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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 12:39pm on 23/06/2010 under
I am posting this from a subway train currently under 50 feet of rock.

Ok, there are certain parts of the San Francisco transport system that are damned impressive.
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 07:33pm on 05/05/2010 under
Palm trees belong on tropical islands.

Palm trees belong on Florida retirement communities.

Palm trees do not belong outside my window in the heart of a major US metropolitan area. 

Three months and I still find them jarring.  The slower pace of life, the different brand of crazies, the differences in food -- all of those I'm getting used to.  But the palm trees are just weird.
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 01:57pm on 08/02/2010 under , , ,
In my previous post, I mentioned the excessive terms of the contract for the apartment I'm looking at and my attempts to get it modified. Well, this morning they told me to pound sand; fortunately, after talking with them a bit on the phone I believe I found a compromise that works for everyone, so I can still take possession tomorrow.

Read more... )
I'm considering starting up some sort of online community for discussion of stupid contracts like this--maybe something like a DailyWTF where people would contribute stupid contract clauses that they have seen.  In my wilder fantasies, this would grow into an actual movement to reform the legal profession's approach to contracts and to convince people to think about what they write / sign...but that's probably a bit bigger than I really want to tackle right now.

What do y'all think?  Would you find such a site interesting for the occasional browse?  If so, maybe I'll do something easy and cheap, like fire up a PBWiki for it.

Mood:: ticked
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 07:20pm on 07/02/2010 under , ,
It never ceases to amaze me what people put in their contracts. Today I got a fresh example of this.  I went to the main office of Trinity Management Services at 333 Bay St, San Francisco, CA, 94133 in order to sign a contract for one of their properties.  The package they gave me was more than twenty pages, including the various appendages (e.g. lead paint, mold, bed bugs, rules and regulations, etc).  There were a number of problems, most of which were just issues with the wording, not with the intent, and I was able to sort those out with the leasing agent.  Unfortunately, there was one dealbreaker that we could not resolve, so I wasn't able to sign.  They've kicked it upstairs to management, who will look at it tomorrow and get back to me.

See the specifics... )

The part that frustrates me is that I know I could just sign this and then ignore the stupid wording, follow the intent (which I would do anyway), and I'd be fine.  That feels like breaking my word, though--I'm signing a legally binding contract that says I will (not) do something, and then I'm breaking that commitment.  It should not be up to me to interpret what they **meant**, it should be up to them to write their meaning into the contract in the first place.

So, we'll see what happens tomorrow.
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 06:35pm on 06/02/2010 under ,
Went to see an apartment today. Bleh. Pass.

Went to see another--studio, not too spendy, Dolores St near Market. Nice, but too small and didn't have a full fridge. Pass, regretfully--the neighborhood was *amazing*. As I was leaving, the property manager mentioned a 1-br in the adjacent building. It was slightly outside my intended price but still something I could afford so I went for a look. Much more space, full fridge, big kitchen, *wood burning fireplace*! Downsides: not ideal on natural light but decent, the closet doors are a bit chintzy so I worry about them breaking and it was built in '63 so uses fuses, not circuit breakers so I may hit issues if I run too many appliances together. These are all manageable so I took it. They ran my application in a few hours and just informed me that I'm in--huzzah!

I can move in Tuesday. Whee!
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 04:09pm on 05/02/2010 under
Today, I have been doing the things that didn't get done yesterday.  I found a place that was still selling monthly muni passes and got one, went to the post office and got a bunch of money orders so that, when the time comes, I can say to any of these landlords "Here's first, last, security, and a couple extra months on top of it, all in cash.  Can I move in now?"  I also found a FedEx and printed my credit report and bank statement, so I'll also be able to hand the prospective landlord proof of my solvency and of the fact that my credit is essentially perfect.  If that doesn't do it, I don't know what will.

From there, I've been walking the ground, looking at apartments.  The very first one I looked at is in a Holy God gorgeous neighborhood, with a Safeway just up the street and multiple laundromats within three blocks.  It's also just under half the rent that I was paying in Manhattan, and is one of the more expensive places I will be looking at today; if the quality of the other neighborhoods is even close to this good, I'm going to have a wide set of options. 

I have paused briefly to write this up and will now be moving on to some of the other neighborhoods.

Observation #2:  Public transit out here is far more attractive than in New York, but is also more primitive. 

  2.A) Instead of having one integrated system there are two disconnected ones:  BART and Muni, where Muni has trains, buses, and trolleys.  The BART has farecards but uses point-to-point pricing (i.e. it costs more the farther you travel), while the Muni fixed-price but cash-only unless you have a monthly pass. (EDIT:  As sinboy points out, the more expensive version of the monthly pass will also let you ride the BART within city limits, but not outside them.)

  2.B) The monthly passes are based on calendar month, not 30-days-from-date-of-issue. 

  2.C) They print and distribute the monthly passes at the beginning of each month and when they run out (usually by the end of the first week), there just aren't any more.

  2.D) Finally, both systems essentially shut down around 11pm or midnight--there are a few late-night lines (called "OWL lines") that stay open, but it becomes very hard to get around in the evening.

Observation #3:  Almost nothing out here takes credit cards.  It's cash or debit.  Weird.

Observation #4 (I already knew this, but it bears repeating):  This city is so much prettier than New York.  Murals, architecture, terrain, everything.
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 09:16pm on 04/02/2010 under
Today was my first day in the land of surfer-dudes.  Empirically, it's been a decent day:  I talked a bit with one of the roommates at the place I'm staying (let's hear it for AirBnB!), got a lot of good info about where things are and how they work, then headed off to an Internet cafe to do some planning and prep.  That got done pretty quickly:
  1. Check Craigslist, put together a list of apartments I was interested in.
  2. Walk over and look at the neighborhoods to narrow it down to just the ones I was serious about.
  3. Along the way, I would stop at a post office and get money orders to serve as first/last/security/etc. 
  4. Also, I had to hit a FedEx Office Center and print out my credit report (fortunately I have one from last May) and my current bank statement to show that I'm solvent.
  5. Call Freddie (the super from my NYC building) and ask if he would be a reference that I'm a good tenant.
  6. Call the various landlords of the properties I was interested in and set up viewings.
I got the list together, I called Freddie, and I located FedEx and Post Office locations, but I did not actually end up leaving the coffee shop all day--it started raining pretty hard, and I decided to wait it out.  Tomorrow I'll go even if it means getting soaked, but I figured it was easier to stay here and just keep expanding my target list
Observation #1:  I need to dress down.  My black wool longcoat stands out among people who are wearing either T-shirts and a sweatshirt, or leather.

And now, I am off to have Japanese with my friend Rich!  Huzzah!
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 06:38pm on 03/02/2010 under ,
Wow.  I'm in San Francisco and I'm not going home back.
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posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 08:17am on 03/02/2010 under ,
Went into NYC last night, stayed with  avivasedai who had previously offered to drive me to the airport this morning--a most kind and appreciated offer.  I picked up food at GCT on the way through, including Indian food for avivasedai and luun (I had leftover Thai from lunch), some tasty yummy puddings, and tarts of various kind (pecan, 2 apple, coconut custard--I only ordered three, but the pie guy was kind enough to give me the fourth free).

This morning we got up at o-dark-hundred and piled out the door, leaving around 0615 to find snow all over the ground (as predicted).  As we were getting in the car, it was discovered that avivasedai hadn't realized I was going to JFK, not LGA--I sent her my itinerary, but we hadn't actually discussed it.  It was pretty clear from her reaction that this was going to be a problem for her, and she'd been under plainly visible stress the night before, so I said I'd take a cab if she dropped me in Manhattan.  She left me out at 125th, I got a cab driver, and it took about 30 mins to get to the airport.  Crowding was light, so security was a breeze.  I ate at the very tasty breakfast bar that JFK is now offering, bought a sandwich and banana for later, and am now enjoying the free Wi-Fi.  Man, this is a civilized airport...makes traveling so much better.

perldiver: A false-color multi-spectrum image of Sol. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] perldiver at 10:12am on 01/02/2010 under ,
Went to Boston for the weekend to say goodbye to people.  Played games, ate tasty food, saw Mosaic Commons, had dinner in Milford.  More below the cut.

Read more... )
All in all, this was a fantastic weekend.  I'm really going to miss all my Boston friends, but I'm glad I saw you all.  To all those I was not able to hook up with this weekend--it wasn't for lack of desire, it was simply that I wanted to keep the group small so that I would actually get a chance to talk to everyone at least a little.


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