Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Rent stabilization, career tests

The city board voted on rent stabilization rents today, which means that next year, my rent will go up 5.5%. That’s up from 2% last year. On one hand, a lot of people may think this is a huge number, but the landlord association originally wanted it to go up to like 18% or something. So at least at only 5.5%, I won’t have to sublet out my closets to pay my rent. This little scheme is one of about 863 different ways New Yorkers are currently getting screwed over at the current time. Sales tax is up; income tax will be up; grocery costs – up; subway fares – you know it; parking tickets – don’t get a parking ticket if you want to live. Pretty much everything is going through the roof, except of course the quality of life in the city. But I still have a job, so I won’t be moving any time soon.

Speaking of moving and jobs, I had to move cubes for the third time since August 2001. And what makes it slightly more Office Space-esque is that spot #4 is the same as spot #2. Okay, the first move was from our startup home, which was a floor and a penthouse of a building near Penn Station. That was a pleasant commute for the month I was there, because every day I had to step over at least a dozen bums splayed out on the sidewalk of 34th Street. There was a porn store nextdoor, which was convenient. The whole tech staff simultaneously got food poisoning from the Blimpie’s across the street. And someone serial-pissed in the salad bar of the deli right by Penn Station. So it was good to get out of that area, even if it added five subway stops to my ride in. And I’m glad to be tucked away in the back corner of the office again, with a slightly larger cube and a good deal of distance from the marketing/sales types who feel a need to talk on speakerphone constantly. Why the fuck do people do that? Does it make their penis feel bigger or something? Fuck.

Nothing is on TV now, not even stupid reality TV shows. I don’t have cable, except for my bootleg connection. But even so, there’s nothing but summer reruns, or shows too shitty to put on during the regular year. There’s an ER rerun I already saw; a curio clock for $1729.99 on ShopNBC; that horrible science show with Alan Alda (I almost accidentally typed Anal Alda) on 21; ancient ladies wearing chiffron mumus on HSN; a woman’s basketball game (WNBA?) on ESPN2; that stupid extreme Japanese game show on TNN; old people on CSPAN2; Steven Seagall on TBS; a shitty Yankees book for $75 on QVC (“Captures the TRUE history. The OFFICIAL retrospective. He’s talking as if photographs were invented just for this fucking book);catfish fishing on Food Network; I think that’s it.

I took a career test online today and it said I should be a techwriter. Not a rodeo cowboy, or a Navy SEAL, but a fucking techwriter. I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad. Actually I should feel cheated, because this was a plotline in Friends about four years ago.