Monday, April 26, 2010

Kick-Ass is Fucking Awesome

"With no power, comes no responsibility – except that wasn’t true."

Dave Lizewski, Kick-Ass (2010)

My most anticipated comic book flick in 2008 was The Dark Knight, and it blew me the fuck away. In 2009, it was Watchmen and even if it did not ascend to the greatness that was Nolan’s tour de force, pièce de résistance, arc de triomphe and whatever other pretentious expression en français there is, it was still more mind-blowingly awesome than it has any reason to hope to be (read the source material and you’ll see why). This year, my most awaited comic book adaptation is Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass, and my being a fan of the series is not the only reason why I wanted to see this so much.

Kick Ass Poster
Exactly what it says on the tin.

You see, Kick-Ass has a very interesting production saga – it’s made entirely outside what is colloquially known as "the studio system". Matthew Vaughn, the director, and Millar apparently tried to pitch this movie to several studios, all of which turned them down citing the splatterfestive violence and the fact that an 11 year old girl (played by a then 12-year-old Chloë Moretz) is the one who’s going to be dealing out most of it turned some very plaid executive stuffed shirts very purple. In fact, more than anything else, the protestations were focused on the issue that the same teenybopper is going to be vomiting hardcore profanities (think ‘cunt’ and ‘motherfucker’) like she has a hybrid disease of Tourette’s and bulimia. So, Millar was like "Dude, no one wants to finance this – fuck it," but Vaughn was like "No way, Jose," and scraped together more than $40 million dollars to make it happen. And it Happened gloriously. Next thing you know, all the studios which initially turned down their pitch wants to buy the distribution rights to Kick-Ass, all clamouring for more psychopathic, shit-mouthed Hit-Girl action.

Anyone who finds the idea of a teenybopper cussing morally reprehensible needs to get a reality check. I have heard harder smut coming from the mouths of Primary School kids playing DotA and Counter-Strike in cybercafés.

School Girl
Exploitation? Where?

Alright, Kick-Ass wasn't the only flick to be independently financed but it's one of the few rare projects of its size and nature to be made this way. Indie films tend to be more fartsy, something Kick-Ass is utterly the antithesis of. It’s also notable that the film rights was sold before the first issue of the comic was even published, and ideas crossed over from each side all the time. It also explains why the movie departed quite a bit from the comic books' storyline midway through. More on that in a sec.

I am now going to delve into spoiler territory for both the comic series and the film, so if you don't want to have anything ruined for you, stop reading now. And yes, you should go watch Kick-Ass if you haven't. Twice if you can. It's a 2 hours long, no holds barred embodiment of pure nerd-gasmic joy.

The rest of you who have seen this, follow me,

Fetish Fuel
"Or else, cunt."

The genius of Kick-Ass (both the movie and the comic) is that it's a satirical yet plausible take on the idea of costumed vigilantism. What Watchmen did for the Cold War era is what Kick-Ass hopes to do for the Internet Age and the YouTube generation. The comic series, in my opinion, did a fine enough job of it. And before Alan Moore fanboys come nerd-rage all over me, let me just say that Watchmen > Kick-Ass. Forever.

That said, I think the film totally dropped the ball on the concept midway through. At some point, it decided that it no longer wants to be a satire anymore and turned into a full-blown and - dare I say - standard superhero fare?

You see, take Dave Lizewski's/Kick-Ass' narrative bit at the beginning - he said it didn't take being bitten by a radioactive spider, a fugitive status from an alien planet or having one's parents killed in a back alley mugging outside a theatre to make one turn to vigilantism. His excuse was he was bored out of his skull; bored enough to order a diving suit off eBay and fight crime. His continuing motivation to risk his life doing this stupid superhero shtick is simple internet fame, like the thousands of Singaporean and Malaysian bloggers out there hoping to be the next Big Nothing. Dave's first outing as a masked crime-fighter? It got his shit seriously ruined by a teenage thug, a switchblade and a sedan.

The message's pretty damn straight: being a superhero in real life is a deadly stupid thing to do. Even with the metal plates implanted in his head and the loss of 80% of pain sensation from his nerve endings, he's still pretty much a loser.

Both the comic and the movie would then bring in the real deals; Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, who are actual, real-life superheroes with mad skillz and a Frank Castle-esque back-story (framed ex-cop, wife killed by mob). The film played this story element straight. The comic series went on to subvert the heck out of it. In Mark Millar's Kick-Ass, we eventually finds out that Big Daddy was an accountant who ran out on his wife with their infant daughter, whom he proceeded to train and brainwash into a psychopathic little assassin who has no compunctions about slicing the top of someone's skull clean off with a katana - all to play out his sick little comic fanboy fantasies,

Hit Girl Brain Surgeon
Case in point.

Just felt that the movie could have followed the comic a teensy-weensy bit more. Also, I was so hoping for that scene when Hit-Girl snorted something called Condition Red from a vial which her dad told her was designed by scientists and would give her the strength of 10 men. Kick-Ass asked her if it was actually cocaine.

What? Kids tricked into doing drugs aren't funny anymore?

The movie also robbed Kick-Ass of his most bad-ass moment in the comic, but many would argue that they replaced it with an even more awesome moment. You know the one I'm talking about - his own personal Apocalypse Now scene. And if I really want to nitpick, I totally prefer how Dave's romantic subplot was resolved in the comic over the film's clichéd rom-com one.

Now, in case anyone thinks that I hate this film; that's not true. I still fucking love it. I love it so much I'm going to see it again very, very soon. It is possibly the funniest film I have seen in years, and come to think of it, I actually had more fun watching the movie than reading the comic books. And I love Chloë Moretz's portrayal of Hit-Girl so much that I'm ready to wait for her to come of age and then ask her hand in marriage. I have had my eyes on her ever since (500) Days of Summer. Wow, that came out so wrong.

My girlfriend thinks that I should stop idolising child actresses because it's fucking creepy.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played Red Mist, also pretty much stole every scene he was in. I was a fan of his ever since I saw Superbad in 2007 (McLovin roolz!). He was equally great in the 2008 buddy comedy Role Models and was one of the few bright spots in the 2009 Jack Black vehicle Year One. Also, he's the main reason why I want a sequel to Kick-Ass so badly. The closing shot of him with a new mask quoting the goddamn Joker totally got to me, and I didn't even like Red Mist as a character in the comic books.

Still, when Red Mist's identity was revealed in the comic, it drew a whistle of surprise from me. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman should totally have taken that page from it. I understand it'd be a little harder to pull off in real life though considering how distinctive McLovin's voice and build is.

Red Mist
"As a GREAT MAN once SAID... wait until they get a load of me."

I like Mark Strong's performance as the mob boss too, but then again, I have a man-crush for Mark Strong that can be seen from outer space. I even liked Nicholas Cage's campy little outing as Hit-Girl's dad and Big Daddy. I heard he's channeling Adam West, but it's been awhile since I've seen that Batman series so I shan't comment.

And have I mentioned the soundtrack yet? It's totally siii-ck. They had an amped-up, punk-rock version of a kids' show theme song playing when Hit-Girl first appear to make sushi out of some bad guys. In the Hit Girl's rampage in the third act, they had a cover-version of Bad Reputation in the background, performed by a band called The Hit Girls, funnily enough. I have downloaded the soundtrack to Kick-Ass and I'm rocking out to it every time I go out in my car (Phoebs disapproves). Mika and RedOne's original single for the film was quite good, but my personal favourite from the album is Ellie Goulding's Starry Eyed. The thing is, I can't remember the precise moment when it played in the movie.

Chloe Moretz
Here's another picture of Chloë Moretz. Just because.

At some point, this movie name-dropped John Woo. Normally, if you're making a genre flick, you do not want to remind your audience of the classics of said genre - you risk reminding your audience of other films they'd rather watch. Kick-Ass had enough fresh action sequences going for it that even John Woo would feel proud getting a reference. Hit-Girl got most of the more jaw-dropping ones; the butchering in Eddie's apartment, the strobe light shootout in the dark, and the guns a-blazing hallway run in the mob's gauntlet (with that neat trick we all saw in the trailers with a goon's gun). Nic Cage had a pretty solid one by himself too in the warehouse where he took apart a whole lot of baddies with blunt, brutal efficiency.

And of course, there's Kick-Ass and Red Mist's ultimate showdown. I am happy to report that it went down predictably. What else would you expect from two mega-dorks?

I must complain, however, about the CGI they employed for some of the jet pack flying sequences. They failed horribly. It's like they blue-screened Aaron Johnson and Chloë Moretz and moved them woodenly across a cityscape background (in fact, I think that's precisely what they did). I know they have budget constraints, but couldn't they have found some way to make it work? If anything needs to be on the cutting floor, it's those bits, if you ask me.

And before I punch in the period on this review, here's a message from Hit-Girl to a certain Mr Ebert for some not very nice words he said about her movie,

Wotta fuckin douche
Ain't she a darling?

A side note;

The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia was pretty damn kind to Kick-Ass. They left a whole lot of swearing in, including Hit-Girl's iconic use of "cunt". I suspect that they do not actually know the meaning of that word. Mind you, this is the same Censorship Board that thought "hell" was too strong a word for the weak minds of Malaysians just 6 years ago and changed the title of Hellboy to Super Sapiens for some FUCKING REASON! THAT'S NOT HOW BINOMIAL NOMENCLATURE WORKS!!! And why the fuck did they even feel the need to censor even a single swear word in Kick-Ass, a film which anyone below the age of 18 isn't allowed to see in theatres anyway?!

Apparently, they also felt that a little swearing would be more harmful to viewers than the sight of a 11-year-old girl decapitating, dismembering and disemboweling grown men. It's a-okay too if that same little girl later got savagely beaten to pulpy mess by a mob boss - but gasp, don't ever let any delicate adult Malaysian hear even the merest whisper of the f-word! Their balls will explode! Or something!

Ahem, if you're reading this, censors: GROW THE FUCK UP.

P.S. My next most anticipated comic book film of 2010 is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. From everything that I've been hearing about this project (and have seen in its trailer), I think it's going to just as good as Kick-Ass. Or better. Just check out the trailer,

Ass kicked,
k0k s3n w4i

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bee Tin Curry Mee of Chain Ferry Road

"This curry was like a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that I'd once heard... especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging 'Joy.' It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal."

Anthony Burgess

The Chinese curry is an odd animal of a cuisine, and other than being spicy, I personally consider it to be an entirely novel dish much divorced from its Indian inspiration. Comparing the two would be like comparing apples and oranges, so I shan’t do that.

The Chinese take on curry is generally more watered down (though that does not mean it’s any less hot) and there is a distinct lack of the usual heavy repertoire of spices which the Indians favour. I would know; I had almost 3 years to get intimate with those spices in India, where even the Chinese and Western food taste Indian. The Indian curry is passionate. The Chinese curry is measured and utilitarian.

Now that I have that out of the way, I’d like to do a review of a pretty popular Chinese curry mee stall in Butterworth. I do not know how old it is, but it was already an institution when Phoebs attended primary school here. Readers, meet the Bee Tin coffee shop,

Bee Tin Shop
It's pleased to meet you too.

Considering that the curry mee is largely a staple of school canteens and (I’m assuming) prisons, I do not have a high benchmark to compare Bee Tin’s to but as a dish, it’s a good one. The standard small bowl contains your choice of either mee, meehoon or koay teow, a bit of squid, a good helping of tofu and zhu hong (pig’s blood cake), bean sprouts and more si ham (cockles) than necessary, all awash in a bowl of steaming curry broth. It must be noted here that any amount of si ham is more than necessary for me, but if you like the damn molluscs, you’re in for one hell of a treat here. Also, they serve it with a spoonful of red hot sambal separately so some assembly is required,

Kari Mee
Instructions: (1) Mix (2) Eat.

This is also the first time I have ever encountered zhu hong (literally, “pig red”, sometimes called red tofu), and I cannot overstate how surprised I am that it’s not at all as disgusting as I’ve imagined it to be. In fact, it’s not disgusting at all. I expected it to have that edgy metallic tang which blood has but it’s actually quite nice – savoury, faintly sweet and softer than some people’s brains. Now, if only I can stop that voice at the back of my head from screaming "I AM EATING CONGEALED PIG’S BLOOD, EWW EWW EWW!" every time I chew on one. It’s probably the most non-halal food in existence.

Curry Mee
Here's how it looks like all messed up.

The best two things this place has going for me is its price and locus. The small bowlful goes for RM 2.50 only, and it’s a 5 minutes brisk walk from Phoeb’s place. And even for someone who has never been to Butterworth, it’s a cinch to locate. Just drive along Jalan Chain Ferry (the one beside the ferry jetty, bus station and train station) from either direction till it junctions Jalan Assumption; it’s in the southwest corner of the crossroad. The coordinates according to Google Earth are 5°23'55.99"N, 100°22'27.89"E.

Bee Tin
It looks like this on the outside.

It’s great that they start operating from 8:00 am so one can start the day with some curry fuel in the engine. More places should be so considerate. I think they pack up for the day between 11:00 am and noon after they are sold out but don’t take my word for it, okay?

There’s this German restaurant I want to write about next week, after I visit it a second time. If you’re looking for some great Deutschland eats on Penang Island, stay tuned.

Update: I've gone and reviewed said German restaurant as promised. HERE it is.

Currying flavours,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Profitable Surprise

"A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for."

Mark Twain

In the continuing saga of my adventure in the fair state up north, I stumbled upon a cache of not insubstantial assets – much like Bilbo Baggins fortuitous discovery of the One Ring in his flight from below ground, this is the grand tradition of old fashioned tales. What I found however is not an evil artefact which grants invisibility to its wearer, and I certainly did not find it while groping blindly about a cave floor. One is much more likely to get a fistful of guano that way.

What I found was,

This bunch.

It was a morning and it was good. I was going about my business here-and-thereabouts (though what business I was busy with was none of yours). As per the dictation of my business, I was compelled to park my car and to leave it behind. Now, I was in the process of walking away but out of force of habit, I turned back to check if my car was locked properly or if it had suddenly burst into flames (more likely than you think). That was when I notice a sheaf of mostly greenish papers lying quietly by my car, fluttering slightly in a waft of breeze.

I did not recognise them for what they are immediately, them being chiefly in the new RM 50 print. I even thought that they might have Indonesian 50 rupiah bills (in which case, someone probably used them to blow their noses in and then threw them away). But lo, I saw the Agong’s smug little mug on them and "Fuckin’ hell!" I did express with hushed incredulity.

I scanned the parking place inquiringly, half-expecting to see someone who looked like they have suddenly and recently been rendered a whole lot poorer but it was an hour in which people are scarce. Whoever parked his car in my spot previously must have secreted these monies when he got off or got on his vehicle. The right thing to do, I believe, is to hang about the place to see if anyone would return to retrieve the wad and to that end, I waited about 5 minutes before I went to perform my errands. And when I returned, I expended a few more of my minutes waiting but I eventually got bored and drove away cackling and waving a middle finger about the air. Phoebs is of the opinion that I shouldn’t even have spent a second lingering to see if anyone would come back for the cash – and they call us atheists immoral, tsk tsk. Uh, for people that missed something, Phoeb's not an atheist. She's a Presbyterian.

Anyhoo, if you’ve noticed, I have not confided the time, place or the precise amount of loot I’ve picked up in this post (the picture is of no help at all, trust me, and it wasn’t all 50 dollar bills anyway). So, if you happen to be the hapless person who has mislaid a whole lot of legal tenders lately, drop a comment here with those exact details.

I am not terribly optimistic about a real claimant though. Daddy needs a new pair of Timberland.

P.S. This is the second time I wrote about picking a considerable amount of money right off the ground. If there’s a God, he seems to like me hell a lot, don’t you think?

Keeping my gaze down,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lam Ah Beef Koay Teow Th'ng of Lebuh Pantai

"The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk."

Ogden Nash, American poet

Yesterday, I went on a foot tour of Georgetown, or at least most of it. Consequently, my limbs are a lot browner now while my trunk is still pretty damn fair. If I go shirtless on a beach I’ll probably just get burned at my whiter bits. Once, I wore a T-shirt with a wider than usual neckline and I received a painful necklace-shaped sunburn around my neck. I looked real funny then – brown, red and white. I wish I have a picture of it.

Anyway, the walking trip is a pretty boring subject to write about – so I won’t do that. What I’ll do instead is do a food review of this place I hit while I was there,

Beef Koay Tiow Thng Shop
Lam Ah Coffee Shop.

This place is ridiculously easy to find even without a map. I just got off the ferry jetty, walked blindly in a south-westerly direction for about 5 minutes and stumbled right on it without making a single false turn. It’s at the crossroad between Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Pantai, right opposite the fire station. Ask directions to the fire station if you must.

So what’s good there, I hear you asking.

It's this,

Beef Koay Tiow Thng
Beef koay teow thng.

Not that it needs anymore description but it was really, really good. The pinkish, thinly-sliced beef strips were tender and not overcooked, and they soaked up a lot of the soup’s flavour. It’s a pleasure just to chew on them. The beef balls were freshly made, I believe; I saw a lady smooshing some meaty stuff up in a blender. At any rate, my teeth thought they were fresh, and very firm and springy. It was garnished with bean sprouts and celery (have I mentioned how much I love celery?). The soup was hearty and had good body, but some might find it too salty to their liking (sucks to be them). The only thing prohibitive about the whole deal is the price. It’s RM 8.00 for a big bowl and RM 7.00 for a small one – though to be fair, it wasn’t a very small bowl at all.

Now, I’m not a big fan of accompanying Chinese food with chilli condiments of any kind. I think spiciness, unless it’s intentional, overpowers the range of subtle flavours usually evident in good Chinese cooking. But even I have to concede that the hot sauce they accompanied the beef koay teow with was worth a try. It didn’t go overboard with the heat and the sour tang made for an interesting accent (it’s worthy to note that the sauce I’m talking about here is not the same as those they usually serve with chicken rice). I’d also recommend dusting your bowl a little with white pepper if you were ever eating there, but hey, different strokes yeah?

Beef Koay Tiow Thng Stall
If you squint, you might just make out a fire engine on the far left.

I told the youngish woman who was doing the cooking to hold the innards because cow-shit passes through those and they can never clean those enough for me. They should do something else with cow stomachs, all 4 of them, like make handbags or something. Having them in my mouth gives me the willies.

I haven’t a clue what their business hours are like but they were just prepping up when I passed it about 9:00 am. I returned about 11:00 am business was already beginning to roar. The GPS coordinates according to my Google Earth pin of the place are; 5°24'54.70"N, 100°20'21.62"E.

I don’t know about you but I thought it was totally worth the price I paid. I have two more beef-related noodle places I want to check out on the island – a Hakka-styled beef ball noodle and a beef brisket noodle. We’ll see if they are worth a pen, shall we?

P.S. Apparently, leng teh means herbal tea or liang cha in Hokkien. You learn new things every day, eh?

All beefed up,
k0k s3n w4i

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Up to Here with Life

"Eyes open wide, blinded by the sun now
Orange and white, dark red, green and yellow
Rainbow colors! Do not hide, see the view!
Step aside, go through!"

Sticks & Stones (2010) by Jónsi

Most of the rest of this song is in Icelandic.
I can't understand a single word of it, but it sure sounds pretty.

Yesterday was a great day. I woke up about seven and went for a few laps in the pool while Phoebs headed for class with her housemates. I don't know what came over me but I suddenly grew an urge to drop 5 kilograms before my month here is Butterworth is up (I can literally see the food capital of Malaysia from Phoeb's condo unit, so we'll see how this goes). I have restricted myself to two meals a day, small portions only and zero snacks in the interim. And for the first time in my life, I had a dinner consisting only of a stick of celery and an apple. I have always liked celery as a cooked dish, but by Jove, it never occurred to me that celery can taste good raw as well. I'm sure they'd taste fantastic with some salsa or cream cheese? No! Snap out of it! Put your hands in the air and back away real slow-like from the cheese dip, mister!

Seaview Condo Inside
I'm so going to get a condo unit when I start working next time.

There's just something about this place that just makes me feel a lot less hungry than usual. I'm guessing it's because I do not have a working knowledge of every good eatery in this city. Back in Malacca, I'm hyperaware of the opening and closing times of each of my favourite food haunts. Just for example, at 5:00 am, my internal clock will inform me that that great dim sum shop on Jalan Ong Kim Wee just opened. At 5:30 pm, it tells me that the economy rice shop in Batu Berendam that serves the best damn char siew in the state will start selling and that I should get there 10 minutes early to beat the queue. It's like that for me all day long, every day.

As I was saying, it's nice to go swimming on a weekday morning. There's no one about to see me flail helplessly about like a drowned pig from one end of the pool to the other. I had to stop after half an hour though because I was starting to get dizzy and nauseous; the beginning of the throes of hypoglycaemia. For some strange reason, my blood sugar tended to dip at the merest prods. If I have too much coffee, or if I talk too much, my fingers would start to tingle. A swig of sugared water usually fixes me right up.

At about 8:00 am, I broke fast at this little coffee shop near Phoeb's place called Bee Tin which supposedly serves good curry mee. Some Penang foodie blogs recommended it. You should take a look at my Google Earth. I've populated it with like 40-50 markers tagging all the places where prime vittles can be found on the island and mainland - along with notes on their business hours, driving directions, telephone numbers, GPS cords and menu item suggestions. Took me near a week to gather that much intel on the F&B's of this region, let me tell you. Don't worry; I haven't memorise all of them yet.

Kari Mee
Those red, jelly-like lumps made from pig blood are surprisingly un-disgusting.

Which reminds me - I should get myself a GPS-capable device. Or a map. I consider myself to be a pretty good hand at map-reading anyway. I also consider myself to be below the socioeconomic stratum of GPS-capable people.

After breakfast, I decided to explore Butterworth a bit on foot and headed in a northerly direction towards Raja Uda. The weather was beginning to swelter, even this early in the morn, but the sky was mercifully cloudy. I reckon Penang to be just about as hot as Malacca and Muar (where I attend clinics at), all three being coastal and all. Maybe I should have checked if there's a government hospital at the Cameron Highlands. Having to wear my white coat while doing my electives there actually makes sense.

My foot started to blister after about 3 kilometres out. Lousy 50 Rupees sandals. I bought them at Mysore during my South Indian backpacking trip. It figures that sandal from Mysore would make my feet SORE, ah haha ha... *cough*... That's another shopping list item: Walking shoes. I was going to get another pair of Timberland pseudo-formal slip-ons but I guess I'll just have to make do with my old ones for another year.

One of the objectives I had for embarking on this walk was to look for a dim sum restaurant marked on my Google Earth called Chaw Choon - not for second breakfast, of course, but you know, in case of emergencies. I found it closed with this notice stuck on the outside,

I's not saying that it'll be closed till the 15th of April, is it?! Can someone translate and say it isn't so-oh-oh?

Somehow, I managed to walk all the way back to Phoeb's place from there. I just did a beeline measurement of my route through Google Earth and it was almost 10 kilometres coming and going. All in all, it was a pretty good workout if I do say so myself. Plus, I also discovered this vegetarian shop en route which starts operating from 7:00 am onwards - which is good news because I can return to the mostly-vegan diet I subsisted on during my exam prep weeks. There's also this nasi lemak stall that seems to be quite popu... No! Must resist! Nasi lemak is the Enemy. It is the fucking Antichrist!

I think I might just go to the island on foot tomorrow, just for the heck of it. Does anyone know if they allow pedestrians on the ferries? Oh well, guess I'll just have to find out the hard way since I won't, for the lack of an internet connection, check up on this page until much later.

This post is not just for me to waffle about my latest doomed attempt at recapturing my former svelte-ness (I'll show you guys a pic sometimes). I wrote it because I want something to remember a great day by. I just passed the scariest exam I have ever sat for and is on a month long semi-vacation living with the girl I adore after being away from her for a really long time.

I'm sailing the best days of my life. I guess I must be doing something right.

His cup runneth over,
K0k s3n w4i

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kok, Killer of Exams

"This was a triumph
I'm making a note here: Huge success
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction"

Still Alive (2007) written by Jonathan Coulton,
performed by Ellen McLain as GLaDOS

Hello internet people things! I am, at the moment, at large in Butterworth. This is a canned post, by the way, written offline in my girlfriend's apartment and then upped onto the intertubes in a cyber cafe. Not dreadfully convenient but this is just what I have to live with till Phoebe gets herself some sweet, sweet broadband access. I'm here for my elective program with the Orthopaedic Department of the Seberang Jaya Hospital and due to some clerical incompetence on the part of the State Health Department, I'm starting next Monday instead of today. No biggie, I guess - I can do with some serious R&R time anyway.

Seaview Condo
That's where I am now.

Just in case you are interested, I just slew my 4th year exam and I am officially a 5th year medico. Let me tell you that that was possibly the most effort I've ever invested in a single examination. All my life, I have never done more than study on the night before a paper. This time around, I actually managed to cut 4-6 hours a day for swot-time. Of course, by the time the second leg of the study break came on, I was already burned out. Completely. Burned. Out. It was not a total loss though. I managed to take in 7 seasons of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and finish watching the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series in that week.

And in keeping with my promise to myself that I will never let anything get between me and novels, I also managed to finish reading Dan Simmon's Ilium, and all I needed to do was take half-an-hour breaks out of the middle of each of my study sessions. I made that promise years ago to prove an old book-nerd friend of mine wrong. He went to med school too and told me that there is simply no time or place for pleasure reading in a med student's schedule. My contention is that there is always, always time for good reads.

Still, that exam was possibly the only one to ever give me a real sense of the danger of failing. I have had nightmares about it. I even picked up a stress-related disorder during the study break; it's called proctalgia fugax, which is Latin for guerrilla butt-hurt. It wakes me up two hours into my sleep twice a week and sends me to the bathroom to attend to a fruitless bowel false alarm. Supposedly, it's common amongst med students and interestingly enough; people with prolonged um, unattended erections.

Anyhow, it's gone now. The butt-hurt, not the erections, haha.

I'll try and update on more regular basis here in Butterworth for the benefit of some of my friends which might want to get up to speed with what I'm up to (as small a set as that may be). In fact, check back tomorrow. I got another post scheduled to launch on my queue.

This is going to be a grand month. I can feel it.

Phoebe Ferry

Slayer of tests,
Sir k0k s3n w4i