Thursday, August 31, 2006 


The other thing that me, and loads of other people that read this site, come here searching for is American-type breakfast foods. I found that Waitrose carried Aunt Jemima pancake mix with Sainsbury's, etc, even carrying maple syrup on their shelves. It's all well and good, but during a raging hangover, who wants to cook that noise? I'd like pancakes (not crêpes), waffles (not with ice cream, please for the love of God, not as a desert but as breakfast), French toast (eggy bread?) omelets, and hashbrowns (the kind from shredded fresh potatoes, not deep friend frozen triangles of reconstituted potato-like substance) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Dammit, now I'm hungry.

Any suggestions would be most helpful.

(I've given up on grits and biscuits, I really have. Some things are not meant to be.)

Friday, August 25, 2006 


Wow you guys really love to thrash on Fergie! Good for you.

So I've gone and done a foolish thing. I'm sure almost all bloggers do this post at some time: the I-put-a-reader-counter-on-my-blog post. It's particularly addicting for me, as I am a statistics whore (yea, Freakanomics was like porn for me.)

Now I can tell how people get to my blog and where they come from. I get more American readers than Brits (I always wondered about that) with Switzerland and France next. (Lots of exotic countries too, like Brazil, Peru, and Malta!) You guys are 8 times as likely to use Windows over Macs, and most of you have me bookmarked rather than search engine'd yourselves here.

But the searches are killing me! Absolutely hilarious. The vast majority are "Monica/London/American/blog" or some combination thereof (most of which bring me up first in Google! I'm shocked!) But my random favorites are:

oh fluffy sheep are wonderful
the side of the hallway British people walk on
the 9 scones of henry the arse
robbie williams mohawk

How these people came to me I have no idea.

One thing in particular that draws readers here is the search for certain types of food. The biggest is definitely Mexican food. People are searching for the best, most authentic Mexican food in London, which is notoriously difficult to find here. I haven't been to many places (I am a poor, starving student after all) but joint I haunt is Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden. It came recommended to by a Californian, it's a 15 minute walk from my flat, and they serve the best house margaritas I've ever had: tart, not too sweet, perfectly salty, and extra strong.

So, let's have other Londoners recommend their favorite Mexican as well. Previously people have mentioned the Texas Embassy, Texas Lone Star, Tex-Mex Tapas, and El Panzon (who seems to have taken up to unauthorized advertising on my blog!) Let's not deprive these poor, hungry Americans of proper salsa and burritos any longer!

Update #1:

So I went to Crazy Homies on Westbourne Park Rd last month. Totally delicious! Amazing corn chips, baked fresh, warm and salty. Great salsas, lovely soft tortillas, appropriate beans and cheese, the whole nine.

The only thing, and this was seriously bizarre, was that one of the salsas and my wet burro smacked of cinnamon! Loads and loads of cinnamon. It was the strangest thing. Not bad actually, but I definitely wasn't used to it so I dubbed it inauthentic.

Update #2:

Went to Taqueria in Notting Hill the other weekend, amazing! Not very traditional, I'd say "dressed up" Mexican food, fancy little plates you know, kind of like Mexican tapas. I wasn't over the moon with their house margaritas, but I had enough to get drunk off them, so can't complain. Very good, very fresh, really wonderful place.

Interestingly enough, I guess they are related to Cool Chili, who I am well accustomed with from my days of living next door to Borough Market. They have a stall there, which was the only place for ages that I could find black beans. They always have good stuff.

Friday, August 18, 2006 


Dear Fergie,

Hi, my name's Monica. I don't know very much about you, other than you are a singer/actress. I assume you can read and write, although I imagine you do very little of either since you are a star now, and probably have real important activities to do such as picking out outfits, memorizing song lyrics with dance moves, and holding on to that yummy boyfriend you have managed to snag.

So I get that research probably isn't a big passion of yours. (We can't all be PhD students after all!) However, if it were me releasing my first solo album, and I was shooting the cover of the very first single from that very first album, which is about a bridge as far as I can gather, and I was getting photographed in front of that bridge, I'd sure as hell make sure it was the right damn bridge.

I suppose one could argue that the song is, in fact, about London bridges, i.e. any number of bridges that one can find in London spanning the Thames. But I don't agree, because London Bridge is a proper noun, and you never heard one speak of "New York bridges," etc. So a big thanks from those of us across the pond for continuing the myth that the bridge behind you in the picture actually is London Bridge. As someone who used to live 100 yards from the real London Bridge, I got secret delight from the crestfallen looks on tourists faces when the actual bridge was pointed out to them. "Yes," I'd muse silently, "Americans really are that dumb."

Just a little heads up.

P.S. This song is awful.

Sunday, August 13, 2006 


Don Laoghaire


Dad and Sis at Ladies View




From the Rock of Cashel

Trim Castle

Cliffs of Moher

Thursday, August 03, 2006 

Non sequitur

As I mentioned earlier, my supervisor has left the university. He is still my supervisor however, and is far from absent from my life. I now get phone calls instead of a random appearance followed by, "Monica. Office. Now."

Quite a lot has been happening with my project lately (essentially, either I'm doing something horribly wrong or I'm about to disprove a theory that's about 50 years old. Either way I see a challenge ahead!) and so when he called today I thought that we would have plenty to discuss. About five minutes into the call...

Me: Right. So what I think must be happening is the solvent is interacting with the membrane or the drug is becoming entrapped in the membrane. I'm pretty sure it's the solvent and here's why--
Him: Do you watch Celebrity Love Island?
Me:............. What?

My supervisor is a great hulking lug of a man. He barks orders. He uses the word "fuck" a lot. He plays rugby. He might be the Gordon Ramsey of pharmaceuticals. He is, in other words, not the type of man one would normally associate with a reality TV show that strands C-list celebrities on a Fijian island where they are systematically eliminated over time unless they make out with someone. (I think.)

The British and their reality TV shows. I guess America is the same, but I don't think Survivor matches the intensity of Big Brother UK for nationwide obsession. But America likes to do lots and lots of little reality shows that only last a few weeks and are quickly forgotten. Joe Millionaire and Playing it Straight come to mind. But Big Brother here is absolutely massive (#48) like front-page news massive, and so this series I thought, "what the hell I have a TV and probably enough brain cells to keep up, I'll check it out." I was pretty into it until fortunately I went to Greece and broke the spell. Upon returning I realized that if there's anyone more annoying on this planet than Richard I don't want to know about it and cut myself off cold turkey. Good thing too because I'm pretty sure this BB lasts about four months.

Me:............. What?
Him: Yea, I can't stop watching it, fucking addicted. Need to talk about it.
Me: Oh, just go get an OK! magazine and sort yourself out.

Cool chick

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