“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

The next day ...
Friday, July 31, 2009

I love eating leftovers for breakfast, especially takeout Chinese, Indian, Italian ...

But there's one type of food that, for some reason, does not reheat well and taste good the next day: Thai. And I'm not sure why.

(I'm a poet and I didn't know it.)

Hey, where'd all the water go?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I just returned from a trip to one of my former teenage and childhood haunts, Bonny Reservoir, north of Burlington, Colorado. And I'm still in shock. The mighty Bonny Reservoir had become Bonny Lake ... and it's bordering on becoming Bonny Pond.

Yep, the state government has been draining it to satisfy some weird water contract that Colorado has with Kansas. If the rivers that flow out of Colorado don't' have enough water to satisfy Kansas, I guess Kansas can say, "Hey, just give us the water in that lake over there, and we'll call it a deal."

Just take a close look at this picture and see what I'm talking about:

Journey to the Land of Ahh's
Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hopped across the border yesterday, into Kansas, to visit my cousin Debbie:

As you can see, she is a big Elvis fan. In fact, she is also an Elvis impersonator and has agreed to give my family a private performance next Thanksgiving when we return to eastern Colorado for Turkey Day.

She lives in Goodland, home of this INCREDIBLE SIGHT:

Yes, it's the WORLD'S LARGEST VAN GOGH PAINTING. (Not painted by the artist himself, incidentally.) Seriously, folks, this is BIG. Note the pickup parked beneath it. I'm not sure what surprised me more ... this or the delicacy at the Wonderful Cafe, a Chinese restaurant in the Days Inn on the Interstate where we tasted crab rangoon stuffed with pudding instead of the normal crab and cream cheese.

How to Frighten Birds
Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm visiting my mom and dad in my hometown in Eastern Colorado, where there seems to be a big problem with an infestation of crows. There are millions of them, perched in the big trees across town, and, unfortunately, in the tree that canopies my parents' patio.

Can you say "Lots of bird feathers and poop every morning?"

My mom said, "I've got to get the tree trimmer to put my snakes in the tree, and I won't have this problem."

Yep, she ties wooden, flexible snakes (like something you'd buy at World Market) in the tree, and they move about in the wind, and they actually keep the birds away. No kidding. The old ones have been whittled away by the squirrels and need replaced.

But until then, my mom will be out there, standing in the evening with a pan and a wooden spoon, banging it to frighten them ... banging it for TEN MINUTES! And, in a sign of true love, my dad takes his turn.

A neighbor came over and asked, "Are you calling us to dinner, Joy?"

Does this happen to you?
Sunday, July 19, 2009

You're barreling down the road, and you see a car wanting to turn from a side street into traffic. You watch, and watch, and watch, wondering if he/she is going to nudge out and turn in front of you, and just when you think he/she has decided to wait until after you pass THEY PULL OUT INTO TRAFFIC AT THE LAST SECOND!
And you say to yourself: Why did they wait so long? Why didn't they go earlier?

And then you realize: WAIT! I do the SAME DAMNED THING!

Why is that? Why do we wait so long to turn into traffic?

At any rate, I'm guessing this is not a human-only thing. Look at all the road kill.

Insomnia on Coconut Dr.
Friday, July 17, 2009

Yep. I'm posting this at 3:10 a.m.
For some reason I am programmed to wake up at 3 a.m. for days at a time. It can last for a week or two weeks, and it drives me crazy. And why at 3 o'clock?
The author in me thinks this: I am time-traveling while sleeping ... or living an alternate existence in a different time zone, and my 3 o'clock in this time zone is actually 6 or 7 a.m. in the other.
Then again, it could be the plate of Hooters chicken wings I ate with friends for dinner.
Speaking of Hooters: It's a little disconcerting when your Hooters waitress knows your daughter from her days in high school.

Author update: What I'm working on
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1. My next novel in progress is set in (Surprise!) Amarillo ... where a character based on Bill Gates feels guilty about the problems computers have caused in the world and goes about building a walled city where technology is barred. My protagonist is a 4th-generation Amarillo lawyer who's in the throes of his midlife crisis. (NO, this is NOT autobiographical!)

2. Also am working on a nonfiction book on how to find the best college fit for your child. It'll be filled with anecdotes from the college-visit road trips I've taken with our own daughter.

3. I miss writing nonfiction, so I am going to do two things in this area: In addition to the college-hunting book I'm going to place essays in national magazines and newspapers, and I'm also going to be writing some home-and-garden stories for my local newspaper. I've found that writing fiction alone has been driving me NUTS! It's good to get back out into the real world.

Who knew?
Monday, July 13, 2009

... about the hoodoo? This was a new word to me, discovered on my trip to Amarillo. According to Wikipedia: A hoodoo (also tent rock, fairy chimney, earth pyramid) is a tall thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland.

Here's the one I saw in Palo Duro Canyon:

Everyone now: Yoo-HOO for hoodoos!

Mistake in the men's bathroom
Friday, July 10, 2009

There was a day when men's public bathrooms had urinal troughs ... where we all lined up and bumped shoulders as we peed. They've all but disappeared, even in stadium settings -- and I'm not sure why. These days men have their own private urinals, and these usually are separated by privacy walls. Guys ... what the hell happened? Have we become that sensitive and insecure?

At any rate, I was thrilled to see a urinal trough in a rest stop along the freeway between Lubbock and Amarillo. And this was a fancy green one. Take a look.

Afterward, I went to wash my hands ... and I couldn't find the sink. But I DID find a line of private urinals on another wall.

And then I noticed the SOAP DISPENSERS on the wall above the "urinal" I'd just used.

Uhh-Ohhhh ...

Oddities from the Texas Panhandle landscape
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spotted off a freeway in northern Amarillo, this sign with letters as tall as me:

I'd heard that the creator of Cadillac Ranch (see previous post) also posted odd signs around his native city. I'm guessing this is one of them.

Also: Spotted in a field east of Lubbock:

Sorry ... I couldn't get any closer to this LIFESIZE STATUE OF A GORILLA, smack dab in the middle of a farm field. Gives new meaning to "scare crow," doesn't it?

Texas Panhandle Post #44775641: No I am not a real cowboy ... but I play one on TV.
Monday, July 6, 2009

As I promised you, a stop on my trip (after I bought a very-cool straw hat, just like the ones I remember from my childhood in eastern Colorado), was the famous Cadillac Ranch, the brainchild of a man named Stanley Marsh 3 (he has said that "III" is pretentious).

These 10 cars are buried, nose down, into the soil, apparently at the same angle of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

Two girls from Canada asked to take my picture. They thought I was a real "cowboy." I dug into my childhood arsenal of Western twang so as not to disappoint them.

Fine Texan Panhandle Hospitality
Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Budget Rent-a-Car office at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport is true to its name. Instead of being housed with the other car companies in the terminal, it's in a shack about 100 yards from the terminal. And when it's time to turn in your rental on the day of departure, you drive up to the shack, where a lady greets you and says, "You can leave your bags in the truck. Come on in."

After printing out my final bill, she said, "Now let's get you to the airport. Can I have the keys?"

She got into the driver's side of my rental truck, and I into the passenger's seat. And she drove me to the terminal. "You have a safe flight now," she said.

Texan tomfoolery
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Overheard in Zach's Gym in Amarillo:

"... Next time you get stopped speeding, get that cell phone out and take a picture of the odometer the second you see those flashin' lights come on. And then, when you go to court and the trooper tries to lie about your speed and says "He was goin' 67 at 5:32 p.m.," then you can say, "Hey, judge, I've got a picture on my cell phone that shows I was going 62 at 5:32 ... not 67."