It’s time to turn off your television

Have you been to a minor league baseball game recently? It’s impossible to drive through Winston- Salem and Greensboro and miss the stadiums—the former’s sitting on the edge of Business 40 and the latter’s in the heart of downtown. But no matter what, the seats are sporadically filled to give the impression of fullness from afar.

Last night when the mighty Winston-Salem Dash played the intimidating Myrtle Beach Pelicans (hilariously parodied in HBO’s “Eastbound and Down” with Danny McBride’s character Kenny Powers playing for the Myrtle Beach Mermen), it was apparent there was a sense of pride amongst the fans. Although the green of the stadium seats bleeds into the grass on the field as if there’s no barrier separating players from fans, the fifth straight win for the Dash has to be, in some way, due to the fan support.

I’ve been able to watch multiple games this year due in part to a sporadic schedule with random free nights, and due in part to the fact that YES! Weekly has access to season tickets. Yes, it makes going to the games easier, but even after attending 10 or so games out of almost 40 home games at BB&T Ballpark, I’m much more inclined to just shell out the, what, $8 for a ticket? Yea, I can do that.

The cable bill at my home, which I share with my girlfriend, usually runs about $125 per month, including Internet, taxes, fees, royalty surcharges for actually using the word “Internet” and other miniscule add-ons like “remote control usage fee,” “modem rental” and “things that if you just call we’ll remove the charges but until you do we are going keeping sticking you for an extra couple bucks because we have investors that demand profits from our bloodsucking soulless company.”

I hate television. I think it’s the worst thing on the planet. I think it drains your soul of creativity and wastes time more than a broken yoyo.

This is an on-going debate between me and a lot of people, who often use the excuse of “I’m broke so I’m going to sit at home and watch TV instead” rather than coming and hanging out with me – often times to things I have free tickets to because of work.

Based on my cable bill alone, I’m going to try and break down a lot of things attainable in one month with an extra $125 – which I won’t lie is actually probably more, but my girlfriend handles all that. I know that everyone’s cable bill is probably different with Time Warner offering different discounts, and Dish offering varying rebates and whatnot, so maybe the median is right around $100.

So, taking $100 and dividing it by four – for the weeks in a month – you get approximately $25. That $25 per week is now freed up to do with what you want (unless you’re into saving money, but I don’t know anyone that does anymore).

In Winston- Salem, here’s what you can do with $25:

Two tickets to a Winston-Salem Dash game will cost you right around $15 for lawn seats, which leaves another $10 to either pocket for next week, or get some peanuts.

Shows at the Garage rarely cost more than $10, usually not even close to that, so you can go to at least two of those and support local and national acts that are on the rise.

Bull’s Tavern always has free live music and no cover at the door, so that’s another $25 you can spend on some beers or cocktails.

Ziggy’s Rock House Tavern is free on Wednesday nights for Humpday Funkday, and you can snag box office tickets to an upcoming show. Save that $25 for next week.

Foothills Brewing has trivia on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which is free, but you’ve got an extra $25 so try a tasty microbrew, or three.

Fred Astaire Dance Studio offers five dance classes for $50. You might as well take 10 in one month with that extra cash. They are open Monday- Friday.

And now for Greensboro: Two tickets to see the Greensboro Grasshoppers will cost you $14, which leaves you another $11 to spend on peanuts, and maybe tip a little bit.

The Weatherspoon Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday with relatively convenient early and late hours, and it’s free. It’s located at 500 Tate Street. Use that $25 to walk down to Yum-Yums for some ice cream. Then donate the rest to the museum because supporting the arts is, as Martha Stewart says, a good thing.

Elsewhere, the living museum down on South Elm Street, asks for a small donation upon entry.

The Renaissance Community Co-Op only costs a one-time $100 membership fee, which you’ve now got in your bank account thanks to the cancelled cable.

Beer Co., the craft beer shop downtown, is a tasting room, so go taste some beers then buy one to enjoy at home on your porch while the sun is setting.

Uptown Greensboro Public Art Space is currently looking for funding through a Go- page. Support local art.

That’s only a handful of things you can do with extra money and time now that television is no longer a distraction. No longer will you be bombarded with fear-mongering news, gratuitously voyeuristic “reality” shows, and re-runs of shows you got bored of 15 years ago.

Go out and support things in the community that will have a direct impact, rather than a cable company that is actively using your dollars to make your life more difficult. !