Busy day - John C. Kirk
Jul. 23rd, 2003
11:51 am - Busy day
Well, yesterday was a pretty full day. I went off climbing at Westway again, and passed the "do you know what you're doing?" test. This means that I don't have to be supervised, and can in turn supervise other people. In practical terms, it means that if only two of us can turn up, it's still worthwhile for the other person, since he/she can then climb too, rather than just being stuck at the bottom of the wall belaying me.
The climbing itself went well. There were a couple of 3+ routes which seemed harder than they were the last time I went. Either they've rearranged the bolt-ons (the staff are modifying/adding routes at the moment), or that's just the effect of me not going climbing last week. After that, someone suggested a route which I haven't done before. As usual, I took a look at the board on the wall, which has an index of all the routes, and their grades (i.e. difficulty level - the higher the number, the harder the climb). I was told not to look, but by that point I'd already seen it - 4+. Since the hardest route I've climbed so far was a 4, I was a bit dubious about this, but I figured I'd give it a go. The hardest part was about half-way up, where I was about to give up on it, but I managed to get past that, the rest of the route was a easier, and I made it to the top. So, I'm glad I was prodded into it, as I wouldn't have attempted it or completed it otherwise. After this, another route was suggested, and this time I followed the advice by not looking at the board. I got part of the way up, but then abandoned it, as I just couldn't get any further (partly because I was sweating so much that I couldn't get a decent grip on the wall). When I got back down, I took a look at the board - "6a+/b". Oi! I'm not surprised I couldn't do it if it was that hard! Mind you, other people who have successfully climbed it have said that it's not actually that hard, so that does put the onus back on me. Ah well, I'll try again next week. The new climbing shoes are definitely helping, but I'll be glad when they stop crushing my feet (once I've broken them in a bit). It will also be nice when they stop turning my feet yellow (from the dye coming off)!
After climbing, we all went off for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. I don't normally go to those kind of places (I prefer Italian food), but the food was surprisingly good ("8 Treasure Tofu" - vegetarian version). It tasted good, filled me up (I couldn't actually finish it all), and was cheap. And I seem to be getting the hang of chopsticks.
Then onto juggling at Imperial. There's an odd chain reaction going on here - I first got involved with ICSF after I met baratron at a book signing, and then people in ICSF have introduced me to climbers/jugglers. Anyway, I did a bit of practice there (with some balls that Chris kindly donated to me), and got some useful pointers from other people. And I'll be interested to see how well the photos come out. Once the light went, we all moved into the Southside bar. There were the random conversations that you only get when you have students from several different subjects around, e.g. "The professor went off on a tangent in his lecture, then went off on a tangent to that tangent". "Can you get a tangent to a tangent, mathematically speaking? Isn't that just the original line?" "Ah well, if you warp space-time, with non-Euclidean geometry..."
We also played some table football. Now, it's been several years since I last played this game. I mentioned this to the other people, and they asked whether I was Greek - apparently it's a common Greek practice to claim to be bad, while actually being good. Anyway, I soon demonstrated that I really am that bad :) We were playing in teams (2 people to a side), and after I won the coin-flip I decided that I'd play offense (i.e. the front two rows of players). My reasoning for this was that if I don't score, then it's not good, whereas if I'm in defence, and I let a goal in, that's actively bad. However, once we were 5-0 down (out of 9 balls), my partner said that we should switch. One wrinkle I should mention at this point is that there's a traditional forfeit involved in this game - if you lose 9-0, you have to run a lap of the quad outside in your underwear. There was a brief discussion about whether this should apply to a non-juggler (i.e. me), but the conclusion was yes, since I knew about it before I started playing. Anyway, by this point the other guy (whose name I don't recall - Dave?) had clearly decided that while we would definitely lose, it was in our interests to score at least one goal, which he promptly did. I think the final score was 7-2, but I'm not certain about that. We then had a rematch (same teams), and the two of us stayed in the same positions (i.e. me in defence), although we swapped to the other side of the table. Once we got to 6-0, we switched positions again. By the time it got to 8-0, I was starting to get a bit concerned... I finally scored, more by luck than anything else, which was quite a relief. It wasn't exactly the winning goal, nor did I "quit while I was ahead", but that was my basic attitude at this point - I didn't get completely defeated, and that's good enough for me!