Tuesday, February 26

Running in Blackhill

(instead of one picture tuesday)

A student of mine ran in Blackhill a couple of weeks ago. He described the run as challenging, steep, with very high ledges and gigantic boulders. Of course, as with 6 Foot Track, I immediately jumped to the challenge, without, mind you, knowing what I got myself into. On a side note, I have just read the description of 6 Foot Track Marathon. Like just. After two  years or so since I registered for it. After I read it, I curled up in a corner and cried. I may be batshit crazy, but I had just realized that I am stoopid.

Coming back to Blackhill. My first attempt to run it had me run from home to Blackhill, run there for a bit and then get Marian to pick me up. That didn't succeed very well: after 20 or so km and within 2 km of reaching Blackhill, I called Marian because I was so bored with the concrete. Run failed.

The second time around was much better. Drove to Blackhill, jumped out of the car and proceeded to run up a trail to the summit. The run was steep and narrow but nothing as I was expecting. Sure, some of the ledges were pretty high for me, but then again that is not very hard to achieve. And sure, I did stop sometimes, but that was mostly because I'm old. And fatt. But nothing spectacular, with the exception of the beautiful sunset and the view across the city.

I got to the top of it very puzzled. "Wuss!" I decided about the previous runner. "If he thought that that was difficult, let him come to Chambers Gully! Pfft!" I followed a track towards descending the hill. And then I got to the real running track. Jesus christ!!! There were boulders at least my size, ledges that seem to reach my armpit (again, not very difficult), and my descent run was reduced to a crawl. WHAT THE FUCK is this?! I pondered while trying to get my ass of the hill as quick as possible. Because you see, a trait of being stoopid is that one admires the sunset, takes plenty of pictures etc., and then realizes ten minutes later that one is in the middle of the woods, without any soul around, in the middle of the night, but without a headlamp. Life is good.

Saturday, February 23

A tourist still

On Thursday I was supposed to go to meet a fellow teacher I do outreach with. We were supposed to meet at the University of Adelaide Wetlands. Now if you tell any of my colleagues this, they will straightaway say take fullarton then take a right on Cross road.

I did so, but I also asked google, who decided that going straight on fullarton road was the way to go. So i took google's advice and got to the Adelaide agricultural high school. I asked at the reception about the meeting and was quickly ushered after some people on a tour of the high school, and its lending library. Turns out the lending library was a menagerie with all sorts of little animals and associated activity sheets. Did you know that those black lizards that look like tree stumps (aka the shinglebacks) mate for life? Also, their tail resembled their head and they use this sneakily to fool prey by walking backwards to it: prey will then run behind the lizard, i.e., to its head, and presto, death!

The meeting went on for half an hour or so, during which time I petted around three types of lizards, one frog, one snake, and one possum. It was only when we got to the possum that I texted my teacher and asked him where the fuck was he*, and found out I was in the totally wrong place. Stood up suddenly and left. Very rude of me. Got to the meeting with only a few cheese bits left. Sigh.

*not my exact words

Tuesday, February 19

One picture Tuesday

My nuts are here!!!

I was going to post a long post about running in Blackhilll but will leave that for tomorrow. My nuts are here! Unfortunately, the shop that sold these nuts did not sell any buckets of stainless steel balls. Will have to keep looking.

Wednesday, February 13

A series of unfortunate events

1. Come to work, buy and drink one coffee (regular latte, extra shot)
2. Colleague comes to work and we go to the tea room for ... coffee.
3. Find out that somebody had put vanilla cinnamon coffee beans in the grinder. We find this out while drinking our lattes.
4. Clean grinder (by this time it is 7:45 am)
5. Have an espresso much much later, at around 9:30 am. A proper one, no cinnamon, no fucking vanilla.
6. Win a bet with PhD student, earn a latte. With an extra shot. (Not sure if I actually drank this one)
7. Sit through a 2 hour meeting. By now it is 11:45am.
8. Lunch will be soon, at 12!
9. Person comes in my office just before lunch, asking stoopid question, demanding stoopid things from me.
10. Off with his head!!
11. Go to lunch.
12. Feel guilty for number 10, and therefore,
13. Come back to work, buy and drink one coffee.

Tuesday, February 12

One picture Tuesday

I have two of these in my fridge. May add them to my omelete tomorrow morning. And I might just miss work because of that, but at least I will have fun!!

As per wikipedia:

"The Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)[1][2] is a chili pepper previously recognized by Guinness World Records as the hottest pepper in the world. The pepper is also known as Bhut Jolokiaghost pepperghost chile pepper, red naga chilli, andghost chile.[3][4][5]
The Bhut Jolokia is an interspecific hybrid cultivated in the Indian states of Nagaland and Assam and parts of neighbouring Bangladesh.[6][7] It grows in the Indian states of AssamNagaland and Manipur. It can also be found in rural Sri Lanka where it is known as Nai Mirris (cobra chili). There was initially some confusion and disagreement about whether the Bhut was a Capsicum frutescens[8] or a Capsicum chinense pepper, but DNA tests showed it to be an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes.[9]
In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) was the world's hottest chili pepper, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce; however, in 2011 it has since been superseded by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.[10] In March 5, 2012, some ghost peppers tested hotter than the scorpion pepper varieties. Now the ghost pepper and scorpion pepper are tied for the world's hottest pepper."

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion sounds most interesting as well!!

Sunday, February 10

Trad leading 101. Part 1.

Last weekend was the weekend that will probably change my life forever. It started with Josh and Nat deciding to go on a one-year (more or less!) bouldering trip covering the whole wide universe. And yes, before you ask, I am terribly envious and yes I wish I would do that (soon though!). And yes, I am sad to see them go, but also extremely happy, as Josh decided to lend me his rack*! Woo hoo!

Excitement aside, last weekend we went to Morialta for my first ever trad lead. I do not count the other trad lead in New Zealand as my first, because then I had Lydia Bradey watch over me like a hawk. This one was the first lead ever in which the chances of me hitting the hard hard ground should I fall on my lead were probably very close to 50%, sadly. And yes, I aim to bring that to as low as possible in the future. 

I only lead routes in the 11s which are way way below what I (think) I can normally lead. This is me before my first route.

The first thing one notices while trad leading is that one needs to wear very comfortable shoes. Either that, or one needs to get very quick and very precise at placing gear, lest one's eyes start to pop out because one's shoes are too tight. So yes, wear comfortable climbing shoes. 

It took me about an hour to do the first 11, which is not very high as you can see. I struggled and I fumbled with the gear,  I re-placed wires because they came out while I was trying to clip them. Other wires came out while I was clipping some 5 meters above. The important thing here is that I did not die*, but it was not because my gear placements superiorly solid.

Wires got stuck in the cracks and I had a very hard time to get them out, as I didn't have a nut tool (I do now!!!)

Another thing one notices is just how heavy this whole rack thingy is.  That is what I had on my right hip, and I had an equally bulgy one on my left hip.

 Lastly, I found this cam to be the most useful, and as such bought it for my birthday:

It is all a mental game I guess, what with keeping your calm and trying to shut out the voice inside you that does not stop saying "ImgonnadieImgonnadieImgonnadie!!!" while at the same time trying to figure out which protection goes where. I am getting very very excited about this and can't wait to go out again (next week!) Woo hoo!

*Hopefully, my tombstone won't read "Josh gave me his rack" :)

Wednesday, February 6

30 Fucking 1. Enuf said.

Went trad leading over the weekend - more about that in a later post. Not bad for an old geezer.

Am in Sydney now, for some quality time all by myself, including grant writing, paper writing, and the occasional and much too sparse (sorry!) blog post. I worked my ass off (unfortunately, only figuratively) last year - this year it's going to be all about having crazy fun, sans (too much) work. I hope! 

Tuesday, February 5

One picture Tuesday

Running the Coogee bay to Bondi beach route this morning. Life is good!