“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Heard at the Mall: Post #298eR4
Monday, February 28, 2011

Signs that you have dropped the ball as a parent:

Woman #1: "So Allison came home and she had gauges in her ears."
Woman #2: "What did you do?"
Woman #1: "Well, I took her back to the mall, and she agreed to get smaller gauges with a picture of Jesus on them."

I'm not kidding folks. This is real. Sounds like something Claire Dunphy on Modern Family would do, doesn't it?

Postscript: After a few inquiries via facebook, I realize I need to define "gauges."
Imagine an earring with a diameter of your pinkie finger ... and you pierce a hole in the earlobe and stretch it big enough to fit around this ...Cringing yet?

Tornado in the highrise
Saturday, February 26, 2011

It seems that the upper South has become the new Tornado Alley these past few years, with most of the killer twisters touching down in Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama rather than Kansas and Oklahoma. Tornado watches have become fairly commonplace in places like Nashville.

So where do you go for shelter during a tornado watch when you live on the 29th floor? Answer that surprised me: Into the hallway. It was explained to me that highrises, because they are made with steel instead of wood, are fairly immune to the destruction of twisters, and as long as you get away from the windows you should be just fine.


I'm still skeptical about this ... but, at least it makes for some nice chatting time with neighbors in the hallway ... and cuddling time with the furry residents, too.

Why I like to cook: Reason #2ZS17
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Because it's so perty. Seriously, all those colors and shapes and textures! Here's the start of 14-bean soup with chopped veggies.

Girls: Behave yourselves
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Going out on a limb here. I've long noticed a growing sense of incivility in American culture (Thankfully, Southern culture is not as bad off in this arena). And, honestly, it's more notable in young women than any other group. There's a growing aggressiveness and anger amongst women ages 18-30 today... an anger that one normally associates with testosterone. Just today a young woman nearly ran me over as I crossed a street in the crosswalk. She hadn't looked before turning on a red light. I yelled at her: "Hey!" to keep from being run over. She threw the car in park, got out and started screaming at me in four-letter words.

In nearly every altercation between two drivers I've seen in the past few years, the most aggressive, ugly party has almost always been a young woman who is screaming FUCK this and FUCK that and FUCK you!

Men, the worst-behaved of the genders since the beginning of time, have always relied on women to hold up the rules and expectations of behavior that keep civilization civilized. We expect men to act bad, but women have always set the higher standards. They have kept us kinder and gentler. What are we to do when women begin devolving into nasty male behavior?

And you need to know, ladies: Men don't like it one bit. While we may enjoy watching the Kardashians engage in aggressive, rough behavior, we choose to date and marry women who don't trash-talk and act like Rocky Balboa.

Aggressive behavior in women is as sexy as Ugg boots.

Okay, now .... let me have it. I'm cringing and ready.

A word about drunk-writing
Monday, February 21, 2011

I've been thinking a lot about writers and drinking this past week as I'm seven days into a month-long hiatus from gin. As many of my readers know, I love gin a little too much, and now and then I have to abstain just to make sure I still can.

Booze helps me in the writing process, but not in the way you might imagine.

Frequently, under the influence, I sit down and start writing and I think, "Oh, wow! This is freakin' brilliant! ... Don't stop, Ad! ... BRILLIANT!"

Alas, I awake the next morning and read what I and Tanqueray have written; it is crap. Every single time.

Editing under the influence, however, is another matter. Whenever I drink, my way of seeing things undergoes some sort of shift, as if I'm seeing the writing from a different perspective, from SOMEONE ELSE'S perspective, and I can see ways to improve the original raw portions of the manuscript. It's like viewing a modern sculpture. From one vantage point you get a particular reaction, but if you walk 45 degrees to the left or right you see things that you wouldn't have seen in that original spot. Gin cuts me loose from my normal, everyday point of view and sets me adrift, so that I can see the manuscript from a spot that is further away, big-picture, and truer.

Gin = different-colored lens.

Wine vs. Booze: More from the Memoir in progress
Saturday, February 19, 2011

From a chapter about my lifelong, rocky relationship with alcohol:

One year for Fourth of July Carol and I decided to have a Mexican-themed meal. This, of course, meant margarita. Both of us being born and raised in the Mexican-heavy West, we serve an authentic, potent version of the citrusy cocktail: one-third tequila, one third Cointreau, one third fresh lime juice.

By the time dinner was ready, two people had passed out in their chairs. Two others, discussing national politics, were shouting at each other. In the postmortem of this crash-of-a-dinner party, Carol and I concluded that spirits dramatically alter the arc of an evening. With beer and wine there is a gentle rise in inebriation, gradual and prolonged like a sloping hill, because the body can absorb the alcohol it's taking in. With spirits, however, the rise in drunkenness is faster, steeper; you catapult yourself to the narrow apex, hold on to the top for a brief moment, and then tumble down the other side. Often, there are casualties: someone's pride, someone's dignity, a friendship.

When space is tight ...
Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bars in the kitchen are great for sitting at to eat breakfast or lunch, but, in my opinion, dinner needs to be a slower, nicer event. I just can't relax while sitting on a high stool at a bar. I feel as if I have to rush, as if I'm catching a bite in an airport or a bar somewhere.

Until very recently we had no dining table in our Nashville condo ... and then my very-cool mom sent us a black drop-leaf. It's perfect for small-space urban living because, when folded up, it is only 12 inches deep. Take a look. It sits at the end of my kitchen counter. Hardly takes any room at all.

And looky here, at a small dinner party with our friends Mary Jayne and Steve (Steve, incidentally, is the Official Kansas Correspondent for this blog; he's the guy who sent us the photo of the eyelash on the hotel-room chair)

Now isn't that better than sitting under harsh light at some kitchen bar? Wine and cocktails were served along with the lamb stew. Wouldn't the meal have been more dangerous if we were sitting on high stools?

Thanks again, Mom.

Amazing new product!
Thursday, February 10, 2011

And now you can finally take your e-reader to the beach without fear of ruining it with sand.
Introducing the Kindle Kondom!

Whether you're enjoying an intimate moment with Proust or Steele or Hudler, know you and your partner are safe with this affordable, ingenius invention.

DISCLAIMER: Kindle Kondoms do not stop the spread of Internet viruses.

Excuse me, sir, but where is your marijuana? I can't find it in the produce section.
Monday, February 7, 2011

My daughter and I thought this was funny enough to stop and take a picture. I don't know about you, but when I say "drugs" I tend to mean something illegal and fun, not something that loosens your stool or eradicates your headache. (Though some drugs can do that pretty well.)

And the word "Food." When was the last time you ever saw this on a grocery store? Were they afraid that we wouldn't be able to read "groceries" or "pharmacy?" This neighborhood, after all, is relatively poor and uneducated. Do you think they were trying to help us out by using preschool-size words?

Food and Drugs: It's got a grunting, cave-man quality to it -- right?

Just Wondering: #45RS2
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big, big, big, big, big question for my Mormon cousins: How can you raise children without the aid of caffeine and alcohol? 'Can't even get my mind around that one.

Soul Food Ain't Exactly Good for the Heart
Thursday, February 3, 2011

You know your friend's a keeper when you have this discussion:

"So both our wives are out of town. Let's get something to eat tomorrow night."

Me: "Sounds good. With cocktails."

Friend: "Of Course. And you said you're getting your Cholesterol screening done tomorrow morning?"

Me: "Yep."

Friend: "Good. That's out of the way. So we're gonna have Publix fried chicken for dinner."

Me: "And potato salad!"

Friend: "Yeah. ... We don't need anything green, do we?"

Me: "Nah."