There’s a whole lotta reorganizing going on over here.
Helene leaves at 7:00am. She arrived in Hangzhou at the same time as Wilson, but unlike him, stayed for most of the summer. She has been my next door neighbor at ZUCC for the past year and a half. She’s now moving out and returning to Miami. She will be missed.
Right after she leaves, some workers are gonna come in and rip up and replace the flooring in her place. Our apartments are really quite nice; it’s a shame that higher quality construction materials weren’t used. Keeping them nice requires frequent repairs/replacements.
The new ZUCC teachers start arriving Monday. (To all the other people out there that wrote to me about working here at ZUCC this coming semester, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you. These guys contacted me way back.)
I have to get ready for a week-long trip to Japan (Aug 26 – Sept 1) to attend my homestay brother Masakazu’s wedding. It’ll be great to be back in Japan among friends. I only regret that my visit will have to be so short, as the timing for this wedding was not ideal for me. I need to acquire a “re-entry visa” next week so that the Chinese government will let me into the country when I come back.
My classes at ZUCC start September 8th, and my Chinese classes start soon after. So much to get ready for….
Also, the China Blog List has just undergone a massive update. Highlights include:
11 new blogs added
7 blogs deleted, for various good reasons
a bunch of blogs moved around
@nonymouse links added via cute little icons for all “Blockspot” blogs
That blog list is a lot of work, but I think it’s worth it. Maybe it sounds cheesey, but I really believe that helping people to learn more about China will promote peace in the long run. Do your part for world peace and learn more about China.
Instead of wisely sleeping, I decided to beef up the Language section of Sinosplice tonight. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, and I don’t think I’m going to have as much free time as I do now much longer. Anyway, this is just the beginning of some of the plans I have.
If you’re just starting to learn Chinese, this stuff is for you!
I got my dad his own domain for his birthday this year. Pasden.com, all his, to do whatever he pleased with. It could be a beautiful shining beacon to Pasdens everywhere. It still might be, but he hasn’t actually launched it. Until then, the world waits….
I check up on it every now and then to see if there are any changes, but there’s nothing up yet. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I checked again recently to discover that the page wouldn’t load. Immediately I doubted my decision to go with a domain forwarding service. You see, you can pay a much lower yearly fee to just have the domain name forwarded to another URL. Thus, when you type “www.pasden.com” into your browser, you are actually viewing the contents of www.sinosplice.com/~pasden/. I also paid for masking, so even though you’re viewing the contents at www.sinosplice.com/~pasden/, your browser tells you you are at pasden.com. Cool, eh?
But it wasn’t working anymore! I was pissed. It had just been working fine a few weeks before. I fired off an e-mail to the company demanding the reason why the service I had paid good money for was no longer being provided. They responded in a timely manner politely informing me that according to their systems the forwarding is still working perfectly.
Huh? Oh no… could it be???
I went to @nonymouse and put in pasden.com. It loaded up fine.
The inescapable conclusion? China is blocking PASDEN.COM!
I am mystified. I had thought the government was getting laxer and laxer about internet censorship, but evidently this was one dissident site they could not allow to slip by unnoticed.
Yes, that was sarcasm. I suppose it’s a part of some IP grouping that was blanket-banned or something. Annoying. But as long as Sinosplice is OK I suppose I won’t have to hurt anyone…
It seems almost silly to bother to say that the photos at Ziboy.com are really good. I think most people that read this blog have seen them and know. If you haven’t taken a look before, go do it now.
The photographer, Wen Ling, has very little to say about himself on his site, however. Well, I got curious and decided to exercise my Chinese. I wrote to him and asked if I could interview him by e-mail. He was happy to do it. It’s not long, but it still took me a while to actually get it all done. The interview is now completely translated and online, in English as well as the original Chinese. Go ahead and take a look.
This is but one of the many sorts of things I’d like to do with this site if I only had unlimited time….
Recently I was trying to design desktop wallpaper that would remind, encourage, and inspire me to study Chinese more. In doing so, I hit upon an amusing idea. Dashan is involved. (Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as interesting if you don’t read Chinese.) It’s a new Sinosplice original.
This is Sinosplice 2.0, the culmination of about a week or so of hard work. It corresponds nicely with the SARS shut-in we’ve got going on here at school.
I’ve never used style sheets so much, so there are a few weird things going on. See how this paragraph is indented? WHY??? I really don’t get it. Also, my tables aren’t being very obedient. I tell it 800 pixels wide (to accomodate lower-res viewers), and it ends up 830 or something. So annoying. If anyone could explain this stuff to me, that would be great.
There’s new stuff online. Sinosplice is getting closer and closer to what I originally envisioned when I started the site. Please have a look around. Also, reporting bad links or other errors would be greatly appreciated.
Most of you probably didn’t notice its absence, but Sinosplice was down for the past 4 days (April 16-19). This is because my one-year hosting plan was due to expire and I decided it was time to shop around for a new webhost. Here’s my list of grievances for my last host, iPowerweb.com (those bastards won’t get a link from me!):
Customer support is basically nonexistent. Can you really be said to offer customer support when you only reply to 1 out of 10 e-mails (if that), and the replies are not necessarily even helpful?? Oh, you want to call the support hotline? Plan on waiting on hold for an HOUR.
Wilson tried to sign up with them because they’re unblocked and pretty fast, and they would never even reply to his new account application! Unbelievable. He was trying to give them money and they ignored him.
iPowerweb claimed I used 120 MB of my 150 MB of online space, but after uploading to my new host I see it was really only about 70 MB. What’s up with that??
the site was down for 4 days because iPowerweb wouldn’t make the DNS switchover I requested. During that time I was just waiting for them to read their customer support e-mail and make the simple change.
Way limited control options and value when compared to Webmasters.
Anyway, I have a new host. I hope the site remains fast and unblocked in China. Let me know if you notice any differences (good or bad). I’ve got big plans for Sinosplice, which go way beyond just this blog. Expect a complete relaunch of the site this summer.
I’ve really let putting pictures online slide. (Remember those Yunnan photos I’ve been meaning to get online for over a month now?) Well, I finally did a little catching up, and further integrated Racingmix‘s photos with Sinosplice’s. The mirroring continues.
> Yunnan Photos are finally online — two pages of them. Story to follow.
Students, your pictures are finally online! Go look at them. To the classes that I didn’t see that week, I’m sorry I couldn’t take pictures of you guys too, but it was your decision not to come…
Those are some happy-looking students, eh? That’s even right before their final exam! It doesn’t take as much to bribe them as you might think… heh heh.
Hey students! All of you know about this blog, but none of you have ever left a comment, even once! Now that you have something that directly relates to you, how about if some of you leave some nice English comments??
It’s old news by now, but make sure you check out this story. Looks like Shaq’s feeling a little insecure… Gonna have to be sure to watch Yao Ming and Shaq square off this weekend when the Lakers meet the Rockets in Houston (Sat 9:30pm ET/Sat 8:30am China Time, ESPN).
As a follow-up to my last entry, I learned today that as a teacher, the three things you “can’t talk about in China” are religion, politics, and sex. I’ve already covered all three in class, at least once. Oops? (No, I’m not worried. That info is outdated.)
Oh, and yes, the rumors are true. The Sinosplice Weblog has gone Chinese. If you can’t read Chinese, you probably don’t care. If you can, you probably already know this, because you’re probably in China using Chinese Windows, and the old blog URL now redirects you to a new blog page in the language of your operating system. If you’re one of those rare individuals that can read Chinese but not in the 1.3 billion-strong club, you can still read the Chinese version. It’s not simply a translation (ugh, that would not be fun), it’s different material. So you have to learn Chinese if you want to know what’s in it. (Just the last little bit of motivation you needed, right? Ha!)
OK, I just don’t know when to quit. (Or when to sleep.)
I have added “the least technologically advanced message board ever” to the bottom of the China Blogs page. I’m hoping that people who use my China blogs links page will provide feedback on recent posts and stuff for other users. Check it.
Also, Wilson took a few picks of our stroll around West Lake (and other “adventures”) yesterday afternoon. He made a nice little photo album. Includes some excellent shots of mouth-watering Chinese Muslim noodles. Take a look.
OK, so I finally got a commenting system for my weblog! (The “comments” link is at the bottom right of each post.) We’ll say this is part of the upgrade to 1.2 also. It’s through Haloscan, and I think for the most part, it’s pretty good. It would be better if I had my own, but I’m too lazy for that at this moment in time. This one works well enough, and it’s even customizable. It’s the Blogger for commenting.
So, I’m hoping to see a little commenting, particularly from family members. (Hint, hint! That’s you guys!) And from friends would be nice too. And of course anyone that wants to comment.
Do you ever wonder how software developers decide on version numbers? I do. I mean, what is the difference between Photoshop 6.0 and 7.0? Sure, you can read out a list of new features, but who decides that those particular features equal one full point on the upgrade scale? It’s beyond me.
And yet I myself am caught up in this game. Six months since its release, Sinosplice is up to version 1.2, baby! It gets the extra 0.1 because now it’s got two language versions for the front page. The site autodetects your system’s language and directs you to the appropriate page. Snazzy. This should please my Chinese audience a little. (Version 1.1 was simply adding the “log” button to the nav bar.)
Next comes CSS. Maybe. (How many upgrade points is that worth…?)
I used the excuse of my time at home this summer being sort of a sidebar from the theme of this weblog, life in China, so I think I’m going to make the story of my three weeks in Japan sort of a sidebar too, and put it on a separate page. That page will also include links to photo albums, so check it out…
For those interested: classes here at ZUCC start Monday, September 16th. Still plenty of time to relax and prepare…
I have been keeping a private electronic journal of my experiences here in Hangzhou, China since day one. Of course I’m not going to share everything here, but I would like to put some of it out there. I’ll start posting about what’s going on now, and later add some selections from the beginning of my stay here.