Friday, January 23, 2004

And how was YOUR Chinese New Year? :D

I spent mine sleeping and eating a simple but delicious meal at home with my parents. Am in the midst of reading a gigantic book I borrowed from the Tanglin Club library, titled "A Century In Pictures", and featuring photos from the LIFE magazine collection. I'm only up to the 1920s right now, but the scenes depicted are both harrowing and awe-inspiring. As expected, the section on World War I had lots of battle snapshots, complete with one showing beheaded Serbian soldiers. A description of the Titanic tragedy also hit me hard, as it illustrated how human arrogance quickly gave way to recklessness and terrible tragedy.

My favourite photos, though, are those that capture famous people "in their element". From nobility to peasants, American presidents to poor immigrants seeking The American Dream, these characters are now forever immortalized on film. Good examples include Orville and Wilbur Wright's first airborne flight, Theodore Roosevelt with his wife and 6 children, Henry Ford perched at the wheel of his very first car, and Gene Kelly and Julie Andrews debuting on Broadway. One that really sticks in my mind is the picture of a young Irving Berlin sitting at the piano, fingers tickling the ivories. He was unknown when that photo was taken, then later catapulted to fame with musical numbers such as "Puttin' On The Ritz" ( which I sang with the choir back in college :P ) and the evergreen "White Christmas". For me at least, it's amazing to look at history spread out on a page. The camera is definitely one of the most ingenious inventions of our time! ( There's an old Kodak advertisement in the book. Its inventor, Mr. George Eastman, was an ex-bank clerk.)

Then of course, there was "American Idol 3", or what I'd like to call "The Randy and Simon Laugh-Fest". The two guys cracked up so many times I lost count, but I can't blame them either, 'cos some of the Idol hopefuls this year were TERRIBLE, or as Simon put it so well, "deluded" beyond imagination. "They don't know talent when they see it!" snarled one mean-looking African-American woman as she comforted her sobbing friend, a brunette Caucasian who seemed to think losing 80 pounds for the competition automatically qualified her for the next round. She later recovered her composure and spat, "Someday, I'M going to make someone TONNES of money!" before huffing off.

At the other end of the spectrum, we had two New-Agey fellows proclaiming how they have "good hearts" which ought to be "shared with the world". It didn't matter that they couldn't sing to save their own lives, prompting an irate Simon to snap, "This is American Idol, not Heart Idol." One of them even likened himself to Clay Aiken, as if that in itself endows him with talent. The bearded fellow creeped me out a little with his overly gentle voice and perpetually beatific facial expression. "I touched them with my singing, and that's enough for me." he sighed after being booted out of the audition. Bizarre. :D

However bad they were, the good ones more than made up for it. This year saw many stars in the making, all young, spunky and cute. On the gal side, I picked out Scooter Girl ( a self-confessed "over-achiever" who won the battle with anorexia and loves to speed around on a little foot-propelled scooter ) and the blonde Southerner who belted out "Black Velvet" and bears more than a passing resemblance to AI2's Kim Caldwell. Then there was a Macy-Gray lookalike, albeit a slimmer, prettier version, with a scratchy yet full-bodied voice that will no doubt invite even more comparisons with her famous counterpart in the months to come.

As for the guys, I'm rooting for the African-American guy who dressed up as Elvis then did a cool-cat rendition of "Jailhouse Rock", plus a meek but likeable white boy who was asked to ditch his Dean Martin persona then ended up wowing the judges with his deep, rich vocals on "The Way You Look Tonight". A pair of black brothers got through to the next round, which will make for an interesting situation. And the two hot dudes -- one a brunette who sang a pitch-perfect "Unchained Melody", and a blonde hunk who serenaded Paula Abdul and sent her swooning -- will certainly raise the temperatures if they make it to the semi-finals and beyond.

Still, no-one -- and I mean no-one -- came close to Clay in terms of voice power, song delivery and personality. Sure, it's still early, and I didn't start appreciating Clay till the semi's anyhow. But I just feel that he's too hard an act to follow. I have no doubt some new stars will be discovered yet again. But whether they'll be able to duplicate Clay's success, or match his career longevity, is highly debatable.

Just read on Yahoo! News that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have officially broken up. Am I taking sides? You bet! I think Ben is better off without J. Lo the double-divorcee / diva. And am I imagining things, or did Jen bring him some horribly bad luck? "Gigli" flopped, then Ben's "Paycheck" bounced. Quick! Get out, Ben! Get out now!
So the next question is, who will be a worthy successor for him? Take it from me that Ben is a very intelligent guy with a super-sharp wit. Sadly, though, he also has a penchant for alcohol and hot babes. What he needs is a classy lady who can match him in terms of intelligence and humour, but also possesses an ability to calm him down and correct his boozing, womanizing ways. E.g. Annette Bening did it for Warren Beatty, while Catherine Zeta-Jones tamed Michael Douglas. I thought Kate Hudson would be perfect, but she ran off and married scruffmeister Chris Robinson. Jennifer Garner expressed how much she dug him during filming for "Daredevil", but hooked up with Michael Vartan after that ( perhaps because Ben was already taken, darn ). Gwyneth's already wed Chris Martin, so there goes another one. Oh wait! A-HA! How about Renee Zellweger? I think they'd make a fantastic couple. *crosses fingers* ( Yes, I have nothing better to do than to cook up scenarios like these. Awful, isn't it? ;) )

Okay, back to reality, aka the ER. The surge occurred at around 7-8 pm, and settled thereafter, which is why I managed to continue blogging. :P There were two highlights. The first was a 50-year-old man with chronic obstructive lung disease ( aka COLD, a by-product of chronic heavy smoking ). He had been intubated in the past, and progressed to the point of requiring home oxygen therapy, YET CONTINUED SMOKING. Never mind about it aggravating his medical condition, but smoking next to an oxygen source?!!

So he came in today with, that's right, a COLD exacerbation. Wheezing away on the bed, he was immediately given a nebulizer while admission was quickly arranged. 5 minutes later, he threw a seizure, his eyes rolling upwards and his pulse rate dropping by 50%. He turned cold and pale, but luckily was already in the resus area, so we promptly tubed and stabilized him, then sent him up to intensive care. I'm the only medical officer in resus this evening, so my two seniors gave me the chance to do the intubation. It was a little nerve-wracking, 'cos my ER chief was standing right next to me, but I got it on the 1st attempt, which was gratifying in an odd sort of way. :) Yeah, the things that get us docs going: "I stuck in a chest tube!", "I set a central line!", "I reduced a dislocation!", "I removed a fish bone!" Sad, isn't it? :D

Ah, yes, the other highlight. Two men were brought in for fighting. Guy A was punched by Guy B, because A was dating B's niece, and apparently beat the girl up yesterday, making B very mad, who then stormed over to A's house and whacked him in the face. Yay! :) But then, B sustained a fight bite with a boxer's fracture to boot, which made it an open fracture necessitating admission. B then said he didn't want to be admitted because he had to work. Fortunately, my finesse at frightening him ( I'm getting good at this, haha! ) finally caused him to relent. Word of advice: next time, wear gloves.

It's been a rather long entry today, so I'd better stop here. I'll try to start transcribing journal entries on my NZ trip soon, 'cos the magazine I've approached is being deluged with article submissions, so they'll probably only accept the LOTR piece. Watch this space. :)

A farewell gift for my readers:

The Plug.Net
-- discovered this when its author, Jay Carlson, left some comments after a visit here. I repaid the favour by dropping by his site, and I have to say, he has a gift for making the mundane really interesting, and seeing humour in everyday events in our lives. I thought the "Stats On Stats" category was hilarious! To get the archives, click on "Out With The Old" ( I'm going off shift now, but will try to look at those another day. )
Thanks for coming over, Jay! :)

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