Culturally Discombobulated

Category: Mildly diverting

Upon being mistaken for a Bruce

A woman complimented me on my Australian accent today and so I ended up bluffing my way through a five minute conversation about Sydney – it just seemed less awkward than correcting her.

Back to school book selections


There’s some articles I’ve come across recently that state that there’s been 74 school shootings in the US over the last 18 months. With such depressing numbers I’m unsure whether this back to school display at my local Barnes & Noble is intended as darkly satricial or cynically practical.

Sarah Lyall on the British

After reading this article by Sarah Lyall detailing her observations about the British after 18 years living in London, Mrs W. remarked that we’d been away from the UK so long she’d forgotten that the more seemingly idiosyncratic aspects of my personality (penchant for miserablism, constant self-deprecation, etc) were, in fact, cultural and not that unusual back home.

“That’s a relief,” she said, “I had been thinking that it might be time for you to have some therapy, but then I realized you’re just British – no amount of therapy can fix that.”

A cultural catalyst and a means by which to procrastinate.

The Very British Name Generator is, I suppose, a vaguely diverting idea if you’re trying to kill time in the office on a Tuesday afternoon.

Putting my, I guess, “very British name” (whatever that actually means) into it, I got this back.


Tony Wilson, I’m sure he’d have identified as Mancunian first, British second, but I’ll take it.

The circular reasoning of the USPS, or the real reason so few Americans own a passport

2011 figures revealed only 30% of Americans owned a passport, they did not reveal the percentage of people who attempted to submit a passport application and were frustrated by USPS efficiency – something I experienced this week.

Me: “I’d like to submit a passport application for a child. I’ve got all the paperwork here and filled out.”
Postal Worker: “Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment for us to accept that.”
M: “Okay, can I schedule one?”
P: “No, I can’t do that for you.”
M: “Really?”
P: “Yes, only a supervisor can schedule a passport appointment.”
M: “Can you get a supervisor then?”
P: “No, they’re all unavailable.”
M: “All? There’s not a single one of them available?”
P: “Sir, they’re all in a meeting.”
M: “Well, how long will it be until one is available?”
P: Ponders. “It’ll be an indeterminate length of time.”
M: “Indeterminate? So their meetings aren’t for a scheduled amount of time? They just go in there and nobody knows when exactly they’re coming out?”
P: “You’re welcome to wait, sir.”
M: “For how long?”
P: “As I said, indeterminate.”
M: Sighs. “There’s no way you or anyone else can make the appointment for me?
P: “No, it has to be a supervisor?”
M: “Is there any other way of making an appointment?”
P: “I can give you the number of a supervisor and you can call later and make an appointment.”
M: “Great, what’s the number?”
P: “I’ll be honest, sir, I can give you the number but the supervisors never really answer their phones.”
M: “Seriously, you just can’t schedule an appointment for me?”
P: “No, but a supervisor would be happy to.”