OutInUnder Spring 2017 Newsletter 
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OutInUnder Spring 2017 Newsletter
Swapping Stories from the Great Outdoors.
(Be sure and display images!)
Stories Below
but first...
Hi all,

From the beginning of OutInUnder I've been very clear about what I was trying to do.
  • Our stories are a critical part of our who we are. They look both forward and back; they're tribal memories and open up our path into the future.
  • There are increasingly fewer spaces and less time for sharing stories. We are more dispersed. We de-cohere
  • I wanted to see if I could counteract that by creating an online home for sharing stories with our tribes and families.
The vision was clear but the execution has proved much harder than I imagined. At issue is the gap between the fluidity of trading stories face to face and the awkwardness of getting them online.

Time and again, folks have had a strong impulse to jump in with a story of their own only discover that posting one was more like public speaking, America's top phobia. So how to get past that?

I think I may be starting to figure it out.

Hail Xaos,

PS, I think it's a critical time for political action to protect wilderness. I've tried to find ways to make it ultra-simple and time efficient >>here<<. There's a March for Science this Saturday. I'm going to the SF one.
The Naturals!
OutInUnder has been sustained so far by some early adopters. I term them 'The Naturals'. My hearty thanks to them/you! These are folks that have an ear for a good story and are comfortable telling them.
George Marks is a case in point. George's Brief History of Foundation of the Sierra Designs is the site's biggest web hit.
New from George:
The Story of the SD 60/40 Mountain Parka
A Review of Product Development for Sierra Designs
John Murphy on 60/40 Fabric offers a very nerdly response to George.

The Naturals include Mark Erickson. His history of another iconic design is one of my personal favorites:  Too Many Cooks Perfect the Broth - Designing the Oval Intention

Another is Bob Woodward Woody is a writer by trade. Another type of Natural. The site's second biggest hit is his Fabiano Boots or Cement Overshoes?.  (If you're weak on history, check out his Trailblazer series!)
New this month is a Natural with a different background: Laurie Williams.
Laurie and her husband, Larry, set up the first climbing guide business in California, Mountaineering Guide Service, based in the Palisades, in 1958. Her 'Naturals' format is the venerable adventure slide-show: great slide; short description; click to the next.

The Crevasse is primarily pictures.
Note the Bavarian hat, a signature piece for some 50's mountaineers including Roy Holubar.

Ice Hiking in British Columbia is a story in 18 very short chapters, one chapter per slide.  The whole series is excellent. My favorite might be Slide 12 which tells of an encounter with a grizzly demonstrating a seriously badass way to handle crevasses.

Laurie would love comments, btw.
And the Rest of Us!
The new system -  experiment 1:  I recently recorded a wonderful conversation with Henry Gruchacz, Dan Castner and Kevin Smith. The topic was First Days or "How did you get involved with this anyway!" which naturally bridged over into the challenges of a backpacking biz startup in the early 70's. I'm now working to get everything transcribed and divided into story-sized bites.

Only one part is done so far: Dan Castner - First Days in the Outdoor
"So I said, okay I want to have my own retail store. I want to put together packs. I want  to make the product so that when I have my store, I can talk about it. And then the idea was, also, to get some outdoor experience cause in Ohio we just had forest. So I applied for Outward Bound  and was accepted in Colorado on the Continental Divide in February. I did the Advanced. In the Advanced you had to know how to ski. I said I knew how to ski. But I didn't.

Kevin, Henry and some general discussion of the industry (including Cordura) will follow. 
Our Stories Are Important...
to us, our kids (and grandkids!?), our tribe, our colleages and our successors
But How to Share Then When We're Scattered in Time and Space?

My New Theory - Short Version:
Don't Provide a Platform. Facilitate a Conversation. Capture It. Learn and Refine the Tools. Repeat.
Shorter Yet: Go get the stories you'd really like to hear!

Long Version:
I think I'm on to something. Want to try it?
  • There's another kind of Natural...everyday conversation. Face to face story telling solves the anxiety problem mostly and provides a structure for give and take...for feedback, pauses and inspiration.
  • I've decided OutInUnder should live inside that process. The challenge is making that happen and then preserving and presenting it. 
  • This article helped crystallize my thinking: Design as Participation: You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.
  • My observation is that most groups have a few people that make things cohere. The Great Aunt that preserves family history. The friend that invites everyone over for dinner and conversation. The guy that organizes the Wilderness Permits and trips.
  • I need to provide tools for those people. I've realized that I've already started that experiment with myself. I'm trying to extend that by looking into the tools used by oral historians and anthropologists
  • Want to give it a try? I could use collaborators! Let's talk. I can help you capture stories from your tribe or family and get them posted either privately or publicly. And figure out a backup system so your stories are not at risk by being hosted in a single location. Want to make sure your Grandkids know you Grandfather's best stories? You can make it happen.
Political Action?  
The most common comment I get is, "I'm sick of talking about all this! Just tell me something I can do!"

Here are simple actions ranked in order of ease:
  • From the Outdoor Industry Association: drop Sec of Interior Zinke a note telling him a bit about who you are and your priorities for public lands. They make it very easy to do that here.
  • Donate to the Montana Congressional Campaign of singing cowboy Rob Quist. He's running to fill Zinke's seat on a strong pro-public lands platform. Sez Rob: The happiest people I know are the people who spend the most time with mother nature."
  • 4/22 - March for Science in DC and in dozens of sister marches planned across the country. There's lots of Bay Area folks on this list. Here's San Francisco but there are sister marches from Livermore to Truckee and Fort Bragg to San Diego and across the country. Bay Area folks, if you're thinking of going let's meet up.
  • 4/29 - People's Climate Movement March/Rally - Who's behind it? Find the nearest.
  • 4/28 - Gear up for it with Guarandinga at Askenaz the night before. Not explicitly political but certainly politically aware. In my opinion any sustained Resistance needs regular dancing!
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