Dayton>Denver>Santa Barbara. This is how things were supposed to go when I departed for the so-called "Birthplace of Aviation" on that chilly Thursday afternoon. Of course, this is not how things went. My flight to Denver was delayed by over an hour due to the plane being late from Chicago O'Hare. This isn't the first time such O'Hare has tried to ruin my studies.
United said the best they could do for me was for me to spend the night in the Denver airport, then fly to San Francisco at 6am and get into Santa Barbara at noon. And I was all like, "Well then I'll miss half my conference, but, like, I should still go." Well then I had this great idea as we touched down in Denver to see if I could get a flight to Los Angeles for that night, and, as luck would have it, there was one left, so I took it, and then I had to switch my car rental from a pick-up and drop-off in Santa Barbara to a one way from LA to Santa Barbara, and then I had to drive two hours, and then I got to my motel at 6 AM EST, and then I woke up on time for my conference, and then I put on my suit. What I'm trying to say is: I am the Apex Traveler.
So, anyways, on to the actual academic part of this post. Here is what happened:
09:00 AM PST: The conference began, on the topic of fracking litigation. While this wasn't too helpful in terms of my project, I did find it interesting.
10:00 AM PST: The main talk that I was attending for, Federal, State and Local Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Operations, occurred. I gathered a great deal from this older lawyer who spoke quite a bit about Ohio.
11:00 AM PST: The talk of the hour was Insuring Fracking Projects. The only interesting part of this was learning that insurance companies had not yet dove into the topic of injection wells and earthquakes. I thought they'd be all over that.
11:50 AM PST: We broke for lunch for an hour. I befriended two "legal professionals", and they were so kind as to buy me lunch once they found out I was from an island in Lake Erie. This was significant because lunch was roughly $17 or more for anything on the menu.
01:00 PM PST: We reconvened to the topic of Liability Topics Relating to Hydraulic Fracturing. They should have basically called it: Environmental Threats Because This Technology is Pretty Questionable. I didn't learn much because, pat-on-the-back, I've studied this already, but I was sitting next to a pretty conservative guy who just chose to scoff at anything bad said about fracking.
01:45 PM PST: The first panel discussion of the day. What Fracking Damages. Mostly had to do with quality-of-life issues that could arise due to fracking.
02:45 PM PST: The most eloquent person of the day spoke at the Water Withdrawal Issues talk, he was from a law firm in Portland and I want to be him when I grow up.
03:30 PM PST: A really sleazy lawyer spoke on the topic of Preparing Your Witness for a Fracking Case. Like, assuming you watch Breaking Bad (and if you don't you should), he was basically Saul Goodman, but real life.
04:00 PM PST: The final talk of the day was a panel entitled What the Frack is Happening?. Ha. Ha ha ha. They are clever. Ha. It was just a collection of five "experts" who had spoken earlier in the day, answering the attendees' questions.
05:00 PM PST: Cocktail reception. We got a free drink each. I had a 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and I could totally appreciate it because I took Viticulture and Enology last semester. I rubbed elbows with the other attendees, got lots of free wine, and ate guacamole (for free) that was casually priced at $14.00/5oz. I even met an '09 graduate of Miami, who was now doing policy work in D.C. But the bad kind of policy. He was the kind of person I don't want to be in 5 years.
And thus, the conference was over. I proceeded to return my rental car and head to my Couchsurfing host's house for the next three days. As fate would have it, him and his two roommates were in graduate school at UCSB for Environmental Geology. Totally unplanned. They taught me to surf, make ink blots, and showed me around downtown Santa Barbara for a bit, which, by the way, was beautiful.
I'll update "soon".
Honestly surprised you're still reading,
Tyler J. Elliott
Future Important Person