“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

A writer's quandary
Sunday, May 31, 2009

What book to write next? I can't decide. My agent told me I should try a collection of first-person essays. And I have been working on them, but, alas, I hate all of them. Then she suggested I write about the upcoming empty nest my wife and I are going to have (daughter graduates next week), but I'm thinking: Empty nest? Who gives a crap? What can I say about an empty nest?

This was/has been my idea: After dropping Haley off at college, I would take off in my truck on some sort of odyssey, reflecting on my life as a stay-at-home dad AND reflecting/pontificating on the state of American culture at this point in time ... as only Ad Hudler Self-Appointed Critic At Large could do. I actually thought of following the path that de Tocqueville took for his opus "Democracy in America." ... only I would name mine "Lunacy in America" or something like that.

I don't know ... maybe I should write a cookbook or a guide to solar-powered tools. My wife wants me to make some money. Maybe I should do some professional escort work. I did this in college for my great aunt's friends (ladies 70-plus) and had a blast. (I ONLY escorted them to parties, not to their beds) They bought me lots of nice clothes.

Damn. I'm at a loss.

Kitchen Confession
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I eat/snarf/inhale while standing over the sink:
1. Mangoes
2. Cold leftover Chinese food
3. pomegranates.

Any others?

Apple VS. PC
Sunday, May 24, 2009

I've long been a PC person just because that's what I've always used. Most of my author friends have Apples and love them and have wondered why I stick with a PC. I've researched them, and I decided that the Apple makes sense for someone who does more with a computer than use it for word-processing and email. They're great with graphics ... and perfect if you want to make movies ... but it just doesn't make sense to spend more money for something just because it looks SO COOL.

And the Apple products, admittedly, are beautiful. But here's what ticks me off about Apple users: THEY WON'T ADMIT THAT THEY'VE BEEN SEDUCED BY GOOD LOOKS. I would hazard to guess that 80-percent of Apple buyers choose them because they're beautiful. And what's wrong with that? Nothing. But admit it, people.

So we finally bought a MacBook Pro, and only because it has that little nifty camera feature that lets a dad see his daughter real-time while talking to her, Apple-to-Apple. (Haley graduates next month from high school, and this stay-at-home dad is freaking out).

So I've had plenty of time to play with my Apple. And I have this to say: Big deal.

Viva la similarity!

The difference isn't that huge, really...more like comparing a Fiji apple with a Red Delicious rather than comparing a Democrat with a Republican.

Oh but it sure is nice to look at!

P.S. My new novel, "Man of the House," is the featured novel all week long at DearReader.com. Be sure to check it out. I'll also be answering readers' questions.
Again, it's DearReader.com

A word about movie theatres ...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

People have been talking about the end of the movie theatre for a long time. First they said the VCR was going to kill them. Ditto for the DVD. Ditto for the Internet. But they're still there. Here's why:

Think of how you feel when you leave that dark theatre, after the end credits have started rolling. When you emerge into the lighted lobby your senses feel slightly surprised (Oh! Light!) and there's this feeling of fresh calmness, like having just woken up from a nice sleep. You feel as if the rest of the day is a fresh canvas, and that you've somehow recharged during this 2-hour rest. There's also this barely perceptible feeling of light-headedness and a semi-numb tingling sensation you feel from head to toe, something like a very-slight electric current ... and it doesn't matter what movie you've seen. (Perhaps it's a circulation issue?)

I honestly can't think of anything that replicates the way I feel when I walk out of a movie theatre.

You know you live in the inner city when ...
Saturday, May 16, 2009

My hometown of Fort Myers, Florida (population: 50,000) used to be a free-standing city ... but in the last half-century it has been swallowed by urban sprawl, to the tune of about 1 million people. This means that Fort Myers proper has become the inner city. And a trait of inner cities is that their flavor (average income, race, etc.) changes block by block, not mile by mile.

Hence, the reality of my neighborhood. Just two blocks away from multi-million-dollar waterfront homes:
1. A strip club called "Babes," whose marquee now reads "Come on in and see our STIMULUS PACKAGE!"
2. Prostitutes, both male and female, whom I recognize from my daily errands. Seriously, I should know them by name because I see them so often. And they always carry a Walgreen's bag filled with something. I'm guessing it's because they need a ploy if they get stopped by cops: "I was just walking home from Walgreen's, officer. Really."

Cat Haters need not apply
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We all use litmus tests of some kind or another. My mom has one of the funniest: There are two kinds of people in the world -- cat lovers and assholes.

Here's one I have found to be almost 100-percent true over the years: I enjoy the company of people who listen to National Public Radio for news. They tend to be curious, open-minded and global in their perspective.

An impromptu moment in the Hudler house ...
Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rabbit in the kitchen, eating cucumber.

A helpful housekeeping hint that saves money and time
Friday, May 8, 2009

The stay-at-home-dad character in my newest novel, Man of the House, gives "Handy Hints for Caregiver Sanity" throughout the book. Here's one he should have included:

I've heard way too many moms complain about the loads of dirty towels they have to launder every week. Well, this isn't true in my house, and here's why: Towels mildew and get smelly when they're left on the floor. We all hang our damp towels, open and unfolded, on racks in the bathroom, and they dry out in no time with no mildewy smell. My wife, daughter and I use the same towels for a week to 10 days.

No, it's not gross. Think about it: Towels are used to wipe CLEAN water off of ALREADY-CLEAN bodies. Not much dirt or bacteria there, folks.

How to train your spouse and children to do this? Give them one towel and tell them it's the only one they can use for the week. Stash all the others in a hiding place.

Take CONTROL of your laundry, and you will save energy, money and hours of time.

A note to Moms ...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Please get rid of these:

Honestly, we don't care how many people you have in your family. Ditto for dogs and cats.
Some questions: Why is it that only SUV's and vans have these things?
Also: Are these decals a manifestation of tattoo-envy?
Also: Are they an expression of virility and fertility?
Also: Are they more prevalent in conservative-Christian automobiles?

Does laughter burn calories?
Monday, May 4, 2009

I have this friend who is easily seduced by new-fad-diet books, which I generally make fun of because they're so outrageous.

S/he has a new one called "The Flat Belly Diet," which I quickly renamed "The FAT Belly Diet". There's a four-day cleansing period in which you eat and drink very little ... including lots of what they call "Sassy Water." I have to admit this stuff sounds pretty good: Mix 2 liters of water with grated ginger root, sliced cucumber, lemon juice and mint leaves, then let it sit in the 'fridge overnight.

But then the unintentional humor! OUCH! On the menu spreadsheet they include an extra column filled with daily "mind tricks," as they're called. Here's my favorite: "Take a virtual vacation. Put on some Hawaiian music while you're preparing your meal and transport yourself to a beach with lapping water and coconut palms. For good measure rub a little suntan oil on your face and inhale deeply. It's snowing outside? Nah. You're in Hawaii."

And another hilarious one: "Sing while you prepare dinner. According to German researchers, you can enjoy up to a 240-percent immunity boost as well as an increase of anti-stress hormones simply by singing."

A: Has too much government grant money on their hands, or
B: Is a big fat liar.

Next stop: adult diapers
Friday, May 1, 2009

You know you're middle-aged when the folks at Lenscrafters no longer can make your glasses in under an hour.