Wednesday, December 31, 2003

3:40am New Year's Eve morning. I'm feeling okay, though my appetite's still about 60% normal. It's been a good shift so far. Not that relaxed, but I like the people who are on call with me, and we're just hanging out together like a bunch of old pals. :)

Here's something I just found. Kinda strange seeing my name on an expat website. Wonder when this occurred?

Review of my blog on

They wrote some nice things though. Greatly appreciated! :D

I've intubated 2 old fellas so far, both of whom had a combination of heart failure, asthma and maybe pneumonia all rolled into one nice thick mixture. I wore the spacesuit again, after a hiatus of quite a few months. It's a lot of fun. You should try it sometime, haha! :)

If you're wondering about the effect of the isolated SARS cases in Taiwan and China on Singapore, the answer is: life goes on as usual. For now, at least. I was really bothered way back in March and April, especially after I signed up one lady who was subsequently confirmed to be a SARS case. But now, we feel more confident about the precautionary measures, and take things one day at a time. If you get worked up about it too much, you'd just end up completely immobilized, I suppose. :)

Now we've got a standby case of a young lady with a head injury from a road traffic accident, who's unconscious. ETA 10 minutes.

Yeesh, now I realize how hungry I am. Hmm, that's a good sign, actually. :P

More later. Gotta glove up and prepare myself.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Is it Monday already? Gosh, my weekend went by in a blur, and not in a good way.

The last time I made an entry (on Friday), I was a little nauseated, but otherwise getting through the night shift okay. Then, at 4am Saturday morning, I started to develop severe symptoms of gastroenteritis ( food poisoning in layman terms ), which continued for the next 48 hours, with fever and the inability to eat anything except for a few mouthfuls of porridge and small cups of water and fruit juice. I got to know my bed and pillow very well, and only started eating better yesterday evening. I had to call in sick, of course, and hope the ER wasn't too busy during my absence. I'm still having a low-grade fever at the moment, and my tummy's churning, but I'll see how it goes when I report for afternoon shift later today. Do I feel well enough to work? Honestly speaking -- no way. But do I have a choice? Nope. We're short enough as it is, and the way my department works, if you take medical leave and the standby MO gets called down, you jolly well make it up to him/her, meaning you forfeit your off day and pay him/her back another time. In my opinion, this nullifies the concept of "medical leave", 'cos c'mon, if you have to pay someone back for a legitimate sick day, you shouldn't even consider that an MC, right? Oh well, there are forces beyond my control, so let's hope I get through today in one piece ( that's my new mantra, by the way :P ).

So what's the cause of my illness? Probably something I ate from the staff room pantry -- they leave food on the table as supper for the night shift people sometimes. I took some noodles in a packet, but it tasted funny so I threw it away after taking a couple of bites. Must've been super-toxic, considering the effects it had on me. I still get nauseous just thinking about it, blech... That's the last time I ever touch the food on that table.

The upside in all this is how well my mom takes care of me. Really grateful to her for that. :)

I start work at 3. Last temperature check 37.4 degrees Celsius. 5 more hours to go. Help...

Friday, December 26, 2003

Before I proceed, here's the link to medical blog run by a nurse practitioner in the States. My thanks to him ( I think it's a him :P ) for linking to mine. It's a nice fast-paced read, and provides a list of other medical blogs as well. Check it out :D

Spankysplace Blog

I finally got the chance to see The Return Of The King this morning, after having to stew for more than a week. I was in New Zealand the day it opened, aargh! You can't imagine how badly I wanted to watch this while I was there! But the tour schedule didn't allow for it, and besides, the screens there are pretty small in comparison to ours, so I decided to be patient and wait till I got home.

In a nutshell, ROTK is fantastic!!! And what's more, it has toppled the 10-year reign of my previous favourite film, Dead Poets Society. So now my list is thus:

1) LOTR: The Return Of The King
2) Dead Poets Society
3) The Sixth Sense

In my book at least, that's quite a feat. But ROTK touches me in so many ways really. Despite being a little cheesy in certain parts, my enjoyment of the movie also stems from the fact that I've been extremely lucky to have recently been to "Middle-earth" itself, ie. New Zealand, and viewed quite a number of the filming locations. E.g. Queenstown's Dart River and The Remarkables ( the latter looming large in many scenes ), Wellington's Dry Creek Quarry ( the venue for Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith ), Matamata near Rotorua ( the actual sets for Hobbiton lie in this small farming area, but I missed out on visiting the actual site -- I did, however, pass the outskirts, and the whole place just looks like The Shire, just without the little houses, which was a real treat! ).
Seeing the locations first-hand also illustrated the many challenges faced by both cast and crew during shooting. Many of these places are isolated, with fickle weather conditions and rough terrain. Another thing I noticed, again thanks to Dan, our Wellington guide who's this huge fountain of information :), is that director Peter Jackson paid lots of attention to details, sometimes using one specific location for a scene lasting less than a minute, just because it had "the right trees". I kid you not! Other touches you probably don't know about include the fact that the boots worn by the warriors in the movie were embroidered on the inside as well -- something audiences would never see, but which the team added because it was commensurate with the practices of the novel's characters. Wow...

If you're still reading, here's my review of ROTK :P

Spoilers beware!!!

Spoilers beware!!!

Spoilers beware!!!

This is by far the best in the whole trilogy, and I am rooting for Jackson to win as many directorial awards as possible for making LOTR the masterpiece that it is. The Oscars beckon, but rumour has it the Academy doesn't favour blockbusters and "maverick" directors, so it could be a kinda-stupid-show-beats-really-really-good-film year like that of Forrest Gump ( which beat "The Shawshank Redemption", a major travesty, in my opinion ). A friend of mine from the US says "Cold Mountain" will get the Best Picture nod this year, for various unfair reasons. Let's hope that does NOT happen.

What's not to admire and love about ROTK? I never got round to reading JRR Tolkien's book, and this could be good or bad, 'cos some friends who did tell me the book is better. Anyway, I'm first and foremost a film buff, 'cos I rarely have the time or energy to read entire novels nowadays, and in terms of enjoyment factor, ROTK the movie has it all: a wonderful screenplay, a cast that shines more and more with each new chapter, a director with great vision and skill, a crew that excels in every area imaginable, and the set that IS Middle-earth: gorgeous New Zealand.

This installment features battles galore, with the climax at Minas Tirith, where all the forces of good and evil collide in a massive war involving Nazgul, oliphants, cave trolls and gryphons ( like I said, I haven't read the book, so forgive me if the terminology is incorrect, especially regarding the gryphon bit :P ). If you thought Helm's Deep was something, you ain't seen nothing yet! The visual effects in ROTK are eye-popping, and put the clone wars in Star Wars Episode II to shame. I only wish more magic could've been included. My favourite scenes always have Gandalf wielding his staff: his confrontation with the Balrog in The Fellowship Of The Ring ( "You shall not pass!" -- awesome! ), his charge down the mountain to Helm's Deep with a beam of white light illuminating the sky in The Two Towers, and this time, the bit where he rides out across a field, staff lit up again, to fend off a group of vicious Nazgul from fleeing warriors as they head for the refuge of Minas Tirith.

Elijah Wood and Sean Astin are terrific as Frodo and Samwise respectively. The two actors bonded strongly in real life, and it is clearly evident in the film. The most poignant scene, where Frodo is believed dead after a frightening attack by Shelob ( a giant spider that is guaranteed to make you arachnophobic *shudder* ) has Sam weeping, "Don't go where I cannot follow." I lost it then and there *dabs at eyes with tissues* And how about the last part when Frodo is too weak to take the final steps to the edge of Mount Doom? Sam says, "I cannot carry it (the ring) for you, but I can carry you!", then proceeds to lift his friend and continue climbing despite his exhaustion. Extremely touching. :)

The action sequences are fantastic! I've always liked swordfights, so I was grinning from ear to ear :D Orlando Bloom, who's slender yet athletic and graceful, is the one to watch. Keep an eye out for the oliphant scene, where Legolas shimmies up the giant creature, then in a step-wise manner, manages to topple the massive beast. Humour abounds as Gimli, upon seeing Legolas land on the ground looking pleased with himself, exclaims, "Well, it still only counts as one!" ( in reference to a competition they had in keeping score of the number of enemies they felled ). Don't think that was in the book, right? ;) Anyway, Orlando's my mom's favourite. He's got cheekbones to die for, and for me, his smoky voice is the best part. Just saw on HBO last night that he's due to star in "Kingdom Of Heaven", a tale about a peasant ( Orlando ) who becomes a knight, then saves a kingdom and wins the love of the princess. Fluff, you scoff? Let me tell you who the director is: none other than Ridley Scott! Can't wait to see that one! :)

Romance is also abundant, as Aragorn chooses between Arwen and Eowyn. I don't think there was ever any question Arwen would win, but I prefer Eowyn, the strong-willed princess who can match a man in battle. She even chopped off a dragon's head to defend her injured uncle. Beat that, Arwen! :P So yes, I wasn't too happy when Aragorn rejected her and broke her heart. But then, Arwen has always been his first and only love. Gotta give him points for loyalty and self-restraint. Guys like that are really rare. :)

Ah, Aragorn. Or more specifically, Viggo Mortensen. My favourite from the very beginning, and cast perfectly ( Stuart Townsend was the original choice, but got fired after just 1 day of shooting. He's the pale, effeminate type, so I'm glad Viggo got the part in the end :)).
As the title states, Aragorn finally takes his place as rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. It's a pleasure to see Mortensen go through the various emotions as his character grapples with his fate -- hesitation, even denial, then eventually, resignation and acceptance. He exudes a quiet regal quality never seen before in his prior films ( "Daybreak", "28 Days"... although he was darn sexy in "A Perfect Murder" :P ), so it's nice to have him play a courageous king for a change. He infuses Aragorn with kindness, honour and a deep introspective spirit, and demonstrates great sword skills in the battle scenes. He's 45 years old but looks 10 years younger. A poet, artist and song-writer, Mortensen lends his vocals to a short song near the end of the film. It is a haunting melody. Wonder if it's in the movie soundtrack? ;)

Here're some interesting things you may not know about ROTK ( thanks to Dan who told me during the LOTR tour, as well as an ROTK special I saw on NZ TV -- the perks of being on vacation, haha! :)):

1. The sound effects for the war chants and stomping of soldiers' feet were recorded at the Wellington sports stadium during a sellout rugby game. The participants ( a 35,000-strong crowd ) did it for free. That's the spirit! :D

2. Viggo wears a wig. Didn't think it was necessary, he's already got longish dark hair what. :P Also, his dressing room mirror is always covered with clippings and photos. Apparently Viggo never preens. Cool :)

3. Some of the roars you hear in the films are contributed by lions from the Wellington zoo. We passed by during the LOTR tour, and believe it or not, the zoo is located right smack in the middle of, get this, a residential area! Dan said you have to really love animals in order to live there. Heh heh :)

4. One scene in ROTK, with Aragorn whispering to Gandalf in a crowded room as they ponder the progress of Frodo, lasts less than a minute but required 60 takes! Such is the perfectionist in Peter Jackson. A little scary!

5. The part where King Theoden rides past 200 soldiers, touching their spears with his sword, was an improvisation on the original script. The horses went a bit nuts during the shoot, but they managed to complete it without any major injuries. ( p.s. people say Theoden's speech is the highlight of the movie, but I much preferred Aragorn's battle cry: "Someday men will betray one another, but it is not this day!" or something like that. )

6. If you watch all 3 movies closely, you will realize that the Hobbits are always moving from the left side of the screen to the right, ever since they leave Hobbiton. This is deliberate, thanks to Peter Jackson, who wanted consistency throughout their journey. In ROTK, when they finally return home, they move from right to left. Cool :)

I'll add more if I think of something. Right now, I'm on night shift yet again, after failing to sleep a wink in the afternoon even though I tried to ( hmm, maybe I tried too hard. I don't know... ). Not feeling too good still. Persistent nausea, a bit of a headache. I just want to get through tonight in one piece.

On a happier note, my old friend, Adrian, is getting married tomorrow. Many congratulations!!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

I'm post morning shift, but it's 4pm, and I'm going home, woohoo!

Merry X'mas to all the readers! :)

By the way, I just realized that I've been included in a list of Asian / Singaporean blogs up for various awards. I only have 3 votes so far, so I thought I'd put this link up and see if you loyal readers can help. I don't really care if I win or not, but it would be interesting to see how far I go in this. :P
Thanks in advance for any assistance rendered!

Vote For Best Singapore Blog

Have a good X'mas! Till next time...

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

A big hello to everyone! I'm back home and it feels great! :D

I'm now sitting comfortably in the house, and got my cat from Pets' Station a few hours ago. He looked really traumatized from being caged up for 20 days, but is now back to normal and yowling his head off, which is fine with me :) But if he continues this for too long, I'll have to give him a smack on the tush. :P

Well, what can I say? It was a heavenly holiday, and I've got the sunburnt face to show for it! It was cold, but one of our guides told us the ozone layer above New Zealand has patchy defects in it, and I never use sunscreen on my face, so I have no idea how much UV radiation I've absorbed so far. The distribution's a little strange too -- it was pretty cold, so I was wrapped up in jackets and sweaters, but my face was exposed, so that's the only part that's brown at the moment!
The weather can be rather harsh, especially in the glacier region, which was where I first noticed my face had turned lobster red, after an hour of hiking to the glacier's terminal face ( it was awesome, but more on that in later posts ).

Unfortunately, I've always been a poor air traveller, and suffered on the plane to and from New Zealand. It didn't help that I was placed in close proximity to crying or hyperactive children on both trips, so I didn't sleep a wink for the whole 10 hours. Then nausea would kick in, so I ended up not eating either. Then there were bits with air turbulence, ugh.

But enough about the bad. Like I said, I loved this holiday, and NZ is truly a magnificent country! Full of awe-inspiring beauty that reminds you every single day of God's hand on Earth. I kept a journal during the trip, so I'll try to transcribe the entries from time to time. I haven't gotten myself a digital camera yet, and can't post pictures on this blog, so I'll provide links to pics from the Internet ( they're probably nicer anyway :)).

So, here're a couple of lists for you:

Favourite tours:

1) Wellington Rover Lord Of The Rings Tour
2) Dart River Jet Safaris / LOTR Tour in Glenorchy, near Queenstown
3) Glow Worm Grotto / Waitomo Caves in Waitomo ( between Rotorua and Auckland )
4) Fox Glacier trek
5) the Agrodome in Rotorua

Favourite place:

Winning by a huge margin -- Queenstown

New Zealander traits:

1) very friendly
2) very hospitable
3) very helpful
4) extremely proud of their country's heritage and natural resources
5) extremely proud of Peter Jackson and his astounding film achievement with LOTR

Things you should eat in NZ:

1) beef!
2) Tip Top ice-cream, of which a single scoop equals a double by Singapore standards, and which comes in a giant cone, and too many flavours to count! My favs include Apricot Supreme and Triple Chocolate, yum!

Things I enjoyed doing most while I was there ( not counting my favourite tours ):

1) eating their giant steaks, haha!
2) eating their ice-creams ( not kidding! )
3) feeding and playing with a group of frisky lambs on a farm
4) feeding wild ducks and geese at the boat jetty along Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown ( they just come up and daintily pick the bread from your fingers! )
5) trying all the different Chinese restaurants in each town we stopped at ( we became experts at hunting these places down, I must say :P )

People we met who really made huge impressions:

1) Dan, our guide for the Wellington Rover LOTR Tour -- witty and fun, he is a veritable walking encyclopedia on information regarding the films, as well as everything New Zealand. He spent a whole day with just 6 of us ( that's considered a fully booked tour on most occasions -- there were 20 a day round the time of the world premiere on Dec 1st ), but made it extremely interesting with his many anecdotes and enthusiasm. We all loved his warm and dynamic personality, and I hope some of you will get to meet him should you join the tour in the future. :D

2) Jason, from Kea West Tours in Greymouth / Twin Glaciers -- most guides have to be well-informed and hospitable, but Jason took very good care of us, and warmed up to us with time ( we got him for 2 consecutive days -- the first for Punakaiki / Pancake Rocks and the second for the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers ). We really enjoyed both trips, and I especially loved the detour to Lake Matheson, which is a very secluded little place that is so quiet you'll feel all the tension in your body seeping away into the still waters. Wonderful. :)

3) Stuart and Donna Hamilton from the Coast-to-Coast Tour in Auckland -- this lovely couple runs a sheep farm, and invited us to their home for lunch and a visit. Donna's a fantastic cook ( the merengue with whipped cream is to die for! ), and Stuart is a very sweet fellow. We got to feed their lambs, play around with their menagerie of sheepdogs, parrots, bunny and guinea-pigs, and spent a great afternoon just chatting and sharing experiences. They're very warm and hardworking people, and we just adore them. :D

Whoa, it's getting a little late! I have to take a nap before my night shift -- yes, I'm doing a call the day after I just returned to Singapore, sob! -- so I'll leave you with this superb letter from Clay Aiken, written to the Charlotte Observer after he recently graduated from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is wise beyond his years, and never fails to teach us something valuable about life and ourselves. Congratulations, Clay!

"Some opportunities present themselves just once, and no doubt, I've been blessed to experience several beyond my wildest dreams this year. High on that list -- with "American Idol," the "American Music Awards" and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, among others -- is an event every bit as exciting and memorable: my college commencement at UNC Charlotte.

Yesterday, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education. I donned the robe and mortarboard, sat with fellow students, and took in the sights and sounds of a transformed Halton Arena. People were brimming with anticipation, pride and joy.

I "walked" in line to receive my diploma. I shook hands with the chancellor and the College of Education dean. I turned my tassel upon the conferring of degrees, cheering loudly upon joining the ranks of the 49er alumni.

And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

While I truly regret any inconvenience my attendance may have caused, I am grateful to have had the chance to come back to UNC Charlotte to celebrate this milestone. A triumph four years in the making, this was a "magical moment" that I wanted to capture -- for myself and those whose support made it possible.

In what could be the understatement of the year, my life has changed dramatically since that first American Idol try-out. It's surreal, actually, thinking about the whirlwind of events that have unfolded. The interviews. The awards. The invitations. Even the rumors, which, unfortunately, come with the territory.

I was warned, "It's the price of fame." Yet fame and glory are fleeting, especially in the music business. That's why completing my degree and graduating from college were priorities. How long this ride will last is anyone's guess, but the fact remains that if it all ended tomorrow, I'd still have Plan A to fall back on -- and that's not a typo. My first dream was to work with children with disabilities.

Reaching that goal began with my education at UNC Charlotte. I am indebted to the faculty and administrators of the College of Education for their support and guidance in the special education program, including my special study on service needs for children with autism.

However, college also opened doors beyond the classroom that provided a glimpse of life in the "real-world." For example, the Bubel family not only welcomed me into their lives, but entrusted me to help care for their most precious gift -- their son, Mike, who has autism. He continues to be my inspiration and motivation to help children with disabilities.

If my career detour from special education to singing has done one thing, it has afforded me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. In founding the Bubel-Aiken Foundation, we hope to be able to help families receive much-needed support with the care and education of their special needs children.

What's more, the friendships I made with special ed majors and other UNC Charlotte students are as valuable as the knowledge gained from my studies. In time, good memories will only grow stronger -- and those few hours at commencement with friends have already become precious. For a short while, I was who I was before fate intervened: Clay Aiken, Class of 2003, caught up in the moment of graduating.

Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again, and now I understand. In 12 months, my life has changed forever. I've learned a lot outside the classroom -- about myself, business, friendships and especially, the value of time. I missed out on some opportunities due to schedule conflicts -- and while those windows may open again, second chances aren't guaranteed.

I did not want my college commencement to fall into that category. I worked hard to earn my degree, and so, too, did a lot of others who invested their time, talent and concern to help me reach my goals.

Still, for all of the changes that come with being in the public eye, there is one that I embrace because I am a teacher at heart. I can lead by example and encourage others to pursue their educational goals. I hope that my participation in UNC Charlotte's commencement sends a clear signal that far outlasts whatever fame my future holds: there is nothing more important than obtaining an education.

Hmmm I wonder if there's a song in there.

More another day then. It's good to be home! :)

Friday, December 05, 2003

Almost 2am right now, and feeling a little tired despite the adrenaline rush from earlier today. Yes, only ( checks watch ) 19 hours to go before I jump on the plane and head to New Zealand! Major packing this morning, but all done. Had to take my poor cat to Pets' Station to board him while we're away. Feeling really sad about that...

Anyhow, better not dwell on that or I'll never leave the country :P

Let's talk about something good, like Clay! :D

Perfect 10 Interview : The file was put up by fans in the US who streamed during the telecast on Thursday afternoon Singapore time. Absolutely amazing! The interview itself didn't offer any new revelations. Carrie Chong, the DJ who got to talk to him ( lucky, lucky lady! ) didn't know some of the facts that the whole world's already privy to, but Clay answered her questions very patiently, and even threw in some good-natured banter in between. Clay was just laughing the whole way, which was really cute. :)
Then at the very end, Carrie ( bless you! ) got him to sing 2 lines from Invisible a capella! He resisted initially, but relented quickly and belted it out, pitch perfect and clear as day. Be still my heart! My mom and I were tuning in from home, and loved it all! :D

Here's the link: Perfect 10 Interview Cap

New Photos Of Clay:

Scroll down to karebear's post of the pics. Clay's wearing clothes from Armani Exchange! I buy my stuff from them from time to time -- mostly winter wear -- and I just love how Clay looks in these outfits. Get a load of that smile! :P There's an A/X outlet in Singapore at Takashimaya. Hey, Clay, when you do drop by our shores, be sure to check this place out for some really gorgeous outfits. ;)

Grammy nominations for 2003 announced : Clay's not on it, sadly, but Kelly Clarkson is up for Best Female, which bodes well for the American Idol franchise. They say Clay wasn't eligible for the major categories because his album didn't meet the deadline, but then, he wasn't nominated for awards he was eligible for ( ie. Best Single, Best New Artist(?), People's Choice ). Oh well, the CD has many other great tracks, so hopefully he'll get his chance in 2004. :) Personally speaking, I think 2003 is going to be the year of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. I like them both, so no complaints there!

Continuing this entry from where I left off earlier. :)

Couldn't really sleep during my rest time, so I'm still yawning. I hope to get off the shift at 8am on the dot so I can rush home, eat a big breakfast, then sleep for 6 hours before waking up to leave the house. I've never had to fly after a night call before, so I have no idea if this will aggravate my tendency to get motion sickness. Anyway, I've got my trusty Stemetil on standby, at a fellow MO's suggestion. If it works, all my problems are solved! :D

Okay, here's a rough guide to my itinerary ( from memory, 'cos the actual list is at home ):


Greymouth via TranzAlpine train

Fox Glacier -- this is probably the one we're joining, based on the timing in our schedule

-- looky here for one of the awesome LOTR tours we'll be joining!
--> Dart River LOTR Tours
--> and for an up-close pic of what we'll be doing on that jet boat, click HERE
( I was telling my mom about it yesterday, and she looked a bit pensive, but didn't say anything else, thank goodness! She refuses to let me go bungee jumping though. *mumble mumble* )

There's also a Taieri Gorge Railway train ride we're hopping on to Dunedin, which you can check out here.
-- it's ranked right up there with a famous mountain railway in Colorado.

-- this is where the other LOTR tour is ( links available below in the Dec 3 entry )

Lake Taupo
-- breath-taking pictures right here!



Click on the various names to see pictures from the Net:

Other main attractions included in this tour -- which was customized by a NZ tour operator based on my to-see and to-do list -- are Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks , Milford Sound, Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, and the Mount Cook National Park.

Hope that didn't make you giddy! :D It's going to be busy, but I figured hey, we're already there, so let's just make full use of it and see as much as possible!

Additional activities outside the itinerary:

Meeting up with the NZ Clay Aiken fans in Christchurch and Wellington -- they're such lovely ladies, really, and will be picking us up from our hotels to bring us on a stroll through the two cities. I will be passing the Embassy Theatre, where the world premiere of The Return Of The King was held on December 1st. There's a giant dragon perched at the top of the cinema, which is quite a sight!

It's now 6:17am. Time couldn't possibly pass by any slower, aargh! :P

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

15 minutes till I knock off the afternoon shift. It's 11:45pm right now, and it's been a busy day. Can't wait to get home :)

Surfed the Net a bit once things finally quietened down. Here're some links you might want to check out, 'cos I'll be joining the Wellington Rover Rings Tours and visiting the LOTR movie sites, woohoo!

Wellington Rover Rings Tours website

Travel Guide to LOTR film locations

Ian Brodie's Guidebook to LOTR Locations

Brodie's book will be available in Singapore come early 2004, with updates on The Return Of The King. I'll try to grab a copy while I'm in NZ. :)

One more day to go before Friday hits!

And here's a gentle reminder on Clay's interview with the Perfect 10 radio DJ on Thursday. He sings Invisible a capella -- I heard a bit of it today, and all I can say it, don't miss it! :D

Click below to tune in via the Internet, and download the MP3 file once one of the other local fans gets it done.

Clay Interview With The Perfect 10 Thread

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Two more days to go then I'm outta here! :D
Sorry if I sound gleeful. I haven't been overseas since June 2001, and that was a very short 3-day trip to Bali. Feeling a little deprived.

Here's something I'd like to share with you all, especially fellow Clay fans in Singapore.

You can view it at the Clay Aiken Singapore forum at this link:

CAS Forum thread

Or if you prefer to read it here, the transcript of the message is included below:

This is an email from Diane Bubel, the co-founder of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, and mother of Mike Bubel, the autistic boy mentored by Clay before the latter joined American Idol. She replied after I wrote to her recently, telling her about Clay's fanbase in Singapore, how much we support the BAF for their wonderful vision, and how Claymates here are doing their part to help individuals with special needs in the local context. I also thanked her for including our country on a list of BAF / Clay Aiken Able To Serve Awards being handed out internationally ( I mentioned this in a prior post on the blog, so scroll down to look for that ).

She has kindly agreed to have her message posted on the CAS website, so I thought I'd put it here as well. Thank you, Diane, for your generosity! :)

From Diane:

"Thank you for your kind email. I am very proud of TBAF website. It's amazing to me the number of fans, like yourself, that are willing to help. As you can tell by the pictures of Clay and my son Mike, Clay has been a great friend to Mike.

We found that Mike had autism shortly after his second birthday.
We, as a family, have tried to make life experiences available to Mike. He is a challenge and a joy all wrapped into one young man. Having individuals like
Clay walk into our life and accept and strive to help Mike with his challenges has been wonderful. We have been truly blessed.

Thanks to you and your group for your support to Clay Aiken. When he left to try out for American Idol, I don't think we ever imagined that he would touch people as he has. Clay is an amazing individual and I hope he has many years of success. I look forward to working with him and making a difference through this foundation that he has started."

More news on Clay:

Catch him on the Perfect 10 for a 10-minute interview segment with DJ Carrie Chong. It will be aired this Thursday at 3pm, 9pm and 2am.

I've already talked about the AI X'mas special on cable. But watch out for the Diane Sawyer interview with Clay ( this is really, really good, so don't miss it! ) which will be screened on Channel NewsAsia on Christmas Day at 7:30pm. There're also features on Josh Groban ( Dec 22 ) and John Mayer ( Dec 23 ). Good stuff. :)

Okay then, that's it for now. Resus is going nuts again.