Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Did you catch John Mayer on this year's Grammy Awards? He totally blew me away! I've got his album, Room For Squares, and let me tell you, it's astounding. He writes most of the songs, and once again, the sheer maturity of the pieces and his interpretation of them is amazing. I especially like "Neon" and "83", which features his unbelievable guitar skills. He sounds like he's been doing this for at least 20 years, and the way his fingers fly across the guitar strings is pure heaven. Here is a young man whose career will endure for many, many, many years to come.
(p.s. I know I posted earlier that he's 16 years old -- and he did say that when he accepted the Grammy after all! -- but his website says he was born in 1977, which makes him 25 or 26 at the moment. Okay, so he's not a child prodigy, but he's still pretty fantastic. :))

Was bitten by the flu bug, so did some major vegetating in front of the telly.
Last night's Fear Factor was especially exciting. Not only did they have 3 pairs of twins for contestants, they made them eat century eggs, aka 100-year-old eggs in American-speak, which are actually Asian delicacies and very tasty, but which the poor Americans kept gagging on. Bet they believed the eggs were really 100 years old! It was hilarious, but I also felt really sorry for them, the poor ignorant fools. :)

My opinion after watching Living With Michael Jackson is a sympathetic one. Martin Bashir is a shark, a vulture, a hyena -- or at the other end of the spectrum, a cockroach, a rat, a maggot. His animosity towards MJ is a total no-no in the realm of journalism -- well, that's my view anyhow -- and his biased interviews make cruel fun of a man whose life has been a rollercoaster from a tender age, and who continues to struggle with his inner demons as the paparazzi belittles and ridicules him. Is it any wonder that he turns to children for comfort? And that children gravitate towards him as well? Perhaps kids are the only ones capable of seeing him for who he truly is -- a vulnerable, helpless spirit in need of love and understanding -- understanding that only those with pure hearts can provide. I once wrote to the American Top 40 radio show back in 1993, stating my support for MJ, and miraculously, then-AT40 DJ Shadoe Stevens read my letter on his show, and I later received word from MJ's Heal The World Foundation director, who conveyed Jackson's thanks. Over the years, with the media circus surrounding the paedophilic allegations, I started to have doubts as well ( I was only 18 at the time after all ), but now, 10 years later, I know I did the right thing. I think everyone should just leave MJ alone, for pete's sake, and let him get on with the rest of his life in peace. And Bashir, I hope no-one else ever makes the mistake of granting you an interview. You are to journalism what Osama Bin Laden is to the Muslim religion.

On a lighter note, Monk is a fantastic show! Its airs every Friday night on Channel i at 8pm, so catch it ASAP so you don't miss any more episodes. Great script, awesome acting, and lovely comic timing. Great stuff. Watch it to find out what I'm raving about.

Before I sign off, here're a few brief reviews of shows I recently rented.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- totally over-rated, like Bend It Like Beckham. Starts out funny, but the ending's too perfect. Didn't realize Greeks are so similar to Italians.

Sweet Home Alabama -- liked this more than MBFGW, can you imagine? Reese Witherspoon is always a joy to watch, but get a load of Josh Lucas, who's a cross between Matthew McConaughey and Paul Newman. Those baby blues of his and that southern drawl are sure to turn your legs to jelly. :)

One Hour Photo -- good effort from an unknown writer-director, starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen ( from "Gladiator" ) and Michael Vartan ( FBI agent Vaughn in "Alias" ). Lots of suspense, with taut performances from the leads.

Possession -- my favourite of the lot so far. Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart ( the biker cum nanny in "Erin Brockovich" ) sizzle, and the film captivates despite its high-brow premise ( 2 literary scholars trying to prove an illicit affair between 2 famous 19th century poets ). Paltrow is extremely beautiful and fragile, and Eckhart is sexily likeable. The romance between the poets ( played by Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle ) also makes for compelling viewing, reminiscent of "The English Patient", (which I absolutely love). Just make sure you're wide awake for this one, or you won't be able to appreciate it.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

High point of yesterday for me: A feature on Ripley's Believe It Or Not about the chewing gum ban in Singapore. They even flashed the words "LEGALLY INSANE!" across the screen during the presentation. You said it, people! Haven't laughed this hard in quite a while. :D

And looks like my assessment of Christy the deaf Survivor contestant was off-base. I was taken aback by her outburst on last night's show, and whether it's a case of clever editing or not, we'll never know. She came across as quite a witch, but hasn't been voted off yet, so let's see if the tension will subside in subsequent installments. The women lost their second immunity challenge, but they did win the first reward challenge, crushing the men's egos even further :) Janet was the first female to be sent packing, but it's for the best, 'cos she's obviously not well, and will only hinder the group's efforts to have the upper hand in the competition.

The guys seem to be doing okay this week. And I really like Dave the rocket scientist. Seems like a down-to-earth fellow, and cute too. :)

Also caught the first few minutes of Monk ( couldn't watch it live 'cos I had bible study to attend ). Looks like one of those dramedies, ie. the law enforcement version of Ally McBeal. Tony Shalhoub's frightened-wild-animal look when confronted with dirt is priceless, and so far, the script and plot are pretty unconventional. Will write more once I get round to seeing the rest of it.

Friday, February 21, 2003

TV show updates:

1) Monk debuts on Channel i tonight. I don't really know much about this series, but it's got Tony Shalhoub in it ( perhaps obscure to most of you, but he did play the alien with the amazing ability to regenerate his shot-off head in Men In Black ). And furthermore, Shalhoub picked up a Golden Globe for his lead role in the show, playing "an obsessive-compulsive detective". Sounds promising.

2) C.S.I. has returned to cable! Showtime: every Wednesday 9pm on Channel 19 (AXN). This is the 3rd season, and though the first episode wasn't that exciting, the cast is looking better and better -- especially Marg Helgenberger and George Eads -- and they've added Eric Szmanda ( who plays the lab geek in love with the younger female member of the CSI team ) as a regular. His frequent double-meaning sexy repartees with Jorja Fox are such a delight to watch. :)

3) Don't miss Living With Michael Jackson on Channel 5 at 10pm this Sunday. Word has it he's crucified in this documentary, and although I agree he's weird, I tend to think that his bizarre behaviour is a by-product of his traumatic childhood and far-from-normal life in general. As we all know, the media loves to sling dirt, 'cos let's face it, nobody wants to read about the good stuff! But if you ask me, I think anyone possessing his generosity can't be all that bad. 10 years ago, when he came to Singapore for his first-ever concert here, he visited Mount Elizabeth Hospital when he fell ill, and after being checked out, he showered the staff there with free tickets to his show. On another day, he visited the local zoo, again being very accomodating with the fans he met, and even bringing along some less fortunate kids with him. As for the paedophile issue, the jury's still out. Bottomline: Don't be so judgmental and give the poor guy a break.

4) Next Sunday, there'll be yet another Robbie Williams concert special -- sorry, I just couldn't resist! :D Held in Manchester, it'll definitely be a real treat, and you'll be able to find out why I'm such a huge fan of his. It's gonna be on Channel 5, but I can't remember the exact time, so check the programme listing.

Now, here's an entry I almost never make on my blog -- a complaint! Yes, people, the department I'm currently posted to is driving me up a wall. One medical officer (MO) went on maternity leave, and as she's instrumental in keeping the clinic running efficiently, it's been a hellhole during her absence. We're consistently overbooked, no thanks to an inconsiderate appointment centre, and at any 1 point in time, a couple of other MOs are on much-needed exam or annual leave, or medical leave ( due to stress, no doubt ). As a result, clinic coverage is difficult, and the call rosters have been turned inside out and upside down countless times this month. I only hope the last 2 months I have left in this place will not cause me to succumb to a frighteningly potent flu bug that's been making its rounds on the entire staff since X'mas. This is because a new roster system has been implemented, saying that if you're sick and unable to do your own call, and someone has to replace you, you will have to pay that person back no matter what. Or if you're unable to get cover at all, you have to come back and do your night call -- yes, when you're sick enough to have to take MC, believe it or not.
I've taken only 1 day's MC so far, and managed to escape the flu epidemic, but if I do get sick, and suffer the bad end of the deal, morale's going to sink even lower.

Well, the upside is, I'll try to organize an end-of-posting MO/houseman dinner cum carousing session sometime in April ( our last month, thank goodness! ). Let off some steam before we move on to our next postings. :)

Shall end off with a nice quote I heard on the radio this morning:
"Let me just say that I think Jeniifer Capriati has a really nice pair of susu machines, brudder."-- Glenn Ong, Perfect 10 98.7FM DJ

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Early morning entry again. Watched Meet My Folks yesterday, and here're a few pointers from the first show.

1. 3 losers are picked to meet the parents of this rich girl -- if a bungalow with a pool and jacuzzi are anything to go by -- and each has to do his best to impress in order to be chosen as the lucky bloke who gets to accompany her on an Oahu vacation.

2. I say losers because one of them cheated on his SATs to get into college, another slept with his ex-girlfriend's mom, and the last, though a Tom Cruise lookalike, was described as "obnoxious".

3. Although the girl -- unfortunately named Senta (???) -- was obviously enjoying herself and kissing the guys every chance she got, the parents ( especially the dad ) were quite distressed that they had to pick at least one of the guys, which was equivalent to choosing the least of the 3 evils, so to speak. Heck, if I were the mom, I'd be worried sick about sending my only daughter off on a holiday with someone who induced my child to perform a lap dance for him in a jacuzzi on national TV, on the first day they meet.

4. The boys' characters suffered further whipping after a surprise polygraph test. One told the truth 58% of the time, while the other scored even worse - 38%.

5. I can't help wondering why a well-to-do family, whose patriarch is obviously a conservative and respectable man, would stoop this low. It's not as if their daughter will have any problems snagging a boyfriend -- she looks a bit like Melissa Joan Hart ( from the TV series "Sabrina" ). Someone please offer me a plausible explanation.

6. It's addictive. I love the various twists in the plot, and particularly enjoyed the bit where the guys' ex-girlfriends were invited to breakfast and gleefully spilled the beans on their ex's cheating/lying, etc. Given the chance, I'd love to be one of those gals! I wanted to take the opportunity to add a link to my ex's website ( there's a photo of him with his new squeeze ), but it's mysteriously gone missing, for reasons unknown. If you find it, let me know. :)

Off to work I go. Till next time!

Monday, February 17, 2003

Hello. Did you enjoy the Moon Song link? It's becoming my daily morning ritual, before starting my morning rounds. Maybe you can try this routine for yourself as well. Really perks me up. :)

Okay, my thoughts on Survivor:Amazon. Women kick butt!!! I bow down to the show's producers, or whoever's responsible for the ingenious idea of pitting the guys against the gals, and for picking out such exciting personalities. On the male side, we have Dave the rocket scientist and Ryan the model ( the latter was unfortunately voted out, so there goes my eye candy :D ), and 2 of the gals - Heidi the gym teacher and Shawna the salesgirl - are gorgeous, and have got quite a few of the younger guys all hot and bothered ( one lovesick fellow even compared the
former to Viagra ). Someone give me a hankie please ( for wiping my eyes and my forehead )!

Once again, we have another Asian-American, this time in the form of Daniel, who looks like he has a major inferiority complex, and has the hots for Shawna. He won't last long, trust me. Dave hates his guts, and he's obviously a slacker, bulging muscles or not. What an embarrassment to Chinese all over the world -- Shi Ann from Survivor:Thailand was temperamental and paranoid, and now this. What the heck is going on?

My favourites right now come from the female camp. And let me tell you, when they beat the over-confident guys in the first immunity challenge, you must've heard the collective high-fives women all over the globe were giving each other! Heidi seems like a feisty contender for the prize money, but I especially like Christy, the first deaf contestant in Survivor history. Chances are she'll be hanging around till late in the season, if not because of her overall sweet demeanour, then because she's unable to hurl any insults due to her inability to hear any bitchiness that may occur around her. But her winning this round is a loooong shot.

It's still early, and one can only imagine what will happen when the 2 tribes merge, and the hormones go into overdrive. Host Jeff Probst made the astute observation that the guys' infatuation with some of the more attractive females may hurt them in the end, so don't be surprised if the finalists are dominated by the XX genotype. Stay tuned for more!

Watched "Catch Me If You Can" last night, and liked it. But it falled short of my high expectations -- can you blame me for wanting something more, since this film boasts the collaboration of Spielberg, Hanks and DiCaprio? Amazingly based on a true story, this movie is saved by only one thing: Leonardo's terrific portrayal of Frank Abagnale. He displayed loads of talent in his earlier works, but this is his crowning glory. He makes acting seem so effortlessly easy, and manages to convey a whole slew of complex emotions, even injecting humour here and there ( I loved the one where he impersonated a Harvard Medical School graduate and got himself out of a sticky situation one night in the ER ). At more than 2 hours, it can be a drag at times, but Leonardo makes it worth the time and money. This is one guy who's up for a fistful of Oscars -- it's only a matter of when.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

My apologies to Mr. Dave Barry for stealing this link, but it's so hilarious I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't share it! Click on this, which is guaranteed to have you smiling no matter what.

Anyone read Tay YK's column today in Life! about his dislike for F4 and their fans? I totally agree with him, and must admit that it's one of the funnier articles I've read in a long long time. Even the Perfect 10 DJs were sliming the abovementioned this morning. Fans throwing neon sticks at each other is downright nasty, and if F4 is making money off such bitchy females, they should be ashamed of themselves. What we need is some good old-fashioned public telling off -- which is so often the case with Hong Kong / Taiwanese music stars. I'll bet some scolding and finger-wagging from the lads will cause major remorse from their fans. Who needs parents when you've got effeminate-looking tone-deaf fellows to do all the disciplining for you? ;)

Don't forget to tune in to Channel 5 tomorrow at 10pm for the debut of Survivor:Amazon. It's the guys against the gals, which will no doubt provide endless fun, 'cos we all know how insecure men are when facing competition from "the weaker sex". Promises to be the best of all the Survivors, so start following from the very beginning.

TIme for my on-call shower. Here's a list of short reviews for some DVDs I recently rented.

Lilo & Stitch - starts out wonderfully, but has a lame ending. Gains a few points for trying.

The Importance of Being Ernest - based on an Oscar Wilde comedy of errors, but the plot is weak and self-absorbed. However, who the heck cares when you've got the likes of Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Frances O'Connor and Judi Dench starring? Dench looks almost regal in an eye-catching lilac lace ensemble, a vast difference from her usual manly attire.

Enemy at the Gates - I had high expectations for this film, so ended up being a little disappointed. It's rather irritating when everyone speaks with an English accent when they're supposed to be Russian. And the movie's 30 minutes too long. Still, anything with Jude Law in it is always worth the time and money. He looks great even when covered in soot and with his hair in disarray. Word has it he's being wooed as the next James Bond -- yes, please! :)

Insomnnia -- Yet again, I've saved the best for last. "Memento" made me a Chris Nolan fan, but his follow-up effort has made me an ardent admirer ( same thing happened with Steven Soderbergh, after his hat trick of "Erin Brockovich", "Traffic" and "Ocean's Eleven" ). I shall not reveal the ingenious plot. All I can say is, it's just as original as "Memento", and boasts powerhouse performances from Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. I can't believe neither Nolan movie has been up for Best Picture or Best Director Oscars. Hopefully, his time will come someday soon.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Juicy update: Check out famed American columnist Dave Barry's blog! This is a guy who's been around forever -- well, not really, but at least I read his books back when I was a teenager. Now his quirky witticisms are easily accessible in diary form, so if you're feeling particularly bogged down or want to read something that makes fun of the U.S., drop by his website for a good laugh.

I just browsed through the first page, and already spotted a few barbs directed at everything from "The Bachelorette" to the police chief of Miami. There's also an introspective thought about the space shuttle Columbia ( go to the site to find out more ). Great stuff here, and it's already clocked in 16,000-plus visitors since its inception ( which appears to be last month ). Click on the site meter logo at the bottom and you'll see that around 6,000 people read his blog daily. How's that for mass appeal? :)
I've got 10 minutes to spare before the morning ward round, so here's a review of Ronan Keating's show last night.

Methinks the tickets didn't sell as well as they could've, since some parts of the Singapore Indoor Stadium were conspicuously empty, and most of the audience was packed in the central area. But numbers didn't matter, 'cos the crowd yesterday rocked!

Things got off to a rather slow start at first. Even with upbeat songs like "Lovin' Each Day", the bulk of the spectators -- especially on my side -- remained glued to their chairs. More got to their feet when he belted out 2 Boyzone numbers - "Picture of You" ( from the "Mr. Bean" movie soundtrack ) and "Baby Can I Hold You". However, Ronan was savvy enough to specifically ask "all those with seats to stand up anyway", and that really did it :) Everybody moved their butts after that! And the concert was on its way!

It was an overall enjoyable show, no doubt about that, featuring many hits like "Life Is A Roller Coaster", "If Tomorrow Never Comes", "When You Say Nothing At All", "We've Got Tonight", "The Long Goodbye", and even a cool cover of "Brown-Eyed Girl". The band is terrific, and one of the backups ( who plays the guitar and keyboard, and also sings ) is really gorgeous :D Had a fine time staring at him, since he was directly in front of me, haha!

Concerts are always the best of the music experience for me. Listening to an artiste on the CD can never compare to seeing them in person, especially if they're well-known for being good live performers -- e.g. Ronan, Robbie Williams, Westlife, The Chieftains, The Corrs, Barry Manilow, Cliff Richard, just to name a few. And what can possibly beat the high of singing and dancing along with them, and seeing them respond to your enthusiasm? Ronan was obviously feeding off our catcalls and whistles, gaining momentum with each song until he literally collapsed onto the floor. Quite hilarious!

During the last song -- in a 3-piece encore set, no less! -- Ronan craftily used the lyrics of "The Long Goodbye" to ask us, "Are you coming back again?". And when we cheered ourselves hoarse, he replied, "Guess I'll be coming back again!" Well, it's been fantastic having you here, Ronan. Come back soon. :)

Thursday, February 06, 2003

It's really boring today -- not necessarily a bad thing, though :)
Anyway, was just surfing the Net, and browsing through Eatonweb Portal, which had a pretty big list of weblogs. Turned up some interesting ones, including one that posts tidbits about the latest medical news -- albeit in a humourous fashion ( e.g. choy sum being an aphrodisiac ). But lest you dismiss these as pure nonsense, there's always an added reference ( e.g. BBC Health, Nature, etc ), that helps make it more legitimate. Something to do when you're really bummed out.

Anyway, before I go off for my evening round, here's a request for all you visitors to please write something in the comments section of my blog. Anything's fine, good or bad -- seriously! I notice a lot of different domains from the UK, Australia, US, NZ, and would very much like to hear from you guys and gals. Mucho gracias. :)
Thought I'd wait till after Ronan Keating's concert, but heck, the ward round ended at 10:15am today, and all the changes are done, so here's a short update. :)

Moby's coming to town! Counter and Internet SISTIC sales start today, and you can bet I'm gonna be among the first to grab mine. I only became acquainted with his music recently, after hearing "Extreme Ways" on "The Bourne Identity" soundtrack. Then I saw a half-hour showcase on MTV, which was great, and he was also at the MTV Europe Awards, where he wowed the crowd with an energetic performance. Sure, he's balding, scrawny, and dresses down for events ( T-shirt and jeans are the norm ), but his music is electrifying ( for me, at least ). Poor guy got whacked by some Eminem fans last year, which boggles the mind, but I'm sure he'll get a very warm reception here in Singapore. Welcome, Moby!

The Chinese New Year was pretty quiet for me this year. All my grandparents are dead, and my other relatives have their own reunions now. But the highlight was a junior college class reunion of sorts on the 3rd day of the New Year. We met up with our old JC civics tutor, who's now the principal of a well-known SAP school, and got to know his new wife -- a very lovely lady, btw. Around 10 of us ( out of the original 25 ) turned up, which is considered pretty good ( quite a few are overseas at the moment ), and we had a nice time catching up. Most haven't changed a bit in the last decade -- in terms of mannerisms, appearance -- and the old love-hate relationships still exist :) Lots are getting married, one's had a kid ( and it's not our teacher! ), but most are pretty much established in one way or another. 13 doctors, 3 or 4 lawyers, a bunch of engineers, accountants, scientists, a budding army general... whew, quite formidable! But it was loads of fun, and my best wishes to all those getting hitched or in the process of forging their careers. Looking forward to next year's gathering!

Another thing I did during the New Year was watch Shanghai Noon on cable. Man oh man, it's tonnes better than its sequel. Better storyline, funnier gags, and Lucy Liu is so much better than the very very bland Fann Wong. And speaking of movies that spawned sequels, I caught Men In Black last night, and laughed till my sides hurt -- MIB II, if you'll read one of my earliest blog entries dated last May, bored me to death.

More this weekend, especially after Ronan's show, and tonight's episode of American Idol II. :D