In 15 years, I’ve discovered one very good reason to love this town: you can be yourself, or you can be someone else. Portland takes it all in stride—as long as there’s good coffee available.

Zach Dundas, Loving Portland, For Better or Worse.

We arrived in Portland about 6 weeks ago, and even though we’re brand new here, I can already confirm that this is probably the most accurate portrayal of the city that you’ll ever read.

Saying that moving countries is hard would be an understatement. It’s way more than hard — it’s brutal. And yet we chose this, so we don’t have anyone to blame but ourselves. I also know that it could have been a lot harder if we moved somewhere less open to newcomers.

Portland has welcomed us with open arms, and I have since decided to return the embrace. From growing a beard, to starting to bike to work, to my (amazing) visit to The Modern Man, I’ve endured my share of ridicule about my new Portlandia lifestyle. But you know what? I’m ok with that. Because that’s the Portland way: to be whoever you want to be, to be ok with it, and to realize that other people don’t have to like it.

So despite the endless challenges involved in setting up a new life, I’m happy here. I’m happy because this is a city of people who want to be here. They smile, they help you out, they yell at you if you break one of the many self-imposed rules of what it means to be here (“Pedestrians on the LEFT!!!”).

My favorite thing about Portland so far might seem small, but it’s significant in my mind. When you’re ready to leave a coffee shop you don’t just get up and go. You take your cup and carry it to a container somewhere in the corner so that the baristas don’t have to come around and pick up after you. There is something in that unspoken rule that perfectly sums up what Portland is about. It says, hey, don’t be lazy. We’re in this together. Carry your own damn cups.

That’s a city I can grow to love.

Today’s wearables face other constraints, such as limited modes of sensing and the sometimes isolated nature of the services that process the data. Viewing the data without the context of other data, or choosing the wrong data to assess, can lead to invalid conclusions. Likewise, choosing too many data points can lead to overwhelming noise or muted results. 

Back when I could not bear pictures of myself, I used to take artsy photos of buildings, of my feet in exotic locations, to show people where I’d been. Is it really less self-involved to take 100 photos of your dog, or your new baby, or your latest meal? Vanity isn’t simply the impulse to turn a camera on yourself. It can be the very intense impulse to get out of the frame.

  I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
  
  - James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


I keep reading and re-reading those words. I want it to be my reasons for going too. I want those lofty ideals to be why I moved to Portland. I want that grand vision to be the fuel that drives me to keep going through what has turned out to be quite a difficult adjustment.

But the truth is, real life just isn’t that eloquent.

It’s messy.

I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

- James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I keep reading and re-reading those words. I want it to be my reasons for going too. I want those lofty ideals to be why I moved to Portland. I want that grand vision to be the fuel that drives me to keep going through what has turned out to be quite a difficult adjustment.

But the truth is, real life just isn’t that eloquent.

It’s messy.

This is so true:

What Office provides is a language for doing office things. You don’t go in front of an audience without a PowerPoint deck. Businesspeople “live” in Excel; its language (it actually is a crypto-programming language) has become the language of money and budgets. People who do work with symbols and language to make a living organize their thoughts into the containers and systems that Office provides. Office is not so much a software product as a dialect that we all speak as we proceed about our labors.