Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Team Hendricks. Halloween, 2006.

Team Brennan & Bad Art.

Shelto & Ava

The Halloween Hendricks wagon is rollin'!!

A grumpy, Mr. Incredible.

Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago. Part 2.

My buddy Ashley passed away on Halloween, 2001.
It was sudden, shocking and profoundly sad.

Ashley had magic in him. He was a brilliant light.

Driving home from his funeral, in a car full of sad friends, silence fell over us. Behind the wheel I asked aloud, "So, where do you think Ashley is now?" Someone said, "Everywhere," to all our agreement.

Moments later, the sky above showed a brilliant light.
It looked as if God had taken a paintbrush to the night sky.

Green and orange swam above dripping towards the horizon.
Lighting our sad faces which now smiled.
Aurora Borealis confirming our conclusions.

A toast!

To Ashley Hugen and the sunny slopes of long ago!

* A thanks to Lisa for the pic of Ashley, she also remembers Ashley today.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Patrick's Baptism.

Cousin Edward and Team Hendricks
Patrick's Baptism 2006

This past Saturday, we got Patrick Baptized along with his 3 month-old cousin, Marybeth. Patrick will be two on Saturday. We are rather lazy Catholics.

My cousin Edward is a Deacon. He Baptizes everyone in our family. I like that I have a family member perform the ceremony. For me, it becomes a family celebration rather than a obligatory religious ritual. My brother, Tim, is Godfather, The Wife's sister, Karin, Godmother.

He always gives a good service. On this occasion he brought the New Testament (Christian) closer with the Old Testament (Jewish); describing how Jesus taught the Old Testament of 'love thy neighbor' second only to 'love thy God.' Later he examined the 'Our Father' prayer, focusing on 'We forgive those.' Both good, appropriate messages in these times of dwelling on overly exaggerated differences between people and religion.

There is the added pleasure of getting the family together. My Uncle, and Godfather, is a Jew named Herb. He's a big personality, loves to talk and kid. When my son Philip asks, "What's that," while pointing to the Stations of the Cross, my Uncle informs him that it's, "My cousin, Jesus." Earlier in the year, when my Grandmother O'Donnell passed, the flowers he ordered formed a Star of David, which he set in the coffin with her. High comedy.

Marybeth carries her Grandmother's name. I always get a kick out of my wife's family. Everyone is a redhead. My wife is one of six. Her aunt had twelve. Getting them together for these things, you'd think the Midwest's entire population of redheads was in attendance.

Edward is fond of telling family stories; often educating us on our history. Ed is my Grandfather's, sister's son; they were the youngest of thirteen children. Patrick carries his Great-Grandfather's name. My Grandfather's older brother's were bootlegger's in the '20's. Al Capone was at my Great-Grandmother funeral. I should really sit down with him and start a written record of our family history.

Long story short; great fun was had by all.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

3, Is The Magic Number.

Today I turned, 33.

More specifically, I turned 33 at 3:33 this morning.

My address is 333 1st street.

I am the 1st of 3 sons.

I am the 2nd of 3 Phil's living in this house.

My father served in the 3rd Marine Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

Today I turned, 33.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Job Part 2

With their bill in my apron, I approach table 8 asking if they enjoyed the desert. As I reach for, what I assume is her finished sundae, my customer swats my hand away. "I'm not done with that," she says in a joking manner.

She didn't injure me, but we aren't such good friends that I find this all that funny. We did just meet about forty-five minutes ago.

"Pardon me," I respond. I guess she likes cold, chocolate soup.

"You know, I just wanted to mention that my wine glass was very dirty," she states, lifting the glass for my inspection. "Some of this is mine, but alot wasn't."

The glass is rather dirty, but I have little sympathy for customers who complain after the fact. After it is too late for me correct the problem. Of course, this was unintentional, but a mistake was made and I want to correct it.

Why would you drink out of a filthy glass?

Smiling, to hide frustration, "I wish you would have told me. I'd have happily gotten you a clean glass."

"That's alright, I just wanted you to know." Great. Now I know. I hope you tell all your friends about it.

"Please Miss, in the future, tell me if there is any problem and we will fix it right away." Because, I would never drink from a dirty glass. I certainly don't expect you too.

"I don't like to waste food, you would have dumped out the wine." Well, that explains the chocolate soup.

"We could have poured it in a clean glass for you."

"That's true."

I've gotten written complaints to bosses for conversations like the one above. I've been described as rude and defensive. I've been trained to return to a table after either two bites of their entray or two minutes after it has been served. When I do I ask if everything is alright. If it isn't, tell me.

Waiting tables will teach you that, sometimes people just want to complain. That if the problem were fixed, they would be less happy for lack of something to complain about.

They did tip well, so maybe they just wanted me to know.

But... Gross.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Playtime 10-26-06

Suburban Yard in Fall.

Patrick and Max.

Philip testing his theory that, "Leaves fix my car and make it go really fast."

Only known photo of the elusive, feral, Pumpkin Boy.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Locations In Elmhurst That Maybe Fronts For A Government Cover-up.

Location: Elmhurst Quarry

Wikipedia alleges it is, "A 150-foot deep limestone quarry covering about 59 acres is located half a mile west of downtown along West Avenue and 1st St. A tunnel from Salt Creek diverts water into the quarry in case of a flood."

Calcite with Marcasite Inclusions found at site. Sounds like a fancy name for Kryptonite?

Another site claims, "
The rock is here well bedded (see Illustration sheet 1, fig. 16) and shows abundant traces of organisms. The strata form a gentle anticline with northeast-southwest strike, and the surface shows glaciation. Some dimension stone is quarried." What "organisms," it never says.

Yet another site offers views of the "quarry." Curiously, none of the camera's work.

Suburban teens make it their business to break into places like this. I've never met a single person that has seen the inside.

Open your eyes people.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Actor Friends Part 2: World's Greatest Dad.

Really. I'm a very good father.

For more info on this film visit, Monkey Come Home.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's The Big Deal? Part 2

I majored in acting at Illinois State University. We had a lovable acting professor named Patrick. Patrick's greatest tool as a teacher was his passion. Passion for the work. Passion for acting. Passion for the students.

He wasn't a bad drinking buddy either.

Well, Patrick has gotten himself into some trouble. Seems he's gone and kissed a student. A male student. You can read the article here.

When I attended, this would not have surprised me much. I never felt threatened, but it happened. There were some occasions when a complaint went to the head of the department, or the dean. Usually I thought this an overreaction.

College friends have written about it. You can read some here, here, here and here. Some feel that Patrick has been wronged. Some think if the student's feelings had been brought to Patrick's attention he would have stopped. Some argue, well, it is a theatre department. Behavior as a norm is a little more experimental. All, go on record as his friend.

I can't help but think that these are excuses that friends make for another friend. That if the victim had been a women and the Professor less lovable, we wouldn't hesitate to call it harassment. Even in this case, some who knew Patrick, feel he crossed the line years ago.

I made fun of Mark Foley, who I'm not sure did anything illegal, here myself and I'm embarrassed by another Congressional cover-up. I don't think we enabled a sexual predator in Patrick, but I think I should be consistent.

He's a friend.

I think his behavior was inappropriate and unprofessional.

I'd still go drinking with him anytime.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Job.

I'm a waiter. Been doing it for years. I'm old enough now to feel no shame in it. I chose it, and I like it. I take pride in doing a good job. I enjoy showing people a good time. It helps pay for the food my kids eat, as well as their saving for college.

At it's most basic, you are providing people the food they live on. At it's best, you are a guide through a beautiful gallery of artworks that nourishes all their senses.

I work in a casual, corner bar in Lincoln Square, Chicago. There are white table clothes and lobster on the menu, but it's still a corner bar. I recommend the steaks and burgers.

Last night as I waited tables, a five top sat down. As I welcome them, they interrupt and order a bottle of Zinfandel. We have a pretty extensive wine list. Some thirty-five bottles. I'm happy to suggest a few things, discuss it with them, because the chances of me picking the right wine are small. On Sunday's it's marked half off on all bottles. I try to point out the discount wine list, adding that they may want to pick one out for themselves rather then have me pick it out. They interrupt again, saying that's all fine just bring the cheapest Zinfandel.

I brought our cheapest Red Zinfandel, showed them the label, opened and poured.

You guessed it. They meant White Zinfandel.

Trying to avoid a, "I told you so" tone, I explain that this can happen sometimes when letting your server choose things for you. That it was was partially my fault really, I should have asked which type of Zin they wanted.

I got lucky, one of the people at the table agreed to drink it and I brought them their White Zin.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I'm not a very disciplined writer. I'm not a writer at all. I rely on inspiration to write. If I'm not close to my computer when it comes, it is often lost.

The bar is set pretty high by the writers of the blogs I read. I want to produce that quality a blog myself. Now it is twisted in my head and I have no ideas.

What are some of your writing tricks? What steps do you take to remain productive?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Do You Tag?

The Fantastic Four

  1. Waiter
  2. Boom Mic Operator
  3. Bread maker
  4. Script Proof Reader
  1. Superhero crime fighter
  2. Jedi
  3. Father Time
  4. Auror
  1. The Big Lebowski
  2. Remains Of The Day
  3. Kicking and Screaming
  4. Swinger's
  1. Normal, IL.
  2. Key West, FL.
  3. Hollywood, CA.
  4. Chicago, IL.
  1. Deadwood
  2. Lost
  3. The Wire
  4. Professional Football Broadcasts
  1. Amsterdam
  2. New York City
  3. Grand Tetons, Wyoming
  4. Gettysburg
  1. Espn
  2. The Nation
  3. Craig's List
  4. Chicago Tribune
  1. Ice Cream
  2. Dungenes Crab
  3. Jury's Burger's
  4. Jamaican Jerked Mahi-Mahi
  1. I have no allergies, so I eat anything I want.
  2. Unless something is prohibitively expensive, I eat it.
  3. Human Flesh.
  4. Human Souls
  1. PS2
  2. College Diploma
  3. Computer
  4. Ironing Board

  1. Hot tub
  2. PS3
  3. Wet Bar
  4. A Better Computer
  1. Black T-shirt
  2. White tube socks
  3. Glasses
  4. Wedding Ring

  1. Key West Fl.
  2. Amsterdam
  3. On a road trip
  4. Velvet Goldmine
  1. The Bridge of the Star ship Enterprise D.
  2. Endor
  3. Xanth
  4. Sodor

  1. Bill Clinton
  2. Michael Chibon
  3. Michael Jordan
  4. Marlon Brando

  1. Peter Parker
  2. Clark Kent
  3. Dr. Bruce Banner
  4. Prof. Charles Xavier
  1. Let's call it a party and invite everyone.

I tag Johnny Yen....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tolerance In My Community.

Visitation Catholic Church in Elmhurst.

Every October, Respect Life Month, the front lawn of Visitation Church is adorned with little crosses. The crosses are meant to remind us of women who have died having abortions. Every year they do it.

Chris had an interesting post recently about tolerance. I'm not sure if this is, but I think it might be a good example of conflict and tolerance.

The church and I disagree.
I am Pro Choice. I drive by it everyday. Though I disagree with it, I consider it an effective method without disrespecting me.

They aren't barring my entrance anywhere. They aren't trying to intimidate me, physically or otherwise. Based on their newsletter, they approach the problem with compassion and counseling rather than guilt and condemnation.
I do think their focus is selective, but who's isn't. I do hope they preach education and safe sex, but I don't wanna get my hopes up.

We have some neighbors whose children attend school there. My kids play with their kids. Everyone gets along fine. I submit we are tolerant of one another's views.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Password Is: Music

Echo's hands are everwhere. Tagging.

Like most people now-a-days, I have an extensive music collection. One of, I think, the best features of modern technology, along with Tivo and celebrity space travel.

1) Music That Has Changed Your Life: All the music I listen to changes me for the better, but the era of early '90's alternative music really got me "into" music. *Of course, the definitive example of this is Blockhead.*

2a) An Album That Has Stayed With You For More Than Ten Years (In a good way): Liz Phair-Exile in Guyville, Nirvana's-Nevermind, Beastie Boys-Paul's Boutique, the Pixies-Doolittle. The list is rather long.

2b) Music you're supposed to like, but you're embarrassed to say you never really did: I'm really only a casual fan of Hip-Hop. Bluegrass? Yeah, that's fun... I guess.

3) Music That Makes You Laugh: Before there was R.E.M. and U2 in the late '80's, Weird Al Yankovic was the voice of me and my generation. I still think he is hilarious. One of the best concerts I ever saw was Weird Al at I.S.U. in '94. Really puts on a great multimedia show.

4) Music That Makes You Cry: Usually this happens when a song reminds me of a time and place. If I haven't heard the song in a long time the impact is more pronounced. This happened recently when my buddy Dave made me a mix CD and on it was California by Luna. Not a great song. Not a great time in my life. But I was young and free.

5) Music You Wish You Had Written: Rubber Soul-The Beatles, O.K. Computer-Radiohead, Mutations-Beck, Dark Side of the Moon-Pink Floyd, A Ghost is Born-Wilco...etc....

6) Music You Wish Had Never Been Written: All Musac remakes.

7) Current Music You Like: I tend to be exploring the masters that I have neglected. Otherwise, Wilco. Bright Eyes. Radiohead. Beck. The Flaming Lips.

8) Music You've Been Meaning To Hear: The latest Beck album. I also want to get to know more classical stuff.

Let's see. I TAG Dave at BadArtGlobal.

*Echo, correctly, points out I neglected to included Blockhead. Corrections have been made.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Your Chicago Bulls!!!

Yeah. I'm getting excited.

For what reason?

Why haven't we been attacked again?

If you believe, like I do, that our policies and actions have made the U.S. less safe, why do you think we haven't been attacked again?

Is the plan to take the fight to the terrorists working?

I like to think, with very little evidence, that the men and women who actually fight the war on terror have learned many lessons and perform their duties with conviction. That this is the main reason we haven't seen more attacks.

But I really don't know.

I would like every ones input on this.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Honor Among Thieves and The Truth Will Set You Free.

Up until now he has been easily the most successful and high profile baseball player linked to the current steroid scandal in baseball. Maybe not so much anymore.

Jason Grimsley, a journeymen right-handed reliever who last played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, has named names after being found in possession of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), steroids and amphetamines. Each name kills the kid in me alittle more.

Grimsley getting busted was a fairly big deal. The people he is talking about now make it a much bigger deal. It also continues the destruction of an entire generation of sports heroes.

He named Roger Clemens among others. Without this scandal, Roger Clemens is one of the best players to ever play, as is Barry Bonds. If this sticks to either of them in the form of hard evidence, and Barry might already, they are frauds, liars and phonies.

Driving home from work, ESPN Gameday on the radio, John Seibel said something about Grimsley I found interesting. Without a direct quote, he claimed that if he was in Grimsley's place he would hope he kept quiet about what other people did. That naming others in his confession was a second wrong.

Why does everyone think they are in Goodfella's? Why is there some kind of expectation of honor for these people. They are in this position because they lied, cheated and broke the law for their own gain.

It is this misguided sense of honorable silence that allows crooked cops and corrupt politicians to get away with it just the same as baseball players. What would make you think that they wouldn't sing like a canary?

Why would their silence be reason for respect.

The little kid in me would like to see something. I think it would be cool if Jason Giambi, maybe the only guy to come close to admitting
publicly he used steroids, who then came back to perform at a high level even after having a brain tumor, got in front of the camera, admitted he did it and using his current success as an example, tell the kids playing ball they don't need it.

I thought I needed it and I don't.

Maf54: Cool.

Cool is right, Congressman Mark Foley.

What's the big deal?

I ask everyone the same thing.

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?