Was in San Francisco for the Chirp Twitter conference. Got stranded there for a few extra days because of the volcano. While the volcano did cause a lot of anguish for some, it was pretty great from my point of view. Work paid for the extra hotel and sorted out the flights home. San Francisco's a fun place to be stranded with lots to see, and I've got friends and relatives who I managed to meet up with.
Had a fun meetup with Lin Dze, ucblockhead, MillMan and fluffy at the Zeitgeist bar, which apparently is pretty famous: other people I talked to seemed to know it.
We flew out Economy, but on the flight home work upgraded us to Club World (apparently BA's equivalent of Business Class), and then at the airport they upgraded us to the top deck of the 747.
It really makes flying a totally different experience. You get the same security search, but your priority pass gets you through the queue in no time, and the searchers don't seem to think you're a threat. Then you wait in the special departure lounge: couldn't believe how blissfully quiet it was, there's even a small "library" with a few books for people who don't want cellphone noise. Also there's a free help-yourself bar with a wide selection of drinks, snacks, mysteriously self-replenishing sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and so on.
The freakiest thing is that people don't just raid-and-guzzle, they just grab the odd drink and sometimes sip mineral water. Bizarre. The people seemed like pretty normal businessmen, though with Silicon Valley nearby tan slacks/cargoes seemed a bit more obligatory than usual.
Boarding is a breeze with another accelerated queue, then it's "straight up the stairs, sir". The seats have insane amounts of legroom, and at the press of a button they recline back into cosy couch-beds. Not sure how well they'd work for the very tall, but I'm 5'10'' and there were a few inches to spare. Food's pretty good: three-course meal, each course served separately, with proper cutlery. Also plenty of free booze again.
I've had almost no jet-lag so far on the trip back, though East is supposed to be worse and it was bad after the trip out. I suspect it's because of the lack of stress and the good night's sleep of first-class travel.
Oh well, I reckon that's the only time that'll happen in this lifetime. But as Epictetus says:
Remember that in life thou shouldst order thy conduct as at a banquet. Has any dish that is being served reached thee? Stretch forth thy hand and help thyself modestly. Doth it pass thee by? Seek not to detain it. Has it not yet come? Send not forth thy desire to meet it, but wait until it reaches thee.Pics
San Francisco tourist pics are here
What I'm Reading
Finished Sarah Waters class-conflict ghost story The Little Stranger. Not terrible, but didn't like it nearly as much as Fingersmith or The Night Watch. Soon after WW2, a country doctor becomes involved with mysterious goings-on at a dilapidated country house.
Very atmospheric at times, and the declining local gentry are very well depicted. The ending is a bit anticlimactic though. Some people seem to have found the ending ambiguous, but I thought it was pretty clearly signaled, just a bit half-hearted. Also while Waters has tried to stretch herself by having a heterosexual male protagonist, he never seemed quite convincing to me, being hyper-observant of details like women's fashions and hair that's been washed with soap, while staggeringly clueless about emotions.
Still, starts out well and passes the time.
Text. Myths of homeless children in Miami. Republicans use more energy when told they're low consumers. Ex-slave replies to letter from former owner. Free language courses from US govt. Free dating site on why you should never pay for online dating.
Video. Infomercials: You're doing it wrong.
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