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Team OYB's Hollywood & Radio Adventures
May 25, 2015

Here's a little update about the cultural adventures we've had around here lately.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind. On a wide range of fronts. Where to start?

A couple years ago a food reporter heard about my roadkill tendencies at a Chicago cocktail party.

He wanted to write a story about roadkill and the OYB way of life. He first got interest from, a Brooklyn hipster website. Then NPR got there first. So we did an interview and he wrote a story for the NPR food blog "Salt," which got a couple hundred comments in the first day.

A couple days later I got a call from Minnesota NPR who wanted to interview me during their fund drive the next morning. So we did that. They're already big into roadkill up there! Nice people.

Then our local Michigan Public Radio called and wanted me to do a story about "Just say Yes to Winter!" which I've been promoting. So I wrote up an essay then they had me read it over and over. Wow, that's hard! I can see how practice would really help me get better.

A couple days later we got a call from a Hollywood producer saying they wanted to include us in a quality documentary on low-income families making-do in creative ways. They said they couldn't say more but that if we had a financial challenge that would be taken care of. The contact person was a young LA urban biker so we got along well. We waffled a couple weeks in disbelief. When we finally decided 'what the heck' they told us that they liked our scene but we were in enough debt. They wanted emergency not low-grade hardscrabble.

A few days later a major network channel called and said they wanted to do a show, only it didn't exist yet, they wanted to build it around us. Well, gosh, that's interesting, too. We decided, again, 'what the heck,' and did a Skype audition. The contact person was young and nice and we just chatted with her. But in the end they told us that they liked our scene but we weren't "on" enough. I suppose we were too relaxed. Not colorful enough.

Martha says we're just not photogenic or interesting. But I can see quite clearly how performing is a skill that can be learned. It's work. She has no interest, but I would be willing to get better at it.

But both shows really liked the combo of OYB and Lazygal and the community projects I'm involved with.

Which brings me to the community projects. I've been co-hosting the Lansing Bike Party rides project. In the past year it's grown from 200 members to almost 1000. Our weekly riders jumped from 20 to 60. A week ago the local newspaper ran a story and video about us where I got to be interviewed. That got us 100 members in a day.

I've also written a story on social riding for the League of Michigan Bicyclists magazine, which hasn't covered this scene yet. I hope it works out! It's a fresh new direction for an established bike group to pay attention to.

Speaking of which, I'm giving a presentation on our LBP project to the next meeting of the big local bike club, the TCBA.

Then there's the river... Our local river is unused. But our local govt's recently had millages passed for parks and trails. There's been talk for years of having the local paddle club build a canoe launch. I've been pushing for a whole series of them and for keeping the whole river navigable. Managers like the idea but nothing has happened. Then a local township created a Water Trail brochure and website. That inspired me to propose to make the whole thing a reality. But volunteers aren't the way to go. So far they've managed an annual logjam clearing day but that's it. It's too much to expect. I proposed for the muni's to hire Tom and John and I to build a half dozen launches, keep the river clear, and install interpretive signage. That will finally put the river on the map! People will finally see it and notice it and use it!

We've taken local park managers and county officials on canoe trips to show them what we're talking about. I think this is the first time anyone has done this kind of interaction with the gov't.

Then an MSU college course started that is built around community sustainability. They had a dozen group projects and recruited the local park and me to do a canoe launch signs analysis.

Then the professor said she suddenly remembered that I had proposed a history and literature of outdoor recreation to them. They'd been swamped developing a new curriculum -- which I had heard about and which was why I was proposing the course -- but they'd been too busy to think about it. But now they WERE interested and would meet with me soon.

Our local bike group has ridden through a beautiful park downtown a few times. Then I started doing cyclocross there. It's our only glaciated park! It's a gorgeous climax forest. Then in the winter I skied my CX course and more. It was wonderful!

Our bike/ski/boat groups are starting to catch the attention of local gov't officials. In late winter we met with a top official who showed us a big plan for local development -- including paving the little trail in our beautiful downtown forested park. ...Ten feet wide with grading and tree removal! Plus they were putting a golf tee from the next door course into the forest, take a little park and give it to the golf course, right at the entrance of the trail. "Fore!" Plus he was going to dam up and actually level and plug a cute little creek at the low point of the little jewel park. He mentioned this as aside to his larger project. We were floored. He thought it was fixing up the park and said it was a done-deal, ground-breaking soon. But only one little group was consulted! Not the neighbors, not the general public. So... Now I'm involved with Saving the Park! It feels like running for mayor. I'm hopeful that we can persuade them to revise their plan.

Lastly, I don't know if I mentioned this already, but a couple years ago I found a high-end gentlemanly outdoor sports website. I emailed a greeting to them in appreciation of their efforts. They wrote back saying they wanted to make a video of one of our XC ski trail expeditions, highlighting our long distance trail exploration, as a contrast to the mountaineering style usually seen in BC ski culture. But they wanted it to include an overnighter. We haven't developed our scene in that direction yet, so that's where we left it.

Then there's Seneca the Gold-Mining Ghost-town still! My uncle Tim's old town and bar. He who died last year and was the subject of last year's big adventure out west. I'm still sorting out selling his house. The realtor gave up (just like they gave up on Seneca). I found some cool guys who are contracting equipment to the forest service for firefighting who need a Sierras base. Tim's sprawling compound will do fine.

But the new owner of Seneca has told me he wants to fix it up but doesn't have time to honcho it himself so if I wanted to find a new manager for it to feel free, he'll pay the bills. Kind of intense! So I've been looking. I have a few interesting candidates already. Colorful characters for rustic fun in Gold Country. Where will it lead?

Martha has a crazy new line of art for Lazygal. And she got into 2 up north Michigan shows that had always rejected her.

Really, as always, I just need to take matters into my own hands. I would love to teach outdoor skills courses. Or to host a retail space for outdoor culture fun of various kinds. Our house is in a park-like oasis that people might like to visit. Martha has hosted lots of parties. We could make a 'scene' here.

I have uncle Tim's wonderful old speakers. We have a digital projector and 8-foot screen. I just discovered the wonders of Blu-Ray. I found out that the local movie theater rents out for $165 and will play your Blu-Rays!

I should make a bunch of OYB videos! Too bad that my bro Tim only likes to do still photography. He's a pro at that, but videos make him cranky, apparently, though he's made a couple nice XC ski ones for me. I still think he'd be great at it. I gotta keep trying...

Is that all? ...Even if it's not, I think it's enough.

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