Saturday, December 15, 2007

Over The Rhine - "Christmas is Coming "

You've seen me sweaty, exhausted, happy, cocky, lethargic, excited, bashful, vulnerable, needy. It's amazing how you make me feel so comfortable about myself. I enjoy every moment with you. I am so extremely glad things turned out the way they did. Good things get better with age, and I think this beautiful thing we have is no different.

So it’s been a long year
Every new day brings one more tear
Till there’s nothing left to cry

My, my how time flies
Like little children hiding their eyes
We’ll make it disappear
Let’s start a brand new year

Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Salvation army bells are ringing
Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Do you believe in angels singing
Darlin’ the snow is falling
Falling like forgiveness from the sky

If I could have anything
What would I want this new year to bring
Well, I’d want you here with me

Tear these thorns from my heart
Help the healing to start
Let’s set this old world free
Let’s start with you and me

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Over The Rhine - "The World Can Wait "

if this should end tomorrow
all our best laid plans
and all our typical fears
am i running out of lifetimes
this is not the first time
something ends in just tears

but tomorrow i can't imagine
how am i supposed to know
what's yet to go down
is there only one religion
the kind that whispers
when nobody comes around

the world can wait
the world can wait
i want to drink the water from your well
i want to tell you things i'll never tell
the world can wait
the world can wait
i'm wide awake
and the world can wait

i want to feel and then some
i have five senses
i need thousands more at least
every day a page of paper
every night a photograph
a moveable feast

so fade to black and white now
roll the movie of my life
inside of my head
'cause like all true believers
i am truly skeptical
of all that i have said

the world can wait
the world can wait
i want to drink the water from your well
i want to tell you things i'll never tell
the world can wait
the world can wait
i'm wide awake
and the world can wait

haven't i said enough
haven't i said far too much
haven't i done enough
haven't i done far too much
far too much
the world can wait

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Over The Rhine - "Birds"

fall on me
fall on me

birds of a feather and a featherless cap
poor lovers breed songs in a two-room flat
moist hands fold to pray for a painless truth
we dance on the tracks of a train called youth

truth's on the table like a toxic spill
and we wrestle in the sheets with our own freewill
if we never shake hands with a phantom called fame
I'll still have your picture in a picture frame

if you should fall
fall on me

forty-acre farm we can call our own
with a chocolate lab and no telephone
the full moon's leering in a lover's swoon
and the apple tree's swaying to a windy tune

(save me I'm falling for you)

but we won't get to heaven if we just sit still
if we don't cry murder maybe no one will
we're riding tandem down Sycamore hill
if we hit the brakes we're gonna take a big spill

if you should fall
fall on me

and if my hand were taken hold of
I'd slip away with you love
slip away with you love

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I feel you breezing through my mind.

It's been far too long since I met someone who makes me smile the way you do.

You've got a way of spreading magic everywhere
Anywhere I go, I know you're always there
It sounds ridiculous
But when you leave a room
There's a part of me that just wants to follow you too

You know I miss you
This is all I wanna do
I know it doesn't sound too cool
But maybe I'm in love with you

And when you're walking out the door
I know I miss you
You make me wanna ask for more
I just miss you

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's already November and 2007 is drawing to a close. Funny how time seems to speed up as I get older. I wish I had savored my childhood more, sometimes! College is going well. Classes are fantastic and I'm fortunate to be taking classes from some of the best faculty around. My thesis is shaping up nicely and I've got some ideas that I intend to develop further. Hardcore CrossFitting provides a respite from the burdens of schoolwork, and the folks at the gym are some of the best people I've had the good fortune of meeting.

As for Ann Arbor dining, I've made up my mind to try as many of the reputed establishments as possible. We did Carson's American Bistro last week, Lotus Thai in the last two weeks, plans are being made to visit Cafe Habana for some good Cuban cooking in the near future... Zingerman's Roadhouse is still a must-try - if only it wasn't so crowded all the time! After discovering Yotsuba sometime in September, I've been back for their delectable sushi rolls four more times and plan on many repeat visits. Pacific Rim by Kana beckons on Dec 14th - kinda pricey, but I've heard good things about the Asian fusion fare they serve. Weekends are reserved for food adventures!

Walk on broken glass make my way through fire
These are the things I would do for love
Farewell peace of mind kiss goodbye to reason
Up is down the impossible occurs each day
This intoxication thrills me
I only pray it doesn't kill me

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Darren Hayes - The Heart Wants What it Wants

You say one thing and then I go turning around again
Working things over better left unsaid
Spinning around in my head
Taking a moment too personally

I have told you just half the words
I've wanted to get to you
Fear of rejection keeps my heart at bay
Things I'd rather not say
I'd rather have you close
Than never at all

But every now and then
When my world is closing in
I feel you breezing through my mind

I can attempt to close my eyes
I can avoid the wrong or right
But something deep inside
Says my heart wants what it wants

Baby, stay away
Do the right thing
I know I should run
But my heart wants what it wants
Baby, stay away
Do the right thing
I know I should run
You know the heart wants what it wants

You do one thing and then I go always imagining
Reciprocating feelings that aren't there
Sometimes I think you're aware
Your body language, it gives you away

Maybe I should run
Turn my back, head for the sun
Feelings left to come undone
Maybe you like what's going on
Deep down inside I know it's wrong
I know I should run
But the heart wants what it wants

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Band of Brothers

"Anything was better than the blood and carnage, the grime and filth, the impossible demands made on the body --- anything, that is, except letting down their buddies... They also found in combat the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They found selflessness. They found they could love the other guy in their foxhole more than themselves. They found that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them."

- Band of Brothers

Monday, October 29, 2007





Memories from the past...
- Yami Yogurt, Subway subs, ban mian (and cheese fries... oh the horror) times after training at the basement of Suntec
- Getting hit by shampoo and soap bottles being tossed blindly between cubicles at the National Stadium showers
- Sprinting 200 yards from the stadium to the bus stop to catch Bus no. 16 to Suntec, because if we missed it we'd have to wait forever
- RJC 13
- Doing weights at the National Stadium Clubfitt before water training and regretting it immensely afterwards
- Cold Milo at the coffeeshop near old SDBA
- Canal routes with Weiqi (remember the time we smoked it because we were running at top speed and neither of us dared to admit to the other that we were about to perish)
- Lat pulldowns in the RJC weights room with GS's ponytail in my mouth (uggghhhh)
- Jiaolian making us swim across Kallang Basin - which saw most of us floundering helplessly from one end to the other
- Banana bread and Glucolin before races
- Practicing race starts in the pouring rain
- Visualizing races to the sound of Justin's voice, using sticks as paddles and benches as kayaks, in the RJC sports hall
- Being tekan-ed by the seniors during canoeing camp who made us hold the pushup position for what seemed like an eternity
- Alcoholic (and not so boozy) smoothies at the place in Millenia Walk which I can't remember the name of
- Rummaging through the pile of life jackets in search of the one marked RJC 10 and for Leqi's tattered Bananaman life jacket
- Shaun Ho making us run endless rounds around the school track
- Our team runs - drinking Milo right before the canal route gave me the worst stitch of my life; 20 rounds around the track and Vania having to make frequent pitstops at the sports block toilet to poop
- Stoning at the canoeing table before assembly
- My locker as a common gathering place and dumping ground for valuables
- Tubes and tubes of sunblock, an abundance of caps and visors, and not-so-glamorous canoeing jersey tans
- Spying on other schools' K2 pairs and trying to guess the lineups for competitions
- Raffles Canoiest (this speaks for itself)
- Photos being stolen from our canoeing board (none of Vania's were stolen, she was understandably dismayed)
- Machine Rowing championships and beating the track&field people
- Team dinners and desserts being consumed in twenty seconds flat by twelve ravenous canoeists
- Jiaolian (as well as us all) extremely amused at Lydia's hairdos
- Being unlucky at dragonboat races
- Lots of sharksfin soup for supper at Zhen's house courtesy of Carol Chan and her aunt's restaurant
- Walking for an eternity before deciding on a place to have drinks and chill after Nats
- Staying over at the suite in Pan Pacific and being relegated to the floor for the night because someone fell asleep, occupying the entire bed
- Shine's perpetual niceness (until she called someone 'stupid' once, hahahahaha)
- Two-star course at Changi/Pasir Ris and engaging in an potentially injurious game of no-holds-barred Canoe Polo (ha ha)
- Long walks and talks with my K2 partner and treasured friend (you know how much you will always mean to me) - remember how we got scolded by Huilin once for disappearing? Lol.
- Unashamedly capitalizing on the free bread provided by Cafe Cartel
- Philip's polaroid photo of us pre-Nats (we were young then)
- Soccer with the canoeing guys on the RJC field
- GS' skirt with the multiple zips (wink wink)
- Lydia capsizing when Kay Wee canoed past and how she had a chronic crush on just about every J2 guy
- GS's idea of a nude calendar with strategically-placed paddles and lifejackets covering the important bits (if I recall correctly, she volunteered to be cover girl)
- Replacing the sliced bananas on Carol Chan's waffles at Cafe Cartel with the ones we had left over from dragonboat competition!

This list will grow as I recall more fond memories!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Revelation 1:12-18

12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fight Gone Bad II & Carol's Birthday!

Fight Gone Bad II Participants at Hyperfit USA! Hooyah!

FGB went really well. I smashed my previous PB of 378 (set a week ago during a FGB dry run) to get 435. I had no idea 400 was within reach - I was initially gunning for 380 today. Having calculated and formulated my pre-FGB strategy, it seemed as though 400 points was practically unimaginable. Apparently it wasn't. It's funny - my original goal, right after the first time I ever did FGB, was just to make 300, because during my very first FGB on June 30th I only managed 283 points. But when I next did a FGB dry run in early September, I got 358 points. What a leap! Considering that professional fighters in the UFC are typically expected to hit 350 points, I'll take 435 any time. I spluttered, gasped, and wheezed my way through the last round knowing that 400 points was in the bag, because I somehow managed to rake up 303 points in the first 2 rounds alone, by riding the crest of adrenaline that permeated the entire gym, with people cheering their partners on and the fervor at an all-time high. It was amazing. We also managed to raise over $22,000.00 this year, all for a great cause. I'm so happy I took part. The only thorny issue is how I'm supposed to top 435 next year, which seems ridiculously difficult unless I pump myself full of steroids and and O/D on Red Bulls and caffeine, neither of which I'm planning on doing.

Tonight, I had dinner at Yotsuba Japanese Restaurant (just off Washtenaw, past US-23 heading towards Ypsi, right on Golfside) with perhaps the most eclectic group of people (Hyperfit USA groupies) I've had the good fortune of meeting. The occasion was my friend's birthday - she turned 49 today, and she celebrated by scoring 252 points in the Fight Gone Bad II Fundraiser earlier this morning. Another friend and I orchestrated the entire surprise by gathering as many people as we could from Hyperfit USA and making sure everyone, all twenty people, showed up at 6:00 pm to await our unsuspecting birthday victim.

It's Carol (center)'s birthday - her husband, Steve, calls us three - I, Carol, and Ceren (L-R) the Bounty Hunters. Hahaha!

We dug into massive amounts of food. My table (eight of us) went berserk (FOOOD! Food after Fight Gone Bad always rocks) and merrily ticked off 19 rolls on the sushi order list - mercifully, the waiter foresaw imminent self-destruction caused by wanton overconsumption and informed us that we ought to take some of them off the list. True enough, we ate till we were stuffed and still the rolls kept coming. Oddly enough, they all seemed to feature eel in some form or permutation, and those of us who had never sampled eel before quickly discovered whether or not they were to have an affinity for it. Despite the surfeit of rolls and being overly-satiated to the point of drowsiness, everyone still managed to find room for the chocolate-frosted raspberry white cake studded with M&Ms that Ceren had baked for the momentous occasion. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have met these wonderful people. Get some, go again!


作曲: 周杰伦
作词: 徐若瑄

爱像一阵风 吹完它就走
这样的节奏 谁都无可奈何
没有你以后 我灵魂失控
黑云在降落 我被它拖著走


离不开暴风圈 来不及逃
我不能再想 我不能再想
我不 我不 我不能

不能承受 我已无处可躲
我不要再想 我不要再想
我不 我不 我不要再想你

不知不觉 你已经离开我
不知不觉 我跟了这节奏
后知后觉 又过了一个秋
后知后觉 我该好好生活

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chinese Weightlifting

Some photos depicting Chinese weightlifters in training and competition. Hardcore! Photos courtesy of dehwang's Flickr photostream (click on title of post for link).

Now there's an arched back! Chen Yanqing.

Young Chinese weightlifter with what easily looks like 40 kg in weight.

Le Maosheng has a wide grip in the clean.

Shi Zhiyong reacts to successfully clean and jerking 170 kg.

Zhang Guozheng doing a set of overhead squats.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Long Slow Cardio Makes You Old, Sick, and Ugly

taken from

Long Slow Cardio Makes You Old, Sick, and Ugly
Check out this article at It's a phenomenal article on how marathon training tears you down.

I always say: "Half marathon runners are always hotter than marathon runners. 10k runners are hotter than half marathon runners. And 5k runners are hotter than 10k runners." This article, while it approaches it from an anti-aging perspective, explains why longer training makes you sick, injured, and less attractive.

It's even more interesting when you note that the author is a former sub-2:20 marathoner and a 4th place finisher in the Hawaiian Ironman.


Training is no guarantee of health

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: Endurance training is antithetical to anti-aging. So it amazes me when guys in their 40s and 50s who are training for a marathon or Ironman suggest that doing so will keep them young. It won’t. You may feel like a stud now with your shaved legs and your magic marker biceps tattoos, but endurance training speeds up the aging process almost as fast as watching TV, drinking sodas and eating potato chips. Actually, in some cases, it speeds it up even faster.

Read the rest here:

I also thought this was pretty good - from Mark's official bio on his blog:

"In fact, the running was going so well after college that I decided to forgo medical school for a few years (it’s at 31 years now) and concentrate on a running career. I trained seriously as a marathoner for another five years, racking up well over 100 miles each week in training. The effort culminated in a top 5 finish in the 1980 US National Marathon Championships and a qualifying spot for the 1980 US Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, by then the inhuman amount of training and weekly racing was taking its toll and I found myself constantly sick or injured. (Note to self: too much exercise is not a good thing). In fact, in my last year of competition, as a world class, extremely “fit” athlete, I experienced eight upper respiratory infections! Clearly I was ruining my immune system and my joints doing too much exercise. That’s when I started exploring nutrition and supplementation as a way to enhance my performance and to support my damaged body and bolster my immune system."

Check out his articles on all kinds of cool stuff about fitness, looking athletic, anti-aging, and health -

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Get Some, Go Again... at 6:00 am

Setting up for the Clean

WOD for Thursday, 09/13/2007
Using a #85 Barbell, complete 5 rounds for time of:
5 Power Cleans
10 Pullups
15 Back Squats

Time: 14:02

"We're good at what you do".
- Coach Greg Glassman

Friday, September 14, 2007

Words to Live By

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1916

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Athletes for a Cure: 2007 CrossFit Fight Gone Bad

Please click on the link above to help me in raising funds for the Fight Gone Bad event on September 29th. Just in case you can't get the link, here it is:

As you may be aware, I have been diligently training for the "Athletes for a Cure: 2007 CrossFit Fight Gone Bad" event, to be held at CrossFit affiliates nationwide on Saturday, September 29th, 2007. In addition, I am committed to supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation in raising funds for prostate cancer research.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting one in six men. Men are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Athletes for a Cure, a program of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, is a new fundraising and awareness program to assist individual athletes in their quest to raise money for better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research with a simple, yet urgent goal: to find better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer.

I am dedicated to this race and hope that you will support me in reaching my fundraising goal.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quotes from Coach Greg Glassman

"Come to me with tales of a 900 pound back squat, and I know already of some very serious limitations to your fitness. Come to me with a 4:15 mile - I am suspicious of your total capacities. But, if you tell me you've got a 650 pound back squat, and with a twinkle in your eye, about a 4:50 mile - I know we've got a monster."

"Trainers and civilians needs are more akin to the firefighter, cop and soldier than they are to the elite athlete. The reason being, you don't know what gameday will look like, you don't know when it will occur and you don't know what the stressor will be, you just don't know."

"Be impressed with intensity, not volume."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spartan Workout Rules: A Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan

1) Lactic acid is the Spartan's friend. The Spartan knows the value of anaerobic failure, and actively seeks it out. If he falls on his face, he waits only as long as necessary to move again before he continues.
2) The Spartan takes no breaks between exercises, unless it's to shove a non-Spartan out of the way.
3) The Spartan runs. He does not use Stairmasters, or stationary bikes, or ellipticals. He runs.
4) When the Spartan cannot run, he walks. When he cannot walk, he crawls. When he cannot crawl, he has failed.
5) The Spartan hits big muscles, like the back, the pectorals, the quadriceps and the glutes. He knows this means he is building functional muscle that will assist in the destruction of his enemies and in the production of testosterone (of which the Spartan has more than the average man).
6) By contrast, the Spartan does not waste much time on small muscles. They will grow as the result of functional exercise that hits the big muscles (see above). For example, the bicep is only useful in that it assists with chin-ups, and scaling enemy fortifications. Anything else is vanity.
7) The Spartan abhors cables and machines. This is for two reasons. First, to activate stabilizer muscles, the Spartan must depend on himself to balance the weight, not a machine. Second - look up the adjective "spartan" in the dictionary: "strict and austere." You should be able to do a Spartan workout in a FOB.
8) The Spartan fears only one thing: his workout. The enemy pales in comparison to his workout. If he doesn't fear his workout, it isn't hard enough.
9) Puking is acceptable. Quitting is not. If he gives up here, he gives up in battle. This is unacceptable.
10) So nature abhors a vacuum, so the Spartan loathes missing a workout. A Spartan can complete a workout in his grandma's basement, a hotel room, or in a city park.
11) If the Spartan is not in pain during his workout, he is wrong.
12) The Spartan never cheats. He maintains proper technique throughout his training, because he knows that smooth is fast, and that he will be mocked mercilessly for, "girly pull-ups".
13) The Spartan knows the value of the basics: the push-up, the pull-up, the chin-up, the sit-up, the squat, and the dead-lift. He also knows the importance of variety, and seeks out different techniques of the above.

By: Captain Paul Lindsay, British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own)
Courtesy of: Crossfit Vancouver (

Friday, August 17, 2007

The CrossFit Version of "The Thinker"

All thanks to CrossFit North Carolina's venerable blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"We do the common uncommonly well."
- Coach Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fight Gone Bad

I'll be participating in the 2007 CrossFit "Fight Gone Bad" fundraiser as part of Athletes for a Cure, in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. As part of the challenge, each participant has to raise at least $150 in donations. I'd like to appeal for contributions (*cough* if you've conveniently neglected my birthday, now's the time to do something about it). I've tasted the "Fight Gone Bad" workout once, at the end of June, and it was a rather memorable experience. Perhaps the best way to summarize it would be to describe it as a fifteen-minute long near-death experience, with only a brief minute between the three 5-minute rounds to attempt to recover somewhat. I managed a total score of 286. In September I hope to better my score on FGB (to hopefully reach 350 and at least cross the 300 threshold - it's ambitious but possible, I feel). So please give me your support! Do read below to find out more.

Athletes for a Cure is proud to present the 2007 CrossFit Fight Gone Bad. In 2006, hundreds of athletes in 30 centers nationally raised nearly $110,000 to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) by competing individually and as part of teams on one day in "Fight Gone Bad," one of the most demanding workout routines in the popular CrossFit exercise regimen. Check out some of the videos from last year's event.

"Fight Gone Bad," originally designed for a professional fighter, is a combination of five different exercises done in three rounds of one minute each. CrossFit takes basic fitness exercises — squats, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, dead-lifts, medicine ball throws and more — to emphasize a full range of motion and adds short bursts of cardiovascular elements. The mix is different day-to-day and engages every muscle in your body while providing adequate recovery time for growth.

On September 29, 2007, affiliate centers across the country will have their registered participants complete Fight Gone Bad. Fundraising dollars and affiliate scores will be collected and prizes will be distributed to the highest individual fundraiser and the CrossFit Affiliate center that scores the highest number of collective points.

This year our goal is to raise $250,000 in one day, making "Fight Gone Bad" a very important milestone for each man whose fight truly has gone bad.

Rules of Engagement

The CrossFit workout will be 'Fight Gone Bad'. In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. This event calls for 3 rounds. The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of "rotate," the athlete/s must move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point. The stations are:
Wall-ball, 8 ft target (Reps)
Deadlift high-pull (Reps)
Box jump (Reps)
Push-press (Reps)
Row (Calories)

To compete in the workout, all participants must complete each of the following:
Register with their local CrossFit Affiliate Center by Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Register with Athletes for a Cure at by Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Raise $150 or more in pledges by 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, September 29, 2007

Four classes of participants will be scored:
Class A: Standard Men = 75 lb PP and High Pull, 20lb Wall Ball and 20in Box
Class B: Modified Men/Standard Women = 55 lb PP and High Pull, 14lb Wall Ball and 20in Box
Class C: Intermediate = 35 lb PP and High Pull, 8lb Wall Ball and 20in Box (step ups are okay)
Class D: Beginner/Kids = 15lb PP and High Pull, 4lb Wall Ball (can be lowered 2in from standard height) and 10in Box

Friday, July 06, 2007

Elliott Yamin - Wait For You

I never felt nothing in the world like this before
Now I’m missing you and I’m wishing you would come back through my door
Why did you have to go?
You could have let me know; so now I’m all alone

Girl you could have stayed but you wouldn’t give me a chance
With you not around it’s a little bit more than I can stand
And all my tears they keep runnin’ down my face
Why did you turn away?

So why does your pride make you run and hide
Are you that afraid of me?
But I know it’s a lie what you keep inside
This is not how you want it to be

So baby I will wait for you
Cause I don’t know what else I can do
Don’t tell me I ran out of time
If it takes the rest of my life

Baby I will wait for you
If you think I find it just ain’t true
I really need you in my life
No matter what I have to do
I’ll wait for you

Been a long time since you called me
(How could you forget about me)
You gotta be feeling crazy
How can you walk away
(When) Everything stays the same
I just can’t do it baby

What will it take to make you come back
Girl I told you what it is and it just ain’t like that
Why can’t you look at me?
You’re still in love with me

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fran in 6:10


Barbell Thrusters 95/65 lbs

21-15-9 reps, for time

I tackled Fran as Rx'ed in 6:10 yesterday. Sweeeeeeeeet. My next goal is to get to the low 5:00s and hopefully it all gets better as I go along. 5k warm down row after Fran was completed in 22:48 - managed to keep stroke rate around 20 and pace at 2:16 which is fine with me since Fran pretty much takes all you've got in those lactate-inducing few minutes. It was a comfortable row (when strokes per minute are around 20-22) and I never felt I was pulling haplessly. Amazing what Crossfit has done in terms of GPP (general physical preparedness) for me.

I've been reading Crossfit blogs and one of the recurring issues is how a typical WOD would scare away the masses, but Crossfitters hardly bat an eye when faced with the WODs. Take for example "Angie", one of the first Crossfit "Girls" (Crossfit workouts are named after hurricanes for the way they leave you all messed up after):


100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats
For Time

I mean, the numbers alone are enough to frighten people away. A HUNDRED pull-ups? Followed by another HUNDRED push-ups? And then you're only halfway through? Are you going to spend all day doing "Angie"? Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you do modified versions of the exercises, for instance pull-ups with a band for support or push-ups on your knees, you have to double the original number as stated in the workout. So technically you could really spend a very long time getting through "Angie". I haven't done Angie before, I don't think, so I can't enlighten you on how long it took me to finish off that damned lady. Anyway, as I was saying, after a while Crossfitters take these insane instructions into their stride. "Angie? Oh, that's just 400 repetitions in total. Ten sets of ten for each exercise. Easy!" (As you can tell, the key lies in breaking it down).

BUT I did do "Murph" on Memorial Day (From the Crossfit website: In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it 'Body Armor.' From here on it will be referred to as 'Murph' in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.


1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

Took me 46 minutes and some change but I don't think I could've spent Memorial Day any better.

Anyway, finishing off Fran well was probably my best (and only) birthday present so far. Crossfit is my new buddy - kicks my ass but never lets me down.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Ultimate Fighter Finale

Jens Pulver (left) and BJ Penn stare each other down during official weigh-ins on Friday, June 22.

Last night was a blast with the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on SPIKE TV. As expected, Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller came through with wins (both extremely exciting up-and-coming MMA fighters). Bizarrely enough, Gray Maynard managed to knock himself out cold while doing the same to Rob Emerson, and so the fight was declared a "no-contest" even though the referee stopped the fight when Emerson tapped out. Disappointingly, Manny "Pitbull" Gamburyan (what a machine) had to tap out after popping his shoulder in the second round, leaving Nate Diaz to be the Ultimate Fighter for Season 5. That was a real pity as Gamburyan dominated the entire first round and he ought to have won given the tremendous amount of heart he displayed. And of course the fight of the night was the showdown between former UFC lightweight champion Jens "Lil' Evil" Pulver and arguably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter, BJ "The Prodigy" Penn. Penn looked positively pasty during the taping of TUF 5 but made weight for the huge fight at 155.5 lbs, with Pulver at 152. I was rooting for Pulver but kudos to Penn who fought with single-minded focus and finished it off in the second round with a submission. BJ Penn is perhaps the most talented fighter in MMA history and it will be exciting to watch him fight in welterweight. As for Pulver, his life story is amazing and I can only say that there's no limits for a man with faith like his. I look forward to watching him fight at 145 lbs in the WEC.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Hmmm it's good to see that Raffles Canoeing is still going strong. Take a look.

I've said it before and I don't think I'll ever stop saying this, but RJCanoeing days were one of the best times ever. Anyway girls team outing sometime soon ok I want to eat cheap steamboat at Bugis again hahahaha.

Homemade Gym Equipment

Thanks to, I've got myself a project for the weekend and hopefully a pair of sweet parallettes to show for it!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"300" Training

Did the cast of 300 train with CrossFit?

The short answer is yes and no, mostly yes. Watch the 300 Training Video.

We’ve had a few folks contact CrossFit Champions who have somehow discovered a connection between CrossFit and the training of the 300 cast by Mark Twight of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Like everyone exposed to it, Mark Twight has put his own special spin on CrossFit, but the main ideas and the essence of his current training method remain CrossFit.
Mark Twight is an extremely accomplished endurance alpinist, and author of several books on training for mountaineering events. He was an advocate of long, slow endurance training and high carb, low fat diets until he discovered CrossFit, attended a few CrossFit seminars, and become (temporarily) a CrossFit affiliate. CrossFit turned his world upside down, and he became an advocate of short duration, higher intensity workouts, and low carb, higher fat diets.

Here’s what Twight has said about CrossFit in issue 19 of the CrossFit Journal, “What Is CrossFit?"

“You can talk all you want about being in good shape until you do a few CrossFit workouts. And then you will realize — like I did — that what you have been doing is likely training strong points, rarely working on weak points, and training efficiency to such a degree that the workouts you do are less effective than they might be if you mixed energy modes, duration, and types of work. You probably know something about climbing-specific training because of books like Ex Alp, Clyde’s book, Dale’s book, and maybe Will’s. But none of this will prepare you for what is to come if you make even the slightest effort to follow CrossFit. Coach invited me to CrossFit HQ for an instructor seminar. I was the weakest guy in attendance, by at least 50% during every workout we did over the three days. Those days changed my life. I could “what if?” my old training program and all the years I missed when I thought I was fit but I was nowhere near my potential but the key is to move on when you know that something better is out there, without second-guessing. I don’t believe I will find anything better than CrossFit for developing power, endurance, lactate tolerance, stamina (local area endurance), balanced muscle groups, efficient neurological pathways (in the context of movement), etc. The bottom line: I started toying with the CF protocol last April without truly understanding it. I improved in some diverse areas of fitness but had not seen the light or my own potential yet. I went to CFHQ 1 December. Since then I have lost 12lbs, leaned out, and I am approximately 25% stronger across the board without significant negative effect on endurance despite the short duration of our workouts (nothing longer than 25 minutes, with the norm being half that or less).”

Here’s what Twight has said about CrossFit on his own website:

“In December of 2003 I attended an Instructor Certification course at CrossFit headquarters to learn more about what I had been dabbling with during the previous six months. I went there fit, secretly confident but I was destroyed by each and every fitness challenge presented. Humbled, ego thought we should have a “soloing on loose rock” contest but pragmatism held sway and I poured ego from my cup, which meant it could be filled with the knowledge and experience that hid in every nook and cranny of that small gym in Santa Cruz.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Updated Birthday Wishlist

My brother and sister are getting me the boxing gloves so I think that's covered...
I've added 4 more items...

1. Elite Rings

These are the first rings designed from the ground up for fitness training. Weighing less than three pounds, you can take them with you wherever you go. And the quick and easy mounting system allows you to hang them nearly anywhere. The selection of possible exercises is limited only by your imagination: pullups, dips, pushups, muscle-ups, body rows, the iron cross and much more is possible.

Found here, retailing at USD 71.95.

2. Crossfit Journal Subscription

The CrossFit Journal is a monthly chronicle of the CrossFit Program. For only USD 25.00 yearly you can have all the details of the CrossFit concept e-mailed to you monthly.

3. Nike Free Trainer 7.0 - Men's (STYLE# 315812 COLOR# 071)

The model and color portrayed in the picture above are different. The color scheme for the particular pair I have in mind is Neutral Grey/Pro God/Flint Grey/White, according to the Nike website. I have been using a pair of Nike Free 5.0s for several months now, and they have proved to be excellent cross-trainers (even though they are originally running shoes). I was skeptical about the "barefoot technology" at first, but since I started using them they've been terrific, I haven't suffered any runner's knee relapse, and they really do make you more aware of stability and foot motion. So I'm looking to get a pair specifically for cross-training, with a little more cushioning, and the Nike Free 7.0s fit the bill perfectly.

Retailing online at at USD 85.00.

4. ASICS Cael™ V2.0 Wrestling Shoe

The Asics® Cael™ V2.0 wrestling shoe showcases a UniSole™ construction which helps you maximize traction through increased sole contact with the mat. The 3-dimensional lasting contours to your foot for better fit and the integrated lace cover conforms to national and international regulations.

No, I don't wrestle, but it happens that I'm looking for a pair of boxing shoes, and generally wrestling shoes are built to similar specifications that boxing shoes use. I am trying to decide between this, or the Asics® Split Second™ VI Wrestling Shoe, or the adidas Tyrint III Wrestling Shoe.

Retailing online at Dick's Sporting Goods at USD 49.97.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Suck it up, Buttercup

Every so often, the people who do Crossfit decide that doing 21-15-9 95/65# thrusters and pullups are too easy, and so they break it up by throwing a Painstorm into the mix. Now, you may be curious - What is a Painstorm? Well, a Painstorm is a particularly challenging workout (as if the everyday Crossfit WOD (Workout of the Day) were a walk in the park), and comprised of a significant number of movements/ multijoint combinations. There is a Painstorm Workout posted every month. Most Painstorms take 35-40 minutes at the very least to complete, or the skills listed are meant to be performed for 35-40 minutes, and that's probably how they're different from typical Crossfit workouts, which usually range from 4-35 minutes (on average).

Right now there are Painstorms hailing way back to May 2005 floating around in the Crossfit cyber arena, and they are labeled as Painstorm ___ (with Roman numerals dictating their place in the series). I managed to dig up a list of all the Painstorms up till November 2006 on the Internet, and here is the link:

I haven't done a Painstorm yet, although I think one looms ahead in the near future. I was looking through the list of Painstorms, however, and my eye fell on the last one:

Painstorm XIX (November 2006)
With a 70# bar how many rounds can you complete in 40 minutes of:
5 Deadlifts
5 Hang Power Cleans
5 Front Squats
5 Push Presses
5 Back Squats

I can already tell this will be pretty nasty, because I did a Crossfit workout that was similar in fashion just last week. Here it is:

Continuous Rotation:
Front Squat
Push Press
Back Squat
Rx'd (Rx'd means Prescribed Load): 65 lbs
As many reps as possible in 20 min

No. of Reps completed: 38

This workout is slightly different from the Painstorm one in the sense that you don't get a chance to put the weight down once you've picked it up for the deadlift. From the deadlift you go straight into the clean, stand up and then do a front squat below parallel, dip and drive into a push press, lower the bar behind your head such that it rests on your traps, and go into a back squat below parallel. That's one repetition. So if you set the bar down in between movements it's an incomplete rep and a no-count.

The cleans are the sticking point. Cleans are an explosive movement, and so either you get the bar up or you don't (or you do, partway, and then it falls on you, which isn't a pretty sight). Not like you can lower yourself into it as you would a squat. I think I spent the most time dithering on the cleans.

One of the most interesting things about Crossfit is that a long time is devoted to the warm-up (or W/U), such that the W/U itself is essentially a protracted workout, but you can take as long as you need to complete it, since it's meant as a skill refresher/ builder. For instance, the W/U prior to the above WOD was as follows:

Run 800 m
3 Rounds of:
10 Pushups
10 O-Bar (Olympic Bar = 45 lbs) Overhead Squats (OHS)
10 Pullups

Anyway, today's workout kicked ass. It was hard (as usual). Here it is, in case you're similarly inclined towards insanity, and want to give yourself a good hard kick in the seat of your pants:

070619 WOD
Row 500 m
30 Pullups
Row 500 m
30 Plyometric Jumps onto a 20" box
Row 500 m
30 Barbell Hang Power Snatches (if there's anything worse than cleans, it's snatches)
Row 500 m
30 Ring Push Ups
For Time

Following which you ought to be green in the face and foaming at the mouth if you've worked your socks off like you should have (the rows are hard efforts, not a lazy tug at the handle).

I love Crossfit, can you tell?

Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times, it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds 'til we take to the street
For we kill with the skill to survive


Sunday, June 17, 2007

My birthday is coming, so a wish list is in order:

1. Century Grant Wrist Wrap Boxing Gloves Century (14 oz)
I just need a pair of decent training gloves, nothing fancy - these are pretty economical and will suffice for working the heavy bag. We'll leave the flashy lace-up genuine leather ones for later.

2. Money, of course
Pretty self-explanatory. Isn't cash something we could always use more of?

3. Whole Foods Gift Cards
These are really awesome. I could live off hummus and black bean dip with carrots forever.

Shucks I have to think about this list. Will update as time goes by.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Real pleased with the way my clean & jerk (C&J) is coming along. I have a tendency to use my arms rather than rely on power from the hip extension, but going up in weight on the Olympic lifts forces me to to use leg power rather than purely arm power. Today the Crossfit workout was as follows:
1500 m row
21 C&J
1000 m row
15 C&J
500 m row
9 C&J
Rx'd: 95 lbs/ 75 lbs
For Time

Now if that isn't a crazy ass workout, I don't know what is. Hoo boy those cleans get me every time. And the snatches too. Anyway I made a list of some of my most hated - alright, most challenging - Crossfit/ Boot Camp exercises. And so here they are.
- Wall Balls to a 10 ft target
- Ball Slams with anything more than 30 lbs for an insanely high number of repetitions
- Weighted DB Stepups onto a 20-inch plyo box
- Pressing/ Heaving Snatch Balance
- Double Unders (pfffttt I need to work on jumping rope)
- Thrusters of any kind
- And of course, (Hooray) Burpees!

Taken from

World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Haha ok this is pretty random but American TV is awesome. I'm hooked on the Food Network. Top Chef 3 on Bravo TV premieres on Wednesday evening, The Next Food Network Star just started two weeks back and is proving to be an awesome reality show, and I can hardly live without my daily dose of the stunningly gorgeous Giada de Laurentiis and Iron Chef Bobby Flay.

And of course all the Mixed Martial Arts fights are pretty sweet. UFC, IFC, Tapout... Boxing - ESPN Friday Night Fights, aahh I wish there were things like that worth watching on Singapore TV.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

okay im going to leave this blog for random posts... i've decided to move my crossfit posts to another place, just so I can keep this blog for my occasional musings!

Friday, June 01, 2007

A video from last Monday's training session to whet your appetite. One of the toughest Crossfit workouts I've done so far.


"Fran on Crack" - a variant of the milder, but no less challenging "Fran", which is 21, 18, 12.

Workout as follows:
21 barbell thrusters
21 pullups
18 barbell thrusters
18 pullups
15 barbell thrusters
15 pullups
12 barbell thrusters
12 pullups
9 barbell thrusters
9 pullups
6 barbell thrusters
6 pullups
3 barbell thrusters
3 pullups
For Time

Can't remember my time, I should have taken it down. But I definitely know that it either took or seemed like forever. Watch and share my agony.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


0600 hrs

50 reps of:
Knees to Elbows
Kettlebell (KB) Swing
Weighted DB Squat

3 rounds of:
500 m row
50 Wallballs (14 lbs)
For Time

Time: 19:04

This was a tough workout, particularly because I haven't gotten the hang of wallballs. But it will get better!

1730 hrs
Same as 0600 hrs

20 KB swings
2 Ring Pushups
18 KB swings
4 Ring Pushups
16 KB swings
6 Ring Pushups
14 KB swings
8 Ring Pushups
12 KB swings
10 Ring Pushups
10 KB swings
12 Ring Pushups
8 KB swings
14 Ring Pushups
6 KB swings
16 Ring Pushups
4 KB swings
18 Ring Pushups
2 KB swings
20 Ring Pushups
For Time

Time: 9:03

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sigh it's been a tiring few days. But my fault I guess, I have a tendency to go overboard with training and workouts when I'm left to myself. Like now. It's spring term and so the workload is considerably less than a typical semester, so I only have class on Mon, Wed and Fri, and so I am basically left to my own devices the rest of the time.

Anyway I discovered the amazing wonders of Crossfit slightly over three weeks ago, and having been enlightened as to the principles behind this marvelous fitness philosophy, I will never go back to the days of drudgery in the gym when I spent anywhere between one to two (or more) hours pointlessly lifting weights or doing mindless cardio and things like that. Or even back to spinning sessions. I don't think I ever want to go near a spinning bike again. My goodness, Crossfit has entirely changed my mindset with regards to workouts. For instance, yesterday's workout was one of my favorites so far, because it incorporated deadlifts (which are my forte).

So basically the WOD (Workout of the Day) went like this:
10 deadlifts (at bodyweight - if you weigh 110 lbs, you use 110 lbs)
10 ring pushups (this really forces you to make use of your core muscles because of the unstable nature of the rings)
9 deadlifts
9 ring pushups
8 deadlifts
8 ring pushups
1 deadlift
1 ring pushup

All done for time. I did it at the 6:00 am class and clocked 6:48, and came back again at 5:30 pm and smashed my previous time, finishing in 5:12. Okay I didn't slack the first time alright, it's just that the rings I used weren't mounted properly and so I had to keep borrowing other people's rings. Anyway so you may wonder how you can justify a good workout when it only takes 5-6 minutes. But you can try it for yourself and let me know what you think. And the other key aspect of Crossfit is the way in which warmups are amply emphasized. Prior to the deadlift/ pushup WOD, we did a warmup that took even longer than the workout itself. It went like that:
600 m run
10 pullups
10 squats
400 m run
10 pullups
10 squats
200 m run
10 pullups
10 squats
So basically you feel like you just worked out when in fact you only just warmed up. But that's the beauty of Crossfit. The camaraderie between the people who work out at this Crossfit affiliate gym in Ann Arbor is awesome too. People come from all walks of life - I've met students, teachers, high school kids, grandmothers who can whoop asses, marathon runners, the really fit, the people who're striving to get back after a long layoff... you name it, Crossfit caters to everyone.

Anyway I think I'll start using this blog as a place to record my WODs. I don't care whether anyone reads it or not, but I need to be accountable to myself and for my mental and physical development. So if you're interested in hardcore fitness or want to accompany me on my WODs when I'm back in Singapore (or in Ann Arbor, for that matter), check out


0600 hrs

Set 1: 26 reps of each. Set 2: 20 reps. Set 3: 16 reps. Set 4: 10 reps. Set 5: 6 reps.
Dumbbell (DB) push-press (20 lbs per side for Sets 1-3; 25 lbs for Sets 4-5)
One-arm DB swing (25 lbs per side)
Weighted DB squats (20 lbs per side for Sets 1-3; 25 lbs for Sets 4-5)
Ring pushups
Building Run (approx 230 yds)
For Time

Time: 21:24

Dessert (courtesy of Jen)
100 yds walking lunge, 100 yds sprint, 100 yds walking lunge, 300 yds sprint.

1730 hrs

600m row
30 burpee-plyo box jumps (20'')
30 wallballs (14 lbs)
400m row
20 burpee-plyo box jumps (20'')
20 wallballs (14 lbs)
200m row
10 burpee-plyo box jumps (20'')
10 wallballs (14 lbs)
For Time

Time: 19:38

Dessert (courtesy of Doug):
100 Abmats

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Mental Aspect of Boxing
By Ross Enamait - Published in 2003 (taken from

Boxing is perhaps the most challenging sport of all. A boxer requires a unique blend of speed, strength, and endurance. In addition to these qualities, he must stand up to the punishment inflicted by an equally matched opponent. To withstand the inevitable pain and fatigue, the boxer must possess a mind that is as tough as his body.

Boxing is not just about getting into shape and mastering the tools of the sweet science. An equally important aspect of the fight game is having the mental fortitude to succeed. Boxing is unique from other sports, as a fighter must stand alone inside the ring. Even legendary trainers such as Eddie Futch and Angelo Dundee would exit the ring during rounds.

Regardless of your abilities, the time will come when you must battle fatigue. You may be hurt or injured, yet forced to continue. Boxing is not like other sports where you can look to the referee to call timeout. Instead, you must fight until the bell rings. You have the option to quit, but real fighters never will. Real boxers fight regardless of the adversity faced inside the ring.

A strong mind can help during these difficult times. The mind is a powerful tool that some never learn to control. For example, all boxers understand the importance of running, watching their diet, and training hard in the gym. Why then, are some fighters in amazing shape, while others only mediocre? Why do some fighters have difficulties making weight, while others weigh in perfectly every time? The answers to these questions lie within the mental discipline of the fighter. It is easy to cheat on your diet and easy to skip your roadwork. Unfortunately for many, boxing is not an easy sport.

A day in the life of a fighter consists of an early wakeup, followed by a morning session of running. Many fighters are up by 5:30 and running by 6 AM. While most people sleep soundly, boxers are out running the streets. Roadwork often consists of hills, sprints, and torturous intervals. The morning session is far from enjoyable, yet because of its importance, a fighter commits himself to it. There will be days when you are tired, perhaps you stayed up late, perhaps it is raining outside, or the wind is blowing feverishly in the winter. Boxing is different from other team sports, as many of the decisions must be made on your own.

Your coach is not there at 5:30 in the morning, reminding you to wake up and hit the roads. It is easy to hit the snooze button on your alarm and drift back to the dream that was abruptly halted by the annoying buzz.

What makes you decide to run, while others may choose to sleep? The decision often comes from deep inside. The man who wakes to run, runs not to look nice on the beach, rather he runs to inch himself closer to victory. He may be preparing for a regional amateur tournament, perhaps the nationals, or even a professional world title. At some point, you must decide on your own, how bad you want to win.

There will always be fighters who sleep, and others who wake. There will always be those who mess around at the gym, and those who train until the lights go out. You will have days when you’d rather not train. On your way to the gym, you consider driving past, yet you stop and turn towards the gym parking lot. Mentally, you must be strong to succeed in this sport. No one can make the decision for you to train. The decision must be made at the individual level. The best trainers in the world are only as good as the students they train. They can provide motivation and advice, but ultimately, the decision still rests in the hands of the fighter.

When you decide in your heart, that you want to succeed, your mind will take over. You begin to make boxing your sole purpose in life. You have to eat, sleep, and dream boxing to be the best. If you don’t, rest assured that someone else will. This is not a sport you play. This is a sport where you can get hurt. Boxing is a sport for warriors, those that are strong both mentally and physically. We will all face fear and doubt, but with dedicated training and experience, we learn to quell these feelings.

Consider the wait in the locker room before the bout. You are often left by yourself, while your trainer works with other fighters. You try to envision the fight in your head. There are times when you doubt yourself, even question your conditioning. Thoughts race through your head, but you remain calm showing no visible expression. You must hide your concern from the fighters around you. You shadow box to loosen the tightness fashioned from your nerves. When fight time comes, these thoughts quickly vanish. You rely on your training and fight your heart out. Through experience, you learn to overcome the anxiety. You realize that you are not alone, rather one of many who have faced such feelings.

The wait in the locker room is enough to break the average man. Most men have never been involved in a fair one-on-one fight. Most have never been punched in the face. For this reason, most cannot comprehend the feeling of sitting and waiting to do battle with another man, whose soul purpose is to knock you out. He has sweat and bled in the gym for one reason, to hand you defeat. You must face this challenge alone. Your friends and family can only watch from outside the ring.

The mind can play tricks on you. It may convince you to doubt yourself and your training. For this reason, you must train the mind to work for you, not against. The only way to achieve this state of mind is through experience and hard work. Experience comes from actual competition. You must fight and continue to learn.

If you lose, you must make the decision to get back up and fight. When a boxer loses, many are quick to call him a bum or over the hill. These people don’t realize that boxing is just like any other sport. It takes time to learn and master the techniques. You must learn from your losses and live to fight another day. No one can instill the mental toughness and work ethic required to become a champion. You must dig down, deep within and find these qualities on your own.

Train hard and believe in yourself. Through hard work, you will gain confidence in your training. Boxing is a sport that does not involve luck. Boxing is a sport that rewards those who work hard and overcome obstacles. Make the choice. Train like a champion and you can become a champion.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'll be taking my national membership exam for Phi Sigma Pi in a while, wish me luck! Induction's on Wednesday, and barring any unusual circumstances all the Beta Alpha initiates should become Brothers. It will be awesome. I've got a pretty tough job on my plate for next year, as I will be 5k co-chairperson with another guy from Beta Alpha (the Pi holds an annual 5k run/walk at the Arb to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation), and since this year's 5k was a roaring success we've got a challenge awaiting us if we want to top that! But Phi Sigma Pi has been amazing so far - initiation has been a blast, and as much as I had my doubts about joining a frat earlier this year I'm so glad I did.

This Easter weekend was lovely and I'm happy that I've rediscovered just what Christ's sacrifice on the cross means to me. Ever since I returned to pondering on the word of God and attending church and praying (and not just being a Sunday Christian, or Easter/ Christmas Christian, for that matter), God has blessed me so abundantly over and above what I could ever possibly fathom. And it's also so much easier to see the good in the bad - for instance, I could complain about the fact that it's crunch time right now, with papers and finals and crazy things like that, or I could wonder why God placed certain obstacles in my path that appear to be insurmountable and so, so enormous setbacks - but I know there is a reason for everything He has ordained and I can only put my faith in that knowledge.

There was a particular message from General Conference last week which really spoke to my heart. I thought it was plainly amazing and it couldn't have come at a better time. I've included it here -

It's True, Isn't It? Then What Else Matters?
Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy
Our conviction of the Savior and His latter-day work becomes the powerful lens through which we judge all else.
I take as my subject today something President Hinckley said in general conference in April of 1973.
I had just returned home from my mission. So much seemed ahead of me. Would I be able to consistently make the right choices throughout my life?
Then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of meeting a young naval officer from Asia. The officer had not been a Christian, but during training in the United States, he had learned about the Church and was baptized. He was now preparing to return to his native land.
President Hinckley asked the officer: "Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?"
The officer's face clouded, and he replied: "My family will be disappointed. . . . As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me."
President Hinckley asked, "Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?"
With his dark eyes moistened by tears, he answered with a question: "It's true, isn't it?"
President Hinckley responded, "Yes, it is true."
To which the officer replied, "Then what else matters?"
Through the years, I have reflected on these words: "It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?" These questions have helped me put difficult issues in proper perspective.
The cause in which we are laboring is true. We respect the beliefs of our friends and neighbors. We are all sons and daughters of God. We can learn much from other men and women of faith and goodness, as President Faust taught us so well.
Yet we know that Jesus is the Christ. He is resurrected. In our day, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the priesthood of God has been restored. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon is what we claim it to be. The promises of the temple are certain. The Lord Himself has declared the unique and singular mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be "a light to the world" and "a messenger . . . to prepare the way before [Him]" even as "the gospel roll[s] forth unto the ends of the earth."
It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?
Of course, for all of us, there are other things that matter. When I heard President Hinckley's talk as a 21-year-old, I needed to be serious about my studies; I needed employment to keep me in school; somehow I had to figure out how to convince a special young lady that she should take a chance on me; and I enjoyed other worthy activities.
How do we find our way through the many things that matter? We simplify and purify our perspective. Some things are evil and must be avoided; some things are nice; some things are important; and some things are absolutely essential. The Savior said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision. With prayer, study, obedience, and covenants, we build and fortify our faith. Our conviction of the Savior and His latter-day work becomes the powerful lens through which we judge all else. Then, as we find ourselves in the crucible of life, as Elder Oaks explained, we have the strength to take the right course.
President Hinckley said it this way: "When [an individual] is motivated by great and powerful convictions of truth, then he disciplines himself, not because of demands made by the Church but because of the knowledge within his heart."
Are we sufficiently motivated by "great and powerful convictions of truth"? Do our choices reflect this motivation? Are we becoming who we want to become?
It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?
We know what is right. A few years ago my wife, Kathy, was with our grandchildren while their parents were away. Our four-year-old grandson gave his little brother a strong push. After consoling the crying child, she turned to the four-year-old and thoughtfully asked, "Why would you push your little brother?" He looked at his grandmother and responded, "Mimi, I'm sorry. I lost my CTR ring, and I cannot choose the right." We need to be careful because excuses can impede our progress.
"Great and powerful convictions of truth" are found in the hearts of Latter-day Saints in nations across the world. This strength of faith carries the work of the kingdom forward.
Many years ago my wife and I stood by a courageous sister in France as her husband, still in his 30s, passed through the veil. The responsibility to righteously teach and guide her four young children alone seemed overwhelming. Yet 16 years later, her three sons have returned from missions, and her daughter is sealed in the temple.
I know a brother in Brazil who joined the Church as a 16-year-old, the only member in his family. When it was time for his mission, his parents objected. He heard nothing from them during his mission and returned home to his bishop's house. The story, however, has a happy ending as he now has a beautiful family, works as a dental surgeon, and his parents wish he could interest his brothers in the Church.
I know a brother in a Latin American country who, after his baptism, determined he would not only be honest in his tithing but would also fully pay his taxes, something his competitors did not do. The Lord blessed him for his honesty.
Many sacrifices are quietly accomplished: returned missionaries not delaying the responsibility of finding their eternal companion; righteous women desiring children and investing their lives in rearing them in love and truth; families carefully restricting the media and Internet influences that would tarnish their spirits; husbands and wives finding more time to be in the temple together.
Children can also develop this lens of faith. I recently met youth in Seoul, Korea, who, because of a rigorous school schedule, do not arrive home until very late each night yet attend early-morning seminary at 6:00 a.m. five days a week. I know an eight-year-old baseball player, a star of the team, who on his own explained to his coach that he could not participate in the final playoff game because it was to be held on Sunday.
Many of the quiet acts of deep faith are known only to God. But they are recorded in heaven.
It's true, isn't it? Then what else matters?
The Savior said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
I testify that it is true and that it does matter. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's amazing what meditating on scripture can do for you. I have some favorites, particularly in 2 Nephi.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
- 2 Nephi 31:20 (BOM)

3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
- 2 Nephi 33:3-4 (BOM)

A verse of encouragement from Doctrine and Covenants also aids greatly.

24 Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.
- D & C 90:24

And that verse naturally evokes this well-known one from Romans:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
- Romans 8:28 (NT)

Monday, March 26, 2007

24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Genesis 32:24-30

Thursday, March 15, 2007

ok so today has been a good day because I've been accepted into the University of Michigan Mortar Board Honor Society! whoopee the past few weeks have panned out very nicely for me. Finally getting my training back on track with a new Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer, just as the weather's becoming nicer and closer to something resembling moderately decent springtime temperatures. Must start running and lifting again. Haven't lifted in about 2 weeks, not good.

But next week will be a killer week because my assignment schedule looks like this:
Monday: POLSCI 389 6-page paper on peasantry, Mao, and development in China due
Wednesday: POLSCI 389 20-page first draft on political participation and the potential for liberal democracy in Singapore due
Thursday: BIOLOGY 118 3rd exam
Friday: POLSCI 481 10-12 page literature review for Honors thesis prospectus due

So basically I think I won't need to sleep at all next week. And of course there's still Phi Sigma Pi things to be done and events to attend as well as Mortar Board meetings... and classes, as usual. Sheesh I think I had better get started tomorrow if I intend to prevent myself from lapsing into insanity.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
- James 1:17 (KJV)

I was delighted to learn yesterday that I'd been accepted into the Accelerated Masters Level Program which will allow me to start on my first year of graduate-level study in Public Policy while concurrently completing my final year of undergraduate work. The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is ranked 3rd in the nation for Public Policy Analysis (after UC Berkeley and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government), and 8th overall in the USA for Public Policy Studies- and so it will be an excellent place for me to continue my education in public affairs. I really thank God for this wonderful opportunity since Masters' degree options are quite limited (in US schools, most social science graduate degrees require 2 or more years of study after graduating with a Bachelor's degree- my next options were to apply to Columbia or Northwestern's Medill for a one-year degree in political journalism, had I not been accepted to the Ford School). So the Accelerated track will allow me to finish both degrees in 4 years which is perfect. I hope to get an opportunity someday to do a doctorate in Political Science, but that will probably be quite a long way from now since Polsci graduate degrees take anywhere between 4-6 years to complete.

Yesterday was full of pleasant surprises- I received an invitation to the Honors Convocation and was also notified that I had been recognized as a James B. Angell Scholar for three consecutive terms and had also received University Honors. I entirely appreciate any accolade which can be added to my resume, ha ha.

And I also managed to register my car today (a 2002 black Ford Escape XLT SUV, shared with Wilson Liu) at the Secretary of State. And I just couldn't resist- I had to get a personalized license plate, since you can't get one of those in SG, and here it is!

Yeah I know, it's very nice. Ha ha.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
- Ether 12:27 (BOM)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

5 days in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley of California, triathlon training, great company, wonderful food, breathtaking scenery and balmy weather- could I ever ask for more? Spring break looks to be a wonderful time! I reached Santa Barbara today after having to take a later flight due to nothing less than my own folly. For some reason I thought the flight was boarding at 1.30 pm and leaving at 2.05 pm, and only realized at 1.35 pm that it had left at 1.05 pm and was touching down in SBA at 2.05 pm. But thanks to some lovely folks at the LAX airport I managed to get a seat on the next flight out to SBA (in a propeller SAAB aircraft complete with one flight attendant, no less) and reached there to find my bag and bike case safe and sound (those had come on the earlier flight which I was supposed to be on).
We started the camp with a 4.3 mile run on rolling hills winding through and around the perimeter of a couple vineyards, and I realized how terribly unfit I was when I started panting up a terribly steep hill that never seemed to end. And there were two of those in quick succession. But I think it will all be good in the end. Put my sweet Felt S22 bike together and I'm looking forward to getting a chance to ride it after such a long wait- it will be great to get to do that in the beautiful valleys of Solvang. I'm staying at this quaint inn called the Meadowlark Inn and enjoying myself thoroughly- it's rustic and there are a total of nine pillows on my bed. For the life of me I can't figure out why they'd ever think anyone would need nine pillows all at once, because they pretty much take up the entire bed. I guess it's better than not having any, though.
On a separate note, when I was on my way back on the run just now, I saw a familiar-looking type of steeple from afar and as I approached the inn my hunch was confirmed- I must say, God never ceases to amaze me with the signs He introduces into my life to assuage my misgivings and fuel my growing conviction that perhaps this is true after all. It is just so incredible, the way He works.
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way - but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

- 2 Nephi 4:33-35

Saturday, February 17, 2007

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

-Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV)

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It’s undeniable that we should be together
It’s unbelievable, how I used to say that I’d fall never
The basis is need to know
If you just don’t know how I feel
Then let me show you that now I’m for real
If all the things in time, time will reveal

One, you’re like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you
Three, girl it’s plain to see
That you’re the only one for me, and
Four, repeat steps one through three
Five, make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I’ll start back at one

It’s so incredible, the way things work themselves out
And all emotional, once you know what it’s all about, hey
And undesirable, for us to be apart
I never would’ve made it very far
’Cause you know you got the keys to my heart

Say farewell to the dark of night
I see the coming of the sun
I feel like a little child, whose life has just begun
You came and breathed new life into this lonely heart of mine
You threw out the lifeline
Just in the nick of time

Brian McKnight Back At One

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Doing a quick post before I get back into completing my preliminary bibliography for my thesis work! This blog is so dead. It appears like my resolutions to update never seem to transpire. The perennial excuse being, that, after all, I always already have too much on my plate. So anyhow, I'll just grab whatever opportunity I have to fill this site with some of my ramblings about how life has been so far. The semester is looking to be an awesome one, albeit busy. 3 POLSCI classes, all honors-level (challenging, no doubt, but I find them to be some of the best courses I've ever taken, with excellent faculty), a biology class and a chemistry course to fulfill my natural science requirements. Biology 118 is perhaps the... well, I won't call it slackest, but you know what I mean. I am entirely disinterested in Chem 105- I can't even remember the name of the course, that's how bad it is- it's something to do with atmospheric and oceanic systems. Lots of equations, lots of flashbacks to physical geog in RJC- I think the 2 years' worth of phygeog never really sunk into my head. But it'll be okay. As long as I get my credit for it in the end.

I rushed (that basically means, in formal terms, apply for a fraternity/ sorority in the Greek society language) Phi Sigma Pi, a co-ed Honors Frat last week and over the weekend. Last Tuesday there was a "Meet-the-Brothers" event, something akin to a speed-dating event where all the (rushees? rushers? I don't know) were paired up and would move from table to table, manned by brothers (all members of the frat are brothers, even if they're girls- I like the sound of that), where they'd be pummelled with questions left right and center. Basically the goal of rush events are for the brothers to decide who they want to invite into the frat, because after all the rush events and interviews are over, they usually have a chapter meeting and vote on who to elect to join the frat. Anyway that was great fun and I don't think I'd ever met so many people in the course of half an hour (we had two minutes at each table, so it was a whirlwind). On Sunday I attended another rush event, which was a Teach for America session where we packed backpacks to send to children in New Orleans, in places which had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. On this note, I really appreciate how Phi Sigma Pi (the Pi from now on) does so much good work in organising community events and other things that benefit the larger society, on top of being a social organisation where cool and like-minded people can hang out. I guess that's what drove me to rush in the first place. We had interviews on Sunday, which didn't really faze me considering the tons of interviews I've been through in the course of my young life (HAHA)- in fact, I really enjoyed myself and I hope I didn't blabber too much rubbish either.

So anyway I got a bid to join the Pi yesterday night and that was pretty awesome. Out of the 40-odd people who rushed, they accepted 16 new initiates- and we're now the Alpha Delta pledge class! And I finally got to paint the Rock (that's a huge chunk of, well, rock- don't ask me what kind, remember I don't know shit about physical geog- located prominently somewhere just off Central Campus), which is commonly painted by frats/ sororities/ student organisations. Everyone keeps painting it over and over until no one's actually quite certain what the size of the original rock is, seeing that it's layered with a gazillion coats of paint. Bloody cold night, temperature about 20 below freezing, but still pretty awesome! Photos will follow shortly, Blogger is being a nasty little prick by not letting me upload anything right now. Anyway, back to work!

Okay I finally uploaded them (manually, gah.) Presenting... the Rock!

And the Alpha Delta Pledge Class of Phi Sigma Pi!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

ICF k1 200m sprint

now tell me, is this sweet or what?