(For reading in Chinese, please scroll down to the end of the English text.)
(For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River.)
From the 18th-Floor Homestead.
Have you ever kept a diary? Do you know the origin of the term “blog”? A diary is sometimes called a journal or a log. The early bloggers were often simply keeping a diary/journal/log on their web site which they made available for anyone to read. Often, those early web sites were filled with technical information and notes about experiments and observations. These were truly logs of scientists and technical writers which they were willing to share with others. But, gradually, personal notes and observations and feelings began to creep into those logs. Those early web site owners were keeping a log on the web, which became known as a “web log” and their “web log” was quickly shortened to simply “blog”. And thus another term entered the modern digital lexicon.
(This is an example of the sort of useless but interesting trivia you may pick up if you frequently check out my drivel.)
This article is a stroll down Memory Lane. I have been considering how things have changed in my life because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Certainly, my lifestyle has changed, perhaps irreversibly. But my values have changed also. Part of what set me off on these reflections was discovering some old paper notebooks in which I had kept trip notes written during past journeys – back in the good old days when international travel was cheap, convenient, and safe. (Also, you didn’t expect an automatic 14-day quarantine – and perhaps even suspicion and hostility – when you arrived at your destination.)
It is often interesting to read our diary entries from some period in the past, especially if they were for a special occasion such as a trip. In the past, when I traveled to America to visit my family there each summer, I always carried a paper notebook for making frequent entries during the journey and during the time I stayed with my family. Now, it is very entertaining to read those notes some years later – especially now since everything has changed and that world no longer exists. Those old notebooks are like a time capsule.
Likewise, it is interesting to look back at some of my own blog articles from the pre-pandemic era. The assumptions I made, the things that seemed so important, and the things which seemed unlikely to change are all cause for reflection now. Please enjoy the following article dredged up from the depths of the blog archives. Read and enjoy, then think about your own life and how you have changed as our world has changed around us. Are you making good choices now or are you still trying to force yourself to remain in behaviors and beliefs that were perhaps suitable in the past but are not appropriate – or perhaps not even possible – today?
A Special Day This Week
For those of you who have been reading these blog entries since the beginning, we are approaching an important date.
Good morning, Chongqing!
In organized sports, the process to determine the champion for the season usually involves some kind of tournament or series of playoff games. The concept is: you must continue to win or you will be eliminated and sent home. For example, in the sport of professional golf, a three-day or four-day tournament is common. All the participants go out and play their best. But, at the end of the second day, only half are allowed to play on the third day. In golf terms, these players have ìmade the cutî; the rest go home. Similarly, many of us watched the recent World Cup games in Moscow. At each level, some teams were eliminated from the competition and went home. Only the winners persisted and continued.
I recently learned a rather startling fact. For blogs, the average lifespan is about two months. That ís right; after only two months, half of all blogs have stopped publishing new content. After two months, they have quit. They didn’t “make the cut”.
But how can anyone expect to be successful after only two months? (This says nothing about the quality of the content. Already, I can look back at some of my earliest posts and cringe.) This issue is about merely still being alive and publishing.
Imagine a university student quitting school and going home after only two months of their freshman year. What would they tell their friends and family? Too difficult. Too many things I didn’t understand. No successes. That sounds like a silly example but that is exactly what half of all bloggers do; they quit within the first two months.
So, dear readers, we are approaching an important date, the two month anniversary of this blog. I hadn’t realized it was such a special time but, apparently, congratulations are in order.
I have three people to thank:
1) Thanks to my wonderful and resourceful assistant, Sonia, for taking the articles I write each week and publishing them on the blog site. Sonia is also the person who prods me to get each new article ready in a timely manner so you the readers can expect to see new material each week.
2) Thanks to you, the readers and commenters who encourage me by visiting the blog and participating by leaving comments. By reading and commenting, you make this blog your blog, your community. Stay tuned. We will get better. Everything is still new. This is our on-the-job training phase.
3) I want to thank the person who said, “98% of success is just showing up every day”. It is impossible to underestimate the value of persistence in any serious endeavor.
So, dear readers, as we approach the two month anniversary (August 9) of this blog, I want you to join with me in a very modest celebration. This week, the blog will be two months old – and we are still here. We have “made the cut”.
What about you? I want this blog to be home to a community of individuals who share common interests. What can make this blog better or more valuable to you? Leave comments below or you can email me directly: email@example.com.
(Back to July 2020)
Life tends to seem simple, almost peaceful, when we look to our past. At the time, of course, we didn’t usually feel that way but, in comparison with our present problems, those old days truly were simpler and more peaceful. (Hint: Get ready. Future events will almost certainly make the today’s trials and traumas seem simple and peaceful.) I urge you to take a little time to reflect on how the pandemic has changed your life and your values. This is actually – despite the death, economic destruction, and general uncertainty about the future – a golden opportunity to make some good new choices and implement some new beginnings.
你知道 “博客 “一词的由来吗？你写过日记吗？日记有时也叫日记或日志。早期的博客作者往往只是在自己的网站上写日记/日志/日志，他们将其提供给任何人阅读。通常，这些早期的网站充满了技术信息和关于实验和观察的笔记。这些都是科学家和技术作家的日志，他们愿意与他人分享。但是，渐渐地，个人的笔记、观察和感受开始渗入这些日志中。那些早期的网站主们在网络上记录着日志，这种日志被称为 “网络日志”，他们的 “网络日志 “很快就被简称为 “博客”。于是，又一个名词进入了现代数字词典。
在有组织的体育比赛中，确定本赛季冠军的过程通常涉及某种锦标赛或一系列季后赛。其概念是：你必须继续赢得比赛，否则你将被淘汰并被送回家。例如，在职业高尔夫运动中，三天或四天的比赛是很常见的。所有的参赛者都会去打出自己最好的成绩。但是，在第二天结束时，只有一半的人可以参加第三天的比赛。用高尔夫的术语来说，这些选手已经 “入围 “了，剩下的人都回家了。同样，我们很多人也观看了最近在莫斯科举行的世界杯比赛。在每个级别的比赛中，一些球队都被淘汰出局，回家了。只有获胜者坚持下来，继续前进。
但是，仅仅两个月后，怎么能指望有人成功呢？ (这并不能说明内容的质量。我已经可以回顾我最早的一些文章，并感到畏惧了）。) 这个问题是关于仅仅还活着和发表文章的问题。
3）我要感谢那个说 “98%的成功只是每天出现 “的人。在任何一项认真的工作中，都不能低估坚持的价值。
所以，亲爱的读者们，在我们临近博客两周年（8月9日）之际，我想让你们和我一起参加一个非常适度的庆祝活动。本周，博客将迎来两个月的生日–而我们还在这里。我们已经 “入围 “了。