exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

maru v. zeke

by Jen at 8:35 pm on 28.04.2009 | 1 Comment
filed under: eclectica, zeke the freak

i’m in love with maru the cat. mostly because he does all the same kinds of silly things zeke does, but that i can never seem to capture on camera.

here are a few classic maru videos.

zeke also likes to hop into the recycling container

or any empty box

and hide under the covers.

he’s not as cute as maru though )

1 Comment »

clearly no nba expansion teams in the future then

by Jen at 8:05 pm on 17.02.2009 | 1 Comment
filed under: eclectica, this sporting life

anyone else notice what’s wrong with this advert?

hoops ad

yes, that’s right – they’re implying that you jump through basketball hoops. which makes no sense whatsoever. and then you realise that in a nation which knows less about basketball than probably any other american sport, it’s probably not so weird that it went unnoticed.

i think what they meant was something more along the lines of this:

flaming hoops

some days i feel like a stranger in a strange land.

1 Comment »

a walking cliché

by Jen at 6:24 pm on 16.02.2009 | 8 Comments
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

walking down the pavement today, not paying much attention…

i did, in fact, slip on a banana peel.


sugar lumps

by Jen at 12:43 pm on 31.01.2009 | 1 Comment
filed under: eclectica

*this* is why i love flight of the conchords.

We see ya girls checkin’ out our trunks. We see you girls checkin’ out the front of our trunks. We see you girls lookin’ at our junk, then checkin’ out our rumps, then back to our sugar lumps.

sadly, “my humps” is still more ridiculous than this parody! but the homage to the beastie boys is priceless…

1 Comment »


by Jen at 9:22 pm on 19.01.2009 | 3 Comments
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

the brilliance that is flight of the conchords is back.

life has meaning once again.


file under: inane

by Jen at 9:33 pm on 6.12.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica

ran across not one, but *two* of the most hilariously useless products ever invented today (and considering we live in a world where there are automatic banana peelers, that’s saying something!) and had to share.

first up:  the speedfit treadmobil.  a treadmill which you use outdoors.  instead of… running.

and following close behind:  the snuggie.  a blanket…with arms. (thanks amy!)

consider the gift of comedy my early christmas present to you! )



by Jen at 9:41 pm on 12.11.2008 | 1 Comment
filed under: eclectica

i’m back from my lovely holiday – aside from a hellish journey home, it was wonderful seeing my family and friends and witnessing history being made. i’m still getting the pictures together, but in the meantime i’ve been meme-tagged not once, but twice! so i’d better play along.

The rules:

1. List the last 10 commenters* on your blog.

2. If you’re on the list, you’re tagged.

The list:

1. thomas foolery – cat: cannot open food in tins

2. strawberry – potential and expectations

3. tabitha – gramercy riff

4. nikoline – grand crossing

5. the vol abroad

6. amity – noble savage

7. charlotte – charlotte’s web

8. sarah – verisimilitude

9. nicole – nicole in london

10. erin – undefeated army of one

Now for the questions:

1. What’s your favourite post from number 3’s blog?

i love all the travel posts from tabitha’s blog – i’m so envious!

2. Has number 10 taken any pictures that moved you?

this pic is absolutely gorgeous and really captures a child’s spirit.

3. Does number 6 reply to comments on his/her blog?

yes, amity is very good about that – which is prolly why she gets way more comments than me )

4. Which part of blogland is number 2 from?

strawberry is both a mommy blogger, and a fellow expat, and writes eloquently about both.

5. If you could give one piece of advice to number 7, what would it be?

share more of your novel!

6. Have you ever tried something from number 9’s blog?

nicole knows all the best pubs, and her cooking posts always sound so yummy – i must try one of her recipes soon!

7. Has number 1 blogged something that inspired you?

tf and i share the same passionate stance against the invasions of personal privacy that seem to crop up nearly daily.

8. How often do you comment on number 4’s blog?

pretty frequently. i love her contemplative outlook.

9. Do you wait for number 8 to post excitedly?

sarah is a staple on my rss reader, so i’m really glad she’s doing nablopomo again this year!

10. How did number 5’s blog change your life?

the vol abroad has opened my eyes to the hidden gems in our shared neighbourhood – including the cemetaries and good polish food )

*excepting those who commented and don’t have a blog or were already mentioned above

1 Comment »

everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy

by Jen at 7:49 pm on 28.10.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica

i must be getting old, because this made me laugh like nothing…



by Jen at 9:28 pm on 9.10.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

US rock band the Foo Fighters have told John McCain to stop using song My Hero in his presidential campaign, saying it “tarnishes” the track.

The band said it had been “appropriated without our knowledge”.

The band said in a statement: “The saddest thing about this is that My Hero was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential.

“To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”

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current addictions

by Jen at 10:00 pm on 7.10.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica

Amity tagged me for this meme, and I thought it’d be fun to play along.


* Post at least five current addictions (with some details, please).
* Mention the person who started this meme (Being Brazen) and also the person who just tagged you – amity.
* Type your post with the heading “Current addictions”.
* Tag at least two people and pass on the above rules.

1. baked potatoes (or, to be very british, “jacket potatoes”).


they’re hot, hearty, easy and have limitless possibilities. my current fave topping is smoked salmon and greek yogurt. my second topping of choice is a bit of cream cheese and some capers. my favourite part of the entire thing though, is the delectable crispy skin, with a melted bit of butter and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. i love making baked potatoes for an easy dinner, particularly because j *doesn’t eat his skins*, and lets me snag the empty leftovers off his plate. mmmm, twice the skins. he doesn’t realise what he’s missing.

2. sweats


there’s nothing better than coming in from the cold, wet outdoors, and getting into a pair of dry cozy sweats to lounge. nothing. i come home, and the first thing i do is change clothes. yes, i know it’s terribly sad. but damn, it’s comfortable.

3. my beloved red sox


they’re back in the playoffs, made it through the first round of the alds, going up against tampa bay for the american league championship and a ticket back to the world series as defending champions. i am preparing for my well-worn expat playoff routine: come home, eat, go to bed as early as possible, wake up for 1 am, chug red bull and watch baseball until 4am, head back to bed until 6 am. that’s more than simple dedication – that’s addiction.

4. running


okay, maybe not addicted to it, but definitely preoccupied by it. i do enjoy running a lot, but there comes a time during any training schedule when you’re just sick and tired of it. i’m at that point. yet still, i have to run, and so i run. my race is on sunday, and it should be fun – but i’ll be glad when i can slack off a bit.

5. yoga


this i *am* addicted to. to the point where i’m annoyed that my running is getting in the way of my yoga, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both (except on weekends). i’ve been doing this for at least an hour a day, 5 days a week, for seven months now, and am still excited by it. i never could have predicted just how much i enjoy it, but i have no intention of stopping any time soon.

i’m tagging nikoline and sarah - but no pressure…


this one is for k, with love

by Jen at 8:56 pm on 6.09.2008Comments Off
filed under: eclectica

heavy metal band names

(i must be hanging around him way too much, as i actually recognise some of these!)

heavy metal band names

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so bad, it’s so, so good

by Jen at 7:18 pm on 15.08.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica

someone turned me on to this website today, and i haven’t stopped laughing since:

cake wrecks.

grossly inappropriate cake themes? check.
misspellings and wildly random quotation marks? check.
haphazard use of icing and airbrushes? check.

here’s a teaser:




40 words

by Jen at 6:54 pm on 22.07.2008Comments Off
filed under: eclectica

seen over at the noble savage, answer forty questions with just a single word.

Where is your cell phone? bag
Your significant other? smokin’
Your hair? tired
Your mother? missed
Your father? crazy
Your favorite time of day? evening
Your dream last night? forgotten
Your favourite drink? fizzy
Your dream goal? doctorate
The room you’re in? sunlit
Your ex? kind
Your fear? sharks
Where do you want to be in six years? elsewhere
What are you not? patient
Your favourite meal? delicious
One of your wish list items? sunshine
The last thing you did? yoga
Where you grew up? burbs
What are you wearing? sweats
Your TV is? ugly
Your pets? cute
Your computer? essential
Your life? full
Your mood? quiet
Missing someone? definitely
Your car? imaginary
Something you’re not wearing? shoes
Favorite store? none
Your summer? dreary
Your favourite colour? orange
When is the last time you laughed? today
When is the last time you cried? unknown
Your health? lucky
Your children? furry
Your future? expansive
Your beliefs? immutable
Young or old? youthful
Your image? dependable
Your appearance? quirky
Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? definitively

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the best worst movie title ever

by Jen at 6:47 pm on 15.07.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

gingerdead man 2: the passion of the crust

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mentos, the freshmaker

by Jen at 5:41 pm on 10.07.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica

one of the things i love to do when travelling is try different kinds of sweets. trust me when i tell you this has lead to some pretty bizarre taste sensations. (one hint: don’t buy chocolate in china, a country virtually devoid of dairy.)

right now, i’m eating turkish mentos… and they are without a doubt one of the strangest tasting things i’ve ever encountered.

imagine regular minty mentos. only smoked. yes, they taste like smoke flavoured mints. like eating a mento (is the singular of mentos, “mento”?) and licking an ashtray at the same time.

my first reaction was complete befuddlement, followed quickly by repulsion. never one to admit defeat, they’re growing on me though – i’m almost finished with the pack.

googling “turkish mentos” hasn’t helped determine what the flavour is actually *called*, but it did bring up two very strange videos.


movie meme

by Jen at 9:07 pm on 27.06.2008Comments Off
filed under: eclectica

seen over at the noble savage, apparently these are entertainment weekly’s “100 new classics”. i think the “classic” status is highly debatable, but i’ve bolded the ones i’ve seen. yes, i know i’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen “the sixth sense” )

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)

4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998 )
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

9. Die Hard (1988 )
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)

19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler’s List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998 )
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)

25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988 )
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)

36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988 )

46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)

52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988 )
53. The Truman Show (1998 )
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)

56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)

60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)

65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)

70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)

76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)

83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)

88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)

94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

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it’s the little (mexican) things

by Jen at 4:48 pm on 21.06.2008 | 4 Comments
filed under: eclectica, londonlife

a mate of mine has been having a rough week, so we met up for a drink after work last night. meandering around, we stumbled onto a new place in balham i hadn’t seen before – a mexican cocktail bar! i wasn’t quite sure what a “mexican cocktail bar” comprised at first, and having had my share of truly awful “mexican” food here in london, (and lots of barely passable tex-mex), i was skeptical that there could be anyplace even remotely authentic just down the street from me.

i’m happy to report, it was really good! they don’t do a massive variety (mostly taquitos and tostadas, appetizer and more “snacky” type stuff) which is probably just as well, but what they do was very tasty and was accompanied by many, many authentic mexican beers. my friend and i had a small raft of negra modelos, and they were very reasonably priced for being import.

i didn’t get a chance to check out the margaritas, but that’s okay – it gives me an excuse to go back )


bang on, banksy

by Jen at 4:54 pm on 14.04.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: eclectica, londonlife

encapsulating with one image everything that’s wrong with living in a surveillance society – most notably, that it doesn’t work to stop crime – banksy’s latest artwork is the very definition of irony:


Banksy pulled off an audacious stunt to produce what is believed to be his biggest work yet in central London.

The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera.

Then, during darkness and hidden behind a sheet of polythene, he painted this comment on “big brother” society.

Yesterday the scaffolding gang returned to remove all evidence — again without the camera operator stopping them.

The work, above a Post Office yard in Newman Street near Oxford Circus shows a small boy, watched by a security guard, painting the words: “One nation under CCTV”.

Andrew Newman, 35, a businessman from Dulwich who works locally, said: “It was only on Sunday morning that the Post Offices guys realised what had happened.”

you can see exactly where the cctv camera is in relation to the painting here.


friday funny

by Jen at 6:19 pm on 4.04.2008 | 1 Comment
filed under: eclectica

flickr song chart meme


too sexy

birdhouse in soul

lady lumps

dick in a box

dont cry argentina

friday im in love

two days to sorry

billie jean

1 Comment »

what a fool believes

by Jen at 6:05 pm on 1.04.2008Comments Off
filed under: eclectica

i completely forgot it was april fools’ day until this evening. i sat down and tried to think of a good april fools’ blog post. totally lacking in inspiration, i drew a blank – every idea was either too trite, or unnecessarily cruel.

deep in thought, it suddenly occurred to me, a full 12 hours later, that the news item i saw this morning about flying penguins *probably wasn’t real*.

:: sigh:: never the fooler, always the foolee.

doobie brothers – what a fool believes

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the man who sold the world

by Jen at 7:05 pm on 19.03.2008 | 3 Comments
filed under: eclectica, rant and rage

just wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

kurt converse

kurt cobain converse

kurt cobain

i’m pretty sure kurt would be turning over in his grave.

why are the best parts of my youthful nostalgia always co-opted by the titans of crass commercialism?

seems like all my fondest adolescent memories are destined to refashioned as disposable, faddish tat marketed towards today’s “tweenies” who believe they were born to be the arbiters of cool.

this must be what it feels like to get old.

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