Hurrah for the (please make your selection) Pie!


Ron's Blog

Article first published as Hurrah for the (Your Selection Here) Pie! on Blogcritics.

I have a confession. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie. My favorite is apple. Hot, deep dish apple, to be precise. With vanilla ice cream. Two scoops.

This article isn’t really about pie, however. I’ll tell you in a minute what this article is about as soon as I figure out what this article is about. Let’s go with the pie theme for now.

According to my source (starts with G and ends with oogle) pumpkin pie is well down the list at number eight. No big surprise to me that apple is number one, followed by chocolate, coconut, pecan, berry, key lime, lemon, pumpkin, cherry, and banana cream at number ten.

But this is all a little, uh, fruitless. Gee, too bad I don’t have a pie chart to show you. Anyway, enough of…

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Thar Be Mermaids!


Untitled Screenplay

Untitled Screenplay

Last week I handed in the first draft of my screenplay to Gold Valley Films. It’s a musical animation feature with pirates, mermaids, ogres and a cast of talking creatures. It will be released in Chinese theaters in the spring of 2015. That’s all I can tell you at this point. Stay tuned for more…

Throwback Thursday: The Sin City Singers!


The Sin City Singers - 1970

The Sin City Singers – 1970

My high school folk group from left to right: Dan Judd, Kevin Stephens, Wes Winn, Ron Hendricks and Jasper Winn. In 1971, Kevin and Jasper had gone off to college, so we were joined by Gary Knox. Here we all are in a photo from 2004 at the dedication concert for the Jack Williams Auditorium. Dan, Gary, Ron, Jasper, Kevin and Wes!

Sin City Singers 2004

Sin City Singers – 2004

Mr. Williams was our beloved Mac-Hi Choir Director, Counselor and Teacher.

Benjamin Franklin, Time Traveler


 

That probably isn’t Ben Franklin in the video, but it makes for a great headline for my post. On the other hand, it could be him. I’ve heard rumors of his, uh, cross-dressing. Anyway, as a screenwriter I claim first dibs on the movie title.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a wonderful movie last night called About Time. If you are growing weary of big-budget, story-less blockbusters of late, this little movie is a delightful change of pace.

Even before last night’s movie, however, I was pondering the curious nature of time. For example, wouldn’t it be great if time were like a roll of toilet paper? You could pull off exactly what you need and then roll back the rest for future use. Guess where I came up with that idea.

They say that “time and tide wait for no man.” And while this may be true, at least tide gets a chance to retrace it’s path. Now wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that? While we are on the subject of water, there are actually a lot of time and water metaphors. Here’s a good one:

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Marcus Aurelius

By the way, did you know the world’s largest river once flowed in the opposite direction? Nice segue, huh? My point is that if something can alter the direction of the mighty Amazon, perhaps the inexorability of time is, well, exorable.

Of course, far greater minds have grappled, and are still grappling with the theoretical possibility of time travel. And, just to make things interesting, there are those that argue that time may not exist at all!

I am starting to get a headache, so I think I will end pretty much as I began by talking about movies. If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise. When I first started to watch it I almost turned it off. I thought the story was headed in a stupid direction. I was wrong.

RnR


story by Simon Edward Smith – reprinted by permission from that’s PRD magazine

Rocking and rolling around Guangzhou, Ridwan and Ron are currently causing waves on the city’s music circuit. Formed six months back after meeting via a mutual friend, the duo make up the aptly named RnR.

RnR photo by Dixon Chow

RnR photo by Dixon Chow

Ridwan Amir, from Singapore, has been here since 2009. Ron Hendricks, who hails from Walla Walla in Washington State, has been here since 2006. The former takes up the vocals while the latter supports on backing guitar. Together, they sing covers of a broad range of popular songs – according to Amir, the twosome has “a book of standard stuff geared toward Chinese audiences” – with a few original tunes thrown in for good measure. On any given night you’re likely to hear a rambunctious, jangling version of Jason Mraz’ ‘I’m Yours’ alongside a loud, balls-to-the-wall cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You,’ plus RnR’s very own ‘My Girl,’ a hybrid of early days Rod Stewart and Credence Clearwater Revival’s foot-stomping beat.

Amir has a powerhouse of a voice; it’s raw and unrestrained. Understandably, rock bands like the Smashing Pumpkins are a major
influence. As Hendricks says of his bandmate, “When Ridwan sings people focus. Audiences want to stay for the whole thing. My job is to harmonize.” It’s not surprising, then, that Amir was runner-up for best vocalist at Yamaha Asian Beat back in Singapore.

Hendricks’ tastes on the other hand are earthier and folksy; singers more mellow and subtle in delivery appeal to him, like Simon and Garfunkel, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger – an interest made evident by his free-wheeling, Dylan-esque phrasing.

A fun duo with good rapport between themselves and the audience, make sure to request their comical ‘No Man, No Cry.’

SES
// You can catch RnR at Hooley’s (Tue), Rebel
Rebel (Sat), The Brew on Jianshe Liu Malu
(Thu), The Brew Panyu (Friday) and Covent
Garden (Sunday) from 9.30pm.

Virtual Cremation in China


thIn China, many buildings don’t have a fourth floor. Or a fourteenth floor. Or a twenty fourth floor. You see, the Chinese word for the number four sounds a lot like the Chinese word for death. Don’t laugh; a lot of western hotels don’t have a thirteenth floor!

Chinese cultural tradition shuns the mention of death. I’ve heard stories of Chinese families who avoid telling elderly parents about the death of a family member, carrying on a pretense about that member being very busy and away on an extended trip, etc.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this video of a proposed project on www.jue.so which is a Chinese version of Kickstarter. There are  English subtitles, by the way:

生命体验馆—在线播放—优酷网,视频高清在线观看.

Pardon Me, But Your Knee Is On Fire


My friend Brian and I were both limping on the same leg. What I mean is, HE was limping on HIS right leg and I was limping on MINE. Or maybe it was his left. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Brian claims his limp is from an old football injury that occasionally flares. I think he slipped in some buffalo wing sauce during Super Bowl halftime. No, wait. Brian is British. Make that World Cup and malt vinegar. I finally went to a doctor and found out what my problem was. Osteoarthritis. But I am getting ahead of my story.

We hobbled around for about a week and things did not seem to be getting any better. It finally got serious when neither one of us could make it up the stairs of our favorite Chinese Pub (is that an oxymoron?). The pub is in the basement, so we were trying to go home. There might be another reason we couldn’t make it up the stairs. But I digress.

Finally, Brian suggested we get a Chinese Fire Treatment. His ex-girlfriend is part owner of a tea shop on the other side of Guangzhou. Apparently, they do fire treatments in the back room. I know what you’re thinking, but let’s not go there. Actually, that’s what I said to Brian. And I quote, “let’s not go there.”

Chinese Fire Treatment

Chinese Fire Treatment

So the next afternoon Brian picked me up in his Buick. Yes, he drives a car in China. Buicks are very popular here because they are American. But I digress again. Re-digress?

Now, let’s examine the situation, shall we? What my friend and I were heading out to do was get ourselves lit on fire in the back room of his EX-girlfriend’s tea shop. Sound like fun? You betcha.

We arrived at the tea shop without incident. We had the obligatory Gong Fu Tea out front. Then it was time for the fire treatment. Since there were two of us, Brian went in first. Fine with me. Then it was my turn. When I went into the back room, Brian was alive and resting on a narrow massage table with his knee wrapped tightly. He gave me the thumbs up.

Now, all evidence to the contrary, I am not a complete idiot. I did have the foresight to wear shorts instead of long pants. That way, I could keep my pants on and preserve my dignity as I ran flaming out of the building. I must re-digress again. If you are reading this—which I assume you are—and you are British, then I was wearing short trousers, since you people mistakenly think that shorts means underwear.

Anyway, treatment began with some magic Chinese formula—Ben Gay, which is Chinese for “Are you out of your mind?” Actually, it wasn’t Ben Gay, but whatever it was, she slathered it all over my knee. Next, she wrapped my knee in several small towels and let me rest a bit while the magic Chinese formula soaked in.

Now, here is the part where you need to remember the famous quote from George Washington as he stood in the boat crossing the frozen Delaware river at two in the morning. “Kids, don’t try this at home!” Rubbing alcohol. I think that’s what it was. I don’t read Chinese labels so well. She soaked the towels with it and then took one of those long lighters, you know, the kind you use to start your backyard grill. She took one of those and lit the towels on fire.

I didn’t feel anything at first. But then, my knee began to warm up. About the time I was ready to panic, she deftly threw more towels over my flaming knee and the fire went out. After a while, she repeated the entire process. Then she wrapped my knee, towels and all, in plastic wrap. I’m guessing this part of the traditional treatment was added after plastic wrap was invented.

And that was it. Brian and I drank more tea and rested while the heat soaked in. Kind of like using an electric heating pad. Wait a minute… what a great idea!