Exact Approximations

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Opening Offers and Ballpark Ranges

An interview I had today went really well. The attorney told me he wanted to hire me an hour into the interview, then spent the next 2 yakkin about his upcoming trial. Finally, he had to leave to go do a deposition. This was a bit of a relief because I hadn't eaten and was starving.

As we wrapped it up, he asked what my salary range was. I was at a loss. Don't get me wrong, I know what I would like to make. I know what I would demand to make if this were icky defense work. I know what I thought I would make when I started law school. But the high-minded idealistic world where a law graduate gets to make good money helping the little guy fight back against the man are over. I know the deal. It's hard to do plaintiff side work. The firms that are good at it want stellar creds and a few years experience. The other ones photocopy flyers they had made three years ago and stuff them in local mailboxes. You get the point.

I don't really know what I should legitimately make given the region and the type of law (contingency work). I don't want to high-ball and insult him, but also don't want to low-ball and hand him an Associate Salary Disount Coupon. Hmmm....

Calling a conclave on this one -- any and all input welcome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Phoenix, Arizona: Nutshell and Ten Observations

Nutshell: Red state. Half of all vehicles are SUVs and half the SUVs have George W. bumper stickers. A place for middle class folk to buy super-cheap homes large enough to convince themselves they are engaging in upward class mobility. Most people are religious, most commonly Mormon.

P.H.X. Top Ten List: Based on my personal, biased and limited experience living in Phoenix, Arizona. Perceived through my personal, biased and lengthy experience living in Berkeley, California.

10: First two numbers of temperature during every hour of every day.
9: Ice-cold Gatorades consumed every couple hours just to compensate for fluids lost through sweat.
8. Average number of police cars with someone pulled over every time I venture out of my air conditioned safe-haven.
7: Out of 8 times those pulled over appear to be of Hispanic origin.
6: Family owned small businesses the chain-store invasion hasn't destroyed.
5: Days it took me to realize my water heater wasn't activated. The water was warm, so I didn't notice.
4: Wal-Marts per square mile.
3: Realtors have given me bad directions to a home they were trying to rent me.
2: Standard scapegoats: Hispanics and Muslims.
1: Man's unusual mixture of emotional intensity and intellectual capacity. He retained the imagination most people eventually disregard as youthful naivete, and yet reality doesn't escape his maturity. Seems more alive than most people I've met - I think that's what it is.

All things considered, I'm left thinking there's no better place to live.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Breaking the Cycle of Hotel Living

My mother, step-father and sister rent a room in a hotel by the week. They have been doing it for the past three years ever since their rental home burned down. For the longest time, I heard all the plans about getting another home or an apartment, but one thing led to another and it never did happen. My mom works there now as a maid, and they have gotten to know the regulars well enough to consider them friends. I think it's one of those situations where you accept what you have, because it's what you know.

Once getting to Arizona, I've been staying in a hotel. Recently, with hotel tabs running and non-employment interfering with attempts to score a housing rental, I have found myself wondering whether destiny requires me to follow my mother's housing example.

Boy-o-boy, what a crappy thought that was. I'm thinking it's a non-issue now though. I'm 95% confident I convinced a naive and trusting homeowner to believe I will make a fantastic tenant. I'm vainly proud of myself since I managed it with no form of verifiable income. If I score this house, it will be based only upon exagerated statements of career opportunities offered by a law degree and my excessive use of unecessarily large words. Everyone wants to think a law degree makes people instantly immune to poverty. I know better, but am grateful for his misconceptions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fori v. U-Haul Corp., 1 Master Mother Fucker Situation 1 (2005).

Apologies for my language. Nevermind, I totally mean it.

Arrived in Arizona this past Sunday, way behind schedule.

Went through madness with U-Haul, where I reserved an auto-transport to tow my 1986 Ford F-150 and a big moving van to tow my big auto-transport. Going to pick up them up, I was told only the moving truck was available and I would have to return later for the auto-transport. When I called that afternoon, I was told there was no auto-transport, nor a record of my reservation. After a great deal of pride exchange with the bitter U-Haul employee, I finally got them to 'bend' (their words) and get one for pick-up the next morning... if I showed up at 10:00am on the spot. I agreed, and showed up at U-Haul the next morning, where I spent the next two hours watching the U-Haul people fix the damn auto-transport to make it work properly with the moving truck. Then, I went back to my apartment, watched My Understudy finish packing up and went to put my Ford on the auto-transport and begin my 1,000 mile journey to Phoenix.

The truck wouldn't fit the auto-transport. U-Haul had said it would. I went back to U-Haul, where they thought they might find a way to get the truck on the transport for me. No-Go. So we had to cancel the auto-transport and drive my 1986 Ford-Piecer all the way to Arizona.

The U-Haul broke down twice. First time in Los Banos, California - crappy desert town - nothing spectacular. I called the U-Haul repair line and was 28th in line to talk to a real person. We opted to deal without their insight. During the final leg of the trip, into Arizona desert, the air conditioner broke down. My Ford broke down twice as well; never did make it to Arizona. It was ultimately towed to my brother's house in California's Mojave Desert. I am hopeful it can be fixed.

Not all loss. I did make it, which I was starting to wonder about. Threw a bit of a fit at U-Haul. They apologized profusely, really got into it. They comped the four extra days I kept the truck and gave me coupons for my next rental. That will happen soon since I have no house just yet and my things live i na storage shed. Currently, I'm at a Holiday Inn, with shoddy wireless internet and a nice shower. Works for me.