What I Know About Portland (Is Not Much)

I’ve never been to Portland. In fact, I’ve never been to Oregon at all. But I’m going there in a few weeks, so I thought I’d do a little research.

Put a bird on it? Why, yes indeed. You know how I feel about putting birds on things.

Also, I think Portland’s approach to mixology will provide some excellent research opportunities for Dagger & Dill.

Just kidding. I know basically nothing about Portland other than that there’s a great big indie bookstore there. Powell’s is at the top of my list to visit. What else should I know about Portland? Is it cold? What should I pack? I do know it’s not a quick trip to get there from where I live, so I’ll be spending some quality time in airports, which is excellent, because it gives me a chance to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies:

It occurs to me that once I get there, I’ll be meeting people in person with whom I normally only interact by email, so really, this is a chance for reinvention. I could be anyone. I could adopt an interesting accent, like this:

Or I could be like, “What? Oh no, I’m a cat. You didn’t know?”


And then when the people are like, “WHAT. That’s not a cat. You must be a baby hippo,” I can go, “Ohhhh, no, actually, that is a common mistake. I’m just a very smooth cat. I thought you knew.” The point is, I have options.

Anyway, here’s the reason I’m going: There’s a new event WordPress.com is launching this year, a conference series called Press Publish, and the debut gathering takes place in Portland on March 28. I’m tremendously grateful that WordPress has invited me to speak at the first-ever Press Publish event. Since I started this site three years ago and decided to use WordPress to build it, I’ve been so touched and impressed by the support I’ve received from the people behind the platform. So yes, WordPress, I’ll go wherever you ask me to go. Let’s do this.
Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 12.45.39 PM

The sessions and speakers at Press Publish will cover all sorts of badass stuff — from how to create a podcast (I’m going to that one) to how to trick out your site with widgets and features — plus Q&A with leaders in various fields about how their sites have enhanced or transformed their work in travel, cooking, publishing, entrepreneurship, etc. I’ll be doing a talk called “Going Public,” about how I tried to keep my weird sense of humor and my professional identity totally separate for a while. (It didn’t really work.) It’s a topic I’m raising on the Press Publish site this week, too, so please chime in if you have any experiences or opinions to share.


See you in Portland!


PS: If any of that stuff sounds nifty to you and you want to go to Press Publish for FREE, they’re giving away a free pass to the conference. Just tweet: “Put a bird on it, @Press_Publish and @WhenIBlink” (The “@WhenIBlink” part is me. The “@Press_Publish” part is the conference’s Twitter feed; don’t forget the little underscore _ thing.) First person to do it gets a free ticket!


  1. I am never first for anything (except maybe posting this comment twice because I don’t know if it posted the first time because I don’t see it), but I would love to attend a conference on blogging. How I love to blog. Thank you, Penguins and ML!

  2. Have a great trip to Portland and congrats on your talk at the conference! Wish I could attend but I’ll be hanging out at JFK airport, responding to other people’s cell phone conversations in a German accent…
    (thanks for posting these videos…they made my morning !)
    Cheers to you and enjoy!

  3. Kinda wet, but not very cold. Light layers and something waterproof. Amazing things to do inside and out. After hitting Powells, go check out Wallace Books in Sellwood–it’s amazing in a completely opposite way. Go see a movie at Kennedy School or the Hollywood Theatre. Eat at Pok Pok, Little Big Burger, Bollywood,Por Que No (the Mississippi location), Bunk, Kens Bakery, or the pizza joint. Have some ice cream at Ruby Jewel, or Salt & Straw. Go drink a Marfa, Tx at the Tannnery. Go to Forest Park. Breakfast at Tasty & Sons. Dessert at Maurice (very close to Powells). Drink Stumptown coffee. If you have a car, drive out I-84 through the Columbia Gorge. Go to the downtown farmer’s market. Check out the art museum. Shop for comics or records in one of the many awesome little joints all over town. Wander around New Seasons and drink some $6 kombucha. Visit brewery or a winery or a distillery–there are lots within city limits–love this town:) Have a nice visit!

  4. I want to go to Press Publish SO badly–I’m from Portland, and of course it’s happening while I’m in school in NY. Not exactly a weekend trip. Plus a handful of the speakers are bloggers I already read. D:

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