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


September 2021

September 30th

A couple of things as we bring September to a close.

First up, going to finish up with an essay today. Had started things out hoping to average an essay a day around here, and we reached that mark on Tuesday. Now just working on finishing up strong.

Next, October is going to be one of those follow up months that sees a bit of a drop in new material. I’ve got several projects that need to be lined up and organized, and that likely means a bit less time for posts and new material for the web site. Hopefully this will all end up meaning good stuff for November, December and beyond.

That brings us to A Parkside View. Looking slightly delayed for October. Not massively, but roughly a week and possibly ten days into the new month before it gets released. Nothing to worry about. Just letting you know about it.

Also, should have a special announcement tomorrow or Saturday.

And finally… one last essay for this month…

The lights are on (and everyone is home)

See you in the next day or two!

September 28th

If my math is correct… and it definitely may not be, but I’ve counted a few times… today the three essays we have to share will bring is to the target of reaching thirty for the month. Don’t know what will happen tomorrow or Thursday, but we have at least thirty in place as of today.

Getting closer to the arrival of Muppets Haunted Mansion on Disney+.

Regina King and Idris Elba? Together? Netflix… The Harder They Fall… I’m in.

Bring together Tony Hale and Kristen Schaal, you’re starting with a solid foundation. The Mysterious Benedict Society was a fun show. Really fabulous cast all around. And now, Disney+ is bringing the show back for a second season.

Here are those essays…

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

The monkey that did this job before me

Scenes from a wannabe Italian restaurant

September 26th

Great day of this and that…

New season of Stranger Things continues to tease, but we are getting closer. New look has been released.

The Zoo returns on October 9th. A tremendous show based at the Bronx Zoo, it will kick off a new season with a two-hour premiere episode.

If you’re looking for a fun, well-crafted show, look for Derry Girls. Great stuff. Word out now is that the show was always planned for a three-season arc, and that the production in progress will wrap up the effort. Sorry to see it end, but really looking forward to seeing the new season.

This is either incredibly exciting or very upsetting. I don’t know if there’s any room in the middle, thought chances are some of the results may be. Netflix has evidently acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company. This appears to mean they have the full inventory of Dahl’s creations. Their plans are to develop it into all sorts of projects.

Disney+ is planning a massive celebration on November 12th. Jungle Cruise and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lead the way for some special content releases on the streaming platform.

Russell T. Davies is returning to Doctor Who. Eagerly awaiting the next season of shows, and this news has me equally excited about the future.

Every look at Red Notice is a bit better than the last. Solid cast, coming to Netflix in November.

The character of Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown delivering good work) is moving forward with a second film at Netflix. (And there was much rejoicing.)

The new run of Night Court is moving ahead at full speed. Solid cast coming together for an effort based on the very underrated and much-loved original series.

And two new pieces…

Perspective is a twisted reality

The offer that isn’t

September 21st

Continuing a rundown of upcoming projects…

Once in a Lifetime

As longtime friends of Backpackville know, I’ve loved working on travel pieces. The Strange and Unexpected efforts kind of kicked it off for books. Know affectionately as The Travel Trilogy, a fourth book eventually joined the collection—Something Old, Something New—turning it into a four-book trilogy.

I liked that.

A funny realization has struck (and been expanding) over the years. My way of chronicling adventures, revisiting them, and moving around the ideas and lessons from them, has been changing. I want to continue the travel efforts, but know some of it is going to be different from this point on. So, a final effort to really bookend the trilogy seems in order.

Enter Once in a Lifetime.

The effort is going to be founded on two major trips, to Seattle and Nashville. It’s going to visit Ohio. It’s going to return to Florida. It’s going to cover a ton of ground. A lot of content, including two trips I have in development, will only be available in this book.

The project is moving forward, but I do not have a firm release date in mind. Expectations are 2022 at some point, and those are the only expectations.

Ok… more on projects in development coming soon.

The more I’m hearing about Finch, the more interested I get. (And Hanks always brings his best to a project.)

Are the days of always buying a candy bar over?

The art and Zen of mowing the lawn

You got this

September 20th

Let’s dip our toes into projects in development by taking a look at two books coming out next year that seem pretty obvious to predict for regular visitors. Both are the next steps of collection types that have been released previously, involving the web site anniversary and the monthly newsletter.

Untitled anniversary collection

Yup. Five years have passed since the Fourteenth Anniversary, celebrated in August of 2017 with the dual release of Life Won’t Pass Me By and Conversations. Now, In My Backpack is getting ready to celebrate its Nineteenth Anniversary next March.

This time, interviews will not be a part of the anniversary release. Yes, we are beginning to work on them again. They’ve joined the newsletter with a feature called Parkside Takes Five. And, we have some work in production for the web site, which will include full interview projects such as those done before as well as a shorter effort called Backpack Takes Five. Still, not many interviews have hit the site in the past few years, so we are going to focus solely on essays for this anniversary.

Material is being collected for consideration, and I’m really happy with a lot of the essays available. I also expect that the length will reach roughly four to five dozen pieces, and I’m debating on whether to include any special material in the released effort. (And what form that material might take.)

I am kicking around thoughts of trying to get it out before the March anniversary month ends, but most actual timelines are pointing toward later in the spring or early summer as more likely for this one.

(Why running later? Well… for one thing, the other project…)

A Parkside View: Volumes 5 & 6

When A Parkside View began in July of 2016, I had no idea how much material might end up being produced. I just wanted a way to create and release some additional content, and develop a connection with readers and visitors and friends in a slightly different way.

The basic framework has always been—and, in fact, the ONLY framework has been—two essays in each issue. One new, making its first appearance in any format on the pages of A Parkside View. One retrieved out of the attic, essentially a From the Backpack selection. There could be more in any given month, but that would be the foundation.

Weird thoughts kept hovering around though. If I was debuting new content in the newsletter, maybe it was worth considering a way to bring all of it together and make it available in some other form as well. I eventually decided that bringing together all of the essays as a book release might be the best option. None of the exclusive debuts would be available any other way… just the monthly newsletter and then an anthology effort.

Given the pace of release and number of essays, it made sense to assemble these collections after every two volumes of releases. And to date, we’ve released two books that follow that pattern. Two volumes of issues, bring together every essay released during that run, proofread them for anything that might need correcting or updating, and put them out under one cover.

Even with a few hiccups along the way, we are moving along at our strongest pace yet. Newsletter is being released each month once again. And as of right now, fifty-nine essays have already appeared on its pages in these volumes. The next A Parkside View collection is looking to be the biggest one to date.

As an answer to someone that asked recently, only the essays will be appearing in the collection. I have not decided how to handle some of the new features found on the newsletter’s pages, such as Parkside Takes Five and Streaming in The ‘ville. Seems like some things should remain in exclusive for those that have been with us along the way, so for now they remain only a part of the newsletter release.

My hopes are to have everything ready so this one can be released before the end of February in 2022.

And that covers two of the projects in development. Hoping to have more to share soon.

In every project, there are certain elements that need a tremendous amount of thought and consideration. One recent example, the rings in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The meetings discussing the visual must have been awesome.

One essay to add today…

How have you been for the past ten years?

September 19th
September 17th

Was it perfect? No. But show episodes are seldom perfect, and series finales usually wind up a few steps below the best from any good run. But as Brooklyn Nine-Nine closed up shop, they did it all. One last heist. One last visit (though far too short for me) from Adrian Pimento. It leaves behind a legacy of a brilliant cast, really powerful development and scripts, and some of the best holding-society-accountable moments we’ve seen from any show. Massive applause folks. Massive.

A board game based on The Warriors? Great movie. Love it. The game? Seems about forty years out of place on the timing.

I’m not saying a movie based on the Twisted Metal video games is a great idea. But, it does have some interesting possibilities. Now, Anthony Mackie is involved. I’m paying attention to the project.

Immediacy spoils everything

The year in sight is 2035 (Maybe we’ll be ready)

Fifty hours

September 14th

I’ll be honest—I always try—I wasn’t expecting much from Hawkeye when I heard about the project. Likely would have watched it. Not really drawn to it. The trailer though… I really like what I’m seeing. I’m in.

Only Murders in the Building appears set to return for a second season.

Muppets Haunted Mansion is slated to arrive on October 8th.
September 12th

Disney has been releasing details about its movie releases for the next few years. The Little Mermaid is now placed in 2023.

Two new pieces…

The best hope for the Postal Service is that it exists

Punished by charity, because no good deed

September 10th
September 9th

The latest edition of A Parkside View is out.

If you’re signed up to receive it, fantastic!

You may have already read the interview with Susan Hancock. Many thanks to her for participating. Susan is the author of the Anstey’s Kingdom trilogy, and was kind enough to participate in this month’s Parkside Takes Five effort.

You also may have had the chance to read two essays and consider the suggestions offered in the Streaming in The ‘ville feature.

If you aren’t signed up, you haven’t done any of that. But it’s not too late. Send us an e-mail. Go to one of our social media pages, follow us, then send along a message. We’ll reach out and get everything set up with you so you don’t miss another issue.

One essay to add today…

Squirrel with a pipe at the birdfeeder

September 7th

Let’s take a little spin around the country and check out a handful of news items…

Rhode Island – Not looking to make this journey into different media markets Covid-based, but it is likely going to work out to be Covid-heavy. This article brings up a, eye-opening thought: As school begins across the U.S., this is the third academic year that will involve dealing with the coronavirus.

Hawaii – A new requirement involving Covid testing and vaccinations is heading to restaurants. This article includes some interesting details on how it may hit owners, staff, customers (and more).

Montana – An interesting piece that is based upon a performer that is not going to be touring Montana for shows based on state laws that prohibit venues from checking Covid vaccination status or current test results. Article brings up impact on locations, and how exposure concerns come into play.

Washington – I admit it, I’m a sucker for local and regional festivals and special events. Until now, I had never heard of special razor clam digs.

Two essays to wrap up the day…

Every so often, we all need a little fruit punch soda

The problems begin when you have to prove the chicken salad is made with chicken

September 5th

In a day or two, the September edition of A Parkside View will be ready and released. This month, I had the sincere pleasure of working with a tremendous lady on the Parkside Takes Five interview.

Susan Hancock has been writing for many years, with much of her work involving non-fiction efforts. In 2020, she not only released her first novel, she released her first three. Anstey’s Kingdom is the name of the trilogy, and it is a wonderful, special collection.

Yes, this is the regular announcement remiding you about signing up and receiving every issue. It’s also a way I can share some special links. I’d like to invite you to take a few moments, learn more about Susan, and check out her novels.

Susan’s web site

Susan’s author page at Amazon

Susan on Twitter

September 3rd

Another day, another couple of essays to end the entry.

Want to point in the direction of A Parkside View for a moment.

September edition is being wrapped up right now, and we have a special treat for you. Author Susan Hancock is joining us for this month’s Parkside Takes Five interview. If you haven’t signed up to receive the newsletter, stop hesitating. Send along an e-mail or a message on our social media pages.

Ready for Red Notice? Well, get ready. It’s on the way.

I enjoyed The Accountant. Decent story. Solid performances. Really fun popcorn movie. Another run? I'm definitely in.

I don’t know if ABBA reuniting will ultimately prove an amazing success. It has been quite some time. But these are very talented people and I definitely enjoy their work. (Check out some of the things they’ve produced outside of the group. The stuff they do often have some wonderful elements. In fact, go find a search engine you like and try “ABBA museum phone” for the entry.) So, new material and a virtual performance? Welcome back, folks. Not certain I’ll be buying a ticket to attend a virtual concert, but I’m definitely watching and listening.

Managing expectations

Of butter and warmer days

Quality research or quality procrastination - You can only have one (and likely, none)

September 1st

I want to start this month out with a thank you message.

Actually, several thank you messages.

In August, there were a few things going on. We had a special effort wrap up, where dating back a few months we set aside a portion of every book sale. These monies are headed to two amazing cancer centers, at Roswell Park and Yale. We also celebrated the Tenth Annual National Buy Bob’s Book Day.

And it is within these two events that we find the major reason for the appreciation on my end.

I am grateful for everyone that has ever visited this site. I recognize the time and attention you’ve given me. Means a lot.

There are also people that have set out in ways that can only be described as above and beyond. They send comments and feedback and messages of support. They react and reach out when new material is posted and new books are released. They attempt to connect when they see posts that concern them, and jump up and down when they spot exciting news.

All great, phenomenal stuff.

A few people actually sent e-mails because they wanted to do more for Roswell Park and Yale than buying a copy of one of my books. The reason they did so was so they could confirm that they were connecting properly with the organizations. Folks, something like this will make you smile for days.

And so, thank you. THANK YOU! I truly appreciate the response and the messages and more.

Going to be a very busy month around here. Let’s get a few things in place today, and we’ll pick up speed with more beginning tomorrow.

Word is Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are both on board for taking Jungle Cruise on another voyage.

The Return of the Rocketeer appears set to head toward Disney+.

Three essays to kick off the month…

The last stop before (the next one)

Things that go hum in the night

Impossible world of comparison shopping



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