Thursday, September 28, 2006

Here's a shot of us all relaxing at Wilson's comfy bachelor pad after a dinner of:
1. two kinds of stir-fried pork- black pepper and Wilson's secret concoction (hmmm...)
2. Shanghainese-style stir-fried rice cakes (my idea- eh, nice okay? Note to self: a pack of rice cakes is FAR TOO much even if 7 people are eating)
3. Sambal (supposedly) kangkong- though we have a sneaky suspicion that we mistook the curry paste for the belachan, which is why it didn't taste like it should have
4. Efrem's homemade red bean tang yuan! Good stuff! He is a domestic genius!

Hopefully, we have more of such cooking expeditions soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sorry for the sporadic posts for those of you who even bother to check back here. All has been good in Ann Arbor so far, though the weather has been somewhat unpredictable and it's been raining more frequently than I'd like. The past few weeks has been a whirlwind of trying out my initial class schedule, dropping classes and selecting new ones, wondering what's the maximum number of credits I should elect this term without completely sacrificing my sanity. Dropped Econ 401 for Public Policy which seems to be panning out quite nicely- it's far more interesting, and decided against continuing with Russian Politics for a Polsci course on modeling political processes. So all is well, at least until the exams come.

Training for Chicago has been pretty awesome too. The marathon's exactly four weeks away- it'll be time to start tapering maybe after next week, or something. I've been clocking mileage like nobody's business- sometimes when I think about it, I figure I'd think I was completely insane if I had ever conjured up the thought that I'd be doing somewhere in the range of 50-60 miles a week. It's pretty crazy. Especially when I look back on how in secondary school I used to think 2.4 km was so damn bloody far and thankfully we only had to put ourselves through that unnecessary torture once a year. In JC I slowly got weaned onto running, with canal routes and all for canoeing, but it still wasn't something I enjoyed, because I was terribly prone to stitches (much less now, thankfully, but it still happens at the worst times). And I remember how I used to think Leqi and Shine (I'm sorry, but I really did think you were nuts!) were absolutely bonkers for signing up for StanChart and doing various other mad things like going for a run along the MRT route. But anyway back to the point. Now I can't live without running.

Today's training run organized by the Tortoise and Hare Running Store was a great run for me. It was more of a recovery run because I did 15 miles yesterday and so I thought I'd take the 10 miles easy today. Managed to settle into a really comfortable cadence at around 8:45min/ mile and it felt awesome despite the blustery wind and slopes at the end that I picked up my pace and finished in an hour and 24 minutes. What was surprising was that I wasn't even winded at the end and I was even contemplating doing 14 miles because it felt like I still had plenty of energy to spare. But I decided against the additional four because of the 15 miles yesterday and I didn't want to risk anything so near the marathon. Anyway my mileage this week was pretty substantial- 20 miles at an easy 9:30 pace last Sunday, hilly route Monday of about 7 miles (quite unwise considering the 20 miles the day before), 2 6-mile tempo runs on Wednesday, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, another 2 6-milers on Thursday (I don't know what's with the 6 miles, but I like that route), 15 miles on Saturday and the 10 miles today. That's 66 miles in total, I've realized... Oh well.

Anyway Dean Karnazes has finished 8 of his 50 marathons, 42 more to go... Amazing. I'm looking forward to joining him at Chicago!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wow, I haven't blogged in about a month and a half. I keep putting it off somehow, it becomes a bit of a drag sometimes. It's mainly a tool to keep people back home in the loop with regards to how things are coming along in my life over at the other end of the world. I must say the first week of school has passed awfully slowly. Maybe it's because I'm maxing out on term credits- 18 credit hours, and it seems like there's a ton of work to be done. Which is terribly true. I can't even remember the courses I'm taking sometimes, because it's more than I'm accustomed to. I think it's probably because 3 of my courses are 3-credit classes with 4-credit workloads, and so that piles on the stress. Haha. I'm doing 3 political science courses in an attempt to attain my major as quickly as I can- Russian politics, Southeast Asian politics, and international political economy. In addition, I'm taking a German conversation course, a 1-credit course which looks to be great fun since I've been so lucky as to get perhaps the best German instructor ever for my weekly hour-long class. The remaining 8 credits go to Econ 401 (Intermediate Microeconomics), and Econ 404 (Statistics for Economists). I envision these two courses dealing me a slow death if I don't keep up with the work, because 401 is highly math-reliant and 404 is, well, all about statistics. Just yesterday I almost died doing basic differentiation for 401. Thankfully it all started coming back to me after a few frantic minutes of scribbling and jabbing calculator buttons. Hopefully it gets better. Screw math, I thought I'd never have to use it again... Oh well, I guess that's what you get for being an econ major in the US.

Elected not to continue with crew this year for a couple of reasons, especially since I don't think I'll particularly enjoy slogging away on the ergometer for the rest of my Michigan life. Because I don't think I'll ever see the interior of a boat again. Hunting desperately for another sport to altogether consume my life, it's a tough job. So far only triathlon makes the cut, except that the UM Tri Club's a fledgling organization run by 18-year-olds and doesn't particularly catch my fancy. I think I'll have to look to the Ann Arbor Tri Club to provide me with more semblance of proper training. I need some structure, now that I've left rowing.

The new apartment at Tappan is pretty good. I'm pleased with my own room and my flatmates are awesome, save for the fact that our fridge is kinda packed and we are having a wee bit of trouble finding what belongs to whom. At least we managed to get a decent cable/ internet deal from Comcast and hooked up the router yesterday night (no easy task, considering the tangle of cables and the fact that the previous occupants of our flat did strange things like drilling holes in the walls and passing cables through them), and so I've finally got internet access.

Life is generally good- well, at least until it's time to hand up the next econ problem set assignment.