September 25, 2004

Friendster Fiendster

Filipinos are simply suckers for new (and free) tools aimed at connecting people. That's why we're suckers for Nokia. At first we're suckers for the beepers, then the email, then the texting, then the phonecam, and now, we have another way of keeping us in contact with our friends and beyond. And that is Friendster.

Friendster is fast replacing the current mode of emailing. More than just sending messages, this internet tool has the capability and culpability of spying and snooping around your friends' current pictures and also searching the countless email possibilities of anonymous users. Before, emails tend to be impersonal and detached, now with this freebie, writing mails now have become virtually interactive as if the other person is actually on the other line waiting for your reply. It's great to have a personal face to a somewhat static feature, but sometimes having one takes away the privacy and discretion of the whole practice. Though it depends on your level of exhibitionism, having your personal photo runs the risk being taken advantage out there. It's a double-edged sword which neither one can extricate the good results with the bad possibilities of posting personal items.

Friendster Online...Posted by Hello

Eventually, such a feature gives rise to a plethora of alternative entertainment such as voyeurism, cyberdating and cyberprostitution. Undersirable as they are or seem to be (according to the norms of idol-worshipping Catholics of the Philippines), they are some of the possibilites that we can think of as a direct result of our innate nature- nature which according to Plato is evil. Yes, man is evil according to the philosopher. Who am I to object?? That fact that we, as Pinoys, are always tempted to abuse and pervert the original cause of Friendster just shows that being evil is in our blood. But guilt aside, this just shows that we are capable of stretching the possible to near-impossible, which is good in a way. We make use of what we have. Innovate!

Though those are some of its peripheral uses, its main purpose is to reconnect. You reconnect with your old high school friends, your college colleagues, your coworkers, your boss, and your family. You keep them in one tangible box where they can be just a click away. The whole thing brings back nostalgia, all those memorable persons who strike a chord in your heart. You'll see your barkada have grown fat, or with children or with flashy cars or with a new beau. The joys of learning that some of your friends have reached the top or have transfered to the US is exhilarating, and the cruelty of realizing that some of those who tormented you in the past are getting their just rewards now is very very satisfying. And contacting them is so easy.

Instead of keeping folders of impersonal emails, you have rather the faces of those whom you consider an important part of your life. The drawback is that people do not check their Friendsters as freqently as they would do to an ordinary email account, so updates and replies can be pretty erratic and unpredictable. It's because for some this is just a fad. But for many, this has become an extension of their persona in cyberspace.

So, is this tool just a passing game of kings and fools? Or will this gambit become a permanent face in the net? Perhaps only time will tell.

September 22, 2004

Toxic Tuesday

Obgyne as a specialty is simply not my cup of tea. Tough I somewhat enjoy the rotation (rather more like got the hang of it), I hate the waiting and the anticipating. It's like doing Beckett's play, "Waiting for Godot," over a span of 36 hours doing nothing but engaging in belly rubbing sessions known as "labor watch".

It's one of the laborious and most inefficient medical methods of assessing uterine contractions. I feel you're being chained to the patient 24/7 as if in only 5 seconds, the mother's womb will blow up like Mission Impossible. It's as if that that person is the only patient in the whole ward. It's not only a waste of precious time but also shows how primitive and left behind is our medical field. The equipment needed is a tocometer, but if there is none, all you have to rely is on one's sense of touch. Simple but really impractical. Especially during the peak season.

Speaking of peak season, yesterday I got the taste of blood. In quick successions, mothers in the throw of giving birth were being rushed one by one like an assembly plant of human fetuses into the labor room then to the delivery room. It's a madhouse. Government hospitals must have double the trouble. It's adrenaline rush indeed, to see that after waiting hand and foot for a very long time the patient suddenly shifts to high gear with all the residents and intern involved in alert mode.

They would say, "Ok! put in 8 units Syntocinon to present IV, stat!", "Prep (means to scrub up) na, people! Lalabas na yan!", "Misis, pagtumigas ang tiyan, huminga nang malalim, pigil, and push!! One! Two! Three!... Ten!", "Mali pag-iri mo misis! Magconcentrate ka!" .... it was really a mad mad night.

And when the baby's head is already jutting out the canal, the resident is ready to catch it while I have to clamp, milk and cut the cord quickly and cleanly as possible. After baby's dreadful exit, it's down to the expulsion of the placenta, cleaning of the uterus, and suturing of the vaginal lacerations.

But even though it's a chop-chop timed regimen, the amount of patients pouring in is really nerve wrecking. I just wish my next duty is benign. I wish. I wish!!

September 20, 2004

The Eagle has Landed

The ever famous Go Nuts Donuts! has arrived in Robinson's Ermita. I was surprised a while ago that a lady was carrying a 6-piece box with the donut label on it. I literally accosted her where she bought them. She said they opened a branch outside Robinson's located at Padre Faura Street right beside Cinnzeo. Wow! It's true!! Now everyone can get their donut fix!!

September 16, 2004

Pachelbel Rocks!

I was and am still blown away by Pachelbel's Canon in D. He may not be the brightest star of the Classical world where such composers such as Beethoven and Mozart have perpetually carved their fame and fortune but his single, "Canon in D" has won millions around the globe. It is only this melody which made him famous the world over, even if he did compose many Protestant pieces during his lifetime.

Johann Pachelbel (1653 - 1706) lived in Germany during the time of the Age of Enlightenment when Europeans wore wigs and cravats and did not take baths. It was a time of Louis XIV, the sun-king who famously said, "I am the state!" and also the time when the Vermeer painted his Girl with a Pearl Earring. That was the age of Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton. The music, arts and architecture of this era was molded by the Church and nobility whose patronage lifted the humanities to its pinnacle as seen in the lavish and ornate Baroque and Rococo architecture, the rich, realistic and dark colors of Van Dyke and Gainsborough, and the uplifting Baroque music of Vivaldi, Handel and Bach. Unfortunately, Pachelbel was just one speck in that topsy-turvy world where his brilliance was not readily recognized unlike some of his contemporaries who in their lifetime had achieved vast fame and wealth.

Even in today's cynical society still lies the appreciation for the old and classical, and thankfully, Pachelbel lives on. Not many know it but his music has been the inspiration of current bestsellers like that R&B song, "I'll see you when you get there" by Coolio and the "Graduation Song" by pop icon Vitamin C. His Canon in D has also been infused into commercials and wedding marches. In the internet, this is one of the most famous singles and so far it has been transcribed, rerecorded, remixed and jazzed up so many times that there are already lots of variance but the main strain still remains.

Why is this melody so successful? Because of its simplicity. It has been once compared to "Flower Duet" in Delibes' opera, Lakme, the tune of which is fairly familiar with many who have heard it during Olympic commercials and Yanni recordings. But it pales in comparison with the orgasmic and heavenly quality of Canon in D. The tempo is mellowed, more with the objective to lull the listener but the quality of the music uplifts the soul many times over. A perfect anti-depression remedy. Stefan Helander
said it more clearly:

I listen to it when I'm happy and I listen to it when I feel sad. It touches my soul and sends shivers down my spine. And it still does, even though I've listened to it thousands of times.

Enough said. Go and listen to this wonderful music. It's included by the way, in a track in Bond's new cd entitled, "Classified."

The Hand

Ever wonder why almost all doctors have terrible handwriting? It's especially evident in the way prescriptions are written. It's so bad that only the pharmacist can decipher it. By the way, how could Mercury Drug Store clerks ever understand those illegible scripts which even academicians might mistake it with Sanskrit or Mandarin?

It happened to me yesterday when it was so toxic (med lingo for being busy) that I assisted my consultant from 10am until 5pm without any lunch break. My feet were already tired and livid from standing up and going to and fro. Anyway, the doctor on hand assigned me to type a medical referral for a patient in waiting. She was blurting out paragraphs while my mind was merely latching just to some phrases of it. I am not sure if it was just me being slow in memorization or she was too fast in her instructions. To help me in typing it, she scribbled the important points to be included into the certificate. I tried recognizing the familiar letters but her handwriting was soooooo bad that it looked more terrible than the worst Arabic steno ever found. Anyway, I had to waste a long time deciphering it but fortunately, the staff in the rehab have already grown accustomed to her scratchy script that upon presenting the draft, they were able to comprehend and translate it for me. It was lost in translation, indeed! But seriously, it was really a pain trying to understand all the unintelligible squiggly lines and loop-d-loops.

It comes to the point where I began to reflect on the effects of being a doctor. Does this mean that being one, one is predisposed to develop "malgraphicus medicus"? It must be attributed to the tight and toxic schedule of a clinician whose mind works faster than his hand. So, in the effort to catch up the physician's train of thought, the hand has lost its ability to punctuate its sentences. But logically, who wants to have bad handwriting skills, huh? In fact, no one. It just so happens that physicians use their writing faculties mostly to write abbrevations, short cuts, orders, etc, and not wordy technical essays. All things must be brief, short and straight to the point.

Rationalization aside, the repercussions of having bad handwriting is huge. Columnist Michael Tan, said it plainly:
"The physician may have prescribed Losec, an anti-ulcer drug, but careless dispensing could mean Lasix being given to the patient, which makes a world of a difference because Lasix is a drug to induce urination."
A bad stroke can make a big difference- some deadly. That's why doctors take time to explain everything that's written on the prescription sheet, which he assumes that the patient understands the name of the drug.

So, on your next visit to the clinic. Be sure to check on the handwriting of your doctor. The worse it is, the better that doctor is, because it just means that there are more patients who come for consultation, which after the doctor has written countless amount of prescriptions, his handwriting is sure to deteriorate.

September 12, 2004

Kama Sutra Therapy

What's that thing dangling from the lady? Posted by Hello

I thought Physical Therapy (PT) was just about flexing muscles and trying to reach the full range of motion of the affected muscle groups. I also thought it was just limited to... you know, weights, treadmills, steppers, hydromachines, parrafin wax treatments, electrostimulations, but No! It did not stop there.

While I was perusing this three-inch thick textbook on physical therapy which I got from their mini-library, I chanced upon pg.197 which, lo and behold, in full illustration, was the Kama Sutra of PT. I know it's not my place to pass judgement over what these therapists learn in school, but sex therapy? Yes, that's the title of the chapter: "Sex Therapy" I cannot imagine these PTs having practical exams on this topic during their training years. Can you picture a love doll for a partner during a return demo? It's kinky, i know.

This is sick! Posted by Hello

Also, for me it's very very wierd to encourage couples to engage in sexual intercourse even if one of them is disabled. I don't prejudice those with handicaps because it's a fact that their sexual functions and appetites still exist whether we like it or not. Libido is still there, unless you wish to do a lobotomy. Some disabled are "capable of rape" daw, as seen in the newspapers and tv series. But perhaps it's not a very nice sight to see paraplegics engaging in foreplay where the muscle groups needed for sexual initiation and follow-through are disabled. The quadriceps, biceps, hamstrings, abdominals and others which come to play during sex are the same muscles that are weakened during strokes and accidents. Can you imagine fornicating with someone who has a colostomy bag in front? Could you imagine yourself having fun with a quadriplegic stroke patient? Can you imagine Stephen Hawkins having sex with his female colleague? It's possible but improbable. I think it's not only silly, it's absurd. But in this time of political correctness, I stand corrected.

They say stroke patient's are capable of rape? Please! Posted by Hello

The bottom line perhaps, is that as humans with sexual desires, we cannot limit others in persuing this lustful pleasure solely because of physical disability. It is probably a good thing to give them alternatives on how to engage in such activity while maximizing their remaining active muscle groups. But political blah-blah aside, it's a bit wierd and perverse, more to the taste of necrophilia perhaps?

But as they say, "you can't knock it 'til you try it."

September 09, 2004

Muy Sobresaliente!

Certified Chef d'Angelo Addict Posted by Hello

Chef d'Angelo is for me the epitome of cheap, sulit, gourmet food. Every time you eat here is always a pleasant discovery. And almost all foodlovers agree.

It's located at the heart of Robinson's Place - Ermita (and other Robinson malls) and there are plans to open another resto at Glorietta. That is a very terrific idea considering the purchasing power of the urbane yuppies hanging out there.

Good thing the line wasn't that long, so we got to order fast. I ordered Potato Cheese Choder (P52) and their P98 Sampler #1 consisting of a huge "Big Bird" chicken breast coated in batter, deepfried, with Caesar's salad, and a 9" Hawaiian Pizza. With a raspberry ice tea, the night was perfect. Enna on the other hand, ordered P78 Sampler #3 made up of soup and the same pizza while Mark got Spaghetti with Beer Sausage. He was so stuffed that he wasn't able to finish the rest of the pasta.

The servings are large and quite cheap when compared to the same food served in some restaurants. Their P145 9" Great White Pizza (Bacon, shrimps, mushrooms with garlic over rich and creamy Alfredo Sauce) is better and more satisfying than say, a P150+ Family Hawaiian Greenwich Pizza. The dough of the latter is more chewy and delectable to the palate while the former tastes like a stale uncooked bread stick or that sidewalk, 3M pizza.

The other great thing about Chef is the quality of food they serve. It's gourmet and at par with Don Henrico's or Italiani's in quality. They really know how to combine good ingredient to produce great shrimps and thick garlic Alfredo sauce... or different herbs and tomato sauce... teriyaki and pizza... you know, fusion stuff. Though the service needs improvement partly due to the fact that the place is always packed, it's better than the usual restaurants. It has that Italianni's personalized touch so to speak.

So, if you want to gorge down on great classy gourmet food that's easy on the budget, then, you must try Chef d'Angelo.

Rating: (Passing grade of 75%)

Food Content: 96%
Staff Projection: 82%
Price Impact: 90%
Audience Appeal: 94%
Ambience & Special Effects: 86%

Total Average Score of: 90%

September 07, 2004

Fragile Flame

The li'l cutiee! Posted by Hello

There was one patient at the Rehab clinic today who left an indelible print in my mind. She was just barely two years old and already she has been afflicted by a disease that only stubborn and sedentary people get- stroke. Yes, a child of two can have a stroke. It’s called “Stroke in the Young” and it’s quite a rare condition considering that the cause of this disease is not due to lifestyle factors. Many times it’s due to blood diseases wherein a blood clot forms and becomes dislodged into one of the many arteries of the brain, thus, causing a stroke.

Late in the afternoon she was playing with the Rehab’s toys and was enjoying herself with the company of the PT staff who were responsible for her therapy. She was being helped to walk since she was dragging her right foot. Her warm smile and energy made me suddenly realize that in life, no amount of tragedy can take away your ability to smile, more so, to love. Also I became acutely aware that anything can happen to anyone as if Fate was playing Russian roulette, that no amount of preparation or contingencies made can prevent a sudden twist of fate from happening. But on the other side of this seemingly futile notion, lies a silver lining which tells us that God is there and that no matter how heavy is our cross or how tragic is our loss, He will help us use our disabilities to be the instruments for his plans. It’s manifest destiny.

From what I saw at the reception area where this bubbly small girl was not really minding the difficulty of walking, I now know that all things happen for a reason, a certain reason, which sometimes its purpose is deeply hidden from sight as of the moment only to be revealed by God’s own time. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle- if the piece you’re holding does not fit into the pattern, get another one and try again, for in the end all the pieces will fall into their righteous place.


"Corruptissima republicae, plurimae leges."
-Tacitus, Roman historian

Is it true that MMDA has now implemented an order making guys without shirts unlawful? It's another manifestation of the stupidity that that department is very famous for. It's not only crazy but also a waste of budget and legal space. I guess GMA's austerity measure is being stictly implemented for Bayani Fernando with his cavalier approach to all things has show that his brain can produce miniscule impractical austere measures which doesn't make a dent into our daily lives. It's another useless law by a useless man for a useless cause. Tacitus aptly put it when he said that the more laws a country has, the more corrupt it is.

So what if one will take of his shirt in broad daylight? It's not as if our climate is a Russian winter where anyone with commonsense will be forced to cover themselves. With the humidity and heat of hell, it's just practical sometimes to disrobe our tops.

Look at the Americans. They take off their shirt in public parks, beaches, and streets so they could catch some rays and skin cancer. For them, it's their right if they want to have a shirt or not. I think they're right. It's enshrined in our bill of rights that we have the right to dress as we deem fit. If I'm an Igorot by heritage, is it unlawful if I exercise my culture in Luneta? It's ironic that this banal topic is even being exploited by our government just so they can rack up brownie points into their legislative portfolio. The sheer audacity of it is already disgusting.

What are we? Prudes? It's as if we're receding into the middle ages. Or into a despotic rule of a communist pig called Fernando. I can't believe that having a shirt off can strike malice into other people. This just shows that women are hornier than man for it is they who act like prudes and complain about immodesty but put malice into anything that's bare. I'm not a misogynist but this same applies to older males. As the Little Prince once said, "Malice is in the eyes of the beholder."

September 04, 2004

The Promise of Internal Life

My hiatus as a certified bum has officially ended. Today, I rejoined my co-interns in their daily grind at the San Juan de Dios Hospital. It's a feeling of anticipation (because of the new things I'll discover in the course of my training) and dread (because of the level of responsibility being expected at this time). Being in this profession is never routine work. Every patient presents a new page for learning. There is no flowchart to follow, just instincts and gutfeel. There is no assembly-line management, but case-to-case basis. It's indeed both a sense of wonder and dread when you restart internship. I kept asking myself, "Do I have what it takes to become a good doctor?" I pray to God to grant me the strength and endurance to master and apply all that I have.

My rotation (since I was on LOA) was a toss-up between Rehab Med and Radio. Both were pretty benign areas and one has the luxury to go home and sleep at the comfort of a bed. I was placed in the Rehab Medicine department where most of the patients there were post-CVDs (stroke) and people who have back pains due to work. The center looked like an air-conditioned work-out gym but instead of trainors, you have PTs and OTs as your gym buddy. I was surprised to note that there were a lot of seamen (no pun intended) who have lower back pains which according to my consultant was due to their occupation of lifting heavy equipment. What else were there? Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, stroke, stroke and more stroke. It's depressing to see people get sick, but what can I do? It's the fact of life, the circle of birth and death. And perhaps with physical therapy, it's not only their body that's being healed, but also their hurt and frustrations whose handicaps have incapacitated them from leading a full life. As they say, time heals all wounds, and perhaps in this way, we can help chip in.

September 03, 2004

My Milkshake Bringeth

Just can't resist putting this here. So, click it. Posted by Hello

Bulgogi Night

Tita Astrid (Tita Groovy) suddenly remembered the ongoing Midnight Madness sale in G4. Posted by Hello

It was my cousin's birthday, so he treated my aunt, his siblings and me to this obscure Korean restaurant called Bi-Won in Makati near Rockwell. It was a Friday night when yuppies become mananangals but to our surprise, the place was virtually to ourselves save for a couple of Koreans on the next table. We ordered bulgogi, smoked mackarel in Korean marinade, and Korean Bbq. Considering there were several mini-appetizers like Kimchi, century quail eggs, fried camote, spiced sayote, and seasoned tofu paste, it was like a mini-feast. But some of the appetizers were really acquired tastes. It was a really good meal- not that heavy but busog. We chowed down every morsel and relished every bite. And with Coke to round it all up, the night was perfect.

The thing I have observed is this: Are we gradually being invaded by Koreans? Unlike the Japanese who come here only for business trips and go home immediately, Koreans are slowly but gradually being assimilated into the Philippine social fabric. They're like the Chinese. They put up businesses here catering to Korean expats (restaurants, mom-&-pop stores, foot massages) and they eventually stay here for good. Sometimes they even marry Filipinos and have little Korinoys (Korean-Pinoys). If you go to DasmariƱas, Cavite, you will see that there is a strip in Manuelaville where everyone is Korean in ethnicity. It's not I have a bone to pick with them, it's just I am amazed at their assimilation rate. Actually, I hope this trend continues for this brings fresh air into the foreign community here in the country. Then this means more Bulgogi nights for me. =)

Suffer Little Ones

Why should we suffer in this God-forsaken metropolis? The more I live in this squalor, my hatred and loathing for Manila increases. It's not just the garbage and pollution, it's the system, the corrupt and inept government services, the bureaucracy of accomplishing things, the traffic, floods, poor health system, cynicism, greed & materialism, under-the-table dealings, crime, arrogance and lawlessness of the rich, etc.

Manila-bashing is never anti-Filipino or unpatriotic. It's actually a sign that one's brain is not yet filled up with pollutants which convinces one to actually LIKE Manila. Being desensitized and tolerant does not equate to LIKING this shithole of a city. It's funny to hear people say that to bash Manila means bashing Filipinos too, because that person assumes and presumes that this shithole of 11 million rats comprises the whole Philippines disregarding all other provinces out there. Because of centralization, all other other cities outside NCR are beholden to the budget decisions, caprices, and procedural delays of the capital. It supposes too that this hell we're living is inherently "Filipino" and it's part of our "cultural identity". If so, I'd rather not be a part of it. Tinikling, yes; Traffic, no! Calesas, yes; Corruption, no!

Staying here is not a matter of choice. It's a matter of survival. I mean, going to work was never a pleasure. Dealing with the police or government lackeys were never fun. The price of commuting and eating out were never light-hearted. It always has been a struggle, a war for that delicate balance between reaching one's financial success and enjoying most about living. Money vs. Quality of Life. If it's not for the fast influx of profits and the good quality of professional training here, I would be already in the first plane out of here back to the provinces.

I am just finishing my training here, so after the boards, I can chuck all this up ala Gaugin and move to Tahiti... or some far flung idyllic paradise. When? When pa? I don't want to die in this dark shallow grave of the second most polluted city in the world. Oh well, another fools paradise.

September 01, 2004

Princess Diaries: The Royal Derangement

The Princess Diaries 2 movie trailer promised this was to be a better and more exciting sequel than the first. My friends and I bit the bait so to say. We classified this as a dum-dum movie which means this is a Hollywood fanfare that requires no brain frying and schematic analysis. The gist of this is that Princess Pizza Mia (Anne Hathaway) who just turned 21 must marry off within 30 days, or else, the crown will be given to Prince Charming. But due to "love", she delude herself into engaging with a British nobleman but her heart still beats for prince charming. awwww... gak!

Alas! Twas not to be so!

Where: The setting, if my friend would put it, "looks like it was plucked out from Enchanted Kingdom". The kingdom was too Disneyesque in character that everything looked fake as if they were made from plastic resin. And the so-called royal castle was nothing but a country manor. They could have at least rented a real castle for goodness sake. The interiors were not regal enough for Genovia for it looked like some noveau riche hotel room and lobby.

What: The princess finding her true love... awwww. Remind me to puke on the way out. I expected her to be more intelligent in the matters of love vs. duty since she already graduated from college and had outgrown her clumsy ways. But she still acts as if she was a 14-year old spoiled brat running around the castle breaking all forms of protocols, to the frustration of Queen Julie Andrews and the secret police. Well, she had her shining moments when she spoke with the wisdom and maturity of a queen-to-be. It just shows that Americans can break all the rules and have their cake too. Ugly Americans.

Who: The casting director was a complete idiot. Where in Europe can one find a noble member of parliament who's black? Where can you see a population like Genovia comprising of races ala United Colors of Benetton- White, Latin, Black and Asian? It's too Americanized. This is what you would see in a politically correct Disney Land where affirmative action is the law. And how can Europeans speak with an American twang, save for Julie Andrews? It grates into my ears to hear their pompous self-serving accents try to pass off as if from some small European state. Authenticity-wise, it bombed.

Plot: Well, I was hoping this would be like that 1991 film "King Ralph" starring John Goodman wherein he was trying the ropes to be new King of England but disaster after disaster threatened his ascendancy to the throne. Same villain as in the Princess Diaries where some noble relative wants to grab the throne for himself by orchestrating scandals and accidents against the protagonist whereby the villain was uncovered and all's well that end's well.

Comedy: Very Ok. A few laughs. Some giggles. Several smiles. Enough said.

Rating: One thumb up for concept and Julie Andrews, one thumb down on the casting, and two middle fingers up for any future trilogies of Princess Diaries. Sorry, pun intended.