15 August 2006

Found in China - 25th anniversary!

The Found in China blog has been going strong now for 25 whole days. Yessiree, I remember ye olde times of olden lore (or whatever) when this blog was so small I could hold it in my cupped hand. My, how it has grown since then: heatwaves, near-misses by Chinese jets, Deafening Neighbor Children, guppies, and our newest literary element, schnitzel. Yes, I and both my readers have seen it all.

Why do I wax sentimental on this particular occasion? Because Wife, Daughter and I are going on vacation before school starts again, and already I can't sleep from worrying about whether we'll sleep through multiple alarm clocks and miss our flight early Wednesday morning. So I'll use this time to make a few general observations about the Huangyangtan experience, which is what this blog was supposed to be for anywho. And I won't be providing updates as frequently for the next couple of weeks, so I owe both of you this entry.

From an operations viewpoint I think I've done an OK job at running the ship. It was never intended that I maintain an hour-by-hour service here, but I think I've provided an adequate number of updates to keep things fresh and to distract Readers 1 and 2 from their real duties at work. A small number of user comments were received, none of which I had to reject as far as I remember and got published fairly quickly. A couple of times I found that information I had posted was not accurate, but I believe I got the worst thereof corrected.

I realize now that I have never really said anything about my 15 minutes of fame which others claim I seem to have achieved. Well, it's been fun in a way, but a thousand other things have happened in the real world during the past weeks which were degrees more significant than this. To put things into perspective, at ABC's list of most emailed articles, the Huangyangtan news beat the story of the dog who chewed up Elvis' teddy bear (at the Elvis museum, I think it was), but trailed behind some woman who bakes cookies on her car's dashboard. Add to that the various wars that have started or continued during these weeks, another near-miss by a planet-pulverizing asteroid (at least that's how they described it in Czech Television CT1 last night, but I don't speak Czech very well, maybe it was a commercial for Armageddon), troop movements in the Kodori Gorge of Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia, poverty, teenagers, etc., and pretty soon it becomes clear that one should not take his 15 minutes of fame too seriously. Instead I should be thankful that I am alive and healthy.

What would I do differently?
  1. Collate a list Huangyangtan news or where it has been discussed to see how far this disease has spread. I'll tackle that when I get back.
  2. Try to make sense of the AdSense algorithms. At first the ads that showed up had something to do with the subjects mentioned in my post. Nowadays I think the system has given up trying to find a connection between "Huangyangtan," "blokes" and "pony" and simply defaults to advertising AdSense itself (I can just see the data center guys in Mountain View saying, "That's the third AdSense server to burn out this week. Let's look at the logs and see if they got stuck in an infinite loop somewhere").
  3. Don't get grounded. Except for yesterday, when she let me work on this more than usual because Stephen called and Wife absolutely adores Australia, where she worked for a few months once, I'm permitted to monitor the HYT thing (Found In China's internal code name) only in the morning while I sit at her notebook and have breakfast (keen readers will recall that my computer is our bedroom, where Wife is asleep) (Lisa E., breakfast this morning consists of cream cheese on toast with ginger jelly, I can send you the recipe if you want).

So, I probably won't post again for the next few days. If you're new to the blog I hope you didn't start here: you need to go the bottom-most post in the July archive. And, dear readers, as always, don't be afraid to crash PayPal's servers with your RAM-upgrade contributions to FeedMyGEHabit@yahoo.com.

Attention literary critics: this notebook has a Czech keyboard and I can't find the semicolon. Sorry about my overuse of the colon.


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