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Portland walkabout

Posted by davidvc on July 25, 2006 at 4:37 PM PDT

None of the tutorials at OSCON interested me this afternoon, so
after a brief look at OSCAMP (interesting, but no topics that pulled
me into a circle), I took a walk across Steel Bridge into downtown
Portland. The walk was great. I walked along Park Street, which is
a double street with a long aisle of green, shaded in beautiful tall
elm trees. Such quiet walks are a great antidote to the hubbub and
crazy energy of technical conferences. Whenever I go to Trondheim,
Norway for work, I make sure I get out of the office and walk around.
I remember those walks fondly, they still bring a certain stillness
to my mind (well, except for the ones at night with the sleet pouring
into my face and soaking my jeans – those I still remember too,
but not really fondly).

I must not be a “real” hacker, and I'm sure I'm losing
out on “networking” opportunities, because to be honest I
much prefer these quiet walks around town to bar crawls and
late-night drunken parties. Although I wonder how much networking
you can get done when your companion's eyes are glazed over and
they're stumbling over their words as they spew out tirades about
open source licenses and corporate backing and why Java is such a
stupid language.

Right now I'm at a little local coffee shop at SW Broadway and
Washington enjoying an iced latte. It's a great little coffee shop,
with funny bits of art (including a painting with the word “fuuuck”
delicately painted in pastel colors – sorry, no camera). The
guy serving my coffee has a shirt saying “still fighting
corporate coffee.” There's a Peet's just down the street, and
in Berkeley Peet's is David fighting the Starbuck's Goliath -- we
Berkeleyans have a certain passionate loyalty to Peet's. But
compared to this place Peet's is definitely corporate coffee, so in
the spirit of supporting the local merchant here I am.

Feeling very “think globally act locally” I smiled
happily as this homey little place charged me $1.50 for my latte, and
I commented to the guy how great it was to only pay $1.50 for a
latte, in the Bay Area it costs $2.50 to $3.00. The woman making my
drink stopped and asked the guy “what did you charge him for?”
It turns out he had charged me for an Americano and I had to shell
out another dollar. I should've kept my mouth shut.

Tomorrow things get crazy busy; I'll be spending lots of time at
the Sun booth, and also at the Apache booth, as well as attending
sessions and giving my own session. I'm glad to have this little
break. Although while I'm down here I need to find a USB stick to
give my demo. My own USB stick is part of my way cool Swiss Army
knife. Since I can't carry that in my pocket on the plane, I had
placed my USB stick in my suitcase pouch. Then realizing my suitcase
was a tad too small I switched suitcases but neglected to pull out my
pocket knife. Another blow from airport security. I'm glad this war
on terror will be over soon....