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5 Things On My Mind Right Now

I haven’t been saying much lately. 

Wait, no, that’s not true. That suggests I’ve been roaming around the house in a mute daze like Frankenstein’s monster. I have been saying things, to my family, the people around me, etc. I haven’t been posting stuff, though. And that’s not specifically an indictment of my recent work here on Puddintopia.  It’s a comment on my general lack of having something to offer to the online world in general. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, you name it, I’ve been kinda quiet.

I can’t rightly say why either. Could be that I’m speeding towards the finish line for the first draft of Project Bathrobe, and that’s taking up a lot of my brain power right now.  It’s also probably fair to admit that a lot of other people already say things sort of similar to the things on my mind. Intelligent, witty, entertaining people that are putting out stuff that I don’t feel the need to parrot just to have a string of text streaming through the etherwebz with my name on it.

Also, it’s true that in some cases I’ve been reposting and sharing links to these other people’s intelligent, witty, entertaining posts.  But then, that’s not the same as having my own voice out there is it?

A Voice is a pretty important thing. If I’ve learned nothing else since I started writing books, I’ve learned that.

So, here, in my own voice, is what’s on my mind, right now, an hour or so after dinner, at roughly ten minutes to seven o’clock post merdiem, May 20th, 2015:

  1. When I was younger, I couldn’t grill a burger worth a damn. Grilling a burger right means taking a little time, being patient, buying actual ground animal flesh, and forming the damn things yourself. Those frozen, too-perfectly round-and-or-square flat disks of meat-type stuff I used to flash grill with open flames at 1000 degrees for 5 minutes until they were hard and tasteless, well, they should make Past Puddin ashamed of himself.
  2. It’s mid-May, and I’m deeply concerned for my Reds. It’s much to early for this sort of worry. I should still be on my annual spring baseball honeymoon. But so far they aren’t hitting when they need to and their bullpen is the kind of collection that gives a manager night sweats.
  3. School is out for the kids in a week and a half.  I’m happy for the kids and also really really envious. They also just today finished up their standardized testing for the year, and good riddance to it. I’ve spent a lot time this year being dissatisfied with the way we educate our kids here in the US and wondering how we can fix it.
  4. I’m going to watch the season finale of The Flash sometime tonight, probably after writing another chapter of Project Bathrobe.  After said finale, good, bad, or indifferent, I can almost promise you I’ll feel a little sad. This season of The Flash was one of the best comic book-y TV shows I’ve every seen, and I’m sad to lose it until September.
  5. Today, right now, at this moment, chocolate ice cream > chocolate chip cookies. (Ask me again in an hour and you might get a different answer)

That’s what’s on my mind…what’s on yours?


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This One’s For All You Mothers Out There


Being Mother’s Day here in the United States, I thought I should take a day off from Project Bathrobe to be extra nice to the Puddinette. After all, she is the person largely responsible for making sure my children aren’t living lives of filthy squalor punctuated with too much bean soup and not enough bed-making and fingernail-trimming. In her honor, I slept on the basement couch last night (on purpose this time, so my avalanche-triggering snores wouldn’t wake her rather than because I just happened to have fallen asleep in front of Netflix…again) and I helped the kids learn how to clean bathrooms today. Plus, we even got her got her some pretty, pretty petunias and helped get the front flower beds planted and mulched this weekend.

And never forgetting the lady who brought me into this world and taught me about being in love with books and doing something right or not doing it all, we’ll be taking a yummy dinner (complete with pie, duh!) to my mom’s house in a little bit, so Grammy Puddin won’t have to lift a finger.

I hope everyone out there who’s got a mother, is a mother, knows a mother, or, heck, even breaks it down like a mutha makes some time to be with the one(s) you love and depend on, whether you’re in the US or not.  No matter where you in the world, it’s never a bad day to appreciate the one you think of as Mom.

Now go call your mom, and don’t forget to wash your face and hands for dinner.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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The Binge-Watcher’s Lament, A Haiku For Netflix’s Daredevil

Loved a show. So much
Gulped it down, Solo-cup style
Empty cup. Now what?


A Movie In 100 Words Or Less: Interstellar

interstellarI waited an inordinately long time to see Interstellar, and I’m kind of ashamed of it. This is geek stuff! Spacey! Futurey! Black Holey! Einsteiny! It’s my bread and butter, my mother’s milk. A space movie with breathtaking space, actual characterization, solid dialogue and potentially even science? And from Christopher “Memento/Dark Knight/Inception” Nolan, even! If you had asked 2013 Puddin how long it’d take him to muster the energy to go to a midnight showing on some Saturday night after the kids were in bed, he’d have muppet flailed all over you and then bet he’d be there on the first weekend. Second, at best. This was a movie begging to be seen on the big screen, after all.

But then November came and the movie released. And 2014 Puddin started reading reviews. The muppet flail trailed off, the eyebrow arched, and the roaring blaze of my determination to make time to catch Interstellar in the theater whittled down to little more than a sputtering match head.

It happens, especially when a movie hits over the holidays.

Which means I didn’t see it on the big screen.

So I waited until it released on disc. I waited with some impatience, too, still bearing more anticipation for it than I expected. Maybe it would surprise, after all.

Until, at last, last week, it hit the stores (and pay-per-view sources).



Interstellar is the kind of movie you either have 2500 words for, or 25. And while all the heavens, hells, and the Lords of Kobol know I could give it 2500, I think 25 will do. Here they are: I understood what I saw in Act 3, but that doesn’t mean it made sense. I wanted a science fiction film, not a science fantasy.

My disappointment aside, it’s a movie still worth seeing. I think the homages to 2001 could have been trimmed a great deal, but maybe that’s just me. I will admit, too, that Interstellar has the best few lines about parenting I’ve ever heard committed film.  So, yeah, I think everyone should probably see this once. It is, after all, undeniably kind of epic.  But the head-cocking “what just happened?” near the end is not the kind of epic I want to relive on Blu-Ray over and over.


What I’m Up To Right Now

writing_logo_180Just in case anyone was curious what I’m doing at this very moment in time (April 2, 2015, 10:01 PM), I’d say this says it all:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out whether I’d like to write a two-page, dry-as-Grandma’s-salmon-croquets run down of the plot for Project Macaroni, or 400,000 words about some guy named Somethingovitch getting rained on continuously for 10 years until he catches pneumonia, dies, and ends up in a pauper’s grave. You know, where they don’t even mark down poor Somethingovitch’s pathetic last name.

That’s right, kids, I’m rocking this Thursday night. What about you?



The Best Monday Of The Year (or Revisiting The Start Of The 2015 NCAA Tournament)

Yeah, you heard me right: yesterday was the best Monday of the year. Ordinarily, I’d argue that suggesting any one particular Monday could possible trump it’s 51 brethren was crazy talk on the highest order. Like, seriously, you’d be better off taking stock tips from the “magic” fortune teller that made Tom Hanks Big. It’s like evaluating 52 piles of browning banana peels and attempting to pick out The Best One when no matter which you pick, it’s still just a slippery mound of mushy yuck, you know?

So why on Earth would I possible suggest that yesterday is the best Monday of the whole year?

Because there aren’t any NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games again until Thursday.

Now, hear me out. I know the tournament is awesome. I do, I swear. But Not having any games until Thursday gives me three whole blessed days when my bracket won’t be getting any worse. That’s a far cry, mind you, from what happened the four days prior to Monday.  From noon Thursday until late Sunday night, every time I checked my bracket results and place in the groups standings, my hopes and dreams of being this years Big Pool Winner slid closer and closer to becoming, well, this year’s big poo winner.

As in, I’m not going to win sh….  Err, I mean, you probably get the idea.

Yet therein lies the magic of the NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracketizing. Before that first tip-off Thursday afternoon, millions of children, women, and men across the globe (probably?) stood breathless, poised over a precipice leading to glory or ruin one, clutching a gleaming sheet of paper hope in their hands. The NCAA Tournament Bracket is the Great Equalizer, where everyone, for that one moment, can stand all on the same footing, shoulder to shoulder, with four regions of selections unmarred by error.

That is, until the games begin.

After that, hoo-boy, things get uglier than a guy like me in a Victoria’s Secret two-piece quicker than you can say, “for the love of your eyeballs, children, look away.”

Because that’s when upsets start rolling in, underdogs clinging to scrappy wins and clearing out whole swaths of expectant victory.  Soon after your (my) bracket sheet looks like a editor took a red pen to that Chuck Norris Commando fan-fiction I wrote when I was 10.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t good. Just like my tournament picks.

This year’s lesson, it turns out, is that if you’re going to try to pick some underdogs, it helps to pick the right underdogs.  Because otherwise you’ll soon be weeping over the lost dream of a Villanova/Oklahoma Regional Final, and swearing no child or grandchild of yours will ever set foot on Villanova’s lazy, no-good campus, no matter what kind of scholarship they offer*!

At last, though, after days and days and days (what? it was only four? What sort of time vortex sorcery is at hand here? I’ve surely been watching my picks get axed for at least a fortnight!), Monday, sweet Monday arrived, ending the endless siege against my bracket. And as the dust settles, I can now take a moment to gather up the tattered remains of my 2015 NCAA Tournament Picks and do what 90% of us do this one week of year.

Look forward to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, and swear that next year we’re picking every stupid game via coin flip.


*Totally kidding here, Villanova. You’ve got a great institution of higher learning there, and we’ll gratefully accept whatever scholarship money you’d like to fling at us.


Getting Busy And Old And Exploiting Taylor Swift Songs

I have to apologize for not posting sooner this week. I was out of town doing that work thing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, off having middle-aged dude adventures in Greenville, SC and Wallingford, CT (which is not too far from Hartford). Oh, and, for the record, “middle-aged dude adventures” means having too much curry at the faux Irish Pub and then binge watching Parks and Recreation in one’s hotel room.

Yes, I rock that hard. 

Today, though, is a different story. No travel today, but, still, it hasn’t exactly been routine. See, coz its my birthday. Today I turned 42 years old. But, I swear, I still feel about half that. 

Well, except for the first half hour after waking up. 

Of course. I’m not half that. I’m decidedly middle aged now, which means I spend more time being responsible that foolhardy. But that okay, there’s still plenty of time in my days for a bit of shenanigans. And I do make a point, still, to routinely make poor life decisions at 2:45 AM. 

Heck, chances are, I’ll do that later tonight. 

But, for now, I thought that being officially 42 today, this would be the perfect moment to name drop Taylor Swift and refer to the parody I wrote of  her hit track, 22.

It feels like a perfect night to put on my p-jays
And rub my sore feet, ah, ah, ah, ah
It feels like a perfect night to turn in early
Gotta work at daybreak, ah, ah, ah, ah

So go read that post.It’s chock full amusement. Or, least, it amuses me. But, then, maybe it’s because I’m aged now. Either way, with that, I think I’m going to call it a night before Nurse Pratchet brings in the sleepy time pills. 

Have a great night and an awesome tomorrow, and whatever you do, stay young at heart.

Well, unless you can stay 22. Then stay 22. Duh.


PS: Have some brownies too. Because that’s what I’m gonna do. Because brownies rule, obviously. 

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Daylight Saving Time

Don’t forget, most of us living in the United States will be turning our clocks forward Saturday night. And while losing an hour of sleep is never one of my favorite things, I don’t mind admitting that I’m very much looking forward to the neighborhood being a good deal brighter outside at 6:50 PM next week.

Who’d have thunk that at almost 41 years old, I’d finally have an opinion on Daylight Saving Time.


PS: Don’t forgot to check your smoke detector batteries this weekend, too!


It’s Snowy And School Is Closed Tomorrow

Also, Grammy Puddin’s birthday was yesterday, so The Attitude and I did what any right-thinking father-son combination should do. We made oatmeal cookies to take her this weekend. 

Hopefully the snow that’s falling right now will accommodate. 

If not, we’ll be forced to eat them all ourselves and make more later. Because clearly only a monster would take a grandmother stale cookies.

But I think we’ll be fine. The cookies should arrive safe, sound, and mostly uneaten.

Still, you better believe we’re going to taste-test a few in the meantime. You know, just to be safe.



No Cookie Thursday

For whatever reason, I’ve gotten it into my head over the course of the past six months or so that Thursday night is cookie night, the best night of the week to dig out the brown sugar and a mixer and whip up a batch of chewy goodness. Or at least it is when you don’t have any delicious homemade cookies on hand and ready to eat.

I guess because it’s an awesome way to get Friday started. After all, what kind of deplorable monster would you have to be to not have your weekend propspects improved by a delightful, homemade cookie?  Probably also the same kind that hates puppies, unicorns, rainbows, and double desserts.

Well, I’m not that kind of disreputable hate monger. I love Thursday cookies. But, the thing is, as much as that’s true (and we are out of homemade cookies), I’ve got a project to trump cookie night…a finished manuscript.

Yep, if I put my nose, arms, shoulders, toes–and, hell, follicles probably, too–to the grindstone tonight, I should be able to wrap up this revision phase of Project Hermey. And if that happens, there will be much rejoicing. In fact, I might even get a few swallows of bourbon with my M&Ms. 

Thus, no cookies for me tonight, I’m afraid. If anyone needs me, I’ll be looking at the screen above, getting the words all tidied up and ready for beta readers.

So have a cookie or two for me, then. And think happy manuscript thoughts.



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