Shifts, occidental et al

So there have been some changes.

I’m effectively no longer in the Army. I’m living in downtown Porland, Oregon. I’m a full-time college student at Portland State University. I’m breathing easier. Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

I’m effectively no longer in the Army. I am still on active duty, but I’m using my final 51 days of leave, which will run out at the beginning of February. As a practical matter, though, I’m growing out my hair and sideburns and I don’t have to show up to any formations or do PT. As a side note, I’m getting much more of the type of exercise that I need to stay in shape. More on that later.

Portland is better than I’d hoped, but let’s start first with what’s not great about Portland from my point of view: it rains a lot. There. I said it. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to what is great. The public transit system is clean, on time, well thought- and laid-out, free in Fairless Square and right outside my front door. Within walking distance of me is PSU, Powell’s Books, the VA Regional Office, the VA Regional Hospital, downtown Portland, the Greek Cusina, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden. I’ve been to all of them. About half of the laptops I’ve seen in use around here have been Macs. There are three LUGs around here that I know about already, but I missed their January meetings. Downtown is WiFi-enabled thanks to the ad-supported MetroFi network. It took me less than 15 minutes to get the Oregon plates for my car. Google Maps is more helpful in Portland thanks to their integration of the TriMet public transportation system. Directions by default are driving directions, but a link gives you access to the next three public transportation trips to your destination, including all required transfers and approximate walking times at both ends.

I’m a student at Portland State University

. It’s everything that I expected from a State University in terms of size and available resources, and at the same time, it’s a lot less than I expected in terms of bureaucratic BS.

(In general, folks in Portland have been pretty polite, helpful and friendly, and the PSU bureaucracy is no exception.) I am taking Physics with Calculus, Intro to Linear Algebra, Critical Thinking and Tai Chi this quarter. PSU has on-campus WiFi for all registered students.

I’m breathing easier, thanks to the much cleaner air around here. Since I have two major respiratory disorders, this was my primary reason for choosing Portland for my relocation.