Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 15 & 16 (2013)

Week 15 & 16: April 7 - 20

(Week 15)
Badminton: 4.5 / 5
School: 2.5 / 5
Misc: 4 / 5
Overall: 3.67 / 5

(Week 16)
Badminton: 2 / 5
School: 3 / 5
Misc: 2 / 5
Overall: 2.33 / 5

I apologize for lumping both weeks together, but I was away in Lima, competing at the Peru International in Week 15, and then coming back for 3 final exams in Week 16. To top it off, I also had the BC Provincials to play on Friday and Saturday. I am finally done, so hopefully I can keep updating a bit more regularly for the next little while! I will do my best to update chronologically, so I guess the most interesting part will be up first: Peru International!

As Air Canada was sold out on flights coming back, all of us Vancouver booked the flight with United/Continental to fly down to Lima, Peru. Typically, there are 2 major routes down via Star Alliance partners and it would be usually United or Air Canada. I would fly Air Canada if the flight is cheap, but it connects in Toronto and sometimes the flights don't sync up, meaning that if you flew to Toronto early in the morning, you still might miss the flight to Peru and have to go the next day. The other option, which I've done a few times now, is fly from Vancouver to Houston, then Houston to Lima. Unfortunately, the flight to Houston is really early in the morning (~06:30) but it gets us into Lima on the same day (arrive ~23:00). The reason we stick to these airlines is to gather Aeroplan status miles, as options are limited in Canada. Perhaps if Westjet joined One World, maybe that would be a cheaper alternative, as you could fly American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Otherwise, you're stuck with Air Canada, Lufthansa, United, and a couple other ones, but apparently it's not easy getting into Asia. It was quite costly booking flights to Malaysia for the 2013 Sudirman Cup coming up at the end of May.

My unique luggage stickers
Anyway, I traveled down with the ClearOne group, including Adrian Liu, Joycelyn Ko, Derrick Ng, and Christin Tsai, so it was nice to travel with some other people. The flights went quite smoothly and I ended up doing a lot of studying. I remember going through my neuroanatomy textbook and the flight attendant asked me what I was studying. I showed her the cover, and she gave me this... look (the 'ugh' look), so that was kind of funny. Perhaps she was just empathizing, but regardless, I found it quite humorous. The flights were quite long, and I ended up watching a couple of movies, including 'Jack Reacher' (2012) and 'House At The End Of The Street' (2012). I actually watched 'HatEofS' first, as I enjoy watching horror movies, but I felt both movies weren't too bad and they entertained me thoroughly. Perhaps it's due to the limited options you have on an airplane, so I may be over-rating both these movies. I felt 'Jack Reacher' kind of ended a little abruptly, while 'HatEofS' was a simple movie, and giving away any more information might spoil the movie, so I will leave it at that. By far, the best thing I saw, was a TV series called 'Impractical Jokers', where 4 friends have competitions with each other in various scenarios and the biggest loser out of a set of challenges per episode have an extra punishment they have to do that humiliates them even further. It's definitely worth checking out, and it made about an hour and a half of the plane ride go faster, as I watched all 3 episodes that United provided.

Official Website
Finally, we arrive in Peru, where we begin our first set of 'challenges'. Christin arranged rooms with the Ontario people, so I suppose they contacted the tournament organizers directly. Unfortunately for the rest of us, due to communication errors, we didn't have an airport pick up, nor did we end up getting a room at the tournament hotel we booked at. So, we were at the Bayview hotel which had no rooms, and we were desperately searching for a nearby hotel. Joyce remembered a nearby hotel they stayed at last time, so with the help of Google Maps and some locals (remember, stuff isn't always labeled correctly on Google!), we walked with our luggage to the El Tambo hotel, maybe 5 blocks away. By the time we got our rooms, it was probably about 1:30am and we had practice at 9:30-11:00am the next day! Oh well, such is life.

(Source: Me) El Tambo - Lobby
(Source: Me) El Tambo - Room
(Source: Me) El Tambo - Restaurant
We made it to the practice without too much difficulty and had a decent practice. The venue was the same as the 2012 Pan Am Championships, so I didn't have much trouble adjusting. After practice, we had lunch with the other Canadians before heading back to the hotel to rest. I ended up studying the whole afternoon, went back out for dinner, then... the fun began. We decided to extend our rooms for the rest of the week, but unfortunately the hotel was fully booked! There was a fashion trade show in Lima that weekend, and everything was pretty much booked up. They told us to wait til the morning to check with their sister hotel nearby, but Adrian suggested we go find it ourselves and try to book first. It was a really good thing we did that, as it ended up being fully booked as well. We decided to check out the Lima Wasi, another tournament hotel, but they were fully booked. We started getting a bit nervous, when we walked to the Mariott (4.5 star, $360/night) to ask for a room, but they were fully booked as well! They told us that all the popular higher class hotels were fully booked, including the Hilton, so that saved us a trip. We continued walking further, checking out the Ibis, Colon, and Embajadores, then finally came to the Ferre, the other tournament hotel. Fortunately, they had one double room, but they weren't sure about the 2nd room, but at least guaranteed us 2 single rooms. At least we found a hotel...

Follow the (Purple) letters!

So the next morning, I was off to play Men's Singles, as the other Canadian player withdrew from the tournament due to an injury, and I won a 3 setter against a player from the Dominican Republic. He had a pretty good attacking game and I also made a lot of mistakes, but I was able to adapt a bit better at the end and came through with the win. Unfortunately, my next round would be the tournament's top seeded player, but that was the least of my worries at the moment. I took a taxi back to the new hotel we were staying at to confirm rooms, then walked back to the El Tambo to check out. Fortunately, the others didn't have to play until Friday, so they were okay. After moving hotels, the rest of the tournament went quite smoothly, minus the fact that the tournament kept changing the transportation schedule on us, so a few of us ended up taking taxis and getting reimbursed later on. That evening, I went 3 sets with Kevin Cordon of Guatemala, the top Pan American Men's Singles player. Even though it went 3 sets, I never felt in control of the game and was always chasing. It didn't really bother me as his skills were much better than mine in Singles, but it was nice to challenge him and it was overall a great learning experience. Definitely gave me a lot of things to think about after the match!

Lunch at Chili's
The rest of the tournament went quite smoothly for the Canadians up until the semifinals. I actually think that all Canadian players that went down made at least the semifinal or better in one event! I think that's pretty good for Canada! Some really close matches, especially the Women's Singles semifinal where Christin defeated Michelle Li for the first time! The match was well over an hour and it was a really good match between the both. I think it will be interesting how it turns out the next time, as Michelle will be eager to try to establish her dominance in the event, while Christin may have new found confidence... but that may have to wait a while as we will all be teaming up at the World Mixed Team Championships (Sudirman Cup) in Malaysia next month! In terms of the other matches, things typically went the same way they had in the past except for the Women's Doubles final, where Michelle and Grace Gao defeated Joycelyn and Christin in straight sets. After the tournament, I went to study for the rest of the day until we had to go to the airport and take a red eye flight to Houston. From Houston, we flew to Los Angeles and then back to Vancouver, as it was better than waiting for the direct flight from Vancouver to Houston, which would have gotten us home at about 10pm Vancouver time, making it almost a 24 hour travel period. Unfortunately for me, I had to keep studying...

XD Medalists
WD Medalists
MD Medalists
WS Medalists
Working hard, or hardly working? 
(via PhotoGrid - Android)

The NEXT MORNING (Tuesday), I had to be up and ready to write my deferred neuroanatomy exam. It wasn't so easy and I felt I could have studied a bit more, but perhaps my approach to the course wasn't so accurate. I spent a lot of time with the textbook and reading things that were a bit too detailed at times, when I probably should have focused on just the lecture notes. The textbook made some things confusing, which ended up wasting time because I had to look it up to try to understand it, and it ended up being too complicated and non-examinable anyway. Although at times, it was interesting to delve deeper, the information I remember wasn't of use in the context of the course and I probably didn't remember everything about it anyway. I suppose it will be a valuable lesson on being more specific in what I have to learn and that I shouldn't try to learn everything, because that's simply not possible. Anyway, I went home right away after my exam and began reviewing for my biochemistry final, which was the next morning, also at 8:30am. You can start to see how Peru International is kind of on the brink of "academic suicide". Regardless, I was able to focus and study and overall, I felt reasonably prepared for my biochem final. Again, there were many things that were too detailed, but my approach to the course was slightly better, as I spent the majority of my time on the lecture slides, and just skimmed the textbook. Actually, I skimmed 3 different textbooks, and I think that may have been what saved me from failing (well, we'll know for sure when my marks come back...).

I took most of the day off after, as I felt a bit burnt out and did very light studying for my Friday exam on skeletal muscle physiology. I actually went to train, as I had to prepare for the BC Provincials on the weekend, and I'm quite glad I did at least a bit of conditioning. Unfortunately, later than night, I started feeling an itch in my throat and by the next morning, I was dealing with runny noses and sore throats. Studying was still fairly productive, but since my final was at noon on Friday, I still had the morning. On Friday, the sore throats were getting worse but not enough to become a cough yet, fortunately, so I was able to go through my exam without coughing up a storm, because no matter what you do, nothing seems to come out of a 'dry cough'. Regardless, I finished the final and had to get ready for the tournament. No rest for the wicked.

Due to low entries in the tournament, we were playing everything round robin (play everybody in your pool), and then crossing over, then having the winners play the final. The shuttles were incredibly slow to begin with, but we found better ones at the correct speed fortunately. Unfortunately, it cost me the first game in my match and I really struggled to pull things together, as I was exhausted mentally from the studying and exams, and physically from my illness. Long story short (for the whole tournament), I didn't play very well overall and I was also dealing with a forearm injury which has probably gotten worse. As much as I want to get back into training, I understand that I need to rest and recuperate before I can get better. I suppose this could be an example where 'short term pain, long term pain' can be referenced, because if I keep training with my injury, it will only get worse and there will be no 'gains' at all. I would like to thank my partners, Hugh and Phyllis for playing, and I apologize if I got upset at times because, well, I was pretty much 'out of my body and mind' in terms of physical and mental exhaustion, sport-legal medication (pseudoephedrine-less cold medicine), and whatever else was going wrong those two days that were out of my control. Now I can finally rest a little more and do all the things I have neglected due to final exams!

All matches within about 24 hours (XD final was at 7pm)
Anyway, that's probably all I'm going to write (no more reading, yay!), so until next week! Hopefully I can do something productive so I won't be writing about how I played video games for a week next time. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Oh, lastly, before I forget, one more thing that happened this week was the launch of a new badminton footwork app for your iPads and tablets! I'm actually endorsing this app because I'm in the demo video :P I think it's a neat thing to have, especially if you really want to improve your badminton. I would probably rate footwork as one of the most, if not THE most important thing, and no matter what event you play, solid footwork will always help! Anyway, check it out when you can (not out on Android at the moment, but coming out soon) and support a local developer's app! Support badminton! Support me! Pretty please? :)

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Thanks for visiting! See you next week! Some matches from Peru International can be found on my YouTube Channel: towbsss

For the rest of the matches, please visit my YouTube Channel!

Time to relax!

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