Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Memoriam

Just received news about a friend's passing.

The medical community has lost an individual who embodied the best qualities a doctor should possess.

May you rest in peace.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Will keep this short.

I'm on leave, but as luck would have it, I've also come down with what I suspect is H1N1.

Fever 38.6 deg C, myalgia, rhinorrhoea, cough, headache.

Am making do with self-medication at home. Still doing housework, but putting off the major vacuuming / mopping till next week when I don't feel so lousy.

Damn that I didn't get sick when I had to do shifts. At least it would've granted me a few days of MC.

And now, Blogger's posting page is in a weird format. Anyone else experiencing this problem? How the heck do you adjust the font size?

So the TVs and DVRs have arrived. Chose Panasonic LCD. Thanks to everyone who offered their advice. Am now watching a Michael Buble concert DVD - the effect is spectacular. :)

Also want to recommend a great, great film. It's called Lars And The Real Girl, and stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer and Paul Shneider.

Like one of my other favourites, Into The Wild, LATRG is deeply moving, expertly directed, and buoyed by a terrific cast.

Gosling proves his versatility, picking a role that is the polar opposite of his usual arrogant, rascally characters.
His portrayal of Lars is bittersweet, comical and heartwarming.

Supporting actors Emily Mortimer and Paul Shneider deserve special mention for their sensitive performances as Lars' patient sister-in-law and brother.
Shneider, in particular, stands out in quite a few scenes where his character first registers shock and disbelief, then settles into resignation and, finally, unconditional acceptance.
He also demonstrates a keen sense of comic timing. Look out for a hilarious breakfast scene where Shneider looks like he's having the mother of all migraines.

A beautiful piece of work.

Other beautiful pieces of work: Lee Goldberg's Monk novels, based on the long-running hit TV series.
Couldn't believe it when I found a whole chunk of them at the nearby public library. Have already read Mr. Monk And The Blue Flu ( side-splitting! ) and am now reading Mr. Monk Goes To The Firehouse ( equally good ).

Also spotted Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series, which resulted in the TV spinoff. Will borrow those later.

I feel a temperature spiking, so before I sign off, here's a link to a friend's blog which features reviews of the latest hot gadgets. Do pay it a visit.

Right, time for some Panadol and a cold shower.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Advice Needed

After 9 good years of service, my Panasonic TVs and VCRs - yes, VCRs - are dying slow deaths. Have to endure the next week or two without any recording capabilities ( missing the Law & Order marathon, argh! ), and contemplating whether to buy LCD or plasma TVs later this week when I venture to a Best Denki outlet in town.

Please post your comments - I will log into Blogger to read and moderate them daily.

In other news, I'm looking forward to another short block of leave starting this weekend. Unfortunately, it doesn't coincide with G's schedule, as he'll be out of the country for most of the period. Oh well, guess the alcohol session can wait. :)

Appaloosa turned out to be a moderately enjoyable Western flick, buoyed only by its terrific cast - Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons and Renee Zellweger.
Nothing very special about this film, except for the 3 unbelievably hot older actors, who don't seem to have an ounce of flab on their bodies and are tremendously gifted thespians to boot.
And Mortensen looks great with a shotgun. :)

Burn After Reading was a nice way to spend my post-call evening. Again, the cast saved an otherwise frivolous script, which sort of collapsed on itself towards the last half hour and ended too abruptly for my taste ( the Coen brothers need to kick this stupid habit - prime example: No Country For Old Men ).

Awaiting to be seen: The Duchess, Lars And The Real Girl ( Ryan Gosling got rave reviews for this one ), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button ( high expectations to meet ), and a collection of short films by Pixar.
Am taking advantage of VideoEzy's Great Singapore Sale offers, after a huge delay due to a pile of administrative duties that have only recently been cleared from my in-tray.

Books-wise, the review of the Monk novel will be posted at a later date. I've also spotted some Dexter thrillers on the shelves. Wish I had the time to read them. I just love gory stuff. :)

Catching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soon. Have absolutely no impression from the book, which I hated, so hope the movie fares better.

Before I sign off, a link to Jason Mraz's blog. He's taking questions via Twitter - next round this coming Friday. Hope he returns to Singapore in the near future!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This Week...

I watched Changeling - yes, the Clint Eastwood film starring Angelina Jolie.
After hating Slumdog Millionaire, Changeling is a great breath of fresh air, expertly directed by Eastwood, with a taut script and terrific performances from the entire cast.
Am especially impressed with Jeffrey Donovan, who played a nasty police captain at loggerheads with Jolie's character. A breakout role for the Burn Notice star.

Also caught Imelda, the 2003 film by Ramona Diaz. Though far from blatantly critical, it does portray the infamous Filipino ex-First Lady in a less than flattering light.
Two scenes stand out: one where Mrs. Marcos launches into a lengthy discourse about the path to peace and order ( something about experiential and cosmic whatever ), and a remark that even the poor approve of her extravagant spending, because "when I live well, they live well".
Err, right.

Met up with G, whom I've known for more than 9 years, ever since my first MO posting in gastro. Had drinks at Raffles Hotel's Long Bar ( not as crowded as the last time I visited, which was quite a few years ago ), before moving on ( at G's insistence ) to another watering hole across the road. The mojito must've been mixed with some caffeinated concoction, since I had insomnia the whole night and remained wide awake the entire day. Or maybe it's just getting to spend time with G after an estimated 2 years apart.
He brought me a thoughtful - and most unexpected - gift, a definite first in the course of our long friendship. Impeccable manners, generous to a fault, a great conversationalist, still as good-looking as ever, and vowing to remain eternally single.
I really should take up his offer to drive me around one of these days. :)

Coming soon: reviews of Appaloosa ( a Viggo Mortensen western ), Burn After Reading ( not too hopeful about this one ), and a Lee Goldberg novel based on the Monk TV series ( hilarious so far ).

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pure Indulgence Part VI

After going cross-eyed while gathering statistics from the department's computerized medical records, it's time for some R&R.

If you don't like the direction this is going, feel free to drop by Singapore MD for something more intellectually stimulating. Whiny comments won't be published.

This entry is dedicated to male musical theatre stars.

First, John Barrowman, whom I mentioned recently after seeing him on BBC Entertainment's Any Dream Will Do -- a reality TV series which aired in the UK in 2007, pitched as a search for raw new talent to play the lead role in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Already into its 3rd episode, I've got to say it's very entertaining, though at times a little too theatrical. I guess all that youthful energy makes it tough to be subtle, heh.

As my mother and I tuned in last night, she kept saying what "a huge pity" it is that Barrowman's gay. She must've made this remark at least 5 times. Awww, I feel your pain too, mom. :)

His biography lists Raoul ( Phantom Of The Opera ) and Bobby ( Stephen Sondheim's Company ) as past stage roles. You can sample his music on the IMEEM player on the right - just type his name in the box and click on the arrow. His cover of Carly Simon's You're So Vain is surprisingly good. Going to buy his CDs for my collection. :)

Next, Lee Mead, who's one of the contestants on Any Dream Will Do.

No spoiler alert since the show concluded 2 years ago. Suffice to say, I was too curious to pass up the chance to find out who won, and turns out Lee emerged the victor.

Funny thing is, when I first laid eyes on him during the first 2 episodes ( last week ), I knew nothing about his background and immediately picked him as my favourite of the lot. Partly because he has the right look, but also because he has a terrific voice and stage presence.

This week, it was revealed that he was an understudy for the role of Raoul on Phantom Of The Opera, but never got to perform because the principal actor didn't fall sick.

Can I pick 'em, or can I pick 'em? :)

Seems Lee became romantically involved with one of the show's judges soon after he won. Hooked up with Denise van Outen, a pretty blonde who's also 7 years older. They're now engaged to be married. Congratulations!

Next, on to another favourite, Raul Esparza, whom I've mentioned before during my Company obsession earlier this year, and whose photo I'd like to post as a gentle reminder.
He famously blasted Jeremy Piven for pulling out of Speed-The-Plow due to supposed mercury poisoning, and missed out on winning the Tony for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

Currently, he's starring opposite Anne Hathaway in a Broadway production of Twelfth Night.

I just hope he'll be acting in something when I'm back in NYC next year, or I'm going to pull my hair out.

Here he is with fellow Speed-The-Plow actors Elizabeth Moss and Piven ( who's on the right, in happier times ).

Last but not least, John Lloyd Young.

I may not have written about him for quite some time, but I still keep track of his career, and wish he'd release an album so I can buy it already.

He's acting in a comedy film, and making a guest appearance on the new Ryan Murphy ( Nip/Tuck creator ) TV series, Glee.

Thank you, L, for enabling me to catch the pilot episode, which I just know I'll love. :D

I really should drop JLY a fan letter one of these days, so I can receive another personal reply. It's fun. :)
Apologies for the tiny photo. It's one of the best ones available on the Net but comes in a low resolution, so I had to compromise.

Right, time to do an exit round, then head on home.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Quickie Post

First, a link to Singapore MD, which will lead you to an interesting article about the H1N1 pandemic.

Second, a singer I recently discovered via BBC Entertainment on cable, named John Barrowman. Not sure how big a star he is on-stage, but he's got a great voice. ( He's also good-looking and openly gay, not that it matters. :))

Third, I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire on DVD. Does NOT deserve a Best Picture Oscar, or all that hype. It's cheesy from beginning to end. Flashback to the year Forrest Gump beat The Shawshank Redemption. Totally unfair.

Or maybe it's just me. Have been developing a taste for dark films these past few years - There Will Be Blood, Into The Wild, etc. I didn't like Wall-E, and got lots of flak for it. :)

By the way, it's Dead Poets Society's 20th anniversary this year. Wow, didn't realize I first saw it when I was 14 years old, and Ethan Hawke was only 17 or 18 in it. Still my all-time favourite. A real classic.

And last, a disappointing line-up for 2009's Singapore Sun Festival. Guess I'll save my money for 2010 when I return to Broadway.

Am drawing up a list of items to buy from Amazon when I go on leave later this month. May cost me a bundle. :P