zengfei and were chatting this morning like we already knew each other, even though we've never been formally introduced. does she even know my name? she wore the same outfit she wore yesterday, i didn't mind the encore. she and her roommate were having some sweet buns for breakfast (sesame paste inside). our regular meat bun place was closed again, this time with a sign saying they're renovating (not sure why they need it, business is very good, people don't go for the ambience). i bought a big wheel of bread from the nearby western-style bakery, something called a "record cake" (RMB$9) because it's shaped like a record. for that price i was expecting something delicious but it was just bread.

our bus collided with an SUV this morning. the other car swiped us from behind. nobody felt a thing, so when our driver just suddenly stopped in the rotary, i thought maybe he had a flat tire. moments later he told everyone to get off, that another bus was coming to pick us up. we were about 2 minutes away from the office so the wait wasn't long.

it's comfortably warm and toasty at work. that's one of the things i miss about being in an office environment, the central air conditioning. cool during the hot summers, warm during the cold winters. having worked from home so many years now, i really appreciate free climate control when i can get it.

i was concerned about the office mouse problem but happy to report there was no further damages today. i guess if a mouse was really determined it could chew through the cheap plastic cake boxes i put my snacks in, but apparently that's enough deterrent to make them go elsewhere.

at 10:00 i sent zengfei an e-mail, saying that our morning waiting-for-the-bus chats just wasn't long enough for me and that we should be QQ buddies. i also told her as an incentive, she could see my traveling photos and pictures of my house and foods that i've made. a few moments later we became official QQ friends. i realized pretty quickly that her english isn't very good. this could be a problem since i can only write in english. my interest quickly waned. sometimes beauty should only be admired from a distance - like the sun. she wrote me something weird though. i reminded her it was close to lunch time, and she wrote, "i have a partner." at first i thought she was telling me she has a boyfriend, but then i was wondering if she saying she has already has a lunch buddy in case i wanted to eat with her. either way, it was strange. maybe i'll ask her about it tomorrow morning. after that i didn't chat with her anymore.

after lunch i went out with romeo to give him a few tips about using his new canon dSLR camera. i taught him about aperture priority mode, then we exchanged lenses. i let him use my 18-200mm while i tested his 50-250mm. we practiced some shots outside before returning to the office courtyard to walk some coworkers playing chinese hackey sack.

eating lunch with the usual lunch companions, i suddenly had a moment of inspiration: why not invite them all to a thanksgiving peking duck dinner thursday night? originally i was supposed to have dinner with pansusu on thursday, but we moved it to wednesday because he's leaving for shanghai thursday night. but that leaves actual thanksgiving day empty. i primarily wanted to invite some of the guys from our lunch table who never get invited to any dinners since guo and i began our frenemy campaign. and with guo on vacation, this was the perfect chance. originally i figured we'd eat at the peking duck place in the chongbai mall, but loren introduced me to another place nearby. "money is no object, upwards of RMB$1000," i told him. he told me it'd probably cost RMB$500-700 to feed a party of 9 on peking duck.

i hesitated about inviting fengya, not because i didn't want her there, but i was afraid she'd cancel and i didn't want to waste an invite. i also invited xiaolong and his girlfriend zhouke. this was another tough call. i'd already erased xiaolong from my QQ buddy list, and i still remember the time he invited everyone to dinner except me. but here's my chance to be the better man, to show them what they've been missing by excluding me from their social plans (when i used to invited to all of them). i sent everyone an e-mail with the invitation after our lunch break. some replied, while others i tracked down to confirm. i didn't ask fengya though, even though i overheard her asking loren about this peking duck place we're going to. peking duck is like the equivalent of a lobster dinner and nobody refuses when offered a chance to eat it. when she passed me in the hallway she actually smiled for a change. let the thaw begin.

lihui helped me install the VPN software on my tablet pc. he did it manually, by first e-mailing me the app and then installing it from the attachment. it worked flawlessly, i was able to access youtube as a test (it was the japanese version however because i was using a VPN server based in tokyo).

i saw xiao shen - my not so secret admirer - changing the water on a potted plant. she ended up asking me if i wanted it so i took it.

i saw sunmeng wandering around the office and i invited her to come hang out by the office entrance. we got some suspicious looks from coworkers, but she would be leaving in a few more days so she didn't care anymore. in fact, she's actually taking the next 3 days off, returning on saturday for her last day of work. i was outside with the sleeves of my shirt rolled up, and a lot of people were commenting, asking me if i was cold, or saying i must be very healthy to be so hardy. temperature was probably in the low 60's, but after having spent the day in the warm office, i had plenty of body heat to spare. besides, i was drinking a hot tumbler of tea. sunmeng is easy to talk to, i miss her when she's gone.

when we got back into town, i went to go pick up my shirts from the tailor. they were closed of course (why should this easy? difficult is far more fun), so i went back home. i won't be able to pick up my shirts until probably sunday since i have evening plans for the next few days. i also visited the peking duck place to make a reservation. the restaurant was completely empty, which is usually a bad sign. they were happy to see a customer as i made reservations for 9 people. they gave me the premium private room facing the street, free of charge. they said their peking duck has 5 different ways of eating, from rolling it up in a flat bread to taking the bones to make a delicious soup. for a party of 9 i'll probably need 2 peking ducks.

i was supposed to go to the supermarket and try to find some lotion for my dry and itchy skin but i forgot. instead i came home, ironed a few shirts, put on my long underwear (the temperature dropped to 59 degrees in my apartment), and worked on the blog. i also finished all my oranges. i still have plenty of longans and one changshou pomelo.