Wednesday, April 30

Productivity decreasing

Just got a package from my father. A wonderful tee (picture to come) which expresses my obsession with penguins, and a lot, and i mean A LOT of (Science fiction) books. Fourteen books to be exact. Three of them are the prequel to "Dune" written by Frank Herbet's son and some other guy. Some other three are Orson Scott Card's "Shadows", in Romanian. So. In order to read the prequels, I'm gonna read "Dune" and the rest for like the hundredth time. Still have some books that are on my out-shelf, including the humongous "Aztec" by Gary Jennings.

So. Tomorrow. Public holiday. Morning: trek in MacRitchie with Nita. Afternoon: change the explorer header. Late afternoon: read, read, read.

Monday, April 28

Iz done.

Bearing any unforeseen circumstances and all that, from 14th July - 28th July I will be here. Attempting Matterhorn (the mountain on the Toblerone chocolate) or any other mountain in the area, if Marius decides he doesn't want to climb it (again) just for my sake. I have to train. I have to save money, because I am out of money (payed the ticket). I have to work to make up for the lost time (which means that my saturday and sunday afternoons are now officially booked). I have to train (did I just say that?!) for the 1531 m of climbing/scrambling. This mountain (i.e. all the work, training, saving, work that I have to do) scares the shit out of me.

Friday, April 25


Wha, I was just reading about the Boston marathon. Apparently you need to qualify for it, by getting a running time of 3:40 hrs (women) for a registered marathon in the same year. OMG!

But that is not the best part. This is fucking inspirational:
"One of the most recognized duos each year at the Boston Marathon is Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick is the father of Rick, who has cerebral palsy. While doctors originally said he would never have a shot at a normal life and thought that institutionalizing Rick was the best option, Dick and his wife disagreed and raised him like an ordinary child. Eventually a computer device was developed that helped Rick communicate with his family and the family learned of one of his biggest passions: sports. Eventually Dick and Rick started competing in charity runs, with Dick pushing Rick in a wheelchair. The father and son began to enjoy racing so much that they started entering marathons and even triathlons, with Dick towing Rick in a little boat during the swim and carrying him on the front of his bike during the cycling portion. Dick and Rick have competed in 64 marathons and over 200 triathlons and finish with competitive times, often faster than 90% of the pack. Their top marathon finish was an astonishing 2:45, a time unattainable for most average marathoners."

They also ran
"224 Triathlons (6 of which were Ironman competitions), 20 Duathlons, and 65 Marathons, including 25 Boston Marathons".

So yeah. Stop whining, stop finding excuses, get off your fat ass and train!
[this is addressed to me, however, if you feel it addresses to you too, then by all means ... ]

Wednesday, April 23


After 4 days of wondering and searching my mind, here it is, the answer that we've (I've) been looking for...

The question:

What was the song that was playing when I was leading the yellow route on Sunday and really managed to relax me (this is rare)?

The answer:

Stop and Stare. One Republic.

Sunday, April 20

Training and such

Hey Fen & Nita, this is for you! I wanted to post a comment on each of your blogs to tell you how I trained, but realized that it would be too much of a hassle, so here goes.

First of all, I don't know if you are going to carry your stuff up there or if your trekking company will provide for all of that. I heard that on Kilimanjaro there are porters that would carry just about everything (including a toilet seat) for a given (affordable) price. Anyway, I think the basic training for any mountain (carry or no carry of load) should consist of hiking at a high speed uphill carrying loads. Yup. I'm not kidding. This will increase your lung capacity (critical at altitude, remember kili is almost 6000m) and also increase your endurance.

Not so many hills here in singapore, but MacRitchie is a good place to start. If not, bukit batok reservoir is also nice (i miss took bukit batok for macritchie at one point). For MR, there is a 10 km route that is just nice for the start.

I think at first you should have about 5 kg of load - what I did was to carry 1.5, 2 and 0.5 l bottles filled with water - to up to 12 when you're done. This way, if the going gets tough, you can dump some of the water in the jungle or even drink it if you're desperate (i think water becomes undrinkable after a couple of weeks of being kept in a container - i did not spill it cause it seemed like a waste). Since the water bottles didn't fill up the backpack and i didn't want them to wiggle around, i put some bed sheets for padding (i kid you not).

And you should walk as fast as you can. You should hike in the boots you plan to hike in during the trip itself, to ween them in and sort out any problems that might arise (blisters, etc) As for boots, I think any trekking boots should have a hard sole, from a good material (preferably vibram), should hold the ankle and have a hard tip (for when you hit rocks). Running uphill is also good training, but i did it only once a week. This load carrying trek should be done twice to three times a week - i think WE (yes i need it too) should start in early May or even next week, woohoo!! I volunteer Sunday evenings, yay!

If you plan to hike using trekking poles, which I seriously advise you to, you should adjust their length correctly: they should reach your shoulder or higher when you go downhill and they should be lower when you go uphill.

The same goes for your backpack: you should carry the backpack you plan to have with you. There's a whole theory about how you should pack you backpack, and how it should be adjusted. Basically your hips should carry most of the weight. I will show you if you don't know how.

For the rest of the gear, I suppose the trekking agency will give you a list of gear which I suppose you will need to buy. Lemme know!

Saturday, April 19

Training, I has it

So. You know, in the past, I never really liked ice cream. In fact, I hateded it. But then, I got a taste of ice cream in this country. And realized that it's different from what I remembered ice cream tasted like back in communist Romania. So I've been giving myself a monthly treat. This month, it was Ben & Jerry's Turtle soup. And it gave me a food allergy!! Yay!!! Which left me scratching like crazy for half the night... So I didn't go to training this morning, seeing how I was supposed to leave for training when I was finally getting ready to sleep.

Instead, and also to punish myself for eating THE WHOLE ice-cream box I went and trained by myself. What I wanted to do was: 40 minutes ARC, 3 sets of

  • 3 pull-ups with 7.5 kg

  • 15 weighted cruches

  • 30 tiger torso crunches

  • body tension(45s front, 30, 30 sides)

, climb a bit then do one endurance route.

What I ended up with was: 30 minutes ARC (what?! I am injured, ok?!), 2 sets of

  • 3 pull-ups with 7.5 kg

  • 15 weighted cruches - 5 kg

  • 30 tiger torso crunches 5 kg

  • body tension (45s front, 30, 30 sides)

, plus one extra set of pull-ups with 10 kg. But when I looked at the 5 kg disc for crunches I just couldn't do it anymore. By then Shumei had come so I went downstairs and climbed for a bit, and that was that!!

Thursday, April 17

Just another day, for you and me ...

Baby-sitting last night was horrible. One student was exactly 1 hour late for the 1 hour test. He was convinced that the test was starting at 19:30 instead of 18:30. I let him take the test, because I was waiting for another student to take an extra quiz. Ended up having to stand for a whole 2 hours - and i was wearing high heeled (for me) sandals.

Heard through the grape-vine (through the blogs i stalk) that Nita and Fen are attempting to climb mt Kilimanjaro (5885 m). I'm happy for them, yupii! I wonder when the season is. Looks like it's end of August. A bit down by the fact that they didn't ask me anything about gear, climbing, training, etc. Could've loaned some gear if the time is right - i.e. i'm not using it. Bah.

My mood is not helped by the fact that the rain woke me up this morning. Yay! While I absolutely love a good rain, I don't love it when I have to walk to school through it.

Just to cheer me up, here's a picture of Hitler! He's a very VERY VERY friendly and talkative tom that hangs around our condo.

Wednesday, April 16

Sure way to obtain my friendship

Ask me if I've dressed formally for baby-sitting for your test today. When I answer yes, burst into laughter and leave.

Tuesday, April 15

Graduation trip

Finally my Everest trip is settled: I am not going. It comes as a relief, mind you. I am not at all sorry about the decision. The only bad things that come out of it are: I will have to raise money myself for the above 8000 m peak that I DO want to climb (even though the big E is not one of them), and I will not be able to join Marius in his quest for Everest next year. The second one saddens me the most, but this is out of my hands.

I've made plans for my Phd Graduation trip: yay!! Gasherbrum II and I (there is a trekking firm that gives you both) - 8068 and 8080. Around 25 000 USD for all. I will start saving tomorrow. Brr. And training. In may. Brr. They are the easiest of the 8000 ers (if there is such a thing) and the cheapes of those offered by trekking companies. I would have loved any other, but since I cannot go on my own (or with a team) and this is once in a lifetime for me, this is it. Pictures are taken from this photostream. The second picture is Gasherbrum II.

Friday, April 11

Geeky GIRL

So the school decided to give us graduate students a reason to gloat about and decided to replace all the graduate students' computers with new ones! YaY! The entire lab was in a total frenzy this week. Other than the pictured 19" screen, we all have dual Intel core2 duo (2 procs for you, 2 cores each) one Intel Core2 Duo (1 proc, two cores, sorry, i was tired) at 2.33 GHz, 4 x 1GB of ram (a lot), 250 GB hard disk and ATI Radeon graphics card (256 mb memory). So now the quest has begun on who will install the most exotic operating system and get it to work. Seth was the first to go ahead and destroy both his windows and his linux. Marian nearly fucked up his graphics card in an attempt to get a better graphics support for his MacOS (running on a DELL computer). My Ubuntu (beta) is working BUT: i do not have flash support (which means i can't see youtube) and the graphics dun work, which means i dun get cool effects.

In Chile, when we were waiting at the rental office to drop off the Red Fury, I needed to go toilet so I was purposefully heading for it. My way was blocked by a pudgy kid who was hanging around there with his grandfather, making scenes, running around, etc, who claimed (in spanish) "you cannot go to the girls toilet because you are not a girl". "How do u know I'm not a girl?" [almost wanting to kick his head on the door frame] ... kid makes a confused face, thinks for a while, then blurts out "Because u don't have long hair!" I swear, if he would have mentioned the boobs (or lack thereof) I would have kicked his ass! I let it slide though, forced him out of my way, and rushed inside the toilet, as things were getting tough.

Anyhoo, the purpose of telling you this is that I have decided to grow long[er] hair!! Maybe like in this picture, maybe shorter, until at least it is tie-able!! It has just gone over my ear level, but this didn't stop me the other day to rush into a hair accessory shop and leave with an entire plastic bag of clips, hair bands, etc. Worth 36 dollars, omg!!

Thursday, April 10

Fuck me up, why don't ya?!

So an article I wrote got accepted into a conference which is next week. So I'm not going because my supervisor said that the school will not pay me that much to go to a second rank conference (it's in Canada and the air fare is too much). So he will be going.

Instead, as a present to IR, I decided to go to Thailand next week. To climb!! yay! These days i kept on dreaming and dreaming about the routes i would do, the clear water and the good food. We bought the tickets and all. But NOooooo!

My boss came last week and told me that I will have to sit on a test he was supposed to be giving to his class. All fair and square, I asked Mihai if he would sit instead of me. He said ok. I told my boss I have tickets for a show. I didn't blink when my boss said that there are special students that have to sit through two tests. I didn't blink when he said that he will be staying online on Skype at 6am Canada time just in case Mihai has any questions. But when he said today that he needs to brief Mihai about the test because there are "special students". And Mihai is in Phuket. Fucking Phuket. So I just couldn't take it anymore.

So I told him that there is another show on some other day. Fuck me. I could scream now. If I could. It's not the money, it's just the place. Fuck.

Wednesday, April 9

I kid you not

[Internets, today is the day I humiliate myself!]

After we had bought our climbing permits, we were on our way from Mendoza to Penitentes (by bus). The previous night we had spent strolling around Mendoza. Marius and Catalina even had an ice-cream at around 12am. Yup. In Mendoza, all ice-cream shops (and there are many, many) are open until the wee hours of the morning. So the next day I was pretty tired. In an attempt to keep myself hydrated, I had also drunk a lot of water, and still kept a 1.5 liter water bottle with me, just in case I got thirsty. I did not have the chance to go to the toilet in the bus terminal because I had nobody to leave to watch my bags. It was extremely crowded and Marius was already watching over Catalina's and Lili's bags.

At some point through our journey it hit me: I had to go toilet and I had to go NOW. So I waited, and waited, and waited and waited because I knew that there was going to be a bus stop soon. And it was. Just that it was this very crowded bus station. I rushed out of the bus, told the driver that I am going toilet, only to have him yelling after me: "No bano, no bano!" Oh boy. And the driver seemed reluctant to stop in any other place. And I did not want to inconvenience anybody.

So I sat. And I waited. And I waited. By this time we were going through a canyon and I was sweating profusely. And getting more and more desperate. Don't get me wrong. I can hold it. For a long time without any major issues. I can hold it. I had been holding it for about four hours now. Then it hit me.

Adrian, one of my exes, told me once that guys have a major advantage over girls, in that that they can pee in a bottle when they really have to. Give you a coffee if you can figure out what I did next. My engineer mind was still able to rationalize that there was no way in which I could actually use the tiny hole the water bottle provided. So, what to do next?!! By now I was sweating some more, and every bump threatened to wet my seat.

Because I had no tools with which to cut the plastic, I started chewing the plastic at about 15 cm from the bottle's neck. After chewing for a while, I used my driver license to cut through the tiny hole that I made. At this point Catalina, who was sitting in the seats in front of me with Marius, turned to see what was I doing with that plastic. When she saw me and realized what was on my mind, she first scolded me [as is her style] and then went and told the driver to stop. Now remember, I didn't want to disturb the driver or the passengers. Anyhow, the moment we got out of the canyon, the driver stopped.

To the left: a rock wall. To the right: a large bush of cacti. CACTI. No biggie. I rushed in and did my thing. Rushed back to the bus and all was ok.

Spent the remainder of the day picking cacti thorns out of my underwear and other parts.

Monday, April 7

Me fingers hurt

Bah, hope everybody is having a lovely monday! (NOT!) Anyhow, the weekend was great! For training on saturday we went climb asia. Yey! I didn't do so well, but no biggie. It's not that I'm going to Thailand next week and was hoping to climb more than 6a. It's not even the fact that I see everybody else climbing where I fail. Nope. Hm ... maybe it was the fact that I didn't have breakfast that made me so un-impressionable. Which is rare, because if I'm hungry I get extremely grumpy. And bitchy. And irrational.

The best part about the weekend though was the fact that Marian and I went to climb asia on Sunday. Yey! And I finished all the routes that I couldn't do on Saturday, plus I top-roped a 6c, yupii! We also met Tracy, a very nice guy that will be moving here to Singapore. I was much better climbing in three because you get to rest more. We ended up leaving at about three after 4 and a half hours of climbing. I managed to climb through my pump, which is something: before, I would never lead through a pump. EVER. Too scared to fall I guess. This all changed yesterday, yay! My fingers hurt a bit, and I find it difficult to type, but hey, I love pump!!

Friday, April 4

9 Reasons not to go to Everest in 2009

  1. I wanted to go home next year, see my grandma and my dog.

  2. It takes at least two months and I can't even BRING myself to ask my boss that [I just hope he says no]

  3. Even though I fancy myself doing an 8000 er, it's always after I graduate, and it's never Everest.

  4. I already told my mom about going to Nepal next year for two weeks, then going home.

  5. My Mom will kill me when she finds out.

  6. I wanted to focus on climbing this year.

  7. After I came back and saw how my climbing has decreased, I swore never to take another break again.

  8. I wanted to go to the Alps this year.

  9. The thought of being the first one to do this just doesn't motivate me.

Tuesday, April 1

Sometimes I wish


could just

go home.