Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunog!

In a matter of days... the annual interns' Sunog! Every year during the last night of internship, April 30, all the interns lick their chops, wield their cleavers, and pump their blowtorches in preparation to burn... BURN!!!!... all the villains in the hospital that made their lives miserable during the year that was. You evil resident who threw a lochia-filled speculum at me.... BURN!!!! You foul-mouthed surgeon... BURN!!!! You batch of lazy clerks.... BURN!!!!

3 years ago Mother Cat, Jazz, RD, Coooey, Leif, and I went to our own Sunog quite late, at around 11 pm, so we feasted on the carcass of the celebratory lechon. Not even the carcass, more like the lard and the drippings. Everyone guzzled tons of beer, non-smokers started smoking, and Caloy singlhandedly lifted our transcription box, threw it at the bonfire, and burned... BURNED!!!!... that infernal trans box which signified all the exams and the sufferings of the past five years.

Come to think of it we were too preoccupied with drinking and smoking pot that we didn't burn any effigy of a hateable resident or whoever. I think we were all just too tired to even create an effigy, or everyone just stopped caring. Or everyone was just too inebriated. We've been preparing to burn a laboratory personnel (codenamed salt-and-pepper for her salt-and-pepper hair), but it was too much of an effort. Wait, I got it now, nobody symbolically burned anyone because everybody was too busy... having group pictures!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garbage

The pointless stuff we filled our heads with in elementary! The garbage we had to memorize! And the sudden rain reminds me of an exam we had in Filipino during grade 5 wherein we would interpret some filipino idiomatic expressions/figurative speech/whatever. One item was "basang sisiw". A classmate who was not fond of joking or being a wiseass had this for an answer:

1. Basang sisiw- Sisiw na basa

I don't know where the heck she is now, although I can probably check Facebook, but if there is justice in this universe she should be the most successful of us all. And I mean it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mine! Mine! Mine!

And in this month's Green Lantern...
...I have to run and no time to write a review, all I can say is that it has the best Green Lantern cover of all time, featuring Agent Orange hungrily hugging his orange lantern with nothing on the background but MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!!!!!!!!
The Blackest Night will be huge.

Heavy Rains! Meh.

So it rains. I'm not impressed. It's still bleeping hot, and the rain lasts for only ten seconds such that when you walk out from an airconditioned room hot humid air slaps your face senseless. If this were the 80's the older bunch would tell you the weird weather combination is bad enough to give you balisawsaw, that strange wishy-washy state of the bladder that is not quite urinary tract infection and not quite incontinence, which can only be countered by sitting on a basin full of cold water. Speaking of urination, held my bladder to its fullest and longest today during a long workshop. Wow, now he's telling us about his urinary practices, you snootily say. Well, yes. So I was in a workshop and was holding my bladder worth three glasses of iced tea, huge amounts of cold water, and coffee, and tried to hold it foolishly thinking that in a few minutes the workshop would end. It didn't help that Burkholderia was whispering in my ear, "shwushwushwushu". When the workshop finally ended one hour after I first thought it would I ran to the restroom and peed my soul out. Then went out dizzy and disoriented, grabbing nearby objects to stop myself from falling down on the floor.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Concern For The Month

This is not the time, to dwell on family problems, relationship problems, social problems. We don't want to involve ourselves too much on death, the deaths we caused, the guilts thereafter, and your accusing looks. We have no time to linger on academic pursuits, on our miseries, on the realization of our own shortcomings. Not even on the shortcomings of other people, no matter how entertaining they may be. Not on the bad choices we made and how depressing they may be, when we could be writing thick wonderful novels in the basement while smoking weed right now instead of being miserable. And don't even mention gadget malfunctions--damn them--, or the health hazards that our bad habits pose. This is not the time to dwell on these trifles, trifles I tells yah, because all our energies, all our concerns, all our emotions, all our whinings, all of them, should be concentrated on the one important thing that makes us miserable--the heat. P#%+@^$*% ang inet!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Unhappiness of Unknown Primary—Can You Possibly Think of a More Melodramatic Title: A Self-Help Crap

It must be the heat diffusing the drama from some unknown primary source, but I’ve been seeing a lot of unhappiness from a lot of people at work—batchmates, former interns now surgery residents, seniors called Smoketh, everyone. Some you don’t even need to interact with significantly—one look while they are walking ridiculously fast and they are screaming, in total melodrama, “Crestfallen!” As if work, mingled with heat, stench, and bloated egos around all combine to sap any interest to go beyond moving through the motions. So who better to give advice on how to be happy but me, sertraline-free for more unreliability. So in the spirit of guidance counselors and their unsolicited advice, here are 3 tips:

1. Read comic books and drown self in comic book universe. They are called funny books for a reason, and they don’t deal with very heavy issues--superhero groups being torn apart by a leader getting called on a political mission in his recently rebirthed home planet, a superhero wife being raped by a light-wielding villain, a civil war among former groupmates which leads to the death of a hundred-year old super soldier—not very heavy issues at all. Okay, quite heavy, but they give you something to obsess over. Or if you’re not into superheroes just immerse yourself in some other universe of your liking, be it LOTR or the world of Sailor Moon. The thing is, you need to escape. Yes, indulge in escapism. I’m not being ironic—you have to escape. Indulge in it. You can choose to neglect your work and not come back to reality, it’s all cool, the point is for you to get as far away from the hospital as possible. As far, far away. Faaaar away. Faaaaaar away. Looooook into my eyes—faaaaaar away.

2. Get addicted to some substance. Like coke. For health reasons, the Diet one. Diet Coke. And it should be really, really, really cold. Word was it could cause cancer, but then newer “studies” revealed only if you guzzle tons and tons in a day. It would also help if the substance of choice is not something that fries the brain, like illegal drugs. Because they’re expensive, and that thing about their being dangerous to your health is a valid reason as well.

3. This may be difficult to do because it has to be well-planned, but in that rare moment that you have a total day-off, resist the urge to go to the Planetarium or The Science Centrum, you nerd, you’re no longer in high school. No, damn it, not play Street Fighter even. I know it’s a good game, but your thumb’s calloused enough from all that charting. So in that rare moment of a day-off—no, don’t talk to a counselor, haven’t you talked to millions of patients already that you’re already sick of your own voice???—in that rare moment of a day-off, go to your room and sleep. Not for ten hours, mind you, but for twenty hours. Eventually you’ll wake-up with a throbbing headache—to relieve the headache you have to sleep again. Eventually you’ll have to pee, or eat—do those things fast and sleep again. Foley and TPN only in extreme cases of slothhood.

Abstinence

Been successfully abstaining for 4 months. Haven’t touched that nasty stuff in 4 difficult months, and they were right, it’s not getting any easier. I dream about them. They are all I think about. I feel the urge most specially during stressful situations, such as when someone had just had a massive UGIB and instantly died, or after I discovered that they decided not to include the Giant Alien Squid in the Watchmen movie. It sometimes gets so out of hand that I develop tremors and, yes, psychosis.

Indeed, this is a very common, annoying essay format, wherein after a prolonged intro amateur writer suddenly reveals what he’s talking about, usually with an attempt at irony or just cheap surprise by revealing that he’s just addicted, after all, to sleep, or Coffee Walnut Triple Cheese Surprise, or sex. I, on the other hand, am now revealing cornily that what I was referring to, indeed, are action figures. Truly I haven’t bought an action figure in four months. The last one I got was the Lost action figure of Sawyer. It was on sale in Toy Kingdom, and it was apparent, because when I pressed the button to make it speak it wouldn’t make any sound at all. Funnily enough after I got Sawyer all the Lost figures soared back to their original bleepingly expensive prices, so I no longer have the compulsion or urge to give Sawyer some company. And since he’s alone he is now displayed, most incongruently, beside Lisa Simpson. I don’t think they can even muster some small, perfunctory talk to kill the silence.

But you referencing this commonplace, rather corny essay format does not excuse your using it, or make you a non-amateur, you snootily point out. I agree, but everyone knows I’m addicted to crystal meth and I just wanted to give everyone false hope that I’ve quit. Okay I’m not really addicted to meth. But they say you’re addicted if you deny that you are, which is why well-meaning self-help groups always tell you that the first road to quitting is the admission of addiction. Which is why I should stop this blog entry right here, because it’s starting to get all over the place, and I’ve confused myself with my multiple attempts at a within-irony irony within-irony non-irony.

Geeked-Out

In terms of geeking out, you couldn’t possibly get more geeked-out than during the Season 8 episode of Smallville entitled Legion penned by the comics god himself, Geoff johns! I’ve spaced out in the recent Smallville seasons what with all the crystals and annoying Jor-El misrepresentations going around, but who could possibly resurrect my interest in the show but Geoff himself. In the episode we see for the first time live action versions of Saturn Girl Imra Ardeen from the planet Saturn, Lightning Lad Garth Ranzz from the planet Winath, and Cosmic Boy Rokk Krinn from the planet Braal!!! I had, of course, some minor misgivings such as Cosmic Boy wearing black instead of pink, and Lightning Lad being characterized more like Polar Boy, but the strength of Geoff Johns’ writing comes in his ability to go straight to one’s beating geek heart.

There are tons of geek moments that my years of devotion to the Legion of Superheroes managed to catch, but my favorite bit is not some minor reference to some old, old Adventure Comics’ issue, but rather an idea that should have always been there but never truly explicitly stated, which was wonderfully elucidated on by Johns in this wonderful episode. I am talking about the Legion Code to never ever take a life (eh, Star Boy?). I was originally annoyed when the three Legionnaires originally wanted Chloe dead, until it was recently fleshed out towards the end that they have formed the Legion Code never to take a life at all cost from this seminal meeting in the past with Superboy Clark Kent!!! As Cosmic Boy explained it I started to get all misty and tried, but failed, not to bawl out in total geekhoodgasmness. And then they all raised their Legion flight rings to scream, all together now, “Long live the Legion!!!”—by this time I was a total mess. Indeed, long live the Legion!!!! Bring them back from the abyss that was the 2003 Mark Waid reboot!!! Long live the Legion!!!

Addendum: And as it always happens, since I’m loving the series again, what with a lot of geek-out moments and some fun original ideas, and some actual good writing even, I’m sure the series will be cancelled soon.
Addendum 2: I've showed this episode to my dad who is ten times more a Legion fan than I am, and he had only one comment: where the heck is that Legion time bubble?

4 Insights You Can't Possibly Have Any Use For

1. I used to get annoyed at the prospect of people planning major vacations in faraway places during the Holy Week, me quaintly thinking that everyone should be joining a prusisyon or eating ginataan at home while watching Jesus of Nazareth. Then I changed my mind and realized that indeed, for workers all over the country the Holy Week is the only chance for a long R&R. Then I myself worked, and I changed my mind again, believing once again that everyone should suck it up and finish that bland ginataan. Because really, you’re lucky to even get a weekend the entire year, whiners.

2. The DC books have been subpar lately, and I can’t keep making excuses for you, Dan Didio. The only good DC books recently have been Wonder Woman by Gail Simone, the Superman books, and Green Lantern by Geoff Johns. Even Justice Society of America is quite dismal, maybe because the art by Jerry Ordway is quite boring. Teen Titans, crap. Titans, crap. Justice League, pure and utter crap. Even Batman, crap. Final Crisis, crap crap crap! So I rummaged through my old unread Marvel books, and discovered some pretty good stuff, particularly Civil War and The Mighty Avengers. The X-Men books I still can’t get back on—just damn too many mutants. But hope is not all lost, because in June, the dead will rise in… The Blackest Night!!!

3. Cerealicious must have noted nobody cares about their Cereality TV anymore, because we’re sick of watching your success story over and over, so they upped their reading materials which now include a bunch of old FHM’s. In one issue Iwa Moto was the featured semi-nudie, and in the obligatory side-bar interviews she said something like, “It was so like painful and they had to do an exploratory laparotomy on me! Eeeeeeeeek!” Or something to that effect. And yet on the picture, perfect, scar-less abs!

4. So apparently the Wolverine movie got leaked by some insider, and it’s all over torrents and sidewalk DVD’s. Lesla Lar watched a copy of this, and apparently it was still the unedited version—the fight scenes are still happening in front of a green background, and harnesses and strings are still visible. Ryan Reynolds plays a cameo as Deadpool, which begs the question, if there’s Deadpool, is there a Slimer-like floating Doop?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Starch Costume

Speaking of the Flash, I happen to remember that there used to be a (very) short-lived TV series in the 90's called The Flash, featuring the Barry Allen Flash and starring John Wesley Shipp, aka Dawson's dad, as The Flash, and a bunch of unknowns as a bunch of unknown villains! The series is crap, featuring a Flash costume with built-in styrofoam muscles! Or at least I thought. Lesla Lar has a different theory regarding the strange looking costume-- starch! Now that I really think about it, there couldn't have been any styrofoam muscles underneath, but there seemed to be a whole lot of almirol.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poserhooddom

Back in 1998-1999 I had a poser poet phase, when I would try to write as many “poems” as I could and ask unsuspecting orgmates to write in my—euuw—poetry journal. I will spare you any patronizing comments—my poems are all pretentious crap. This journal, however, inadvertently gave birth to the annual Psych Soc literary folio, thanks to Kay Anonuevo. She had to interview me for some article she was writing, and part of the article was she would raid my stuff. In my bag she discovered, aside from illegal drugs and a batarang, the poetry journal. She then went on to push for me to create and edit a literary folio for our psych org, which became quite a hit that it became a yearly thing.

The literary folio was composed of short stories, essays, verses, and art work submitted by the members at the time, and if I remember correctly it was called Katarsis—you can’t get any obviouser than that, with the direct Filipino spelling for more UP Diliman effect. The project also made me mad with power—I changed the ending of FCC’s story from the girl having successfully crossed halfway across the world to meet the man of her dreams, to her plane crashing, ending any hopes of reconciliation. FCC never forgave me. My personal poetry journal now sits quietly in my closet, a total nidus of embarrassment. In the off chance that I become a famous literary figure this poetry journal would be unearthed after my death by an evil great grandson and be sold to some enterprising publisher who would milk what’s left of my, ahem, popularity.

For completion of poser-ness I also had a poser film buff phase circa 1999-2001, so it’s three full years of poser-hood. During the phase I would try to watch as many movies as I could, and at the time movies were just P40-P50 each, and with the “indies” still relatively novel. Usual areas of exploit were the UP Film Center (P20/movie), SM City, and the Glorietta Art Film cinema. Local outfits producing movies that tended to push the envelope would usually show them for free in the UP Film Center, but I still failed to watch Scorpio Nights 2. News was the crowd was so huge and crazy the theater doors broke down. I did get to watch, however, some great ones like Karnal, featuring the scene where Philip Salvador killed his evil dad. Mrs. Therese was beside me, and she shrieked like hell during the surprise murder scene—“Bakit hindi mo sinabi saking puputulan nya ng ulo?!?!” she caterwauled as blood sprayed out from dad’s severed carotids. I also got to watch Tuhog. Rodky didn’t want to watch it with me, so I watched alone. That’s the one with Klaudia Koronel as an incest-rape victim, and with Ina Raymundo playing her in a parody bold movie within a movie. And the hilarious and very quotable Paraiso Ni Efren, featuring the classic line, “Bakit pag totoo ba hindi masakit? So hindi ka masasaktan pag sinabi kong puta ka? Puta! Puta!” (or something like that).

I would watch something in the Glorietta Art Film cinema (which is a poser distinction in itself) almost every week without having any idea what the featured movie would be about, and at times I would inadvertently catch gems like Boys Don’t Cry which wasn’t in the general consciousness back then, but most of the time I would get to catch the really crappy ones. There was one about a family with a family problem or something. And another one with a series of weird, confusing, sexual liaisons. The crappiest of them all is “Chuck and Buck”. There were exactly 3 of us in the cinema. Apparently this was about two childhood friends who used to play a game that went something like this: “Chuck and Buck would suck and fuck.” They eventually grew old, and Chuck became a family man, but Buck became so fixated with this game that he started stalking Chuck so he could play the game again. I had dozed off for about a quarter of the film so I can’t remember if Chuck yielded and they sucked and fucked again, but I did catch the end, with Buck becoming a janitor of sorts in a ballet theater. Huh? Another bad “art film” I remember—The Pornographer, about a guy so discontented with the porn movies he watched that he started filming his own. For something about porn it was quite tepid. A week later it was already showing in Cinemax under a different title.

And then med school happened and there was no more time for poser-hood. Wait—frequenting expensive coffee shops with laptops on pretending to do something really important when in fact am just facebooking—the ultimate poser-hood.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome Back, Barry, said Geekazoid

Barry Allen is back. Who is Barry Allen, you ask? Well he is MY Flash. Every generation has his own DC superhero version, and my Flash is the 60's version, Barry Allen, just as my Green Lantern is Hal Jordan (not Kyle Ryner or John Stewart). He is not necessarily the first Flash (the first one is Jay Garrick, the one with the arinola head gear, who first appeared in the 40's), but he ushered in the Silver Age of Comics which for me is still the best. Youngsters, yes, you, youngsters, might be more familiar with Wally West, the one in the Justice League cartoons, and the one who has been donning the mantle since Barry Allen's death in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths. It has been 24 years since Barry Allen sacrificed himself to save the universe from the anti-Monitor, and he is finally alive again. His actual return, which was quite Meh in the Final Crisis (no thanks to you, Grant Morrison), will now be fleshed out in a five-part mini-series, Flash: Rebirth, written by the excellent Geoff Johns and illustrated by the excellent Ethan Van Sciver. It is now just in its first issue, and I am already feeling some real love towards Flash. This must explain my years of apathy towards the Flash character--it wasn't Barry.

SQN

Hands already wearing gloves, poised to take the laryngoscope and ram a tube down a gasping patient’s throat while in the sauna that is the ER, when an intern approached me hurriedly and asked something about another patient, “About the other patient, why COPD? Why not asthma?” “Er,” I said, as I glimpsed at the patient beside me turn midnight blue. “Why COPD and not asthma?” he asked, genuinely concerned, “isn’t wheezing the sine-qua-non of asthma?” “Becausehehasasignificantsmokinghistorybastaheisnow stablebastakahitanopwede,” I said in one breath. Whenever I panic I speak really, really, really fast.

Sine-qua-non! Someone actually uses sine-qua-non in everyday conversation! Since then I would refer to wheezing as SQN, ie, “You have asthma and I am hearing something in your lungs, and it’s… SQN!” When I was an intern I don’t think I even knew what the fuck—sorry—what the fornicate sine-qua-non was. Or I might have heard of it, but might have thought it was something out of Legal Med, like res ipsa loquitur, which is probably the only thing I remember about Legal Med. Wait, I think we also had a lecture on virginity, carnal knowledge, and other such constructs, the differences among which I no longer remember, except that the hymen and whatever ruptures it count. All I remember is that during the board exams there was this very important, career-defining question that I failed to answer—A cracked egg is called A. Rots B. Sots C. Spoiled. Or was that in Preventive Medicine? The heat is making me dizzy.

Speaking of heat, the heat is indeed making me dizzy, and loony, and forgetful. The ER is a total sauna with an active heater, with gangrenous feet (and nape, and back, and everything) and different kinds of stools as air freshener. It is so hot that if that walking chocolate guy in the Axe commercial walks in there, in two seconds we can place him in a paper cup—and other corny hyperboles.

The hottest day ever, however, was during our baccalaureate mass in the Malate Church some 3 years ago. For some reason I was the only one who had this foresight and therefore wore a really old and comfortable short-sleeved shirt, because everyone else wore long-sleeved shirts with neckties. Some girls even wore gowns with tiaras and a scepter—no, wait, that was during the Kalayaan Dorm Acquaintance Party 12 years ago. By Homily everyone had jabar reaching down the waist. And just when I thought I could run away right after the mass, there was… some awarding or ritual of sorts!!! Mega-active and participative batchmates went in front and started handing out certificates one by one to loyal batchmates who did remarkable stuff for the batch. I never did anything remarkable, so I just sweated to total wetness as I watched prestigious batchmates go in front. And then there was… an audio-visual presentation! And then… speeches! Of many people! And then… a presentation of the time capsule!

According to the programme the time capsule thing would be one of the last activities of the day, and just when I thought it would end in a few seconds the hostess of the portion started with…

“The concept of the time capsule started in ancient Sumeria…”

Ancient Sumeria! This must have snapped the same cord in Flukeman’s head, as he immediately texted me, from some two seats away, “Just open the fucking time capsule already!” Followed by Mrs. Therese’s text: “Huuuungh!” Followed by Ditz the Titz’s text (who wasn’t there, but was watching a rerun of American Idol at home) “Guess what, na-vote out na si Elliot! Somewheeeeeeere! Ooooover the raaaainbow!!!”
I can’t recall if the time capsule history ever reached modern Manila, I can’t even recall what the heck were placed inside the time capsule, all I remember is that after everything, there was… a batch picture. Peeeekchur!

Sushi

As it always happens when you’re in a hurry an environmentalist accosts you and makes you feel guilty. Case in point, I was running towards Comic Odyssey in Rob to get the long-awaited Flash: Rebirth #1 which has been released two days ago already it might have totally disappeared off the racks, when some Dude from the WWF approached me and was nice and all and told me stuff about the destroyed coral reefs and stuff. I hate speaking in English in public places as it is very… I don’t know… poser, but Dude started an all-out environmental speech in English, so here is an abridged transcript of the conversation:

Dude: Hi, I’m sure you remember Earth Hour. Did you observe Earth Hour?
Me: Er… yes.
Dude: It’s okay. Come, take a seat. Are you aware that 90% of something something gets destroyed by something something every 5 minutes? Imagine, if in the 1960’s something something…
Me: Hurm...
Dude: And the dolphins are getting decimated. Ever wondered what happened to the dolphins? They were made into dolphin sushi and dolphin burgers!
Me: (genuinely surprised) Dolphin burgers? I eat a lot of burgers all the time, why haven’t I heard of dolphin burgers before? Why hasn’t anyone ever offered me dolphin burgers?
Dude: (clutches chest in feigned MI) Oh my god you’re interested??? Actually (gets a map), dolphin burgers are only available here (points at Negros).
Me: (taking furtive glances at Comic Odyssey just ten feet behind him) Mmmm. Okay, I…
Dude: You can help preserve the environment something something something something just write your VISA mastercard number here…
Me: But it’s too much of a commitment. I need time to think it through.
Dude: It’s okay, a lot of people think this over. So if you want I can fill out this form for you. What’s your name and VISA mastercard number?

The guy’s heart is in the right place, and I think I must have said something showbiz in closing, something like, “I appreciate your passion for your work,” or “But I really need to buy Flash: Rebirth #1. Now.”, but really, this is something I need to ruminate on before signing something or giving my credit card number away. But you have disposable money to even buy Flash: Rebirth #1, you annoyingly say, why can’t you spare twenty bucks a day to save a dying narwhal? Okay, I feel guilty enough, to make up for it I’ll adopt one of those cats in kantunan.