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Showing posts with label Meta Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meta Blogging. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Minimally Mentioned Matters and a Mailbox

I have been lately occupied with matters that I wish had not mattered. They aren't matters which are the type of thing I would typically blog about, and I will probably keep things that way. But at least mentioning the matters that I won't mention later serves as a segue for sharing this recent photo of a mailbox in Taipei:

mailbox in Taipei with the label "VERY TOP SECRET"


I wouldn't classify my previously mentioned matters as very top secret. To help reduce any curiosity I may have piqued, I will add that I wouldn't expect them to be especially interesting to most readers.

And I do like the mailbox. Perhaps so will some readers. I don't know if there's anything interesting inside though.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Change of Direction Due to a Graphics Card

Four nights ago in Zhongshan I was trying to learn a little bit about a practice which ties together astrology and plastic surgery. But before I could decide whether to mention it in a post, my laptop's screen suddenly displayed a peculiar pattern. And that pattern remained fixed. Not good at all. I mean the fixed pattern wasn't good, though I haven't been convinced astrology-based plastic surgery is a great thing.

Based on previous experiences, I strongly suspected there was a hardware issue with my graphics card. Also based on previous experiences, I knew that if this was true I would need to replace the entire motherboard since the graphics card is integrated with it (wonderful). And also based on previous experiences, I expected that unlike the previous two times the graphics card died in this laptop, the replacement would no longer be covered by a plan which had been extended due to known issues with the graphics card. It was possible the cost of replacing the motherboard would be high enough that buying a new laptop would be more sensible.

Dealing with all of this in Zhongshan was definitely not on the table. And my next destination was not ideal either. Fortunately, a very good location to resolve my problem wasn't too far away, though in another direction. A functioning laptop is a bit of a priority for me so . . . plans changed. And after a 3.5 hour bus ride (including passing through an immigration control point), I found myself in Hong Kong where I have been the past several days.

All went mostly as expected. Yup, it was the graphics card. I now have a new motherboard — incredibly my fourth and probably the last for this laptop. Partly due to a significant discount, it didn't cost as much as I had expected.

Anyway, the period of time my laptop was non-usable explains the recent silence here. More posts soon . . . 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Message on the Metro

young woman wearing a jacket with "SAY SOMETHING" on the back


A recent ride on the Shanghai metro reminded me it would be a good time to write and post more.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The U.S. Election, China, and Blogging

I have been asked about the reaction in China to the recent U.S. presidential election. I point people towards "What the Chinese State Thinks About President Trump" on China Digital Times, in part because it refers to a number of relevant pieces.

There is much value in understanding people's perspective on the U.S. election, and it is rather relevant to some of my interests. But I have not dedicated much time asking people in China about the election, mostly because after spending so much of my own time on it, I wanted to focus on other things when "out in the field" — yes, even including Halloween pizzas.

And I saw reasons to focus on other topics here. For example, I remembered readers back in 2012 telling me they appreciated having a place to get away from election news, commentary, and discussion. Elections are important, but so is relative sanity. Had China come up in the election in a way where I thought I could add something to what was already out there, I would have. Overall, I figured my 1 or 2 cents to the world would be better spent focused on things more closely related to my current explorations in China.

The election's effect on posts here was mostly in reducing their numbers or depth. Admittedly the election absorbed a significant portion of my mental energy and time, perhaps too much in respect to what I could or did contribute and how much it could influence that — interesting questions there in general. It mattered a lot though.

Anyway, back to things tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not Much Action Here Today

I am going to follow the spirit of a sign I saw today and keep things low key here.

"Tuesday Action Off" sign

If I see this sign for sale, I will be tempted to buy the whole set.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Unexpected Fix for a Possessed Laptop in Shanxi

Large Turned-Off Screen at a riverside park in Gujiao, Shanxi
This large screen wasn't displaying anything when I recently visited a riverside park in Gujiao, Shanxi.

Things have been quiet on this blog the past several days. This was not intended.

The long story . . . ah, I won't bother with the long story.

The relatively short story . . . not long after the previous post, my laptop became possessed by a demon — or something like that — which wasn't so intelligent but was determined to cause chaos and heartburn. Sometimes all I could do was watch as my screen flipped through multiple modes as I was unable to stop it. One especially worrisome moment was when the cursor moved to a a file and then deleted it. Strange stuff.

The troubleshooting was a slow, frustrating process. At one point, I assumed I would need to make a long journey with significant expenses at the end to address the problem. Yesterday, the problematic symptom subsided enough for a period of time that I could try some other fixes. One involved changing a setting. So I did that, although it only required reverting something I had changed since I had initially discovered the problem. And then I considered another piece of advice I had just discovered which seemed potentially relevant.

But slapping the trackpad hard with the palm of your hand? It didn't seem entirely wise.

Of course, I did it.

I'm not 100% sure what did the trick, but my computer is no longer possessed. Since achieving that state, I have taken the time to address other potential issues just to be safe. Fortunately, I didn't blow things up in the process. In fact, I might have fixed an unrelated nagging issue. The verdict is still out on that though.

So, hopefully things are back on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I (and My Laptop) Return

I had not planned on taking off several days from blogging and the online world outside China's Great Firewall. I had also not planned for my laptop to stop functioning in a somewhat suspicious fashion soon after posting about Taiwan's recent presidential election. That's just the tip of an undesired adventure which led to a sudden return to Hong Kong yesterday.

The short story is after arriving in Hong Kong I was able to quickly resolve the problem with my computer, which may have been caused by China in an unexpected manner not tied to any of my recent posts. I hope to share more of the story later. All has mostly returned to what counts as normal, though in some ways the adventure itself was normal. Or at least, it's not the first time I have had to make a mad dash from one city in China to another due to computer woes.

I am currently focused on recalibrating plans and am not yet sure what the next week holds. So for now, here's a recent scene from Zhongshan Park in Xiamen. The city where I was yesterday morning. And a few weeks ago. And maybe again soon.

girl using a mobile device sitting on a stone bench next to a lake at Zhongshan Park in Xiamen
A more peaceful mobile moment

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Xiamen Sunset

Posting will be light as the year closes. In that spirit, a sunset in Xiamen:

sunset in Xiamen, China
A view from halfway up to (or down from) Wulao Peak

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sick and Tired in Shanghai

young woman in Shanghai wearing a coat with the words "SICK AND TIRED" on its back
Today at Qipu Lu in Shanghai

I had planned to be blogging quite a bit more the past week or so since returning to China. Plans . . .

Unfortunately, last week something decided to wreak havoc on my sinuses and seemingly my brain as well. I wasn't sure whether it was virus-related or pollution-related. I considered the latter since it somewhat reminded me of how my sinuses reacted when I first went running in Shanghai's pollution over a decade ago during a trip from the U.S. And yes, after starting to run again during my recent trip to the U.S., I ran in Shanghai during a couple not-so-great days for air (which is most). Whatever I have, it isn't a run-of-the-mill cold for me, especially in terms of how it ebbs and flows. I think I am over the worst.

On a related note . . . yes, it's best to exercise in clean air. And bad air is, of course, bad. That's straightforward. But the science I've seen on the health impact of exercise when polluted air is the only option seems to be a mixed bag. There's reason to think it might be a net good, at least for some health aspects. But these studies focused on Western-style pollution, so it's unclear how the findings apply to China-style pollution — different in both its content and amount.

I have my personal limits though. For example, once I had gotten myself into an outdoor running routine while in Zhuhai and Hong Kong. But that came to an immediate halt upon arriving in Changsha where I spent a couple of months. That first morning I looked outside the window at the awful air and despondently thought "no way".

I would like to keep up the outdoor running, so next time I may try it with a face mask. It's cold outside, so perhaps the heat the mask traps on my face will be a pleasant bonus. Anyway, soon I will be in parts of China with typically better air quality. Hopefully I'm not killing myself. If I am, there are the words of famed cache clearer Chester Walsh: "Like I always say, you gotta die prematurely of something."

So yeah, as the coat in the photo above proclaims, I've been sick and tired. Come to think of it, that applies to my feelings about China's air too.

Friday, December 4, 2015

From China Pantry to China

China Pantry restaurant at a shopping center in the U.S.
Authentic American-Chinese shopping center food for sale in Texas

Yet another visit to the U.S. is complete. I have returned to China with cleaner lungs, a bigger belly, and a refreshed mind. I now look forward to tackling a number of more time-sensitive posts related to the cities from Chongqing to Shaoguan where I have spent time in China this year. I also have a few other pieces in mind which also would be best to share before 2016 rolls in.

So during the next few weeks I will try to refrain from posting many "what just happened or what I saw today" pieces, though I don't expect to be fully successful in that regard. There's always something . . .

Thursday, November 19, 2015

YOLO Coming Soon in Zhuhai

sign with text "YOLO, You cannot know unless you in. Coming soon . . ."
At an under-construction (and now possibly open) establishment at the Shuiwan Bar Street in Zhuhai

More is coming soon here too . . .

Monday, October 26, 2015

Night Studies in Shaoguan

There was a time not long ago when I thought I would have two posts ready for today. I suppose the previous sentence already implies that I likely will not. It could also imply I may have three or more posts for today. I definitely didn't intend the latter interpretation.

Instead of either of the two posts I had initially planned, which need just a little more work that is not going to happen at this moment, here is a photo of a girl focusing on her own work tonight.

girl sitting on a wooden chair outside and reading a school text book in Shaoguan


Abstract flamingos and a colorful (heavy on the red) place on Shaoguan's Wuya Alley shall appear shortly.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Change of Room Views in Guangdong

A view outside the window where until yesterday I recently stayed in Zhongshan, Guangdong:

view from a window in Zhongshan, China


A view outside the window where I am staying now in Shaoguan, Guangdong:

view of the Wujiang River from a window in Shaoguan, Guangdong

I wouldn't characterize the differences between the cities using these two photos, but I appreciate the change of scenery afforded by my new room nonetheless.

While I have had an easy time viewing many scenes since arriving in a city I have never visited before, I have not had an easy time viewing my own blog due to significant challenges connecting to my VPN, which I need to access a variety of blocked-in-China services. Although some potential fixes did not offer a lasting solution, things may have returned to normal, my normal at least. As usual, I can't be sure why, but in many ways much of life is like that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Xtepiration in Changsha

I planned to post something I had expected to be delightfully simple before moving onto more delightfully complex matters. But the post turned into something also delightfully complex and took me down several unexpected paths. Since it clearly won't be finished today, I will now share a photo which tangentially relates to it. As a bonus, it includes a message which may inspire some people.

part of large advertisement for Xtep with the message "KEEP MY BELIEVE" covering a space apparently under construction

The space under renovation along Changsha's South Huangxing Commercial Pedestrian Street was covered by the upper portion of marketing material for the Chinese sportswear company Xtep. Since I don't know what appeared below the cut, I will refrain from commenting on its possible intended message. You are welcome to seek a deeper meaning in the scene though.

For an extra bonus, while I stood there with my camera out, a person walked by and enthusiastically posed for a photograph. I accepted his gracious offer.

young man wearing a face mask with his hands in the air and fingers making V signs.

And now I feel inspired to continue work on the other post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From Hengyang to Changsha With a Few Stops In Between

Over a month ago I arrived in Hengyang, Hunan.

motorbikes waiting at the intersection of Chuanshan Avenue and Zhengyang North Road in Hengyang
Intersection of Chuanshan Avenue and Zhengyang North Road in Hengyang


And almost exactly a month ago I left Hengyang and went to neighboring Shaoyang.

man carrying two baskets on a pole across the intersection of Wuyi Road and Dongfeng Road
Intersection of Wuyi Road and Dongfeng Road in Shaoyang


From Shaoyang I went to neighboring Loudi.

woman crossing the road at the meeting point of Dixing Road and Yuetang Street in Loudi
Meeting point of Dixing Road and Yuetang Street in Loudi


From Loudi I went to neighboring Xiangtan.

vehicles waiting at the intersection of Chezhan Road and Jianshe North Road in Xiangtan
Intersection of Chezhan Road and Jianshe North Road in Xiangtan


From Xiantan I went to neighboring Zhuzhou.

Tiantai Road in Zhuzhou with the Shennon Tower (Zhuzhou Television Tower) in the background
Tiantai Road in Zhuzhou


From Zhuzhou I went to neighboring Changsha — the capital of Hunan province and where I am now.

Intersection of Chengnan West Road and Baisha Road in Changsha

Both Hengyang and Changsha were return visits. The other prefecture-level cities in Hunan were first-time visits, and by design, with one minor exception, I have not previously mentioned them here. After flipping through all of my photos from the past month to prepare this post, I am reminded I have more than enough to process and share.

The frequent travel and amount of time I spent immersing myself a diverse set of cities meant I was not able to blog as much as I would have liked. In the near future, I will share some of what I have experienced and learned in Hunan. I plan to also touch on some topics related to two cities elsewhere in China where I spent a significant amount of time earlier this year — Chongqing and Zhongshan.

So as usual, more soon . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Night Train Meal

On a recent overnight train from Hong Kong to Shanghai, this was my dinner:

dinner meal purchased on overnight train in China

Bought for 25 RMB (about US $4) from a train crew member pushing around a cart filled with dinner trays like this one—the only option available—the meal was pricey compared to similar options available at some convenience store chains. I can't say it was one of my finer culinary experiences in China, but it did help me pass some time.

During the past few weeks I have been in Shanghai, Zhangzhou, Hong Kong, and back in Shanghai. Due to travel, holidays, visitors, a cold, etc. I haven't posted much lately. I have much I want to catch up on, particularly related to my time in Zhangzhou & Hong Kong, so upcoming posts, like the meal above, will include a mix items.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Three Towers

In one of these buildings today, I enjoyed some rather tasty fish with garlic sauce, and I wasn't even at a restaurant.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower, and Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China

When I first came to Shanghai almost a decade ago, only the Jin Mao Tower, the shortest of the three, in the middle existed. Next year, the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest skyscraper in the world, on the right will be open for all the things one puts inside a 121 story building, including food. I find they present a rather impressive sight. At least equally striking to me, though, is the number of tall buildings continuing to sprout up elsewhere in Shanghai as well.

In addition to providing a view of China greatly differing from the usual scenes I share, this is also my way of saying that I am yet again in Shanghai. It won't be long until I head to less well-known Chinese lands, but I hope to make the most of my time here by doing a series of brief posts, some of which will tie in what I have found in parts of China with far fewer skyscrapers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Nanchang Scene

My trip to the US has pulled me away from blogging more than I had expected. I hope to have things back up to speed in the near future. Nanchang, the capital of China's Jiangxi province, was briefly on my mind today, so for now here is an everyday street scene from when I visited the city almost three years ago.

people on a narrow street in Nanchang, Jiangxi

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wassup Hengyang Style

girl wearing a light jacket with the words "WASSUP SHOW OFF" on the back
In Hengyang, Hunan province

If you are wondering "wassup", despite the content of my most recent posts, I am not now in either Yangjiang or Hengyang, although I did briefly stop by Shanghai last month. More substantial and regular posting is on the way, including a mix of old and new topics and of course some highlights from my current location.