Media Review: My First Baby (’n stuff)

This rambling post has practically nothing to do with climbing. It’s about babies, raising babies, and the whole idea of web media. Huh? Yeah, stuff that I know nearly nothing about, but that hasn’t stopped me before.

Hard to believe, but we have some talent in my family – my sister, Jill is a TV host. And she’s now asking me to pimp out her new show, My First Baby, on my blog (despite my blog not exactly being her core demographic). She isn’t as old, nor as washed up, as me, and has had a couple of shows that apparently did well (I didn’t have a TV, so couldn’t watch), like “The Best Of” on the Food Network, and “My First Place” on HGTV. She was even on Oprah one time – no shit. Go figure. It seems clear who among us got the looks and the personality. But that’s OK, I like living alone in a shack and relishing my shocking lack of social skills.

Her new show might not be for everyone reading this blog (all four of you), but it probably applies to most people at some point – hell, even cockroaches have kids, and most of us will someday spawn. In most ways it’s way more important than climbing. In other ways, no way, dude, like, I’m working on this project – it’s sick, dude, SICK! – and it’s soooo radgnar, like, you grab this one hold with your left hand and then you go like this and then… The individuality of it all – one of the cool things about life and passion, no?

Scotty (L) and me back in base camp after Huntington, booze running low, but heading out -- just for the Hallibut.

Scotty (L) and me back in base camp after Huntington, booze running low, but heading out -- just for the Halibut.

I did have my chance at television, once. And, of course, I blew it. After mine and Scotty’s 2001 trip, where we got a bunch of good climbing in on Thunder Mountain and Mt. Huntington, I came out of the range starving and thirsty – we’d run out of booze. It just so happened that Jill had a Best Of shoot in Talkeetna, and after my annoying, “C’mon, let me come. I’m good on camera. C’mon. I’m your brother. C’mon, I’m hungry,” she relented and I got invited on the shoot as “talent.” Who’d have thought? We flew onto a glacier with a gourmet cook, the film crew, my dad, me, and my sis. Only I couldn’t help but crack jokes that seemed funny to me. As we ate fresh grilled Halibut, Jill’s going on with her TV thing:

“And! [insert perky face here] this is just delicious fish! What do you think, dad?”

My dad: “Mmmm, absolutely delicious!”

“Kel?” [Jill turns perky face to me, I quit gazing at possible lines in the nearby mountains and snap-to]:

“Oh. Uh. Yeah! Sure is great! In fact, I’d eat this just for the HELL-i-but!”

Get it? Hellibut? Like Halibut? Get it? OK, not so funny. But I thought so.

“CUT!” yells the director.

“Kelly, you’re ruining the shoot!”

“But I’d eat this just for the Hellibut, Jill, I swear!”

Later, Jill and dad are talking, I’m back to my best behavior, I sip my champagne and lean back in my chair – ever lean back in a chair in soft snow? Ya can’t lean back too far, because the back end digs in and you tip over.


Jill was pissed. It was an honest accident, but I was fucking up the shoot. At least the camera guys thought it was funny.

After dusting off the snow, I’m back at it, feeling a little bad now and so I’m hitting the champagne hard. Jill and dad resume talking, cameras rolling, super sweet table set up on the glacier, good stuff. I’m out of champagne, though, and notice that Jill still has some and she won’t notice; she’s talking to dad. So I subtly (need to be subtle; the cameras are rolling, after all) reach over and take hers. The director: CUT!

Off-set and looking good. My sis dealing with a flat tire. Just for the halibut.

OK, so I don’t have a career in TV. But TV is dying in its current form anyway, says I, the guy with no channels and no clue (ever since the heartless bastards turned off my cable a couple of years back, I’ve shunned TV, aside from watching Ultimate Fighting at friends’ houses – I’m so far behind that I’m ahead of the curve…). Everything will be on the interwebs soon. It’s all ball bearings these days.

This is a good thing, as it spares my sister the indignation of selling gadgets on late-night infomercials as she gets older and more washed-up, and spares me the embarrassment of having a deadbeat sister.

It’s cool to see how media is shifting. The openness of it all does, of course, lead to the endless drivel spawned on youtube and climbing forums worldwide, and if I am forced to ever again click a video of watching paint dry some shirtless dillweed slapping an arete on a three-foot-tall boulder problem over, and over, and freakin’ over, to a thumping techno soundtrack blended with his retarded screams, I think I’ll….well, I guess I just won’t click it again. The talented, on the other hand, figure out cool ways to make it work. Storytelling is part of our DNA. Witness things like:

Vertical Carnival (the one about Yuji Hirayama is my favorite – fully worth checking out)

BD’s site (full of great gear testing info and updates from their athletes; fancy site sometimes slow and clunky though)

Dirtbag Diaries (podcasts – great storytelling, you create the visuals yourself, which I love – engaging)

Tin Shed (watch the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc one, soooo awesome and inspiring)

The Season (really cool show that followed a handful of athletes through their season)

The Cleanest Line (Patagonia’s award-winning company blog, not just sport-centered, thus especially rad, though stay tuned for some cool additions coming soon…)

And, of course, My First Baby. Short episodes with all kinds of pointers and shared stories for, and about, first-time parents. Something I know nothing about, but, still, a pretty bitchen idea. Granted, my sister is paying me in tequila to say that, so do with the info what you want. It’s certainly no less entertaining than watching some Neanderthal slap a stupid piece of rock while screaming…

4 thoughts on “Media Review: My First Baby (’n stuff)

  1. Kelly – I loved the retelling of that story. Wasn’t your job title “food model” or something like that? The whole scene cracks me up. Anyway, assuming the weather gets better we are off to the Coffee in a day or two. And there’s nothing better than drinking coffee on the Coffee! For some reason, I find that amusing. It must be the neanderthal genes.

  2. Kelly man, I am one of the reader with a baby, a first baby so here you have it a reader of this blog and your sister’s program!
    Anyway, awesome list of sites to check, specially the Tin Shed and the Vertical Carnival. Cool!
    I must say tho, that scene…

  3. Haha this is great, especially the chair-in-soft-snow part. And I agree with you about the bouldering videos – there are some sick ones, but there are infinite amounts of clips with bad filming, uninspiring climbing, and terrible techno tracks to top it all off…

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