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!

Women in HC

Do the Job He Left Behind WW2 poster

...drill baby drill!

In the beginning, Homo Climbtastic was 100% male–that was because the first trip was me and four other guys, including current dictators C-Pow and Chavez, tromping through the West Virginia woods.  Later, and we had perhaps the most success at our last New River Gorge convention, women turned out and turned it up.  Still, their numbers haven’t reached the volume of men present.

Where there’s more men, they bring more men friends, and the scales dip in one direction through inertia alone, so we actively recruit women in our advertising to keep the ratios from going completely out of whack.  I do this partly out of self-interest; a sausage fest sounds nice on paper, but it really just makes for a boring party, and I know my queer women friends feel similarly about clam cook-offs, so we’re in this BBQ pit together, friends.

But at the end of the day, (and this is becoming more true as the group grows larger) the inclusiveness of what we say in our advertising can’t overcome the major barrier–women in the field advertising.  The guys, since inception, have been excited to play whack-a-mole with every gay dating web site internet forum, posting press releases about the trips to bring in anybody who knows how to give a soft catch.  Sometimes I run across things posted by guys I’ve never heard of encouraging people to meet them there.

Thus, I am sounding the call to arms: we are getting more women involved, and we’re doing it now.  Which means you.  Assuming you either have a vagina or are making progress toward acquiring one, I, Alex Rowland, spiritual leader of Homo Climbtastic, am vesting you with diplomatic authority to post our press releases far across the internet, or, better, write or tailor your own.

Victory waits on your fingers WW2 poster

Gurl, get on OK Cupid and tell everybody to come climb with you!

You’ll have to caution them with the requirements of joining, which are posted at https://homoclimbtastic.com/join/ but that’s pretty much it.  The great thing about posting everywhere is that it gives you a reason to meet people, awesome rock climbers nearby perhaps, who you wouldn’t have met otherwise.  Direct them to join the Facebook group or to sign up for our July 14-18, 2011 convention at the New River Gorge in West Virginia.

I can assure you, we (HC men and women both) are actively working in various other ways to keep this from turning into some lame gym bunny circuit party with sports on the side and a poster that looks like it belongs under a car windshield wiper.  But the war cannot be won on leadership alone!  You have to get out there, leave shyness behind, and proclaim, “Ladies, we’re gonna crash this HC convention like no queer climbing convention has ever been crasheded before!”

Women in the war we cant win without them WW2 poster

Your gender expression is up to you, but leave working explosives behind

There are other queer athletic institutions which are almost entirely male and which have no equivalent group for women, thereby leaving women in the lurch if they want to commune with other queer people–those trains left their stations without all the cars attached.  So now’s the time to get everyone on board, and we’re all determined to make it happen.  We just need you.  Get it, girl.

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.

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!