3 minutes in Shanghai
A brief look at life in Shanghai, China, covering everything from eating to the environment, love to labor practices.
3 minutes in Shanghai - LiveJournal.com
testingApr 21, 2006
Holidays in ShanghaiJan 4, 2006
Description:Christmas and New Year in Shanghai. Generally, the Chinese don't celebrate the way we do, but they do seem to enjoy the lights and decorations.
Listen to the show.
Cinemas of ShanghaiDec 19, 2005
Description:Going to the cinema in Shanghai. What's that like? Today I take about three minutes to answer that question.
Overall, the experience isn't too different from what you're used to in the States. Perhaps a few more obnoxious theatre-goers having noisy conversations, but otherwise pretty similar. Nice screens, nice environment. Sweet popcorn.
Wish I could see something other than Harry Potter, though.
More on hip-hop in China - videoDec 7, 2005
Description:Here's the video that goes with the previous show.
More on hip-hop in ChinaDec 7, 2005
Description:The rise of hip-hop in China is the topic of today's show.
I'm working on a new website, which those of you who are interested can check out at http://3minutesinshanghai.com/wp
I spent the Thanksgiving weekend working with Wordpress, trying to figure it all out and customize the look, using all them templates and CSS and stuff. It took me hours and hours, and for most of the time it all seemed completely beyond me. Now I've got the thing up and kind of how I want it to look, but the scripts to import my LiveJournal posts don't seem to work. Without that working, I'd have to import them all by hand before moving over the podcast, and that doesn't sound so good. Nonetheless, it seems to me to be a good idea to move over to Wordpress to give myself a little more control over what I'm doing with the blog/podcast.
And a video is coming.
MahjonggNov 23, 2005
Description:In today's podcast, I answer a listener question about the game mahjongg here in China. Yeah, they play it. Shanghai, the computer game that uses the same types of tiles, I'm not so sure about.
Oh, and the next edition of 'hip hop in Shanghai' is coming soon. I'm working on it.
More ideas from listeners about show topics would be greatly appreciated. Don't be shy.
Guandii in Fuxing ParkNov 16, 2005
Description:Today's show should explain the whole video clip that came (or should have come) earlier in the feed. I outline the rules for future video content, which I'll reiterate here.
I'm going to keep video content supplemental to the main audio show. I want it to be 'bonus' material that you can watch in iTunes, or on your new iPod video, but I'm such a fan of audio shows at this point that I don't see any reason to switch format. And... y'know.. I don't have an iPod video.
Since the video clip is of some hip-hop/rap performers here in Shanghai, I decided to talk for a few seconds about how difficult I think it is for the average Chinese to become interested in the hip-hop/rap world.
Oh, and I don't know anything about hip-hop/rap, so I may not be using the terminology correctly... But what am I going to do? Research? Bah.
Guandii in Fuxing Park - videoNov 16, 2005
Description:Video clip of hip-hop performers at Guandii, a club here in Shanghai. They have a rap competition every Thursday night, and included in the clip are performances by:
a Canadian, rapping in English
a Japanese, rapping in Chinese and Japanese
There are no Chinese rappers in this clip because on the night that I went, there were none. I hope to go back in the next few weeks and record some actual Chinese rap for this podcast about Shanghai. Would seem appropriate, I think.
Why am I here?Nov 10, 2005
Description:On today's show, I take a second to answer a question I've received on more than one occasion: Why am I here in China? Why don't I go back to America? It's a simple answer, really.
Also, I take an additional second to answer a couple listener questions. Keep sending questions, and I'll try and answer them in the show.
Thanks for listening, everyone!
Fudan Fuzhong podcastingNov 2, 2005
Description:It's been a while, but here's the new show. I've got to stop flaking out like that.
Some of what I've been occupied with lately is setting things up for the new semester, teaching at the High School Affiliated to Fudan University. Last year, I began having the students create a podcast as a graded oral English project. Although there were some hiccups, I got quite a few good shows out of the kids. This year, things should work out better. I have a new system worked out - the same system, more or less, that I'm using for this show.
Find my students at http://podcast.fdfz.cn/
Golden Week - National DayOct 11, 2005
Description:October 1st was Chinese National Day. I went to Tianjin to visit some friends, although that's a poor excuse for not recording a show in almost three weeks.
China has two 'Golden Weeks' a year - one beginning October 1st, and another beginning May 1st. Everyone gets a week without work. What's the deal with that? Some more info in today's show.
Thanks, everyone, for listening. There's almost 500 of you out there now, if my FeedBurner stats are correct, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I'd love to answer some general Shanghai questions in future episodes, so send 'em if you've got 'em to email@example.com.
Until next time...
P.S. Apologies for my cruddy math in the last episode. Somehow, I added 4 to 4 to 2 and came up with 12. Didn't notice that until well after it was posted. Heh. Maybe I should spend more time editing.
Metro's more expensiveSep 21, 2005
Description:Those evil dudes running Shanghai's mass transit are forcing us to pay as much as 50% more to get downtown. This hurts the little dudes the most, and it makes me sick. Fare hike, and they still haven't opened Line 4! Unbelievable.
Anyway, that's today's show. Enjoy.
Chinese discosSep 12, 2005
Description:You'll never forget your first trip to a Chinese disco. I'm talking about the local-style places outside of the city center. Now, every expat has his occasional great time at one of the clubs downtown, but to see how the rest of China parties, you've got to look outside the ring road.
Here are a few places in the Fudan University area of Shanghai that're still down and dirty local:
Hit House Pub, on the corner of Guoding Lu 国定路 and Huangxing Lu 黄兴路
UFO Bar, on the corner of Siping Lu 四平路 and Xingang Lu 新港路
They're good examples of a 'typical' local Chinese nightclub, but they're only a sample of what exists in the city. They just happen to be short cab rides from my place.
You'll be the only foreigner in the place, you'll get hair in your eye, and the music will suck, but you'll never forget it.
Taxis in ShanghaiAug 27, 2005
Description:Will you get where you want to go if you take a taxi in Shanghai? I spend a few minutes addressing just that issue in today's show.
I'm pretty sure there are some Shanghai residents who will disagree with some of the statements I make in today's episode. If you do, I'd like to hear from you. Send email, or what'd be great would be audio feedback. I think that might be fun to play around with. Let me know what you think.
This is the first time I've used GarageBand to record my show. In the end, I'm pretty dissatisfied with the GarageBand experience, at least for recording a podcast. I was much happier with Audacity, but despite the help of the Griffin tech support staff, I can't get it to work with my Griffin iMic on my iBook. So right now, I've got no adequate podcasting solution. I can use Audacity on my old Powerbook, and deal with the deadly-slow processing time, or I can record with GarageBand on my iBook, and deal with... well... what turns out to be a pretty crappy audio-editing solution. It may be great for recording songs, but it's pretty bad for recording simple voice.
Oh, and I've been spending far too much time watching DVDs of The Shield this week... that show is addictive.
Excuses, excusesAug 23, 2005
Description:So why, exactly, was it that it took me so long to get back to recording a show like today's?
I spent most of this evening watching The Shield on pirated DVDs I bought today. Went through half of the first season before stopping to record the show. I figured I owed it to you all.
So I spend this episode explaining the absence, but I'm afraid I don't tell the whole story. I'm leaving out the bit where my friends visit me from out of town, and I spend more than one night drinking and/or playing video games into the wee hours.
I am trying to get back on a more regular schedule, though.
Oh, and if you see these posts, let me know. I'm not sure if anyone actually sees the posts on this blog, 'cause it seems like all my subscribers are coming through iTunes, and I don't know how many people click on the little 'i' button next to the show.
I'm back!Aug 18, 2005
Description:I'm back in Shanghai with a brand new show.
It's been over a month since my last show, but I've got a good explanation. Unfortunately, that explanation is going to have to wait for the next episode. Today's episode is about what I miss the most about the States. We'll get to excuses and pleas for forgiveness in 'a few days'.
I have an apology to make, as well. During the second half of recording today's show, the fan on my laptop turned on in close proximity to the microphone. I tried to get rid of the high-pitched whine, but I was ultimately unsuccessful. If anyone knows the best way to remove noise from a recording without making my voice sound like a robot's, I'd be eternally grateful. So there's a high-pitched whine in the second half, but I was happy enough with the way it was recorded that I didn't want to do it over. Live with it. It'll be better next time.
So there you go. Enjoy. Send feedback. Click on advertisements.
Going back to NYCJul 9, 2005
Description:What's it like going back to the States after the mind-altering experience that is China? That's what today's show is all about.
I'm leaving for the airport as soon as I successfully upload this episode.
Thanks for the comments, those who left them. I'll try and get some photos to go along with the stories some time soon; maybe from New York if I get the chance.
More on the Burger KingJul 5, 2005
Description:Does Burger King know what it's doing here in Shanghai? That's the question I ask in today's show.
Today's show was done pretty hastily. It's pretty crappy, to be honest. After missing a couple days, though, I just wanted to get something out there.
It's interesting. Given the ancient computer I'm using (400MHz G3 Apple Powerbook), it takes me almost an hour to finish a three-minute episode of the podcast. I do almost no editing, but even the minimal editing I do takes some time. This episode, my post-recording audio work consisted solely of removing some sounds of my stomach rumbling, and cutting out a few seconds of silence throughout the recording, and evening the audio level. I'm really curious to know how long post-production takes for those podcasters that do half-hour, or hour-long shows
So far, there's really very little that I've done with this podcast that I couldn't do with a text blog alone. I'd like to change that soon. Perhaps a soundseeing tour of some part of Shanghai is in order. Most of my ideas will have to wait until August, however, since I'm going back to NY on Sunday. I'm not sure I'll get any podcasts done while I'm there, but I'll try and add a little to the blog.
Do you hear the sounds of progress?Jul 2, 2005
Description:We get some background music on today's show.
Today I talk about the ever-present music of machines we all live with, here in Shanghai. It's wonderful to wake up in the morning to the sound of drills and electric hammers.
As annoying as all this 'progress' is for us temporary residents, it's got to be even harder for the Shanghainese, who see the landscape around them torn up and changing. That's the theme I touch on, briefly, in today's episode.
I still haven't quite figured out the levels bit... although, to be honest, I haven't been trying too hard. It should be okay, though.
Four episodes and counting...
How I podcastJul 2, 2005
Description:A couple people asked me about the technical details involved with producing this podcast. I'll try to address that question here. Unfortunately, I don't know very much about audio production, or website creation or content management, so here's the kludge I used to put this thing together.
I bought a relatively pricey (for me) Chinese microphone. It's feels pretty solid, and I paid 450 yuan for it. I probably paid way more than I ought to have. I plug the microphone into my computer, and I record using Audacity, an open-source audio editing software package. It's simple, and it's easy to use, but it isn't particularly stable.
I used freewebs.com to host the HTML template for the site so that I'd have total control of the look and layout of the page. I'm really not sure what my bandwidth limit is, but all freewebs.com is serving is my index.htm and archive.htm pages.
I used Flickr.com to host the images that I embedded in the HTML of the web page (the banner, the background, and the buttons). This reduces the bandwidth I consume on the freewebs.com account.
I use LiveJournal for the blog, and the RSS feed it provides.
Then I use FeedBurner to make the LiveJournal RSS feed into a Podcast feed. FeedBurner is a free service that takes any RSS feed, and gives you the option to add features to it, as well as generating some statistics on subscribers and stuff. One thing that FeedBurner can do is add enclosures to an RSS feed, turning it into a Podcast. It'll turn the first link to any audio file in an RSS post into an enclosure that Podcatching software, including iTunes 4.9, will use to download the MP3.
Finally, I use Ourmedia.org to host the MP3. They'll host any media for free, with unlimited bandwidth, forever. Pretty amazing place, really.
So those're the basics of what I do to podcast. Any questions?
The Burger King comes to townJul 1, 2005
Description:Here's the show for today.
Burger King has come to Shanghai. The first mainland China branch of the fast food giant is now open, or so I hear. I've seen the big burger, held aloft by crane near the Jing An Temple, but I haven't been inside the restaurant. I'm looking forward to it, but I rarely stop by that part of time. Passing it on the gao jia is about as close as I usually get.
This new expansion is bringing out some of the same criticisms of Western imperialist dogs pushing their crass, junk-food culture down the throats of the rest of the world. I've never really understood that one. So far as I know, there's nothing in CCP dogma that requires its members to chow down on a Whopper. Everyone has the freedom to eat where they want.
I'm happy these fast food franchises are pushing their way into new markets. It must be interesting for the people working at the companies involved, and it forces the domestic competition to work harder. One day, I'd really like to see the Chinese version of McDonald's, but with crappy, preservative-filled xiaolongbao instead of chicken sandwiches. There are plenty of runners in the race, but no one's really taken the lead.
I'm not sure if three on-time podcasts are enough to consider myself 'on a roll', but... There's them.
How's the weather?Jun 30, 2005
Description:This is Episode two - Shanghai's weather
Here's a quick rundown on recent meteorological activity in Shanghai. It's just about as fascinating a talk as it sounds like it might be. There are more interesting topics, to be sure, but I'm trying to get into a groove here, so give me a break.
Levels are a bit better this time, but still kind of low. I'm sure I'll get it right next time.
First show is complete!Jun 29, 2005
Description:Here's the show!
It's just an introduction to the concept, and to your host, Tek. That's me. My full name is Tee Lek D. Ying, but most people call me 'Tek', a nickname I've had since way back in elementary school.
I'm under the impression that there are serious sound level problems with this first episode that I'll try to resolve in my second episode. If you're using iTunes, it should automatically correct the levels so the show is audible; if not, just turn your speakers up REALLY LOUD.
Let me know what you think. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First tentative steps toward the podcast takenJun 28, 2005
Description:We're almost there. I need to finish writing a bit, decide what links to include, and actually record a show, but the framework now exists. We've got a blog, we've got a bunch of feeds, and we've got some free hosting. It's not the cleanest or most beautiful website in the world, but I think it's the beginning of something that might work. Cross your fingers.