Blush: Non-het Relationships in the Media

I’m certain that this topic could be discussed in WAY greater detail. A whole dissertation’s worth, in fact. However, I don’t have that kind of time and I’m not getting a PhD afterwards. Feel free to continue the comments.

Story time:

We watched Let it Snow on Netflix a couple weeks ago. (Super cute movie) In this movie, there is a lesbian relationship. I don’t think it’s spoilers to say that the girls kiss at some point during the movie. Our 3 year old daughter was very confused by this kiss. “Where’s the boy?” she kept asking. It took us a few tries to figure out what she was getting at. Apparently we’ve been watching too many Disney movies, because to her, relationships were a boy and a girl. I say were, because as soon as the movie was over, we corrected her. She didn’t believe us. So we pulled out a book that we haven’t read to her in a while (apparently). Promised Land. It’s a typical fairytale romance, with just the one slight change. The romantic leads are two men. She believed us after that, thankfully.

I’m not saying that Disney movies (or any other movie or book) is wrong to portray heterosexual relationships. Go for it.

But I’d like some diversity, please.

I’d like, for once, for a Christmas movie to have two men play the romantic leads. And I DON’T want the movie to be about them “finding themselves” or “coming out to the family” or any other trope.

I want the typical romantic movie. One goes home for Christmas to his family from the big city. Oh look, the guy he had a crush on is still super hot. Hijinks ensue. Due to Christmas magic, they end up together. You know, the Christmas movie we usually get on Hallmark channel.

And I know the perfect book to adapt. Faux Ho Ho, by ‘Nathan Burgoine, has ALL my favourite tropes. They were roommates, check. Fake relationship, check. There was only one bed, check.

So come on, Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon Prime! I know the book was only released yesterday, but why haven’t you made a movie yet??

I want my children to grow up with movies and books that include all types of relationships. Gay, lesbian, poly, ace, you name it, I want it. And please use the same tropes as for the het relationships.

Think of all the new movies you could make!

If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Cutting Cable

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Since I first moved out on my own I have had a form of cable tv. That’s roughtly 15 years now. I did the Canadian Big 3 Dance every couple of years. (That’s where you call and complain to get a better deal, threaten to leave, cancel, and finally get another okay deal.)

In February this year, our TV, Internet, and home phone went from $98 a month to $195. I started the dance, but after 5 phone calls, I got frustrated. There had to be a better way. Right?

So I did a bunch of research, found alternatives and told Rogers/Bell/Telus that I didn’t need them.

Image from TV Guide: How to Cut Cable: Your Guide to Getting the Most From Streaming

Home Phone

We cancelled this and now just use our cellphones like normal Millennials.

Unfortunately, I was stuck staying with Bell for the next 2 years with our cells. We’ll see what happens in 2021.

Total monthly cost: $0

Internet

It feels like everyone and their elderly relatives is selling internet plans. From Koodo, to Cogeco, and Teksavvy.

I’d heard good things about Teksavvy, but they are built like the big three and frankly I’m sick of it all.

So I found and subscribed to Start.ca. They have no deals, not packages, no bullshit. For $60 a month we have 100mbs downloads and that’s great for us. Their customer service is quite possibly the fastest and the nicest I’ve ever dealt with.

Total monthly cost: $60

Television

This was the part that worried me the most. I love television. I watch a lot of it. We decided to go with a 2 pronged alternative. Streaming and Over the Air.

For hardware we settled on an Nvidia Shield TV. It is fantastic. Runs extremely well and is officially updated with Google TV. My second option would have been a Roku.

The Shield also has apps for everything we wanted. You can get newer ones for $199-300. We bought ours used for $200 on Amazon.

Streaming

This is a tricky one because there are a lot of streaming services and you can easily find yourself paying too much.

We went with a lot more than we should but after a year we’ll decide what we use and what to get rid of. We’re saving some money by sharing the accounts with family.

  • Crave: 8.32 a month (99.90 a year)
  • Netflix: 5.66 a month (16.99 shared)
  • Disney+: 2.75 a month (89 a year shared)
  • CBC Gem: Free
  • Hoopla: Free attached to your library card
  • Amazon Prime: 6.66 a month (80 a year)

We used Prime for our diaper subscription where it saves us almost 10 a month in diaper costs so we’d have it no matter what.

Total monthly cost: $24.39

Over the Air

Depending on where you live, you can get dozens of channels in HD over the air. You just need an antenna. Most TVs have tuners in them.

PVR/DVR

I wanted to go one step further. We have 2 kids and watching live tv is awesome but not easy. We needed a video recorder.

I discovered Tablo makes some impressive video recorders for over the air. We bought a refurbished one and it cost us $90. Now the thing about this and all other OTA recorders is that they make their money by selling you a subscription to their TV guide. You can have 1 day free but it’s 69.90 a year for a full guide with 14 days of data.

The great thing about this is that you don’t hook it up to your TV; instead you connect through an app and watch from there. You can have multiple people watching TV or recordings and even enable watching away from home.

The company is based in Ottawa which is great.

Quick story… My daughter accidentally put a blanket on the first one and it died a horrible heat death. The company replaced it and I had a great experience with the customer support.

Antenna and installation

I bought a cheap, well reviewed antenna for $50 on sale. It’s an outdoor antenna. At first we got 8 channels with it mounted in our garage. I was greedy and wanted more.

I contacted Pinnacle Engineering Services and Doug patiently walked me through all my questions. In the end, the antenna was mounted on the roof and cost us $285 for installation.

Doug installed everything and was a really nice guy. Highly recommend their services.

I now get 14 crystal clear HD channels. I’m told if you’re closer to the US you can get some of their networks too.


Conclusion

We now have a plethora of streaming and can watch almost any network TV show and it costs us roughly $90 a month ($24 for streaming, $6 for Tablo guide, and $60 for internet.)

I do miss HGTV, the Food network, and watching the Weather Network live but that’s pretty small. I’ve also considered getting Stack TV ($12.99) through prime that gives access to Showcase, HGTV, Food, History, and a few other networks.

Now the monthly cost is darn great, but there were a lot of start up costs for a total of $624 ($200 for Shield, $50 for Antenna, $89 for Tablo, and $285 for installation.)

The way I look at it, we’re saving $50-$100 dollars a month, so the $624 will be worth it in within a year.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.

Enjoy your TV,

Éric

Hocus Pocus, Massachusetts!

We recently introduced the classic Disney movie Hocus Pocus to our 3yo Dragon. She loved it. Obviously.

But it got me thinking…why haven’t I written a post about visiting the sets of Hocus Pocus yet?

Most of the movie was set on a sound stage (kinda hard to rig a flying witch in the real world, I guess!) but the outdoor, daytime sets were in Salem and Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Image of Max’s house in Hocus Pocus. Image from boston.com

With the 25th Anniversary of Hocus Pocus last year, the cities saw an up-tick of Halloween tourists, happy to see the outsides (and some insides) of buildings that made up part of their favourite Halloween movie.

You can too!

References

boston.com
salem.org

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Eugene and Rapunzel

Much to Dragon’s delight, Eugene (Facebook, Instagram) and Rapunzel (Instagram) were willing to stop for a photo. She could barely contain herself, but she’s getting better when faced with her heroes. She was willing to stand next to them and actually look at the camera!

Mal

One of our daughter’s favourite movies is “Uma Mal!”, otherwise known as “Disney’s Descendants”. She calls both the first and the second this, so it’s always a surprise which one she pulls out of the bookcase. to watch (PS the third is coming out this August!)

So when Mal came to our booth, of course we had to grab a picture of her.