Thursday, September 30

Three Gauls and One Roman

This is the name our team is going to have for Climb On! 2010! Although one of the gauls might not be able to actually make it. Climb On! is a climbing festival, basically a climb-all-you-can-until-you-die kinda thing. Last year I think we spent a lot of time in the mall having lunch and we didn't climb that much. This year the Roman is a noob. The strongest gaul might not be able to make it. Which leaves me and Marian as the defending gauls.

Sadly, Marian really fits Asterix.

Because this means that i am left with Obelix. Even sadder, my butt really fits Obelix.

I haven't submitted the forms yet and truth be told, I am actually considering to change it to 11 Gauls and 1 Roman but I am scared the gaul that might not able to make it will not get it.

Wednesday, September 29

A series of unfortunate events

  1. I joined the climbing team a long time ago and I met Sandra.

  2. Sandra introduced me to peanut butter about 3 years ago. I still blame her, because I had not been aware about this delicacy sprouted from the refined american cuisine. The fact that it sprouted really does not bother me, but the fact that I can get easily addicted to it, does.

  3. On Monday night I had to return to the lab to work after training. I knew I would be famished and I was scared I would do something rash and like raid the snack machines, so I bought a small peanut butter jar (fat), a carton of soy milk (protein), and some bread (carbs). It looked perfect for a post-training meal and i enjoyed my two slices very much.

  4. On Tuesday I started to help myself to tiny spoons of peanut butter, every time thinking that "This is just a tiny one, it's the last one!"

  5. Today I went to get the vietnam visas and when I came back I decided to read a bit about vietnam. And since this was entertainment and I can't do entertainment without munching, I reached for the peanut butter jar. What's left is just a tiny half a a teaspoon pod on the bottom of the jar*. And i thought i was dieting, yes i did ...

*It's done. I licked the jar clean. I am never buying peanut butter again.

Tuesday, September 28

One picture Tuesday

Engrish at its best:

Monday, September 27

Facebook withdrawal symptoms - Part II

Oh noes, what to choose, what to choose! Several things are pushing me in opposing directions ... First there's:

The guilt - Text message from doris: "you needa be back on facebook ... hien typed a super long happy public note about [promoting finally to inter] and tagged everybody [but you]"

Then there's:

The productivity - definitely increased. Or so I thought, until I discovered the zillions of blogs I had been neglecting since I started stalking camping on facebook. And then productivity was back to its normal self. Drip. Drip. Trickle. Trickle.

And there's:
The pride - Making a new facebook account would just mean that i have no spine and that the motherfucking corporatists win.

What to do? what to do?

Thursday, September 23

Nature wants me fat

I always eat more in preparation for a longer run. Well, truth be it, I always eat more. But since yesterday's training, when my fingers literally shouted: "Lose weight, bitch!", I have made a resolution to eat more only (ONLY!) when i will be going for a run.

I have recently found a longer run around campus, which clocks about 10km and has two hills in it: one is about 3 km long, the other about 100 m - in preparation for "Nepal OH YEAH 2010" pre-graduation trip (this only implies that at some point in time there's going to be a graduation trip as well) My plan now is to run this route everyday if possible. Today was one of those days when I was supposed to run it.

So I stuffed my face accordingly at lunch, and afterwards, clocking a salmon with salad and mash, humus with bread, one pack of seaweed and one pack of cashewnuts (how the last two are actually good for runners, I do not know! But they are very good for gluttons yum, yum, yum).

Of course it started pouring right after I finished lunch and it has not stopped since, which makes my pre-run stuffing useless. And I literally can feel how everything i ate is meeting back on my behind to discuss layering possibilities. Nature truly wants me fat.

Wednesday, September 22

Facebook withdrawal symptoms - Part I

Number of times I wanted to check Facebook (approx):

  • On Monday: 40

  • On Tuesday: 30

  • On Wednesday: 2*

*Only because I had to stand in for my supervisor for the whole day so I had no computer access.

Tuesday, September 21

One picture Tuesday

Now this is what I call true bling!

Sunday, September 19

Facebook account gone!

Well, my account has been Claudia Facebooksux for as long as i can remember. I was an active facebooker :) although i did not allow any applications and I did not like it when people asked me to share/give them animals in farmville or whatever - so i was pretty harsh on them (i.e. i ignored them).

Today I tried to login and found that my account has been disabled (no warning, no anything - I guess the facebooksux in the name was really putting them off). In Facebook's own words, asking why my account was disabled, I got this:

"Profiles created to represent celebrities, pets, ideas, or inanimate objects are strictly prohibited.
People on Facebook want to interact with their real friends and the people they know in the real world. Since fake accounts can damage the integrity of this environment, they are not allowed to remain on the site."

On the problem with fake names:
"Facebook is built around real world interactions. Operating under an alias detracts from the value of the system as a whole. Users who operate under fake names are also prone to abuse. We take this standard very seriously and remove fake accounts as we become aware of them."

Then, when asking why i did not get a warning:
"Depending on the severity of the violation, it is not guaranteed that you will receive a warning prior to becoming disabled. Unfortunately, accounts that are disabled for severe violations of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities cannot be restored."

And then, when asking what i could do to restore my account - sadly, I will not make another account but i do not want to lose contact with ppl I was in contact before - like RME's links, dodo's camping on facebook etc - here's what i got:

"Please upload a government-issued ID to this report and make sure that your full name, date of birth, and photo are clear. You should also black out any personal information that is not needed to verify your identity (e.g., social security number). "

Sad part is, my account was not fake and I did not "damage the integrity of this environment". The irony is that indeed, Facebook sucks :)

Facebook withdrawal symptoms, here I come!

Friday, September 17

Will I blog till I am 90?

I don't really know, but what I really hope is that by the time I am 90, the title of this blog would have changed, at least not to include "graduate programmes". Here's a video of a lovely and inspirational 90-year old granny blogger.

Amazing how technology sometimes reaches out to people from the older generation.
My 78-year-old grandmother uses her computer to Skype with me. She is loving it! And so am I! It does make the distance shorter, even for a little while ...

Wednesday, September 15

Breakfast odissey

I have been trying for years to find the perfect breakfast formula to suit me. What I have managed to find in all these years is that, unlike Marian who has been eating the same thing for breakfast ever since I've known him (I kid you not, the man eats 4 slices of toast with butter and honey and 1 and half glasses of milk EVERY MORNING if he can have it), I need variety in my life! So far, I have eaten for breakfast:

  • borscht soup

  • polenta with cheese

  • polenta with yoghurt

  • steamed broccoli with cheese

  • cabbage stew

  • rolled oats with fruit and milk

  • weetabix with fruit and milk

  • [HOW COULD I FORGET THIS?!] chicken rice soup and coffee

In the past weeks, i have switched from my rolled oats to weetabix. I love the texture of the weetabix and the taste! (Cardboard!) However, I noticed that after i eat the weetabix I get VERY hungry, VERY soon (like when i reach the office in the morning, I am ready for lunch). Turns out that unlike rolled oats, weetabix has a HIGH GI, which makes it unsuitable for breakfast for me. This might be the reason why i am so famished so early. Or it might be, as Sandra aptly puts it, that i am a "bottomless pit".

Funny breakfast foods anyone?

Tuesday, September 14

One picture Tuesday

Monday, September 13

The little engine that could ...

Went for army half marathon yesterday! The night before I was a little bit scared because although I had run very often, I had not run long because of lack of time/drive etc. Sadly the night before we spent it watching re-runs of "The Big Bang Theory" and eating very salty roasted sunflower seeds.

I say this because 3 km into the run both of us were very very thirsty and had to stop to refuel. And then poor Marian had a stitch because of that and an entire saga broke out for him. I had given him a pair of my socks to run in. Turns out they were too tight for him and gave him multiple blisters (a big one on the right foot and 3 smaller ones on the left foot).

This year we ran past the Marina Sands resort. It has a small hill right next to it, and i had thought that this would be it. I actually was thinking that maybe the singaporeans had complained that the Sheares bridge is too steep (it is damn steep!) and so the event organizers had taken it out. Turns out, they hadn't, and Marian got to experience it right smack in the face.

All in all it was a good run, Marian did his best, got a personal best, and we almost made it below 2hrs! I feel a bit pissed because I know that I could have made it even better - 1:46 would have gotten me in the first 10 for women's open, as I pulled 4min/km at the start and around kms 16/17/18. That's when I left Marian to battle his demons on his own. That being said, I could have pulled on and wait for Marian right before/right after the finish line but decided against it. The high of finishing together was again, unmeasurable.

The run left me famished! Because I am feeling guilty, I will post below a list of all the things I had to eat yesterday. It's a lot considering that i started to eat at 8:00, slept from 12-3pm, and stopped eating at 7pm.

  • One of the cereal bars they gave us at the finish line

  • Vegetable laksa - but only the veggies as it was too heavy

  • Auntie Anne's parmesan cheese pretzel

  • Korean bibimbap - not all, it was not good

  • 20000000 dates

  • One ice-cream

  • 2 servings of cabbage stew

  • One pack of roasted sunflower seeds

  • 2 or 3 thick slices of bread

  • 125 g of feta cheese

  • One starfruit

  • One apple

Saturday, September 11

Mastercard moment

  1. 22 years in school: 8150 USD (12 * 200 + 5 * 150 + 5 * 1000 )

  2. Taxes for the last semester: 1000 USD

  3. Examination fee: 400 USD

  4. Amount of paper used to print: 5 * 500 pages

Happiness, dread, anxiety, of finally submitting the thesis to the university: Priceless.

Friday, September 10


A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.

A Ph. D. student is a machine for turning coffee into crap.

Wednesday, September 8

One picture Tuesday

Because yesterday the hairy leg came back from Rome, I didn't have time to post, so I am giving you not one, but TWO pictures from our trip to Ikea this saturday.

Doris found her rug:

And I found my new love:

Friday, September 3

Am becoming the village crazee

Five years ago I quit smoking. I did not use any fancy technique from some book or other or anything of the sort. I stopped cold turkey and I started running. This was horrible for me (running i mean) because I was unfit and I was a smoker and i was running in singapore, where at first it feels like running in a sauna. But anytime I wanted to light up I would remind myself about the first running experience and I would ask myself if I wanted to go back to that. And I didn't so I would not light up. Why am I telling you this story?

Well ... this is the corridor where business and computing students come to smoke. NUS is a non-smoking campus and as such smart students find sekret smoking areas.

The problem with this corridor is that the window with the little piece of paper on it is the window to my lab. The window is right behind my desk and the windows are not properly sealed. Which means that whenever students come to smoke here (despite the 5 no-smoking signs, one announcement that clearly describes the fines if anybody would catch them smoking), the smoke comes into my lab. And it first hits me and my unsuspecting lungs.

Do we foresee a problem here? Oh yeah! Let's have a closer look at the piece of paper on my window:

Yup. For the past month or so I have consistently shooed smokers from there. At first I was polite and nice, but depending on my mood and the lack of coffee (coffee makes me nice) my shooing has ranged from "please don't smoke here, the smoke comes inside and I have quit" to "please don't smoke here despite all 5 signs. Please go. Like NOW!" And today I am happy to announce that I think word got out.

Yesterday I was sitting at our dinning table (don't ask) and reading somebody's master thesis*. I glanced up and saw a couple (him and her) going straight for the smoking place (they can also sit down, so it's mighty comfy too!) Then he stops short, points towards my window and probably tells her: "We must go away from here, the smoke will go there and the she-devil will come and kill us all!" She looks towards my window and at the same time catches on to the fact that I am looking at them and smiling - or grinning, or smirking. I could clearly see her tell him "Oh My god!" as they rushed away from my window. Mission accomplished.

*Master thesis about social networks. Second line of the introduction writes "Fackbook".

Thursday, September 2