Saturday, December 20, 2008

Recent reads

Thermopylae


As a total outsider to Ancient Greek history, I found this book hard to follow. Too many unfamiliar names being brought up. But the names are brought to context by the author Paul Cartledge so one begins to get acquainted with names and terms like Herodotus, Plutarch, Greco-persian wars. Anyway, obviously my interest was piqued when I watched 300. I rewatched it before the marathon and the words of Gorgo to Leonidas "Come back with your shield or on it". Some borrowed bravado to complete 42K. Pretty apt since the battle at Marathon was important in the War against the Persians.

The Mystic Masseur


VS Naipaul is probably an author that is a must-read but this is the first of his books that I have read and will definitely not be the last. This novel is written simply but reads vividly as though I was watching a movie. He adds interesting details to the description of the characters and what they are doing that the characters take on a life in the book. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this over 3 days.

The Children of Hurin


I have read the entire trilogy of the LOTR but I felt this book to be more captivating. Its well described as one of the more dark stories by Tolkien but still not off-puttingly dark. Its more dramatic in terms of what the character Turin faces and is a deviation from the long detailed descriptions found in the trilogy especially of the battles. So in a way, I found this book to be a better read.

All these books were from the MPH sale at the Expo and were selling at $8 a piece.

Labels:

Monday, December 08, 2008

When you know the bad times, the good times get even better*.

16 years ago, I came down with Nephrotic Syndrome. Its a disease of the kidney which causes you to leach out proteins. The symptoms include tiredness, edema (swelling of tissues due to water retention). The only treatment was steroids (prednisolone) and I was on that for a good 2 years - there are several side effects. Anyway my kidneys were in danger. And I was sick for about 3 years, had to regulate my water in-take and visit the doc every 2 weeks. I was in and out of the hospital the first few months. By then I could forget about running and playing soccer competitively. But miraculously, after going to church, praying fervently with especially my mother's and family's support, fasting, going to the Novena, having the love of true friends and being healed by Jesus, I was medically discharged and weaned off medication, saving me from being put on stronger medicine and the $150 price tag every fortnight.

Those were the bad times for me. I can't imagine how much more terrible it is for people who suffer with long term illnesses.

My running partner, Darryl, who suffered with me yesterday and was really a great crutch at the 38K mark, asked me why were were doing this at the 40K mark. And I said "because lah". But I think it was more than that. I was celebrating the good times I am having right now; and with all these runs, I find myself thanking God as I run, as I am able to run in such races, and as I reach that finish line each time.

6hrs 55mins 14 secs. Really long.

Hat-tips:

To my brother-in-law Darryl. Thanks for waiting for me at the 38K mark when I felt like I was going to pass out. I don't think I would have made it if you weren't beside me. The next 2 km were the longest I have had to walk. (We stopped running at the 36K mark and walked the rest until the final stretch.). To other runners who might want to run the marathon - the Wall exists, we really hit it hard. I was lying down on my back at the bus stop with my legs propped on the bench. A timely 10 min break. It wasn't a pretty sight.

My running kaki

Jen's sms. It reads "Hang in there! M so proud of you! Love you." That gave me a boost at the 39K mark.

Patt-strap. This is a strap for the Iliotibial Band injury on my right knee that I have to deal with. My knees wouldn't have made past even the 20K mark without it.

Deep-heat - thanks to all those deep-heat angels along the route. I slathered my knees with it. Really took the pain off. But I think I shouldn't have overdone the deep-heat though.

*This morning as I watched Anthony Bourdain with a bunch of Colombian street rappers enjoying a more pacific Colombian neighbourhood sans street warfare due to more development at the neighbourhood. He made this comment as he dug into some street food with them; and I found the slant for this post.

finisher!

Labels:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Marathon

We completed it...

Marathon

Labels:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dung beetles in Singapore

I am not crapping here. Ha ha.

dung_beetle_Macritchie

Its the school break and this means more nature walks at Macritchie. This time, a bunch of students and I are doing our walks in the hope of coming up with a useable guide for other students. The weather has been great and the walks are usually scheduled in the morning to avoid the afternoon rain.

The walks have been enlightening, coupled with the fact that the students are high-spirited. It takes a while to get use to their purposefully lame jokes and their msn talk. Enlightening because each time we go there, there is something new to see. Take for instance, this dung beetle - which may be a roller dung beetle, that goes by the latin name Paragymnopleurus maurus. (Thanks to Janice from NUS Biological Sciences who is doing her dissertation on this rather curious group of Coleopterans). We met this guy "rolling in shit" or more accurately - "rolling the shit", along the Petai Trail.

I suspect many of us would think dung beetles existed outside Singapore and in the Serengeti or something like that. But apparently they are found in Southeast Asia and locally as well. There's something new to learn all the time.

Labels: