transformation mondays

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At a time when perspectives are changing and paradigms are shifting, this might be a good time to reassess Mondays. It’s been said that Mondays suck so bad they inspired no less than three classic pop songs about how much they suck—”I Don’t Like Mondays,” “Manic Mondays” and “Monday, Monday.” But maybe it’s time to look at Mondays with new eyes.

Why can’t Mondays be a day of rebirth? Let’s call Mondays a day of recallibration. A day to reset our intentions. A day to psych up for what lies ahead, for what can be accomplished.

Monday is a day to set your sights not on what was, but on what could be. And if you’re coming off a kickass weekend, it’s time to get working to earn yourself another one.

Hello, Monday.

Welcome back.

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Gratitude is always a good place to start a fruitful, focused week. I’m not always so great at remembering that as often as I should. It certainly helps to write about it and read about it. So here are my 3 Things To Be Grateful For:

1. Prince is back on Spotify. I love Prince. Between Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Prince, last year was about the worst in music since John Lennon got murdered. But Bowie just won five Grammys and most of Prince’s music is now on Spotify. So there’s a tiny ray of positive in the darkness of their deaths. I just added some of my favorite Prince songs to my growing 2017 Brooklyn Mix to celebrate. Easily accessible Prince is cause for gratitude.

2. New eyewear. Last summer I lost a lens from my favorite—and only—prescription sunglasses. I haven’t had a pair of shades since. Yesterday during our leisurely walk home from our old neighborhood, Cobble Hill, Molly and I stumbled upon an eyewear shop on Atlantic that did eye exams and took walk-ins. After talking about getting my eyes checked, picking up a new prescription and finally getting some new sunglasses for months, we finally made that happen yesterday. And it feels good. Getting new eyewear and finally accomplishing a task you’ve been putting off for months are definitely cause for gratitude. What have you been putting off for months? What’s keeping you from getting it done this week?

3. Creative momentum. After waiting years for various creative projects to come to fruition only upon approval/funding/purchase from other people, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and create our own scripted project, which we intend to shoot later this year. It’s a web series called Green Thumbs and I’ve written all four of the first season’s 30-minute episodes. Two weeks ago I joined a Facebook group called Australians in New York and posted a message looking for any actresses interested in playing the 27-year-old Australian lead who stops in New York on her first day in America, two months into a year-long trip around the world. This past Saturday we met with our first two potential leads, a pair of smart, interesting Aussie women who loved the scripts and want to be involved. We’ve got two more meetings this Thursday, with a few more to come hopefully. (We had 27 women contact us about acting in Green Thumbs so far, plus a couple dudes looking for male roles.) Our goal is to shoot all four scripts this summer and have the episodes ready to shop around and premiere online by the end of the year. This is our goal and the wheels are in motion, thanks to an idea we love—and now a number of people, starting with my bright, supportive wife and the couple dozen Aussies who were interested in the project. Meeting good people who are excited about your ideas is cause for gratitude. “Leap and the net will appear.”

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Our new 2017 goal is to write every Monday and every Friday for the rest of the year on this site. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that goals are easier to attain if there’s collaboration, cooperation and mutual support. If I’m writing things that readers are getting something from, in whatever small way—and I’m made aware that this is happening—I’m far more likely to achieve those goals and feel motivated to continue.

But I know how the world works these days. I, myself, am part of the silent majority that devours content, yet only comments on a fraction of the content we’re gobbling up. Most of the time I’m reluctant to toss in an opinion or refute what I see as an inaccuracy, mostly because I don’t want to get drawn into a long, time-chewing back-and-forth. Then if I blow off the give-and-take? I’m a ghosting asshole and the guilt kicks in. Plus, if I’m sharing how I really feel, I run the risk of people being offended or annoyed or disappointed in me. I can’t win. So I’ve shut my pie hole, mostly.

But that was my old “Mondays suck” attitude. Back when the political sky was falling, the loudest voices controlled perception and VW buses were never seen in Brooklyn. I’m ready to flip that switch, inspired largely by a voicemail I got from my old friend Tom recently,  who turned me on to this video by a guy my brother had recommended a few years ago. The guy’s name is Gary Vaynerchuk, and in the video Tom recommended, Gary V. was preaching a concept I’ve been talking about for years.

It boils down to this: By an overwhelming majority, most Americans—and most humans—are good, kind, decent people who are happy and open and full of love. But that small percentage of people who are full of hate and anger and fear, those people are the loudest people in our culture. The loud, angry minority has been drowning out the happy, quiet majority, controlling the narrative and shaping perspectives.

Gary V.’s answer?

Make. Positivity. LOUDER.

So that’s what I’d like to start using this space for—making my positivity LOUDER.

See you Friday.

 

 

 

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day 3 — a month of memes

Another shot of crazy from the campaign trail. We’ve dropped the price on The Can’t-idates from $20.00 down to $13.00 until the California primary next month. Get your copy here and read all about this “crazy” man in Chapter 9. (The book got another 5-star review yesterday on Amazon.)

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day 2 — a month of memes

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I had the honor spending time with this crazy American hero back in February during a week we spent in New England. Vermin Supreme, a 7-time presidential hopeful, finished 4th in the Democratic primary that week in New Hampshire, beating the former governor of Virginia, among many others. We got to celebrate with Vermin on election night—at a Bernie Sanders victory celebration at Concord High School. Unforgettable. You can learn more about Vermin by reading chapter 9 in Craig Tomashoff’s book, The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Noboby Knows Your Name, the highly-praised new road memoir from Bobtimystic Books. Check it out.

let the memes begin

Back in February we spent a week in New England with Bobtimystic Books author, Craig Tomashoff, during the New Hampshire primary. Our goal was to sell some product and pump interest in Craig’s new book, The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your NameWe also spent some time with presidential hopeful Vermin Supreme, the subject of chapter nine in Craig’s book. It was a fascinating week with Craig and I took lots of pictures. Now it’s time to do something with all those photos. Maybe it’ll even help us sell a few more books. (It’s a damn fine read, in case you haven’t bought it yet.)

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procrastination squared

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Sweets. Museum of Natural History. April ’16. NYC

My friend Jim sent me this YouTube video today. The title: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator. Jim suggested I check it out.

But I’m gonna hold off on that for a bit.

Procrastinating on the learning about procrastination.

We can pick this up later. After I’ve watched the video.

Or not.

incense george

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One of the things I’d like to do this year is interact more with New York. It’s so easy to put your headphones on and walk around in a mental haze of music, podcasts and daydreams. This city can be a lonely place when you’re surrounded by humanity and your conversational engagements are rare and fleeting.

That’s how I met George today. I’ve seen him around for much of the past year that we lived in Cobble Hill, but I’ve only spoken with him once. A few months ago he tried to sell me some incense on the street and I told him I’d definitely buy a few packs when I had some cash on me. But when I showed up on his usual block with my money the next day, he was nowhere to be found.

Then I saw him today when I went back to the old apartment to get a couple things we’d left behind. I had a tiny Deva green change purse I bought Molly years ago, filled with coins. I left our new place with it today, with the intention of handing out quarters to any panhandlers I might encounter. Avoiding eye contact or apologizing for not having any spare change—when most of the time I probably did—has left me feeling guilty for not doing more to help out people who haven’t been as lucky as me.

So I was happy to see George again, hawking his incense on Smith Street, at the Bergen Street stop off the F & G trains across the street from Dunkin Donuts. I reached into the purse and pulled out a half-dozen coins, one of which seemed to be a foreign currency. I took it back from his calloused hand and apologized for handing George an unusable coin from god knows what country.

“That’s all right,” George whistled through a mouth nearly devoid of teeth. “I’ll still take it.”

We both stood there looking closer at the coin. Was this a long forgotten Euro leftover from our walk across Spain in 2013? Then I noticed the name “James Polk” written on one side and my American public school education told me this was a U.S. coin.

“Look at that,” I told George, excited to deliver him some good news. “This thing’s actually a dollar.”

I patted him on the shoulder, then returned the gold coin into his chalky hands. “It’s your lucky day!”

I soon learned that George not only sold incense on the streets of Brooklyn to make food money—his rent was paid for by the government, he told me—but he was also from Texas.

“Texas?! I moved here from Texas just over a year ago!”

“Yeah? Where from?”

“We moved from Austin. Where are you from?”

“I grew up in San Antonio,” George told me. “You know, the River Walk and…”

“Oh, yeah, I know the River Walk. The Spurs. You’re right down the road from Austin.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” George said with a big, gummy smile. All his bottom teeth were missing. The only thing left down there were tiny dark nubs of what may have been teeth in another lifetime.

Before I headed off, I asked George if I could take his picture and he happily obliged. For some reason he decided to flash his VA identification card in the photo. Thanks, George. Next time our paths cross, I hope we can talk longer.

Homelessness and panhandling are so rampant in New York City that the natives at times seem immune to it all. I don’t want to be immune to it. I don’t want to ignore it. I want to help. Even if it just means handing over a few coins and having a conversation with a man who’s working the streets to pay for his next meal. It doesn’t take much to help make these people feel a little less invisible and alone in a city of 10 million people.

And it makes me feel less alone doing it.

happy new year!

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It’s been almost 13 years since I started The Greatest Year of My Life blog. Most of the content from the original incarnation no longer exists in cyberspace. But I’m making the vow to get back into it. Even if it’s just a photo and a caption or a link to something I find interesting. I intend to make the effort to get back to documenting my thoughts and actions on a regular basis during this upcoming year. Because it promises to be a doozy.

How do I know this? For one, we just moved into a new apartment yesterday. So we’re starting the new year fresh. More rooms, cheaper rent, in a new neighborhood. Molly and I got married on Oct. 3 of 2014 in Texas. A month-and-a-half later we moved from Austin to Brooklyn, where Molly found a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment in Cobble Hill. It was a great neighborhood, with lots of restaurants, shops and a Trader Joe’s within walking distance. The Brooklyn Bridge was less than a mile walk, through downtown Brooklyn, the Barclay Center was five blocks away and our subway options were close and plentiful. We even suspected Ethan Hawke might be our neighbor when we spotted him one morning on the stoop of a brownstone about three blocks from our place.

But we were looking for cheaper rent, as ours was due to go up to $4100 a month, and we were itching for more space—like a second bathroom and an office/guest room. Plus, no less than four of immediate neighbors had yapping dogs.

So we moved—13 months after moving in and signing a two-year lease. To an apartment less than two miles from our original Brooklyn landing spot. The landlord let us out of our lease because of the yapping dogs. Now we’re in a 2/2 about 10 blocks on the other side of the Barclay Center. We found the building last month as we were walking through Fort Greene and stumbled onto this new building at 333 Greene Avenue. The real estate guy says it’s Clinton Hill. One of our movers yesterday said, “Oh, yeah, this is definitely Bed Stuy.”

Either way, we’ve got a good feeling about this place and the neighborhood. I’m eager to have an office to hunker down in and get things rolling. I carved out a little time from unpacking to get cracking on some 2016 content creation. Our goal—though it may be unreasonable—is to post daily offerings on this site, Twitter and Instagram. With frequent postings on 2 Degrees of Bob. All in hopes of building an audience, selling some books and maybe even finding out a little something about myself along the way.

To a productive 2016!

today’s contest

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Look closely at this photo. In the comments section, tell me what you think is going on here. Fill in the blanks of this story.

After you’re done making your best (or funniest) educated guess…

…click here to see the rest of the story.

The best response—i.e., my favorite—gets a copy of this book. (Contest ends July 31.)

Void where prohibited.