Monday, April 27


Well, here i am finally at home. I will post pictures just as soon as I find a picture taking device. To make a long story short, our bags were stuck on Heathrow so after arriving at 00:35 am in Bucharest we had to go back to the airport to retrieve them. I've been having one helluva a time with my mother and my father and his girlfriend - seeing my dad and my mom together makes me really really happy that they divorced 24 years ago because otherwise they would have fought so much they would have screwed me up more than I already am.

Went to the dentist today and had one of my teeth extracted. Finally, good, cheap dental services!!! My dog is growing old but is still amazingly young at heart.

Tomorrow I am leaving with my father and his gf (she's one year younger than me, did I say that before?!) to some place where I can run 30 km in preparation for Sundown.

Catcha later!

Thursday, April 23

If you cannot go back ...

Then you must go further.

This Tuesday I had planned my bigish run (before next week's BIG run) I was hoping to run until vivo city and then turn back and run to school ( a good opportunity, mind you, for me to collect all the presents that I have stuffed under my desk and bring them home). I was hoping that the run to Harbour Front would be 10km, and hence the whole run a whopping 20 km. The urgent need for such a long run convinced me to go forward every time my will faltered (in general before the 5km and 15km mark) and I engaged in my oh so common bargaining dialogue: "Maybe i should stop, my ankle hurts... Hm... I remember the next portion is kinda spooky... Where the fuck is that vivo city?... I hope I can rest at the traffic light... Why the hell am I doing this? A lot of people can run marathons without training ... Why don't I run 6km today and have the long run the day after tomorrow? ... Going up south buona vista when you are tired will be shit ... My ankle hurts ... South Buona vista is fucking long ... Shit i forgot to take the camelback ... what the fuck will i drink now? ... You are past your peak ... old and injured ... give it up ... If you would have taken at least your credit card you could have bought some drinks ... Why not stop at Vivo City to buy presents and run the long run the day after tomorrow? ..." *

Nonetheless, when I got to Vivo City and saw that I had ran only 7km I finally gave in and bargained. And the deal was to avoid going back and running uphill on South Buona Vista Rd (an un-phantomable prospect at that time) and go forth in a quest (! needed for the excitement) to follow the line of bus 143 either for 20km or until I die, whichever comes first, and then! take the bus home.

And thus I ran through Chinatown (crowded, even though it was 9 pm), to the tip of Orchard and then to the tip of Little India, and then back through Chinatown to about 1 - 2km or so from Vivo City. And for a first time in ages I did what I preach and actually stretched! This was because I really needed to cool down before getting on 143. Note to self: next time when running in crowded places, wear black running tights: like that, your sweat will not be visible and you will not look like you just soiled yourself! All in all, a great run, too bad I missed Sandra climbing at CA.

*a lot of shit-fuck and fuck-shit combinations, i see :))

Tuesday, April 21

Monday, April 20


My liver does NOT love me. I think it used to love me, but it stopped loving me sometime between last night and this morning. Yesterday was orthodox easter and as it can be expected, we had to sit through a six course meal: appetizers (painted eggs, cheese, lamb pudding, eggplant salad), lamb soup, fish steak, lamb steak and dessert. As you can see, lamb is the main character here. And of course, the lamb dishes are not light, because lamb by definition is not a light meat. Jolly good cause I hate lamb. "Mary had a wittle lamb, wittle lamb, wittle lamb ..." anyone? I was fairly full after the appetizers so I just nibbled nibbled on the rest.

Anyhow, I called it quits after 5 hours and the fish steak because I really had to get to school to grade some assignments. The company was good to some extent with a lot of new people at the table which gave me the opportunity to thoroughly analyze and classify everybody (yes, that's what I do when i stare at you!, yes YOU!) It also gave me a whiff of home where sitting at a table for 5 hours on a visit and drinking vodka and beer and wine is normal. And then there were the characters. The "I'm-trained-in-eating-so-much-cheshire-cat" which chewed determinedly through everything showing signs of fatigue (sweat on the upper lip) only at the 4th course, the skinny rooster whose main act was showing off his iphone (he literally paused for effect when he took it out to call a cab -- I wonder, are iPhones rare in romania?) and whose second act were the two bimbos that came with him and whom he patronized with the grace of a parent talking to a 3 year old.

So after I submitted my liver to the terror of sniffing lamb, and after the indigestion-induced nightmares, I had to go climb this morning (at 7:40 am). I wanted to do the route Doris, Looi and I set on Saturday but I had to call it quits after dropping from 3 to 4, from 6 to 7, from 9 to 10, and lastly on 21 to 22 (how on earth did I do that move on sat?!) on repeated tries, with every fall making me feel super super dizzy. Seriously, climbing in the morning is not my cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 15

Purrfect in 2 parts

Went to see "Cats" last night! I loved the costumes and the way the "cats" moved - very cat-like for hoomanz (I think they would have freaked sandra out - she's scared of cats). But due to the fact that we were on the third level up and very close to the stage (right above the lights) and more importantly very close to the speakers, we couldn't distinguish most of the songs. The music was great, but seriously, I didn't understand a thing. Were it not for one of our friends to explain what was going on it would have been a real guessing game. So today I am youtubing the Cats songs. So farrrrr, this is my favorrite(don't click if you don't like Andrew lloyd weber). And who of all people should we bump into but NITA!!!!! WOOO HOO!!!!! This was the second confirmed Nita sighting after she appeared at the pull-up bar on Monday!! Right after I was telling Ely about our loser club!

On other related news, I must announce here that yesterday morning I finally said "Hello" to my toes and knees in forward bending pose by MYSELF!! After all those days when my favorite yoga instructor's wrists were cracking (i kid you not!) from pushing me, yesterday was the big day! Well my delight didn't last for long because he hurried from where he was in the studio to tap my knees with his index finger to remind me to KEEP THEM STRAIGHT! For you see, his main problem so far has been to make sure that our elbows and knees are straight and that we are aligned correctly in the pose. What can I say, he has a thing for straightness. You could show super improvement in one pose but all he would care about would be if your hands are straight and so on. Whereas other instructors would tell you to bend your knees if you cannot do, he will have none of this nonsense. And with me I must say he has a handful of pushing and pulling. Because you see, out of his entire class, when everybody is bending down or flat on the mats, I am always one of the very very few that is 20 - 50 cm higher than everybody. And he bears it nicely until at one point I guess he just can't take it anymore and he comes and pushes and pulls (and shows no mercy of course). For example "downward facing dog, bring your right leg front, split your legs" brings out a very audible snigger of "YEAH RIGHT!" from me and I seriously try to split my legs but only manage 20 - 25 cms or so from the floor. This is where he comes in. I see him coming towards me, I smile a "Don't you dare!!! Please?" kind of smile at which point he might go to somebody else but would still come back when it's time to split my legs with the other leg in front. He might give me his hand to stabilize me (my hands can't touch the floor) or he might not (depending on how wobbly I am) and then with a swift kick which would make even zidane proud he would push my heel maybe 2-3 cms forward and my hamstrings into screeching agony. And while his next call of "bring your leg back, downward facing dog" would have everybody graciously bring their leg back, I slump to one side and slowly, very slowly, and with minimum grunting (I try!) retrieve my forward leg and in a circular sort of motion bring it backwards, then I move my upper body on the mat again (by this time I am sort of almost off the mat and lying on the floor). I would seriously laugh about this but considering it took me 6 months to touch my toes I wonder how many years it will take for me to do a split?

Saturday, April 11

I hate "graduating"

Today was my last training with the team as an official member and thus I left early to make sure nobody remembers or realizes (sandra and tecky had already realized that it was our last training so maybe some other people would too). In customary claudia fashion I left early because I really really hate goodbyes or any ceremony that resembles them (that is why I really hope they will hold the goodbye dinner while I am still in Romania - like that, I will not be reduced to tears like the unbelievable sissy that I am). My time in the team was spent less climbing (mostly due to injuries) and more policing [some] people around. I guess this is half because maybe I am a bully tough by nature and half because my dog self really really hates whiners. And scatterbrains.

Nonetheless, I loved being in the team. Firstly because of the girls and the fun fun times we had together. All the silly named clubs - Loser Club (Nita and I couldn't do pull-ups) and Cripple Club (Reg and I were/are injured) and the goofy things that we did to forget that a. training is hardd! and b. we're weak!! Secondly because of the structure and discipline of the training (especially the last two years, hell! especially the last). Structure! Discipline! I love! Thirdly, because let's be honest ... once you pack all your things in one big black suitcase (and some shoes in Marian's one as well, ahem!) and you move to the other side of the world, chances are you won't get to know and befriend that many people*.

* and you will lose all your friends back home. One amazing realization of my first year in the team was that the team people had other non-climbing friends in Singapore and I was wondering how could that be?! until I realized that they had been living here for their entire life :))

Wednesday, April 8

Scientific Proof

Yes ladies and gentleman, I am now in the possession of scientific proof that technique and footwork are not important in climbing. What IS important is the force with which you PULL the handholds. Allow me to demonstrate.

Given below in Newton's third law of motion:
"Whenever a particle A exerts a force on another particle B, B simultaneously exerts a force on A with the same magnitude in the opposite direction. The strong form of the law further postulates that these two forces act along the same line. This law is often simplified into the sentence, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Let A be the climber and B the handhold that he/she is pulling on. From the above law, we have that whenever A will pull on B from the wall towards himself/herself, B will pull A in the opposite direction, thus pulling A into the wall. Hence, no matter how you step and what you hold and so on, provided that you pull at your handhold with enough force, the handhold will pull you back into the wall.


Corollary: Mr. Pan's "Crimp harder, step harder!" can now be replaced with "Pull harder, pull harder!"

Tuesday, April 7

Soon I'll have my Mondays back

One more hellish Monday to go and finally I will be over and done with teaching for this sem. I particularly hated this sem's teaching because my so called lecturer was totally absent from manning the teaching on the tutor side. Miss-haps on her side include: giving a one-line project specification in which she basically asks students to choose their own topic and later altering it to add more confusing and un-explained lines and THEN not scheduling a meeting with us tutors such that we know what to tell our students. This resulted in a continuous back-and-forthing and contradictions between what she says and what we/I say.

Next, she formulated the midterm wrongly such that one questions had 3 possible answers (b,d,e). Because of an unfortunate sickness of her husband she couldn't grade the midterm and as such we graded them for her (150 scripts each) using her answer (b). Then when students go to her to ask about said question she says and I quote: "go talk to your tutor".

Next, it was uploading the new tutorials but not sending us neither the tutorial nor the solutions (I got the tutorials from IVLE and luckily they were the same as last year so I had the solutions - wrong as they were - from then). Next, she uploaded two tutorials in one file (i.e. Tutorial 9&10) without letting us know which was which (there were 5 questions in that file, so then I didn't know which tutorial had 3 and which had 2). She again reused last sem's tutorial but changed the order of the questions (ha! - but only in the questions and not in solutions of course).

Next, and I think is one of the worst, she gave the students an extension of the deadline for the code until the very day in which they have to demo their code to me (which means that I can't view the code b4 they present). Not only that, but she didn't let any of the tutors know. ANYFUCKINGONE. Which of course led to me being high-jacked in class. Pfft. I know that the code extension is for her to up her good feedback points from the students, but still... Top everything with a less than great class this sem and thus my mondays were hellish. Hellish because I try to recap the important points discussed in lecture BUT either (a) students do not attend lecture; (b) the lecture quality sux; (c) students suck so I end up in talking and trying and talking and drawing and talking for three-fucking-hours.

In no particular order, here is a list of things that I did when my brain was mush on Monday afternoon:

  • Bought two laptops instead of one.

  • Bought plane ticket home and did not think that mom's bday was around that date, hence missing it by a week

  • Lost confirmation number for US Visa appointment - trying to get it now -> cannot call US embassy until 2:30pm GOT IT!!!

  • Stood in line at DBS bank holding a form and frantically calling Marian who was in the middle of a meeting with the Prof. to tell me what to do with the form

  • Being depressed and scared shit that I will not get my passport back from the US Visa in time for me to leave to Romania - apparently they only hold it for two days (provided I get the confirmation id) hence 21 april + 2 = 23 April (leaving on the 24th) - but last night all I could think about was that they hold it for like a week or so

  • Writing demo schedule on the whiteboard based on student options for all my 17 demo groups and then copying it wrongly. Realize mistake after erasing said whiteboard.

Wow I finally let it all out - I had problems complaining about her because of her husband's illness but wow it really needed to come out.

Thursday, April 2

Vigilante Drive

Memory is an amazing thing....

Pfft! No shit Sherlock! When I was training for Aconcagua I used to RUN up the Vigilante Drive hill carrying 15-17-20 kg. I'll say it again: running + carrying. It is with the memories of me running effortlessly uphill carrying weights that I descended on Vigilante Drive last night before climbing training. With the thought of doing a "light" speed [ha!] workout of only 3 hill reps, then quickly back up the long and windy south buona vista drive and go for training.

Reality struck me about half-way in the first rep when I don't know what I was thinking about or looking at but my body had a very good chance of taking over. And I suddenly found myself stopped in the middle of the hill, panting and grasping for air. I was utterly shocked at the cheekiness of it all! But fret not, I showed it who's boss! I stopped again but this time by my own will just before reaching the top...

To make up for it, I watched myself closely and did not stop at all on my second [and LAST - what? I am out of shape!!] hill rep. However, I did have to stop twice again going up south buona vista. Maybe I was just tired yesterday. Ah well ...

LATER EDIT: In a precedented attack of lameness I just went running. Was planning to run from school to home, the usual easy-peasy 6/7 km route that I normally run. Four km into the run and I just stopped. At one bus stop. And got on the first bus that I could take. I do not know what I was thinking when I allowed myself to take the Ez-link card (I know that whenever I take it I will find some stupid excuse to get on the bus - or pray for heavy rain). Today, I just didn't even feel like giving myself an excuse. I just stopped and subsequently got on the bus. To make matters worse, I was wearing my 2008 marathon finisher t-shirt. Pfft. Suck, I do. Improvement, I need.