i came in and he made me take off my shoes and put on slippers. i saw the machine sitting on a kitchen table, unplugged. it was missing the front panel to the internal zip drive, and when i asked him to turn it on, i realized he didn't have the keyboard or the mouse. "what price?" he asked in his thickly broken english. his original asking price was $580, but after i showed him a craig's list ad for a similar machine at a more reduced price, i told him i would pay no more than $500. he dropped it down to $550. "no, sorry, i can only give you $500." he dropped it down to $530. "sorry, no," i said. he dropped it down to $500. people think i'm a good negotiator, but i have very little negotiating skills. they take my "fixed price stubborness" as a sign of a crafty business savvy mind, which it really isn't. at one point he asked if i was japanese, i told him i was "chinese, from taiwan. i've lived here for 23 years now." he laughed but i'm not sure if he understood what i said. i told him i'd go get the money and bring an usb mouse to fully test the machine before i'd decide. while i was putting on my shoes, he asked how old i was. "29," i said. "twenty...?" he asked. "29," i repeated. "twenty...?" he asked again. finally i wrote it on a piece of paper. he gave me an understanding smile. i asked how old he was, he told me 27.
i came home and quickly e-mailed rachel, this other person who was selling her G4 (400Mhz). her asking price was $500, and it included a 17" apple monitor as well, the kind that matches the machine. it wasn't as suped up as the other G4, but it did include the keyboard and mouse, and for $100 more in extra parts i could match that other G4 in terms of specs. and i'd get a sweet monitor to boot. i then went to get the money, figured it'd go to somebody sooner or later. walking back to the korean guy's place (with a mouse in my bag), i waved to sam's girlfriend eating lunch on some church steps, and i stopped by joie de vivre to pick up the matmos rotating color magnet, a present for renata.
i tested the G4 with the mouse, everything worked fine. the korean guy was calling me "big brother" in chinese and korean for some reason, i just smiled and unplugged the mouse. i told him i'd still need a day to do some comparison shopping, and said i'd call him back tomorrow to let him know my final decision, but i was already pretty much decided that i wouldn't be buying his machine.
i came home and found an e-mail from rachel saying that her G4 was still for sale and we made arrangements for me to come and check it out. the other important thing i had to do today was to go down to city hall and ask them about my residential exemption status on property tax. by total coincidence, i got a letter from them asking me to validate my residency, so it saved me a trip down to central square.
since i didn't go out for a run yesterday, i went out running today. i suddenly remembered why i don't run in the middle of the afternoon during the summer. the heat is oppressive, and combined with the humidity, it's like a smothering blanket. it took just a single day of hot humid weather for me to hate the summer season and wish it was winter again. bring back the cold! by the time i made it to the other side of the charles river, i was running topless, t-shirt in hand, used as a towel to wipe the sweat off my face. before the eliot bridge i slowed to a walk, the veins in my head throbbing from all this hot weather. with a grimace on my face, i sucked in air hard through clenched teeth, trying to catch my breath. by the time i made it to the drinking fountain (couldn't get a drink, the water pressure is too low, i just poured the water over my head), i picked up my running again and finished the course. i was surprised to see not too many people out running, mostly topless men like myself, must be that oppressive heat.
after dinner, we walked to harvard square (renata borrowed a shirt, afraid it'd be cold) to take the 73 bus into waverley square, where we were going to go watch a mighty wind at studio cinema, the belmont single screen movie theatre. the bus ride was very nostalgic as it was the bus i took everyday to commute back and forth from boston for 6 years when i was still working. at the theatre, tonight was a special two-for-one night on tickets (normally $7.50 for one adult). despite having grown up in belmont, i had never gone to the belmont theatre before. the thing you have to understand about suburban theatres is that they play the movies that the bigger cineplexes don't play anymore, films that are usually a month or more old. if a new movie comes out that looks interesting, i'd see it right away, and if i don't, i usually wait until it comes out on cable. besides, the belmont movie theatre was on the other side of town from where i lived, so that gave me less incentive to ever see a movie there. the clientele from what i could see are mainly from two camps: the senior citizens and the middle-aged couples who are too cheap to pay full price tickets at a bigger movie theatre or maybe just don't care about seeing a movie months after it first came out. inside the screening room, there was a surprisingly large amount of seats for such a small theatre. i tried to imagine how many former classmates came here during their adolescent years to make out in the dark. the mix of music they played before the movie started was surprisingly good, a lot of stuff from the late 80's and early 90's (10,000 maniacs, cranberries). during the movie, there were a few glitches. the projectionist poorly spooled the next reel of film so that for a few seconds it was super-imposed onto the ending of the previous reel. the theatre isn't very well sound insulated because at one point we could hear the fire trucks outside. at the end, the projectionist must've had something blocking the projector, because the bottom half of the movie was all dark. other than those glitches though, the movie ran just fine. it seemed renata and i were trying to find creative ways to sit comfortably in these hard seats, slouching, propping up our legs, whatever position we could achieve. renata, unaware of her own strength, at one point even pushed the two seats in front of us off their hinges (i think they were broken to begin with).
a mighty wind is not as good as best in show, and best in show i didn't like all that much to be honest (it was funny though). too much of the humor in a mighty wind seemed forced, i found myself laughing only because i wanted to laugh, forcing myself to laugh, even though it might not have been that funny. there were definitely funny moments though, but none brought tears to my eyes. parker posey has a small part in the movie, which is a shame, i wanted to see more of her, she's still the art house film darling. the fake folk songs were catchy, found myself humming to them involuntarily during the film.
after the movie, 10:30pm, we walked back to renata's place about 3 miles away. it was a lovely night, warm, slightly humid, with a gentle breeze, a near perfect summer night. i didn't mind walking, gave me a chance to revisit belmont, my hometown. belmont at this time of the night is like a ghost town, everything is closed, not a lot of traffic, the only noises coming from the occasional carload of teenagers cruising on a summer night. we went down trapelo road towards the direction of cushing square. renata was gracious enough to wait while i made a phone call to rachel to let her know i wouldn't be coming by her place to see her macintosh just yet. from there we went up common street, towards belmont center. belmont center was just as dead as all the other parts of belmont, except for the one 24 hour convenience store where all the townies were hanging out in the parking lot, smoking and sitting on the hood of their cars. this winn brook school area is renata's old neighborhood, so she led us through the dark streets, i was totally clueless as to where we were. we popped out onto brighton street, and then to renata's place right around midnight. she gave me a ride back home to my side of cambridge.