Thursday, May 31, 2007

Flannery Alden Is Prone To Interview Me Whimsically.

One of my favorite bloggers, Flannery Alden, between plotting the end of Mel Gibsons' career and conquering the world, has interviewed me.

If you aren't reading her blog, you probably should.

Flan: I've taken time out of my busy vacation schedule, which includes visiting the ducks and geese and their babies at the park and splashing around in the wading pool to interview the marvelous Phil!

Phil, you are an actor, what role have you always dreamed of playing and why?

Phil: That's an excellent question, Flannery. I suppose the standard answer is, Hamlet. In many circles it's considered the greatest piece of literary art ever written. It's also considered to be the great actor yardstick, almost like a marathon might be. A lot of actors want to test themselves against it. I don't pretend to understand it in it's entirety, but I do appreciate it's beauty and monstrous difficulty. Randle P. MacMurphy, in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. He's the classic alpha male, never-say-die outlaw, an outsider to society, and leader of men who never stops fighting for his, and others freedom. Tom, from Tennessee Williams 'A Glass Menagerie.' Just a beautiful play.

Oh, and Spiderman.

Flan: You keep a close watch on local politics in your area. Imagine you are running for office in your community. What would be your main issue, your vision for change, and one skeleton you wouldn't want released from the closet?

Phil: That's an excellent question, Flannery. I think my main issue, as well as a vision for change, would be efficiency in government. The government does a lot for us that it doesn't get credit for, and I think it should be given credit. Our government is too often viewed negatively and this needs to change, but I think most would agree, the waste of time and money is criminal. I think it can do what it does better, plus offer more to the citizens it serves. If we can get government to work more efficiently, I believe those goals can be accomplished without an increase in taxes. Starting with improved health-care.

Locally, the goals would be the same. Improve existing services while increasing efficiency. The landscape of Elmhurst, Illinois has changed. Lot's of new businesses, condos and giant houses. On the surface it appears to be thriving, but property taxes seem to be pricing out people I might appreciate having in my community. Also, Elmhurst government, and I should know more about it, seems to apply Eminent Domain rather liberally. I'm not sure if it has always been to the benefit of the city and it's citizens. I'd be interested in exploring those issues in town.

Skeleton? Putting me on the hot seat aren't you? I have a few, when given an opportunity to embarrass myself, I usually take it. Since my Mom reads this blog, I'll go with the relatively harmless streaking incident at my college quad. Hey, it was the early '90's, everyone was doing it, right. Right?

Flan: I'm a bit of a picky eater and I don't really like foods that are exotic. What entree on the menu at the restaurant you work at would you recommend and why?

Phil: That's an excellent question, Flannery. Lucky for you, our menu caters directly to customers like yourself. Starting with our famous burgers, which have been featured in local Chicago news programs, as well as the National Geographic book, 'Ten Best Everything.' We have a wide selection of toppings and sides, I like Cheddar, avocado, no onions with fries, but the onion rings are pretty good too. If you feel like an entree, all our steaks are excellent, I like mine lean so I go for the fillet or Butt steak, but I sell more of the N.Y Strip.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Can I get you anything to drink while you look? We feature a number of nice imports on tap, plus the local Chicago brew Goose Island, which largely sucks. Since you came in on a Saturday, all our bottles of wine are discounted, some by as much as half off.

Don't forget to leave room for dessert, our Key Lime Pie is as good as I have had outside Key West.

Flan: If you were to hop on one of the trains that passes by your house, where would you go, what campfire song would be your signature song, and what would you pack in your hobo bag?

Phil: One of the magical things about riding in boxcars is the freedom from a destination. Giving yourself over to the rivers current. The excitement of not knowing. I would go wherever it took me.

My hobo bag would contain food. Cheese, bread. Probably a knife and perhaps a notebook.

My song would probably change, but my standard song was written by my friend Shelto. It goes alittle like this.

My name is Phil. This is my song.
My love is gone. Hit that bong.
My days are long. This is my song.
My name is Phil. This is my song.

I go home. I put on my robe.
I think I might die, I think I just might.
I'm Phil.

I like to drink. I do this all week.
When Sunday comes, I need to catch-up on sleep.
I'm Phil.

They turned off my lights.
They turned off my gas.
They turned off my phone, this is no kind of home.

I'm Phil. I'm Phil.
I'm Phil. I'm Phil.
My God, I'm still...

I know, my life, is wasted.
You try, I cry, I'm wasted.

And I'm going...

I go home.
I do so alone.
I hate the sky.
Fuck the sun.
I'm Phil.

No one can say, how I got this way.
No, I never knew, life would treat me so cruel.
I'm Phil.

It's cold, and it's grim.
When did all this begin?
My love is gone, and now I'm singing my song.
I'm Phil.

I'm Phil. I'm Phil.
I'm Phil. I'm Phil.
My God, I'm still...

Flan: Since you're His neighbor, how is God these days? What's He up to? What does He think of the political climate in the nation and the neighborhood?

Phil: That's an excellent question, Flannery. He seems well, mostly it's just small talk when we see one another. I get the impression He appreciates the respite from the various requests one gets when one is the Almighty. He's getting a new garage built, but I think He's having some trouble with local ordinances. Something about the proximity of the garage to His neighbors property line.

As far as the political climate in the nation, I think he has grown weary of having his name selectively invoked to support peoples actions and opinions. He did give us facts, logic and reason. I think He would like to see us employ them more often.

Within the neighborhood, politics is not often brought up. I live in a mainly Republican community, but there are no politics when our children are playing tag, or hide-and-seek. We are neighbors, when someone needs help we help them. It's the difference between the abstraction of political theory concerning the country and seeing someone in need right in front of you.

Thanks, Flannery.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today we buried The Wife's father, my sons grandfather, Gerald Alfred Bodmer.

I met Gerry in 1989. He was a quiet man who gave me a beautiful wife, which has lead to two beautiful sons and a daughter on the way. I will always be grateful and indebted to him.

As we went through pictures for the wake, stories and memories were relived by his six daughters. It is a happy oasis during a sad time.

It is said that those who die never leave us if we remember them, and keep them in our hearts. In my experience this is as true as anything. But do they live on as more? Can we find them in places other than our hearts and memories?

Like I said, my sons are his grandsons, perhaps as much of him, as me, lives within in them.

This is a picture Gerry had taken of his favorite hobby, model trains. He had hundreds of feet of track and dozens of engines, cars and cabooses. He loved them.

I've known of his love for trains since I met him, but looking at this picture, somethings paused inside me. Where had I seen this picture before?

This is a picture Philip had shot awhile back, I posted it on here. Philip loves trains as his grandfather did. I knew this, but the two pictures side by side struck me. Two men, my son and his grandfather, both love trains, and they both photograph them.

Gerry isn't gone as long as we remember him. He also lives on literally in my son. We will miss him, but time spent with Philip and his trains will offer us, only a moment perhaps, of sitting with Gerry when he was happiest, running his trains.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Things That Are Everywhere In Places I Live.

Elmhurst Trains

This is a picture taken in my backyard last fall looking south. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it, but I live really frickin' close to busy train tracks.

We have a Metra stop in town, the eastern stop is in Chicago at Ogilvie Transportation Center and stops as far west as Elburn, Illinois. These tracks are also used by the Union Pacific/West Line.

There is a great line in The Blues Bothers, when Jake and Elwood arrive at Elwoods apartment ion the city. It is a single room, it's only window positioned about five feet from a passing 'L.' Jake questions how often the train goes by. Elwood responds, "So often you won't even notice."

That's pretty much how I live.

The mind shattering noise aside, I've always kinda liked living this close to the train. At an early age, before I could drive, I could travel to the city cheaply. Hit a museum, have lunch, or just wander around. What I did more often than not.

I think it's contributed to my travellin' bone and general curiosity about America. Watching so much move past me always left me curious as to where it was all going. And I do mean, America. I've always been much more interested in exploring this county than any other. Something about walking those tracks, fantasising about jumping in a boxcar and letting the flowing river of cargo take me wherever it might. Woody Guthrie and Jack Keruoac's America.

Speaking of filthy, homeless, boxcar riding bums. Three dudes, sporting some mighty dreads and carrying an inch of dirt over the entirety of their bodies, hopped off a car last Saturday in front of our house. They had a cute doggy, wearing his own backpack and bedroll, who frolicked in our yard with my brother's dog. They were walking east along First and when they saw my brother, stopped to get directions to the city. They were headed in the right direction, but thirteen miles is a long walk. they looked like they could do it, but they were just looking for the Metra stop. We pointed them back west, said it was a few blocks and they couldn't miss it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Many Faces Of Phil Hendricks Thank Grant Miller Media.

I got 95 hits yesterday.
It's all thanks to Grant Miller Media and you.
Thanks for coming by and checking out the site.

And thanks to Grant for being such a good sport.

As you can see, I was NOT the captian of my football team.

I do think I win the award for largest glasses worn during the eighties.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The All Seeing Eye Of Grant Miller Media Shines Upon Me.

My old friend Grant Miller and I put our differences aside for an email interview. If you don't already read Grant Miller Media, you probably should.

And now, to the interview.

You and I went to junior high and high school together. I remember the first time we met. What do you remember of our first encounter?

I have no memory of our first encounter. I'd love to hear what you remember. The earliest memory I have of Grant Miller is winning a bet we had made on the NCAA Championship in 1985. I think it was for a dollar. You took Goergetown, I took Villanova. Cha-Ching!!! Patrick Ewing earned all 75 cents. I recall that, lots of White Sox talk and a general admiration for Mick O'Dwyers' High-tops.

Does God love Elmhurst more than all other suburbs? More than Zion? More than Medinah? More than Saint Charles? More than Saint John, Indiana?

Yes. Clearly and irrefutably, He does.

But the title of my blog is not meant to imply that. What I mean is, He lives here. It's literally His Own suburb. He has a great fixed mortgage, making improvements to the house. He should really make a bundle when He decides to sell. Jesus, He's just got The One kid, stopped by the other day looking for the dentists office. Funny story that...

You're expecting another child. What's the dumbest parenting advice you've ever heard?

I'm not sure I have gotten any dumb advice. I rarely solicit advice. Some of the more ridiculous things I've seen or heard: I knew a woman convinced she could potty train her 13 month-old. I've heard mother's tell their kids to get better at something or the other kids would make fun of them at school. A mother once told me, that her doctor had told her, it was good that her son refused to share. He was expressing himself confidently, and shouldn't be discouraged. She's currently got said son in acupuncture to permanently cure his allergies.

When you pluck your nose hairs do your eyes tear automatically? Does that mean you're crying?

I use a nose and ear hair trimmer. Rather painless, unless you let the battery run down. IF I did? IF my eyes DID? I believe that would constitute crying.

Why should people read your blog?

I'm not sure they should.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Great Bits Of The Past. The Burb The Killed Him.

Here's how it works. You let out a tremendous belch. After you finish, close your eyes and let your head fall, any direction is fine, drop anything you are holding, allow your hands to to go limp. Remain in this position until your straight man discovers you. When they do, they should cry out to the heavens, "Oh God, why!"

It can work pretty well with a sneeze too.

Here I am executing the bit at the southernmost point in the U.S. In this case it may have been, The Sunburn That Killed Him.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's A Girl! We Think...

This is the latest sonogram we had done yesterday. All indications are that the baby is perfectly healthy. Right now we think it is a girl. The top image is our evidence. It is difficult to be sure. It's easier to see something that is there than to see something that "isn't" there. In this case, a penis. How many times have you heard that guys?

Sonograms are a strange thing. Though I have no reason to think anything could be wrong, and I have been through this twice before, it can still be taxing emotionally. As the nurse works the scanner around my wife's tummy, she stops and moves, massages and works the angle of the sonogram to get different views to record the info she needs. They intentionally place the view screen out of the mothers view. If anything is wrong, they would rather the doctors see it before the mother does. This isn't the case for me. I see everything as she does it.

So every time she stops to focus on something particular, I freak out a bit. I don't know what she is looking at. I don't know what I'm looking at. It's what I don't know that gets to me. Every blob that I can't identify. Every collection of white in the image makes me pause. Why is the nurse spending so much time looking at that? Has her posture changed? Is her body language indicative of a person seeing something bad? It makes me want to scream.

Those feeling are juxtaposed against feeling of wonder and amazement. I can see the heart beating. The stomach is visible, this is because, as I learned with my first son, that the baby will swallow the fluid which aids in forming their internal organs. When you can see the stomach, she has a full belly of fluid. All this is going on in my wife's belly. It makes me want to cry.

It's crazy. I can't recommend it enough.