MIT after taking Dr. Johnston's Chaos course
Telecom Trappers Rendezvous
It has been decided. It will be in the spring of '91. When the elk and antelope are calving. When the wild roses will be in bloom. After the geese have returned. When the hatches are swarming and the trout are ready for the fly. While the white snow will still be on the peaks, but the sun will be bright and the skies will be incredibly blue. The last week of June. The first Telecom Trappers Rendezvous. In Wyoming, near the Green River, and the Yellowstone, the plains of Buffalo Bill Cody, and the beaver ponds of Jedediah Smith. Near the reservations of the Shoshone and the habitat of the loon. The first gathering of the Telecom Trappers.
From those who just want to find the trail across the communications wilderness, to the Legends of the Online. Those who have toiled these many years far out beyond the digital settlements - the sysops, the software and hardware creators, the blue boxers and the digital radio pioneers. The true and earliest explorers of this vast frontier. In a place where fur trappers and explorers met in another time. But one very close in spirit and form to this opening up of the digital West. And is as evanescent, but important a period as was that era of the trapper in the American West. For it is the period of the pathfinders.
Not a conference. Not a convention. Not a trade show. Or fair. But a gathering of the faithful. A Rendezvouz. A week long Rendezvous. Where those who make the trek from around the world will get to see and hear each other - many for the first time. Where some will speak and demonstrate their electronic prowess, others will meet in small intense groups. Where some will entertain with tall tales of the telecom trails, others will trade and swap and buy and sell the little things they have crafted from the electronic wilderness. Some with ideas, trying to organize electronic expeditions, others content to rendezvous with others of like mind about Telecom and the future. All individuals. All important. All welcome. From the 35,000 Sysops in the world to the CEO of AT&T.
In a place where all will be able to log on, connect up, project big, call back, and reach out even while being in such a remote and natural place. They can come by car and air, some with families, some alone. Some will come to sleep under the stars or in campers, others in lodges and hotels. Some will be prepared to spend a lot, and make it a vacation. Others will hitch a ride and make it as inexpensive as possible. Some will make it for a day or two, others will stay the week, and plan a vacation around it.
It will be entirely planned by global telecommunications. Information about it gathered and disseminated by telecom. And those who will be unable to attend will be able to participate - by modem. Events worth attending will be spaced out enough that it will be easily possible to take in the surroundings. And there will be spontaneous events which transcend in importance to some that which is planned in advance.
The first Telecom Trappers Rendezvous.
Mark your calendar. Last week of June. 1991. Wyoming. Decide to attend. Ruminate on what you would like to do, and whom you would like to see. And how you can contribute. And watch for further announcements - and online places you can post your intentions, and read the sign.
5:7) Gordon Cook
Finally decided to show folk how **YOU** would to a face to facer, eh Dave?
95:10) Dave Hughes
5:12) Dave Hughes
But like so many possibilities buried deep in my subconscious, out of even my conscious reach, it surfaced only when the right combination of practical reality, clearing vision, and linguistic stimulation became a critical mass. And as often as not, that occurs when I *am* face to face with those whom I share (as I do with all of you) years of electronic living, loving, wandering through this vast vast frontier of the global mind.
In this case, of course, with ever-friendly Frank and always-cheerful Reggie Odasz in western Montana as I made another of my 'professional' trips to Dillon to help them develop and even more far-reaching telecom system. But as always on these trips Frank going out of his way to arrange circumstances for 'good talk' in which, knowing they can grasp what I am trying to paint of our Information Age future with paltry words, I get pretty worked up over oyster stew and Moosehead beer. And mightily encouraged as they tell tale after tale of the rapid spreading of this 'online culture' to the tiny towns of Hamilton and Ronan, and the human achievements coming out of it...
So it was over green Margaritas and a western steak on St Patrick's day, Reggie all in green from her decendency from Irish ancestors, after an hard computer-climb at Big Sky Telegraph as we all were reaching our limits of perception, skill, and knowledge that the 'good talk' started where we left off at Ann's Oven at noon - on a very high plateau indeed - that Frank kept dropping the term 'rendezvous' that it clicked. And before the cheesecake and the green schnapps at their ranch, in the broadest possible strokes, all the elements filled in the canvas of tomorrow. Telecom Trappers Rendezvous. It was so right that Reggie just kept laughing with joy, Frank ever-thoughtful-and-secondlooking (he was the oldest child in his family, the one who had to 'be responsible' as that rambunctous clan grew up) kept saying, 'But are you sure...' and I just kept pressing the throttle harder to test the vision against the realities.
The West is my Electronic Metaphor. Because every element of our Information future has its counterpart in that rich, and global, story of 'moving west.' Not only the American West, but the World as it is going, with great acceleration of late, West to the wide open spaces of dreams and potentials. West is the future, West is tomorrow. And we, you and I, are out in front - as the explorers and trappers, of that vast human, social and international movement. And we pay the price of living on that uncertain frontier. None of us will get rich from it - except in the only way that counts - in human terms. None of us has all the answers. The beaver knows more than we at this point. None of us are considered worthy of following. Except by each other. The 'rest' of the world sees us as strange characters of the wilderness, colorful perhaps, self reliant maybe, electronically world-wise for sure, full of tales of derring-do, seperated by rivers and mountains and forests - but always 'in touch'.
I have studied the Trappers of the West, the country I was born in. Those who came before the cowboys, the settlers, the gold rushers. They who also broke the conventions of where they came from. Marrying Indians and decendents of the Spanish, even when they were Anglo-Saxon.
Are we not like them in this opening up of this vast frontier? That has been affecting those who accepted its promises of change, of fullfillment, of self-determination, of great achievements or great defeats for the past decade? One of Frank's sisters married an Egyptian, now living in Japan, linked by telecom. Another has lived farther north in the Scandinavian arctic than any other woman - as a researcher. Linked by telecom. Now she is about to marry a Norweigan. My son Ed, only in China because of telecom, is marrying a Chinese girl, Hanen. Maybe as soon as day after tomorrow. With little pomp and circumstance, just as the trappers did. For on the dangerous frontier, one acts with celerity. And his - and her - circumstances are still quite dangerous. But his telecom link - like the canoes loaded with furs which appeared at St Louis suddenly and unpredictably - as late as this morning, with the news. A happy freight of valuable human information. Both by modem. And then, from here in tiny Dillon by the Bitterroot Mountains, by voice. (It wasn't until I hung up - from a tiny cordless white phone which I used to talk to him while standing on the porch looking at the mountains - that it struck me just how extraordinary that link - not even physical wire - was) And my other son David - as Welsh Anglo-Saxon as they come, but as 'online connected' as any of us, now in love with a dark eyed beautiful Hispanic singer - Dianna - whose family and roots are as deeply in the Spanish culture of Southern Colorado as they were when the Trappers came through and wed them 150 years ago... It is not coincidental that Dianna, the singer, and David, the playwrite with conflicting schedules and circumstances meet online.
We are the Telecom Trappers who have been toiling in the computer mountains, the software forests, the digital streams for all these years. And though we have met in the ways they also 'met' back East, in the civilized rooms, in the academic halls, in the lecture auditoriums, somehow that has not been entirely 'natural' We only really meet, when online. But we are human, and we are ruggedly independent, we are happy with our choice. And we are West of everyone not online.
Its time for a Rendezvous.
cook: it was held, and I did attend.