Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Really Amazing Race

In my sluggishness has trapped self in my room channel surfing for hours on end. So much to be done--all my action figures have decided to topple each other again, my laptop needs a lot of maintenance stuff, my toilet bowl was acting all weird, and other stuff to whine about. Chanced upon the final episode of the latest Amazing Race, a show I haven't seen for quite a while. Back during the teambuilding frenzy JD-Lu had initially assigned me to make the clues for the supposed five-stop Amazing Race from the hospital to his resort in Batangas.The first clue, I told him, would be revealed in the hospital lobby, and it would read like this "Proceed to L'Caraz Beach Resort in Batangas by car." They would then race to L'Caraz Beach Resort. A native would then welcome them and say "Welcome to L'Caraz Beach Resort!", then someone, probably Dondee, would say "This is your first and final pitstop. Congratulations. Our first activity: Sleep."

HIV thankfully took on the clue-writing job.

Apologies To You All For Thinking You Were Inarte

I need to grow biceps. Huge ones. This resolve is not necessarily new. Back in 2005 when I was still in internship the surgeons I was assisting would get quite annoyed at the wimpy way I would retract. Troglodyte at one point said, “wag ka na ulit mag-aassist ha”. Of course once the rotation was over I’ve forgotten all about this resolve, contented with my matchstick arms. Occasionally there would be resurgence, specially whenever I would have the urge to have the entire Justice League tattooed on my left arm.

A few weeks ago I once again had my colicky abdominal pain. The radiologist has confirmed the presence of stones a few months ago, and whenever I get sick I transmogrify into The Annoying, Whiny Patient. “Magpaopera ka na,” Tessieloopagoop said as she pointed at the disgusting stones on the printed ultrasound image. “Huungh, sob, whine—wala bang pampatunaw?” I whined to Tessieloopagoop. The latest attack was very pedestrian, but I decided to inject myself with pain meds. I injected my left arm using my right hand, and my arm was so thin that I felt the needle nick the bone. “Gaaaaaaaaah!” I caterwauled, apologizing in my head to everyone I’ve done bone marrow biopsy to. “Ooooouch,” I whimpered, or as the sosi group in 2002 would say, “Arouch!”

“Hindi naman yan bukol?” I had asked the radiologist. I am very paranoid about cancer. I don’t give ten bowls of crap about predictive values and crap when we’re talking about cancer. Back in 2004 I had severe unexplainable weight loss and one night had nosebleeds. I immediately ran to ENT, and Uni-horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore’s sister attended to me. I told her that I suspect I have nasopharyngeal cancer—what can I say, I was watching The X-Files episode Momento Mori a lot around this time. She peeped through my mouth and nostril and did some poking and stuff, and told me that no, there’s nothing there. “Walang cancer sa ilong or lalamunan mo,” she said. "Pero namamayat ako," I said. "Pwede namang sa ibang organs ang cancer," she reassured me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Going Batty

In the spirit of materialism, has recently acquired Batman: The Animated Series DVD box set volume 2 from Music One in Greenbelt. It is quite annoying when people talk and write about stuff that they have recently acquired, basically because I easily get really envious and I want everything to be Mine! Mine! Mine! but my acquisition of Batman: The Animated Series DVD box set volume 2 speaks of my will power, perseverance, and procrastination. It also shatters the dogma that everything can be downloaded. You see I’ve seen this exact box set one year ago, also during Christmas season, in the same store and I wrestled then with myself whether I would get it. When I’ve finally decided that I would, the set was gone, and the personnel said they wouldn’t be getting any more of it as it was out of print. Obviously they’ve only misplaced it under heaps of copies of Sex in The Philippine Cinema Volume 1-7. And yesterday, it was unearthed in the same store by Namtab Pots who rushed to me as I was listening to, er, cool jazz music in the listening station. One of the special features in the DVD is called Robin Rising, with the excellent Paul Dini and Bruce Timm talking about the history of Robin and how he was incorporated in the show. Robin, oh, Robin. It was like looking in the mirror.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Helen of Troy

I am strangely fond of my stint as Robin during the recent residents’ Team Building. Usually I would be embarrassed of embarrassing things, but my green, transparent sequined briefs only validated my long held belief that for my age I could still be the next Robin. How many were there anyway? Let’s review: first there was Dick Grayson, whose trapeze acrobat parents died when they moronically flew the trapeze without any safety net on. Then he graduated to become Nightwing, and Batman took in Jason Todd, whom Batman caught trying to steal the Batmobile’s wheels. Todd eventually died in A Death in the Family, a decision made from phone-in votes. I was happy to see him get resurrected, no matter how stupid the execution was. In Todd’s absence the third Robin was Tim Drake, who was quite competent and noble. For a while Stephanie Brown took the mantle as the fourth and first female Robin, but before I could read any of her adventures she died, although it was later revealed that she just hid in Africa or something and is in fact, right now, Batgirl. When Bruce Wayne died and Tim Drake decided to call himself Red Robin, Dick Grayson, the new Batman, took Bruce Wayne’s son, the evil Damian, as the fifth Robin. I would be the sixth, in case Damian discovers the 666 on his scalp and decides to be a full-blown devil instead. This entry, however, is not about the Robins, or me.

Whenever someone wanted to see my photo in the Robin costume I would show them the only photo I have in my PDA, the one with Helen of Troy beside me. I would expect ooohs and aaaahs and utter amazement and words of encouragement that yes, I look the part and I could be the 6th Robin, but instead they would comment on… Helen of Troy! “Ay, sino yan?” they would ask with glee. “That’s Helen of Troy. Do you think I would make a good Robin? Do you think Bruce would be proud of me?” I would reply with a fake pout.

Helen of Troy. Just to answer all your queries, that’s Cheapo. Cheapo is Helen of Troy. In the spirit of self-centeredness and histrionics and the desire to always make things be about me, it was I who coerced Cheapo to take on the mantle of Helen of Troy. Obviously, I’ve created a monster. Back during our first ever Miss Universe-themed team building our batch was assigned European costumes. A few minutes before the fellowship night Cheapo was yet to have a karir costume. So she pulled down a huge white curtain, covered her body in it, tied the ends over her left shoulder and voila—Ms. Greece. Or so I thought.

“Cheapo, you have to be Helen of Troy with crowns and stuff. That way you would come full circle from being a peasant Ms. Greece to being a royalty,” I demanded.

“Hindi ako Ms. Greece nun. I was Ms. Italy, harrumph,” she harrumphed.

I was tasked to create the invitational posters for the team building. I printed a huge, full body shot of her as Ms. Greece/Italy, with everyone else in the batch but mere thumbnails around her and put up the poster in the audiovisual room for everyone to see. She never forgave me.

Glee!

Recently met up with high school friends and one of them invited us to watch Rent or Cats. Now I’m not particularly fond of musicals, always finding the theatricals really awkward and the intermittent blaring into songs quite jarring. The closest thing to a musical that I like are the 90’s 2D Disney features, with The Lion King on top of the list. Back then my brother and I would rent a betamax copy of The Lion King from a video renting store called Sierra Papa, and we would watch it repeatedly, paying special attention to and doing multiple pauses on the infamous SEX subliminal message. SEX subliminal message—probably why I’m such a depraved, pervy adult now.

Which just suddenly reminds me—I sort of find The Sound of Music corny, although I did enjoy much the cartoon series The Von Trapp Family Singers or something, the one being shown on Channel 2 at 10 am on weekdays back then. We used to have a high school teacher whom we perceived to be a mega-fan of The Sound of Music. While he was assigned to teach Grammar we were surprised one day when he came in with a guitar. We wondered what the guitar was for, we thought maybe he came from some choir practice or something, until he went: “Today I have a special treat for you.” He started strumming. “This is from The Sound of Music. Raindrops and roses and kittens and mittens… these are a few of MY FAVORITE THINGS!!!!! When the dog bites! When the bee stings! When I’m feeling sad! I simply remember… MY FAVORITE THINGS!!!!!!”

We were stuffing our mouths with spitballs to prevent ourselves from laughing, but the dude could sing. A few weeks later he again brandished his guitar and made a birit rendition of Basil Valdez’s You. Yes, even back then we already had our very own Mr. Will Schuster.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quadruple Negatives

Now that Smoketh and the rest of the gang have fled from the hospital and are now studying their brains out at home I am having some extreme withdrawal symptoms, my daily routine now drastically altered. No more music appreciation sessions! No more pot sessions! No more unabashed whining! In an attempt to develop new daily itinerary this afternoon I ill-advisedly ran to Quiapo to look for those surplus, cheap cameras. And of all the stupid things to do too, to do it on a church day and two days before Christmas. I never did find the source of Smoketh and Thines’ contrabands, but I did see a lot of optical shops and porn DVD stalls. You would think that porn DVD buyers would have some level of sneakiness and have sheepish looks, but one guy was carefully inspecting the cover of a DVD and looking at it from different angles, checking out the minute details of anatomy and such. I failed to find any camera shop, but at least I didn’t have to walk—I only needed to stand and the constant movement of the people transported me from the abortifacient stalls back to the jeepney terminal.

Which reminds me, back in internship in OB…. Mmmm everytime I try to recall OB internship I am always assailed by smells of lochia and blood. They were everywhere—the smells were—on the chair, on the cold Wendy’s hamburger, on those many, confusing, OB forms. Back to the first sentence—which reminds me, back in internship in OB, one resident ordered the husband of a pregnant woman to buy some drug and gave him a prescription, telling him that only Mercury Drug in Quiapo probably carries the meds. Excited husband went to Quiapo and came back with… a Tanduay bottle with brown fluid and some twigs in it. Sometimes you just have to spell it out.

Eventually my routine would have to change anyway, entering the final year of residency and crap. Which reminds me, now that I am one of the people required to facilitate the student endorsements and such, back in clerkship we were always trembling in fear come 7 am, clutching our X-rays and ECG’s and photocopied charts as senior residents were already screaming and scolding us for something even as they were entering the room. Yesterday tried to attend one such morning endorsement, sipping my coffee as I took my seat. In the room were Marth V., Hurricane Katrina, and Pyro, asking questions from their wealth of knowledge. Pyro has the tendency to ask very confusing questions, ie, “What laboratory finding, which if you do not find it, will not suggest, but probably—not possibly—but probably confirm, that the patient does not have pulmonary alveolar proteinosis but some exotic interstitial lung disease?” After two sips of coffee I whispered to Hurricane Katrina, “I’m bored. I shall leave now.” And I left. And went back to the callroom to re-read my hardcover Superman/Batman: Supergirl. In it the one true Kryptonian Supergirl is re-introduced to the DC Universe after twenty years of being an earth angel/morphing goop/matrix substance. Getting easily bored is fun, it enables you to review your complex DC Universe history.

Stretching Out An Entry

While walking sluggishly around the callroom yesterday has majorly hit my forehead against the low-beamed cement entrance. I know I am given to using MILLIONS of exaggerations, but let me tell you without exaggeration or histrionics that as I heard the crack of my skull I had a very lucid vision of a very long, golden, radiant flight of stairs surrounded by angels, and at the end, open gates letting out more beams of light, telling me that it's all right, Will, it's all right, you're dead, but it's all right. Obviously I'm trying to stretch out one pointless non-experience into a blog entry, but indeed I got very dizzy for a few seconds and imagined a small vessel in my head leaking out blood. I immediately consulted my neurologist friend Neurologist Shipper Jack Knight, and she performed complicated, expensive tests on me (pronator drift). In the end her diagnosis: "Wala yan," she said.

I am blogging about this during my 24-hour observation period so that if anyone finds me unconscious, or let's say, dead, you would all know what caused the malady and not perform other tests. I know you all love writing out long diagnoses, but I don't want to see any rule out cerebral gonorrhea or something fancy in there.

Lurvivor

Recently saw Tits, Pyro, and HIV hunched together in a corner in the callroom and I knew, I knew that they were scheming. I wanted to pull Tits aside and pretend that I would like him to accompany me to get some firewood, but HIV and Pyro wouldn’t buy it. They’re very astute. So at lunch when Tits and HIV were away I told Pyro in a hushed tone, which was actually unnecessary because nobody else was around, “Look, Pyro. I know that you three are tight, and that if we reach the final four you, Tits, and HIV would probably vote me out immediately. But if you promise that you wouldn’t vote me out, I would take you to the final two if I win immunity in the final immunity challenge. We have to vote out HIV. We HAVE to vote him out. He would sway the judges with his eloquence.” Pyro had no idea what I was talking about.

I’ve seen so much Survivor, all 19 seasons of it so far (except the local version), that I think I could win the blasted competition without even trying—essentially I would bank on my weakling image. Image, okay, because in real life I’m a well-toned athlete. Even in the callroom I always assume that someone is always plotting to vote me out if they so much as claim that they would go out to buy lunch. In the recently concluded Samoa version, the winner is (spoilers, as if anyone still watches it) the bombshell buxom blonde Natalie whom I was rooting for. Handsome, vapid, boring, snoozefest doctor Mick was third with zero votes from the jury. That’s what med school does to you: it turns you into a vapid, boring, snoozefest doctor, and not necessarily handsome. Not necessarily handsome, more like old and fugly.

“If,” I went on with Pyro, “if I win the next immunity challenge against the three of you, you would have to vote out one of your own. I say vote out HIV. This would be your chance, he could win the final immunity challenge otherwise. The final immunity challenge could be Boggle or Mortal Kombat for all we know.”
“Anong pinagsasasabi mo,” Pyro exclaimed.
“Survivor. I’m pretending we’re in Survivor,” I had to explain, exasperated.
“Wala akong pakialam! Hindi ako nanonood ng Survivor!”

Obviously I needed a back-up plan in case Pyro maintains his wishy-washy disposition. I chanced upon Cheapo eating by herself a few days later. Cheapo is very tight with Gracielou and Cryola.

“Hey Cheapo,” I said, taking furtive glances, in case someone was eavesdropping behind the bushes/water dispenser. “If you, Gracielou, Cryola, and I are the only ones remaining in the final four, obviously you would vote me out. But here’s the deal and I want you to listen, if you don’t…”
“Syempre ikaw ivovote out namin!” Cheapo said between mouthfuls of COOP tuyo and ginisang monggo. “Ikaw. Ikaw ang ivovote out namin.”
This game ain’t over yet, Cheapo. I’ll work something out. This game ain’t over!!!

Let Them Eat Cake

The danger of parodying someone or something or some concept or whatever is that you tend to transform exactly into what annoys you, in the same way that FBI serial killer profilers become serial killers themselves. Back in college I’ve parodied the cono lifestyle and their way of speaking for around one semester, and we’ve had a couple of laughs in the beginning, until Groin slapped me one afternoon and admonished that “can you make tusok the fishball for me, Groin,” no longer sounded parodycial (don’t look it up, it’s invented conjugation). Or back in high school and college, when I absolutely reviled boy band/ girl band music and would always say with much disdain that I looooved it, until I realized that I could sing their songs in videoke without looking at the lyrics. And you all know what happened when I started parodying whininess—I’ve transformed into one infernal whiny whore.

I don’t even remember how it started, or who I was trying to parody, but in the quarters I’ve been ordering people around and telling them to do stuff in the most demanding, annoying, spoiled brat way. “Hey JD-Lu can you get a black plastic trash bag from ward 1 and place it on the floor beside my table so I can throw my trash?” for instance, which of course resulted in JD-Lu straightening a piece of wire clothes hanger and threatening to hook out my pituitary transnasally with it—I know, he’s probably seen the X-Files episode Teliko. Occasionally someone would indulge me, and it is to Cryola’s credit that she has sustained preparing breakfast sandwiches for me for quite some time. And I have sustained the demanding mode, which resulted in a rather puzzling exchange a few days ago.
Me: Ooooh, cake. Hey Cryola, can you slice some for me and place it on a paper plate so I wouldn’t have to wash anything afterwards?
Cryola: Opo.
Pyro: Ako rin.
HIV: But you can’t have some cake.
Me: Because you can’t have some cake and eat it too.
Pyro: But as Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake”.
Indeed, let me eat cake. Lots of it.

All This Whoring Will Catch Up With You Soon

Being in the medical field gives one perspective on various things, one in particular being the value of saving money, which is why I’ve started to scrimp this morning by stealing hard galletas from a patient’s rationed breakfast. Seeing the hospital ward patients, you know you’ll be old and have one or ten of these thousands of infirmities soon, and you know how bleeping expensive things would cost just to keep you alive. I’ve started saving, because in a few years I might need dialysis twice a week, or an angioplasty or valve replacement, and I might need muriatic-acid level antibiotics to kill the concomitant nosocomial infections. I might need hundreds of thousands of pesos for systemic chemotherapy, but before I might even get there I would need costly body scans and blood tests and aspiration biopsies and such just so I could establish that I have this cancer. And those biologicals and stuff, in the event that I develop some autoimmune motherfucker. Not to mention the PF’s and the hospital stay, which might prove quite expensive as I would demand that my hospital room have a theme, particularly, I would want it to look like…. The Bat-Cave!

And what about the complications of treatments themselves: I might have HAP on top of CAP (who invented this fun phrase anyway?), and my cancer might have cancer—all those years of drugs, smoking, booze, and whoring would eventually catch up. I’ve started saving, but just realized that with the amount of salary I get I would probably have just enough funds for, let’s say, an IJ catheter insertion. An IJ catheter insertion?! You mean you wouldn’t be able to sustain dialysis?, you snootily ask, then why start at all?! Good point, so I’ve just decided, right now, not to save—at all!!! Because really, save for what? For a few years worth of lease on life? And for what? And don’t spoil my ranting…I mean sound introspection… by arguing back with theologicals and inspirational stories and virtues and stuff—you’ll ruin my train of thought! What if I don’t want any diagnostics? What if I don’t want any treatment?!? For anything?!?! I’m formalizing it right now: I don’t want any of those! You can keep your expensive interventional procedure thingies, your antibiotics, your chemo, your anti-virals, I don’t want any of them!!! What’s that you’re saying? Why am I leaving the painkillers out? Oh yes, painkillers. I’ll probably save for painkillers. I love painkillers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Fast

Time is.

The title and that first line are pure plagiarism of an old entry of blogger-mate and hostess extraordinaire Lalaloo. Indeed, time has raged on faster than expected. A senior Fellow oriented us on our first day that getting into the program in this institution would give you the advantage of seeing patients in three years others would see in ten in terms of amount and quality, but you would also age ten years faster. Indeed, I am feeling the effects of this rapid aging. I climbed a flight of stairs this morning and I was panting by the time I reached the top. Wait, you mean it’s the smoking, the alcohol, and the drugs?

In a few days Smoketh, Rina Renal, Thorn, Omar, Mikeylou, Queen Mum, and the rest of my original batchmates will be leaving, and I’ll miss them horribly. Athough not really because they’ll be back in a few months as high and mighty subspecialists. I think I’ve been a good friend to them, so here’s hoping they’ll be kind when they slave me around in my rotation with them. Farewell, people, sleep till 2 pm on December 17!

SPF 10,000

And so Djana and I had no choice but to come up with activities—there are more people to disappoint this time, three batches of residents to be exact, if we commanded that the only activities would be sleeping and drinking. To annoy everyone we came up with a horribly difficult obstacle course, and we scheduled it at the beach at 3 in the afternoon when the sun is at its cruelest. We underestimated everyone’s karir mode, as everyone gamely joined the obstacle course after swathing themselves with SPF 10,000. Tora Olafsdotter was the most intense, as he slipped and made ngudngod himself on the sand a few inches before he could transfer the water from his bucket to the pail at the end of course. Instead of wasting time standing up he stayed prostrated on the sand and stretched out his hand to do the final transferring.

Fellowship night came and everyone posed in front of the camera for a photo op. I came as Robin, the Dick Ward 60’s version, the one with just a pair of green briefs on and no long pants. To spare everyone from my horribly hairy thunder thighs I put on a pair of flesh-colored tights underneath. A few days before I lent our househelp my 80’s Super Powers Robin action figure and ordered her to fashion a similar costume. The figure’s green briefs had small corrugations on it, and if you would check the 60’s comic books the briefs really had scales on them. She couldn’t find any scales, so she made the briefs out of sequined green translucent material. The sequins were the only ones keeping the briefs from being totally see through.

It has always been a major dream to wear a superhero costume, and in last year’s PA night while Pam, Tits, Fulet, and Jonds looked really interesting in their X-Men costume I was a lowly back-up dancer in a brown shirt. I didn’t care much about Marvel characters anyway. I finally got this chance, and no one could stop me from becoming a pedophile jail-bait Robin whore. It was the tightest costume, though, as it was fitted on my brother who is half my size. Years after the campy 60’s TV series Batman and Robin starring Adam West and Dick Ward have ended, Ward sued the production company accusing it of turning him sterile after years of wearing those really tight green briefs. I don’t care if I get sterile, I love them shiny green briefs.

Again, Blackest Night Updates!

The Blackest Night has been running for almost six months now, with the main title on its 5th issue and a lot of its tie-ins having completed their run. It sort of gets redundant and repetitive after a while, with the pattern of memory downloading, a full page splash of the dead rising (RISE!), the meeting between the dead and its loved one, and the ensuing battle going on and on. Still, it’s particularly fun to see Ted Kord, Maxwell Lord, Zor-El, and the other dead rise back and go on a killing rampage, so my attention is still holding up. Important updates and spoilers for whoever would care, then!

1. Issue 5 is wonderful, with the Rainbow Raiders finally complete and uttering their oaths at the same time in one fun splash page. Orange Lantern still has no oath, and although he is accused of being a one-note character he is still funny.

2. Still on issue 5, how annoying is it that after a long wait Batman finally rises only to be disintegrated again after just a couple of panels? Intensivists claim that that is not really Bruce Wayne Batman, as his corpse is safely kept in the Batcave, although there is also another Batman marooned in the past painting on caves. Interesting.

3. Just when we were getting kind of bored with “RISE!”, Geoff Johns might have noticed it and came up with something new and really really fun… “DIE!” Quite frustrating though that just when Supes and Wondy are finally getting in on the battle they are ordered to die and they die. Sort of.

4. Kyle Ryner is dead. I think. He sacrificed himself or something, I always get confused with the action in Green Lantern corps because the space opera histrionic art tends to get in the way.

5. All the colored lantern corps combine their powers to defeat Nekron, but they fail. This is great, because we don’t want to see a Carebears Care ending. Truly there seems to be some gigantic twist in the end. There has to be.

Queen Mum

Queen Mum has recently told me that my appearance devolves as an ER duty day progresses, and here I thought I couldn’t devolve any further. At 2 pm she said my polo collar would be skewed to the left. At around 6 pm half the collar would be up, and the upper most button would be unbuttoned exposing more skin than anyone would want to see, with my hair starting to get totally disheveled. At 3 in the morning all the bangs would be standing up in major kunsime fashion. I hadn’t noticed this, as I’ve always thought I have the same horrible appearance all the time on the rare occasion that I check the mirror. One post-duty day I took a bath at around 7 and ran back to the hospital. Thines saw me, and asked if I have foundation on my face. “Hinde. Nahugasan lang lahat ng grime at oil,” I said.

Self-Imposed Shutting Up

Amazingly I have managed to shut up for almost a month, abandoning this blog thinking that it would write itself. I once asked Namtab Pots and Smoketh to ghost write something and try to pass off as me, but they were busy with real life concerns. The previous month has been quite a challenge—strike that, not a challenge, why try to make things sound positive all the time anyway—the previous month has been crap, and there is no point in writing something in such a hellish state. Unlike other writers who find inspiration in their most lonesome moments, I find no inspiration whatsoever in being miserable. There’s nothing funny to write about when you’re annoyed.

Self-imposed exile, however, is great in that you could accomplish a lot of things. Blogging, as it turned out, is quite time-consuming. So in my exile:
1. Was able to arrange all my action figures in the ultimate super hero pose. I decided to highlight the Silver-Age versions of the Superman Family and place them in the middle, with Marvel Legends relegated to the least noticeable levels of the eskaparate. Red Lantern of Rage Atrocitus looks wonderful beside Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Yellow Lantern Sinestro, and the Violent Lantern of Looooove, Carol Ferris Star Sapphire! Of course by the time I got back home the following week Supergirl fell from the upper level and toppled everyone down. She has very weak knees.

2. Went to the IM Team Building in a Robin costume, an excellent one if I may say so myself. I usually don’t care for these things, except that everyone in the batch is so karir about everything that I felt compelled to go with the flow. The theme for our batch is Epic Movies. Truly there is nothing epic about Robin, or the Batman and Robin movie for that matter, but one of my dreams since childhood has been to wear a jail-bait Robin whore costume. Everyone came in their most karir costumes, the incoming 2nd year’s theme being cartoon characters, and the incoming first years as horror movie characters. In terms of awesomeness my top picks would be Cruella de Ville, Daphne of Scooby Doo, Elizabeth Swan, Cousin It, Helen of Troy, and Fred Flintstone. Special mention to Cat Woman, someone I could interact with and indeed, she whipped me bad. Special mention also to Tinkerbell, who looked really fun and interesting when she got drunk.

3. Collected all seven rings of the multi-colored lantern corps from Comic Odyssey to join my previously acquired Black Lantern of Death. They are really ugly and look really cheap, and as Namtab Pots pointed out, they look like those freebies from Chikadees. But they are really fun to wear. I will one day require seven of my batchmates to wear them and we will pose for a peeeeeeekchur.

4. Went on to write more serious stuff and got self published on a couple of nationals. Was last week’s writer in Philippine Star’s National Bookstore book review competition, wherein I wrote about Gerard Jones’ Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. That competition has been my sole source of annual bookstore shopping money, and the contest has thankfully allowed me publication air time for the past four years. Some of the books I wrote about for the contest in the past years: Atonement by Ian Mc Ewan, Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, and something with no book in particular but in which I just related some of my weird childhood experiences. H&L editor also said he published my insomnia article for the December ish of Health and Lifestyle, but I am yet to see a copy.

5. Went back to writing short stories. The last one I wrote was around five years ago, and it shows. I wrote something I was planning to submit to a magazine while I was in GJ’s with Smoketh, and I asked her to read it with the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that it’s a totally sell-out piece written with the sole intent of getting published, and she agreed. She told me never to submit it.

6. Went on a semi-brief reactive psychosis, just in case you can take one more whine. I’ve never had BRP’s because I think they’re corny, but when you’re having the most severe, debilitating allergic rhinitis attack while being alone in the OPD clinic with huge amounts of patients to see (whine whine whine), the feeling of being trapped made me miss Zolofta. No offense, Prozy, Zolofta rules.

7. Presented in the much-dreaded Endocrinology Conference, which was far scarier than my two audits. Had Smoketh not been my partner I would have totally gone loony. While cramming for it at four in the morning I typed with Smoketh in their fraternity-sorority tambayan, thinking no brods or sisses would see me and give me dagger stares. I’m a barb. Two medical students suddenly walked in, however, and started to extend their hands to give me their secret handshakes. Smoketh stopped them in time thankfully, for I might have had my CSF sucked out of me had I given them the wrong handshake. After the conference Smoketh and I wondered if we had been made kain by the consultants. We are dense to being made kain, someone has to point it out first.