10.29.2008

Surrender

Instead of slashing jobs (like Gannett, which announced 3,000 job cuts yesterday), the Christian Science Monitor has decided to spare the messenger ... but sacrifice the medium.

LINK: CSM ceases print edition

10.24.2008

The ultimate outdoor gift



If you haven't seen them before, don't worry. You will. Gibbon Slacklines are destined to be the next big thing for backyards, barbecues, and illegal campsites everywhere from Mad River Glen to that field on the backside of Muir woods.

Incredibly addictive, the Gibbon is only $80. No batteries required, cheaper than a golf club, safer than a bicycle ... it's definitely the ultimate outdoor gift.

Wider than a "traditional" slackline (it's 50 mm, just shy of 2") the Gibbon is easier and more welcoming to beginners, but still serves up a worthy platform for the tricksters out there.

And with an idiot-proof hitch, it goes up in less than 3 minutes. Worthy.

LINK: Gibbon Slacklines

10.23.2008

Manly bike 4 sale

"What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist. What I am though is a manly guy looking to sell his bike. This bike is made out of metal and kick ass spokes. The back reflector was taken off, but if you think that deters me from riding at night, you're way wrong. I practiced ninja training in Japan's mount Fuji for 5 years and the first rule they teach about ninja biking is that back reflectors let the enemy know where you are. Not having a rear reflector is like saying "FUCK YOU CAR, JUST TRY AND FIND ME"."

LINK: Best of Craig's List

10.20.2008

Our advice? Stay home

If you’ve ever fantasized about scaling Mount Everest, think again. A new study of professional mountain climbers shows that high-altitude climbing causes a subtle loss of brain cells and motor function. LINK

If you've ever dreamed of skiing untracked powder at Mad River Glen, think again. Anecdotal evidence of professional freeskiers and those who wish they were shows that the unrestrained joy and fluidity of motion causes a not-so-subtle loss of social skills and career ambition. Attempting to ski on Saturdays may lead to blurry vision, headaches, and pain while urinating.

If you've ever spaced out during a meeting while dreaming of Kingdom Trails' singletrack, think again. An unsubstantiated study of mountain bikers with unrestrained access to variable terrain singletrack shows that day after day of high-speed rolling action causes a distinct loss of short term memory loss and liver function. While unfiltered singletrack is a concern, much more so is the emerging issue of "secondhand singletrack": a billowing, floating spray of "dude that was so sweet" and "you should've been there" that can lead to parking lot thrashings and 2x4 planking ambushes.

If you've ever dreamed of standing alone in the heat of summer and casting to schooling stripers on the coast of Maine, think again. Three out of four dentists have proven in clinical tests that adding more people to the sport of fly fishing will only make their favorite fishing spots more crowded. The tests also conclude that the combination of relaxation, excitement, warm beer and cold sandwiches can lead to job loss and marital disfunction. Side effects of erections lasting more than four hours are uncommon, but if you have one, take a picture.

Red, Blue and Orange


In the tiny heart of the Vermont summer, I thought things would be different this fall.

I thought we'd be hunting more.

Not "we" meaning me and my friends and family. But "we" meaning the larger population, the Greennecks in cities and towns across the country, and specifically the non-hunting people who've been increasingly concerned about food.

It was an extrapolation. A plausible future for the localvore track that ended up with housemoms and golf dads spending a few days every fall looking to fill their freezers with locally grown, organic, free-range whatever.

It was a leap, I know, but it made sense in that X + Y = Z kind of way. I could see it happening. I could see Bill McKibben and Ariana Huffington in orange flannel. I could imagine both Angelina Jolie and her lips bringing home a buck for little Brad and the kids.

But then we met Sarah Palin.

Full disclosure: to call me a hunter would be about as accurate as calling me a climber. In both cases, I've been there, I've done that, but mainly it was just to enjoy the post-event benefits.

Along those lines, it would be equally flawed to call me a Sarah Palin supporter. I'd rather be James Caan in Misery.

But since Governor Palin's nomination to the GOP ticket, the sneering remarks about hunting have caused even me ... a once-every-other-year fair-weather hunter at best ... to cringe.

From friends, from strangers, from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, from newspapers and magazines to Facebook and MySpace, the down-your-nose disparaging of Governor Palin because she "hunts" (said with maximum iciness) has been constant.

Regardless of whether people consider themselves to bleed red or blue, the broad brushstrokes of anti-orange sentiment have been an unfortunate side-effect of an incredibly contentious election year.

10.15.2008

The Sequoia memo: "Get real or go home."

WHAT THEY SAID:

"Today, Sequoia Capital hosted a mandatory CEO All-Hands Meeting on Sand Hill Road (where else?). There were about 100 CEO's in attendance and let me tell you, the mood was somber. I'm not one to perpetuate doom and gloom or bad news, but let me underscore this for you: We are in a serious economic downturn and this is just the beginning. Immediate, decisive and swift action is required, along with frugal, day-to-day management of expenses and our business is required.

Slide projected on the huge conference room screen as people assembled inside the conference center to take their seats: a gravestone with the inscription: RIP, Good Times.

The only time Sequoia's assembled all CEO's like this was during the dot.com crash...."

WHAT THEY PLAN TO DO:

* Cut unnecessary spending, immediately.
* Focus on quality.
* Sharpen the point of their marketing message.
* Rely on aggressive PR and communications.

LINK

10.09.2008

Recovery

I have a feeling I’m not alone.

I have a feeling that I’m part of a group, a very large group, of people who have spent the the last few weeks staring at NYSE daily charts like they were ‘magic eye’ lithographs, waiting for a shark or a ship or maybe chicken to emerge and finally, finally … finally provide some sort of answer.

But I stopped looking at the chart today. I stopped listening to nonstop ‘crisis’ coverage, and I started thinking about recovery and what it really meant.

It was then that I realized I’d been through this before.

From an economic crash or from cancer, the process of recovery isn’t all that different. It’s not a short-term deal. It’s not a long term deal. It’s not even a really, really long term deal.

It’s forever.

As a cancer patient, the first rule of recovery is that there is no good news. There’s only news.

In the heat of cancer treatment, the words of an oncologist are like water in a desert. Every sip is essential, as each cupful is mined for every possible bit of nutrition and every possible meaning.

But after a certain point, things change. And you realize that the only good words you’ll ever hear from your oncologist is that they don’t want to talk to you any more.

Think of it this way. At this point in the economic recovery, we’ve met with the surgeon and we’ve OK’d the use of chemotherapy. We made our decisions based on statistics and excel spreadsheets and groups of doctors at the “tumor board” breakfast who reviewed our charts and our personal histories and then signed us up for some of the most severe treatments known to man.

And now, the fun begins.

By the numbers, it was an easy choice. But just because we made the decision to take action doesn’t mean we get a medal. Surgery is scheduled for a few weeks from now. And then there’s chemo.

We’re going to have a scar. We’re going to spend much of the next year being nauseous and weak, and we’re probably going to have some lingering impacts that we’d rather not think about let alone talk about. But at the end of the day, we know it’s the right thing to do. For ourselves. And for our children.

You don’t recover from cancer by admitting that you need surgery, or by agreeing to have chemotherapy. You do it by getting the surgery, by going through the treatment, and by doing your best to live your life in the time you have left.

Recovery is an acknowledgement of uncertainty. It’s a contract with ourselves to avoid the mistakes of the past, to appreciate what we have, and to hope for the best for the future.

And that’s where we are now. The recovery is up to us.

Help wanted

HELP WANTED: Big name athletes, mid-level wannabes, over-the-hill ACL recoverers and no-name groms who just pulled their first trick are needed IMMEDIATELY to boost the pro roster of 350.org, the little climate-change organization that could. To join, to learn, to get more exposure for your little expedition, hit up my man Charlie for all the necessary info (email to charles@350.org)

HELP WANTED: College students in the 30 million acre Northern Forest (New York, Vermont, Maine, and that other state)looking to boost their post-college green-savvy job skills are needed for the first-ever CLIMATE CHANGE AWARENESS CONFERENCE, hosted by the Northern Forest Alliance at Dartmouth College, Nov. 1-2. Spaces are limited, and the list of colleges who aren't attending is a telling one indeed. To get set up, email smartin@nfainfo.org for all the beta.

HELP WANTED:
Armchair ice climbers, noon-hour adventurers, and everybody who's ever picked up a copy of Outside magazine and said to themselves, "Damn. My life is so lame.", are needed to enter the CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE SWEEPSTAKES hosted by the guys at Gear Junkie. Not only does the winner get to pick from a list of options including a Mount Washington Winter Climb, Sequoia Winter Mountaineering Clinic, Yosemite Snowshoe Trip, Ice Climbing Basics in New Hampshire or a White Mountains Hut-to-Hut Snowshoe -- but you also get to have the Junkie himself, Stephen Regenold, come along. Hopefully he'll wear his Evel Kneivel gloves. LINK

10.08.2008

Ibex tent sale ... the haiku

Three days. Starts at 9.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Bring your Visa card.

Peak foliage comes
just one time a year, at best.
Shak is forever.

Thousands of shoppers
drunk on the prospect of far
reduced merino.

A pregnant woman
wrestles wool from her sister.
That's mine. You cold bitch.

LINK: Ibex tent sale, Oct. 10-12, Woodstock.

10.07.2008

Crystal clear

"AS THE financial crisis pushes the economy back to the top of voters’ concerns, Barack Obama is starting to open up a clear lead over John McCain in the opinion polls. But among those who study economics for a living, Mr Obama’s lead is much more commanding. A survey of academic economists by The Economist finds the majority—at times by overwhelming margins—believe Mr Obama has the superior economic plan, a firmer grasp of economics and will appoint better economic advisers."

LINK: The Economist

The Class of 1987

Average age of outdoor industry CEO, according to OIA: 44

Age of average outdoor industry CEO, the last time the market tanked (1987): 21

Year that the movie "Wall Street" proclaimed "Greed is Good": 1987

Year that college seniors realized that a job in mid-mountain food service doesn't sound so bad: 1988

10.03.2008

Letter from Boston: the 2008 OIA Rendezvous

You are driving your family on an icy highway, and you lose control of the car.

As if gravity suddenly turns its back on you, the tires lose traction, the steering wheel spins, and your brain acknowledges the reality that you're going to hit something. Hard.

But you don't know what that something is going to be. So you hope that the coming impact is minor. That the impact is only a tree.

Only a tree. It's incredible to be rooting for impact with a giant fixed object that's sure to snap an axle and total the car and probably shatter at least two windows. But that's what you're doing. That's what we're doing. And that's the world as it stands right now.

Framed by an uncertain future, there was indeed something special about the election year OIA Rendezvous, completed last night in the grand city of Boston.

Structurally speaking, the format was no different than any OIA event held in the last decade. Speakers. Food. Booze. Speakers. Food. Nap.

But by virtue of the timing,... and I mean timing of the bad kind, the unexpected and staggering arrival of generational, game-changing shifts within mere days of eachother ... it was a truly remarkable and worthy event. Led by the most sobering, realistic, slap-in-the-face batch of keynotes and breakout sessions I have ever attended, I left the gathering inspired, energized, and (ironically) fully fueled up.

Undoubtedly, the speaker list was nailed down months ago: economics, politics, and consumer trends, as usual, were keynote priorities. They're ALWAYS keynote priorities.

But when the market is slipping, the election is tightening, and consumers feel more comfortable growing chickens in their backyard than buying a Costco card ... those keynotes were ingested and digested by a silent, rapt and concerned crowd.

The keynotes -- superstud Robert F. Kennedy Jr, economist Clyde Prestowitz, trendspotter Marian Selzman, NPR's Ken Rudin -- admitted their own uncertainty, comfortably turning to unscripted realism instead of canned powerpoints for impact, and left the gathering of CEOs with a head full of ideas about what the future might hold for those who live and love the outdoor lifestyle.

For all that's bad in the world today, and for all the things that scare the shit out of us as parents and business owners and friends, the big takeaway from the OIA Rendezvous was that outdoor world is more important, more relevant, and more essential to the future of our world than ever before.

Don't take my word for it. Just look around.

October surprise

Ralph Nader speaks at fundraiser at the Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield, VT. Sunday, Oct. 5, 4-6pm.

If you're looking to throw a wrench in it, here's your chance ...

10.01.2008

Profile of the day: Tom Eagleton

A vice-presidential candidate who was removed from the ticket 18 days AFTER the Democratic National Convention ...

LINK: Wikipedia
LINK: Time
LINK: NPR