Tuesday, July 31

One picture Tuesday

But more about adult decisions tomorrow. Today it's all about color!

Monday, July 30

And so it begins

Come this november, I will be going to an Advanced Mountaineering school taking place in New Zealand. This school is important in many ways, most of which I will not mention here yet, for fear of jinxing them. Nevertheless, I'm going to New Zealand! Again! for an Advanced Mountaineering school!

Rejoice! Wait, no.


For Aconcagua, i trained twice a week by running uphill on the only hill in Singapore, Vigilante Drive, carrying what seemed like tonnes of water. That training was extremely convenient as the hill was very very close to the NUS campus. This time, there ain't no vigilante drive, and the closest serious hill is 10 km away from school. This means that at least once (if not twice) a week, i will (again) have to wake up at a crazy hour to get my ass out of the bed and house, in order to go walking/running up what is a very gully. 

This would mean that I won't be able to sleep in (i.e. until 7am) on Monday (lecture at 9am), Tuesday (running), Thursday (running), Friday (Chambers Gully), Sunday (running).  Sigh. 

What I would really wish would be for google to have a hill-finding function such that I could locate the steepest hill in the vicinity of the school - i.e. the hill that gives me the best workout / meter. 

Friday, July 27


In the past few days I have been feeling increasingly depressed about two adult decisions that I have to make, where an adult decision is one in which I have to recognize that things will not go EXACTLY my way and that I have to compromise some stuff. Compromise, I hate that word.

Anyway, so I have been feeling down and had been listening to depressing music and brooding and thinking and etc. And last night I went to the climbing gym. On the way there, I resisted the temptation to give in to the "meh" and TURN BACK and go home and lie in a corner. I resisted this temptation three times! I got there and decided two things.

Firstly, I decided to lead. Not on my own, obviously, as we all know what a chicken I am, but somebody prompted me many many times to go.

 Secondly, I decided to lead the roof route. Now the roof route has around 7-10 meters of increasingly overhanging roof, up to the point where the overhang becomes horizontal and then you still have about 5 meters to go. I tried the route once and quit in the middle of the roof, down climbed to the quick draw and hanged.

The second time I led it (without any prompting, I decided this myself!), I got really pumped but also really psyched and in the middle of the roof just went for the next jug. Of course, I was pumped and psyched and did not get it, which resulted in me falling in an empty empty space and swinging like mad about 10-15 meters off the ground*.

IT WAS FANTASTIC!!! The adrenaline rush, the pump and the psyche got me so bubbly last night that I was laughing while coming down and am still living off that high today.

I think I have just found the best cure for depression: adrenaline. Heh.

* there were around 20 kids watching this and I think them and their mothers pissed their pants when this happened (at least judging by the massive shrieking that followed) Sorry!

Wednesday, July 25

What's in a name?

... that which we call a rose ...

Talking to my distributed systems class about how naming is an important topic in distributed systems, this phrase kept ringing in my head (i was, I must admit, under the influence of at least two? three? coffees and a couple (four?) panadols).  And it has finally occurred to me just how important names & labels are in my life. And just how immensely powerful a shift from a negative name or label to a positive one can be. And how inanimate objects come to life once named.

Turns out, I name everything.
- school computer: Annapurna; unassuming but deadly mwahahaha
- new laptop: Matterhorn; small and pointy
- ipad: Mont Blanc
- kindle: Hippo
- phone: Gecko
- camera: Tommy
- car: Snow White
- big red suitcase: Boris the Second (after dodo's Boris from switzerland)
- old green crash mat: The Green Lantern
- new black diamond mondo crash mat: Stalin (it's big and it's so goddamn red)
- climbing rope: Sky
- shoes: The Mad Hornets
- myself: Old. Fat. Weak.

Not only do I name everything, but if something remains unnamed, then it also remains unused. Now the only question is ...

.... Can you tell I had a very lonely childhood without many friends?

Tuesday, July 24

One picture Tuesday

Australia may not be many things that would make my heart squeal (mountainous for example) but it definitely is the land of the rainbows. Went to the grampians this weekend for a brief stint before lectures on Monday 9-11am and  4-6pm. Got a serious cold and also sent some stuff, which made me tired and delirious for Monday's lecture, but it sure made me happy!

Thursday, July 19

My name is Lian

Du Lian.

It's amazing how absorbed you are with things when you attend workshops - I attended at teaching workshop for the past two days and yesterday i was convinced it was Tuesday! 

Anyway, I bought this smelly frozen goodness yesterday night and we have decided we're going to eat it on Sunday - it is only a thai durian but nonetheless, A DURIAN! On my kitchen top! THAWING! nom nom nom! I can barely contain my enthusiasm.

Tuesday, July 17


I have a life-long rule that requires me always to say  "YES" (convincingly) while going into a hair saloon, regardless of what the hair stylist would propose. This has resulted in some very very interesting cuts, none of which i particularly enjoyed

- In 2008 I wanted something short and manageable such that I could go to South America for two monts and not worry about the hair. I got this, which made me be mistaken for a boy for two months. The series of questions that lead to this was: "Short?" "Yes"; "How short?" "I don't know, what do you think?"; "Three cm short?" "Yes".

- And then I wanted bangs, and Singaporean hair stylists have experience only with cutting straight hair - sadly I can't find the picture to show you.

- Then for the wedding I wanted something fluffy. "Curls?" "Yes." "Big curls?" "Yes"

- When I came to Adelaide I wanted something shorter again, because by then I was carrying around what seemed like 5 kg of hair. The series of questions were: "Short?" "Yes" "This short?" "Yes" "Layered?" "Yes" "Straightened?""Yes". This is what I got. Please note that I really wanted a short hair cut and I really hate any form of hair straightening.

- And then on Thursday I went climbing with a version of this haircut and the hair annoyed the crap out of me, so i went to get it cut. "Short?" "Yes" "Very short?" "Yes" "Can I use the shaving machine?""Yes""I'll cut it to some length first and then you can say if you like it, ok?""Yes"[... cut cut cut]"Do you like it?""Yes". Damn, still no short hair. This one is weird, too!

The good part about this is that nobody has asked if they should die my hair, or shave it. 

Friday, July 13

A story of defeat in pictures

This week I tried to have my first run after the Goldcoast marathon and after coming back from Singapore (more on this tomorrow). It was HORRIBLE. I could barely run 2 km, and even those 2 with stops and pulls and kicks and walks. A student's offhand comment about my marathon time from last year (I have become an Internet persona - FUCK IT!) got me to look back at the photos from the finish line from last year, and compare them with this year.

2012 Finish (04:00:41): Defeated and almost dead - actually, when the girl just in front of me collapsed, I was seriously tempted :)

2011 Finish (04:07:53): Happy, no pressure.

Sigh. My superstitious self says that it must be the watch, the shoes, or the sunglasses I'm wearing, because other than that I didn't change anything in my outfit.

Shoulder muscles-wise, it's good to see that nothing has changed - they could have gotten bigger.

Tuesday, July 10

One picture Tuesday

I went to Singapore last week for Marian's commencement. I will have to come clean and confess that I started eating when I got off the plane, and I stopped eating when i got on it.

I pigged out on durian but not as much as I would have wanted, sadly. How can people hate this fruit?

Thursday, July 5

Good to be back

Having spent the past 3 months travelling through Australia - if numerous work and/or pain visits to Brisbane, Sydney, Goldcoast, Grampians (Horsham!)  can be considered travelling - I had forgotten how absolutely glamorous Singapore is. The first hit of glamour is when you reach Changi airport and everything is shiny and spotless and pwetty.

And then if you happen to have arrived at night and you take a cab in the city, the Singapore skyline leaves you truly and utterly speechless. It's all glass and steel and fancy, funky architecture (well, at least until you reach the HDBs, but then again not many tourists do). I had never realised just how nice this actually is. Alas, while admiring it, it also dawned on me how much I would detest living in a big city again. I must admit I was a bit surprised, as it never occurred to me that I would be such a boring, homely girl. Wait, I'm not!

Anyway, it's good to be back for the besties (more musings on this tomorrow),  for the food (FOOD! FOOD!), but also to see my (former) supervisor, and to realise, just how much of a copy of him I have become*. Let the feasting and the shopping (ahem) begin!!

*minus the sociopathic micro-management issues that is.

Tuesday, July 3

One picture Tuesday

Well, I was going to post a picture of a durian seeing how I am going to Singapore nom nom nom! But, I decided for this instead:

Monday, July 2

Grading exam papers

Some time ago I made the (probably stupid) decision to grade all of my students' exam papers, to give me an idea about how badly I failed as a lecturer. Gah. Of course, it does not help with my general mood that I've been up from five am doing this. Anyway, I've been trying to keep myself fed and watered and coffeed and I'm taking frequent (painful - remember, yesterday's marathon?) walks around the department to try to calm myself down. But what really helps is this:

Sunday, July 1


Oh, the fucking irony. I am sitting in the god damned Brisbane airport and literally crying in frustration (must be because i'm tired but the tears, they are flowing)

It was so fucking close and I made this stupid stupid mistake to start sprinting for the damn finish too early! And then I got a damn stitch and almost didn't make it to the finish...

DAMN! My first sub-4 marathon, so god damned close, yet so fucking far!!!!!!

Fuck it!