Finding gay community in a world of alcoholics

When I’m bored and horny and browsing gay internet profiles, nothing is a bigger groaner than the phrase, “not into the scene.”

I much prefer “no blacks, asians, or femmes” because I can at least have fun when they message me.

Me: “I’m actually black.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Ur photos don’t look like that.”

“It’s just the lighting.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Rlly?”

What I don’t understand is that they never buy it when I claim to be Asian. Anyway, I present this anecdote to you partly to make a point, and partly as an aside to say that the queeny blasians among you aren’t missing out. I’m pretty sure if you shake those guys’ heads, you can hear things rattling, but I’ve never let them come close enough.

Me: Probably not black.

Me: Probably not black.

But I’ve gotten myself distracted. I really hate all this “not into the scene” business, because I like the scene. I like drag shows. I have literally, as in actually, not metaphorically, seen hundreds of drag shows. When I visit a foreign city, I am more excited about seeing new drag queens than I am about large structures hundreds of years old. “Sure they can sculpt marble, but sculpting eight layers of MAC foundation? That’s art.”

This long-winded intro is necessary because otherwise I’d get lumped in with all the whiny-faces on OK Cupid if I just wrote another rant summarily saying “I’m better than you cause all y’all are a bunch of fucking alcoholics.”

* * *

I remember a time (college) when me and my friends went to a party and we had a few cups of hunch punch on Saturday night and danced around and “wooo!” or shot pool with three PBR’s because the drinking budget was $6. A few people, once detached from the rails of high school and a nuclear family, descended into oblivion, but for most, drinking to the point of vomiting was fodder for a story you weren’t planning to relive.

Keep your alcohol intake limited by sharing with friends. But do it in style with a fishbowl.

Keep your alcohol intake limited by sharing with friends. Do it in style with a fishbowl!

Now, things are different. People don’t vomit, not because they’re drinking less, but because they’re drinking more, a lot more, a lot more frequently, to the point that their tolerance allows them to kick back four, five, however many cocktails, and not remember the details the next day, and wash, rinse, repeat, at least two (four?) nights of the week, ad infinitum.

And THIS is Friday/Saturday night. The zenith of the gay career is getting abs at Lah Fitness, blacking out at a gay bar, going to parties with other young rich professionals, and maintenancing a zillion tenuous “friendships” like someone who feeds fish they don’t care about but can’t approach the finality of flushing. Throw in some shirtless photos on Lake Lanier and a few modeling shoots and you’ve made it! Go reward yourself with some coke.

The thing is, if people actually enjoyed this, I would be all for it. I would defend it in much the same way I defend legalizing pot. I enjoy getting drunk. I like sitting around playing video games for eight hours. I like doing a bad job singing.

But our collective relationship with alcohol has turned from an enjoyment of chocolate cake to something more like those morbidly obese people who get gastric bypass surgery and then suck microwaved Nutella through a straw. Or in this case, where going out used to be fun and an opportunity to have strange conversations with interesting new people, it’s turned into running into (redacted) totally shitfaced at Blake’s and pointing at me and shouting, “JARRETT’S ONLY TALKING TO YOU CAUSE YER CUTE OTherWISE HE WOULDN’T BE TALKING TO YOU.”

Jarrett: “If I were you, I would have punched him in the face.”

Me: “I save my amazing comeuppances for people who will remember them. Also I never think of them on the spot, I just come up with them later, and blog about them as if I actually said them.”

* * *

To some extent, it’s easy to say, “well if you don’t like us, then leave!” But I’m not saying I don’t like you. If I didn’t like you, I would have left already, and there are plenty of Facebook defriendings to prove it. There’s a whole world of reasons I didn’t leave before. Our legacy is built on hiding in bars because we had to, finding somewhere remote and dark was a necessity, upended by the occasional police raid–and our resistance to that trespass into what was once our only domain lives on, worldwide, notably in the date of Pride parades. To throw all that away, and swear off bars or anything reminiscent thereof, because we can’t drink without blacking out, would be throwing the baby out with the bathtub moonshine.

This is the delicate line I have fought to walk from the very beginning with HomoClimbtastic. It was meant to eschew the notion that as queer people we could only find community in the dark, but at every turn, I took a rhetorical cleaver to anyone suggesting that HC was proof that we weren’t stereotypes. It was proof that we were free, to carry on the culture we had built from centuries of oppression, and to cut away the baggage that came with it.

At times, what is baggage is a hard line to draw. But this time, it isn’t. We have a serious problem. People joke about their livers, like it’s funny, but it’s not. I see people I’ve known since college now look like they got run over by a truck, and using botox, aspirin regimens, two week diets, and marathon-running as though these could caulk over the cracks. I take several month sabbaticals from the Atlanta scene for work or climbing, and when I come back, I’m always surprised that someone I haven’t seen in a while looks… terrible. Whenever I go to the climbing campgrounds, I become accustomed to the climbers who take care of their bodies, and accustomed to what being in your thirties, forties, fifties should look like, and then I return to Atlanta, and the LA Fitness, where despite the ten million crunches, most of the people look like complete shit. Maybe this is why gay people are afraid of getting older–because in this mostly alcoholic enclave, it can certainly look terrifying.

Perhaps I’m only saying that as an appeal to everyone’s shallow sensibilities to discourage the excessive drinking… but that’s not really a good justification. The good justification is that you’re not actually enjoying your life. And you should. We fought too hard not to.

So this is my appeal: be the HomoClimbtastic you want to see in the world. You can create a social space where you do something else. Where you can carry on with your flamingly flaming self without the headaches and the vomiting.

Sometimes despite only one chocotini you still end up vomiting for several days because of the giardia you picked up elsewhere.

Sometimes despite only one chocotini you still end up vomiting for several days because of the giardia you picked up elsewhere. At least Rio was there to make fun of me.

* * *

And unfortunately, we have few venues to have this conversation–all of the weekly gay mags and rags and newspapers get most of their advertising budgets from booze companies and bars, and they get pilloried when they ever dare step on the toes of their sponsors. The articles about our pervasive alcoholism, and the jokey non-chalance with which we approach it, have to thus be sanitized to a patronizing pablum of obvious “don’t drink and drive” and “seek treatment if you need help” because bar owners can’t face that their current economic model depends on customers funneling their lives down a drain.

Normally, I’m all for the free market, but some Atlanta bar owners’ atrocious bullying to keep themselves the centerpiece of Atlanta Pride leaves me without sympathy. Summary, if you don’t read the link, after the Atlanta Pride organizer (literally one person, in charge of an event attended by, oh, a million people), didn’t personally visit one bar owner to request a donation, the bar owner made the totally-not-intended-to-be-ironic proclamation at a public hearing, “I am sorry, but hearing that it is too hard to contact 21 bars? A postcard? You send a postcard to an unimportant relative.” If I was present at that meeting, I would have shouted, “Do you know who I am?” and laughed heartily, but sadly, I was out of town, and again, I probably wouldn’t have thought of it on the spot and just would have blogged about it as if I actually had.

Anyway, since the HC blog has no advertisers, I can be more frank than the more established outlets are allowed to be. If you’re drinking three or more stiff cocktails, YOU are one of the people with a problem. By the end, you’re boring, or annoying, or an asshole, and either nobody’s willing to tell you, or your friends are likewise too drunk to notice, and the claim that you had a great time last night is a dull rationalization because it’s hard to face that despite the cost, you didn’t have that good a time. And yes, a lot of you are you are my friends, and I care about you deeply, but when you’re not sober, frequently I want to shiv you.

To the rest of you, I say: you are not alone. HomoClimbtastic began as five people–and it would be an awful, awful, awful (awful!) thing if I had drank too much to remember what happened after returning from that bar in Charleston–those are the memories my memory care experts at the nursing home will be reciting to me as I proceed into dementia. (“Tell me again about the part with the bubble wrap!”)

I may not remember my children's names, but I'll remember this.

I may not remember my children’s names, but I’ll remember this.

That group of five ended up burning a swath several hundred people wide of people who found community in what makes them happy, carrying the legacies that brought us together and escaping the traps that hold us collectively down–and it’s impossible not to see that one of the most notable traps, and one that people have consistently expressed their happiness in leaving behind in regard to HC, is the massive amounts of binging  seen elsewhere.

Outside of HC, and for the rest of our community, leaving that behind is an obvious future. I’m just anxious to see it sooner than later.

Climbing with existentialists

This post is written by Nathan Tableman–he has a blog at www.tableman.com.  Like many Homo Climbtastic attendees, he got a prestigious degree that he does not use, and works in software infrastructure offshoring or god knows what, and now primarily uses his marine zoology training to maintain his home aquarium.

The sun was setting off in the distance, the sky was orange, the air was humid, we were dripping with sweat and I was worried a 3″ inch spider and his 8 buddies would stay over there. I started to laugh a little and rightfully, Chavez, who I was belaying up a 10 something thin crack with a vicious start asked me, “What’s up? Things ok?”

Chavez

We had both made it up the 9 in the corner about an hour before after I failed to replicate his start and came up with another way to get to the shelf about 8 feet up in the air on the first move.

I replied, “yeah, this is just an amazing moment. I am incredibly happy I came, the sunset if beautiful, and the rock is amazing. I am having the time of my life, I am so glad I came to Homo Climbtastic.”

Nathan

I got a grunt in reply and the rope had a little slack. He had just pulled another move.

It was getting dark. When Chavez arrived at the anchor, we slowly setup everything needed to rap down, double checking work, moving slowly. It was the end of a long day and we both wanted to go back to camp safely. We had decided to do the climb a little alpine style in case Chavez couldn’t do the 10, plus the full exit was this crazy roof corner at 11b.

Climbing is the most physical embodiment of existential philosophy I can think of; to paraphrase Sartre, man makes his own meaning and my absolute favorite, Kierkegaard: “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

Here is your protagonist in the midst of each passing moment; with the input of the rope, the climb, the spiders, his hands, the conversation, the smell of climbing all day, the heat, the sunset…it was all far too much to take in and make comprehensive meaning. Instead he focuses on the moment, the feeling of the moment, the happiness, the excitement, the being in the life he is leading. Here on the rock. Focused. The rest, the enormous details, to be recorded using the sensitive emulsion of the mind, archived for tales to be told later and deeper meaning to be extracted, created, and refined over a lifetime.

The conversation continued as I said, “What is funny, is that I was thinking of not coming because I am that classic tech-geek-nerd-introvert who can easily spend 5 days reading and not notice anyone else.” I think Chavez replied, “Well I am glad you decided to come and not be anti-social.”

Out of mind

In retrospect, I didn’t really mean what came out of my mouth, but we were both getting hungry and it didn’t really matter at this point.

Earlier that day, before the rain, I was with Joe, Jeremy, Henry, and others at Beauty Mountain working on a 10 start when Jamie chimed in with some beta on how to handle the move and setup the rest of the climb. The conversation started, if I recall correctly, because I liked the pink toe nail polish Jamie had on. The beta was spot on and I nailed the start first try the next time I did it. Later in the trip I would find myself having a conversation out front of the bar where I asked her a million questions about crack climbing, because I had done a couple crack climbs and found myself becoming very into it. The holds and style were completely new to me and it lit up my brain.

Joe, Jeremy

I am a newish climber, my first trad lead was in March of 2012. I had top roped before outside a couple times, and about 9 months of gym climbing. Nearly all of my experience is at The Gunks, not vertical crack land. I have some alpine routes under my belt as well, up in Maine at Katahdin and Whitney-Gilman (um, I lead the Pipe Pitch!) and other routes at Cannon Mtn in NH, but again not like these successive one pitch fun cracks starting at 8 and heading upwards.

Henry

Jamie said to me, “I noticed that your crew was a set of incredibly analytical climbers. Analytical climbers love cracks and cracks love them.” She then went on to teach me some good hold techniques to try amongst other great tips and tricks. On the side I mentioned I had googled her earlier, knowing she was formerly known as Jim Logan, she is incredibly famous climber and an accomplished architect, but was more than modest when I said, “it isn’t every day a guy like me gets beta and lessons from like likes of Jim Logan!”

Nathan belaying

Earlier in the year when I thought about coming on this trip, I was nervous about the idea of not climbing at an ability level that would make it fun and throwing myself into a mass of strangers. However, as I climbed each weekend somewhere outside, anywhere outside, I found myself able to lead and follow routes that would make this possible. Moreover, I soon realized that climbers are weird people. It was like that children’s book where the bird tries to find what kind he is. I am weird. I accepted this at 6 when walking on a family friend’s farm and said friend warned me, “Do not bother desiring normal, you will never be normal. The sooner you accept this, the happier you will be.”

Hell, being gay, lesbian, trans, whatever you are, makes us all acutely aware we are different. Sometimes too often. But in the end, I thought; I like to climb. Maybe these people will be weird and like to climb like me. Worth a shot. I am going.

Jeremy, Nathan

I hope this is not shocking to anyone: Every single person I met was weird and thank goodness for that!!! The denouement; the conversation where some of us were talking about how the world is not designed for oddballs. We are all supposed to play by the rules and being gay means you opt out in some ways and that is liberating.

Walking with Joe over to Happy Hands (another crack!) and without thinking too hard, I went on up. Sun dappling the crag, and thinking to myself that trad lead 9′s are work for me when they are not cracks, let’s see about this one. I was pretty certain the crux was about 75% up where the wall got smooth and the crack opened up wider. My hands were wet and I chalked up often to keep them as sticky as I could and because I was nervous. I notice I chalk a lot when thinking about a hard move. The heat was stiffing, but I was feeling good.

I did it. Yeah, done.

Joe had to clean some of my gear that I got stuck, for which I still owe him a beer or two. Thanks Joe! Other than that it was awesome. One more crack, done…

In our own little trad world, we recognized the time and packed up to get back to camp, clean up and attend the presentations and festivities for the evening. I, along with many others, would be heading out in the morning. It was like summer camp was over and real life was waiting for us at home. I hadn’t put on real clothing, nor real shoes, all week. I had little desire to change that.

Jeremy at Cantrell’s campground

Towleroad (Why hello there, stranger!)

With mer perterders!

Towleroad has done blerged Water Stone (and us by association), the fame of which I plan on parlaying into a reality TV show, titled, “Gay Lawyer Who Lives With His Mom.”

Anyway, if you just know you want to support us somehow, go like HomoClimbtastic’s Facebook page and Water Stone’s Facebook page.

Non-climbers *occasionally* find our blog entertaining, when they skip the more arcane posts about climbing techniques/ethics/whatever, given our tenuous desire to stay on topic and instead make light of HIV and destigmatize stuff.  We don’t just climb!

Ok thanks.

-Rowland

Quitcherjerb!

So I did what all great climbers do when they’re running short on money: I quit my job.

“Anything else lined up?” everyone asks.

No.  Nothin’.  My God, should I have not ignored those 500 invites to LinkedIn that I got? I could be like, so linked in right now!  I could be spamming tens of thousands of acquaintances of acquaintances my resume!  And they could be spamming theirs to me!  And we could all spam each other!  And I could spam people who aren’t on LinkedIn with invites for me to be their first friend on LinkedIn!

Ok, so I left on far better terms than this, and I was able to pee whenever I wanted, but I just couldn't not use this.

So I take solace in the typical things people take solace in during times of unemployment.  Mostly, “at least I’m not some poor child in Mauritania,” and “if those people at the Red can live on $100 a month, I can handle this!”

The solace doesn’t last long.  What if I don’t want to loot through Miguel’s dirtbagger/left-behind/freegan box for the half empty jar of pesto?  What if I like my 4G cell plan, my Grindr Xtra, my pork butt?  I don’t wanna be a copy writer for an SEO contractor!  I’m too pretty to depend on winning ABS Nationals to have enough gas money to get me to the next box of half-empty pesto!  I can’t even win ABS Nationals!  The Gay Games aren’t until like 2014, they probably aren’t awarding money, climbing probably won’t be included, and Mikey or Timmy might show up!  And then I’d be stuck in Cleveland, whose only idea of a tourist attraction is the Gay Games!  Maybe Cleveland’s great, I’ve never been.  But I’m too old to get back on the pole!

So, to avoid the search for a new job, I’ve been devoting myself to the great distractions of reworking the Homo Climbtastic web site and planning for the next convention.  This, however, brings its own frustrations.

First, planning the conventions involves a lot of talking to potential attendees, and if there’s one rule of talking to potential attendees, it’s that the more they want to talk to you, the exponentially less likely they are to actually come.  Second rule is that somehow, someway, the HC web site or facebook group or our reputation or something does a magical job of scaring away the “masc dudes seeking other st8 acting guys to just chill with”.  It’s an amazing phenomenon, but also poorly understood.  You probably wonder how it is that the people who show up are who they are, and somehow there’s a certain element missing.  Where did they go?

Well, usually, the conversation loosely follows them asking me if there are attractive masculine guys there, and me saying,

“yes, but if that’s the only reason you’re coming, the people there will probably laugh at you, crush your projects, and joke about rubbing their groins down with chalk and teabagging you.  and that’s just the women.”  (i would use the phrase “cis women”, but they just get confused and i don’t feel like explaining it.)

and then they say, “oh that’s cool.  so lots of hot guys?”

“yes.”

“what’s the climbing like?”

“like, stiff 5.10 i guess.”

and then it’s something about how they’re really better at kayaking or fishing or monster truck rallying or whatever but they just bought one of those hand squeezey things at the athletic store and they think if they use it everyday they totally might be totally able to go, cause, you know, that’s all that’s holding them back from 5.10, their lack of resolve to use that little hand squeezy thing on a more regular basis.

First I'm gonna teabag you, then I'm gonna spike this football into your nuts!

so after the brief thought that i’ll never get that hour of my life back, i turn to trying to improve this free-ish wordpress web site, which led to the recent concern on the Homo Climbtastic Facebook comment boards about me boldly removing the page devoted to photos of hot shirtless climbers in HC.

“WHY?” asked Timmy.  “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?”  He even posted it twice, and I’m not sure if it was to express his intense dissatisfaction, or because his IPad posted it twice, which would make sense, because his IPad is gayer than he is.  (And by “gayer”, I’m not referring to anachronistic notions of being effeminate, but simply to the desire to suck cock like a packed blunt.)

Anyfuck (I’m co-opting Kelly’s phrase) I know I’m being hypocritical, cause I know I go to Lah Fitness and do my little roman chair exercises and crunches on the inflatable ball and such, but it’s just that sometimes, when I see pictures advertising gay sporting whatever…

I've been waiting for the moment I could break out the poses that don't need one hand to hold the iphone! And yeah I'd fuck the one in the middle too. Sue me.

…I just wanna die.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to be able to walk into the mall and see Rafael Nadal in his underwear and stop in front of the poster for about five minutes having a mind wank, in fact, I think that’s exactly how I want it to remain.  What I want to forestall is the homo world’s trending into this strange territory where gay men keep seeking and getting modeling gigs, getting paid minimum wage, and listing their Facebook occupation as “model” because some creepster photographed them all day for about 5% of what a stripper would make if they kept the g-string on.  Someone needs to step in and tell these poor children on the ab machines that the only way to make money simply by being a good looking man (after discounting the cost of roids and the gym membership) is by either working the pole or selling real estate.  And the market for real estate is not rebounding, if these emails I keep getting from my agents about how it’s definitely rebounding are any indication.

I suppose I could be swayed if Timmy took some photos that were so provocative that I just couldn’t not post them.

Apologies to those who’ve only known me since 2011–seems I haven’t been myself, and I’m sorry for only letting you experience the docile simulacrum. (I should have taken the absence of haters as a warning sign!)  It just took me a hot minute to remember how to chalk my groin.  Welcome to 2012, mother fuckers!

Bowser y'all!

Member Profile: Tim Kettering

Aliases – Timster, Timmy, Vag

Carb of choice – Mac and Cheese

Representative icon – Tina Turner

World of Warcraft Character: Brutallia

Profile: I think what makes Tim interesting is that if you try to identify a distinguishing characteristic, you’ll come up short–is it the facial expressions, the camera whirr, the abs, the not speaking?  After reading the responses to my interview questions, and perhaps unique knowledge of the effort involved in obtaining the “Insane in the Membrane” achievement, I would analogize Tim’s body and mind to a car.  A car that had a radiator that could never fail, a fifth gear that did 250, and a transmission missing the 2nd through 4th gears. If he gets married to a hearing climber, I’ll have to read Shakespeare to find an appropriate method for jealousy provoked suicide.

Interview:

Why do you play Alliance?

I hopped on WoW on Day One.  The first day it was released.  Me, my friends and every other person on WoW that night had no clue what server was good.   Somehow we all settled on Garona and I rolled my first toon, a human warlock because one of my friends said there’s no fucking way he’s playing anything other than a night elf hunter.
To be fair, he’s still playing the hunter.  And I’ve since moved on to playing a (formerly draenei) death knight.  However, Brutallia has made the move to Horde-side Proudmoore.  Brutallia is going to be a lipstick lesbian blood elf death knight.

Introducing Brutallia, lipstick tank.

How many level 80′s?

Believe it or not.  Just one.

How do you deal with raiding’s frequent reliance on Ventrilo as a deaf person? Deaf guild? Translator?

I dont raid that much.  And the last guild I was in did require Vent, but they made an exception for me because I didnt suck as a player.  I know not to stand in the fire.  I know that when Onyxia deep-breaths, you bloody get to the sides and dont aggro the whelps.  (Actually I just pop AMS, but thats another thing…) I just need to know the fights in advance.   I’m really more into WoW for the social aspect than anything else.  I realize that many guilds carry on a guild chat over Vent rather than the guild chat room.  Not much i can do about that.  If a guild’s chat room is dead-er than Saloon on a wednesday night, then I’ll just go elsewhere.
After I friended you on Facebook, I had some deaf gay guys hit on me, and then blow me off as soon as they found out I was a hearing person. I was a little sad cause they were kinda hot. Comment.

Some deaf gays feel more comfortable dating other guys who are deaf.  Or they might have been overwhelmed by your deep intellect and sparkling personality.  I wouldn’t sweat it.  If they blew you off because you were hearing, then they wouldn’t have been good dating material.
The deaf people I’ve met are more reliant on vocalizing words than you are. The only benefit I can think of is that hearing people learn to sign, but I’m curious about your motivations… why no likey the deaf voice?

Some deaf people are better at talking than I am.  Some of them are less self-conscious about talking.  Some of them might not even care if you understand them.   I on the other hand don’t trust my own speech.  And if I try to talk, then it gives the other person the impression that I might be able to understand them talk.  Then they talk at a hundred miles a hour to me.  And lipreading is something i do even worse than talk.  So by taking that off the table, I ensure that communication (although as unwieldy it is) remains within avenues that have greater success such as gestures, using my iphone as a notepad, or just writing on paper.

What’s your safety word, or rather, safety sign?

Maybe it’s a sign of how vanilla I am, but i havent been in a situation where I’d need to have a safe word.  But if I ever were, ‘cupcake’ would be.  Definitely would be.   OH BABY JESUS MAMA CUPCAKE.
Most bizarre sex act in a porn you successfully jerked off to. 

Not for public consumption, sorry!

My greatest regret in Las Vegas was that instead of finagling a threesome with you I stayed up all night puking in a bathroom. Comment on how good it would have been so I can feel even worse about it.

As a general policy, I dont kiss and tell, but I think you can go to bed tonight knowing full well that quite possibly could have happened.  The shower definitely would have been big enough for three. [...] Curse those chocolate martinis!

Dom/sub, top/bottom? Give percentages.

Hmm, I cant really give a ratio.  It really depends more on the actual chemistry there.  Some guys — I just wanna go to town and top.  Certain others, I wouldn’t do anything but bottom.  Some.. we’re like, hey lets mix it up.
 

Curse those chocolate martinis!

Defend the 5.10′s and the Evolvs to the haters.


How can people possibly hate 5.10s? I mean, they build their heelbox big enough for Dolly Parton to squeeze her rack in.  That feeling of unshakable confidence you have with those 5.10s when draggin a heelhook with a inch of dead space rattling around is the only thing keeping you from doing a barn door swing off that tenuous crossover into a sketchy landing.  And Evolvs?  I dont know about you, but I think four climbs is a perfectly reasonable number before you burn a hole through the rand.  Its a tough economy out there and someone’s gotta keep the fine folk at Rubber Room in business.  I had no idea that people hated 5.10s and Evolvs.
Here’s my secret… Evolvs resoled with 5.10 rubber.
After five years of a philosophy I would loosely describe as “Hedonism”, I am growing a bit weary of it. But I definitely don’t want to go back to the philosophy before that, “Finding meaning.” So now I don’t know what to do. You’ve done the whole fuck everyone else’s world, I’m a gonna go climb in a cabin for months. Do all things become mundane, or is there a life available where the novelty never fades?
If 36 years on this little shit of a planet has taught me anything – just do what your heart tells you to do.  Look around and see the beauty of the world, its people and creations.  (Yeah I know I just called it a little shit of a planet – both opinions are equally true).  Living and climbing in Bishop is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.  But so was traveling europe for three weeks.  Driving 11,000 miles over 3 months all the way from San Francsico to Key West and back.  Living, eating and romancing in cities on both sides of the coast.  Snarfing a pot cookie and staggering down Mission completely stoned outta my mind.  Getting that “Insane in the Membrane” title in WoW.  Taking my VW Passat up to one-oh-twenty-five on some texas back-road, cows by the road be damned.  Swimming in the lake in front of my grandparents cabin.  Fixing up a 40-year old motorcycle and bringing it back to life.  Enjoying a donut and coffee for breakfast.  But if i tried to do any of those things for too long, I’d get sick of it. I think its just like sex.. you gotta keep mixing it up.

The question you wish I would ask, along with your answer.

I wish you’d asked me what my take is on how LOST should have ended.
And then I would answer that the writers should come up with this brilliant idea where on the final epsiode of LOST, there’d be some sort of crazy event, or shit going down on the beach, perhaps at the very same spot where the show first started.  So you’d get all those members of LOST who have piled up over the seasons all together in the very same spot on the beach.  And then BAM! Clear outta the blue, another plane falls right out of the sky and smooshes every last one of the cast.
So now the network can kick off another season of LOST with a whole new (read.. cheaper) cast, the same sets, a ready-built rabid television audience and a whole new bag of mind-fucks.  Like, the new cast would be picking around the wreckage and finding gory body parts and going “dude… this person wasn’t on the plane with us.”  And that is HOW it should have ended.

Tim in front of the New River Gorge bridge at the 2010 HC convention.

[Tim has a photography web site at http://www.timkettering.com]

-Ra-ra, for HC

Member Profile: Mary Tang

Tang at Red Rocks

Aliases: MARAAHHHHTAAAANG!, Mirhihtang, Tang, Murr, Wu Tang Can!, Tang Tang Tang (a la Ricochet Rabbit), Tang-a-lang

Location: St. Louis

Profile: In this piece on deer overpopulation, Mary Tang captures the plight of so many HC members of being misunderstood in middle high school by authority figures who, at the time, loomed large and authoritative, but now as we can see in retrospect, are pushing their mental limits when they feed and clothe themselves in the morning.  HC, I suppose, is just the Andy Warhol studio we should have grown up in but couldn’t.

Mary and Kris

Mary Tang has those “I don’t need rest” shoulders such that she can flash a 100 foot flake all the while casually planning her next cartoon, most of which you can’t access without being her facebook friend, but here’s one about a trip to REI:

Return Everything Immediately or Rental Equipment Incorporated? You decide.

I first met Tang while in Chattanooga, where she demolished a crack at Leda I needed five takes on.  Maybe this is because I have such little experience with crack.  I mean, it’s like, what do you do back there?  Stick a finger in? Two?  I’m confused!  But Mary knows.

Odd skills: Fishing, growing cultures in a laboratory, ice hockey

Representative Icon: Cow

Carb staple: Noodles

Trip Report: The Super Secret Place

todays trip report requires a bit of discretion.  the place we went to has what the climbing community coyly refers to as “access issues,” so there is an understanding among the people who climb there that we not discuss where it is, how to get there, and so on.  because there are a lot of routes, the benefit is that you can climb there on a sunday, get on a bunch of classics, and not see a single goddamn person.  but the main benefit of no crowds is not, as you might guess, the ability to get on popular routes without waiting.  no, the real benefit is that you can climb naked. as pictured here.

Yowza.

ok, so we didnt really climb naked, and this picture was taken purely for the blog.  which may have made heterosexual cohort zach uncomfortable, although i couldn’t truthfully tell him that our trips weren’t normally like this.

Heterosexual cohort Zach. I'm not sure why we didn't have any pictures of him shirtless at the crag, but maybe Matt didn't want to give him the impression that we were perving. Which we were.

although not naked, i did in reality spend the entire day in underwear, flip flops, sunglasses, and a helmet.  the south is hot y’all!

If you saw how far up that second bolt was, you'd have top roped that shit too

given that i cant publicly disclose even what state it’s in, me and laurie decided to refer to this climbing area in the open as as The Super Secret Place.

Laurie, on the other hand, Just Says No to top roping. And says yes to sexy back.

even among the regulars, people dont know the name or the grade of 3/4 of the routes there. fortunately, we had the most recent revision of the bootleg topo for the area, which you too can obtain if you’re willing to forgo your sexual orientation for a few hours.  (Editor: Does it really take that long to fuck (redacted)?  Me:  Yes!  You only wish you could have.  And you can’t print that name here.)  suffice it to say, the dixie dyno’mos will stop at nothing to get a bootleg topo.  but dont ask us for it, because we think that’s a right of passage everyone should experience.  certainly better than whatever was involved in joining your fraternity, if only because we have the dignity to skip the cracker and admit that the paddling was enjoyable.

The downside of the area is the occasionally spartan bolting (better than no bolting) which demands creative stick clipping and sideways mammer-jammering.  So half the time we climbed anything we were tied into another rope and swinging around to clip the next route over.  Still, despite the heat, and the spiders, and the mammer jammering, the route quality is stellar and the grades challenging.  The latter probably explains why someone abandoned this pair of (Redacted) brand climbing shoes at the base.

Looking for a good home

Matt said, “Maybe you shouldn’t badmouth (Redacted) in case they decide to sponsor us?”

“If that happens, I’ll just delete all the references to (Redacted), and help them come up with a new ad campaign.  I can see it now.  (Redacted): Better than Montrails!”

“Maybe if they give us free shoes they’ll just spray paint their logo over a pair of good shoes like they did with (Redacted Redacted).”

Check out those guns

On the way home, we passed a sign next to a gas station that said “boiled peanuts”.

“STOP THE FUCKING CAR.”

The boiled peanuts sign was underneath a sign that said AMERICAN OWNED.

Thumbs up for the bottom sign, not the top one

The “American Owned” signage made me and Matt feel a little uncomfortable, because it’s the equivalent of “NOT FOREIGNER OWNED.”   In any event, one would assume that if you’re going to take particular pride in your American-ness, you would take particular pride in the pièce de résistance of southern cuisine, boiled peanuts.

NOT TRUE.  Those peanuts were hardly boiled, and if I was driving, I would have turned that car right around and chucked that styrofoam cup hard enough to blot out at least the second half of “American”.

Also, I demand to know what the hell the female equivalent of “Extenze” they were selling is supposed to do.

The male "extenze" makes your penis longer, so we can only presume that the female "extenze" makes your... uhhh... this seems like a discussion more appropriate for the comments section

with the trip just about over, i thought about my goal that morning, which was basically to find a place with bolts with no more than two hours of thorny bushwhacking, and to waypoint the shit out of everything on my GPS.  after we left, i was sad i didn’t have more time to get on harder routes, so it was kind of funny that we debated going to sandrock instead the morning of.  so, moral of that story, if your group is five or less, grab that motherfucking machete and move toward the abyss.

No, darling, you don’t miss him…you miss the near-death sexperiences.

OK so you’ve dated a climber, and, after having some herbal tea and talking with your therapist, you’ve decided that relationship just wasn’t for you.  Because you’re just better than that.  You’re worth more than that.  You deserve someone whose idea of a vacation involves room service and maybe a massage, not some self-centered narcissist with a death wish whose idea of “time off” is going to (insert river name here) gorge and climbing 13 hours a day.  Stand up for yourself!  Be the person you need to be, heal from this experience and move on, wiser and more capable of dealing with adversity in your relationships!  Now if only you could achieve an orgasm with your new love interest, that accountant you met at a trade show in Orlando…

What the fuck ever, this ain’t Cosmo and I’m not giving out any more GODDAMNED dating advice.  But Rowland was telling me about this article he read in some fucking book or what the cock ever.  Evidently, people who experience extreme stress (ie:  20 foot fucking lead falls) have an unexpected side-effects.  Like being really really really horny.  And guess what?  When you’re dating your climbing partner, you have those near-death experiences with one-another.  So it may be that you wind up having the best sex of your fucking life while dating another climber.

I need to add here that we’re NOT talking about clucking…Homo Climbtatsic does not endorse this type of lewd behavior.  That’s not to say we think there shouldn’t be MORE of it, we just don’t want to be responsible when it all goes horribly wrong for you.  Besides, we’ve all received fellatio while being lowered off a climb, and it’s totally fucking over-rated.  If, however, you’re making a video, we’ll totally watch that shit.

Think about it…have you ever cleaned a trad route & gotten to that totally run-out crux section right at the very end of the pitch only to realize that the piece you’re about to clean is actually an old chicken nugget with a sling wrapped around it?  Have you ever taken a 20 foot whipper only to realize that the gate on your fucking quick-draw at your last bolt…yes, the one you just fell on…blew, and you only survived because the rope happened not to fall out of the biner?  These experiences lead to some pretty serious emotions, and probably some serious arousal later in the day…if not immediately afterward.  Jon told me that, while he did not feel arousal immediately following his (now homo-world-famous) whipper, it was “no fun” having a near-death experience without having someone to take it out on.

Though you can see only terror in his eyes, Jon's probably insanely horny in this pic.

So, sugar, listen to me:  You do not miss that ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend climber.  In fact, breaking up with that person was probably the best thing you’ve ever done.  You do, however, miss the post-near-death-experience sex.  I recommend autoerotic asphyxiation if you’re not ready for another relationship, or, if you’re emotionally available enough, try to find someone who’s willing to experiment, maybe a little role-play with a loaded gun.  It’ll be safer, and odds are good you’ll wind up with someone who’s a little more sane than your garden variety climber.

HC featured on Towleroad, ProjectQAtlanta, ClimbingNarc

Whenever I post about HC getting posted about elsewhere, I think of a This Modern World cartoon where one of the characters says, “I’m blogging your blog!” There’s something vaguely disturbing about blogging about getting blogged elsewhere, like pointing two mirrors at each other. But more than I am disturbed, I enjoy basking in our notoriety! Woooo!

We got about 7,000 hits after my trip report was mentioned on Towleroad.

Matt Hennie of ProjectQAtlanta found great enjoyment in my letter to Nathan Deal, who just (gag) won the Republican primary.

And we got a nod from ClimbingNarc.com.

Robbie, sweetie, darling!

Well, the only news that Homo Climbtastic heard from this year’s Gay Games in Cologne was that Steve and Nick from San Francisco’s Flame’n’Flash came in second and third. A major accomplishment, congrats boys! What we DIDN’T hear until a few hours ago was that one of our very own, our fellow Homo Climbtastic Dictator, our ‘mo bro across the pond, Sweetie-Darling-Robbie won the GOLD!

That’s fine Robbie, sweetie, darling! We all miss you terrible and we can’t wait until you come back. Especially since we’re all still too scared to lead trad. Anyways, congrats Robbie! Way to represent Homo Climbtastic. I hope they gave you a small shoe as an award.

Also a big congrats to Steve and Nick!