Rideshare October 26, 2010
I’ve watched this video about 8 times today. I shared it on facebook too, but apparently I am obsessed so here it is again:
I always talk about how surfing media is so inspiring to me, for climbing and in a more general, life and lifestyle sense – way moreso than most of the climbing stuff I read or see. I’m not sure why, I don’t think it’s only because I’m a snob or the whole ‘any club that would have me as a member’ issue. I suspect that surfing media is on the whole just better. Surfing as a media industry has been around longer than climbing and there’s a wider audience for it and therefore more money in it, so it’s evolved to the point where the basic surfing movie parameters have been established and refined to their utmost awesomeness. Maybe. I mean that makes sense, yeah?
Climbing pr0n is, I imagine, a younger phenomenon with a smaller, much more niche audience. A non-surfer can enjoy a surfing movie, but climbing doesn’t often make a lot of sense on the screen to someone without a real experience to impose on what they’re seeing. Then again, that is definitely not the case with the very top of the line climbing movies, like the one’s I see at the Banff Mountain Film Festival road show. And I watch Dosage pretty regularly just to, ya know, maintain. But even small-time surfing videos have something…special going on.
The basic surfing video “story” goes something like this: “Me and my friends went someplace beautiful and we had a really good time. We like each other, and we like life. Surfing is neat” and there’s none of the stress and ambition that you, or at least that I, sense with the majority of climbing media. No one talks about how hard it is, or dwells on their self-doubt and disappointment. And there’s not much pride and elation over doing well, either. There isn’t even any ‘doing well’, just going, and falling or not falling or whatever. Another wave is comin up. It’s all just for kicks. Of course, with so much financial support and endorsement, surfing can afford to shirk the ambition and just hang out, making it look easy. And, being so much older, they’ve learned to hide the rabid snobbery and attitudes when the camera comes out. Maybe climbing stuff is just too close to home, and reminds me of my own stress and ambition about it, but surfing is not the love of my life so I can watch it in peace. Maybe the cultures of climbing and surfing are just drastically different. And maybe I should aim to embody aloha, but spend my time on the desert waves.
The Leah Dawson video (the first one I put on up there that started this whole thing) features longboarding, which I love to fall doing, but what stands out to me is the way she talks about the place she is and how much is suits her dream wave fantasy. It reminds me of how I feel about Hueco. Like, man, climbing is glorious anywhere, and I love central Texas more than life and I’m so grateful to go climb in far away exotic places. But last year when I first went out there, Hueco felt like what I had been looking for since I started. I hope the feeling is still there this year, and that it’s stronger. I’m gonna spend one more weekend at the warm weather lake, and head west on Monday for a 6-week (<>?) trip.
Leah Dawson is featured in Liquid Salt right now too, an online surfing magazine of mostly interviews. I read this line a few times…
Managing everything so that I can sustain myself financially is challenging, but I am confident that it is only a matter of time and dedication before I combine all of my passions into a lucrative lifestyle. I like to think of it as being in the business of making dreams a reality.
Here’s another surfing video (trailer) I like to watch repeatedly. Yeah I dunno. But it’s got G-love!
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Moore Lake Pics October 21, 2010
Erik took some awesome shots at the lake the other day, and I had on my photographer’s choice pink top.
Back in the basic/Black/Saddle Again October 19, 2010
After my long trip I touched down in Austin and worked 6 days in a row teaching gymnastics. A coworker hurt herself so I covered all her classes and a few extra, and it was a total blast as I had missed hanging out with 7-year-olds. I never imagined that I would say or think that, but there ya go.
Anyway, I finally went climbing again on Friday at McKinney. The weather was perfect and I was almost alone the whole time, which is how I like it. But I was, as is my usual day 1 of the year at McKinney, tragically weak. I fell off the prow on my first try, which is kind of my litmus test for the day/season. Then I couldn’t remember anything about how last year’s never-go project Power Slide worked. I tried out my new Dragons but they hurt my toes beyond usefulness. AO says I’m just a pansy because I haven’t been stuffing my toes into Dragons for 15 years. Gonna keep trying, as their shape and the tight heel and pointy-point toe carry so much promise. I worked the circuit on the main wall and tried to relearn projects for 2 hours, which is a long session there for me. I bailed feeling happy to be back at McKinney, but a little worried about my ability to pebble wrestle with authority.
Then I went to the lake on Saturday with AO and TV, which was glorious. I think I was laughing the whole time, telling them about my trip and listening to their psych over Point Cove.
I tried some new-school beta on Talk to Jesus, which was neat. I didn’t send it again, but I don’t care. Started working on another line that starts in the same spot, with some harder moves and strong, long, roof crimp issues. The boys have learned to do every move from one end of the tufa-crammed roof to the other. Their stoke seems bottomless, and it was so much fun to watch.
Eventually I started to feel like I had my lake legs and bouldering brain back, and I’m psyched to go for a third project (!). The water is cooler now, and the noon air temperature is about 85. It’s basically heaven, and I hope to go back a bunch in the next couple weeks before I head westward.
Then I went to Houston and climbed on Sunday at my favorite gym, Stone Moves North. I had a blast, made a new strong girlfriend, and fell off of a bunch of red problems, which at that gym = weaksauce. I am getting this kind of cool, passive acceptance feeling that Hueco in November might be all about v4++. Stoked. Plenty of projects.
The Welter Weight October 18, 2010
My grandma Lila lives in Houston at an old folks home. She is from Brooklyn and lived in New York City all her life until she moved closer to my parents. I was telling her about my trip and she asked me “do you find many of your people when you’re out climbing?”
I was like, “You mean jews? Not really, but there are a few.”
“No I mean other climbers, but there are jews? I wouldn’t have thought…” Then she told me about the Jew-scene at the home. (Note: She refers to other residents as “this one” or “that one”)
“There are about 15 of them, but some don’t talk about it and would never go to services. At services we get about 5, one of the ladies isn’t Jewish, she just likes all religion. Some of the others talk the whole time about how so and so who is Jewish doesn’t come to services. I don’t mind though, if they want to come, come, if they don’t don’t! Who cares? We have this one, a new fellow, who thinks of himself as some welter weight. I mean he’s small, but he walks around with his chest out, very proud of himself, he actually hit another one.”
“Wait, he hit a resident?”
“A woman, yes. They were waiting for medication and she dropped a magazine or something, I don’t know what happened, but he punched her in the forehead. She was just struck dumb. Didn’t know what to say”
“Uh, I don’t know what to say either. That is insane!”
“It is! One of the attendents saw it and talked to him. They said if he did it again he was out, which is a good thing I think.”
“Is he Jewish?”
“No, but he uses these Jewish expressions, and he just thinks he is so cute. So this other one, a woman from Staten Island, he’s always giving a hard time. Telling her, ‘oh you’re Jewish you just deny it.’ And she says ‘I am not Jewish. I only ever knew one Jewish family on Staten Island and that was the doctor and his family and they moved away in’ I don’t remember when she said but they had moved, you know, off the island.”
Lila also has a lot of prejudice against people from different New York City Burroughs. When this one from Staten Island first moved in she remarked that the woman was very well educated and knew all about Brooklyn and Manhattan. “Imagine that!” she said to my dad, “from Staten Island!”
i have a dilema October 15, 2010
I was approached to write opinion pieces for a real live climbing magazine, based on the staff’s affection for my other blog. I’ve been asked this kind of thing before by people who like sendaustin, but it didn’t work out and actually was kind of a traumatic experience, as it included quite a lot of spec work with an editor, followed by a nasty email about how immature and stupid I am, and no money. I’m pretty much not exaggerating, and I’m apprehensive to get into this again.
SendAustin is written in a voice that is, I hope it’s needless to say, not altogether my own. It’s a character, and on that site I make that character say all kinds of things that I would not, as myself, say or in some instances even believe. It’s fun, and it entertains me and the people who read it, and it’s a nice vehicle for expressing things that I actually do believe, but it’s mostly pretend. So see this is a problem. Obviously if this mag likes sendaustin, they are wanting some sendaustin-style missives. Thing is, I don’t know if I can make that happen. I don’t know if I can use that voice to say things that I then have to sign my real name on, not that I have to do that for the mag but still. I know that seems silly, because everyone knows I do SendAustin, and I field plenty of flack for the things I say on there, but still, there is this wall of play-acting.
For instance, I think lots of men in this town are decent looking, strong as get out, and very cool, but for sendaustin I make it into a big crush thing with super girlie boy-craziness, mixed with ‘guy talk’ chauvanist madness that I borrow from WWTDD. Because a female voice commodifying men based on their physical appearance is rather unexpected and (therefor) funny. Plus, people find it flattering, and I like making people feel good. This, btw, has lead to some awkward, embarrassing missunderstandings about my personal feelings towards others. I mean, I wouldn’t disagree with sendaustin on anything, but I set aside parts of my personal code to make it happen. Because a blog about how everyone is just doing their best to get through this life and we all need to support each other with honesty and open minds would be really boring. No one would read it.
So should I do the magazine gig in character, or something close to character, for cash and validation and to build the SendAustin brand, whatever that means? I think I am also kind of intimidated, since I have had such bad luck before with magazine work and don’t consider it worth the pain of rejection after a woo-ing, the hustle, or the dismal, 6-months later (maybe) money.
Add to this the issue of I don’t know what I would write about anyway. When I made myself think about it, all I could come up with was how climbing magazines are so boring and stupid compared to surfing magazines, which are entertaining, inspiring and hilarious. Maybe I’ll pitch that to them. If they go with it, I’ll know they understand my editorial perspective. What should I do?