A very long post in which a mall is a place of business
Aug 02, 2006

Having driven all the way across the country, spent a weekend on Cape Cod, and finally moved into my new home and, essentially, new life, I was immediately presented with some annoying problems. The first, and perhaps most annoying, of those problems was that the client that I thought I had in the bag, I actually didn't. I had been told by one person at this company right before I left San Francisco that they had decided to go ahead with everything. I, of course, then sent off an email to my contact there asking when we could go over all the details and get a contract signed. It turns out there may have been some internal miscommunication at some point, for when I arrived in Boston I found an email waiting for me informing me that they had decided not to hire me at all because they thought it would be more cost effective to attempt to do it internally. What I found particularly strange was that they didn't say 'you're asking for too much, can you bring it down a bit?', they said 'you're asking for too much, go to hell' (not in those words, of course...). Personally, I don't think I was asking too much at all, and I consulted with several people in IT about reasonable prices before I gave them the quote, but I'm certainly willing to negotiate. Of course it is true that it would be cheaper for them to do it internally, but certainly not more cost effective because it would involve two people spending probably most of a day doing this instead of their actual jobs. So I sent them back a nice polite email saying I understand and maybe they would be willing to hire me to do it for less. We'll see, I guess. The next problem is that parking in Boston, and Cambridge as well, is horrendous. It's actually better than San Francisco, but still pretty bad. I have no problem finding a spot on the street overnight, but finding a place to keep my car during the day is a much bigger issue. In order to get a residential parking pass, I need to register my car in Massachusetts. However my car is not really the sort of car that you want to have in the winter in a place that snows and my California registration expires in the fall, so I'm planning on selling it in a couple months if not sooner so it makes no sense to register it here. Cambridge also offers a visitor parking pass which costs only $8 for the year. There are a few stipulations however. For example, it can't be used in the same spot for more than 24 hours, you have to move every day. Also, it can't be used in the same car for more than 3 consecutive days. Failure to comply with these stipulations leads to the permit being revoked. As far as I can tell, Cambridge parking policies are designed in order to maximize the related tax revenue. So I intend to see if I can find a parking garage in the area where I can get a monthly pass. Failing, or until, that Jessi will just be driving my car to work every day where she gets free parking, thus solving the problem of me needing a place to keep my car during the day but leaving me dependent on public transportation (which I don't really mind). Yet another car-related problem is that in Cambridge, unlike Albany (and apparently Boston-proper), if you park on the street during street sweeping they don't just ticket your car, they also tow it. I discovered this the hard way yesterday when my car was magically spirited away by the parking fairy while I slept. So I spent a good deal of time yesterday getting very sweaty and annoyed getting my car out of impound. Happily I, in the process, met a very nice bus driver who helped me out after the MBTA website directed me onto the 72 bus rather than the 78, and a very nice cab driver who gave me a free ride to just a few blocks from where the bus would have dropped me off anyway. I have my car back and a slightly elevated opinion of humanity, but am $95 poorer. I'll pay more attention to that in the future. In weather news, today was projected to be the hottest day in Boston in like 10 years or something. As a result, I was informed, a state of emergency was declared and there would be rolling (or some other sort of) blackouts during the day. Fearing being stuck in our apartment without even our meager air conditioning to protect me, I had Jessi drop me off at the Cambridgeside Galleria on her way to work where I also solved the pre-existing problem of what computer to get by buying a black MacBook. I'm now sitting on a bench outside the Apple store taking advantage of free air conditioning and free WiFi (not that from the Apple store though, I found another, faster network that I can only get from in front of the Apple store). I also discovered that there's a Bank of American branch in the mall, so have opened my new bank account as well. Finally for some good news. Despite the 'sure thing' client that fell through, I've still picked up my first client. I'll be going in to their office tomorrow to do a small, relatively easy job for them and hopefully to point out to them all the other incredibly good and useful things they want to hire me to do for them. More details on that will surely follow. In short: things are looking good, and I expect them to start looking much better any day now.
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