Saturday, April 04, 2009

My Fridge

I reckon the time has come for this blog to come to an end. I have tried to be funny, smart and crucially relevant, but for the first time since I began posting my entries, I have completely and utterly lost the will to continue. As you may have noticed, the gaps in-between updates are becoming more and more tenacious. The most recent ones unmistakably show how bored I am.

I want to go out more. Go to a museum or a cinema. Or even just chill at home. Cook some food, read a book, whatever.

I still want to be funny, and to some degree smart and all that other crap, but every time I read what I have written here, I am compelled to be miserable and a little bit ‘hissy’ if there is such a word. Maybe it’s the black template.

But I like the template.

And If I change it, it may not sit comfortably with the posts. I may as well delete the whole thing, which I would rather not do at the moment.

I want to take it easy and have been planning to create a more relaxed and unrestrained blog.

Last night, I made a new one.

To everyone who has read this blog and has left some lovely, lovely, comments. Thanks.

You are all my friends. Feel free to add me in your friendster or facebook.

Or follow me where I stay fresh and lush in:

My Fridge

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Explore Philippines

I've been working mostly night shifts this week and was really anxious that I'd be missing my primetime TV favourites such as Wednesday night's new episodes of Grand Designs and I have to admit, the nightly one whole season pre-final showdown of singing newbies in... (cringes) American Idol. A guilty pleasure. I know it’s cheesy TV but ever since I've seen Quentin Tarantino in the show, I don't care what people think.

Boy, I'm so glad to find out that we actually got a Digital TV Receiver collecting all sorts of crumbly stuff beneath the coffee table sitting comfortably between old books and other scraps of paper. The beauty with these set-top boxes is the huge hard drive and the ability to receive and record freesat TV. It took a while to muster how to play with the toy but after going through the rather tedious orthography that comes with the machine I was ready for my first ever recorded TV program I could watch the next morning coming off work.

So I didn’t miss watching BBC’s exciting new 'Explore' series featuring the Philippines: Manila to Mindanao. Great. The crumbling Rice Terraces. Masses of humanity in a throng of religious fervour. A mysterious $987 billion treasury note by the Marcoses stashed somewhere in Brussels. Human Rights Abuses. A cityscape that could give Danny Boyle further shedloads of Golden Globes next year. It stirred all the mushy parts of my tired brain that I couldn’t sleep so I ‘Googled’ and found out I wasn’t the only one gripped by the program. In typical bourgeois fashion, most people are horrified by the Beeb’s showing of the crass images of impoverishment.

I made sensible comments in some of the blogs but nobody seem to like it posted. Tough. I’ll post it here instead. This is my blog and it looks like it needs a fresh entry.

Sorry, I couldn't find a photo of me in front of Quiapo Church. I hope the Vatican will do for now.
Anyway, I found the feature really interesting if not thought-provoking. I wasn't really hoping to see lovely tanned lissom beauties vegging out in lush florae you'd expect in a tourism campaign. It's a well informed documentary for chrissakes. What an eye-opener. I didn't know that people can live in a cemetery and was quite touched by the prudence and mental soundness of the ordinary people that were interviewed - those that don't speak English as opposed to those that speak with American accent.

The young lady who declared she doesn't believe in ghosts as she hasn't seen one - contrasts the quite ironic naiveté of a former first lady who said that 'they' only found beautiful shoes instead of skeletons in her closet... is funnily enough, quite daft. Either that or she’s quite lost in translation. She has perhaps a more literal meaning for ‘a skeleton in the closet’. Those shoes may well be the metaphor of her cronies’ scandalous massive gory larceny. Every sole of those finely crafted pairs of shoes is tainted by the poor Filipino's sweat and blood sodden flesh and bones.

And I figured a few more dichotomies... The quiet honesty and dignity of the way the poor people live in spite of their conditions (still smiling and happy to pose for the camera) and the hypocrisy of the establishment: The Church, the Military and the deceitful politicians.
I do agree (and proud of it ) that there are a lot of beautiful things in the Philippines and you get glimpses of it in the program i.e. the people, the countryside, the fragile wildlife etc... But sadly, the overwhelming poverty and corruption are grim realities which we all can't deny. A testament and the raison d'etre of the Filipino diaspora.

Thanks BBC for quite honestly, a poignant program.

For the very upset Pinoys… Don't worry, your typical tourist may find it really boring and would tediously flick channels like he would brush aside a bland pudding off a supper plate.
BTW. We also have the most astonishing and most pristine gated communities and golf courses in the world. But this is how the upper classes behave. Thanks Tala for the link.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm bored.

I peeked into my girlfriend’s email last night, and this is the reason why I try to avoid being political lately. I could potentially destroy friends and family relationships.

On Sun, 9/11/08, ------------- < --------> wrote:
From: ------- --- < ---------->
Subject: Re: Bigger VenueTo: ----------
Date: Sunday, 9 November, 2008, 11:21 PM

Dear _______ ,
How could you read _________ ’s mind? Laughing out loud. Implying that I am mad and could lose my fingers typing long texts in my cellphone days on end, he asked why I haven’t just sent you an email.

I wondered for a while why you haven’t replied to my last text. I actually thought that you were offended by it. The evangelical school quip was a product of _______ ’s really cheeky wit. I already threatened him of severe punitive guilty conscience if for that reason (naughty text), our friendship is compromised. You may also take this (before you meet him) as a warning. Read: he’s got a really twisted sense of humour, even though he believes that he’s actually charming.

I am really taken with Obama. Not only that he represents what I believe are the better values: non-threatening foreign policy, a more inclusive domestic policy, tax relief for the less fortunate and therefore, not elitist.

I know. Your typical decent, higher earning, hardworking taxpayer couldn’t be asked to subsidize the ‘so-called’ welfare lazy stiffs. It isn’t difficult to convince some people especially during these times of financial difficulty that say, a pretty hard up single mother with lots of children, a non-english-speaking-trying-to-get-something-for-nothing-immigrant as a drain to the public resources.

Maybe it’s about time that Americans channel this bias towards the billions of dollars worth massive elephant – the bankrupt banks you doled your taxes into just recently. By the way, _______ corrected me that this is not just a recent phenomenon. He said that large US companies have been ‘helping themselves’ tax dollars in more questionable ways than those homeless gits just trying to get a warm blanket over their heads since Ronald Reagan. He asked me to copy-paste some of these:

$1.6 million in federal funds for McDonalds, in part to help them market McNuggets in Singapore from 1986 to 1994.

$278 million technology subsidies to Amoco, AT&T, GE, GM and IBM between 1990 – 1994 while they cut thousands of jobs and posted combined profits of $25.2 billion in 1994 alone.

$300 million tax deductions claimed by Exxon when they spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.

Around forty-two Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes from 1981 through 1985 until a minimum tax was forced on them in 1986.

Yes, it's pretty boring.

* ________ dumped a massive pamphlet in front me just in case he says you will ask for references but I thought it’s too geeky to even bother.

So, Obama hits the right spot for me. And to be honest, (laughs) you may also add that he is fit, dark, younger and better looking

( *Note: Dark here doesn’t mean she’s racist. I think she really likes tanned, dapper young men. I can’t speak in behalf of the Italian President in this matter though, LOL > howling. )

I’m still not convinced by the idea from your text that ‘God ordains leaders’ as this would automatically suggest that Hitler and such other horrid dictators as consecrated mass murderers. I have no issue with faith as it denotes personal belief rather than a dogmatic institution with divine power to control human destiny as in religion. Faith for me encompasses all the other positive aspects of a personal belief that promotes tolerance, free will, compassion, peace and harmony. You can call it Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Rastafarian, whatever. I’m not comfortable with all the other negative bits that make you stick a lethal bomb up your ass and blow other people’s brain to smithereens. Having said that, _____ have just shown me verses from Exodus, Genesis and Leviticus that illustrates the use of terror and gory violence against gays, prostitutes, sinners, Egyptians and even newborn babies in the Bible, Yuck. Bloodshed makes me feel sick. That is why I hate his collection of horror movies, but that is beside the point. I’m not a huge fan. I don’t go to church often either. Nowadays, I merely believe that there is a God.

He calls me a boring-moderate-petit-bourgeois-trying-to-seduce-a-leftie-into-the-middle-pacifist. Whatever that means. I couldn’t understand what drives people into the left or right end of the political spectrum if there are really such silly things. He said that right wingers are uptight cold-bloodied arrogant bastards. I suppose lefties are then loose, unfaithful hot-bloodied love rats. I’m really confused. I’d rather stay in the middle as a lovely lukewarm moderate temptress.

God bless, _______ .

PS. He didn’t mean to call you a religious extremist. Although, he’s the one that came up with the rather lame ‘potions and spirits are healthier when moderately taken’ phrase. Thank God, we’re not mad.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

blue light, part deux

There I was sitting at the back of the ambulance - the only time I was actually chilled, after a really busy night drawing up drugs, chasing up blood results and doctor referrals. Then there’s the most challenging bit, I think. Reassuring family at bedside. You wouldn’t send a family home when there is a possibility of ‘movement forward’ to another facility, need for involvement in a significant decision making process and quite possibly termination of therapy if deemed futile.

I felt weird (I always do, anyway) that there I was running around pushing drugs and fluids to preserve or keep organ function stable and restoring a family member’s confidence every time the machine beeps, but at the same time painting a rather bleak picture as quite often, it is better to offer little or no hope to prepare them for any negative outcome. You would have to continuously assess the family's emotional stability and intellectual capacity to understand the situation obviously.

It is during these times (early morning) when Consultants are hard to come by and decisions become really slow. The family have also decided to go home at this point which I thought was fair enough since they were practically up the whole night. We haven’t heard from the London hospital and dispiritedly, I was looking after a patient with a very unstable blood pressure and not blowing off his carbon dioxide despite of all the tweaks done on the ventilator. A high CO2 concentration on a head injured patient is basically, a ticking time bomb.

So I was quite happy that by six in the morning, we were whizzing our way to London. I didn’t mind that I had to catch a syringe flying in my direction from an ever so sprightly young doctor who can’t be bothered with her seat belts. These things happen. Once not so long ago, it was a sickie bowl.

I phoned up the patient's wife explaining to her that they might place a bolt through her husband’s skull to monitor the pressures inside and they may or may not operate on his brain depending on the degree of the damage. And that he may or may not survive the operation. I really felt sorry for her and she was really grateful for all the care and the honesty. I have omitted that part where we ask if the patient is on the organ donor register.

I apologized extravagantly when I handed over to a colleague. I know, I passed the buck.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

blue light

Still couldn’t sleep after one yet long graveyard as I clocked two hours more than my 12 hours shift last night. Good thing it’s my day off and it’s a lovely Saturday morning. Which doesn’t make any sense really as any random week day is fantastic as long as it’s my day off, to be quite honest. Well, aside from the fact that Subway’s £1.99 ‘Sub of the Day’ today is beef. I have to say it’s a greasefest already equivalent to my one week calorie requirement, but what the hey. It’s all about the jalapeños, baby. And I had zero calorie points last Saturday to make up for.

Grilled scallops with carrots and asparagus. Not so sure about the caviary pink fish roe mess though.

The reason for the two hour delay trip to the ever so lovely land of nod was the fact that by six o’ clock this early dawn, I was sitting at the back of the ambulance with all the liquids – what remained of the uninteresting shabby cuppa tea swirling in my gut space as it blue lighted (I would imagine more than 90 mph) it’s way off the motorway to London. I had admitted a patient from Accident and Emergency last night – a 60ish gent with subdural haematoma and cerebral contusions according to scans taken off his head.

A proper Level 3. Score we give to intensive care patients depending on how many organ failures they have equivalent to how often you have to run round the store cupboards like a headless chicken rummaging for wires and monitoring equipment to keep you interested.
Quite often the gizmos work, but other times they just become random number generators producing randomly generated algorithms i.e. the machine is telling you that patient is really dry and needing lots of fluids when obviously overloaded. Sorry Asimov, but sometimes Artificial Intelligence is just shite.

To be continued. I got a party to attend to this evening.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

back to reality

I’ve just been back from my holidays and even though I’m still struggling with jet lag and physical unease from exhaustion, I went straight back to four straight twelve hour shifts last week that I feel the need for again, another two weeks holidays. Back to life and (trying hard not to make it sound like a sing-along) back to reality.

No more lobsters in England!!!
I’m quite sure there’s a cheesy pop song like this one in the early nineties. Work as usual is pretty much as dull and boring as the weather. Since coming back, I have only just looked after bog standard post-operative patients monitored overnight, woken up the next day, extubated then discharged to the wards.

Kayaking is not for the fainthearted quite literally. You can flip over and you need at least half an hour of cardio warm up before you step inside the lithesome vessel.
I wonder if patients with complicated problems which we often think are more interesting also go on holidays. Say, somebody with Addisons disease that had been going on for years undiagnosed could be admiring the works of Gaudi in the quirkiest streets of Barcelona until he/she has a crisis. That’s a pretty morbid thought and not a very good example, so I will slap my wrist and change my topic. Of course, patients that actually get better are way far more interesting and rewarding.
My holidays went really well. I enjoyed the picnics and the barbecues.

Soaking up magnificent late afternoon sunshine petting the maple leaves as barbie gently sizzles in flame.
That’s Canada. Quite simply, the most glorious place on Earth.
They get really stroppy when you disagree. Next they’ll be telling us all evil villains are British and a bald head really is a solar panel to energize the brains.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh yay. Poutine.

Nope. Those are not swear words. I just couldn't think of an appropriate title for a blog coming off a night shift and still feeling a little bit coldy. I went to work even though I had this cough that started off as hay fever ish/type/thing few days before the weekend that became a full blown flu by Monday. I would like to think that I'm forging to improve my work ethic by running my burnout limits to the max. But really, no. I only did just the one night. I was sent home from work a few days ago for concerns that I may actually infect the whole workforce. Oh, yeah. Blimey. Pathetic... I'm really inclined to add a bijillion exclamation marks here. But somebody actually told me that excessive use of exclamation marks is pretty retarded. What every self-respecting blogger should aim to do is leave the impact of what one has written to speak for itself. (Take Note, Tala. Ha.ha.ha.)WTF.
I'm off to Canada this week. My flight's on Friday.
! ! !
By Friday evening, a few hours after touching down Lester B Pearson International Airport I would have chugged down every drop of Canadian beer off cheap cold bottles whilst partaking a massive bite of pommes frites drowning in artery-clogging gravy and cheese they call Poutine. I have yet to find out whether Poutine - a Quebecoise dish of fries is the French equivalent of the Italian Putanessca. Them Europeans associate comfort food with depraved debauchery. And Canadians are pretty touchy when pushing the superiority of their beverage that side of the Atlantic. They would actually describe American beer as like: having sex in a canoe which innocently, may sound pretty flattering. But having perhaps, inherited the British humour more than the 'other' colonial cousin, this actually means that American beer tastes so f#%!ing close to water.

No offence meant to all my American friends as I would in all honesty prefer New York City over Toronto anytime of the day, but Canadians are just so damn funny.

#1. Who can resist the Royal Canadian Mounties? Remember Benton Fraser's dry humour in that early nineties TV favourite called Due South? Don’t forget his sidekick lip-reading deaf wolf Diefenbaker. And imagine jumping along BBC's ‘Monty Python's Flying Circus’ as they sing the chorus to that silly Lumberjack Song.

very old pic of young howling's first trip to canada
still with his old pinoy passport. prancing along moose dressed as mountie.

#2. Celine Freaking Dion. Okey, in fairness, they also have ‘Feist’.

#3. They are bilingual. Therefore, it’s quite easy to pretend that you don’t understand English. The French street signs don’t leave you with an excuse for bad driving, though.

#4. They still allow themselves to be ruled by the Queen of England. Where were they when The Sex Pistols played "L'Anarchie pour l'UK" in two concerts at the Peter Street venue during the summer of 1976?

#5. Despite #4, they ditched the English and gone for the Metric System. I know, it's the bloody French.

camping with big sibs.

#6. The angel Michael protested when God created Canada. ‘Don’t you think you may be giving these smug Canucks a little too much? Upon which God manifestly said: ‘Wait until you see the neighbours I’m giving them!’ And He didn’t mean the Russians. No kidding. Lookie here.
#7. They call their dollar a 'Loonie'. Reminds me of the people from a lunar colony that lead a revolt against Earth in that silly book 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' by Heinlein. Funny dinkums.

#8. Their Prime Minister Stephen Harper is already a wax figure that even Madame Tussaud doesn't need him in her cheesy museum. Apparently, Egyptian mummies at the Royal Ontario Museum are more life-like compared to him. See for yourself here.
And see ya all guys after two weeks!