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

Friday, October 25, 2019

Time to Get Back on Whatever Animal

Yet again, I have not been posting as much as I had wanted. I really do plan to get back on the horse this time though.

Or maybe I should try a lion instead . . .

Chinese sculpture of a person riding a lion
At Pengzu Park (彭祖园) in Xuzhou


More soon.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A False Sign of Free Meals at a Roast Duck Restaurant in Nanning

"免费加饭 - Free meals" sign at a restaurant
"Free meals"

No readers have insisted to me that they expect a free lunch, but I still feel bad about the extreme lack of posts here recently. I certainly can't blame things on a shortage of potential material.

In regards to the photo above, I took it last night at a restaurant in Nanning which features local-style roast duck noodle and rice dishes. I wasn't surprised to later discover that both Baidu's and Google's translation tools translate "免费加饭" as "Free meals", as seen on the top sign on the window. Google Translate, which is freely accessible in China, at least does a better job if the phrase is separated in half.

In short, no, you can't really expect to get a free meal at this restaurant. But you can expect "Free additional rice". Their rice dishes come with plenty for my needs, but many people in China appreciate an opportunity to load up on it.

So there will be more soon, both in terms of posts and of rice.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Answers to a Special Return in China

Nicki in Haikou was the first person to correctly guess part of the significance of a location I recently came across on the first night of my return to a city in China. It is where I took the photo currently used in the header image at the top of this blog. After posting a third photo of the location, Nicki then became the first person to respond with the correct city without me providing extra hints not in the posts here.

Rather curious, I asked her how she did it. She replied, "Third photo.... I can read". I had checked that no signs in the photos displayed the city's name before sharing them, so I wondered what I had overlooked. It didn't take me long to now find it.

Here is a closeup photo of one of the non-cone-shaped traffic cones plainly in view in the third photo:

traffic cone with advertisement for the Yulin Ruidong Hospital


I have seen traffic cones with advertising for at least two different hospitals in numerous parts of the city. In this case, the advertising is for the Yulin Ruidong Hospital (玉林瑞东医院). And yes, the Yulin Ruidong Hospital is unsurprisingly in . . . . Yulin — a city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Although the text on the cones is rather fuzzy if you significantly enlarge the third photo at the highest resolution I shared, it is good enough.

So I award the prize for this edition of "Name the City" to Nicki. I even have a special prize in mind, though admittedly it's something I was planning to do anyway. I won't reveal what it is, but when it happens readers here should be able to recognize it. Nicki certainly will.

Sam Crane, who teaches contemporary Chinese politics and ancient Chinese philosophy at Williams College, deserves an honorable mention for my favorite incorrect guess that I received — Guangzhou. There are several aspects of the third scene, including the architecture, which may have lead me to consider Guangzhou too had I never been to this location in Yulin. After I provided some hints that didn't involve traffic cones he correctly figured out the city as well.

This was a tough one, folks. I wouldn't have expected anybody to correctly identify the city without digging deep into my blogging history, recalling some of my earliest posts over 8 years ago, having much familiarity with Yulin, or receiving additional hints. There is still more I have to share about why the location is significant to me and my blogging. That shall come later, as will more about Yulin.

Finally, a piece of advice: never ignore traffic cones.

Monday, May 20, 2019

One Last Photo for a Special Return in China

Last week I posted a photo of a location significant to this blog and later I posted a photo of the same place taken from a different vantage point. Before revealing all, I will share a photo of the same location also taken on that first night of my return but from a vantage point that offers a far more iconic view.

street market at night in China


Do you see it now?



Update: Answers are here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Another Photo for a Special Return in China

The previous post apparently didn't provide enough hints about the significant place (to me and this blog) where I recently arrived. So here is another photo taken from a different, but still not iconic, perspective on my first night back in the city:

outdoor market at night in Yulin, China


The photo includes at least one significant additional clue. The wonton street stall isn't intended to be it, but perhaps the wontons help too.



Update: An additional clue is here. Answers are here.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Special Return in China

About two weeks ago I arrived in a city I had explored a number of years ago. I was eager to return not only to see what had and hadn't changed and learn more about life there, but also because the city holds a special connection to this blog and my blogging experience. Relevant to the connection, there was one place in particular I especially wanted to seek out. Off the top of my head, I only had a vague sense of its location relative to the hotel where I had stayed long ago. I worried that if I couldn't find it, I might not even be able to be sure whether that was do due to an incomplete search or the location being significantly transformed. Cities can change quickly in China, and it had been a while.

After checking into my hotel, one in a different part of the city than the one I had stayed at during my previous visit, I set out that evening to walk around. I didn't look at a map, just let my wandering instincts take over, and wasn't intent on finding the special location that night. Nevertheless, after almost 40 minutes I was surprised and excited when I saw it in the distance. When I later looked at a map I discovered that without realizing it I had taken a route that couldn't have been much more direct.

So here is a photo taken that night which captures a vantage point that makes the location's significance far less apparent than some others would:

outdoor market at night in Yulin, China


Now it is time for a return of the old game "Which city in China is this?" Normally, I wouldn't think people would have much of a chance with this photo. But in this particular case, reader's have real reason for hope. You don't even need to be a China expert to figure it out. And although digging deep into this blog (and another particular site) could significantly help in identifying the city, you needn't go far at all to see why I was so happy to find this location again.



Update: Two more clues are here and here. Answers are here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

An Icy Post to Post for a Post

Folks, my apologies for posting very infrequently lately. I can't blame it on a lack of things to post. The situation is quite the opposite.

Much more is on the way though. Really. Before that, I'm not sure what to say. But I did see one intriguing suggestion this evening for something to do.

"eat ice" shirt


I'm already convinced, as long as it's good ice.

More later . . .

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk in Wuzhou

A spilled white drink next to the Xun River (浔江) in Wuzhou
A spilled drink that perhaps included some milk next to the Xun River (浔江) in Wuzhou

I had plans for an April Fool's Day post on Monday. Early in the afternoon I had a new idea and collected some critical material for it. Then I wondered whether it might be too convincing of a post for April Fool's, a conundrum I've run into before. Then other things came up, and I realized I had no more time.

So, next year. Or next life. In any case, I have material for a less confounding post now.

These things happen.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Snail's Pace in Zhongshan

small snail
A small friendly snail in Zhongshan


Posting has been lighter than usual lately, and by "lately" I mean for a while — which raises the question of what counts as "usual" in this case. Anyway, planning to change that soon — the usual.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Two in Jiangmen

In a post with a photo of people playing xiangqi, I said sometime this week there would be a followup to an earlier post about Baisha Road in Jiangmen. However, I had forgotten about the Qingming Festival holiday, which threw off my schedule. That isn't the whole story, but it's enough of it.

So instead of the followup post taking one week to appear, it will take this many weeks:

female model in red traditional-style dress with only two fingers extended from her raised hand


To make up for the trouble, next week I will also share some context for the above photo, which like the photos of the xiangqi and Baisha Road was taken in Jiangmen, though in a very different setting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Time Rex

pedestal missing most of a once-attached stone sculpture of an animal


Yesterday I was thinking about putting together a picture-heavy post about a temple I had recently visited in Jiangmen, Guangdong. I thought it could make for a good change of pace from previous posts.

Then I took a look at Twitter.

My reentrance into that world happened to be shortly after the first reports of Donald Trump firing the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. I quickly got sucked into the drama of various people trying to put the pieces together and figure out what it all meant.

I use the word "drama" because, admittedly, that's a large part of what kept my attention. Yes, the news was quite important. But ultimately, if I hadn't learned about the details for another day or two, there wouldn't be any negative effects for me. There was no likely decision I was going to make during that time which could have been impacted by it. If anything, it would be beneficial to wait. As news breaks typically some of the information is wrong and many relevant pieces are missing.

Sure, it could have been different if I desired to contribute to the discussion. But in this case, I wasn't planning to.

I followed along on Twitter nonetheless. I clicked links to stories that quickly became outdated as new information came out. Watching it all play out was stimulating.

Once I pulled myself away, there was too little time left to put together a post.

So, in the end, Rex Tillerson was still gone. And a chunk of time I could have used more productively was also gone.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Resting Red Lion Head in Jiangmen

The end of the Lunar New Year holiday period means less work for dancing lions.

head of a red traditional Chinese lion costume


For this blog, it marks an imminent return to some old topics and more writing. And while there aren't any lions in store for the near future, a friendly bear might make an appearance.

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