i went to bed at 1:30, doing research on chinese cell phones. i actually like doing this sort of legwork before i buy anything, because it gives me a chance to learn something new everytime. figuring out the different features, distinguishing the brands, comparison shopping, i love doing all that stuff. maybe i have the makings of a good procurement buyer, if there wasn't that pesky language barrier issue.

surprisingly, i woke up without any problems. i think the secret is a gradual soft wake-up instead of an abrupt hard wake-up, since i woke up intermittently throughout the night to check the time.

without any yak meat or bread, i didn't have any sandwich making ingredients (not that i wanted one anyway, i'm already sick of sandwiches after a week of it). i was going to just wake up and have a fried egg for breakfast but decided to skip breakfast, figuring i could rely on my emergency sweet congee if i was hungry at work.

every morning there is more and more sunlight. last night was a clear night, the full moon a pale yellow orb in the light polluted eastern sky. clear nights bring colder mornings as the temperature dipped to 39 degrees. i saw the moon again, on the western side of the sky this time, still sickly yellow, and looking less full now.

when i arrived in the office i was in no mood to work. not that i was tired, simply unmotivated. besides, it's saturday! i promised myself when i started working here that even though they make us come into the office on saturdays, i would do as little work as possible, as a form of civil unrest.

i finally bought a smartphone: the ZTE geek V975. it's the smaller resolution (1280x720) china unicomm version that might also work in the US (WCDMA). i paid RMB$994 and got lihui to order it for me with free shipping on jd.com. "it should arrive on monday," he told me. that fast? he said it's because they have a warehouse in chongqing, and might even arrive tomorrow (even though we won't be in the office). the next nearest model of like specifications are all RMB$2000 or more, so i think this is a good bargain. later i ordered a sandisk class 10 32GB microSDHC card (RMB$119), figuring i'd need it for my new phone.

i invited xianglian for some dico's fried chicken, hoping yesterday's maybe would be a yes today. but she told me she already had dinner plans, going out for some gan guo hot pot. i lost count how many times i've invited her out to dinner over the past few weeks, only to be denied. i don't think i'll invite her out again, there's only so much rejection i can take. what's confusing is later she might come by my desk and ask about my dinner plans; maybe she just likes hearing me say i'm eating alone tonight.

xianglian goes out a lot with the members of her contract team. my secret wish is they'll recognize that i'm pretty much adrift as the only person in my department and adopt me into their group. but i've learned the hard way that that sort of empathy is lost on most of my coworkers. why should they anyway? some of them have worked together for almost 2 years now, i'm still the new guy, and not entirely chinese at that. it does make me feel a bit unwanted and a little hurt, and once more that twinge of yearning to go back to the US started to creep in. they'll be sorry when i'm gone! all their lives will be less brighter without me around! but sadly, i feel in reality that wouldn't be the case, since i've seen how quickly they get over losing coworkers. if it weren't for my extracurricular pursuits, i'd seriously consider leaving sooner than later.

after work i went to dico's, as planned. i invited lihui, but being the unreliable character that he is, he disappeared while we were leaving the office and i didn't see him anymore. i was on the bus with xianglian and her contract group, and as i got off the bus (one stop early), i tried to play up my wretchedness (pulling close my coat, wincing at the cold, stumbling onto the sidewalk) but i don't think anyone noticed.

dico's is chinese fried chicken, which is basically a knockoff of KFC. xianglian had warned me so i knew the place would be crowded on buy-one-get-one-free night (with membership card). it was mostly parents and children, followed by teenagers. it seems people were buying more than they could possibly eat. i did notice something strange about the chicken, which is they only have 3 kinds: drumsticks, nuggets, and wings. apparently the chinese have no appetite for breast or thigh. the wings are also small, nothing like the jumbo wings i'm used to back at home. i was tempted to get the bucket meal for RMB$89, which meant enough fried chicken and soft drink to last me for an entire week since i'd essentially get twice the amount. i settled for the sandwich combo instead, featuring a fried chicken sandwich, a drumstick, 2 wings, and a drink. i added some large fries (2x), with the total coming out to RMB$51. still kind of expensive, but i wasn't prepared for the amount of food until i got home.

i ate all the fries, one sandwich, one drumstick, 2 wings, and all the coke. the flavor was okay, sort of spicy. unlike KFC, the fried crust wasn't very well done, and you could see they used some sort of batter base instead of all flakes. afterwards i felt so full i just climbed into bed and watched television in a near catatonic food coma.

i spent the evening chatting on QQ with both baihong and grace. earlier today i asked baihong if she was free on the 26th, since i'd be going to chongqing that sunday. she said she might have to work on that day. i also asked if she was free on the 29th, but she's not sure about her chinese new year plans yet. is it just me or is it really hard to get a girl to come hang out with me?

(it's 2:30! i'm finally going to bed! waking up at 7:00! oh sunday!)