After I finished turning my Blocked on Weibo blog into book form last month (it’ll be published next August by The New Press; note: cover needs to be changed and subtitle needs updating), I decided I needed a break and finally watched the Joss Whedon series Firefly for the first time. Of course, as someone who grew up on Cowboy Bebop and other deep space sci-fi, the show was a dream come true, and even if the series isn’t as mind-blowing as it is plain ol’ entertaining, I still blew through it in a couple weeks.
Anyway, so after watching it, I figured no doubt tons of people have already documented and translated all the hilarious usages of Chinese in the show, and as I expected, there are many, most notably Kevin Sullivan’s fantastic Firefly-Serenity Chinese Pinyinary. But the format seemed a bit stale, so I figured it might be nice to update it for Web 2.0 and add video clips, analysis, “ratings” of the actors saying the words, and audio clips so you can learn to pronounce stuff properly the next time you hit ComicCon in your Hoban Washburne Hawaiian shirt. So I started up with Judy He a new Tumblr blog called Firefly Chinese that does all this, tracking the usage of Chinese in the show and Malcolm Reynold’s heroic quest to butcher the Chinese language–one profanity at a time. So hope folks enjoy it.
As for other stuff, I’ve been doing a lot of fun work for China Digital Times, some of which has been translated into Chinese for their site. I’ve also been working on a couple projects with a professor and advisor here at Pitt, political scientist (the title does not do justice to his genius and immense breadth of knowledge about China) Pierre Landry. One is tracking what is happening on social media during the 18th party congress. I started posting some results on Blocked on Weibo, but I’ll be performing more serious quantitative analysis in the months to come once I finish collecting the data. Another project is a paper on comparing official Chinese government statistics versus remote sensing data from the Barometer on China’s Development. Basically, my September was spent combing through geocodes, Chinese town names, and gaining insight into Google’s usage of Chinese mapping data (which apparently they license from a Chinese company, AutoNavi). Fun fun fun. Hopefully we’ll come up with some interesting results and I’ll present some time next semester.
As for other stuff, I’ve been posting more regularly the fun stuff I glean from my Weibo tracking on Twitter (@jasonqng) and I’ve contributed a number of other pieces to Nathan, Eric, and Jasmine’s website Waging Nonviolence. If you need a dose of hope in what citizens can still do when united, go there. I also made the fun Tumblr blog Finding Doraemon just for kicks over the summer while I was in Asia (summer workshop with Deborah Davis, Pierre Landry, and Juan Chen on Chinese survey data at CUHK; followed by wandering Angkor Wat with Hippo Wong; and then studying Mandarin at IUP-Tsinghua).
Ok, I think that brings us up to speed. Now to catch some NBA games…