Friday, January 30


Nothing better to further one's academic career than to meet one's committee member while one is dressed in tights (with big fat ass) and going for sekret, middle of work day-you-should-be-in-the-lab training session.

Sandra and I completed the warmup and fingerboard session in about 40 mins and were joined by ZhaoXiu for the projecting session (~1 hr). We set some pwetty hard (OMG HARDD) routes that triggered our individual and still oh so common weaknesses: Pinches and Slopers. The Crimps are definitely the more holdable nowadays. Who would have thought of that?

On a hand by hand evaluation, my left hand is definitely the weaker of the two (probably because of my injured elbow) and thus transforms to chicken-bingo-wing whenever any form of strain (i.e. holding pinchy crimp) is put upon it. As for my right hand, all attempts to summon muscles to hold the black pinch on my route were met with an absolute silence. Maybe I should do a rain dance before training to help the summoning power.

To top it up, I AM climbing with a (still :( ) injured ankle and thus even the small quantity of extra balls and dynamism that I had are totally absent. I will not commit to a move that I don't know 120% that I will stick.

Today's resolution: During each climbing training do three sessions of hanging on slopers. Starting tomorrow. I wonder if all this will ever end. Maybe one day I will wake up as Dave Graham. Or maybe not.

Thursday, January 29

Finally celebrating

Chinese new year, that is. After really really trying to go to the Sentosa Flower Show but being turned back either by my ankle or by the huge mass of peoples going to it as well, on Monday Marian and I finally set foot on Sentosa. Still, A LOT of people there, but nevertheless the flowers were pwetty. Below a few pictures of pwetty flowers ... And then some more text ...

Yesterday's mock comp was Badd .... i tried to climb and on one route did quite a good effort but on the rest my attempts were half-hearted. On the first route i couldn't even step my right leg so i had to hook which was even worse. Ah well... shit.

Doris gave me a get fat Chinese New Year pack and I am loving it! I always enjoy biting into something and not knowing what it is or what it would taste like. And to my surprise, I even found figs! in one of the parcels. Figs! I mean, who would've thought figs would find their way as a cny treat!

Monday, January 26

Updates from the front

Well it's the year of the bovine now so happy new year everyone or Gong Xi Fa Cai and so on and so forth. The singaporean govt has kindly given all of us a total of 4 free days (Sat, Sun, Mon and Tue) in which to celebrate leaving the year of the rodent and entering the year of the bovine. It's going to be one hell of a year for everybody, or so I'm told. Besides the financial crisis, all animals except the rooster and the snake will not be faring well. The dragon I'm told, is in big shit.

The reason for the spiteful tone of this post is the fact that yes, I sprained my right ankle again. It's as bad as usual though not as bad as when I penetrated (ha!) the mattresses at climb asia only to climax (ha!) on the wooden floor with a loud crack. This new sprain has left me utterly incapacitated for these entire four days. Bygone are my plans to start running for sundown, or to go and do some yoga or anything. Yup. Stuck indoors with nay a book to read and only movies to watch. We are now watching BBC's "Planet Earth" and we are amazed.

Instead, I am reveling in the new doorway pull-up bar that I found, thanks to my anon commenter (owe you a coffee!!) in queesnway. Here it is, in all its glory. I've been doing, well, pull-ups on it. I plan to note my max pullup every week. This week it was a meagre 10 squirmy-wormy pull-ups. I hope to improve. I WILL improve. Hell ... i'm doing one every time i pass under it, and by next week i will take it up to two!

Today, in spite of all reason, Marian and I went to the gym to ah, well, try to climb [grins]. My attempts were pathetic. I can very well climb for a while on jugs and using only my left leg, but if I have to do any moves that involve my right leg, well ... I am stuck or I lock my left hand in ways even i didn't know it was possible. To say nothing that I can't just jump down (tried it and lading only on your left leg is NOT pleasant), so I must downclimb and thus waste a lot of energy. I set up a route called "Five Golden Rings" (Marian is responsible for the funny move that breaks the flow), a very easy endurance route for the weaker novice girls. To reminisce the times from our Perlis trip (btw, I still haven't cleaned my rope or my draws) when we sang "Twelve days of Christmas" to smithereens and back, those that end the route must sing "FIIIVE GOOLDEN RIIINGS" or else the route is not counted.

Friday, January 23

San and Claud's Sekret Sweaty Fridays!!!

For the next three weeks, i.e. 30 Jan, 6 Feb, 13 Feb - 10 am to 11:30 am, here's the plan:

  1. 1 round around the gym plus warm-up:

    • up and down on every wall except enterprise and slab, our favorite

    • no jugs except when coming down on 38 degree wall

  2. upstairs for fingerboard woo hoo!

    3 sets of:
    • hangs medium campus board hold: 6x6

    • touches large campus board hold: 3 times each hand alternate

    • laddering medium hold: up and down alternate hand

  3. Project session 50min-1hour: 2/4 hard routes either from monday's session or focusing on our own printed-in-black-and-white-in-html-confirmed-but-can-ammend weaknesses:
    • San: pinches & deadpoint

    • Claud: slopers & crimps & deadpoint

    • Doris: (LE) slopers & medium difficult moves on shitty footholds

Wednesday, January 21

In search of the perfect pole

With a smooth, metallic finish ... with nice, rubber grips ... with shiny, oh so shiny and cold to the touch surfaces, perfect for those hot hot hands ... mmm ... Long but not so long as still to fit crammed places purrfectly ... and sturdy, yes sturdy, to stand the test of the oh so many types of hands that are going to grope it ...

Yup ... You got it ... I am looking for a ...


Everywhere I go they tell me that they are out of stock and to come back, hear this, after Chinese New Year! As if everybody in singpaore is buying pull-up bars for their grandma or something... Sheesh! I went to Carrefour and Giant (noob of me) and of course they don't have it there. Then I went to two World of Sports and to the basement of Taka (as advised by looi) but still no go. And to a AIBI in plaza singapura. Btw, World of Sports sells socks and columbia and salomon outfits, a lot of sporty shoes and sandals but I couldn't even find a skipping rope. I guess, like some of the things here, "sports" is always about wearing the right outfit. So please please if you have a confirmed sighting of a pullup bar [in a store], leave a comment.

In other news, the boss is in new zealand which is equal to a -20 on my motivation. Climbing trainings have started. I manage to survive them but the next day i am somewhat sapped of energy. To be honest, after monday's training I went to yoga on tuesaday morning then I went back to the gym to set a route and to climb a bit (such a bad idea) then I went running, only to collapse in bed at about 10 with absolutely no recollection of anything I said between 8 and 10. Maybe I am growing old or the thesis proposal was more sapping than I gave it credit. Ah, time shall tell...

Monday, January 19

New working environment

My working experience just did a major turn for the better (i hope). While literally almost crying when saying good-bye to my Ubuntu this morning, I must say i enjoy the slicker mac that Marian forced upon me. Goodbye extremely long uptimes, hello confusion and numerous restarts. But still, it works.

Thursday, January 15

It's just so sad and pointless

It makes me want to scream!!!!!

Remember last year when I wrote how one romanian died after summiting Aconcagua because of appendicitis? Well, he was accompanied on that trip by his wife who stood by him in a tent at 5700m and watched him die. It turns out that she killed herself a couple of weeks ago.

Returning to our more mundane problems but still related to the title of this post, I am submitting my thesis proposal today yay.

Tuesday, January 13


It's when life grabs you by the shoulders and spits you right between the eyes.

Adidas Sundown Marathon is coming on the 30th of May. Last year I was harboring wishes about running the 84 km distance, but I gave up on those plans when I realized that I will be in Romania at that time. But plans have changed and apparently I will be back in singapore by the 27th. So I can run! Yay!

So last night I was still harboring dreams and butterflies about running the 84 km. Will it take me all night? Can I do it? etc ... Only when I got home did life's saliva hit me. I mean, COME ON!!!! After the standard chartered marathon I totally stopped running (ok, not totally but not that much either) and now I am barely running 5 km with all the huffs and puffs of accumulated fats and aches from scrubbing floors and typing too much (i.e. sitting down). I haven't checked it out but I think you're supposed to train humongous distances and such. When am I going to do all that? I mean with climbing and project Elephant and work (I kid you not, I am seriously working now) ... WHEN?

So I wiped the spit from my face with a big *SIGH* and I think I'll be running the marathon. Notice the "think". It's not the distance that scares me, but ... Downgrades, I hate.

Monday, January 12

Ha! [Updates from the front]

Nothing better than cycling in Pulau Ubin from 11am to 2:30 pm without any sunblock to roast your back! Top that with a one hour yoga class on Sunday where my oh-so-friendly instructor pushed my burnt back to the limits!!! But! Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I can reach my toes without bending my knees in a forward bend! I know that many many many people out there can do this, but really, they shouldn't take it for granted, because there are other puny inflexible, fat mortals like myself who can't!

Other than that, I postponed my decision of not spending moolah on stuffs till maybe next month. This is because the chinese new year sales are in town! So I will either not go out at all, or, ah well ... My plan so far is to stay out of any bookstores because I don't need anymore books. Actually, I need, but there's no more space!

Training starts today. I will say nothing more, except that we are doing weighted pullups, fingerboard, and projecting some routes which yours truly will be setting in about 2 hours time. Oh, and my elbow hurts again. Bad. Bearable. Big deal! See, the three B's of injury prevention :))

I still have my kamikaze spirit! We ventured on the mountain bike trails on Sunday. Yup. Considering that when I am riding a bike I can only turn left, have to get off the bike when I have to go over a kerb, cannot lift both hands, cannot stand up and such... I still managed to go through the Blue square trails without falling more than 5 times and pushing my bike uphill more than, what? Six-eight times? Looking forward to that time, maybe 10 years from now, when I will be good enough to justify investing in a bike of my own.

Thursday, January 8


Just finished reading "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing. It describes how Ernest Shackleton's and his team of 27 sailors and what have you attempted to cross the antarctic ocean. Their ship (the Endurance) was caught in ice for about 10 months until it finally sank because of the pressure of the ice. We are around 1916 and thus no helicopters and satellites to save their sorry asses. And what did they do? They saved themselves. And how?

From October till April they stayed on some ice floes. Then finally in April when their last floe (called Patience Camp) got torn in two, Shackleton ordered his men into boats. We are talking about normal boats. In the Antarctic Ocean. After five horrible days at sea (it was cold, wet, no proper equipment, they were drenched in salt water (apparently your skin turns white and mushy)) they finally landed on an island called Elephant Island.

Now they couldn't stay here forever so Shackleton and 5 other men boarded the sturdiest of the boats (pictured) and started sailing for South Georgia. They sailed through the Drake Passage which is the shortest path to the southern most point in the south american continent (Cape Horn). Now I didn't know then, but I know now, the Drake Passage is one of the most horrible places with respect to water on this planet. It happens right where the Atlantic crosses into the Pacific. At that particular latitude there is no other land for the entire circumference of the Earth, which means that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current can flow without any obstacle. It carries a huge volume of water (about 600 times the flow of the Amazon River) through the Passage and around Antarctica. Here is a video of a big russian ship facing a storm in the Drake Passage. It's a very big ship but notice how it gets trashed by the waves. They sailed for 15 days (the last 4 without water) until they reached South Georgia.

It wasn't over yet, because they still had to cross uncharted mountains and glaciers (which nobody had crossed before) to get to the other side where there was a whaling station. [Wiki] "The next successful crossing of South Georgia was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse, who travelled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to their achievement he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to—three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them—and a carpenter's adze"" Shackleton and two others did this in 36 hours non stop.

They say that the chief of the whaling station started crying when he saw the state Shackleton was in. The experienced whalers told Shackleton that they had lived their entire life in that station and had never ever even thought about crossing the Drake Passage in a small open boat like the one. Finally on August 30 the rest of the party on Elephant Island was saved. NOBODY died. For example, the entire Franklin expedition of 129 people had perished in 1845 in the Arctic, Scott's party to the south pole died in 1912 - uncomparable, but still. Nobody died.

The family motto of Ernest Shackleton was:
Fortitudine vincimus - By endurance we conquer

Google books has a limited preview of Shackleton's book.

Wednesday, January 7

The two places in the world

I would absolutely kill to live in, are ...

  • France - for the cheese and the climbing and the bread and the alps! and for southern france, and for the je ne sais quoi ...

  • Alaska - for the cold, the snow, the mountains, the absolute wilderness and silence.

Tuesday, January 6

New Year Resolution

I don't make new year's resolutions*, because I don't keep them. My resolutions are generally mid year or they happen when I get a kick in the ass. However, this year I've given it some thought and after a very long deliberation chose to settle on one. Yup. This year, I will run the standard chartered marathon in under 4 hours. Don't laugh, it was either this or run the North Face 100km run in October. Yup.

*My other new year's resolution was three years and 5 days ago when I decided to quit smoking (but it coincided with me moving to Singapore so the new year per se didn't really matter.

Thursday, January 1

In which I draw the line and count!

Urgh. Just trying to get over the extreme tiredness that I am feeling right now. Baked some absolutely wonderful cinnamon rolls but forgot to take a picture of them. They were a major hit at the New Year party (pictures and post tomorrow). All nice and fattening (cause anyhow I don't eat them cause they are too sweet) for all the ladies, muhahahaha!!

I came to school today to climb with Sandra, Doris, Jiasheng and YJ. I think I will make it a lifetime tradition to climb on the first day of the year. It just feels so good. And believe it or not, I was very nervous when I climbed my first route of the day (and year), because I kept thinking that if I don't flash then my whole year will end up being crappy climb-wise.

Before I leave my desk I just wanted to have a moment to remember 2008.

  • January - Chile, Aconcagua. I never knew I would be able to bear so much. Lost a friend.

  • March - Boulderactive (not the last for open women) and! with the help of Vincent, I bought my new best friend, my Northface backpack.

  • April - went Ipoh to climb. And. I. sucked. Wake up call and decision NEVER to take so much time off from climbing.

    Started training with Nita and Mei Fen for their trip to Kilimanjaro.

    Discovered running in Mac Ritchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah hill.

    Met Tracy.

  • May - LAST for Rockmaster. A good kick in the ass is one step forward, I always say ...

  • June - Climbing in Krabi with Marian. Happie couple times. Climbing in Krabi with the team. Short, but good!

  • July - Alps, Matterhorn. Came very close to dying. Putting things in perspective.

  • August - Army half. Almost quit but made it in the end. Marian decides to train for the marathon.

  • September - Discovered cycling in Pulau Ubin. Cool!!!

    Decided I don't want to be an elephant no more (be more flexible) so I joined yoga.

    Reached the Nike Plus 1000 km mark. Which means I ran 1000km in about a year and three months. Not bad.

  • November - Did night running in MacRitchie. AMAZING!!!

  • December - Marian and I run the Standard Chartered Marathon. And finish decently in under 5 hrs, a good team building exercise.

    My friends leave for home for ever and I feel lost without my posse.

    Climbing in Perlis with the team. I give myself a pat on the back for some progress in lead climbing. And one good kick in the ass for being too blunt sometimes.

    I spend the last two days of 2008 scrubbing floors and moving furniture.

I Heart 2008!!