No Idea What Day It Is

I have long been aware that Americans do not know what game should be called Football; hint it is the one in which most of the play involves kicking the ball and not throwing it.

Today, I learnt that when it comes to the aforementioned sport Americans are unsure on what day it is. It is Saturday and CBS are showing a live game as Thursday Night Football. In England Thursday comes before Friday and the say after.

Published in: on 20 December, 2014 at 18:37  Leave a Comment  

Health Food

There does seem to be an impression held by other nationalities that Americans like unhealthy food.

I cannot think why


Published in: on 14 December, 2014 at 14:12  Leave a Comment  

Watching An Entire Genre

There are some genres of movies of which it would be nigh impossible to watch all of the examples of that genre. Looking on IMDb for the keyword “vampire” returns 2102 titles; far too many to watch them all (and it would mean watching the Twilight Saga). 

Last night, I did watch the final movie in a very specific genre – “Films about teams from the SF East Bay who have record winning streaks”. There are 2100 less movies in this genre than IMDb’s vampire count. I have seen Moneyball, a film about the Oakland A’s 20 game streak on a couple of occasions. Last night, I saw When the Game Stands Tall, that tells the story of De La Salle High School in Concord, who had a 151 game winning streak – the longest in American Football. The film is less about the streak than it is a story about being a team.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an entire genre in one night. I can now say that I have seen every full length film shot in Saudi Arabia. This is a genre with a single entry, albeit a gem with real emotional heft; Wadjda.

Published in: on 14 December, 2014 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

Howdy Part 2

I wrote a few weeks back that I had been wearing the cowboy boots my wife had purchased for her Summer party. On Sunday, I took the next step and bought a pair of new boots. They were not expensive as boots go, but they are the priciest footwear that I own. I now have black boots as well as brown boots.

Published in: on 2 November, 2014 at 19:04  Leave a Comment  

The Freeways

I have been in the US for over eight years. I have retained my lack of accent and continue to use English idioms and pronunciations; very few Americanisms have crept into speech. There is one linguistic tic that I picked up early and oddly marks me out as non-local almost as much as my lack of accent.

When I talk about a freeway I say “I drove on The Five”. The addition of the definite article to the freeway number is Southern Californian habit that is not used up in the Northern half of the state. A local would say “I drove on Five”, or possibly “I drove on i-Five”. A former colleague, unaware that I had arrived in The Bay Area from Los Angeles, expressed surprise at my use of the definite freeway article. Once I explained the six months spent living close to The Ten, she understood

Published in: on 16 October, 2014 at 20:16  Leave a Comment  

California Pleasure

Seven years ago my wife gave me one of the first iPhones as an anniversary presents. I took her to Calistoga and we tasted Luna Sangoviese for the first time.

This weekend, my wife bought me an iPhone 6 for our anniversary ; the fourth Apple phone I have owned. It is odd; a larger screen, yet so much slimmer and lighter than my old 4s, that it seems smaller. It is a beautiful piece of hardware; another example of how Apple’s control of software and hardware make each generation better than the previous one.

In a beautiful example of symmetry, we are going to Luna pick-up party this weekend.

Great phones and great wine; both made in California.

Published in: on 19 September, 2014 at 23:21  Leave a Comment  

Sparkling Weekend

On Saturday evening we celebrated a friend’s birthday. A group met at our house before heading out to Lucy’s in Yountville. The birthday girl brought two splits of Veuve Clicquot, but not being a champagne drinker she had forgotten to chill them. Shockingly, we had a bottle of sparkling wine already chilled in the fridge. It was Chandon’s basic Brut from Napa.

We put the real stuff in the fridge and it was ready when we returned from our meal. Both half bottles were consumed as we played Cards Against Humanity.

On Sunday my wife and I drove up to Mumm North of Yountville. We each had a tasting flight, we were in agreement in the wines we liked; the Santana Brut, Mumm Reserve, and a sparkling Pint Noir.

We headed home via Gloria Ferrer, which is a beautiful location, but neither of us were impressed with any of the fizzes we tried.

Back at home we opened a bottle of fizz that needed two sips before it was used to clean out the garbage disposal. Fortunately, we had an ordinary, but very drinkable Trader Joes sparkling wine already chilled. My wife is sipping it neat, whilst in order to get into the writing mindset, I am drinking the Ernest Hemingway created Death in the Afternoon; Absinthe and Champagne.

The winner for the weekend is Veuve Clicquot, with the Mumm Pinot Noir in the silver medal position.

Published in: on 7 September, 2014 at 16:53  Leave a Comment  


I have been in the United States for eight years. In that time my lack of accent has remained. I still know that the letter ‘u’ should be used more often than is the habit here, and I know that ‘r’ goes before ‘e’ in the centre of all theatres. I pronounce route the same way I do root, and beta sounds more like ‘beat her’ than ‘bay tar’.

However, there are signs of corruption. I have, as readers of the blog will know, fallen in love with America’s pastime; the game of baseball. Now, after my wife threw a Western themed Summer party, my choice of footwear had taken a local turn. Ever since that event, I have been wearing the cowboy boots that my wife bought from E-Bay, even though they are not a perfect fit. We are now talking about buying a proper pair of boots. Combined with a Western style belt and hat, I am almost a convincing inhabitant of the Western US, until I speak. “Howdy” sounds as wrong coming from my lips as “Gnarly, dude”

Published in: on 1 September, 2014 at 6:35  Comments (1)  

Post the Quake

In the early hours of Sunday August 24, we were woken as our bedroom rolled as though it was on a ship crossing through a storm. This was a level 6 earthquake centred in American Canyon, which is about 7 miles from our house. It was the largest quake to hit Northern California in twenty-five years, since the 6.9 in 1989 that collapsed bridges and freeways.

We escaped unscathed, apart from losing several hours sleep. The city of Napa was not so lucky. The downtown took a beating, several wineries lost bottles and barrels.

On Friday, I took the day off work to drive my sister-in-law around Napa valley. The vineyards we visited had not taken much damage, apart from a cracked fountain at Artesa.

The Napa visit was an introduction for a first-timer, so we went to three tried and tested locations. We started with a glass of champagne on the terrace at Domaine Carneros, before enjoying the modern art and excellent wines of Artesa. We browsed the art shops in Yountville, before eating at R+D Kitchen, which was a recommendation from a work colleague.

We finished at the ultimate tourist winery, the centuries old Italian Castello d’Amorosa that was built in 2007. We did the grand tour, which finishes with a very generous tasting of wine. The castle was so far North in the valley, that it’s loss was a total of two bottles.

Published in: on 31 August, 2014 at 18:15  Comments (1)  

Pride of Anglia

Norwich City are no longer in the Premier League and so all of their games are not live on US TV. There is, however, a channel (bein) that amidst its coverage of French and Spanish football has some English Championship games. This weekend’s game was the East Anglian Derby between Norwich and Ipswich.

I did not watch the game live; 4am on Saturday morning is not a time that I wish to be awake. I also think my shouting and yelping would not be appreciated in the wee small hours.

The last time I saw a game at Ipswich, City were drubbed 5-0. Granted that was over sixteen years ago. Today, it went far better. Norwich won 1-0. Granted last time we played them at their place, it was 5-1 to the Canaries.

Published in: on 23 August, 2014 at 7:51  Leave a Comment