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

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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Return With an Outdoor Cafe Scene

Here are two people sitting at an outdoor cafe in the middle of a pedestrian shopping street in Zhanjiang's Xiashan district:

two people sitting at an outdoor cafe in Zhanjiang, China

On an unrelated note, I finally have usable Internet access once more and expect to be returning to a relatively normal state. So of course that means posts about a big boat, mud worms, and mobile phones are all on the way.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Longer Than Planned Note About Embedded Tweets

A timeout for blog-related technical issues:

For some readers, embedded tweets from Twitter may not appear as intended and lose some of their effect. "Selfless Selfies" is an example of a post with an embedded tweet. If you didn't see a photo in that post, then you didn't see a fully rendered embedded tweet which should look like this:

A non-functional image of a fully rendered embedded tweet

Instead, you probably saw a stripped-down tweet with links to relevant material, such as images and the original tweet on Twitter, like this:
What do you call a selfie taken by someone dedicated to overcoming selfhood?
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) February 24, 2014
Seeing the stripped-down version is often due to viewing the post through an RSS reader*, viewing the post on a mobile device, having JavaScript disabled, or being blocked to Twitter's content by China's Great Firewall**.

The experience isn't entirely broken when the embedded tweets aren't fully rendered, and it's not very different from simply quoting a tweet. So I use them even though I realize many readers won't see them in their full glory. Writing this, though, makes me wonder if in the future I should "pull out" images from tweets so more people can easily see them, which I think is how I did it long ago. Embedded tweets are great when they fully render but ... reality and all that.

While I'm taking this timeout, I'll mention a somewhat related topic: I've noticed that in some RSS readers the formatting of my blog posts does not appear as intended, especially in regards to captions for images, and odd spacings appear. I'm not sure whether it's an issue with the RSS readers, Blogger, me, or something else. Like with embedded tweets, one possible "fix" is to view the posts at the blog website. If you know of a fix from my side, though, please let me know.

Anyway, if you didn't know before, hopefully now you understand a bit more. If the above has entirely confused you and you weren't aware of any problems, fear not, this post is nearly finished. But seriously, feel free to contact me if you have questions. It's possible I have answers***.

Enjoy ...

* Some RSS readers, such as NewsBlur, offer a view where embedded tweets can appear as intended.

** My blog as a whole is partially blocked in China due to being hosted on Blogger.

*** Or more questions.

Monday, November 11, 2013

China's Great Firewall Says Hello

I have not be able to post here for a few days due to significant problems in using my VPN. Without a properly functioning VPN, I am at the mercy of China's Great Firewall. This means a variety of sites are blocked, including Blogger which I use to publish this blog. For reasons I am unable to completely explain, there are occasionally periods of time when I can still reach blocked-in-China sites. If this post publishes, it means I was able to take advantage of one. This actually represents an improvement from yesterday.

My VPN provider is trying to solve the problem, which at least in part appears to be the result of some crafty strategies being used by the Great Firewall, although there are other issues which also concern me. It is almost as fascinating as it is frustrating. I don't know how many others are affected by what I'm experiencing. I also don't know if it is specific to me, Zhuhai, or Guangdong province. For now, I will just add that it was a year ago when I last had so many problems with the Great Firewall.

Hopefully an effective solution can soon be found. Perhaps more on this topic later.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pondering in Hong Kong

In Wong Tai Sin, Hong Kong

That's all for this week. I expect to be posting more frequently next week with topics ranging from online services in Hong Kong to the air in Beijing.

There is plenty to ponder.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


There's much to learn in this fascinating world, and lately I have been doing a lot of what this man in Beijing was doing a few days ago:

man reading a newspaper while sitting on a stool

And now it is time to do some more writing...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reconnecting With Another Unexpected Connection

Yesterday, I made another unexpected connection when I was at Seoul Plaza in Seoul, South Korea.

people relaxing on the grass at Seoul Plaza

While there I was reminded of my visit to Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, US.

people relaxing on the grass at Klyde Warren Park

And in case you're wondering, yes, this post ends my longest non-posting period since starting this blog. The pause was partly due to having plenty on my plate* during my first visit to the US in several years. Another reason was that when my plate appeared empty, it seemed like a good time to keep it that way.

But now I'm back, both in terms of blogging and being in Asia. Although I am eager to return to the usual themes, while they are still fresh in my mind I will share some assorted thoughts about my several weeks in the US.

More soon. Really.

*This was meant figuratively, but the literal interpretation also holds true.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Even More Edacious and Potatory Post

Some readers may feel most of my posts including "edacious and potatory views" are missing a key detail: the food or drink that accompanied the view. I'm not sure if I have suitable photos for all of the examples. I'll leave sorting that out for another day (maybe). Instead, I will start afresh and share the view from where I had a late lunch today in Ho Chi Minh City:

view from a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City

And here is what I ate and drank:

I hope this was sufficiently edacious and potatory.

And now for a few notes:

1. Not only was the previous post a chance to revisit some old scenes, but it proved to be a learning experience as well. I find it curious that the words "edacious" and "potatory" capture such seemingly common and useful concepts, yet neither were familiar to me (and I suspect to most readers) and I couldn't find any other suitable single-word options. My use of the word "edacious" is even considered "archaic". I would appreciate hearing any insights readers may have about these two wonderful words.

2. Readers who follow this blog through an RSS reader may have been puzzled by a post titled "Riverside View in Kampot, Cambodia". While working on the previous post, Blogger provided a strange error message when I tried adding a location tag. After I recovered, I discovered the post had been prematurely published. I'll avoid getting into all the technical details, but when recovering from an accidental publishing, simply deleting a post doesn't necessarily remove it from RSS readers. I think this is something which could be better addressed by blogging platforms (and possibly RSS readers as well), but that's another issue. Anyways, the easiest thing for me to do was to "update" the post with an empty content area and then delete it from my blog.

So if you saw a blank post titled "Riverside View in Kampot, Cambodia", no worries. If you saw that post and it included some content, congratulations--you probably had an inside look at the early stages of a post's creation. Now please feel free to discard it at the nearest incinerator.


3. Returning to the word-usage theme, I can say with no small pride that I was recently offered compensation for a pun I wrote. Especially with the recent online debate about people being asked to write for free, I found it a most encouraging sign. I eagerly look forward to my next trip to Beijing so I can collect my beer from Anthony Tao. Maybe Señor Tao can offer me some tips on how to drink it while wearing a face mask. With his experience in Beijing, he should have a leg up on me.