Friday, May 25, 2012

Jukebox Friday: Urban Trad - Sanomi

As predicted, Belgium did not do very well at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. It was as much as I had expected, but I still think it's unfair that Iris lost to that screaming, vampiric woman with the dreadlocks.

As a shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds of depression now descending upon the Belgians, I offer a flashback to the glory days of their participation at the ESC. The year is 2003, and Urban Trad enter the competition with "Sanomi", a haunting folk song with an electronic beat. It was the first ESC song with lyrics in a constructed language, which prompted the following comment from BBC's Terry Wogan: "Three languages to choose from and they had to make up their own."

Europe obviously didn't care about the lyrical content, because "Sanomi" soared to the highest score of any Belgian song since Sandra Kim's "J'aime La Vie", which won the Contest in 1986. Unfortunately, 2003 was the year of another great song, Sertab Erener's "Everyway That I Can", arguably the best ESC performance in history. When the points had been dealt and the dust had settled, "Sanomi" was still two points behind the Turkish winner.

Today I celebrate 2003's runner-up: "Sanomi", a song too awesome for words. That is, words in any comprehensible language. Lyrics below the video.



Sanomi Helé
Manilla Keranu
Aliya Irema Nia Lago
Ture Madilé

Sanomi Helé
Manilla Keranu
Aliya Irema Nia Madilé

Kenatu Narilé
Lakenatu Narilé
Pasema Niamo Ture Saro
Delamaoré

Kenatu Narilé
Lakenatu Narilé
Pasema Niamo Ture Sanisi

Sanomi Helé
Manilla Keranu
Aliya Irema Nia Lago
Ture Madilé

Sanomi Helé
Manilla Keranu
Aliya Irema Nia Madilé

Kenatu Narilé
Lakenatu Narilé
Pasema Niamo Ture Saro
Delamaoré

Kenatu Narilé
Lakenatu Narilé
Pasema Niamo Ture Sanisi

Léala Léala Sorimana Sorimana
Léala Léala Sorimanao
Léala Léala Sorimana Sorimana
Léala Léala Sorimana Soléo

Sanomi Helé
Manilla Keranu
Aliya Irema Nia Madilé

Léala Léala Sorimana Sorimana
Léala Léala Sorimanao
Léala Léala Sorimana Sorimana

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy birthday Norway!

Today it's been 198 years since Norway got its Constitution, ending its 278 years as a de facto tributary to Denmark. I plan to celebrate with a traditional Norwegian dish: spaghetti bolognese. Happy Constitution Day!

Photo: Our Vie Sammen

Friday, May 4, 2012

SlimKicker, a fitness app for the future

I've been a member of this great new site called SlimKicker for a while now, and I really want to tell you how great it is. I've been racking my brain for the past two weeks trying to find a way to tell you about it while keeping on topic. On topic as in, at least a little bit Belgium-related. I think I've finally cracked it.

(Home shopping voice)

Are you tired of gaining excess weight from waffles, chocolate, Trappist beer and French fries? Do you want to get into shape the fun way?

This is a Belgian Blue bull.


You could become just as butch as this strapping young animal if you sign up for SlimKicker today. SlimKicker is a free web community that makes health and exercise fun by employing elements from video games. For every meal or training session you log to your personal profile, you earn experience points. As you level up, you unlock rewards of your choosing. You earn extra points by doing "challenges" in categories such as willpower, emotional, nutrition, and fitness. Examples of challenges are "No Snacks After Dinner", "A Salad A Day", and "Sprint Once a Week".

Many people just need a little nudge to get started with changing their lives. Joining a budding community of like-minded people is a great way to get that nudge. On top of that, the site looks great and has an easy-to-use menu system. There's also a mobile app, which I haven't tried because I'm a poor loser with a Nokia 1616.

Just like Tintin, SlimKicker will help anybody in need. However, it is especially suited for gamers, since the concept is modeled after the reward systems used in video games. Experience points are a well-known feature of role-playing games, and the challenges on SlimKicker are similar to XBox Live achievements (except that they mean something). Also, gamers know how fun online co-operation can be. So why not join an online community that will help you get in shape? After all, we don't want to end up like Cartman in "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Or maybe you do? Then I say good luck to you, sir or madam.

Belgian safety group teaches kids how to text safely while driving (video)

That is, they teach them what a stupid idea it is to text while driving.

A driving school in Brussels recently subjected some of their students to a (fake) new road safety measure. Before beginning the day's lesson, the instructor explained to each student that he or she must display an ability to text while driving. The students willingly obliged, and the results are both entertaining and frightening.



The experiment was staged by the Belgian safety group Responsible Young Drivers with the intention of showing that texting while driving is about the most inane thing you could do.

But then again, you know how to do it safely, don't you?


[Story: Responsible Young Drivers via Neatorama via dvice.com]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2 years and counting

It's been two years and three days since I left Norway and moved to Belgium with my then-fiance Bika. Aside from my better half, all I brought with me was a head full of dreams and a suitcase stuffed with clothes, books, and papers.

Having left so much behind, I went looking for what this new and exciting country had to offer. I was not disappointed. I've met some wonderful people, including my wife's friends and family. I've discovered some wonderful places, both new and old, from the cobbled streets of medieval Bruges to the steel-and-glass facades of Brussels' European Quarter. I've learned a wonderful new language. I've attended a Flemish university and have seen how Belgium prepares its maturing generation to rule the future. I've had the privilege of following the 2010 election drama from up close. I've been robbed twice. I've eaten more chocolates, waffles and fries than I care to remember. And I've gotten married to the woman I love.

This is a thanks to everyone who's splashed the past 734 days of my life with brilliance and excitement. If you like what you've seen so far, stick around for the next adventure.