Saturday, December 31, 2005

Advance Greetings

I wasn't supposed to log on to Blogger today, but since I'm here, I'd like to wish all readers a very Happy New Year. :)

2005's been really great for me. Possibly the best year ever, in fact. Met a lot of wonderful people who went out of their way to help me. Made good progress in all aspects of my life. Enjoyed tonnes of exciting, rewarding and truly memorable experiences. Hitting 30 hasn't been bad at all. :D

2006 comes with its own set of resolutions and possibilities. There's a countdown to my exit in 2007 ( ASTs are getting shorter these days - both good and bad ), a planned trip to the US ( definite this time ), plus more forays into the entertainment industry ( to be revealed at my leisure :)). Most importantly, however, there's always a constant need to prioritize - family, close friends and religious commitments being the top 3.

If you're interested in participating in some charity projects, let me know 'cos I'm drawing up a proposal soon ( there's another in the pipeline since early 2005 but they're ironing out a few creases, which may take a while ). If you'd like to air some pent-up opinions about medical education or our healthcare system, I can serve as an outlet and forward feedback directly to the SMA.

While 2005 was mostly about trying new things and making numerous leaps of faith, 2006 will be more geared towards bringing about change and ensuring adequate progress and development.

So I hope your year has been fulfilling. And that the next will be just as good, if not better.


I'm hunting for fans of rock band Franz Ferdinand who may be going to their Indoor Stadium gig in February. My circle of friends isn't that tuned into these guys. Frankly, neither am I. But FF is more of a visual feast than an audio one - I've watched their performances at various award shows and think they're hilarious. And their music videos! What a riot!

So if you're gonna attend their show, or thinking about it, give me a shout. Of course, I'd much prefer accompanying humans whom I actually know personally, so no strangers please. I suspect there're medical people ( students, nurses, fellow docs ) who love FF. Just that they're not on my mobile's list of numbers.

Enjoy the weekend! I'm stuck doing a night shift on NYE, but heck, I know I'm not alone. Heh heh. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote for the week

"Science is about discovery, not invention."

- from last night's episode of Numb3rs, which is the best so far ( this show just blows me away every single week! ). Yesterday, the 2 brothers investigated a murder involving a software company developing a programme for predicting human potential. Excellent script, top-notch acting ( as always ), with wonderful debates about the dangers of premature categorization not unlike the creation of a superior race so characteristic of Nazism.

There was some geeky yet cool stuff about binary codes and how submarines escape radar detection. They just make it so easy to understand - I love it. :)

Check your catalogues for re-runs this weekend.

Review Of King Kong

I'm rather tired, so this'll be in point form, if you don't mind.


1. Peter Jackson is a master director. No doubt about it.

2. The special effects are awesome.

3. Kong is amazing. Kudos to Andy Serkis and the Weta studio team.

4. Adrien Brody is SO HOT. ( My mom said it first, not me, heh heh. )

5. There're bits that resemble "Titanic", "Jurassic Park" and "Godzilla", but KK's sequences are loads better.

6. Singapore gets mentioned 4 - FOUR! - times. To much amusement among the moveigoers. Thanks, Mr. Jackson. :D

Favourite parts ( spoilers beware )

The chemistry between Brody and Naomi Watts ( luminous and fragile ). Watch for a few scenes on the S.S. Venture -- where they can't take their eyes off each other while she's filming on the deck; their first embrace in his room; when she opens her eyes and sees him reaching for her as she lies in Kong's massive hand at the edge of a cliff; when he yet again risks life and limb, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building to rescue her.

Yow. :)


1. It's a bit long. Lots of people running to and from the loos, haha.

2. There could've been a little LESS action. ( But that scene with the T-Rexes trying to munch Watts and Kong as they swayed in a tangle of vines was pretty inspired. )

All in all, however, I highly recommend it.

New Jazz Star

Well, if you caught American Idol Season 3, then John Stevens isn't really that new to begin with. I've been wondering about him these couple of years, and was pleasantly surprised when I came face to face with a stack of his albums at the CD store the other day.

Aptly titled Red, his debut effort boasts the producing powers of Steve Tyrell and David Foster, featuring well-loved favourites set to light, crisp arrangements.

Tracks worth sampling include This Love, done ballad-style in stark contrast to Maroon 5's chart-topping rock version; Let's Fall In Love, an enjoyable duet with Erika Christensen ( is she the blonde femme fatale from "Swimfan"? She's got a really nice voice, hmm. ); and The Shadow Of Your Smile, a lovely bossa nova mood piece which John delivers with great style.

He isn't in the same league as Michael Buble, of course. Neither does he play an instrument. But he's got some amazing pipes, with a tone that is unique and rich. I detect some vocal training in his latest performances, and he's certainly improved significantly since his AI days. Let's hope he realizes his full potential in the years to come.

Med Students Parade

They come, but never seem to go.

Not that I mind, so don't worry. Always good to have assistant phlebotomists around. :)

My sincere thanks to the batch that just left ( not sure if any of you read this ), for the very nice thank-you card about the ECG tutorials. I thought I was pretty grouchy most of the time, but I appreciate your understanding. :)

As for the current group, we've got a hodge-podge of students from Australia ( both Singaporean and native Aussies ), as well as 2 NUS 4th-years who impress me no end - they arranged for a 2-week unofficial stint with me during their short holiday break, demonstrate great enthusiasm for learning ( they go home and read up what I teach them, beat that! ), help in resuscitations, and even expressed interest in hanging out in the ER during my Christmas weekend shifts.

They also possess an admirable amount of knowledge, answering many questions intelligently, even if they don't always hit the nail right on the head.

Best of all, they can read ECGs pretty well - after just a couple of days of training.

I hope they enjoy the posting as much as I enjoy their company.


To a good friend who got married on Sunday. We met during a couple of surgical postings a few years back. Went through quite a lot together, and I couldn't be happier for the newlyweds.

The dinner itself was quite an interesting affair, since this friend is a year my senior, and I ended up sitting with a whole table of guys who're all older than I am.

However, they were extremely considerate and had me in stitches for most of the evening. Yes, they're older, but they sure know how to have fun! Conversation topics flitted from discussions about the wedding dinner soundtracks ( one guy even managed to identify the John Dunbar theme from "Dances With Wolves" - no easy feat, okay ), to King Kong ( turns out I was seated directly behind one of my dinner-mates at the same show, which kinda freaked him out, heh heh ), to the importance of having a "pee buddy" ( don't ask ).

Something else happened later on, after 1 fellow left and 2 others said something involving me and the guy who left and made me blush. But the comment was followed by a very sweet compliment, so you're forgiven, haha.

Thanks for a terrific evening, fellas. I don't think our paths will cross again anytime soon, but thanks. Really. :)

All Talk No Action

I'm grappling with a dilemma, but can't really tell anyone about it.

( Why do I always get myself into such situations? )

The signals are difficult to read, but I think they're there.

I caught a certain look the other day, but nothing more was said, and I made too much of an effort to conceal my reaction, so that was it.

Maybe that's just the way he is.

Wild Sex

Nothing racy, so clear your head.

It's the National Geographic Channel's fantastic series, which airs every Monday night at 10pm. First there were Deviants, then Macho Males, followed by Femme Fatales yesterday.

It's even better than comedy. Last week, the narrator made a big fuss about the gorilla's 5-cm penis. Then there's the absolutely ghastly scene depicting a male lion which murdered a pack of cubs sired by the former ( but now deposed ) leader. The part about the elephant seals was also fascinating - a female tried to roll herself into the ocean, but the male just squashed her with his massive weight and had his way with her.

Anyway, a girl praying mantis will continue to mate even after she begins devouring the boy. Who's more gross now eh?

A Rundown

As the year draws to a close, I'd just like to recall a few events from the past 12 months.

Best concerts:

1. Michael Buble, without a doubt.

2. Sting

3. Peter Cincotti in Rome

Best Movies:

Didn't catch many, but so far...

1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

2. King Kong

3. Batman Begins

Best TV Shows:

1. House ( naturally )

2. Numb3rs

3. The Practice ( swansong season )

Best Books:

Again, I didn't read many...

1. Minos - Marcos Villatoro

2. Angels & Demons - Dan Brown

Best Albums:

1. Catching Tales - Jamie Cullum

2. It's Time - Michael Buble

3. The Italian - Patrizio Buanne

Best Food ( and Drink ):

I don't get out much though...

1. The strawberry margarita at Spageddies ( Paragon Basement 1 ).

2. The beef hotplate dish ( can't recall the name ) from Ichiban Boshi ( ate this at the Great World City branch ). Dude, you called it a mini Temple of Doom, remember? :)

3. The Mediterranean wood-fire pizza from The Tavern at The Tanglin Club. Can die ah.

4. Unbelievable doughnuts from this pastry shop in Takashimaya Basement 2 ( is it 4 Loaves or something? ). Oh crap, went shopping nearby with my cousin's kids last week but forgot to buy, argh!

5. Spaghetti vongole fresh from the sea at the fisherman's wharf in Sorrento, Italy.

Best Moments of Spontaneity

Not mentioned in previous entries, by the way.

1. A scramble for a dropped pen during my backstage visit with Peter Cincotti after his Rome concert. He was very apologetic, seemed a little flustered, but laughed good-naturedly. I got to the pen first, and he bestowed a very soft, lovely "thank you". Ahhh. :)

2. Michael Buble's death grip on my camera during the soundcheck party before his Indoor Stadium concert. He was taking a photo with another fan, and I tried to take my camera away as he was holding it and I thought it might ruin the picture for the other woman. I leaned in low and gently attempted to pry it from his fingers, but he refused to relent, so I gave up. Funny. :)

3. Patrizio Buanne's affectionate "mama" greeting, when I introduced my mother to him backstage following his Singapore showcase. It was the way he said it - Italian-accented, distinctly homesick, with a bit of theatrics thrown in. My mom still laughs about it to this day.

4. Some unintentional stalking by a fellow tour group member during my trip in Italy. 20-year-old Canadian of Italian descent travelling with his family. Obviously thought I'm also in my early 20s. Found him wandering on the wrong floor ( mine, not his ) for no discernible reason, after getting into an adjacent lift post-dinner. Very quiet chap, but we did sit at the same table in Venice, and he has the most amazing sky-blue eyes. Too bad our parents were there as well. :)

5. A nice stroll with another fellow from our tour group - a 19-year-old Indonesian studying in Toronto, also travelling with his family. We walked and talked a lot during the entire trip, but the one I remember most is in Florence, when I explained the anatomical landmarks on Michelangelo's Statue Of David to him, and we made a string of jokes along the way. Just met his mom and younger brother for dinner last month. Waiting for him to drop by, hopefully next year. More bantering to follow, heh.

6. A much appreciated bag of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream during a horrible shift. I know I've already thanked you, but honestly, it was immensely kind, and a real life-saver. :D

7. My cousin's beautiful little girl's "Can I hold your hand?" during an outing earlier this year. If there's no other motivation for me to have kids, this is definitely one of them. :)

8. The cheeky stare during dinner at Suntec. "Are you doubting me?", he asks. I reply that I am indeed. "Never doubt me" came the reply. Point noted. :D

It's time for my latest dose of House. No time for quote-collecting for the time being, but hopefully I'll get the next batch up sometime soon.

If I don't get to blog again before the weekend, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

New Link

Ah, a Cambridge gal. Wonder how she got hold of my blog address? :)

Thanks to some nifty shift-swapping, I have 2 consecutive days off, woohoo! ( Sad, I know, but woohoo! anyway. )

Swore I wouldn't sleep but ended up taking a 3-hour nap. Argh.

Just realized I may be stretching myself too thin. Sitting on too many committees to count. Not fulfilling my function as "chairwoman" of a few. And MUST get that charity thing going, dammit!

In Other News

Westlife has a new album out. ( And believe it or not, I have almost every single record they've ever released. Say what you will, but House once remarked, "I don't need to watch the O.C., but it makes me happy." Same with me and certain boy bands. :))

Face To Face is one of their better CDs, never mind the fact that they're doing solely covers. I think the guys have matured very nicely through the years, and I just enjoy listening to them, period. Wish they'd return for a concert though. Haven't seen them since, oh, 2000? 1999? I forget. I was so young then. :P

Another report that caught my attention was how Take That is apparently regrouping for a comeback effort. Sans Robbie Williams though.

It'll be interesting, but I expect little success, barring a miracle. But I wish them the best of luck.

Have found a terrific substitute for my movie mag cravings. Who needs all those $12 Movielines and Premieres when you can have a local version, i.e. FIRST magazine, which costs only $4.50, and provides a smorgasbord of giant movie posters plus tonnes of ( often hilariously insightful ) reviews? Well, there're quite a few glaring typo errors, but even an anal-retentive like myself am willing to overlook those because the writing's just nothing short of amazing at times.

For example, in a review of the original Batman DVD, there's a separate section on "Superhero Movies We Want To See That Rhyme With Batman", with the likes of Fratman ( Vince Vaughn from "Wedding Crashers" ), Pratman ( Hugh Grant ) and Hatman ( Andre 3000 from Outkast ). Best of the lot: Fatman ( Jack Black ), who would "fight evil by eating evil. He'd eat al-Qaeda. He would eat Kim Jong Il. He would eat those dumb kids in the void deck who won't shut up at one in the morning. )


There's a subscription form in the December issue. I've submitted mine. You should too. :)

National Geographic Kinda Rocks

I don't watch this channel much, but a late-night programme the other day kept me up.

Titled "Wild Sex: Sexual Deviants In Nature" ( or something like that ), it featured everything from gays ( lions! giraffes! ) to transexuals ( garter snakes ) to paedophiles ( apes ), hermaphrodites ( snails ), gender-role-swapping ( seahorses ) and outright gross-ness ( a particular beetle whose male offspring hatches inside her abdomen, impregnates all his sisters before they even emerge from their eggs, dies, then when the females hatch, they eat their way through mummmy's tummy. Yuck! ).

The narrator was quite a hoot as well, spouting his lines with deadpan monotony. The sleazy soundtrack was appropriate too - like what you hear in porno films ( yes, I've seen a few :)). The show ended off with a cute little twist - building up to a climactic "And NOW for the most deviant sexual act of all... MONOGAMY!". And who would've thought black vultures are among the most faithful?

Now if only I can figure out when the next episode airs.

Solved a mini-mystery recently. I couldn't figure out the identities of 2 women I spotted at the Michael Buble soundcheck party, but finally saw them on MTV Asia a couple of days back. They're the twins from Double Trouble lah.

Y'know, they're really quite vampy in person. Or at least they were that night. Unbelievably tall ( or maybe it's the stiletto heels on their boots ). For a moment, I thought they'd been hired to make a "certain someone" happy. Turns out I was wrong. VERY wrong. My sincerest apologies to Mike!

The Return Of The Medical Students

They're thronging the ER again, and I must say this batch is making a much better impression on me than the previous group. Lots of enthusiasm, quite knowledgeable, love to take notes, love to take blood and set plug. Very handy. :)

One thing I find rather lacking, however, is the medical school's persistent failure to teach students how to read ECGs. I mean, just basic stuff is better than nothing. Why do they go through months of Internal Medicine, doing write-ups on acute coronary syndromes, when they aren't confident of identifying major abnormalities?

Funnily enough, I first learnt how to read electrocardiograms during my A&E posting in 4th year as well. What an eye-opening experience! I believe it was the ONLY posting that bothered to teach ECG-reading too. Talk about ironic.

Looking forward to my hosting gig come December 19th. Hope I fulfill my role as mentor and cheerleader to the 3 youngsters ( anyone more than 5 years my junior is a "youngster" now, haha ). I am, however, prone to occasional spurts of crabbiness, as I was earlier this week, for various reasons. But don't take it personally.


The Chronicles Of Narnia - directed by another New Zealander, and filmed in NZ as well. Am thinking of migrating there at this rate, heh.

King Kong - was a bit shocked by the trailer initially ( KK vs T-Rex?! ), but heck, I'm willing to pay for 2 hours of harmless fun. Actually passed the boat featured in the film when I was in Wellington ( pre-paint-job ) - the LOTR tour guide even pointed out a certain celebrity's bungalow, which was such a thrill for me. Also stood outside the Weta studio, and snapped a pic of a partially dismantled oliphant prop. Great value for money. :)

To end off, an article in the Straits Time today about a GP / aesthetic physician who made "disparaging remarks" about fellow colleagues brought to mind a prominent professor's own criticism of ER physicians. He may not have made it public, but he did state that the field of emergency medicine is redundant in Singapore, and that we should be disbanded and diverted into other more established specialties.

I'm wondering if I'll ever have the opportunity to rebut this to his face someday.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Trevi Fountain Posted by Picasa

Spanish Steps Posted by Picasa

The Roman Forum Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 02, 2005

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

No, this isn't a review of the Jim Carrey / Kate Winslet film ( which I haven't seen, but intend to, once I stop feeling like I've been hit by a train ).

Boy am I getting old.

I don't think I get paid enough to suffer this much. :/

Anyway... the heading alludes to none other than this. Picked it up from Gramophone's new outlet at Scotts Shopping Centre ( they've got the BEST DVD box sets, e.g. Northern Exposure ( Gah! I couldn't believe it! )).

Decided to pop it into the player last night, following an 8-hour AST teaching session which left the 10 of us so drained the earlier-planned group dinner got truncated. ( Next time, guys. For sure. :))


Combo CD/DVD set for under $20:

The former has 'live' versions of Feeling Good, Summer Wind, Home, etc. However, 2 bonus tracks appear on the audio recording ( not included in the concert DVD ), namely Can't Buy Me Love and Smile.

I raved about Smile on my concert review in October, did I not? Rather unfortunate that we don't get to SEE Mike sing it, but hearing him is just as great. He transforms the ballad into a major big band jamboree with a kicking swing beat. The vocals are perfect, the orchestral backup amazing.
Somehow, I'm hoping he'll try a slow rendition as well - the way everyone else has been doing it. His beautiful vibrato would certainly do it immense justice.

As for the concert recording... what can I say, except that I grinned throughout the 2-hour session. :D

Okay, so having met him ( and kidded around a little ) played a significant role. But honestly, I've been waiting to get my hands on a full-length disc of ANY of his performances for years ( snippets on an earlier DVD released in 2004 don't qualify ), and THIS, my dear readers, is AN ABSOLUTE TREAT.

We've got ( I'm counting them ) NINETEEN songs ( even though they technically left out Smile, Can't Buy Me Love, and who knows what else ). We've got an entire violin section. An inflated brass gang. Guest appearances ( Josh Groban, Laura Pausini, Chris Botti - did I mention CHRIS BOTTI!?! ).

For those who haven't caught MB 'live' before, you will LOVE this for sure.

However, I personally think his Singapore show was 10 times better than this PBS special. Perhaps those who also attended can verify this?

I don't know, but he was really, really HIGH at the Indoor Stadium. Lots more energy, all those almost-expletives ( understandably toned down for the TV recording ), the Michael Jackson routine ( also omitted ), the "bloody brilliant" remark about the singer being only as good as his audience ( he substituted this with "stunning" on the DVD ).

The only part that was better is probably the mad dash into the stands. I couldn't get a clear view at the Stadium, but the cameras do close-ups for most of the way on the disc, and there's this young blonde who just couldn't keep her hands of him, which was hilarious. She hugged him twice, then hugged and kissed him a third time! Mike was a good sport, of course, but the poor guy was trying really hard to get back to the stage without looking like he was dismissing her.

Seeing him work the crowds and being pawed by hordes of pretty ladies made me appreciate the soundcheck party so much more once again. He's adored by millions, and unable to give his attention to each individual fan. The few minutes my mom and I spent with this warm, sincere and irrepressibly cheeky fellow constitute memories we will treasure forever.

Say Hello

... to the latest addition to the pack.

New registrar, a year my senior, very cool dude, SINGLE ( nurses, med students, ward doctors take note! ), with interesting non-medical pursuits to boot ( though he never did churn out the SMA News article he promised, ahem! ).

Fitting in with the motley crew very well. Also has a habit of lobbing random non-emergency-medicine questions at me from across the resuscitation room. Must try doing the same thing to my other colleagues - very therapeutic!

Currently the sole bachelor in the department. But considering the way things usually go in our ER, he may not remain so for long. :D

Did You Know

... that Hugh Laurie ( the lead in the medical dramedy "House" ) is featured in People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive (SMA) issue, under the Sexy Doctors section? I couldn't suppress a laugh ( check out the interesting photo attached ), but it's a GOOD laugh. :)

... that SMA 2005 winner Matthew McConaughey speaks fluent Spanish? And when asked to complete the sentence "Women can't say no..." he replied, " ... when I really mean yes." OMG. ( haha :))

... other guys featured in this issue ( grabbed what appeared to be the last copy at Borders last weekend, whew ) include Owen Wilson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carmine Giovinazzo ( the hot Danny Messer from "CSI: New York" ) and Patrick Fitzgerald ( high-profile prosecutor who is sensitive enough to buy a cat for companionship, but misguided enough to let it eat through a giant bag of cat biscuits when he leaves the state )?

... there's an American Idol spinoff using movie and TV stars instead? Here's a link for more info. From the sound of this review, it's pure disaster. But I'd still like to watch it, heh heh.


Still trying to upload the pics from my friend, but something's wrong with the network. Deepest apologies. Will try to post them as soon as I can.

Anyhow, these selected shots are from the rest of my hard disk collection, and were snapped during 2 days' worth of lengthy walks through Rome. I know they look nice, but let me assure you that the conditions I endured to get to these places were unbearable ( extremely hot, dry, a bit dusty, super-crowded ), and I didn't stay more than 5-10 minutes at each spot to even enjoy the view.

I still do miss Italy. But you'll have to pay me to go back there a second time. ( However, the people are very sweet. Gotta give them credit for that. :))

Entry about med students still pending. Will be hosting a few later this month, plus a non-medical individual who's thinking of switching courses. More on that another time.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Review of Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire

Don't worry, it's short ( tired out after a busy week ).

Overall, I thought it was pretty good, so let's dwell on the plus points first.

1. Awesome visual effects - check.

I can't remember much from the book, since it's the 2nd worst installment in my opinion ( the absolute lousiest being the latest one, yech ). All those flying horses and giant ships bobbing out of the sea are definitely impressive, as is the cool fireworks display with the dancing leprechaun during the Quidditch World Cup opening sequence.

Triwizard Tournament excitement is ample as well, with a vicious dragon doing a pseudo-King-Kong routine on a Hogwarts tower, a horde of deeply scary merpeople, the unnervingly creepy maze, and ( brrr ) all those teens suspended underwater waiting to be rescued ( reading about it and seeing it on the big screen are two very different experiences ).

2. Angst and hormones - check

These came in spurts, but each moment possessed its own magic. Full credit goes to the wonderful cast, without which the film's mood would never be effectively conveyed.

3. Cool new characters - check

Add spark, complicate things a bit, flesh out the story, provide eye candy.

My favourite of the lot: this dude. Like most of his fellow secondary role-players, he spoke little. But there're 3 scenes I remember clearly - him strolling up to the goblet to add his name to the list, another where he strides along the lake while being stalked by a chunk of groupies, and the greeting at the staircase to the great hall.

Trust exotic European men to draw the deepest sighs. With his athletic build, rugged good looks and lovely accent, he brings a quiet strength to the role, expressing volumes without even speaking a word. Despite his young age ( 20 ), he seems to have acquired a gift for conjuring ( pun unintended :)) the Intense Stare whenever he wishes. And the staircase bit, with the gorgeous uniform ( I love capes :)), smart salute and impeccable manners - ahh, I beamed from ear to ear. :D

He's got potential, but much will depend on how he markets himself in the near future. I, for one, would like to see how he handles an action role.

The not-so-good parts:

1. Bad pacing

This is when the novels start getting too cumbersome to adapt. The 1st 3 books were thin tomes, yet translated into films that stretched beyond 2 hours. Goblet hit the 150-minute mark, but STILL felt woefully incomplete. Each scene seemed truncated, with the enjoyable bits prematurely halted before audiences get yanked on to the next subplot. Others - like the nightmares Harry keeps having - shouldn't be repeated, thus saving 5 extra minutes for, say, more of the Triwizard Tournament maybe?

What suffered most, I think, is Cho Chang, who appeared as early as Book 1 or 2, but was relegated to a couple of lines and a handful of short appearances in Movie 4. The actress( Katie Leung ) is very sweet and pretty, like the character she plays. However, Harry's lovelorn infatuation isn't convincing, both because of the sudden-ness of Cho's introduction, and the measly screen-time she's granted. If you're not familiar with the novels, you might think Harry's lost his marbles. If you only knew he's been admiring her from afar for 3-4 years, you'd understand his behaviour much, much better.

2. A rather lacklustre Ralph Fiennes

This just perfectly illustrates how the worst makeup in the world can't compare with good direction, script and execution.

I saw Fiennes in Wuthering Heights ( a BBC special ). In Schindler's List. In Red Dragon. In Quiz Show. In The English Patient and The End Of The Affair ( never mind about Maid In Manhattan, which is vapid fluff. ). This is a man who excels at oozing pure evil at the drop of a hat. Who sent chills of terror down his co-stars' spines when he first stepped out in his Gestapo garb as Amon Goeth. Who effortlessly swung between gentle lover and crazed serial killer Francis Dolarhyde. Who ALWAYS exudes darkness in some form, even in the most romantic, sweeping epic.

As Voldemort, he ( most unfortunately ) didn't scare me at all.

In fact, he came across as campy and hysterical, which aren't the best attributes for something named "The Dark Lord". Now Sauron from LOTR, THAT'S a Dark Lord if I ever saw one.

Next up, The Order Of The Phoenix. Which incidentally, happens to be my 2nd favourite, after The Prisoner Of Azkaban. There's a secret society of Hogwarts students trained by Harry in Defence Against The Dark Arts, a new professor / headmistress who's absolutely horrid, and a whopping wizard battle right at the end, which will no doubt look spectacular on the big screen.

I can't wait. :)

House Quotes

James Wilson: Some doctors have the Messiah complex - they need to save the world. You [ i.e. House ] have the Rubik's complex - you want to solve the puzzle.

House: I'm in pain.

Very very ill but sagely patient: Aren't we all?

Lisa Cuddy: I can't believe you authorized something like this.

House: Really? Sounds EXACTLY like something I'd do.

House: NEVER apologize for a medical opinion.

Wilson: You really don't need to know everything about everybody.

House: I don't really need to watch "The O.C.", but it makes me happy.

Medical student: Dr. House, you're reading a comic book.

House: And you're calling attention to your bosom by wearing a low-cut top. Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were having a "state the obvious" contest. I'm competitive by nature.

House: Treat them all [ i.e. patients ] as if they have Korsakoff's. We all lie anyway.

House: If it's dry, keep it wet. If it's wet, keep it dry. If it's not supposed to be there, cut it off.

House: You wanna know how 2 chemicals react do you ask them? No, they're gonna lie through their lying little chemical teeth. Throw them in a beaker and apply heat.

Patient's father: So you're treating him for BOTH diseases? So you're throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks?

Robert Chase: Works for spaghetti.

House: Fascinating story. You ever thought about adapting it for the stage? [ it's sarcasm, by the way ]

Chase: How would you feel if I interfered in your personal life?

House: I'd hate it. That's why I cleverly HAVE no personal life.

Wilson: What happened to you?

House: I had a massage.

Wilson: Looks like you had the masseuse.

Allison Cameron: All this hate - it's toxic.

Chase: Then stay away.

Ran out of time for an entry about med students, with apologies. Have to conduct a course tomorrow. On my day off. Sigh.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Essay Time

Get ready for a long one.

First Up

I need to get a few things out of the way. If you're female, you might enjoy this. :)

1. It's about time!

I always knew his chance would come, woohoo! What an absolute hottie. :D

First spotted him in "A Time To Kill", loved his performance in "EdTV", beamed through "The Wedding Planner" and "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days", and had a nice time ogling the tan and pecs in "Sahara" ( probably why I didn't suffer motion sickness during the 12-hour flights to and from Italy, heh heh ).

The big draws: That cheeky mega-watt smile and confident swagger which many have compared to "the other blonde bombshell" - Paul Newman. The unmistakable Southern accent coupled with chivalrous manners. A true story involving his revival of a passed-out middle-aged lady in a cinema ( told by the woman herself on an episode of "Oprah" - I caught the whole thing, and let me assure you that the account reduced all the women to mush :)).

And of course, who can ever forget that highly publicized scoop about Matt playing the bongo drums in the nude during a wild, wild party? No photos, unfortunately. :D

Congratulations, dude. And People mag, you made a great choice!

2. Vintage wine, in the flesh.

Exhibit #1 - I watched him in "Mobsters" way back in secondary school, and thought he dropped off the radar, until he made comebacks on "The Practice" ( episodes currently airing on local cable Wednesday nights, 10pm, Starworld Channel 18 ), followed by a major role on Grey's Anatomy ( which hasn't debuted here yet, but probably will - and soon, I hope! ).
Anyway, if you're hungry for more, read this.

Exhibit #2 - Long-time readers of this blog will no doubt recall my drooling sessions, especially when LOTR came by. Not to belabour a point, but I visited a film location in Wellington where Viggo previously lay on the shore of a lake with a horse ( Return of the King ), and also stole a touch of his Aragorn costume on display at the LOTR exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre last year.
Hope to meet him in person one day. :)

Exhibit #3 - Have always known he's the sexier of the Matt & Ben duo, despite being shorter and more introverted. Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of "Good Will Hunting" ( one of the best movies ever ), cold-blooded homosexual serial killer in "The Talented Mr. Ripley", naive and lovelorn in the hilarious ( though not exactly profitable ) "Stuck On You", and - my favourite - ultra-cool trained assassin Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy", this fellow has been among my top 5 fav actors list for a long time ( sharing space with Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and Edward Norton ).

Exhibit #4 - One of the best reasons to watch CNN, IMHO. :D Another Southerner, eloquent, intelligent ( appeared on "Jeopardy" ), gutsy ( almost got blown off the road during his coverage of Hurricane Rita ) and refreshingly bashful ( I caught his embarrassed blush during his Anderson Cooper 360 segment on CNN this afternoon - can't even remember what I had for lunch, heh heh ).
My mom keeps asking if he's married. I have no idea, but for the record, guys with prematurely greying hair ( e.g. Richard Gere, Steve Martin ) rank high on my list of attractive physical qualities. :)

Exhibit #5 - GAH! Spotted him in "The Bourne Identity" ( he played a fellow assassin sent to get rid of Bourne; get a load of that tense 5-minute scene where he and Matt Damon hunt each other in a field of tall grass ). Didn't think much of his follow-ups ( "Beyond Borders - vapid, "Arthur" - yawn ), but "Closer" was a revelation. His raw portrayal of a doctor prone to kinky sex tricks and super-foul language earned him a well-deserved Oscar.

Funny how lots of this year's guys are in their 30s or older. Yum, I say. :)

Jamie Cullum's Catching Tales

Track-by-track, as promised. Those in bold are my favourites.

1. Get Your Way

Riff: Bass- and brass-heavy baselines, with samples from an old big band record by Joe Williams, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.

Sleeve notes: "I didn't want corny pop lyrics but something Cole Porteresque with a contemporary feel. So it's about a gent taking a chick out with the intention of getting laid, but hopefully it's a little more sophisticated than that as well."

Lyrics snapshot: "Although my feelings are all juxtaposed / But the truth be told, I'm as fickle as hell / But gentlemen never kiss and tell"

Jammin': Not much, but the pumping bass and trombones / trumpets more than make up for it.

2. London Skies

Riff: Quiet, lots of guitar ( played by Jamie ), escalates to a rousing chorus.

Sleeve notes: "I wanted to express the idea that the grey skies in London weren't so bad. I often find some of the bad weather we have quite romantic, and on the song I try to be quite poetic about the 'ghostly ballet' of the fog and mist."

Lyrics snapshot: "Will you let me romanticise / The beauty in the London skies / You know the sunlight always shines / Behind the clouds of London skies"

Jammin': Lots of rock-ish strumming. Catchy song.

3. Photograph

Riff: A fusion of rock and pop ballad.

Sleeve notes: "This is about two snapshots I found...The photographs brought back very distinct memories."

Lyrics snapshot: It's just another story / Caught up in another photograph I found / And it seems like another person lived that life / A great many years ago from now"

[ blog author comment: I hear ya, man. :) ]

Jammin': Quite a large amount. You can easily picture him jumping all over the piano, kicking the seat back, tossing his head, etc. I love it. :D

4. I Only Have Eyes For You

Riff: The slowest track on the album. A very cool acid-jazz cover, coupled with a lazy, sexy vocal performance ( he's got a great falsetto, yow ).

Sleeve notes: "We wanted more of a pumping bass and a delayed electric guitar doing the Doo-wop part - more of a Massive Attack approach."

Lyrics snapshot: "My love must be some kind of blind love / I don't see anybody but you"

Jammin': Not the conventional sort, considering the leisurely pace. Good for chilling out to.

5. Nothing I Do

Riff: Uptempo swing piece in the tradition of "Mack The Knife", "Clementine" and "Artificial Flowers" ( ie. they all share the common trait of having really morbid lyrics set to deceptively upbeat melodies ).

Sleeve notes: "I love Kurt Weill, and the way that songs like Mack The Knife is the happiest sounding song about a serial killer. So I wanted a song like that - very uptempo but with lyrics about something really horrible."

Lyrics snapshot: "We were so drunk last night / When we had that stupid fight / You called me a / Useless, selfish prick"

Jammin': A very nice reggae bridge in between all the swing. Trust Jamie to come up with something as radical and ingenious as this. :)

6. Mind Trick

Riff: A beautiful blend of soul and pop. Jamie gives one of his strongest performances on this one.

Sleeve notes: "So we ( ie. Jamie and brother Ben ) put on some Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, had a few drinks and wrote the music in about half an hour."

Lyrics snapshot: "If there's music in the night / And it's really really right / It's the only thing I need / It intoxicates your mind / All your troubles left behind / So come on and take my lead / It's not just me who feels it / Music plays a mind trick / Watch me forget about missing you"

Jammin': Little bit o' blues, some prerecorded sounds of friends at a party.

[ blog author's comments: Highly enjoyable. Love blasting it in my car. ]

7. 21st Century Kid

Riff: Part anthem, part pop, part rock. The song Jamie's most proud of thus far.

Sleeve notes: "The optimistic part in the track is about holding out for the truth. I'm very proud of this song."

Lyrics snapshot: "Nothing is certain / Except a memory / And that's soon washed away / By a low sea"

Jammin': Definitely the pounding chorus. I like it, but don't exactly love it. Sorry, Jamie. :/

8. I'm Glad There Is You

Riff: Another cover, this time done in a conventional style. Very slow. Very quiet. VERY romantic. Turn down the lights, get a glass of wine, put your feet up, and close your eyes.

Sleeve notes: "So here it is very straight, just one take with the vocals and piano with a beautiful Geoff Gascoyne string arrangement."

Lyrics snapshot: "In this world of overrated pleasures / And underrated treasures / I'm glad there is you"

Jammin': None, but it's still perfect. :)

9. Oh God

Riff: A collaboration with Guy Chambers, who wrote a whole long string of hits with Robbie Williams years ago ( culminating with the excellent Sing When You're Winning album, which I feel is Robbie's best to date ). This is a piano-heavy "statement song", but really nice once it grows on you.

Sleeve notes: "It was right after the Asian tsunami, and after we got the main hook, 'Oh God, tell us when it's going to stop', it wasn't so hard to write the rest of it."

Lyrics snapshot: "We're looking at the stars / Without explanation / We contemplate as kings / And simple men on trial / Our little world's fragile"

Jammin': Would be inappropriate, so none here.

10. Catch The Sun

Riff: Cover of a famous Doves piece. Combo rock/pop, a bit of watered-down punk maybe.

Sleeve notes: "It's such a classic song and hopefully my version treats it well and does something different with it."

Lyrics snapshot: "Catch the sun / Before it's gone / Here it comes / Up in smoke and gone / Catch the sun / It never comes / Cry in the sand / Lost in the fire"

Jammin': Moderate throughout. My best comment on this would be that it showcases Jamie's remarkable flair for versatility and interpretation. Good song.

11. 7 Days To Change Your Life

Riff: Slow jazz. Longest track on the CD. And top on my list of favourites.

Sleeve notes: "This song is specifically about the people that try and sell you these miracle cures to change your life. I saw these long adverts in America when I was jet-lagged and hung over for various things like this and I loved the idea that there was this quick fix that would change your existence."

Lyrics snapshot: "I know sometimes your life is a bitch / So come purchase my easy fix / I've been there myself / Sad, fat and bald / But soon with my help, you'll have it all"

Jammin': Too slow for any to occur. But there's this line where he sounds as if he's going to say the f-word, but stops himself. He did this on I Get A Kick Out Of You on the Twentysomething album too. Obviously a habit of his - thoroughly amusing, especially the fact that they kept this "slip" intact for commercial consumption. :)

12. Our Day Will Come

Riff: My 2nd favourite piece. Dreamy opening, a potent reggae-jazz beat, perfectly blended with light yet full-throated belting from Jamie. Fantastic.

Sleeve notes: "... the thing that really made me want to do it is the opening groove. It's the coolest thing - a reggae, bossa-nova, pop groove - very different."

Lyrics snapshot: "Our day will come / And we'll have everything / We'll share the joy / Falling in love can bring / No-one can tell me that I'm too young to know / 'Cos I love you so"

Jammin': A very snappy bit in the middle featuring pure jazz piano - a little erratic, classically offbeat. Great stuff.

13. Back To The Ground

Riff: More soul and jazz. Infectious despite a bare arrangement. Clear hallmark of great music.

Sleeve notes: "I remember one of my old friends saying to me in the pub a few months back, 'You're the same twat you always were.' I love that phrase - this song is written in that spirit."

Lyrics snapshot: "When you're attracted to the danger / And tasting every flavour / Then bring it on and / Bleed yourself dry / Reality is twisted, your mind's getting shoplifted / Is there underneath / An innocent guy?"

Jammin': Possibly the best on this album. Bridge kicks off with a Maroon 5-ish beat, then the wurlitzer joins the ride and things just get crazier and crazier. You can hear Jamie laughing in the background during the whole bit. Yeeha! :)

14. Fascinating Rhythm

Riff: Another Fred Astaire cover like Singin' In The Rain from his 2nd CD. Highly original and exceptionally inspired.

Sleeve notes: "A verse in the original went 'The neighbours want to know / Why I'm always shaking just like a flivver'. Apparently a flivver is an old noisy car, so I changed that to 'Just like my grandmother' whilst we were doing the take. You can actually hear me laughing after that. Sorry nan."

Lyrics snapshot: "Got a little rhythm / A rhythm a rhythm / That pitterpats through my brain / So darn persistent, the day isn't distant / When it'll drive me insane / Comes in the morning / Without any warning / And hangs around all day / I have to sneak up to it / Some day I'll speak up to it / And hope it listens when I say..."

Jammin': Absolutely glorious. Jamie uses the piano's body as a drum, plucks at the strings, sometimes while pounding the keys at the same time ( I'm still trying to work out the physics in my head ). Love the drums - very snazzy. At one point, it sounds like Jamie's running his fingers across the piano strings - the sound's just absolutely amazing. Another piece I love playing on the car stereo. :)

15. My Yard

Riff: Think of this as the cooling-down phase of the album. Lovely guitar from multi-talented and accomplished Jamie. Catchy tune. Background history ( below ) had me in stitches.

Sleeve notes: "It started out as a very romantic thing and I came along and made it just about sex I'm afraid."

Lyric snapshot: "It's nothing fancy / Just a little couch and me / And conversation for your mind / So let's explore all the possibilities"

Jammin': Toned down for the conclusion, I gather. But it's a very sexy song, and I would love to see him perform this 'live'. I need a tissue. Or better make that a towel ( haha ).

Whew, it's finally finished. In short, it's a terrific CD, plain and simple. The sleeve notes are lots of fun to flip through - though diplopia-inducing. Jamie's matured in leaps and bounds since his last effort, and continues to stretch the limits of the jazz genre with his creativity and impish improvisations.

Shall leave you with this classic quote from the little guy:

"I thought maybe [this album] should be called Satan's Testicles, but that might have been a little misleading."

Go buy it. Now.

TV Treasures

If you missed them, then you can either:

1) check your cable catalogue for the reruns, or
2) miss out on some really great moments

For example:

Gilmore Girls - I've followed every episode from the pilot onwards, and Season 4 still captivates effortlessly. Lorelai's long-awaited relationship with Luke crashes and burns in the most devastating manner ( aargh! ). Rory finally takes the initiative and makes the first move ( yes! ). The latter's latest love interest is yet another very cute young guy, this time a fellow Yale student from a filthy-rich family, a self-confessed rascal with a string of ex-girlfriends, but drawn to the innocent and inexperienced Rory nonetheless. That scene at her grandparent's ballroom function left me breathless. Ahh, to be young and in love. :)

Numb3rs - The latest episode was a huge treat, with the Epps brothers chasing down a disgruntled railroad employee wreaking vengeance on the guilty parties. Of course, the main draw is always David Krumholtz ( younger sibling / math genius Charlie ) who grapples with the prospect of asking his grad student assistant to dinner. Wah lau, if I had a thesis advisor like him, I'd be the one dragging him out for a meal. :D

Monk - Undeniably the BEST installment EVER. I STRONGLY recommend that you catch the rerun if you can. I laughed so hard I developed pleuritic chest pain - which got worse a few days later during a very enjoyable conversation with 2 of my junior MOs over dinner in the staff pantry. It's a good thing though. :)

Project Runway - Terrific show, with flamboyant characters and immensely difficulty challenges. Eat their dust, Donald Trump!

House - This one really struck a chord, since House disdainfully stands up to the new Committee Chairman who's granted this honour only because of a hefty US$100 million donation. I love the way House dismisses the guy, because he knows he's just a spoilt brat under that expensive suit. Get a load of the scene with Hugh Laurie banging the table in sync with the theme from "CSI: New York". Priceless!

The Practice - Part 2 of a trilogy involving a high-profile murder. Dentist in a small town has an affair with a promiscuous woman. She's bludgeoned to death one night and he's spotted leaving the house in a distressed state. He denies he killed her, but the evidence ( however circumstantial ) doesn't bode well for his fate. Town judge and well, whole town in general, hate (1) dentist's mother, (2) big city lawyers, in particular, (3) Alan Shore ( the always excellent James Spader ). Patrick Dempsey is a pleasant surprise as the dentist, all thick black curls, chiselled jaw and doe eyes. Tonnes of intra-practice tension, little bit of fisticuffs, some illegal deal-making... too bad this is the last season leading up to the spinoff "Boston Legal". Never could stomach the latter, mostly because of William Shatner, blech.

Before I sign off, here's another blog recommendation. Literally stumbled upon it ( 'cos of the "doctors" in the title ), but worth reading because, if nothing else, it's written by members of the Pixar team. How cool is that? :)

I've been at this for 3 hours. Will save the rest for another entry - new MOs, streams of medical students with their idealistic spiel ( heartwarming but misdirected - you poor little babies ), and more photo-sharing ( including pictures from a friend who just returned from Italy ). Also gonna gear up for some Harry Potter action this weekend.

I'm just glad I got through the week in one piece.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Supply & Demand

I know I haven't blogged in a while.

Partly because I couldn't find the time ( really ).

Partly because I've just been so exhausted lately ( really ).

Also, because I kinda didn't want to. Really .

But quite a few people have been asking, and since I can't sleep -- post-mother's-belated-birthday-feast-at-church and post-2-hour-afternoon-nap-on-my-day-off-'cos-I-gave-up-trying-to-keep-my-eyes-open-after-reading-the-ATLS-manual-while-half-dead, I thought I'd post something while digesting and waiting for the right moment to knock off.

Hmm, seems I received 70 emails in less than 48 hours. Think I need to set up another account. Yeesh.

Make Me A Match

Or rather, the answer is: Please don't.

Funny how I've been getting bombarded left, right, centre this past fortnight, from the usual suspects ( relatives and friends ) to colleagues ( consultants, nurses ).

One fellow even bluntly offered to lend a hand in fixing me up with one of my former year-mates ( you know who you are ). Granted, the guy you mentioned IS cute, and I find it interesting how other helpful souls like yourself seem to have this erroneous view that "nice people should get hitched" ( although I hardly think of myself as nice, LOL ).

Here're a few useful pointers for anyone else who may harbour similar match-making ambitions:

1. I am NOT searching for a mate. I just enjoy looking, heh heh.

2. I do NOT want people to find one for me.

3. I am perfectly happy being single.

4. I have no time for a relationship.

5. I have no energy for a relationship.

6. I don't date. But I do enjoy hanging out - once in blue moon.

7. I hate the inevitable expectations that come with misconceptions about the possibility of a relationship. Hence, why I don't "date".

8. I'd rather spend an hour with these guys every night than listen to a man drone on about his day.

9. Of course, I occasionally listen to guys drone about their lives when I feel up to it. Which is rare. ( Old pals from school don't count. Those can complain all they want. :))

10. I have no wish to have my heart broken again. Once is enough, thank you very much.

Am I cynical? You bet.

Am I a hopeless romantic? Actually, yes.

I believe a person can be both, 'cos I'm living proof of that. I have dreams, but haven't lost touch with reality. I subscribe to the he's-out-there-somewhere motto. I just haven't met him yet. I've also seen enough relationships sour -- when love fades, contempt rears its ugly head, temptation wins and offspring suffer.

How easy it is to be dazzled. But sustaining that spark - now that's another story.

But most of all, I fear that my tendency to believe the best of people will get the best of me. I've become much less forgiving over the years, but still get duped on and off. Much easier to remain detached under such circumstances.

Next On The List

Weekend crowds be damned. I'm seeing this no matter what.

The Cincinnati Pops Concert - A Very Belated Review

I've lost momentum over the weeks, so writing this is pretty hard.

It was very good, to say the least. And they do enjoy a bit of enthusiastic whooping from the audience ( the front rows - including myself - did that a lot, eliciting broad grins all round :)).

Having grown up on a steady diet of films and movie soundtracks, I was fully familiar with their excellent repertoire, which featured everything from classics ( Dr. Zhivago, Gone With The Wind, The Godfather ) to Broadway musicals ( Andrew Lloyd Webber, Chicago, West Side Story ) to contemporary fare ( Apollo 13, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ).


1. The beautiful Disney medley
-- included excerpts from Cinderella, Mary Poppins and Mickey Mouse Club. They played Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and It's A Small World as well, but I don't know if these came from movies. One of the early pieces of the evening. That's when I started beaming. Didn't stop for the rest of the concert. :)

2. Themes from Lord Of The Rings
-- ahh, made me think of New Zealand, with its majestic Dart River and Milford Sound ( Queenstown ), awesome LOTR sights in Wellington, and the most amazing mountain ranges I've ever laid eyes on ( Mount Cook region ).
-- their rendition of Enya's May It Be literally brought tears to my eyes. One of the best songs ever written, IMHO.

3. Speak Softly Love from The Godfather
-- brought back vivid memories of Italy ( I still can't understand why I miss the place when I absolutely hated most of my time there, haha ). The string arrangement is quite Mantovanni-esque, with all those multi-layered chords and rich tones. I've heard many versions, but a 'live' performance by the CPO ranks as the best thus far. Major goosepimples. :)

4. America from West Side Story
-- I watched this movie to death way back in primary school, especially that colourful dance sequence when this particular song came on. Energetically delivered by the orchestra, with conductor Erich Kunzel ( a very sprightly 70-plus-year-old ) hopping around on his podium. I especially enjoy a certain bit when he'd wave his baton in a loop as the wind section played a particular phrase. Amused me no end. :)

5. Sing Sing Sing
-- served as 3rd encore piece for both nights, but I thought the first evening's rendition was better. The drums and trumpets took centrestage on this fast swing/ big band Benny Goodman number. A veritable tour de force!

6. The John Williams medley
-- featured only on Day 1's programme, unfortunately for those who missed it. With selections from Superman ( including a moving instrumental performance of Can You Read My Mind, aka the love theme ), Raiders of the Lost Ark ( the unmistakeable march and yet another sweeping romantic melody ), Harry Potter ( lovely ) and E.T. ( yes, they did the bicycle-flying-across-the-moon bit ), this was definitely a huge crowd pleaser, done great justice by the CPO's luscious sound ( the strings, percussion and brass sections being the strongest of the lot ).

I personally would've liked a John Barry medley ( he wrote music for Dances With Wolves and Out Of Africa, among others ), not to mention more John Williams ( Schindler's List ) and perhaps a bit of Danny Elfman as well ( Batman, Spider-man, Beetlejuice, etc. ).

Maybe next time then. You can email the CPO through the CSO's main website ( just scroll down for the link or do a Google search ). Their PR manager is a mighty friendly lady who hinted about a return trip to Singapore soon. Make sure you get tickets!

Something To Do

1. Type the word "idiot" into the Google search engine then click "I'm feeling lucky". Hasn't changed in a week or two, but if it does, it should still be quite fun, heh heh.

2. Cool site. Since I can't blog during my night shifts ( thanks to whichever moron who put up a bloody firewall at my hospital ), this helps keep me awake during those LOOONG 11-hour shifts. Let's see if this site gets banned as well. Reveal yourself, coward.

P.S. Monk's back! The latest season airs every Monday at 10pm on Starworld Channel 18. Great stuff. :)

Time for bed. Another rough shift awaits tomorrow morning. Opinions about our new MO batch to follow in my next post. *evil laugh*

Just kidding.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Feature Presentation

For now.

Akan datang for the rest.

Lots of deadlines to meet. Argh.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Short Update

No time to blog - again. Yeesh.

In short:

1. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra RULES!

Full review to follow shortly - not sure exactly when though.

Life!'s review was muted, as usual ( don't the reporters like anything they watch?! ), or mixed at best.

I personally LOVED every minute of it. The percussion section ROCKED, and the trumpets gave me goosebumps all the way. I was there both nights, 2nd row centre each evening ( which puts me just a row in front of the concert reviewer ). Was he sitting in the Bermuda Triangle? Sounded all good to me.

I've got their awesome 4-CD movie collection set blasting on the car stereo now. Absolutely beautiful!

2. New Jamie Cullum album - finally!

Wah lau, the review in the paper today was, what, a paragraph long? Terrible.

Just got this yesterday ( together with Robbie Williams' Intensive Care, but more on that another time ), and spent 2 hours listening to it, which means I slept at 2am. Ugh, not good for my afternoon shift later, heh heh.

In my opinion, JC has outdone himself in the most wonderful way with his latest effort. Don't know what the heck the Life! reviewer was doing when he listened to this terrific CD - talking on the phone with the disc playing in the background? watching TV? rushing for a deadline? - but I chose to savour it lying on my bed with the lights down low and the volume turned WAY UP.

Lots of excellent tracks, with a detailed rundown sometime soon. Suffice to say, I couldn't stay on the bed for long, and trying to sleep after hearing the last few songs on the album is virtually impossible.

If you fancy a sample, I highly recommend Get Your Way ( #1 ), Nothing I Do ( #5 ), Our Day Will Come ( #12 ), Back To The Ground ( #13 ), Fascinating Rhythm ( #14 ) and My Yard ( #15 ). See what I mean about not being able to sleep? :)

My personal favs right now are 7 Days To Change Your Life ( #11 ) - a very cool slow jazz number with a full-bodied vocal performance from JC reminiscent of What A Difference A Day Made, and Mind Trick ( #6 ) - bluesy soul in the great tradition of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, and just as easily appreciated with JC's raspy rendition OR Justin Timberlake's falsetto ( if he ever does a cover, which I'm sure SOMEONE will at some point - it's THAT GOOD ). Very very VERY nice indeed. :)

JC's most proud of 21st Century Kid, which hasn't exactly grown on me yet, but probably will after a few more spins.

Never thought I'd say this about a JC album, but this dude makes super-SEXY music. Never mind the fact that he still looks like a kid.

10 thumbs up!

3. Elaine Page concert

Tomorrow night. Man, 3 concerts in a week is wearing me down. But the highs are well worth it!

House Quotes

Yes, I'm consistently behind now. Think I need to read fewer books ( "Codex" by the way, perplexed me at the end. Someone please tell me what the HECK happened. )

Dr. Alison Cameron: Deflecting a personal question with a joke. Gee, who do I know who does THAT?

Dr. Eric Foreman: Yeah, I'm just like him [ ie. House ]. Except for the angry, bitter, pompous, crippled part.

Cameron: Maybe we should pitch in and get you a nice cane. You already have matching gym shoes.

House: I'm going to admit her for further tests.

Patient's son: What!?!? She's just OLD!

House: And you're just INSUFFERABLE.

House: What're the kid's chances without it?

Dr. Robert Chase: Minimal at best. The poison's broken the blood-brain barrier.

House: I assume minimal at best is your stiff upper lip British way of saying "no chance in hell".

Chase: I'm Australian.

House: You put the Queen on your money - you're British.

House: What can I say? Chicks without teeth turn me on.

Dr. James Wilson: That's... fairly disgusting.

House: That's ageism.

Dr. Lisa Cuddy: Maternal instinct is always irrational - doesn't mean it's wrong.

House: Actually, that's the definition.

Cuddy: Her only sign of mental illness is that she disagrees with you. Some would consider that a sign of SANITY.

Patient's mother: Who ARE you?

House: I'm the doctor who's trying to save your son. You're the mom who's letting him die.
Clarification - it's a beautiful thing.

Budak Pantai Gig

Hey guys, am helping put up the link as requested. I'll try to attend as well, pending roster issues. :)

BP website


Time for lunch, a workout, then WORK. More next time.

Friday, October 21, 2005

St. Peter's Square Posted by Picasa

Algae-Covered Posted by Picasa
My mom's watching National Geographic. Something about voodoo. Just saw some guy bite the head off a live chicken.


Codex by Lev Grossman

This is one really solid book. So far, at least. ( I'm halfway through. )

I'm into these Dan Brown-esque works of fiction at the moment. Especially after that cool Angels & Demons tour in Rome ( which I think everyone should join, whether you've read the book or not ).

I'm also dosing up on supernatural/religious-themed thrillers. Something called "Brimstone" ( can't tell you the author's name 'cos I haven't taken it out of the bag yet ), and currently waiting for cheaper copies of Mark Frost's "The Six Messiahs" and "The List Of Seven".

But back to the main story.

"Codex" is another one of those adventure-suspense combos, this time revolving around an investment banker ( wimpily named Edward WOZNY, hmm ). 25 years old, described as skinny, and on the verge of a trans-Atlantic move to London for a coveted position.

He somehow gets roped in to sort a chunk of antique books for a valued client, meets a whole bunch of strange characters along the way ( a Columbia Uni student obsessed with old books, a gang of LAN-game addicts ), and gets hooked on a mysterious computer game called MOMUS ( which sounds suspiciously like Myst - used to drive me batty in my younger days, don't ask me why anyone would find THAT fun ).

Anyhow, the novel is enjoyable ( for me ) mainly because of Grossman's writing style - deceptively fluid yet littered with lyrical analogies and astute observations about people, work, and best of all, New York City.

For instance:

" ...he winced whenever he happened to land on CNNfn, with its slippery poisonous blue serpent of fiscal data slithering across the bottom of the screen, rapaciously devouring its own tail."

In keeping with my habit of picturing literary characters in the forms of suitably-proportioned actors, I've picked Jake Gyllenhaal for the lead part. He doesn't have black hair, but it's a small discrepancy. Let's see if this hits the big screen sometime in the near future.



The 2nd installment just aired 4 days ago, with quite a few repeats over the weekend, so check your catalogues and watch it already!

I thought the pilot was amazing, but the follow-up totally blew me away.

The 2 brothers - Don and Charlie - were hot on the trail of a gang of bank robbers. Lots of twists yet again, with a change in modus operandi, theories about observers inevitably altering the behaviour of the observed subjects ( "you can't measure an electron without bumping into it" ) and - my favourite bit - a revelation about math genius Charlie's tortured past.

Morrow ( who plays older bro Don ) has beefed up for his FBI agent role. He's physically right for the part, handling the heavy action in the nail-biting opening shootout with great dexterity. He reminds me of those "CSI" team leaders ( i.e. Gil Grissom, Horatio Caine and Mack Taylor ) - strong, intelligent, introspective, even-tempered and more than competent. In the face of mounting pressure both at work and at home, Morrow's Don remains consistently soft-spoken and compassionate. Nice.

Of course, Krumholtz steals the show once more, this time conveying frustrated confusion when he suffers a 2nd breakdown ( the first occurred during the last 3 months of their mother's painful battle with cancer ). Used to being in control, he finds himself regressing into a dark tunnel of denial, preferring to scrawl formulas in a futile attempt to decipher perplexing equations, rather than confront his demons head-on.

There're 2 beautiful scenes in this episode.

One, where Don tries desperately to persuade Charlie to return to the FBI office to draw up another plan for them. They're standing in the garden, Charlie hunched over and pacing the edge of a koi pond, Don upright and wringing his hands behind him. At one point, the latter grabs the former and tries to shake him out of his reverie. But Charlie doesn't retaliate. He just stands there, limp, silent and defeated, and Don suddenly releases him, apologizes, then almost instantly launches into another impassioned speech, to no avail.

The second has Charlie seated beside his father ( played by Judd Hirsch ), initially talking about general stuff. The former unexpectedly blurts out his incomprehension regarding his mother's death and how he coped with the tragedy. He's merely stating what he did, with no emotional adjectives at all. But his voice breaks, and the words come out in an anguished, strangled sob. He looks at his dad, who leans forward, smiles reassuringly and says, "But your mother understood. Because she knew how your mind works." And that was enough.


Another DVD box set to add to my shopping cart, heh heh. :)


The next MOPEX switch beckons, and I'm starting to feel quite sentimental all of a sudden.

It's been a rough 6 months, especially when a certain ER used to close daily. We suffered severely, but our MOs worked really hard, and many have improved tremendously, especially the most junior ones.

I still recall how a certain MO used to stress me out by asking LOADS of questions, even requesting that I read every x-ray s/he ordered. Now, the resus room is his/her favourite place, and I have little problem letting him/her run the show. Not too long ago, I overheard him/her saying, "Heart rate 160? Okay lah." while wheeling the patient in. Ah, I am SO PROUD. :)

Another ( also junior ) MO has already inserted 5 chest tubes in this posting alone. S/he wants to go into ophthalmology, but we're trying to change that. :)

We've got a good batch, and will miss them when they go. Quite a few are voluntarily staying back though, thank goodness. The next set of MOs are apparently ALL non-trainees ( someone tell me the logic in THAT ), but hey, I've never placed much value in such things ( I know a dean's-lister who once knowingly jabbed a patient with a Penicillin allergy with Ceftriaxone, gave too much insulin to another, and caused major bleeding when he aspirated a joint using the wrong method. Yes, it's all the same person. But oh well, he won some award recently, so what you don't know won't hurt you eh? ).

Be prepared to be WHIPPED into shape, my poor hapless little chicks.

Italian Trip Entry

It's been 3 months already, maybe I should just stop writing about it, haha.

St. Peter's Square at Vatican City is one of the stops on the Angels & Demons tour, but my mom and I returned for a more leisurely stroll after we got back to Rome 3 weeks later. It's where one of the altars of science representing Air is featured, and where one of the cardinals in the Dan Brown novel was murdered ( punctured lung, naturally ).

Look around for the obelisk ( that's it in the picture ), and you will find the West Ponente plaque, which then directs you to the next marker. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. That's why it's called fiction! :)

It was hot, as always. Crowded too. We couldn't linger long both times we were there, but it's nice to gawk at, with 2 huge fountains if you need to cool down a bit ( very filthy, but looks good if you don't stand too close ).

Didn't manage to snap one of the Swiss guards, but I don't really fancy men in goofy-looking uniforms anyhow. :D

Think I'll go catch up on some reading now. Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

MB Photos Ready

medstudent: I need your email address.

aliendoc: Let me know what you think. :)

Hectic week. Will post more over the weekend.

**salutes readers of A Doc's Life and Angry Doctor**

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Pretty Nook Posted by Picasa

And not a moment too soon. :)

Eh, directing people to my blog may not be such a good idea. Unless I start dishing out medical advice, e.g. bring all your meds when you come to the hospital and STOP disappearing to the canteen for breakfast / lunch / dinner before the doctor even has a chance to see you!


"Let me put it this way: I'm just putting a bit of air in the tyres, so you can go home and RIDE THE BIKE ALL NIGHT."
- Michael Buble, on his "higher purpose in life"

p.s. I forgot to mention his short performances of MJ's Man In The Mirror ( spot-on! ) and that little Prince impersonation ( my mother remembered this so kudos to her :)).


Dr. Cameron: 3 ER doctors, 2 neurologist and a radiologist all figured out what it's not. We need to figure out what it is.

House: If they were interested in my opinion they would've asked for it.

Cameron: None of them are willing to subject themselves to you.

House: No pain, no gain.

House: Hmm, husband describes her as being "unusually irritable".

Cameron: So?

House: I didn't realize it was possible for women to be unusually irritable.

Cameron: Nice try, but you're a misanthrope, not a misogynist.

Cameron: Diseases don't have motives.

House: No, but doctors do. I find your interest... interesting.

House: Is a lie a lie if everyone knows it's a lie?

Dr. Lisa Cuddy: It takes TWO department heads to treat shortness of breath? What, do the complications increase exponentially with cup size? ( reference to House's well-endowed female patient )

House: I want an EKG including tox screen on Mrs... Exam Room 1.

Cuddy: You're ordering tests to cover your lechery. Interesting.

House: VERY tricky case.

House: Anything that can be transmitted via the blood can be transmitted through sex.

Dr. Eric Foreman: Sleeping sickness through sex?

House: It's not without precedent.

Foreman: I'm pretty sure it is. Unless you're talking about going to Africa and having sex with a tse-tse fly.

Cameron: You want me to ask a man whose wife is about to die whether he cheated on her?

House: No, I want you to be POLITE and LET her die.

House: You can't be that good a person and well-adjusted.

Cameron: Why?

House: 'Cos you'll end up crying over centrifuges.

Cameron: Or hating people?

( That last quote is much better appreciated if you've actually watched this episode. Very moving, I must say. )

Highly Recommended


This is the latest sensation to hit the small screen, thanks to master director Ridley Scott's partnership with hotshot producer brother Tony Scott.

Airs every Monday night at 9pm on AXN Channel 19, with multiple repeats throughout the week.

The premise: using mathematical equations to pursue and apprehend criminals.

Characters: 2 siblings - a senior FBI agent played by Rob Morrow ( aka uptight Jewish GP Dr. Joel Fleischman from one of my favourite TV shows, "Northern Exposure" ) and his math genius younger bro played by relative newcomer David Krumholtz ( who also appeared in "10 Things I Hate About You" and "Ray" ).

They look so alike it isn't hard to imagine them as first-degree relatives.

Acting-wise, I have zero complaints. Morrow has totally shed his hypersensitive persona from "Northern Exposure", preferring a sort of quiet intensity that conveys urgency much more effectively than, say, a temperamental outburst ( lots of those on "Medical Investigation" ).

Krumholtz, however, is the big draw for me. I've already seen him in the films I mentioned, but here, he eats up the screen and embraces his role with such passion, it's just a pleasure to watch. I like the curls and long eyelashes too ( heh heh ).

The pilot was gripping and very enjoyable, with the 2 blokes hunting a serial rapist / murderer, finally pinpointing his location down to a single block. A few good twists here and there, with a satisfying finale.

Something new for me to do Monday nights. :D

Medical Investigation

Isn't as bad as I thought.

Well, it still pales in comparison with most medical dramas, but the latest episode featured a possible bioterrorism scenario which later turned out to be a hantavirus outbreak with a most unusual mode of transmission. Makes you think twice the next time you take communion. :)

If you can overlook the flaws ( no masks in the iso ward AGAIN! ), the series actually kinda rocks.

Foreign Films

The Sea Inside - poignant and well worth the time. Won't reveal much here. Just see it.

Children Of Heaven - if you don't know what this is about, then you REALLY should watch it. Easily pushed its way up to #2 on my list of all-time favourite movies ( sorry, "Dead Poets Society" is still the unsurpasssed victor ).

CD Review

The 5 Browns - a dazzling album which showcases the awesome talents of siblings Melody, Desirae, Deondra, Gregory and Ryan Brown, who've made Juilliard history by attending the prestigious institution simultaneously for 5 consecutive years.

The track list is eye-popping, with the likes of Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Prokofiev and Grieg.

The clincher, however, is the spectacular demonstration of unbelievable talent.

Stripped bare of accompaniment of any kind, each piece is pure piano and absolutely nothing else. From 5-piano arrangements like the precise Flight Of The Bumble Bee, jazzy Scenes From West Side Story and jolly The Sorcerer's Apprentice, to solo efforts of immensely challenging sonatas, this is one CD which failed to bore me ( I've obviously got a few that do ).

Favourite tracks: Most definitely #6 ( Rachmaninoff's Moments musicaux, Op. 16, No.4 ) and #9 ( Prokofiev's Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 28 ). The pieces themselves mean nothing to me ( all those theory exams almost killed me in my younger days ). The common denominator in this case is Ryan Brown, who performs both with brain-numbing skill, combining both maturity and gentleness in his flawless deliveries. I personally feel he's the best of the whole lot. Playing this by ear mostly. Your views?

I can definitely state that if they ever come here for a performance, I'm there. :)


Jeffrey Deaver's "Garden Of Beasts" wasn't too bad, though a little long-winded in the 2nd half.

A post-dinner visit to Borders with a friend last week made it almost impossible for me NOT to purchase anything. John Berendt! Mo Hayder! Kathryn Fox! Something about 18th century sorcery ( can't remember the darn title! )!

But so little time... *&^%$$#@!

And speaking of dinner - my thanks to everyone who granted me their valuable time and energy these past 2 weeks. All those 3-hour meals and long walks afterward were just what I needed. Oh yes, and a most uplifting late screening of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin". :)

Funny how, after 5 years, I just discovered someone shares my great love for television. Have never been able to discuss "CSI" in such tiny detail with anybody before. No wonder it took you 2 hours to finish that bento set. :)

And that animal in "Northern Exposure" is a moose, NOT a cow lah! :D

Will be sure to ask you along when I finally decide to buy that MP3 player.

Photo Number ???

Michael Buble spouted something Italian the other night, which made me miss the country - yet again. He's of Italian descent, which I suppose explains a lot about his personality and ( ahem ) appreciation for members of the opposite sex. :)

His eyes are just sooooo huge! ( Okay, i won't say anymore. :))

This is from Taormina. Spotted while trudging downhill in the quaint little town on an extremely hot afternoon. Italy's full of such lovely nooks, but this one is so pretty I took it in the highest resolution possible for my camera and intend to blow it up and hang it somewhere if I ever get round to it.

There's a cafe nearby which serves delish cheesecake. The shops also sell gigantic cookies stuffed with almonds, lemon and chocolate chips. Lived on those quite a bit when I couldn't stomach our meals, haha.

Ah, Italy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005



First up, this entry is actually in 2 parts and not in chronological order. But I'm writing in this manner because I'm leaving the best bit till later. You can scroll down if you're kay poh, heh heh.

MB's previous concert was held maybe 3-4 months after his debut album was released here. Back then, he performed at an ugly ( sorry, I'm just telling it like it is ) SUNTEC concert hall, with an audience of perhaps 3,000 people. Nothing grand, his suit looked a little ill-fitting, the band was relatively small, sound system not so great -- and yet, I loved every minute of it from beginning to end ( review in the archives, dated September 16 2003 ) because his talent transcended all of that. I knew immediately that this guy was going to be BIG.

It's been a long wait ( well, long in my book at least! ), but tonight, I saw him in his element once more, and in front of a full-capacity 8,500-strong crowd which thronged the massive Stadium from floor to ceiling - yelling, wolf-whistling, squealing, laughing really hard, applauding before and after EVERY SINGLE PIECE, effortlessly singing along whenever MB stuck his microphone out at us and then, right at the end, standing up or running down front to dance.

The concert itself is so AWESOME I don't even know where to begin! The band walked on-stage at 8:30pm, nicely decked out in beautiful black suits and black dress shirts. The brass section has since expanded from the skeletal 4 members to 7 this time ( 2 trombones, 3 trumpets, 3 saxophones ). A newly added bassist lends loads of class to the whole ensemble, and I dunno - the guitarist looks new too ( a very very youthful-looking Randy Napoleon, who couldn't stop smiling throughout the 1 hr 45 min performance - how sweet :)).
There was one familiar face though - Alan Chang, the Chinese-American mix who acts as music director, co-wrote "Home" with MB, and is described by the latter as his "good friend". More on him later.

MB arrived shortly after, wearing a black suit and white shirt, standing atop a platform with steps, shrouded in smoke and silhouetted against a white spotlight. The opening strains to "Feeling Good" came on, the audience recognized it immediately and started screaming with excitement, and when the band kicked in with the punching brass chords, the front lights illuminated and everyone ROARED ( I'm not kidding ). What a fantastic reception! :)

Songs included in the non-stop repertoire came fast and furious: Sway, Fever, Moondance, For Once In My Life, The More I See You, Try A Little Tenderness, How Sweet It Is, I've Got You Under My Skin, Come Fly With Me, etc. Each piece was delivered with FLAWLESS, PITCH-PERFECT VOCALS, plus a tinge of trademark boyish cheekiness ( a wink here, a mischievous grin there, lots of crazy dance moves, mike-stand twirling, teasing of fellow band-mates ).

I've got a few favourites from the show:

1) Home - a lovely rendition with soft piano accompaniment from Chang.
2) You Don't Know Me - one of his best album tracks, but "live" -- absolute HEAVEN!
3) That's All - mesmerizing!
4) You And I - my personal fav from "It's Time" ( track 13 ), with its haunting melody and goose-pimple-inducing conclusion. I usually blank out a little when I enjoy a concert too much ( really stupid, I know ), but I remember this particular song extremely well, and the whole 5 minutes, with the opening verse ( MB crooning to Chang's solo piano before being joined by the rest of the band ), the dark stage save for a little spotlight on the duo, and the swirling mist, all made for a positively MAGICAL moment. What a BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL performance!

Save The Last Dance For Me was the last song of the set, followed by 2 encores ( we were all chanting "Michael! Michael!" at one point, haha!) He began with the jazzy Crazy Little Thing Called Love, then mellowed with a very moving rendition of Song For You, gesticulating to the crowd at key verses, then ending with a wonderful flourish as he belted out the last few lines SANS MICROPHONE. Wow!

And now, for the REALLY FUN BITS!

1) The jokes

There were so many I don't think I can repeat them all! Something about thanking the men in the audience, who probably think MB's ( and I quote ) "a wanker", but gamely accompanied their girlfriends and wives to the show anyway. :D

A hilarious impromptu ditty about Singaporeans paying lots of money for their tickets and totally disregarding the rules ( ie. no flash photography allowed during the concert ), before immediately telling us "It's okay with me; you paid a lot of money to see us so TAKE AS MANY PICTURES AS YOU WANT!" to deafening roars of approval.

2) The impressions

Again, there were so many! Like the short dabble with opera ( he has the most powerful, GORGEOUS tenor vibrato, yow! ), the Buddy Holly impersonation ( with another short song from the late great ), the Ray Charles head-sway-broad-grin routine during You Don't Know Me. Then there was a momentary pelvic thrust from Elvis, some high-pitched meowing as he attempted to imitate a tiger, plus a PRICELESS imitation of Ben Stiller's pose from "Zoolander" ( I caught the movie in NZ so I found it a huge riot! ).

MB did a few of these during time set aside for "mugging for the cameras". He'd tell fans to get their devices ready, then join his brass section for various shots, again to everyone's immense delight.

3) The "bonus songs"

Maroon 5's "This Love" was a massive crowd pleaser, and MB's versatility was equally matched by the audience's eclectic musical tastes ( heck, we could sing selected verses on cue, imagine that! ). He certainly rocked the house on this one!

Michael Jackson's classic "Billy Jean" elicited the loudest screams, complete with a very smooth Moonwalk and exaggerated crotch-grab! Unfortunately, MB expressed great contrition when he spotted a 6-year-old girl with her parents, before offering to sign "anything you want", then adding a desperate "Please don't sue!". :D

There was also some James Blunt ( a short, funny "You're beautiful!" inserted in the middle of a sentence ) and the sole truly new song from MB - a wonderful cover of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile", which began in typical ballad fashion before escalating into a full-headed uptempo swing/big-band number. Woohoo!

4) The mad dash

Yes, readers, believe it, because it really happened!

After maybe the 3rd or 4th song, MB was very amused by all the camera flashes he spotted in the back rows, saying he'd probably look like "a tiny ant" in those photos. So the next thing we knew, he leapt off the stage and sprinted all the way to the tiered seats - past the floor, up the stairs, almost reaching the upper corridors before having to stop because of the crowds waiting for him there. I saw him hug a few people, plant kisses on a few ladies, get grabbed by loads others, before sauntering back to the front with 2 worried-looking security staff in tow. Bet that must've scared them witless! :)

He didn't get mobbed by definition, but upon returning to the stage, he expressed thanks to "the guy in the back who grabbed my ass", to loud guffaws all around. What a joker!

So you can see it was definitely an evening to remember. MB never missed a note, and he's very obviously become lots more polished in the 2 years since I last saw him. Very confident, vocals which have improved ten-fold in terms of power and quality, and so much more naughtiness!

He is already such a star, but he will no doubt only get bigger in the future.



Again, through the amazing kindness of strangers ( with a little help from someone whom I got to know earlier this year ), I was granted very exclusive backstage access 2 hours before the show.

We were allowed into the Stadium along with 4 other fans to watch the band rehearse from 6:30pm onwards, during which I was 4th row centre ( don't really understand why the rest clustered themselves on the left side ), and had a bird's eye view of the entire stage.

There were maybe 10-15 people max on the floor ( excluding the band and sound engineers ), with most hailing from the media and music industries, so this was indeed the opportunity of a lifetime for mere mortals like us.

Music director Alan Chang was directly in front of us tinkering on the grand piano. He's definitely Eurasian, with a nice mix of Chinese features complemented by light brown hair and fair skin. He may look skinny and tiny on-stage ( being seated and slightly hunched most of the time ), but he's actually very very tall once he stands up. Clad in a thin purple cotton jacket, white T-shirt and light blue jeans, he glanced over at our group many times, but I couldn't muster up the nerve to walk up and say hi ( darn it! ). He strolled around the stage a lot, took off his jacket at one point ( he isn't skinny, trust me :)), but one of the trumpet players threw it back on his shoulders. He did look tired and perhaps a little under the weather. Since he's also the only guy wearing a jacket, my mom guessed that he might be sick. Poor thing.

Mikey arrived without any fanfare at approximately 7pm, wearing a dark brown leather jacket, blue T-shirt and jeans. Prior to entering the auditorium, we were informed that MB was "quite tired" and may not be able to oblige with autographs or photos. However, it turns out that he was far from exhausted, and actually pretty high from what I could see! :)

He didn't know there were fans watching him, but upon spotting us, he instantly asked if we were his "soundcheck party". When someone confirmed yes, he immediately walked off-stage without another word, came straight up to all 6 of us, and respectfully shook our hands one by one. He beamed and thanked us repeatedly for coming to see him, happily hugging one effusive young lady before moving on to me and my mom.

We were at the end of the row, which might have been a lucky coincidence, 'cos Mike not only lingered on our side for most of the meet-and-greet, but also spoke to us more compared to the rest.

At this juncture, I'd just like to mention ( with my mother's permission ) that when Mike first saw my mom up close, he looked very pleasantly surprised, tilted his head back to get a better assessment, then murmured a very appreciative "Oooh, lovely!". I'm not kidding! I heard it with my own 2 ears! My mom blanked out at that moment 'cos he was holding her hand, but I DEFINITELY caught those words, and he was staring right at her. She had this pastel cream / gold-ish lace blouse and skirt combo on - which I hand-picked - so mom, you owe me big-time! :)

When it came to my turn, I said something rather silly along the lines of "( pointing at my mother ) This is my mom. ( then pointing to myself ) And I'm the daughter." Ack, I'm not proud of it, but I felt compelled to explain! Mike flashed me a gorgeous smile, shook my hand, then - get this - leaned forward, pointed to his right cheek and asked me to give him a kiss! Do you think I obliged? Oh c'mon, OF COURSE I DID! :D

For a split second, I smelled talcum powder, maybe some makeup as well. Up close, he looks REALLY REALLY GOOD. Beautiful complexion, huge eyes, that sincere and friendly smile - YOW. :) He's very soft-spoken, with a firm handshake and slightly cool hands.

We didn't dare ask for autographs, but Mike took the initiative and asked if we had anything for him to sign. Most whipped out CD sleeves, but having bought 2 programmes before going backstage, I asked him to initial those, which he did so without hesitation.

What really shocked me, though, was how he grabbed the backstage pass clipped to my collar after he finished with the programmes, signing mine and my mom's as well!
I tried to stop him, saying, "Err, we can't keep these. They're taking them back later." to which he replied, "Aww, they won't miss these! Just keep them! (scribble scribble)" :D

Darn, I can't even remember whether the pass-signing or photo-ops came first! One of the other young female fans went first - think she ran round a whole row of seats to get to him ( 'cos we were in Row 4 and he was stuck in the middle of Row 5 ), but I stayed where I was and was quite amused when he tried to pull one of the chairs out of my row to get to me, heh heh! There wasn't enough space though, so he left it in its original spot, making do by leaning in close, putting his right arm around my shoulder, grabbing my camera with his left hand and launching into do-it-yourself mode.

"Um, I can ask someone to take the photo for us," I offered, but he just waved it aside, replying, "Nah, I've done this MANY TIMES, TRUST ME!" We went back and forth a few times, and I even reached for my camera once to drive home my point, but he responded by sticking his left arm out to the side so I couldn't get at it! :)

So in the end, he did take the picture for us ( don't think he did this with the other 4 ), even asking if my mom would like to squeeze in ( she declined - oi, why??!! ) before planting his cheek against mine and snapping the photo. He quickly flipped it around to check the result, then showed it to me and asked, "See? Not bad huh? ( big grin )". I laughed and nodded my head in agreement, then he waved goodbye and ran back up on-stage.

The recording company reps began ushering us out, but Mike quickly stopped them ( he spoke into the microphone from where he was standing ), saying, "You don't have to leave. Why don't you all stay? Wanna hear some of our stuff?" He looked right at me so I bobbed my head as hard as I could so he'd see that I DESPERATELY wanted to stay. He did see it, and waved us back to our seats. I returned to my 4th row centre vantage point, and spent the next 15-20 minutes watching a terrific private performance ( it was a rehearsal but he did it like it was a real concert ) of Feeling Good, Sway and Home.

The best part is, after each song, he never once waited for us to applaud. He'd start talking, or drink some water, or walk over to his band-mates to discuss something. NEVER once did he stand there and expect our adulation. His rapport with the band is wonderful to behold ( watching them rehearse is the best way to gauge their true feelings for one another ), and Mike was equally wacky during the soundcheck ( something I found most surprising ).

At around 7:20pm, we finally had to leave. MB said goodbye from the stage, then strolled over to the left side to watch us go.

I usually meet singers after their concerts, so this pre-show thing was very unusual and extremely enjoyable, not just because Mike's such a sweetheart, but because seeing him bring 8,500 fans to their feet ( complete with 3 standing ovations ) made me appreciate the privilege so much more.

Thank you, Y and L, for your invaluable help and patience!

And thank you, Michael Buble, for being so nice, and for making my mom and I the happiest people on Earth!

That perfect end to a perfect year did happen after all. I never thought there'd come a day when I'd have nothing more to ask for - but that day has arrived, and what an amazing feeling it is. I will never forget my 30th birthday for as long as I live! :D