Wednesday, October 31

Climbaprix [mandatory] post

[Seems that it is mandatory since everybody is doing it ... So here i go]
1st route. Couldn't start.
Weakness - not flexible enough; no will power to hang in there
Strength - did not storm out of the competition area and into the street vowing to never return

2nd route. Couldn't start.
Weakness - did not figure out the best starting position and opted for the "slam your body onto the wall then cannot move out of there" strategy
Strength - none. Since i decided on the previous route to hang in there, for this one there's no strength

3rd route. Took too many attempts to figure out how to start. Couldn't finish (ran out of time)
Weakness - My left hand could not cross to the crimp (that everybody held) - so it took me a lot of attempts to (a) figure out to match on the better hold (b) figure out to hook on starting hold. Not very decided about how to go up. Not very flexible when I finally figured how to go up. Ran out of time.
Strength - Figured out how to hook on starting hold. Knew that the ending needed a hook.

Overall: depressingly bad

It's been over six months now since my elbow injury and even though it does not hurt that much or that often anymore (even though sometime a couple of weeks ago i could not hold my ipod in my hand), my left hand feels weak and out of sync with the rest of my body. Even more so, psychologically I do not trust my left hand at all, so I cannot hang on it, lock on it or jump from it. I cannot also use it as a catching hand (i.e jumping for a jug with my left hand). It does not help that i am fat now (56-57kg). I can't realize how i could climb when i had 64*.

It is hard for me to see others climb so well. Even though back home I was not used to relate myself to others, the singaporean system seems to have gotten to me (here they give grades following the Gauss curve). It is even more difficult to know that I was once in a good shape and now i truly suck. The thought that i will be gone for a month and a half (without climbing) freaks me out also.

It is also irritating and sad when I see the winner of the novice cat (an amazingly talented climber - as opposed to yours truly) is giving me friendly pats on the back "maybe you should rest" or "this is difficult for bigger people" :))

Pull-ups. Finger strength. Stretch.


Tuesday, October 30

Shitty times ahead

Mmm ... My supervisor had an extra boiler in his office which he gave to me. After the dissapointing comp on saturday [but that is another post] I gave myself a dose of shopping therapy and bought a French Press and some REAL coffee (no instant, no kopi). So now I am driving all the coffee lovers in the lab (if any) crazy with the smell. And the taste is oh so nice.

Now, coming back to our issues. Today I went and did my usual trek up and down the Vigilante Drive hill. This morning (i started at 7am) was special because i put in my backpack my handbag (it's darn heavy) and clothes to change into. Therefore my backpack was extremely heavy, as such I had to stop after the first repetition and drink some water (i had not drank before I left). Water from where?! From my backpack, of course! I am carrying bottles of water, two dumbbells, some bed sheets ... Anyhow, the water bottles have been there close to three weeks now ... This didn't stop me from drinking 0.5l in close to 15 seconds, though ... Must stock up on toilet paper :))

Awaiting dysentery ...

Monday, October 29


Went to NUH Dental centre. Got quoted 1500SGD for a root canal with a waiting time of two months. Are you kidding me?! By that time I will be pulling my tooth with a plier in the Atacama Dessert. I scheduled an appointment with another doctor who quoted 400SGD for a root canal (and asked if I am sure I need it). Why does it cost so much in NUH I wonder? Cannot be a special price for expats, right?

Friday, October 26


Pure mind stopping, jaw clenching PAIN. Toothache to be more exact. One week before the only possible time slot that I can use to go to the bloody dentist, whom I do not know by the way, because I've spent so much time avoiding him. Which is really the reason why PAIN is the word for today. One day before a comp too. I was planning anyhow to take it easy no ask anything of myself (just to prevent another disappointing performance), but it seems that now i am forced to comply.

Pain, pain, go away!

I am hungry but I dare not eat lest I disturb the monster residing in my mouth. I want to go climbing but I dare not leave the lab lest my supervisor comes to haunt me after (yet) another SVN bad update in which we loose all that I've worked and we only keep his [which is why BACKUP is another word for the day].

Thursday, October 25

Rays of light on my desk

Me: "Va, pensiero" from Nabucco
[The cleaner that is wiping the floors in my lab]'s phone ringing tone: Rumba
A beautiful morning to all.

Tuesday, October 23

Moral dilemma

Problem: you find the cd of King Lines in the gym [while you go for a supposedly morale boost climb but it actually turns out to be depressing because you're so tired]. You know that it's there to be shared among the climbers, but you do not know if it is there for somebody in particular (maybe somebody is waiting for it, maybe not). Do you:
A. Take it, watch it and bring it back the next day without letting anybody know that you have it?
B. Take it, watch it and bring it back the next day and let everybody know that you have it?
C. Not take it

Right now, since I am in my lab, I can confirm that I took either A or B. The line between A and B is crossable but I lack energy to write the email. Even though, if I do have energy to blog perhaps I should have energy to write. Life is full of tough choices.

Today I had my first bike ride (oh boy did i think i was past "first things") but I was not driving, alas. Anyhow, it was nice! I loved the feeling of "oh my god I am going to hit this pavement really really bad", it's been a long time since I've felt like that. Thumbs up for the bike!

Sunday, October 21

All the king's horses

And all the king's men,

Couldn't put Humpty's ego together again.

Yup. Just recovering from the total bashing of yesterday's bouldering mock comp. I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to think about it, I do want to climb the routes! but I can't, I just came back from the gym and the routes are still as unfinishable as they were yesterday. Alas, I suck.

LATER EDIT: realized that it's not so much an ego problem (because ego I have not! - at least when it comes to climbing) but rather the fact that I still believed in miracles (i.e. me suddenly blooming into climbing goddess) and a miracle did not happen (other than the fact that I did not spend all my moneys on a refreshing shopping session after the mock-comp, but that is another story)

Thursday, October 18

Supervisor love

SO I am so full of supervisor lurrrve today. I just told him yesterday that I am taking extra two weeks off and he said ok, go!! Just purchase a travel insurance! Hooray! So now the trip to Aconcagua is more than definite!!! Since I had this half lie looming over my head I could not quite grasp the fact that I am going. But now... YEY!
In light of this, I have started to train! And last night, I made Marian promise that at 6:50 this morning when the alarm rings he is to push me out of bed, and if I don't react he is to say stuff like "oh you wanna be the last one there, spend so much money and not be able to do a thing" ... Eh, I put the alarm to ring at 6:45 hoping that I get a 5 minute snooze out of it ... But did i get it?! Nooo!! the moment it started ringing I found my self struggling at the side of the bed, trying my best not to hit the floor and hoping to get through to him that it's not that time yet!

Alas, the kent ridge hill welcomed me again ... I must put more weights inside my backpack because it's only six kg, comprised of 1 2l waterbottle, 4 0.5l waterbot, and 2 dumbbells, that are swaying from left to right (and me with them) when I go up the hill.

Last night we went to a flamenco show, called "Sevilla" by the Maria Pages Dance Company. It was lovely, I loved the flamenco, the modern touch added to it, and I loved Maria's dance also. Even though she is incredibly masculine, when she dances she's so full of grace and yet so strong. Lastly, I discovered that women with curvy bottoms (or big asses, if you wish) can be quite sexy. Feeling good about meself :))

Tuesday, October 16


I have been munching on this subject for a couple of days now but I think that by the end of this post it will still be in a "draft" phase. What is the subject? My fear of lead climbing, of course ... Now as with any things in my life at least, if it is something that I really like, then it's most definitely out of reach or I am not good [i suck] at it. This is of course the case of leading and of rock climbing. I love the way the rock feels and the way my body feels when I move like I am supposed to. But then ... But then I can't lead! Or more precisely, I can lead, if leading means resting on every difficult step on the route, or if it means shaking like a leaf whenever I am close to the next bolt and I haven't clipped. Like Saturday for example, when I was resting on the third bolt and I was trying to trick Sandra into believing me that my left elbow hurts and I don't want to go any further. She didn't believe me (of course) and I got so pissed at myself for resorting to that pathetic trick that I passed the first crux, got to the pinch, crossed to the sidepull, got to the crimp, found myself at the level of the next clip and one meter and a half away from it ... By now my anger had worn off and I froze (yet again) and pathetically had to grab the clip. The rest is history.

I have noticed that even if I am leading and I am boulder-comfortable away from the ground (which means that if I were to boulder I would not mind falling from that height), it's still very uncomfortable for me to climb. This fear is of course translated into the fact that I overgrip every hold that I lay my hands on ... overgripping is very consuming for me, especially since my grip is not light to begin with ... So anyhow by the third bolt I really need a rest, and since I am so tight the only possible way of resting is hanging on the rope, since I can't trust meself to rest on the route.

It does get better if nobody is watching me climb (other than my belayer, who knows by now how pathetic I am). And if somebody who is watching me climb kinda wants to help and tells me to relax ... My feet start tapping the Morse code like I'm in World War II! Until some months ago every time I lead I kept seeing one of my friends falling backwards, hitting his helmet on the rock with a loud bang and getting the rope burn of his life (even on his armpit brr). I managed to sort of shake this image after my first serious rope burn but it still haunts me sometimes.

I am hoping that with a lot of practice this will go away, but I am not so sure... The adrenaline rushes that I get are really tiring. BUT, as a plus for IR, this saturday I did not boulder at all! (normally, I would use bouldering as an excuse not to lead). So, hooray for me!

Friday, October 12


I found this post here and i feel very very inspired by it. So here goes, I am going to do my one scary thing a day, following Eleanor Roosevelt's

"Do one thing every day that scares you."

And I am starting with .... Writing an email to "Adventure 21", a gear shop, to ask if they could sponsor me for Aconcagua. Gear will do, if no moneys are available. I am so scared of asking for something for meself and also so scared of talking to new people ...

Wednesday, October 10

10th October Resolutions

I, Claudia, owner of subsiding cold, declining climbing and running abilities, do hereby pledge to follow through on these resolutions:

  1. Climb more! As in, besides coming for training and giving my fullest, i will also put in at most an hour of climbing every other day.

  2. Do at least two pull-ups (or more if my elbow allows) a day.

  3. Train more! Go to the Bukit Timah nature reserve twice a week: on Tuesday night and on Saturday night, and give those hills a try!

  4. Run on the rest of the days (Thursday, Friday and Sunday). Thursday is day off, so run to my lungs' content.

  5. Repetir et practicar l'espanol, si no, yo estabo in lots of trouble.

I have spoken!

Monday, October 8

Cough! Cough!

Whoa!!! This cold has gotten so bad that I've resorted to antibiotics. Not good, not good! And somebody should tell me NOT to run with a cold, like I did last night. Only managed to put in some 13 clicks or so, even though I was supposed to do 15. I guess I'll just walk the marathon after all. I've made myself a table with how much I have to run and on specific days, but needless to say that I didn't respect it after the first two weeks :)). I will either run on another day than the one designated, or run a different distance. I hate that table because it's making me run when I have a cold. Actually, I'm making me run when I have a cold, but must blame others for our insanities, right?

I have been dizzy for the last four days and I hate this feeling, don't know if I'll be able to go for training tonite, but then again if I don't ... I'm already weak as it is ...

I miss vertical climbing on real rock. I couldn't actually identify the reason for the dread I am feeling when I go inside the gym. It is partly because I know that I suck, but partly because I am sick and tired of the plastic tiles. Anyhow, I've decided that after Aconcagua I will focus on vertical climbing. I will spend all my moneys traveling to all the crags in Malaysia and Thailand!!! yey!!! At least once a month I will be out of here and into the woods. I have spoken.

Friday, October 5

The Speed Of Light

[Geeky post]

Ha! I have a deadline coming very very soon so I started to use Eclipse heavily. Which of course made my desktop running on 512 mb of RAM to choke to death - i was at the point where I would write something in Eclipse and then have to wait for a couple of minutes to see what I had written (god forbid some typos!!!) So after careful hints to the Supervisor he wrote to helpdesk, said his students needed more RAM and here am I, P4 3GHz, 1GB of ram, Ubuntu FF with Compiz-Fusion!!! mmm ... (full of supervisor lurrve right now) Everything is nice and snappy, including the Compiz-Fusion (code name for fancy window effects). Gutsy Gibbon is coming out in a couple of weeks, can't wait!!

On the other hand, I have a cold! Yay! First one in a couple of years (it's because running boosts your immune system). I am planning to treat it with lots of vitamin C, Tom Yam Soup and a 12 km run tonite! Yup. About the run though ... I'll try to run ... if I feel in any way weakish I promise to stop. Gotta go now, WORK!!

Tuesday, October 2

Crows Are Not Black

The most amazing thing happened to me. I was just up on the school roof today to sip my coffee and clear my head. As I got there a crow was on one of the rails eating or clearing its beak of remains of what looked like bread breakfast. Anyhow, when I came up the bird flew up on an additional roof.

I didn't notice or hear it because I was listening to music, not until it flew from where it was back on the rail, very close to where I was standing. Then it started to yell at me, coming closer and closer. It got around one meter next to me, then decided that she/he was too close and flew back on the roof, over my head, really really close, with the wind it made disturbing my oh-so-tidy-not-really-having-a-bad-hair-day hair. It continued to yell from the roof, but then it flew back over my head, back and forth back and forth, five to six times, with the last time being uncomfortably close (have you watched Hitchcock's "birds"?). Then he landed behind me, eyeing my cup of coffee (it's green, maybe it was attractive) or maybe my head band (it's black, but i know that parrots for example have an affinity for hair accessories - see picture), then back on the rails. He kept cooing and telling me stuff, which of course I couldn't understand ... Back on the roof again, back and forth over my head, back and forth, one more time on the rails, and in the end he decided I wasn't worth it and flew away.

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'"

Now my day can start.

Monday, October 1

Ola muchachos!!

My right jaw is growing to kingdom come! I look like Elephant Woman! Why, oh why is this happening? My wisdom tooth is growing. Although I didn't have any pain at all when it first broke through, now that it is growing it is absolutely horrendous. My gums are the size of China and and and I can't eat! Only soup for me for now. Marian suggested that i chew on something rough (i.e bread crust or similar - does crunchy nougat count?) to reduce the size of my gums, but this nearly brought me to tears when I made meself a Camembert sandwich on rye this morning. I could barely go to sleep last night but I managed to do that in the end by recollecting and reinstating (by word of mouth) all the nice routes I have climbed.

I didn't run my 13 km yesterday. I feel so guilty about that. Instead I played tennis. Who knew that 3 months of not playing will turn me into such a disaster?!? Also the balls were new ... It was horrible, I kept shooting airplanes and saying I'm sorry, and f*ck and sh*t. All in all a very disturbing experience (at least I outran both the guys, hihi) which has made me decide that friday night is going to be my tennis night.

Our owner increased the rent for only 100 sing dollars which means that we're staying! not moving at the end of the year! No searching for new apartments! Yey! She rulz! [Of course Marian would have been responsible for moving me as well, since I would have been away].

A vos,