All the Randall P. News You Need #12

Greetings from Penang!

Rainy Vacation Days Mean Group Emails!

I’m on the island of Penang, in a small resort town called Batu Ferringhi. We are staying at the Park Royal hotel, which is a nice hotel. It is raining cats and dogs outside on the “beach and swimming pool” part of our vacation. My daughters do not seem to mind, considering they are enjoying the sunny confines of Minecraft over on the bed beside me.
I guess I should have done more research when it came to Malaysian weather. I thought everywhere in Southeast Asia was sunny at this time of the year. Obviously not. We are four days into our Malaysian jaunt and it seems that it has rained every day. It deters us not.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur last Friday. I had never been to Kuala Lumpur, so I was completely surprised at how “modern” it is. Our initial thought was to take this vacation so that we could experience something “first-world”, considering that we live in Bangladesh, but it took about thirty minutes in the busiest mall that I’ve ever seen for me to realize that I don’t need to be hanging out in malls for the entirety of our vacation.
Still, an adventure was to be had. We stayed with some friends for the first part of the vacation, then we were off to Penang (where we are now). However, being hard-headed and ignoring the sage advice of my wife, I decided that we must take “The Train” to Penang, which meant that we were in a second class sleeper car on an overnight journey.

We boarded the train at 10 PM on Sunday night, got our individual bunks, then we were off. A Malaysian man in the bunk across the car from me insisted on playing a video game on his phone with the sound turned up for about an hour and an Indian man below him spent a good thirty minutes horking up the largest ball of phlegm in history, but after they settled themselves, I managed to fall asleep. Tracey was out well before I was and the girls had to be forced to sleep.
Then, I was up at 4 AM, paranoid that we would miss our station at 5:30. We did not. A bleary Ramsey/Girdner family emerged from the train and walked over to catch the ferry to Penang. Joining the tired, early-morning masses, we made the short boat-ride across the water before the sun came up, then emerged onto the island, waiting to go to the hotel.
A very helpful Malaysian woman saw us looking around, absolutely confused about what to do next. Our eyes were on the taxis, but she quickly poo-pooed that idea. “You don’t want to take a taxi,” she said. “They charge you double. Take the bus with us.” She was right. It cost us approximately $1 for all of us to take the bus. Unfortunately, that bus ride was forty-minutes of standing on the curviest roads in Malaysia. The girls were barely staying awake and Tracey watched our luggage fly across the bus on one particularly tight curve. Plus, there was the fact that I didn’t know where, exactly, the hotel was, so I was constantly on the lookout for where we were going.
We arrived at the hotel at 7 AM. Check in was at 1 PM. We had a bit of time to kill, so we slept on the folding chairs by the pool and tried to keep ourselves occupied.
Eventually, we checked in and got settled into our rooms. We awoke the next morning to rain, which did not deter Abbey and I, who sat at the pool most of the morning. We built sandcastles in the rain. We ate Indian food. All is well.
Next, we are headed to the other side of Penang, to a place called Georgetown. There, we will stay at the world famous Eastern & Oriental Hotel, which is supposedly legendary (and not-supposedly very expensive). From there, we take another train to Singapore! Good times!

I think there are some intellectual property issues with this shirt.
And for now, I shall sign-off! More soon!

All the Randall P. News You Need! #11

Dispatch from Dhaka!

In which Mr. G counts down his days until winter break…

It’s hard to imagine that it is winter in the rest of the world, considering temperatures in Dhaka are hovering around 29 C every day here, but I guess other people are having a hard time. I would laugh at all of you poor suckers suffering through horrible cold, but I know that the joke will be on me in April, when the temperatures here will hover around 40 C until September, with massive thunderstorms happening daily. Oh, well…

Things are going well in Dhaka. They have not fired me as of yet, which is surprising, considering what I did to that student. Still, it was all in “self-defense” and I really shouldn’t be prosecuted for crimes committed in “self-defense” so please let us never talk about it again.

We are getting ready for winter break and we have a lovely trip planned. We shall fly into Kuala Lumpur, whereupon we will see some friends, and then board an overnight train to Penang. There, we will lounge upon the beach and be incredibly lazy. After that, we take a huge train ride from the top of Malaysia to the bottom, where we will then visit Singapore. We plan to shop, see movies, visit Universal Studios, and eat lots of food. I shall put back on all of the weight that I have lost here. Good times.

If you consider me to be your friend at all, you will have watched the new Star Wars trailer. My friends and I were talking about it just yesterday. I was thoroughly underwhelmed at first, but then I realized that it was STAR WARS with THE ORIGINAL CAST and I got excited. It still does weird me out that Harrison Ford, in his old age, looks strikingly similar to how my father looked. My father was definitely not the Han Solo-type, so there’s a bit of a disconnect.

Anyway, if you want some REAL Star Wars weirdness, check out THIS column in The Guardian. Plans were in place for this film for a while, I guess.

What about me, creatively? Well, I finished a third draft of my “Princes” screenplay just yesterday. You’ll all be sad to know that I have eliminated ALL zombies from the film. Sad, I know, but it had to be done. Now, I will start editing “Ingrid Strongheart vs. the Army of Nosferatu” and when that is done, I will either begin a new Boyd McCloyd book or work on book 4 of “The Wizard”.

And yes, I am looking at an early 2015 release for “The Wizard of New York City”. I’ll let everyone know when it happens.

THINGS I’M WATCHING:

  • If you have an attention span, you should see “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”. SUCH a good film. But it’s slow. VERY slow. I love it.
  • Our family is religiously watching “The Flash”. I don’t normally like comic book shows, but this one hits the mark for me. Love it.
  • My favorite team was eliminated from “The Amazing Race” last night, so I will be disappointed in the final, no doubt. Sigh.

ARTICLES 4 U:

That’s it from this end. Enjoy your day and write me back to tell me what’s happening in your life!
Mr. G

I’m Back!

Hello gang!

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See that picture? That’s me.

It’s been a while since I wrote, but I try to produce one of these every couple of weeks, so hello! Things are busy ’round these parts, so though nothing much has changed, I thought I would send you a lovely email. So, what’s been happening?

Well, I finished the script for my animated movie, “Princes”. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and I’m looking for four readers to sample it and give me some feedback. If any of you are interested, please let me know by sending me an email. ONLY SEND ME AN EMAIL IF YOU INTEND TO READ IT. I’m looking for some basic feedback on it and hopefully one of you would be willing to look at it. Ideally, it will be awesome, but even better would be if some of you could offer me some advice on what I need to fix/change.

I am trying to get back to writing prose novels at the moment, but before I do that, I am currently doing an experiment. I am writing a travel guidebook. The book is called, “The Unsanctioned, Untrue, and Absolutely Fictional Travel Guide to the Walt Disney World Resort™”. Basically, it’s a guidebook for Disney World, but everything that I write in it is fiction. I know that Matthew Shirley might view this as somewhat sacrilegious, but I don’t care! I’m writing it anyway and filling it full of lies. It’s just the way I am.

Bangladesh is nice this time of year. The mosquitos aren’t out yet and the weather has turned from AWFUL to PLEASANT. Thus, while all of you are out there, adjusting to the cold weather, I am still swimming in the pool and enjoying life. Of course, there ARE issues with living here other than that. One of them is the Hartals.

There is a lot of political unrest here in Bangladesh and somebody is always protesting something, because no one ever likes the government, no matter who is in charge. One thing that political groups do is to call a “hartal”, which is a general strike. That means that no one can go to work or drive anywhere, because everything is shut down.

The unfortunate aspect to all of this is that OUR school doesn’t shut down. We live in the diplomatic zone, so nothing changes on hartal days except that traffic is lighter. I guess that’s nice, because we enjoy a bit of stability in our day-to-day lives, but for the Bangladeshi people, hartals are a pain.

All right, I will end with another gif and links. Here is one of my favorites:

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That sums up everything I think about Justin Bieber and I hope it plagues your nightmares.

Here’s a plan we should enact RIGHT NOW.
Want to learn about screenwriting? Listen. 
And now, I curse you to waste the rest of your day with this.

Look at this picture!

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See that picture up there? That’s awesome. You know who took it? ME! That’s right, I took that photo and it is incredibly cool, it is. Look at that serene image from Angkor Wat, as the sun comes up over the horizon, illuminating the ancient temples. It was beautiful…it was ancient…it was…

…packed with people.

Thankfully, I managed to find a place where there weren’t 10,000 tourists standing in front of me in awe of our surroundings. In case you were wondering, we went to Angkor Wat for our October break. In case you were wondering where Angkor Wat is (and I know that there are a few of you…I could probably name names if I wanted to [I’m talking to YOU, Maake…you, too, Gillian], Angkor Wat is located outside the town of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Basically, it’s almost dead center in Cambodia. Explorers discovered these ancient ruins long ago, as it was a city that had been abandoned, though at one time, it had over a million inhabitants.

We had a bit of “temple fatigue” as we went along, for when you first get there, it’s amazing. Then the NEXT temple is amazing. And so is the NEXT one. Then, you’re kind of like, “Yeah, that’s an amazing temple. What time is lunch?” Still, we managed to have a good time and that’s that.

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I gave a TED talk…

Well, it was a TEDx talk, really, but I did it. Here’s a quick write up on it:

http://www.shfamily.com/articles/2014/03/25/talk-doesnt-cook-rice/

TED

That’s me in the middle. The one with the receding hairline and stylish jeans (it’s just how I roll…).

 

My Twin on the Other Side of the Planet

So, the other day, I received an email from a colleague that I taught with in Ghana. She said, “You have a twin…” and wrote the following:

His name is Richard and he works here at the UN school in NY. He and his wife were looking at your school for placement, and saw your pic on the website. Here is what follows. You two even have very similar personalities. It is a bit unnerving.

Here is the video:

Naturally, I could not let something like this happen without a response, so here is what my senior film class made in 45 minutes the next day.

We await a new dispatch from the future…

TJHS 1987 Episode 364

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TJHS 1987 Episode 363

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TJHS 1987 Episode 362

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TJHS 1987 Episode 361

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