Monday, April 22, 2019

Welcome to Hey Zhou!

I'm stoked you've arrived at my little space on the internet. I'm glad you're here!

If you know me well, you probably understand that I am the kind of person who enjoys projects. I really enjoy taking an idea and bringing it to life, whether it be designing, building, and launching a rocket, helping a friend build a jungle gym in their backyard and with other home improvement projects, or saving an old bicycle frame from the scrap heap and refurbishing it into clean, safe, reliable transportation.

Up top: I work part-time as the programs manager at a nonprofit bike shop called Provo Bicycle Collective while in school.
Bottom Left: here's a rocket I made for a university competition - it has a carbon fiber body tube. 
Bottom Right: ready for the next adventure! 

This blog represents the culmination of quite a few ideas I've had bouncing around in my head for quite some time. I liked posting my projects and adventures on my Instagram page, but in talking with people about it, I got the sense that I wasn't able to convey the full scope of what it is I do with a short video or small description beneath a photo.

I'm aware, however, that a picture really is worth a thousand words - it's just that sometimes I want to put another thousand words to go with it - so this blog was born. It's here to help publish some of my personal projects, share adventures I go on, and describe my thoughts on subjects I care about. I don't anticipate setting any page view records or monetizing the blog due to the absurd amounts of web traffic it is sure not to generate, but to those of you who are interested, I hope this is a better outlet from me to you to describe what I'm about.

My wife, Maddie, and I after climbing to an overlook of our town.
You may be wondering about the name "Hey Zhou!" and where it comes from. A little over a year ago, I first heard the word "zhou" when I was enrolled in a Mandarin 101 class at my university. Zhōu is the pinyin transliteration of the Chinese family name 周, which now ranks as the 10th most common surname in Mainland China, and 71st in South Korea. It has been one of the ten most common surnames in China since the Yuan dynasty - safe to say, I'm not reinventing the wheel here.

Image result for zhou china name person
King Wen of the Zhou Dynasty, overthrew the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago.
Name kinda sounds like 请问 (qǐngwèn) which means "excuse me" in Chinese. A good one to remember.

When practicing its pronunciation, I thought it was funny that this ancient Chinese last name would sound so similar to the American first name "Joe" - the culture and tradition I was just beginning to steep myself in was suddenly juxtaposed a blue-collar name that evoked images of my home state of Tennessee.

7 Pieces of life advice from
my cousin Cleetus (a true Confucian) always used to say: “If you’re covered in oil, don’t stand next to a fire."

I soon adopted Zhou as my Chinese name in class...imagine me practicing this sentence the first week of class:

你好,我的名字是周。 洗手间在哪里
(Nǐ hǎo, wǒ de míngzì shì Zhōu. Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ?)
Hello, my name is Zhou. Where is the bathroom?

Not too long after, I heard this song on the radio (well worth a listen), and the name came to me...Hey Zhou!

After this, it was just a question of waiting for the right time and right place to get Hey Zhou off the ground.

It's strange to watch Jimi Hendrix play guitar with his teeth (you did watch the video, right?), but somehow, he knew it would work. On my upcoming trip to Asia, I anticipate being a strange sight to people. Despite being physically very out of place, this six foot five American with unusually blonde hair is excited to learn to appreciate a new people and culture with blue eyes wide open.

As for the other stuff in the title block, I made a little acronym called BUTTER - it stands for Bicycles, University Times, Travel, Education, and Religion - mostly a way for me to keep myself on topic. Because who doesn't like butter? (aside: to my vegan friends, sorry to use this acronym, I am open to suggestions)

I still have a few final exams left to take before leaving for the trip, so I better wrap up. Thanks for following along, and I look forward to having more updates on a weekly basis as time moves on. There's going to be a lot to share, and I encourage you to bring your thoughts forward as well! Please comment or email me at any point in time - your input improves my output.

Once again, welcome to Hey Zhou!


  1. Hey Zhou! Love the first post. Excited to follow along :)

    1. Hey friend! Thanks for your interest! I'm excited to share more soon.