the LIST

Do I know you? One man's attempt at a lifelong head count. 

NOTE: If you think I might have a photo of you—most likely at least one great photo of you—don't be afraid to ask me to post it (13bob13@gmail.com) along with a brief entry about how I know you. And if I've met or known you but don't have any photo evidence, feel free to send along YOUR favorite photo of you. (I'm fascinated by what that slideshow might look like.)

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92. incense george

  Cobble Hill. Brooklyn, NY. Street hugs. February 2017

Cobble Hill. Brooklyn, NY. Street hugs. February 2017

It had been 13 months since I last saw George, who was a neighborhood regular back when we lived in Cobble Hill. Last January I went to pick some things up from our old place and decided to strike up a conversation with George, who was trying to sell me incense, which he sold on the street nearly every day for food money. Our conversation led to this entry that I posted on one of my many other blogs. (Most of which sit dormant waiting for some love.) When I ran into George last weekend, I wondered if he'd remember me. I told him about our encounter about a year ago and how I posted a photo of him and a little story I wrote about our chat on my blog.

"Oh, YOU'RE the one who did that? I had a lotta people tell me they saw that."

George must've gotten me confused with some other blogger who actually has readers. There's almost no chance someone in Brooklyn saw my post about him and told him about it. I've seen the metrics. But I didn't want to break it to George. His face was lighting up over the whole thing.

"You had people tell you about that? Really? That's great."

He soaked me in his toothless smile, then said, "Thank you, man, thank you so much for doing that. I love you."

He threw me with the sudden "I love you," but I had to throw it back at him. At that moment, I was feeling it myself.

"I love you, too, man."

And with that, George insisted on wrapping me in big bear hug. A long, warm embrace between two strangers. Nothing but love, right there on a busy street corner in Brooklyn.


91. brooklyn tyrese

  Brooklyn, NY. Sick & tired in Clinton Hill. November 2016

Brooklyn, NY. Sick & tired in Clinton Hill. November 2016

"Man, I'm just tired."

Tyrese wasn't talking about needing a nap. Life's been beating him down. It was obvious in his broken, tired eyes. Last night I walked from our apartment over to meet my wife for dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Fancy Nancy, on Bedford. As I approached the KFC on the corner across the street from Fancy Nancy, this fine man approached me with what I assumed was going to be a request for money. Before he could even ask, I told him I didn't have any cash on me. But I was sympathetic to his plight and I tried to pour as much honest love and compassion into his empty well as possible—which took the form of a 7-minute conversation across the street from my destination. In this brief encounter, Tyrese busted out a rhyme, then told me he had HIV and a cancerous metastasized tumor near his sternum—which he insisted I feel. I told him I wanted to hear more of his story and do what I could to help, but I was on my way to dinner with my wife. I let him know that we lived 4 blocks away near Franklin and Greene, and I hoped our paths crossed again soon.

Soon came quicker than I anticipated, as I ran into Tyrese today, less than 24 hours later, when I was running an errand in the cold rain 2 blocks away. The autumn chill has arrived, and Tyrese's teeth were chattering in the cold rain. So I gave him enough money for coffee and a subway ride, where he can stay warm. We were both getting choked up talking as Tyrese shared some of his struggles, which he writes about in the journals he keeps in his backpack. I recently found out about someone I knew years ago who just committed suicide, so I've been extra attuned to anyone who might possibly be at the end of their rope.

Tyrese asked me for a hug before we went our separate ways, then agreed to come back tomorrow morning to share more of his story with me on video. I want to find out how he got here and if there's anything I can do to help. Compassionate listening never hurts. Check back for more of Tyrese's story soon. That is, if he comes back tomorrow. I'm sure some of you out there are skeptical about the whole thing. But I'm betting on the man.

Posted on 10.27.16


FOLLOW UP: Well, I went to meet up with Tyrese this morning and he was a no-show. I waited for 30 minutes and he never arrived. Maybe he took my measly five bucks and was ready to move on. Maybe he got stuck in another part of town. Am I sucker for having trusted him? Who knows. It certainly won't keep me from reaching out to help in the future. I hope our paths cross again.

Posted on 10.28.16


90. vermin supreme

  Manchester, NH. A presidential candidate for the cynically hopeful generation. February 2016

Manchester, NH. A presidential candidate for the cynically hopeful generation. February 2016

Certain people look at this face and see a crazy man, a disruptive fool in a boot. They'd be right about the disruptive part. But this man is nobody's fool. A growing number of us are recognizing Vermin Supreme for what he really is: a modern wizard, sly as a fox, sharp as a stand-up and kind as the hippie prankster that he is. (And he's got the scar from donating a kidney to his beloved mom to prove it.) Igniter of smiles who inspires stampedes of selfies, Vermin is a committed performance artist/political provocateur who's been running for president since 1992. He finished 4th—ahead of political bigshots like former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore—in this year's Democratic primary in New Hampshire, which is where I first met Vermin. In a flash of synchronicity, we happened to be staying at the same house during our pit stop in New Hampshire, where I'd found our low-budget lodgings in Nashua on Couchsurfing.com, a site that's been very good to me in the past. (Read this book of mine for more details.) Turns out our host, Ryan, who answered my request on Couchsurfing.com, was also hosting Vermin and various members of his "campaign team." I had no prior knowledge of this fact, even though Vermin also happened to be the subject of chapter 9 in The Can't-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name, one of our first Bobtimystic Books releases. Our couchsurfing good fortune—well, minus the sleeping on the floor in a freezing attic part—also gave Vermin a chance to reunite with the book's author, my traveling companion Craig Tomashoff. Small world. Thanks, internet.

Our week in New Hampshire provided an up-close glimpse into Vermin's world, where we got to witness the man and his trusty bullhorn calling out the hypocrites and touting his "blueprint for a new America"—mandatory toothbrushing laws, harnessing zombie power for energy and free ponies for every American. Oh, and he promises to use his government-funded time machine to go back and kill baby Hitler. In this lesser of two evils election, it's no wonder Vermin is gaining supporters. We saw him turn heads wherever he showed up. He rode with us to a book signing in Keene, where he posed with fans who showed up just to see him. Later that night he got hounded on the streets near the University of New Hampshire, where he crashed a dorm viewing party and posed with more fans. A few days later we went to a Bernie Sanders victory rally in Concord with Vermin, where, of course, they loved him. Everywhere he went, Vermin left 'em smiling. He even got to the stuffy old political wonks. And he made a new friend for life.

Later this month he'll be in Cleveland at the Republican national convention. Then we're hoping to meet up with Vermin at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia—where we'll have a Vermin Supreme/Bobtimystic Books joint venture to hawk amid the chaos. (More on this exciting news very soon.) Luckily, the guy with the rubber boot on his head always stands out in crowd.

Still curious about Mr. Supreme? (You should be.) Click here to see more of my photos from our time in New Hampshire. Here is the video of Vermin glitter-bombing fellow candidate Randall Terry at a debate in 2011, the brilliant piece of political theater that turned him into an instant internet meme. (The video's racked up nearly 4 million hits on YouTube.) And here is a little video MSN did about Vermin, back when he was claiming to have paved the way for Donald Trump and his absurd ways back in February. But don't be fooled by the foolishness surrounding Vermin. There's a lot going on under that boot. And the man can write.

All hail future President Supreme! Political Vermin you can trust.


89. brooklyn bus baby

  Brooklyn, NY. Belly laughs on the B52 bus. June 2016

Brooklyn, NY. Belly laughs on the B52 bus. June 2016

You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but this child was wailing minutes before I took this photo. We've all seen it—the crying baby on the bus, in a plane, at the supermarket. It's enough to make anyone not related to the kid squeamish and frustrated, myself included. Who likes to see another human in distress? Not this human. Which is why I've always tried to morph into The Baby Whisperer when I see a screaming baby. Maybe it's my big head or my furry eyebrows or my willingness to make the sort of goofy faces that most mature adults refrain from. Whatever the case, I feel like I've got a gift. That's how this moment happened. This little girl and I had a solid connection for a good 5 or 10 minutes on the B52 bus heading towards the Barclay Center, after she went from crying inconsolably...to laughing hysterically. Loudly. Repeatedly. It got to the point where the entire bus was silent—except for the blissful belly laughs erupting from this child every 10 or 15 seconds, each explosion of joy a reaction to the stupid faces I couldn't stop making. Her laughs were like a drug for me. I couldn't get enough. Her mom turned around to see what the hell was making her little girl light up like that. The somber faces around us couldn't help but look at this little tyke and smile. For a short bus ride down Greene Ave., through Clinton Hill and Fort Greene on our way to BAM, this baby girl and I performed a wordless duet of facial expressions and laughter that I won't soon forget. The Baby Whisperer strikes again!


88. blue

  Penn Station. New York City, NY. Subway Poet Laureate. May 2016

Penn Station. New York City, NY. Subway Poet Laureate. May 2016

Time out, if life is a game, who's playing?

If we're a race, who's winning?

I met this hard-working man recently on the A train. I was on my way to catch the 93 Amtrak train to DC, where I'd hop on a Metro train to go watch my niece, Hannah, play a softball game for the University of Maryland. (Go Terps!) Blue, he was walking through my subway car, hawking copies of his book of prose and poems. I had to admire the guy for that alone. Regretfully, I'm usually not much of a softie when it comes to the various entrepreneurs and lost souls trying to scrape up a buck on the subway and on the streets of Manhattan. But now that I'm a publisher trying sell my own books, how could I not have a soft spot in my heart for this guy? He even got me feeling a little guilty for never having tried to sell books on the train myself. At what point does it come to that? That's way out of my comfort zone. But a man's gotta make a buck and I respect the hell out of Blue for trying to make his bucks by selling his books on the subway. But I was paranoid about missing my Amtrak connection, so I barely had time to talk to Blue. Luckily, I had just enough time to buy his book. (Unlike the rest of my fellow passengers.) But during my ride down to DC, I got to know Blue real well by reading several entries from Corner Stores In the Middle of the Block and I really liked much of what I read. So here's hoping I cross paths with Blue again. And not just because my favorite color has always been blue.

*     *     *

Everyone listen up... Every mind is a world and only you can make you happy, just don't bother me with it!

          That's why I stopped giving my money to bums!

          I got tired of them throwing my pennies in the street

          Then they act like they don't want to eat the food that I try to give 'em

          Don't you know this one bum told me he's a vegetarian

          He went on to say that life had thrown him a curve ball

          I think he was trying to use me to get a hit


87. steve edwards

  Joshua Tree, CA. A model of a man. 1989

Joshua Tree, CA. A model of a man. 1989

I heard Steve Edwards died today. Our mutual friend, Jon, called to deliver the bad news tonight. He wanted to get the word out before it was all over social media. Jon said I came on his radar today because he thought Steve and I were kindred spirits—which I took as high praise. Steve Edwards—he of the Jack LaLanne-inspired Birthday Challenge—was unlike anybody I've ever met. One of my earliest memories of Steve is going to his apartment with Jon when Steve lived a few blocks from me in Manhattan Beach, back when he was dating Cynthia, the girl who played Shelly on Northern Exposure. I loved that show, so Steve was already a legend in my book. Next thing I heard, he was running his own video store in Santa Barbara. Classic Edwards. Years later he would become a VP at BeachBody, our friend Jon's company, dispensing nutrition and fitness wisdom all the way from his outpost in Utah—where he was able to rock climb, mountain bike and embrace the outdoor fitness life of a workout junkie. And he finally got married in his 50s, like his kindred spirit out here in Brooklyn.

But before Steve helped launch the BeachBody express, I got to hire him for a rock climbing photo shoot in Joshua Tree that I was producing in my duties as west coast editor of SportStyle magazine. Not only was Steve a skilled rock climber, but he had the model good looks too. I dug up my old slides from that photo shoot tonight and pulled out my year-old slide converter, ready to digitize my day in photos with Steve. But as I got to the end of the batch and was ready to send the photos to my computer, the converter crapped out—broken down before its time just like Steve and the body that he was always pushing to its absolute limit.

I was stunned to hear that he had died, even though I knew he'd been battling cancer. Steve seemed to be more in tune with his body and how it worked than anyone I've ever met. I loved how open he was online about his diagnosis and sharing the details of how he was attacking the disease. Late last year when I was starting Bobtimystic Books, I wrote a list of inspiring people I knew who I intended to reach out to about possibly publishing a book with us. Steve was at the top of my list. He'd already lived a few lifetimes worth of stories and I wanted to hear them all. But I never made it happen, never wrote that email. Now I'm kicking myself.

I thought my friend was too strong, too informed, too tenacious to leave us too soon. If a guy who took care of his body with the knowledge and the diligence that Steve Edwards took care of his, what hope do the rest of us have?

RIP, my friend. I hope the climbing's good wherever you've landed.


86. jamien tomlinson

  Brooklyn, NY. Model citizen. October 2015

Brooklyn, NY. Model citizen. October 2015

Meet Jamien. We were introduced a few weeks ago by our mutual friend Kyle as I rode my mountain bike up to the corner of Dean and Smith Street in Cobble Hill. Minutes later, Jamien was sitting at our kitchen table, the first official guest on the Hi Neighbors!. Everything I know about Jamien is contained in this podcast. A few of the details I remember: he met my podcast cohort in Indiana Kyle during high school days; these days he's thinking of moving to New York, while he lives in Louisville and waits tables across the river in Indiana—or was it waits tables in Louisville and lives across the river in Indiana? Guess you'll have to listen to the podcast for confirmation. I do know that he's also done some modeling and our listener numbers spiked significantly during his appearance on Hi Neighbors! Coincidence? You decide. We went from a high of 80+ plays to well over 600 for Jamien's episode. He's either a bonafide podcast draw or he's good at inspiring software glitches that fuck with your download numbers. I first became aware of Jamien when Kyle told me he was one of our first and few regular listeners, all the way out in Indiana. My response? "Jamien?...Jamien?!" That's right, you've never met a Jamien either. But this one seemed to be the perfect guy to run the Hi Neighbors! social media machine. You've got Jamien to thank for this Hi Neighbors! Facebook page. Which means he'd be mighty happy if you hit that "Like" button. He'd be even happier if you had a modeling gig to throw his way. Rates negotiable.


85. kyle gilstrap

  Brooklyn, NY. The new voice of young America. Aug. 2015

Brooklyn, NY. The new voice of young America. Aug. 2015

Kyle had wanted to be #84 on the list due to the fact that he was born in 1984. But that ship sailed 4 months ago when I met Michael Pagan and his snakes on the beach in Coney Island. So he'll have to settle for being a slightly off #85 on the 2 Degrees of Bob parade of faces—which is only fitting since things have been ever so slightly off since I started working on a podcast with Kyle several months ago. He's no doubt throwing me the stink eye somewhere in Brooklyn as he reads this, since we've agreed not to discuss our technical difficulties anymore with our adoring fan(s). Kyle and I met at our friend Jo's house in Connecticut back in February and immediately discovered that: a) we were both big fans of Marc Maron's WTF podcast, b) we both lived in Brooklyn and c) each of us has been wanting to do our own podcast. When we realized Kyle turned 30 on the day Molly and I got married last year—October 3rd, the same day my dad and stepmom celebrated their 44th anniversary—it seemed like destiny. We had to do a podcast together. Never mind that he's a 31-year-old waiter from Indiana and I'm a 54-year-old writer from California. Today I posted our 11th episode of Hi Neighbors!, which began with the expressed goal of getting out in Brooklyn and meeting our neighbors. Our first guest, Jamien, even created this Facebook page for us. No less an impartial critic than my brother surprised me last week by confessing he'd listened to every episode. (I haven't told many people in my world about it due to...well, you'll figure it out.) Brother Deke said he'd become addicted to our "obscure and meandering conversations. You are stretching my imagination and leaving me wanting more." Can't ask for a better review than that, family or no family. If YOU decide to dive in, you might want to skip the episode titled: "Edibles." Unless you're interested in listening to a pair of novice podcasters slip into a ganja candy haze for 2 hours. For the sake of science and podcasting history, of course. Thanks, Kyle.


84. michael pagan

  Coney Island, NY. Snakes On a Neck! July 2015 

Coney Island, NY. Snakes On a Neck! July 2015 

I've been lugging my new camera around for 6+ months for moments like this. On Saturday we took our first stroll on the beaches of New York, where we saw this guy several yards away. I left my companions and beelined for the guy with the snakes around his neck. I thought it might be a good way to confront my fear of snakes—and get some decent photos. Luckily, Michael was nice enough to let me start snapping away. Unfortunately, most of my shots turned out blurry like this. (This one isn't so bad.) I didn't have time to write down Michael's info, so I luckily remembered his name and email address—this old brain's not shot yet!—and was able to verify that this is, indeed, the great snake master Michael Pagan. He was kind enough to answer a few follow-up questions I had about him and his snakes via email:

How long have you had snakes? 8 years.

What are their names? I own 8 snakes—5 red-tailed boas (Ra, Kilo, Genesis, Bless and Nile), 2 Brazilian rainbow boas (Star & Shine) and 1 Burmese python (Raw).

Are they the 1st snakes you've owned? No.

Were you afraid of snakes as a kid? Not [so] much. Saw them as an animal that was cool.

Any other pets? Yes. A blue nose pit bull named Brooklyn.

Have you ever met a girl thanks to your snakes? Yes. My 1st love. She introduced me to my 1st snake in 2007.

 

Great. Now I've got a zillion more questions. Thanks, Michael!


83. ralph schneider

  Coney Island, NY. Is that you, Jerry? July 2015

Coney Island, NY. Is that you, Jerry? July 2015

I had just arrived at MCU Park—which had been renamed "Kramerica Industries Ballpark" for the day's festivities—when I spotted this guy walking down the aisle. I had to ask him. "Are you...is there...you're here for the Seinfeld Lookalike Contest, right?" It was, after all, the 2nd Annual "Seinfeld Day" here at the Brooklyn Cyclones home field. And this guy wins it, hands down, right? "There's no Jerry Lookalike Contest," he's sad to report. He will, however, be trying to improve on his runner-up finish in last year's Elaine Dance Contest. This year he's chucking the Jerry garb and throwing on a wig-and-dress. No offense, Ralph, but it wasn't pretty. The wig falling off did you no favors. But what the hell, a good time was had by all. Ralph's been a Cyclones season ticket holder for 8 years, so he's not in it for some once-a-year gimmick. But he's also pretty damn happy his favorite baseball team decided to honor his favorite sitcom every July. Which means that once-a-year, Ralph Schneider gets to walk around MCU Park like he's the shit.


82. anthony sequeira

  Coney Island, NY. Baseball slingin' Seinfeld fan. July 2015

Coney Island, NY. Baseball slingin' Seinfeld fan. July 2015

I met this guy in Coney Island on Sunday under some pretty odd circumstances. I was on assignment for a short magazine piece about "Seinfeld Day" at the Brooklyn Cyclones game. Our paths crossed when I was hovering around the visitor's dugout, looking for any ballplaying Seinfeld fan to give me his take on the afternoon's festivities. ("Sign what?" responded a confused pitcher from the Dominican Republic.) After a series of dead-ends—where were all the Seinfeld fans?!—a long-haired lefty pitcher from USC told me there actually was a guy I should meet. (Thanks, Tyler Gilbert. You're not bad for a Trojan.) Apparently, we're looking at the only hardcore Seinfeld fan on the entire 2015 Williamsport Crosscutters squad. For that reason alone, I'm an Anthony Sequeira fan. I also love how he seems to be enjoying the fact that, as of 2 or 3 weeks ago, he's been getting paid to play baseball. Why the hell shouldn't he be loving life?! Anthony was a standout at Oral Roberts, where he not only hit .341—with 11 homers and 58 RBI in a 56-game season—but he also had a 1.38 ERA in 24 appearances as a relief pitcher during his senior year. "Dude, I got some stories," he told me with a sly smile. Of course, he does. He's a big California kid—from Petaluma, no less!—with a brain and a lust for life, playing college baseball at a Christian university in Oklahoma. He was a journalism major, too, so he's bound to have an eye for details. Anthony strikes me as someone whose curiosity will have him exploring new towns while his teammates are on their laptops or playing video games. So while he's on his journey to fame and acclaim in The Show, you can follow his adventure on Twitter at @TheTwann. Maybe one day the guy will even write a book. For now, he's pretty psyched to watch the Elaine Dance Contest and the rest of the bizarro world of "Seinfeld Day" at a minor league baseball game in Brooklyn.


81. parker taylor

  Yucaipa, CA.   Happy days. April 2003

Yucaipa, CA. Happy days. April 2003

I've said it before. One of the few downsides to living in Brooklyn is the fact that it's 3,000 miles from most of my family. This little guy—among the sweetest and friendliest of all my 16 nephews and nieces—isn't so little anymore. A few weeks ago I missed his high school graduation. And 4+ years in Texas meant I missed his entire high school soccer career. I would've loved to have seen him play. The kid's been athletic as long as I can remember. Smart, too. And one of the most present kids I've ever met. My experiences with him have been all too limited. But I've spent enough time with Parker to know that he's always been inquisitive, able to lock into a conversation and ask questions like he's genuinely interested in the answer. This is a gift not all young people have. (Not all adults have.) I was really pulling for Parker to attend UCLA, my alma mater. I'm pretty sure his GPA was at least a 4.0 and I'm sure he had plenty of extracurricular activities. Over 35 years ago I got in with a 3.1 and tuition for one year was just over $500. (No, there's not a "0" missing from the end of that number.) The good news is, Parker got accepted in UCSB. Which means he'll be spending his college years...at the frickin' beach! I've had my share of moments in and around Isla Vista and Santa Barbara myself, so I know how much fun he's gonna have. I couldn't be more proud. And it couldn't happen to a better kid. Enjoy yourself, Parker!


80. frank simes

  Midtown Manhattan. New York City, NY. Less than 24 hours after playing "My Generation" onstage with The Who and Springsteen on Broadway. May 2015 

Midtown Manhattan. New York City, NY. Less than 24 hours after playing "My Generation" onstage with The Who and Springsteen on Broadway. May 2015 

Of all the people I've met over the years with great stories, Frank Simes has definitely got one of the best. There are so many interesting details about his life. Like the fact that his father worked for Gen. MacArthur in Japan, where he met Frank's Japanese mom. Or the fact that he's got a 27-year-old daughter getting her Ph.D. at Harvard—while she's also in a punk rock band. I guess these are the kinds of things that happen when your dad's been a touring musician with people like Mick Jagger and Stevie Nicks. I met Frank around 2008, when I was hired by Frank's producer friend, Nigel Sinclair, to come up with a fresh concept for a David Bowie documentary. (Nigel had produced, among other films, Scorcese's amazing Dylan documentary, No Direction Home.) Frank was brought in to school me on the musicality of Bowie's genius. We ended up meeting a few more times—once at his house in the hills of Southern California to discuss a Led Zeppelin project I worked on, then again at the Whiskey Bar in Hollywood, where we met Nigel and Roger Daltrey to discuss me writing some storyteller/stage banter material for Roger's upcoming solo tour. I even saw Frank's Zeppelin cover band play at a small bar in Long Beach a few years ago. (I still remember getting the chills when he pulled off a Page-perfect rendition of "Heartbreaker.") And I saw Frank play with Roger at a downtown LA gig not long before I moved to Austin in 2010. (When that crescendo hit in "Baba Riley"—an all-time goose bumps concert moment for me.) I even saw Frank in Cedar Park, just outside of Austin, when he was the musical director for Roger's big solo tour, during which they played "Tommy" in its entirety. Cut to 2015. A few weeks ago The Who are playing at the Barclay Center—5 blocks from our apartment. I send Frank a message on Facebook to see if he had time for a chat or a ticket. A day before the show I still hadn't heard back, so I decided to text Frank—which I should have done from the beginning. He got right back to me, said he could've gotten me into any of the 3 shows The Who were playing in New York City if I'd reached him sooner. He did, however, agree to meet me at his hotel for a chat. So on a Friday afternoon—a night after he'd shared the stage with Daltrey and Townshend and Springsteen and Billy Joel and a few others I'm forgetting—Frank and I grabbed a cup of coffee and walked to Central Park, where this happened. For those of you into the wonderful world of podcasts, check out our very first episode of the 2 Degrees of BOB podcast, featuring the great Frank Simes—musical director for The Who. Rock 'n roll!


79. jim norris

  Tyler, TX. A man and his boy. 2004

Tyler, TX. A man and his boy. 2004

Our old friend Vic—aka "Ogela"—lost his Dad to cancer today. Back in '04 I road tripped up to Tyler, Texas to see Vic—which led to a drive out to see his Pops, a good man who helped raise 2 rock solid sons in his boys Vic and Tyrone. Jim also got our friend Sly Mee a job back at the carpet mill he worked at in the mid-'80s. (More than 30 years later, Sly is still at the company, a VP practically running the place. That job never happens without Jim. God knows how many more people Jim had an impact on. I'm guessing it was many. From the big smile on his face, he clearly passed down the ability to find joy in life to his boy Vic, one of the best people I've ever known. Rather than feeling devastated by his dad's passing, Vic's unwavering faith is keeping him strong and positive. Here's what he posted on Facebook today: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13. God does not make mistakes, and he called his servant home this morning. I am not sorrowful, but I count all Joy for the time I spent with my Dad. Praise God !!! RIP Jim Norris. You were a good man.


78. cousin jason nocito

  San Onofre, CA. New papa. June 2010

San Onofre, CA. New papa. June 2010

One of the many upsides to my pops marrying my stepmom nearly 45 years ago was the fact that we'd also be getting a few more cool cousins—including this crazy guy. Over the years we didn't see each other much. But when we did I always felt a solid connection with Cousin Jason and was always eager to hear what he had to say. As anyone who knows him will attest, Jason is a prodigious talker. Which is why I'm eager to work with him on a book project he's been talking about doing for years. I'm also starting a small press—Bobtimystic Publishing, website coming this week—and I'm hoping we can help Cousin Jason channel all his chattiness and tap into that fertile brain of his to create a memoir about what he went through after nearly dying 20+ years ago. Here's a page 1 paragraph he came up with recently:

"Once I became conscious enough to ponder why I was in the hospital, I was told that on November 17, 1992 I was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. I sat dazed and wondered what would become of me, now that I was 'damaged goods.' I had no memory of anything happening to me and I was blessed with virtually no pain—luckily, that part of the journey I didn't remember. I'd been comatose for over two weeks, on life support with a device inserted into my head to gauge brain pressure—to no avail because I still had a minor stroke. I even needed assistance getting to the bathroom. Talk about humbling. Before that, only the hospital staff fully knew what my last several weeks had entailed."

Come on, you want to hear more of his story, right? How do you come all the way back from a life-threatening brain injury to not only work with special needs kids and have a kid of your own one day, but also show up to your Cousin Bob's wedding 2 decades later, happy and healthy enough to pull off this? Cousin Jason's going to tell us all about about it, right Jason? Stay tuned.


77. mason walter

  Temecula, CA. Future stars at the movies 7 years ago. Circa '08.

Temecula, CA. Future stars at the movies 7 years ago. Circa '08.

Excluding my various nephews and nieces, this guy might be the coolest kid I've ever known. Mason's mom, Shannon, and Sister Jill are BFFs thanks largely to the fact that their boys, my nephew Noah, and Mason, were best pals in elementary school. (Was it 4th grade? 5th grade?) This was back when I was living in Temecula, CA with Team Dewey, where I happily went to my share of pee-wee football, baseball, softball and basketball games. But it was during all our other suburban activities—going to high school homecoming football games, riding bikes around Temecula, clowning in the pool, trips to the movies, camping at San Onofre—that's where we got to see Mason's true colors. Even at a young age it was clear this was a special kid. He was funny, bright, conscientious and could hang with the adults. He was the big kid who always looked out for the little brother, always good to his little sister and parents—especially his mom. Good kid from a good family. When it came to emotional IQ, he was a genius. Little did I know back then, he's also apparently a very hard worker. He must be. Because little Mason has grown into very, very big Mason. (As in 6'6", 265 pounds big, according to this website.) Mason is so big and talented that he got close to 20 Division-I scholarship offers and will playing on the offensive line next year at Arizona State. Where he'll be wearing—you guessed it—#77. And that's how this UCLA grad suddenly became a very, very big Sun Devil football fan. Go, Mason!


76. colby logan

  Dallas, TX. Trusting a stranger. April 2004

Dallas, TX. Trusting a stranger. April 2004

The day I met Colby he entrusted me with the key to his apartment. I was deep into Season 2 of The Greatest Year of My Life—the blog version, anyway—and I was down in Austin when my UCLA friend, Diana Rader, suggested I call her pal Colby if I ever made it up to Dallas. That simple suggestion by Diana has led to many wonderful moments: a free Shawn Colvin concert in downtown Dallas about an hour after meeting Colby at his Greenville apartment; more than one Colby show in Dallas. (Did I mention he's a talented musician, too?); a brief collaboration at Colby's apartment, eventually leading to a songwriting credit on his solo album Everly Lane for this song. More than a decade after he handed me the key to his Dallas apartment—where I crashed on his couch for about a week—Colby unleashed his kindness once again when he offered to DJ our wedding last October in Austin for gas money and a hotel room. What a wedding gift! Colby's generosity led to moments like this—that's Colby smiling behind the DJ console—and this—the dance floor was rockin'!—and this. (My lady loves to dance.) And then there was this: Colby on the dance floor with his wife, Amy—who was his girlfriend when I met them 10 years ago. So glad you're still in my life a decade later, my friend. You have our eternal gratitude for the wedding tunes, PA system and light show. But most of all, I'm just grateful you were even at our wedding. Happy birthday!


75. teddy creasy

  Silverlake, CA. SJOM. Video screenshot by Wyatt Hewison. Artwork by Tim Blakeley. February 2010

Silverlake, CA. SJOM. Video screenshot by Wyatt Hewison. Artwork by Tim Blakeley. February 2010

During my 8-month stint working at my friend Veeektor's dispensary in Silverlake, I met all kinds of characters. Not surprising, considering the place was on Sunset Blvd., at the corner of Hipsterville and the Barrio. It was here at the Sunset Junction Organic Medicine dispensary that I decided to finally put my Amerijuanica idea into action. It had been more than 5 years—somewhere around 2003, no later than spring of 2004—since I had the idea to research, write and publish a Studs Turkel/Working-type book of stories about marijuana. Candid cannabis conversations in the words of users—and non-users. In May of 2004 I was even telling my future wife about the idea when we first met. (Molly claims she came up with the Amerijuanica name. I'm 99.9% sure I'd already come up with it before I met her. We respectfully disagree and agree to remain in newlyweded bliss.) By the time I began working at the dispensary, no forward progress had been made on the book. But now we figured, hey...let's turn these conversations into a podcast. More than 5 years later, here we are. Posting our 1st podcasts. Thanks largely to the many conversations I had with people like Teddy, whose story you really should hear on episode #3 of Amerijuanica. And not just because he survived a gunshot wound to the head and delivers green herbal medicine to the elderly in South Central. You should listen to him because Teddy is a master storyteller—even if you might not agree with what's coming out of his mouth. 


74. meredith scardino

  New York City, NY. 'wichcraft. Tribeca. February 2015

New York City, NY. 'wichcraft. Tribeca. February 2015

This is what the start of a happy 3-month hiatus looks like. I met Meredith for coffee in early February—a month to the day before her new writing venture, Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt, was set to premiere on Netflix. (That would be today, March 6, for you comedy lovers with Netflix.) I'd been assigned a 600-word mini-profile on Meredith for Emmy magazine, which led to our animated Friday morning conversation. Among other things, I heard about how she parlayed a degree in painting from Cornell and an MFA from Parsons in New York into a 6-year writing gig on The Colbert Report, with a pit stop writing for Letterman along the way. She was smart and friendly, interesting and interested. Do I even have to mention that she was funny? Don't the 4 Emmys for comedy writing prove that? And she was humble, which hasn't always been the case with the show biz types I've encountered over the years. (How does she not mention the hilarious Funny or Die videos she starred in during our 2-hour chat?) Kimmy Schmidt is already earning raves. Meredith says Tina Fey and her 30 Rock co-creator, Robert Carlock, assembled an all-star writing team plucked from multiple milieus—from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to SNL to a girl who wrote for Amy Schumer to sitcom vets who've written for shows like Happy Endings and Frasier. "We even had a couple people who wrote a web series," Meredith told me. "It's a little bit like Ocean's 11, where everybody's got something they're real good at." So what was Meredith's special talent? "I would say jokes are my skill. And breaking and entering." With that, she broke into the hearty laugh of someone who's enjoyed many a laugh around many a funny person. Tune in to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this weekend and join in the good times.


72. & 73. joe & lori huhn

  Brooklyn, NY. 1st trip to the Barclay Center. Go Dubs! February 2015.

Brooklyn, NY. 1st trip to the Barclay Center. Go Dubs! February 2015.

Over the years, any time I'd hear about a couple breaking up—leaving one or more of the parties shattered, yet still leaving the door open for hope of a reconciliation—I'd instantly think about my friends Joe and Lori. They were college sweethearts back when we were Animal House-inspired members of the UCLA greek system in the early '80s. Lori was a Kappa. Joe was a Phi Psi. They fell in love, then broke up. For a year, I think. I do know that by 1986 they were not only back together but getting married, a wedding I missed due to the fact that I was on my solo summer mountain bike trip across America. Just over 28 years later, Joe and Lori proved they weren't holding it against me by showing up for my wedding in Austin and spicing things up with a timely photo bomb during our 1st dance. About 5 months later, Joe's got business in New York. They're empty nesters now, so Lori joins him. (Jake's living in San Francisco. Scotty's at USC, studying abroad in London. Or is it Jake in London? Hmm.) Either way, Mama and Papa Huhn were in Brooklyn a few nights ago, thanks to the fact that their beloved Warriors were playing the Nets on a Monday night in Brooklyn—5 blocks from our apartment. The invitation to join them was met with some serious 1st-winter-on-the-east-coast glee. It was only fitting we had a drink at a bar called Alchemy before crossing the street to the Barclay Center, where our seats were 11 rows from the floor, directly across from the Warriors bench. Sweet. The game even lived up to the hype. Steph Curry led a furious 4th quarter comeback that fell short at the buzzer. Oh well. Still...an excellent night with one of my favorite couples, who've got 30+ years of excellent nights under their belts. Here's to many more! To the Huhns!