I just fin­ished dri­ving approx­i­mately 3300 miles across the coun­try in my lit­tle Nis­san (and dur­ing the last leg, a big Penske truck) packed to the brim with most of my belong­ings.  It took a week to get from San Fran­cisco to Birm­ing­ham, includ­ing an extra day spent in San Diego and an extra two days in San Anto­nio. After a break at home, we got back on the road to Char­lotte, and then finally Williamsburg.

The deci­sion to take the “south­ern” route across the coun­try was made mostly because I wanted to see my brother in San Diego and visit my friends in San Anto­nio.  It was cer­tainly a fas­ci­nat­ing expe­ri­ence.  We were dri­ving through Ari­zona right when a judge there handed down the deci­sion about their con­tentious immi­gra­tion law.  I saw Mex­ico for the first time, right across the bor­der from El Paso.  I saw “the wall” along the bor­der in a few spots.

Here are some other obser­va­tions from the trek:

  • Ari­zona is really hot.  We got out of the car for, oh, 4 min­utes to put my bike inside.  We were drenched in sweat by the time we got back in.
  • Texas is massive.
  • There are actu­ally some radio show hosts out there who claim that Islam is an instru­ment of the devil.  It was really disturbing.
  • Glen Beck observed on his radio show that his new iPad attempts to cor­rect many words, but it does­n’t attempt to cap­i­tal­ize the word “god.”  “Just point­ing it out,” he said.  “Not say­ing any­thing besides that who­ever pro­grammed this appar­ently did­n’t think ‘god’ ever needed to be cap­i­tal­ized.”  Thanks Glen.
  • There are parts of the coun­try where you hit the “seek” but­ton on the radio and it cycles for­ever with­out find­ing a signal.
  • FedEx trucks appar­ently have a vendetta against me.

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I’m Feeling Lucky.

Fri­day was my last day at Google, after two years work­ing for the legal depart­men­t’s Prod­uct Coun­sel team.  It was really hard to turn in my badge and com­puter to HR.  This oppor­tu­nity brought so many pos­i­tive changes to my life — both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional.  I’m eter­nally thank­ful for the entire expe­ri­ence.  I’m leav­ing behind great col­leagues and friends.  It’s also hard to cut myself off from the fire hose of insider infor­ma­tion I could access at Google… but also lib­er­at­ing that I can now talk more freely about the com­pany and its developments.

Tomor­row I set out on my cross-coun­try trek.  It’s excit­ing to pack my entire life in the car and set out across the con­ti­nent for a new adven­ture.  I’m sad to put San Fran­cisco in my rear-view mir­ror for now, but I have a good feel­ing I won’t be a stranger here.  In fact, I’ve already booked a flight back in Octo­ber for my fall break.

Things are already spin­ning up for law school.  I have my ten­ta­tive class sched­ule, and I received an intro­duc­tory packet to my legal skills “law firm,” includ­ing a sim­u­lated pro­file of the fir­m’s his­tory, spe­cial­i­ties, and cul­ture.  No word yet on the details of my fel­low­ship, but I expect I’ll learn more in the com­ing weeks.

Planning my road trip

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One down­side of choos­ing to go to William & Mary is that I’ll have to leave Cal­i­for­nia, a place that I’ve come to really love.  I think (and hope) that I’ll end up here again after law school, and hope­fully dur­ing the inter­ven­ing sum­mers as well.   That said, a cross-coun­try move gives me the oppor­tu­nity to take a cross-coun­try road trip — an oppor­tu­nity I am not hes­i­tat­ing to seize.

My mom is plan­ning to do half the trip with me, and our first stop will be in San Diego where my brother will have just taken up res­i­dence as an ensign in the Navy.  After that we’re con­sid­er­ing a push to Sil­ver City, NM to visit some fam­ily. Next stop: San Anto­nio, where I’ll crash with Tay­lor and Kather­ine while my mom flies home to Birm­ing­ham.  From Texas I’ll go on to Baton Rouge, and then make the rel­a­tively easy jaunt up to Birmingham.

Phase one of the trip being com­plete, I’ll orga­nize my life and relax a lit­tle with my par­ents before mak­ing the two day trek to Williams­burg, via Greenville or Char­lotte.   All said, I’ll hope­fully only have to spend one night in a hotel, which ain’t too bad.

P.S. Check out embed­ded Earth view in the map above. Sweet!

Decision: William & Mary Law School

After much delib­er­a­tion over many months and miles, I have finally made a deci­sion: I will be a proud mem­ber of the Class of 2013 (!) at William & Mary’s Mar­shall-Wythe School of Law.  I could­n’t go wrong with the choices I had, but W&M just… feels right.  It feels right the same way David­son felt right in 2003, and every stu­dent, fac­ulty mem­ber, and alum I’ve spo­ken with talks about W&M the same way my friends and I talk about David­son.  It is, in short, a very spe­cial place.

I have also accepted a fel­low­ship with the law school’s Cen­ter for Legal and Court Tech­nol­ogy.  Among other things, I will be work­ing with the CLCT’s web­site (which, I think you’ll agree, needs a major over­haul).  I will likely serve in an edi­to­r­ial capac­ity, help­ing to get the word out about its var­i­ous projects and accom­plish­ments.  Once I am up to speed, I want to look into launch­ing the CLCT’s voice into the social net­work­ing world, where it can join the real-time con­ver­sa­tion with its peer orga­ni­za­tions.  In addi­tion to my first-year aca­d­e­mics, it should be a lot of fun to con­tinue some hands-on project work at the same time.

It sure will be tough to leave a dream job at Google at the end of July, but I am also excited to get back into full-time aca­d­e­mics and con­tinue my pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment.  Mov­ing across the coun­try (lit­er­ally) from San Fran­cisco to tiny Williams­burg will also be tough, but I know this is the right move at the right time for me.

More details to come!

Citation Needed Achieved

In the sum­mer of 2006, Tay­lor and I were research assis­tants for David­son polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor Dr. Patrick Sell­ers (also our aca­d­e­mic advi­sor). We were essen­tially read­ing tran­scripts and press releases from dif­fer­ent con­gres­sional polit­i­cal fig­ures and “cod­ing” them based on how they framed a cer­tain topic.

Pat has finally had his book, Cycles of Spin, pub­lished by Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity Press.  He was kind enough to give us a shout out in the acknowl­edge­ments sec­tion (see below, end of sec­ond para­graph). What’s more, the bib­li­og­ra­phy includes cita­tions to two of Tay­lor’s writ­ings: one of his papers (co-authored with Pat)… and one of his posts from Tropophilia!

Photo cour­tesy of Taylor.