Category Archives: Amazing Strangers

Twenty Years Ago

I know, it’s been months. In fact the last update was last year, goddammit! No need to worry about me, or the continuation of all these projects I started but can’t seem to ever finish. Everything’s still a go-project in some form or another, as it has always been, and looks as if it’ll always be for as long as I’m alive. What the hell have I gotten myself into in this life?

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It was 20 years ago this month I made my first ever website. And no, it wasn’t Jesus related. Hell, I think I would have even considered myself a believer still at this point.
In 1997 my oldest brother Chris introduced me to the internet, as well as Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator. Shortly after I bought my first Mac. Then in 1998, fascinated with this new connection to everyone else in the worldwide web I got a copy of the now defunct Adobe Pagemill and started experimenting with building websites. My very first one was centered around the board game my brothers and I had invented called Crisis.

Crisis logo

We actually created Crisis in 1991. By 1992 we bought a booth at Gen Con and made that happen a couple years in a row. After selling 1,000 copies over the course of several more years we each had other plans for the future and put it behind us. I mention this because, well not only the 20th anniversary of the site aspects, but also because we’re actually looking into producing it again. These people seem to think there’s a thirsty market out there for board games such as this again. For right now that’s all I have to say about that. But stay tuned.

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I’m headed back to NYC next month to shoot more Union Square footage for all of you. And for me too. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve missed it. And I’ve pretty much concluded that given the right circumstances I’d probably even move back. Eventually. For now though the plan is to visit regularly. I miss having new content, editing those stories together, saving these important memories. Most of all though I miss being around people. Where I’m at now I have no people. No friends. No social life. Nowhere to go around here for someone to talk to. Absolutely no potential people to flirt with. And this is all driving me insane! So I am returning for a short time to momentarily solve some of these issues.

I have been able to make one Amazing Strangers related project happen here though. An Amazing Strangers book of photos & stories. Nothing fancy, and my presumption is nothing that’ll make a profit of any sort. But a book nonetheless. There’s a coffee shop/book store here called Book Nook, and they’ve made their publishing services available to me. So once there’s a book there’s a plan to have monthly video presentations at the cafe to promote it. I’m really hoping this is something that’ll happen. I’ll be sure to send out invitations to anyone who’d like to come to Michigan to see such a thing hosted by me.

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Lastly, there will indeed be a new Jesus Dressup set this year. In June the long overdue, new Original Jesus Dressup will hit stores! You can thank the success of last year’s Trump Dressup magnets to make this possible, i.e: affordable. We sold about half our stock of the Trumps before the end of 2017, and we’re expecting to sell the rest by Christmas 2018!

First sample of the new Original Jesus Dressup magnet set. The tightest die cut & most dress items on a set ever!
First sample of the new Original Jesus Dressup magnet set. The tightest die cut & most dress items on a set ever!

So yeah. I think that’s everything. I’ll hit you up if anything else happens.

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Hour interview with Investigates podcast

Amazing Strangers Wendell iconToday I did an extremely frank interview with Christian Sears on his “Investigates” podcast. We talk about the past, future and behind the scenes of Amazing Strangers. Here’s that interview, a link to the Homeless Exposer blog, and below it are the videos in which we chatted about.

Videos discussed…

The Peeper Project includes the Inside Edition & CNN segments, plus behind the scenes of the peepers caught. And this is the link to all the Methods of a Peeper series.

The Joey Boots video about True Story ASA and the blog I wrote about Adam Saleh who got thrown off the Delta flight last year.

Updates for Fall 2017

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoIt’s that time again when I haven’t updated long enough to finally get an email asking if I’m still doing the site and/or selling Jesus Dressup magnets. The answer’s yes. Plus I’m also selling Trumps & Mohammeds as well. Can you think of anywhere else that combo of themes is available??

In total I have 8 different sets of magnetic dressups available all to be shipped in time for the holidays. Be warned- I’m opening my final box of Lady Gaga Jesus Dressups (40 sets per box). So get yours now, because those won’t be printed ever again.

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At the moment I believe I’ve posted the last Amazing Strangers video for a while. You can see all of  the latest ones there in the right sidebar. There comes a time when I just can’t seem to find anything worthwhile enough to edit. But that could change at any point because I am indeed working through all those folders preparing a paperback book which’ll be stories & art, but mostly photos of Union Square Amazing Strangers.
My local bookstore/coffee shop Book Nook has offered to print it up for me through their publishing company, West Vine Press here in Whitehall. Then later this winter I’m planning to host video presentations here at the shop. We’ll see how that goes. I’ll be sure to make the book available for purchase here on the site.

I’ve yet to get any offers on a place to stay in NYC to encourage more frequent visits. But I do have a friend willing to rent me a room for a month in May. If it’s still available to me by then I’ll be taking her up on the offer. That’s when you can expect brand new, current footage added to youtube.com/normalbobnyc.

In other interesting Amazing Strangers news, my friend Nick (New York Nico) back in 2014 purchased one of Roman’s signs for a dollar, and has since had it framed! It’s now hanging in his hallway, and I thought you all might like to let your envious eyes lay upon this lovely piece of art.

Get me back

Amazing Strangers Wendell iconYes, I’ve returned to NYC for one week, and much to my surprize I discovered I can pick up right where I left off without hardly a stutter. And I had a blast! In fact, I yearn to come back again. But I need help. One basic help, actually.
1. Accommodations.

If I had offered to me a place to stay for a week that wasn’t just a sofa in a living room, but instead an actual room with a bed, it could be done. I could return periodically throughout the year to document this Square. And it’s still going on there from what I witnessed. The regulars still haunt those steps, and I’ve got contacts for so many others who are happy to show and update me on their lives. I have so much footage and had a lot of fun my week there. But damn if my achin’ back and tired eyes were ready to leave after a week of sleeping on a futon in a living room.

Now, listen to this. If there were also a stove to make eggs & toast, and a coffee maker to brew my Bustelo each morning before I set out, I could do two weeks. Two full weeks of content for YouTube’s Amazing Strangers a few times a year. How great would that be? I’m more efficient than I ever was before. The amount of footage I acquired in one day visiting is more than I ever got any day prior to moving away. I have more of an urge to get interviews, document events, and obtain valuable footage than ever before.

So that’s what I’m hoping. Someone out there who sees the value in what I’m doing with access to a living quarters in NYC generous enough to offer a room with a bed. I do dishes. I clean up after myself. I buy my own supplies. I buy my own plane tickets and taxi cabs.

Greetings from Union Square
Greetings from Union Square

I know it can sound like a lot I’m asking. I lived in NYC for 13 years and never once did I let someone stay rent free for a week or two in their own room. I have friends offering me a sofa for days at a time, but my body and mind isn’t cut out for that much roughing it any more. It used to be, but no longer. Otherwise I see myself maybe coming once a year, in spring, for a week. That’s the full extent I can manage on a sofa without a door to close.

I get how to many this might seem petty, or snobbish. Like I won’t come unless I get a red carpet. Fact is, when you’re in NYC spending most your time in the busiest, craziest parts of town, you need that sanctuary at the end of the day. A solid rest with peace & quiet to get back into it the very next day at 100%. Having to go to sleep when the last person in the house leaves the living room, and waking when the first roommate’s alarm goes off and they’re walking past your bed to make cereal, you don’t get that needed rest. Especially needed when you’re almost 50 years old.

My hope is after you see the amount of great content I’ve gotten after just one week it’ll prove I’m worth it to someone out there with offerings. I’m ready to come back and document the park & people we’ve grown attached to over the years. There’s a limited window of time for this unique project to even continue. I realize that too. So let me know if you can be of assistance. I’m ready.