Sidewalk Ghosts / The Tinkerer

“Find something you love to do, and, if you can make a living at it, good for you!” Smart is an understatement for describing entrepreneur, Curt. A master mechanical engineer, with the credentials to prove it: Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a who’s who list of contracted clients he was a tireless tinkerer…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “I Want To Write My Own Words”

“Not many people are very rich by definition and that sometimes will bring more problems than it solves. Just doing well by your own standards is a worthy goal and is challenging enough. I would think of myself as the low-end of middle class and yet I’m relatively happy.” The place was buzzing, Flash equipment…

Sidewalk Ghosts / With Peace and Power

“Learning. Making more things, and not being intimidated to show my work.” Pointing to a shopping center studio, my daughter pushed, “we have to go in, there is your person to interview.” I’m telling you, out of the mouth of children does inspiration flow. The windows were covered with artwork and partitions blocked our view…

Sidewalk Ghosts / Keep Truckin!

“Too many people turn a blind eye to the negative. There is a lot of messed up stuff in the world. People can do more that just watch the news or be fans of organizations helping others. They can get up and do something about it. I’m not saying they have to give a ton…

Sidewalk Ghosts / A Stranger Walked Into My House, A Friend Departed

“Plans don’t always turn out the exact way you plan. You have to be open to change, and here is the best part. THINGS TURN OUT BETTER.” By the side of my good friend and photographer Elizabeth (not pictured) she was. Studio manager to Elizabeth, and in Los Angeles from New York, they had stopped…

Sidewalk Ghosts / Tell My Story Of Fairness

“I don’t lie, I don’t cheat, I don’t steal. If there is anybody who needs help, I’ll help them, even if I have to give the last possession I have, I will, if it helps someone else in greater need than myself. That’s the way I am.” As I drove home from dropping my daughter…

Sidewalk Ghosts /  Never Judge A Man By His Looks?

Day Of The Dead, Dia De Los Muertos: A holiday focused on praying for, and remembering, friends and family members who have died. It’s a big deal in Mexican culture and a huge day of celebration. It was on that particular day I decided to explore a busy festivity in my nearby Canoga Park. Six…

Sidewalk Ghosts / You Give and God Gives Back”

“America is different from Peru. Everything is easier, and there is opportunity for those who work for it, and remember to vote!” I’ve held a little secret regarding the story of Monica and Matthew, that being as I met with them, we were not alone. As in all interviews, I’ve always waited to take photos…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “The Plumberman”

There is genuine intent in his eyes; an obvious interest that literally stops me in my tracks.   Every second of every year we open and close our eyes to life as it passes in front of our very faces; in each, filling ourselves with influence the world drafts in our direction. Like spiritual lungs…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “That Is Them!”

“Hate doesn’t take you anywhere.” 7:30pm, November 4, 2011: I was with my family and starting to sweat a little. I thought, “here comes a late-nighter” as I tried to find a new friend to interview. We’d been to Home Depot, Target, and Ralph’s grocery store, followed by a bit of drive-by wandering of a few…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “Really Listen”

“My kids like to talk to me, it’s an open-ended dialogue. I’ve learned to not dismiss their thoughts or try to redirect them into what I want to hear.” For fifty-five days I had openly written about my life, my journeys and the people I met. Months with much time away from my family, so…

Sidewalk Ghosts / Reid, knock’em dead in LV!

Wisdom, that after racing behind him for a quarter of an hour, through our small talk and witnessed in the courage he seemed to have in pursuing his dreams, I saw a story much deeper than any we could have shared in words. My heart was broken. A post interview experience I will soon publish…

Sidewalk Ghosts / The Snore Storm

“If I die tomorrow, my funeral will take three days, so that all of my friends can attend.” It was the day I traveled to the interview I mentioned in the previous story. Can’t say I was comfortably in route, rather I was sitting cramped at some thirty thousand feet. Trapped in a plane with…

Sidewalk Ghosts / What Would Jesus Do?

“have fun, but don’t live recklessly, for yourself or others. Focus on doing good, because what if it is your time and you’re not living up to your potential or doing bad things. You don’t want to go out that way. You want to be remembered for what good you did. Make your Mom, Dad…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “It’s Totally Rad”

…more than an emerging artisan; she was a community activist… It was a Saturday afternoon. Fifty-one days since my commitment to interview a stranger and publish a story for 365 consecutive days. Lucky that my family had been patient toward a project that was still in it’s infancy as they sacrificed their time with me….

Sidewalk Ghosts / “Are You Guys Communists?”

I’d asked for the forth time, “who is playing on the stereo?” He said, “if you ask me again, I’m going to punch you!” Sitting in the car engrossed in my entry, I had asked my friend Michaelbrent (he was driving) the same questing four times in ten minutes. Some people can be too touchy, can’t…

Sidewalk Ghosts / The Chance Of A More Perfect World

Hello, dear readers of Sidewalk Ghosts, random curiosity seekers, and people who stumbled onto this project while looking for the newest celebrity train wreck (nothing here about the Khardashians, sorry) You may notice a bit of a difference in this essay. There’s a reason for that; and the reason is simply this: I’m not Richard.  Instead,…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “Yuwipi Is My Religion.”

“you’ve got to have respect for other people.” “Are you a veteran!” he asked (it is not a mistake I use ! instead of ?). The question came at me as sharp as a bullet. No, I did not serve, I was between the draft and did not volunteer, I replied. He looked away as if disgusted. Left…

Sidewalk Ghosts / In The End–It’s All Good!

“Everything is so fast paced now, you must have patience with yourself and those around you.” Picture yourself in the passenger seat with me as we cruised through suburbia and into a corner shopping center. Radio tuned in as we chilled to our favorite tunes. Yet somehow, the music was silent. How could that be,…

Sidewalk Ghosts / A Stranger In My Midst

“these kids inspire me, when the kids succeed, I succeed.” For years my daughter had, on and off, been participating in gymnastics, and with my wandering the streets looking to interview strangers, it had become the norm for my wife to stand in as her companion. But on one particular evening I tagged along, and…

Sidewalk Ghosts / He is Gone, But He Is Here

Even though it has been over seven years since I first met her, the positive outlook she glowed, to this day, stops me in my tracks. Yet, under the free spirit she so happily exuded, there was a person enduring the pain of a great loss. It was pumpkin hunting night. A Halloween tradition followed…

Sidewalk Ghosts / Go, Go… Go Johnny, Go, Go, Go…

“I’m in for anything that brings people together.” Driving home after a dinner with friends and family. I came across a group of bikers. Picture a casual outdoor gathering, killer motorcycles parked along the road, and a bunch of leather jacketed bikers sharing stories over after ride coffee. At the time it seemed to mein…

Sidewalk Ghosts / Would You Cool It With The Cigarette Butts

“Everybody feels the way you do; what you do with it is up to you. You can either handle it, or you can be a victim.” “It’s impossible to go through life without problems.” A quote that revealed the character of a remarkable young man, Aaron, who at only twenty had experienced enough life to…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “I Hope You Don’t Go Through This”

The Great Recession in the United States was a severe financial crisis combined with a deep recession. While the recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, it took several years for the economy to recover to pre-crisis levels of employment and output.   The Great Recession: Income poisoning years that put so many of us…

Sidewalk Ghosts / “you can only lose your dignity once”

“happiness is not about money or status, it’s about self-worth.” It was day thirty-eight into the project and all those who knew me were starting to see, even feel, the impact it was having on my families life. Literally, to the point, that as I first authored this story, I was looking across the table…

SideWalk Ghosts / A Pledge For Our At Home Heroes

As Anne and I began our interview, her phone rang, her husband with news regarding his recent deployment. In her eyes, I saw a dream on the horizon, a possible mission that would place him permanently in San Diego, giving them the chance to finally start a life under one roof. For those of you…