Wednesday, July 23

One picture Tuesday

A relaxed night: did not go climbing (more about this tomorrow) and was left with oh so many hours!

Monday, July 14

An apology of sorts

But mostly a laundry list as to why I have not been blogging much. Whereby "not much" I mean not at all (there should be a law forbidding people to start sentences with "whereby" -- MAYBE THERE IS!!)
  1. I don't have the Denali photos but I do want to tell that story, and I know I'll be lazy to change the posts once the photos do get here
  2. I'm now an associate dean for my faculty. This is scary and crazy (I fooled them. Again!) but also it's very fucking busy - it will be frantic this semester, as my current workload cannot be adjusted by much to cater for this new thing
  3. I fell 40m on Denali, hit my head on a rock, cracked my helmet and was out for half an hour. There. I've said it. Note to the interwebs though, I have been talking to my friends about this, but I have yet to commit it to writing -- seems much more final when I write it than when I say it. So, after this, I've taken to spending my free time eating (yes, it's possible to eat even more than I was!), navel gazing, reading, and yes, having, sometimes, a sip of some wine. I haven't been doing blog worthy stuff though, so yeah. I think the fall (among others) also tore my left meniscus, so yeah, more navel gazing for me in the future. 

Wednesday, July 2

One picture Tuesday

Heh - my posting schedule is terrible. And by this I mean non-existent. I've just landed this awesome new role at my workplace - it is exciting but at the same time it is terrifying in that I gotta get my ass organized while at the same time deal with Denali (like this, deal with denali, so cool!) and how it's wrecked all our lives. Or maybe it didn't. Anyway.

So. Looking back when D and S visited me and Arapiles - again, note to self: we climbed in Araps AND DID NOT DIE. We took however a gazillion selfies, one more crazy than the other. Here are a few, but you can see most of them here.

Monday, June 16

Denali - Day 0

This is the trip report for Denali: I'll start this now although I don't have the photos yet. I'll use whatever I find on the interwebs (with links of course) and replace them as I get photos. I'll skip the landing in Anchorage, the day spent in Anchorage buying food stuffs and gear, and the time spent travelling to Talkeetna.

We start our journey in Talkeetna, at the National Parks Service Ranger Station. We went to tell the rangers that we'd arrived, and to get briefed on the route. Long story short, you can camp anywhere on the route but there are established camps throughout. Established camps have the advantage of (hopefully) being probed for crevasses, and/or other reduced objective hazards such as avalanche, serac and rock falls, and, of course, human companionship. Americans measure everything in feet, so by the end of the trip I had become accustomed to using feet as well - I have to admit though, it's still a pain! Anyway, the camps and my notes are as follows:

1. Base Camp - 2200m
* equipped with pee latrine and landing strip
* base camp manager (NPS ranger) present - her name is Lisa, she's very very nice!
* sleds and fuel to be collected from here
* cache food for 4-5 days in case of bad weather

2. Camp 1 - 2400m (7000 feet) - Base of Ski Hill

3. Camp 2 - 3000m
* do not camp on shoulder after 2900m - too much wind

4. Camp 3 - 3500m (11000 feet)
* camp away from the ice fall but not too close to the rock face (rocks fall if too hot outside)
* need to wand towards rock face
* throw faeces in crevasse
* squirrel point (called so because in the 90s there was a squirrel living here from the caches at windy corner): do not attempt to rig your sled RIGHT here as there's a very good chance that you will drop it (either off squirrel point or off motorcycle hill - and it will not be found!) -- the ranger then told us of this guy who tried to re-rig his sled - loose it, try to jump on it to arrest fall and then fall with it to his death. Oh joy.
* cache food for the way back

5. Camp 4 - 4400m (14000 feet) - Advance Base Camp

6. Camp 5 - 5200m (17000 feet) - High Camp

* travel roped from the start to the end
* don't lose the CMCs - use CMC throughout (A CMC is a plastic can for storing solid faeces): throw faeces in crevasses if present, otherwise bring down (the mountain beyond 4500m is crevasse free)

Talkeetna is a wonderful little village with nothing much to do. It has a mountain gear shop that stores some basic gear for Denali, and a grocery store (Nagley's) that has some food in case of emergency (no toilet paper though). The mayor of Talkeetna is a ginger cat called Stubbs, and he hangs out around Nagley's. There are roughly six bars/pubs/coffeeshops in Talkeetna, and three have wifi. The best breakfast is at the Roadhouse (order the half standard, please!) and the best coffee is at Conscious Coffee (you will find out why I know).

Our flying company was Talkeenta Air Taxi - they are THE best company in Talkeetna. They even have a free bunkhouse that climbers can use while they wait for their flight. Rocking!

Tuesday, June 10

One picture Tuesday

I'm back!! Was debating whether to post pick of my (mildly) frost bitten fingers or the cat. Chose the cat today but will have a finger pic next week.

Tuesday, April 29

One picture tuesday

You only realize just how completely spent  and soo close to burning out you where when you take a few days off completely off and realize that there IS life outside work and train.

We found this koala in the wild! It was munching like mad on its leaves and paid us no notice, even though we took about a hundred selfies and touched it many times. Nom.

Sunday, April 27

Note to self

The bebehs trip to Adelaide: enchanted forest,Mclaren vale, arapiles (tip toe, bishop, the eighth, my first low highball), kangaroo island!

But, before I forget. Life is too short. Have an alpaca

Tuesday, April 8

One picture Tuesday

We interrupt the cat posting session with a photo of blooming Singapore! Had a very short visit only (man, they're getting tiring!) but the students were great and I got to see the bebehs and Jensen and Chloe, so yeah!

Tuesday, April 1

One picture Tuesday

The best way to spend your Saturday.

Monday, March 31

A semantic conundrum

My run to work now passes through Linear park by the side of the Torrens river. Today I noticed a sign that got me really thinking.
The sign said:
"Carpark here. No horse floats beyond this point"

My problem was: is the word "floats" a noun or a verb?

  • If verb: do people in Australia (still) throw horses in rivers? If so, why is it important that the horses no longer float beyond a certain point in the river? Huh?
  • If noun: What exactly is a horse float? I imagined something like a hydrobike but with a horse head on top (made of plastic, of course, this is not Italy). But if so, why would it matter that only horse floats were not allowed beyond that point? Would a normal hydrobike be allowed? What's with the discrimination against horse-headed hyrdrobikes?!

Tuesday, March 25

One picture Tuesday

I'm blogging less because I'm training more and working the same. Sigh. Anyway, here's what I found while running in chambers gully last week (video to follow).

Tuesday, March 18

One picture Tuesday

We have a new kitten, and I suffered nearly fatal injuries to save it from the claws of the resident kitten.

Behold my injuries:

And behold the new object of my affection:

Wednesday, March 12

What do you do...

... when you find yourself at the end of the Earth without your wallet and your credit cards? And having to pay for lunch at a restaurant (cause that's how you determined that you don't have your wallet ...).
Oh. You also have an international flight in 3 hours.

What do you do!? YOU PANIC.

This may or may not (snort) have happened to me today. Lost my wallet, found out that I had lost it Went back to the hotel, talked to everybody, no sight of the wallet.

Ran back to Hard Rock Cafe, called Marian in the middle of the night and had him dictate his credit card details to pay for lunch. By this time I was completely mortified, by the way*.

My main problem, other than the fact that I had no mooolah whatsoever,  was that I also had no way of getting to the airport, other than walking the many many miles that separate Atlanta from its airport.

Enter the petty cash form. Turns out, big hotels have a petty cash fund  (probably also called the stupid tourist fund) and in this case 36 dollars went to paying my sorry little ass' cab to the airport.

I love the Hyatt Regency Atlanta!! I got to the airport safely, checked in, passed TSA. On my way to the gate, while I was contemplating being truly and utterly broke and thus unable to eat any food (qantas food is terrible unfortunately), I glance to the floor and find 5 dollars. To add insult to injury, the hotel manager then calls (international call btw) to tell me that they had found my wallet. Zomg. Stupid AND lucky.

* but three days of everybody telling me congratulations on my best paper award had prepared me for this. RAWR!

Tuesday, March 11

Tuesday, March 4

Climbing is a dangerous sport

Climbing IS a dangerous sport, in which people who do not learn from the mistakes of others do not survive.

This time, I was lucky and survived.

It was a quiet night at the gym. We had decided to climb vertical. There were many of us, including a noob friend of mine. He is very skinny, so Marian's old harness did not fit him, and as such I gave him mine. My new harness (birthday present, thank you, friends!) has an idiot-proof buckle. Regardless, I gave him my harness and explained in detail why we double back a buckle and what are the consequences of us not double backing a buckle.

For those of you that have no clue as to what the hell it is that I'm talking about, here's a picture from the interwebs (you need to replace that flabby tummy with a six pack if you want to know how it looks on me. Also, my harness is much less colorful, but I digress).

(Photos from here)
As I was explaining things to the noob, I must've stopped buckling my harness, which was like the one in the picture (but less colorful, remember).

I then tied in, and started to lead climb a shorter wall at the gym. It had been a while since I had led, so I was, as usual, scared shitless.

I reached the top of the climb, clipped the last quickdraw, and, while holding the last handhold, told my belayer to tight (remember, I was scared shitless, so letting go without being tight was. not. an. option). My belayer got the rope tight, and, as I lowered my weight on the rope (still holding the tile), I heard a massive velcro tear-like sound. I glanced down and my harness was hanging from my quads. I was standing at the top of a climb, with my harness going down to my knees and my left hand (my weak hand btw) holding on to a medium jug.  Dear friends and family, I did not swear. At all.

To my credit, I did not freak out either, but also did not do the right thing. Actually it was, but there was a better solution.

So. I started to buckle my harness while holding on to the handhold, and reached step 4 in the photo. It was getting really difficult to get to step 5 with a single hand. However, had the shit hit the fan, I could have held the loose end and get lowered like that (I did not think about this until later).  At this point, my belayer started shouting at the top of her lungs (and she has a pair, bless her): GO UP AND OVER! GO UP AND OVER! Which I eventually did. The shorter climb at  the gym has a ledge on top that was used a while ago for teaching abseiling. I went up and over, met one of the gym staff who took me down on the emergency ladder.

So. Things to note: thank fuck it was an easy climb and I did not fall. Had it been the roof (which I tried later in the night), I would have probably been disabled (not dead mind you, as the height is not significant to kill you, sadly).

But, most importantly: do all the checks. Look at the knot, the harness, the route, the quickdraws, the backcliping, your feet with respect to the rope while you climb, the rope with respect to your hands,  everything. Do this EVERY FUCKING TIME. 

Friday, February 28

The best way to talk about a thing is not to talk about it

... So again I'm not going to discuss the near miss that could have cost me my life while climbing.

But! I have just found the best word to describe me without coffee:
A zwodder.

Tuesday, February 25

One picture Tuesday

Life. It is just better with durian ice cream! Mao Shan wang and D24!!

Saturday, February 22

Man I'm glad the week is over

It was probably one of the shittiest weeks in a while: travelled too much, and worked too much and struggled too much at work, and nearly killed myself on Thursday (for real death not the omg I nearly died kind... - more about this later).  

This morning I woke up to this photo:

San and Dodo are coming to Adelaide soon and this will be our trip banner. Guess who's who!!

Wednesday, February 12

One picture Tuesday

During my last year as a PhD student in Singapore and every time I visited since, San and I went to muji and sat down in this chair. For each of my visits to Singapore, we averaged about 3 muji visits. We sat in this chair many many many times!

The chair was and is expensive, despite its recent reduction in price. However, last year I won a teaching award, which came with some mooolah. I just spent this moolah on this chair (the single seater version): cut this one in half and ditch the cute Asians.

How will I transport it home? who knows? Who cares?! Chair delivered tomorrow!!

Monday, February 10

Mount Lofty - part 3

A story in pictures.

Do not judge please.

Number of kangaroos: 2
Number of foxes: 1
Time to summit: 1hr 20 mins
Weight: 15 kg

Thursday, February 6


In hexadecimal, because life is awesome lidat.

The only benefit of growing old is that the number of awesome people you get to meet has the potential to increase. 

I got this card today!!

Tuesday, February 4

One picture Tuesday

Marian no longer believes that Australia is not deadly. This is from our second last trek up mount lofty.

Monday, February 3

Vain pot moment #1

Stoppinng in the middle of a mount lofty run to blog (and think) about how cool your legs look in your running shorts.

Saturday, February 1


Posts. On this blog. ZOMG.

Friday, January 31

Mount Lofty - part 2

We drove to Waterfall gully, at the bottom of mount lofty. Marian ran on Waterfall gully road, while I trekked to the top of Mount Lofty. I wanted to make this a weighted trek, so I grabbed a gear backpack from the car. Initially, the pack felt very very light. However, compared to last time's summit, it took me considerably longer (1hr 15 minutes) to get to the summit, and I felt very very slow. Of course, I proceeded to chid myself for being so fat and so unfit and continued to do so throughout my very slow progress to the summit. When I got there, somebody was painting Adelaide. They had an entire setup, complete with night light table and other artsy bits. Adelaide looked very pretty (did I mention it was 11pm at night?!).  I'm the last one allowed to say that other people are crazy for painting in the middle of the night on some god forsaken hill top, but some people are just crazy!

I got back to the car eventually, and Marian helped me with the backpack. He commented on its weight (it no longer felt light to me either...). Turns out, it was about 15kg. At least it seems that I have very strong biceps!

Time to mt lofty summit: 1 hr 15 mins
Total time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Conditions: 36degrees, dry
Pack weight: 15 kg
Kangaroos: 0
Foxes: 1
Butterflies: A DOZEN!

Tuesday, January 28

One picture Tuesday

Yesterday Marian installed a motion sensor and a grabber to get data from it. Today we went to work around 9:30 and came back around 2:40pm, leaving Suzie in the living room, with the sensor. I give you THE DATAH!!! This DATAH!!! also warrants the hypothesis that cats mostly sleep. Will investigate in the future.

Monday, January 27


How to make me angry

In five easy steps.

1. Come to speak at a women in science workshop. Talk about your career choices.

2. Tell us that your friend dared you to get a job in Australia, that you applied and got the job, and that you then decided to move to Australia and put your cat down because it was a "one person" cat. Show no emotion while saying this.

3. Then tell us that as part of your forensics job at a Big Bang, you had this cool opportunity of checking mails to see if people had affairs. Show excitement while you tell us about a particular case.

4. Talk about M$'s diversity policy while on the slide the m$ company is referenced with a capital c. Yes, that's correct. Company.

5. Finish it off with this slide.

Tuesday, January 21

One picture tuesday

And then the books fell and the cat dashed under the nearest bed. She was only coerced out by me showing her the bee she had so fiercely killed. She's a killer!

Tuesday, January 14

Cancer is a cunt

Two days ago a friend and colleague passed away due to complications following a bone marrow transplant. Fuck you, cancer.

I was going to go home yesterday because the heat was just too much and I was jet lagged out of my brainzzzz. Instead, I decided that I would celebrate my friend's life by not slacking and having a quiet walk on Mount Lofty. It was hot. I was jet lagged. I was also a bit dazed and confused because of the heat. I did make a concession and did not take a backpack, and, because my legs were swollen, I walked and did not run. This walk is a good baseline for what is to follow.

Time to mt lofty summit: 1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs
Conditions: 42degrees, dry
Pack weight: 1 kg
Other notes: jet lagged, dazed, Trent's death

Saturday, January 4

A year of dogs

I ended the year in dogs and started the year in dogs.

My grandma's two dogs, my two dogs (they are not really mine, but I raised them when they were little so they are my babies), my mother's dog, my father's dog... It seems that everybody in romania has one!

Behold! Dark, one of my babies!

And Fane, in his now customary sleeping pose!

And Ursu!

And lastly, my mother's dog. She hates me, I think. Probably because I smell of oh so many other dogs it is ridiculous!

I will try to get a photo of my father's dog to make this complete.