“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

New Game to play: Which Modern Family character do you most identify with?
Saturday, March 30, 2013

Our family loves the sitcom Modern Family. And each time we watch it we find ourselves giggling at the characters because they say things and do things that hit universal chords. In other words, we identify with them. Their actions and sentiments feel genuine: real.

My corporate-president wife, for example, says she identifies with Phil and Jay. Our daughter identifies partly with Alex and Hailey. 

And me? I've tried to keep this secret for quite some time .... until this morning when both my wife and daughter informed me: "You're such a Cam."

For those who don't know the show, Cam is the beefy, stay-at-home gay guy who is an over-the-top Queen.

Like Cam, I am expressive. Like Cam, I am high-maintenance, demanding much attention and affirmation that I am excellent. I even favor Cam-style shirts. Still, I do identify with traits of some of the other characters: I share Phil's junior-high sense of humor and Claire's psychotic-mom gene.

Evidently, much to my horror, everyone has been calling me a Cam behind my back: my daughter's boyfriend, her roommate and friends ... and the list goes on.

So I pushed my daughter and wife against the wall, demanding clarification.

"I'm not queeny, though -- right?" I demanded.

They looked at each other cautiously. "No," my wife said, tentatively. "You're kind of Cam with some Jay mixed in. (Jay is the crochety, ultra-macho patriarch of the family.) ... You're Cam's personality with Jay's mannerisms."

Uhm....okay....thanks....I guess. 

Evidently, my boots and power-lifting and pickup truck are doing me absolutely no good.

Dear TV producers and writers: We regret to inform you that your show has been canceled because we can't remember who you are or what you do.
Friday, March 22, 2013

Back in the day, weekly TV shows debuted for the season around Labor Day and ran straight through until Memorial Day, taking off a week or two during the holidays. You could count on your show appearing every single week, as predictable as a moon phase.

So ... what the hell happened?

Here's my partial Walk of Shame list of shows that appear with the regularity of Halley's Comet: Nashville, The Office, Parks and Recreation ... And Downton Abbey? WTF, guys? You run for seven weeks in January and February then take the rest of the year off?

Are the producers and writers observing holidays the rest of us ignore?  Presidents' Day? And Canada Day? And Armadillo Day? 

As authors we are expected to produce a book at least every eighteen months (Okay, so I'm very behind schedule, I know this). This is done to promote brand loyalty.....and to keep people from forgetting who we are. That's also one reason I blog ... to hack away at potential obscurity in between release of my books.

Only one show that I know of follows the old, disciplined model, delivering something every single week -- and I thank you, Matt Parker and Trey Stone; I can count on a South Park episode just about every week.

So, all you other slackers: Get off your ass and start writing and producing. And I know you'll consider this complaint ... after you return from your extended observance of National Secretary Appreciation Week.

Dear Mr. Hudler: Tell us about yourself. Tell us EVERYTHING.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'Got a pink flyer in my newspaper the other day from the Church of Scientology And Celebrity Centre Nashville. Intrigued by the name, I read on:

Are you curious about yourself? Free Personality Test enclosed. Just fill out the questionnaire and send it in. You will receive in person an in-depth, accurate analysis of the results of your test from an expert evaluator, obligation-free.

There are 200 questions on the thing. Some of my favorites:

Do you speak slowly?

Do you browse through railway timetables, directories, or dictionaries just for fun?

Are you a slow eater?

Do you bite your fingernails or chew the end of your pencil?

I'd like to add a few of my own telling questions ... things I tend to ask people when I want to learn the essence of their soul:

1. Do you love or hate the movie Legally Blonde?
2. Do you save your favorite part of the meal for last -- or do you eat it first?
3. Dogs or cats?
4. A cruise or a bicycle tour?
5. Gun owner?
6. Last three books read?

What do y'all consider a revealing question?

Our secret for optimal hydration ...
Monday, March 11, 2013

The amount of water intake in our house has risen dramatically, and it's all because of the vessels we are drinking from.

It's called a Camelbak, and what makes it different is the odd nipple-like nozzle on the end. I really can't even call it "nipple-LIKE" -- it's a nipple, plain and simple. 'Took us awhile to figure out how to get water out of the thing, too. We tried pouring, squeezing, even sucking and were unsuccessful on all three tries. Then someone (my niece, I believe) told us that we had to bite on it and suck at the same time.

All I can say is that it's an odd, satisfying sensation. And the fact that we're drinking more water is probably due to the fact that it renders us babies again, suckling at our moms. Graphic and odd, I realize, but when my wife left hers in a hotel room and was without it for a few weeks her water intake dropped dramatically.

It is taking every ounce of self discipline I have not to fill it with gin.

Mysteries of the Universe: #5744E3W
Monday, March 4, 2013

As a writer of novels that often have gender-bender characters I am always on the lookout for new observations about male and female behavior. I've noticed, for example, this scenario time and again:

My personal research reveals the drivers who back into a parking spot are generally men -- and frequently these vehicles are trucks.
 Is it because men are more often philanderers, and parking this way allows a quick escape when caught in the act?

Does it have something to do with every young boy's dream (at some point in his life) to be a fireman?

Is it a way to show off one's prowess at parking?