Friday, April 30

Friday afternoon

So sad when you want your day to be relaxed as Manu Chao's La vacaloca and it ends up being Chemical Brothers' Galvanize. I so yearn to slack and have so much work to do. Sadly the only slacked thing about today is that a) I am wearing fisherman's pants and b) I will be doing a barefoot run later.

But! Slowly and surely getting psyched about the following:

1. Going to the US for a conference in may - I am not psyched about this but! I will be meeting my father in Miami woo hoo!

2. Going to Romania in june june june! Other than the cheese and the bread and seeing my family and all that, I WILL BE CLIMBING LIMESTONE for one whole week!!! How cool is that?

3. Writing my Oscar speech - i.e. the acknowledgement section for the thesis. Sadly, from what i could see, it got major editing from the sheriff so i won't post it here yet.

Wednesday, April 28

Small expectations

A couple of months ago I vowed, even on this blog, to run every day at least 10 km. That soon became impossible because I had to climb 3/7 days, and do tutorials 1/7 days, and then i was shacked and dead-ish. So I soon lowered the limit to 5 km/day. Except one day in the weekends, which I designed to be my "free" day. Oh how i imagined I would put my feet up and read and relax on that free day - this of course didn't happen because we started climbing on Sunday (my free day) as well.

A month or so after setting the lowish 5km limit, things started to rapidly deteriorate. I would run 4, 4.6, hell even 3km routes, without feeling much guilt because 5-4.6 = 0.4 so it wasn't such a big deal. I suppose this lead to a decrease in form, both physical and mental. Pretty soon after this, even full fledged 5 km started to feel like I was running at least 2 marathons. Uphill!

So here was I former long distance runner extraordinaire, being bored/apprehensive/cautious, about five measly km runs. To say nothing that I really did not phantom that I could ever run 10 km again. It is amazing how fast we forget how good we were at something. Last week, when I had to run longer distances on more than one occasion (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) I actually felt that I would not be able to do it and! started making excuses even before the run started.

I guess I am my worst enemy when it comes to selling myself short or telling myself that I can't do something. This pops up in climbing as well, where my negative talk is the most effective talk ever. I am scared that it has started to pop up in other areas as well, especially now since the last part of the thesis left to be written is the contributions section.

So for this week I am planning longer runs to boost the confidence. However, I am still pondering possible solutions for selling myself short/talking myself down lifewise: loud music, ice-cream, chips! anyone?

Monday, April 26


So a junior staff in the UK Foreign Office is a little bit tired and stressed after all those meetings and stuff. I can relate to that, since all this writing I have been doing in the past few weeks have left me dry as a raisin. Right now all I want to write is "Fuck it, I'm done!" in the conclusions chapter.

But this, this is truly hilarious:

THE government apologised to the Pope last night after an official paper suggested he should be asked to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage and launch a Benedict-branded condom range on his state visit in September.

The document, drawn up by the Foreign Office as part of a briefing pack and sent to officials across Whitehall, also suggested Benedict XVI could demonstrate a hard line on child abuse by “sacking dodgy bishops” and launching a helpline for abused children.

The government’s papal visit team also recommended that he sing a song with the Queen for charity and apologise for the Spanish Armada. [...]

One suggsted that Pope Benedict should be persuaded to spend a night in a council flat in Bradford and “do forward rolls with children to promote healthy living.

Read it all here.

Saturday, April 24

Breakfast in Harvard

I have a lot to post about the past two days (it's all about zits and thunderstorms) but for now I feel so shacked that i can only post this:

Friday, April 23

Will run for shoes

On Tuesday I ran all the way to Raffles City. To buy face cream. Basically, with the current lack of shopping buddies I haven't been out and about town in a veeery long time. So tuesday evening i grabbed the opportunity to shuffle my ass into town and do some girly shopping, all by myself.

All nice and dandy, except that before reaching the face cream shop I had to walk through a shoe shop. And that is where all hell started. Because not only did I go through the shop, but I actually stopped to look at some shoes.

Picture this: I am wearing black tights (and not only wearing, but overflowing them), a black tight singlet, I am sweaty (very! sweaty since the route is about 10-11 km), I stink to kingdom come but! I am trying on a series of pumps and shoes and sandals and what not. And for each of the try I must take off my running shoes, my socks, etc.

It only proceeded from bad to worse because at one point I found not one, but two pairs of shoes that I liked. It is at times like these that the presence of another human being (and I mean any other human being) that is willing to comment honestly is more than welcome. Actually, it is required. So here am I , in the middle of a glitzy shoe shop, one shoe on one leg and my running shoe in the other, picking up the phone to call Marian to beg him to come downtown. I came to my senses by the time he agreed and decided to return on Thursday, this time on a more organized manner.

I would run to Raffles, he would bring my clothes, I would change in proper attire and then! we would go shopping for shoes. Thursday all things went downhill, and as such I was so depressed (reason to come soon) that not only did I run fast, but I also bought not one, but TWO pairs of shoes (discounted, true, and required, true). Both of them were on sale and below 40 SGD so I do not feel that bad. But still ...

Wednesday, April 21

Of handstands and trapezes

Rarely in one's life one actually has the time to stop for a while and notice the people around. It has to do with the fact that we become so caught up in our lives and our hobbies and our path, in one word, so caught up in ourselves, that we barely have time to raise our head from the pasture and glance at the bright blue sky. [literary, I like!] You cannot not notice Crystel because she's the one who would do handstands for warm-up outside the climbing gym. I guess even a flock of sheep would stop their grazing if one of them suddenly decided to do back-flips just for the fun of it.

Crystel is a 24-year old, second year math major (can i say that again?) MATH major (with a minor in physics). She is also a former gymnast and! has been with Cirque du Soleil for the last four-five years or so (she's the one on the right).

The ultimate coolness aside, what has really impressed me is the striking contrast: on one hand we have people like me, marian, and well, almost everybody i know around here, that lived at home or close to the family cluster through university, went to university at the proper time (18 or so), were supported by our parents and the state throughout. On the other hand we have people like her who at 18 went to do what they have always been dreaming of (cmon, even I dreamt of going away with a circus, imagine if I was actually flexible or good at gymnastics!), saved money, and now are supporting themselves through university. I mean how much ballz does it take to do that? At least a bucket, I would say.

The money and the ballz issues aside, it's no easy job to go to university at 24! Everybody is much younger and all of them have done nothing but study. It is much harder to remember stuff from physics (let's say) when you studied it like eight years ago.

Top this ultimate determination and courage with the cool videos. On saturday I can't say if we were drooling because of the food or because of what we were seeing. Find on youtube: cirque du soleil saltimbanco chinese poles and cirque du soleil saltimbanco bungee

Monday, April 19

A weekend of durians!

My weekend started on Friday with the shit-fuck-crap trip to Kuala Lumpur for my lab-mates "civil" wedding. A nice touching moment when they said "I do" and signed, after which everything spiraled, and sadly only downwards (great food though). First note to self: pink make-up, blonde hair, lilac dress: BRRRRR!

Second note to self: just invite ONLY people you like at your wedding. If you do not want somebody at your wedding, DO NOT invite them. Not because you have to, not because it's nice, certainly not for their benefit and enjoyment. Lest you have a couple of drinks and end up insulting them, or me, by saying "Claudia is a good influence ... sometimes." And downwards from there ... I really hated the moment especially since i was trying to be civil and not end it all with a "Shut up, bitch" towards the bride. Sad and pathetic, but at least I have learned that one should only invite friends to one's wedding. Go figure!

The trip was not all that bad because I had a durian!! Yay! Sadly, I shared it!

And then saturday, after an exhausting full work day with the boss, i had another! All by myself, without sharing it at all woo hooo!!! Top this with a great dinner (Chilli! Con carne!) by Crystel (more about her in the next post) and the weekend was finally starting. Sadly, I now realise i do not have a picture of the durian (too excited about Crystel's movies) but only a picture of the pot of Chilli! Con carne!!

Wednesday, April 14

What we talk about when we talk about climbing...

... How much Doris looks like Night Fury aka Toothless. Or Toothless looks like doris... Haha, no harm intended, no harm done (i hope!) but it was a great laugh for a tired climbing night!

Monday, April 12

Fucking presumptuous, really

So. When you get married, as far as I understand, the thing to do is to gather all (or most) of your friends and relatives in one BIG celebration of the aforementioned legal certificate to fuck and breed humans. Or in more milder terms, you want all your friends (notice again the emphasis on friends) and relatives (i.e. same blood) around you such that they share your joy and your happiness at obtaining the said legal certificate to fuck and breed humans. An added advantage of weddings are the wedding gifts (in produce or money). So see, legal certificate + $$$$ = LOVE!

To some people, like myself and others, it might be a bit difficult to join you in your celebration, mostly because we are not close friends, and because it means I will have to give up my Friday night climbing session (btw SAN, climbing on SUNDAY right?!) in order to attend said legalization (to fuck and breed humans). Plus this with the fact that I am the only child from a divorced marriage so the said legalization means SHIT for me, and you will see how hard it is for me to actually move my ass to go to Kuala Lumpur. However, I am willing to make this sacrifice for the sake of the custom and so on and so forth.

But never in a million years would I have suspected that some people are so delusional to think that the ceremony and all the fuss and the obligatory socialization is done for the benefit of the community, and I quote, "we are doing this for you". I would have laughed at this if I did not have to give up climbing on Friday and haul my ass up to KL. It is you and only you that you are doing this for. So seriously, stop deluding yourself.

Later edit: The ROAR in this post really helped because I just run 5k in 24 minutes, something i thought i would never do again. Go ROAR!!

Friday, April 9


Last night I ran a 6 k route for the millionth time. I am so sick of the routes in NUS that to kill boredom I started to think about very unpleasant subjects. Like the fact I am very good at avoiding doing actions that I know will have very unpleasant results for me. For example, I do not want to check my bank account to make sure the ATM in Chiang Mai did not take more than it's fare share because I do not want to see the pitiful state in which my savings have arrived.

My main avoidance technique is to think about what i have to do, squirm violently, and put the thing at the back of my head, to be done later. Of course the thing will stay where I put it only for a limited amount of time.

After a while, it will get so loud that I will have to deal with it. I deal with it by jotting it down in my organizer, under the things to do maybe 2-3 days from now. When the day comes and I still do not do it, it will move it a few times until I put it on my stickies on the computer. I noticed that the stickies act as a land of no return for whatever task i put there. Basically, if tasks reach the stickies, they will not get completed. Many barriers I have raised in front of the ugly things and I am very good at raising more. Apparently, I have not yet milked the power of the blog, so here it goes.

Below are a few of the things I need to do but I haven't, together with their reasons for avoidance.

Google How to train for a faster marathon (under 4 hrs) - Because I know the answer will be "Train harder" and I do not want to train harder. Simple as that.

Buy plane ticket to US - Because I do not want to be penniless again (even though the school will reimburse me. I think. )

See the registration deadline for Pumpfest - Because then there will be no turning back, and I will have to join a bouldering competition after i said i will not join one again. Or did I? Hm ...

Weigh myself - Because I know what the answer will be. FATT.

Buy plane tickets by myself - Because one time, I missed the plane because of that.

Call somebody. Anybody. - Because I still am shy, and still I do not like talking on the phone.

Wednesday, April 7

Climbing in Chiang Mai!

[Photos here].
The trip was lovely and I enjoyed every second of it. I did not do any hard climbs, part because i was there with my non-climbing friends, and part because I was scared shit to try hard routes. I think i would have needed at least a week of climbing for that.

It was endearing to see noobs face the rock walls for the first time in their lives. Oh, the angst and the scare and the "Oh my ggggod I am going to die!" were worth every second of shouting, of "Put your right leg up! Higher, higher! Niice!". And answer questions like "Who makes these big holes in the wall?" [talking about the jugs we kept holding]

One of them (a very big, tall guy), got a short-man's beta from me on a route that was too powerful for him. The frustration and the powerlessness got his body (and i really mean his body) to yell one big "FUCK YOU!" at me when I told him not to be defeated when he was sighing non-stop. And i do say his body, because obviously his mind would not take that risk. Not while on belay that is ...

I was proud as a first-time hen seeing her chicks pluck dirt for the first time, especially when one of them was so obviously talented on the rock. Not like yours truly, who four/five years ago really resembled the big awkward guy. Just goes to show that Neverquits actually works.

I still have to learn a lot, especially on listening to whines and complaints, which is something that I really suck at. And to be more patient when people say that they climb because I make them climb - it's a joke but not when we are talking about something so precious (at least to me). I should take a few seconds to realize that it's a joke and not say the first mean thing that comes to my mind. And to be able to put on my ballz suit from the first days at the rock wall, because sometimes (like now), you won't get more than a few days.
And also I have to learn to let young friendships die. If they are not meant to live, they are not meant to live and nothing I can do will ever bring them back alive. Furthermore, if somebody tells you that your significant other is an angel by comparison [with you] ... all they deserve from you is indeed a very big FUCK OFF.

Lo and behold, the pictures!
Day 1: We were so LOUD on the bus that some of the other people took out their mp3 players! Conversations ranged from digestive system, to boobs, and i think we touched on the subject of death as well. We climbed few routes, I got the big, loud "FUCK YOU!", had a nice lunch, left the girls to rest at the wooden houses, and came back for more! The last route of the day was a very long 6a (30m) that really had an amazing view. We were still loud on the way home, but not quite as loud.

Going towards "The Furnace":

Scared before the climb:

One of the few decent photos of me:

Short-man's beta is not easy!

After the incident (all of us are camera whores, so nothing like a camera pointed at you to make you smile and forget about the "FUCK YOU!"):

Dying going up to our last routes:

The view from the top:

A. doing the "beached whale":

Marian leading again:

Climbing with this is hardd!


Day 2: Shacked when waking up, silent but still talking on the bus. Climbed mostly at Crazy Horse Buttress, which is the main climbing site. Climbed between 7-9 routes, did a 6c (top rope, no ballz). Climbed with an australian that picked us up as partners (he was alone). Marian led a lot of routes and took care of the noobs while I was with the aussie. I ate like it was the end of the world for lunch. We were absolutely SILENT on the bus home. Not a fantastic day because we were in the sun in the morning and it sapped us of all we had.

My fierce impersonation is getting better day by day!

The sun drenched every last bit of energy from us:

Marian is the last one to keep his shirt on:

Totally shacked but still going at it:

Day 3: And then there were 3. We started as 6 in the first day, but by the last day only 3 of us were left. Climbed in a cave at the AirCon wall - so-called because if you sit in front of the cave, cool bursts of wind will come down to cool you (it was hot and very dry outside). The routes were overhanged, which led A. (then one that did a beached whale) to literally french kiss his biceps. And then we went to do a chimney climb, which to my shame i could not lead (no ballz) and I had to set up using a route on its right. Marian led two other routes (so proud, he's leading again!) and then we were done and that was it.

Inside the cave:

Descending into nothing:

Using one's face to climb:

Tuesday, April 6

Chiang Mai!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy I have never felt more guilty for skipping one day of work like i do today! So just a few words here! I think i am catching a cold (which is like HOW rare?), I have worn my running shoes only to walk around in them (shame), I think I gained weight (oops) or its just the swell from flying (yeah right), but other than that I had a great time finally touching rock for the first time this year. Pictures to come!