This is the place to find out what new and exciting events are unfolding in the life and times of Je Kemp.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

This is a fact, over the past five years, my net pay has decreased and I am making less money today than I was back in the year 2000.  The strange thing is that I still work for the same company. 

What makes this hard for me despite earning less $$$  is that the cost of the things I have to buy have largely increased over that same period of time.  I have noticed that recently the price of most goods and services have increased by larger proportions and it is making a pauper out of me.

The price of milk is twice as much as it was just five years ago, the price of cheese is about three times what it was even a year ago.  I was fascinated to discover that the price automobiles have also gone through the roof.  Who the hell has 35k to spend on a Nissan?  Actually what I would really like to know is who all of these people are who can purchase a 700k house or a 350k one-bedroom condo in midtown. 

What do they do for a living and where did I go wrong?

I can't handle being poor anymore.  I can't afford to take a vacation, I can't afford a car, I can't afford to get a new computer, I barely manage to keep my mortgage, gas, communications, electricity, and food expenses from overwhelming me.  Let's not even discuss when the last time I was able to buy myself some new clothes or shoes and we all know that it is the clothes that makes the man..

Lets break it down shall we? 

One example is how much the cost of communications has risen these days,  A phone line into the house $25-$55 dollars a month, a cellphone costs about $50 a month, the cable television bill $50 a month with broadband internet adds another $50.   A household with all of these costs adds up to over $200 a month just for communications.  Sad, when the only calls you receive are from creditors and telemarketers.

My natural gas bill is over $130.00 a month and I don't even live up in the northern colder states.  The recent de-regulation of the natural gas industry here in Georgia has done the opposite of what the politicians at the time promised, as if adding middlemen to a bureaucratic process could ever drive the cost down in the first place.  Too bad I can't drill for my own natural gas or make it somehow, hmmm.

My electricity bill hovers around the $100 mark, got to keep the security lights burning, the air-conditioner churning just to fight off that sulty southern humid air, the appliances, the computer whirring.  All for what?  So I can hide out inside my little house,  a virtual shut in from the rest of the world?

Thankfully, I no longer drive my car.  I am saving about $100 a month on insurance costs and another $80 or so in fuel costs.  Add to that the randomly occurring $30-$1200 repair and maintenance costs incurred by having to own an older car and it is easy to see why I am no longer behind the wheel.   I never have owned a gas guzzler.  I could not even imagine having to pay $50 every time I visited the pumps.  What about the people with new cars and the car payments.  $200-$500 a month plus the price of insurance plus the cost of fuel and maintenance costs? 

Sometimes I wish I could just live in the time before the industrial revolution.  I have actually heard that they had more free time than we do today.   Imagine, a world without damn cars, power poles, utility bills.  It must have been truly wonderful.

Monday, July 26, 2004

I just read the Dnc blog and I wish I could go to the democratic national convention and write the hype but I will be staying here using the same amount of brainpower as a chimp to do my "sexy" digitization job.

This reminds me of when I worked at R.E.I.  it was an absolutely miserable experience.  My co-workers were mostly the children of wealthy people,  doctors, businessmen, etc.

I think they worked there for two main reasons, first, they were perceived as experts by the clueless people who shopped there and second, the pro-deal.  A little known fact about the wealthy is that they are some of the most frugal shoppers and misers on the planet so enter the pro deal.  The pro deal is an incentive that allowed the employees of R.E.I. to purchase outdoor gear at or even below wholesale cost.  This allowed my intrepid coworkers the ability to buy even more crap to load into their SUVs.

There was a time in my life when mountain biking and kayaking was very important to me.  This is no longer the case.  While working at R.E.I, I was trying to support myself and that left very little cash to indulge in  these pro deals.  I think anyone reading this would agree that $5.50 an hour is not even enough money to live comfortably in metro Atlanta.  So there I was, a kid with no money in what amounted to a giant candy store.  I found the experience to be unpleasant but eye opening none the less. 

What does this have to do me wishing I could go to the DNC? 

Well,  today it is a different boat but basically the same scenario.  Here I am working at the world's news leader and I am not the fortunate son yet again.  I have repeatedly tried to get sent out in to the field with no luck.  I am young, unmarried, and in good health but will not be leaving my desk to go on an assignment ever.  Not that I am unable to do the work, I am simply not in the right circle of friends.  The endless line of cronyism that extends into the highest reaches of power in the good old US of A starts here and excludes me.   I have been told that the people already in the field do not want any "new" blood showing up because they are afraid that the "shirts" back in Atlanta will discover what raging alcoholics they all are and dismiss them.  Hey, maybe.  The last time I checked, most journalists are admitted alcoholics.   I think there maybe a different reason altogether, I simply do not know the right people.  Maybe had I gone to a real university in the northeast, I would have the connections an average American needs to get ahead in this day and age.   Its like those spoiled kids I worked with at R.E.I., they never had to work to support themselves, they did not worry about not getting accepted into the right schools.  their folks money opened all the right doors for them.  Were their lives better than mine?  I feel confident that they are still better off than me now.  I remember one girl in particular, her name was Allison and she worked in customer service.  She had a brand new jumbo sport utility vehicle and was dating this loser of  guy whose dad invented combos.
They spent their time when not working the 20 or so hours a week at the store playing ultimate frisbee or just out in the great outdoors, did I ever get to come along?  No way, I was too busy working 50+ hours a week to make ends meet to participate in such leisure activities.

I five put in five long years with this company and have nothing to show for it but a run down house located in the terminally poor side of town, no car, and very little spendable income.  I want to go back to school but I can't afford it.  I hope that my coworkers who go to Boston have the time of their lives because somebody needs to be living the good life.  Too bad it is never going to be me.