Friday, April 16, 2004

This is the first of 3 Friday night calls I have lined up this month, thanks to what looks like a fixed template on our department secretary's Microsoft Excel. ( It's either that, or I'm being sabotaged by an unknown force. :))

House-moving Update

Furniture's in. Looks terrific. Ikea did a great job!
Now for the curtains, a new fridge / washing machine, and a few finishing touches.
Will be taking my first dip in the pool downstairs next week. Yahoo! :D

TV Show Updates:

Eye For A Guy

I totall forgot to review this in the whole mess of moving, so here's a belated recap. ( Xena, I hope you caught the second episode, which was absolutely hilarious. :P )
It's getting to be like some Amazing Race / Survivor competition now, with the guys being put through various degrading / physically challenging tasks to prove themselves worthy of the bimb... oops, I mean lady. :D Monday night's installment had them doing embarrassing half-full Monties at a theme restaurant ( if I'm not mistaken, the establishment is being investigated by the police at the moment, for demeaning other hapless patrons on a separate occasion ).
The hunks got to strut their stuff, while the wimps were left behind in the dusty stampede. Toilet Frog Boy got a stuffed toy from Rachel -- plus some dagger stares from jealous suitors -- but eventually still failed to make it to the next round.
Polytechnic lecturer Mark seems to have, in his own sappy words, "fallen" for the bikini babe. I initially thought he was one of the more promising fellas in the group, but this revelation had made my opinion of him dip quite a bit.
Sivert remains a frontrunner. Sweet-faced, softspoken, not pushy like the rest, but just enigmatic enough to keep everyone interested. Hair salon manager, his profile says. Which salon, I wonder? :P

Next week, hormones go into major overdrive, as Rachel goes rock-climbing with the men, and looks "hot against the wall", as one subtly puts it. Stay tuned.

American Idol 3

In a move that defies logical explanation, Quentin Tarantino -- connoisseur of B-grade kungfu flicks, ripper-offer of every movie genre in existence, maestro of violence and gore -- was guest judge of a singing competition . Did the producers run out of respectable music artistes to invite, or did the invitees gracefully decline? I thought having Paula Abdul -- she of the whiny singing voice ( if you can even call it singing ), and technically a has-been till her AI stint -- on the panel was bad enough.

Anyway, my earlier opinions about AI3 surpassing AI2 have completely vanished. My favourites, Jon Peter Lewis and John Stevens, are constantly disappointing, and now JPL has been eliminated, post wild-card-show-America's-choice glow. The audience this year is fickle indeed. Scary.

John Stevens is lacklustre, forever stuck in his jazz/oldie rut. Diana Degarmo slaughtered Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On, Jasmine is losing steam, Jennifer always grates on my nerves, and George went flat ( gasp! ).
The only two consistent performers are Fantasia and LaToya. Both African-American, with powerhouse voices and luminous stage presences, they are definitely the ones to watch, and are my predictions for the top 2, while George is a good bet for #3.
Simon Cowell may have said that Fantasia's rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime" was magical -- she did it kneeling on the ground, dressed in a pink satin gown -- but for me, "magic" will be forever epitomized by Clay Aiken's "Somewhere Out There" performance last year. :)

The O.C.

Did I forget to mention that 2 of the show's producers are well-known Hollywood successes? There's McG, music video master and director of the insipid yet entertaining Charlie's Angels sequel. And Doug Liman ( co-producer and director of last night's 2nd episode ) helmed "The Bourne Identity", which starred Matt Damon and ranks high on my list of favourite action/espionage thrillers.

This series is just full of surprises. After an intriguing pilot, the latest offers some nice twists, thoughtful dialogue, and intelligent plot developments. Ben McKenzie continues to captivate, and I sincerely hope he puts his charisma to good use in, say, a full-length film, sometime soon. Y'know, lead role in an indie, or perhaps a small role in a blockbuster.

Someone tells me Mischa Barton, aka the Bardot / Gisele lookalike who plays Marissa, was the little-girl-ghost-who-puked-all-over-herself in "The Sixth Sense". Whoa, now there's a leap! :D

Other TV Updates

"Monk" is back on cable! Screens Wednesday nights at 10pm on Starworld Channel 18. Clashes with AI3, so thank goodness I have two VCRs. :P

Outrageous Celebrity Lookalike Behaviour Caught On Tape / What Were You Thinking? -- new reality shows every Thursday and Friday nights at 8pm, Channel 18 and 19 respectively. I actually caught the former briefly before nodding off ( fatigue, not disinterest! ). This featured Madonna / Janet Jackson / Bill Clinton / Tiger Woods / Anna Nicole Smith /Mike Tyson impersonators who look convincingly like the real deal, wow. Gags include a catfight between the two pseudo-divas, the Clinton wannabe scouting around the adult section of a video store, "Tiger" hurling insults at fellow golfers, "Smith" answering brainy questions at a language class, and "Tyson" freaking out over a nonexistent spider. Funny stuff. :D

You're not the first to wonder just how the heck I manage to watch so much TV. :) Let's put it this way: some people spend their free time drinking / pubbing, doing sporty things, or dating, or raising a family. I just decide to spend mine overdosing on goggle box fare, blogging, the occasional concert / dinner meetup, and reading. I'm not the sort who gets consumed by my work. In fact, I make it a priority NOT to let it get the better of me. Television offers an alternate dimension which is a lot more interesting than real life. Plus, I get to learn new things in the process ( e.g. your race car can flip 10 times at full speed and you won't die, a-HA! ). I've been a TV junkie since early childhood, so it's a hard habit to break. Besides, my first words as a toddler were "Mommy, I wanna watch TV." ( True fact! :))

I've been asked to dole out advice yet again, this time to another college grad waiting to enter university. Is there time for yourself, she asks. Time for dating, shopping, eating... Is medicine traumatizing?

My perspective of med school is that it isn't any different from other courses. We work hard, we play hard, we lead pretty normal lives ( except for sticking your hands into someone's insides :P ). Dating? Sure. In fact, make it easy on yourself and get hitched to a fellow medical classmate, won't you. :) Shopping -- I guess it isn't a problem, considering how dressy female med students are getting nowadays. Eating's always a challenge, especially when you go to some ulu hospital with only one tiny canteen ( hint hint ;)). But then, there's always the option of walking / driving out to nearby hawker centres and shopping malls to savour better fare.

Is medicine traumatizing? I told her very frankly: Yes. And if you stop being traumatized by it, then God help you, 'cos if that ever happens, you're basically emotionally dead. Even getting transiently worked up by an FON patient is better than not caring at all.

But most importantly, I told her that medicine isn't easy, and that she has to be certain that she wants to be a doctor before taking any definite steps and embarking on this long journey. Some people join med school out of family obligation, others for monetary gains. A few crave the highly sought-after title, still fewer have truly noble intentions. I know of people with the all-or-nothing mentality. Me, it was a mixture of factors: only-child syndrome with enthusiastic parents, no other doctors in the family so I'm the first; a little bit of the glam factor appealed to me, but I was perfectly willing to switch to journalism if I hadn't been accepted locally. I didn't exactly sail through university, and I certainly didn't shine in any way. I suspect I only fully grasped the beauty of this age-old "art" of healing when I started as a medical officer, in the illustrious SGH Gastroenterology Department, where professors and other seniors demonstrated the finesse of clinical acumen, and imparted invaluable knowledge that I still vividly recall to this day.

Looking back, I sometimes feel regret at not learning to appreciate the finer points of my education till only a few years ago. Perhaps it is partly the fault of the curriculum -- I always found it dry and too theoretical. The clinical attachments often left me a little dumbfounded -- strapped down by information which later proved useless for practical purposes. Surprisingly, the med school postings which left the greatest impressions ( and provided the best pearls of wisdom ) were Orthopaedics and Emergency Medicine. I did the former at SGH, the latter at NUH. Both departments boast excellent tutors and teaching programmes, at least during my months there. Those were good times. :)

Ultimately, there's no hard and fast way to determine if you're "made for medicine". I used to think the interview panels were to blame when people dropped out or later resigned, or turned out to be real asses who gave the profession a bad name. But honestly, you can never tell, and that's the dangerous part. People know how to pretend, and people change with the passage of time. Human behaviour is already too unpredictable to begin with. And in a job as highly-charged as medicine, doctors can just as easily rise to the occasion, or collapse in a cowering heap when it comes down to the crunch. They can be on the dean's list in final year, yet suck as housemen or medical officers. Win a whole string of awards, but raise eyebrows with questionable skills in the operating theatre.

However, if you strongly believe that you can be committed to your job, are able to care deeply for your patients, and promise to strive to do your best as a physician in every aspect, then I say "Go for it!" And good luck! :)

5am. Time to get some shuteye. More packing tomorrow. Sigh.

No comments: