No TV week

In our hectic world you can greatly improve your life if you merely unplug some of the chaos.

Think about how many hours you watch television each week. Take that number and multiply it by four. This is likely the amount of time you waste each month. Now times that number by zero. What? No TV? Exactly. It would be great for your psyche if you could go a week without it. At my apartment we have no television. The feng shui of the family room is not centered on any high-definition flat screen. ItâÄôs been about two and a half months since we unplugged. At first I felt detached, similar to the feeling of nakedness when you forget your cell phone at home. I rarely watched TV even when I paid for the service, but there is a feeling of connectedness that comes from having a TV, as if you can feel the other 2 million viewers beside you, laughing at Stephen Colbert and crying at âÄúGreyâÄôs Anatomy.âÄù However, I soon came to find that the fixation of TV is just as temporary as oneâÄôs fixation with soda. Once it is out of sight, you rarely think about it. You are more active. You are more productive and you find more rewarding forms of entertainment that allow you to become closer with the real community around you. ItâÄôs cleansing. In the last couple months, IâÄôve probably had about five friends ask me what we do without a TV. They really seem concerned; their pale cheeks become tense and their eyes bulge in shock, as if we were mal-media-nourished orphans. I told them we laugh, we cook, we read books, we discuss life, we read newspapers, we listen to music, we spend time with friends or we enjoy the outdoors. ItâÄôs a great feeling unplugging a portion of your life from the brain-numbing influence of TV. You probably arenâÄôt even aware of the impact it has on you. One of the more rewarding in-home sources of entertainment is the radio, and the radio is not just for music. Minnesota is lucky to have a community that supports non-commercial, member-driven public radio. Did you know that radio programs, like 90.3/106.7 KFAI, still create and broadcast audio theatre productions? ItâÄôs like a live play in your family room every Sunday night. They also have weekly shows that broadcast spoken-word poetry, local arts and culture, jazz, the longest running queer radio show in the nation, a counter spin show that fills in gaps that mainstream media might have missed, along with daily news, a daily free speech hour and heaps of other radio shows. MPR is my other favorite; itâÄôs well-known, of course, for the Current, but if you want some entertainment beyond music, 91.1 KNOW is their Minneapolis-St. Paul news station that will rekindle your connection to the society at large with honest news programs like âÄúBBC World Service,âÄù âÄúTalk of the NationâÄú and âÄúThe World,âÄù as well as entertaining and comedic programs like âÄúAll Things Considered,âÄù âÄúFresh AirâÄú and âÄúThe Story.âÄù I guarantee youâÄôll get more out of radio shows than you ever will from most television programs you watch. For one there are no commercials and donâÄôt forget âÄî itâÄôs local. You are tapping into the talent in your community and the world without having to sort through 300 channels of redundant and sensationalized programming. Moreover, most TV programs you crave are also free on the Internet if you must have your fix. Hulu.com is a site that has everything from full-length movies to sitcoms and educational series. Many commercial networks also have the entirety of their programs available for free online. In our hectic world you can greatly improve your life if you merely unplug some of the chaos. WhatâÄôs a week? Try it. Ashley Goetz welcomes comments at [email protected]