Tag Archives: House

Television: friend or foe.

I have been thinking about the Television. The whole family wants cable and I am resisting. Other than Dvds we have no TV at the moment, it has been close to two years since we have any TV at all. The girls are both tucked into their Friends DVD set and we download Glee when we need to. I just prefer my home without the drone of television. I prefer not to see my daughters slumped in front of the Disney channel. Am I cruel? Am I right?

So it has got me thinking about television. In Tokyo where I spent my formative years there was only one TV show in English each week. We had a special machine that could reverse the Japanese dubbing and return the one and only show back into its original American drawl. The show was Little House on the Prairie and we would dash home from wherever we were every Sunday night at 6pm to watch it. Like dogs, parched after a long walk, we would lap at the bowl of TV with relish. When we were desperate for more we would sit, open mouthed and panting in front of a Japanese Soap, trying to figure out what the hell was going on, hoping that the foreign words would seep into our brains through some form of osmosis and click with meaning. They never did.

Then the era of VHS dawned and we could rent movies and watch them all summer long in a  darkened room, curtains drawn, the air conditioner humming.

Boarding school had a TV room, but it was primarily for Thursday night Top of the Pops and that was basically it.  Then my parents moved to New York and suddenly we had a TV in every room, we prayed to the altar of American TV nightly, starved had been, and we soaked it up, every last drop of it, soaps, trash, the lot. We became addicted. Early morning MTV would flick on, then the morning shows, then Family Ties and all the shows we had missed in our Tokyo years. Like deprived orphans we took advantage of the bounty.

When I moved to Montreal, in the early days TV was my constant companion while Handsome Husband worked at the bar nights and I didn’t know a soul. We had a tiny apartment on Jeanne Mance, with brick walls and a claw foot tub. Our futon bed doubled as our sofa and our TV was tiny, black and white and needed a spanner to turn the channel dial. I sat, spooning Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream into my mouth and watched bad TV in shades of grey. Finally on one memorable Boxing Day, frigid with cold and with sharp winds whipping our cheeks we heading out to part with some valuable cash. It was time for a colour TV and we splashed out on a 14” Mitsubishi. It even had a remote control! Now we could watch hockey in colour! The Habs in all their scarlet glory!  We didn’t care that we couldn’t afford cable; we we thrilled with the news in Technicolor and having no further need for the spanner we lost it behind a book shelf.

The love affair with American TV continued, through LA Law, ER, Chicago Hope, those medical dramas filling my Thursday nights at McGill.  But not until Winnipeg did we get cable and then came those long nights breastfeeding Trooper, when I would watch Law and Order, one after the other while she sucked in my arms.

The years went by and the interest came and went. Always my TV deprived childhood years a justification to my addiction to a few shows. I would only allow myself 5 shows a week. Anymore and it was TOO much. I would be a TV whore.

And here we are now. Handsome Husband and I sit with a lap top on our bed and we stream the few shows we love. The internet is sometimes shaky, we always have to start the process a good 20 mins or more before we settle down to watch, get the show downloaded before the power cuts at the very least.  Sometimes we head over to the well stocked pirated DVD shop to buy an entire series that we can watch in luxury, on the proper big screen TV from the comfort of our sofa. Mad Men is a current favourite.

But still the call for cable comes at least twice a week. Mainly from HH during some major sporting event. But the way it stands now, I have managed to weed out the junk and monitor the intake.

Still, I do love my American TV. Now more than ever, that I am so far removed from the culture of the Great Shiny West. I need my McDreamy, my House, my Donald Draper, my Hank Moody, my Sue Sylvester. We let these fictional people into our lives and they never want to leave.

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Trinidad meets Uganda, planning holidays and a walk to school

Whirlwind few days over in the Villa, busy bee days at school and last night another collision of worlds occurred when I attended Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day celebrations at the High Commission here in Kampala. Nostalgia wafted through the night as Machal Montano played on the speakers, Carnival videos played on the big screen and Roti, Callaloo and other Trini delights were served under big tents adorned with red and black banners. Listening to the High Commissioner speak with his melodious Trini accent brought back memories of sweet Trini days in the sun. At one point in the evening Trooper sent me a text asking if there was any whining. No, sadly there was not. I think out of the entire crowd of 500 odd guests there were only 14 Trinis.

In other news,  if I am not Miss Teacher then I am Miss Interior Decorator and if I am not her than I am Miss Travel Agent. We are excitedly booking holidays in anticipation of our very first visitors to Uganda. The first set arrives in October for the half term break and the second in December for the Xmas holidays.  This is reminding me that I had promised Ugandan Hotel reviews a while back and once I have a few quiet minutes I hope to write a few in my lovely new red office. Yes, I have taken Virginia’s advice and got a “Room of My Own.”

We are rattling around our Villa constantly surprised by the new found space but are still awaiting a kitchen. We are also awaiting curtains and internet but honestly I couldn’t be more content. Sitting outside (quite a concept in the Shoebox) drinking white wine (yes we might not have a kitchen but we certainly plugged the fridge in. How else to ensure cold wine?) with my sweet girls quiet in their own rooms was a moment I had been waiting a long year  for.

Meanwhile I am reading the books I have to teach:

Death of a Salesman

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The In-between World of Vikram Lall

and that is just the first course.

And to top it all off Trooper and I walked to school today. It took 24 minutes and felt great. It is a new Kampala, people.

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A bit like a hippo.

This is NOT a pity party so don’t come with any Kleenex or sympathy. It’s just that now and again I like to set aside my very sunny disposition and famous positivism and wallow.

Like a Hippo wallows in the murky muddy water, except for me the water is Kampala and the murky-ness is the things I live without.

Yes it is a GIGANTIC adventure and yes, it is AFRICA and I will get to see a lion but may I please, just for a moment mourn the loss of my washing machine? You see, I am a little bit Trooper and a little bit Princess myself. I like to think that most of the time I am more Trooper than Princess but every so often I look around my self and I feel those Princessy tendencies rising to the surface, like a Hippo in her murky bath.

Many moons ago, in what seems like another life but was actually only 3 months ago, I had a dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, Cuisinart Magimix, Osterizer, and a gorgeous espresso machine. I also had my beloved girl, friends, a TV, the best housekeeper/cook a person could wish for and Cassandra. I had all my furniture and possessions, including paintings, photographs and mementos that reminded me from whence I came; I had wireless internet, a job I loved and a beautiful home. I had a car with a CD player and air-conditioning, a glistening mall and a beach just 30 minutes away.

We arrived here with 7 suitcases and shipped some boxes filled with essentials so basically our life has become somewhat sparse. In time we will have curtains and furniture, we will rebuild the home we left behind but some things will never be the same.

Each night we hand wash our dinner saucepans and plates with cold water (only the showers are fitted with water heaters) all our clothes are hand washed (ok, but not by me), our kitchen is minimal. Living the simple life does make you think. We take for granted so many of our mod-cons, so much of what keeps us ticking each day. It is only when they are taken away that we realize how lucky we were.

But I miss nothing as much as I miss my friends.

Ok. Wallow over.

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2008. Some final observations.

Grisham cannot leave CSI. Not after Warrick.  It is like Dr. Green leaving ER. Another show bites the dust. 


Time off work is a blessing but only if you know it is a temporary and fiscally appropriate break.  Time off spent looking for work is not time off. It is painful and watching a loved one go through it is hard.


I have a fun new game. I watch TV ads to see signs of recession. My new favorite sign that things have gone awry are the McNugget ads. Served on an elegant banana leaf, McNuggets are the new pre dinner canape!

 

I recently watched the pilot of House and noticed that Cameron has black hair. By season 5 she is a blond. What does this mean?


My favorite new drink is a Ciroc and Portugal Martini. They will forever remind me of December in Trinidad. (A Portugal is like an orange but better, Freshly squeezed it is divine).


I have come to the conclusion that the definition of Cool is self confidence. Not giving a damn about anyone else or their opinions. Being Cool is being an individual and being proud of it.


I have learnt that living with less it very freeing. Sort of like a severe bikini wax. We just don’t need all that extra stuff.


You can learn a lot from a dog. They get that “finding a $20 note in your pocket” feeling every time they sniff on the beach. The world is a big candy shop to them. It is to us too. You just need to open your eyes. 


Never underestimate the power of kindness. It is like Christmas all year round.


I have learnt an extraordinary amount about the oil industry since moving here. I cannot believe that it can take 6 years from the moment a helicopter spots the zone and gas is finally extracted. Only 1 in 5 areas are actually successful extraction zones and millions of dollars are spent just looking for oil and gas. It is, in my opinion just as remarkable as going to the Moon. Drilling 7 miles beneath the crust of the earth is mind boggling. 


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is the best book I read this year. The film inspired by the book is my best film of the year. Art is always the best defense.


Obama changed America’s self esteem. The US finally has hope and it is infectious. I am trying hard not be be smug and hate Republicans. It’s hard.


Children and students really only want one thing. To be listened to. Pay attention and self esteem will grow. It is what I want more than anything for my daughters.


I think we all love House because we live in hope that he is really not that mean. We want to believe that the right woman will change him and make him smile. But. Maybe he really is that mean. 


I have always feared getting older but I actually like my self more than I did a few years ago. Not so keen on the external aging factors. Vanity is alive and well.


I have started to love Trinidad. It is a complicated mixture of decadence and violence and I will never really understand it. I like being perplexed by this beautiful island.


My wish for 2009 is prosperity. Artistic, spiritual and financial. I have no idea where we’ll be in 7 months but I have decided to be optimistic. Attitude is everything.


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