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.

 

My Supple Bod (and other thoughts)

OK, Where’s Wetzler blog post, take two. The first take did not feel good. I haven’t been super confident in my writing lately, but I also haven’t cared that much, either. As long as the goal is MOSTLY to have fun writing, and only secondarily to make it good, this blog is sustainable. But if the goal is ANYTHING ELSE — readership, views, to write “effective” articles — then I can’t do it for very long. I burn out. Let’s face it: I’m going to blog from now until the end of time. Even if I’m never “successful.” I’ve accepted this. Blogging for me is like going on your morning run is for you, or doing your morning yoga, or whatever the hell it is you sickos do in the morning.

That out of the way, I’d like to talk about a few things today, in no particular order (though in this exact order): my body, climbing shoes, my sesh yesterday, the possible sesh tomorrow, and whatever else comes to mind.

First things first: my sweet, supple, 38 year old bod. This is, contrary to popular belief, the only body I got, and probably the only body I’ll ever have. For most of my life I haven’t really focused on “treating my body right,” whatever that entails. Ironically (or perhaps just logically), you don’t really think about treating your body right until things start to go wrong. And boy, have things started to go wrong lately. Basically since I started bouldering things have started to go wrong. Right now the following body parts hurt: my wrist (particularly frustrating since I can’t pinpoint the cause), my fingers (especially my right middle), and my back (Oxford comma woo woo). My back I think I’ve got figured out: I’ve been doing yoga every day lately, and the up dog followed by falling from great heights to my feet at the bouldering gym (coupled with old back ailments, of course) is I think what’s caused it. The finger is pretty easy: I first hurt it pulling as hard as I could laying back on either Mr Smooth V7 or River Slab V3 at the Index River Boulders where I felt a sort of “giving” sensation. Ever since then I haven’t been able to close it all the way and it’s just felt kinda gnarly. But as long as I don’t push it too hard it doesn’t really give me too many problems. Lastly, there’s my wrist. It’s hurt for a few days now. Certain movements and rotations are particularly dastardly. And I have no idea what caused it. Could it have been the golf from the other day? Possibly. Is it getting better? Doesn’t seeem to be. Frowny face.

Luckily, I have some strategies for getting my sensuous, nearly-middle-aged-man-bod back on track:

  1. Diet

That whole attitude I had in Europe like, “Oh, I can eat whatever I want and it actually doesn’t make that big a difference”? Yeah, that was wrong. Turns out it makes a MASSIVE difference, it just took a while for the bad diet to catch up with me. After a month I felt like garbage. Now I still try to listen to what my body wants, but I nudge it in a healthier direction. I try to cut down on wheat and grains in general, since that seems to help. I try to do a little bit of intermittent fasting.

2. Yoga

I think the yoga is a good thing. Just have to take it easy on the back and in general. But yeah, I think it’s a good thing.

3. Climb less

This is a tough one, but instead of going one day on one day off I think I might need to mostly go one day on two days off, with the OCCASIONAL one day one day off. This translates to climbing about 3 times a week, which honestly is kind of a bummer. But I want to be able to try hard. And after going balls to the formica the other day at Index, for example, sending my third ever V4, I was barely able to climb yesterday after one day of rest. So yeah, might neeed to rethink the strategy. Especially since that’s what Ashima Shiraishi does.

OK, now let’s talk about climbing shoes. Last post I talked about how I went to REI to try on climbing shoes since A) La Sportiva shoes are 25% off there and B) my Miuras are just about done. I REALLY want the Solutions to be the right shoe for me, mostly so I can be like Nalle Hukkataival and possibly speak Finnish, but I just don’t think they are. But I’ve also never really thought the Miuras were, even though they were a great second shoe. After more puzzling and more research, I’ve decided I’m going to go BACK to REI today to try on the Theories and the Otakis. And let me just say the following: I think the Otakis are going to be it. Why? well, they basically have the same heel as the Solutions, but apparently they don’t ride up as high and ravage the achilles tendon. This is critical. Also, apparently they edge like a slightly damp dream, which is good for me since most of the stuff I climb is vertical. As much as I would LOVE to be a Solutions guy, I don’t know if I can hack the heel. So maybe I’ll be an Otaki guy. Hopefully today I find out.

Slash my wrist is hurting just typing this please God help me.

Um, what else were we going to talk about. Oh yeah: sesh yesterday: terrible. I got shut down by a purple. I felt weak.

Sesh tomorrow: might go rope climbing with my friend Wyatt. Basically, lead some easy stuff and maybe just learn the — not even gonna say it — better.

Lastly, whatever else comes to mind. I’ve just had two matcha lattes. My back hurts. It’s cold in the apartment where I am. I think I might just go to REI right this minute instead of waiting around any longer. And oh yeah! The USMNT plays El Salvador tonight in the first World Cup 2022 qualifier. Are you going to watch? Because you’re not a real American if you don’t.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and send something beautiful.

Sincerely,

Mark Thomas Wetzler

Not Forcing Anymore

I have great news: I’ve decided not to force myself to blog anymore. I’m no longer a “blogger.” I’m just a guy who writes sometimes on the internet. This is wonderful, wonderful news.

And now please allow me to repeat all the wonderful news from yesterday.

Yesterday woke up and immediately surveyed the hand situation. Wrote in my journal, “Fuck my fucking right hand is fucked up,” which, looking back, is an impressive use of the word “fuck” in such a short sentence.

Oh, real quick, what does “not forcing myself to blog anymore” mean?

It means that if I don’t want to write I don’t. Like, if I don’t want to write for the next fucking month, or the next year, or ever again, I don’t. I only write when I want to. So I give up on the dream of being a “blogger” and what I really need to do is give up on the dream of being a “writer” and what I really need to do is just give up on dreams all together. OK, well, maybe not that. I like to dream. Dreaming is actually one of my favorite things to do. Dreaming connects me with my inner child.

Anyway.

Yesterday.

Yesterday I went to physical therapy at 9am. Blair, the main physical therapist, did an assessment on me as soon as I arrived. She tested my leg strength and also laxity. She said, “[The left leg] might be a little more lax, but I’m also just really sensitive to this stuff since I do it a lot.”

Then Brandon and I went to work. We added some new exercises, i.e. hopping up and down on one foot (like jump roping but without the rope), and then we did that thing where you have half a ball on the ground and you jump sideways onto it and land with one foot and kind of bounce off it and land on your other foot. I’m terrible at explaining shit. Basically when Blair did my assessment she said, “At three months the ligament is pretty much healed. So one of the biggest obstacles now is psychological.” And then, turning to her team, “We can get him jumping around and doing more lateral movement.”

More lateral movement.

I’m healing.

I felt pretty elated after physical therapy. I went to Whole Foods on 65th and got a matcha bar by Urban Remedy and also a Hop Tea. Then I went back to the boat, and then after chilling a little more I went to go walk around Interlaken but got distracted on the way by getting a coffee at Cafe Appassionato. This was mostly hopefully for digestive help. I think all the collagen I’ve been taking has made things a bit clogged up. So I had the coffee, which sort of worked, and then went to Interlaken via Montlake. In Montlake I ran stairs for awhile and then I hiked through Interlaken and then back to my car in Montlake. Drove to Chipotle in U Village. Walked up to UW to see the cherry blossoms, which were gorgeous. And then finally went back to the boat yet again.

I didn’t hang out with anyone yesterday. Well, that’s not completely true. I helped my friend H lower a table from his old balcony using rope because he couldn’t get the legs off the table to fit it through the door. But we didn’t really hang out.

Today I’m ostensibly fasting. Till 6pm. We’ll see if this actually happens. Lately I’ve been a terrible faster. I have the willpower of a golden retriever. I’m not climbing today, though I might climb on Sunday. We’ll just see how the hand is.

 

You Can’t Cheat || At Home on the Boat

Numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers. My goal for traffic for this blog for February was 300 views, and since it’s surpassed that I feel like I can take a bit of a break. Or breathe easier. The goal for March will also be 300 view. Eventually I will raise that goal to 500. Eventually to 1,000. My friend the other day raised the question of at some point doing online ads for the blog. But that will have to wait. That just seems ridiculous right now. Right now the only two goals are: 1) enjoy writing, and 2) have SOME readership.

Like, even two people a day and I’m happy. But zero? Might as well be journaling. Which I also like.

I’m on the boat drinking the Om Mushroom Master Blend. It’s got every kind of mushroom you could think of. I got it with my stimulus a few days ago and expected to be superhuman sometime by the end of the week. Which didn’t happen. If anything I just had digestive problems, though I doubt it was from the mushroom powder. Probably from the Vitamin D. Or the turmeric on an empty stomach. Or actually probably from all the keto crap I was eating last week, all the stuff with chicory root and all this other stuff they put in keto foods to make it taste better or have more fiber but that your stomach can’t digest AT ALL. So it wrecks your digestive system. Look: With fasting, with keto, with Whole 30, with any of these diets, you can’t cheat. That’s the end of the story. If you try to “cheat” with coffee on a fast you’re screwed. Insulin levels through the roof. If you try to “cheat” on keto with all kinds of sugar alcohols and chicory root fiber you’re screwed. Your stomach will be a disaster. When will we (see: I) learn that it’s all super simple, that you just eat a diet that’s mostly plant-based, having meat on special occasions, and keeping things like gluten and dairy and sugar in check but not feeling the need to cut them out completely? It’s so simple. And yet I don’t learn. Rice, vegetables, water. Maybe some tea. Maybe a ham hock on Thanksgiving. But that’s it!!! Don’t complicate things!!!

The market is in the shitter today and it’s got me pretty bummed out.  But also kinda stoked for the rebound.

The other day going to SBP was one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever done. But I will not start climbing just to climb. I will wait until my body is at least somewhat ready.

I finally found a good book. I ditched The Overstory. If you’re thinking of reading this book, please don’t. It’s so pretentious. It’s MFA Shit Lit. It’s so horrible. It’s right up there with Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest. Two books that convinced so many people, FOOLED so many people, and yet I guarantee there’s a deeper consciousness out there that knows just how terrible these books are. They’re an affront to literature and everything that’s pure and holy in this world. And the thing is either the authors are so delusional they think their books are good because everyone’s always telling them so, or even they, somewhere deep down, know that they’ve written a steaming pile of shit.

Anyway, the GOOD book I got is called Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. The line that convinced me to buy it came on page 2 and was, “At that moment, Casey would’ve bartered her body for a cigarette.” Done. Went to the checkout counter at Amazon Books (I know!), bought it, said, “Hell no I don’t have a Prime membership,” and walked away happy. Didn’t go to Chipotle. Walked back to my car via Ravenna Park.

Which reminds me. The Subi really needs to go to the shop.

Anyway. Hope you all are well today. Trust in your natural responses.

– Wetz

Day Two in Mazatlan | The Long-Ass Road Trip

The view from the Park Inn.

Man, that was a trip. I went all the way to the Zona Dorada to go to Starbucks to get some kind of chai tea or green tea or some other kind of tea you can drink when you’re fasting, and I didn’t make. I mean I kind of made it. I made it to the Zona Dorada. I just went to a completely different cafe, where I got some kind of pear sencha variety that is mildly disgusting. But then again, when all you want is a swordfish fillet, buttered and cooked with garlic, and a whole lobster (possibly even live), along with some sauteed vegetables, no tea is ever going to satisfy you.

And this pear sencha is no different.

I’m coming up on 42 hours of fasting. The longest I’ve ever done is 44, but that was kinda weird cuz I “cheated” by drinking coffee. The thing about drinking coffee is that it can get you out of a fasted state by raising insulin levels, and also it just makes you feel worse after. If you’re in the market for a 24 or 48 or 72 hours fast, I don’t recommend drinking coffee. Drink water. Possibly mineral water. And maybe drink tea. Maybe. Probably not black tea, though, cuz the tannins will wreck your stomach. Maybe green tea. Definitely herbal tea.

Why didn’t I sleep more last night.

I’m going to watch like 12 episodes of Alone today.

Slash jump in pool.

I’ve pretty much subsisted off Topo chico con limon for the past 42 hours.

That’s the plan, if I make it: fast till tomorrow evening and break the fast with the previously mentioned meal. If I DON’T make it till tomorrow, still break the fast with the aforementioned meal. And then the next day probably have no carbohydrates. Stay in ketosis for as long as possible. Stay in ketosis till I die. Smother myself with avocado and ghee. Swim in ocean. Eat carnitas with no tortilla. More avocado. Swordfish fillet. Ghee.

This morning was a productive morning in the soul-searching arena. The following things came up:

  1. Why do I think that changing my externals will make me happier? Substituting boat for apartment or house? Seattle for another city? Chipotle chicken burrito for steak?
  2. Why can’t I approach the soul searching from a place of calm, curiosity and creativity as apposed to: You’re a washed-up 37 year old, you’re worthless, all you do is run and run and run and run?
  3. How can I learn not to want to excise the parts of me that think I’m worthless, that think my life is just passing me by and I’m not doing anything, that think I’ve wasted the last 10 years of my life?

God, all I can think about is this one pizza I had in San Remo, Italy right now. And this other pizza I had in La Spezia. And this other pizza I had in Fiumicino. Even the pizza I had a week ago in Lone Pine from Pizza Factory! We toss ’em they’re fucking awesome! A medium black-olive pizza, no meat, possibly because earlier that day I’d been communing with the gods at the Grandpa Peabody boulder, channeling my inner Kevin Jorgeson, my Jimmy Webb, my Daniel Woods, my Nina Williams. Am I allowed to eat if I go fishing right now and catch my own fish?

I am definitely in ketosis right now. Autophagy might be taking place. Inflammation is down.

Let me tell you a quick story: This morning I was getting ready for my morning swim, looking out at the ocean, stretching, wrapping all my stuff in a towel so you couldn’t see my wallet and my mask wouldn’t float away. I went down the stairs to the beach and waved to a hotel employee at the next hotel over who was standing on the breakwater. He waved me over. I could see some little black shapes on the beach. They were turtles, baby turtles. And they were dying.

“Throw ’em in the water!” he said. “Way out there!”

I grabbed the first baby turtle, sticking my hands way underneath it so I could lift it up on the sand it was resting on and not have to touch it. It was waving its little flippers. And then I waded out into the water and tried to toss it over the breaking waves. One of the little turtles was missing a flipper. One of them, after it was in the water, just floated with its head down. For all I know none of the baby turtles made it. I’m assuming their brothers and sisters hatched last night and most made it into the water under the almost full moon. Many were then probably devoured by predators. Most will probably die before they make it to adulthood. And then this morning came these little guys, who obviously missed the memo about needing to leave last night. And even though they probably all died, I like to think that one of them, just one of them, made it. And in 15 or 20 years it will lift it’s head out of the water and smile, and be happy to be alive.

Aka the only thing I can think of right now is a buttered swordfish fillet.

– Wetzler