Back In The Gas Guzzling Saddle Again

Austin driving 1I went grocery shopping this morning, Modern Philosophers, and on my way to the store, I realized that it was the first time I’d driven in a week.

That’s how relaxing this vacation has been.

Driving isn’t one of my favorite activities, and one could even say that it raises my stress levels, so it has been nice to not have to do it for seven days.

It’s not like I’ve been a prisoner at The House on the Hill all week.  I’ve done plenty of running, and anytime I went out, I simply walked to my destination.

Walking is just another way to burn calories and a relaxing way to work out screenplay ideas in my head.

I guess that makes it a double threat.

Austin driving 3So I drove to Hannaford and got my shopping done.  It was weird to be there at a time other than after work on Friday, but it was delightfully quiet and I got to avoid the usual long wait at the deli counter.

I’m really getting used to this not being at work thing, Modern Philosophers.  So much so that I might’ve sent a text before heading to the store, telling a friend that I was going to scope out the place to see if I could find any potential sugar mommas.

I’d love nothing more than to be able to write full time, so I just need to figure out a way to bankroll that dream until my writing income is enough to keep me in the life to which I’ve grown accustomed.

If there is some rich lady out there who’d like to take me under her wing and parade me around as her arm candy, then I’d be open to a conversation on the subject.

Might as well take advantage of my skinnier, healthier look, right?

Austin driving 2In the end, it’s just about living life to the fullest.  For me, that means being able to support myself as a writer and never having to go to a “regular job” again.

Every horse needs a carrot, and that is mine.  Sure, I’d love to win an Oscar, create an unforgettable movie franchise, and be remembered as one of the greatest writers of my generation, but I’d also be content with simply being able to write full time.

Right now, though, I’m out on the porch with my legs up on the railing, as I enjoy this beautiful Summer day.

Life is good.  The car is in the garage.  Screenplay ideas are forming in my head.  I’m still on vacation.

Happy Friday, Modern Philosophers!

Posted in Humor, musings, Philosophy, Summer, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What If The Vogons Were Right?

VogonI try to never get too preachy on this blog, Modern Philosophers, but sometimes, the pursuit of Deep Thoughts takes me in that direction.

I am not always pleased with our behavior as a species, and yesterday was one of those days.   In fact, I was so put off that I was inspired me to Tweet the following:

For those of you who are not fans of Douglas Adams (Why aren’t you???) or familiar with The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Vogons were the Aliens who destroyed Earth to pave the way for the construction of an intergalactic highway.

I’m beginning to wonder if the Vogons were right, and our planet should, in fact, be targeted for immediate destruction.

the nunsReligion is a touchy subject for me, which might be obvious from my Sundays With Satan Short Story Series.

I was raised by The Nuns to believe in God, and since I didn’t want them to scold me, I played along while they had me in their clutches.

I’m not quite sure what I believe in now (other than my fear of Nuns), but I do still say my prayers every night before I go to bed.

I know what you’re thinking, Modern Philosophers (yes, I’m a mind reader as well apparently!) — How can I pray if I’m not sure I believe in God?

I’m fairly certain there’s someone up there that checks in on us every once in awhile, even if it’s only to change over the tapes in the security camera pointed at Earth.

Most nights, as I wrap up my prayers, I ask whoever is listening to make the world a safer, less crazy place.  Sometimes I go so far as to specifically ask that there be no more senseless shootings or acts of violence.

Clearly, either someone up there isn’t listening to me, or we are just so out of control that we have made the Higher Power regret ever giving us Free Will.

don't panic“Don’t Panic” is a key bit of advice from the Hitchhiker books.

I try to heed that advice on a daily basis, but there are days like yesterday when I want to just grab my towel and run for cover.

What is this world coming to, Modern Philosophers?  Is mankind evolving or devolving?  Is technology only making it easier for us to see how mad the world has become?

It seemed like I couldn’t get away from yesterday’s news.  Even though I never turned on the news or picked up a newspaper, there were terrifying video clips and manifestos readily available every place I turned on social media.

Finally, I had to power down and go out onto the porch to read.

No, I didn’t turn to The Hitchhiker’s Guide for comfort, but it would have been an excellent choice had a copy been handy.

hitcherSo maybe the Vogon Fleet is already on its way, and everything going on in the world will just make it easier for them to carry out their demolition plans.

I prefer my Deep Thoughts to be on the lighter side, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that we live in confusing, frightening, and unsettling times.

All I know is that when I say my prayers tonight, I’ll once again plead my case for a safer, happier world.

I just hope someone other than the Vogons is listening…

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, musings, Philosophy, Sci Fi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

All Day Lawn Party! Who’s Bringing The Snapple?

Austin grass 3It is such a beautiful Summer day in Maine, Modern Philosophers!

The sun is out, there’s a nice breeze, and I am enjoying my vacation.  Wish you were here.

In fact, why don’t you come to The House on the Hill for a lawn party?

When I woke up this morning, my eyes were itchy and my nose was running.  Luckily, I still had some allergy medicine.

And it’s a good thing I had those pills, considering where I ended up after my morning run!

It was my sixth consecutive day of running, and even though my body was fine with putting another 3 miles under my Running Toga, once I got back to The House on the Hill, it decided to lodge a formal protest.

As a result, I wound up here…

Austin grass 1Yes, Modern Philosophers, that is me sprawled out on the Great Lawn.  It looked so inviting and comfortable, which made it impossible to resist.

Since I was dressed in green, I just looked right at home.

As I relaxed there, staring up at the clouds slowly dancing across the sapphire sky, I realized that I had absolutely no reason to move today.

I’m on vacation.  The world doesn’t need me.  I’m not expected anywhere.

I had mowed my bed, and now I was going to lie on it.  All day if I felt like it.

So let’s have a lawn party.  Who’s bringing the Snapple?

SONY DSCBecause it’s really not a Summer party until someone brings the ice cold beverages, am I right, Modern Philosophers?

A Snapple does sound perfect right now.

Even though I’ve run every day of my vacation, I’ve also accomplished other things.  Most importantly, I’ve written 36 pages of a new screenplay!

That came as a total surprise.  While I’d planned to get writing done during my time off, I had nothing new on the screenwriting horizon.  My Deep Thought was that I’d get back to work on the book about The House on the Hill’s origin story, which I’d abandoned after getting off to such a promising start.

As I detailed in my Sunday post, however, an idea came to me in a dream Saturday night, and it quickly took root and blossomed into a full blown screenplay concept.

Screenplays never grow this quickly in my head, but I guess the ground was fertile and just waiting for the seed to be planted.  Maybe it’s all the running I’ve been doing.  I do feel so much healthier and confident, so it would make sense that I’d snatch up a good idea and see where I could take it.

keep writingThe screenplay pages have just spilled out of my since Sunday afternoon.  As usual, I have no real outline or any idea where the story is going.  Basically, I just plot out the next few scenes on my morning run and then see where that takes me.

So once again, Modern Philosophers, running and writing have come together in a perfect storm to make this a very productive vacation.

The plan today is to read through the 36 pages and do some editing.  Hopefully, that will spark new ideas for propelling the story forward.  It has been a blast to write so far, and I’ve even managed to work running into the plot.

I should have plenty of time to think up new scenes during my lawn party.  After all, relaxing in the Maine sun is a great way to stimulate the creative process.

chinese foodNot to be totally tangential, but it is a lawn party, and such thinking is not only expected, but encouraged.

Anywho, I am so craving Chinese food right now.  Over the eight weeks of my running program, Chinese is the one food I’ve managed to resist.

Since I’ve run six straight days, I told myself that some Sesame Chicken or General Tso’s Chicken would be the perfect reward for my hard work.  However, I then convinced myself to hold off for just a few more days.

My annual physical is on Monday, and that has been some of the push behind this recent health kick.  It’s given me a goal date to shoot for, but I totally intend to keep up with the running and healthy eating even after my doctor’s visit.

I thought it would make sense to put off the Chinese food until after I’ve had my blood work done.  No need to have all that MSG swimming around with the blood cells.

It’s coming together perfectly for Monday, though.  My doctor’s office is close to my favorite Chinese take out place, it will be the last day of my vacation, and I will have completed eight weeks of my running program.

I’m no psychic, but I do see Chinese food getting into my belly on Monday!

Austin grass 2That’s where things stand at The House on the Hill, right now.  The lawn party is in full swing, so grab some Snapple and come join the fun.

Gary has graciously agreed to give free Gargoyle rides to all guests, and it’s a perfect day to soar over the Penobscot River.

Stop by.  I’ll be the sweaty guy writing a screenplay on the Great Lawn…

Posted in Fitness, Humor, Philosophy, Summer, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

NFL Adopts Touch Football Rules To Limit Preseason Injuries

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona CardinalsNFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took time out from his vendetta against Tom Brady today to announce a rule change.

“As of this moment, all preseason football games will be played with touch football rules,” Goodell announced to the stunned press corps at NFL Headquarters.

When pressed for clarification on the term “touch football rules”, Goodell added: “That would be two hand touch.  No tackling is allowed, and defenders can only rush the quarterback after a count of seven Mississippi.”

The Commissioner did not take any further questions, but did laugh when asked if he would look the other way if a defender “accidentally” tackled Tom Brady.

"Okay, you can tackle Brady, but nobody else!"

“You can tackle Brady, but nobody else!”

The NFL Players Association has yet to comment on the ruling, but one player who spoke to this Modern Philosopher on the condition of anonymity stated: “WTF!”

According to my sources, this rash decision was made after owners complained that too many star players were being injured in meaningless preseason games.

injury 1While the games might have no bearing on the standings, they are still very important to the NFL, Modern Philosophers.

The money brought in from ticket sales, concessions, souvenirs, TV contracts and advertising is real even if the games are nothing more than glorified scrimmages.

“You want fans to buy tickets to the preseason games or watch them on TV?” asked a well respected NFL analyst who asked not to be identified.  “Then you need to have the first stringers out there for at least part of the game.  Of course, anytime a football player steps onto the field, there is a good chance that he is going to be injured.”

But are fans going to fork over their hard earned cash to watch the starters face off in a game of two hand touch?  Aren’t all the bone crushing hits and high speed collisions part of the fun of watching football?

“Hell yeah, it’s all about the tackling!” replied Eddie Goddard, a big time Patriots fan, who was not pleased with Goodell’s announcement.  “If we wanted to see guys being all polite to each other and not drawing blood, we’d watch golf or tennis.  The owners gotta wake up, get rid of this clown running the league, and then free Tom Brady!!!”

injury 3The NFL would not return my calls, so I have yet to receive confirmation that the touch football rules are only in effect for the preseason.

“The Commissioner worded his statement very carefully,” Cy Brown, the blog’s legal expert, told this Modern Philosopher.  “He got away from that podium before anyone could ask him if the changes would carry over into the regular season.  That certainly sent up some red flags for me.”

Speaking of red flags, can teams challenge this ruling?

My anonymous sources reminded me that it was the owners who wanted something done to protect their players from being injured before the regular season began.

So what about the fans?  Do they have any say in the matter?  Or do they just have to shut up and watch as professional football players approach the game as if they were playing out on the street with a Nerf football after school?

injury 4“The fans could show their dissatisfaction by boycotting the games,” Cy suggested.  “That might force the Commissioner’s hand.”

We both laughed at that comment because we knew that Roger Goodell could care less about what the fans thought.

Another aspect to this monumental decision is how the rule change will affect betting.  How is Vegas going to set a line on a game when there’s no tackling, a limited rush on the quarterback, and players aren’t as fired up as usual?

Only time will tell on that, Modern Philosophers.  I set the over/under on 12 hours before Vegas addresses the issue.

imjury 5What do you think about the rule change, Modern Philosophers?  Would you be less inclined to watch football if it were a less physical game?  Do you agree that the NFL is doing the right thing to protect its players?  Do you think you could now play professional football if it’s only going to be two hand touch?

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, musings, Philosophy, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Out In The Rain

Austin rainWhen I

Was but a wee

  Modern Philosopher,

My stepmother

Had a saying:

“Too dumb

To come in

Out of the rain!”

This morning,

I went

For a run

In the rain.

Guess what?

I didn’t

Feel stupid

At all.

In fact,

I felt free,

I felt silly,

I felt like a kid again.

Just without

The overly opinionated

Evil Stepmother.

What’s wrong

With staying out

In the rain?


Her reservations

Had something

To do

With water’s

Debilitating effect

On Wicked Witches???

I run

In sneakers,

Not ruby slippers,

So I know

The odds

Of my melting

Are slim

To none.

Nine out of ten

Flying Monkeys


With my

Risk assessment.

Austin rain 2And so,

I went

For a run

In the rain.

I passed

A woman

In a red jacket,

Who had

An umbrella,

But chose not

To use it.

She smiled

And said hi

Both times

I passed her.

Guess no one

Ever told her

Only stupid people

Go out

In the rain.

Or maybe

Someone did

Tell her that,

And she walks

In the rain

As an act

Of defiance!

To the rebels

Of the world,

I tip

My rain soaked hat.

The world needs

More people



Stay out




Posted in Fitness, Humor, musings, Philosophy, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Confession: I Have A Stranger In My Cellar!

lambs pitI have a confession to make, Modern Philosophers:  I have a stranger in my cellar.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to use his skin to make myself a suit like Buffalo Bill planned to do in The Silence of the Lambs.

I wear togas, not suits.

Besides, the stranger in my cellar refuses to put on the lotion.

All kidding aside, though, there is a stranger in the basement bunker of The House on the Hill, and it’s making me quite anxious.  I know I have a certain level of social anxiety, but at least I always feel safe and secure here.

That feeling flies away, though, when someone outside of my approved guest list makes an appearance.

Even more so when that stranger is in the cellar making a whole lot of noise, freaking out the cats, and leaving me to pace around like I’m the one who’s been thrown into a pit!

lambs potionSo you’re probably asking yourself if Austin has finally lost it.  He’s on vacation, so it’s the perfect time for him to hold someone captive in his cellar and not raise any red flags.

Look, he’s even referring to himself in the third person in this blog post.  That is a definite sign that he’s snapped.  Perhaps all that running and the Summer heat finally melted the parts of his brain responsible for common sense and impulse control!

BrainHave no fear, Modern Philosophers.  All is well under the dome.

This blog post is actually about the guy from the heating oil company coming over to give the furnace its annual cleaning.

You can stop Googling the phone number for the FBI.  There’s no need to track down Agent Starling and have her rush off to Maine.

Love ya, Clarice!

I assure you the lambs have stopped their screaming, but I am still very uncomfortable about there being a stranger in the house!

clarice gunDo any of you share this same feeling of anxiety?  I spent the whole day lamenting the fact that I had to prepare myself for the furnace guy’s arrival.  As my appointment time drew nearer, my stomach started to get queasy.

A part of me wanted to cancel it, but common sense did prevail.  I understood that the furnace runs much more efficiently when I have it cleaned, and an efficient furnace means less money spent on expensive heating oil.

Still, though, I wished it was something that could be done without my having to be in the house.  As outgoing as I try to be, strangers still unnerve me.

I never know how to act or what to say.  I didn’t want to eat with him in the house because that seemed rude.  I was reluctant to use the restroom because I feared he’d come upstairs to ask a question and not be able to find me.   I kept worrying he’d come up out of the cellar, leave the door open, and the cats would get lost down in the pit…I mean…down in the dark, scary basement.

clarice billI don’t like changes in the norm, plus there’s the added anxiety that he’s going to announce the furnace is shot and needs to be replaced.

The whole time he’s been here, I’ve been thinking of things I’d rather be doing outside of The House on the Hill, but can’t because there’s a stranger in my cellar.

We all know that’s ridiculous, though, because I’m a homebody and would much rather just hang out here and write.  For some reason, I don’t feel like I can work on the new screenplay with Senator Martin’s daughter tinkering away in the basement.

Oh well.  It will all be over soon.

Wait!  I didn’t mean that in a “I’m going to have him for dinner” kind of way.  I’m not Hannibal Lecter.

Just pass the Chianti.  Maybe some wine will calm my nerves…

Hannibal_1Sweet dreams, Modern Philosophers!

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Movies, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sweaty Five-Oh: A Running Milestone

50As I climbed the first hill on my morning run, Running Toga flapping in the wind behind me, I realized that today was Day 50 of my running program.

That’s quite the achievement for a self-proclaimed hater of running, wouldn’t you agree, Modern Philosophers?

I’ve run 36 of those 50 days, which is a whopping 72%.

Considering that I had been struggling to run one or two days a week, getting my once lazy butt out there better than seven out of every ten days seems like a minor miracle.

I Skyped my buddy Pope Francis to see if he’d officially declare it a miracle, and he told me to get back to him when I got the number up to 80%.

Just one more goal to keep me motivated…

This was the first time over the last 50 days that I’ve run four days in a row, but it didn’t seem to bother me.  There was a light mist falling, which certainly helped me stay cool, and I just put it in cruise control.

Austin 1It is definitely a good feeling to know that I can run on four consecutive days, that my body has a cruise control, and that I’m already thinking about getting back out on the road tomorrow.

I’m certainly motivated by the idea of improving my health.  My annual physical is on Monday, so that has been in the back of my mind over the past 50 days.

I want to be in good shape so that Dr. S slaps a new inspection sticker on me, and tells me I’m safe to be out on the road for another year.

I’m also well aware of how all this running is boosting my self-confidence.  I feel better about myself, I look better, my clothes fit better, and there’s a cockiness that goes along with knowing that I’m out there kicking ass.

One of the things that I know has been hurting me in the dating department is that I haven’t felt good about myself, and that has to be affecting the way I act on a date.  I mean, my charm and sense of humor can only go so far in impressing the ladies…

I probably shouldn’t let being out of shape make me feel less confident, but how could I not?  Dating really hinges on the idea of people being attracted to each other.  Who’s going to love a fat guy in a toga?  I mean really!

Let me share a photo that really got me to understand that I needed to get back into shape.

Austin sketchThat’s me with Danny, in front of a live studio audience at The Nite Show, acting in a sketch that was then broadcast to dozens (just joking, Danny!) of TVs across Maine.

Aside from the crazy eyes, my head just looks too tiny because my torso is so large.  Not good for the self-confidence.

Here’s a photo of me from after yesterday’s run…

Austin 4No crazy eyes.  Head seems proportionate to the torso.  Life is good.

So in the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m on vacation and having a good time.  I’m kicking ass in the running department, and self-confidence levels are reaching the highest levels they’ve been in ages.

I’m glad that I’ve stuck with this program, and I hope I can get in another 50 days before the snow arrives!

What about you, Modern Philosophers?  Have you hit any fitness milestones lately?  Does your self-confidence soar when you are more active?

Posted in Fitness, Humor, musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments