Sunday, August 14, 2005


Self-explanatory. - available in hard copy in September 2005's issue of Vanity Fair. Pre-drastic-haircut, of course.

( And by the way, my mother almost gave me a heart attack last week when she blurted that she wanted to pay the Ermenegildo Zegna store on Level 2 at Takashimaya a visit -- just so she can sneak a peek at their Peter Cincotti poster in the display window. Hah, my mom the GROUPIE. I'm so proud of her. :D )


"Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince" is weak, weak, weak. I love the series, but Book 6 is by far the least satisfying ( I'm currently halfway through the 600-plus-page tome. ). The next worst one is Book 4, but the rest are okay, with Book 3 ( Prisoner Of Azkaban ) being my favourite. Is J.K. Rowling losing steam? Her writing this time round is jerky and forced, especially all those raging-teenage-hormone scenes and feeble attempts at slapstick comedy. I much preferred her earlier works, which could cram so much magic into thin little volumes. Oh well, let's hope the final chapter ( Book 7 ) will see her returning to her previous fine form.

"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell is a tad overrated. True, it starts off well and grabs your attention, but the 2nd half was rather directionless and draggy, with no real usefulness. He claims to teach us how to harness our own natural instinctive abilities to make crucial snap judgements. I must be dense, 'cos I didn't get it.

Anyway, if you want REAL-LIFE lessons on the subject, just come down to my department. Our medical officers have made such vast improvements over the past 4 months, I feel extremely proud of them. If only A&E could be made a compulsory posting for all juniors doctors.

The finale for "Lost" was reaaaaaally long-winded, and quite a letdown. Rest assured, Xena. You didn't miss anything. :)


Tim "Speed" Speedle was killed off "CSI: Miami" Season 3's pilot episode, AAARRRGH! No more Rory Cochrane! :(

But Fret Not

"CSI: New York" is fast surpassing its 2 predecessors, and not just in terms of excellent plots. Interestingly enough, humour is one of its strongest points, with Danny Messer ( the very cute Carmine Giovinazzo ) delivering most of the witty one-liners Chandler "Friends" Bing style. For example:

Medical examiner: What can I do for you today?

Messer ( looking worn out ): Can you bring this guy back to life so he can tell us who killed him?

[ Just so you know, I'm going to worm my way onto the "CSI: New York" set the first chance I get. :D ]

Catch "Scrubs" ( starting from the VERY FIRST EPISODE ) which airs every Thursday 8pm on cable's Starworld Channel 18. Almost forgot how much I love this crazy show - remember that classic scene where Turk defibrillated a sleeping patient who was mistaken for dead just because one of the chest leads fell off? Priceless!

And "House", debuting on AXN Channel 19 this coming Tuesday at 10pm. Trailers look VERY promising - Dr. House informing a woman she has "a parasite", only to explain later that she's pregnant. I like this dude. :)

"Gilmore Girls" - the latest season is back! I'm extremely attached to this show for various reasons, the most important one being the fact that Lorelai and Rory mirror my relationship with my own mother. Just try getting a word in when we're having a conversation, never mind a full-blown argument. Oh yes, you can watch this every Sunday at 6pm on Channel 5.

"Wonderfalls", a hilariously quirky dramedy about a deliberate underachiever suddenly cursed with the ability to see talking animal figurines, had me in stitches. Great acting, an intelligent script, nutty characters ( protagonist Jaye has a philosophy degree from Brown University but chooses to while away her days at a souvenir shop at Niagara Falls - hence the title. Go figure. ). Haven't seen anything this kooky since "Northern Exposure" ( thinking of getting the DVD ), so if you like that sort of thing, this is definitely for you.

Unexpectedly won tickets to Patrizio Buanne's exclusive showcase this coming Tuesday. This Italian has been compared to Engelbert Humperdink, but having grown up on Humperdink's music ( thanks to my mother who's a big fan ), I can tell you that Buanne's a much better singer. Not to mention also much better-looking. Photo op time. :)

You Need A New Fact-Checker - Clay Aiken ( from a talk show interview )

Dear Ms. Khalik ( senior health correspondent for The Straits Times ),

Your report dated August 13 2005 on the closure of TTSH's A&E Department contained a glaring error. Please note that TTSH does NOT close a mere "a dozen times a month". This gross underestimation is causing some distress ( not to mention suppressed mirth ) within medical circles which are fully aware of the truth. You may want to contact our ops centre for a clearer picture of the actual situation. Thank you.

Italian Trip Post #3

Italian weather is crazy.

My fault. I didn't expect it to be this hot, even though CNN reported heat waves throughout Europe the week before my holiday began.

But scorching temperatures are one thing. Failure to address the problem is quite another.

Note how quite a few tourist attractions make no efforts whatsoever to prevent heat stroke. Prime example: the ruins of an ancient Roman resort somewhere in Sicily ( I was too dazed to remember anything else ) which housed the site within a glass enclosure with only a few tiny windows for ventilation. This resulted in an unbearable greenhouse effect which almost did some of us in ( compounded, no doubt, by the fact that we visited at around lunchtime ).

In Pompeii, we trudged for 2 hours under intolerable conditions, with no shelter in which to seek refuge.

My umbrella was open most of the time, but some Caucasians in my group turned lobster red under the heat. Terrible.

The Italians, however, are absolutely DIVINE. :)

The men, especially. :D

For instance:

1. Marcello, our hotel's chief concierge, who helped me purchase my Peter Cincotti tickets, handled all the car and taxi transfers, and had the sweetest conversations with us about getting around Rome. Grey-haired but tall and distinguished, with a tendency to pat me repeatedly on the hand. :)

2. Waiters at various hotels, who chatted us up at breakfast and dinner. At one establishment, a group of them converged on our table to pepper us with questions and opinions about Singapore. One particularly friendly fellow even launched into full song, causing us a bit of embarrassment, heh. In Assisi, one guy demonstrated sharp wit despite rushing about with our dishes.

Us: Our compliments to the chef!
Him: Oh, you like our food? Good! I cooked it!

3. Lots of handsome fellows, of course. Rome was swarming with good-looking Italian men in beautiful suits ( don't ask me why they didn't just take their jackets off in that terrible heat ), some of them happily licking gelato as they ran down the street. Strange but enjoyable. :)

But one man stood out. And I don't even know his name.

Apparently, he's a guide with another tour company. I spotted him in Sorrento, while sitting at the front of the bus ( lucky seat rotation allocation for that day ), exhausted from a long drive that had started before 8 in the morning. Suddenly, as the coach inched through a small archway along a narrow road ( lots of those in Sicily ), he casually strolled towards us and waved.

Short dark brown hair, in his early to mid-30's, black suit and white shirt, not gorgeous by conventional standards, but WOW... :)

Maybe it was the way he walked - long, easy strides - or the greeting he offered - a blown kiss followed by a hearty wave. There was just something so... Italian... about it. I sat up immediately. :D

Later, after a short tour to a woodworking factory in the vicinity, I saw him again. A small bus filled with tourists was waiting nearby, and he walked back and forth across the street from where we were standing, conversing with our tour director for a few minutes before hopping on and leaving for good.

I wanted to snap a picture surreptitiously, but my mother wouldn't have any of it. But she did agree that he's "very handsome". :)

Oh well, memories are good too.

More another day.

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