Cart (0)
Sign up for Off the Grid and get the latest Nau news and special offers. X
The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for June, 2009

under the radar at 219

Posted by Josie | June 30th, 2009 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Uncategorized


A historic thing happened in Washington DC last week.  The House of Representatives voted on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. 44 Democrats voted against it, 8 Republicans voted for it and with only one “yay” to spare, the bill passed on Friday, June 26th with 219 votes.

I’ve been reading about the pro’s and con’s and why two Democratic Representatives from my home state of Oregon voted against it. Honestly I can’t say for sure if I’m entirely for or against it, but I do know this is a big deal. The health and well-being of our planet for future generations is dependent on legislation like this.

If you’re like me and didn’t take the time to educate yourself about the climate change bill before the House voted, here is a short list of resources I recommend reading to help navigate all the buzz.

Here are two useful summaries of the bill from Climate Progress and Salon.com

This NYT article talks about who is for and against the bill and why.

Here is Grist’s light-hearted but informative take on it.

The Huffington Post talks about the flack the 8 lonely republicans are getting post “yay”.

Treehugger, my personal favorite, wrote a lot about the bill.  Here are two are must-reads; “Everything You Need to Know” and “Green Groups Mustn’t Surrender When the Battle is Just Starting”.

This is my (ode to my) bike: #6 in a series

Posted by Eugénie | June 25th, 2009 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Who We Are


Dearest, darling Univega,

Oh how I heart thee. Heart. As in LOVE. Love with all my heart.

Will you be my summer fling? I need you to be my summer fling.

You rocked me the moment we met. Do you remember that day? Almost three weeks ago? In the back of that garage, behind the house of a man called Duane. I took you for a test ride…too many gears, not a great saddle, sticky tacky rubbery grips…but Oh! the potential.

I knew you had it in you. The steel mixte frame, in a cool metallic blue. Just enough wabi-sabi scrapes and dings to know you’ve lived a full life so far. And you were made in Japan! My sources tell me that it’s better that you were made in Japan.

And now. Oh the transformation. Who could possibly say cosmetic surgery is an extravagance when it can yield such glistening perfection? Gone are the gears; with your 42:18 ratio you now ride like a song. Au revoir black squishy saddle, the Brooks props me up with a firm resolve. And your touch…the caress of your new cork grips against the heel of my hand gives me goosebumps. Truly! Even when it rains.

Yes, Univega. This is our time. Me. And you. This might just be the summer of our lives. Nevermind the eye rolling and mock-vomiting of my friends, they’ll get used to my unfettered expression of our love. Nevermind the evil eye of the Bianchi, who now sits neglected in the corner. She’ll get used to it. We can do this as a team! A team of three! Haven’t you ever seen Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona?

I am in love. May this fluttery feeling in my heart never die. May the smile on my face as we ride through the city never fade, not even when the bugs get stuck in my teeth. Not even when my skirt flips up immodestly. Not even, Univega, when this summer nears its end, and I may need to tuck you away – temporarily! – for the Bianchi, who has fenders.

Love. LOVE, Univega. As in heart. You have my heart.

Let us ride.


giving trivia

Posted by Josie | June 22nd, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

Last week Tami and I were talking about an opportunity that seemed almost too good to be true. She used the phrase “never look a gift horse in the mouth”. Immediately after our conversation she sent me an email about the origin of this phrase, which is so commonly used and probably rarely understood. In all honesty, until I saw her email I thought the phrase was “never lick a gift horse in the mouth,” which made it even more difficult to comprehend the origin of the saying.

According to Trivia-Library.com, the lesson and story behind it is:

This proverb is based on the fact that a horse’s value is determined by his age, which, in turn, can be roughly determined by an examination of his teeth. The message conveyed is that a gift should be appreciated for the thought and spirit behind it, not according to its value. St. Jerome, who never accepted payment for his writings, first used the phrase in reply to his literary critics. His exact words: “Never inspect the teeth of a gift horse.”

rebirth of retro

Posted by Caitlin | June 18th, 2009 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Uncategorized


A few weeks ago, The New York Times wrote an article about the death and hopeful resurrection of Polaroid film. In the Netherlands, a small group of Dutch scientists are working tirelessly in an abandoned Polaroid factory to reinvent the film that so many photographers have come to love and now cherish. The New York Times Lens blog later asked readers to send in their own Polaroids. Check out the overwhelming response here.

lessons from an off-the-grid optimist

Posted by Gordon | June 16th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized


Wherever you go to get off the grid, clear the mind and recharge, I suggest you get to it as soon as possible…it is so fulfilling to reset at this moment as the summer of 2009 arrives. I am just re-entering the grid after several days in my favorite getaway in the Eastern Sierras near the east entrance of Yosemite.

All that kept coming to me as I reflected on the last 9 months was how fortunate we are to still be here doing what we love. While these are and will be tough times for the foreseeable future, we imagined far worse just a few months back. I feel like we have turned that psychological corner from managing fear of the unknown and managing a baseline level of productivity to really being able to think long term, plan and be fired up about the potential for the future. What a refreshing change and one that could not be more exhilarating for all of us here at Nau.

That said, we should remember the many lessons learned to not let history repeat itself.

Here was my short list of things not to lose sight of:

1)  The things that really matter often are those that get neglected…QT with family and friends, pursuing your passions and maintaining balance.  Live fully everyday because it is what really matters.
2)   All the stuff in our social fabric that appeared unsustainable or too good to be true was exactly what our instincts told us…it just took longer than we expected to unravel.
3)  When the shit hits the fan, as it did last Fall and continues to do in some sectors of our economy, you learn who your true friends are and we really now know full well, the strength and loyalty of our community.  Thanks for the support of customers, vendors and partners alike.

We are back at our passion of building meaningful products, brands and a lasting company and will remain dedicated to enjoying the journey as much as the results.

Thanks for reading,


Posted by Josie | June 11th, 2009 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Uncategorized


I was giddy with excitement yesterday when Jamie sent me a link to Yakkay, a Danish company that makes bike helmets and stylish helmet covers.

Yakkay gets kudos from me for more than just the cute factor. The simple equation “hipster hat + dorky helmet” was staring us in the face for decades. I love that I no longer have to make a choice between function and fashion when putting something on my head. But then again, the concept sounds familiar so maybe I’m biased.

They aren’t distributed in the U.S. yet, but there are two dealers that will ship overseas, 50 Cycles in the U.K. and Heino Cykler in Denmark.

I can’t help but wonder, is the solution to the ever-so-flattering climbing harness staring us in the face too?

keeping us real: remembering jonny copp

Posted by Eugénie | June 8th, 2009 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Positive Change


The outdoor industry is collectively mourning a terrible loss with the recent deaths of climbers Jonny Copp and Wade Johnson. They and fellow climber Micah Dash (who is, as of this writing, still missing) were attempting a new route on Mt. Edgar’s Minya Konka massif, in China’s Western Sichuan Province, when an apparent avalanche swept across their path.

I only knew Micah and Wade distantly, and send love, strength and condolences to their families and friends, as have hundreds of people from all over the world, whose support continues to stream in at an impressive volume via Facebook and the Adventure Film Festival blog. (Facebook, I am learning, can have some real heart, when used toward the good of a thing.)

Jonny was an early member of Nau’s community of Influencers, those artists, athletes, and activists who unabashedly rock our world through their authentic pursuit of their passions in outdoor sport, design, and environmental and social activism.

We established the Influencers early on, knowing we would need a community of peers not only to review our products each season, but also to keep us real; to remind us, when wandering astray, of our priorities, which are, simply put, to move, be moved, and move others.

Through his work as a climber, photographer, filmmaker, and Director of the Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, Jonny was, in his never tiring, slightly goofy, and always humble way, an Influencer to a tee.


As the photo editor at Nau, I first met Jonny through his eyes. I was immediately drawn to his photographs and films, not only for the way they captured the breathtaking rarity of the people and places he knew, but also for their clarity and honesty. There wasn’t a lot of clutter, just clean lines, clear faces, and a direct route from me, the viewer, to the essence of whatever he was trying to convey, whether it was to get me outside, to show me someone’s spirit, or to make me laugh my ass off. His view to the world was rare, curious, courageous, real, fresh, funny, and inspiring.

As was Jonny himself. During Nau 1.0, we met or spoke every few months, and I always looked forward to those meetings. I was impressed (given his lifestyle) with his ability to sit still, to look me in the eye, hear what I had to say, offer constructive feedback, and to tell tales of his mindblowing adventures without ever spinning off into a space of self-congratulatory bravado.

We tossed around how, then when, we could fold his work into our ever-evolving efforts at Nau. Things never lined up, not for lack of trying, but only because Jonny was always about to leave, or already gone, off to his next best thing.

There never seems to be enough time. This can be an annoying thing, but occasionally a good thing, too. Jonny made the most of this – not wasting a single moment of his very full, but far too short, life. Thinking about my own experience of this man, I am also reminded that sometimes a blip in time is all it takes to reveal a powerful force. I did not need to know him for years to recognize how profound Jonny’s impact on our world would be.

I will miss his bright eyes, his crushing hug, and his ear-to-ear smile, but I will not miss his inspiration, because that will stay right here, in his lasting work and in my mind, a little nudge from Jonny here and there, keeping me motivated, keeping me real.

Love to you, Jonny Copp.

Love to the crew at Sender Films, too, who, along with everyone at Adventure Film Festival, are still working around the clock to find Micah and bring these guys home.

Learn how you can help here.

(photos gently borrowed from coppworks.com and adventurefilm.org, and I am hoping that in this case it’s ok…)

Taking back the streets

Posted by Alex | June 8th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized


Two weeks ago, NE Portland’s Alberta Street kicked off summer with “Last Thursday“, the monthly extravaganza of art, food and culture. The world-famous March 4th Marching Band kicked things off with a bathrobe-clad parade, and the mile-long stretch of Alberta stayed packed until the last fire-spinning clown extinguished her flaming hoola-hoop. Art lined the sidewalks, retrofitted school busses served-up Thai food, and people-thousands of them-came to partake of the weirdness.

The best part, though? Finally, after years of wrangling, Last Thursday was completely car free. It’s hard to imagine how it took so long. Enjoying the fifteen carless blocks were thousands of people: many more than drive down that stretch of street in the same amount of time. Standing among them, I couldn’t imagine how the throngs had ever been restricted to the sidewalks.

Yet they were restricted, and for many years, despite Portland’s reputation as a city friendly to alternative transportation. Miles of bike lanes, light rail and even a public tram make it easy to get around the city without an automobile. Our mayor recently went car-free for a month-though admittedly it took totaling his truck to convince him to take the plunge. Given this fertile soil, it’s surprising that even modest proposals-like closing a neighborhood to cars so a few thousand people can enjoy the street-meet such deep-rooted opposition.

But when that inertia is overcome, the benefits extended beyond elbow room. While the extra space certainly made it easier to move around, it also created a stage for some unexpected performances. Dance parties broke out around jug bands. A troupe of mimes in clay-orange hooded bodysuits prowled the street on stilts, speaking in tongues and capturing gawkers in an oversized butterfly net. And whether you came for the art or the people watching, there was something for everyone.

Got a good arts night in your neighborhood? Toss a note in the comments so others can find it. Perhaps as more of these nights take off-and more go car free-it can help launch more conversations about how shutting down streets to cars can help create community, culture, and maybe even a little more space for crazy mimes.

HOME, the movie, releases today

Posted by Eugénie | June 5th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized


Today, June 5th, film director Yann Arthus-Bertrand (the man behind the “Earth From Above” series) is releasing his latest work, HOME, in an unprecedented way – simultaneously, to over 50 countries worldwide, via movie theaters, television, DVD, and online. And it’s free (mostly…tickets in theaters are allegedly cheaper).

He’s chosen June 5 for its significance as World Environment Day, fitting for a film covering global climate change and the effects of 200,000 years of human presence on the planet.

Here’s how the synopsis reads on the film’s official website:

“In 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it’s too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its spoliation of the Earth’s riches and change its patterns of consumption.

“By bringing us unique footage from over fifty countries, all seen from the air, by sharing with us his wonder and his concern, with this film Yann Arthus-Bertrand lays a foundation stone for the edifice that, together, we must rebuild.”

I haven’t watched it yet. But I’m going to, from home. And if you see it, too, let us know what you think.

Purrfectly Green

Posted by Tyson | June 3rd, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

purr_postMy friend Sam Lee has started an eco-friendly cat post company called purr postTM. The purr post has a simple yet elegant design made from 100% environmentally friendly materials. The majority of cat posts on the market contain toxic carpeting and glues and can be difficult to impossible to recycle. Purr posts are light-weight (so you won’t pay much in shipping) easy to assemble (no tools required) and made right here in Portland, OR. For more information go to purrpost.com.