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Cool German words - Zugzwang

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Zugzwang (move compulsion) is a chess term. It is the tactic of taking advantage of the fact that you cannot skip your turn in chess, you are forced to move into a bad position, leading to your defeat. It usually occurs in endgames, which I'm terrible in. Here is the most famous example:

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Black is forced to move from the promotion square, to the white square on 7th row, allowing the white king to move to 7th row and protect to the promotion square and then go on to promote the pawn and win.

It was promoted from a technical chess term to a term used in the real world. Zugzwang might mean if you force someone to act, when it is in their best interest not to act.


Picture of the week - Chinglish

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Usually you see examples of Chinglish as bad translations of Chinese into English. But you can also have the opposite. Here is a word for word translation of English phrases into Chinese. This is probably how I sound like to Chinese speakers, especially as I have not practised for months now...

chinglish




A song for my sister - the song!

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It is done! I recorded and mixed it myself. It has very bad lyrics (basically the first idea that came to mind and rhymed was good enough). The most basic of chord progressions is used (including only I, IV, V and iv) and a melody constructed around the base note of the chords, which is why the melody sounds like something you heard before. The bridge is fun though as are the key changes and I really like the background harmonies, even if it goes strangely "Sound of Music" in parts.

I recorded it with audacity, a program I never used before (it is really easy to use!) in my bedroom. Guitar and voice were recorded together, because I'm lazy and didn't want to deal with 5 tracks (I had three instead, main vocals and rhythm guitar, background vocals and finger picking and second background vocals). Because of this I couldn't use fancy effects on the guitar or voice, so I just cleaned up some background noise and added a reverb from the bridge onward. During the bridge you hear me tapping to count how long to wait for the background vocals to come in. This is the only attempt at keeping the tempo I made, so the whole thing is a bit wonky.

I'm not quitting my day job.




Shojo anime is deep, man!

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I did not expect an exploration of Modernism vs Post-Development theories in an episode of Sakura Quest, but well...







So I guess I actually have been studying the past 20 minutes.


Fun with plastic bags and flash

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I only have my inbuilt flash to work with. That does not mean one cannot get creative. So the other night I got out my camera, some plastic bags and started experimenting. First I took a picture of myself w/o flash setting the white balance to tungsten light. As you can see, my ceiling light makes bad lighting for portraits, my face is in shadow.


With the inbuilt flash alone, there are hard shadows (look under my chin) and reflection from my glasses.Not really a good portrait.


Then I took the white plastic bag, blew it op and put it around the inbuilt flash. Viola, instant diffuser.


My portrait is now much better, the light is softer and more equal



But of course I did not stop there! I got the blue plastic bag and took a picture of it, using it to set custom white balance


Basically I told my camera that the blue of the bag is actually neutral grey, so when I took a picture with the setting everything had a red tinge


Now I set up my camera with the blue plastic bag as a diffuser (it was bigger and thicker than the white one and really hard to blow up)


Now my portrait has normal light while the background is red. Not really interesting with my closet as the background, but a proof of concept for now. I'm going to collect a lot of plastic bags and find a nice spot outside.



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