Breakfast With Begich

There are a few benefits to not blogging as frequently as one may have in the past: (1) Friends and acquaintances will talk to you more and seek you out at parties to ask questions about what you have been up to; (2) Without near-daily stories and recaps, you suddenly seem much more mysterious and interesting; (3) Other people will have written about topics you intended to cover, making it much easier to explain, say, what a "Table Captain" is, and how I came to be sitting with one at 7 AM last Wednesday:

The Invitation: From Myster, to go to a 7 AM(!) breakfast fundraiser for Mark Begich.

The Cost/"Suggested Donation": $100.
Too rich for my blood I told her, but I was planning to make a small donation to the campaign anyway, so I offered to contribute that to the breakfast fundraiser fund. Later, Myster informed me that she had "hammered out" quite a deal for me: A recently-retired AK Supreme Court Justice (hereinafter "Recently-Retired Justice" or "RRJ") now hanging out at her firm, who would not be able to attend the breakfast, would cover the remaining 80% of the cost of my ticket, so long as I would "represent him in an appropriate fashion." That led to this exchange:

Me: What does "appropriate fashion" mean? Is there a particular look I need to rock?
Myster: I think he means don't do anything that will make people wonder what he was thinking by allowing his name to be connected with yours. No specific directives have been issued.
. . . .
Myster (to RRJ and me): B-Dice says he will be proud to be 80% you on Wednesday morning. He wasn't sure what you meant by representing you in an appropriate fashion, but he says he'll dress RRJ casual and hope that is good enough.
RRJ: He needs to dress casual enough to offend at least a few people.
Me: I'm leaning towards the sportjacket sans shirt look.
RRJ: If you wanted to go conservative, you could do sportjacket/short tanktop.

The Night Before: Another round of Settlers of Catan with Hank, Big Poppa, and Alex. If you haven't played or heard of it before, Settlers is kind of a combination of Risk and Sim City and yes, it is entirely nerdy, but the four of us enjoy it because it appeals to our interests in economics and politics and our competitive natures. Though, Hank seems to be taking it a little too seriously and is convinced that Alex, Big Poppa, and I are ganging up on him.

Post-game, Alex and I discovered that we were going to the same breakfast fundraiser in the morning, as was Alex's out of town guest, Zephyr. [1] We decided to go together. I was to call Alex at 6:30 AM, then pick them up at 6:45.

[1] Small World Alert: Zephyr's father was my constitutional law professor in law school. Funny anecdote re: Zephyr's dad: During my last semester of law school I thought I was going to need a few extra credits to graduate, so I arranged to do an independent study/research project for Professor Teachout. Eventually I realized that I didn't need the credits, so I tried to get out of doing the project. "Professor Teachout," I pleaded, "It turns out that I don't need those credits, and I really don't want to do the research project because this is my last semester and I want to spend as much time as I can snowboarding." "B-Dice," he responded in the wizened tone you would expect from a constitutional scholar, "I'm glad there is at least one student here with his priorities in order."

The Morning Of: I called at 6:30 and got Alex's voicemail. I headed over to his house and called again. 6:45 and still no answer. I decided to go in. I entered the door lock code and headed upstairs. Totally quiet and still. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Alex's phone was on the kitchen table, beeping softly from my two voicemail messages. The door to Alex and Sarah's room was ajar, so I stuck my head in:

B-Dice (whispering): Alex...Alex...
Alex: Yes, hello?
B-Dice: Aaaaleeeexxxx, it's time to wake up.
Alex: Ummmm, mmmmm.....
Sarah: Who is that? Who's there?
B-Dice: It's Mark Begich.
Sarah: Who's there?
B-Dice: It's Mark Begich. You're late for my fundraiser.
Alex: Ummmm, mmmmm....
Sarah: Is that B-Dice?
B-Dice: No, it's Mark Begich!

Everyone eventually got up and got ready. Alex put on a nice crisp blue dress shirt with French cuffs, khaki pants, and...two different color socks. While dressing he explained that he overslept because Ian normally wakes him up early every day, but he apparently slept in for the first time ever that morning.

The Breakfast Fundraiser: Mighty Mighty Table Captain Myster provides a very thorough and entertaining recap. My summary is much shorter and goes like this: Ted is vulnerable for the first time ever; Begich is great--he loves politics and campaigning, carries tools around in his truck, and once fixed Tony Knowles' garbage disposal late at night. I know there was more, including a discussion about polling data and Begich's ethics plan. But I was half-asleep and can't remember the specifics. I suggest you read about it from Zephyr, who is guest-blogging for The Nation, and apparently paid more attention than I did.

The Coffee: I have no tolerance for bad and/or weak coffee. Conferences/conventions/hotels never serve anything that meets my impossibly-high coffee-snob standards. I don't know why I was expecting anything different this time, but for $100/plate (even though I didn't pay full price), something other than the typical giant-pot drip swill would have been nice. And I wasn't the only one left unfulfilled and searching for something drinkable: 10 minutes after the breakfast fundraiser ended, I ran into two other attendees a few blocks away at Side Street Espresso. We smiled at each other and shared our coffee disappointment, which we knew would soon be rectified by George's espresso skills.

There is nothing that fosters a sense of community like the appreciation of good coffee early in the morning. Nothing. Except, maybe, the prospect of a breath of fresh air blowing into the US Senate from Alaska.

Extra: Mayor Mark & Me: I met Mayor Begich for the first time about four years ago. I was coming out of the post office and he was in his truck in the parking lot looking through his mail. I walked over, knocked on the window and introduced myself. Then I complained about the long lines in the post office and half-jokingly asked him if there was anything he could do about it. "I'm sorry," he replied, "That's federal. It's out of my jurisdiction." Not if you are a US Senator it isn't. He can Exepect to hear from me about this if he wins.


Newfound Respect For The President

He may know next to nothing about foreign and domestic policy, and he may not care about the environment, civil rights, civil liberties, equality, social services, education, or healthcare, but he apparently does know a thing or two about baseball. And in my book, that counts for a lot. Four More Years! Four More Years!


Busy Bee[-Dice]

Apologies for the extremely light blogging as of late. Work has been, to say the least, a little hectic. The past few weeks have been a busy mix of voting rights (hear me talk about it on the radio here.) and trying to compel the Department of Corrections to provide in-prison treatment for sex offenders (seems like a good idea, right? Watch me talk about it here.). And, today, after working most of the weekend, I got to my office at 7:30 AM, and I'm still working now, 17 hours later. Along the way I accidentally deleted a document I had been working on for 5 hours--this was a truly glorious screw up--I have no idea how it happened. I even saved it on an external drive before taking Josie for a walk, but somehow it vanished...

Nevertheless, after crying a little and drinking a beer (Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout, my new favorite), I managed to recreate most of what had been lost. And, fortunately, I'm one who can laugh at my misfortunes, as I did when spellcheck informed me that I misspelled both "english" and "language." Good times.