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.

The Duck Pond (and other thoughts)

Five days ago since I wrote the last post, and I’ve made a couple attempts to write posts since then. The problem is usually I start too late in the day, and for me to be even remotely successful at writing blog posts I have to start in the morning. Take now, for example. It’s 1:53pm. I just boiled water for mate. I’m sitting at my computer. Things are quiet and I feel a bit tired. I don’t have much to talk about. After this paragraph whatever enthusiasm I’d garnered will probably peter out, and I’ll be left just staring at a computer screen, wondering if I should go in the next room and watch YouTube videos. I know it sounds a bit depressing. It sort of is. But in November in the Puget Sound region when you should be working and can’t climb, there’s not much else to do.

I did got to Victoria this weekend. Victoria, British Columbia, to be exact. There I stayed in the James Bay Inn and saw some old friends, wandered around the city a bit, and went to the local bouldering gym. Probably my favorite part of the trip — apart from seeing friends — was hanging out around the duck ponds in Beacon Hill Park. I love watching ducks interact with each other. I often watch them by my boat where I live in Seattle. I love the seriousness with which they go about their tasks. Life is a serious thing to them. Predators are a serious threat. Finding a mate is not a trifling matter. Conversely, in our species, life is a serious matter. Getting a job is serious. Finding a mate is serious. We do all of these things as if they have some kind of inherent meaning.

When I was in the park I couldn’t help but think about Eckhart Tolle, and how after his supposed enlightment he spent a couple years sitting on park benches. It made me think about how the contents of our brains are probably generated by the stimuli that goes into them, and if you were to sit on a park bench for a couple years, contemplating the ducks, your life would probably be as serene and carefree as the scene is when you stop to watch it for two minutes. However, when you start exposing yourself to the ‘real’ world, to busy streets and deadlines and people yelling at each other, the contents of your brain start to resemble that. I’m not saying we should all go sit on park benches for the next couple years, but I am saying a couple of us should. Maybe I should step up and take the plunge. Maybe you should. Some of us have the responsibility to be the keepers of a tranquility that the rest of us will never know.

Taking the ferry back to Port Angeles, the Olympics were bathed in celestial light. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of seeing my therapist in person. I’ve been talking to her for a year, and I’d still never met her in person, mostly because she’s far away. I wondered how doing a session in person would be different from doing a video session. And it turns out it was different. It was more intense. I somehow felt inhibited by being around a real, actual person, instead of just a face on a screen. However, when we started getting into the nitty gritty, I also felt the intensity of the atmosphere, the intensity of her words, so much more than if I were sitting at home on my boat by myself. In fact, throughout the rest of the day, I felt lighter, empowered, in a way that I’ve felt after few sessions with her.

Maybe it’s finally time to sell my boat.

And now I’m going to try to work. I say try because this week it’s felt like an immense struggle. All I’m doing today is writing two blurbs. That’s it. Two blurbs. And yet it feels like I’m trying to move mountains. I’m compensating with mate. I’m trying to get my diet right. Figure out how to have more energy. But it’s a slow process. You can’t give up, and basically since July I’ve given up on trying to be healthy, thinking it didn’t matter that much. And now I feel worse than I’ve ever felt in my life, body health wise. So I’m going to claw myself out of this hole, one intermittent fast at a time, one 24-hour fast at a time, one less carb at a time, one more cup of mate at a time.