Sunday, April 29

Just silence

One Day Blog Silence

Saturday, April 28

Climber I am, Golfer's elbow I have

Yup. The pain has a name!!! And a way to cure it: ABSOLUTELY no climbing for 6 to 8 weeks (from the day I last climbed, not from the day of injury -- i asked!)*. He insisted that i do not climb (probably saw through me) and said that if i do climb it will get much worse. So... no climbing ... I am watching my hard earned calluses turn into girly skin again and i hate it. I am reading all the team 's emails about meetings and climbs and all that and i feel so depressed and excluded in some way. I feel so frustrated by the fact that i know it's going to be hell to get back in the shape i used to be and no amount of running, finger strength training or anything is going to help me.

I feel bad about whining also. So yeah. The first part of the qe went well. Still have computer architecture to pass, then i'm out of the woods.

*I am going to the Tampin bouldering trip though (in 4 weeks time). Even if there are no easy boulders, i will be the team photographer

Wednesday, April 25

It's quote time!!!

I know i've promised silence until friday, but i'm supposed to return this tomorrow, so i'm adding in some quotes from "A Man Without a Country", K. Vonnegut

"Foreigners love us for our jazz. And they don't hate us for our purported liberty and justice for all. They hate us for our arrogance."

"[...] as a result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida [...] we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jug-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appallingly powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazis once were."

"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and i don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president. This was true even in high school. Only clearly disturbed people wanted to be class president."

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

[wrt the president's state of the union]"what George Bernard Shaw said about this planet: [...] I don't know if there are men on the moon, but if there are, they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum."

"I came to speak ill of Swedish engineering, and so diddled myself out of a Nobel Prize."

"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap."

There are many more, the whole book should be quoted. Vonnegut is an amazing writer.

Out of office notice

Dear blog,

Please accept this notice. I will be out of the blogging world because:

a. the qe is coming (27 & 4) + deadline on the 2nd.

b. i cannot climb (i am in A LOT LOT LOT of pain)

c. all i can think about is that my climbing is going to suck after this is over (if it ever is over).

Hope to find you all nice and dandy. See you on the 27th.

Sunday, April 22

The Lyrid meteor shower

Yup. Today when we got to school around 1 PM and greeted everybody with "good morning!", it was because last night we watched the lyrids meteor shower! Yey!! well, not exactly! See, it was supposed to peak last night, and we were supposed to go around 3 am to the kent ridge hill and watch it from there! But ... marian put the alarm but his phone was on silent ... So we woke up merrily around 4:30 AM, and went to the fourteenth floor (there's a small garden there) and watched it from there!

Bad things: city lights! (so not too dark); saw only 3 meteors

Good things: i had only seen 2 shooting stars before, so this totals it up to 5!; there's going to be a big one on the 5-6 th of May (in the southern hemisphere it's expected to reach 30/hour) ... so this was training if you wish.

Displayed is the only picture we took.

Speaking of training, i have resumed my climbing (though very very very light). Re-scheduled the doctor's appointment for the 26th of april.

Later edit: after climbing today my elbow was numb (even though the climb was ok). self-imposed pause until the 26th. drats!

Friday, April 20


In an unphantomable exercise of democracy (unphantomable because DEMOCRACY does not happen in romania very often), last night an un-elected parliament (un-elected because when we vote for parliament we vote only for the political parties who can put any person in parliament) voted to suspend an elected president (for whom i voted btw). While I feel that it is good to have this as a display of democracy, i can't help to feel the injustice of it all. I feel neglected as a voter. It does not help that one of the members of parliament said and i quote "Mr. [enter president's name] has been threatening us with the electorate. Are you afraid of the electorate? What is the electorate?" [stupid f*k] So yeah...

I have finished reading "cat's cradle" and loved it all the way. What i loved most, besides it being exhilaratingly funny and TRUE, is the following idea: the people of San Lorenzo (island country in the middle of the Pacific) are very poor, their life expectancy being around 35 years. However, they are very very happy. Why? Because of a very important pact that their leaders (the political and the religious one) have done: you see, the political leader threw the religious leader and the religion he was preaching in disgrace, and any follower found practicing that religion is bound to suffer a gruesome death. The thing is, everybody (including the political leader) is a follower, and the religious leader is never ever caught, even though search parties are supposedly going out for him. So you see, the people are poor, and hungry, and full of diseases, but they are happy, because their lives are filled with excitement, because they feel that whatever it is they are doing is important (by the fact that it's illegal even though it's noble). There's more to it than what i just said, but i am not very good at reviews or story-telling for that matter. I put some quotes below.

"She hated people who talked too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind."

"This here is a re-search laboratory. Re-search means look again, don't it? Means that they're looking for something they found once and it got away somehow, and now they got to re-search for it?" (now THIS is personal)

"Hazel's obsession with hoosiers around the world was a textbook example of a false karass, of a seeming team that was meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done, a textbook example of what Bokonon calls a granfalloon. Other examples of granfalloons are the Communist party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company [...] and any other nation, anytime, anywhere."

"The hand that stocks the drug stores rules the world. Let us start our Republic with a chain of drug stores, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of gas chambers, and a national game. After that, we can write our Constitution."

"I do no say that children at war do not die like men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays."

"If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself."

Thursday, April 19

Ice-nine baby!

"People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say" Vonnegut

In light of this, yesterday i was feeling a bit down and feeling like i was living in Macondo (Reasons? listening to traviata all day? approaching exams? no climbing? no studying? hmm ...). I did not go to the doctor (should have), but i did get me an emo haircut. Also, here's an excerpt from a conversation of mine with andreas, my new zeeland-living in england-met him in romania climbing - friend. A couple of days ago, a romanian intern lost the key to his cabinet. Called the help desk, and they said that somebody will come and will change the lock. Nobody came, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Here it is:
03:59:40 PM) szaboclaudia: i am definetely living in sa man (e.n. sa= south america)
(03:59:47 PM) szaboclaudia: there are 3 romanians in my lab
(03:59:58 PM) szaboclaudia: climbed up on a desk
(04:00:01 PM) szaboclaudia: trying to open it from the top
(04:00:08 PM) szaboclaudia: have you seen romanians at work? one works and three stand around and give advice
(04:00:13 PM) andreas: I need to study a subject that provides me with the structure to learn what I need about this
(04:00:29 PM) szaboclaudia: then indeed you need to go to school
(04:01:55 PM) andreas: to support a family and live the kind of life I want
(04:01:55 PM) szaboclaudia: so ... instead of doing bills today and all that
(04:02:10 PM) szaboclaudia: you decided to sort your future
(04:02:33 PM) szaboclaudia: *sort out
(04:02:37 PM) andreas: that and the bills
(04:03:07 PM) andreas: and....
(04:03:25 PM) andreas: I am also trying to buy land in Wales
(04:03:39 PM) andreas: so much to do
(04:03:46 PM) andreas: better get doing it
(04:04:03 PM) szaboclaudia: ok
(04:04:07 PM) szaboclaudia: now it's 3 romanians
(04:04:09 PM) szaboclaudia: 1 indian
(04:04:11 PM) szaboclaudia: and 2 chinese
(04:04:25 PM) szaboclaudia: one chinese is wearing a basketball player outfit
(04:04:30 PM) szaboclaudia: and slippers
(04:04:41 PM) szaboclaudia: you know the kind? the fluffy rabitty ones ...
(04:05:30 PM) szaboclaudia: indian has left
(04:06:06 PM) szaboclaudia: romanians are trying to move the desk (it's 3 meters tall)
(04:06:17 PM) szaboclaudia: updates from the front ... are you reading this?!!
(04:06:48 PM) szaboclaudia: aaaaaaaa ...
(04:10:26 PM) szaboclaudia: 4 romanians
(04:10:28 PM) szaboclaudia: 1 chinese
(04:10:34 PM) szaboclaudia: the other sat down at his desk
(04:11:22 PM) szaboclaudia: aaaah ... grad life at its best!
(04:11:35 PM) szaboclaudia: and me ... NOBODY to share it with
(04:21:02 PM) andreas: yes I am here
(04:21:09 PM) andreas: just doinfg stuff
(04:21:43 PM) andreas: busy day for a day off
(04:26:57 PM) szaboclaudia: it's 5 romanians now ... 3 on the desk
(04:28:17 PM) szaboclaudia: ok they're done

Allez! The play was great! Horatiu Malaiele rulz! i will post about it tomorrow, cause i got a special autograph from him and i need to take a picture of it!

Tuesday, April 17


Inspired by Kesheng who is going to collect the results for his xray (something i would never do if i were feeling better) and finally giving up to marian's bickering, i decided to GO for my appointment tomorrow with the orthopedist, even though the consultation only is 85 bucks. I really really hope we can get those moneys back ...
And yes, i was seriously contemplating not going, even though the pain in my elbow after the extended climbing sessions this week was giving me second thoughts.

Last night i ran 6.67 km at an astounding pace of 4 minutes 47 secs per km! It's an improvement ... for my hikes the least i got was 10 something minutes per km ...

LATER EDIT: just wanted to say that marian has been threatening to tell my mom about my elbow (which would start a never-ending discussion about how "you should quit this, honey, it's not girly enough" or "it's not safe" or "you should be using your brain more" (wtf?!) )! So there [throws fist in the air] !!!

LATER EDIT2: Students shot at virginia tech university. Omg ... [whew .. the only romanian grad student i know in the us is in columbus, which is not in virgina - my us geography sucks]

Monday, April 16

IR iz going to the theatrez

Yup. A romanian theater company are in town, going off to Sydney, and they will be performing tomorrow for the romanians here too.
I am going to see "The Lesson" by E. Ionesco and a play by Chekhov whose name would translate to "the buffoon" but I can't find it anywhere listed in english. I can't wait, it's been so long since i've seen a play!

Today i saw the funniest thing in the canteen: do you know the two piece cue sticks, that the pros have, they disassemble them and carry in a box? Well this guy had two piece chopsticks! Or is it four piece chopsticks? And he had this cute little tiny box for them too! Yey!

In climbing related news, I bought myself the ticket from Milan to Bucharest - 19th of july, 72 euros, so cheap! (actually not so cheap, i really need to start saving)

I climbed yesterday and this morning, but the climb this morning was really tiring, and i didn't do much: climbing in the morning is so different from climbing in the evening, your muscles are so stiff! (or maybe i just need a rest day) I was supposed to meet alex at 8:30 at the gym, but i knew he wasn't going to be there after he said last night: "don't wait for me if you get there first"... I only climbed from 8:20 till 9, will resume on wednesday.

Sunday, April 15

Bursting with enthusiasm...

i went yesterday on my hike! Managed to do 8.5 km yesterday, added value from the extra hill plus from the fact that i started from home and returned there, as opposed to other days when i start from home and end to school or vice-versa.

Afterwards marian and i went in town for me to make reservations for the aconcagua trip. An what do you know ... the tickets aren't out yet! They will be out 6 months before the date, not 8 months!!! Marian says i'm so excited, it's a wonder i didn't go last year to buy tickets!!

Then we came back to school and worked a bit and then went climbing!! Yey!!! i could only do a easy endurance route and then played a bit of flash comp. I couldn't do anything special cause my elbow still hurts (it hurts a bit more than yesterday right now, i suppose it's from the climbing) Anyhow, here are the rules for the flash comp (after negotiating them with marian again today - he felt it wasn't fair): we each set a route and then:

  • 1 point if you do your route

  • 1 point if you do opponent's route

  • 2 points if you FLASH opponent's route

  • -1 point (intially -2 points, but marian felt it wasn't fair ... TO WHOM?? he's the one setting impossible routes for him to do, while i set fair routes, mind you!!) if you don't do your route

So there ... overall score: 2-2 after the renegotiation (we played two times, marian set routes that go to the left and forced me to use my left hand ... bugger). We will be playing again today!

PS Did you know that the official language in Chile is spanish (will start brushing up after the qe) and that Chile has a female president? cool, right?

Friday, April 13

Hasta la vista

A huge yellow bruise is spreading across my elbow, going halfway down my forearm and halfway up my biceps (to the back). Now if i remember my bruisology, yellow means that it's healing, right?

As of today, i am not wearing my sling anymore. It still hurts alot, but i want my hand to get used to the hardship, cause tomorrow we (me and my left hand) climb.


Thursday, April 12


Because I am seventy something posts down the line here, i thought it would be nice to explain the title and lack of content thereof of this blog. First of all, the title is "[She] blogs about photography and graduate programmes" and i started it just before i left home to (further) pursue my academic career here in singapore.

Why did i leave home? Lotsa reasons, amongst which the fact that i think that for a latin nation like mine, that smothers its children until they're maybe, thirty, it is very important for one's inner growth to leave soon and experience life in a totally different culture. Second of all, after working for ibm for a year or so as junior/senior programmer i got sick of the industry, found it waay too stressful, decided that for me it was important to have a job that allowed me to be mediocre, but still gave me the moneys (and the time) to be able to CLIMB, in any form, be it bouldering, sports climbing, or mountaineering. Singapore is a good choice when it comes to bouldering (lots of gyms, plus one on campus, with very very nice peoplez!!), but totally lacks mountains. Yup. This is an aspect i initially neglected, and sometimes is coming back to haunt me. From the stressless job, i still don't know...

I am not blogging about my graduate programme, my phd or whatever, because, one year down the line i still don't know what it is all about. I like to think that i do have a job and i constantly remind my mom that "I am NOT going to school but to WORK". I still have to pass my qe, which is coming in two weeks time and for which i haven't studied yet. I found research very difficult to do, because it requires you to stay motivated throughout the entire process, which is really hard to do, at least for me, and at least now, when i still have to take classes (it seems that 5 years of undergrad is not enough for NUS) besides doing research. So I refrain from blogging about phd because i don't want to rant here all the time.

I am not blogging about photos because i have discovered that i am not good at talking about photography. I can't look at one of my photos and write this amazing story like i've seen people do. When I look at my photos all i can see is: too exposed, no subject, too in the center, not enough colors, etc... I would love to post some of my photos but i can't from behind NUS (and i am blogging from school work), plus i haven't had time, with the qe coming and all, to take as many photos as i would like. And posting older photos seems lame, but i will give it a shot though.

PS another reason i am posting about this is that i can't tell you how my morning hike went because i didn't go! I woke up early, and very fresh, but i just had a dream about my grandfather being dead so i decided it was not good to go. i will go tonight!

LATER EDIT: Kurt Vonnegut died today, so sad ...

Wednesday, April 11

Arriba senoras!

Last night did I have it bad or what? I managed only three times up and down my hill, feeling like Sisyphus at times, (by the way, the road is called Vigilante drive - arriba! arriba! andale! andale!) because the backpack was sooo heavy - I think it has around 17 kg, but it feels like 50 to me, especially going uphill. Downhill was a peach yesterday, even though i could feel it this morning in my right knee. So because i was so exhausted by last night's endeavors i did not go at it this morning, but i am planning a comeback tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning i also plan on going to the gym to climb, because last night's attempt was denied by the girls who kept shooing me off the wall whenever i tried (inconspicuous as i am) to climb my 8A (8 moves, ALL jugs) routes. Also i am not going for training on saturday, but i will secretly come to the gym to climb. I know, it's not a secret anymore, but i don't plan on anybody finding me in the gym, since i have the ultimate advantage: i can wake up very early!!!

Climbing is also denied to a number of other climbers, among which jensen and kesheng stand out. Especially kesheng, since we got injured at the same time! Yay! But he can still do pull-ups, which is so cool! (Omg, if only my mom could read me know: I have never in my life thought that I could envy somebody for being able to do pull-ups!! Tomboy i am, graceful lady i will never be.)

Tuesday, April 10

Lazy, lazy, lazy

On a happier note, my arm is feeling better and better - I can scratch my nose! So today I decided to resume my training... Put the alarm at 6:30, then 6:40 when I stopped it, said I was going to lay down for a bit ... and woke up at 7:25 pissed and scared. In the end i didn't want to go but decided to go - would have felt a total loser if I didn't.

I changed backpacks (I am now using a bigger one) and also upped the weight a bit (to what is now I think about 17 kg). I didn't get very far though, because it was 8 o'clock by the time I was exiting my street, and i realized it would be around 9:30 - 10 when i get back to campus sweaty and carrying this huge backpack (70 liters). So i stopped my workout - can you imagine the shame of it all, when the Nike+ sensor lady said: 5 minutes and 54 seconds; 0.54 km .... and a total of 26 calories burned!! Anyhow, I will resume it tonight, and for tomorrow i plan to leave the condo at 6. Yup, that's a promise.

LATER EDIT: just realized that even though i can scratch my nose, i can't press Alt+Tab! Oh... the curse of the geek ...

LATER EDIT2: Actually it's not the curse of the geek not being able to press Alt+Tab - it's the curse of the phd student which instead of working is reading all these damn blogs!! Just thought i would be honest for a change

Monday, April 9

Injured I am

Yup. This has been one of the truly horrendous weekends of my life. After an excrusiatingly simple fall i took this saturday i managed to sprain my left elbow really really bad. Did my whole life flash through my eyes when i fell??!?! No! But i did see all the consequences if my elbow were to be broken: bbye climbing, bbye alps, bbye kinabalu. For now. Anyhow, I went to the emergency ward on saturday (after endless negotiations with marian - i didn't wanna go, i dun like doctors, u know). The experience itself was funny, first the xray guy asked me if i'm "poignant", then they took an xray of my forearm instead of my elbow, and then the doctor talked to me like she was singing hip-hop. And she told me that the xray is inconclusive (i.e they can't say whether it's broken or not) and i must go to the orthopedics clinic today again (don't call them, they'll call you). She bandaged my arm, (my forearm looked as big as kesheng's!), gave me a sling, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, and off i went.

So I spent the whole weekend wondering whether it's broken or not and thinking how lucky i used to be when i was able to tie my hair and open a door for instance (to say nothing of climbing). In lieu of my imposed break from climbing, my climbing dreams have started again (if i don't climb for a while, i start dreaming about it). In this dream i was only climbing with my right hand (which i will probably do, come this tuesday - i hid my climbing shoes from Marian, in case he gets some smart ideas!) This left me really drowsy this morning, so i couldn't go for my walk up and down the hill. I will restart tomorrow, cast or no cast on my arm (i hope no cast, because if i need a cast then i definitely need screws in my elbow as well).

Happy Easter!

LATER EDIT: they just called me: next appointment is on the 18th of april (WTF?! so late?), dr. j.k. lim, 2:30 pm. If they think i'll go without climbing or training till then they are badly mistaken.

LATER EDIT2: just talked to Jups: he said that if you're injured during official training then you get part (or all) of your moneyz back (moneyz spent on the medical bills of course). He also asked if i can write an email to the team and say how it all turned out, so i will write after i find out how to go about with the university health service for the moneyz.

Thursday, April 5

Excuses I have not

So, I took the day off yesterday! So what?!? On tuesday, apart from my morning workout and climbing, I went running with kesheng, which left me on wednesday morning feeling sore from (almost) all my muscles - even my a.s.s. muscles were sore (good thing though, it means there's something there other than fat!) So I took the day off!! So what?!!? Later in the afternoon I went with Marian to buy Pasha a birthday present. We bought him one of those nice pillows - it's shaped like a turtle to symbolize his/ours slow (but STEADY!!) progress towards getting a Phd. Also it's very useful since he has been sleeping in his lab for the past three years! (I suppose you save a lot of moneys on rent)

Marian got me this wonderful present: a Nike+Ipod sensor plus connector - you put it in your shoe and it tracks your workout. It's wonderful and not so wonderful, since now i really have to work out. Plus i found out that my hill (that i thought was 600m) is actually 300m! It's very inclined, but still, 6 minutes for up and down??!?! carrying only 12 kg? How, oh how, will i ever be fit enough? For today, it took me 1h 10 minutes for 7.32 km: my house to the hill + 4xhill + from the hill to school.

Ok, and I admit!! I fell off the "no shopping" wagon! I shopped!!! but it is a very very nice blouse (expensive though) and i promise i won't shop for the rest of the month.

Last night i talked to M. on skype - next week i am going to make reservations for Santiago de chile - Chile here I come!!! We're supposed to meet in santiago on the 13th of december - initially we were supposed to meet on the 14th, but M. said he's not starting a journey on the 13th :)) Targets: Parinacota, Gualatiri and Aconcagua. I still have to buy (after the alps) some high altitude boots, ice crampons and a big backpack ... Cool! Shopping!! [i am incorrigible, i know]

I also admit i am selfish - i have been reading this article about how the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia is melting and all i could think about was that "what if parinacota and gualatiri will melt before i get there?"(they're at the border of chile with bolivia), instead of thinking about those poor people that will lose their water supplies... and how we're all going to die if global warming keeps up...
Enough with the admissions/confessions and all that, back to work!

Tuesday, April 3

An author I am

Even though the conference is weak, and i didn't even get to go. And the research is lousy and all that (since i am more focused on climbing than on research), it still feels good to see one's name in print. An online too! This is to my first paper! May there be many many more!

Moving back to safer territory, did 3 routes again of the kent ridge hill. I found a hiking trail going uphill, but as all things singaporean, it is paved!! And not so frequently used, judging by the large number of cobwebs crossing the path (yuck!!!!) The biking trail is not paved though, so maybe I will give it a shot tomorrow.

Monday, April 2


Oh boy was it a busy weekend or what?!
On Saturday we went on a Kukup tour organized by the GSS (graduate student society - sole purpose until now was to organize the sentosa beach party, now it looks as though they are progressing to organizing kukup trips). Kukup is a fishing village on the most southern point of the peninsular Malaysia west coast. Got it? Most southern point of the west coast ... I guess the need for tourists is big. Anyhow, overall the trip was ok, the food was fresher than here in singapore, but other than that I'm afraid it was extremely boring. We went to a pewter factory, for a walk around the village (took some nice pics), for a short boat trip to a fishing farm (saw a horseshoe crab!), back for lunch and then off we went to a handicraft center to see some batik painting and then ... [tam ta! tam dam!!!] shopping in Giant. Yup. Giant!!!! Wtf? I guess it was the only place they could think of that could safely contain so many people. Us romanians were always late no matter what the occasion. I realized that I hate going on tours, and probably i will never do it again. While the benefits of having a guide are obvious, having to stick to the group, be in places at a given time [or else!] is really not my idea of traveling.

After the trip ended Marian and I went to the new interns' place for some romanian beef soup and some eggplant salad. Yummy (not as tasteful as it should be, though)!!!! Next weekend I'm cooking some beef soup to show marian how it's done. And the weekend after that some eggplant salad (one of my favorite dishes) - i've been dying to cook it, but I know it will drive maria crazy (the stove will get dirty and i will clean it, but it's never enough for her).

The general pictures are here; my bestest are here.
On Sunday I came to school to study. This morning I did 3 sets of the kent ridge hill (it takes m e half an hour to get there, half an hour to come back, eighteen minutes to climb three sets - this has got to be optimized!!)

P.S I would post a picture, but it seems it's impossible from inside NUS. Will try to post tonite when i get home.