Sun, Fun, Love

I cannot stop watching this video. I fell asleep with it stuck in my head and woke up with the same song in there.

It reminds me of carefree summer days where you have nothing particular to do, but it always turns out awesome.

Thanks to Meg for showing me this. You’re super.

TED


TED is a conference that gathers amazing people from all over the world to give short talks about science, arts, politics, global issues, architecture, music, and just about anything that’s interesting.

It costs $6000 to attend this conference, and up until last year, it was invitation-only. Recently these talks have recently been released to the public on the internet, for FREE.

After watching six presentations I can safely say that these are the most awesome people I’ve ever listened to. Not only are they brilliant individuals, but great communicators as well. They are actively changing our world, in many ways that I didn’t even know about.

Thank you to Aaron, my sister’s husband, for sharing this with me. I could have easily watched one talk and thought “cool, now I’m going to watch some YouTube videos of funny cats.” Aaron challenged me to listen to at least four talks: two of which interest me, and two that don’t at all. I found all four equally enlightening.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.  They are around 15 minutes in length, and fun to watch.  Start by clicking here.

( clicking on “most emailed” in the left-hand column will give you the best ones)

Tecktonik Ironik

Tecktonik is a ridiculous dance style born in the discos of Paris and slowly creeping its way across Europe. Set to minimal electro music, it looks like a cross between hip-hop and glowstick raving. Packs of sixteen year olds gather in city squares to practice their moves, listening to their headphones and swinging their arms around like they’re possessed robots.

It’s the new disco, and everyone loves to hate it. If you want to make a French person laugh, do your best impression of Tecktonik. It’ll get them every time. Just make sure they know you’re joking, or they many never speak to you again.

Detestable as Tecktonik is, it’s undeniably funny to imitate.

 

 

Last weekend, my friend’s roommate Julia decided to make it the theme of her birthday party. We put on our tackiest clothes, spiked up our hair, and did our best impression of Tecktonik kids. These photos could be used as blackmail someday, so I’ll just put them out there now for the world to see.

Our beautiful decorations. Ruby did the letters, Meg and I did the stripe thing. I discovered that my art skills are worse than I thought. I can’t even paint a straight line.

 

Meg and Ruby gettin’ serious.

We could only keep up the Tecktonik thing for so long. After a while we just danced like normal weird kids.

 

It was fun.

Morgan eats snails!

Yes, after five months in France, it was time for an appointment with l’escargot. Although I am a vegetarian, an opportunity like this couldn’t be missed. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but warmed up to the idea once I saw how fun it was to remove the snails from their sturdy shells. The process involved a special snail clamp and a long, skinny fork.

The taste? Not bad. Not particularly pleasing to my American pallette, but they lacked the intense odor I had expected. They reminded me of clams and oysters, but a bit chewier and without the fishy smell.

Chantal and Gerard, my host parents, were very pleased to have their American eat his first plate of snails. I wonder if they will ever cook up some grenouilles (frogs legs)?

Cook and Book

Cook and Book smashed my concept of what a bookstore should be. I love bookstores, and can easily spends hours in a place like Barnes and Noble. At this Belgian bookshop, I could spend days. Never have I been so intrigued and excited be the store itself, for a moment I forgot what I was there for (to buy Christmas presents).

Cook and Book is divided into nine unique sections, each with it’s own cafe, bar, or restaurant. Every time you enter a new room, you are refreshed by a completely different interior design. Imagine all those “wouldn’t it be cool if…” thoughts came true for decorating; this is the place. Not to mention the food (which I never sampled), has an outstanding reputation.

In this section, the sky is filled with flying books! Well, hanging at least…
I took this picture simply by placing the camera at my waist and pointing it up.

Outside, they celebrated Christmas with even more books. I enjoyed the irony in making a tree out of paper.

Most of the photos I took don’t do Cook and Book justice, check out their website here to get a true feel for the atmosphere.

Radio Soulwax!

A few days before Christmas, Brittany took me to one of the biggest highlights of the musical year: Radio Soulwax. In short, it is a nine hour concert involving some of the biggest names in electro, including the world-renowned Justice.

Soulwax is a Belgian electro-rock group that serves as a landmark in a sea of genre-bending dance music. They played along with about twenty other bands and DJs to make an all night mini-festival. Thousands of people came, so much that they had to change venues at the last minute to accommodate everyone.

There were four different rooms inside the expo center, each able to house a large concert in itself. Each artist was given about an hour for it’s set, and at any given time, you could leave one room and choose from three more to rock out in.

This is Soulwax playing their remixes live. They take popular indie rock songs and mix them to danceable electro, producing pure musical ecstasy. My favorite sets of the night were Soulwax, Boys Noize, and Justice.

The lights were awesome, too. I forget the name of this duo, but they had dancing star wars walkers projected behind them at one point in the set. I cannot believe the amount of energy and creativity crammed into that night, it made nine hours feel like two.

We were there from 9pm to 6am, literally the entire night. We took the train home, it was probably rather strange for the conductors to have their trains full of young people at six in the morning. When we got to Brittany’s house, I had never been so exhausted. Regardless, Brittany and I went and got fresh croissants at the bakery, ate breakfast, and passed out hard.

Even after staying up all night, it’s not easy to go to sleep with a mind full of this:

Click here to see more pictures from Radio Soulwax.

Belgium Part Two

Look at all the little hats! I have no idea who has time to crochet a hat for every smoothie in the fridge.

An Asian Santa giving away free hot wine outside a guitar store in Belgium.

These two guys are cutting a huge block of cheese. There was a little crowd gathered in awe.

This is the view from my room. Brittany lives in a really cool neighborhood that looks a little like a movie set.