Korean Hangul in 20 minutes

If you have never tried to learn another script, anything that you see in a different script looks mysterious, strange and difficult to understand. There are many different kinds of scripts in the world, but few as simple as the Korean Hangul.

Creating Hangul

If you’ve seen the writing systems that look like strange scribbles from the far eastern countries, you probably also come across the Korean writing system known as Hangul. Hangul is actually a proper alphabet that was created rather than developed over time. The story goes that a Korean king named Sejong the Great wanted to promote literacy in Korea, especially among his own soldiers, and thought that the Chinese writing system (called hanzi in Chinese, hanja in Korean) was too complicated and didn’t properly correlate to the way Korean was spoken. He set up a competition for linguists to create a writing system specially designed for Korean, which was to be as simple as possible so that anyone could learn it. There were many scripts that were developed in this competition, and the Hangul we see now was elected the winner of the competition.

Well, if the idea was to make a simple writing system, why does it look so complicated, you may ask. Well it really isn’t complicated at all. You just haven’t tried to learn it yet, and as you know, anything you haven’t tried to learn could either be extremely complicated or very easy to learn. In this case, you just don’t know how easy it is just yet.

Hangul is Easy

I believe that anyone can learn to read and write Hangul in less than an hour, no matter what excuses you may come up with, that you just don’t have a mind for languages, that you are too old, or anything else. I also firmly believe that most people can learn it in 20 minutes or less. How cool wouldn’t it be if you could learn a completely new writing system in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons? Continue reading Korean Hangul in 20 minutes

Tonight we’re off to India!

Finally, we are on our way!! Our bags are packed and we are just waiting for time to pass by, so that we can finally get started on this journey! In just a few hours, we will be off to the airport, and at 06:40 CEST our plane is scheduled to take off. I am getting more and more stoked by the minute by the fact that we are actually going! It hasn’t sunk in properly yet and I don’t have any kind of pre-travel jitters, but that is normal. It is going to be so exciting to see India, all the people, the colours, the food and culture. This is going to be the best trip ever!

This is going to be a trip full of firsts, and I’m looking forward to every single bit of it. I have been practicing taking videos and I feel more confident than ever that I’ll be able to do a good job documenting everything, but only time will tell how much I’m actually going to be able to record. I hope to be able to post the first travel update already on Saturday, as we are going to be traveling the whole Friday long. Also, because I love languages and am learning Hindi, I am really looking forward to practicing and improving my Hindi as well! I expect to be able to comprehend and especially speak Hindi better after this trip.

To all you people who follow this trip; Please comment on what we write and upload. Share your opinions about what we see and hear. Seeing your comments will be like getting a letter from home, letting us know that you are sharing this experience with us. We are going to have tons of fun, and knowing that you in a way share that with us, even while we are in India is really exciting! So let’s enjoy this trip together. Love you all!

Weekend on the Boat and Learning to Film Update

Last weekend, Mehek, my parents and I spent some time on the boat, and in preparation for my trip to India, I recorded a few clips every day just to get used to using my camera and things like that. I have learned a few new features that my phone has. Among other things that I can use the volume buttons to zoom, which I didn’t during this trip, but this feature might come in handy.

The things I have learned so far are:

  1. I need to have a clear idea of what it is that I want to film. The better I know what will come up, and when it will end, the better videos I can make.
  2. Every video must have a start, middle and a finish.
  3. Audio quality is much more important than you might think at first.
  4. Zooming around, tilting and panning should not be overused for simple projects.

So, I’ve made up my mind that I will, while still being flexible, take a short clip before the day starts out and talk a little bit about what I’m expecting from the day, then film some during the events happen. This of course will be completely spontaneous and I have no idea how much of this kind of video I will shoot. And then in the end of the day, I will recap what has happened, include some photos and then try to edit it all up and upload it.

So far I haven’t settled for any computer-based editing program. I have downloaded a trial version of Adobe After Effects, so I will try that out a bit, but I’m still not sure if I’m going to bring the computer with me or not. I am leaning towards bringing it, since I want to be able to free up space on my phone, and it would be handy to be able to edit the video a little bit better than I can on the phone. The videos I have made so far have been completely edited on the phone though, and I’m pretty happy with the result.

Regarding a tripod, I still haven’t found one to buy, but I am still on the lookout. If I can’t find one here in Sweden, I might buy one when I am in India, or make one myself. I have seen a few tutorials for how to make one, and it doesn’t look all too complicated. Not sure how much time it would take though.

I am still learning a lot when it comes to shooting video and everything surrounding that. And I’m looking forward to the trip more than anything else right now. It will be the best trip ever, I’m sure of that. But for now, here’s the video from the weekend:

A little heads up: At roughly 3:50 the audio is pretty terrible, so you might want to either turn off the audio or lower it down a lot. That section of the clip will last for about 30 seconds.

Learning to make short films

To prepare for my trip to India, I have started learning about making vacation films, as I want to be able to remember as much of it as possible, as well as share it with everybody back home. In my opinion, video is one of the best ways to remember things by. It not only includes images, but also sounds and other things that can trigger your memory. And in this day and age, it’s not really that hard to shoot video, anywhere at any time. But, the challenge is to do it well, so that it will be enjoyed. And I am a complete beginner when it comes to image composition, writing outlines and filming serious projects, except for what I learned back in my Multimedia classes. I have always been interested in videomaking though, so this is a great first project to embark on.

Especially one blog got me really hooked on the thought of making my own vacation videos, and that is the RTWblog No Baggage Challenge. I myself don’t intend to travel without any luggage at all, but I don’t plan to bring too much with me either. Perhaps I will bring a ton of stuff back home, but that’s another story. Anyway, this blog really got me thinking that perhaps I can make an awesome video-log of when I’m out traveling too.

I will try to learn as much as possible about how to make good videos before I leave, and share it with you guys, but please do share any and all tips you have for me as well. I am, after all, a beginner when it comes to videomaking. Best practices as well as things not to do are always useful to know. I expect to learn a lot both before I go and while I’m actually in India. But most of all, I want to share my experiences with you.

So, where do I start?I have read a few blogposts about how to make a good vacation video, but somehow I don’t really feel too confident about my abilities yet. I made a short video after work, eating pizza downtown with my parents and girlfriend, but I feel like I need to really up my level for the project to be interesting enough to follow as well as follow through with.

The equipment that I’m planning to use is actually only my cameraphone, the Samsung Galaxy S2. I know, it’s not the best choice in the world, but I don’t have a DSLR, SLR camera or a dedicated video camera. I am thinking about buying a tripod and/or a shoulder support for the camera, but I am not sure what to get, or if I even should, on this first trip. I am thinking that I might use this trip as a learning experience for future vacation videos as well, and that I by next vacation will have bought better gear. I really want to get a good HD videocamera, a dedicated external microphone for optimal audio and some kind of support, so that I will be able to shoot better and more stable video.

Let me know what you think, or if you have suggestions to what I should buy. I am not going to give the videomaking part too big a budget for this trip, but please shoot any suggestions you have my way, even if I won’t buy some things until the next trip. I will also continue learning, so let’s hope for the best.

Returned with new music!

It has been a long long time since I last wrote anything on my webpage, but rest assured that I haven’t just been lazy. Granted I haven’t written any of the promised Actionable posts I have said I would write, but they are on their way. I have done most of the research I wanted to do for at least 4-5 posts, so you really have something to look forward to.

More recently I have started writing a hyper-personal mini-blog on my phone, but I’m thinking that I should also write more stuff here too.

I have some plans for this blog that I haven’t implemented yet. For one, I am planning to have a picture gallery with pictures I take randomly. The main reason I will be adding it now is for my trip to India, so that I can share more easily what I see and do over there. I have more ideas I will add later on too, but this is the first and biggest one so far.

Also, yesterday (Saturday 11th June 2011) I went to a Parkour

park with my good friend Daniel, where we were having lots of fun. And today (Sunday 12th June 2011) I picked up my cello for the first time in ages! I had so much fun I must have played for almost 2 hours.

I actually recorded three verses of myself playing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I will upload it here, so you can listen to it too, so please tell me what you think of it in the comments. [edit – I lost the audio file in the move of the site. I will try to upload a new one soon.]

Anyway, now I am going to go out for a walk, so till next time, have an awesome day!!

Progress and Project Update

I guess that it’s about time that I make another progress report, but that’s not all I want to write about on this blog, so I will mention a few more things this time.

When it comes to my training I’m doing really well. I have been sick a few days and missed out on workouts, but I have still been able to increase the weights and reps on almost everything. And I have finally come up with a sort of goal for my workout, other than getting a six-pack. The gym that I’m going to is going to add a lot of new stuff this spring, among other things gymnastics equipment for bodyweight training, and my goal is to be able to handle my body well in that setting also. As in getting a body that isn’t only good at pumping iron or pushing or pulling weights on levers, but getting strong and being able to use my body in ways that I’ve never been able to before. And if everything goes well, I will try out Parkour this summer in a more serious way than I’ve done before.

If you are wondering what the picture has to do with me working out, I am using kettlebells such as these as a warmup exercise. It really gets the pump going, while strengthening both my back muscles and hip flexors as well as almost everything else. It’s an awesome tool! Also I couldn’t find any good pictures of myself working out, so I guess I’ll have to remedy that some time soon. I’m not too sure how popular it would be to bring the camera with me to the gym would be however. For my workout, I’m currently using an 18kg kettlebell.

I have been logging every workout so far in an excel document, and I don’t have any access to any workout program for tracking my workouts, and I don’t really know any good programs or apps for that kind of thing, but so far it has worked out really well for me and I’m happy with what I’ve been able to create. But if anyone knows anything that might be even better, I would surely give it a shot. I probably won’t stop printing my workout schedule for when I go to the gym though. Writing things down on a paper really is pretty easy, and it only takes me 2 minutes to enter everything into excel when I’m done.

I guess it’s also worth mentioning that I now can fully see 4 squares on my abs, with the last two ones coming along nicely, even if they can’t be seen yet.

When it comes to everything else in my life, I guess most things are going along as usual, except that I have more energy and feel restless a lot nowadays. I guess I could “blame” the working out for that. Not that I’m complaining, because I’ve never felt this good in my life.

On a completely different note, me and Mehek have started watching a tv-series called Stargate, after watching the original movie from 1994. We are starting out with SG-1, so we have quite a lot of episodes to look forward to. I was really surprised by the fact that she liked the movie and the series, but I’m really happy about it too. Maybe I can later on (when we’ve seen a few seasons) even get her to watch Star Trek or other geeky series.

Progress with this blog is going slow, and I haven’t really been working with the design at all lately and I have still to make a banner or think up any cool ideas for how I want to change the layout, so I guess that the site will continue looking as it does for now. But if you have any ideas or suggestions for either banners or design, feel free to send links, comments and other fun stuff and I will definitely take a look. Any kind of help is always appreciated.

My other projects that I’m working on have started to take up some time of my thoughts lately also. I’ve gotten a few more ideas that I could do something with on top of that, so I guess life is good.

Regarding the Actionable Series, I will probably be posting something soon, as I have finished reading the 4 Hour Body book (I read it from cover to cover, not just selected chapters as was suggested) and I think I understood the most essential parts of it. Tim Ferris is a good author, but sometimes he digresses into stories that hold very little value to me and more than anything just makes the book more difficult to read and understand.

The parts of the book that I will be focusing on is working out and diet. Tim writes a great deal about loosing weight, but I myself am more focused on gaining, but I will try to cover both those aspects. And because Tim himself is not claiming complete validity in his findings, I can’t guarantee that everything will work the way it’s claimed, if at all. But it’s a good start. Tim has many interesting theories and they seem to have worked out well for him, so I guess there is no harm in trying it out on my own as well, while getting the Actionable Series started.

I think I’ve rambled on long enough for this time, but if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know.

Back at it!

After having been lazy for quite some time and not having written anything, but thought about it almost every day, I’m finally back to writing again. Feels pretty good, and if I had not told myself that I could do something else all the time, I probably would have done it sooner.

I have been working out every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the last two weeks, and I’m feeling awesome. I have a competition with my friend Daniel about who’s going to get 6-pack abs first. I have seen signs of the two first squares on my stommach, but he is much more well trained than me, so I’m not sure who is in the lead really, but that doesn’t matter. I am getting stronger by every passing day and I’m feeling awesome. I have a few goals for my workout, which is to get more flexible, straighten out my back (I hunch from having sat at the computer too much), get washboard abs, gain about 10kg and just get generally fit.

It’s a lot more fun to have someone to work out with. Every other time that I’ve started going to the gym, I’ve done it myself, and that is seriously boring. I am less motivated and I don’t push myself as hard if I’m alone. And I’m also much more prone to just skip it “once” which becomes more and more often and then after a while I quit. So I am really happy that I have someone to work out with.

To keep track of how I’m progressing I have taken a bunch of photographs and measurements, and plan to continue doing so every Monday. This way, I’ll be able to track muscle growth very closely, as well as my weight. I don’t think that I’m going to share everything in detail at least right now, but I’m going to when I reach my goal weight show a form of progress chart. If I’m not too lazy to, that is.

Right now I’m looking forward to another awesome week. A lot has happened in the past two weeks that I’ve been away from the blog, but I’m sure that much more is about to happen. And this time I’ll be trying even harder to be online to write about it.