designed the City of Houston deserves a medal. He must be the biggest muppet outside of Fozzy and friends. Great idea guys...we have a city that is built on marsh land, and has a history of severe flooding, lets build all of our roads, down under ground level so that any torrential rain showers bring the city to a stand still. I know, let's also throw in regular dips in the roads so instead of all of the water spreading evenly over the surface, it gets deeper in certain places and makes them completely impassable.

Houston is known as the Bayou City. There's a clue in the title guys. THERE ARE LOTS OF BAYOUS IN HOUSTON! Not to mention all the smaller creeks. These will flood if roads are built next to them, and over them, and nature's own drainage system is not replaced.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Role Models

Last week was a pretty rough week so I was glad to finally make it to the weekend. Getting home Friday night I needed something to take my mind off things.

I didn't really feel like going out so my Wife and I settled down to watch a film. We'd been given a copy of Role Models a few weeks ago and thinking it might be good for a laugh we put it on.

I was a bit hesitant at first. I was worried it would be a bit of a let down but it was a very funny film. Not really family friendly but it was definitely what the doctor ordered.

My Wife and I watch a lot of films, the majority of which are ok so it's rare that we find something that catches us in just the right mood and we both really enjoy. We have seen some good films but it's nice when you find yourself enjoying something unexpectedly.

Role Models is a stupid comedy starring Seann William Scott (from American Pie) and Paul Rudd (40 year old virgin etc) but it was highly enjoyable. The star of the show was undoubtedly Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) playing a geeky school kid obsessed with the live action fantasy game 'Laire'.

Another film we've seen recently that was better than expected was Jim Carrey's "Yes Man". Based on the book by Danny Wallace, we feared this would be another stupid American take on a British favourite but the laughs kept coming. It wasn't exactly true to the book, more based on the idea of the book but it's definitely worth checking out if you want to put a smile on your face.

If you're looking for a real feel good film for the whole family, I'd recommend "August Rush". My Wife picked this one out and I wasn't too keen but it is worth checking out. It's one of those lesser known films that has a solid cast (Robin William, Jonathan Rhys Meyers).

If you want a good film you can really get involved in, try Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto". It's subtitled and long but definitely worth the effort.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Football. Bloody hell.

Another topsy-turvy day in the English Premier League.

After watching Liverpool set themselves on the way to a 3-1 victory at Hull courtesy of a cheating little Argentinian and reclaim top spot on goal difference, it was time to settle down to the real action, Manchester United v Tottenham.

The day seemed to take a turn for the worse when Tottenham went in at half time with a surprising 2-0 lead. I tried cheering myself up by telling my Wife about the game a few years agao at White Hart Lane when Tottenham were 3-0 up at half time and United came out 5-3 winners. I was probably just trying to convince myself it wasn't all over.

United got a fortunate penalty which Ronaldo tucked away to give us a glimmer of hope. I say fortunate because I've seen a lot of similar challenges go unpunished but the Tottenham goalkeeper did make contact with Michael Carrick and a penalty was the right decision.

Wayne Rooney hit the equaliser 10 minutes later, and set Ronaldo up for the third just a minute later and the game was turned on it's head. There was no stopping United now with Rooney getting his second, United's fourth.

Even Dimitar Berbatov got in on the action, forcing in a fifth against his old club.

This certainly made a refreshing change from the scrappy 1-0 wins that have seen United through this far in the season. I think the game was coming where they would find things going their way, even if it was just the second half today.

Hopefully this result will boost their confidence and give them the momentum to see them through to the end of the season. United need three wins from the last five league games to clinch the title for the third year running.

There's also the small matter of the Champions League Semi-final against Arsenal. Teams often get in the habit of winning. Maybe this was the game that reminded United what they are capable of.

It's been a crazy few weeks whatever team you follow, reminding us all why we love this game. In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson: Football. Bloody hell.

Phone-in performance

I'm not the world's biggest Chelsea fan but one of their players has impressed me recently.

Whilst listening to London's LBC Radio, club captain Frank Lampard heard the DJ discussing his recent break up with his partner. The DJ went on to call Frank "weak" and "scum" for not working harder to make sure the relationship worked for the sake of their two daughters.

Frank called up the radio show to defend himself. You can check it out for yourself here.

Good for him!

When you're in the public eye, it's too easy for people to believe what they read and form their own opinion of your character. It's not often they get the chance to defend themselves publicly.

No one knows the reasons behind whatever went on behind closed doors.

I think Frank Lampard did the right thing. He's gone up in my estimation, but I still hope he ends the season empty handed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April Showers

It hasn't rained much this year, except for last weekend when I was out playing golf but as usual April seems to have been a pretty shitty month.

We don't really like April in my family. A lot of family members died in April including three of my four Grandparents. The fourth died the first week in May.

It's been 5 years since my Grandad on my Mum's side died. He was the one I was closest too and, if you believe most of the family, the one I take after most. His death hit me really hard, and still does sometimes. I was shocked by how much I missed him. It's true that you don't realise what you've got till it's gone.

He was in hospital for a few weeks before he died and my brother and I had been there every day, including many over night shifts so it wasn't completely unexpected but it was still a shock. I remember a few days before he died, the day before his 80th birthday, my Gran appeared in my dream. There were times when my Grandad asked where she was during his hospital stay, he'd forgotten that she'd died 11 years earlier. When I asked her what she wanted, she told me she had come for my Grandad. I don't really believe in all that hocus pocus but it was a strange all the same.

The night before he died, I went home, exhausted. I'd been there for almost two days straight and needed some rest. Later that night I got a phone call saying his body had started to shut down and it was only a matter of time. I was torn about whether to go back to the hospital, or wait until morning. Knowing there was nothing I could do, I decided to stay home and I remember lying in bed watching Finding Nemo for the first time through the barrage of tears.

The following morning I called the hospital and he was still hanging on so I left home to make my way there. During the 20 minute journey he finally passed away. I didn't feel guilty for not being there at that exact moment. I was there the last time he was awake and talking and we all got to say our goodbyes. My brother's wife was pregnant at the time due to give birth the following week and my Grandad told us to say hello to the new baby. He went on to list all the family by name and then he went to sleep.

We used to talk on the phone every weekend and discuss the football. He was a City fan, I'm a United fan so we used to tease each other whenever the others team didn't win but it was all good fun. When we first moved to Houston in 1996, before we had the internet, he used to send over the match reports from the newspaper. We'd still talk on the phone too but it touched me that he went to the trouble of sending over the match reports.

When he died, I was a little mischievous with the flowers my brother and I got for the funeral. Being a City fan we thought it appropriate, for this one time only, to get him some blue flowers. I think he would've appreciated that, and he probably would've allowed himself a wry smile when he saw that we'd stuck two red flowers in the middle, one each for me and my brother representing our United allegiance.

I remember the funeral well. It's funny how certain things stick in your mind, like how the smell of Lillis always reminds me of death. I only used to smell them in funeral homes so that's what I associated them with. At the service, someone had suggested that my brother and I do a reading in the church but I knew that I wouldn't be able to hold it together enough in front of everyone so I declined, but my brother went up and did the job. However, when the time for the reading came, the Priest read out both of our names and I got a few awkward glances when I refused to approach the altar. A couple of people mentioned it afterwards and I felt bad. That little misunderstanding just about ruined the whole day for me!

Seriously though, 5 years on, the pain gets easier, but I still find myself talking to him, mostly in my head so he doesn't reply, but he always was a man of few words.

It was around the time he was in hospital that there was a leak in my bathroom and my house flooded. The combination of those events led to me moving to Houston a year later.

My only regret is that he never got to meet my Wife. He used to casually ask me about my love life and when I was thinking about getting married, I remembered his endorsement to settling down. "It's not a bad life", he said in his usual understated manner. I think he would've approved.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. George's Day

Happy St. George's Day!

Actually, the purpose of this post is mainly to move the picture of the scary possum down the page as it scares my Wife but if the Irish can have their day, so can we.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What on earth...Revisited!

Following on from my post the other day about the strange creature found in our neighbours yard, the general consensus from our animal loving friends is that it is likely a Possum, or maybe a Badger.

The only time I've seen a Possum is one in the back garden of my parents house and it looked fairly harmless but this picture shows another side to them:

Whatever it is, the teeth certainly suggest a carnivorous animal so I'm glad one of the dogs didn't discover it when it was still alive!

If you have any other ideas, let me know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is it just me or U2?

U2 are coming to Houston and tickets went on sale this morning.

I was reading in Rolling Stone a couple of months ago how live concert ticket sales were suffering with the economy the way it is so bands were reducing ticket prices to their shows.

As my Wife is the biggest U2 fan outside of Bono I thought it my husbandary duty to try and get some. Luckily enough I was successful, but a little perturbed by the price. $252 each! When you add all of the fees on top, the booking fee, handling fee, etc it came to $270 per ticket! There was even a 'convenience fee'.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but having to actually get myself to Reliant Stadium, find parking, fight my way through the crowds, strain myself trying to see the stage and spending most of the night wishing Bono would shut up about Africa and just bloody sing, the first thing I thought was not how convenient Ticketmaster had made my experience! Maybe if U2 turned up in my living room and did requests then I wouldn't mind so much paying a convenience fee.

Speaking of Africa, maybe Bono has realised that solving all of their problems single handed is not working as well as he'd liked he's now decided to fleece the rest of us to make us all as skint as them!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hillbilly Hackers

This weekend, I made my debut appearance at a golf tournament commonly known as the Hillbilly Hackers.

It's basically a group of about 30 teams (each comprising 4 members) of varying levels of competence trying to hit a ball straight while consuming increasing amounts of alcohol.

To be honest, I wasn't that bothered about taking part, I've only ever played one round of golf, last November on my stag weekend but my Dad plays every year and it would be a good chance to spend some time with him. I could never claim to be a natural golfer. I don't have a handicap, I'm just not very good so it was good that we were playing as a team. All four members of the team take a shot, then you choose the best shot and all four play from there.

Now, for the last two days, Houston has been under heavy rainfall so when I was picked up at 6.30am I was half expecting it to be a wasted journey. Tee time was 8am, right about when the thunder storms were due to hit.

Once we arrived at the course, we found our assigned golf carts with everyone else and stood chatting for a few minutes. All of a sudden, we heard a loud bang. The organiser of the day, dressed in his best hillbilly uniform of ripped dungarees and not a lot else and brought out his shotgun to get everyone's attention.

Once the formalities were done with, every set off to play their first hole. Each team was assigned a hole to start on and from their would play the full 18 holes. This was a relief to me as I had visions of making a fool of myself on the first tee watched by 60-70 people!

By this time, the rain had started but wasn't too heavy. After a couple of shots we put on jackets to fend off some of the rain and carried on. A kind young lady appeared with a cooler of beer on the back of her cart and the festivities truly began.

After the 6th hole, the rain started getting heavier and there was a lot more water on the course than would normally be playable but everyone carried on regardless. My team had started on the tenth hole so our ninth hole was the 18th which we found to be almost completely under water. On some shots it was hard to get a good grip on the club as you were so wet.

The rain was pretty relentless now and it wasn't quite as much fun as a few holes back when the rain was much lighter. Luckily, the 18th green is right by the covered area where the BBQ was due to be held and we saw a number of teams had decided to call it a day and take advantage of the coolers filled with cold beer.

This was a good chance to catch up with a few friends who were on other teams and the food was pretty good. I didn't realise how hungry I was until I took the first mouthful and it was just what the doctor ordered.

There were prizes for the winning teams, and when they went up to collect it, one of them announced they 'had a good pencil', which shows that it's not necessarily the best team who wins, but more the most creative score keepers!

Around the course there were chances to win big with a hole in one on the Par 3's, as well as prizes for the shot closest to the pin and the longest drive. Ours was 45 minutes from my house but someone must've come further. Maybe that was why the course was way out in the sticks!

Just kidding, of course the longest drive is for the shot that lands furthest from the tee, as long as it lands on the fairway. The prizes for a hole in one included a Dell computer system, Bose speaker system, and $10,000 cash.

The organiser did a great job and I really enjoyed myself. As usual, it's more the unknown that I tend to dread and usually end up having a better time than I expect. It was fun being out in the rain, before it got too heavy anyway.

I will definitely play again if asked, but I will be sure to get some proper golf shoes next time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Celtic Woman

A couple of weeks before Christmas, my Wife told me about an Irish group called Celtic Woman, and she was a big fan and they were coming to Houston and tickets were just about to go on sale.

Not one to miss a small hint when it smacks me upside the head, I duly bought tickets but cunningly waited until Christmas morning to give them to her. Even though it was only two weeks later, that was plenty of time for my Wife to completely forget about the show and the look on her face when she opened the tickets was priceless. Last night, it was finally show time.

Despite driving to the Toyota Center in torrential rain, we managed to get to the arena fairly unscathed ready to enjoy the show.

I'd never heard of the group until just before I got the tickets so I didn't really know what to expect but I was looking forward to the show because I knew my Wife was really excited to be going. If you're not familiar with the group, it comprises of four female singers, and a very energetic violinist. They're joined on stage by a backing choir and various other musicians.

The show was actually very good. It was called The Isle of Hope and the general idea was that it was about Irish immigrant arriving at Ellis Island, leaving one Isle for another.

The violinist was first out, dancing around the stage as she played. She didn't miss a note and the crowd showed their appreciation. The four singers came out and sang a song together, and then the remainder of the show was a mixture of them singing individually, all together, and the violinist performing her solos. The music was a mixture of original material written by the group, traditional Irish songs, as well as their version of contemporary hits.

My Wife was expecting a shortish show at no longer than an hour and when the lights came up just after 9pm we were about to leave until there was an announcement saying there would be a 20 minute interval before the second half. A quick toilet stop made the second half more welcome!

There was another 70-80 minutes, as well as one of the longest encores/farewells I've seen in my many years of concert going. The performers all said their goodbyes and bowed to the audience to take their applause but very time they finished what we thought would be the final song they broke into another.

I must admit it's not really the kind of show I would normally want to go to but I really enjoyed it. It made a nice change from the rock concerts I usually attend and I would definitely go again.

Picture this

It's been a week since we got all dressed up and went to a Wedding so I thought it was time I posted a picture. Here's a nice one of me and my Wife. She looks amazing.

That's all for now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What on earth??

We have a house a couple of doors down from us that has been abandoned. Our next door neighbour decided he was going to cut the grass at the front so that it still looked respectable.

What he didn't bargain on was discovering this creature in the grass:

The pictures were taken after a heavy rain fall so some of the fur seems to have been washed off the body...but those are some nasty looking teeth!

So my question to you is...what the hell is/was it??

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. If you're a football fan from England, April 15th 1989 is definitely one of those dates you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.

During the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, a crush behind the goal killed 96 Liverpool fans. The gates were opened to allow the waiting crowd into the ground causing those already in the Leppings Lane end to be forced forward crushing those at the front against the barriers. The stands behind the goal were entirely standing so the crowd moved as one.

Some caught in the middle fell to the ground and were unable to get back up before being trampled on by the wave of people being pushed forward as more and more people entered the ground trying to get a good view of the game that was under way. The disaster led to the Taylor report and the introduction of all-seater stadia in England.

I was only 11 at the time. I was playing football in the street with friends and we had a small radio with the commentary on so we could hear what was going on. We were sat on our front door step as news started filtering through of people being killed. First 5, 10, 20, then 40, 70. As time went on the numbers continued to rise. We heard rumours that up to 100 were dead, not believing it was possible. In total, 96 people died.

You can read all about the events of that day here, or just by typing the words Hillsborough disaster into any internet search engine..

Disasters like this unite the footballing community and all of the teams playing this week have worn or will wear black armbands as a mark of respect. Whatever your team, or your views on who or what was to blame that day, nobody deserves, nor expects to go to a football match, and never make it home again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wedding Bells

We're going to a Wedding today. In the past, I've never really been that bothered about Weddings. They're usually something you have to do when friends or family decide it's time but this time I'm actually looking forward to it.

I suppose since I got married myself, I look at this kind of thing differently, and as my Wedding was only 5 months ago I'm actually pretty excited for the couple and have found myself wondering how they're coping and what they're up to. It reminded me of the week leading up to my Wedding when most of the time was spent picking people up at the airport and keeping them entertained rather than preparing for the big day!

The only really crazy day was the day before when my Wife and I both woke that morning and realised we were getting married the next day! Everything suddenly became a big rush and there where things to do that we hadn't even thought of but we got through it and in the end everything worked out brilliantly.

Another thing I'm looking forward to is dressing up. It's not often I get to wear a suit but I do look pretty dashing in it so it'll be nice to make an effort for a change. I will post a picture in the next few days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I'm off work today..wahey! It's Good Friday but as my Wife still has to work there isn't anything exciting planned so I'll spend most of the day pottering around the house and garden, tidying up a bit and doing odd jobs.

Actually, I have just been doing something exciting. Two months ago, we decided instead of blowing a load of cash every month on gym membership we'd buy ourselves a treadmill. This was usually the only piece of equipment I used at the gym so I though I would use it more at home when I didn't have to drag myself out of bed so early and then worry about all the other people getting in the way.

The only problem was, when the treadmill was delivered it was damaged and we had to wait 4-5 weeks for a replacement. It finally arrived this week and is now all set up. So being off work today, it was the perfect chance to try it out. I didn't do too long, just easing myself in but I will definitely be back on the treadmill again today, and tomorrow, and Sunday.

Going back to Good Friday, Easter represents the death and resurrection of Jesus. With it being the first day back on the treadmill maybe it will signify the rebirth of a more healthy lifestyle for me and my Wife.

There is an iPod connection on the treadmill so I can listen to music or podcasts while I work out. It even came with some small discs you can insert to have a Biggest Loser style work out with trainer Jillian Michaels shouting at you. These are actually pretty good. They set the speed and incline for you and gradually increase them while Jillian shouts encouragement. I haven't tried it yet, mainly because I don't want to smash up the treadmill with frustration at being shouted at after waiting so long to use it!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Injury time winner

I think the momentum has now swung back in Manchester United's favour after the last gasp win over Aston Villa.

After two successive defeats, the title race has been thrown wide open and this afternoon at Old Trafford United were on the verge of a third defeat in a row to leave Liverpool at the top of the table but a 92nd minute winner keeps the title in United's hands.

It was a frustrating game, especially after a mistake by Ronaldo gave Villa the break from which they took the lead but I think the nature of the win will lift United more than a victory that came courtesy of a 60th minute goal.

The reaction of the players at the final whistle shows how much retaining the title means to them and this will hopefully lift them out of the slump of the last few weeks in time for the Champions League quarter final tie with Porto.

If the winner hadn't come in this game, the momentum would've undoubtedly stayed with Liverpool after a 92nd minute winner of their own against Fulham.

It was a makeshift team for United, especially in defence with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic out, as well as Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney and it was 18 year old debutant Federico Macheda who clinched the win with a brilliant turn in the area. He was booked for his celebration after running into the crowd and hugging what must've been a close friend or family member but it was worth it.

My brother is in town this weekend and it was one of those rare occasions where my Dad, myself and him got to watch the game together and for most of the second half it looked like it wouldn't be a happy one but the noise when the third goal went in must've woken the neighbours!

Whatever happens now, it's definitely been one of the most interesting Premier League seasons for a while and we're now just six weeks or so away from finding out if United can hang on to clinch that record equalling 18th title.

Friday, April 3, 2009

First sign of madness

Do you ever get in the car after a day at work and re-enact a conversation you had with someone during that day?

I’ve started to realise I do that all the time. Sometimes I’ll find myself clarifying the things that I said to avoid any confusion, or mentioning things I didn’t think of at the time. Sometimes they’re just conversations in my head, but on occasion I do find myself speaking out loud.

I’ve also actually realised that this helps relieve stress. If I’ve had a particularly confrontational conversation with someone, re-enacting it on the way home allows me to present my point of view calmly and ensures that both sides are aware that I am the victor. Try it next time you have a disagreement with a co-worker, you’ll see.

This came to mind at lunch time today while I was stood at the microwave waiting for my lunch to heat up. An older lady in the office walked by and said hello before enquiring how things were going. I’m guessing she meant generally, and she didn’t require a second by second commentary on how the microwave was getting my left over chicken all hot and bothered.

When she’d moved on I found myself staring blankly at the ticking clock and started running through what my response would have been if she’d enquired about my weekend.

Now, I’m not really one for small talk but it is my intention to improve on this in an attempt to not be seen as some aloof weirdo so I can sort of understand why I did it but, and here’s the thing, I actually found myself making up some elaborate story to make my weekend sound more exciting than it actually was!

It was basically full of wonderful characters in hidden worlds where time was eaten up by adventures Scooby Doo would’ve been proud of. Well, not really, it was more of an exaggeration on actual events to make me sound busy and popular but that’s not the point.

When I was younger, I used to imagine what it would be like being a professional footballer conducting a post match interview where I’d play down all the extraordinary things I’d done during the game. I was a very modest imaginary interviewee, “I just did a couple of flicks, beat 7 of the opposition team and knocked it through the goalkeepers legs in the last minute to win the world cup for my country, same as anyone really.” Some interviews were conducted by Jonathan Ross but for these I found I was more of a musician of historical importance turned actor.

It’s a bit like that part in The Commitments were Jimmy Rabbitte is running around Dublin trying to start his band while occasionally informing his imaginary interviewer “Terry” of his intentions.

If talking to yourself really is the first sign of madness then at least I’ll still be able to get word out to my public via the imaginary interviewers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool

It's April Fool's Day today. Don't worry, I'm not going to play some elaborate prank that will end up making you feel foolish. Instead, it got me thinking of some of the funny things I've been asked since moving to Houston.

A couple of weeks ago, my Wife and I went to IHOP for breakfast and the waitress was young and chatty and they seemed to hit it off while I was still exploring the menu trying to decide between an omelette and the french toast (in the end I had neither).

When my Wife commented how she didn't like eggs, the waitress was excited to discover she wasn't the only person to find "chicken foetus" disgusting (I'll have my eggs scrambled by the way). The waitress then went on to tell us how she'd visited another IHOP recently and when she asked the waitress to hold the eggs and bring her extra sausage, the waitress asked "are you vegan?".

I don't profess to know all the ins and outs of the veganhood but I'm sure extra sausage will kept you kicked out pretty quick!

It reminded me of the time when I was in another IHOP restaurant with my parents years ago and the waitress complimented us all on our english and how we'd learned it so quick since moving to the US! I'm not sure what language she thinks we speak in England.

Most of the other questions I've been asked are even more stupid than the ones mentioned but include things like "what state is England in?", and "do you know the Queen?". A lot of people go on to talk about an english person they met one time and then ask if I know them. Ok, so there aren't as many people in Britain as the US but come on, I haven't had chance to meet all 60 million yet.

A guy at work asked me the other week if I can hide my accent. Erm..I suppose I can hide it in my mouth...what?!? It took a few confused minutes of clarification before I realised that the guy just did not understand the concept of accents. He thought that if I 'hid' my accent, I would sound just like him.

Sometimes I wonder how these people remember to wake up each morning.