Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Down Time

I have a lot of time on my hands between when I get home at 8:30 and when I head out for my afternoon shift at 4. Lots and lots of time. I'm still trying to get into the habit of a double shift. The goal is to be able to quickly hit the gym, grab some lunch and take a nap all before I go back for part two. So far, I've only been able to accomplish the "grab some lunch" part. I'll blame the heat. That's easier to do that just admitting I'm lazy.

I enjoy the morning shift much more than the afternoon, for a couple of reasons. One, I've become a morning person. Waking up at 4:30 means I get to sleep in 90 minutes later than I did when I worked at KWNR. The morning shift requires reports every six minutes, so there's not a lot of down time. And, I get to listen to the KDWN morning news program, so I can keep up with what's going on, one sound bite at a time.

I'd love to be blissfully ignorant, but after trying that approach for the first six months of the year, I can reasonably say that it's something that's hard for me to accomplish. I like to know what's going on. If you don't know what's going on, you really can't have an opinion. Oh, I guess you could, but it would be wildly uninformed and you'd end up sounding stupid, so it's best to stay quiet. That said, being surrounded by news comes at a price.

Most of the news is crappy. Good news pieces rarely make it on. If it bleeds it leads. If the economy is tanking, it's top ranking. That's the way it always is and always will be. Even when the news is good these days, it's positioned in such a way that it ends up a negative. Example: Iraq. Casualties are way down. If they were high, it would be all over the paper. Now that the deaths are low? Let's instead focus on how the death toll in Afghanistan is now higher. Let's switch the focus. This was the standard line this week, and every organization was sniffing it up.

Want another? The economy. It's no doubt that the high price of gas is affecting people, primarily the ones who drive big s.u.v.s and pickups. My sympathy for them is small, as the gas mileage numbers on the vehicle sticker are the biggest ones you'll see. The price is also affecting mass transit, so we're seeing an increase in food and airline travel. If the gas price was $3 a gallon, I doubt that we'd be hearing repeatedly that the economy is in the tank. Remarkable, really, as five years ago, thoughts of $3 a gallon gasoline would've led to riots in the streets.

Anyway, before I get too sideways, let me get to the point. Say a gas tank averages 15 gallons. If the gas price is $4 instead of $3, you're paying $15 dollars more each time you fill up. Fill up once a week, and you're out an extra $60. Now, if a loss of $60 a month is crippling to you, you've got to look in the mirror and quiz yourself as why you haven't been able to do a better job of saving. I'm just tired of hearing how bad everything is. People in other countries would (probably literally) kill to be a part of this bad economy. You have to cut back on your Starbucks? I'm sure your expanding waistband can handle the loss. You have to eat at home? Perish the thought. You've had to cut back on your cell phone plan? Sucks to be you. God forbid you have to resort to.....gulp....dial up!

I guess if you hear something repeated enough, it starts to sink in as truth. I'm guessing the next "good news" story will be dealing with the shrinking obesity rate. The "bad news"? People aren't buying as much food because of.......(Tympani!)


Wait for it....

THIS JUST IN: Watching Sherry Swensk on Channel 8, talking aboout how hot the holiday weekend is going to be. For whatever reason she throws this out: "people should be running their air conditioner, but they can't afford it"

Huh? They can't? Where's that story been? So far, the number of people who have died in Las Vegas due to the heat this year has been zero. Now, the bad economy isn't just keeping food off the table, it's flat out killing us.

I'm now watching ESPN.

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