Monday, November 30, 2009
I caught Adam Lambert's explosive performance on the American Music Awards on YouTube. In high def.
Verdict: Whoa... and in a totally excellent way, my man. :)
He's just so much more entertaining than Kris Allen, who's cute but honestly, rather dull. Apologies to my cousin, who's a big fan.
Have downloaded Adam's MP3 album. Going to blast it on the car stereo later. :D
Also downloaded Jamie Cullum and Robbie Williams' new albums, for US$1.50 each -- Thanksgiving offer, plus US$50 free bonus, beat that!
Reviews to follow at a later date.
In other news, tickets for The Bridge Project's The Tempest are now on sale.
I've bought mine. I strongly urge you to see this!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It's my blog, and I can post whatever I want. :)
Haven't had the time or energy to watch Adam Lambert's controversial AMAs performance on the Internet just yet. Bet it was memorable!
I have my own values and beliefs, but where Adam's concerned, I tend to give him a wide berth. Maybe I would've tsk-tsked more if I were younger, but having travelled quite extensively over the past decade, I think my tolerance threshold where entertainers are concerned has shifted considerably.
All the hoo-ha over "the kiss" and the S&M theme is such a load of crock, especially coming from the United States, where freedom of expression is sacred and encouraged.
So a gay fellow locked lips with another gay fellow. Big deal.
So it happened during a prime-time programme, on a network that's owned by Disney. Err, don't you have a 5-second lag time for editing purposes?
So Adam's affiliation with American Idol is now a sin? For many - including myself - he's the only reason viewers bother to tune in.
Let's dispose of the blatant hypocrisy and accept Adam for who he is - flamboyant, courageous, and undeniably one of the most exciting performers to hit the mainstream in a long while.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I've been looking forward to this all year!
The official announcement is still pending, but I have a source from the Singapore Repertory Theatre confirming that the production will be in Singapore April 2010, and that ticket sales will start soon.
Sounds like only The Tempest will be staged here. No As You Like It? Darn...
By the way, the guy in the bottom left photo looks like the actor who played Dexter's serial killer older brother in season 1. Don't know his name, but hey, he's from Dexter! :)
A quick review of Michael Buble's new album - it's good, but still can't quite compare to his debut release and follow-up It's Time. The latter really set the standard in terms of what Michael's capable of, so it's going to be tough to top that stellar effort.
Crazy Love has all the quintessential MB elements - big band numbers, swing, pop, covers and original compositions. Detractors will no doubt complain that a predictable formula is emerging, but that happens to lots of singers - though not to Jason Mraz, heh - and I'm more than happy to hear more of the same, as long as the repertoire and musical arrangements aren't below par.
Favourites on this CD include a smooth rendition of Georgia On My Mind, a dreamy tribute to the '50s on Stardust ( think Mr. Sandman ), a head-bobbing duet on Baby ( You've Got What It Takes ), and an upbeat cover of Some Kind Of Wonderful.
Michael always adds a little spring to my step. Have been blasting the album in my car, and beaming all the way to and from work. :)
Now if only he'll come to Singapore for a concert. It's way overdue!
A blog reader told me I sound angsty. Do I really? Think I've been sounding rather chirpy actually, at least in recent weeks.
The wedding dinner last night was saved by the good food. Love the drunken prawns, yum! Pity the event wasn't as cozy as it could've been. Also, there was lots of security on the ground floor. Some of the APEC delegates must still be around.
The best wedding dinner I've ever attended was at the Orchard Parade Hotel, where we dined on lobster and the creative programme added a lovely personal touch to the festivities. Wonder if my JC friend's upcoming nuptials at the Conrad next month will match that. Looking forward to meeting my old classmates again!
Before I sign off, a culinary recommendation: Watami Japanese Restaurant at Ion Orchard, #B3-23. Try the Sukiyaki Nabe set and all the desserts! The food is superb, and the prices more than reasonable.
No reservations though, so go early.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
With all the hoopla over the APEC Summit and President Obama's inaugural visit to Singapore, I've been disappointed about not being able to get myself on the medical cover teams.
Not sure why, just wasn't asked. Maybe 'cos I was away for most of October?
But at least I've been fortunate enough in the past few months, since despite being at the ER doing mundane shifts, I still had the opportunity to meet people from a couple of high-profile events.
During the F1 race, Jenson Button dropped by in the wee hours of the morning, with model girlfriend and a small entourage in tow. I stood next to him for a few minutes, listening as he conversed with his manager(?), and no-one in the waiting room even knew who he was!
I also met two F1 crew members from Britain, who were a pleasure to treat and chat with.
Last night, I was slightly taken aback when the nursing officer on evening shift with me suddenly mentioned that a Secret Service agent was in her office, as part of the SOP for President Obama's overseas trips.
After settling my cases and handing over to the incoming night team, I introduced myself to him and we ended up chatting for 45 minutes.
Didn't get his name - not sure if agents are allowed to reveal such details - but he did say he's 41, that he migrated to the U.S. from Korea when he was 3, and that he's been in the SS for 7 years after switching from police detective work in Richmond, Virginia.
He's extremely friendly and answered all my questions as thoroughly as he could. If my queries were deemed a little sensitive, he'd tactfully withhold certain facts and figures and I'd get the hint.
The time really flew by as we discussed a wide range of topics, from his work to our views on politics and even Hollywood movies like In The Line Of Fire and Guarding Tess.
He was decked out in a full black pin-striped suit and tie, with a walkie-talkie sitting next to him on the table. He stopped in mid-sentence a few times to listen whenever someone conveyed a message ( usually to someone else on another w-t ), but our conversation remained mostly uninterrupted otherwise.
One of the messages I caught a snippet of sounded like, "We're rolling, we're rolling out."
Can't really post too much about what was exchanged, but suffice to say, it was wonderfully enlightening, and the most interesting thing I discovered was that the SS is regularly approached by police departments to assist in difficult investigations of everything from fraud to murder to child pornography.
No, the SS does NOT limit its work to White House-related matters. In fact, quite a few police departments dislike the FBI, and it seems the SS agents feel the same way.
All that glamour bestowed on the FBI? Pure Hollywood imagination.
Last but not least, I couldn't help noticing how good-looking the agent is. He appears to be my age rather than 41, and I found myself checking out his left ring finger, which was bare. Not that it necessarily means anything, but that's what I do when I meet an attractive guy - I look for a wedding ring. :)
Sadly, I had to cut things short as I finished my shift and headed home. Would've been nice if I had been on call, 'cos I still had so many other questions to ask.
Today, I had the opportunity to speak to another agent, named Larry. He's been in the Secret Service for 12 years, and specializes in counterfeit U.S. currency. Our chat lasted an hour, before President Obama's departure on Air Force One cued Larry's exit from our department to head to the military plane which will take the agents to Korea.
I found it interesting how different both men are in terms of personality and how they steered the conversation. Lee, whom I spoke to yesterday ( Larry kindly provided me his name :)), let me ask most of the questions and enjoyed discussing politics. Larry, on the other hand, prefers to ask ME questions about myself and Singapore, although he did fill in the blanks when I quizzed him on aspects of the job which I didn't have time to ask Lee last night.
Another fascinating chat, with these little tidbits that're probably harmless enough to share.
Presidents Clinton and Obama are usually late, but Reagan and Bush are ALWAYS on time.
Clinton stayed at the Raffles Hotel when he visited our island, while Obama was at the Shangri-La.
Come to think of it, I'm attending a wedding dinner there tomorrow.
The best part about meeting Larry? He gave me his Secret Service name card, and asked for my email address so he can contact me the next time he's in Singapore. This is his 2nd time here, and he fully intends to return 'cos he absolutely loves this place - believe it or not!
He's also promised to bring me some Secret Service stuff, woo! :D
Would be great if I can bring a group of agents around. If anyone wants to join me, let me know. :)
Am in the midst of watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona (VCB), after a huge delay in securing the DVD from the Tanglin Club library.
I've never been a Woody Allen fan, but softened somewhat after Match Point scored with its young, vibrant cast and snappy script.
Hated Scoop, but love VCB.
And I'm only halfway through, heh!
Why do I love it? Definitely not because of Scarlett Johansson, whose compulsive hair-tossing and pouting get on my nerves.
Rebecca Hall is the main draw for me, especially since I saw her in The Bridge Project's production of The Winter's Tale.
Javier Bardem is also perfectly cast. Not conventionally handsome ( think he needs to correct his ptosis a bit ), but swoon-worthy for a variety of reasons.
I find this film captivating because of its insightful analysis of relationships in their many forms. How a sensible woman does something completely out of character when the conditions are just right; how a man can still love an ex-wife who once stabbed him; how one chooses to stay in a marriage because "I still love him, I'm just not in love with him."
VCB strikes a chord with me. I was once at a crossroad contemplating a choice between 2 men, and picked the wrong one who made me the cynic I am today. I also have very fond memories of the time I spent with a charming European gentleman I met on a Bavarian tour, who unabashedly propositioned me one night as we sat in the corner of a cozy restaurant. For the record, I politely declined, though I sorely regret it. :)
A lot of things happen when I travel, most of which I don't write about here. ;)
I'll finish the movie after my shift tonight. Don't think I'll be able to get any sleep otherwise!
True Blood Season 2
FINALLY finished watching this today. Fan-freaking-tastic!
I just can't believe how mind-bending the whole storyline has become. Especially the romantic rivalry between Eric and Bill. Delicious!
Also, there's a chilling cliffhanger.
Can't wait for Season 3. :)
Sex And The City
Took me eons to start liking this series, but cable telecasts of Seasons 1 & 2 - which I've never seen before - have me hooked.
Pity about the censorship rules. I've seen episodes in the U.S. and Australia, and honestly speaking, the nudity and simulated sex scenes are actually vital plot components.
Chris Noth, who plays Mr. Big, and whom we're familiar with from his days on Law & Order, is gorgeous here.
My mom wants me to order the original version from Amazon. Ahh, I'm so proud of her. :D
Right then, it's time for dinner. Have a busy week ahead. Feeling tired already.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Pictures from Surfers Paradise at the Gold Coast.
[ click to enlarge ]
Here's the view from my 20th floor deluxe suite.
Sunrise occurs at 5am daily. Who needs an alarm clock?! :)
The dolphin show at the Imagine dolphin lagoon. A huge thrill!
The trainer in this photo also took my group for the dolphin adventure session. Very nice chap.
Just one of many leaps featured. Made me realize I need to get a new camera, haha.
Busy burning a Michael Buble CD. Downloaded ( legally ) his latest, Crazy Love. Sounds much better than the last album, yes!
Haven't actually finished posting pics from Sydney yet. Maybe next time.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Haven't had a chance to blog for 3 weeks, a common side effect after returning from long leave.
Hence, note the time of this entry.
Much has happened since my last update, which I will elaborate on in a series of posts.
Haven't even had time to upload my photos yet, despite logging into the laptop almost daily this week to prep an upcoming tutorial.
A sad state of affairs indeed.
In a nutshell, however, I had an excellent time at Brisbane's Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise, to be exact. Spent 15 days in the area for the purpose of attending 2 ultrasound workshops, and did a bit of touring in between.
Had the pseudo-good fortune of being there during the V8 race, which is kinda like Australia's version of Formula 1, just with different types of cars and an entirely Aussie line-up of drivers.
Will tell you more in a later entry.
Also met up with 2 friends who reside in Brisbane. Had a great day at Sea World then ate the most heavenly dinner and dessert at the nearby Marina Mirage.
Details to follow. :)
The Sea World Whale Watch was truly memorable, for good and bad reasons. But the latter are wholly due to natural causes, and I have no regrets about the suffering I had to endure to get a glimpse of these majestic creatures in the wild.
More about that another time.
Last but not least, the highlight of my trip: the Sea World Dolphin Adventure, which costs a pretty penny but is worth every cent.
Sorry to say it again - "will post more information the next round" - but I really need to do this justice, and it requires a lengthy post.
But suffice to say, the experience was a heady mixture of surreal, awe-inspiring, heartwarming and hilarious.
Getting up close with a dolphin has been on my to-do list since childhood. You have no idea how lucky I feel to finally fulfill this life-long wish.
I recently got on the MP3-downloading wagon, but will definitely dish out the moolah for Jason Mraz's CD/DVD collection, due out November 10.
If you're a JM virgin, take it from me that this is one artiste you absolutely MUST sample, preferably 'live'.
I can't wait to hear the new tracks!
John Mayer's new album is in the November 17 slot. Get ready for more bluesy rock masterpieces. Love the CD cover, by the way. :)
Next, Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment, November 23. I hope the trackes titled Strut and Soaked live up to their names! Am a big fan of Glamorize, which oozes sexual heat.
And not forgetting... Robbie Williams, a perennial favourite since his Take That days during my junior college era. Also out November 17. What's with the massive squeeze of release dates?
He's reportedly been going through a difficult period these past few years, but I hope this album will see him returning to fine form, like during his Sing/Swing When You're Winning heyday.
This is one talented guy, and I wish only the best for him.
Here's one already on the market so I won't have to wait - David Archuleta's Christmas CD, which came out in October.
Believe the 5-star reviews, 'cos I've seen the YouTube clips and know he excels at X'mas carols and hymns.
A previous performance of O Holy Night at a dinner event caused me to tear up. The sound quality wasn't great and he sang with only a piano to back him up, but it was so uplifting, it's exactly like what the reviewers say: you can feel him pouring his heart and soul into every word, and you the listener gets swept up in a tidal wave of emotion.
I wasn't impressed with his fluffy pop album - no doubt targeted at squealing, lovelorn teenage girls - but am certain that David's strengths will be beautifully showcased here.
Will go MP3-hunting this weekend. Legally, of course. :)
Almost forgot to mention Michael Buble's latest offering, which I didn't have time to get before going on leave. Reviews have been generally good so far, but as someone on Amazon remarks, the orchestral arrangements sometimes overwhelm the vocals, and that's definitely a pity.
I suspect this is the reason I didn't enjoy his previous album, Call Me Irresponsible. But that CD had some inherent problems with song choices and guest artistes ( Boyz II Men doing backup? Come on! ), so crossing my fingers that the situation has improved since that debacle.
I don't know if the Glee soundtrack is available in Singapore, but most of its songs have been floating all over the Internet for ages. I guess the MP3s are high-quality recordings culled directly from TV, uploaded by some tech-savvy, kind-hearted soul to share with the rest of the world.
There's a cover of Duffy's Mercy which strangely fails to appear on both Volumes 1&2. Be sure to listen to it - and a rousing version of Amy Winehouse's Rehab. Am sure you'll find it easily through Google.
At least I managed to catch 2 episodes of Glee in Brisbane. Could it be the pregnant cheerleader and gay teen who're keeping the show off local TV? Even digital cable? If the sex-and-blood-soaked True Blood made the cut, why didn't Glee? Yeesh.
Another programme I got hooked on: Australian Idol. I've seen about 4 episodes over the past 2 months, and predict that Nathan Brake will win, barring some voting fiasco like the Clay Aiken / Adam Lambert mess.
He did a chill-inducing cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music Of The Night on one episode, and wowed everyone with Michael Jackson's Thriller another week.
Only 17 years old, but unusually confident on-stage, and an AMAZING singer.
MP3s online? :)
3 movies I desperately want to catch in cinemas: 2012 ( John Cusack doing a rare blockbuster! ), New Moon ( trailer looks good ), and Avatar ( trailer gave me goosebumps ).
Will watch on DVD ( and maybe buy it ): An Education, which stars the sexy and fascinating Peter Sarsgaard ( aka Jake Gyllenhaal's brother-in-law ). Earning rave reviews everywhere, maybe some Oscar buzz as well.
If you haven't seen Sarsgaard's stellar turn in Shattered Glass ( where he completely overshadowed Hayden Christensen ), I highly recommend it. Keep forgetting to buy the DVD, dammit. And I never see it on cable.
Short reviews of flicks I saw on the plane:
The Hangover - quite fun, but also crass. Has a few hilarious scenes but strictly for males.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - found it very disorganized. The book is just too thick to fit into 2-3 hours.
Up - love this film! Not Pixar's best ( faves include Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Ratatouille ), but the animal characters are priceless, and the scene where Carl first unveils his balloons and the house floats over the town is totally awesome!
That giant bird thingy is a hoot! Someone tell me if the creature has a proper name ( not "Kevin" ).
(500) Days Of Summer - another hyped-up movie, which I found a tad disappointing. Where rom-coms are concerned, I still think Someone Like You ( Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman ) and Something's Gotta Give ( Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson ) take the cake.
But it's nice to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt looking clean-shaven and perky for once, considering his usual choice of dark / bizarre roles.
A certain Hall & Oates hit is used to convey happiness in a cute dance sequence. An inspired choice!
Reminder to self: go rent The Hurt Locker.
Watch For It
The Bridge Project 2010 recently announced a Shakespearean doublebill. Doesn't have any big names, but a great improvement from the lesser-known The Winter's Tale.
Kevin Spacey's rumoured to be touring in 2011. Do you think he'll try Shakespeare? The first character that pops into mind is Shylock. But if he wants to do comedy, then please take on Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing! :)
Enough for today.