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Washington DC

The road to D.C.

A drag queen performing at Play nightclub in Nashville.

It is 2 a.m. and I am clutching a heaving labradoodle’s mouth shut on the side of a mountain somewhere in Tennessee.

We are halfway to Washington D.C. and my dog picks the most dangerous part of the trip to get car sick.

Ingrid quickly vomits over the dashboard and gear shift, so I put my hazard lights on and pull over. Semi-trucks zoom by as I use leftover Starbucks napkins to clean the car. Ingrid stares at the dark forest behind me, where some serial killer or black bear is surely lurking.

About 30 minutes later, I pull into an isolated gas station to refuel and buy proper cleaning supplies for the vomit. A young clerk with a neck tattoo is pretending to sweep in front of the gas station convenience store while eying a car parked nearby. A couple is sitting in the front of the car, having a full-blown screaming match with the windows down. It’s about 3 a.m.

The woman apparently breaks up with the man and gets out of the car while screaming uncharitable things about the man’s mother. He then peels out of the gas station lot without her.

She sits on the ground in front of the station and lights a cigarette.

Inside the convenience store, the clerk helps me search for wet wipes. Apparently they don’t sell any.

Our search is interrupted by a pair of new customers who enter the store. The man is a tall blonde with a pockmarked face and very few teeth. His clothes are dirty and his shirt is full of holes. The woman is large and squat with wild curly blonde hair. Her clothes are filthy and she isn’t wearing shoes.

She barks at the clerk about cigarette specials.

I quickly pay and exit.

I finish refueling and I am almost done cleaning up the dog vomit when the cops arrive. The clerk pretends to sweep outside of the store again while watching an officer quiz the newly-single woman who was abandoned in front of the gas station. She’s explaining to the cop that she doesn’t have any drugs as I get in my car and continue driving to D.C.

Packing our stuff to leave Dallas.

Packing our stuff to leave Dallas.

Leaving Dallas

Our trip to Washington D.C. started the previous day in Dallas. We got up early on Saturday morning, crammed our cars, and threw out everything else that wouldnt fit.

Several people from our apartment complex hauled away our discarded belongings almost immediately after we set them by the dumpsters. This made me feel a little less guilty about failing to make donation arrangements. Continue reading “The road to D.C.” »


My First Trip to New Orleans

Bourbon Street in New Orleans' French Quarter.

I recently experienced New Orleans for the first time.

Michael’s sister hosted us for the weekend to celebrate her birthday and wedding date announcement.

It was my first time in the city, and the trip was filled with beautiful architecture, amazing food, humidity, and an adult beverage or two (allegedly.)

A creepy and cluttered tourist shop in New Orleans.

A creepy and cluttered tourist shop in New Orleans.

Buildings in the French Quarter of New Orleans at night.

Buildings in the French Quarter of New Orleans at night.

A bar that's open 24/7 in the Garden District of New Orleans.

A bar that’s open 24/7 in the Garden District of New Orleans.

A well-lit historic house in New Orleans.

A well-lit historic house in New Orleans.

Continue reading “My First Trip to New Orleans” »

LLM Washington DC

Jansen goes to Washington

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms by Ashton Bingham

After almost two years in Dallas, I’m getting ready for a new adventure — this time in Washington D.C.!

Michael is transferring to the Thomson Reuters office in D.C., meanwhile I have been accepted into the Taxation LL.M. program at Georgetown University Law Center. (The LL.M. is a 1-year tax law program with post-graduation job applications starting this month.) Continue reading “Jansen goes to Washington” »

Dallas Life Miami Minneapolis-St. Paul

Miami, Minnesota, and Dallas: How I spent my 20’s

A view of Bank of America Tower from the Omni in downtown Dallas.

This week I undertook the humbling task of reviewing all of my blog entries. 

This blog stretches back to my freshman year of college, so there are a lot of great (and not-so-great) memories archived in these pages.

Here’s a look at how I spent the last decade or so, from Miami to Minneapolis, and then down to Texas.

Miami Beach

We start in Miami — there were long days in the library, bad drag shows, and misadventures in Little Havana.

Then there was the move to Minnesota, where I started law school and lived in a frat house during my first semester. Continue reading “Miami, Minnesota, and Dallas: How I spent my 20’s” »


Why I still use Google Plus

Computers at work

Back in 2011, Google launched a social network that was poised to be a “Facebook killer.” I joined the wave of marketers that adopted Google Plus, and briefly considered abandoning Facebook.

Six years later — Facebook dominates our lives more than ever and G+ is widely viewed as a failure. I however, use Google Plus every day and find it an important part of my productivity.

Why I still use G+

I don’t use Google Plus as a social network, but rather as a convenient bookmarking tool that saves me a ton of time every day.

Like most people, I have a habit of getting easily distracted online — but G+ helps me stay focused in the moment by allowing me to quickly save interesting articles and websites so I can return to them later.

And I actually do this — when I’m stuck in line somewhere, I will open the G+ app on my phone and find what is basically my “to read” list. If I am signed into Google Chrome, things that I posted to my Google+ profile will float to the top of search results so I can find them later.

Two things that make this work:

  1. It’s easy: When G+ launched, it came with a wave of tools like an app and Chrome browser plugin. Every major WordPress theme also integrated G+ buttons, so it is very easy to post something to your G+ profile. I also use Buffer app to simultaneously send articles to G+ and real social networks.
  2. You won’t bother anyone: The lack of people on G+ is also an asset — unlike Facebook and Twitter, I never have to worry about cluttering anyone’s feed on G+. It’s like my own little notebook of things that I find interesting.

I recommend giving “Google Plus as bookmarking tool” a try — it significantly improved my productivity by giving me more control over when I consume interesting content.