Thursday, July 11, 2013

The accidental cutback week

Hi kids,

My immune system has taken an unexpected and VERY unauthorised vacation so I'm actually taking a rest this week. By which I mean 'not running', not 'calling in sick'. (Deadlines.) Honestly, I'm not really super sick - I just feel wheezy and fatigued and addled enough not to run. If I wasn't so obnoxiously healthy from regular fresh air and running, I think I'd be a lot more incapacitated than I am right now.

On Tuesday I was sore all over but couldn't tell if that was from my once-a-week strength routine or actually falling sick. So of course I went to track. On Wednesday night I did try to swim and made it about half a mile -- chlorine kills germs, right? And it's just a teeny tiny sore throat? That showed me on Thursday. Serves me right.

Anyway I have to think up ways to entertain myself and you while I languish on the sofa, so here goes. My life is average.

Things I do when I'm not running:

- Read
I'm currently very much liking Cheryl Strayed's 'Wild' (too long, didn't read? woman loses her mother, family falls apart, marriage falls apart, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Bonus: Strayed is not her original birth name, in case you were wondering.) Tom Rachman's 'The Imperfectionists' about a dysfunctional newsroom in Rome made me twitch, it hit so close to home.  Also looking forward to reading Chimamanda Adichie's 'The Thing Around Your Neck' (short stories).
The other day at track a teammate said, you must be tired of reading because you have to read and write so much for work. What? No - I chose this job because I like it. Never trust a journalist who doesn't read. It's not a vacation until I'm on the plane with my Economist and my Cosmo at the same time.

- Invent new slushy flavours in my pocket-sized miniature blender. Seriously. Thing has about a two-cup capacity. It's cute. Watermelon and blueberry, anyone? How about some dragonfruit, fragrant pear, and honey? Were you wondering how rambutans would fare when frozen? Strangely Mr GCA tends to decline my more interesting experiments. I have no idea why...

- Listen to music. I've already written about my undying love for fun. One of the highlights of my life was watching Nine Inch Nails live on Trent Reznor's "final" tour. He lied though and Came Back Haunted:

And then made up for it by giving us the definitive list of NIN singles.
Another one was watching Metric live. It cost me $80 (but what to do, I've liked them since 2003). Singapore is one of the most terrifyingly expensive places in the world to be a live music fan. Something to do with schlepping all of your gear and your roadies around Asia, whaddya know.
Other things I will pay good ca$h moneys to watch live include: Matthew Dear, MGMT whom I've also loved since they were a little baby band, Daft Punk with or without any of their collaborators, and Of Montreal.
Of COURSE none of these is any good as a running playlist (Matthew Dear and Daft Punk work but I also need me some Mika, Little Boots, and, quite unabashedly, the unholy trinity of Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.)

- Work, kind of a frack-ton.
Or at least, think about work a lot even when I'm not doing it. I cover environment and science, so you'll also find me on Twitter talking to total strangers on the Internet about shale gas exploration in China, palm oil in Indonesia, and biodiversity, land use conflicts and transport planning in Singapore. I like what I do (except why is there so MUCH of it?).

Things I don't, at all, ever:

- Accept promo freebies for reviews
So in J-school they teach you a little thing called journalism ethics. Most inconveniently, this leaks over into my personal life, up to and including this blog - I'm pre-emptively stating site policy here before I ever (ha ha) develop a large enough readership to be worth sending free stuff. I promise you!! that I have paid/ will pay for everything I review on this blog. Sure, I've will gladly review races, running stores, shoes, tank tops, shorts...but you can be certain that's just my own opinion. I won't turn down a good sale, but if your company sends me free socks, I appreciate the notion very much but will send them right back.

- Snack. True, I eat all the time. When I'm hungry. What is this oddly American (? I may be wrong, correct me) obsession with having snacks on hand all the time in case of a sudden hunger attack? Especially on planes? (Sorry Holly. Er...I may or may not have been carrying the same squashed Soyjoy in my purse for three weeks.) Related to that, I tend not to take pictures of my food and certainly not Instagram them. Everyone and their sister has seen oatmeal before regardless of whether it's made with Greek yoghurt and chia seeds or not. I am a product of a time B.D.C (Before Digital Cameras) and still do not think most of my food is spectacular enough to warrant wasting film (or phone battery) on. Unless it's a GC experiment. Then I have to document it as evidence in case someone gets food poisoning.

- Do yoga (I have tried. It never took. Your mileage may vary, I have nothing against people who do like yoga.) I do stretch and am very stretchy and enjoy stretching. It's the people saying things like 'today we are going to do this with Intention' to me while I try to have a good stretch, that I don't much like.

- take ice baths (bathtub? what bathtub), watch TV (except Community and Archer, but I have the attention span of a's just not a huge priority in my life)...

...or sleep enough, apparently. (She said, before passing out.)


  1. Mythomanic's hubby (In the next room)July 11, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Go to sleep!

  2. There is oh-so-much in this post that is commentable.

    1. The Imperfectionists piqued my interest and kept me reading, but I found it rather like eating popcorn when you're hungry: It kinda tastes good, but you put in a lot of work and in the end it's just a tiny pile of mush. Perhaps this is because I never worked in journalism?

    2. I just discovered that three of the songs from Les Mills BodyPump and/or Spin (which I've been humming incessantly for the past 6 months) are Fun! songs, thanks to a mystery CD in my Dad's car on our recent trip to the US. I will now be acquiring said CD, or at least MP3.

    3. I understand why you have no interest in Corinne May. Our music lives are NOT parallel.

    4. I'm with ya on the freebies. But what do you say if...for example...THEY give me something so that I can give it away so I get lots of traffic to my blog? Then what???? *snark*

    5. Gym yoga doesn't include much "om"ing at all. Mostly just stretching. And giggling, if you go to Sherlin's class. Which I, obviously, highly recommend.

    6. OK. So, in many parts of the US (although perhaps not where you went to school), especially 15 years ago, you carried your own food, or you went hungry. Decent food (like, not Little Debbie snack cakes from the gas station) isn't as cheap in the US - NOR is it available on every (if I may borrow the expression) "fracking" corner. Like, I grew up 25 minutes from the nearest grocery store. And there were a few bakeries, and bar and an Italian restaurant between here and there (all buttoned up by 9 PM), but honestly - Singaporeans are ridiculously spoiled as far as price and availability of food.

    For example, as a high school student, if I didn't bring it, or buy it at the school cafeteria (don't know about school food in Singapore, but in the US, it's pretty gross), then I WASN'T CONSUMING IT, from 7:45 AM (when school started) until 7:00 PM (after school, clubs and swim practice). Ergo: SNACKS. Lots of them.

    As a college student, I packed food from the cafeteria to eat during lunchtime meetings, so I could eat on the other end of campus between class and lab (there was no food on that end of campus, and I thought the walking back and forth was a waste of time).

    As a grad student, my options were college cafeteria food, hospital cafeteria food, or a 15 minute journey + at least $10 for lunch every day. On a grad student salary? Methinks not. Plus, if I brought my own was healthy.

    So culturally, yes. I pack food. I think that Singaporean reliance on buying food everywhere is strange. So very strange. If I ever work outside the apartment here, I will still bring my lunch to work (just like I eat it at home every day), to eat at my desk, most likely. Why dilly dally for an hour at lunchtime, when you could instead get out an hour earlier (except for an occasional "bonding lunch" with co-workers, etc.)?

    And finally...the over-salty, oddly textured airline food makes me feel slightly queasy after a meal or two. Tell me...would you rather eat an airline omelet & potatoes (or beef noodles), or some fresh cherries, half a bagel, and a chocolate chip cookie? To me, the choice is clear.

    I don't know if it's me, or Americans, but yes - I often pack food. Sometimes lots of it. So that when I'm hungry, I always have something handy. Something that I know I'll like, that is relatively good for me, and that was cheaper what whatever I'm intending to buy.

    [And this isn't to avoid eating local food; I like local food. I was the same way (moreso, in fact) in the US. Last summer, I would drive somewhere to bike for 40-60 miles, and back a whole cooler of food to eat when I was finished cycling, before driving home. The center console of my car pretty much always had some granola bars in it. And if it were me, I would have cycled through 15 soy joy bars in the last 3 months. ;-)]

    1. Holly! Your comments had me in stitches. Going backwards...

      6. The approach to snacking I was raised with is probably somewhere closer to the French ( than the American styles, but I also grew up in a city where food is quite accessible. So of course I understand the carrysnackseverywhereallthetime! approach if you come from an area with sparser amenities. (I wonder what the New Zealand approach to snacking is.)

      Nah, I hate airline food too. But I never seem to get VERY hungry on a plane. I think it's the experience of flying that kills my appetite. Or something to do with sitting down most of the time... I may finally eat that Soyjoy bar on the plane though.

      On lunch: Whether we ate lunch at our desks or not, Singaporean workers would probably get out at the same time anyway (sigh), so why not go out? It's relatively cheap, readily accessible, and may be the only sunshine we see all day. The late-shift workers, particularly the subs and copyeditors, sometimes pack dinner as there's no sunshine to be had anyway, but when I'm on late shift, I'm not functional enough to be that organised.

      5. I'm still sad I never made it to Sherlin's yoga class during that trial week, because her spin class was a riot.

      4. HAHAHA. That's a grey area, even newspapers and TV stations have promotional tie-ups. However, as I'm not relying on the blog to make a living (whereas yours is very closely related to your REAL BUSINESS!), I'd feel better not doing it. :)

      3,2. But we probably have more in common musically than you think from looking at that brief list.

      1. Imperfectionists: not perfect and yes, a bit hollow at the end. But very entertaining. I think journalists relate to it much more than the rest of you non-dysfunctional people.


  3. For some reason blogger deleted your sunbird comment so I could not respond to it. I remember reading something about sunbirds a couple of posts ago on your blog, so I thought of you when I was putting the pictures up!

    I didn't know that was a girl! Now I have to wait around and see if I can spot a boy! There was another with a dark cap on its head but it moved too quickly for me.

    Also, I volunteer to be the recipient of your blender experiments. Yum, dragonfruit! Have a good rest!

    1. Aw! Now, wait and see if you can spot a boy; there are also these guys: the boy brown-throated and crimson sunbirds are spectacular.

  4. Your husband is a culinary coward! What is a husband for if not to taste-test and adore everything that their wife creates. I'm sure that's in the marriage vows. He needs to lift his game and try your slushies.

    1. Haha! We forgot to write 'and to eat all that the other provides' in after 'to love and to cherish'. It's all right, he eats all my other experiments.