Scott Hanselman

Are you from the Northwest?

September 03, 2005 Comment on this post [10] Posted in Musings
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I'm a 3rd generation "native" Oregonian, both my father and 89-year-old grandmother were born here. Northwest Natives take a great deal of pride in it as much of the city is being taken over by Californians. I saw this recently and it was the first list like this where every single item was absolutely spot-on. If you're new to Oregon or Washington (< 5 years) you probably can relate to some of these, likewise if you have a Birkenstock-wearing relative living here.

I'm not sure if #26 is just a NW thing, but it sure is true here.

Are you from the Northwest?

1. You know the state flower (Mildew)
2. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
3. Use the statement "sun break" and know what it means.
4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
5. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
6. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.
7. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal.
8. You consider that if  it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain.
9. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Coffee People and Longbottoms.
10. You know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Salmon.
11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima, and Willamette.
12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.
13. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food.
14. In winter, you go to work in the dark and comehome in the dark-while only working eight-hour days.
15. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
16. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's  forecast: rain followed by showers."
17. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.
18. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.
19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
20. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.
23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time.
26. You measure distance in hours.
27. You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.
28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.
29. You know all the  important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road  Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk  Season (Fall).

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 04, 2005 3:33
Myself and my American wife are planning to move to the States (from the UK) in a few years' time. One of the places we're considering living is Seattle, and having read this post, the region has just risen further up my list of potential destinations - climatically at least, it sounds just like home :-)
September 06, 2005 18:11

I'm sorry that you feel that Californians are taking over Oregon. I myself moved up recently, and I can honestly say it's the most beautiful and wonderful place I've ever lived. I'm doing my best to keep it that way. Thank you for sharing your home with us.

September 06, 2005 19:53
I've been in Seattle since 1995 (moved from Houston, TX) and love it. I don't want to live anywhere else.
September 06, 2005 22:21
I don't know that #26 is specific to the NW, but I think it's definitely "Western". I was just having that conversation with someone last weekend. We're so used to open space and great distances here "out West" that we tend to think in terms of travel times rather than miles distant.
September 06, 2005 22:42
Oddly enough, being from Alaska, we had a list that you knew you were an Alaskan when you considered Oregon and Washington to be the "South East".

September 06, 2005 22:53
I grew up in Centralia (pity me)...

Transplant: I moved the opposite direction. I don't suppose it'd help that the "Californicator" complaint has been around for about 20 years? I think it started to unnerve people when wealthy people from Orange County started moving up north (perhaps as part of the Great Twin Peaks migration, or the Sleepless in Seattle Diaspora, or some-such), buying the property from Portland and Seattle (which is in Washington, also part of the PNW and not part of Oregon for about 130 years), and raising the rents.

Northern California, incidentally, is claimed as part of the Republic of Cascadia: .. Save the Tree Octopus! Protect the Mountain Walrus!

Scott: The list has been circulating for a while and isn't necessarily exclusive, of course. Also, not everything is actually necessary, since some things are Portland/Tacoma/Seattle-isms.

#12 -- Not necessarily true: I have no qualms swimming outside in the rain. It's rather enjoyable, actually.
#9 and #13 are primarily limited to the urbanites (I never had Thai food until I moved to SF).
#20 -- which mountain, exactly? The big one out the east window, or the mushroom cloud visible to the south? See #19.
#26 applies to the SF bay area (which, of course, feels like the PNW)
#6 applies to northern CA as well (Cascadia)
#21 in the summer, even

and I've asserted #8 for many years.

Add #30: (Often) Replace "anyway" with "anyways". I never noticed that until my English teacher in HS begged me to stop.
Add #31: You've made an ash-pie, have a mason jar of ash, or use a block of pumice you found as a doorstop. At least for SWWA, this was a hobby.
Add #32: Your rain forest ices over every year.
Add #33: You've been to Walla Walla Washington.
Add #34: You sigh wistfully when people complain about the rain.

Add to #11: Snoqualmie, Cowlitz, Whakiakum. No joke: I had a friend from Thousand Oaks, CA, call the Puyallup Chamber of Commerce to learn the correct pronunciation.

Alternative to #10: Can recognize at least 3 different species of trout.
September 07, 2005 20:04
We recently moved to Louisina from Sherwood, Oregon...damn I miss that place! What a great place to live and work. Portland is great city to work in and has top notch public transportation. I'd go back there in a heartbeat...if my wife would let me. We moved to Louisiana to be closer to her family. Anyway, thanks for the good memories!
September 08, 2005 4:55
Got you beat, Scott. I'm 5th generation. Great-Great Grandmother Florence came over on the overland trail. And living in exile here in the South, I really miss my hiking boots (but still get good use of my birkenstocks).
September 09, 2005 9:16
And don't forget:

#35: You'll drive on icy streets in the Winter because salt would disturb the environment.
#36: Your only exposure to the US military is during Rose Festival.
#37: You know how to get to the OMSI iMAX by riding MAX.
#38: You have at least one deciduous AND one coniferous tree on your property.

-Mike (2nd generation Oregonian)
September 09, 2005 22:41
re #35: Except in areas where you don't have icy streets because it's still flooded? :)

re #36: Less than an hour more, and you're in the midst of McChord AFB, Ft Lewis, and starting to get into the Naval bases. I think the lack of military exposure may be an Oregon thing: anywhere from Thurston through King Counties and it's all over the place.

re #37: How is OMSI these days? I haven't been there since the early 80s, when my father was working at Yale Dam near Amboy.

Great views of St Helens up the reservoir at Saddle Dam -- and great swimming there. Many people were very, very lucky the south side of the mountain didn't collapse. Four cascading dam failures would be bad business down the Lewis River.

re #38: Deciduous? Drive an hour north and they start to get scarce. Most the ones I've seen were intentional plantings.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.