Thursday, May 28, 2009

Idol Whine

I bet that you guys hate it when a writer starts a sentence like this:

“Normally/usually, I don’t watch/listen/eat/etc ____, but…”

The writer is basically trying to put himself above the readers by saying that, look I got class, but I can compromise on my taste too. What an arrogant prick!

Okay, having had that off my chest, let me state for the record that I normally don’t watch American Idol….Okay, okay, I know what you are thinking, slam me all  you want in the comment later.

Truth is, I still had no intention to watch it this year, my complain being that the show always end up producing generic talents. They all sound like others that you get in the market. It’s like right after you paid for a kg of red snapper in the market, the fishmonger comes running to you, “hey, we just got a fresh one, it just sighed its last breath. Wanna buy?”. No thank you, I’ll take the one I paid for and curse you afterwards.

Okay, I know you are disagreeing saying that they are unique and all. Even, my fiancé, a regular fan since day one (eight seasons now), denied vehemently that the talents are not original. I say that because I’d always wanted to use the word “vehemently”. Nice word.

Anyway, this time around, I sat with her as they were showing the marathon compilation of the auditioning which was good sick sadistic fun as we see folks who are in serious denial about their talent getting trashed by the Idol judges, especially the delightfully frank Simon Cowell.

Then, he appeared. Complete with eyeliners, glam/punk-ish hairdo belting out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody like nobody before. I liked Adam Lambert there and then, as I did with few more other talents. Then, the competition rounds came and that man blew me away.

It was like seeing reincarnation of Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury. His vocal range is outrageous, and I mean it in good way. He is like a frickin Humvee or something that can scale a mountain and can still scour your neighbourhood.  Whether he is hitting high note or low, his emotional response was to the song, not to the strain of having to hit those notes, as the other competitors did. Plus I’d never heard a voice like this before, such was the originality.

Add that to the sense of theatricality, Lamberts costume and make up changes each week, whether it’s the leatherworks for belting out a rock number or cool suit and tie crooning a Rat Pack tune. Cowell complained about his final performance rendition of Tears For Fears’ Mad World, as “over theatrical”, and I thought that was what Lambert was all about. He is supposed to be theatrical as we saw week after week.

On top of that, he was oozing with charisma and strong presence. When was the last time we saw a talent like this. The last time I was excited about a talent was probably in the mid-90s when Russell Crowe snarled and broke a chair and I was, like, going, “Brando’s alive!” (he was then, just that Brando the actor was dead long time ago).

His talent was so huge that the largely conservative US (yes they are, look at how they are handling the gay marriage thing) did not vote for him in the final and voted for mildly talented, generic vocalist Kris Allen.

Immediately all sorts of conspiracy theory abounded. Some say that his sexuality (possibly gay. So what? So was Freddie) frightened them. Some say, it’s because most voters come from Red (read red-necks) state. It could be because he is Jew. Then, New York Times revealed that the Telco, AT&T, could be behind it having had provided free text messaging services at parties held by Kris Allen fans. And soon, I will not be surprised to read that the Aliens from Planet 9 are behind it. That’s enough stuff for the next Dan Brown novel.

Anyway, my point is, finally we got ourselves a genuine, original talent. There are already excitements in the air about what his debut album is going to be like. Or whether, as us fanboys fantasised, he would tour with Queen. Yup, Brian May, that genius guitarist, did say that he and the drummer, Roger Taylor, wants to have a “meaningful conversation” with Lambert, which is not surprising seeing that the band had to put up with dull (in comparison with the colourful flamboyant Freddie, I mean) Paul Rodgers. It’s time Queen put glamour back to the band.

Whatever Lambert is planning to do, I’d be among the millions waiting to buy his album. Admit it; he is the Scaramouche who can do the Fandango. 

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Coffee A Day

A coffee a day.

I have not been well of late. First, about a month ago, the doctor told me that I had high blood pressure.

I was experiencing headache, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation for few months by then. It could be anything, work related stress, early middle-age crisis or, I feel this is more accurate, too much of Cartoon Network, especially too much of Tom & Jerry, and especially when I find myself relating to Tom all the time.

So, I got up my courage, fear of needle or not, to meet my doctor who is constantly suggesting that I have a minor surgery on my posterior, even when I go there for flu and fever.

"I have to put you under tranquiliser," he said, with a glint on his eye, smirk on his lips and hair around his ears.

Immediately, I had a mental picture of him chasing me in the deep recess of tropical jungle with a tranquiliser gun and gunning me down. Of course, what he meant was, he’d be giving some sort of relaxant and sleeping pills, as the culprit could be my decade old insomnia problem.

So, that night I was sleeping like a baby on cough syrup (ask you baby sitters, they know what I mean). I got up next day wanting to sleep some more, but that will cost me my job.

Next day, my pressure went back to normal. One night of good sleep and it went back normal, can you believe it? If I had known that, I would have gotten special permission to sleep during office hours long ago. All those days trying to ward off sleep using various methods including asking someone to punch me when I feel dozy headed. Oh boy, did it work.

Aside: Dagwood Bumstead will never get high blood pressure. Sore ass, yes, but not high blood pressure. End of aside.

So, that got me thinking. Sleep is important, and what is causing this insomnia? All those nights awake thinking this and that and why Eastwood didn’t do one last Dirty Harry movie.

Then, it occurred to me that it was simple: Years of caffeine abuse!

You see, even before the journalism days, I was basically living off coffee. I’d do nothing less than 6 mugs a day, or go on to 8 mugs. I maintained that, and sometimes exceeded during the journalism days.  When working on some magazines, I had to work overnight, and, boy, you wouldn’t want to know how much coffee I had. That amount could send an elephant to clear the entire Amazon jungle!

Alright buddy, I told myself, even though I am sometimes my worst foe, it’s time to stop. Stop, I tell ya! Enough of the abuse.

So, I stopped. Just like that. No more. There was probably hiccup on first few days, a coffee here, and there, and then I completely stopped. Even during weekends, waking up to the usual hangover, I didn’t drink coffee at all. I had English tea…ewww.

And it was around that time when this nasty headache started. Like scheduled services, it starts around 12 in the afternoon, hits the peak around 3 something and subsides. Massive pain around the forehead and the back of the head. It’s like the Ghost of Headache possessed me at that period, and had different shift after six in the evening.

I tried Panadol. Nope, it doesn’t work. Then, I switched to Aspiring, the stuff I keep hearing in Hollywood, where the victim would be lying on the ground with amputated leg and severed neck and someone would helpfully suggest, “here, take an aspirin, you’ll be alright in a couple of seconds”.

Guess what? The Aspirin didn’t work too! Damn Yanks!

Alright, time for doctor, but not the same guy who wanted my rear probed and have me tranquilised. Time for second opinion too, so I went to this clinic I’d go if I really am to lazy to drive to the original doctor.

This time, a lady, had ample of time to chat with me and I told her about the blood pressure in the past (she checked and found it to be normal), and what is happening and what had caused me the high blood pressure (I left out Tom & Jerry part). We were both figuring out what caused this damned headache till it was revealed that I had stopped coffee.

“That could be the reason,” she said, “It could be caffeine withdrawal syndrome.”

I was, like, what? “Is there such thing?” I asked. She said yes, and she went through it herself. Never question one who also suffered.

So, it could be it. The abrupt stop of caffeine supply in my body. It’s as if there was a creature in it, living off caffeine and after the delivery stopped, it rebelled by giving me a splitting headache.

She gave me painkillers, asked me to also get my eyesight checked, and drink lots of water. They say that all the time, don’t they? Drink lots of water. You go there to get them to help with your receding hairline*, they’ll tell you to drink lots of water.

I was also told to drink coffee irregularly, to ease down that monster’s quest for caffeine. Once in two days perhaps. Great, that’s how you get started in the first place.

If things do not improve, I may have to get my head scanned. Probably my friends were right when they told me to get my head examined.

*of course, not your hairline, you lucky people!