“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

My stinky clothes
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Since I'm bald and wear wrap-around Oakleys and boots and drive a white fleet truck (the same exact F-150 that just about every city and county and construction company buys by the thousands), people frequently mistake me for someone who labors for a living. Now, writing IS a labor, of course, but I regret to inform you that I cannot fix your car or pour cement or re-plumb your house.

I also cannot fix your front-loading washing machine ... and SEVERAL of you have asked me what to do about the problem you're having with clothes coming out all mildewy-smelly after they're supposed to be CLEAN! I haven't had this problem yet with my own, but I've been asking around, and I think I found the answer. This from a friend of mine, Peggy in Atlanta:

"Yesterday, I purchased and used a specific Tide product to clean the front loading washing machines. That did not dent the odor, so, I ran bleach through a cycle. Dan decided to investigate the source of the odor and pulled at least a dozen of the girls' white socks from under the rubber seal. They were in various stages of disintegration from being wet and trapped in the seal. What a smelly mess! That discovery should cut down on some of the odor problems! Significant design flaw and probably a bit of operator error….."

So ... better check those rubber seals, people. And NOW we know what happens to all those darn socks! And I always thought it was a pesky poltergeist.

Stereotype of the Week
Sunday, September 27, 2009

Toyota Camry Drivers never exceed the speed limit.

Seriously, if you see one speeding then call the cops because it's probably been stolen.

Ugly Betty is Scaring Me
Friday, September 25, 2009

I have had fitful sleep for the past three nights ... bad, anxiety-ridden dreams ... constant waking up. And I've been wondering why ...

My wife and I were on our morning wog (a walk interspersed with hopeful, periodic sprints) when I realized why:

Ugly Betty

We're renting all of season three and watching it late at night, before going to bed. And you need to know that Ad Hudler can handle NO SUSPENSE when it comes to television or movies. Seriously, I can't even watch reruns of "I Dream of Jeannie" because bad, embarrassing things always ALMOST happen. Batman movies? Forget it.

My wife and daughter laugh at my inability to handle suspense. Maybe it's because I'm a novelist, and I don't watch much TV, so I'm not accustomed to getting plot line thrown at me so FAST! And Ugly Betty is just ALWAYS GETTING INTO TROUBLE!

eeEEEEEEESSSHHHHHJ! arrrgghhhhhhhh!!!

At any rate, we've decided that we need to cut Ugly Betty off a little sooner and do some relaxation yoga before going to bed. That was my wife's idea.
I've got the nicest wife. Her name is Pretty Carol.

Ahh, the power of self-deception! (How to lose weight)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You know how you sometimes experience a moment of insight about yourself? It's as if you leave your body for a second and look down at yourself and see something, unfiltered, that you've never noticed before. Things like: Geez, I really have gotten negative. Or: Geez, my hair is really thinning out.

I had one yesterday, one of these flash of insights. Unfortunately. Or fortunately. I'm not sure which is true.

I was sitting at my computer and I looked down and saw a pup of a gut hanging over my belt line. Disbelieving, I sucked it in, then let it all out. Again: In and out. Nope. It was a gut, alright. And it was attached to MY body!

Now, I'd recently weighed myself and knew I'd gained weight, climbing from 218 to 228 ... but since I work out I told myself it was muscle weight, naturally. In fact, I'd told myself that my gut had even gotten SMALLER in the past few weeks! I told myself: I'm still wearing the same pair of jeans I've worn for two years. How can I have possibly gained weight if I can still wear the same pair of jeans, huh? You tell me that!

And then I realized, in another flash of insight: I AM NOT WEARING ANY PANTS, AND IT'S 3 O'CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON!

Evidently, the jeans were too tight and I'd shed them some time after lunch ... and didn't even know it.

"How long have I been running around in my underwear?" I asked my wife.

She replied: "Uhhh, I don't know ... maybe the past five months?"

Hello, Weight Watchers? It's me, Ad.

You know times are bad ...
Monday, September 21, 2009

I was on a whirlwind tour of beaches in my area with a friend yesterday, on assignment for Airtran Airways' inflight magazine ... when I noticed something very odd at the Naples Ritz-Carlton. There, on the sand, were their trademark blue beach umbrellas and chaise lounges ... and every one of them had a big, white US Bank logo on them! Indeed, times must be very tough in order for the upscale hotel chain to sully their appearance of perfection like that ... and I will admit that it really cheapened their image. Wonder how much they're getting. Is it per umbrella?

Another sign that times are tough: I had a friend tell me that, before they get in the car to go to a favorite store or restaurant these days, they always call ahead to make sure it's still open!

Where have those hands been?!?
Friday, September 18, 2009

The plumber finally showed up to give me an estimate on re-piping my entire house (built in 1951 with galvanized pipe, which is all clogged up now). Nice guy. He runs a great plumbing company ... have used him for years.

At any rate, he comes inside, gives my hand a good shake, and says, "Sorry it took me so long to get this scheduled, but I have a sick daughter."

"How old is she?" I asked


"I hope she's okay."

"Actually," he said. "She has swine flu. Kinda nasty stuff."

As we walked around the house, looking at the plumbing, my possibly infected hand felt like it weighed 243 pounds. I swore I could feel my lungs filling up with fluid. And wasn't that a tickle in my throat?

I kept repeating to myself, as we walked from room to room: "Do NOT touch your mucus membranes, Ad. Do NOT touch your mucus membranes, Ad ... Do NOT touch ..."

A query of carpet-cleaning ...
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Okay, people, I've lived in six states and even more houses, and I've NEVER shampooed a carpet. What's wrong with me? Is it something that only dog-owners have to do? (We have cats)
Am I a control-freak neatnik? (NO FOOD allowed outside of the kitchen!)
Who shampoos their carpets ... and why?

Great American Cities
Monday, September 14, 2009

After dropping our daughter off at college in central Ohio, my wife and I headed for Pittsburgh for a weekend. We'd never been, and we were heartily impressed. We decided that it was truly a great American city.

Which lead to this discussion: What makes a city a truly Great American City? What traits must it have? This is the list we came up with:

1. Must be home to several Fortune 500 companies, and some of these MUST actually manufacture something in that city.
2. Must have large public buildings with huge columns (museums, libraries, etc.) and some of these buildings MUST be topped by large bronze sculptures.
3. Must still have a vibrant downtown with a defined financial district/community.
4. Must have interesting, self-contained ethnic neighborhoods.
5. Must have some things that can only be found in that city, or they must have originated in that city: (Philly's cheesesteak sandwich, Cincinnati's chili, Atlanta's whole "Peachtree" thing, etc.)
6. Must have a metro area of at least 3 million.
7. Must have a deep, significant history with tentacles that reach into the rest of the country's history.
8. Must have large urban parks populated with pedestrians. (Now say THAT three times real fast!)

And our list:
1. Boston
2. Philadelphia
3. New York City
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Seattle
7. San Francisco
8. Atlanta (barely)

L.A. is too spread out, there's no core. Houston? Not old enough, and it's too spread out with no vibrant urban core. Minneapolis and Dallas come close, but neighboring twin cities sap strength from their case. St. Louis USED to be a great American city. Miami? It's not American anymore. We originally included D.C., but my brother correctly pointed out there is no central downtown, and they don't manufacture anything there. Lots of big buildings with bronze sculptures, however.

So ... am I leaving any out?
Agree? Disagree?

I'd like mine well-done, please.
Saturday, September 12, 2009

Talking with a good friend about the trouble we have sleeping, and how we move and shift about all night long, trying to get comfortable.

"Oh, yes," she said. "I call it 'rotisserie sleeping.'"

Are we growing too soft as a civilization?
Thursday, September 10, 2009

This from my hometown newspaper, The News-Press of Fort Myers, Florida:

"Thursday morning, a man donning a Tommy Bahama-style straw hat, and a beige Hawaiian shirt with green and yellow flowers handed a bank teller in North Fort Myers a note with directions to hand over an undisclosed amount of money."

And guess what, people? She DID! No questions asked. Here you go, buddy. Have a super day! Enjoy your new money!!

Did you know that bank tellers today are trained to give into burglars' requests .... EVEN IF THERE'S NO GUN?! And there frequently is NO GUN! Just a note or a mysterious bulge in a pocket.

Geez ... before you know it someone will be able to hijack a jetliner with nothing more than a pair of box cutters.

Oh... wait a minute ...

A DRAGON of a book festival!
Monday, September 7, 2009

I just got back from The Decatur (suburban Atlanta) Book Festival, which has grown into the biggest indy reading festival in the country in just four years. It's easy to see why. This thing was so professionally organized it was as if Martha Stewart put it on. Take a look at this very cool banner that hung from the Dekalb County Courthouse:

Then, they had the blowup version of this dragon behind the courthouse. It was the talk of the authors and you can see why:

All I can say is: OUCH!

At any rate, I presented on a humor panel with Robert Hemley, author of "Do-Over." This guy wrote an entire book based on things he wanted to do over in life. He returned to kindergarten. He re-did eighth grade. He attended high-school prom again. Very dry, very dead-pan, and very funny. I can't wait to read the book.

My other panelist was the hilarious and beautiful Shellie Tomlinson, who brought the house down when she talked about not having any lips, and how hard that was for a southern diva. She is host of a website and radio show called "All Things Southern" and author of the recent "Suck Your Stomach in and Put Some Color on." Very, very fun gal. She even gave me one of her menopause fans because, evidently, I looked sweaty and hot in the ATL sun.

On another note, I still need those paragraphs I asked for last time. Please, people, I really need to hear from some of you. This is an exciting experiment in readers-helping-the-writer-write-a-book. Click here to find out what I'm talking about.

An opportunity to help a writer
Saturday, September 5, 2009

This is your chance to be published and live forever in the Library of Congress ... of, if you wish, you can do it anonymously.

I need two things:
1. I need to hear from people who haven't seen me in the past five years, in other words, people who would be describing an Ad Hudler from about 2002 or before. (Even high school) Don't disqualify yourself if you've talked or facebooked to me a few times since then.

2. I also need to hear from folks who have met me only in the past three or so years.

in a quick paragraph, describe Ad as if you're describing him to your mom or dad or husband or wife over the breakfast table. Describe both appearance and personality. You can either post them here or send them to me, privately, at mailto:Ad@AdHudler.com Remember that if you post on the blog anonymously I have no way of finding out who you are.

Be very candid. The more candid, the better. I am prepared.
Thanks. I would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I drove TEN hours today to ATL, Georgia for the Decatur Reading Festival, which, in just four years time, has grown into the largest independent book festival in the country. I'm speaking on a panel with other writers who have used the parenting shtick in their work, as I have. That's a long way to drive, especially when you're in a truck that only has am/fm radio. My right index finger is still twitching from having pressed the "scan" button on the radio oh, I don't know, sixteen thousand times today.

You need to know what I discovered: Tifton, Georgia not only is home to the Georgia Agrirama and Agriculture Museum, but, according to the billboards, it is also the READING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!

I wonder if Oprah knows this.

Fashion police: 1 ... Ad: 0
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Okay, so now I've heard similar comments from THREE people about V-neck shirts: Evidently, if a man wears one he is considered to be gay.

Who makes this stuff up?

And I looked so good in those shirts.