Friday, June 29

Fuck it, we're doomed

Early this month, Texas Republican delegates met in Fort Worth to approve their 2012 platform, notable parts of which take aim at the state's education system. Excerpts from the document can be found below:
"Classroom Discipline –We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas."
"Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage"

Thursday, June 28

Some things never change

This morning I overslept because I had an exam at 9:20. I woke up at 7 am, sat on the couch for a while, read a bit, then got into a superior panic that I will be late, so at about 8 am left the house.

Got into the car and into massive traffic. Stopped for coffee and rolls. Did some batshit crazy driving to get past the massive traffic jams (heh, I was trained in Bucharest) . Arrived at the exam hall at 8:30-ish am. Convinced car park lady that I'm a lecturer - why is it so hard for people to believe that?!! Parked and headed for the exam hall.
By this time I had 2 coffees on board. Went into a frantic panic when realizing that my exam was not listed.

Tried to access internet. No fucking signal available. Rushed outside. Found signal.

Exam at 1:50 pm.

I never learn.

Tuesday, June 26

One picture Tuesday

This is truly destiny, especially following yesterday's post. Here's what a friend played yesterday in a ferocious battle with me (no, I am not DrTitanium, I am ...):

Monday, June 25

A hierarchy of sorts

When I was young(er) (ahem) I always wanted to be sporty and cool, while my mother always insisted that I should study more. Truth be said, studying was cheaper (we were poor) and I wasn't really talented at sports either. The lack of talent is still with me today, sadly, but nowadays I can do what I bloody well please (something I was doing back then anyway*), and I have on my side the advantage that I never ever quit. So, to my mother's despair, I now enjoy sports such as climbing, running, and, for a year or so while in singapore, yoga and tennis. Needless to say and for obvious reasons, my mother absolutely loves the yoga, tennis, and the (short-distance) running, but loathes climbing, especially rock climbing (as opposed to bouldering).

I've spent the past couple of runs thinking about

  • why the fuck am I running so much?
  • why is climbing just the best thing is this whole wide universe?

The answer to the first one is simple: I did say a long time ago that I will run a marathon every year, but that is not really the answer, as I can (I  hope) quietly let that promise go (sneaky much?!). Truth is, the running high and the endorphins and goddam kilometers of pain are addictive, once I get past 15km or so. Another important truth, which also ties in nicely with the second question, is that running is inherently competitive, where the person you are competing with is nobody else but you.

I cannot say that yoga and tennis are not challenging - handstands, anyone? I was decent at tennis but only because I was good at running: had a lot of anger in me, could run for four hours straight on the tennis court, and had strong biceps and wrist control, hence good (but imprecise) forehand. But there is something about running that puts it above these, and I think it's the long distance, the constant counting game ("Right, I did 10 km, now only 30 km to go, that's about a quarter, if I go at this pace I'll be halfway in about an hour, and then two hours after that and we're done"), the zone where nothing matters as long as you keep going, the stories of everybody running around you** and the incredible euforia when crossing the finish line, when you feel like a king/queen (albeit a dead king/queen).

Climbing is even more like this, even if you take out the element of painful death - which you can, for a large part of rock-climbing. The mental game is more complex than "roar, you can do it!" and requires careful posing of one's self in a good, positive place, aka the 2 sq. m. zone around yourself.  The adrenaline rush is unexpected and varies from climber to climber, route to route, and move to move. It can be triggered by anything, even by casual comments from passer-bys for the most self-conscious ones of us. It also is highly dependant on the number of coffees you drank that day, which we know can be quite a problem with some of us (ahem). And despite the adrenaline rush, one still has to be extremely precise, focused and cool.

And then we come to injuries - as opposed to running, injuries in climbing are sudden (i.e. not overuse injuries as most in running), loud (ankle breaking, tendons popping, elbows, shoulders, and knee dislocating), and leave permanent psychological scars, which further complicate the mental game when one has to convince one's body to lunge, jump, and hang on particularly badly injured (in the past) limbs, especially if it's that particular move that caused the injury in the past.

And lastly, the pump. Besides the adrenaline rush, I would say the pump, and the feeling of your fingers taking all  your weight (including that caused by the pizza you binged on last night, ahem) is what makes climbing so addictive. For non climbers, a good way to experience this pump is to try open and close your fist for 10 minutes or so. And then go do a pull-up.

So, in summary: death, mental game, adrenaline, pain, pump, addiction. While I could have said that at first, and thus could have returned to the rejoinder I still have to write, I really had to get this out of my system.

* I once ran away from home to go to the local gymnastics selection - I made it to the metro station.
** I once saw a female runner guiding a blind man that seemed to be her father - they were fast, despite running on a single pairs of eyes!

Sunday, June 24

This should hopefully do it

21km today, 7 more on Tuesday and that will be it. No carbs for the entire week, until a massive bread pig-out on Saturday, and hopefully finish 42km on Sunday. Firstly, without injury. Secondly, under 4:20 hrs such that I can qualify for Sixfoot Track. Again. And hopefully, manage to register and run it next year. Ah well, such is life.

Friday, June 22

Tom Yam

It took me ages to find the best tom yam recipe out there, at least "best" by my standards. I was a bit reluctant to post anything until I really got it right, as tom yam is my favourite soup of all times. Ever.

So, here it is (Disclaimer: there may be a little too much chili for the average person, please adjust quantities as appropriate).

Ingredients for the broth
2 litres of water, brought to boil
4 kefir lime leaves - torn
2-3 cm galangal, cut into small pieces (see picture)
1-2 stalks of lemongrass, cut fairly large but SMASHED!
12 bird's eye chillies (still needed about 3-5 chillies to make it spicy for me, but this one was pleasantly mild)
juice from 2 lemons (or many many limes - use limes if you have)
4 table spoons fish sauce

Ingredients for the soup:
straw mushrooms
seafood or chicken or fish or all - up to you
carrots thinly sliced

1. Bring water to boil
2. Dump everything in.
3. Add soup ingredients, and bring to boil.
4. Adjust salt (fish sauce), sourness (lemon) or spiciness (chillies) to taste.

1. Kefir lime leaves & galangal:

2. Cut lemongrass and then smash it (use hammer if not proper kitchen tools. If no hammer, use fat knife. If no fat knife, just section the stalks in half).

 3. Chillies (chopped fine)

4. Lemons, but limes work better.

5. Boil water and dump everything in.

Tuesday, June 19

One picture Tuesday

Last night I made Tom Yam soup, as promised. It was most nom!

Monday, June 18

What's done ...

... cannot be undone.

  • Like running 30 km yesterday and not feeling so upbeat today (actually, feeling like I got hit by a truck. Many times.) even after 5 (FIVE) doubleshot expressos.
  • Like having 5 (FIVE) doubleshot expressos and wondering why the hell do i feel so jittery
  • Like mentoring somebody for a year, offering them a job, relying on them to do the job, only have them tell you that they have found something else and thus are not actually taking the job you have offered. FUCKERS.
  • Like getting depressed over the above and going and polishing off a hamburger (vegetarian) considering that I was only planning to eat tom yam today.
  • Like dreaming last night that I was doing one-arm pull-ups - mind you, with my good hand

Friday, June 15


Last year I ran the gold coast marathon in 4:07-02? Minutes. This permitted me to register and join the Six Foot Track ultra-marathon in the blue mountains. It is a fantastically difficult race, with many many hills (2900m in total) and many many many down hills (3200m), river crossings, steep drops and 45 km in all. It was the first race for which I had to qualify in advance - and I was superiorly PSYCHED! about it.

And then of course, it rained. And rained. And then it got cancelled. Apparently the river crossing was so flooded it was really dangerous. Woosses. Pfft! And so, I didn't run it, but these guys tried:
Cox River Crossing, Six Foot Track

And so, I have to run gold coast marathon again. It is a flat repetitive marathon for which I stand the best chance to get under 4:10, which is the qualifying time for 6foot next year.

This year though, I havent trained*. And while I think it is possible to run a marathon in sheer will power, I am not so sure about running a 4 hour marathon WITHOUT INJURY. Needless to say, no rest for me until the marathon. It will be fun.

* i got depressed after 6foot got cancelled and my running partner had a knee surgery - I sakrificed and ran with him through his slow and steady recovery, but had no mojo to run extra runs on my own.

Thursday, June 14

For fuck's sake

Dear friends, When one of my students commented that he can easily find my singapore web page with all the mountains and all the pictures and all that, I thought to myself: "well, at least he can't find my blog"... Hahahahhahaha please give me a moment to laugh myself crazy, because today marks the day when this blog goes more public than I would have ever wanted. This brings up a whole bunch of issues of privacy and appropriateness and all that, but it also brings up the more important issue of "what the fuck am i going to do now?" Do I censor myself and only talk about pretty butterflies and beautiful rainbows and unicorns [enter Charlie theme]? Do I reduce the number of swear words per line? Do I change the blog? Put up passwords? I really really like the name of the blog because it refers to a 6c climbing route in romania that I have yet to do (25 meters, dyno at the end, so now you know why I have yet to do it) . It also is kind of funny for those that know romanian. In retrospect I am glad I do not really like to blog about work (with the exception of the Motherfucker, of course) because that would have been really awkward. So now what?

Tuesday, June 12

One picture Tuesday

Training run in Brisbane CBD.

Monday, June 11

Romanian songs

Marian and I recently drove to the Grampians and back in two days, only to climb 4 hours. In my book, this is definitely worth the 800 km drive - I've driven more km for less, such as 5 minutes to pet some dogs, or even worse, just to buy some very good cheese pastries. But this is not what I want to talk about. While we were driving we abused youtube and Marian's telstra connection. We listened to Romanian songs from the past, and i realised that almost every song made me teary for different reasons (unsurprisingly, all songs are on the depressive side):

Wednesday, June 6

One picture Tuesday

The grampians in autumn...

Monday, June 4

The need to blog

First of all, it's been a hell of a semester, and I know this is not a good enough reason. However, this semester I had to work hard to get my teaching back on par, as well as keeping up with my admin duties and with my research. And I did, and in my usual fashion, I gave it all I had and then some. And got a teaching award as well as students clapping at the end of my last lecture. I'm not so psyched about the award but I am psyched about the clapping, I must admit! I went all out on this and of course there was nothing left for blogging - almost nothing left for eating or climbing as well. In the months that passed, i have come to realize that I need blogging for two reasons: - firstly, it helps me keep track of time and also mark those events that mean something. This is important because i feel that it's just too easy to get trapped into a whirlwind and forget about everything else. Time seems to go by much faster than it used to, wtf? - secondly, and most importantly, I am not only writing for myself but for dodo and san (and jensen! and everybody else!), whom i miss dearly almost every hour of every single fucking day. So yeah, here's to new beginnings!

Saturday, June 2


Finally decided to post again, and also decided to start this with a cat photo.