i thought last week was the coldest dim sum ever, but it looks like we have a new winner in today. it was somewhere in the 20's, cold enough for me to wear my puffy blue winter jacket. fortunately it wasn't windy, so it wasn't too bad. the sky was blue and sunny as well, and if you stayed in the sun, you'd experience that weird winter blend of hot and cold.

i got to harvard square 30 minutes early so i spent it just walking around. that early in the morning on a sunday, most stores are still closed. the few places i saw opened were for brunch. brunch culture, that's something i don't understand. or do i? isn't that what dim sum is all about, chinese brunch? but i must admit, there are some weekend mornings when i rather get a serving of belgian waffles or french toast or a stack of pancakes, instead of a dish of tripe or a cage of chatsoubao. variety is the spice of life!

when the hour approached 10am, i went to the corner of au bon pain and saw that sinali was already there patiently waiting. i love seeing people i know before they realize i'm seeing them. in those brief moments, i am watching them at their natural state, how they behave to the rest of the world, how they act towards strangers. anyway, we waited a few minutes before laurie pulled up to the curb. sinali and i threw ourselves into the car and off we went, chinatown bound.

laurie has a smell. no, more like a fragrance. i don't know what it is, maybe its the shampoo she uses, or the soap, or maybe some sort of lotion. whatever it is, i smell it everytime we meet. it is not an unwelcomed fragrance, because everytime i smell i know its her. i can probably find her through scent alone now.

dim sum was uneventful. we did get our own table upstairs (i don't like sharing!), the first time with sinali. i cashed in my china pearl discount card, finally completing the required 10 stamps i needed in order to get $10 off. the total meal turned out to be only about $10.

the task of paying for parking was left for laurie. we saw the familiar woman behind the counter, the same one we see every sunday. when we first came in we were wondering what it's like being a parking attendant clerk. the past few times we've been here, she's been all bundled up behind the glass wall, so it must not be too warm in there. she uses a vhs tape as an insulating door for the little transaction window, to protect herself from the cold. i also wonder if she gets bored? one time we came to pay we saw her sleeping and had to gently tap on the glass to wake her up. she awoke with a groggy smile. hey, a job's a job though, right?

laurie dropped sinali and i off in harvard square while she drove off to park the car. i immediately went underground and caught the inbound red line train. i sat down and looked across the door. i did a double take. so did the guy sitting across from me. we both turned back and looked at each other again. i smiled. he smiled. "david rahbee?" i said. "tony?" he replied. we both got up. the lines "old friends me at the edge of town" from an old erasure song briefly flashed in my mind. it was my old classmate david rahbee! man, i've known david since the second grade, which was back in 1981-1982, two decades ago! holy cow, i never thought the day would come where i could make references to things from the past on the scale of decades, not just simple years. anyway, it was just so awesome bumping into him! to think, what are the odds? to be in the same train at the same time sitting right across from each other! he was heading into chinatown, which was were i was just coming back from. we quickly filled each other with as much details about ourselves as possible within the two stops of time before i had to get off at kendall square. after college he pursued a career of a music conductor, which i heard about (don't know who told me, maybe adam smith). since september he's been in europe trying to find a job. where in europe? vienna! i couldn't believe it! here was a guy i went to school with, and to think, a decade after high school, he'd be this cosmopolitan rockstar conductor off away in europe looking for greener pastures! it just blows my mind. what i'm doing now pales in comparison. "i make cd-rom's for children. you know those cd's for textbooks? i make those," i informed him. he was only back in town for two weeks, for the holidays, and then afterwards he's back to europe again, where he also told me has musical contacts in some other eastern european countries, like romania (he said a few others, i couldn't remember, i was still awestrucked by the fact that he's living in vienna). i gave him my business card, he gave me his, we exchanged e-mails. seeing david rahbee again was the highlight of my day! i got off at kendall square, we said good bye, and i walked all the way to the galleria mall with a smile and utter disbelief over what just transpired.

today was my 2nd official day of holiday shopping and i had 8 more people left to buy presents for, essentially 80% of the people on my christmas list. i knew it'd be crowded, but the galleria mall seemed like the most reasonable place for me to get a lot of my shopping needs done. when i got there a little bit after noontime, it wasn't that crowded. the lull before the storm obviously, i wasn't that naive to think it could stay like this for very much longer. i hit best buy, circuit city, software boutique, the game store, yankee candle, and borders bookstore. it was pretty amazing, but i was able to buy all my presents save one from those stores. after over 2 hours of shopping in the mall (and by then it was pretty dense with patrons), i walked back to kendall square, shopping bags full of presents dangling from each hand, and took the red line back to harvard square. at harvard i visited the globe corner books to get my last remaining present. i thought about maybe dropping by bead works to say hi to laurie and sinali, but i was kind of exhausted from all that shopping and just wanted to quickly go home and rest my arms. the total damage for today's spending spree: $245. that's nothing. the present i intend to buy for myself will be $400.

finally, i had a really good hair day today. my hair was this cantilevered shelf of head fur. i wish i could detach my hair so i can wear it again, it's that good.