Monday, May 31

Pumpfest 2010

Before Pumpfest 2010, I had achieved the last place on 66% of the competitions as open woman climber. I am happy to report that after Pumpfest 2010, this percentage has dropped to a whopping 50%. That is, in 2 out of 4 comps I got last, and in 2 out of 4 I didn't!! How cool is that?!!

The routes were amazing, set by world championship standard route-setter and as such they were so pretty and hard and challenging I wanted to take them home and try them on and on and on and on.

The finals yesterday gave awesome spectacle and I think it is safe to say that the horrible buttitis I got from sitting for so long was worth the spectacle. The standard is high, the problems are hard, time to get back to the drawing board.

Sunday, May 30

What your friends can teach you

A while ago I started befriending a person with a VERY bubbly personality. I enjoyed the fun and the hysterics that come with such a friendship and I must say I did not mind the fact that that particular person needed to be the very center of attention. EVERY time. Nor that she talked a lot, because let's face it, this blog is my most verbal manifestation. However, at one point I grew tired of the situation, because, as with most friendships with persons with such type of personality and traits, it gets to the point where one is mostly giving without actually receiving anything in return. They, the stars (or the blackholes as I sometimes think of them) get used so much to receiving that they don't really give anything back. Like care, companionship, etc. So now i am at the stage whereby I kick myself for even thinking that this would be feasible on the long run, and i am brooding and thinking a lot.

As I was brooding this morning about these blackholes (it was 5 am as I am still living somewhat on US time), it hit me. Marian has been telling me how another friend of ours is actually giving something back - she's volunteering with some special needs kids. Talk about actually giving back. While i did do my share of volunteering and true, my weekends have not been mine ever since i started writing the thesis, I still felt ashamed about this. Here am I, brooding and whining about people not giving back to ME, when there are people that are giving back to PERFECT STRANGERS without actually expecting anything in return. The utter shame jolted me awake (shame has such powers, doesn't it?) and I couldn't go back to sleep for an hour or so because of it. The conclusion that i reached was that I am inspired and as such will try to volunteer for something once i submit.

On a side note, as the shame was pouring over me (so to speak) I asked Marian who was fast asleep: "Guess what I am thinking about?" (he CAN answer questions while he's asleep, just that it takes a while to get the answer) About thirty seconds pass and he says:

"Um, I don't know... Climbing? Food?"

Pfft ...

Wednesday, May 26


Well, ten days of silence on the blog is enough to put anyone to shame. So here am I, blogging the instant i get internet access. I swear, the US might be one of the most advanced countries in the world, but in terms of Internet access and speed, I would trade it for Romania any day.

Conference-wise, I must say I attended less of the conference and more of the shopping malls around it. :) I liked Atlanta. The thing that shocked me most was the stampede in the Apple store. I was there to buy an iPad for my prof. But so where a thousand other people. I mean, why would people pay so much money for that useless device?!! Why oh why?! A genius at the Apple store in Atlanta looked at me as if I was some kind of freak when I told him I want to buy an iPad. "Pfft, you must order it online. It will come in 5-7 days and then you must come within 24 hours to collect it or else it will be gone." What the fuck!? In the end I managed to get him an iPad from the Georgia Tech campus Apple Store. The store was so remote that apparently they didn't have any demand for the ipads. Eat this motherfuckers!

Atlanta, home of the south, Margaret Mitchell (she of the "Gone with the winds" fame), the Coca-Cola company and CNN. I enjoyed running in the dry air (dry by Singapore standards). I didn't visit much because I spent my free day shopping, replenishing my shoes collection nom nom nom. And buying five thousand sweets and chips varieties for Sandra and doris. I swear I will get arrested one day.

The conference site:

Sorority house. WTF? I thought they existed only in movies!

Random flowery sighting:

The college football team is everywhere, even on the sidewalks.

It has been a while since I saw so many churches on one street. It is so different form singapore, where, although there ARE churches, they are not so obvious.

Yellow car!

And an artsy photo. The only one of the batch i think.

Sunday, May 16

From Changi, with love

I reached home yesterday morning at around 7 am, only 8 hours after I left it to go to the states. No, I am not supersonic, just plain stupid (see the previous post). After a quick dash outside to pee* I slept like a log until 2 pm. Went for a palak paneer lunch (most nom) and then crashed back until 7 pm or so, with some respites in which i read one crime novel and answered a couple of text messages. It's been a while since I spent so much time indoors and lying down. A much needed holiday, I guess ... I did sort of go for a run, but it turned out a 1-2km jog because my ipod died on me.

Am now back in Changi, at the Coffee Bean at terminal 3. The girl that is minding the place recognized me from yesterday but am not sure what she made of me - new ang moh terrorist around? (all my bags are black and i am wearing the same clothes - but i showered!). I see a familiar crowd of people here from yesterday. Never knew that Changi is favored by students to study and hang out. The armchairs at Coffee bean are also favored by many to sleep. I should know, they are the most comfortable chairs at T3. Last night I tried to sleep on the benches but couldn't, mostly because I was not properly geared (i.e. didn't have a sheet to cover myself), but also because the airport jingle managed to seep through my ear plugs and. just. kill. me.

I am taking a break from thesis writing and doing some people watching. How do some of these people pick their partners is beyond my understanding. Eurasians are so beautiful. I want one. Hell, I want to be one. Tall and delicate, not short and pudgy ... How can people board a plane in singlet + shorts + slippers?!! Whoever put up this airport music should be shot. I want one of those four-wheeled bags. Some unknown stranger asked me to charge is iphone/ipad. Does he know i can download his pictures? Singaporeans are getting fat. Volvo XC60 is damn sexy, but I still want a bicycle.

Hopefully I will be on the plane in six hours or so. If there's no post tomorrow, it means I have finally succeeded and the land of the free and the home of the brave is one hop closer.

* No, i did not go outside to pee al fresco, thank you very much. A friend is staying in our bedroom and she had locked her door. I did not want to disturb her, but because i had been holding it for long, i dropped my bags and dashed for the pool** - a great sight for 6:58 am, I should say.

** to use the toilet at the pool, not pee in the pool, of course.

Saturday, May 15


My grandmother raised me for most of my toddler life, waay until I reached 6 years old. She used to travel with me to and from my mother's town and hers by train - it was free for me, and she paid less I think. The distance between the two towns is about 300 km, and the train ride used to take about 4 hours (now it takes 6). As any true provincial I guess, we would be at the train station hours (about two hours) before the train arrived. It was not because we didn't have tickets or anything, it was just because I don't know, what if something happens? What if the bus breaks down? Or the train breaks down? Or anything. I guess it was also because the train stopped in that station only for about 5 minutes before it went on its merry way, so maybe they needed 2 hours in advance to prepare.

In later years, when I was about 10 - 11 and my grandmother still had to accompany me (by now she had a pensioner's discount and I had to pay half ticket), this thing would annoy the hell out of me and I would grumble and complain and make fun and what not, but still go. I still remember the skinny figure of my grandfather who would rush us along (2.5 - 3 hours before the scheduled arrival time) "Come on, let's get going, take that bag, come on!!" And then we would reach the station 2.5 hours before and plunk our bags down on the platform - especially when we went when school began in autumn, my grandparents were LOADED with goodies for my mum: preserves, cakes, the occasional dead chicken, cooked food! And my grandfather would glance satisfied at us and then he would start pacing the platform up and down, with his hands behind his back, talking to the other people that were there - waiting for the same train of course. Conversation would range from the subject of wether the train would be on time/late/packed/empty. How many kids did they have in the capital? Yes, it was a struggle to get food to them, but what are you going to do?

Years have passed and now I am there very early everytime I have to travel. This practice of being exhaustively early is driving Marian nuts, but I have never failed to be early. Except when I lost the plane in 2008. From that day onwards, Marian checks my flights everytime because I no longer trust myself to get the dates right. And there you have it, today he didn't check them because he also had to leave for Melbourne.

And here I am, thinking that my flight leaves at 7:10 am on the 15th of May. And I was here at 11:59 pm on the 14th of May. Happy like a dog playing with a rotting corpse, thinking that oh great, I won't sleep tonight and then I will sleep just right on the plane. Am sitting comfortably in coffee bean when suddenly inspiration strikes and I check my ticket. I am officially 28 (TWENTY FUCKING EIGHT) hours early for my flight. My plane leaves at 7:10 am on the 16th of May. I have decided to stay here at least until tomorrow morning if not the whole day tomorrow. Anybody around Changi area can come and have lunch with me, yay! Fuck it!! I am going home, the airport music is killing me. Pfft ...

Thursday, May 13

Moving out

4 years in one spot can accumulate a LOT of clutter, especially if u are a little hoarder like me. I guess the only part about the new office being smaller is the fact that a lot of stuff got thrown out, finally. I actually managed to keep just a box of papers, as opposed to the predicted three boxes. I am actually proud of myself :)

The computer plus the displays are still here because tomorrow is my last day in this office and contrary to common belief that I slackalot (fueled also by the fact that my monitors are facing the entrance - and my back is facing the door hahaha-- and I do not know how I do it but everytime somebody comes in I am browsing the web :D), I actually plan to work tomorrow.

And, totally unrelated, today we went to a talk by a famous professor whose research is well-appreciated the world over. The talk was extremely BOOORING and unfocused. I have yet to attend a talk by a famous guy who actually lives up to his research - and no, I am not talking about Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer. (are all famous men called Steve? Stephen Hawking?) Wait, no! G.W. Bush - whew, I can always count on Bush to bring me back to normality.

Monday, May 10

Durian fiesta

Would love to blog about how we are moving. And about how I am literally sitting on boxes while I am writing this. Or about how I do not know how the movers will lift a box full of very thick books. Their problem i guess...

We sent Crystel off on saturday. A bit sad and a bit weird at the same time as all her boyfriend's family was there. Like all 7 of them.

Before that, Dodo, San, Crystel + bf and I went to eat durians on Friday night. Only us girls dug in the creamy goodness, and sadly, with very obvious effects. In total, the four of us ate 6 (SIX) durians, with Crystel and I eating the last 3 (THREE). With an average of 800 calories per fruit, it would be around 1800 for Crystel and I (that is, assuming that San and dodo had an equal share of the first three, which we know by now is not true). I don't really care about this - with durian being right up there with the cheese in not making me feel even the least bit guilty when my fingers are screaming murder while they pull my big ass up the wall. As far as I am concerned, durians and cheese are calorie free and my fingers can just suck it. But I know that Crystel cares so I will make sure to send her an email . Like now [chuckles evilly]

[this was the first batch of durians. after that, when crystel and i decided we want more! more! more! san and doris when to get it, yay!]

Sadly, a more obvious consequence of the pigging out on friday is the gigantic zit I now have on my forehead. And considering that tonight we are going for DURIAN FRIED RICE, i think the only direction in which this zit can go is upwards.

[the chubby frankfurter you see in the first picture is doris' finger]

Wednesday, May 5

When stupidity hurts

As discussed on Friday, I went running barefoot on the track.

Everything would be quite ok with this statement, if not for some minor details. First of all, I went running barefoot at 4 pm.

Second of all, Friday was a very hot day in Singapore. The sun was blazing on the track from 8 am.

What, my dear readers do you think is the result of these two statements?
I shall spare you the excitement of figuring it out: after running only one lap I had developed a tingly painful feeling on the soles of my feet and stopped. Thank god I stopped and i didn't have any weird ambition to finish the 2km I had initially planned.

By the time I got to Climb Asia to climb with Doris, the tingly painful feeling developed into 5 cm in diameter blisters on both my soles. The blisters were 1 cm deep. And painful. VERY PAINFUL to climb on them. Because you see, something i learned maybe in my second year of climbing is, that climbing is a lot about the feet. My eyes would slightly bulge a bit whenever I squeezed my climbing shoes on - not only are they 1 size smaller but my feet were also swollen - and my upper lip would sweat a bit whenever I had to really (and I mean really) step. I also learned very quickly how to land on my heels and do routes that were very hard at the start such that I would not fall from high.

In the end, Friday night found me naked in the bathtub, armed with a pocket knife (not good) and afterwards a needle (works much better) to break the blisters. A lot of liquid oozed out, but I will spare you that picture.