Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Do More

As I've said before, I probably spend too much time in front of the TV (even if a good portion of my former list has wrapped up in one way or another). Then there's the time I spend playing video games, or surfing the Internet, or writing blog entries like this, or researching political leaves a bit of endangered time for reading, cooking, chores, and so on.

In general, my work schedule is enough to keep me busy but leaves enough free time that I'm not burned out. Of course, I'm not far off from the glory days of college when between a few hours of classes, a couple hours of practicing for a sports team, and some more time for studying, the vast majority of the day was still mine. So this list is just a few things I would try to do if the Earth's rotation slowed enough to grant everyone a few more hours each day. It's all within my capability, though...otherwise I'd clearly advocate such things as "Win the lottery" and "End all problems on Earth."

5. Listen to and watch public broadcasting

A proclamation and...I don't know, some kind of sea anemone?

"Wait a minute, you idiot!" the few people who might actually be reading this are saying. "Weren't you just complaining about how you spend too much time in front of the TV and would try to do different things if you had more time?" Well, yes. So this falls more on the radio end. There are plenty of shows on public radio which I love, and I generally only catch snippets of them while I'm on the road during the afternoon. I'm still able to catch good portions of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and Prairie Home Companion, but to some degree it's the experience of listening to them that I miss. Instead of streaming online, it's nice to hear it live with friends or family and an evening drink. Of course, many Saturdays I'm spending with friends, so that's nice too.

I also have the nagging thought that I should watch more highbrow public television instead of the still somewhat highbrow network and cable stuff. I always liked Nova, which airs on Tuesday when I'm enjoying a regularly scheduled hangout with friends. And then there's the Red Green Show and Monty Python, both of which sadly disappeared from MPBN but may have returned...including Red Green on Tuesday, again.

This is still a really low priority in general. I do get a healthy dosage of public broadcasting, and there's always Nova on Hulu if I really want to get serious about the TV aspect.

4. Cook

The Maine-Sweden War.

Every now and then I put my mind to cooking a meal and I whip up something really nice. It's about that time of year when I can finally make a decent batch of corn chowder, and I've been known to make a few chicken dishes, stir fry, baked ziti, and other things that actually take time and effort but give a bountiful reward in taste and leftovers.

These are generally the only things I make when I cook, though. I've gotten away from the frozen dinners I got as a stopgap in my later college days, but my dinners still involve a good deal of Hamburger (or Chicken) Helper and frozen pizza.

Part of this probably has something to do with the split days I usually work a couple of times per week. It might be a little hard to prepare and devour all those balsamic drippings when I need to leave to attend a selectmen's meeting.

3. Give to charity

"It's so many, asking so much. After awhile, you just tune them out."

I do manage to get some contributions out. I'll weather the once-every-several-months calls from my alma mater and send some cash their way once I get an extra biweekly paycheck. I give to food pantries once in awhile, or attend events that benefit charitable organizations. There are plenty of good causes, from the Red Cross on down to the the Girl Scouts. I just have to take another look at my finances and plan a few things out, I guess.

2. Athletic activity and adventurous outings

This looks like fun, right?

During high school and college, I usually had a couple of hours dedicated to either cross-country running, cross-country skiing, or track and field. It's more difficult to do that with a full-time job. Oh, and because some bum stole my bike in the middle of a snowstorm earlier this year. And because my cross-country ski activities were formerly subsidized by the schools, who were nice enough to provide the wax and other materials to keep the skis in tip-top shape.

I'm right smack in the middle of my recommended BMI, so I'm still doing OK. I get out semi-regularly for a run or decent hike. Ideally, I guess I'd be living a pleasant retired life at the foot of a mountain with great hiking trails and on a road with wide bike lanes, all within an easy distance of a renowned cross-country ski area. That will have to wait another few decades, though, since I didn't go into a grossly overpaid sport that allows me to possibly retire in my 20s.

1. Creative expression

Guess who?

While my job is about writing, and sometimes involves a good deal of creativity, it's often within a rigid set of guidelines to ensure accuracy and prevent bias. So while I can have a lot of free reign when doing articles on a skydiving experience or other odd things, the account of a local municipal meeting doesn't exactly count as creative writing. I haven't written a fictional piece in a good long time, and this blog basically allows a bit of an outlet on a lot of random topics. The political scandal blog is also fact-based, but I have a lot of fun writing it. That involves a ton of research, so I suppose more time and money and such would be nice to allow more in-depth research in archives, historic sites, etc.

The Summer Glau drawing above is something I did one night last year, and it was the first piece of artwork in years. It helped me to start sketching again, but in general I do it in bits and pieces when I get some spare time. Plus I always do them from photos, and I have a bunch of art supplies which have been untouched since a college art course. So it would be nice to get back into that side of things.

At any rate, the Bachelorette (a high school friend) endorsed one of my drawings before she was the Bachelorette, so that's cool.


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