Sunday, November 10, 2013

Things That Are Just Too Weird

Some things in life, we all agree, are just too weird. My list of what is just too weird will probably differ from yours. However, this is my blog, so this is my list of what is just too weird.

People who “like” their own photos on Crackbook. Facebook must be one of the most egotistical mediums out there – and I'm as guilty as anyone else – but “liking” your own picture pushes egoism into narcissism.

While I'm on the subject of Crackbook, what is with all the food pictures people post? I can see, barely but I can see it, posting a picture of some healthy (or what you think is healthy) food you've made yourself, but I cannot wrap my head around posting picture after picture of some zero nutrient toxic sugar piece of crap you are going to eat. Why not just shoot yourself and take a picture of that?

Status updates that are way too personal. I don't need to know about the swingers party you went to last night, or the fact that you and your ex are having a very public dispute over the house/kids/car, or your crisis of faith, or any other personal thing that should remain personal.

Try a sport you have to think about
The whole craze for long endurance running that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is really bad for your health. The fact that you can push yourself into a near coma, lose all your muscle mass, drive your hormones out of whack, and completely degrade your joints is NOT a badge of honour, it's a sign of stupidity. If you need a challenge, engage in sports that require technique, skill and intelligence, not ones that reward folly.

Healthy people blending fruits and vegetables up into a drink in NutriBullets, Magic Bullets or some other piece of crap consumer electronics as if this is somehow healthier than sitting down and actually eating a salad or piece of fruit (don't over do the fruit). The only reasonable excuse for this is if your jaw is wired shut and you can't chew. We did not evolve to eat pureed/extracted/blended food. Have we got to the stage where we are too lazy to even chew?

Long, melodramatic trip reports where nothing really happened except you got shut down by the weather. Get used to it and get over it. If you are going to go out into the big wide world climbing/hiking/kayaking it's gonna rain, snow, blow, or some combination of all of the above and you'll do some suffering. Your suffering is no worse than any one else's and probably a good deal less. Suck it up, Princess. 

We've all been there, suck it up
The whole idea that if a bit is good, more has got to be better. A lot like long endurance running. Lifting heavy weights is good, but not every day. Bouldering is good, but not every day. You need to rest your muscles for them to get stronger. Try doing pull-ups every day and, pretty soon, the number of pull-ups you can grind out will get less and less and less, until you can't manage a single one. You don't have to slide into absolute sloth on your rest days, but you do need rest days. 

Some A2B on the rock rings
Watching any one of those endless “extreme sports” videos that get sent around on Crackbook or going to any mountain/outdoor film festival. Admit that you are basically wasting your life watching someone else live theirs. Which is fine if you have no life, but really, wouldn't it be better to make your own life interesting?

Watching videos to “get your stoke/mojo” or whatever to go out and run/climb/ski/bike/whatever. If you can't motivate yourself without watching videos of some other dude living life you are never going to last at your sport. Either learn to “want it” or take up something you do want, even if it's knitting. Better that than pretending. 

 Go out and get your own "stoke"
Well, that's part one of “Things That Are Just Too Weird.” There are so many weird things out there that this series could go on and on and on, but, that would be just too weird.


  1. Hmm... interesting article. The topic of "wasting ones life" is a soft target I think you'll agree. Biologically, if we aren't creating the next iteration of humans we are all just wasting time by distracting ourselves. Some people would argue that the former is also a waste.

    On the one hand you mention that it's a waste to watch other people live theirs and then a few posts on you recommend that we watch Solo about the life and untimely death of Andrew McAuley. It seems contradictory.

    I will watch Solo, and I appreciate you recommending it, but I don't understand why you take a stance that people can't get "stoked" by watching the pursuits of others. Stoked is really a catch-all neologism that can refer to enthusiasm, motivation, excitement, confidence, inspiration... etc.

    I'd actually appreciate reading the trip report you referred to as "Long" and "melodramatic" if you can link to it. I'm not partial to dry trip reports about routes and waypoints. I've always held that only fellow mountaineers care about trip reports that detail routes and conditions, but all people care about how an individual deals with suffering, as it's a truism about existence.

  2. Hey Leigh,

    The only person who usually reads my blog is my Mum, and, I'm not even sure she is a staunch reader, so your comment escaped me for a long time.

    Yes, I could be contradicting myself. I guess I could consider that my prerogative as it is my blog, a place where I express opinions that frequently piss other people off.

    I admit to being captivated by Andrew McAuley's story and watched the documentary after reading his book. I needed to see just how he did manage to live in a kayak for 40 days and managed to survive a force 10 storm. The book was moving, touching, disturbing, but there were no pictures to show what Andrew actually went through, and this was one situation that I wanted to see not just imagine. Otherwise, I stand by the idea that watching endless "stoke" videos is really no different to watching a sitcom. If that's what folks want to do with their lives, they are certainly free to do it, as I am I free to think it is a waste of time. I suffer from either a short attention span or undiagnosed ADHD and can barely sit still long enough to write a blog post let alone watch a movie. I can't even get through a 3 minute utube video.

    There are so many long, melodramatic trip reports out there that it is hard to point the finger at any, and my comment is really based on a compilation of many reports where someone tried some big name mountain (usually something like Robson, Columbia, Forbes, Waddington or the like) and got shut down by what is pretty average conditions in the mountains but which they clearly did not expect. We are all so courageous at home when we are planning things but so much less so when we are actually out in the big wide world. This applies to me as much as anyone.

    I'm a big believer in deliberate practice as the only way we can move forward with our goals. Often the melodramatic trip reports seem to me to be an instance where the people involved were not able to see that the real issue wasn't really the weather, the conditions or anything else but their own skill level. Most times people just need to be out more often, in more varied conditions, with lots and lots of different people getting more honest feedback about how they are really performing so they can work on the skills that are really missing and not bang away at things that make no difference.

    Dave McLeod (wish I wasn't too dumb to insert a link here: covers this well in his little book (a real gem) "9 Out Of 10 Climbers Make The Same Mistakes". Peter Attia tackles it from a slightly different viewpoint with "Got Grit" (that stupidity intrudes again, but you can read it here:

    You can, of course, read all my own failures, on my blog ( this one on Mt Cooper, for example. But, be warned, I don't go in for navel gazing as I don't believe it has any purpose in moving me closer to my goals. Compared to all the real suffering in the world, a little bit of bad weather really fades into insignificance. I'm much more inclined to analyze what I did wrong, and what I can do differently next time ( Which right now, is work torso rotation into that bloody sea kayak eskimo roll, which I am hopeful is the key to unlocking more reliable success. But, with my record, it's not looking too likely. Time to get wet.