Friday, February 27

It's time to get a new laptop ...

We interupt this special programme to give you the latest news about the greatest (pfft) of them all, who else but me. I have been idling lately and slacking (alas) in an attempt to recuperate after the mind numbing torture of december, january and half of february. Just to see how mind numbing it was, i'll spare you the details and tell you that yesterday I ordered TWO laptops instead of one (not my fault entirely except the fact that i clicked - mindlessly - on all continue buttons until the very final screen). How low can one get, mind you, after one has missed a plane? Well, apparently there are lower thresholds than that. Thank god i didn't have enough money in my account or else I would be spending the whole weekend on ebay. So yeah, I'm getting a new laptop! Yay! I'll save the introduction from when it's delivered, but I just wanted to point out the reasons for me getting a new one. So, as the title says, it's time to get a new laptop when:

  • your old one has missing keys - it happened because an unforeseen circumstance whereby i ripped the keyboard because a) it sucked, b) i had a bug, and c) marian was nagging me: I put everything back (imagine my rage) except the "3" and "backspace" key

  • they keyboard on your old one sucks BIG TIME but you have no control over it since your laptop was a gift

  • the DVDROM drive works once in every 5.4 tries (tested)

  • when you plug in the power adapter you get zapped if you touch any metal part on your laptop (like screws) because of some isolation problem

  • you are sick of covering the black spots where the paint is smudged with stickers saying "Ubuntu: Linux for human beings"

  • you are so depressed over your finger injury that you harbor fantasies how you can spend all your rest time away from climbing by doing something great like programming, and hence you need a tool!

  • you just got accepted in a conference and thus going to the states and think that buying a laptop is the best way to save money - although, to be honest, I couldn't possibly take marian's laptop ... I think he would die without his precious mac book pro, even for a week

Monday, February 23

Snooping is not for the faint hearted

So here I was in the MRT going somewhere when I spotted this 40-something-on-the-fat-side-white guy who was reading guess what from, yes, a Amazon Kindle! Omg I oogled and oogled him, I stretched my neck to its maximum just to see the screen and the buttons and the size of the text when all of a sudden he scratches his balls. I twitch nervously because this was not my idea of a kindle reader. Hell, i was planning to get one of those in four years or so! Then a skinny, leggy, poor (not much money to invest in garment for her short pants) girl walked by and he oogled her. I also oogled cause I was staring so much at his Kindle we were one and the same by now.

Thursday, February 19


Just received an email from Jensen telling me that I can climb on Monday 23!! Wohoo! First of all, I want to say that I was amazed that somebody would take the trouble to write a 1 and a half page email detailing a recovery training plan. Then I was devastated when I misread 23 March instead of 23 February! After that I had to wipe my sweaty hands because reading about the stuffs that I am allowed to do (basically just climb on easy handholds) made my palms very very sweaty. Imagine, on Monday I can climb for a total of 25 minutes. TWENTY FIVE!!!!!

I am so happy just thinking that I can move on the wall (regardless of the tiles I am holding) and just get a whiff of how it feels when climbing ... Of course, I was planning to sekretly climb on Friday after the pull-up session with Regina .. I will not do that now since Monday is only 4 days away. Needless to say that I did not climb yesterday. By their power and weight combined, San and Doris made sure that I was on the wall for about 1 minute just to warm up my fingers. Bullocks. I am becoming more and more tired of the fingerboard upstairs. I am sick of doing pull-ups with my index finger pointing to the ceiling (you should try it, it's very weird) . I guess what I want to say is that I am sick of doing pull-ups. I guess Monday's 72 pull-ups have something to do with that as well...

I set a route for the intermediate women mock-comp on Saturday but only "eye powered" it, so if the moves will be hard the ladies are welcome to kill me, pinch me, hell, feed me!! :))

Wednesday, February 18

The do do

Because doris' plea (hell, had it been bullying, i would not have caved in) is pretty much what keeps me from climbing even the easy novice women routes (i wonder if they will still be easy when i'll resume climbing*) I thought I would just do a little bit of research on her accidental and totally unrelated namesake. I give you, the dodo bird!

First, the name: pejorative, Some ascribe it to the Dutch word dodoor for "sluggard", but it probably is related to dodaars ("knot-arse"), referring to the knot of feathers on the hind end. According to Encarta Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, "dodo" comes from Portuguese doudo (currently doido) meaning "fool" or "crazy".

Appearance: According to artists' renditions, the Dodo had greyish plumage, a 23-centimeter (9-inch) bill with a hooked point, very small wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end. Dodos were very large birds, weighing about 23 kg (50 pounds). The sternum was insufficient to support flight; these ground-bound birds evolved to take advantage of an island ecosystem with no predators.
I wonder how they managed to become extinct without any predators. Maybe they all went crazy with boredom and jumped into the water.

Courage and meat: the dodo was entirely fearless of people, and this, in combination with its flightlessness, made it easy prey. However, journals are full of reports regarding the bad taste and tough meat of the dodo, while other local species such as the Red Rail were praised for their taste. It is commonly believed that the Malay sailors held the bird in high regard and killed them only to make head dressings used in religious ceremonies ... I see potential here ...

*Which will be tonite and no amount of persuasion will change that. I have spoken.

Monday, February 16

Itsy bitsy finger

why do you still hurt?

Pfft. Had the most depressing Saturday ever. Didn't go to training and hence I spent the WHOLE day in bed. Yup. I read 2 murder novels and ate a lot of junk food and chips and orange juice. And the only movement that I did was to the bathroom and back. This type of behavior is very rare for me. Hell, I can't even stand still for 10 minutes ...

Sunday I came to my senses and spent the whole day in bed again. Except that I ran 4 km in the morning and 4 km in the evening. My ankle is finally allowing me to run, so at least there is one happy point. I ran the second time because the first run was horrible after such a long time off running on a hilly terrain (and after stuffing my face with potatoes and chicken - my junk food of choice - on saturday).

Today I will go to training and probably do (a lot of) pull-ups and abs. Maybe, just maybe I will do some projecting on the novice women routes. This of course will be possible if the itsy bitsy finger doesn't hurt. At all. I am the "mature" climber here and will not be climbing to the pain (pretty horrible for me as well as I have a very high pain threshold).

Thursday, February 12

Cripple Club

The A2 pulley is the most commonly injured of the five annular pulleys, and you can blame the common crimp grip as the main culprit. In using the crimp grip, near ninety-degree flexion of the middle finger joint produces tremendous force load on the A2 pulley. Injuries to the A2 pulley can range from microscopic to partial tears and, in the worst case, a complete rupture. Small partial tears are generally insidious, because they develop over the course of a few climbs, a few days of climbing, or even gradually during the course of a climbing season. Less frequent are acute ruptures that result during a maximum move on a tiny crimp hold or one-finger pocket. Some climbers report feeling or hearing a “pop”—a likely sign of a significant partial tear, although other injuries could also produce this sound effect.

Depending on the severity of an A2 pulley injury, pain and swelling at the base of the finger can range from slight to so debilitating that you can’t perform everyday tasks like picking up a jug of milk. Slight tears may be asymptomatic when the finger is at rest, but become painful during isometric contraction (as in gripping a hold) or when pressing on the base of the finger near the top of the palm.

Treatment of an A2 pulley injury must begin with completed cessation of climbing and discontinuation of any other activity that requires forceful flexion of the injured finger. Doing anything that causes pain will slow healing of the injured tissue and it may even make the injury worse. Therefore, the intelligent climber will cease climbing at the very moment of the injury so that the healing process may begin and the time frame for healing is most brief. By contrast, the immature dumb climber may try to climb through the injury, which certainly means a slower healing time and perhaps even a worsening of the injury.

While I cried (literally) last night and it still brings tears to my eyes every time i think about how long this recovery period will take (two to ten weeks until no pain with additional two weeks for FULL recovery) I can't help but to be grateful that it is my right index finger and not the middle and ring finger or else I would not be able to climb AT ALL. Of course now it's goodbye to any difficult hand hold and hello to Gripmaster, soft rubber balls and endless sessions of hated PT. And while I did hear the "pop" I am still hoping it was my wrist or something. Meanwhile, I am forming the "Cripple club" with Regina as guest member. We are limited now to doing pull-ups and hangs upstairs (she can do campus board as well, bugger). I will be putting a purple log book under one of the boxes upstairs. Of course, as Regina's ankle will heal soon and hopefully I will also heal, membership is neither desired nor permanent.

As for the "dumb" comment, yes I did try to climb but stopped when Jensen sternly told me to. And yes Doris and Sandra had to pull me off the fingerboard. Thank god i have friends who can kick my ass. And yes I had felt that particular finger to be not so great with a pain that I didn't know before, i.e. not joint pain but rather (i see now) pulley pain. I didn't know what it was, but hell, I DO NOW!!

Wednesday, February 11

I pay today

For my utter stupidity from yesterday. Just so you know, when I say that I am taking a day off, it means that I am taking a day off from CLIMBING. And thus I ran*. With my oh not so healed ankle and putting it in the ugliest, blackest, horriblest ankle guard (which makes my leg look like an elephant leg). So I ran and I hobbled yesterday for about 4-5 km. And today I pay. To say nothing that I have decided that the ankle is healed and as such will be climbing tonite without an ankle guard.

Stupidity. IT HURTS.

* Before you start frowning, I am also very stressed because I registered for Adidas Sundown Marathon and it's in 3 months and I haven't even started to think about training omg omg omg.

Monday, February 9

Over it

Whew! After all four of us (Marian, me and two other romanians for support) got on the bus 15 minutes before my presentation to go to the other side of campus and realized mid-way that it was right next door to our building and hence had to run back - and I mean it, seeing me in a skirt hopping (not running) and laughing like a maniac is NOT a sight for sore eyes, and after 1 hour or so of talking after my brain was mush from this morning's tutorials and after snapping very aggressively at one of the thesis committee members [NOT GOOD], yay, I passed! Thank you all for all the happy thoughts and encouragements.

I am giving myself 1 hour (until training) and 1 day off. Then I will start answering my blur lecturer's emails. Ha!
There are two students in Group 7 who are without project team. They met me on Friday after the lecture. I do not have their matric number with me , but I think both had NTxxxxx matric number. Can you do a quick check ...

Friday, February 6

The red dragon

Recently we have been calling Doris "Boris" because she's SOOO strong, kinda like a guy (hell i am just envious, could somebody please call me Claudius or something too!) So last night I had a dream about Boris.

You see, Boris was a red dragon and Boris the red dragon was the last red dragon in the world. And what Boris did for fun was to hop around in these fields of snow (yes, snow) and push snow with his forehead. And this is what Boris the red dragon did the whole day. Push, push, push. You see, Boris the red dragon never got cold and never had a brain freeze from pushing the snow, even though (i suspect, i didn't dream about that) this way of chillin' out is what probably killed his siblings. So Boris was pushing show and pushing snow (like one of those tractors that does that when the streets are filled with snow) when one morning glancing up from his pile of snow he saw a glimpse of a red dragon head some 1 km away. Whoa, needless to say that Boris the red dragon was very very very excited by the prospect of FINALLY not being the last red dragon in the world and not being so lonely.

So he jumped over his pile of snow and started running towards the other red dragon. And mind you, it was very difficult for Boris to run because the snow was soft and he kept stepping through up to his small wings and hands (i see now that maybe Boris couldn't fly) and it was very difficult to advance. Even worse, the red dragon in front started running away from Boris, only he too, you see, had the same snow problem. And so Boris chased the other red dragon for a very very long time. Every time he stepped on the snow he would think that the snow would hold and then when he put his weight on it it would just break and then he would be up to his chest again in it. And so they ran and ran until FINALLY! Boris the red dragon caught up with the other red dragon. And now imagine Boris' sadness (and mine too!) when Boris saw that the red dragon he was chasing was not a red dragon after all, but rather Dino from the Flintstones wearing a plastic red dragon mask. Pffft. Boris the red dragon was the last red dragon in the world.

PS. In the quiet words of Ionuca, twentyfuckingseven.

PPS. Even though today I am teaching and still working, I had a very good climbing session with the girls (san, zx, shu, and lala en passant) and gerry, teck, and cherlyn stop by to give me mah present: durian puffS!!!!!!!! I would post a picture with the puffs, but alas and hour has passed and only 6 are left (and counting) and nobody seems to want one! doris gave me one big huge yellow head, one plastic whack stick omg and a green-stuck-in-the-bottle-umbrella! Woohoo!

Wednesday, February 4

Growl ...

I haven't blogged lately probably because I haven't had the energy to muster even the slightest form of self denigratory humor. To make a long story short,

  • A new teaching sem has started and my lecturer is determined to do the least possible amount of work. To the extent that she has set a project topic for a four people team entitled "Design and implement a vending machine simulation program". Yup. Only this. No project spec (the students are required to do that themselves), just some sketchy deliverables for which i had to give "suggestions" which were copied straight away from my email. Top this up with the new students who are as confused and blur as ever. And what pisses me the most is when they try to bullshit me. A very risky strategy on their part, because I. never. forget. (this kind of thing)

  • My thesis proposal presentation is scheduled on Monday at 3pm. I will give this presentation after my 3 tutorials in the morning, which generally leave me sapped.* This means that I will probably fuck it up. No big worries, it is only the biggest thing besides actually defending my thesis.

  • I have been going through my 80 slides with my supervisor for three times already and every time he has a new way of presenting things. Pfft. Still haven't had a chance to repeat this presentation. It's ok though because tomorrow I will be giving a rehearsal in the lab. To which only my prof, the prof that i suspect will be my external advisor, and the rest of the lab will attend. Yup. No biggie.

  • My climbing injury list is increasing instead of decreasing - ankle (check), fingers (check), flapper (check)

  • I am running out of patience with everything and everybody and am walking a very thin line between total shutdown and uncontrolled rage. Am fantasizing about taking next tuesday off just to give myself some me time.

[*] This is because the education system here has turned its students into cyclic Receive-Memorize-Recite machines to which it is very hard to explain abstract notions.