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


March 2018

March 18th

Another new essay today (I know… crazy, right? It’s almost like I’m being productive or something.)

I was going to bounce all over the place and cover a few things, but then I realized I had something close to sharing and decided on another quick entry. So… new essay… enjoy… I’ll be back soon.

A personal inspiration

March 17th

Easy going day… just a new essay…

What am I waiting for?

March 16th


New essay… tomorrow.

Today, I want to cover a bit of ground, hang a few spotlights, and place some directional signage. (Cue drumroll. Narrator: “Celebrations have begun…”)

The Fifteenth Anniversary

Back in 2003, the In My Backpack web site went live. Since then, there have been just a few developments…

The site itself has been revised. And revised again. And revised again. And… well… we probably should just hang some type of under construction sign, with the word always scribbled on an angle accross it. Most of it has been intentional (the dropping of items like movie reviews, and the restructuring of the monthly journal area known today as Now Playing), where content was modified, removed, added and so on, in an attempt to improve what we were doing.

Additions have been made for major areas, such as Interviews and the Photo Gallery.

We published a book, and now the list of available titles has reached ten released offerings. The Writing & Books area includes information on all of these, which range in non-fiction driven content that covers essays, travel, sports and interviews.

We’ve always viewed the Backpack as a friendly place to visit, with a community feel that has developed and expanded greatly since those early days. Setting my professional writing (the author) and more personal efforts for the site (Backpackville) in place as two neighborhoods around here, we’ve added some additional neighborhoods to The ‘ville: ComplemenTerry Designs and Local Friends for Local Business are two examples now part of the family.

We also added a monthly newsletter, A Parkside View. Distributed by e-mail, the publication includes at least two essays each month. One is being released for the first time anywhere on its pages. The other is a From the Backpack based offering, drawn from archives and notebooks and more of the web site or another part of my personal writing.

Right now, well over 500 essays, interviews and travel pieces are available on the site. Over the fifteen years, well over one thousand have been produced and shared. More are on the way.

We are grateful to all of you for visiting, spending some time, and looking around. We appreciate the feedback and comments. And, we are thankful for your interest in the books out there for sale.

Now… having mentioned the books and newsletter… a bit of direct, shameless attention…

A Parkside View:
Volumes 1 & 2

On March 6th, the first collection of material from the newsletter was released. The effort contains every essay produced on the pages during the first two years of A Parkside View (2016 and 2017), and also features two brand new essays.

If you’re looking for more information on my writing (and THANK YOU for that), you can learn more outside of the In My Backpack web site by checking out:

Bob’s author page at Amazon

Bob’s author page at Goodreads

The next trailer for Avengers: Infinity War is out, and… wow…

Are you ready for the second film? Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is coming later this year.

March 14th

Every once in a while, someone asks me to compare places I’ve spent time in, such as upstate New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The funny thing is, there really isn’t much of a difference between those three areas

If you compare cities like Syracuse, Providence, Hartford, Rochester and so on… they are incredibly similar. Providence and Syracuse could—in many views and significant ways—be the same city.

My go-to joke about it is very simply this: Upstate New York runs about 5-10 degrees colder than southeastern New England. And that’s about it.

True? No. Of course not. But if you lived in both regions, I don’t think you’d see snowfall—the obvious concept—as being as vastly different as annual accumulation totals say it is. Snow is just kind of there. And it adds up gradually in many ways… an extra storm or two each month, some overnight coatings of an inch or two, and stuff like that. Syracuse is not buried under forty-five feet of snow while Providence is decorating palm trees.

For me, the true shock is found in two items for upstate New York: the wind and how when it gets cold, it gets COLD. The other day I witnessed the perfect example of the difference between upstate New York and southern New England. And it may become my new standard.

One of those wonderful roadside places that serves ice cream and also has a grill menu opened up on Saturday. Terry and I love the place, and as you probably can imagine, the opening of a seasonal location often brings with it visions of the approaching summer days. In short, doors open, winter is nearing an end.

On Sunday we stopped in to grab a quick dinner. And while we were enjoying our meals, a woman walked by. Outside it was 29-degrees, with about ten inches of snow remaining from a storm a few days earlier. She was coming into the indoor dining area from the outside ice cream counter. She sat down to eat her sundae, with her winter gear still on… coat, hat, scarf, and gloves.

Heading to the just opened for the season ice cream stand, in below freezing temperatures and snowy conditions (with more snow in the forecast), to stand outside and order a sundae, then eat it with your gloves on. Yes, that is upstate New York.

(To be clear… people go to these stands in places like Rhode Island as well. And they do it in the winter. But most often, those stands are not seasonal but year-round operations, and the patrons are ordering chowder and clam cakes.)

March 13th

Less than a week ago… actually, Thursday, March 8th… a special promotion kicked off.

For the first time, I participated in an offer that made one of my books available for free on Kindle. If you use Kindle or the Kindle app, you could get my first release, Time Just Drifts Away, at no cost. A free addition to your digital library. The offer ran for five days, and concluded yesterday, Monday, March 12th.

I want to thank everyone that took the time to check out the book and my writing during the promotion, especially those of you that took advantage of the offer and downloaded it. I hope you enjoy.

That offer was just one part of a very busy month around here…

A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2, my tenth published effort, was released on March 6th. (And, Amazon continues to offer it on sale, with a price reduced more than 20% from the regular cost.)

The In My Backpack web site has been celebrating its Fifteenth Anniversary this month, which was technically reached on March 7th.

The Kindle download and new release on sale weren’t the only special offers involving my books. Throughout March, the paperback editions of all nine efforts released in 2017 or earlier have been lowered in price.

You can learn more about my published works in the Writing & Books area of the In My Backpack web site. Also, when available, there is a page that covers some of the information for Special Offers.

As always, I want to thank everyone for their support, now and over the years. It means a great deal to me, and I truly appreciate it.

March 11th

Simple entry today…

Time is running out on the special offer for Time Just Drifts Away. RIGHT NOW, you can get the Kindle edition of my first book FOR FREE.

This is a limited time offer… it runs thru Monday, March 12, 2018… so don’t miss out.

March 10th

Leading things off… The FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD event continues.

Do you use Kindle or the Kindle app? My first book, Time Just Drifts Away, can be added to your library for free… but only thru Monday, March 12, 2018.

A note in direction of Local Friends. We’re celebrating Celebrations this month. The idea is to head out to those places you use when planning parties and such.

The Grinch is returning… next year… in a new animated adventure… featuring Benedict Cumberbatch.

A look at… more a teaser for… Star Wars coming to Disney theme parks.

And the two new essays… “Found it

Warmer… warmer… dude, you’re on fire… oh wait, ice cold

One last thing today… because we can always use a smile… Baby goats in pajamas. (You’re welcome.)

March 9th

The Fifteenth Anniversary continues…

Kind of a basic entry today. New essay at the end, with a couple of notes leading the way…

This month I have several offers on my books available…

First – My new release, A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2 – Officially out this past Tuesday (March 6, 2018), the book is available in print and Kindle formats. And, RIGHT NOW, Amazon is offering the print edition at more than 20% off the regular price. (Use this link to find A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2 at Amazon.)

Second – My first book, Time Just Drifts Away – Released five years ago, you can get the Kindle edition for free for a limited time. Break out your tablet or open the app on your smartphone, then add Time Just Drifts Away to your library FOR FREE (but only until March 12, 2018).

Third – The first nine titles – The paperback editions of my first nine books (those released in 2017 and earlier) are on sale right now. The reduced prices will remain in place until the end of March. (Here’s my author page at Amazon, where you can learn more on all of my books.)

For more details…

The Writing & Books area of In My Backpack

General details about purchasing my books

A listing of special offers on my books

One new essay today, with more coming tomorrow… “The walls have secrets

March 8th

Today I’m digging into the Backpack and bringing two essays to the site. And I have to be honest… mixed feelings. (Explained a bit about that yesterday.) But before we explore that material, let’s mention something else…

Time Just Drifts Away
Kindle Edition

Today a very special offer began… the Kindle edition of Time Just Drifts Away is available FOR FREE.

Time Just Drifts Away is my first published book. It includes more than thirty essays and a dozen interviews, collected from the first nine years of the In My Backpack web site.

This is a limited time offer, which will end on Monday, March 12, 2018, so don’t miss out. If you have a Kindle or use the Kindle app, add my first book to your library.

There are celebrations all over the place this month. New book release… Fifteenth Anniversary of the site. Use this link to check out a rundown of all the special offers on my published works.

Now… back to those first essays…

Over the years, both of these essays ended up stored away for one reason or another (or, more accurately, for a combination of reasons). One part of the reasoning for keeping them off to the side once they had been removed was pretty simple – they were both incomplete and underdeveloped. Still…

In the spirit of the Fifteenth Anniversary celebrations, I decided to give them another chance. I didn’t want to remove that experimental, early effort feel from either of them. I didn’t want to proofread, edit, polish and rewrite things so the original presentations of either were lost in some attempt at perfecting them. Still… I did make several changes to both as far as what you’ll see now and what was there back in 2003.

Originally published on March 7, 2003 – “Helpful hints for college applications

Originally published on March 8, 2018 – “Please Mr. Gore, don’t do me any favors

March 7th

And here we are… the official Fifteenth Anniversary of the In My Backpack web site arrives today.

On March 7, 2003, after several months of planning and assorted preparations, I brought my behind-the-scenes efforts to the internet, made In My Backpack an active web site, and posted the first essay.

“Helpful hints for college applicants” was the name of that first piece. The next day, on March 8, 2003, “Please Mr. Gore, don’t do me any favors” became the second essay on the site.

Both of the essays have long since disappeared from available postings around The ‘ville. Part of that was simply the several changes that have taken place over the years. Essays don’t generally disappear for one specific reason. Usually, it’s a combination of factors. Restructuring of areas… rebuilding after a computer issue… review of content… decisions about something removed and if it should be reposted… and so on.

In prepping for the Fifteenth Anniversary, I looked up the materials from the first days of Backpackville and laughed. I knew both were early additions to the site, but honestly didn’t know neither had been posted in quite some time. And, I laughed because I realized…

Wow, were they both horrible.

Not horrible horrendous awful. They had some good points and covered the basic ground I wanted included when I began working on the,

Instead, horrible as a description of just out of place they felt and… to kind of sum it up… they didn’t right. They felt incomplete. Absolutely not essays I would select now as the first works for a new web site.

So, of course, I’m bringing them back.

Tomorrow, they will both return as From the Backpack efforts. A bit edited and rewritten, but with a soft hand, so the original flavors and textures remain. (Which just might include that incomplete and slightly off feeling.)

On Friday and Saturday, I’m going to have three new essays to post. (Joining, as promised, one new essay I have for today.)

Let’s wrap things up on this entry with some thank you offerings.

First, thank you to everyone that has visited the web site over the years. I am incredibly grateful for your time and feedback.

Second, we released a new book yesterday. Thank you to everyone that checked out A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2.

Third, thank you to everyone that has supported my writing efforts with purchases. From the first book to the current effort, I appreciate it tremendously. (For more on my books, head over to the Writing & Books area, and also check out the Special Offers we have running this month.)

And finally, a cannot be big enough THANK YOU to all of you that have been coming back to visit again and again. You folks are incredible.

Time to break out the kites. Mary Poppins Returns… great cast.

Closer… getting closer… the second season of A Series of Unfortunate Events is getting closer.

New essay today… “Preparing for an emergency

March 6th

Double-celebration day here in The ‘ville.

First up… the big one…

A Parkside View:
Volumes 1 & 2

The brand new title is officially out today.

A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2… forty-five essays… print and Kindle editions… is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.

*** Extra special bonus*** as this gets written, Amazon has the book priced at more than 20% off the regular price. And, it qualifies for their free shipping consideration.

A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2 at Amazon

Bob’s author page at Amazon

This is all part of the Fifteenth Anniversary run here at In My Backpack. More coming tomorrow… including a new essay.

March 3rd

Two really quick notes for right now… LOTS of material heading to the site tomorrow and Monday.

First up… I want to point your attention toward the Special Offers area of the site. This month, we’ve got a few great things planned…

Number One – The new book, A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2. The official release is next Tuesday, March 6, 2018, and that’s when we’ll be celebrating around here. For now, it has begun to show up (Amazon and Barnes & Noble are two spots), is available in both print and Kindle versions, and I appreciate your consideration.

Number Two – To assist with the celebrations of the web site, the Kindle edition of Time Just Drifts Away is going to be available FOR FREE over a limited time. The dates are scheduled to be March 8th to March 12th. BUT, you need to consider the wonderful joys of time zones and the best made plans. The hours of the promotion are currently designed around PST timing (Pacific Standard Time). So, technically, midnight on March 8th all the way to 11:59pm on March 12th for the run.

Number Three – More of the celebrating… all of the nine previous titles are going to be available with special pricing for the month. I am waiting for one more title to get its final adjustment (that would be Thirty Days in November acting as the stickler for now). Those prices will remain in place until the end of March. While I am told that the prices will adjust across all platforms, I am going to direct you to Amazon for consideration on this offer since they are the only ones I know should be changing.

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And second… Local Friends for Local Business.

More on this soon, but for now the challenge is Celebrations.

The central idea is what you would look for when hosting a party or special event of some type. Where would you go for decorations? If you were cooking at home, where would you shop for the groceries?

But, as always, the true definitions are up to you. Do you have a special restaurant that is always part of your birthday, graduation, and other important moments? Is there that one store you visit to find creative and unique gifts?

From March 1st to March 31st, Local Friends invites you to consider the happy moments and how mark such occasions.

March 1st

This is going to be a nutty and slightly out of control month. And… yeah… I heard you, and there probably is nothing surprising in that statement.

Things are starting with a winter storm headed in this direction, and no real way of predicting how that might adjust the timing of when I can get to work. (Snow has this funny way of turning to ice in exactly the places you need to shovel when you make a joke about it and leave it to be addressed later.)

So… let’s get things moving with some general announcements, and we’ll get to the heavy lifting over the weekend.

In March of 2003, the In My Backpack web site arrived on the internet. Ahead of the first posts, a good deal of planning went into setting things up. I can’t say it has all been brilliant (and those that recall the almost purely blue and yellow color scheme will likely agree there were some very strange moments early on). We’ve made a few improvements…

Still… one thing that has remained quite on target is the decision to make this an experiment of sorts. Nothing ever perfect… attempting to share materials and try new things…

We’ve adjusted areas, eliminated some material, overhauled and modified, and expanded the neighborhood.

Yup… the neighborhood.

Writing & Books

ComplementTerry Designs

Local Friends for Local Business

A Parkside View

My published writing efforts are one area added to the In My Backpack site. ComplemenTewrry Designs was brought on board, and so was the effort that is Local Friends for Local Business.

The site has spread and developed and become a community of sorts… a neighborhood… and I’m proud of the nicknames that has generated (two I use often are Backpackville and The ‘Ville).

This month I will be releasing my tenth book. Drawn out of material from the first two years of the monthly newsletter, A Parkside View: Volumes 1 & 2 will be out on March 6, 2018.

And with all of that… welcome to the Fifteenth Anniversary of In My Backpack.

It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I’d like to thank all of you for your support.

Grab the railing, hold on tight, and get ready… things are going to get crazy…


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