i woke up relatively early for a change, around 9:00. in my normal routine, i like to get up between 9-10 (sleeping around 1-2), which gives me a few hours of morning (anytime before noon i consider morning). wake up any later, and much of the day is already over, especially during our abbreviated winter daytimes. i didn't wake up on my own volition though, but instead it was because i got an automated call from verizon fios telling me they might've fixed the television problem my parents were experiencing yesterday. because i wasn't able to check, i picked the option for them to call me back in an hour. i called my father at home, who told me they still couldn't get any channels.

tomorrow will mark the (almost) 3rd week i've been back from china, although it feels like i've been back longer than that. one of the things i really want to do is try to fill in all the empty days on my weblog. i sort of gave up posting somewhere in the middle of july because 1) my blog was experiencing technical issues and 2) i simply didn't have enough time because i had too many things going on. since i was still working in july, i kept a lot of notes while i was in the office, writing down what i did the day before and sending it to myself via e-mail. in august i began my traveling vacation, nearly all of which was spent in sichuan with my traveling companion sun meng. there, i had no chance to write. however, i can still recreate much of those days through all the photos i took.

in september i was back in changshou, my chinese home for the past year. i had about 3 weeks before my eventual return to the US, and i spent those times lazily lounging about the apartment, buying a few more things online, making frequent trips to the supermarket to eat as much local delicacies that i wouldn't be able to find back in boston. in my last week i returned to xi'an, which was a great experience because i even got to climb huashan, but there turned out to be a lot of drama since i was traveling with 2 girls (hopefully i'll get a chance to write down what happened during those eventful 5 days). i then came back to changshou where i spent a few more days before finally leaving china.

around 11:00 i biked to belmont to await the arrival of the cable guy. my father was still home and i showed him the trick where i could receive a bunch of airwave HD channels simply by sticking a paperclip into the antenna port. at the very least i could watch local news on WHDH while waiting. soon afterwards my father left for work, i received another automated call from verizon, telling me it was connecting me with the repair guy, but we got disconnected. it didn't matter because i saw the verizon truck drive up to the house so i went outside to greet the guy. he came in to check the HDTV and pulled up a diagnostic page, which basically told him what we already knew, that we weren't getting any channels. he went down into the basement, made sure the problem was actual coaxial cable related, and then removed the fiber optic signal box and replaced it with a new one. he then went back to his truck to update the equipment on their server. a few minutes later, like magic, all the channels came in. i went outside and saw he was still on the phone but i gave him a thumbs up. a short time later he drove off without saying good bye, his mission complete.

it's been a while since i experienced american cable. i have cable at home, but it's basic cable, which is essentially all the channels i would get for free over the airwaves. but now finally i could watch USA or ESPN or CNN! randomly surfing, i came across a special effects make-up competition show on the syfy network called "face off." it's set up just like project runway, but instead of fashion challenges, contestants make monster masks. i was surprised that this was actually the 7th season (but probably there are more than one season in a year). i ended up watching it the rest of the day (must've been a marathon), and when my mother came home in the afternoon, she got hooked into it as well.

we ate some leftover barbecue in the evening, before my father came home from the cafe. i watched the newest episode of "face off" beginning at 9:00 and left sometime before 10:00.