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.