the fact that i couldn't turn on my AC this morning was how i found out we lost electricity again. this has happened so many times, i've lost count. if it's not the electricity, then it's the water. and it's not just here in changshou, but in the office as well, as i recall losing electricity once at the end of the summer (blown transformer due to the heat), and then losing the water occasionally because of repairs. i'm also indirectly affected when other areas lose power or water, like when lunch is delayed or the entire office has to eat out because the caterers can't prepare the food (that's actually the only time i look forward to power/water loss). worst part was looking out the window of my place and seeing that all the other buildings had power, just not us. worst. apartment. ever. in. changshou.

no power meant no heat which made for a chilly morning. i didn't bother checking the indoor temperature but it was probably in the 50's. it was too cold to shower, but i'd already showered last night so it wasn't that important. i used the bathroom and rinsed myself clean with some cold water, my only source of illumination a mini flashlight in a glass bowl. i put some product in my hair but couldn't really see what i was doing with the limited lighting. as i finished early, i tried to manually light the stove with some matches, hoping to maybe boil some water for tea and heated the fried egg i prepared last night. unfortunately my matches were too damp to ignite and i couldn't find my lighter. i finally did manage to find a dry enough match to light as i turned on the gas. i saw sparks then the familiar blue ring of gas burning. sparks? i tried the other burner and realized the spark ignition actually doesn't require electricity. so much for matches! i heated my egg and boiled some water, at least the morning wouldn't be a complete loss.

not only is it getting lighter when we go home, but now it's getting lighter in the mornings as well. i ate my sandwich as i walked to the bus stop.

i gave lihui RMB$1000 in cash this morning. he refused it at first, because he thought i was giving him some birthday money, until i told him it was to pay for the smartphone he'd help me order. he went though with the order process, but after checking out the reputation of the website elsewhere online, he found a lot of negative reviews, so he told me to wait, he'd try to find a different place to order from.

i had an annual ceremony cohost meeting between 10:00-12:00 then another one from 3:30-5:00. this was to work on the new format change we received yesterday, dividing the performances into arbitrary teams and then staging mock competitions. the premise is pretty awful but we went along with it simply because management thought it was a great idea. that was until manfred joined our meeting in the afternoon and couldn't stop saying how terrible it was. jeffrey was called in and we ended up getting him to change his mind and letting us do the show however we want within the framework of the revised schedule.

lihui ended up recommending a different phone entirely, the ZTE V975 for RMB$999. it has android 4.2, dual SIM card, WCDMA (so it'll work in the US), 2.0GHz dual intel atom CPU, dedicated PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU, 2GB/8GB, microSD card up to 32GB, 5" 1280x720 IPS screen, 8 megapixel back camera (but only a 1 megapixel front camera), and a 2300mAh battery. it has less storage, a smaller resolution, weaker camera, dualcore instead of quadcore, but the phone i was intent on getting yesterday for only RMB$999 might've been too cheap to be true. this may have to do.

last month xianglian told me about the special once a month buy-one-get-one-free deal at dico's AKA chinese fried chicken. she promised to take me the next time it happened. now a month later and she has reneged on her promise, saying she's eaten too much the past few weeks and has gained too much weight and now suffers from bouts of stomach aches. so all i could get out of her was how to get this special deal: apparently you have to have a dico's membership, which can be had for an additional RMB$2 when you order something.

so after work lihui and i went to go visit dico's. i bought a small bag of french fries for RMB$7.5 and got a snazzy 3D membership card for an additional RMB$2. besides be eligible for the monthly buy-one-get-one-free deal, membership also entitles me to a 20% discount on future orders, not a bad deal! afterwards we went to CSC, another fast food place. CSC stands for "country style cooking" and it's a chinese chain that offers chinese food. not american chinese but chinese chinese, if that makes sense. they also have fried chicken, which was the reason i went to one in the first place on one of the early visits to chongqing. lihui treated me to dinner, an RMB$19.5 plate of fried chicken with rice. we saw yuya there as well, with a thin tall boy from the office who may or may not be her boyfriend. it's kind of inspiring to see that amidst the 60 hours work week, love can still take root (if indeed it was a date, which is pretty likely considering yuya lives across town near the phoenix hotel).

as if that wasn't coincidence enough, mahui and xianglian came to the restaurant as well. we ended up eating together downstairs, which was empty (the restaurant is actually located upstairs) because it was located by the main entrance to the outside and was kind of cold (why they don't close the door i don't know, but that explains why everyone was eating upstairs instead). mahui bought some duck parts and shared it with us. afterwards lihui went home while i followed the two ladies to do some chongbai mall shopping.

mahui ended up buying an RMB$200 jacket at the monchichi store (her favorite brand), a clothing place that caters to a more teenage demographic. i left them around 7:45 while mahui was still deciding, since i wanted to go to the gym.

i left for the gym sometime after 8:00. electricity was back in the apartment, i appreciated it a bit more than usual. the treadmills were all empty when i arrived, so i grabbed the one by the mirror. i went 12km/h for 4000m in about 20 minutes, a good speed. it was a struggle towards the end and i wanted to stop, but i've never stopped prematurely in all my china running and i don't intend to.

back at the apartment i added the dried cabbage to the nearly-empty paocai jar. i got the second smallest size they had, and i could barely squeeze in the cabbage pieces. at one point i pushed down too hard and splashed up a lot of paocai water all over the kitchen. i ended up having to mop the floor, thank god for the sponge mop i got earlier this week! in my rush, i forgot to add the carrots, but once the cabbage reduce a bit, there will be space for the carrots and the few pieces of leftover cabbage (if they haven't gone bad yet).