Toyota Truck from “Back to the Future”, Automobile

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 31-07-2007

So this is the truck from “Back to the Future”. It’s a 1985 Toyota 22r Pickup and I’m looking for one.



If you’re selling, I’m buying.

Nathanael Malone, Photographer

Posted by vern | Posted in Friends | Posted on 31-07-2007

From the set of “The Ghost Story”. Captured in time and space forever.



Jacques Henri Lartigue – Photographer

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 30-07-2007

Jacques Henri Lartigue (June 13, 1894 – September 12, 1986) was a French photographer and painter.

lartrigue self-portrait

Born in Courbevoie (a city outside of Paris), he is most famous for his stunning photos of automobile races, planes and fashionable Parisian women from the turn of the century.

His greatest achievement was his set of around 120 huge photograph albums, which compose the finest visual autobiography ever produced.

He was friends with a wide selection of literary and artistic celebrities including the playwright Sacha Guitry, the singer Yvonne Printemps, the painters Kees van Dongen, Pablo Picasso and the artist-playwright-filmmaker Jean Cocteau. He also worked on the sets of the film-makers Jacques Feyder, Abel Gance, Robert Bresson, François Truffaut and Federico Fellini, and many of these celebrities became the subject of his photographs. Lartigue, however, photographed everyone he came in contact with, his most frequent muses being his three wives, and his mistress of the early 1930s, the Romanian model Renée Perle.

Wes Anderson often uses Lartique’s imagery in his films.

Lartigue was not a hobo, but he should have been.


For More Info:

DeLoreans at Universal Studios, Aug. 2

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 24-07-2007

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE RIDE is closing forever. On Aug. 2, 2007 there will be over 100 DeLoreans arriving at Universal Studios. This is a very important event.


Here’s the link to the forum thread:

thanks to frazgo at

New Coffee Shop — Tanner’s Coffee Co, Culver City

Posted by vern | Posted in Resourceful Living, Winnebago Experience | Posted on 24-07-2007

Free Internet. Friendly people. Comfy couches. Now Hiring.

Tanner’s Coffee Co.


4342 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA
Phone: (310) 636-2727

Johnny McGowan hops a 28mph Freight Train.

Posted by vern | Posted in Resourceful Living, Travel, Video | Posted on 23-07-2007

Incredible and not to be missed. I admire this man.

Today’s Hobo Status

Posted by vern | Posted in Winnebago Experience | Posted on 23-07-2007

The Face of Unemployment.
(There are tears behind the glasses.)
Vern is now accepting work of all paying sorts.

The Face of A Captain.
(There’s a beard below those eyes.)
Jeff is currently on vacation.

John Hodgman, Partially Professional Hobo Theologian and the Hobo Wars.

Posted by vern | Posted in Storytelling | Posted on 23-07-2007

15 Minutes of elusive hobo history, presented by John Hodgman (“The PC” from the “Mac” commercials and author of, “The Areas of My Expertise”). John now has a home at our home. Thank you John Hodgman and all that support all that he supports.

…and lava.

The Noble Hobo (REPOST)

Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 23-07-2007

Written in April and still represents my search for who the hobo was/is:

My Furthering Hobo Perception…
Was the hobo a noble character. It seems that, as I dive further and further into the hobo story, my perception of who the hobo is, and was, is changing. This evening i came to the realization that I may be overly glorifying the hobo as a great diligent worker who simply prefers to remain homeless and travel. Most everyone loves to travel, and a majority of those people realize that you need to work to travel. So that leaves hobos somewhere in the middle.

Recently, I saw some photos of hobos at a gathering in Dunsmuir, CA. The pictures were taken in 2002, and it showed 6-10 “hobos” sitting around a campfire, with expressions of drunkenness. Half were young gentlemen around the age of 21 and the other half were, what looked like, good ol’ American white-trash. It really saddened me. I envisioned them littering there cheap beer cans, trying to break live tree branches off surrounding trees for the fire and nothing but the most idiotic of campfire conversations — people more concerned with the amount of beers they have left, than anything else. I saw people exchanging welfare tricks and techniques, and stories of drunken police run-ins, and schemes, and lies, and endless pontificating. Where are the iconoclasts? The romantics? The classic, bearded story-telling old timers? Hobo stew? Probably haven’t even hear of it and don’t care. Where are the Oklahoma Slim’s and Boxcar Bob’s? Now the heroes are Budweiser Bob and Generator Jerry. Really? That’s really your name? Sad. I hope I’m wrong.

And, so what does that mean for me? Abandon my romanticized version of hobo history? Did the original hobos only think about where their next drink came from? Or how to stick it to the original “man”? Or was “man” different back then? Perhaps survival and life were more differently defined. I would love to go to a country today whose economy and development was equal to America’s in the 1930’s. I wonder if there i would find my “romanticized hobo” — a man traveling in search of work; and not just work that would buy a $1.99 bottle of whiskey with his lazy day’s worth of works pay.
But a man wanting to hone his skill. To pursue and invest in something. Perhaps a family, or a tool, or toy, or house, or even just himself. That’s what I admire about my version of the original hobo. A man vehemently in search of his future. Maybe you break a couple of rules here and there, but its a calculated risk, with rewards that last a long, long time. And, in all the rambling, and hobo stew, and dirt and wind on the face, a noble and strong man appears.

Here’s a good article from North Bank Fred:
“The Hobo Is Dead. Long Live the Hobo.” By Alex Brand



The Heart Of America

Posted by jeff | Posted in Travel | Posted on 17-07-2007

When I planned my trip for Wisconsin, after Tokyo, common response was confusion. What’s in Wisconsin?


The people that make this country great. That’s what. People who work on farms, people who do construction, people who drive trucks, people with names like Ken Van Dusen (doo-sen) and Norm, people who say “you bet-cha”, “Wiscahhhnsin”, people who live in towns like Mukwonago, Waukesha and of course, East Troy. People who play paintball on their days off, people who kayak simply because there are lakes and they want to take advantage of the beauty that God placed around them, people who own that entire lake and don’t allow others to build on it for that same reason.
I couldn’t have guessed the great time I would have had visiting. Whether it was kayaking from lake to lake thru the “criks” or shooting my friend’s husband in the mouth with a paintball, or hanging out at their house, traveling to Miller Park and Wrigley Field for baseball games, these people simply know how to enjoy themselves. And those polish people in Chicago, they make a fine pierogie. (Although, as the “Wisconsonians” (my word) call them, they’re FIBs. “F@$&ing Illinois Bastards”. Seems no matter where we live, we can’t stand our neighboring states or counties.)


Plus, how can you not like a place that is as welcoming to hobos as this parking lot, asking us to park there. (In reality, the store is called “Hobo”, as in the Home Owner’s Bargain Outlet, but you better believe I’d be living there).
So, thank you, Wisconsin, thank you, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, and thank you especially, to Ellyn and Norm, for putting me up and putting up with me.
We’ll see you again soon.


Turning Japanese

Posted by jeff | Posted in Storytelling, Travel | Posted on 14-07-2007

I’m writing this on the back of my Soduku book. I’m about to board my flight for Middle America. It feels like it. Strange accents. Presents for loved ones from California. Large people. It’s going to be a different trip.


Which is why I think I’m turning Japanese. I really think so. In contract to America or not, I love their way of life. The bow, I mentioned, the whiny way they talk, which I haven’t mentioned, but still, I’m turning Japanese. Their food, their respect for one another, their baseball. The chants they sing the whole time they are at bat. Their cleanliness. The bidet. Oh, the bidet. I only wiped my own butt twice in Japan, oh that bidet. A one button wash, a one button dry, auto flush. And still I feel obligated to wash my hands. A life saver, though, when you walk all day and just came back from three days in Mexico.
The sleeping on the train. Oh how I wish we had a train in LA. I looked today–only 4 lines. Pitiful. No wonder pollution and traffic are so bad. Their languge and the way they communicate. The police-I saw them talking to a man, obviously drunk and probably homeless. Simply walking with him, talking, politely patting him down. The moment I got off the plane, a security officer shouted at a woman who accidentally dropped her suitcase, rahter than helping her out. Unnecessary. They respect in Japan. Care about each other in Japan. In America, we care about ourselves and our wallets. Some about friends, some about family. Japan about everyone. You drop your wallet on the train, everyone runs after you with to get it to you. “Gaijin” (foreigners) are offered directions without asking. Not America.


I think I’m turning Japanese. In America, we see buses full of Asian tourists. There, buses of American tourists. I know why now. Their culture and language is so different than ours that you can’t communicate. And we both acknowledge it so we hide behind tinted windows and comfy seats.
When I was getting my Thai massage, the masseuse asked me if I’d been before. I actually said “no, fuhs-t time”. I wanted take out on afternoon, and thought about how to say it – “Ice cream, for go”. I think I’m turning Japanese.
To get on my plane back to America, they were confused when I asked for a small ziplock bag. Not for language problems, but because it is ridiculous. We all know it. A waste of time and government money. If I were to bomb anything or crash a plane into anything at an airport, it’d be the security lines. Not so I could sneak things thru, but so that none of us would have to go thru it anymore.
Would I go to Japan again? Only if I knew some Japanese people. I’ve seen close to 1,000,000 shrines. A side note on the shrines-I’ve gotten real tired of the religion, Shinto or buddhist. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand it, maybe it’s cause it’s silly. Sringes on every corner, literally in people’s backyards. All with change boxes and concession stands and fortune tellers. I was excited by the first few, and then every other was an opportunity to give money to try to please another deity. It’d be like going to St Pat’s in New York, St Mark’s in Chicago, St Joe’s in Boston, St. this or that in this or that city. Except they’re all in one city, and you’re expected to give and wake a spirit each time. Like I said, I respect and love the people. I just don’t get their religion. The worst was the shrine that told me that five deities were “housed” there. Please. So back to my reasons to come back. I’ve seen gardens. I’ve seen tourist sites. I’ve had enough. A good trip, but only to repeat to be more Japanese. To experience them, as they are, not as a gaijin.
So that is why I think I’m turning Japanese.

I think I’m turning Japanese.

I really think so.

Golden Hobo Logo hits the streets.

Posted by vern | Posted in Resourceful Living, Winnebago Experience | Posted on 12-07-2007

We’ve started leaving a trace. It’s our Golden Hobo Logo.



Wherever you find one of these on the streets, it’s probably a good place to park. We’ve spent the night there.

And here’s Jeff editing at “The Coffee Connection” in Venice, CA. He broke his wrist editing…




Posted by vern | Posted in Bringing Back The Hobo | Posted on 10-07-2007


Soup and T-shirts — all on one site:
A case of 25 is $50 I think.

No Smorking

Posted by jeff | Posted in Travel | Posted on 09-07-2007


Well, since you asked so politely…ok.

Mt Fuji, Onsen, and a Hobo

Posted by jeff | Posted in Travel | Posted on 08-07-2007

It’s been a few days, my trip is winding down, and I’m tired. Not necessarily of Tokyo, but we didn’t sleep much this weekend. Saturday night, at 9pm, we began a trek up and down Mt Fuji that didn’t end until Sunday morning at 8am. The sunrise was a sight to see, and we conquered one of the most climbed mountains in the world–surrounded by Japanese tourists in their full hiking suits. Pictures to come.
Last night, in hopes of rest, we went searching for “onsen”-a traditional public bath that Japanese do (volcanic water, super hot, saunas, showers, etc) and we wanted to find a place for a massage. Unfortunately, Jeff lives in the shadiest part of Tokyo…and we found ourselves in many shady places. We felt shady-even though we were roaming the streets looking for legitimate business.
The few days before that, more shrines…more shrines. After a while, they all start to look the same. The teenagers here are nuts in what they wear-I hope they don’t think it looks good. The Japanese have perfected the train-sleep…complete with a head bob and almost leaning into each other when they do. And no one says anything if someone they don’t know is falling into them.
The culture-the more I am in it, the more I like it. I enjoy taking my shoes off before I enter places. I enjoy trying to speak their language, even if I don’t know much. I enjoy bowing. I enjoy bowing too much. Expect me to bow when I see you next. I enjoy their food-the sushi, ramen, and a whole lot of other words I can’t spell right now. It’s delicious.
I don’t enjoy Americans in Tokyo. Again, I said that Jeff lives in the shadiest part of the city, so most of the idiots are here. Running around the city, drunk and stupid, scamming on all the Japanese girls and just looking like douchebags. Every time I walk by one, I want to hit him. They’re like those guys in Newport Beach, but the ones that can’t get girls in the states…so they have to come here. And act like those guys. They suck. I have no idea why this country likes Americans so much.
As for hobos here, I’ve found my share. Maybe they’re bums, and not hobos, but I feel a connection. Sleeping on park benches, carrying their stuff around-there aren’t many–30,000 out of 12,000,000-but they’re around. My beard attracts attention–in some parts of the city, I am Jesus Christ, other parts, guys trying to sell me prostitutes tell me they recognize me and so-and-so really enjoyed me the other night and wants me to come back (true story–not the part about the girl, but he said that). On Mt. Fuji, I was the professional Mountain Man. In Tokyo, I’m the guy they avoid. I guess that’s like America.
And there you are. Another few thoughts, I’m headed out to Kamakura today (outside Tokyo) and then for a final day tomorrow I’m hitting the last few major things everyone says I should see and a baseball game at the Tokyo Dome.
It’s been a good trip.