Sunday, January 25, 2009



If you have never flown Virgin America, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. It is a completely different sort of flying experience. The staff is wonderfully friendly and everything is run smoothly and orderly. Every aspect of the experience pays careful attention to a sleek, sexy, yet fun aesthetic experience, down to the lounge-like lighting and Mac-echoing white interior.

However, perhaps the best part of the whole Virgin experience is: in-flight TV!!!! At every seat, individual monitors with your own remote control and great selection of in-flight movies, cable stations, and premium entertainment. You can start watching (or listening to music, or eventually read literature) the minute you sit down, before you leave the ground, until you unbuckle your seat belt and leave the plane.

When we were flying back, there was a considerable delay on the runway. Shane and I didn't mind one bit. We were busy being entertained by Stephen Colbert.

Virgin seems to really respect that their passengers want a pleasant, human experience with a sense of some autonomy in their choices.

I have always been a Southwest devotee because of their low-fares, consistent and prompt flights, and friendly service, but Virgin definitely gives it a run for its money in my loyalty.

The delightful Virgin safety video; worth watching if you've never seen it:

The Factory
The main factor in our trip to L.A. was a business meeting for Shane, and added bonus was that it was the birthday of his good friend, Phil. We actually spent the weekend at Phil's West Hollywood apartment. It was in the perfect location, central to everything, right off of Santa Monica Blvd.

After a small get-together of friends and an opening of gifts, we all walked over to one of the big gay dance clubs in West Hollywood: the Factory. I was pretty freakin' delighted. The space was huge, with the lounge area distinctly separated from the dance floor. There was enough room that even at its most crowded everyone was able to dance comfortably. The floor was air conditioned!!! No suffocation or icky, slick neighbor rub-ups required. There were a few fun stage areas, which I have always enjoyed, and which we made good use of. The music was seriously awesome. One of the best pop mixes I have ever heard.

The men, in general, were much more attractive than in SF, a fact which repeatedly astounded Shane. I am sure part of it is that L.A. is a natural magnet for aspiring models, performers, actors, and fashionistas, but I think also, in L.A., surrounded by constant reminders of being the nexus of glossy entertainment, one cannot help but feel like one ought to look as best as one can. If you can have perfect skin and teeth, then why not? In SF, to be consciously concerned about one's appearance in such an aspirational way can sometimes be perceived as trite and lacking substance. There are no such ridiculous pretensions to depth in L.A.

This is not to say there is no depth in L.A. To the contrary, I often find myself exasperated by the lack of true depth in SF, whether because the people I encounter are trying to mimic edgy New Yorkers or they are satisfied in having checked all of the boxes in the requisite list for being a progressive intellectual. It is my humble opinion that while Los Angelinos may aspire more to tanned, magazine cover physical perfection, they also have a certain degree of greater curiosity and openness to new ideas. This could, however, be a reflection of civic patriotism (which would be a surprising twist for me).

I digress.

After the club, we swung on the swings in a nearby park, while Shane and Kevin and Ronny belted every song known to man, from Master P to TIna Turner to the musical RENT.

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