Thursday, October 21, 2010

By Any Other Words...

"He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
"A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
"When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
"A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
"A prime candidate for natural deselection."
"Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
"If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
"It's hard to believe that he beat 1,000,000 other sperms to the egg."
"One neuron short of a synapse."
"Some drink from the fountain of knowledge;..... he only gargled."

... still means stupid.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


You think me evil, don't you? You see yourself the perpetual helpless victim wronged by me in every sense imaginable. You play the mistreated, the oppressed, the hurt, and name me the vicious one before the world. You deliberately misled all your readers when you wrote that very nasty post about me. Do you think the fact that I did not object or retaliate automatically makes your unjust, baseless accusations valid? I have had enough! I will be silent and impassive no more!

So, you like calling me evil, don't you? To make an honest woman out of you, I shall be evil! I'll start with your little friend -

I don't care how cute you are - submit to me!

Submit to me, all of you!

What is this I see? So, you've got yourself an impressive new toy, haven't you? Did you not claim that I seized your laptop and declared it mine? Well, so I shall! This, too, is mine now.

Mine, mine, mine!

Yes, you should be afraid. Be very, very afraid!

*evil laugh*

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Roomee

I know I have one when -

I said, "I hate this guy!"
She said, "I don't know the story so well, but I also hate him."

She knows I am worth siding and standing up for, even when she isn't sure what the situation is. Yay, Roomee! =)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Bat Episode

My mom pointed to the air-conditioning unit in our living room. Guess what's there, she said. From where I was, it was right across the room and being myopic and not wearing specs, I only saw a dark little blob of something at the top.

A frog, I said disinterestedly.

She raised her voice a little to tell me how ridiculous my guess was, for how could a frog jump that high. Then she said it's a bat - probably the same one which flew into our house on a couple of occasions previously. I remember encountering a black winged-creature flying around the place late one night, some weeks ago. I thought it was a bird, got out of its way and went to sleep without paying it any more attention.

Well, said my mom, get it out of house.

I really didn't think it was necessary to do anything, for the little fella looked comfy and contented where it was. Furthermore, it had wings, and I really don't like having panicky things with wings aimlessly swooshing around me. Some readers might remember the incident of the unwelcome visitor in my office.

My mom, however, insisted. What if it died up there, she said. I really didn't think it would die, resting (or sleeping) on top of the air-cond, but - well, getting a little guy out of the house isn't too much to do, if it pleases Mommy, so fine, I said, I'll do it. I'll get my man to fetch the tallest step-ladder in the house and I'll prod it with a broomstick until it flies out, I said.

Now, Reader, you may be wondering why I didn't just tell the man to do everything. I have a fear of heights so I definitely can't be looking forward to climbing up that ladder; if the bat took off in a haste and flew towards me, I'd be hit right in the face and may even fall off the ladder - I can't want that as well. By logic and reasoning, anyone would gladly let men take on such assignments. Well, my logic goes a little differently: if I fell and hurt myself, the man is strong enough to pick me up, dump me in a car and drive me to the hospital. On the other hand, if he fell, I wouldn't be able to do the same - I'd have to resort to calling for an ambulance and perhaps be told there are none, or to pay RM500 for it to come, or to wait 85mins and then have the undertakers arrive before the ambulance does. No, better by far for the person who has the ability to save to be safe. When I was in university, I once locked myself out of my third-floor hostel room. To get back in, I decided to "borrow" a couple of pieces of scaffolding from the nearby construction site, and climb in to my room through the window. Some friends helped with the "borrowing" and setting up of the metal frames, and a security officer came by to offer help. My friends suggested I let him climb instead. I declined - he was a middle-aged man with a belly, while I was much younger, fitter and smaller in size; I didn't want him getting hurt falling or whatever, because of me. That, and I really didn't like the thought of him stepping all over my study table which was right beside the window. So I climbed, despite my fear. Logic supersedes phobia. Pardon me, for I have digressed.

My strategy was to get the little fella to bite onto something - and then haul it up and bring it out. I remember rather vividly an encounter with a baby bat in primary school. My primary school was situated on top of a hill, surrounded by wild trees and bushes, and all their usual inhabitants. The baby was sprawled on the ground outside the canteen, and being curious, some of us prodded it with a twig. The tiny thing attacked the twig viciously, caught it between it's sharp teeth and held on tenaciously. It wouldn't let go even when we lifted the twig, and with it along, clean off the ground. It bit till the twig was broken in two. We left it alone thereafter. Come to think of it, it might not have been a baby after all... I only assumed it was a baby because it was so small. Anyway, pardon me for I have digressed yet again.

So, I climbed up the ladder, prodded the fella with the end of a cane, taped to a mop-stick, and hoped it'd bite and not let go till I'd gotten it safely out. But it didn't. Several times it bared its cute little fangs and let out ferocious little squeaks - no, that really wasn't as oxymoronic as it sounded - the bat was really quite intimidating, even in all its tininess. Right, maybe only to me. Anyhow, though it bit the cane a few times, it didn't take a solid hold of it with its mouth. It took me quite a while to get it to cling on - using its claws. When I finally lifted it off the air-cond and got ready to climb down the ladder, the man stopped me.

Wait, wait! he said, he wanted to take a photo first.

I don't blame him, for the bat now clung to the cane on both its hind legs, and hung upside down, with it's wings wrapped around its body. It was beautiful. Absolutely stunning. I paused mid-step and hurried him.

He rushed to get his phone and just as he held it up, the bat launched into flight! It flew back and forth and all around over and over! I was still perched precariously high up on the ladder, terrified to death that it might crash into me or attack me (and all sorts of silly thoughts like that). I spent probably a good part of a minute screaming at the top of the ladder, then recovered enough sense to jump down (yes, I jumped!) and then spent the remaining portion of the minute screaming behind a sofa. My mom, who was upstairs, came running down, and told me to hush it or the neighbours might think something awful actually happened.

I don't really know what happened while I was cowering and busy being freaked out - somehow, the bat fell to the ground after a while and was swept out of the house by the man! Finally!

Please, please... I beg you... don't ever, ever come back again... please!

But it did... it flew right back into the house today. I can't be sure if it's the same fella, but it sure looks it.

It's still clinging onto my mom's curtain. I'm wondering if I should gently "coax" it to leave, and I'm wondering if drama is going to repeat itself...


Now, lead-climbing different from top-roping in that while the rope is securely fastened through an anchor at the top of the route for the latter, the lead climber has to clip the safety rope to quickdraws spaced several feet apart along the route as he goes. It is a lot more dangerous, and definitely not for beginners.

Here's why: in top-roping, as I'd written earlier, the rope is secured to the climber, goes all the way up through the anchor at the rop of the route, and down again to the belayer. As the climber ascends, the belayer keeps the rope taut (or tight, as the term is) by pulling it through the belay device. If the climber slips and falls, he doesn't really fall much, unless the rope is very slack, or if the belayer lets go. For lead-climbing, however, the rope usually is quite slack - for the belayer needs to feed the climber rope as he goes up, and if the climber falls, he falls the length of the rope measured from his current position to the last quickdraw anchor, times two, plus the stretch of the rope. That's quite a long way to fall.

When some buddies at the place we climb suggested I try lead, I laugh it off without thinking twice. I was not nearly good nor experienced enough for it. Mr Expert once said it is best to start lead-climbing only after a year or two of consistent climbing/training, and I've not taken up this sport for much more than 6 months now. I've just starting doing some top-roping recently, and am still getting past my issue with heights by not looking down. No, I think I might be ready in another half a year, perhaps.

No, that's rubbish, she said. She insisted I make myself ready by next month! Again, I laughed it off. I wouldn't have dismissed her that lightly had I known that she and another friend were well-equipped, prepared and willing to show us the basic stuff - on that day itself. I guess Mr Guitarist Extraordinaire's charm did play a part in securing this very kind and generous offer, but climbers are generally a very friendly and extremely gracious lot. It is not uncommon that when solving a bouldering problem, strangers just get together to discuss strategies, suggest moves and help each other. Of course, after the first encounter, we'd no longer be strangers to each other (even if we might not know everyone's name). The community there is that great.

So, back to our very first lead-climbing lesson. We had to learn the right way to clip the rope onto the quickdraws. We had to learn to do it steadily, swiftly and to avoid back-clipping. I also had to learn to clip just the rope, not my finger along with it. Well, yes, that was embarrassing.

That wasn't so hard, I thought.

Now, let's see you try an easy route on an actual lead wall, they said, presently. Is this actually happening? They must mean the Guitarist, I thought. He's the one who lifts weights, studies climbing theory and practices climbing moves even when he's not on a wall; he's the one in good shape, has excellent endurance and obviously - balls. I'm just a scared, little (physically, that is) girl. They must mean him. Or so I thought.

It was a non-intimidating 5a route, with mostly nice-to-hold jugs. As a safety measure, our Teacher/Belayer clipped the rope to the first quickdraw for him, so it would be like top-roping until he climbed past that point. And up he went. The climbing was like a piece of cake for him, really, though the clipping not so much. It would take some getting used to - clipping while hanging on for dear life on just one pumped-out, tired, aching hand. For a first-timer, he did very well - totally deserved the cheers and applause he got when he got back down.

Then, they turned to me. My turn, they said excitingly. I did not respond immediately. It didn't look too difficult, and I was more than eager to try it for myself, but I was scared (yea, what's new?). I glanced at the bleeding graze on the back of my left hand - got that conquering the speed-wall earlier - and... I was scared.

Teacher/Belayer announced he'd clip the first 3 quickdraws for me (it means if I were to fall before that, I'd be perfectly fine; if I were to fall after that, I'd be far enough from the ground to not be seriously hurt). A part of me was very glad for the added safety measure; another part was a little indignant - what, he needed only one to ensure he wouldn't kill himself, and I needed three? Fine, that thought was totally irrational, I know.

So there I was - properly fastened to the rope, ready to go.

Like I mentioned earlier, the route was an easy 5a, so climbing wasn't that big a problem, even for me. There was only this one stupid hold that was 3 inches out of my reach. Tip-toeing on 1 foot brought me an inch short of it. Bending my knees and then hurling myself upwards to it got my fingers around the edge, which was effectively like a tiny pincher. There was no way I could haul myself up, clinging on only that "pincher" edge. Several attempts, an accidental fall and two scraped hands later, I changed strategy. Dynamic moves are not for the vertically-challenged and always-scared like me. I locked my hands on the hold I was clinging to, smeared on the wall with one foot just enough to get the other one to high-step onto the other hold (that was at chest-level, mind you!) and got to the stubborn one. My entire hand on the entire rock - not just the edge!

Finally! I felt the need to scold it while I was at it - silly, but so satisfying! So, apart from the little drama there, the climbing wasn't that hard.

I didn't feel the clipping was that hard either. I don't remember having to be reminded about not back-clipping, though I probably can't trust my memory to be accurate, being there at the time, feeling anxious, excited and thrilled at the same time. The Guitarist said that for my first (the route's 4th) clip, I attempted to pull the wrong end of the rope; they were calling out to me to correct me, and I simply appeared confused. I don't deny to be often in the confused state when I'm in the middle of getting to the next hold, or thinking about how to get there. There was once, while I was struggling to traverse the expert bouldering wall, he tried to help by suggesting "Right hand on the brown rock!" and I responded with "Which right hand?" when I really meant to ask him which brown rock. Anyhow, even if I didn't ask the wrong question, it would have been a stupid one all the same, for there was only one rock within the reach of my hand that was brown. Anyway, I digressed - so, I managed to complete that 5a lead route.

And I finally understood why people do lead-climbing although they might not be technically sound enough for it. Being more challenging and risky than the regular top-rope also meant that was way more fulfilling when successfully completed. I believe it was reckless of me to have done it knowing I am not quite ready - but gosh, I would so do it again! Of course, that, only if I have experienced, expert supervision and guidance, like we did this time. I am sometimes insane, but I do not have a death wish.

To end this long post:
Anyone who finds it hard to believe that climbing is addictive should just try it. Don't worry, for unless you're doing it professionally, your personal accident insurance will cover you in case anything, erm... happens. I know - I've inquired.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being Girly

So, I'd decided the kind of pouch I'd want for my phone. I'd decided the printed design must be simple, and I do not want letters or cute stuff on it. No brand names and no silly words or grammatically-wrong phrases; no cute kitties/doggies/piggies etc., and no furballs/feathers/bling-blings either.

I looked at the lot of them there. I skipped the entire "cute" section, and focused only on the relatively-bland. All the brightly-coloured ones have at least the brand name visible on the front! I looked at one; I looked at another, and another. I couldn't decide. The only ones without letterings were a (very) dull grey-green with several dull horizontal lines across it, and a sleek black one with a red and yellow stripes at the top.

I picked up the black one. The reds and yellows were practically screaming at me.

"What do you think?"

"I would choose a bright colour, if I were you"

I would too, if they didn't have the brand printed all over them. I absolutely abhor "wearing" names. I held the black one in my hand still.

"It looks very manly. Come on, you're a girl! You should choose something that is more girly!"

Oh, she is so right. After all, I really do like the bright red ones. So, she helped me picked one on which the words were not too obvious, and there! My phone is no longer without its very own smart-looking pouch!

Last week, Bee Ree asked that I write about my phone. Well, I would, really! I would want to write all about how incredibly amazing it is - all the wonderful things it can do thanks to a host of brilliant programmers who filled the Market with truly awesome applications, and how by carefully choosing the best of these to have on it makes it almost smarter than I am...

However, to be consistent with the theme of this post, the appropriate bimbo-ish thing to do is simply posting a photo of the actual device. I am not pretty enough to be a bimbo, so here's my Teddy posing with it:

Bee Ree, you like?

Well, truth is, I'm not trying to be girly. I'm just too lazy to like, really write... =P