Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keeping Warm

Today was a pretty good day.

I taught an hour science program to a group of grade ones then went to visit my best friend and her adorable sons. Her mom was visiting from up north, which was an added bonus because we don't get to visit very often. The afternoon was spent playing and chatting over coffee and cake, watching the boys stare at Toy Story on TV and talking about the wedding. (Apparently this is going to be a main topic of conversation with me for a looong time)

I drove home for dinner and ended up picking Jeremy up on his way home from work. When we walked in the door, we noticed right away that it was pretty cold in the kitchen. And the tile floor felt like ice. Walking further into the apartment, is became obvious that the furnace had been off for several hours.

After checking the heater, we called the landlord, who immediately called his contact for heating. It seemed like things were going to be taken care off pretty fast when we received a call from a repairman within a half hour of calling our landlord. Unfortunately, the repairman didn't have the replacement part required to fix our heater and after several calls told us we'd have no heat until the morning.

Jeremy: So what are we supposed to do for heat?

Repairman: Put on some extra sweaters.

What a nice guy, huh!

After another call to the landlord, who was pretty angry that this was happening, we realized it would be morning before there would be any heat. So I started making phone calls...

There aren't a lot of numbers in my cell phone's contact list, but every one of them can be counted on if we need them. And every one of them offered to help, some by calling people they knew to find space heaters, others offering a warm bed for the night, and others offering what they had without hesitation. One of my friends unplugged her portable radiator, used daily to warm the rec room in the basement of her house and said they'd be fine without it for a day.

And those were just the people I called tonight. There are several more who I'm sure would have offered to help if we asked.

Interestingly, neither the upper or lower apartment residents seem to have located heaters for themselves. We had an extra one and lent it to the people upstairs, whose place is usually at least 4 degrees colder than ours. If there'd been another, we would have brought it downstairs. But I can't help but wonder why they couldn't find their own. Didn't they have anybody to call? Or did their friends and family just not have heaters to lend?

Just a little thing really - one night without heat. But it made me realize just how lucky we are.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ugly News

So far, 2009 has been all about the TV. We finally got cable after Christmas after three years without any TV at all. After months and months of depending on random TV episodes streamed from internet sites or YouTube and msnbc videos, I'm lost in a world of sitcoms, news, reality TV (The Biggest Loser is AMAZING) and random other shows.

It's been great being able to watch How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, The Office, Desperate Housewives and other shows each week rather than being forced to wait until they are available online. Just as I've gotten used to this, there's an announcement that one of my favourite shows, Ugly Betty, is on ABC's chopping block.

Apparently the network's plan is to stop airing the show at the end of March so they can show repeats of a show called Samantha, Who? (who indeed? has anybody ever heard of this show?) and a new sitcom called Motherhood. This decision is apparently supposed to help them compete with Amy Poehler's new show on NBC.

So instead of keeping with a wonderfully cast, written, and acted show with a solid fanbase, the network is putting it on hold.

I know that Ugly Betty isn't for everybody. It's quirky and weird and overly dramatic. The storylines aren't always realistic and their world is a colourful charicature of the real one. But it's always fun to watch. I've cried and laughed along with these stories and love following each of the main characters. At first, I thought the bottom line of this show was the message about beauty being on the inside (hence the show's title). After watching a few episodes, it was pretty clear that there is so much more. There are lots of layers in this show, from the superficial to the philosphical. Even the After-School Special Moments (usually featuring Betty and her family) are entertaining to watch.

One of the characters is a young boy, Justin, (Betty's nephew) who is obviously gay but doesn't seem to have come to terms with it. One of the recent episodes had a storyline about him and a guy he thought was a really close friend. He was just being himself, inviting his buddy to plays and talking about the theatre. The friend had a really hard time hanging out with Justin, but soon decided to ditch him when his jock pals made fun of him. The direction of this sub-plot was pretty obvious, yet brilliant acting made it heartbreaking to watch. Justin doesn't seem to understand how other people see him...

It's little sub-plots like this that keep me watching every week.

This show is not just about an unattractive girl trying to fit in. The other characters have a genuine affection for her. And as the seasons have rolled past, it's become less about her looks and more about the girl herself. The writers have developed a character that is both sweet and annoying, nerdy but clever, ugly but somehow beautiful.

I hope ABC does the right thing and re-considers this decision. If they drop Ugly Betty, I will be the first one to catch Amy Poehler and company on NBC.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Cake

I was watching Wedding SOS on TLC tonight. It was totally cheesy, but somehow hilarious: somebody accidentally destroyed the cake!

So it got me to day dreaming about the kind of cake we'll have at our wedding. I was in the middle of imagining this pretty little cake when I started wonder what it would be like if the cake got destroyed at our wedding.

Honestly, if it happens to us, there's literally nothing we can do. Pelee Island is not the place you go to for fancy cakes. So I think we'd take just have to take some pictures with the wrecked cake. Those pictures would be pretty funny.

I wonder if I'll still think they would be funny when it's a week before the wedding...