16th and Oak

I’m sitting here on 16th and Oak in Vancouver, BC, muttering to myself in Spanish and English. I’m taking an interpreter test on the 28th in Yakima, and I thought it prudent to study. I used to do medical interpreting a lot, but it’s been a few years. I’m rusty. For example, I always forget how to say “exhale” and “inhale.” I mean, yeah, the words “exhalar” and “inhalar” exist in Spanish, but I’m not sure the layperson uses them, and as an interpreter it’s not enough to know a word that technically works; you need to know the word people actually use.

Two coffees was definitely too much this morning. I woke up after sleeping nine hours and tried to mobilize to get ready to go to Vancouver. I’ve had a bit of a sinus thing going on lately, and have felt a bit off. It’s getting better though; the sore throat is gone. I hit the road and drove into Blaine, where I filled out the ArriveCan stuff in the Cost Cutter parking lot, because there’s free WiFi there. And then I got in the border line, which was only supposed to be 20 minutes. Turned out to be more like an hour. When I finally got up to the lady at the booth, she asked me how working for Booking.com was. I wanted to say, “Um, well, I haven’t actually done work for them in two months. They suck. They keep telling us there’s going to be work, and then there never is.”

But instead, because I didn’t want her to realize I was basically unemployed, I said something about how it was “great at first, but the veneer of working for what I thought was a cool company quickly wore off.” Then I said something about a job interview I had on Monday that I was excited about.

After crossing the border my first stop was Tim Horton’s in Delta, where I got a large coffee with two creams. Traffic wasn’t terrible, as was to be expected for a random Saturday morning. Yes, traffic at the border was bad, but it was also somewhat heartening to see more people crossing it. Almost all WA plates heading north, and almost all BC plates heading south. Again, probably pretty normal for a Saturday morning.

Upon entering Vancouver I thought about what to do until I meet my friend Nomi at 230pm and she gives me instructions to take care of her devil cat Penny I’ve taken care of several times in the past. Penny and I actually get along quite well once we get used to each other. I lock myself in my room at night and she’s not permitted to enter. In the morning, like the little shit she is, she scratches the door to try to get me to come out. Ostensibly to feed her. And sometimes she gets a bit aggressive with demanding attention, which is annoying. The key is to wear jeans. I might have to buy jeans.

Since I had a couple hours to kill I stopped at the cafe, where I currently am, at 16th and Oak. I’ve just had my second coffee of the day, and my neurons are sizzling like batter freshly-poored on a wafflemaker. After this I’ll probably head to the MEC near Science World, so I can look at their climbing shoes and climbing guidebooks and almost definitely not buy anything. I climbed at VITAL Climbing in Bellingham yesterday, and so probably won’t climb until Monday, when it’s supposed to be dry in Van and somewhat dry in Squamish. And then it’s supposed to be dry again on Thursday, making for a perfect two days of rest. I kind of wrenched my should yesterday in Bellingham on a moderate sit start problem. I’d never been to a gym with more sit starts. It was kind of awesome/how things are outside.

The Bellingham climbing gym was small, but the setting was awesome. Was it as awesome as SBP? No, because nowhere is as awesome as SBP. But, a couple aspects of it were actually better!!! The fact that they had sit starts, for example, which SBP almost never has. The fact that they had more problems that resembled outdoor problems, which SBP doesn’t really have. Would I rather climb at VITAL for the rest of my life than SBP? Not in a million years. But at least it had a couple good things going for it.

And now it’s time to head downtown, and see what this cloudy Vancouver day holds in store. When way too caffeinated the best thing you can do is move, so that’s what I’m going to do now.

– Wetzler

I Flashed a Pink || R2V6

I thought yesterday’s cup of tea was an anomaly, that I was off caffeine for good. But today, as if in a trance, I found myself putting the kettle on, pulling the teabag out of the box, putting it in the cup, waiting for the familiar gurgle (or ALMOST gurgle since I never let the water boil), and then pouring the steaming hot liquid onto the tea leaves  — and even glancing at my clock to see what time it was so I don’t let it steep too long!

This could easily snowball into my caffeine consumption from before, basically going from grocery store to grocery, cafe to cafe, all day buying caffeinated products.

And I don’t want that to happen.

WE don’t want that to happen.

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post.

“Ha, good one Mark. Nice clickbait,” you may have said.

But no, yesterday at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT POPLAR, I actually flashed a pink. This means that I established on the starting holds and then maneuvered my way up to the boulder to the top, where I delicately placed both hands on the finishing hold, held them for the requisite time, and then delicately climbed back down.

I am not a liar.

Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t get THAT much satisfaction from it. I didn’t put any work into it. I didn’t suss out the beta a bunch beforehand. I didn’t look at the moves. I just got on it and climbed, and it happened to be exactly my style (aka a stemmy problems where you basically don’t need arms) and then a few seconds later found myself at the top. Sure, I was STOKED, I mean obviously — but it didn’t give me the satisfaction that a black I’d been working on for the past half hour before and wasn’t sure if I was gonna get gave me. Because you see the black I actually had to work for, whereas the pink was a proverbial stem in the park/bouldering gym.

Anyway, other than that I don’t have much to report, but I’m going to keep talking for a bit anyway, as I’m wont to do.

What else could I talk about.

It’s sunny here today in Seattle, so that’s nice.

I just shaved my beard and so feel like a spring hen.

After this I think I’m gonna go to Whole Foods and get a matcha bar, and then MAYBE run the Howe stair climb.

I really wish I had some honey for this black tea.

I literally check the status of my Nexus application every day. It’s so dumb. It could be another two months before they process it, and yet I check every day.

Slash am I going to Pembina, North Dakota?

I do actually want to do a bit of traveling this summer. Here are the destinations I’d like to visit, in order of how badly I’d like to visit them:

  1. Alaska — I’m yearning to go back. Haven’t been back in a long time.
  2. Quebec — I’m yearning to go back. And to boulder in Les Laurentides. And talk to monolingual French speakers.
  3. Sweden — I mean, how awesome would it be to spend midsummer in Scandinavia jumping over a fire with some kind of crown of woven sweetgrass braided into your hair?
  4. German/Europe — I kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda wanna go to Europe. But, like, not that bad. So I probably won’t. Not too high on the list. So freaking far.

And then of course there’s Squamish. I hope to spend a LOT of time in Squamish this year. Like, a decent amount. Like, a little bit. Like, I hope to get up there at least a couple times.

My reading material last night as I lay in bed was the Squamish Bouldering guidebook, by Marc Bourdon. It’s not exactly Dostoyevsky, but it it moves me in the same way and drives me to contemplate life. There are so many quality problems there I want to get on, and I’m convinced in the next couple weeks the weather’s gonna turn and it’s gonna be scorching hot in Leavy and even too hot in Gold Bar and everyone’s gonna flock to Squamish and I’m gonna be there, happy as a damn razor clam, alternating between sleeping in my car/tent and commuting back to my cottage on the border in Blaine. It’s going to be wonderful, and I hope to see you there. We’ll climb V0’s — we’ll climb V2’s! Hell, we may even climb a V5. And by V5 I of course mean V6, since that’s the title of this series (for now!). In fact, I already have figured out the V6 we’re going to climb. It’s called Lounge Act, and it’s in the Easy Chair area. And I better see you there. And you better try it with me. And then afterward we’ll go celebrate with a cup of tea.

– Wetz

GDL #2

I’m at a cafe called Saint Malo drinking chai. It’s hot. The air is hot. Everything is hot. I’m mildly in love with the girl working here though I’m not sure she’s the same girl who was here yesterday, and I was mildly in love with her too. There’s no one here. I’m tucked in a corner on my laptop supposedly doing work for Booking but mostly guzzling my chai and wondering what this get-together will be like tonight. I guess we’re bringing wine. Hopefully I don’t have social anxiety. Will be interesting for Darren since everything will be in Spanish.

Slash.

K might need to get matcha now.

Iced matcha.

Would living in GDL be sick? I…………………………….

I have no idea.

Would it be prison? Would living in Santiago de Chile be several thousand times cooler? I’d so much rather have a girlfriend with a Chilean accent than a Mexican accent. God Chilean Spanish is terrible, but so beautiful when spoken by women. Do you take this man to be your lawfully-wedded husband? Si, po.

No seeeee, po.

I wish I could never be socially anxious ever. That would be amazing.

We’re flying to Mexico City on Sunday afternoon staying in an Airbnb that looks sooooooooooooooo dope. It’s in the Colonia Napoles, and has a huge balcony.  Slash plants. Slash two bedrooms.

I literally just sit around consuming all day.

A Swanky Day at 49th Parallel in Vancouver

It snowed probably 8-10 inches last night in Vancouver. I’m at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, at least that’s what I think it’s called, I’m not sure if they actually roast their own beans. It’s sunny outside and white. Snow is sliding off the awnings. There’s a Dairy Queen about 50 yards to my right. I’m going to be here until Sunday, and then it’s  back to Seattle. Back to the boat? Oh god, I don’t know if I can do it. All the beautiful people. There’s a shadow hanging over me.

I’m not sure what to do today. Yesterday I went to Squamish and tried to climb Easy in An Easy Chair, a V4 that’s supposedly one of the most popular problems in Squamish. I did not send it. I did not even come close. I could sort of do the first move, though I couldn’t even get to the part where you put your left heel up on the starting hold. I didn’t try Swank Stretch V5, even though it was more or less dry and that’s the problem I’d come there for. I didn’t try Lounge Act V6, the one behind it. I dind’t try any problem other than Easy Chair, and on that problem I pretty much immediately strained my right middle finger, felt my elbow start hurting, and by the end of the session felt like I’d aggravated my left hip flexor. It’s a curious thing, getting older and witnessing your body fail. After the session I went to Nesters in Squamish and got some zero sugar added beef jerky and a yerba mate. And then I drove back to Vancouver, getting tailgated very little on the way. There was traffic getting onto the Lion’s Gate Bridge and on the bridge itself and going through Stanley Park and downtown. And then when I got back I watched about six hours of The Handmaid’s Tale. And got an oat milk latte around 9pm at Aperture Coffee, which probably wasn’t great for me getting to sleep later. As I was falling asleep I had that thing happen to me where you doze off and then think you’re falling and wake yourself up with a jerk, but this time instead of falling I was walking on a trail and a grizzly bear bounded out of the brush to attack me. It was terrifying, so much worse than falling.

Should I get another coffee? No, terrible idea.

Should I get a donut? Ha.

What could I do today?

It’s 10:16. I’ve been ‘fasting’ for just over 13 hours. I say ‘fasting’ because I had a little cream in my coffee, which probably broke the fast. So now it’s a dirty fast. I don’t want to go back to N’s to watch THMT. I could walk down to Whole Foods. I could drive to the store in Port Moody that has the Turkish delight. I could go to Indigo and look at the books, though bleh. Oh, wonderful, there’s also a store in Hamilton, Ontario that has the particular brand of Turkish delight I need to buy.

I could go over to my car and brush the snow off. So it’s ready to drive if I need it. I could shave. I could cook some kind of really healthy breakfast. What I’ll probalby end up doing is walking. Oh, I could go to Whole Foods and get a smoothie. Why not. That sounds fun.

K I need to leave here.

Chai Latte

I was going to go Leavenworth today, but then a friend sent out a message proposing a Poplar mish and so now I’m going there instead. I just went to the dentist, where I got absolutely wrecked, and so now I’m self-medicating with a chai latte with hemp milk at Victrola. I’m not really working today. I still haven’t gotten paid, and so motivation is waning. I’ve seen the invoices for my work. It’s not clear whether it’s an error on their end or on my bank’s end, but the bottom line is I still haven’t been paid yet. So screw working for now. I’ll stick to blogging.

My mouth is still numb and my tooth is so damn sensitive. I can’t imagine eating solid foods right now. The dentist said to stick to soft foods for a week, but then said when eating harder foods to just use the right side of my mouth. Which is what I’ve been doing anyway, since anything else is insanely painful. I could leave right now and go get a cleaning at the same place, but I don’t think it’s in the cards. Too much pain for one day. I don’t need a dental student poking around my teeth for several hours.

I wish I could just drink like a gallon of chai latte. A big-ass chai.

But seriously $7.50 for a chai latte (after tip)?????? That’s insane. I’m not ok with that, and yet I am ok with that because I keep coming back here. But I’m going to complain about it.

It’s sunny, or it was sunny, so I might go over to Volunteer Park. I’d love to get a sandwich right now, or some real food, but I’m terrified to eat it. Maybe I’ll go home and drink a bunch of mate on my boat and freak out. Maybe I’ll go home and watch the highlights from the Chelsea — Zenit game. Maybe I’ll go home and watch bouldering videos. Mabye I’ll go home and jump in the water. Maybe I’ll go home and clean my boat. Maybe I’ll finally buy my ticket for Mexico City. Maybe I’ll sell all my ethereum. Maybe I’ll get a latte here. Maybe I’ll go to PCC and get that vitamin D I was looking at. Maybe I’ll go to Whole Foods and take advantage of my Amazon Prime membership. Oh damn it just got sunny again. I should probably go outside.

It was sunny for a second, and now it’s cloudy again. My chai latte is gone. As long as I don’t do anything at all with my mouth, it doesn’t hurt. It’d be nice to go to Volunteer Park and do at least four laps. Say hello to the squirrels. Maybe just sit in the sun by the Asian Art Museum, taking in the vitamin D. I guess I could check QFC for vitamin D. Oh wait, that QFC doesn’t exist anymore. What projects do I have at SBP Poplar right now? The cave orange. The black arete with the shitty right hand hold. The awful downstairs orange. The ledgy orange. The leg-swinging purple. The lunge-y orange. Why do I have no blue projects? I need to try some pinks tonight. Need to.

Chelsea tied 3-3.