Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy One Year Anniversary.

Exactly one year ago today, I moved from South Florida USA to Surrey, England. March 18th, 2011, I touched down at Heathrow, Terminal 5 with 6 suticases and a massive ambein and Patron hang over. I'll elaborate on the last year of my life shortly. Right now, there is something called "rugby" on the "telly" that I must watch, according to the locals. 

OK, so I won't lie to you- there have been some major adjustments that I had to make in order to settle in England, after 25 years in South Florida. Life in London, otherwise known as "Life without Dunkin Donuts", hasn't been easy. I'm glad they're on ball over here with McDonald's, Burger King and KFC. That's comforting. I'm even okay with the fact that they don't "Supersize" anything. But, hey, since America is known for it's enormous ass-size, and childhood obesity, this isn't a horrible thing. A large soft drink in England, is the size of a small in The States. They don't make fast food places the least bit easy to get to, like in the States. They aren't on every corner, and KFC doesn't have a drive thru. Nor does Starbuck's, I might add. I love that all my friends offer to mail me Dunkin Donuts coffee. That's cute and much appreciated, but there is something about a Dunkin Donuts employee MAKING it for me that makes me miss it most. 

I took notice right away, I mean RIGHT away, like as in the car ride from the airport, that "kebabs" seem to be a VERY big deal here. There IS a kebab place on every corner, sometimes 2 or 3 on a small main street. I rarely see anyone in the day time.  I began understanding that a greasy kebab is the equivalent of a 4am drive-thru run at Taco Bell after a night of clubbing. Gotcha on the kebab thing. I'll pass. 


Another thing I learned is that there are only two Taco Bells within a three hour radius from where I live, and those were in a mall (shopping centre) so there would be no late night Taco Bell runs after clubbing. In fact, there would be no late night clubbing, either. This is because the Tube Stations close and no one wants to take the disgusting "Night Bus" full of drunks, vomit and pee to get home. Most people don't drive into London because, well, quite honestly, there isn't any room for their car in London. I'm not even joking. If there was room, there isn't any parking. Besides, the Tube is efficient. It's not NYC subway shitty, it's a solid 6, which is relatively passable on a cleanliness scale of 1-10. I don't think I'll ever get used to public transportation, or these little chicken nugget cars, or the tiny, narrow streets that are just jammed packed, and lined with parked cars. I'm used to this:

I used to drive the same stretch of straight road for 12 miles to go to work every day for 15 years. It was two lanes, then it opened up into three lanes. Before I left, they were working on making it three and four lanes wide. That's what you do when there are too many cars in your city. You widen roads. Well, then again, our houses didn't sit so close to the street, either. Here, the houses are practically ON the road. If you're lucky enough to have a driveway, the ass end of your nugget car pretty much touches the footpath that butts up to the street. That means people walking by can see you having a bowl of granola and a glass of gin for breakfast everyday, as they walk to the bus stop or Tube Station.

So, life as I knew it- getting in your big, oversized SUV, travelling down open roads, to work, or the store, parking in a massive parking lot, walking into the place, doing what you have to do, walking out to your big ass truck, driving swiftly to your next destination WAS OVER. 

I had to do a LOT more walking. Not JUST walking. Walking briskly, with a purpose, and carrying some kind of shoulder/messenger/backpack of a BAG. Ugh. Wait, wait, it get's better. Can we talk STAIRS?! I have never in my life encountered this many sets of steps and stairs EVER. Every Tube Station is like that scene from "Rocky" when he runs up the monument steps. Yeah, yeah, they have escalators every now & then, but they're so long, you can get carnival nauseaus from them. Then, there are stairs in the "car park", so even if you were lucky enough to drive to the bus/train/tube station, you still aren't catching a break! I'm not shitting you- There are stairs in grocery stores (oh, and p.s- in the grocery store- NO BAGGERS! "Do it yourself, love."), Dr offices, bus stations, train stations, and retail stores ("Bedding? Upstairs, love.") No dilly-dallying, either. Steppers will walk right up your spine if you're going too slow. That's just a little tip in case you plan on visiting. Oh, and every Tube Station smells like pee.

One of my worst experiences was when I had to take the train at 7:30am to be somewhere in London by 10am. I have never been so crammed into anything. It was like wearing spanx MADE OF PEOPLE. There were armpits in noses, and noses in crotches, and feet on top of feet, and ass to ass, back to back, front to front, no eye contact, no words- just breath and germs. A total nightmare. People do this EVERYDAY! I thought I learned my lesson the day we took the train to Twickenham for a England vs Wales rugby match. I felt like the 80,000 people from the stadium were ON the train with me. I now plan accordingly, if I can. Doesn't take long to figure out what you're capable of, as a person and man, I failed that test. 

I don't REALLY have to deal too much with that hustle bustle rat race commuting stuff, so I'm not going to spend hours talking about it. I will tell you, though, even though everyone speaks English here, and it's really cute when Hugh Grant did it in "Notting Hill"- there are still dialects that will knock me for a loop. I was watching a comedian, named John Bishop on the television, doing stand up comedy, and for about 8 minutes, I thought something was completely wrong with my ears. Turns out he's from Liverpool. 


I actually now use the subtitle feature on most of the stand-up comedy DVD's we buy, like for Mickey Flannigan and Sarah Millican. You know what? They're funny! I also love the fact that late night talk/chat shows are WEEKLY here, unlike Jay and Dave. And- here's the best part: the two biggest hosts are flaming homo's! Yeah! Graham Norton and Alan Carr. I love that! 

So, obviously there are few translation hang ups that I thought I'd list for you, so you can see what I'm up against.

U.S. word/phrase                                              England's word/phrase

Shopping cart                                                   Trolley
Candy                                                                Sweetie
Bathroom                                                           Loo
Elevator                                                              Lift
Hello, Thanks, Hi, Bye                                       Cheers
TV/television                                                       Telly
Sneakers                                                            Trainers 
Mini Mart                                                            Newsagents
Money                                                                Quids
Cigarette                                                            Fag
Interstate/Highway                                             Motorway
Street/Road                                                        Dual Carriageway
Fruit Basket                                                       Hamper
Study                                                                  Revise
Painter                                                                Decorator
Cookie                                                                Biscuit
Cord/Cable                                                         Lead
Loser                                                                  Billy-No-Mates
Draino                                                                 Plughole Unblocker
Pacifier                                                               DumDum
Cup of tea                                                          Cuppa
Vacuum                                                              Hoover
Correct                                                                Proper
Cream                                                                 Clotted Cream
"The View"                                                        "Loose Women"
Beach                                                                  Rock Beach
Fish Shop                                                            Chippy
Leftovers                                                             Bubble & Squeak
Tax                                                                       VAT
Drunk                                                                  Pissed
Piss                                                                     Wee
Sex                                                                      Shag
Kiss                                                                     Snog
Hug                                                                     Cutch
Cell                                                                     Mobile
Gas                                                                     Petrol
Fart                                                                      Wind
Wind                                                                    Gale
Diet Pepsi                                                           Diet Coke

There you have it. Some of the many things I've learned with regards to speaking. There is also one gesture that seems to be rather important and that is the "wave". It's not a big bold, arm stretched out, frenzied wave. It's when you're in the car (yes, I'm still getting used to being on the OTHER side of the car, the road...everything). Apparently, drivers here have an unspoken, courteous little lift of a few fingers, that symbolize a slight wave- and this can mean "No, you go," or "Thanks for letting me out," or "I'll wait." 

I've got a handle on the weather, and because I'm actually south of London, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't rain everyday. I've seen some cool fog, yes. But, luckily, I haven't been too dumbstruck by the change in climate. I mean, I'm not wearing flip flops everyday, but if I was, it would be these, because the British sure know how to rock that flag!

The houses are tiny. The things in the houses are tiny. The faucets are tiny. It's like hobbits were the contractors & builders way back then. The toilets flush funny, no reassuring swirl or anything, just a lot of gurgling.  I feel a little bit like Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels, especially when I'm in a car. We've been to bed & breakfasts where I've had to actually duck into doorways, and the beds look like something out of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Takes a lot of getting used to. I never realized how big and massive everything is in The States. Another strange thing with the houses here is that there are no screens on the windows, so in the summer, it's perfectly fine to let flies and bees swoop in for a while, ("Oh. Blimey. Off you go.") and swipe a few times til they head back out.  Sometimes, even now, when I look out the window, it's surreal to me that I live here. It's like it's a pop-up storybook with two perfect pages open. England is everything you hear about it. Historical, and charming (until those damn riots popped up! WTF?!) ...and the people ARE really, seriously crazy about tea. Oh my- have I mentioned that British people start every sentence with "Sorry.."?  I haven't?  Sorry.

A local pub on our main street

 I have learned to love and adore British television. I was completely addicted to "Gavin & Stacey". I had to get used to a "season" here, being 6 or 8 episodes. I have fallen head over heels in love with James Corden & Ruth Jones. I have a renewed appreciation for "Ab Fab" and French & Saunders. I have come close to peeing my pants watching "Miranda" (Miranda Hart) and I'm currently addicted to Ruth Jones' new series "Stella", even though it takes place in Wales, and there is NO learning Welsh-speak. "Where to she go?" and "What's occurin', Presh?" I still love the characters.  Oh, and then there's that...Adele chick.

                                                             Ruth Jones

                                                  Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders

Do I miss my family & friends? Of course. Every single day. But, my wife wouldn't have moved me over here without a stellar international phone plan that works for everyone AND a promise of at least 2 to 3 visits back & forth a year. 

I wouldn't trade anything- not the funny words, shitty smelling Tube stations, tiny streets, congestion charges, stairs & steps or the bad coffee- none of it. You know why? As long as I'm here, I get to be with my wife. 

My view out the window, in the room where I do my writing.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Holy RT on Twitter?!

Oh, how these social networking sites become so completely addictive. Myspace used to consume us, then Facebook kicked their ass and took over, and now Twitter has become the big slutty, black eyeliner, smoking sister to the polite, blonde hair, blue-eyed, well-mannered Facebook. I am perfectly okay with this. I like Facebook, I think it's a good way to keep in touch with your friends & family, and for people to be nosey, at a glance, and feed their need to know what everyone important to them is up to. I'll admit, lately, it seems all anyone does on Facebook is post pictures of food, kids, pets, cartoon funnies, political satire, inspirational quotes and YouTube videos. Fine, fine, I get it. Sometimes it takes a LOT of effort to come up with a witty status update. It's easier just to say " eating an apple while stuck in traffic." Then of course, post a picture of the mile of red brake lights ahead of you. I'm convinced that people don't really give a shit if they get "Likes" or comments. Some do. Some hold actual conversations with 67 posts back & forth with their friends.


I suppose that's exactly the idea of Facebook. Some find it's necessary to let the world know that they are currently "In a relationship" or that they're in a situation that's such a hot mess, it's classified as "It's Complicated". Some love to be sure everyone knows exactly what music they're listening to at all times. Some people feel the need to update their status in conjunction with the day of the week- none more annoying than the "TGIF" celebration that happens EVERY single Friday. Some people use it for shameless, unrelenting, merciless, self promotion like for their businesses, gay indie film, kickstarter projects, short stories, self published novels, internet award nomination or event. Promoters have gone insane with event invitations sending 3 months worth of ladies' nights, dance parties, and drag shows in a matter of days. I get that. I do. I'm guilty of all of it at times. And then...there are the Facebook game players. The Farmville, Cafe World, Gardens of Time, FrontierVille fuckers that send you invites to play with them and help them complete their nerdy, time wasting, worthless challenges. But, my Facebook friends have now taught me how to block those apps, so all in all, I do "like" Facebook, since I've learned how to tweak, shave, and wittle my newsfeed. "Newsfeed". That alone is funny. Let's face's not REALLY news that your second cousin is getting her car washed or that your high school validictorian is listening to Boston's "More Than A Feeling". Is it?

Now I have made my Facebook something that isn't nearly as bad as it was before I absolutely WORSHIPPED the "My Settings" options. My blood pressure is back to normal and I don't hate people nearly as much as I used to. Look, it's clear that once your mother and her friends are friending you on Facebook, something about the concept of cool has changed severely. It becomes one part and one part Family PhotoBucket. Don't get me wrong. I'm okay with it.  It's great to have the opportunity, especially one that fits into our fat-ass-online-all-day lives, to stay in touch. So, yes, I keep it in my "favorite places" and have a look daily, but I needed something more. What were all the cool kids doing? I may be over 40, but my internet life is the average age of about 27.  There had to be something else.


Then I started with Twitter. For some reason, Twitter is just plain and simple fun. it is. It wasn't at all when I first tried to get the hang of it. I had a Twitter app on my phone for nearly 2 years before I ever actually "tweeted" a thing. I would go on, and just read tweets. I'd sip my morning coffee, open the app and just read. At first- It was like deciphering military code. No, really. I would actually sit there and wonder what the hell any of it meant. It wasn't easy. In fact, I would equate it with learning a new language. There were links, twitpics, twitlonger, the @'s, the #FF's, the RT's, the "Twitter Suggests You Follow", the "promoted" tweets, and the DM's.  Dear God, I felt like I needed an adult education night class to learn it. I followed tons of celebrities, like reality idiot  Kim Kardashian, A-lister Alec Baldwin, Chelsea Handler, Bravo Andy & his parade of stupid Housewives, "Namaste & Save the sex slaves" Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher, Kathy Griffin, Chely Wright, Rosie, Ellen, all the lesbian community B list goddesses Cathy DeBuono, Jill Benett, Suzanne Westenhoefer, the LGBT "in the know" gossip sites AfterEllen, Shewired, and some of the more serious news media outlets like Pink News, The Advocate, Out Magazine and Oh, of course TMZ.

After year two of JUST reading the absolutely retarded, useless, empty thoughts of Kim Kardashian, the ridiculously dorky Real Housewife Ramona Singer, the thin-obsessed, money grubber Bethenny Frankel, the bitter, senseless war over nothing between Danielle Staub & Jacqueline Laurita & Dina Manzo, the constant "Look at Me" tweets of Teresa Guidice, the "I just jumped the shark" painful tweets of Dane Cook and Jerry Seinfeld, and the political self absorbed bossypants Alec Baldwin, I decided to start tweeting. Not them...but I figured, it looks like anyone can just say whatever they want here on Twitter, so...why not me? If these morons can keep their follower's attention with the absurd shit they tweet- I'll give it a go. Unlike Facebook, though, none of these turdy celebrities had me wound up, bored, or pissed off. It was just pure info & insight here...some made me snort a chuckle, some went in & out so fast it was deemed "whatever", and some was useful. But, it was the ease in which I could simply "unfollow" if I got fed up, and then just "follow" if I found myself over it and willing to try again. Complete control. I waited for no one to accept anything. It was that simple.

I already had about 200 followers or so from having the internet radio show, and knew most of them. I started off pretty nice. Mostly just pushing the show, or wondering things out loud like "Would it really be that bad to sprinkle a frosted chocolate cake with bacon bits?" Slowly, my following was starting to build. Not by leaps and bounds, mind you. I kept wondering how people, famous or not, got hundreds and thousands of followers.


The early Bethenny Frankel, pre-Forbes list, pre-Skinny Girl, pre best-selling Skinny books, baby or over exposed business woman was actually pretty funny at first, so I tweeted something to her, and she actually replied. I remember thinking- "Oh my God, Bethenny just tweeted me back." I read it 12 times. I think I even told like 9 people at work that day, I was so excited. Bethenny then followed me, which caused about 8 other people to follow me. Heyyyy....I think I'm starting to understand this Twitter stuff! If I get a celebrity to reply to me, all their followers see it and they think, "Hey, she likes so-and-so, too! I'll follow her!" So..the quest began to get celebrities to retweet or reply to me- it was the "coveted RT" I was looking for- a celebrity RT. I knew it wasn't going to be easy with the name @LesbianLounge -it was going to be an uphill battle. The straight stars would be homo-nervous, but I was sure I could get Rosie, Jane Lynch, Kathy Griffin, Ellen, Chely Wright or friggin' PiNK to retweet a funny RT to them or something. Yeah- three years later- none of them have ever retweeted me. Even for a good cause. When I'd get behind something, like a charity or a fundraiser- NOTHING. (wait, wait...Kathy Najimy did retweet an important tweet for me, once!)

Doesn't matter to me anymore, though, because I've found an entirely NEW pack of trendy people, with hundreds of thousands of followers, and who will "RT" and "favorite" my RT,  that I never even knew existed:  the normally anonymous comedy writers of Hollywood. These are the jackholes who write the jokes and scripts for Charlie Sheen, the Modern Family cast, The Middle, Saturday Night Live, Chelsea Handler &  Howard Stern (to name a few) and they are ....the Rock Stars of Twitter. They don't get all cheap with a retweet, they don't think acknowledging something is funny will take anything away from them, they KNOW the feeling of a "favorited" tweet. And the give them, selflessly.

This frustrated, tight-knit, little circle of snarks have found a home on Twitter where they are as celebrated as the stars they write for, and with good cause. I have re-mastered and re-mixed my "Following List" to include such internet asswipes as Eli Braden, Rob Delaney, Dan Maurio, Gary Janetti, Paula Pell, Danny Zucker, Elliot Kalan, Alec Sulkin, Joe Mande and Scott Jacobson.  The level of filth, wit, and hilarity that spews from these people have brightened my day so much more than a retweet of Deepak Chopra from Sting. They warmed my heart like a HOT. NOW. Krispy Kreme donut. It was true, it was like I found my Twitter family. Then, I discovered even more!

I found the tart & tasty SourPatch of comedy- the flea infested, shitbag hotel-dwelling ladies of stand up comedy, the bored housewives, and the passed over, out of work actresses who get cool gigs blogging for super-cool pop culture-with a twist-men's media sites.  That's right- these are the Queens of Twitter (who, by the way- are all friends with the Rock Stars of Twitter, from the above paragraph) We're talking someday LEGENDS of the Twittersphere: Jenny Johnson, Jenny Mollen, Mary Charlene, The Queen_UK, Amy Schumer, Jackie Monahan, Shawn Pelofsky, Kelly Oxford and LisaFarted. These are the type of people that tweet-lob fireballs of steamin' shit right into Kim Kardashian, Chris Brown, and Rick Santorum's faces. These are the ones telling exactly how it is to over 150,000 followers- well over a million if you took combined totals.

Everything from...

Advice: "When a woman wears her jacket tied around her waist, you can be sure she had her period through her pants."

Tasteless, golden nuggets that even make men cringe:  "Just dropped a butt bomb in the trunk of a Ford Taurus."

Perfect husband & wife dialog: "The computer has done to my penmanship what marriage has done to my blowjobmanship." 

Truths between women friends: "I don't get it. What part of 'your baby has blow job lips' sounds like an insult?" 

Learning to take no shit:  "If one of my jokes disappoints you, please @ reply me your address so I can send you an apology note & also a jar of my farts."

and the almighty...

Celebrity Slam:  "I bet it's because everyone has seen you have sex on camera. RT : I have such anxiety when I show up somewhere alone."

Do you see what I see?! Dark, right? Dare I say the "black" comedy is back and right there on Twitter.  Mmm hmm. I know. The sarcasm that drips off Twitter is like nectar from the Gods. By the way, you're WELCOME! No one on Facebook would tell you about this, trust me. It's changed my life.


I've now been on Twitter for a solid 3 years, tweeting for just ONE year. I have over 1,400 followers now, and I have days where I, too, will lob a Twitter-shit at a celebrity if I feel like it. I have days when I give Cat Updates. I do my share of retweeting for causes, friends, things I agree with or something that tickles me, I have days where I post the crankiest things that 140 characters will allow, I do the #FF Friday thing, and yes, I star my Favorites. I feel way more comfortable with myself on Twitter, and with my merry band muff divers, wankers, oddballs, fuggs, smartasses and sarcastic fuckfaces, because I'm NOT friends with half of them, and the amount of wit I find in ONE 140 character tweet is more than I could wish for from any of the other social networking sites. 

Also, I decided that although a celebrity reply or a retweet is sweet indeed, the Real Holy Grail is an RT from that splendid, savory, circle of snark shooters- The Rock Stars and The Queens of Twitter, who work hard for their following, who don't walk onto a soundstage, having had a team of people do hair & make up and writers scripting the funny crap they say to get people to like them. These ARE the actual people who write the funny crap, and in my opinion, save the best stuff for themselves to share. On Twitter.


So, if you don't know their Twitter names- here are most of them (and then some!), the rest you can find thru me @LesbianLounge

These. Are. My. People. (and I'm not shamed to say it.)