Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bliss Part 26

My long block of annual leave started 3 days ago, and the exhaustion has finally hit me with its full force.

Happens every year. Funny how being free of work commitments - particularly gruelling shifts - can make you feel even more tired compared to normal days. This is why I spend a lot of my time snoozing on coaches when on tour. Makes my mother a bit naggy - "You're missing the guide's commentary!", "Look at the scenery!" - but after a while, she understands my needs and leaves me alone.

Of course, if our Tour Director turns out to be a gorgeous hunk, I won't be sleeping much this time round. Heh. :)

Speaking of gorgeous men, there're quite a few of them at the YOG. Covering the boxing event for a few days, and I can finally say that I see the appeal of the sport, even though my background knowledge is considered pathetic.

Yesterday, I spent 2-3 hours with near-ringside seats, thanks to my involvement with the on-site medical team. Turned out to be quite exciting, and discovered the important - and damn powerful - roles referees play.

Interesting bit of drama between the American coach and a ref from China, when the latter stopped the match in Round 1 and declared the Russian boxer the winner, apparently because he didn't think the American boy was fit to continue. I swear a real fight would've broken out if not for a big group of YOG officials intervening. Those of us in the medical team were on edge for 10 minutes, ready to apply bandages and bring a stretcher!

I also had a nice eyeful of a few of the better-looking referees, mostly in their 20s or 30s, all Caucasian. They had to walk right past our station during each match's 2nd round ( awaiting their turns to referee or judge the next match ), and often came right up to us to get gloves and gauze. Everyone looked very serious, but I'm sure if we'd given them a smile or two, they would've reciprocated.

A big shout-out to the GREAT audience at the boxing arena yesterday. Lots of energetic locals yelling their support for the athletes, plus a few foreigners - from African and Germany - practically coaching from their seats in the stands.

Can't imagine what it's going to be like during the finals on Wednesday! :)

Have also been catching up on a few favourite movies. One I'd like to highlight is The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell ( Jessica Biel's in it as well, but I just find her soooo bland ).

Was released around the same time as The Prestige ( Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman ), and probably suffered a poorer box-office performance as a result of it. A real pity, because The Illusionist is, in my opinion, far better in terms of plot, script and acting.

Paul Giamatti is splendid as Chief Inspector Uhl, a far cry from his typical high-strung or comedic persona in most of his films. His scenes with Edward Norton are tense and riveting. The costumes are to-die-for, and Norton's delivery of master magician Eisenheim's stage performances are elegant, even sexy. ( I happen to be a David Copperfield fan, and quite a few of the illusions featured as quite similar in terms of theatrical flair. )
Highly recommended!

Time for a break before heading to the YOG venue.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out
Here's that cover I mentioned in the last entry.
Didn't realize the hoopla it was causing in the States. Bet this'll be banned from local newsstands.
Some critics have labelled season 3 "vampire porn". Not an entirely inaccurate assessment, but hey, the characters comprise bloodsuckers, shapeshifters, lycans and other supernatural beings. Don't expect G- or even PG-rated stuff, okay?
If there's anything to complain about, it's the ludicrous Twilight series which, granted, needs to be diluted to cater to the tween girls set, but is clearly unrealistic to the point of insulting the viewer's intelligence.
And may I just say that Alexander Skargsgard ( left, who plays Viking vamp Eric Northman ) is absolutely delish this season. Much more screen time and interaction with fellow characters - men included, if you know what I mean. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bliss Part 25

Another crazy week has gone by. And when I say crazy, I mean ER patient attendances hitting 450 post National Day weekend. Ridiculous!

Coupled with one busy night shift and 2 others in P1 and P2, with no proper off day in between ( spent that teaching at an ultrasound workshop ), plus a tonne of travel preparations...

The result? A number of surgeon friends expressing concern about my "losing a lot of weight" and "looking damn tired".

Thank you, at least you noticed. Colleagues who see me everyday can't tell the difference.

Oh well, another week has gone by, and I'll be OUTTA HERE very very soon. :D

Hence the Bliss theme continues heh.

A couple of cool TV episodes to recommend:

True Blood season 3 episode 8 is so fan-freaking-tastic, it made me cry. Seriously.
Of course, it helps if you're a fan of the show and have been following it since the pilot.
Funny thing is, despite the violence, gore and ( sometimes gratuitous ) sex scenes, S3 has surpassed S1 and S2 in terms of script and character development.
There's a lot more wit, the cheesiness ( e.g. Bill and his melodramatic "Sookie!" proclamations ) has been toned down significantly, and previously secondary roles ( Eric in particular ) are now front and centre.
And need I say more about Franklin Mott? It really sounds like he's dead, but still makes erotic appearances in Tara's subconscious, with hilarious results.

Another GREAT series you really mustn't miss: The Closer.
Season 3, which currently airs on WarnerTV every Tuesday night, is sooooo unbelievably amazing.
Just caught Episode 6, one of the funniest yet ( there were a couple of great episodes in S2 as well ).
Again, a huge advantage if you're a loyal fan. I've developed great affection for all the characters, and their dynamic relationships make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Challenging cases, humourous dialogue, nefarious criminals and justice conquering all - this is as good as it gets, people.

Hmm, it appears that local cable has skipped episode 5 ?reason. Hallmark did the same thing with The Good Wife ( something concerning a cartoon that mocked the prophet Mohamed ). Should catch the online version sometime to find out why.

Off standby today but feeling gross. Still have to get a whole lot of errands done. Sigh...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bliss Part 24

Another fortnight has passed, bringing me even closer to my upcoming vacation. :)

What else is there to be happy about?

First, one of my all-time favourite actors, John Cusack, is now on Twitter, woohoo!

Haven't quite managed to coax a direct reply out of him just yet, but I'm optimistic that I will succeed at some point.

Second, I just found out that my Tour Director is a guy. With a very nice name. I hope he'll look good as well, but am more concerned about whether he's going to be accomodating, which is the most important factor.

Having encountered enough female tour guides over the years, a man will be a welcome change. Cross fingers. :)

Third, True Blood season 3. Blowing my mind with every new episode, but needs to tone down the gore a little ( yes, even I can't stand it sometimes ).

My appreciation for Franklin Mott ( played by a gaunt but delightfully overwrought James Frain ) hit its peak in episode 6, but promptly came to a swift conclusion when poor Franklin's skull got bashed to smithereens by an angry Tara.

But that's not how vampires die, right? So he could actually survive this? All right then. :)

Fourth, the Glee compendium of music. Volumes 4 and 5 contain so many of my favourite tracks, I hit cloud nine when I first blasted them on my iPod.
There's the groovy tribute to '80s disco ( Safety Dance ), the awesome rock duets ( Dream On, Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Faithfully ), a jaw-dropping rock anthem ( sexy Jonathan Groff sings Bohemian Rhapsody ), Broadway hits ( I Dreamed A Dream ), Burt Bacharach covers ( One Less Bell To Answer ), swing ( Lady Is A Tramp ), Lady Gaga classics ( Bad Romance, Poker Face ), ending off with a beautiful rendition of Over The Rainbow.
The Glee cast is so talented and versatile, they can do no wrong regardless of what's thrown at them. Lea Michele and Groff ( whom I've loved from the first time I heard them on the Spring Awakening soundtrack, despite never watching the musical ) are vocal powerhouses with serious acting chops. Cory Monteith ( Finn ) has improved tremendously within one season, now hitting glory notes effortlessly. Mark Salling's ( Puck ) role keeps getting juicier, and his performance of Lady Is A Tramp showcases his talent perfectly. Chris Colfer ( Kurt ) is unbelievably excellent, whether belting a Lady Gaga piece or delivering high kicks on a Broadway number.

The guest stars are also great fun, especially Neil Patrick Harris ( superb job in Dream On ), Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel ( both Broadway veterans ).

But my favourite, of course, has always been Matthew Morrison. Fell in love with his voice on the Hairspray sountrack ( B'way musical, not the inferior Hollywood movie version ), and never tire of his many performances on the TV show.

Wish Jersey Boys' John Lloyd Young could've caught a bigger break though. Surely he deserved something better than a tiny cameo in one episode? Would've been nice for me to be able to say: I've seen this famous Glee actor in person! :)

Fifth, the Sun Festival 2010 cometh! This year's lineup is much better than 2009's, IMHO. Definitely attending at least one of the events, after I ask the organizers a few questions. Must get my money's worth, after all.

Still, if David Foster's coming, why not Clay Aiken or Josh Groban? ( He produces albums for both guys. ) Argh!!!

Anyway, enjoy the pictures. Till next time...