JISHOU, HUNAN — I had some time on my hands recently, so I spent it tweaking the website.

I’ve joined the China Blog Network, and you’ll see a widget linking to it in the right sidebar. One blog I’ve been spending time reading is Wok With Me, Baby, a cooking blog written by an ex-pat in Shanghai who cooks Western-style food with mostly locally available ingredients. Her chili recipe looks good.

I found a cool world map widget that shows visitors’ locations. I saw it at Respectful Insolence, a medical blog by the sharp-tongued skeptical Orac. Although I already have a Clustrmap, the spinning globe was too cool to pass up.

The Status Update plug-in doesn’t seem to be updating my Facebook status, but I’m not going to sweat it until Nov. 22, when FB shuts off RSS feeds to FB Notes. I’ve already discovered that tweets can be fed to FB status lines.

We had our first English Corner of the new school year today. A big crowd of mostly freshmen, who for some reason seem younger (several 17-year-olds among my students) and more geographically diverse than before. I’ve met several students from Xinjiang, in the far west of China, and the dining hall is now serving some halal food to accommodate the Muslims among them.

One of my seniors has been accepted to the University of Sheffield, and I expect other unis will send her offers. She applied to nearly 20 schools in the UK. I told her it was overkill, but what are you going to do?

The Chronicle of Higher Education Global edition has an interesting article, The China Conundrum, which describes the problems Chinese students and their American universities face as more and more Chinese come to the States for undergraduate study. The largest demographic among foreign students now is mainland Chinese, some of whom have fabricated their qualifications — especially their spoken English skills — to garner places in US universities.

I have discovered how to watch American TV shows on the Internet, so for the last several weeks I’ve been catching up the last four seasons of CSI. I know it’s too late to say it, but Laurence Fishburne did a great job in that show. Ted Danson is a surprising and welcome addition, though. I missed having an eccentric genius like William Petersen on board.

All for now.

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