I changed around my Conky config, and its something you could do forever, but its great because it can be as heavy or light as you want it.
Read it here
So now, using most of the same code/look that I used here, I have a small, transparent strip at the bottom of the screen showing me time, date, proc, proc temp, network up, network down, and power status (battery, AC and the level of charge). It looks good, its light, its all I need. Nice to bring some of the memory requirements down from Gnome as well.