i'm not surprised that lihui didn't come to work today but i am disappointed. it's one thing to be a slacker when you're old and wearied and life has worn you down over the decades; it's another thing to be so lazy at such a young age.

i didn't bring my bag this morning. the primarily purpose of that bag is to carry my cameras and my umbrella. there's also my taiwan-china passport, a packet of kleenex, a pen, a notepad, a spare key, a mp3 player, some bandaids, and extra set of camera batteries. but when i go to work i hardly ever use any of that that. i'm surprised i didn't figure it out before. i think i've gone to work once or twice before without a bag. all the essentials i can just carry in my pockets: key, cash, cards (work id, bank debit card, changshou bus pass), my nokia cellphone, and my ZTE smartphone. i hand-carry my insulated tumbler, filled with hot tea (celestial seasoning bengal spice).

i found zengfei at the bus stop. she never saw me without a bag before and was surprised. she was carrying a pair of binoculars a friend of hers had left at her apartment last night. i actually saw them yesterday during the safety manhour award ceremony. bosma brand 10x50, they're actually a set of very well-made binoculars. when i got to the office i looked them up online and they're just US$30, so i'm tempted to get a pair before i return home. maybe if i have them now i can do some birdwatching. there's something about seeing binoculars that makes people want to try them out, and that was the case, as people kept asking if they could use them.

XL sat next to me on the bus this morning. i kind of regret ever saying anything to her despite how it made me feel. sometimes when we sit together there's a level of awkwardness as we have nothing to talk about. i'm actually now used to sitting with different people and chatting about various topics. how can i have both? sit next to XL yet be able to talk with others on the bus?

zhuyan asked me today how come my photos are often times blurry. are they? in my defense, here are several good reasons:
* i don't use a flash. i like my subjects naturally lit, sometimes at the expense of blurriness.
* i tend to shoot moving subjects. i prefer candids, which is another way of saying i don't pose my subjects and prefer to shoot them as they are, and often times they're moving. it's sort of hit or miss, but every once in a while i get a really good photo where the subject is in focus while everything else is blurry.
* i take a lot of photos. i'm more of a quantity guy when it comes to photography (as opposed to quality). because of this, if you ever take a look at the bulk of my photos, most of them are in fact blurry because i'm adjusting on the fly. i take a lot in the hopes that maybe a few will be clear.

having said all of that, i did notice last night that indeed a lot of my photos were blurry. even if i account for all the reasons i listed above, that still can't account for all the blurriness. i was shooting only with the 28mm f/1.8 lens last night. and while the lens is fast, i was shooting in aperture priority mode, which i should've played around with the settings some more and shot in total manual instead. i was getting shutter speeds of 1/60 with ISO that ranged from 200-500. in hindsight, i should've at least bumped up my ISO (3200), and maybe even fix the shutter speed for a faster release. aperture of course would be fixed at f/1.8, or f/2.8 if i want more focus.

after work xianglian and i sat together again on the bus heading back into town. unlike this morning, i had plenty to say on our way home. for one thing, she was carrying a bag of books she ordered from the chinese amazon.com. a fan of mysteries, she picked up the whole davinci code series - translated into chinese of course. she also told me on our way out of the office that she didn't want to eat dinner. i tried convincing her otherwise but she was fixed in her decision. i sensed maybe she was a little depressed, and she said as much, but i couldn't dig out anymore information. at one point she received a call from a contractor asking her out to dinner. in her line of work, she gets invited out to dinner all the time, i shouldn't take it personal. i was happy to know that she declined the offer. we talked about books, talked about the little private collection she's been working on back at her house in the countryside. i also told her i was going to chongqing tomorrow. i didn't say with who, but i did tell her i was going to the bookstore to look for a field guide on birds, which is all true. i revealed that originally i wanted to invite her to yuanboyuan in chongqing this sunday, but maybe we'll go next thursday (labor day, we get the day off) or next sunday. she told me she and her roommate were planning on doing some shopping in the chongbai mall tomorrow.

back in town, after seeing xianglian home, i went to the supermarket to pick up some leftover sushi and some yogurt milk for dinner.

i finally got around to cracking open my panasonic lumix ZS20 camera. i opened it last week but discovered it required a torx screwdriver to pry open the final piece to expose the CCD chip. there seemed to be a dust on the chip; i didn't have any lens paper or special CCD chip swap, so i just gently wiped it with a tissue paper. after re-assembling the camera, there still seems to be a grey blob near the middle of the camera. worst case scenario i could always take it to the camera shop and get one of the professionals to give the camera a thorough cleaning. but if it's really just dust on the CCD, i should be able to clean it myself. i'll trying cleaning it again when i have more time.