Thursday, June 12, 2008

Moving Time

i'll be posting from Morgangster.tumblr.comfrom now on. woop.

yeah for a new home!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

notes from the laundromat

One of the only places in Juan Les Pins that has free internet is the laundromat a few blocks from our apartment. The song "New Soul" by French artist Yael Naim just came on the radio and it made me feel like writing because in that moment, things made a lot of sense to me.

I'm a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

See I'm a young soul in this very strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout what is true and fake
But why all this hate? try to communicate
Finding trust and love is not always easy to make

I got on the wrong train today and ended up very far from where I wanted to be. Since the next train wasn't coming for about 45 minutes, I took the opportunity to explore a little on my own for the first time on the trip. Here's what I found:

French graffiti is more beautiful, I think, than in America.

If you look genuinely confused, people will go out of their way to help you.

If you look mildly confused, people will assume you know what you're doing and are just choosing to be annoying.

Loneliness doesn't have anything to do with how many people are surrounding you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bonjour from France!

France is awesome! Getting here was quite an adventure, but I feel really accomplished after battling a language barrier and really ridiculously confusing layouts of airports/trains/streets. Customs in Nice were a joke. We serisously just showed them our passports, they stamped it, and we were in France. I kept looking around for someone to ask us some questions or frisk us or spit at us for being American, but they didn’t. No one was begging to help us, though, either. We finally figured out where to go to get our bus tickets to Juan Les Pins, but the ticket counter lady gave us all the wrong tickets and then refused to refund us when we told her they were wrong. The infrastructure for a lot of things, we would soon find out, isn’t really great here. There is no “upper management” to deal with complaints or customer service or anything, so we had to bite the bullet on the really-expensive-wrong-ticket even though I know we asked for the right ticket and she printed the wrong one. Makes me think they might do this to a lot of Americans because they know we can’t argue out of it.
We took a bus to Juan Les Pins, where our apartments are, and hauled all of our luggage down the tiny streets of the town. Everything is so tiny here! The streets are tiny, the shops are tiny, the cars are really realllly tiny… the people aren’t tiny per say but they aren’t fat. Very lean and lanky and tan. Which, to be honest, is really strange because all these people do is drink, smoke and eat bread. No lie. I don’t understand how everyone isn’t 400 billion pounds. I guess it’s from all the walking. The town of Juan Les Pins is exactly what you might expect from a small Mediterranean French town. Our apartment, the Couleours Soleil Residences, is about two blocks from the sea. Right next door is a little café called “Non-Stop Pain Sandwiches” which we still haven’t quite figured out. The food is good, but all I’ve had the nerve to order there so far is a ham and butter sandwich (though in all honesty I didn’t know that was what I was ordering at the time!) It is amazing how many phrases you can pick up pretty quickly just because you’re hungry. I realized pretty soon that if I didn’t learn some French, I was going to starve. But like I said, everyone here eats bread. I thought that was just a French cliché… that people walked around carrying baguettes and yelling “Bonjour!” to everyone, but they really do. I mean, everyone carried bread and is always saying hi. Strange phenomenon.
We discovered the best bread place in town. Actually, Allison, our director, told us about it, but we actually found it by ourselves yesterday. It’s called artisan and I don’t think I’ve ever had a better croissant. The lady who runs it is really nice, and she appreciates us trying to speak French I think. A common trend with the French is that they like to try to guess where you are from when you try to speak to them. They think it’s cute, or something, because they will laugh at you and then tell you where they think you are from. Surprisingly and thankfully, I guess, most people haven’t right off of the bat guessed “American, no?” So far we’ve gotten Italian (weird, right?), English and Dutch. Most people can tell just by looking at us though that we are not French, so that’s kind of nice. They usually give up trying to speak French to us and start speaking other languages until we understand.
But back to the whole “French infrastructure” as Allison calls it. Things just aren’t really efficient here. Cell phones don’t have plans, you just buy minutes and type a code into your phone. They don’t have big companies that run things like that. They also have random holidays when they feel like it. Most everything is closed every Sunday and random Mondays they have “bank holidays” where everyone decides they will take a holiday as well. The French don’t really seem to work that much, either. It is the law that everyone take a break between 12-2 and everyone gets 2 months paid vacation. Also, you can’t fire someone. It takes like 5 years to fire somebody, so some people really don’t care about their jobs. Very strange mentality. We were also told that the doctor and dentist are really, creepily cheap. Apparently some kid last year had to get his appendix out and was in the hospital for a week and it was only 35 euro or something ridiculous. On that note, things are otherwise kind of expensive here for Americans. If the dollar was more equal to the euro, things would be awesome! But the dollar is about .6 euro, so it’s hard to remember that when something costs 3 euro, it’s not 3 dollars. It’s more like 5.50. it’s really easy to forget sometimes.
It’s really nice being so close to the beach. Lots of enjoyable people-watching. The water is waaaay too cold for my liking, but the air is about 70 degrees and it’s really really sunny. Women, especially old women, like to go topless, so that’s a little disturbing and guys of all ages rock the speedo. Yikes.
We went into Cannes yesterday to get a look around before the festival starts. The trains like I briefly mentioned earlier are really confusing. Partly because the schedules are in French, partly because the times are writing in military time, and mostly just because things don’t really make a lot of sense here. My most common thought is “there has GOT to be an easier way to do this!” but really, there isn’t. French things are just complicated. We finally made it to Cannes and looked around, but most places were just getting ready for the festival. Building stages, putting up banners and signs and barricades… the festival starts Wednesday morning. Cannes has the McDonalds that I vowed I would never go into, but seriously it’s the nicest Mcdonalds I’ve ever seen. I didn’t buy anything, simply out of principle, but some of the guys wanted to try mcdonalds’ beer. Yep, they have beer. And apparently it was about what you’d expect from mcdonald’s beer, but they said the burgers were really good and well made. Interesting. They were playing some really funny music inside though, like destiny’s child and the quad city dj’s of “come on ride the train” fame.
A random thought… French guys looove to wear capris. They love them. It’s very strange.
A bunch of us braved the grocery store today… that was an experience. We could not figure out where everyone was getting the shopping carts or baskets so we just carried all of our stuff. The aisles aren’t labeled so you just have to guess where the different items are. Also, this is good to know… they don’t have bags. You have to bring your own. We learned this the hard way, but you can buy the big reusable kind. We also learned this the hard way. But now we know, and it’s good that the French are doing their part to save the environment. We kind of panicked, though, inside the store because things are packaged differently and there aren’t any of our family brands to go by. We bought some bread (we’re adapting so quickly) some nutella, some ham and salami, some soup and some cheese. Seriously that is all I could figure out. I wanted to buy some veggies but the whole contraption looked very complicated so I am going to wait on that one. Also something weird… orange soda here isn’t the orange soda I love from home. It’s more like sparkling orange juice. But let me tell you, it’s better here. I don’t what is in that junk from home, but we are really missing the mark.
In other “French stuff is weird” news… French showers and toilets are bizarre. Toilets have a the flusher on the center in the top and you pull up on it to flush. Showers are designed for you to sit down and they don’t have shower curtains. Things get WET. The whole bathroom gets soaked. And the water pressure is so intense! It hurts. We are managing though! Also, the whole no fitted sheets thing still gets me. I’m so glad I brought my sleeping bag!
We have a big welcome dinner tonight with the whole program and then tomorrow class starts. Then, starting Wednesday, we won’t have class again until after the festival, which ends on the 25th, even though we’ll have assignments to work on! Our classroom is on the top of our residence, in this glass-walled room on the 7th floor. It has a huge terrace around it that we can see the city and the sea and the French Andes. Not too shabby for school!
Well, I am going to see if I can go down to the Laundromat and use the free internet. I’ve been typing this letter in my room on our balcony. Our room faces a really cute little street…

More to come!

Au revoir!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Je t'aime, Cannes!

This weekend I will be in France. Whoa. Take a deep breath, do a happy-dance, and read that again. I will be in France! You better not be dancing because you are glad I'm outta the country for a while (some friend you are). You better be dancing because I can't contain enough dance in my own body to express the joy that is within.

The Cannes Film Festival is a once in lifetime chance. I read some travel books at the bookstore that say the everyday person's (read: non celeb's) chance of getting into the festival is almost zero. "Almost" because, well, I-- along with 24 of my fellow UGAers, will be in attendance. One book said "you have a better chance of winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning, and seeing Big Foot all in the same day than getting into the Festival."

Well dang. Updates from Cannes to come... until then...

Au Revoir!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

when nerds protest

saw this on neatorama and laughed. and then cried because laughing at it meant that i am a big nerd, too.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Planet Party Crashers: Pluto's back with an entourage

I would like to think that our generation's vocal disapproval of the removal of Pluto from the Planets has something to with why our favorite little planet is back. Facebook groups and t-shirts reading "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet" were most definitely a driving force in the return of Pluto.

But news flash: Pluto is back with friends. Yes, Pluto is a "dwarf" planet and he's brought two other dwarfs with him, Ceres and Eris.


Are you kidding me?

There was even a contest to make up a new mnemonic device for remembering the new line-up. The winner: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.

I will never remember this. Never. For the rest of my life, My Very Educated Mother will have just Served Us Nine Pizzas. There will be no magic carpets! No elephants! And absolutely no palaces! Just Pizzas! Nine of them! Served by My Mother! Who happens to be Very Educated!

In response to this growing outrage by all people who have already graduated the 5th grade, I will never consent to these new planets.

Ceres, Eris... You are dead to me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Mama Opens Today!

I have been waiting so long for this moment! Someone pinch me.

Watch the trailer!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

100 Things: Part 2

picking up where I left off... part 2 of my list of 100 things I want to do in my life!

26. sleep every night in a hammock
27. develop photos in a dark room
28. write a novel
29. deep-fry a turkey
30. experience zer0-gravity
31. dance in the rain
32. meet Donald Miller
33. be in a band (or have Poppyseedchicken make it big)
34. live in a yellow house (soon!)
35. build a canoe
36. fall in love
37. perform stand-up comedy for an audience
38. learn how fireworks work
39. ride a unicycle
40. go glacier climbing
41. watch sea turtles lay eggs
42. make crème brûlée
43. see Singing in the Rain on stage
44. work in a bakery
45. learn to make stained-glass things
46. re-learn to play the piano
47. own a cupcake courier
48. blow bubbles off of the Eiffel Tower
49. read the New Testament in Spanish
50. complete a perfect March Madness bracket

stay tuned for the ever elusive 100 Things: Part 3!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

100 Things: Part 1

I've been tinkering with the idea of posting this for a while, and then I read from mightygirl that it was sooo the cool thing to do. Hopping on that bandwagon, here's part one of my list of 100 things I'd like to do before I die.

  1. paint a mural
  2. go barefoot for a year
  3. float in the Dead Sea
  4. share the Gospel in a foreign country
  5. milk a cow
  6. write a play
  7. go to the Cannes Film Festival (soon! so soon!)
  8. smoke hookah ha ha
  9. shave a sheep
  10. work on a ranch out west
  11. own a business and hire all of my friends
  12. make a phone call from a British phone booth (the red ones)
  13. see the northern lights
  14. use my Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country
  15. get paid to be a photographer
  16. witness a total solar eclipse
  17. meet Tina Fey
  18. write thank you notes to my teachers
  19. go a whole week without the computer
  20. catch a fish and cook it for dinner
  21. hike the Appalachian Trail
  22. be the instigator of a massive food fight
  23. zip-line through the forest in Costa Rica
  24. read all of the books on my "Books to Read" list
  25. sit front row at a Sufjan Stevens concert
Part Deux: Coming soon!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Either way, you get your dog back."

I need something like this. Something awesome. Something intriguing. Something that people will look at and laugh and remember.

I need to make business cards for myself for when I go to France this summer. We have to have them to hand around to famous people and bouncers at the Film Festival. Seems pretty weird, I know, but nonetheless, I've gotta do it.

Previous students said they just made stuff up, like they were these famous movie producers or something. Apparently it can help at the festival if you appear to 'be somebody."

Now, while I'm not condoning lying... I do think it would be pretty sweet to have something hilarious on the card. Any suggestions?

Morgan Cogswell.

I'm not sure the French would get that.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

Lamphere showed me Stuff Christians Like, a parody of the blog Stuff White People Like today whilst hanging out in our office (aka the Mac lab at the SLC) today. Yeah, it's funny, but it's also, like, totally true. OMGosh.

But seriously.

While I can sit back and laugh at that blog because of its hilarious social commentary, it also calls my attention to how some people view Christians. It's important to be in the world but not of it. We need our faith to be real and our love for Jesus fervent. If we have a love for Christ flowing through our veins, shouldn't we want others to have it as well? We can't just hang out with our Christian friends in our Christian bubble... doing stuff christians like... and expect change to come about.

Like my dear friend Anne Story says... Until All Have Heard.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

jake and amir

I think I love this guy.

March Madness Video

Friday, April 04, 2008

UGA VISION is becoming clear

The website that I have been toiling away on for the Admissions Department is finally up and running.

And there was much rejoicing.

Of course, there is still much to do. Videos to make, pictures to take, and adventures to be had. But it is a start.

Let me know what you think!!!

UGA Vision

Thursday, April 03, 2008


if you’ve never

punted the butt of a cigar,
you should at some point.

the only downside i can think of
is the black spot it leaves on your boot.

and even that’s not so bad.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hot in Herrre

This is my dream! Seriously, Poppyseed Chicken is the next big thing. Thank you, Lamphere, for sending this to me, and thank you Jenny Owen Youngs for being my hero. Watch the video!