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Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” has spiked interest in chess more than anything in the past 15 years

Interest in chess was in steady decline until the release of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, which as sparked more interest in the game than anything else in 15 years. 

I started Acadiana Chess Club in 2011, and I also had a chess club in high school. We’ve always had a steady group of members in our club, but in general the size of the club has been modest. But after the release of Queens Gambit, we’ve had a surge of people reaching out and asking where we play chess. I hadn’t watched or even heard of The Queen’s Gambit, so I had no idea what was generating all of this interest. When my friend told me about the show, I looked up the release date and cross-referenced it with Google Trends’ report on general interest in chess, and it lined up perfectly. 

This graph of the past 4 years also shows the sharp spike of interest in the game due to the Netflix show.

With this huge increase in interest, the gaming community on Twitch also saw a rise in channels and users willing to stream or watch chess online. This report from Sully Gnome shows how chess has evolved on Twitch over the last 365 days. The chart on the left indicates users who watch chess, while the chart on the right indicates channels that stream chess.

Come play or learn chess with locals at Acadiana Chess Club

So if you’re interested learning or playing chess in a local club, check out our calendar of chess events, or reach out to me to schedule lessons to begin learning chess. You can also become a member of ACC  by filling out the membership form. There are no membership fees and it will help you to connect with other local chess players.

New to chess? Here’s how you get started:

  • Chess.com
    • Chess.com is a great place to start practicing chess. Create an account, and you can start playing games with players of your skill level. Playing rated games will assure that you will eventually be playing evenly matched players.
    • Chess.com also offers daily chess puzzles, drills, and beginner lessons that start with the basics of the game.
    • Be sure to check out our ACC members page so that you can play local Acadians on chess.com
    • Follow Chess.com on Twitch to see live tournaments and games
    • Chess.com will also help you to stay informed on major chess tournaments around the globe, and allow you to watch and analyze live games played by International Masters and Grandmasters.
  • Anna Rudolf
    • Anna Rudolf is a chess grandmaster who regularly streams chess games on Twitch. She’s a great role model for all chess players, especially women.
  • Hikaru Nakamura
    • Hikaru is another chess Grandmaster who is very popular on Twitch!

These stacked photos of birds in flight create a surreal photograph

I took these photos in New Orleans outside the aquarium. We were on our way to the parking lot when I saw these birds. I had been wanting to try this stacked photography on a flock of birds, so I took a few shots. They didn’t come out amazing, but they look somewhat cool. They look over-edited but that was just the effect of stacking them. I liked the mood it gave the photos so I left them as they were.

Acadian-Style Limoncello Family Recipe

Limoncello is a great after-dinner or celebratory drink to break out for special occasions or just to impress company. It’s fairly easy and fun to make.

You’ll just need 10 lemons, a potato peeler, 740mL of Everclear or Vodka, sugar, water, and some good music to keep you company. This will yield [approximately] 0.40 gallons or 1500mL of Limoncello. This is plenty to last you a long time, and to give as gifts in small bottles. You can leave it in the freezer forever until you want it!

There’s only a few steps, and I will cover them in detail. Here’s a synopsis!

  • Peel lemons for lemon zest
  • Infuse lemon zest in Everclear.
  • Create a simple syrup.
  • Mix the lemon zest infused Everclear with your simple syrup.
  • Put it in the freezer, and enjoy!

Ingredients

I’m lucky to have fresh lemons from Pop’s lemon tree, but any bucket of lemons will do! For your alcohol, most recipes use Vodka. But following my grandpas recipe: Use a 750mL bottle of Everclear (95% or 190 proof), same qualifications go for Vodka if you choose that route. As for sugar, any granulated sugar will do, but cane sugar will give it a Cajun flavor that no other sugar can provide. 

  • 10 lemons (for lemon zest)
  • 750mL bottle of Everclear or Vodka (95% or 190 proof)
  • 3 cups of cane sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups of water

Step 1 – Make lemon zest

Using a potato peeler, shave small slivers of the lemon peel just off the surface. Try to avoid scraping any of the white flesh as it will only bring a bitter taste. You can either shave of small, fine pieces of zest, or carve large pieces of skin from the lemon and then remove the white flesh from the bottom of the peeling.

Make lemon zest from all 10 lemons!

Step 2 – Infuse lemon zest into Everclear or Vodka

Infuse your lemon zest in your Everclear for at least 4 days, but up to 3 weeks. It’s best if kept in a sealed container at room temperature. My preference is to allow it to infuse for 10 to 14 days.

 

Step 3 – Concoct a simple syrup

Mix 3 cups of sugar with 3 1/2 cups of water. For a Cajun zing, use cane sugar! 

Bring your water and sugar to a low boil and stir until the sugar grains are fully dissolved. You’ll be left with a delicious simple syrup.

Step 4 – Mix your lemon zest infused Everclear with the simple syrup

Allow time for your simple syrup to cool off to room temperature! You do not want to mix your hot simple syrup with alcohol! Wait for it to cool down!

Once cooled off, begin to add simple syrup to your lemon zest Everclear. For a sweeter limoncello, add more simple syrup. If you add most or all of your simple syrup, you’ll have an approximate 50/50 ratio, which will yield 0.40 gallons or 1500mL of Limoncello.

Tada! You have made limoncello! Keep it stored in sealed containers in your freezer.

Serve your limoncello chilled. A small drinking glass with a sliced lemon or curled lemon peel has a great aesthetic!

 

 

Roasted pumpkin seeds recipe with spooky instructions

It’s that time of year when many of you are making your seasonal pumpkin sacrifices. Now, here’s an unholy recipe to help you feast on it’s flesh.

Step 1
Separate the pumpkin seeds from it’s unholy flesh

Step 2
Carve a face into your sacrifice so that the Lord of Darkness may embrace his soul into the Underworld.

Step 3
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Step 4
Baptize the pumpkin seeds in filtered tap water

Step 5
Spread your seeds on aluminum foil over a cooking tray. 

Step 6
Create a garlic butter with melted butter and garlic powder.

Lather seeds with warm garlic butter.

Step 6
Cover the seeds with Cajun Boy Seasoning!

Mix it around a bit.

Lay another thin layer of that sweet orange Cajun Boy.

 

Step 7
Bake for 10 minutes and stir.


Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5
Eat them, share them, or put them on your favorite grave. I don’t care.


Prologue
Have fun with photography and take some nice spooky photos of your spooky roasted pumpkin seeds!

Special thanks to my friend Becca Cord for providing the recipe! 

Is your business LGBTQ-friendly? You can easily show your support with just a few clicks.

Imagine you’re in a same-sex relationship and looking to get married. You face challenges that heterosexual couples aren’t even aware of. A heterosexual couple can go to any jeweler and expect to be treated like a customer. This is not the case for LGBTQ people. In addition to the headache of finding the right jeweler, they also have to deal with finding a jeweler who is accepting of their lifestyle.

To make this process easier for the LGBTQ community, Google has added a Google Business attribute allowing any business to publicly list themselves as LGBTQ-Friendly, not LGBTQ-friendly, or no response. This is a great feature because it allows LGBTQ couples to sort by businesses that will accommodate them — a plight that most of us will never know.

By default, your business listing will be listed as no response, which will simply show nothing about the topic on your page. But if you’d like to take the initiative to publicly show your support for the LGBTQ community, here’s what you do.

How to add these attributes to your Google Business Listing

Step 1
Go to your Google Business page and manage your listing: https://business.google.com/

Step 2
Click on the Info tab in the left-hand navigation.

Step 3
Click the edit pencil next to the attributes section.

Step 4
Begin typing LGBTQ into the field and look for the LGBTQ Friendly badge to pop up. To activate it for your business, simply click on it. The box should highlight blue and have a check mark for approval. Click Apply to apply your changes.

If your business is not LGBTQ friendly, there’s a setting for you as well! Simply give the LGBTQ Friendly badge another click and you’ll be able to mark yourself as a non LGBTQ friendly business. This will save both parties from wasting their time!

Step 5 (Optional)
Search for additional attributes that reflect the values of your business. Here are a few suggestions to consider: black-owned, women-led, wheelchair accessible, curbside pickup, languages spoken.

There’s likely a lot of Google Attributes that your business is relevant for. Here’s a list of attributes you can review while making changes to your Google listing!

Create content pages or blog posts about these issues

In addition to simply adding these attributes to your Google Business Listing, you can be proactive about voicing your support for your community. Write a blog post or content page voicing your approval and support for your community, showcasing your products and services with the LGBTQ community.

Go on Google and search for LGBTQ-friendly jewelers near me. What you’ll find is a number of jeweler websites that have written copy about their open acceptance of the LGBTQ community and willingness to help a same-sex couple shop for engagement jewelry. In SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content is king. If you want people to know what you’re about, you need to write content pages about it!

Feel free to message me @ hunterltrahan@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments, or leave a comment below!

Summer Stargazing & Astrophotography in Pecan Island, LA

It was clear skies, relatively cool outside for Louisiana, and the moon was at 3% with an early setting time. A great night for stargazing. So we head out to Pecan Island, Louisiana for some night hammocking and astrophotography.

Saw a few shooting stars but failed to capture any on camera. 

This 40 minute exposure was between some giant oak trees I found in a very dark part of the road along the marshy coast. One shot is closer to the true colors, and the other is edited to bring focus on the oak tree.

 

Took some shorter exposure shots of the stars behind these giant trees. Facing the coastal marshes.

A friendly moth came to hang out.

 

praise the dead

 

 

 

 

Praise the dead. Life’s a yawn before the long nap.

Weekend at the family pasture and woodlands

Alone time in nature has the effect of recharging emotions and grounding you to reality. You can absorb some of the calm energy that the natural world emits. A forest is a great monastery. It’s still and silent but you seem to come out of it a lot wiser.

I regularly explore the woods on the family land. I spent this weekend out there and I feel completely revitalized. Found lots of interesting flora, some salamanders, beetles, grubs, spiders, and one snake.

Also managed to total my bike. Apparently riding through uncharted woods is a good way to snap your drivetrain. Mountain bike on the wishlist.