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

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tivoli Gardens Posted by Picasa

Mind-Boggling :) Posted by Picasa

Piazza della Signoria Posted by Picasa

Mini David Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Major Uploading

I guess I should really get these up, since it's been more than 2 months since I got back from the trip.

Those of Florence include shots of the Piazza della Signoria, a very crowded ( duh ) square featuring lovely sculptures, among them the affectionately nicknamed "mini David".

The Piazza aroused my interest mainly because it's a location for key scenes from "Hannibal". Not too sure about the specific details, but I think a vivisection bit was set here. I just love this type of thing. :)

Other famous movies filmed here include "A Room With A View" ( according to a Google search ).

The two pictures from the Tivoli Gardens feature the (ahem) well-endowed Venus and a panoramic shot from the 2nd tier. Again, like many attractions in Italy, the photographs turn out much better than the actual thing. Having been to Hever Castle in the outskirts of London, I found the Tivoli Gardens quite a letdown, mainly because it's just a tad neglected - a real pity.

More to follow another day.

Review Of The 40-Year-Old Virgin

My first foray into the cinema since "Batman Begins" 4 months ago, and boy was this absolutely worth it! :)

Hilarious yet poignant, foul-mouthed yet sweet, graphic yet non-exploitative. Definitely not an easy feat.

The star, a once-unknown-now-catapulted-into-the-hall-of-fame Steve Carell, is perfect as clueless innocent Andy, with his Playstation "Halo", half a million bucks' worth of action figures, meticulously prepared morning omelettes and kiddy bike.

Played with an equal measure of wide-eyed sensitivity and great skills at physical comedy, Carell effortlessly wins audiences over, as evidenced by a VERY appreciative crowd at a sold-out show last night.

If you've seen "Bruce Almighty", you may recall Carell as Jim Carrey's rival anchorman, aka the dude who kena sabo-ed in the middle of a 'live' news telecast, during which Carrey made him go into this prolonged blabbering session which still makes my sides hurt even though I must've seen it more than 10 times. :)

This is just one of those sleeper hits that has the right combination of everything: a great lead, a lovable supporting cast ( the priceless Paul Rudd, a classy Catherine Keener, a whole slew of wacky guys from horny blacks to angry Pakistanis ), a superb script rife with classic scenes, and my personal fav - a musical montage right at the end reminiscent of some '70s pot-head fantasy sequence ( the dreamy song, all those half-naked men prancing around, the big open field setting - what a riot! ).

Highly, HIGHLY recommended. :D

The Halfway Mark

4 more days, then it'll be back to the grind.

Well, at least there's Michael Buble's concert to look forward to. See you there, aliendoc! :))

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Sitting here now, I just find it really funny that I am able to blog during pretty normal hours when I'm working crazy shifts, and somehow haven't even found the time to log on from home ever since my leave started 4 days ago.

And speaking of blogs...

I'm extremely saddened by the abrupt end of a very enjoyable one.

But, fret not, because we've got more new talent for the SMA News. :)

After recruiting 2 fresh slaves - just kidding ( a little, haha ) - a couple of weeks ago, we've managed to secure 3 other excellent writers, 2 of whom are MOs, and the last a final year med student.

We're all familiar with the realm of blogging, but meeting everyone in person proved to be a surprise, with quite a few preconceived ideas drastically altered ( but all good, rest assured ).

My thanks to the gentleman who made a comment about my looking "very different" from what he'd expected. It's always nice to receive a compliment, but I have to admit, the fact that he's rather, err, young, helped me appreciate it a lot more. :)

Before I Forget

Just helping to publicize something here. Our SMA News editor is chairing the event, and from his enthusiastic descriptions, this sounds like it's going to be a blast.

The medical side lost 2 years in a row, but we've got a Secret Weapon ( newly acquired - I think you know who you are :)) whom we intend to release in 2006. *rubs hands together gleefully*

Guy Talk

4 men at a dinner table can't be wrong.

I apologize for mentioning the odd good-looking male in my entries from time to time, but to quote Al Pacino from "Scent Of A Woman": The day you stop looking is the day you die.

Which reminds me: Passed a Caucasian fellow in a gorgeous metallic dark blue pin-striped suit outside Scotts Shopping Centre 3 days ago. The clothes caught my eye first, but the guy is also REALLY something. In his late 20s / early 30s, with light brown wavy short hair, deep blue eyes, flawless complexion, a confident stride, and not the least perturbed by the sweltering heat.

Rome was CRAWLING with men like him. I strongly recommend spending a few days in that city if you're into this sort of scenery. :D

Annual Leave Activity Check List


1. Get a haircut

2. Buy lots of insurance ( Yes, I'm paranoid. And yes, you should be too. )

3. Buy a new car ( couldn't believe the headlines today, which spookily coincided with my trip to the showroom ). Nothing fancy, believe me, but the deal was too sweet to turn down, and the test drive was absolutely divine. Can't wait to get my hands on it when it arrives in Singapore.

In the process:

1. Watch loads of DVDs - have already ploughed through "Monster-In-Law" ( formulaic fluff ), "Alexander" ( pure torture ), "Cursed" ( started off well then deteriorated in the 2nd half, but Jesse Eisenberg has star potential ) and "Alfie" ( Jude Law looks great, but everything else kinda sucks ).

Still have another stack of discs to get through, 3 of which are foreign films. Not that many new releases, so guess that'll have to wait till Christmas.

2. Finish up all those dinner/meetings. I've reached a stage where I have to take leave in order to go out with people. And I actually routinely psych myself up before each event ( 'cos contrary to most people's perceptions, I'm NOT much of a talker, which isn't very good when there're only 2 of you ).

I don't mind, really, if I don't have to do this on a regular basis. I never agree to meet someone if I'm not feeling up to it, because every person's time is important and showing zero regard for it is just unforgiveable, even if you don't know him/her that well.

Call me anal, but when a person doesn't bother to reserve some time for me ( especially if s/he is the one who invited me out in the first place ), I automatically form a very bad impression which is very difficult to erase.
Perhaps that may answer a question posed by one fellow and totally misunderstood by another.

3. Read Jeffrey Deaver's "Garden Of Beasts", a well-researched and fast-paced thriller set just prior to WWII in Berlin. He's one of my favourite authors, but IMHO, "Praying For Sleep" is still his best work thus far.

4. Compile quotes from the last 3 episodes of "House". I have them on tape! Give me some time to jot them down.

5. Wait with bated breath for news regarding an opportunity to meet someone whom I've admired for the last 2 years. If it happens, it'll be the perfect close to an already-perfect year. :)

It's getting late, so will have to log off and get some rest in preparation for yet another hectic day tomorrow ( being on leave isn't very relaxing ).

Photo Time

Something from Pisa ( obviously ).

Quaint little town with only 1 major attraction drawing HORDES of tourists. That place is so packed it's absolutely insane.

I didn't feel the urge to go up to the top or pose like countless others in typical look-I'm-holding-up-the-tower-with-my-bare-hands positions.

Fun facts: They only let 30 people in every half hour, and restoration works are hilariously haphazard ( they began at one end, stopped somewhere in the middle, then restarted at the other end - supposedly a well-known Italian trait ). So the top and bottom are clean, but the centre is grimy. Weird.

Apparently, the church facing the tower is also slanted ( a fact verified by the local guide when my mom commented that the building appeared to be listing to the right - and which I initially vehemently disagreed with ).

Lesson learnt - never mess with my mother's instincts. :)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sunset In Sorrento Posted by Picasa

Quaint Coastal Quarters Posted by Picasa

Swam 3 times this past week, and I still hurt after each session. A sure sign of my decaying physical state.

But it's fun, though. :)


Been meaning to put this up for a while, but never got round to it.

Sincere thanks to James, whose IT expertise has helped revamp the website in preparation for many exciting events to follow in the near future.

Am particularly proud of the newsletter, which provided an opportunity for me to fly solo as editor and Super Nag. Chasing people for articles can be a real hassle, so Xena, I take my hat off to you! :D

Going off for lunch very soon, so not much time left for a long entry.

In short, I've got one more day of work left before my 10-day stretch of annual leave begins, woohoo!
However, I will be spending that leave doing mundane things, such as loading up on various supplies, dinners with friends who will no doubt disown me if I don't meet them soon, hunting for a new car ( yes, a NEW CAR - don't ask ), sleeping, reading, writing, renting DVDs, major house-organizing, attending AST tutorials ( during my LEAVE, argh ), and ahem, paying Bar None a way-overdue visit. :)

The Photos Above

... are from Sorrento. Specifically, the lovely view from a very lovely restaurant located at the fisherman's wharf ( name mentioned in an earlier entry ).

Terrific food, delicious wine, lots of tipsy fellow tourists, balmy weather, the soft rhythmic lapping of waves against the sand -- definitely one of the best evenings on the trip.

Let it be a good shift today.