The device screen is not large enough to show more than two events, in a sense it is just like outlook, make outlook smaller and you get less events for each day showing. In the sound options you can change it to continuously beep, flash, vib, etc. (pick a long annoying ring tone)
I use a BlackBerry Enterprise Server with The Message Center hosted BES service – www.themessagecenter.com
Unfortunately, you get one or the other. The plazmic theme builder software will allow 'custom' themes that allow more flexibility with calendar entries, messages, etc... but does not allow changeable 'bottom' icons.