Now playing

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


January 2019

January 31st

Bringing an end to the month of January and prepping to say hello to February…

Local Friends for Local Business has been focused on Bakeries this month. In February the theme of the challenge will be Ice & Snow. The idea will be anything and everything cold-weather related, from hot cocoa to snowblowers, boots to blankets.

The February edition of A Parkside View is being finished. Not perfectly certain of an exact release date, but some point early next week is looking the most likely.

The sequel has a new name… an official name… Zombieland: Double Tap. Fans of the original will instantly realize how appropriate the title is. Details have been coming out about the effort, mainly rumored casting additions that are creating some excitement. Release is slated for October this year.

I had hoped to have an essay or two ready to finish the month, but time didn’t work in my favor. (Nothing like spending multiple days cleaning up drifting snow after a storm.) Come back again soon!

January 29th

Big day today… posting essays thirty and thirty-one. And, thirty-two.

Yup… hitting and passing the target of a one-per-day average for January and essays. It’s something I’ve been doing in January for three years now, and in those particular months it’s resulted in posting more than one hundred essays into Backpackville.

2019 has been a bit different. From the Backpack efforts were a much larger portion of 2017 and 2018 efforts. Roughly thirty of the posts from these years were drawn from the archives, but only one was added this year.

More than one hundred essays posted… about eighty of them new. The vast majority of work over that time has produced general essays, though travel and sports have been involved at well. In a broad, sweeping view, it also gives a nod to how large the site has become as the sixteenth anniversary approach in March. I believe the specifics are that these three months have added about one hundred and ten essays to The ‘ville… three months out of what is nearing one hundred and eighty months of work. And while many changes have taken place over the years throughout In My Backpack, a quick count reveals that more than one thousand pieces are currently active in The Attic.

The challenges completed during these past three months of January are definitely part of the true intentions of the web site. Some essays have been good. Some not quite as good. Some needing additional work, but sharing them as is for now felt like the proper thing to do. Experimental efforts. Trying new things. No promises of perfection.

Thanks for stopping in and checking things out.

Just one item before we get to today’s essays…

Salt potatoes. Brilliant. Delicious. And here’s an article from Syracuse that covers just about everything you need to know, quick and easy.

Ok. Let’s finish things for today…

What we say, what we mean, what we want

The Double Stuf compromise

Winter storm warning… watch… warning… watch… oh, nothing

January 28th

More essays to add to the site today. Three of them.

Haven’t had much of a chance to really dive around corners on the internet lately. Been trying to get some work done on bigger projects while at the same time march along on the January challenge of reaching an average of one essay posted per day for the month. Hoping to come up with a few things in the next couple of days.

And since we are nearing the end of January… quick note… A Parkside View. The February issue is drawing close. If you’re signed up for it, awesome. If you’re not, you could be receiving the newsletter for free.

Ok… new stuff…

There’s a thin line between fun and crazy

People watching on a winter day

All the news that’s fit to ignore

January 26th

One essay today. More coming tomorrow (or, more likely, Monday)…

Pet peeves of winter

January 25th

Three essays today…

Paper or plastic… the new debate

Waze isn’t the way… well, it can, but technology sometimes lags behind

Overtime fairness and outrageous calls (Coin flips, challenges and playoffs – Oh my!)

January 23rd

One of the fun parts of the past few Januarys and the writing challenges I set up is that I have made a specific effort to reach into archives and find a From the Backpack entry or two (or three or more) to share during the work.

Such pieces have always been an important part of the web site, which really is built upon using it as a way to develop my writing. That includes finding older material that may need some work and giving it new consideration, as well as looking over material that may have been moved during this change or that and giving thought to bringing it back. One of today’s pieces is a From the Backpack effort. Look for the links to postings at the end.

Hard to really believe… because the material released so far has revealed an amazingly unexpected approach… but I am loving what I’ve seen of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing Shazam! soon.

Ok… we start things off for the essay postings with the From the Backpack essay… “And you know about naked Thursday

And then we add two new efforts…

Doctor Who naming Jodie Whittaker… it’s not about time (and yet it is)

Cooking stock (and kitchen stock)

January 21st

I want to get an essay in place, so we’re just going to have that today and then more in a day or so.

Recovering in the snow

January 20th

Ok… two new essays today… and that brings us to eighteen posts so far in January. Pretty much right on pace as we continue our run to hit an average of one piece per day this month. One bit of news to share, then the essays…

Rumors… yeah, be warned, the sources here appear to be rumors… about one of the new attractions from Star Wars heading to Disney. This one references Disneyland, though my understanding is similar attractions will be opening in Disney World a few months later.

Two new essays…

A funny story, and additional notes, on package delivery

Pet peeves in the world of WiFi

January 18th

Both of today’s new pieces were at least somewhat influenced by possibilities involving the latest upcoming, crossing the nation, full on snowmageddon. I want to mention that because, while it actually isn’t the centerpiece of the essays, it could be the centerpiece of this weekend.

A foot to two feet (to… just great… saw one person claiming up to three feet, which almost certainly won’t be the result) of snow may or may not change my overall world. More the timing of the snow accumulating that usually matters to me. Issues such as when do I need to have a car out of the driveway for some reason, compared to how long it will take me to clean up the driveway so I can leave it and the conditions on the road when I do. No rush to break out the snowblower matched up with roads plowed and clean means a fairly take-it-in-stride and dare I say routine approach.

(I do dare. When you live in the northeast, it isn’t the approaching snow and forecasted amounts. Even though you hear about rushes on milk and bread and more, for the most part we are a group that has faced snow before and don’t get surprised by its arrival or even massive drifts. Impressed by them, yes, but not surprised. Instead, we are more concerned by things like the temperature, which influences light and fluffy or heavy and wet.)

Ok… what all of this chatter means is simply this… I have zero clue how much time I’ll have for writing over the next day or two. Likely will get a decent amount accomplished. But no idea if I’ll be able to hang around long enough to write an essay and get it prepped and posted. So, you might not see me again until Monday. I’ll be thinking about you though. Stay warm, and make sure you have your shovel ready and plenty of hot cocoa on hand.

Now for the new efforts…

Not happy about the package arriving during the next snowmageddon

Bread, milk and a bucket of water

January 17th

Howdy. How are things with you?

Kind of a crazy start to things today, but I actually sat down with a dozen or so thoughts in my head, began typing, and almost went with “Happy New Year” as the beginning of this entry.

Hard to really believe we’re more than two weeks into 2019.

Let’s just go with a new piece… “There’s no place like home… unless there is… but… what’s in a name?

January 16th

Just two new essays today. We’re crossing the mid-point of the month, and I’m at thirteen essays completed and posted. A bit behind the day-to-day pace to hit an essay a day, but not too bad considering the pace we’ve hit recently. Definitely going to hit the mark in the end…

Cold weather cars

Recognizing the tire pressure light and… wait… this can’t be right

January 15th

Finally seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home stuff. Looking great. (Here’s a second, longer version of the trailer.)

Ridiculous. Incredible. Brilliant. Performance from Katelyn Ohashi (and her personal story is amazing).

Closing out today with two new essays…

Plastic wrap, the railing, and time

Mail for ‘or current resident’ is not for me

January 14th

Three new essays… and that is all…

New and… well, definitely not improved

The sky is falling (unless it’s not)

A thermostat under pressure

January 13th

As this week moves along, things should get back into a more normal appearance. Links around the web… random comments… new posts… and so on. For now, two new pieces…

The land of ice and snow (and rain and mud)

The sounds we ignore (or try)

January 11th

Bit of a transition day. We needed to get some things around here moved into the new month (and, sure, the New Year), and also get back on track as far as writing. More or less got that accomplished over the first few days. After a slow month of December and lots of assorted hurdles… it did, however, prove to be a bit of a bumpy road.

This entry won’t be much smoother.


We are going to close to moving along in the right direction with three new essays ready to go. (Yup. Three.) Should be getting better as the next few days arrive.

Next up… a few people have reached out on some of the news we have shared in January…

ComplemenTerry Designs

Yes, not making any appearances in 2019 is quite a change. Seems like we’ve been packing containers and loading cars forever (and twenty-plus years does tend to qualify as forever).

We are grateful for the responses from people about the announcement (and hope to catch up with us in some fashion). To answer a few of the questions we’ve received:

There are a ton of reasons why we decided to step back this year. Simple thought: it had become too much. Too much time… too much travel… too much. As just one example, we wanted to be able to spend time with family and friends without having to schedule and plan around all of the demands involved in preparing for and attending shows.

As far as why we made the announcement now, the idea was to try and connect with as many people as possible and do so as far in advance as we could. Plus, we wanted to make sure people knew they could still reach out to us and that the workshop would still have a light on.

You may never get published (Horror stories and thoughts to help you try anyway)

I had been expecting to release the book around February. Then I picked up the rough draft and began editing it.

It didn’t stink. (But there were parts I felt qualified as close.)

The biggest problem was that it didn’t feel complete or right in several areas. It didn’t offer a sense of fun and excitement. It didn’t offer the encouragement it needed to have at its foundation.

So, I chucked most of it. Sort of. (Ok, not completely. But it needed a massive overhaul.)

This will sound a bit sappy, but over the past few years I’ve met quite a few amazing people at writing appearances. They’ve been great about listening to me speak, and beyond enthusiastic about my efforts and their own. And I really felt like the book missed out on capturing some of that. It didn’t make the same connections or pass on the same energy that some of the workshops generated. I think the new drafts and writing are improving on that, and the final effort is going to be significantly stronger as a result.

Ok… promised you three new essays…

Extending my coverage

Pantry inventories

The birthday cards and the cranky old man (Or, the unexpectedly high costs of living)

January 6th

And today we get back to it… new essay…

Then they lost the sale

January 4th

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that this year for more writing has become a swirling bundle of projects and scheduling fun. Part of the thrills has involved adjusting some efforts already announced while adding a few that had been in development. Here are a few details I can share…

You may never get published (Horror stories and thoughts to help you try anyway)

Release target: May/June 2019

Drawn from the workshops I have been leading in recent years, this book provides information for writers looking to publish their work, offered from the perspective of things I wish I knew when I got started.

The book offers experiences I’ve had (good and bad), obstacles I’ve faced, and thoughts for setting up approaches and efforts to create stronger results.

Originally being developed for publication early in the year, a few adjustments came into play—including setting up a run of presentations near the release—has moved the date to mid-year.

Once in a Lifetime

Release target: August/September 2019

This will be the fifth book of the Travel Trilogy.

Current efforts are being based on three trips, with two of them never previously covered in any way. More details will be announced later.

Mystery Project Number One

Release target: November/December 2019

A definite release on the way, this will feature a collection of essays.

Mystery Project Number Two

Release target: December 2019

Not completely certain this will be ready. This has been a personal project for several years, and it is just beginning to take on a definitive form.

A Parkside View: Volumes 3 & 4

Release target: February 2020

Hard to believe, but as 2019 begins, we have moved into releasing the issues from the fourth volume of A Parkside View. When the year is up, we’ll have twenty-four months of material to bundle up and share.

January 3rd

ComplemenTerry Designs

The biggest part of today’s entry is about efforts that Terry and I have been working on for decades. Literally, decades. Because 2019 is going to be a bit different.

After a lot of thought and conversation, including stepping away for a few days and then coming back to it, we’ve decided that we are approaching this year with no plans to make any appearances. Unless something very unexpected develops, there will be no 2019 ComplemenTerry Designs Holiday Tour.

We’ve been attending events with ComplemenTerry Designs for more than twenty years. It has been, and much more often than not still is, awesome. We’ve made incredible friends, met some wonderful people, and had the opportunity to visit some fantastic places and support some great causes.

And yet there have been some headaches, especially in the past few years. Nothing unusual. Nothing you couldn’t figure out. Time and effort needed to meet the demands of participating in shows and festivals and such. And after our experiences this year, we believe we’ve reached a good time to take a year off.

That announced…

The workshop isn’t closed. This simply means we’re not loading the cars and hitting the road in 2019. If you have any special requests… if you want to know what we’re doing… send us a message. We’d be thrilled to hear from you.

One more thing…

A Parkside View

The January edition is being finished up now. I expect it to be out early next week. If you’ve signed up for the newsletter, it will be on the way soon. If you haven’t, don’t miss out.

January 2nd

Local Friends for Local Business

The effort began back in 2012, and we even kicked it off with the same challenge being offered here in January of 2019… Bakeries.

Some parts of the effort have been adjusted since the early days. Not incredible differences. More slight modifications. For one, the challenge now consistently runs for the entire month instead of over a few specific days. The idea behind that change was to remove limitations that might be felt by business hours, work schedules, and effectively any hurdles just created by life.

What has remained consistent is this: A celebration of unique treasures in communities, with honest intentions to learn about and support the businesses nearby. Local Friends is a recognition that many of the shops and restaurants and more in your neighborhood cannot be found elsewhere in the world, and that offer brilliant opportunities that are worthy of your attention. Find them… investigate them… and when they do things right and offer quality, raise the awareness about them.

Between January 1st and 31st, Local Friends for Local Business is celebrating the challenge of Bakeries. Do you enjoy finding and visiting them for sweet treats? Do you have one within a few miles of your front door that you frequent for loaves of bread?

Take a few minutes to check out the Local Friends pages. Learn about the effort and explore some of the history. Then do some research, find a bakery near you, and head out for a visit.

January 1st

Sit down and get ready…

December was a surprisingly active month… which the web site absolutely doesn’t reflect. (I mean, at all. The site shows no activity. Not even a small hint that it was a busy month.)

As an example of one good chunk of what was going on, Terry and I were busy with ComplemenTerry Designs. Ending November and beginning December with two events, over four days, with additional time for setting up and breaking down on different days. (And since we’re sharing details, the honest truth is that we’re still busy putting away tables, display panels and more.)

On behalf of ComplemenTerry Designs…

Thank you! Another holiday run of appearances has been completed, and we are beyond grateful for the response. Our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the organizers of events, to the staff and people assisting, and to everyone that stopped to say hello, offered kind words on our efforts, and took home some of our creations.

Amazing friends… incredible people… fantastic times. It has been our pleasure. We hope to see you again.

To wrap up today… a look at what needs to get moving…

I’ve got Local Friends for Local Business to announce (the January event is going to be Bakeries)… details about the 2019 year for ComplemenTerry Designs… writing announcements… the new issue of A Parkside View… and more. Lots more. Expect information over the next few days.

Throughout January, we’ll be returning to our annual challenge of sorts, where I attempt to average a new essay posting per day for the month. Not sure if I’ll have any essays ready to go as I get the site flipped into January (and the New Year), but by early next week I do have several pieces in progress and things should get moving quickly from there.


Happy New Year!

(Let’s have some fun.)



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