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A monthly diary of current postings and quick train of thought entries


Janaury 2018

January 28th

Good chance this will be my last entry for January. Busy week coming up… busy week of work on stuff for things other than the web site. So… a few items worth noting…

There are only a handful of days remaining to take advantage of the Life Won’t Pass Me By special offer. Available only here at In My Backpack, this package deal includes:

  • A copy of Life Won’t Pass Me By – signed and can be personalized
  • A second book, which can be selected from an assortment of titles – signed and can be personalized
  • A picture of the Life Won’t Pass Me By cover – signed by both me and Jay Gillen (the artist that drew the cover art)

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The Life Won’t Pass Me By package is available for just $25, and in many cases also includes shipping costs. But… it is only available until February 1st!

A Parkside View is almost ready for February. The next monthly edition will be out in roughly a week. If you would like to sign up to receive each issue, send an e-mail.

Local Friends for Local Business is wrapping up the January challenge – Something New. The idea is to look around your community, find a business you’ve never visited before, and step inside. This effort runs all the way to the 31st. Then…

The February challenge for Local Friends is going to explore the other side of the coin – Old Reliable. In this instance, between the 1st and 28th, the idea will be to find a place you have visited before, but for whatever reason you haven’t been there in a few months (or perhaps even a year or more).

ComplemenTerry Designs is in the process of confirming the first announcement for 2018 events… which will be a two-day show on November 24th and 25th. It is beginning to look like we might once again approach things with a limited stretch of appearances this year.

Speaking of calendars… the writing appearances are beginning to shape up. One event is currently locked down for October 3rd (details coming soon). You can find out more about my books and events in the Writing & Books area of the site.

I recently announced my next book project, A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2. This collection contains all of the essays printed in the first two volumes of the monthly newsletter. That ground covers 18 essays previously seen only on the pages of A Parkside View. It also includes 25 essays drawn From the Backpack. Plus, 2 new essays will be included. Look for more details to be shared throughout February, with a release date currently set for March 6, 2018.

From the “wow… just… umm… wow” files. According to an NPR article, there were disqualifications at a recent beauty contest for camels. Apparently, there were findings of Botox use.

It does look like Indiana Jones is moving closer and closer to a return. 2020 is beginning to solidify as a target after being mostly rumor previously, with filming beginning next year.

Wrapping things up with a new essay… “A 2x4 that’s really 2x4

January 24th

Today we’re going to end things with several essays that come from a couple of places.

First, brand new work. Two essays for that. Simple.

Second, From the Backpack offerings are always fun for me to consider and work on. I enjoy looking over my older material, regardless of things like style, source, or where I found it. This week, the focus of some searches shifted slightly to the early web site and efforts that were experiments. I called some pieces Random Thoughts, and never really had given any of the results in that area individual presentations. I revisited many posts and drafts of such material, and over the past two days posted eight essays from this material. Today, I’ve got three more to add.

Combined, these five essays also accomplish something else… they bring us beyond the target of 40 essays for the month of January. Once this daily entry wraps up, I’ll have linked to 41 essays this month… 41 posted to the web site.

Chances are good I’ll have more to add in the next few days, but I have also seen a few other projects come about that need my attention. So, my posts between now and February will be a bit scattered and unpredictable.

Local Friends for Local Business is winding down the January challenge, with about a week left. The idea is Something New, which is based around getting out and finding a business you have never before visited.

2018 is about to see some things getting announced for the schedules of ComplemenTerry Designs and Bob’s writing appearances. While we are not likely to be offering full details for a few months, we do want to take a moment to: (1) Thank those people and groups that have been working with us on setting up, exploring, and ultimately heading toward confirmation for events. (2) Encourage you to check out the event pages (found in the ComplemenTerry Designs and Writing & Books areas of the site). (3) Reach out and let us know if you have questions about any of the events, including thoughts about our participation.

If you are interested in Bob’s published efforts—and, THANK YOU for that—don’t miss a tremendous opportunity to add to your collection. There is a special offer available, but it is ending on February 1, 2018. The Life Won’t Pass Me By package is built around two books and a signed collectible for $25.

And the parade of great stuff for Black Panther continues.

The new work… “Made from scratch

And… “A support for multiple universes

And the From the Backpack pieces… “Cleaner drinking water?

A wedding to remember

Truth in advertising

January 23rd

Continuing with our Random Thoughts efforts… digging into the archives, and pulling a few items From the Backpack.

Four essays today… we’ll get back into the swing of presenting a few other items tomorrow…

Let’s pack up… it’s December 1st already, the holidays are over


The big, stupid companies strike yet again

Summer school… sort of

January 22nd

Back to it today… essays to post… should have some longer entries with different things as the week moves along.

Today I’m starting a run of From the Backpack posts that includes essays that previously appeared at In My Backpack in a segment referred to as Random Thoughts. Should have about ten of them over the next two or three days.

Each of these essays began from ideas that I wanted to post, but didn’t have what I felt was a fully developed effort. In the end, the experimental turns that occasionally appear in things around the site, a desire to clear some content from the idea lists and draft piles, and a handful of assorted other reasons led to my creating a segment that was part quick and part rough. Something I might return to visit again later.

They have been re-written in several ways for the postings you are going to see here. To a degree, that did not involve as much editing and new writing as I expected when I first came across them and started the work for adding them. It also doesn’t mean they got the full editing or creative attention that delivers them to a truly finished and not to be touched again form. But, they definitely underwent some new proofreading, some new formatting, and some new writing.

Today… four Random Thoughts entries appear From the Backpack…

What’s in a name? (Or… where am I?)


The things I knew back then, that I don’t know now

Outsourcing jobs

January 21st

A Parkside View
Volumes 1 & 2

I am thrilled to be sharing the details of my next book release today. A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2 will be out on March 6, 2018.

A Parkside View began as a monthly newsletter in July of 2016. The goal was focused on three ideas…

(1) Writing a new essay for each edition. This material would be brand new, never before released, debuting exclusively on the pages of the newsletter.

(2) Incorporating some older material, which I have referred to as “From the Backpack” essays here on the web site. At In My Backpack, it usually refers to material that once was on the web site, but for any of a number of reasons is no longer around… can also mean material that has been started or even written, but had been filed away in folders and drawers and notebooks… in the end actually being all sorts of stuff that essentially isn’t posted. For the newsletter, that thought shifted a bit, drawing upon any and all materials including some that was active on the web site but simply hadn’t been presented in the newsletter at any time. At least one From the Backpack essay would be included in each edition.

(3) Occasional material and news and announcements and more from Backpackville… the In My Backpack community that features Local Friends for Local Business, ComplemenTerry Designs, and my published books.

In 2016 and 2017—known as volumes 1 and 2 of the newsletter—there were a total of 43 essays printed over 18 editions. 18 new essays and 25 essays From the Backpack. All of these essays are being included in the release of A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2. In addition, two new essays—“A Parkside View” and “Sunset”—will be a part of the book. That will create a total of 45 essays… 2 never before released… 18 released previously only in the newsletter.

The original announcement of the project was made in the January edition of the A Parkside View newsletter. I have made an adjustment from that first announcement… moving the release date to match up with the March celebrations of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the In My Backpack web site.

The book will be released in a print edition as well as being available for Kindle. More details are coming soon!

If you aren’t receiving A Parkside View each month, it’s easy and free! Just send us a message or e-mail.

January 20th

Quick little announcement… look for the posting of essays and such to return next week. Likely Monday.

As of today, we’re twenty days into the month of January. And, that means about two-thirds of the way through my effort to get 40 essays posted here on the In My Backpack web site.

There are usually two parts to my thoughts when I work on this kind of a project for a month. First… simple… ramp up productivity. Get myself writing more, worrying and hesitating less. And second… hunt through some of the archives to find material that isn’t on the web site (some of it may have been at one time, and some of it may just have been stored off to the side in a file or cabinet or whatever).

During the first five years of the web site, I tried to post some material in different ways. I had segments called “A Momentary Lapse…” and “Are You Chewing Gum?” for the journal-like entry stuff. And I posted something I called “Random Thoughts” occasionally, which involved material that I described at the time as: “Too long for “A Momentary Lapse…”…not enough for a full article… need to get them off my “ideas to work on” list…”.

This month, in looking over some of the older material, I found a few essays that I thought would be pretty neat to revisit. And several of them are being developed out of old Random Thoughts.

We’re closing in on thirty efforts already posted this month… I have two new essays nearing completion that will be ready to post in the next day or two… there are at least eight essays from the Random Thoughts that appear ready to become more fully developed and posted as From the Backpack efforts, and likely more than ten.

We could clear the January target by mid-week.

Announcement tomorrow. More stuff on the way. Thanks for stopping in.

January 19th

Three postings today… one new… two sports essays From the Backpack…

First up, the new piece… “Someone thought of coffee

And then the throwbacks…

This isn’t what replay was supposed to be

What is the NCAA thinking?

More coming over the weekend.

January 18th

On our social media pages, there has been a countdown taking place recently. A countdown that is moving along toward Sunday… this next Sunday, January 21st.

On that day, we’ll be making an announcement here at In My Backpack. (It’s based on information revealed in the January edition of A Parkside View… and if you’re not receiving the monthly newsletter, SIGN UP!)

We’re moving along with a busy month. Quick entry today. New essay and then more tomorrow…

What are words for?

January 17th

Nine books… print and Kindle editions… available at Amazon, the Kindle store, and from a variety of online booksellers.

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Around Backpackville, there are a few different neighborhoods. Local Friends for Local Business is one specific place. ComplemenTerry Designs is another. A Parkside View is a third. The Photo Gallery… the list goes on. (The site has grown just a tiny bit since March of 2003.)

The ‘ville itself is kind of an all-encompassing idea that includes some of the everyday material (Now Playing and The Attic).

But when it comes to the professional stuff—and by that we mean the published material… the stuff available for purchase—the majority of information can always be found in the Writing & Books section.

Here you can learn more About Bob. You can find details about each of the books. And, there is information about the publishing and where to purchase each title.

We recommend Amazon. We do that mainly because it’s an all-in-one location. Bob has an author page at Amazon. Different countries, around the world, offer some of Bob’s titles (and in many places offering his work, all of the titles). There are ways to learn about both print and Kindle options. Where available, all of the titles are currently considered for Amazon’s free shipping. And there is more…

Bob Hocking at Amazon

Bob Hocking at Barnes & Noble

Bob Hocking at Goodreads

All of us at In My Backpack thank you for your interest and time. We are grateful that you visit the web site. And we are incredibly grateful for your feedback, comments and support.

THANK YOU for stopping by… THANK YOU for purchasing Bob’s books… and THANK YOU for coming back.

The Fantastic Beasts movies will each be set in a different city.

There’s a push going on to create a new state. (Honestly though, it seems I recall moments when California has talked this talk before.)

Here’s a new essay… “Modern day treasure map

January 16th

The Life Won’t Pass Me By special offer is still available!

Here are the basics: $25… two books… one autographed collectible.

The package is only available by request here at In My Backpack, and… The Life Won’t Pass Me By special offer will end on February 1, 2018!

As of right now, there are still copies of five titles available for this offer. Life Won’t Pass Me By (the main book) along with Time Just Drifts Away, Thirty Days in November, Title Town (and other tangents), and Conversations.

Send me an e-mail for more details!

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To close things up for today… two new essays…

A sense of community

And… “The pesky earworm

January 15th

Local Friends for Local Business continues in January, with the challenge of Something New.

Chances are good that within a few miles of your home there are several businesses you’ve never visited. Restaurants and shops… some offering terrific food, great products, and amazing service. But you may never find out how good they are. (Unless you take some time to look for them.)

So… get out there! Find a place you may have thought about before, but for whatever reason you haven’t made the time. Look around and check out the places you overlooked while driving by. Step inside. Get to know the places.

The original, first, Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween is a classic movie. Classic. Quite arguably legendary. And as production begins on a new installment… with Curtis returning and advance word hinting at some massive adjustments being offered for what should be viewed as the official timeline of the films… notices are getting out of some very interesting names involved as cast and crew.

The more we get to see ahead of the arrival of Black Panther, the more this movie shows just how groundbreaking and incredible it may be.

Wrapping things up, two new pieces…

First up, an end to the 2016 drive along the east coast… “Days Eight, Nine, Ten and Eleven – Florida – Relaxing in Orlando and then beginning the journey home

And then… “On being a citizen

January 14th

Winter came back in a hurry across portions of the US this weekend. After kicking off the year with blindingly brutal cold, many were treated to what might be considered a heat wave over two or three days.

Then the cold returned.

Some areas of the northeast saw swings of 50 degrees or more between Friday and Saturday. And that has meant all sorts of associated fun.

Trying to get some things done in the sudden rise of temperatures, which made it easier to stay and work outside. Then trying to get some things done before the sudden drop of temperatures, including just setting up ways to stay warm. Either side of the coin, work to do…

…and the work continues. New essay today to finish things off.

I’m not convinced about this meeting

January 13th

Interesting day. Got to deal with some snow… so… no time. But… work for the month continues.

A new effort… “Around the corner

Plus, in this month of attempting to ramp up production… a bonus new essay… “Rain, rain, go… oh, never mind

January 12th

From the Backpack effort… with a bit of current day help… to close out today’s entry. Quick link to something I spotted on the internet first.

While beyond brutally cold in some places, in others (like Australia) the highway is melting.

And now… an updated effort pulled From the Backpack… “Would Jesus…

January 11th

Just an essay today… new one… back tomorrow with more…

Nice matters (I think)

January 10th

When we wrap up today’s entry… the tenth journal entry this month… it will be with a new essay.

I promised I was going to make every attempt to get 40 essays posted this month. A combination of new essays, older essays that may have once been posted but for some reason aren’t around currently, older material finally finished off and ready to share around here. A total of 40 essays.

So, as we round the bend around the first third of the month… it’s going pretty well. Fourteen essays are up as of today… seven new… seven From the Backpack.

We hit a bit of a snag for a couple of days. I needed to work on something behind-the-scenes before posting a few entries. I apologize for that delay. (Hopefully the run of material will keep you busy, make you smile, and allow you to forgive me. I’ll work on keeping the pace up.)

Today’s new addition… “Just wait a minute

January 9th

Another day… another essay… new one today, with the link at the end.

While quite possibly not the project you may have been hoping to see, if you like Flight of the Conchords, the news that they likely have a special headed to HBO is a good thing.

Everything for Black Panther looks incredible.

And the new posting… “Treating the planet better than we do

Oh… yeah… that’s not all… a second new posting… “Track whisperer

January 8th

Today we manage to pass the first quarter of the month. 31 days in January… today’s the 8th… I’m not going to do exact math… 25% wrapped up at some point over these hours.

My target for the month was to post 40 essays, using a combination of new material and some archived stuff. Where do we stand? Yesterday I posted something From the Backpack, which was the ninth essay for the month. Not a bad start. Today, I’m going to add two new essays…

First… a travel piece from a 2016 adventure… “Days Four, Five, Six and Seven – Florida – On to Orlando and a few perfect days of nothing

And second… “The backyard I’ll probably never have

January 7th

Another one From the Backpack today. New essay coming tomorrow.

Wait a second… hold on… there might have been a time when the Earth was warmer?

January 6th

A Parkside View is out for January and making the rounds. The first page contains a very special announcement, which I expect to share here on the web site in a bit more than a week.

If you’re not receiving the monthly newsletter… well… why not? It’s easy AND FREE! All you need to do is use one of our social media pages to send us a message asking about signing up for it. Or, even easier, send us an e-mail. We’ll get back to you and get everything sorted out.

The second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events is slated to arrive on March 30th.

You may have heard about the state of Oregon and the new laws about pumping gas. But, my guess is that if you don’t live in Oregon, you don’t know the whole story. (I’m not saying there aren’t some very funny parts to it, just that you should know more before making jokes.)

Today’s entry wraps up with another essay taken From the Backpack… “Paving my childhood with comfort food

January 5th

Quick post today, just a new essay…

Costco and dryer balls

January 4th

One of the items on my to do list for this month is adding 40 essays to the In My Backpack web site. And today’s entry will close with a link to a new essay. That will bring our total to six essays in four days, which is a decent pace to get this effort completed.

It will involve some older work that may have been posted before, which I usually dub as From the Backpack material. This is stuff that I could have written years ago and perhaps put in a folder someplace… items that were written and shared on the site but removed for any of a number of reasons… ideas that I outlined or began writing but never completed… and on and on. The start of January began with five essays drawn from such places. And, I have to say, I was stunned by them all in some way…

The mom bag”—posted this time on January 3rd—is a piece that makes me recall how the web site got its name, while also bringing up memories of travel and other assorted tidbits.

Merry Christmas… I think”—January 2nd—is slightly late for the season, but offers up a different twist on one of my favorite holiday themes. Seasonal greetings for me are not a literal expression of differences or personal beliefs, intent on dividing people or pushing an agenda. They are a strong bond and thoughts of kindness, where I am offering my wishes for your health overall and your meaning in my life as someone that matters. They are an offering of thanks and appreciation for making my life better.

October fires”—January 1st—one of my older efforts, roughly three decades in the making as it appears this week.

That’s just three of the five. Those first essays contained material where I was surprised to find they weren’t a part of the site in recent years. I’m thrilled to bring them to the pages of In My Backpack now. I have a good feeling that this month is going to have more surprises like these as we move along.

Ok… today’s new essay… more tomorrow…


January 3rd

Two more From the Backpack today… we should get on a somewhat normal routine tomorrow.

The mom bag

The battle lines have been drawn… about three feet high

January 2nd

I was working on a few projects today… the January edition of A Parkside View… some materials involved in a project that will be announced this week (first announcement coming in the January issue of A Parkside View, web site announcement will be made in about two weeks)… digging through the archives and files and drawers to find some older material… writing new material… and on and on…

And it occurred to me that the best way to start things out this month (and get the newsletter out this week instead of late May) would be to kick off January—and the run at posting 40 essays this month—with five essays From the Backpack.

So… one yesterday… two today… two tomorrow. A Parkside View should be out by Thursday.

Here are today’s postings…

Gone are the days of Schoolhouse Rock

Merry Christmas… I think

January 1st

Happy New Year!!!

This is going to be a crazy month… and that means taking a few days to get everything into place. So today… we’re going to start with Local Friends and an essay taken From the Backpack, along with a quick look around the web. Tomorrow… a new essay along with details about the postings coming this month. By Wednesday or Thursday… the release of January’s edition of A Parkside View and two more essays.

This month, Local Friends for Local Business is setting out on an adventure for Something New. And such a challenge is actually really simple…

Between the 1st and 31st of this month, at some point step inside a business you’ve never visited previously.

See? Easy.

Have lunch in that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Spend some time in that new shop down the street. Go for a walk… get in the car… turn a few corners… find a door that looks interesting and fun and different and open it.

In your neighborhood… in your community or one nearby… in the area where you happen to be spending some time… find Something New, and enjoy.

This is an interesting idea. Short summary… it’s a vending machine for homeless people. Slightly longer summary… people in need would essentially apply for a card that can access the machine, which in turn can provide a tracked supply of items such as food and toiletries. The article covers more information about the effort.

And… to wrap up day one of the New Year… From the Backpack… “October fires

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail us at Bob@inmybackpack.com