Sunday, 20 January 2008

SAS At This Moment


After the stress of applying for jobs this August pivoted over the past two weeks, just getting the green light from my supervisor chillaxing in her home turf of Melbourne and then a well deserved break in Dundee over tea, muffins and cakes with Reem, I’ve been hanging out with the SAS in my spare time to gain a deeper appreciation of the vital community work done by these extra-ordinary people day in and day out that many just take for granted. I interact with them constantly but truth be told I still know little of the travails that face them in the front line of pre-hospital medical care so I figured…why not? I had previously hung out with SMUR and SAMU in Lille in the 90s and enjoyed the experience even though they were French (heh).

In the space of a shift, we had covered the run of the mill overdoses, domestic disputes, assaults and stab injuries, unconsciousness, fits, difficulty in breathing, falls with fractures, transfers, bleeding, rushed food and toilet breaks, police, drunk teenagers…it makes you wonder how some people live, if you can call it that.

The down to earth chaps were great to hang out with, the bum numbing bumpy rides in the dark and screaming flashing blue lights may get the pulse racing, but the most extracted from this experience was seeing patients in their own microcosms of existences that put their concerns and illnesses in perspective, the difficulties of caring and extracting confused, scared and sometimes violent people and seeing how we are all interconnected as team members to keep the veneer of civilisation from breaking down.

One notable patient I came across had Parkinson’s disease whose condition contributed to her fall resulting in a closed spiral peri-prosthetic fracture of the femur. It reminded me of the high profile publicity the condition got from the amazing Michael J Fox and this led me through a trip down memory lane when I was randomly surfing the Net…I couldn’t believe I found a particularly memorable episode of Family Ties ("hip parents, square kids"), one of the quintessential 80s sitcoms I grew up with, after something like 20 years. I remember having a crush on Justine Bateman and thinking Michael J Fox was oh-so-cool. Shit, can you imagine TV these days having such a cheese mush fest of an opening song? Isn’t it bloody brilliant?!?

I still recall this particular mushy yet poignant episode of “The Real Thing” as if it was literally yesterday and how massive the song “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera & The Beaters) was back in 1987…a song that I had slowed dance to *sigh*. Wow…I haven’t heard this song until like, uhm...just now…and all the synesthesia and emotional feelings it brought back was….*puppy dog noises*. It was one of the more memorable episodes in which the conservative Republican money-minded Alex .P Keaton met the sensitive insightful artist Ellen Reed, both actors (Fox and Pollan) later marrying in real life and are still together after all these years…which I guess is something akin to forever in Hollywood.

Still, the best two-part episode of Family Ties was and still is the Emmy winning “My name is Alex”…but I can’t seem to locate the whole damn thing yet. Surely the series must be on DVD by now??

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Fluttering Kites and Shuddering Creeps

What a surprising joy to have seen this heart tugging film simply because it was better than I had expected despite the controversies, cultural inaccuracies, and cuts and alterations from the book, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The entertainment value came principally from the commendable acting and chemistry from a pair of unknowns (especially the superb Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada playing the guileless and loyal young Hassan), beautiful score, panoramic scenery and a well-told story at a measured pace that pitched the mush factor at just the right level of lachrymosity.

It still has all the concentrated contrivances, convenient coincidences and correct clean lines that plague a neatly constructed novel but what the hell…I can see the film’s positive magic touching a lot of people and winning shit-loads of awards (I might cynically add, precisely the kind of stuff the Western world laps up in ladles and loves assembled, pre-packaged and gift wrapped with a neat bow tie about a culture and world still largely unknown to outsiders...and I may add even more cynically, the political climate is ripe for this).

I am also ploughing through my Heroes episodes and enjoying every bit of it even though word has it that the second season is not as good as the first. I can only shudder knowingly when I see Isaac Mendez painting the future when he has precognitive visions beyond his control.

Apparently precognitive dreams are fairly common and I honestly don’t know what to make of them as I have them from time to time (it’s always very vivid as opposed to run-of-the-mill dreams). Most of them are random shit I have no control over. Some related to me, and some seemingly never related to me. But I still remember the morning when my Dad rushed into my bedroom and told me the space shuttle Challenger had exploded – months after I had painted a picture of a space shuttle explosion (the painting was published in my school year book). Or the time my sister phoned me to tell me the Concorde had crashed…weeks after I told her of my hyper-realistic dream of seeing a Concorde (a plane until then that had never crashed) ploughing into a field right after take off near to a motorway and a row of houses. And then I see this in the news:

Most are probably coincidences and selective bias but these two still creeps me out to this day.