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


September 2018

September 21st

A very special thank you to the Warwick Beacon for covering my upcoming appearance.

Growing up, the Warwick Beacon was THE paper. Provided all the coverage of my hometown, including the blurbs about little league baseball, youth soccer, and so on. Quite likely the first place I ever found my name in the paper.

It is one of the best—if not THE BEST—small town papers in the country, and I am not exaggerating anything to make that claim. It has truly been an honor to have them place my name on their pages several times, including recent years as they have covered my writing. Thank you… thank you to a great staff (and a fantastic community).

Sounds like the first trip to the vault offers a pretty decent look at Prince.

Really excited about the new Doctor Who season.

Mumford & Sons at work on a new album.

New essays…

Are you surprised by your lack of privacy?

Skeletons in my pantry

September 20th

The thing about Interviews

Over the years, speaking with people and sharing the results has repeatedly been an absolute thrill for me. I’ve had the joy of working with some amazing people on projects, and they have been nothing short of generous and incredible at levels way beyond any hopes I have a right to expect. These are great people, and dare I say, great efforts.

I’m not going to single out any specific interviews here, as all of them have been meaningful to me (and, I believe, important for the web site). While I can’t confirm any details right now, I can tell you that we will be starting a wave of new interviews here at In My Backpack in the very near future.

Today, head over and check out a few of them. Use the links to visit the web sites for people involved.

I haven’t heard much about Stan & Ollie, but this preview and a strong cast make it a project to watch.

Disney is assembling the parts of its streaming service, and Marvel promises to be a huge part of the product.

I do love Kelly Clarkson. No question about that. Just can’t promise I have the desire to add a daily talk show to my television viewing.

Closing it up with something new… “The bees are organizing

September 18th

The addition of photography…



My running joke is that I’ve always felt more like a writer with a camera than a photographer. And, the reality is, the first traces of efforts that would develop into the start of a Photo Gallery here on the web site more or less support that theory.

I was attending a media night for an extended engagement show as a reporter. Part of the evening included attending a performance. For a variety of reasons including previous projects, I knew some of the people involved in the production. They told me that even though I was working mostly as a writer for my assignment, as a member of the media attending the show I was welcome to bring my camera along. So, I did.


I didn’t take too many pictures that first evening. But I felt like several of them looked good, and sent them to the group organizing the show. They ended up requesting approval to use a few on their primary web site as well as social media pages like Facebook. About four or five weeks later, they had a new show running in the area and I was invited to the press event for that show.

I was working on some images from this second event when I received a voice mail from Matt Ryan. He was performing in the show with his group, Bruce in the USA. Just so happened these staging reflected some special scenarios for him and the band, and they wanted to assemble some images. Since he wasn’t from the area he had been asking people about photographers.

The quick version of the story at this point is that as a result of my ongoing professional relationships with some of the folks, you can probably figure out one of the first people that came to mind for them to recommend Matt call. He was hoping we could meet, and asked if he could see the images I had taken of the Bruce in the USA segment. He laughed when we met a few hours later, which is when everything came together and he discovered I was also the guy he had spent a solid twenty to thirty minutes with during a great conversation when I interviewed him at the press event.

I’m quite proud of the fact that Matt ended up using many of my photographs on the Bruce in the USA web site for several years. I am also thrilled that groups, like Legends in Concert, have used my pictures. But mostly…

Mostly I’m honored that the people in the images seem to like them. I consider myself very fortunate that many of these people are close friends to this day. I thank them all for their time and consideration. They are fantastic people.

Photography continues to be a big part of the web site, but the old joke continues. I am a writer with a camera. I hope there will be more galleries added in the future. For now, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to enjoy what is already in place.


Granted, my issues this year had nothing to do with squirrels. Still, I found it interesting to read about how they are causing headaches in Maine and other parts of New England.

And here is Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel is coming soon.

Finishing up the day with four new essays…

A little glue, a little dirt

We might just have feuding families down the road

The weather isn’t the only thing that changes like… well… you know

It’s got to be the free pretzels and dip

September 16th

It is…

ComplemenTerry Designs

I can’t tell you how long Terry has been delivering amazing craft work. I can tell you it began long before we arrived together at our first event. From flower shops and professional efforts to producing gifts and pieces for family and friends, her talents have been on display and enjoyed for quite some time. Let’s not give it a full timeline.

ComplemenTerry Designs is the name we’ve used for many of the years that we’ve been working on this together. Although it has its own web address for the home page (www.cterrydesigns.com), the complete online home of ComplemenTerry Designs has been a part of the In My Backpack web site since it first appeared on the internet. In this area, you can learn more about Terry and her work, view photographs, and look at the Calendar of Events.

In 2018, ComplemenTerry Designs will hit the road for it’s annual Holiday Tour. This year, there are only two shows creating a somewhat limited schedule, with each being a two-day event.

November 24th and 25th

December 1st and 2nd

The first dates involve a return to the annual Christmas & Crafts at Turning Stone Resort Casino, which we have been happy to attend every year since it began. The second dates are being finalized, and we hope to announce complete information soon.

Wrapping up today with a new essay… “How many is too many? (Too much is usually just enough)

September 15th

Local Friends for Local Business… a monthly treat at In My Backpack since January of 2012.

The idea began after a few trips involving Ellen, Richard, Terry and I, when we found we were enjoying some of the absent-minded accidental finds on our adventures together. On a day or two (or three) of any trip, one of us would ask someone where they would go for lunch or for a recommendation of an unusual store to check out. Conversations of such an approach brought us to places such as Square Grouper in Cudjoe Key and Cameron Trading Post in Cameron.

The “where would you” idea became a bit of a regular feature for us. But it really came together after Ellen and Richard moved and a visit was planned. Ellen had come up with a few places they had discovered in their new hometown that Terry and I absolutely needed to experience. And that is the starting point of Local Friends.

Garlic knots… cowboy boots… a tremendous breakfast… just small parts of that visit. And yet each one brought us to a tremendous experience. And, more importantly, experiences that we almost certainly wouldn’t find in the same way anyplace else. Simple reason why… those places didn’t exist anyplace else.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking around the region where you live or happen to be traveling. The reality is, every location you can visit has something unique to offer. It might be an amazing lunch, unusual gifts or a brilliant sunset. All potentially fantastic and memorable. For the Local Friends efforts, the idea is to explore the terrific offerings of small businesses.

If you look around a neighborhood… city… area of any kind, you are going to see shops, restaurants, attractions and more that you will not find any other place in the world. Many of them are open for business and you may not even be aware that they exist. Each month, Local Friends for Local Business comes up what a category for a challenge. All it asks is that you keep that theme in mind, and at some point, try to find a place that fits the concept and step inside the doors. That’s it.

Keep in mind… when it comes to these local businesses, we’re usually talking about your neighbors. The people that live next door, have kids in school with your kids, attend sporting events and activities with you. Stepping inside brings more than just something to that business, it brings something to the entire community.

If you spend a few dollars, awesome. If you find a place you didn’t know about and really enjoy, fantastic. But most importantly, you did something to raise a bit of awareness for the true treasures around you. For the cost of a few minutes—and maybe a buck or two—you supported local people, local interests, local treasure… you supported local business.

Two new essays to wrap up today…

It’s not that I hate change, it’s more that I hate different

Eventually I’ll remember to put out a spare key

September 13th

With Time Just Drifts Away released in the summer of 2012, a new section began to develop on the In My Backpack web site…

Writing & Books

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This area is now home to all ten of Bob’s published titles, as well as material such as pages where you can learn a bit About Bob, find details about Where to Buy his work, and his Upcoming Events.

On October 3rd, Bob will be bringing A Writer’s Workshop to the Warwick Public Library. The program—“You may never get published: Horror stories and thoughts to help you try anyway”—will cover a variety of topics involved in the writing/publishing process, providing examples and ideas based on successes and mistakes, along with personal experiences.

You may never get published
Bob Hocking at the Warwick Public Library
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
7pm start ~ Warwick, RI

This event is free and open to the public.

Three essays to finish things up for today:

It’s not fake news all the time… it’s usually dollars and (lack of) sense

Turkeys and squirrels and skunks (oh my)

I don’t think I’m in charge of making my own decisions these days

September 11th

This month, I wanted to offer up a bit of an introduction to the web site for new visitors. So far, it’s been a bit bland. I’m covering some ground, but I don’t know how helpful it is.

Think of something you’re incredibly familiar with… say the remote for your television or where things are located in your kitchen. Chances are good that you could navigate your way around without even giving it a thought. Changing channels and adjusting the volume, or, grabbing a spoon and a coffee mug while blindfolded.

Now… walk into a house you’ve never been in before. Find a colander and set the DVR to record a show that starts in ten days. Let’s see that completed in ten minutes, never mind without looking.

The point being… I’m pretty familiar with the web site at this point. I know where most items are stored and can find things somewhat quickly. That creates a bit of a headache when I’m trying to figure out what someone new to the site might find helpful as information. So today, before shifting gears into some of the larger and different sections of the web site, a slight bit of history that covers why I consider the In My Backpack of today a community.

For the first five-plus years, the site was almost exclusively based on written material with a strong focus on essays. Sports and observations dominated. Then, a transition that had been building began to pick up speed.

A slow start to the remodeling involved decisions about refining content. For instance, movie reviews weren’t really working out. Gone. Then some of the interviews I had been working on led to projects were photographs were becoming more involved… efforts were taken on that led to published books… when considering endeavors such as ComplemenTerry Designs and Local Friends for Local Business, it became apparent that building a section for them could work out much more simply than any attempt at building a separate place on the internet.

I can make a case that all of the projects and efforts around the web site these days at times overlap and weave together. All of these projects involve some of the same people (often Terry and I at the center of things). All of these efforts involve scheduling and work that can create a need to adjust availability and timing of other efforts. There definitely are connections. Still…

I don’t think anyone would take a trifecta such as ComplemenTerry Designs for one, Local Friends for Local Business for two, and the Photo Gallery for three, and arrive at a conclusion that they are incredibly similar undertakings. That would be like taking a hardware store, sandwich shop, and wine-and-paint studio, then saying they’re exactly the same just because they share a zip code.

In My Backpack is a community. It’s a collection of neighborhoods now. And that’s why I often refer to it as Backpackville and The ‘ville. It’s where I live… for writing… for crafts… for special interests. And there are a variety of places where I share those activities.

In the past year or so, I did make one specific break in things for the web site home page. There, you’ll see two offerings: one that heads directly to my professional/published writings (Bob Hocking – Author) and one that heads into virtually everything to be found around here (Backpackville).

New season of Doctor Who is promising a big stress on new. It’s an interesting approach, since many people might lean on history and familiarity for strength during a run of shows that will bring on significant changes in cast and crew. For me… I really like it as an approach. This is absolutely not going to be the last season for The Doctor, so start fresh and the Daleks can wait.

Wrapping things up today with two new pieces…

Home repair and misplaced anxiety

The name is gone (but the roof remains)

September 10th

Weird morning.

I have found the expression about not liking the weather and just waiting a minute for it to change applies pretty much in any location around the world. Everyone seems to have some form of it in place.

In the northeast this year, we have been dealing with massive temperature swings. Back in January and February, a few events hit that basically could be described as below-zero to clearing 50-degrees in the span of 24-36 hours (and then dropping back down even more quickly). This summer, heat advisories and flirting with 100-degrees in the shade in early June and again in early July. August was actually fairly tame. But this weekend…

Mid-week it cleared 90 and there were warnings in place for the heat and humidity. This morning… 50-degrees, raining, and I’m in the car reaching to adjust the heat.

For shocks to the system as seasons change, I’m not sure if there is anything as striking as that first day when you need to get the heat on in the car. Add in a very cold rain for frosting on that cake.


Ok… we’re going to finish up today’s entry with a couple of new essays. That gives us ten new posts, day ten of the month, and our project of producing thirty new essays for the month is right on pace.

More tomorrow.

It’s raining again

The garden in a brown paper bag

September 8th

Two new essays to close out the day…

The Attic has always been the storage center of the In My Backpack web site. This is where you’ll find the archives of material, going all the way back to the first posts from March of 2003.

The categories offered in The Attic have been adjusted over the years, as certain writing efforts were modified, added or even removed, but the presentation has been fairly consistent. Are you looking for general essays? Interviews? Travel… sports… or maybe even landed here while looking for something else entirely? The labels are all lined up and explained, with simple links taking you off to those areas.

The main idea for the section is making sense of the stored material. And while that primarily refers to hundreds and hundreds of essays (most essays finding homes in General Interest and Sports), it also means giving nods to the interviews, photo galleries, and assorted other projects from the web site and Bob.

One item worth an expanded note: the monthly journals. Over the years, we maintained an ongoing run of all the previous monthly efforts. It went back years. A problem developed from this when outside web sites… usually linked to for things like articles we found interesting for whatever reason… made changes. Links became dead ends to inactive pages. Links might head off to web sites that had been changed completely from what they had been when our link was posted. And the end result was material that we simply couldn’t verify, and possibly couldn’t trust. So, the monthly calendars found in The Diary area are now only maintained for a short time. Usually, this will be at least four to six months, but it will never be longer than a year. We do keep records of the pages offline, so if you have any questions we might be able to research some answers. Can’t guarantee it… but we will try.

Here are the new efforts…

The timing of unnecessary work

Navigating by memory

September 7th

A few links… and a new essay…

Captain Marvel has arrived.

Wait a second… a zombie Christmas musical comedy? Combine zombie with any two of those other words and you have me curious. All three? Anna and the Apocalypse… I think I’m in.

Ryan Reynolds is calling out Paddington. (And the bear isn’t backing down.)

For this reason, that reason, and a few other contractual items tossed in… Disney and Marvel at the Florida theme parks can be a question mark more than a reality. That’s making some of the updates in California very interesting.

Closing in on the return of The Doctor. Can… not… wait.

Cancelled and then saved by a different network, Brooklyn Nine-Nine now has five additional episodes added to the next season.

And the new essay… “The joys of the seasons

September 4th

As promised, we’ve got more new essays coming your way this month. A lot more. Two will wrap up this entry. But we begin with one of the other projects for this month… meandering around The ‘ville… and we start at the very beginning.

On the home page, there is a navigation bar across the top. The sections it contains have remained pretty consistent since the web site began. We’ll explore some of these areas a bit more as the month moves along. But, for today, a general introduction…

Now Playing – This area has had several names over the years—“Are you chewing gum?” and “A Momentary Lapse” were previous titles—but the general concept has always been based on a daily journal approach. It’s a catch-all… shorter commentaries that really don’t work as a full essays… links to places of interest around the internet… information about the site and Bob’s efforts… postings of new essays and details on projects. It you’re looking for a simple rundown of what’s new and happening, this is the place to check out.

The Attic – The In My Backpack web site has been around for more than fifteen years. And even with some new designs, restructuring, and a handful of changes, that means a lot of content exists. There are literally hundreds of essays on the web site. (A quick, slightly inaccurate count… over 500 essays available on the site right now.) The Attic is where things get stored… a portal for finding material, especially older stuff, using basic categories to sort things out.

42 – The name is a Douglas Adams joke… referring to the answer for the ultimate question. In more simple terms, this is the area that explains what it’s all about. It’s an overview of the web site and the approaches taken to the material on it. It provides names and links for social media pages. It’s descriptions of the different Backpackville neighborhoods.

Complaint Department – The home for contacting the web site. Funny little trick… every page of the In My Backpack site has an information bar across the bottom, which includes an e-mail address. In the Complaint Department, we cover a bit of ground relating to material on the site, content, and the primary contact e-mail.

Extras – This is where you’ll find links to outside web sites. Most of those listed here involve people and places that have special connections with Bob and In My Backpack (such as people that have participated in interviews and photo galleries).

As September continues, we’ll be looking even deeper into the areas of the web site.

And now, the new pieces…

The start of lists

A blast from childhood

September 3rd

Today is going to be a basic day, with a lot of content. Two announcements and three essays. Announcements first…

We start with a writing appearance

You may never get published
A Writer’s Workshop at the Warwick Public Library
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 ~ 7pm start

I am incredibly excited to announce that on October 3rd, I’ll be speaking at the library I grew up visiting… the library I used throughout my pre-college days… heck, I played baseball on the field at the other side of the parking lot.

The program—“You may never get published (Horror stories and thoughts to help you try anyway)”—is based on the workshop presentation I’ve been honored to offer at several places in recent years. It is free and open to the public. I’ll be bringing you more details on the event as the month moves along.

Next up, ComplemenTerry Designs

November 24th and 25th
Christmas & Crafts
Turning Stone Resort Casino - Verona, NY

December 1st and 2nd

The 2018 Holiday Tour is going to involve two events this year, covering four days. While it is possible that we may add to this list, for multiple reasons we approached 2018 with a lighter schedule for us and limited it from our first moments of planning.

We are waiting on a final confirmation before announcing the specifics of the December 1st and 2nd location, though enough is in place at this point for us to share it will be in New York.

Ok… the essays…

When I started this web site, I announced that a lot of it would be experiments and work-in-progress material. Some things might get published because they felt done… or, perhaps better described, felt like I brought them as far as I could for right now. And that seems like a really good way of introducing all three of today’s posts. They don’t feel done… but they feel like they are where they need to be today.

That’s led me to an interesting idea for this month. I’m planning to bring out thirty essays over the next few weeks. All of them new stuff. Today, we begin with three…

Seeing is not believing

No time for donuts

The brass chase

More coming tomorrow.

September 2nd

Ran into a snag today… mainly fueled by an opportunity to get the lawn mowed before a storm rolled in, still…

Quick announcement, and then tomorrow we’ll be back with three new essays. (Yes, three, promise.)

Local Friends for Local Business

The September challenge is Sandwiches. And that means some casual fun.

Over the years, sandwiches have been an amazing part of my life. Seriously. I’ve packed them for picnics and taken them to work. I’ve stopped in a shop with friends to get our lunch for an incredible day out. As I’ve explored places with travels over the years, a sandwich has been more than lunch… often it’s been an introduction to the immediate surroundings.

Terry and I packed sandwiches in a cooler when we headed to Joshua Tree National Park with the boys.

When I was younger, I remember heading to the beach or park with friends, bringing sandwiches with us during our escapades.

I have strong memories of coming home from school, picking up my grandmother, and heading out for lunch at any of a few of our favorite spots.

The sandwich may be one of the simplest, most everyday of everyday items. And yet, if you want to get to know a culture, region, group of people, and more, looking toward the food is often a great place to start. To that idea… somewhat figuratively speaking… virtually every place you can imagine has some sort of a sandwich on the menu.

And so, from the 1st to the 30th, Local Friends is asking you to think about sandwiches. You might keep it simple… might go a bit more fancy… but there is almost definitely a few places nearby that can help you enjoy a great meal.

September 1st

This is going to be a busy month around the web site… hopefully leading to a mad dash all the way into 2019.

We’ve got some announcements to share about writing appearances and craft festivals. New material to add to the web site. New projects that are moving along.

In addition to that, we’re going to take a walk around Backpackville this month. It’s been a while since we’ve looked around the web site, checking in on the different areas, and offering a bit of an introduction to people that have recently joined us.

New essays coming tomorrow and Monday. For now…

Welcome to In My Backpack!

The web site began back in 2003, intended as a place where I could post my writing. Might not be finished and perfect writing… could be experiments and work-in-progress writing… but still an opportunity to share things I had been working on and possibly get some feedback.

The early days were almost exclusively writing. Yup… posted some links. The majority of material though fell into areas like general observations, sports, and movie reviews.

About five to six years in, a transition began to take place. A variety of computer headaches created the need to overhaul the entire site in 2008. Interviews were added to the lineup… movie reviews dropped. I began publishing books. ComplemenTerry Designs got a place on the site, and even Photo Galleries were started. And that’s when things started to become The ‘ville… Backpackville.

For roughly the past ten years, the web site has been a bit of an online community. A collection of different neighborhoods, each offering a separate and distinct experience.

New stuff coming tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.



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