Friday, March 30, 2007

The Nasty Bits

This is the title of my favourite Anthony Bourdain book, and it happens to fit my recent travel experience to a T.

I will also quote from one of Bourdain's chapters on Vietnam, but in a later entry regarding the totally insane traffic conditions.

So here's the thing: I was part of a group of 16, mostly people I know from church, almost all of whom are more than twice my age. At least half of us got hit with gastrointestinal upset in some form or other, and I wasn't spared. The upside: I make it a point to carry an arsenal of medications whenever I go overseas, so I handed out pills to the afflicted, with good results. Now everyone calls Maxolon a miracle pill. Haha. :)

Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Nha Trang and Mui Ne regions.

The food: not too bad, except for the fact that some of it caused the GE problems. We suspect the cold dishes are to blame. Or maybe the flies. Or the dodgy ice cubes. Or the generally filthy environment. Take your pick.

The first few days were pretty good. Food was excellent -- lots of fresh greens, superb seafood, tender chicken and beef, loads and loads of fragrant pho. Stayed at the cozy Novotel Dalat ( left ), which presented each guest with a silk scarf as a welcome gift, and offered a wonderful breakfast spread in an alfresco setting.

We also visited the renowned night market, which was really bustling during the weekend. Highlights include mutant vegetables such as broccoli the size of a small child's head ( right ), equally gigantic cabbages, potatoes and artichokes. At rock bottom prices. A veggie lover's paradise!

There were endless rows of stalls hawking everything from T-shirts ( US $1 upwards ) to gorgeous key chains with traditional tribal dolls ( I bought 5 ), a mind-boggling array of BBQ ( corn, sweet potato, kebabs ).

The weather was nice and chilly in the evening, turning balmy with a light breeze by morning.

Due to time concerns, more entries will follow at a later date. However, I must state for the record that, despite being really sick and miserable during the later part of this trip, it was a profound and memorable experience, for reasons I will expound on another day.

In Other News

American Idol 6 has been a tame rollercoaster ride thus far, with the only upset ( in my book at least ) being that of Chris Sligh's elimination this week. My main grouse: Sanjaya's persistent safety. A friend's SMS says it best: Sanjaya lives to torture another day. Wah lau...

Right now, I'm rooting for Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks, who appear to be jostling for the top spot. Guys-wise, perhaps Chris Richardson and/or Blake Lewis will make it to the top 3 if they play their cards right, but my hopes aren't very high.

Fare thee well, Chris S. You had a good run while it lasted.

Prison Break 2: Ah, it's good to have the Fox River escapees back on the small screen! And this time, they're running for their lives with an obsessed FBI agent ( Harry Fichtner ) on their tails, so it's definitely a lot more interesting than all that political maneouvring within the prison walls in Season 1.

But you have to admit the usual plot loopholes are still there, and why the heck are the guys strolling around without any disguises ( except maybe a cap, which is useless )? In the real world, they would've been caught within 24 hours max.

Oh yeah, and the scriptwriters want us to believe a rural vet is capable of reattaching a human hand without anaesthesia or proper operating equipment. With restoration of full functionality withn minutes!

I'm watching only because of Wentworth Miller okay? :)

CSI Returneth with a vengeance. CSI Las Vegas Season 7 is cooking up all sorts of fascinating scenarios with a serial killer who builds exact replicas of his crime scenes in the form of little dollhouses. CSI New York, on the other hand, will be back next Monday, so don't miss it.

Barbara Walters' interviews with the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006 is also worthy of mention. There's an Oscars special, plus Patrick Dempsey, Andre Agassi and Jay Z, among others.

Last but not least, this is the event of a lifetime!

I've already booked my tickets ( my poor pocket, but I wouldn't miss this for the world ).

Till next time...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Links

I fly this weekend ( YES! :)). Was down with the flu but recovered pretty quickly. What a relief.

Here're more good videos to tide you over till my next entry.

Michael Buble

Scroll down and check out the TV interview segment and the one with him singing For Once In My Life with Tony Bennett, Carrie Underwood and Josh Groban.

The Spiderman video is BEAUTIFUL!

This guy never fails to bring a big smile to my weather-beaten face. :)

Peter Cincotti

I've sampled one so far, but what a winner it is!

Click on his 'live' performance of After You've Gone, a whopping 6-minute showcase of musical genius. Sans assistance from the piano pedal. Crisp and flawless. He always astounds with ease.

Jason Mraz

This links directly to a 'live' performance of Absolutely Zero from his Java Joe's gig ( an excellent album recording not available in Singapore ). I personally prefer the version from his later Tonight Not Again CD, but considering the fact that this is one of his best compositions ( and that it consistently sounds better on-stage than in the studio ), it's a good intro for non-JM fans and a fun flashback for those of us who adore him.

And by the way, here's another cool one. Perfect for relaxing on a cool, rainy day ( like today ). :)

Last One

My new addiction: John Mayer ( woo, the new Blogger allows text colouring :))

Have already played his Try! John Mayer Trio CD countless times. This is heavy duty blues at its best!

Tracks worth mentioning:

Vultures -- one of my faves from his Continuum CD, this absolutely rips in a 'live' setting. Raw vocals make it more poignant. Love the guitar, as always.

Out Of My Mind -- the most appropriate word I can think of to describe this piece ( and mind you, it's the first word that popped into my head when I initially heard it ) is "foreplay". Haha. Shall let you ponder that a bit. ;)

I Got A Woman -- my favourite on this particular album, hands down. Jamie Foxx sampled it in his duet with Kanye West on Gold Digger, but the Ray Charles classic is so much better standing on its own. Mayer does it immense justice, hitting the falsettos admirably and driving all the women in the audience nuts ( you can hear them loud and clear ). Unbelievable stuff!

Vids-wise, check this page out.

That's it for now. More when I get back. Enjoy. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007


A day of MC has done a world of good. ( Not that taking MC is good, mind you. Apologies to my colleagues who had to pick up the slack while I was away. )

But I knew it was coming, especially after a woozy episode midway through my morning shift yesterday. Hadn't rested since 1st March, and suffered an unprecedented string of HORRIBLE shifts for 7 straight days before my body and spirit gave out.

Burnout? You bet.

On the upside, I'm ready to jump right in again tomorrow. Saturday night, whoopee. :)

Anyway, I'm happy to report that my broadband account is finally set up -- no more dialup! ( I know of at least one person who'll be doing the dance of joy upon hearing this, haha. )

As a treat for my aching bones and exhausted brain, I'd like to share a link from YouTube.

This, dear readers, is the one that started it all for this blog, which is named in his honour ( though I tweaked the final product so it'll roll off the tongue more easily ).

He always has been, still is, and always will be my favourite actor. No matter what roles he takes, on stage or film ( or perhaps TV, who knows ).

Ladies and gentleman, I give you... the incomparable Kevin Spacey.

I first saw this interview eons ago ( 5 - 10 years, I reckon ). I was already a huge fan ( The Negotiator and Se7en were good intros, but The Usual Suspects sealed the deal, followed by Swimming With Sharks and American Beauty ), but seeing a playful side to such an accomplished ( and often deadly serious ) thespian only succeeded in winning more respect and admiration.

No other actor has ever claimed the top spot on my list of favourites ( I'm a film buff and do have a few faves but am pretty dodgy where #1 positions are concerned ), and no other has usurped his place ever since.

Just watch this and tell me you don't love him. Just a little. :)

Internet videos from home. Ahhh, I can see why you love broadband. :D

More links to come. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

No-one knows how to R&R like a 10-year-old cat. :)

p.s. Am experiencing problems loading blog entries directly to the home page address. Click on the archives on the right ( March - April 2007 ) for an updated version if your screen doesn't have the March 9th entry.


The past few days were HELL.

Apologies to friends who received my frustrated SMSs -- something about being exhausted and wanting to retire as a tai-tai.

The feeling has dissipated, thanks to a very inspiring episode of ER on cable last night.

Who needs antidepressants when you've got a great TV show to come home to? :)

And by the way, is it true RGS girls never become tai-tais? Quick, someone prove the speaker of this statement wrong! ( haha )

RJC-ians Unite

It never fails to amaze me how, 15 years after we first came together, we're still going strong, with 24 out of a class of 25 fully accounted for.

There we were on Sunday afternoon -- well, just 6 of us managed to show up this time -- chatting about politics, family, medicine, money and the like, as if nothing had changed at all.

We still look the same ( save for a few more wrinkles ); we're still trading similar playful insults; but most importantly, we know we have absolute faith and trust in one another.

Congrats to the newly minted Lieutenant-Colonel, fast on his way to Brigadier-General, no doubt.

Next major gathering: August, when a certain long-lost alumnus returns from the US. Venue: possibly my place, for lots of BBQ-charred carcasses, alcohol and politically incorrect ranting.

That should be fun. :)


Disappointing, to say the least.

Sure, the women are pretty good, but nobody really stands out this year, except maybe Chris Sligh the tall-big-curly-haired-bespectacled-dude-with-a-nice-personality-and-respectable-voice.

Let me make my prediction now: the winner of AI6 will be an African-American female; if a guy makes it to the top 3 at all, my bet will be on Chris Sligh, Chris Richardson or Sundance Head.

Please kick all the Caucasian girls out now because they suck.


... continues to enthrall.

All the hype about Masi Oka finally justified itself in the latest episode, when his unrestrained gawking at flying-politician Nathan Petrelli at a diner joint had me laughing in spite of my fatigue.

By the way, my mom thinks Milo Ventimiglia -- who plays Nathan's flying brother, Peter -- is "very handsome". We both remember his Jesse days from "Gilmore Girls", and I much preferred his rebellious brainy character to Jared Padalecki's bland underachiever Dean. That series really knows how to pick their young actors ( blonde heart-throb Chad Michael Murray from "One Tree Hill" is another alumnus ).

Looking Forward To...

New albums from Michael Buble and Peter Cincotti, woohoo!

Due for release this spring, whenever that might be. Hopefully by end-April or May.

Best part about new releases: world tours! Michael has already been here twice, so you can bet he'll return again. I intend to bring my cousin's young niece along this time -- she may be 10, but she's almost as tall as I am, mature beyond her tender years, and knows how to appreciate jazz.
As for Peter, I'm confident I can find an opportunity to say hello in person if and when he does hold a concert here.

Did I mention that George Clooney listed both singers as his current faves in an interview for People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 2006 issue? A pleasant surprise indeed.

Upcoming Trip

In 2 weeks.

My mother requests that I not divulge details till AFTER we're back. She worries, especially after someone told me how another blogger kena stalked by a crazy reader and had to shut his site down.

Please, I doubt I'm worth stalking.

Tiring, But Exciting

Methinks the worst is over, for now. Imagine waking up feeling like crap, then forcing yourself to drive down to work, get through the next 8 hours of torture, then come home and contend with more work.

At least the research side is settled. Crappy feeling is mostly gone -- majority hormone-related, I think. And I've got some leave coming up, yes!

Still, I had my share of fun this week, most notably in 2 cardiac cases who required synchronized cardioversion. I've done a couple before, but these 2 patients are really nice people, and it's funny how IV midazolam had a completely amnesic effect on both of them.

*ZAP! OWWW!*, followed by a loud snore. Upon waking, they had zero recollection of being fried by an electric current, and one even flashed a beatific smile when I tried to jog his memory.

"I never warn them it's coming," the cardio reg whispered to me. "Much easier that way."

Cool. :)

In other news, we had a GP who failed to refer a fast AF with a rate of 180 bpm ( guy had an ECG done at the clinic, but was later referred from OPS the next day ), and an OPS doc who didn't refer a patient with melena who was documented to be "pale". No FBC done, with a gastro referral given in May!?

Think CME activities should include tests and exams in appropriate A&E referrals. I can forgive the endless "chest discomfort" cases ( sent by anxious GPs and polyclinic MOs ) we get on a daily basis, but this sort of oversight is indefensible in a court of law should the patient collapse and die before being seen by the hospital.


Before I sign off, just want to say that the "Spider-Man 3" trailer is unbelievably, freaking good. I will be there opening day. :)

Plus, I absolutely LOVE my new laptop. Microsoft Vista rocks. :D