Saturday, November 15, 2014

On The Road Again: Reagan National Defense Forum

Many thanks to The Hammer for stepping up yesterday to fill the gaping hole in our lives left by my failure to post a BFFFFA.  I must say, his choice of photo was stunning.  I find myself at computer greeting the morning here in Westlake Village, CA, dashing off this quick post before performing my toilette and then heading to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for the Reagan National Defense Forum.  Here's the lineup of events for the day, and then many of the Romney Defense Policy Committee folks will reunite to raise a cup of cheer, and another of schadenfreude.

The creators of this gathering want it to grown into something of a Defense Davos, where all the biggies will come for a day or so of conversation, elbow rubbing, and bowing and scraping.  They've done an able job in the two years the Forum has existed in getting a great bill of fare, and I would like to see it grow into exactly what they seek.  For now, it is the premier gathering of right of center defense policy types, and it is a must do on my calendar.

Sometime late Wednesday, I realized that I had boxed myself in preparation-wise, for this trip.  I was about to get to bed when I realized that I would have to get up at 0500 and be on my way to DC on Thursday, and that I would not get home until after 2200 on Thursday evening (teaching).  Then I would have to get up again at 0500 on Friday to get to Dulles for my flight to LA.  I had not packed.  I had not prepared.  I had in fact, done nothing.  So when I arrived home on Thursday evening, a good deal of scurrying about went on to get ready for what was admittedly, a pretty quick trip back and forth to California.

So I packed Thursday night.  Pretty easy kill.  But I had a few things to do on my computer still before leaving the next morning, so I hustled through the routine Friday morning and got myself into the mancave to download hotel, rental car, information.  And of course, my receipt/ticket for the Forum itself.  Which I could not find.  I usually cut/paste such thing into my outlook calendar for the associated event,but none was there.  I was distraught.  So I went to the event website to see if I could sign up still, thinking that it was entirely possible that I had not even signed up, that I was so far ahead of the curve in early August when I made my flight reservation, that perhaps registration had not even been open yet.  Of course, the sign up link on the site had been disabled.

All the while, the clock is ticking, I have a hundred and four miles to drive to Dulles during rush hour, and I am already a bit of a Time Nazi.  I eventually ran across the electronic receipt for the Forum in my "expenses" file, got on the road, got into a bit of traffic on the north side of the beltway, but made it to the airport in time to grab a sandwich for the flight.

Of note, I believe my bitching about the lack of an X-ray scanner at the TSA Pre line last flight appears to have been successful, as there it was, a functioning AIT machine when I approached the line.  I took to Twitter shortly after making it through security to pass props to the TSA Twitter Minder who responded to my omnidirectional bitches a few weeks ago.  He seemed delighted to be publicly praised on The Twitter, and took great pride in his accomplishment.  Who says government can't do anything right?  Well, me for one, Usually.

I arrived at LAX, which fifty years ago must have looked good, but which now (like JFK) is an eyesore.  I had about a sixty mile drive from LAX in my rental (Hertz, Stall 281) and so enjoyed the Southern California freeway view for a while.  I said it last year when I wrote from here--you could easily be in Israel or Spain, or some other Mediterranean landscape, as you drive through SoCal.  I really like it, quite a bit.  I like driving by roadsigns that mark places of significance in our pop culture, though I have no intention of seeing what lies upon those roads.

Got to the Hotel at about 1430 after stopping by a hole in the wall Chinese joint nearby, one I discovered my last trip here.  I need to remember next time that the dumplings were substandard.  Checked in with plenty of time before my 1600 massage (wasn't too time compressed to schedule that---priorities, friend.  Priorities.) so I had a nap.  The massage was good, excellent head and neck work, and I emerged from the little treatment room with a steely determination to continue to loaf the rest of the day, passing up little platoons of right wingers gathering for dinner and conviviality in favor of a steak and a bottle of fizzy water in my room.  I grow more introverted as I age, something that likely will deal my political aspirations the death blow.  The attraction, of a quick bite, a chat with the Kitten, and then blessed snoozing beginning at 2100 was gravitational, especially since I knew that my internal clock would mess me up today (first wake up at 0330, though I did snooze until 0500).

Looking forward to a good day of red meat defense chat, a good bit of back slapping over the recent election, and of course, thoroughly irresponsible postulating about the 2016 Presidential Race.  Should anything be of interest to you, dear reader, I will let you know.

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