as soon as i left the house this afternoon i began to regret not bringing an umbrella. what was forecasted to be just a light flurry came down in near white-out condition. by the time i made it to harvard square, i was entirely covered in a layer of snowflakes. i was there to catch the hasty pudding parade, with anne hathaway being this year's award recipient.

i was there an hour early so i could do some banking business. i signed up online for a new bank of america checking account with no minimum balance. sounding too good to be true, i wanted to talk to somebody to make sure there weren't any hidden costs. with my current account there's a minimum balance of nearly a grand. the woman i spoke with said my new account didn't have a minimum balance as advertised; what i didn't know was there was a $8 monthly fee (unless i have direct deposit, which i don't, because i'm a self-employed freelancer). so basically bank of america checking accounts come in two flavors: no minimum balance but with a monthly fee; or no monthly fee but requiring a minimum balance. i asked the woman if there was any retention service like they have with cable or phone companies when you try to switch to a difference carrier. she said no. she cut up my unused debit card after canceling the new account. i did manage to deposit some cash into my existing account, using one of their fancy ATM machines that can actually sort through and count a stack of bills.

unlike last year's hasty pudding parade, this year's temperature wasn't bitterly cold. however, there was the little issue with snow. i stood underneath the awning of the hong kong restaurant with 30 minutes to go before the parade started. there was a line of other like-minded folks, many sporting point-and-shoot cameras. those with beefier cameras were making a beeline to the start of the procession to get the prerequisite posed shots. i was asked twice by passing pedestrians what we were all waiting around for. with 10 minutes to spare i moved to a better (higher) position.

the parade began pretty promptly at around 2:30. first members of harvard's performing arts club, followed by the local cambridge high school marching band and cheerleaders. there was a long pause before a large flatbed truck supporting a crowd of photographers slowly rolled down the street, with anne hathaway sitting in a convertible behind them. anne hathaway looks remarkably beautiful in person, as opposed to last year's winner renee zellweger, who looked like a taunt turnip. behind the convertible was another convertible, this one with miss boston 2009. behind them all was the anchor group featuring the cast of the donkey show.

after the parade (the entire procession last no more than 20 minutes), everyone quickly dispersed. i remained in harvard square since i still had some unfinished bank business. harvard square has changed a lot over the past few years. with the proliferation of online shopping, gone are the numerous bookstores that used to dot the area. in there place now are a multitude of bank offices. i used to see this as a negative until today. since bank of america was starting to be too rich for my blood, i was in the market for a new bank, and what better place than harvard square, the new banking capital of the greater boston area?

in fact, i did do some preliminary research online regarding possible alternative banks: td bank, wainwright, sovereign, citizens. i also vaguely remember seeing some television commercials. i finally decided on citizens, based purely on the superficial determinant that they had a green colored logo and i like green (just like good old baybank!).

other than the few bank of america branches, i never had any reasons to go inside one of those other banks, so it was a bit disorienting. i sat down with a representative and i told her my story of how i want to switch out of bank of america. she nodded with a knowing smile, like this kind of thing happens all the time. she was telling me about their various checking account packages, but she had me at "no minimum balance, no monthly fees" and i told her i was already sold. instead of filing the necessary paperwork herself, she had a trainee do it for her on the computer while she directed nearby. the trainee was taking way longer than normal, but i was patient since i didn't have anything else going on today anyway. they needed an initial deposit of $50 but i didn't have any cash on me, so i actually had to go next door and get some money from bank of america and then come back to close out the paperwork.

it was still snowing by the time i walked home, although just lightly. i wore the wrong shoes (the ones that aren't waterproof) and trudged back in cold and wet feet. i opened a can of this "super chill" root beer i bought from star market yesterday. it had a pretty hip design but i should've known it was some generic supermarket brand (not say all supermarket brand root beers are bad, i'm actually pretty fond of the market basket variety). it tasted okay, but then i found a review of it online (yeah, people actually do reviews of root beers, crazy right?) where the beverage critic basically trashed it.

preparing for a new york city trip tomorrow, for john miller's surprise birthday party. part of me doesn't want to go because i've got money issues at the moment and don't feel like spending anything, but it'd be nice to get out. the party isn't until later in the evening, so i basically have the whole day to kill. i'll probably get some lunch in chinatown when i arrive in manhattan and then wander around the city taking photos until dark.