Today, I must confess, I sort of punted on the Local Shopping Challenge. The item I picked up was one that's available every weekday, and one that I've actually been picking up every day without counting it toward the challenge: a copy of The Daily Targum, the Rutgers campus newspaper. Copies of each day's Targum are available in a box outside the Stop & Shop, and I've made a habit of stopping by there during my daily walk to pick up a copy.
I usually don't read more than a couple of the stories, which tend heavily toward sports coverage (as you would expect from a Big Ten school), but the "Diversions" section offers an assortment of comic strips and puzzles that are always good for a few minutes' entertainment. The comics include reruns of "Doonesbury," current editions of "Dilbert" and "Pearls Before Swine," and a few others that are at least occasionally funny. The crossword is a pretty easy one (ten minutes max), but it usually has a cute theme that makes it more entertaining. I do the Jumble and word find puzzles as well, and sometimes the sudoku if it's an easy one (too much bookkeeping and it ceases to be fun for me).
To get the most out of my freebie, I'll even read the horoscope and try to figure out if there's any conceivable way that it could apply to my life. While I don't put any faith in astrology, I find that the advice in these columns is usually so general that, if you try and fit it to your personal situation, you can usually find some nugget of useful guidance there. For example, today's column for Capricorn advises me to "Correspond and discuss project details"—something I've been putting off doing with a friend of mine who's asked for help in fixing up his house, and it's probably time I got on it. Of course, I could have found the same basic idea if I'd been a Scorpio ("Chart the road map to a future you envision, and plot the financial requirements") or Aries ("Discuss collaborations and let others lead"). But even if the stars aren't actually telling me I need to take action on this, I already know it in my heart, and seeing it in black and white helps nudge me toward actually doing it.
So that little morsel of midday entertainment, coupled with some vague but still helpful advice, is my freebie for today. Seventy-five cents spent so far on this challenge, and only one day left to go.