Saturday, May 28, 2005


I'm sick. Really sick. I haven't been this sick since May last year, when some kid gave me a flu virus that took me 3 weeks to fight off.

This one's probably paediatric in origin as well. From whom exactly though, I can't say. Must've gotten it during one of my rare weekend forays to crowded public areas. Sigh.

I'm probably not allowed to write this, but I'm going to anyway.

Frustration has set in yet again. Work-wise, of course.

[edited] But as this famous line from the movie Fight Club goes:

Rule #1: You do not talk about Fight Club.

Rule #2: You DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

Carrie's Crown

AI4 has finally come to a nice end. The finale was emotional, and yes, I'm happy for her. She's still sweet and innocent, and sings pretty well, but I'd like to see what happens 5 years down the road. Simon Cowell's declaration that she'll "outsell all the past AI winners" sounds rather lofty. I'm betting Clay Aiken's record will stand firm. :)

Seeing Constantine on-stage again was a real pleasure. Belting Aerosmith's Walk This Way and tossing his mane around was a great highlight!

Kenny G's appearance on I Believe I Can Fly with Anthony and Anwar was another wonderful surprise. And Bo - whom I maintain is much better than Carrie - absolutely dazzled on Sweet Home Alabama.

Guess the odd one out was Babyface, who ( don't ask me why ) got saddled with Lindsey and Mikalah, and looked a bit sour-faced. Must've been quite a big paycheck eh?

CD Reviews

Soundtrack to Beyond The Sea - Kevin Spacey

One of the reasons I love this guy so much is because he has such an exquisite voice - for both speaking and singing. Previously, I'd heard him hum on Swimming With Sharks, then perform a whole Beatles song during a concert tribute. On this album, though, you get EIGHTEEN full-length pieces, with big band accompaniment, and Spacey's gorgeous, flawless vocals.

I can't do a track-by-track for obvious reasons, so here's a list of the better ones:

Once Upon A Time - soulful and gentle. It's hard to imagine that the guy singing this played a psychotic serial killer in Se7en. :)

By Myself / When Your Lover Has Gone - another treasure. Spacey's vibrato during the key change gives me goosebumps every single time.

Artificial Flowers - a very chirpy piece that belies the rather morbid content ( like that other classic, Clementine ), but Spacey pulls it off effortlessly.

The Curtain Falls - breath-taking. Enough said.

Definitely will always remain one of my all-time favourite albums.

Follow Your Heart - Mario Frangoulis

This CD kinda grew on me slowly. I loved his first album, Sometimes I Dream, so the more pop-ish feel of his second effort initially didn't sit too well with me. However, I'm glad to report that after stuffing it into my car stereo and playing it at least 10 times, I've decided that this one's actually much better than its predecessor.

Check out:

Here's To The Heroes - borrows the John Dunbar theme from "Dances With Wolves" ( a soundtrack I once listened to so much the cassette tape broke, haha ). Beautiful.

Va' Pensiero ( Another World ) - Russell Watson did this on his 2nd CD, but Mario's version far surpasses it. Love the arrangement, and the vocals are just plain fantastic.

Bridge Of Dreams, Paper Sun ( Enas Hartinos Ilios ) - two lovely pieces with haunting, Greek-flavoured melodies.

Hay Mas ( a duet with Alejandro Fernandez ) - definitely the best of the lot. Exquisite song, terrific voices, and poignant lyrics ( partly translated into "And beyond appearances / What is life?" ).

So Much For Hiding

I tried embedding some personal stuff in the tail end of my last entry, but judging from readers' comments, that's the only thing people seem to remember. :)

Current status: ISQ, which is fine with me. Really. Really! :D

Interestingly, another chap recently resurfaced. Some may recall a certain doctor who turned pilot a couple of years back. He disappeared from the radar for 18 months before we resumed contact, and suffice to say, he's started co-piloting on commercial flights. Congratulations!

Still as cheeky as ever, I see, heh heh. Thanks for the compliments, and hey, hope to see you in your uniform sometime. :)

My Latest Tome

After the disappointing Da Vinci Code, I'm back at The Tanglin Club library.

Will probably do a review of Dr. Richard Gordon's Great Medical Disasters for our local medical publication at some point, but get a load of these cool quotes:

Doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into human beings of whom they know nothing. - Voltaire

The medical profession has not a high character; it has an infamous character. - Bernard Shaw

Medicine is an art founded on conjecture and improved by murder. - Sir Anthony Carlisle

Doctors are professional and graduated homicides. - Sydney Smith

He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hand of the physician. - Ecclesiasticus, 38:15


The Countdown Has Begun

One more month to go - well, 4 weeks to be exact - and I'll be en route to Italy for a 3-week retreat. Hope I survive that long...

And with the possibility of a 1-week trip to New York City in October for an ultrasound course in the pipeline, I'm over the moon. :)

Have a good week ahead. I most definitely won't.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Best Of The Lot Posted by Hello

Go See It! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Brace Yourself

It's gonna be a long entry.

Review of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith

Excellent! Awesome! Even though I absolutely DETESTED Episodes I and II.

Check out this cool site.

***spoilers spoilers spoilers alert***

Watching a movie early in the morning is a little insane, but I love it, heh heh. Huge theatre, scattered groups of people with lots of space in between, minimal germ transfer. :)

So I practically scrambled to Great World City at 8am today, sleep-deprived as usual ( slept at 2 in the morning ), grabbed a hurried breakfast, then caught the 9am screening.

If, like me, you've been swearing at the silly script and annoying child actor in The Phantom Menace, not to mention the insipid mush and stiff emoting in its sequel ( and the laughable Jar Jar Binks in whichever episode, I forget ), then rest assured, 'cos George Lucas The Master Storyteller is back.

From the dramatic opening sequence featuring a daring rescue of Senator Palpatine by Jedi Knights Obiwan and Anakin, the exciting yet foreboding atmosphere is established. What follows is a rollercoaster ride of political intrigue, transgalactic chases, complicated ( and gorgeously rendered ) battle scenes, and of course, Anakin Skywalker's desperate confusion and final transformation.

I'm not a Star Wars fanatic, but I've seen Episodes 4-6 ( especially Episode 4 ) enough times to be classified under the "fan" category. Despite being a little girl ( I believe I first encountered Luke Skywalker in Primary 1 ), I used to get really worked up whenever Luke made that beeline for the core of the Death Star, bravely defying the Empire's many attempts to thwart his mission. The films had a very grainy, occasionally fake look - considering the many limitations in the special effects field at the time - but the cool dialogue, memorable characters and terrific storylines were the stuff of legends.

When Episodes I and II came along, many Star Wars supporters were sorely disappointed, and for good reason. What's-his-name who played the young Anakin made me want to strangle him. Hayden Christensen's lovelorn expressions and wooden speech induced cringes everywhere. And all that dumb I-love-you-but-I'm-a-Jedi-so-I-shouldn't-but-I-can't-help-it-so-let's-get-married-in-secret subplot was so horribly scripted it sounded more like a bad soap opera than the epic romance it was trying so hard to be.

Thankfully, lovey-dovey stuff is kept to a minimum in the finale. And when it does surface, it's heartening to see that Natalie Portman and Christensen have finally stepped up and infused their lines with some measure of passion. In particular, Padme's confrontation regarding Anakin's betrayal is heart-wrenching.

"You're breaking my heart!" she sobs. "You're going down a path I cannot follow."

Man, that scene deserves an award.

Speaking of acting, Christensen should also be praised for handling his difficult role deftly. His angry rebelliousness in Episode II painted him as a petty teenager, but this time, the anger has escalated into rage, and rebelliousness into an all-consuming greed for power. Share in his conflicted psyche as he searches for a way to save Padme's life. Observe his reluctant embrace of the riches the Dark Side promises. And finally, witness his dramatic undoing when forced to acknowledge Obiwan's disappointment and Padme's pain. The climactic face-off between the two Jedis isn't just about spectacular visuals. Thanks to Christensen's and Ewan McGregor's stellar acting, the showdown is effectively portrayed in all its multi-layered glory. Good vs evil. Teacher vs student. Surrogate father vs surrogate son.

Another worthy mention is Ian McDiarmid, who plays Senator Palpatine and his alter ego, Darth Sidious. Originally relegated to a small secondary role in the earlier films, he shares significant screen time with the main characters here, as he slowly but surely corrupts the naive and gullible Anakin. A quiet scene, in which the Senator shares a story about a Sith who once acquired so much power he was able to bring the dead back to life, is so reminiscent of a grandfather's gentle demeanour, yet equally menacing because of the underlying manipulative evil hidden just beneath the surface.

Good stuff indeed. :)

The last 15 minutes wrap up the loose ends and set things up for Episodes 4-6. Maybe most people lost interest at this point, but I was riveted. I never actually realized how much the Star Wars franchise meant to me until now. Despite its flaws, the epic has come full circle in the most perfect way.

This is one movie you simply MUSTN'T miss.

***end of spoilers***

DVD Reviews

Hotel Rwanda - fell way below expectations. Give me Schindler's List any day.

Exorcist: The Beginning - not too bad, but still B-grade calibre.

Shark Tale - so bad I couldn't get through the first 30 minutes. Finding Nemo it sure ain't.

The Phantom Of The Opera - another major travesty in the movie-making industry. My favourite musical was mauled beyond recognition by terrible singing ( the Phantom sounds awful, sacre bleu! ), bad acting ( Emmy Rossum is lifeless, Minnie Driver psychotic, and Patrick Wilson one-dimensional ) and over-ambitious directing that weighs too heavily on the thin plot. A real pity.

Meet The Fockers - pretty funny, but lost most of its novelty in the first installment.

Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason - now I liked this one. :) Renee Zellwegger is super-chunky but adorable. Hugh Grant is roguishly handsome, as always, and Colin Firth - don't get me started or I won't stop. Haha :D

Shall We Dance - another winner. Richard Gere is beautiful to look at, Jennifer Lopez is suitably Ice-Queen gorgeous, and the music is positively wonderful. The best of the lot I rented, and unexpectedly so.

The Goggle Box

American Idol 4 draws to a close next week, and from all indications, Bo Bice is tipped to win in a landslide ( they say it's a 1% margin, but I say they're lying ). Respect him for that show-stopping performance of For The Love Of Money ( aka the theme from The Apprentice ), but...
I still maintain that Constantine Maroulis belongs up there in the finals, but hey, life's like that.

Survivor: Palau ended as well, with Tom the New York firefighter going home a million bucks richer. This season was extremely satisfying, with its many firsts, major tribal upheavals, and a huge twist when Ian gave up his place for Katie ( stupid stupid stupid! ). Oh well, there's always the next Survivor: All-Stars.

And once again, Jeff Probst is HOT. :D

Nip/Tuck Season 2: Every Wednesday night at 10:30pm on Channel 5. I caught the first few episodes - uncensored, by the way, heh heh - in Tasmania last December, and am ECSTATIC that it's finally made its way to local TV. Promises more gore, bedroom antics, and cool one-liners. Christian Troy, you can operate on me anytime. :)

CSI: New York continues to impress with its intelligent scripts and top-notch acting. Here's a nice quote from this week's episode:

"There's something gooey here."
"Gooey - now there's a good forensic word. We should use it more often."


Reviews of Kevin Spacey's and Mario Frangoulis' albums will have to wait. Before my brain cells give out, I'm going to end off with a couple of random paragraphs.

Medical stuff can be found at the other blog. In case you've forgotten. Tsk tsk. :)

I retract my statement about The Da Vinci Code being better than Angels & Demons. The former is getting a little melodramatic in its last 100 pages, which is worse than the latter, which was melodramatic from the word go so it wasn't quite as annoying. Also, I think the puzzles in Angels were a lot more challenging, and the landmarks more fascinating.

Kylie Minogue's been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Lots of press coverage, which is warranted considering her celebrity status. I'd much rather read about HER than about some local reporter's repeated personal updates ad nauseum.

My biological clock... is apparently still alive and ticking, darn it.

A cousin and his family visited last weekend. He's got two beautiful little girls aged 8 and 4, and they're ANGELS, I tell you. Pretty, intelligent, kind, playful, obedient, you name it, they've got it.
As we were walking to my car after lunch, the 4-year-old softly asked if she could hold my hand, and I obliged. Feeling her little fingers in my palm got the clock started something fierce, aargh! Stop it! *smacks the clock senseless*

It didn't help much when later that night, I met up with 3 swinging bachelors during a group dinner with friends. Great meal, lots of crazy conversation, drinks at Brix later. I don't usually notice guys much, but these 3 are real characters, good-looking, interesting, lead some pretty unusual personal lives - and all of them work in the field of emergency medicine.

Any takers? Girls? Introductions? Just kidding. :)

I'd actually like to ask one of the guys out, but can't muster the courage. Oh well. :D

More another day. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Hearing comments made about recent remarks I posted on this blog has elicited the above exhalation too many times to count today.

Interestingly enough, I heard them indirectly. Hence yes, they were made in my absence.

Thankfully, there were quite a few supporters ( other than those from my department ) present at this discussion. At least one of whom is a senior consultant I worked with a few years ago, and whose tough exterior I've always believed hides one of the kindest hearts around. Thank you, sir. :)

As I've already mentioned, there will be no more public discourses on work-related issues. Not here. Not ever.

I'm sorry to disappoint, dear readers. But blogging requires an atmosphere of tolerance, and as you can see from a classic case splashed in the papers, my idea of utopia simply doesn't exist.

It's been a good run on It's A Zoo Out There. But it's time to move some of my baggage to a new home. Feel free to continue tuning in if my extra-curricular activities somehow provide a little bit of entertainment.

CD Reviews To Follow

Il Divo, the soundtrack to Beyond The Sea ( Kevin Spacey belts 18 - 18!!! - Bobby Darin songs ), Follow Your Dream ( Mario Frangoulis ) and Jane Monheit.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Long And Short Of It

[Post deleted.]


Peter Cincotti's autographs have finally arrived. Via courier, no less. :)

My deepest appreciation to the people who went out of their way to track these down for me, and for ensuring their safe delivery.

He actually signed BOTH CD sleeves. On The Moon offers a larger patch of white, so he penned my name, followed by Best Wishes, Peter Cincotti. For his self-titled debut album, he decided to squeeze his name onto the triangular patch comprising his shirt and tie in the photo. For some reason, I find that very amusing. :)

Writing with a marker pen is never easy, so maybe that's why his scrawl looks a little kiddish. Again, something I can't help smiling about. :)

The note from the recording company rep also mentioned how he'd been "very keen to meet" me, and personally insisted that she convey his "thanks and appreciation" for my support and interest.

As you would expect, I'm thrilled to have his signatures. Thank you very much, Peter! :)

Shall pass on Kingdom Of Heaven. Two and a half hours of slaughter and serious discussions on religion isn't my cup of tea right now. Orlando Bloom doesn't come across as a convincing warrior either. Too scrawny. Give me Russell Crowe anyday.

The Da Vinci Code far exceeds Angels And Demons. I'm still in the first few chapters, but Dan Brown's prose is a huge improvement from the jerky, overzealous characterizations of the latter. Absorbing to the extent of being almost addictive. Thought I'd never find another author whose work I would enjoy this much ( the others being Thomas Hardy, Jeffrey Deaver and John Douglas ), but I fully intend to read Digital Fortress after this. :)

Scott Savol has been eliminated from AI4. Whew. There's justice in this world after all. Go, Anthony!

Will write more another time. I suspect I'll have to log on again quite soon. For editing purposes. :/

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

AUGH!!! - Part Deux

I'm frustrated. Can you tell? :/

1. I had a crappy shift today. "Crappy" being a euphemism for something else, that is.

[ This post was deleted at the request of unnamed parties. Hopefully, most of my readers caught it during its brief 48 hours of publication, haha. ]

2. My Peter Cincotti autographs MAY have gotten lost in the mail.

This put an additional damper on an already taxing day.


Can't talk about this. Too depressing.

3. Rob and Amber may win The Amazing Race.


4. Scott Savol may win American Idol 4.


5. I don't have time to see Kingdom Of Heaven.

Even though I've got a day off tomorrow. Ah, the perks of being a registrar.

Five items look just about enough. May have more in later entries. Yippee.

Brief Reviews

I have to get some rest, so will keep these short.

The Sound Of Music direct from Broadway, New York, was absolutely glorious.

Flawless vocals, majestic sets, wonderful orchestra, beautiful child actors.

And of course, the timeless music of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

I'm not very proud of admitting this, but having seen the film countless times, the stage version just hit me in the right spot, causing my eyes to water on many occasions, the major wave hitting during Edelweiss. *sniffle*

THIS is why I simply MUST spend 6 months in NYC. :)

In comparison, Laura Fygi's concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium was... a muted affair.

Didn't expect the crowd ( if you can call it that ) to be so small. Considering the Stadium's 10,000 seating capacity - as evidenced by the Sting and Robbie Williams shows I've attended - the response for this show was actually very disappointing.

Thankfully, Laura and gang gave their all, and I did enjoy their music and ( ahem ) antics. The satisfyingly long performance ( with an intermission, wow ) covered everything from classic jazz to bossa nova to playful stuff ( believe it, she DID oblige with a Marilyn Monroe impersonation :)).

The skits were the best, in particular a bit where Laura sang Dream A Little Dream with the guys playing what I think sounded like kazoos ( rather than the "duck whistles" one reporter mentioned ). Or maybe they're one and the same, who knows.
Right smack in the middle, during the bridge, they launched into Mr. Sandman. What a riot! Better still, the audience recognized the tune immediately and started applauding and laughing. :D

Magical moments were also present, specifically her duet with the pianist on My Foolish Heart, and another one with the guitarist on a lovely, haunting Besame Mucho. It's things like this which just make the whole day seem perfect, no matter how horrible it might have been.

Special mention also goes out to her good-looking saxophonist, who looks like Colin Firth and sings in a smooth baritone ( he did Baby It's Cold Outside with Laura, to raucous cheers ). And he's the lone single in the group. Hmmmm... :)

Ahh, my mood has lightened significantly, and not a moment too soon either, since I have to lie down before suffering major consequences tomorrow ( full day ahead, no fun ).

And just for kicks, check this out.

The punchline? I will be in Rome that very day, and may just be able to attend his show, woohoo! Talk about strange coincidences! :D

Over and out.