Friday, September 21, 2012

And On Yet Another Keane-Related Post

I've decided that I am NOT GOING TO WATCH IT! AHAHAHAHAHHHA. That ahahhahahahaha is of course akin to the ahahhahhahahhah when you realize you have appendicitis and would need to be operated on right now. Or the same ahahahahahha when you get to Shrine Mother Fucker 1 to download important stuff only to realize that their internet is down. To quote How To Get Over Facebook: What, they think we go there for the coffee? 

Because I've just recently computed my state of affairs for the next month and noted that I wouldn't be able to afford even the bleacherest of the bleachers. It's just the hellowshipness of it all, having had no salary again for the past 3 months and having to ask a friend to drive over an empty toothpaste tube so I could make simot what's left in it. In an interview with the contestants after Survivor: Outback finished its run 10 years ago one of them told Jeff that he thought they wouldn't really be left off to fend for themselves by the production, that at some point they would be given bananas to eat off-camera, an apparently totally wrong assumption. It was the same with hellowship. Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore and I thought then that they wouldn't really make us work for nothing to be supported only with sprinkled grace from the Military-Industrial Complex of Entanglement (M.I.C.E.) who would do so only when they feel like it, RIGHT? RIGHT?! Wrong.

Hence, no Keane for now. I only hope that Lauryn Hill, Alanis, xx, Our Lady Peace, Corinne, or Radiohead wouldn't come here any time soon, although I probably wouldn't have to worry about Lauryn Hill seeing as she has weirded out or something after the Miseducation of 1998. 

The next six months couldn't run fast enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Don't Know

Back in the days, way back in the days, during morning endorsements we would cower in our seats as the all mighty residents walked around the room brandishing their cat-o-nine tails and wearing knee high leather boots and fishnet stockings. I have just read a bunch of old Catwoman and Birds of Prey comic books featuring Black Canary, so my memory is probably all mixed up, but the fear we felt back in clerkship during morning endorsements in internal medicine was sickening. In one instance while endorsing in front one of our interns suddenly became very pale, hyperventilated, and passed out. The residents would not have any of this, so they all said: ARTE! STAND UP!

Again, fuzzy memory. I have read the pre-New 52 comic book Secret Six by Gail Simone where everyone is biting, sarcastic, and all-around mataray. The residents did not really say arte stand up, but they did ask people to assist her out of the room so she could eat breakfast. The intern never had to endorse ever again during the rotation, so we all tried not eating breakfast before the endorsements. For more, our resident monitor would call us after every endorsement for an extra dose of sermon blather blather blather. After a week we've become inured to all of this so we decided what the hellellel. As we were called one by one on why warfarin needed to be overlapped with heparin we decided, in our heads of course: WHO CARES! AHAHAHAHHAHH (insert earnest arguments here such as OF COURSE YOUR PATIENT cares! THEIR LOVED ONES cares! Your FUTURE PRACTICE  cares! Your BLABLABLABALBLAAAAA).

One by one we were called. Smoketh stood up.
Smoketh: Sir, I don't know.
Then she sat down. NEXT!
Mrs. T stood up.
Mrs. T: Sir, I don't know.
Me: Sir... I DON'T KNOW!

Obviously we just wanted the hour to be up, and eventually all three of us went into the specialty so eventually we cared, and we knew all this anti-coagulation stuff inside-out. We cared that the patients could bleed in the brain, etc etc ETC. We eventually took up different further sub-specialties, with Smoketh now more into glomerulus and stuff, Mrs. T into arthritis and stuff, and I into masses and stuff. A few days ago while whining at how horrifically dismal our lives have turned out Smoketh asked me something, a question I think she is planning to ask her students.

Smoketh: Ilang araw nga inooverlap ang warfarin at heparin?
Me: I... don't know.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Better Than This...

... is a song from Keane's 3rd album Perfect Symmetry. Obviously I'm still all worked up at the prospect of Keane holding a concert in Manila, at quite embittered that I couldn't drag anyone to watch it with me, so I have just been playing all four of their albums in my iPot repeatedly just in case I would not be able to make it to the concert which I've been waiting for for 7 years. That is just one aspect that life could suck at, along with unrelenting suckiness at health, finances, security, relationships, safety, and everything else. Which is just a segue for me to enumerate: Moments When I Promised Myself That I Would Not Want To Again Be In This Position Or Moments When I Said I Promise I Will Never Look Back Kindly At This!

1. ROTC- Because it is a waste of time. I remember having to jog around Vanguard 1 inch away from the wall every Wednesday just so I could "log in". At one point I thought no one was looking, so I walked leisurely, until I reached the logbook and standing there was commander of sorts or whoever. I got a million push-ups. Which reminds me, I COULD do push-ups back then AHAHAHAHAH I don't know what happened. All in all ROTC has been a complete waste of time, there is nothing redeeming about it, I vomit at its face. 

2. Chemistry 31- Or whatever it was the involves folding of molecules or stuff. The only redeeming quality of that summer of 99 was having taken the class along with Mrs. T and BB, who were excellent in imagining how those structures fold and stuff. Still, I remember sitting quietly at the kiosk near Palma Hall Annex back then thinking, no matter what happens I will hate this memory FOREVER! (the drama of youth).

3. Chickenpox of '89- I woke up one morning with the mother lesion on my right index finger and tried to pop it as much as I could, thinking that if I pop it it would not spread. Of course it spread, and I was banished to my father's secret room we called The Batcave. One of the perks of being sick as a child is getting everything that you want, and at that moment all I wanted was a 1988 Super Powers Robin action figure. I got it.

4. First Year Medical School- Because it generally sucked.
5. The Lost Year of 2007- When I moonlighted for a year, with no constant friends to talk to, and being generally lost in plans for the future and lost in the quagmire of self-pity. Because driving along the long high ways by myself with no clear vision of the future was horrifying, and I just wanted to have someone to copy life plans from.

At which point I hang my head in shame because right now, at this point, having gone through everything I have in the past year and a half and survived most of the things I did, with all the tragedies and terror and an even deeper sense of melancholy, I would happily go back to those five, much reviled moments that I promised I have no love lost for. Because at the moment, it seems that everything is, cue Keane: BETTER THAN THIS!



Everyone I know who's ever been to Thailand has been to Patpong. So while my real goal was to see The Reclining Buddha only because it was the backdrop of Sagat's battles in Street Fighter II, I, along with Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore, Kruskalwallis, and Zangief thought, while walking aimlessly during our second night in Taft Avenue, I mean Bangkok: We should definitely go to Patpong and watch one of those... shows!

Zangief asked for directions, and when we finally got there hordes of seedy men and women showed us laminated cards of the shows and their features (you know the sort: that it could spit out a pingpong ball, it could grab a pen and write, it could light a cigarette with a lighter, etc.) Of course we knew it would cost more than the consumable 100 Baht the guys were peddling, of course they were tricking us, of course we would say ick and gross and be ripped off in the end, and we almost chickened out, but at this point we declared that we would never ever go back to Thailand ever so we said: WHAT THE HECK!

I just wanted to see Sagat in front of the Buddha, but there was no Sagat. Instead there were: people asking for tips! Everywhere!

"Mukang may anay," Kruskalwalis whispered as we trudged along the broken, oily-sticky leather couch. Two performers were already in the middle. They looked dazed and wretched as if they've been doing this routine for years on end. One rammed a stick up hers and used it to make sungkit rings which she tossed into a basket. The four of us sheepishly chugged down our drinks. There were only two other customers, until I noted something: they looked bored as fuck and they had flash lights on their tables. Obviously not customers. The realization hit us: WE WERE THE ONLY CUSTOMERS!

Second performer reached for halved bananas and rammed them up hers. She positioned herself in front of us, and popped the banana out of her wrinkly candidaed cavern with an audible "WHOOOOOSH!" The banana flew violently across the room and hit my ipad bag. "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" I screamed. At this point we decided it was time to leave.

As we were leaving the one hundred bahts each, the fake customers from the other seats stood up and accosted us along with two other huge women. All four women showed us a huge sheet of paper with an encircled "5,200 baht". We said we have no money. Like giant automated androids they all screamed in unison, "5,200 BAHT! 5,200 BAHT! 5,200 BAHT!!!!" There was no way in hell we would pay that, but we also knew they could very well maul us having no other customers around, so we forked in a few extra bills and ran the hell out.

"AHAHAHAAH AHAHAHAAH AHAHAHAHHA" we all nervously laughed as we ran away from the harrowing grottiness of it all. Incensed we went to a nearby ice cream shop, Swensen's. "Uy o we can share this banana split," I said. "I WILL NOT! EAT! BANANAS!" Kruskalwalis glowered. We walked for a good thirty minutes allowing the polluted air to dilute the kadiriness of it all, and just as we thought we have somehow gotten over it, I noticed something while we were sitting in the park.

"Uy o," I told Kruskalwalis as I pointed at a white stain on my bag where it was hit by the banana. "Stain nung banana na galing sa...."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Year And A Half Hence

Back in December 2010 during the fellowship applications period we had everything planned out, and Mrs. T was starting to read up on this drug strangely named bevacizumab, which I would sometimes mispronounce as vebazicumav (who the heck comes up with these names). And then something happened. Mrs. T just woke up one morning and decided she no longer wants to pursue a career where she would have to deal with masses and deaths. While eating siopao in the then-existing college canteen Mrs. T approached me and said she would have to tell me something.

"BUNTIS KA?!?" I blurted out as bits of asado shot out of my nose and splattered on her forehead. Of course she wasn't pregnant, it was just my impulse every time she gets all serious and stuff. And then she told me. To quote her: "Gusto ko na lang maggamot ng mga lolo at lola na masakit ang tuhod." It was sad, of course, as Mrs. T and I have been blockmates since college way back in 1997. After milking for sympathy and guilt and unleashing a barrage of self-abandonment issues I told her that it is what it is, but I think you're making the wrong decision.

And now, a year and half hence, after a longish contemplation on whether it would be time to finally hang down my head in shame, it is indeed with much shame that I tell Mrs. T if she could read this: "You were right! BY GOLLY GEE YOU WERE RIGHT! GETMEOUTTAHERE!!!!!" AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAH!

Too much bleeping deaths and other horrific things.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Colorful and Sophisticated

"Paano gumawa ng poster para sa poster presentation?" I frantically called up Thymes 2 days before the presentation in an event in Taipei. I have a rather different view on academic researches so I had tried to avoid them as much as I could, but eventually invisibility would run out, and like in Survivor people would notice you've been flying under the radar for weeks and weeks and conspire to vote you out for being low impact in the next tribal council! But we want the million dollars! Or anything! Hence the franticness. Thymes, a prolific researcher among other things, pointed out some important things like color contrast, fonts, lay-outs, pictures, and such, but as I looked at the clock ticking at 11:45 pm I knew I would have to carry out my original plan.

After a few lay-outing and re-lay-outing and using various colorifications and stuff as suggested by Thymes and various websites, this is how my poster turned out:

Like... a giant bond paper! AHAHAHAAHAHHAA! When all 60 plus posters were finally mounted I felt apprehensive at first that I had the plainest poster, then noted a Taiwanese poster exactly like mine... minus a logo! For MORE plainness! Katamaran and cramming aside, though, I had really planned to make it as plain and as short as possible because really, whenever I would read posters I only have a two-minute attention span and couldn't be bothered to read graphs and such. I am of the assumption that other readers have similarly short attention spans, which of course is not true. Or isn't it. I just find the whole concept of an academic poster strange, most specially one with blocks and blocks of small-fonted paragraphs. We would probably save up on money and non-biodegradable tarp if we would just print out hand-outs for everyone to read. Which is why I should win the next immunity challenge, or they would all vote me out for my, er, radical views.


While... eating sushi in a remote corner after the grueling ride at The Floating Market I struck a conversation with a pinoy couple also eating sushi in that remote corner. The guy was a family medicine practitioner and his wife was a radiologist in the military, and they were apparently also in Bangkok for some other convention. We shared the same sentiment regarding The Floating Market. Hair disheveled and sweaty as hell, fam med guy said, "Parang impyerno!!!"

Truly, it was parang impyerno, as we realized it was just a ploy to force us into each shop with overpriced merchandise under the blistering sun with no option to run away from the vendor because we were on a river under the mercy of the bangkera. Being cheap customers we didn't buy anything during the hour-long ordeal. "The novelty wore off 20 minutes ago!" Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore declared as we saw the long stretch of water we still had to ride through, planked by stores and stores and stores and buddhas and stores and stores and buddhas. The bangkera handed us local hats when she noticed we were squinting and whining under the 10 am sun. "No no no!" we cried in unison. After the previous night's horrific events involving projectile fruits and swindling bullies we've always suspected everyone to be trying to rip us off. Safely back on land we met again with our tourist guide who declared with glee, "Next we're going to a snake farm... by riding a boat through the river!"

We did go to the snake farm....'s gate! Otherwise if we wanted to go in we had to pay more money, because it wasn't part of the tour package. Apparently the theme of the tour is tour to the gates. We likened it to being toured in San Lorenzo Village, and being told that that is the gate of Enchanted Kingdom. We politely declined the snake farm visit, privy to the irony of its come on slogan, "The Most Exciting Show In the World!". We sat in a corner for an hour waiting for everyone to finish. After a few more unremarkable stops the tour ended and the four of us trooped to the mall for aircondition waiting for our flight at 12:45 in the morning. In a few hours we were back in the Cancer Institute chemo-ing, having sated our curiosity and more for temples, temples, temples, projectile bananas, temples, temples, people asking for tips, temples, temples.

We're Tumbling Down, We're Spiralling

Back then I used to keep a multi-folded brown envelope, with the label "Concert Emergency Fund". I would stash money in it once in a while, gripped with the fear that anytime some act I like would hold a concert here  and I would have to fork over a huge amount. I've only used it once, back in 1999 when Alanis Morissette performed in Folk Arts Theater. This was the era of her 2nd album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which was not as popular as Jagged Little Pill. The 1996 Manila leg of Jagged Little Pill, the "Can't Not Tour" in 1996 I missed, because Alanis was insanely popular then. We were in 4th year high school during that first tour, and while in Physics class Paco murmured that she knew how to get tickets.

"Eto, tawagan mo sya," Paco whispered as she slipped a piece of paper. She didn't have to whisper, but there was added fun in the cloak-and-daggerness of it all. We imagined someone would just swoop in and grabbed the paper with its secret contents. "May makukuha kang ticket dyan." Written on it was a landline number and the word "scalper". That night I furiously called the number, and, not knowing what "scalper" was then asked, "Hello, is this Scalper?" I wasn't able to get a ticket, but we were able to watch Alanis Live in Manila in 1999. It was a fantastic concert. My cousin and I said this concert would totally rock and we would sing along with the obscure songs along with the rockiest audience ever. This was slightly spoiled by the fact that we were sitting beside a family, with the 8-year old girl with a Winnie The Pooh backpack making bored grunts and covering her ears beside me. Maybe she thought she was in a concert of The Moffats.

Now I wish I've maintained a Concert Emergency Fund. Because who should be coming in October but... Keane! I've liked Keane the minute I've heard Tom Chaplin wail "The laaaaaaast time!" in a commercial in Studio 23 back in 2005. Hopes and Fears is an excellent first album, Under The Iron Sea is their token darker, less poppish sophomore outing, but my favorite is Perfect Symmetry. They've recently released Strangeland, which is probably not as fantastic but a worthy follow-up nonetheless. As soon as I've learned of the concert I've started asking people to watch with me.

"Isa lang ang alam kong kanta nila," RD Lugo said.
"Ano nga ba yung mga kanta nila?" asked Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore.
"Iba pa ba yan kay Keana Reeves?" was the question of Thymes.

Still searching, but will watch it by myself, even in the bleachers, if I have to!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I have no culture, in the way that people define the concept nowadays. So when Smoketh proclaimed that she had free tickets for a Repertory Philippines production of the "Wizard of Oz" in Makati I said yes. We don't turn down things these days, specially if they are free. So that Saturday I ran to Greenbelt 1 and met Smoketh and Henj. I was pretty surprised that Greenbelt 1 is still there after all and pretty much intact the way I remember it years and years ago before the glittery new Greenbelts selling expensive things popped up. Minus the Triple V and Baskin Robbins. Such a dip into nostalgia, even if tangential, will not be complete if I don't mention Quad, Park Square, Glicco's, and Bun on the Run's Chori Burger. We like to take comfort into these old things and places, they make us feel like we used to be alive, that we haven't always been the nega zombies that we are right now. And for more, I'm using the pronoun WE when in fact I just mean I. There's more comfort in hoping that there is sharedness in angst.

Back to the play. Smoketh and Henj were already eating in Tokyo Tokyo when I arrived, and I noticed that they were fashioning a new do. Apparently they have been in Makati for hours on end already, having undergone digitalized nano-tech driven hair curling. "So ginamitan ba kayo ng pink rollers?" I asked. "Hindi na uso yun." Smoketh said. No longer uso as well, apparently, is Pagoda Coldwave Lotion.I asked them how much the curling cost, and wow those things cost a fortune. Before I could comment, sensing my aghastation (not a true word), Smoketh said, "Bakit magkano ba ang isang action figure mo?" This argument always ends any tendency to judge.

We walked around Greenbelt waiting for Smoketh's sister who had the free tickets, and we noted the play would already start in a few minutes.
"Naku baka hindi na natin abutan yung Defying Gravity," I said.
"Ibang play yun," Smoketh replied.
"Wrong play."
"The last play I watched was..."
"Rama and Sita?"
Come to think of it, the last stage play I've seen was in 1998,  a required stage play in Comm 3 in UP Diliman. Something about Lapu-Lapu or something else, starring Eugene Domingo back in the days.

The play was pretty interesting, with colorful costumes and songs and stuff. I would probably not be a stage play reviewer, because that's the limit of how I could describe it. I fell asleep after ten minutes. It was obviously meant for kids, as the entire auditorium was packed with elementary kids and their parents. There were portions with audience participation where the actors would ask a question to the audience. I looked behind me at the boy who screamed the loudest "YEEEEEEEEEEES!" Beside him was his father, deep in slumber.

After the cast bowed and stuff the kids ran in front to have their picture taken with the cast. A 15 year-old girl scoffed at the idea of her sister doing that and delaying their egress. "Hoy you used to that as well noh," her mom admonished.

And then I realize that I have my own standard of "culture": a cultural activity is any activity that does not involve the hospital or Rob.