Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flash Drive Movie Moments

I recently browsed through my collection of downloaded movies after a friend asked to copy them for her own. I'm a bit organized, so every movie was filed under their genre -- action, comedy, rom-coms, adventure, etc -- and I wondered if, after all this time, I'd be considered a movie critic. After all, I do love watching movies, and as a moviegoer, my opinion should count right?

What could be great for me, may not be good for you. What constitutes a movie worth sharing a laugh over, or shedding a tear for for me could be rubbish for everyone else. But I like to look at movies on moments and stories, and if they resonate with me, touch me, or entertain me in any sort of way, they can take their place in my external drive for replays anytime in the future.

Just looking through my collection brings back several of these movie moments.

I remember the beginning silent sequence of Pixar's "Up" which I think sold the movie itself. No words, just images and music yet nothing evoked emotions of happiness, grief and the beauty of life and love like Carl and Ellie's love story in a nutshell.

I laugh and sing in my head to "...Jamaica we have a bobsled team" and relive going to the Winter Olympics with the Jamaican bobsled team in "Cool Runnings." That movie had me dreaming I could start the bobsledding dreams of Filipinos everywhere. It was when they fell over during their last run and saw their medal hopes dashed, that they literally got up and carried their sled over the finish line to respect that I nearly stood up and applauded myself.

I have a lot of sports movie moments in my flash drive. Like when Gary Bertier and Julius Campbell finally yell, "Strong Side! Weak Side!" in putting it all together for their team in "Remember the Titans,"  when Keanu Reeves runs out onto the field his last day as quarterback Shane Falco in "The Replacements," feeling goosebumps as I listen and watch USA Hockey as they defeat Russia in "Miracle" with Kurt Russell pacing on the sidelines as the radio commentator shouts, "Do you believe in miracles?" or when Dennis Quaid throws his first pitch in "The Rookie" and Kevin Costner throws his last in "For The Love Of The Game."

Though I have a whole slew of sports movies, I have all the other genres too.

The rom-coms have their own category with the usual Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks fare. After all those are the cuddle movies -- the Harry Met Sallys, the You've Got Mails, the Runaway Brides, the Sleepless in Seattles -- that will have us saying all those "You had me at hello," "You complete me," "Love means never having to say you're sorry" lines that we all love to whisper in our loved ones' ears. But moments that got me are best exemplified in "Love Actually," where the all the types of love we share  are showcased and that by the end you realize truly that in a world where we think that caring for others has lost its luster, "Love, Actually Is All Around."

I remember all my "Lethal Weapon" movies and "Back To The Future" made me believe time travel was possible with a car and a flux capaciter. I loved the face-off between Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey in "The Negotiator" and the literal face-off in "Face Off" between John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Feeling like I was sliding that endless water slide in "The Goonies" and cracking my whip with Indiana Jones on his adventures -- what a rush! Oh, and like James Bond, I ended up with the mission completed and the girl in the end.

I guess that appeal of bringing us stories that we can believe to be true for us has always been a prevailing pull to movies for me. I firmly believe that should The Sorting Hat be placed on my head that I'd be ushered into Gryffindor and that I'd give Harry Potter a run for his money. Perhaps that whole series could be about me instead! Or that I'd discover that I had mutant powers and join the X-Men.

So many movies so little time. Maybe one day when my kids are off to the futuristic 10D cinemas I'd say, "Oh, that's a remake kiddo!" I pull out this old dust-laden flash drive, "You should see the original!"

And they'd roll their eyes and I'd smile. What are we without our moments?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Changing The World, Eventually

A while ago, I came across an article published in the Philippine Star about twentysomethings and their continued education in the classroom of life. It struck a chord not simply just because I can relate to it somewhat, but because I came across it at this time in my life where I lose sight of things sometimes.

But I disagree.  Somewhat.

Let the record show that I've played both the jaded, depressed angry-at-the-world guy and the naive, heart-on-a-sleeve idealist at several times in my life.

To the ex-fresh graduate, I have been you too. After a bachelor's degree, a medical degree, a post-graduate internship, and an Internal Medicine residency training, I can definitely say I've played the part of fresh graduate a couple times over, and each time these had opportunities opened up for me to change the world. But I chose to toil even more in books and training, so as to be able to make my mark in the world -- specifically, make a difference with the future patients that will come knocking on my clinic.

Now a few months removed from graduating from IM residency and even passing the diplomate examinations, I find myself back at square one. Granted I'm waiting and wavering over and over again on the subspecialty that I want to go into, I've had the misfortune of not even being called for interviews to apply for junior consultancy in the hospitals I've applied to, and the clinics I attempted to see patients in. At this time, I work at a small diagnostic clinic in a mall that does employment medical clearances and physicals, and some consultation with patients coming in, malingering to get a medical certificate more than anything else. I've even accepted shifts at call centers in the city to augment my income. Heck, even some of my friends think I'm just suited for medical practice in the city and can't cut the rural/provincial hospital scene or that they think I don't like doing duties at hospitals.

It's my first real shot in the working world and I don't think I'm doing as great as I had planned. I have a memorized dialogue for my PE interviews, get frustrated daily with those that pretend to be sick just to get excused from work when I haven't missed a day of work since, well, I really don't know the last time I missed work. After a few hours of clinic duty, I go out to nearby call center to do a few more hours there.

Not exactly world-changing.

After reading that article, not exactly a difference-maker for the nurses I work with in the clinic as well. Those spiffy, twangy, sassy and young call center agents, did not have tedious graveyard shifts in mind when they wanted the chance to earn their first millions. Anybody who is not anywhere they want to be, or feel like they are owed more, will not have expected dealing with all this frustration and obstacles. Anybody who has had to settle, will want to be somewhere else. Somebody who has had to change themselves for something they do not want, will seek other more fulfilling things to ultimately satisfy them.

I wanted to touch people's lives and be an instrument of His healing -- to make difference, to change the world.

And I still want to.

The passion never really goes away -- it just gets lost sometimes.

Though the cases that have legitimate illnesses that come into the clinic I work for are few far in between malingering patients, there is the palpable spark of curiosity and the pure intention of helping them achieve a cure when they sit down and tell me their stories. The drive goes back on to scrounge up every rusty bit of knowledge that I have been hanging on to since finishing training and actually bring the patient back to health.

The key is always finding a reason to be happy where you are -- finding something that drives you. Whether it be money, fame, or the chance to change the world, for family, for love, for that extra bonus -- to each his own.

I remember Sanjiv Chopra's talk at the Philippine College of Physicians' Annual Convention this year admiring the work done by Paul Farmer (recounted in his book "Mountains Beyond Mountains") where he brought cure to an HIV-infected African man. He did it by never giving in. The big names in this world have somehow made their marks, because passion never really went away. So it can hold true for all of us as well. We hold it in our hands when we go out into the world from graduation and when we set it down to throw back the crap the world is slinging at us, we end up losing it. We'd have to go through the muck surrounding us, get dirty and find it again, and somehow just manage to survive.

I still believe I can change the world. I've never been the whole get-up guy in the spiffy suit so I don't have to worry about looking like a fresh graduate all the time. I say to young people everywhere, get your suits dirty, and so what if you got it off a rack at SM. At times, it takes the hardened, seasoned, weather-beaten, oft-insulted, underestimated individual to get the job done.

It takes passion to dream, fail and get up again. It takes passion to be able to get up in the morning, go to a job you don't totally like or dislike and work for something better. Such is life, and misconstruing hard work and its slow, deliberate toil as failure and irrelevance, is just so wrong. So I urge you to find passion wherever you can. It is normal to lose it at times, but for you to have any semblance of happiness and satisfaction, there has to be that drive to just go a little bit more.

Always remember that happiness and success are relative. It is not where you start nor where you end up, but, as a wise and good friend of mine put it, "when someday, you look around with satisfaction that you're exactly where you're meant to be," you got it made.