Friday, July 31

Dead rats smell like sea water

Well that pretty much says it all. Last week me and my super duper sensitive nose smelled something kinda icky in the gym. It smelled pretty much how one's clothes smell after running 42.165 km in them. This tuesday however, my nose (and other people's noses by now) started to really twitch. For me, it smelled like either something very wet with sea water and left to dry OR a dead cat (like the ones i pass by in the park back home and in which any dog would just love to play in).

Turns out it was a DEAD RAT, finally identified by gerry on wednesday and cleaned by hh and the rest. Whew! I am only sorry that i was not there to snap a picture to put it here. It would have definitely lifted the spirits around here :))

BEFORE I FORGET AND THE TILES GET RESHUFFLED!! San and I have project routes on the sun moon wall! Even if the tiles get re-shuffled, we always can set other routes like these:

  1. Undercling pocket - yellow crimp - HAC - crimp - crimp - yellow monkey butt - purple ball - end (footholds: purple, brown, yellow, white&red)

  2. jug - crimp - crimpy jug - crimp - pocket - crimp - end (footholds: green, jug, red) (Can you tell this is sandra's route? she has an affinity for small stuff)

  3. The next two are my projects only - jug - crimpy thing - pinchy thing - side wall - pinch - big yellow (but a crimp, alas) - yellow monkey butt - jug - crimp - end! (my route - i like big shitty stuff)

  4. jug - crimp - ball - pocket - i forgot - i forgot - end! (sandra's route - the move from the ball to the pocket is SciFi - she can do though :( )

Wednesday, July 29

In which I am humbled

  • by the postdoc from MIT who is in Singapore to do CANCER research. How about that for a meaningful career?

  • by a former university colleague of mine who is now publishing super rank 1 papers and I suspect is super knowledgeable (not like yours truly) - goes to show how i could have spent those uni years instead of drinking my brains off [and hiking]

  • by my chinese flatmate who, even though he does not receive any scholarship and his supervisor makes him work day/night EVERYDAY (including sat + sun), never quit and still hangs in there - even though mind you, these are not hardships for him (to quote him, "this is best") - but it would be horrible for me to bear

  • by the move to the second clip in the rockamania route - goes to show that finally sucking up those nerves IS NOT ENOUGH! [one must read the route too!]

  • by sandra who can realize from a simple text message that i am on the verge of teardom (and calls to push me in! :)) )

  • by doris and san who bought me one WHOLE BIG durian that I ate all by myself (except one small seed which I offered to kesheng - just to show that I am trying to share) - loosing might become a habit if i keep getting these rewards :)

Friday, July 24

The perfect way

to get your friends to do stuff that you yourself do not want to do.

So. I was doing some light climbing on wednesday in the hope of resurrecting my long lost endurance. And as Vincent also wanted to climb, we were climbing together. And here we were, climbing easy peasy routes when heng hong comes and gives vincent a route.

All nice and dandy... but Vincent says: "HA! I will flash it!" and I say "HA! You will not! For every time you fall, you will do 20 push-ups!" - and of course he doesn't flash it (because he's fat and weak) and then I get up to do the route. And of course I can't flash it (because I am also fat and weak but the moves were also spanned) but suddenly I HAVE TO DO 20 PUSHUPS for every attempt. I mean WTF?! It was not me that said that I will flash that route?! Why am I suddenly in this?!

In the end, the score was 60 - 80 -- 60 for Vincent and 80 for me. For Vincent I actually was kind enough to replace 20 pushups with 10 pull-ups but I didn't do that for me. Actually, I tried but I couldn't do 10 pull-ups!

So next time when you see your friends idling around, say you will do something amazing and get them to sort of get you to do something if you don't accomplish that amazing feat. And then! kick their unsuspecting asses and get them to do the amazing feat themselves! Of course they will suffer the same fate if they cannot do!

Tuesday, July 21


There is nothing in this world your dog will not do for you. Furthermore, there is NOTHING in this world your dog will not do for you given the right treat. And thus here am I, freshly out of the climbing team, and back again in a competition. Going to exhibit my superior lead climbing skills (HA!) to an audience that includes strangers. At my best, I suck at lead climbing. Let's face it. When I lead climb, I shake like a leaf and any difficult move is the best excuse for me to yell "TAKE!", to rest, ponder the move (and my mortality) and (hopefully) go for it. And I do this no matter the route, no matter who is belaying (except sandra, who has finally figured me out, hahaha) and even when I am in a relaxed atmosphere, i.e. with friends. The reality of the fact is, in lead climbing competitions, you cannot yell "TAKE!" or "TIGHT!" or whatever. You just have to climb and ... fall. Which is something that I cannot, for the life of me, do.

My incentive?! Oh why oh why did I have to say

me me 7/19/09 10:33 PM so if you need participants, then its a yes -- but i suck
me me 7/19/09 10:33 PMso i would embarrass myself only for you

instead of saying "no, i won't do it, i don't want to"?! I guess there are two reasons for that. One is that sucking at climbing in front of perfect strangers (and i am not exactly inconspicuous as i am generally the only white girl around) is nothing new to me. Hell, I've been last for a bouldering comp, it can get any worse than that, right? I'm gonna be last for a lead climbing comp too!! [that will set some records i guess :)) - in the end they'll even invite me to competitions to make sure that they have somebody willing to take the last place].

The other one is ... how can you say no to somebody who brings you such perfect treats?!! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I have 5 (FIVE) bags of chips with different flavors, as follows:
- mexican barbeque- hola, chiquitas!
- extra barbeque (smaller, guilt free bag)
- shock: dun know what it is cause everything else other than "shock" is written in thai, of course, but the bag has pictures of: 3 chillies (woohoo), half a lime, and a plate with 1 or 2 shrimps and a crab!
- seafood - same picture with plate with 1 or 2 shrimps and accompanying crab
- cheese and onion

I haven't opened any of them because I know that once I open one that will be the end for all of them. I plan to approach them one by one by taking a single one to the office with me and munching on it there. Wish me luck or else my climbing pants won't fit me (again).

Monday, July 20

New York, New York! (1)

I have many many great pictures from Lake Placid, like this one:

and this one:

but I really have to quit it or else I will travel again and the new york pictures will not be up.

First of all, in our first day in New York we didn't do much but we walked like crazy!! It was also the only day in which I brought my climbing shoes to Central Park to boulder. Alas, it was raining and thus I didn't climb. Good walking shoes and a big backpack to store shopping (I confess - but what can I do, everything was on SALE!) bring you a long way. Even though, to be honest, a big backpack will get you searched almost everywhere and will get you being sent to the huge queue for the luggage room at the Met.

First, our hotel. We stayed at Mont Morris Bed & Breakfast and it was amazing! This old brownstone house with wooden squeaky floors and great wall decorations just at the tip of Harlem. We loved it! (I loved it more than mom I guess, because she had to go down the squeaky steps to go out to smoke, haha!) This was part of our room. I LOVED the orange walls!! (our second room when we came back from lake placid had black walls with a golden dragon, no pics, sorry)

First stop, the Port Authority Terminal to buy bus tickets, all via Times Square. Well. A lot of flashing signs and a HUGE waste of power if you ask me, but then again, who am I to say anything?

Sentient un-crowding life forms on Broadway:

A McDonald's franchise with an identity crisis:

Me and my friend Morgan. He's looking for quick ways of escape from the pink singlet.

Central Park and Empire State from the Top of the Rock (Mom found 20 dollars on the ground there).

Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Central Park - even though trekking possibilities were presented (in the form of an area that is kept wild intentionally) we didn't because mom was wearing sandals.

And finally, inside the Met. Mom went to ask where Van Gogh and Picasso were only to be met with a look full of contempt from one of the curators: "Oh, you mean the impressionists? Go straight down, then left" with a bored wave of the arm. I cleared our name when, after we got lost in the myriad of paintings, I went to another curator and asked in a strong voice: "Excuse me, where are the impressionists?" . Culture. I Need It.

Purists, beware.

The rest of the pics from our first day in new york are here.

Thursday, July 16

Apple Store Rant

I have to vent my anger because if I don't I will throw this laptop out of the window. NAO. So I went to the apple store in New York. So to speak, I visited the mothership. And the fathership, and whatever you want to call it. Specifically, to ask technical questions about Marian's laptop and mine. Below is the list of questions:

  1. I have the 13 inch unibody. The black keys get grease marks on them and the plastic seems to retain the grease even after I thoroughly clean it. What to do? (Don't tell me to clean it, because I am doing that already)

  2. My friend has a Macbook pro, early 2008 and his battery is down to 80 % after about 100 cycles. On your website you say that battery is guaranteed to 80% after 300 cycles. Laptop is out of 1 year warrantee. What to do?

  3. That same friend has a NVIDIA Graphics card and sometimes because of that the screen shows some lines - goes away after reboot. NVIDIA offers 5 years warrantee for the graphics cards :D What to do?

First of all, the dungeon in the mothership (you have to go down some stairs) was crowded.

First Stop: Laurel and Hardy

And because it was crowded I actually went to ask where to get some info. Got directed to "people in light blue tshirts". So I scanned the area and I saw two light blue tshirt guys standing side by side but otherwise NOT TALKING not looking, just basically STONING. It was obvious that they weren't doing anything. So I go to them and ask: sorry to bother you guys, can I ask you some techincky questions? To which the short guy says: "Yeah sure, no problem, just as soon as we finish with a customer" and he turns to the other one and says: "yeah, about that screen, do you think she'll be able to replace it?", "Yeah, i don't know .. " says the other, at which both turn their backs on me and continue to talk about the "lady with the screen". As if I was born in the US and didn't come from Romania where SLACKING IS LIVING!!!!

I grind my teeth and continue (I don't like crowded places and crowded places WITH IDIOTS make me puke)

Third Stop: Confused Redhead
Thought I was talking about a lady, huh? Well not really :)) I went to this redhead guy, and the answers to my questions were:

  1. "You can clean your keyboard with this!" and shows me iKlean. "I already use it, do you have anything else?" "Well, here we don't have anything" "And where do you have something else" "Um ... well we don't have anything else"

  2. "Your friend should bring the laptop to the genius bar, they can run a diagnostic on the battery there" "But I already have a diagnose, how else would i know all this?" "Yeah you're right ... If it's out of warrantee then the battery is a consumable and we do not offer support" [I KNEW I HAD A WINNER HERE]

  3. I barely had finished my question when the blitz-krieg answer came: "If it's out of warrantee then we do not support anything"

So I looked if I could get to a genius (dark blue t-shirt) but they were all behind a desk and 2 people were manning the queue - marian had told me that you need a FUCKING appointment. However, I found somebody that was idling next to the genius bar.

Last Stop: At least I will ask
I didn't bother with the first question. For the second one since I knew that at least this one would actually think before flapping his mouth, after he told me the well-known line "If it's in warrantee then of course we cannot change it. The specified terms are if something happens and it's in warrantee, even if we don't write it there" (do you think they have this hot wired in their brains?!) Anyhow, I knew that this one would listen to logic so I asked "Yeah but the battery has more parameters that you also guarantee (i.e. after 300 cycles, not 100)" -I didn't use the i.e. :) ... In the end he went (by his own free will - no glaring from my part or anything) to ask a genius.

While I waited, there was another -light-blue-is-for-i-don't-have-a-brain-t-shirt guy next to him. A guy came to him to ask "Hey, i am using skype but somehow when i use headphones i cannot hear. i can hear if i don't have any headphones. Is there some setting i can change that's to do with headphones?" To which the light-blue-screen-of-death guy answers: "We do not offer Skype support". And that was it. I MEAN C'MON!!!!!! Meantime, my genius-bar-drone returned to say that the warrantee thing still stands.

I didn't bother with him anymore, I was too disgusted and really wanted to get out of there as soon as possible (gone were marian's other, even more specific questions :)) ).

I am writing this rant because it's been one hour since I am trying to delete photos from my hard drive using iPhoto. Either I am crazy or stoopid (very possible) or something is wrong. I am deleting photos from the "Photos library" then emptying the iPhoto Trash BUT THE PHOTO IS STILL on my hard drive. No photos today either. Pfft.

Wednesday, July 15

Updates from the front

Just spent 4 hours entertaining a visitor from another university (1 hour was my presentation) so now my brain is shot so I cannot do any work. Ergo I am slacking.

- i walked home yesterday as promised in the previous post. How is it that everytime you want to take the bus none arrives but when you decide to walk there are zillions of them passing by? It was a great effort on my will power not to board any of them! Anyhow, it took me 24 minutes to get home from the gym. Good, good!

- i have a small violet patch on one of my toenails. Am waiting for it to decide what to do with my foot.

- i have started writing my thesis. I have now 1 (ONE) paragraph.

- do not ask me how new york was because I will instantly feel guilty for not organizing the photos and posting them here. TOMORROW!! (Ergo some more slacking tomorrow).

- am registering for Standard Chartered Marathon TOMORROW. Even though my ankle is still VERY weak.

- i seem to be doing a lot of things TOMORROW.

Saturday, July 11


I live like, about 3 km from school. And I take two buses to get home. Instead of just walking. PFFFT. This will be one instance in which THE.FAT.WON'T.WIN !!!!

Friday, July 10

Reviews, I like

Below a short list of phrases and constructions that made my day today. All spelling errors are as found in the submitted papers.

  • Using a monotinically increasing global counter, but it is very difficult to maintain global counter in distributed environment

  • In Internet, which is a very complex system [1], ...

  • But generally speaking, the existing CA methods failed to insufficiently consider the characteristics of network itself and not taking into account of such details as the packet loss due to ....

  • The simulation results show that the model is reasonable in a certain sense and provides references for a more thorough study of network behavior.

  • Relative Works [instead of Related Work]

  • With the continuous increasing complexity of computer applications, the scale of software systems is becoming sweeping, meanwhile, the complexity of the task enhances unbelievably, and the concurrency of software has been continuously strengthened.

  • However, in practice, many errors occurred in a few days or even months after the system start, in this case it is clear that to find the location of errors by rerun system is obviously laborious and time-consuming, even worse, the occurrence of some error are closely dependent on the other events, even for the rerun of the system, it may not take the error occurred again, especially if the complicated multi-tasking system, as a result of the uncertainty of the order of task execution, quite some software failures are always difficult to recur. [this phrase has 94 words]

  • Shared memories between ... and ... are the media for log data transfer.

  • Fourthly, we support replaying in diffident computers because of the isolation of log and replay system. [THIS ONE CRACKS ME UP!!]

  • the virtual machine-based replay technology has become a hot pot.

Thursday, July 9


While everybody is in Krabi I am stuck in Singapore pulling plastic. Pfft. Such (suck?) is life. I am not going to write a whiny post about this though. What I really wanted to say is that in general climbers are so obsessive that they will be more than happy to pull plastic for eons in the hope of getting some strength/technique/power which they will showcase on rock. Even if the promise of that particular rock is millions and zillions of light years away. Me? I am everyday bypassing that - I have a small piece of limestone that found its way in my chalk bag after my short climbing stint in romania, so in that respect, I am touching rock everyday woo hoo!

But yes, I am obsessive*. Even though to this day I am still (in good days) a mediocre climber. Top my obsessiveness with the fact that I come out as fierce (to people who don't know me that well) and you have ... well ... a mess. For example, for two years now, I have given up on getting my non climbing friends to climb. I had given up with the conclusion that they are wusses and they do not deserve me trying to get them to the sport. I did however try to get them to do any sport so we ended up walking, doing pull ups (ha!) and playing tennis. With new acquaintances forming up in the horizon I am more than tempted to get them to climb yay! This is probably because climbing is so inherently part of me that I hafta share it! And now comes the problem! My new acquaintances definitely see me as fierce - directly proportional with the size of my biceps on some days and my bluntness (every day) so when I say "We are climbing on sunday. Period." I am not sure whether their positive answer is a consequence of my fierceness or whether they really wanna climb. Top that with "Oh, we are going cycling in Pulau Ubin on Sunday ..." (five days later) and my [silent] answer of choice "FINE. I am going climbing thankyouverymuch." and an anti-social mess ensures.

I am trying to curve that mess by climbing on Saturday (in school) and maybe doing something social (like shopping) on Sunday. And also instituting a 3-No-answers-means-I-never-ask-again rule.

* a good thing though is that I have not yet reached a state whereby i watch climbing videos and read [tons] of climbing related articles.

Sunday, July 5

Out and about

With NUS announcing everybody that there's no need to observe quarantine I am now officially out and about. I would love to sound more cheerful but there you have it, I am not. The first thing to do with my new found (not that lost either) freedom was to go running. I guess i had not realized how dreadful Sundown Marathon was for me until I bent towards my running shoes and suddenly I was cringing and didn't want to do it anymore. While I suppose that as a runner you will have bad races and good races (probably more bad than good), it is still interesting to see the effect that 4 hours of pain can have on the human psychic. Top that with the fact that my ankle still feels weird and it's no wonder that 10 minutes into the run when my iPod died on me, I was more than happy to call it a night. Aargh!

Now of course I was in the gym before you could say "H1N1" in a pathetic attempt to up my endurance. I knew i lost it considering that I did not climb for so long but I didn't know it would be so lost, it's not even in the gym anymore! I'll have to post notices at the bus stations around the gym: "If anybody has seen my endurance to call 94222... ! Last spotted: end of June huffing and puffing around NUS gym. Big reward guaranteed!"

Thursday, July 2

Wild life. Livin' it behind ur back

This is probably one of my best pics ever (click to enlarge). On our last day mom and I took the advice of some utter idiot and walked about 20 km. The plan was to trek to this small mountain and back. But you see, americans have absolutely no sense of distances (i guess because their ass is in their cars most of the time) so when somebody draws you a map and says that it's close (when you ask if you can walk for it), they mean it's close IF YOU HAVE A CAR! Eh, nonetheless the trip was not wasted because I managed to capture this. I initially saw this deer in the woods when he/she jumped in some bushes but I could feel that s/he wanted to cross the street so I turned and waited and there it was. It all lasted about 20 seconds and 4 frames but it was great! (In part, one of the reasons i didn't go fuming back to the idiot to tell her that we walked for over 20 km and we didn't even get to the bloody lodge she mentioned)

The sights were very nice though.

The iron concoctions that you see are the ski jump ramps.

Our destination was the smaller hill in the foreground. I think.

We spiked up our asphalt trek by walking on the river boulders (my mother is 55 years young by the way)

All in all, a lovely thing to do on our last day in Lake Placid.

PS. Now that I am back in Singapore I have to quarantine for 1 week. I hate it and am in the process of banging my head on the walls. I hate being inside and moreover, being forced to stay inside. Pfft.