Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bliss Part 7

Am nearing the last few chapters of Laurell K. Hamilton's The Laughing Corpse. Thoroughly enjoying the ride, and although her writing has its slightly annoying moments ( think she uses the words "maybe", "bully" and "goody" a tad too often ), the characterizations remain vivid, and a couple of scenes are so well-drawn they literally leap off the pages. Haven't appreciated a funeral this much in a long time. :)

There's also a colourful trip through a red light district, where readers will meet a wheelchair-bound prostitute with an even darker personal history.

Cool stuff eh? :)

Here's something else to enjoy. Ladies, if you're not tuning in to So You Think You Can Dance season 6 on cable's AXN channel, then at least check out Ryan di Lello on YouTube.

They just aired the Top 20 special performance episode, but I've had my eye on this hunky dude since the early audition rounds. Never mind the fact that he's married to a hot young lady ( who also made the top 20 ). It's great to see a ballroom veteran who doesn't look the least bit wimpy for once!

Here's a HOT cha-cha number - with a jaw-dropping climax! Oh yes, and don't forget the half-buttoned shirt, heh!

And... a fabulous disco routine. Ryan looks perfectly capable of hurling his partner across the room, haha. :)

Ooh, I just found this delectable samba. No shirt, yow!

But of course, season 6 is also worth watching for its eye-popping choreography. The recent Top 20 special performance episode featured a flawless group dance orchestrated by Wade Robson. I love it so much I've seen it countless times - yes, I'm saving it all to DVD. :)

So Adam Lambert's confirmed a private gig in Singapore March 12. Despite being a big fan, it's unlikely that I'll be able to see him perform because (1) I can't for the life of me figure out how to secure tickets ( yes there's a contest giveaway, but my luck tends to suck in such things ), and (2) I'm already rostered to work that evening.

Such short notice, and not open to the general public. Why, Sony Music, WHY!?!?!?

Speaking of American Idol, the first Top 24 performances have illustrated how the series is getting old, and fast. This year's crop of Idol wannabes are pretty run-of-the-mill. The only person who stood out this week is Aaron Kelly, a sweet-faced 16-year-old whose big voice during a Rascal Flatts cover woke me up. Kind of a cross between Clay Aiken and David Archuleta, he could go very far in this competition if he continues to choose the right songs and corners the country-pop genre.

One of my early faves, Tyler Grady, got booted off, which is a real shame. Surely the wooden Tim Urban warranted an elimination? And don't get me started about the females. I can't stand that African-American girl who slaughtered The Beatles' I Wanna Hold Your Hand!

You're walking on thin ice here, AI9. No wonder SYTYCD is gaining strength in the ratings.

Last but not least, I received some very interesting news recently, raising questions about a certain person's career path and marital situation.
I'm a firm believer in divine intervention. What goes around comes around. Thank you, God. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bliss Part 6

1) Purchased my Jamie Cullum concert tickets today. A reminder to those who don't know which seats to get: his piano's always on the left side ( that's the audience's left, facing the stage ).

2) Borrowed Laurell K. Hamilton's The Laughing Corpse from the public library - couldn't resist! :)

3) Also have a tattered copy of Jeff Lindsay's Dearly Devoted Dexter sitting on my shelf.

4) Completed Episode 7 of Dexter Season 4. Wonderfully screwy, super-gory but with a smattering of hilarious scenes, and the script and acting are top-notch. Hasn't disappointed me yet, so it's currently my favourite TV show.

5) Lots of Chinese New Year visits lined up this weekend. Need to run a truckload of errands tomorrow.

Was watching the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance season 6 this afternoon. It's the last Vegas round before the Top 20 are chosen. Excellent 2 hours, filled with eye-popping dancers and lots of drama. It's far superior to American Idol. Dancers are way tougher than musicians, rarely give attitude, and seem to share an optimism which I find extremely heartwarming.
So whenever someone who's good but not quite there yet gets cut, the judges holler, "Come back next year!" and the contestant almost always answers, "You bet I will!"
Awwww. :)

And American Idol's Top 24 have been revealed at last! Only the guys have made strong impressions on me so far. Am thrilled to learn that Andrew Garcia, Casey James and Tyler Grady made it through. Casey is a frontrunner for sure - a blues guitarist who looks like a movie star and sings like a dream. We shall see how far he goes with his gifts.

I don't know if you agree with me, but I find that the quality of American TV shows has skyrocketed in the past decade. Reality programmes form a large part of that jump - American Idol, SYTYCD, Survivor, The Amazing Race, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice, etc - but the sitcoms and dramas are also way better these days.
Could be the edgier material and lax rules on nudity, foul language and taboo subjects. But TV actors now also hail from Broadway and film, like the Glee cast, Dexter's Michael C. Hall ( primarily a stage thespian ), Damages' Glenn Close, 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, House's Hugh Laurie, and so on.

I'm just glad I have cable. Local programmes really suck - I'm allergic to all Mediacorp productions - and they censor just about everything.

Finally completed Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Took me a few weeks, no thanks to constant distractions from work and New Year preparations, and the book was a huge chore to read. Haven't made a detailed comparison with the first Robert Langdon novel, Angels & Demons, which I loved back in 2005. But I remember A&D boasted much better writing, while Symbol seems painfully staged from beginning to end.

There're a few interesting plot twists, but the finale is a huge disappointment, with an irrelevant last chapter. I guess I get miffed when something gets built up to this level and ends up not really mattering in the whole scheme of things, y'know?

Anyway, I do NOT recommend this to anyone, but if you want to waste your precious time on it, be my guest.

Have been scouring the Net for travel ideas for the upcoming trip. Still a ways to go, but planning holidays always puts me in a good mood, especially when it involves the theatre and striptease. Excuse me, I'm single and in my 30s, it's all perfectly legitimate. :)

Also resolved not to kill myself during shifts. If it's busy, it's busy. The queue will clear eventually.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bliss Part 5

... is about to end.

Returning to work on Monday. NOT looking forward to it.

But a week of leave has been a godsend, despite spending half of it - or maybe more - mopping, vacuuming, dusting, wiping and getting soaked in detergent and dirt.

The upside: meeting up with Australian friends for a tiring but fun day at the Jurong Bird Park, where numerous pots of festive flowers were on display and we had a ball getting swarmed by excited lories ( that's the Lory Loft for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about ), followed by afternoon tea at a posh hotel ( felt really bad about ordering a $14 pot of Singapore Sling tea, but they wouldn't let me get away without drinking something! ), and a tummy-busting dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant.

They were particularly thrilled with a dessert called "momo ice-cream", which comprises peach-flavoured ice-cream covered with a shell of white chocolate coloured to look like a real peach ( very creative I must say ), with a core of what looks and tastes like Ferrero Rocher.

Mmmmmmm. :)

Last night was feast #2 - a reunion dinner with relatives at a seafood restaurant along the Singapore River. Great location, terrific ambience, and heavenly food for a very reasonable price, complete with 10% discount if you have the right credit card.

Last but not least, I've finally submitted that pesky journal article, ONLY because I want a pay hike, nothing else. :)

Things I CAN look forward to - Jamie Cullum's upcoming Esplanade gig in April, and Joshua Bell's performance at this year's Arts Festival. Playing Beethoven and Mendelssohn, yech. I'll probably choose Beethoven. Lesser of 2 evils. Why no Tchaikovsky or Mozart?!

Also, the annual JC class gathering at our teacher's home, complete with spouses and kids, and a long overdue BBQ with clinical group mates.

Need to exercise like crazy over the next couple of weeks!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bliss Part 4

A sure sign of impending physical meltdown always presents itself after 3 months of work in the ER. So yesterday evening, as the influx of resus cases continued, with 2 collapses and countless geriatric patients with raging fevers on nasogastric tubes in vegetative states, I suddenly felt the room spin and had to stop in my tracks for a few seconds until my head cleared.

But I managed to finish the shift despite a few milder episodes thereafter. And today, I'm relieved to escape an even worse fate in resus, by being assigned to consultation and having competent MOs running the show.

Am just waiting for the evening to end, so I can start my leave and recharge my dying battery.

How the hell am I going to do this for another 20-25 years?

Anyway, the week ahead isn't going to be easy. Chinese New Year looms, and as always, I'm in charge of house-cleaning, since I refuse to let my parents go through any heavy physical exertion, and think it's a waste of money to hire professionals who may end up stealing my valuables for all I know.

In the middle of all that sweaty activity, I need to finish up a journal writeup and get it submitted, meet friends visiting from Australia for an entire day out ( they were extremely hospitable when we met them at the Gold Coast last October ), congregate with relatives for a reunion dinner, and run a long list of other assorted errands in between the social engagements.

But I'm not complaining. Anything beats fighting daily battles in the ER. Not seeing sick people - or even worse, WELL people - in the hospital will do wonders for my mood.

As Dr. Gregory House famously said, "Treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable."

Second, many hearty congratulations to Jason Mraz for winning TWO Grammy Awards! Don't think Make It Mine was the best choice - his rendition of Love For A Child is far superior - but I've always predicted that he would win a Grammy someday, and am thrilled that he's swept 2 in a year, especially after he lost in 2009 for I'm Yours.

Well-deserved, Jason, bravo! :)
Now if only they'd get him a spot performing at the Grammys ceremony already. He'll bring the house down for sure!

Am eyeing a new series on cable's Fox channel ( Ch 132, FYI ). Called White Collar, it features a con artist being arm-twisted into aiding the FBI - not the most original idea ( e.g. Catch Me If You Can ), but boasts a tasty Matt Bomer in the lead role, so I'm game. :)

Premiered last night, but I've been too busy with other programmes to watch it. Will post a review once I do.

Glee continues to enthrall. Episode 3 was so much fun, with the high school teachers forming an all-male a cappella group called, cheesily enough, Acafellas. Check out their performance of Color Me Badd's I Wanna Sex You Up. Real high school teachers are never this cool. :)

And I have such a huge crush on Matthew Morrison right now!

John Lloyd Young made a guest appearance as a thumb-less teacher, but his vocal abilities weren't showcased at all. Such a pity.

Something else to look forward to - the final season of Monk starts on Starworld 9pm tonight. I've watched every single episode since S1, and can't wait to get some closure regarding Monk's torment over his wife's unsolved murder. Not going to read episode guides for this one!

I intend to enjoy some good food this coming week. I rarely venture far for meals since my mom's an excellent cook and I love staying home ( TV, books, Internet, fluffy pet cat ), but social commitments offer good opportunities for pigging out once in a while, so I'm going to enjoy myself dammit! Just need to make up for the calories with more exercise.

Oh yes, forgot to mention that I'm currently poring over Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. 100 pages in, I'm far from impressed. Think Angels & Demons was exceptionally good, then The Da Vinci Code got tiresome, and now Symbol feels limp and lifeless. Am certain Brown had a strict deadline to meet, since his publisher would insist on yet another Robert Langdon adventure so Hollywood can churn out a 3rd Tom Hanks / Ron Howard flick.

The result? Every scene sounds and feels staged to the point of annoying the hell out of me. And why does the author deem it necessary to start most chapters with a character's name? Robert Langdon this, Katherine Solomon that... you get the idea.

He sets things up in Washington, D.C., which is intriguing enough, but again, the prose lets the story down. This isn't helped by the fact that I finished Jeff Lindsay's mind-blowing Dexter In The Dark just before picking this up. The difference is colossal.

Last but not least, I'm so thankful to W for tipping me off about a website that offers free American TV shows online, and actually works! Have already watched 2 episodes of Dexter Season 4, which is so freaking AWESOME! Uncensored too, so everything makes perfect sense now. You can bet local cable will snip out the naked bathtub murder scene when it hits our shores.

Once I'm done with Dexter, it's on to Gossip Girl. Hope the webmaster will add Nip/Tuck and Nurse Jackie soon. I love dark comedies. :)