How to do an “en passant” capture in chess

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Chess board

Chess board

Every once in a while, I play a game of chess against my computer or iPod. Sometimes I win—sometimes I lose, but the most frustrating thing that happens to me every once in a while is when the iPod does an en passant capture of one of my pawns.

This is frustrating, I think, because I never see it coming. That’s mostly because it’s an obscure move that I never took the time to learn how to do. I learned about it for the first time in elementary school, so I could always identify it when it happened, but I never knew what it was well enough to be able to pull it off myself or anticipate it. So, this week, I finally looked it up.

This is how it works: On its first move, a pawn can advance one rank or two. (Don’t worry—I already knew that.) If a pawn has been advanced two ranks in its first turn, an opposing pawn can capture it by moving diagonally into the space where the first pawn would have been, had it only moved ahead one rank.

Note that this can only be done in the turn immediately following the two-rank move of the first pawn.

According to Wikipedia, this “prevents a pawn from using the two-square move to pass another pawn without the risk of being captured”

This time, I’ll be ready for you, iPod!

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1228,
    title = {How to do an “en passant” capture in chess},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-12,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/12/how-to-do-an-en-passant-capture-in-chess/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "How to do an “en passant” capture in chess" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 12 Feb 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/12/how-to-do-an-en-passant-capture-in-chess/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 12). How to do an “en passant” capture in chess [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/12/how-to-do-an-en-passant-capture-in-chess/

Metro adventure today

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Metro Adventure

Metro Adventure

It’s getting so that you can’t trust the métro any more!

I was trapped at station Lionel-Groulx for a good long time on Wednesday. Me and a few hundred people and one crazy yelling guy. That wasn’t too bad.

Then today, just after I finished TA-ing my first conferences of the semester, a few minutes before 14h this afternoon, I transferred to the orange line at station Lionel-Groulx, and when my metro car was between Vendôme and Place St-Henri, the lights unexpectedly went out, and the train sort of coasted to a stop between the stations.

A voice over the speaker eventually informed us that we would be evacuated.

Below are a couple of videos that I recorded on my iPod. The first is a short one of us getting off the train, and the second is a longish (30 seconds) one of us walking along the métro tunnel toward Vendôme.

When I got there, I just got in a cab and went to station Snowdon, since I didn’t know what bus to take. A nice old lady shared a cab with me, and wouldn’t let me pay for it, so it didn’t cost me a thing!

According to the STM Twitter feed, service is only just now (15h10) gradually resuming.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1136,
    title = {Metro adventure today},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-01-21,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/21/metro-adventure-today/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Metro adventure today" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 21 Jan 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/21/metro-adventure-today/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Jan 21). Metro adventure today [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/21/metro-adventure-today/

Isn’t there a law or something?

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This weekend, I was on a highway near Montréal, and I saw something that I had never seen before, and at first I didn’t recognize. I saw two cars racing. On the highway.

Now I could be wrong about this, and maybe it was in Ontario, but wasn’t there a law recently passed about racing? One with terrible consequences for transgressors, like being shot on sight by the police or something?

Anyway, they didn’t crash and kill us all, so I guess that’s a relatively happy ending to the story, although it would have been better if justice were done upon them somehow.

In somewhat related news, I drove a car with standard transmission this weekend. It wasn’t too bad.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1132,
    title = {Isn’t there a law or something?},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-01-18,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/18/isnt-there-a-law-or-something/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Isn’t there a law or something?" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 18 Jan 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/18/isnt-there-a-law-or-something/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Jan 18). Isn’t there a law or something? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/01/18/isnt-there-a-law-or-something/

Memories of French class

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Téléfrançais - Bonjour, allô, salut!

Téléfrançais – Bonjour, allô, salut!

Does anyone else remember Téléfrançais? It was a children’s programme meant for French-language instruction made in the 1980’s by TVOntario, starring the crime against nature that you see in the picture attached to this post.

I take it as a sign that my French is still at an immature level, that sometimes, after conducting a conversation entirely in French, I walk away feeling very satisfied with myself and humming the Téléfrançais theme song.

The very last Téléfrançais émission that I remember seeing in elementary school ended with a puppet flying an airplane for some reason, and Ananas (the pineapple puppet) and the children were passengers. Les Squelettes were on the wings of the aircraft too, as I recall. At the last moment, the puppet lost control of the airplane and they were about to crash, when the closing credits started to roll over the screen. I never saw the next émission, so as far as I know, that’s how the television programme ended—with the death of all the characters in a fiery airplane disaster. Actually, that wouldn’t be so hard to believe.

There’s an obvious life-lesson to be learned here: Don’t fly in an aircraft where the pilot is a puppet.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-898,
    title = {Memories of French class},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-08-25,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/25/memories-of-french-class/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Memories of French class" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 25 Aug 2010. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/25/memories-of-french-class/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Aug 25). Memories of French class [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/08/25/memories-of-french-class/

Earthquake

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There was an earthquake this week in Montréal. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I did notice it.

The computers provided for my design team are new, but they have trouble sometime. They turn themselves off periodically, and sometimes their fans sound like an aircraft preparing to take off.

So when I saw my computer monitors shaking, my first thought was that it was another problem related to the fans inside my computer. In fact, to test my theory, I started pushing the leg of my desk slightly against the enclosure of my computer, to see if the shaking increased or decreased.

And here’s where it gets weird: For a second, I thought I had established a relationship between them. I nearly called over one of my co-workers to show them that whenever I pressed the leg of my desk against my computer, the whole thing shook enough to make my computer monitors shake.

Then the earthquake ended.

This is what is interesting about what I did: I think I unconsciously selected which observations I would pay attention to, and ignored the ones that didn’t support my theory.

So how do I know I’m not doing the same thing with my earthquake theory, now?

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-766,
    title = {Earthquake},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-06-27,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/06/27/earthquake/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Earthquake" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 27 Jun 2010. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/06/27/earthquake/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Jun 27). Earthquake [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/06/27/earthquake/

Speaking of spiders

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Itsy Bitsy Spider

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Today, a schoolmate and I went to visit the Montréal Botanical Gardens. We went to see the insect exhibit. It was pretty fun, and because we are students, we got in for the cheap rate!

Here is a spider.

I wonder if they have to count the number of creepy-crawlies they have in the insect exhibit every night. The reason I wonder about that is because there was a surprising number of empty enclosures, and it made me wonder what happened to the spiders or scorpions or other creatures that were supposed to be living there. I’ll just double-check the inside of my bag tonight. You know. Just to be on the safe side.

Bonzai tree

Bonzai tree

The outside of the Gardens was mostly covered in snow, but the inside had some wonderful things to see. I’ve always loved bonzai tress, and sometimes secretly wished that I had the patience to grow one myself.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but every once in a while as a child, for some reason, at schools or other such educational institutions, I was shown a video adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book called “The Lorax.” Actually, I assume there’s a book that it’s based on. I’ve never actually seen it in book form.

I'm pretty sure this is a truffula tree

I'm pretty sure this is a truffula tree

I guess I always assumed that there was no such thing as a real truffula tree. And then I saw the tree in the attached photograph in the butterfly exhibit.

As I recall from “The Lorax,” the little boy at the end was given a single truffula seed and told to plant it and care for it, so that truffula trees might grow again. I suppose that little boy succeeded in his task.

But seriously. What is that? Eight points for anyone who can tell me what sort of legit tree it is.

Honeycomb

Honeycomb

The butterfly exhibit was my favourite. They were huge, and they liked eating fruit. The cockroaches were my least favourite. The bees were kind of cool to see as well, but not on the same level as gigantic beautiful butterflies and truffula trees.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-671,
    title = {Speaking of spiders},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-03-7,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Speaking of spiders" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 07 Mar 2010. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Mar 07). Speaking of spiders [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/03/07/speaking-of-spiders/

This works best when you’re over-tired and giddy

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A bottle of ketchup

A bottle of ketchup

Download one of the following attached files (Bounce or Walking), or both. Play on loop, and repeat the following sentence to yourself in a deep voice: “You better eat more ketchup, young man.”

Fun for the whole family.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-598,
    title = {This works best when you’re over-tired and giddy},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-29,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/29/this-works-best-when-youre-over-tired-and-giddy/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "This works best when you’re over-tired and giddy" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 29 Dec 2009. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/29/this-works-best-when-youre-over-tired-and-giddy/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 29). This works best when you’re over-tired and giddy [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/29/this-works-best-when-youre-over-tired-and-giddy/

My bassoon teacher

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My former bassoon teacher

My former bassoon teacher

On Christmas Eve, my former bassoon teacher was featured on the front page of the Beacon Herald, the local newspaper in Stratford.

I remember the giant inflatable penguin, but she seems to have gotten her hands on a bunch of other inflatable decorations since I moved away.

I have a lot of fond memories of bassoon lessons with her. I remember when she taught me to make my own reeds, and the times she would threaten to hit me with knitting needles when I messed up. When I went away to university, she traced the outline of her needles on one page of my orchestral excerpt so that I would remember not to mess up my audition. I also remember the time she smuggled me into the orchestra loft at the Festival Theatre and all the cats that lived with her.

I like to think that much of what I know about teaching I learned from her.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-577,
    title = {My bassoon teacher},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-26,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/26/my-bassoon-teacher/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "My bassoon teacher" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 26 Dec 2009. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/26/my-bassoon-teacher/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 26). My bassoon teacher [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/26/my-bassoon-teacher/

La Gare Centrale

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Montréal's Gare Centrale

Montréal's Gare Centrale

Here is Montréal’s central railway station, all decked with Christmas lights and decorations. When I was there, I overheard some very loud, somewhat creepy laughter from somewhere in the station.

I looked around, and caught the eye of an elderly woman who also heard the laughter and found it disconcerting. We saw each other’s confusion and shared a moment.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-557,
    title = {La Gare Centrale},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-23,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/23/la-gare-centrale/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "La Gare Centrale" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 23 Dec 2009. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/23/la-gare-centrale/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 23). La Gare Centrale [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/23/la-gare-centrale/

Weird to find this in the pages of one of your books

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Eat a hamburger. Do it now.

Eat a hamburger. Do it now.

Pickles was looking through some of the books that we don’t plan to keep, either because we have multiple copies, or because we don’t like the book enough to keep it around forever, and she found this. It’s a post-card sized advertisement for the beef that McDonald’s uses in its hamburgers. She was using it as a bookmark at some point in the past.

This is just weird.

If you can give me a good translation of the Chinese phrase at the bottom of the advertisement, you will be awarded 4 points.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-437,
    title = {Weird to find this in the pages of one of your books},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-09-19,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/09/19/weird-to-find-this-in-the-pages-of-one-of-your-books/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Weird to find this in the pages of one of your books" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 19 Sep 2009. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/09/19/weird-to-find-this-in-the-pages-of-one-of-your-books/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Sep 19). Weird to find this in the pages of one of your books [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/09/19/weird-to-find-this-in-the-pages-of-one-of-your-books/

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