Wednesday, June 30, 2004

You Were Saying?

Okay, if you're one of the impatient ones, skip ahead to the bottom of this entry if you really want to get the mystery over and done with. But bear in mind I'll feel rather insulted. :)


Now to catch up with the rest of my boring life. Or more accurately, another venting session to get past, heh heh.

Get a load of last night's massive blackout. My neighbourhood was one of the many affected areas, and from my particular vantage point -- above the 10th floor, facing a wide open space -- the view was nothing short of spectacular. I was sitting by the living room window when it happened, and caught all the action in its full glory. After heaving a huge sigh of relief ( I'd just stepped out of the elevator 10 minutes earlier, whew! ), I stood leaning out the windowsill for the next 15 minutes, holding a cold drink and taking everything in. Here's some interesting behaviour I observed ( and which occurs all over the island, according to other friends who suffered the same fate yesterday ):

1. People tend to yell and scream for the fun of it
2. People enjoy shining their torches out the windows
3. Furious SMS-ing occurs

Fortunately, there was only one traffic accident during the whole episode -- a taxi driver who crashed while trying to U-turn on a pitch dark road. No looting to speak of, a few public-spirited individuals voluntarily directing traffic, Geylang late-nighters turning on their parked car headlights to illuminate the streets... I must say, I'm duly impressed!

As for me, I didn't scream or wave my torchlight at others. But I did SMS quite a few people, and we had a good laugh about it. It was surreal but peaceful, seeing the expansive park next to my estate shrouded in darkness, the many high-rise buildings looking eerie ( and haunted, no thanks to my overactive imagination ), fearing for the safety of the drivers who gamely pushed on despite the lack of traffic lights.

When the power came back on, it seemed as if someone had flipped the Christmas lights switch. One by one, blocks of apartments, houses, carparks were once again illuminated. Cheers went up all around and before long, life went back to normal.

Of course, I was one of the lucky ones who endured only 20 minutes of power failure. Others were put out of their misery only 2 hours later. But then, a few may have slept through it completely, waking blurry-eyed the next day, shocked by the newspaper headlines.

And don't forget, someone's head might roll for this one. ;)

Movie Reviews

Rented, naturally. :) This will be the last batch for now. No more till my exams are done with! Well, maybe I'll just quickly skim through Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. Diego Luna. Yum. :P

Here's what I watched this week.

Bruce Almighty -- Surprisingly good, even though it might make some Christians uncomfortable. I have a high humour threshold ( not the toilet variety though ), and had a great time. Jim Carrey pulls off a wacky yet sympathetic performance, and like in Liar Liar, teaches us a few important lessons. Jennifer Aniston seems a little redundant though.

Down With Love -- Starring the perky Renee Zellwegger and boyish/roguish Ewan McGregor, this is a snappy romantic comedy in the vein of old-time classics, where wit is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and jazz is all the rage. Casting is vital, and I doubt any other leads would've pulled this one off as well. But the soundtrack -- aaahhhh :) -- now that is divine. Darn, should've bought it when I passed by the CD store the other day. *slaps forehead*

Girl With The Pearl Earring -- Do you like slow-burners? If you answered yes, then you'll definitely like this film. Hollywood's all abuzz about Scarlett Johansson's "potential", but I watched for one reason only: Colin Firth. :D And he does not disappoint. Beautifully made, captivating from beginning to end. Worth every second of your precious time.

Beyond Borders -- Angelina Jolie is insignificant when placed right smack next to firecracker Clive Owen. The latter plays a renegade International Red Cross volunteer ( a surgeon, no less ), and the first hour admittedly holds you in rapt attention. The second half, however, sags. And the sole saving grace? You guessed it -- Owen himself. This guy is reportedly in the running for the next James Bond gig, together with Ewan McGregor ( too cutesy, and smiles too much ) and Jude Law ( too blonde, a bit too perfect-looking ). No prizes for wondering whom I'm rooting for. :) Yeah, Clive does a fantastic doctor portrayal. And believe it or not, he's also extremely handsome, in a rugged, tortured, British sort of way. ;) I already found him sexy in The Bourne Identity ( where he appeared for a total of maybe 5 minutes ), so Beyond Borders was a massive overdosage. Better stop now before I make someone nauseous. :)

Almost Ending

...but not before I say a big THANK YOU to Clay Aiken, for amazingly autographing a picture I sent TEN MONTHS AGO, through friends of his in Raleigh. It shows a group of ER nurses and I holding resus room equipment, together with the Rolling Stone magazine with Clay on the cover last June.
His signature appears in the most ingenious position -- the bright orange spinal board we were all hanging on to. His scrawl is unmistakeable. And there're fingerprints (??his) on the glossy surface too! :D
Even better, the photo was sent to my previous hospital ( not the department itself ), with only my given name ( no surname ), and was somehow directed to my current department, with the addition of my title to the front of my name somewhere along the way. Very close call, but what can I say, seeing it before my shift this morning MADE MY ENTIRE YEAR.
Thank you again! :))

And Here's What You've Been Waiting For ( Maybe )

The Joint Venture is none other than The Lingual Nerve, a group medical blog that features 7 doctor-authors from countries like the US, England and Australia ( oh yeah, add Singapore to the list :)). It's been in the making since March, and we're elated to present this to you now.

My fellow partners run their own personal blogs, all of which make for very compelling reading, and never fail to make me laugh when I need to most. It is a privilege to work with them, and we hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as we love writing for you.

And guess what? It's just 10 after midnight Singapore time. July 1st. A milestone perhaps? Time will tell.

Enjoy! And many thanks for your support.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Minor Miscalculation

Let's make it easier. July 1st! Watch for it!


Monday, June 28, 2004

2 More Days To Go...

Sunday, June 27, 2004

3 Days to Launch!


Friday, June 25, 2004

Before I begin...


Right then. On to more important things. :D

Guilty As Charged

It's my 2nd rest day this week, and... I haven't studied at all today, aaargh!

Okay, the "aargh!" is for the benefit of one of my seniors, who's always asking whether I'm revising, revising, revising. I, on the other hand, am feeling a little under the weather at the moment. Hormones, the usual cycle of ups and downs, the bloody haze -- who knows? After spending the entire morning slacking off -- is vacuuming the whole apartment considered that? -- I rented yet another stack of VCDs, and spent the last 90 minutes enjoying "School Of Rock", which stars Jack Black ( Shallow Hal ) impersonating a substitute teacher who gets some stuffy prep elementary schoolers to form a rock band. It sounds ludicrous, but the reviews weren't wrong, and I really liked it. Black is cool, but the kids are awesome! ( Rock-speak, I apologize :)) I dare you to tell me you're not blown away by the blonde drummer and the brunette lead guitarist.

Other discs in my bag include: Anger Management, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Bruce Almighty, Down With Love, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Woohoo!

The Apprentice

Did you catch the pilot last night? Wow, Mark Burnett ( producer of the Survivor series ) has outdone himself! Never mind Donald Trump, with his faux toupee ( looks like a dead animal ) and his two partners ( dull and not the best judges of character ). The stars are the contestants themselves, and nothing is ever what you expect it to be. What I find most interesting is how this programme shows that good grades doesn't necessarily guarantee success -- an axiom Singaporeans need to get into their fat heads, by the way. Here, Harvard grads and MD/MBA holders go neck and neck with high school diploma owners and college dropouts, and surprise surprise, the first to go is David -- a doctor with an MBA, no less.

I already know who won, but he didn't shine in the first episode, so I'm watching him closely in future installments. Get a load of the brunette ( sorry, I'm not good with names ) who whined during her very first assignment, then left the group to use their "capital" to buy herself some lunch. If she lasts longer than she deserves to, then sex indeed does sell.

I've worked with quite a few doctors these past 5 years, and I can tell you very confidently that being on the Dean's List doesn't automatically make you an excellent doctor. It just means you did well in your exams. It doesn't ensure that you'll be an intuitive clinician, or that you'll be well-received by your patients. More importantly, it has nothing to do with working life, which will test you to the very extremes of your capabilities, and where friendships are sacrificed in order to get ahead of the pack.

Many of my best house officers were average medical students, and a number of Dean's List regulars caused me great disappointment and frustration. It's the same with my peers and seniors. A few great surgeons flunked a few subjects in med school, while some Gold Medallists fail to earn their colleagues' respect for various non-academic reasons.

Ultimately, The Apprentice isn't "just another reality TV show". It's an accurate depiction of life as we know it. And speaking from the perspective of an underdog -- ie. someone who was average throughout school, but didn't do so bad after graduating :) -- I'll always root for the ones with the least education and the most street smarts.

Time to go take a walk in the park. Literally. Yeah. :P

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Losing Touch!

During a clinical tutorial yesterday morning, the fact hit me - hard. Asked to take a brief history from an adult male with marked abdominal distension, I managed to elicit the diagnosis within the first few minutes ( liver cirrhosis secondary to alcohol and chronic Hep B infection ), but thereafter completely skipped the systemic review, aargh! Blame it on my current posting, where every patient has one of only 4 general problems:
1. fever
2. fits
3. rash
4. trauma
-- some of them have all of the above. Yeah, it happens. Sigh.

I'm on yet another night shift, but it's been pretty all right, just like the last one. I'm off at 6am, which is great, since parents who drag their sick kids to the ER at such an ungodly hour are always super-hyper / paranoid / talkative ( all very very bad ), and explaining the same thing over and and over again makes me extremely tired. But %^&*, I've got a case presentation to do later today, more studying, some SMA News tasks to clear, and to top it all off, I'm getting majorly distracted by...

Twisted - a collection of short stories by Jeffrey Deaver

This wasn't planned! I forgot to bring a magazine along when I went for a haircut the other day, and detoured to The Tanglin Club's excellent in-house library to pick something at random to tide me over -- I've never been able to sit and stare into space -- when lo and behold, I found this little gem. I've already read his other works, e.g. The Bone Collector ( film version stars Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie ), A Maiden's Grave, The Coffin Dancer and The Lesson Of Her Death. Deaver is one of the few suspense authors who manages to sustain my interest ( not being snooty here, just a matter of personal taste ). I've always enjoyed his novels, thanks to his fast-paced storylines, simple but engaging prose, and best of all, unexpected yet plausible plot twists.

This terrific collection basically offers Deaver in his element, but in small potent doses, in the form of 16 short stories, most of which have already been published elsewhere, and a few of which have also been nominated for or won prestigious awards. I'm halfway through it at the moment, and have picked out 2 favourites that, interestingly enough, all involve adulterous spouses. Hmm. :) Without Jonathan opens the compilation with a super-whammy of an ending, and Triangle matches that brilliantly. I can't wait to get through the next half.

The Simple Life

I'm overdosing on TV comedies right now, even though some of them aren't even meant to be funny in the first place. This latest addition to the reality TV genre pits Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie ( daughter of singer Lionel ) against barn animals and real-life hillbillies during their month-long stay in some God-forsaken part of North America. The pilot episode had me rolling on the couch when:
1. the girls arrived at the makeshift airfield in their private jet, and were instructed ( via a crude handwritten letter ) to drive themselves to said farm in a cranky pickup truck.
2. Paris -- the driver -- couldn't find the reverse gear and kept stalling the vehicle.
3. When the matriarch of the farming family said, "We have a well here.", Paris replied with, "What's a well for???"
4. When Wal-mart came up during a dinner conversation, Paris asked, "What's Wal-mart? Do they sell walls or something?" Reminds me of how Cher once asked Sonny if the moon was the reverse side of the sun. D-uh.

Surprisingly, the show has made me actually like the two ditzes. I used to dismiss them as spoilt rich kids, but The Simple Life renders them sympathetic figures in some weird way, and I realized that the only people to blame for their sorry states are none other than the guilty parents. Who's responsible for educating Paris Hilton? Her mom and dad, of course! What the heck have they been doing these past 20 years? Letting her brain rot? Sheesh.

I highly recommend you catch the rest of the series. Guaranteed to make you feel really good about yourself. :D

Something A Little Depressing

My apologies in advance. If you don't want to feel crappy, stop reading right now.

Over the weekend, I've been nursing an abandoned kitten roaming my estate carpark. Barely 2 weeks old and roughly the size of my already-tiny palm, I was told by the cleaning staff that its mother had vamooshed, leaving the poor creature to fend for itself.
Unable to bring it home for fear of it being attacked by my very territorial 7-year-old tomcat, and also to prevent this kitten from transmitting some disease to my fragile pet ( who beat the odds and fought off the deadly Feline Leukemia 3 years ago ), I could only bring plates of food and bowls of milk down to the lot, coaxing the kitten to eat and drink before returning home.

It seemed to improve a couple of days back, but soon deteriorated again. I often found it lying on the ground, oblivious to its surroundings, yet able to stand and eat when presented with morsels of cat chow. On Monday evening, however, I knew the end was near. I found it wobbling along a nearby pillar, then watched in horror as it collapsed onto its side, too weak to proceed any further. Its fur was caked in dirt, its eyes listless, its meow a bare whimper. I stroked its head despite my mother's protests ( don't worry, I took the necessary precautions once I got home ), and told her, "She isn't going to make it." ( Yeah, she was a female, I know at least that. )

So we left her there, prostrate on the cold, concrete floor of the carpark, positioning her ( for what it was worth ) strategically right next to yet another plate of food. I prayed not for her recovery, which I knew was impossible, but for a quick and painless death.

Tuesday morning, the smell hit me before I even saw her. A pungent whiff of soil mixed with faeces and urine. As I neared the pillar where I'd left her the night before - and where I'd parked my car in the hope that it would shield her in some way - I found the little creature, stiffened by rigor mortis, lying just in front of the rear left tyre. Her last moments were still evident, as a trail of urine streaked about 10 centimetres behind her limp tail. Her mouth was still slightly agape, her dull eyes mildly open.

I shed no tears for her, partly because I'd only known her a few days, partly because I'd fully expected her death. But it was indeed a pitiful sight -- this malnourished, neglected little animal, born into a world that its mother failed to protect it from, that perished not from lack of food, but from lack of parental affection. Yet even its negligent mum can't shoulder all the blame. She's been spotted with a litter of 3 other kittens, and I once saw her sitting forlornly on a ledge as she sheltered from the storm outside, soaked to the skin, scrawny and tired. In this vicious cycle of repetitive procreation and the inability to sustain her offspring, it's only a matter of time before the mother loses her life as well.

I'm a cat person. Can't remember ever being anything but. Watching such events unfold is extremely painful, so it helps a little to unload it here. I don't ask for words of comfort, but if they're offered, I thank you. And thank you also for... listening.

Time to go home. It's been a long night.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Famous Last Words?

Bumping into a fellow MO on shift with me today, I asked her if those were textbooks sticking out of a bag she was carrying. Grinning, she answered, "It's my belief that tonight will be a good night!"

Well, it's 12:25am at the moment. Total # of cases on the queue: ZERO! Hah! :)


My editor suggested I review this for an upcoming issue of the SMA News, but that might not be for a while since I'm a little occupied with various other things, which is a pity, 'cos I really love this show and wish I could tell more people about it.

Last night's double-episode special, for example, is ER, Chicago Hope, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under all rolled into one. Exciting medical drama, fascinating character studies, a sidestep into the seedy goings-on in Miami ( ie. The Scene aka a "swingers party" -- euphemism for sex orgy ), and a hilarious mystery involving the possible identity of serial womanizer Dr. Christian Troy's stalker / car vandal. I haven't enjoyed a medical TV show this much since ER's famous real-time-one-take-only episode many years ago ( they filmed it "live", complicated resuscitation scenes and all, a feat no other programme has ever been able to emulate ). For me, it's the best of all worlds if i can get my fix of medical action ( plus learn some cool plastic surgery terms like "brachioplasty", woo :)), coupled with ample doses of riveting personal trials, dark humour and ( ahem ) eye candy. Yes yes, Julian McMahon is a dream ( bad boys always get all the female attention haha! ), but in this episode, even Dylan Walsh ( who plays good-doc Brian McNamara ) had his moment: in a tender scene where his marital unhappiness pushes him inexorably closer to one of his patients, his vulnerability renders him almost boy-like as he stands partially illuminated by a light. Made me literally catch my breath.

And FYI, Singapore also has its fair share of good-lookers in the medical profession. Would you like me to name a few? :) Yeah, believe it or not, I'm not a zombie. And hey, ogling works both ways okay. :D

After a slew of busy shifts and only one off-day so far these past 20 days, I've got 2 offs this coming week, and 3 days of annual leave thereafter. Life's looking good, but instead of painting the town red or vegetating, I will be attending intensive exam revision tutorials. The good news though, is the momentum's coming along really well, and I intend to keep it that way. :)

And don't forget, there're two cool new movies due for release soon -- King Arthur ( with the sexy Clive Owen and gorgeous Keira Knightley ), and Spiderman 2 ( which needs no introduction -- Peter Cincotti apparently plays a small role, so look out for that ).

Shall leave you with a TV quote this time.
From Nip/Tuck.

Dr. McNamara: It's erotic when you use a feather. It's porn when you use the whole chicken.

Countdown to the launch of The Joint Venture starts today. Only 10 more days to go. :)
Enjoy your Sunday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

In Continuation

Is it 3:40pm already?! Where does the time go? Oh yeah, I slept the whole morning, and just watched the Matrix Revolutions VCD. Okay... :)

So I've finished my reply to The Complaint. I haven't asked what happened in the SOC today ( their pre-scheduled TCU ), but will post something at a later date.

Au Revoir

... to a JC classmate who's flying off to the US tomorrow for a one-year training stint. We had a nice group dinner in his honour a couple of days ago ( he doesn't want to admit it, but hey, it's the truth :)) and as always, we all had a great time. Seems so much has happened this past decade, and we were wondering what 2005 holds, since we'll be turning the big three-O next year. *gasp! sob! choke!* But the most important thing, I realize, is being happy with the choices you've made, even if it's a slight detour from the original route you intended to take. And sure enough, I think every one of us is indeed content in that respect.

Have a safe trip, CS!

Life!'s Pretty Interesting Nowadays

[ The exclamation mark's intentional, ahem. :) ]

Shzr Ee's spot-on commentary in yesterday's edition of Life! was a wake-up call, if anyone's even listening. It isn't my imagination after all -- young people today are getting increasingly obnoxious, disrespectful and spoilt. At least 10 other dinner companions agreed on this on Monday ( a mixed bunch of individuals from the medical, engineering and law professions ). One magistrate said, "When I was a kid, I didn't even dare to answer back!" And back in primary and secondary school -- even college -- all it took was a 3-second stare from a teacher and we'd be instantly subdued. Even now, in the course of our work, we try our best to be responsible and take our jobs seriously, working hard when the situation calls for it, and making a conscious effort to avoid selling out at all costs.

Will our future generations be able to do the same? From the looks of it -- no. Many Gen X-ers ( my batch ) already lead frivolous lives -- refer to a recent Straits Times feature on yuppies who blow tens of thousands of dollars on football bets without even blinking -- and I frequently have unpleasant experiences with the service sectors, which are becoming increasingly populated by disgruntled, lazy 20-something employees out to make a quick buck without actually contributing anything to society. Charity work? Donating part of my "hard-earned" money to the less fortunate? What planet do you think I'm from?

Of course, there is a minority who sustains our hopes for this millenium. Youngsters who haven't yet lost sight of the bigger picture, who use their vacation time to volunteer, or to actively harness all their creative powers instead of just sitting back and waiting for a handout. Who actually care about the world around them, instead of taking it for granted.

At the rate we're going, Singapore is currently poised at the edge of a precipice. I shudder to think of the outcome should it tip over in the wrong direction.

All right then, enough of the heavy stuff. :)

Alias Is Back!

I almost missed the 3rd season, but caught it just in time when I was surfing channels at 1am Tuesday morning ( insomnia, ugh ). Lots of delicious plot twists yet again -- Sidney Bristow's inexplicable 2-year-long disappearance and concomitant amnesia, a new enemy in the form of The Covenant, and lots of tension between Sidney, ex-love Michael Vaughn and his new wife. Jennifer Garner looks unbelievable, and the cinematography ( can I still call it that if it's a TV show? ) is awesome. I hope they'll make an Alias full-length movie at some point, 'cos the script rocks, the action sequences kick ass, and the actors would translate terrifically onto the big screen. Hint hint!

VCD/DVD Reviews Part ?

Yeah, I've been renting a lot of them lately. :P

Matrix Revolutions

Man, this SUCKS!!! Don't get me wrong, I loved The Matrix, but its sequel left me a little cold, and all I can say is: (1) thank goodness I didn't watch this in the cinema ( 'cos I would've walked out for sure ) and (2) I just adore fast-forward buttons, heh heh. Running time: 129 mins. Total viewing time at home on the DVD player: 60 mins, not counting the many occasions I looked out the window or got up to do something or other. While the first installment blew me away ( I've seen it at least 5 times to date ), Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions have failed to recapture any of the thrills and spills offered by Episode 1. The Oracle grates on my nerves, Morpheus has lost too much valuable screen time, and Neo is a mere shell of what he once was. And what's with all the whispering in Revolutions? This is war, people! A matter of life and death, survival vs annihilation! Do you WHISPER in such situations? Sheesh!

The only saving grace is Mr. Smith, played with fervent glee by Hugo Weaving ( Elrond aka Arwen's daddy in LOTR ). That maniacal grin and spitting speech pattern woke me up from a deep slumber immediately. Why oh why did he have to be destroyed in the end? I personally would've enjoyed seeing more of him -- how about a prequel? Hint hint again. :)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

This one's just a little bit better. More action ( and more importantly, appropriate shouting matches ), and a storyline that makes lots more sense. Although... think they could've picked someone better to play the legendary John Connor ( Nick Stahl? What a wimp! ), and the need for a female villain is a total gimmick ( Kristanna Loken must've practised for hours in front of the mirror while perfecting that glare ). Would've preferred another evil male android anyday -- e.g. Hugh Jackman ( check out X-Men I & II ), Eric Bana ( The Hulk and Troy ), heck even Russell Crowe ( did you see him in Virtuosity? Brr. ).

I just hope the inevitable Terminator 4 won't deteriorate into another Matrix Revolutions-type disaster. Star Wars Episodes 1 & 2 are bad enough.

Runaway Jury

Excellent, this one. John Grisham may not be that great a writer ( I'm never fully satisfied after reading his novels ), but you've got to hand it to the guy: he has a fantastic eye for fascinating tales and print-to-screen adaptations. In my opinion, the films based on his books have far surpassed the published versions on every occasion, and my favourites thus far include The Rainmaker, and now, Runaway Jury. ( It helps a lot that John Cusack plays the immensely likeable lead, but I digress. :D )

With a taut screenplay, exceptional casting and focussed direction, this latest offering is hard not to enjoy. Intriguing premise, crackling courtroom drama, a David-vs-Goliath triumph ( very characteristic of Grisham tales ) -- I was hooked from beginning to end.

Cusack, always the consummate character actor, plays up his lovable personality here in his portrayal of the ambiguous Nicholas Easter. Casting him in this role, which demands both understated but undeniable charm, is pure genius. One of his best performances yet.

But the clincher, I feel, is a scene where just after the verdict, Dustin Hoffman spots Cusack outside the courthouse, and silently acknowledges him. Won't reveal vital plotlines here, but those few seconds are what this entire movie is all about -- standing up for what you believe in, and doing what's right even when everyone else is playing dirty ball. Yay for the underdogs!

Album Reviews

I'm almost done, I promise. :)

Jason Mraz's Waiting For My Rocket To Come

This CD deserves to be blasted on the car stereo, 'cos it sounds best that way for me. Lots of road-trip type pieces, with up-tempo guitar riffs, carried by Mraz's amazing vocals. His is a boyish yet pitch-perfect delivery of compositions that are quite tough to sing, with their meandering melodies and accelerated speeds ( give him an award for The Most Number of Words Crammed Into The Least Number of Musical Bars ). From the sound of it, some parts are written in demi-semi-quavers, but I love it 'cos he's blessed with flawless diction, so you can actually make out every single word. And the lyrics are... beautiful. My favourite has got to be The Remedy ( I Won't Worry ), a rollicking head-bobber that says "I say the tragedy is how you're gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on/ So shine the light on all of your friends because it all amounts to nothing in the end/ I won't worry my life away" ( inspired by Mraz's good friend's fight with cancer ). Other noteworthy offerings include You And I Both, I'll Do Anything, Too Much Food, and The Boy's Gone.

But then, this could be an acquired taste, to be sure to sample it before buying. I don't want to get a scolding. :P

Jamie Cullum's Pointless Nostalgic

Released in 2002 ( a year before his hit 2nd album Twentysomething ), this has more covers than original songs, but again demonstrates his propensity / talent for innovative arrangements and interpretations of even the most conventional jazz pieces. Once again, he's helped me appreciate hard-core classics which I would otherwise reject, most notably Devil May Care and You And The Night And The Music. High And Dry and I Can't Get Started show off his sexy vocals to great effect, as does A Time For Love, now one of my all-time favs, together with Michael Buble's The Way You Look Tonight, Peter Cincotti's Sway and Robbie Williams' One More For The Road.

Perhaps the most personal composition of his to date, Pointless Nostalgic should appeal to anyone who's gone through a painful breakup. "Reminiscing my cares away / Wishing I could go back and change the points that were low / Til I realize that life's meant to be / Photographs lost in time are all I see / A pointless nostalgic - that's me"

Just caught him on MTV's Asia Hitlist this morning -- he's #5, wow! -- doing These Are The Days. Reminds me a lot of Robbie, which bodes well for any live performance. So be sure to catch him if he ever pops by, 'cos I definitely wouldn't miss it for the world.

Over and out. For now. ;)
A Tribute To Smiling Tigers

They are deceivingly polite and softspoken, with measured tones and benign smiles. They ask questions in the most mild-mannered ways, and appear understanding and agreeable when you reply. Thank you, they say, as they exit the door. Not one insulting word. Not one frown. Just another easy case, you think.

Then, the bomb drops. The complaint hits you like a fallen anvil from the sky. What the f...?! The language used is a far cry from the peaceful homo sapien you saw the other day. The letter is cc-ed to top guys ( and gals ) who are now unwillingly roped in to investigate an otherwise insignificant matter. Loss of life and limb? No. Negligence? Nil. Bad doctor attitude? Zilch. Actual complaint? Well, I'm not at liberty to reveal details, but let's just say the patient looked happier than all of us working in the department. The only people who are unwell, apparently, are his parents.

Thankfully, I'm not at the centre of this storm in a teacup. Luckily, I'm not responsible for the infant's problem, nor was I the first doctor to see him. Most importantly, never underestimate the need to consult someone senior, which I of course did on this particular occasion. And sadly enough, this senior, who possesses a wealth of experience, now has to answer to two people with zero medical education and dubious "medical knowledge", demanding explanations from every single rank in the healthcare system hierarchy.

Incidents like these undoubtedly ruin your day. Disillusion and frustration set in quickly, and you wonder why, dammit . But it has an upside ( yeah, it does indeed! ). Chances are, this will blow over very soon, as no-one can find fault with the management plan, and the patient is none the worse for it. Eventually, it will merely be another closed chapter in the Annals of Hospital Complaints.

Also, something like this always makes for good gossip fodder. Another thing you should never under-estimate is a doctor's sense of humour. :)

And last but not least, I'm a little intrigued by the fact that I actually saw this coming. I managed to see through the facade, and kinda expected a "complication" such as this, so I made sure to be extra-sweet to them before discharge. Maybe that's why I warranted only one sentence in the 2-page rant. I should write a guidebook someday. :P

More to follow. Back to work!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I'm feeling rather uninspired lately. Or maybe it's a hormonal thing. ( Yeah, blame the hormones. THAT'S easy. :))

Revision for the MRCS Part 2 is getting under way, and the stress level steadily increases. Hopefully I'll be able to clear it on the first attempt, 'cos I'm going to take advantage of the AST exercise for November and apply ASAP. Me, a registrar. *shudder* :P

The Joint Venture is coming along nicely, and contrary to what a few people think, it isn't detrimental to my studies lah . In fact, it's relieving the tension quite effectively. Something to look forward to. A myriad of possibilities. An opportunity to hit back at the local press. *evil cackle*
Back to the point: confirmed launch date -- July 1st. Watch for it!

Just caught the movie "Stuck on You" on DVD.
It's a Farrelly brothers film ( Something About Mary, Shallow Hal ), and although I've never been a fan ( I don't enjoy crass humour ), this effort is actually really really good. The script is sensitively written, the funny bits are laugh-out-loud calibre, yet the concept of conjoined twins never degenerates into slapstick territory.

The leads -- Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear -- have great chemistry, and the supporting characters ( including an interesting Chinese female penpal who falls in love with one of them ) add to the delightful mix. Farrelly brothers => heartwarming, thought-provoking fare? You bet. What a terrific way to spend my post-night afternoon. :)

Last night's Nip / Tuck had me in stitches yet again. Xena ( a fellow blogger ) thinks it's a little strange, which I definitely agree with. But I'm a little strange myself, so... ;)
Anyway, no detailed review here. Saving that for either the Joint Venture, or the SMA News. Sorry. :)

Signing off to go hit the books.

A fond farewell to re-minisce, who will be leaving our shores in a few days' time. Safe journey, dood. :D

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Please welcome our new SMA News editor, Dr. Toh Han Chong, a consultant oncologist at the National Cancer Centre. Like his predecessor, opthalmologist Dr. Wong Tien Yin, Dr. Toh is an extremely nice guy whose support of his Editorial Board members is nothing short of extraordinary. I thank him for his description of myself and Terence, ie. "prolific Ed Board members" who convey the "angst and zeitgeist of Generation X doctors". :)

Also, be sure to catch my report on the Medecins Sans Frontieres talk in Singapore in April. If it inspires just one person to sign up with the group, my job is done. :D

This is a short post, because of the time issue. But before I go, a warm welcome-back to The Dude in London, who's now back home in Singapore for a very compelling reason. What it is exactly, I can't say, but I have my suspicions. Heh heh. ;) Hope you enjoy yourself! Weather's very unpredictable these days -- don't get sick!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Very Quick Update

Clay Aiken Singapore's Valentine's Day Project for the Autism Association Singapore has been featured on the Bubel/Aiken Foundation website, thanks to the BAF's attorney, Fran Skinner-Lewis, who took us under her wing and first suggested publicizing CAS' maiden effort in charity work.

Here's the link. We're right at the top, woohoo! :)

CAS' V-Day Project on TBAF's Website

Those interested in joining us can find further details in this thread:

CAS Forum -- Volunteering Opportunities

It's a very fulfilling and enjoyable activity, and you'll make lots of great friends ( I know many of these people, so take my word for it! ). As Clay always says so simply yet profoundly: It isn't necessarily how I make a difference, but I want to make sure that I do.

Got a deadline to meet. Will write more some other time.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

This is gonna be a long one. Have you eaten yet? ;)
I'll put the subheadings in bold to make things easier for you. :)

Movie Review of Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

**Naturally, spoilers galore. Proceed with caution!**
( no thanks to a certain Life! reporter who leaked a major plotline in the Saturday edition *bppppphhhhhhhht* )

Like many other Potter fans, Book 3 is my favourite so far ( Book 5 is my second fav, but that may change depending on Rowling's next 2 efforts ). Most agree that Azkaban strikes a deep chord because it tells the best story, and introduces two pivotal and extremely likeable characters in the forms of Sirius Black ( Harry's godfather ) and Professor Remus Lupin ( the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and Harry's kind mentor ). For me, this installment touched the very depths of my being because of the Patronus, a powerful spell Harry learns to ward off Dementors, but which also links him to his late father. This last aspect was handled so expertly in the novel that to this day, I still remember how tears rolled down my cheek as I read this particular chapter so many years ago.

I haven't touched the book since, but dug it up last night to pore over a few key scenes and compare them to the film's versions. More on that later.

On the whole, I did enjoy this movie. It's shorter ( 2 hours compared to the usual 2 1/2 ), moves at a much quicker pace ( zip! swoosh! ), boasts the addition of yet more esteemed British actors ( Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis ), and the young leads have never been more adorable. Unlike some child actors who lose their appeal once they hit Puberty ( Macaulay Culkin ), Daniel Radcliffe ( Harry ), Emma Watson ( Hermione ) and Rupert Grint ( Ron ) look great and fulfill their roles with mature confidence and ease. It's also a pleasure to watch their group dynamics at play -- something not very obvious in the previous 2 films ( though very palpable in the novels ).

Azkaban has been described by many as "dark". Well, that's an understatement! This one's positively spine-chilling, especially whenever the Dementors show up. And you thought the Nazgul from LOTR were scary! Everything is perpetually drenched in a grayish hue, or soaked in rain ( including the Quidditch match -- but that's faithful to the book ). Sirius Black is a menacing force ( until the truth is revealed ), and the concept of an Animagus is explained, complete with an unlikely example ( Lupin's reluctant werewolf ).

But what would a Potter novel be without the requisite uplifting moments? Here, he finds hope of finding lasting happiness with his loving godfather ( the wrongly framed Sirius ), forms a deep bond with Lupin, and glimpses his father's spirit. Gary Oldman is sorely underused, but you'll see more of him in episodes 4 and 5, which I'm definitely looking forward to. David Thewlis, on the other hand, is perfectly cast as Lupin. Lanky and mild-mannered, he is nonetheless proficient when it comes to Defence Against the Dark Arts, and his scenes with Radcliffe ( especially one where they quietly discuss Harry's resemblance to his parents ) are tender and memorable.

Would I recommend this film? Yes. By all means, see it, because despite its imperfections, it's pretty good nonetheless ( though I still like the first installment the most ). All this talk about the new director, Alfonso Cuaron, having some earth-shaking effect on the franchise, has me a little befuddled, 'cos from what I can see, the cast could've driven this film without anyone's help. If anything, credit should go to Chris Columbus ( who helmed #1 and #2 ) for building such an awe-inspiring foundation, nurturing these talented children, and having the generosity and grace to let others in on the fun. Time magazine's Richard Corliss suggested a few A-list directors for future Potter movies ( Tim Burton, Ang Lee, even Mel Gibson ), but I think it'd be most fitting if Columbus returned to lead the finale ( Book 7, if Rowling doesn't change her mind ).

Similarly, I'd much prefer having the same troupe of young actors staying on till the tale's conclusion. True, they're fast outgrowing their roles because the films can't get made within a year ( #4 is due November 2005 ). I suppose it's inevitable, but Radcliffe, Watson and Grint will always be remembered for these roles -- roles they played so adeptly -- and there's never anything wrong with bringing smiles to people's faces through the power of a mere thought. :)

Now, I will share excerpts from the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is how Rowling wrote the harrowing scene where Harry confronted a horde of Dementors before being saved by a Patronus conjured by someone ( originally suggested to be his late father, but later revealed to be otherwise ).
I'm doing this because I'd like to know if I'm the only person who thinks this very important sequence wasn't portrayed as ideally as expected. Maybe it's just me.

"Harry set off at a run, Hermione right behind him. The yelping seemed to be coming from near the lake. They pelted towards it, and Harry, running flat out, felt the cold without realising what is must mean -

The yelping stopped abruptly. As they reached the lake's shore they saw why - Sirius had turned back into a man. He was crouched on all fours, his hands over his head.

'Noooo ,' he moaned. 'Nooooo ... please...'

And then Harry saw them. Dementors, at least a hundred of them, gliding in a black mass around the lake towards them. He spun around, the familiar, icy cold penetrating his insides, fog starting to obscure his vision; more were appearing out of the darkness on every side; they were encircling them...

'Hermione, think of something happy!' Harry yelled, raising his wand, blinking furiously to try and clear his vision, shaking his head to rid it of the faint screaming that has started inside it -

I'm going to live with my godfather. I'm leaving the Dursleys.

He forced himself to think of Sirius, and only Sirius, and began to chant: 'Expecto patronum! Expecto patronum!'

Black gave a shudder, rolled over and lay motionless on the ground, pale as death.

He'll be all right. I'm going to go and live with him.

'Expecto patronum! Hermione, help me! Expecto patronum!'

'Expecto - ' Hermione whispered, 'expecto- expecto- '

But she couldn't do it. The Dementors were closing in, barely ten feet from them. They formed a solid wall around Harry and Hermione, and were getting close...

'EXPECTO PATRONUM!' Harry yelled, trying to blot the screaming from his ears. 'EXPECTO PATRONUM!'

A thin wisp of silver escaped his wand and hovered like mist before him. At the same moment, Harry felt Hermione collapse next to him. He was alone... completely alone...

'Expecto - expecto patronum - '

Harry felt his knees hit the cold grass. Fog was clouding his eyes. With a huge effort, he fought to remember - Sirius was innocent - innocent - we'll be OK - I'm going to live with him -

'Expecto patronum!' he gasped.

By the feeble light of his formless Patronus, he saw a Dementor halt, very close to him. It couldn't walk through the cloud of silver mist Harry had conjured. A dead, slimy hand slid out from under the cloak. It made a gesture as though to sweep the Patronus aside.

'No - no -' Harry gasped. 'He's innocent... expecto - expecto patronum - '

He could feel them watching him, hear their rattling breath like an evil wind around him. Then it raised both its rotting hands - and lowered its hood.

Where there should have been eyes, there was only thin, grey, scabbed skin, stretched blankly over empty sockets. But there was a mouth ... a gaping shapeless hole, sucking the air with the sound of a death-rattle.

A paralysing terror filled Harry so that he couldn't move or speak. His Patronus flickered and died.

White fog was blinding him. He had to fight... expecto patronum ... .. he couldn't see.. and in the distance, he heard the familiar screaming .. expecto patronum ... he groped in the mist for Sirius, and found his arm... they weren't going to take him...

But a pair of strong, clammy hands suddenly wrapped themselves around Harry's neck. They were forcing his face upwards... he could feel its breath ... it was going to get rid of him first... he could feel its putrid breath ... his mother was screaming in his ears ... she was going to be the last thing he ever heard -

And then, through the fog that was drowning him, he thought he saw a silvery light, growing brighter and brighter ... he felt himself fall forwards onto the grass -

Face down, too weak to move, sick and shaking, Harry opened his eyes. The blinding light was illuminating the grass around him ... The screaming had stopped, the cold was ebbing away...

Something was driving the Dementors back... it was circling around him and Sirius and Hermione... the rattling, sucking sounds of the Dementors were fading. They were leaving... the air was warm again...

With every ounce of strength he could muster, Harry raised his head a few inches and saw an animal amidst the light, galloping away across the lake. Eyes blurred with sweat, Harry tried to make out what it was .. it was bright as a unicorn. Fighting to stay conscious, Harry watched it canter to a halt as it reached the opposite shore. For a moment, Harry saw, by its brightness, somebody welcoming it back... raising his hand to pat it... someone who looked strangley familiar... but it couldn't be ...

Harry didn't understand. He couldn't think anymore. He felt the last of his strength leave him, and his head hit the ground as he fainted."

And here's another bit from the book that was glaringly left out of the movie, aargh!

"Harry looked up at him. Dumbledore wouldn't laugh - he could tell Dumbledore...

'Last night... I thought it was my dad who'd conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I saw myself across the lake... I thought I was seeing him.'

'An easy mistake to make,' said Dumbledore softly. 'I expect you're tired of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for your eyes... you have your mother's eyes.'

Harry shook his head.
'It was stupid, thinking it was him,' he muttered. 'I mean, I knew he was dead.'

'You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.'

It took a moment for Harry to realise what Dumbledore had said.
'Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi last night,' said Dumbledore, smiling. 'An extraordinary achievement - not least, keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr. Malfoy down at your Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. so you did see your father last night, Harry... you found him inside yourself.'

I love this book! :)

Birthday Break ... Continued

Ignoring my studies for a day or two, and thanks again to everyone who's sent their well wishes. I appreciate them all. :)

Today, I'll be heading down to SUNTEC to catch the Singapore Idol action. Here's something to read:

Queues start early for Idol auditions

Let the madness begin! :D

Dinner will be a meaty affair. Must remember to eat less for lunch. Will talk about the food another time. :)

Best of all, I bought myself some terrific discs from That CD Shop. These are going to send me to the moon, I tell you:

Jamie Cullum's Pointless Nostalgic -- released before the current double-platinum Twentysomething, this first effort is also a big winner. More conventional jazz fare, but his voice is younger, sounding like a cross between Connick Jr. and Buble ( before evolving into the more full-throated version on his second album ). A full review will follow soon, but suffice to say, his rendition of "A Time For Love" is driving me nuts -- but in a good way, of course. :)
Jazz fans, especially Cullum supporters, you HAVE to get this!

Jason Mraz's Waiting For My Rocket To Come -- the new stock's finally here, but I grabbed the last CD on the shelf! I liked what I heard during a quick scan through the tracks, but have to get through Cullum before moving on to Rocket. Will write more once I get the chance to listen to this properly, but my preliminary assessment is that Mraz has a beautiful voice, and great song-writing talent.

Concert DVD -- Russell Watson Live in Auckland. Promises to be a treat! Again, time constraints +++ More reviews another day.

Okay then, it's time for me to grab lunch. More vegetating awaits later, heh heh!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Interesting Email

From an American friend whom I've known for 3 years. Here're some things you DON'T read about in the news.

"At the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial following World War II, Albert Speere spoke in his own defense regarding his role in the Holocaust. Speere was the man that designed the final solution for Hilter and the boys, and did the organization elements of the trains that
dropped off their loads at the camps. Speere's defense was, "I was just following orders." Speere was hung.

Now, regarding Abu Ghraib, the military announced the investigation into the abuse in January 2003. The army uncovered these abuses, and was actively conducting an investigation. The New York Times printed a 970 word story. An update (370 words) on the abuse investigation was printed in the New York Times in March 2003 when the military issued a press release stating at what stage the investigation was in. Neither of these two stories got any attention because they were without photos. Then in May, the photos were leaked.

The seven soldiers involved stated that "We were following orders." Now to begin with, the female soldier in those photos holding the leash and pointing and smiling was not
assigned to Abu Ghraib prison. She was there visiting her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was a higher-ranking soldier assigned to the prison. She is now pregnant with his baby. Now am I to believe that she was ordered to go to a duty station that she was not assigned to during her time off, and participate in those photos for someone who was not her commanding officer? Was she also ordered to have a boyfriend of superior rank (forbidden in the army), and to have relations with him (forbidden in the army), and to get pregnant (forbidden)? Probably not.

Now let's focus on the so-called general-in-charge at Abu Ghraib. She is a reservist who claims that she is not responsible because military intelligence was responsible for that phase of the operation. Horse-s**t! She had a reputation for allowing for a complete breakdown in military discipline, including not requiring her officers and enlisted ranks to salute each other, soldiers referring to each other by their first names, and no properly overseeing her operation. She should be tried, and convicted of dereliction of duty, among other charges. Her junior officers should take the fall as well.

Now, it should be stated that I have not seen much of anything that violates the Geneva Convention, with the exception of the barking dog photo, and the fact that
photos were taken. You are allowed to deprive prisoners of sleep, and to break them down mentally so long as they are fed, their health is not in jeopardy, they are not humiliated (ambiguous, but usually refers to public humiliation), etc. I did not see Americans chopping anyone's head off on TV, or interviewing prisoners on CNN, or burning anyone to death and dragging their bodies through the street and hanging them from a bridge. Did you happen to notice the number of days those events were on the news compared
to the number of days the Abu Ghraid scandal was on the front pages? Chop off a head, burn humans alive and hang them from a bridge and you get 12 hours of coverage, and then it disappears forver. If you are the US, and some idiots stack some naked guys, 16 straight days of page one coverage.

To explain this, you have to look back to 1968, in Vietnam. I know you have seen the photo of the South Vietnamese soldier holding a gun to the head of a Viet Cong, and shooting him in the head. It is a famous photo in the US, and it made Americans feel bad about the war. What the photo does not communicate is that the man being executed had, moments before, killed a South Vietnamese General, his wife, and his four children, ages 12, 10, 6, and 2. The photos at Abu Ghraib are meant to demoralize the American public,
make them turn against the war, and elect John Kerry in November, because Kerry is a liberal just like the news organizations. You will not hear, for example, that breast cancer surgeries have resumed after a 30 year absence in Iraq. You will not hear much about the fact that this is currently the only Muslim country out of 54 that is a demoncracy. You will not hear about the soldiers collecting clothes and school
supplies from the middle of the US, where they are from, and donating those supplies to Iraqi will only hear about the failures and tragedies. In the coming months, you will hear a lot of nonsense about the "fairness" of Saddam's trial as well, as if the 400,000 in the mass graves had had that consideration.

So I avoided the Army and joined the Marines...we are
a bit different :)"

Thursday morning. Is my 29th birthday just round the corner already? I've got everything planned ( not much, but it's better than sitting at home -- thank goodness my flu's gone ): Harry Potter 3 tomorrow, then for the day after -- hanging out at SUNTEC to catch the Singapore Idol auditions action, a trip to Raffles City to see Urban Dream Capsule (4 Australian blokes living in a glass case for 2 weeks ), ending off with a sumptuous dinner at a nice restaurant ( will keep that secret for obvious reasons :)). No hot date. Just me and my parents. No gifts -- I find them cheesy, and most of the time, people don't know what it is I want exactly ( except for one good friend who never fails to buy me something I like -- you know who you are :)). I don't feel any different. "Feeling old" hit me at age 25, when a certain individual caused me great pain. The process of spiritual senescence has stagnated since then, which is a good thing. But last night, flipping through photo albums, I notice how 10 years ago, I smiled so much more, but now, the occasional twitch of the corner of my mouth is so hard to come by.
Of course, that's only during picture-taking. Think people who've actually met me have described me as a laughing hyena at one point. The better I know you, the crazier I get, heh heh. :)

Not much to update on today. Azarael, here're 2 movie quotes just for you.

From "Good Will Hunting":

Sean ( Robin Williams ): Do you have a soul mate?
Will ( Matt Damon ): Define that.
Sean: Someone you can relate to, someone who opens things up for you.
Will: Sure, I got plenty.
Sean: Well, name them.
Will: Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O'Connor...
Sean: Well that's great. They're all dead.
Will: Not to me, they're not.
Sean: You can't have a lot of dialogue with them.
Will: Not without a heater and some serious smelling salts.

Which reminds me, you should rent "The Rainmaker". This was just shown on Vesak Day ( Channel i ), and even though I've seen it before eons ago, it still had me riveted for 2 1/2 hours. Matt Damon was in his early 20s when he got his first big break in the lead role, starring with Jon Voight, Danny DeVito and Mickey Rourke, and directed by none other than the legendary Francis Ford Coppola ( The Godfather trilogy, Bram Stoker's Dracula ). John Grisham novels aren't exactly the most cerebral, but the script ( also adapted by Coppola ) does the story great justice, and the entire cast ( Damon in particular ) give stellar performances. It's basically a David and Goliath tale, but surpasses the more famous / profitable "Erin Brockovich" because of its understated yet far more poignant delivery.

And for "The Royal Tenenbaums"

[Royal ( Gene Hackman ) motions to Pagoda ( his Indian servant )]
Royal: He saved my life, you know. Thirty years ago. I was knifed at a bazaar in Calcutta, and he carried me to the hospital on his back.
Ari: Who stabbed you?
[Royal motions to Pagoda again]
Royal: He did. There was a price on my head, and he was a hired assassin. Stuck me in the gut with a shiv.

Gotta love it. :)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Short Update

Get a load of this:

Rance's Blog

Why's it interesting, you ask? Featured in a quarter-page article in Life! today, this site is the talk of the Internet, with hot speculations regarding the writer's true identity. Rumours are rife that he's an "A-list actor" who once wrote that "Suffice to say, I know what it's like to see your picture on the magazine rack every now and again when you pay for groceries."

The possibilities listed include Jim Carrey, Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Owen Wilson. I dropped by the blog just a few minutes ago, and from a quick skim of its contents, I really can't say at this point. Besides, Rance has denied he's anywhere near what the media has painted him out to be. He says he's a "high school failure". But then, aren't quite a few A-list actors? :) Right, so based on that one line, he CANNOT be (1) Matt Damon ( got into Harvard ), (2) David Duchovny ( another Ivy Leaguer ), or (3) Tommy Lee Jones ( bunked with Al Gore in college ).

My best guess at the moment? If I have to choose from the 4 provided, I'd say either Ben Affleck or Owen Wilson. Carrey and Clooney don't strike me as very articulate, at least not in the written format. If it is indeed an actor doing all the blogging, it would make sense ( to me ) if he's also a screenwriter, 'cos it takes some level of intelligence to be able to pen a good script, and these two men have been there, done that -- Affleck got an Oscar with Damon for "Good Will Hunting" ( excellent stuff ), while Wilson co-wrote "The Royal Tenenbaums" with his brother Luke ( terrific ). Wilson, in particular, is a fascinating character: blonde surfer dude looks, a thick American drawl, the ability to combine physical comedy with sexy charm, a broken nose which he refuses to fix, and lots of brain lurking just beneath the brawn. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if he ran a blog like Rance's. It's pretty hilarious. :)

28 Days Later

... I didn't get past the first 30 minutes. Even I'm shocked. :/

Post-call haze. I'd better get down to proper exam revision. The clock's ticking.
Resistance Is Futile

Two examples:

#1: It's 3am. It's my rest time. And I'm blogging. Someone please throttle me now.

#2: New meaning to the term "shift requests". Over here, it appears that making a request automatically saddles you with the opposite of what you want. Oh, so you need to be off on this day do you? Well then, let me make DOUBLY SURE you WORK! Looking at my June roster was mighty depressing. But at least I've got 3 days of leave in the last week. Will be doing night on my birthday, but hey, I don't start till 11pm, which gives me an entire day to fill with loads of nonsensical activities. :)

Singapore Idol's judges were announced this evening. My mom gave me a quick call ('cos I told her to), and I'm a little surrprised Jacintha and Anita Sarawak aren't part of the team. And no Kumar or Najip Ali?! So does that mean everyone's going to be nice then? How absolutely boring. :P

Just watched "House of Sand And Fog" this afternoon. Was floored by it 'cos it's just THAT good. Okay, so never mind that it's hard to believe someone as exquisite as Jennifer Connelly would be stuck in house-cleaning jobs. ( Almost as dumb as the concept of Nicole Kidman as a janitor in "The Human Stain". ) But the film is well-paced and extremely touching, with just enough irony to make it interesting, and not too much drama to tip it over into a shameless weepie. Extenuating circumstances turn otherwise mild humans into desperate creatures. But no-one can be labelled the good or bad guy here, and that's the beauty of it. Every time you start sympathizing with one or the other, something else occurs that makes you switch sides. In the end, I think, both characters deserve our empathy.
Ben Kingsley ( who plays the male lead )has always had a very respectable acting career, but there's one scene that lingers in my mind: in the last 15 minutes of the film, as he charges through a hospital corridor searching for the ER, he keeps mumbling the word "emergency" over and over again, while stumbling along with a glassy look in his eyes. Suddenly, he crouches, bends over almost, and wails "emergen-CEEEE!", causing by-standers to reel back in shock. Following that split second of agony, he's up on his feet again, running off to continue his mission.


I've got "28 Days Later" sitting at home, which I shall get to after my shift ends. Will be leaving the hospital at 6am, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I'll review the show another time. :D

And if, for some reason you're at home today at around 9am, be sure to tune in to The Oprah Winfrey Show on cable Channel 18, for her interviews with the stars of "Troy". It's a repeat telecast of Monday afternoon's episode, which I managed to catch only 30 minutes of 'cos I got home late after lunch. In a nutshell: Eric Bana is one fantastic-looking man. He's taller than Brad Pitt, which I didn't realize till now. And he just looks... yummy. Sorry, I shouldn't drool in front of others. :P
There's a segment where Oprah plays a clip from an ancient Pitt movie -- "Johnny Suede" -- in which he sports 4-feet-high hair, and sings while strumming a guitar. He can hold a tune, but when Oprah tells her audience "Did you know Brad can sing?", he quickly corrects her by dryly replying, "Wait a minute, Oprah -- Brad canNOT sing." That was funny. :D

In Reply To Fellow Bloggers

re-minisce: suprapubic aspirations of paeds patients? Is that how it works in the UK? Or were you joking? Sorry, can never tell with The Man With The Mysterious Sense of Humour. ;)

Lucian: Further details of The Joint Venture have to remain vague for the moment, for err, security reasons, heh heh. But more information will be supplied on a timely basis, so be patient. :)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban opens this week. Better book my tickets online now. :D