Monday, August 29, 2005

Amalfi Coast, Sorrento Posted by Picasa

Boat Shot Posted by Picasa
Just Can't Get Enough Of This Guy

More House-isms( you've just GOT to watch this show ):

"If I go out there, I'll get assigned a kid with a runny nose. That's 30 seconds looking at the nose, 25 minutes talking to a worried mother who won't leave until she's sure it isn't meningitis or a tumour."

Grouchy retort to a patient's parent: You HOUND me for my opinion then you QUESTION my diagnosis.

House: Does your penis hurt?
Patient: ( outraged ) No! ( then worried ) Should it?
House: No. Just thought I'd toss you a REALLY inappropriate question.

Patient: You've caused me severe emotional distress.
House: Well, I certainly HOPE so.

"9 times out of 10 there's no reason to talk to a patient."

"Oh crap. another reason I don't like meeting patients. They don't know what you look like they can't yell at you."

David Shore, you're my hero. :)

Mark Your Calendars

October 10th, Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The person who first gave me this "inside scoop" in late June was absolutely right! ( I couldn't post this because she asked me not to spread the news. )

Michael Buble's coming back for his 2nd concert since that awesome show back in August 2003 ( review in the archives section ). Woohoo!

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

Finished the book a week ago, and am STILL disappointed. Writing's just phenomenally bad lah. And the last few chapters ( with the Inferi ) turned really really dark. I've always supported letting kids read the series, but this latest installment isn't suitable. I just hope the final book will pick up the slack and stay clear of blatantly occult-related subjects.


If you remember my rave review of Marcos Villatoro's excellent crime thriller "Minos", then get the prequel, "Home Killings". Actually meant to take this to Italy, but paranoia about losing the novel and having to pay the Tanglin Club a hefty fine put those plans on hold. Now I've finally gotten round to borrowing it again, and it's just fantastic!

Marcos is also one friendly chap. Try dropping him an email via his website at

Romilia Chacon has Jennifer Lopez written all over her.

Laughter, The Best Medicine

Hilarious comedy of errors in the Forum Page a while back - wow, which genius mixes up SGH and TTSH, and the months February and April?

Never mind the lack of an apology from either the writer or the Straits Times. We all had a good laugh about it, and hey, the "bad publicity" did wonders for some of our shifts ( I saw a total of 2 - TWO!!! - cases at one point, heh heh ). Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, and things are now slowly returning to normal. At least the upper echelons are taking an interest in our predicament, with the implementation of much-needed changes in the system. Yay.

Pictures from Italy

A little too exhausted to write anything detailed today, so hope you enjoy the photos.

These were taken during an afternoon drive along the Amalfi Coast in Sorrento, where the roads lie immediately adjacent to the cliff's edge, so that when you look out the coach window, you literally see nothing but blue ocean.

Spectacular but intermittently terrifying ( considering the fact that Italian drivers and roads aren't exactly the safest ).

We stopped for traditional Italian pastries and champagne at the end before heading back.

I especially like the one I snapped of the boats. Had to lean over the railing a ways to get that shot. While my mom wasn't looking, of course. :P

All in all, a pretty good day. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More Quotes

From Scrubs:

An unimpressed nurse Carla to Turk the surgical wannabe: So you're a surgeon, with the God complex, the cockiness, the married-to-the-job routine...

Senior resident Dr. Cox to eager beaver intern J.D.: We can't change our patients. We just treat them. If you keep living and dying on whether your patients change, you'll never make it as a doctor.

( Author's note: Heck, I gave up a long time ago. )

Heard over Class 95:

"Drivers please take note that a motorcycle is lying in the left lane. I guess it must be tired."

"Studies have shown that the leading cause of divorce... is marriage."


Peter Cincotti Gems

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, a fellow fan decides to send me 3 new songs by the jazz wunderkind.

Over The Rainbow - Moving beyond comprehension. If you've heard his poignant cover of Kermit The Frog's Rainbow Connection, this'll definitely blow you away. Especially love the opening verse before he carries on into the song proper.

Even If - Excellent solo piano and nothing else. Peter in his element = a perfect 10. Naturally. :)

The Girl I Knew - Whoa, another sizzling original composition bearing some resemblance to The Girl For Me Tonight on his 2nd album. This features a leisurely tempo provided by a very cool drum accompaniment.
"Don't be fooled by her flirtation / 'Cos she's a dangerous creation / If one day you want to give your heart away / Just think twice before you do / And keep remembering the girl I knew."
Hard to imagine any woman treating him badly, but his boyishly mournful vocals certainly add a touch of possibility to the lyrics. :)

Was contemplating a laptop change, but with all my Clay Aiken and Peter Cincotti files and who-knows-how-many pictures stored in the hard disk, I don't think I can risk losing any of them. So tell me: how long can a Dell Inspiron 4000 last? :D

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

An Effortless Charmer :) Posted by Picasa
Felix Felicis?

This past year has just been unbelievable.

This could be addictive. :)

Patrizio Buanne's Singapore Showcase, August 16 2005

Held in the Grand Ballroom at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, this was a classy affair attended by mostly middle-aged professionals, with a smattering of elderly folks and a few yuppies.

I won a pair of tickets through a Gold 90.5FM contest, but hadn't actually bought his album, so I literally went through a 2-day crash course on his music, purchasing the CD the day after I got the news ( Sunday ) then putting it on a constant spin on my car and home stereos, even my Discman, so I wouldn't be clueless during the event.

Turned out to be a good investment!

Buanne is a self-confessed hard-core fan of Italian-American singing legends like Perry Como and Dean Martin, so the track listing pays unapologetic tribute to their style, boasting spine-tingling covers of Il Mondo, A Man Without Love and For The First Time ( Come Prima ).

With his smouldering good looks ( tanned, flawless complexion, lean physique, HUGE green eyes, full pouting lips ), an effortlessly powerful, crystal clear tenor voice, and such a choice of repertoire, you'd have to be made of stone not to love this guy ( if you're a woman, at least! ).

Personal favourites of mine:

1. On An Evening In Roma - top on the list for sure. I first heard this while stuck in a jam en route to work. Was swearing under my breath for the umpteenth time when the song started. Into the 2nd verse, with the lines "Though there's grinning and mandolining / In sunny Italy / The beginning has just begun when the sun goes down / So please meet me in the plaza near your casa / I am only one and one is much too few / On an evening in Roma / Don't know what the country's coming to / But in Rome do as the Romans do / Will you? / On an evening in Roma" - coupled with a beautiful melody, superb orchestral arrangement ( accompanied by London's Royal Philharmonic ) and a subtly cheeky delivery ( when he sings "Do they take 'em for espresso? / Yeah I guess so" ), I've been playing this in a constant repeat mode it's just absolutely insane. :)

2. A Man Without Love - I've only heard the Engelbert Humperdink version ( very nice ), but this cover is much, much better. Romantic beyond description, with a lovely little Italian twang to the English lyrics. Mild tachycardia coming on, heh.

3. Luna Mezz'o Mare - aka The Happiest Song On The Album. Translated as "The Moon Over The Sea", this traditional Sicilian wedding song is infectiously exuberant with a tinge of Greek festivity ( Sicily being heavily influenced by Grecian culture ). Never fails to bring a smile to my face no matter how bad a day I've had.

Other gems:

4. Alta Marea - Apparently, there's an Italian version of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over". It works.

5. Parla Piu Piano - Known as "Speak Softly Love" from the film "The Godfather". Hauntingly beautiful.

The showcase itself was an immense pleasure.

Patrizio came bounding out at 8:15pm, launching into A Man Without Love and doing that Italian kiss-blowing routine ( Sorrento all over again :)). Dressed to the nines in a stylish black suit and black shirt, he looks exactly like his photos but has the advantage of showing off a charismatic personality to an appreciative audience.

"Good evening, ladies..." he whispered, then after making a show of scanning the room at length, added, "... and gentleman!" ending off with a throaty laugh. This self-deprecating sense of humour permeated throughout his 30-minute performance, and I didn't see a dour face in sight.
"I sampled some of your local specialties," he mentioned at a later juncture. "A bit of pizza, spaghetti... ( another laugh )".

Only 26 years of age, but looking every bit the seasoned professional, his vocals were pitch-perfect, his tone controlled yet rich, his deliveries emotional. Savvily punctuating the serious moments with a few flirtatious antics, he stepped off-stage during "An Evening In Roma", wandering among the audience members, kissing many a flustered lady's hand, and obliging with spontaneous photo ops from numerous others who ran down front from the back rows. He didn't come over to my block, but of course, I didn't mind ( you may be able to guess why :)).

For the encore, he ended off with "Alta Marea", then stayed back for another half hour of autograph-signing and more photos. Friendly to a fault, he chatted animatedly with the fans, often standing to pose for pictures before sitting again for the next signature.

The Post-Post-Show Meet & Greet

Many many thanks to a certain gentleman who's helped me out so much these past few months, my mom and I were granted a private audience with Patrizio just before he left.

Just after his short conversation with a high-ranking record company exec, we were hustled forward and received an extremely warm welcome. This man obviously ADORES women. :) He gently wrapped my hand in both of his and softly brushed his lips against it, giving me a gorgeous, beaming smile. Yow. :D He did the same for my mom, which caused her to giggle for a few seconds, heh heh.

We spent about 5 minutes talking, as we told him a bit about our recent trip to Italy, and asked where he's from ( answer: Naples ). He was extremely attentive, asking us more questions than we did him - e.g. which parts of Italy did we visit? Did we enjoy our holiday? Standing just a foot away from us the whole time, he was easily excitable ( as are most Italians :)), telling us he missed home and even unexpectedly crooning a song for us when I mentioned Sorrento ( he sounds even more wonderful a capella :D ).

My mom, who was very subdued during our Peter Cincotti meeting a month ago, was completely transformed last night - yay, mom! :) She gamely interrupted me early in the conversation to tell Patrizio about our experiences in Italy, and I had a great time watching them banter. Later, when we posed for a couple of photos, she unabashedly hugged him back when he put his arms around us ( as did I - made a mistake in Rome, but never again! ). He signed 2 autographs then surprised me by taking my showcase programme ( which I'd been holding in a very casual manner ), happily signing that as well without any prompting. More thanks, a few farewells, then we were out the door.

Up close, Patrizio is just GREAT to look at. :) Blemish-free complexion, gigantic eyes, confident with loads of sex appeal, and of course, that lightly Italian-accented English.

I already enjoyed his music beforehand, but meeting him adds so much more to the whole experience. He's already expressed enthusiasm about returning to Singapore for a full concert "soon - maybe later this year, why not?", so if he does indeed come back, be sure to go see him. In the meantime, why not familiarize yourself with his album, and return to an era that epitomizes the true essence of romance?

Review Of Beyond The Sea

I found this DVD in - get this - a Sembawang CD shop in a neighbourhood shopping mall.

There're only 2 reasons I bought it - Kevin Spacey and Peter Cincotti.

Yes, they ACTED TOGETHER in this film, and Spacey SINGS AND DANCES, while Cincotti shares significant screentime as Bobby Darin's long-time musical collaborator Dick Behrke.

This movie garnered rave reviews from Rolling Stone and the New York Times, but somehow got eclipsed at the Oscars ( that other musical flick, "Ray", got most of the attention ). I'm very biased, so you can probably guess that I love "Beyond The Sea". And having my favourite actor hang out with one of my favourite jazz singers is just heaven. Well worth my $$$. :)

The Apprentice 3

The most compelling season yet, with "book smarts" Magna Corp. pitting their Ivy League college degrees against "street smarts" Net Worth. So far, the latter has been making the former look pretty pathetic. My choice for top contender at the moment: beefy John from Net Worth, who led his team to victory on the pilot episode. This guy has an innate sense for reading people, adapting quickly and boosting morale. I haven't checked the Internet for results ( and don't intend to ), so it'll be interesting to see if I'm right.

House, M.D.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha - that's my review. :D

Quotable quote:

Dr. Eric Foreman ( neurologist working on House's team ): I thought treating patients is why we became doctors?

Dr. House: NOOOO, treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable.

The script is written by David Shore. What a genius. :)

Nice to see Robert Sean Leonard on board as oncologist Dr. James Wilson. Sensitive actor-wannabe from Dead Poets Society is now a sensitive doc. And Australian golden boy Jesse Spencer steals the limelight as Dr. Robert Chase, yum.

Funnily enough, House's brash behaviour is superbly offset by his other team members' perfect bedside manners. I would've thought he'd pick people whose personalities are similar to his own, but these 3 are the exact opposite. One scene where they rush to secure a surgical airway for a patient who developed an allergic reaction to IV contrast illustrates the practice of medicine in its most ideal form - calm, focussed, precise, and the patient comes out of it intact. The whole sequence took place in almost complete silence, unlike the usual fanfare of crash carts and barreling-down-the-hallway commonly seen in other TV series.

Gotta have the Season 1 DVD when it comes out. Close friends wondering what to buy me for my 31st birthday, take note. :)

Will post about Italy another day. Am post-call and feeling a tad under the weather. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Self-explanatory. - available in hard copy in September 2005's issue of Vanity Fair. Pre-drastic-haircut, of course.

( And by the way, my mother almost gave me a heart attack last week when she blurted that she wanted to pay the Ermenegildo Zegna store on Level 2 at Takashimaya a visit -- just so she can sneak a peek at their Peter Cincotti poster in the display window. Hah, my mom the GROUPIE. I'm so proud of her. :D )


"Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince" is weak, weak, weak. I love the series, but Book 6 is by far the least satisfying ( I'm currently halfway through the 600-plus-page tome. ). The next worst one is Book 4, but the rest are okay, with Book 3 ( Prisoner Of Azkaban ) being my favourite. Is J.K. Rowling losing steam? Her writing this time round is jerky and forced, especially all those raging-teenage-hormone scenes and feeble attempts at slapstick comedy. I much preferred her earlier works, which could cram so much magic into thin little volumes. Oh well, let's hope the final chapter ( Book 7 ) will see her returning to her previous fine form.

"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell is a tad overrated. True, it starts off well and grabs your attention, but the 2nd half was rather directionless and draggy, with no real usefulness. He claims to teach us how to harness our own natural instinctive abilities to make crucial snap judgements. I must be dense, 'cos I didn't get it.

Anyway, if you want REAL-LIFE lessons on the subject, just come down to my department. Our medical officers have made such vast improvements over the past 4 months, I feel extremely proud of them. If only A&E could be made a compulsory posting for all juniors doctors.

The finale for "Lost" was reaaaaaally long-winded, and quite a letdown. Rest assured, Xena. You didn't miss anything. :)


Tim "Speed" Speedle was killed off "CSI: Miami" Season 3's pilot episode, AAARRRGH! No more Rory Cochrane! :(

But Fret Not

"CSI: New York" is fast surpassing its 2 predecessors, and not just in terms of excellent plots. Interestingly enough, humour is one of its strongest points, with Danny Messer ( the very cute Carmine Giovinazzo ) delivering most of the witty one-liners Chandler "Friends" Bing style. For example:

Medical examiner: What can I do for you today?

Messer ( looking worn out ): Can you bring this guy back to life so he can tell us who killed him?

[ Just so you know, I'm going to worm my way onto the "CSI: New York" set the first chance I get. :D ]

Catch "Scrubs" ( starting from the VERY FIRST EPISODE ) which airs every Thursday 8pm on cable's Starworld Channel 18. Almost forgot how much I love this crazy show - remember that classic scene where Turk defibrillated a sleeping patient who was mistaken for dead just because one of the chest leads fell off? Priceless!

And "House", debuting on AXN Channel 19 this coming Tuesday at 10pm. Trailers look VERY promising - Dr. House informing a woman she has "a parasite", only to explain later that she's pregnant. I like this dude. :)

"Gilmore Girls" - the latest season is back! I'm extremely attached to this show for various reasons, the most important one being the fact that Lorelai and Rory mirror my relationship with my own mother. Just try getting a word in when we're having a conversation, never mind a full-blown argument. Oh yes, you can watch this every Sunday at 6pm on Channel 5.

"Wonderfalls", a hilariously quirky dramedy about a deliberate underachiever suddenly cursed with the ability to see talking animal figurines, had me in stitches. Great acting, an intelligent script, nutty characters ( protagonist Jaye has a philosophy degree from Brown University but chooses to while away her days at a souvenir shop at Niagara Falls - hence the title. Go figure. ). Haven't seen anything this kooky since "Northern Exposure" ( thinking of getting the DVD ), so if you like that sort of thing, this is definitely for you.

Unexpectedly won tickets to Patrizio Buanne's exclusive showcase this coming Tuesday. This Italian has been compared to Engelbert Humperdink, but having grown up on Humperdink's music ( thanks to my mother who's a big fan ), I can tell you that Buanne's a much better singer. Not to mention also much better-looking. Photo op time. :)

You Need A New Fact-Checker - Clay Aiken ( from a talk show interview )

Dear Ms. Khalik ( senior health correspondent for The Straits Times ),

Your report dated August 13 2005 on the closure of TTSH's A&E Department contained a glaring error. Please note that TTSH does NOT close a mere "a dozen times a month". This gross underestimation is causing some distress ( not to mention suppressed mirth ) within medical circles which are fully aware of the truth. You may want to contact our ops centre for a clearer picture of the actual situation. Thank you.

Italian Trip Post #3

Italian weather is crazy.

My fault. I didn't expect it to be this hot, even though CNN reported heat waves throughout Europe the week before my holiday began.

But scorching temperatures are one thing. Failure to address the problem is quite another.

Note how quite a few tourist attractions make no efforts whatsoever to prevent heat stroke. Prime example: the ruins of an ancient Roman resort somewhere in Sicily ( I was too dazed to remember anything else ) which housed the site within a glass enclosure with only a few tiny windows for ventilation. This resulted in an unbearable greenhouse effect which almost did some of us in ( compounded, no doubt, by the fact that we visited at around lunchtime ).

In Pompeii, we trudged for 2 hours under intolerable conditions, with no shelter in which to seek refuge.

My umbrella was open most of the time, but some Caucasians in my group turned lobster red under the heat. Terrible.

The Italians, however, are absolutely DIVINE. :)

The men, especially. :D

For instance:

1. Marcello, our hotel's chief concierge, who helped me purchase my Peter Cincotti tickets, handled all the car and taxi transfers, and had the sweetest conversations with us about getting around Rome. Grey-haired but tall and distinguished, with a tendency to pat me repeatedly on the hand. :)

2. Waiters at various hotels, who chatted us up at breakfast and dinner. At one establishment, a group of them converged on our table to pepper us with questions and opinions about Singapore. One particularly friendly fellow even launched into full song, causing us a bit of embarrassment, heh. In Assisi, one guy demonstrated sharp wit despite rushing about with our dishes.

Us: Our compliments to the chef!
Him: Oh, you like our food? Good! I cooked it!

3. Lots of handsome fellows, of course. Rome was swarming with good-looking Italian men in beautiful suits ( don't ask me why they didn't just take their jackets off in that terrible heat ), some of them happily licking gelato as they ran down the street. Strange but enjoyable. :)

But one man stood out. And I don't even know his name.

Apparently, he's a guide with another tour company. I spotted him in Sorrento, while sitting at the front of the bus ( lucky seat rotation allocation for that day ), exhausted from a long drive that had started before 8 in the morning. Suddenly, as the coach inched through a small archway along a narrow road ( lots of those in Sicily ), he casually strolled towards us and waved.

Short dark brown hair, in his early to mid-30's, black suit and white shirt, not gorgeous by conventional standards, but WOW... :)

Maybe it was the way he walked - long, easy strides - or the greeting he offered - a blown kiss followed by a hearty wave. There was just something so... Italian... about it. I sat up immediately. :D

Later, after a short tour to a woodworking factory in the vicinity, I saw him again. A small bus filled with tourists was waiting nearby, and he walked back and forth across the street from where we were standing, conversing with our tour director for a few minutes before hopping on and leaving for good.

I wanted to snap a picture surreptitiously, but my mother wouldn't have any of it. But she did agree that he's "very handsome". :)

Oh well, memories are good too.

More another day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

No Time No Time No Time

My life is insane.

And it kills me that I can't blog as regularly as I'd like to.

A Few Things First

Gained a bit of weight since returning to Singapore. At least my pants don't hang halfway down my gluteals anymore, heh heh.

By the way, there's this stall in Thomson Plaza's foodcourt that sells heavenly duck horfun. OMG.

Converted a good friend into a big Peter Cincotti fan today. She's going to buy his 2 albums. You go, girl. :)

Insomnia's back. 4 hours of sleep a night, followed by a nerve-wracking 8-hour morning shift and an hour of overtime. I pray a lot these days. :P

"Closer" is quite a funny movie. Too bad the ending sucked. But there's this hilarious scene with Jude Law and Clive Owen where Law pretends to be a horny chick baiting Owen online. You've just got to see it. :D

Why bother to catch "Lost" on Channel 5 when AXN has a 5-episode marathon every Saturday afternoon? The finale airs this weekend. Cool.

A murder every week in dear old Singapore. It's always about either sex or money. How unoriginal.

A certain medical professor recently showed a petty, childish side. Should I still respect him? ...

Cute reg covering the A&E these past few months. Flirted a little too obviously today. With my luck, he's probably married. ;)

And now...

Italian Trip Post #2

Italian food.

For the record, I do like it. The stuff I eat in Singapore, that is. Tanglin Club's seafood linguini alio olio, or bacon and mushroom with the white wine sauce. And absolutely ANYTHING at Spageddies - check out their strawberry margaritas. :)
I have a thing for pasta and pizza. Was definitely looking forward to eating lots of these in good ol' Italy.

But Italian food in Italy is very, err, different. Diplomatically speaking, haha.

And I'm not the only person who feels this way, judging from the comments of a few friends who've been there.

Based on my experience, Rome has the best stuff. At least it's edible. And hot.

Everywhere else, I basically suffered.

At one Sicilian hotel ( quite a swanky place some more ), they served fusili with a cream sauce that looked ( and tasted ) like curdled milk. I gave up after 2 bites. So did many others in the tour group ( 31 Caucasians, 2 Singaporeans, 6 Indonesians ).

The rest of the restaurants went by in a blur because the cooking was so... ordinary. Like someone whipped the dishes together in a hurry then plopped it onto the plate and threw it on your table like a robot. I travelled with a company that's reputed to be the most expensive of its kind, so it was a little shocking.
Not the company's fault, I suppose. Not entirely at least.

And the breakfast spreads, ugh. Fine, I'm told "Italians don't do breakfast" because they usually just grab a cup of coffee and maybe a pastry then run out the door. But would it hurt to give us tired, hungry tourists something palatable? Right, I probably sound whiny now, but Italian scrambled eggs are GROSS. And I almost never consider anything icky, unlike my extremely fussy mother ( who suprisingly swallowed the cold, runny stuff, to my immense horror ). Chilled ham soaked in tonnes of salt, dry hard pastries and fruit compotes are the norm. I've eaten breakfasts in quite a few other ang-moh countries before. The best one I've tasted so far? Hah, actually the Grand Hyatt in Bali - the most amazing pancakes ever. :)

The icing on the cake, however, has to be the wonderful Autogrills - truck-stops we encountered almost daily while en route from one region to another. Similar establishments in New Zealand were always a pleasure, with their juicy steaks and such. Italy, sadly, doesn't even compare. Pretty miserable. Cookies and chips helped me survive.

But it wasn't ALL bad. In Sorrento, there's a quaint restaurant located at the fisherman's port, called Zi'Antonio Mare Ristorant, which serves fantastic spaghetti vongole and juicy red snappers 1 metre long. Over in Rome, our hotel The Cicerone surprised us with awesome grilled swordfish and sea bass. And in the last 2 days of our trip ( we walked around Rome on our own for 4 days ), we finally discovered authentic Chinese food along ( I hope I remembered correctly ) Via Dei Greci, just off the Via Del Babuino on the way to The Spanish Steps. Very friendly Chinese, terrific cuisine, even a taste of their personal stock of fragrant chrysanthemum tea specially imported from China. Ahh, good memories. :)

I haven't eaten any pasta since I got back. Too busy gorging on laksa and duck hor fun, heh heh. Nah, I'll be back to my old self again very soon. Maybe next week, I'll order my usual plate of seafood linguini and leave all my nightmares behind.