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Behind The Scenes At backwoods Home Magazine

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Archive for June, 2008

Dave Duffy

Final day at the fair

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

The final day of the energy fair ended with a brief rain and wind storm that toppled some vendor displays. We had to clear off our tables as the rain blew into our open-sided building. The storm passed as quickly as it appeared and we laid out the magazines and anthologies again, wiping off the rain with my T-shirt. It added excitement to an already interesting day of talking with BHM readers.

Annie and I are awaiting our flights at the airport in Central Wisconsin. We agreed to be bumped from our flight in exchange for two roundtrip tickets we can use within the next year. The bump will get us back to North Carolina only a half later later than our earlier flight would have, and it gives me time to upload this blog post. (Egad, no internet connection at the Wisconsin airport! … None at the Milwaukee airport either! … None on the plane either! I think I’m going into Internet Connection Withdrawal!)

. . . . . . . .

We finally landed and drove the two hours back to Annie’s NC home. Here are the photos of some more BHM subscribers who wore either BHM T-shirts or hats to the Fair. We’re thankful to everyone who came and said hello. It made the Fair very enjoyable. Now I’m going to bed.

Dave Duffy

Day 2 at the MREA Fair

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Dust has become a problem at the Fair, with the wind blowing and fine dust settling on everything in minutes. It’s nearly impossible to keep the surfaces of the tables and books clean. But everyone is in the same boat, so both vendors and fair goers are coping fine.

We extended our offer of a free copy of my Stupid People book to people who buy a BHM hat. I’ve listed yesterday’s T-shirt and hat wearers below. Although we’re enjoying ourselves at the Fair, there is little time to do anything else, even make a blog post. We come back to the motel, eat, and crash.

Operating the computer at the Fair to post to this blog is dangerous for the laptop because the dust infiltrates every crevice of it. So we keep our laptops zipped up in their bags, except on the few occasions we have to look up a reader in the database to see if their subscription has expired.

Dave Duffy

Day 1 at the Energy Fair

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

We were kind of tired last night, so I waited until this morning to post yesterday’s photos of the MREA Fair. It was an exhilirating day, as Annie and I got to talk with many readers of BHM, but’s it’s easy to crash into your motel bed after an exciting day.

I’ll try to do several little side stories about the Fair during this weekend. There are all kinds of exhibits. A big “No show”, unfortunately, was the Toyota hybrid car display. The huge floods that have been in the headlines stranded the trains carrying the cars. I especially wanted to see the hybrid Camry.

Dust is a bit of a problem at the show, as this area features a fine dirt that kind of hangs in the air and settles on everything, including this laptop’s keyboard. You’ve got to wash yourself down pretty good at the end of the day. But it’s a very beautiful rural countryside with many small farms and mid-sized towns. Our motel is in Stevens Point, which the locals call Point.

For us, the show is all about meeting BHM readers, flesh-to-flesh handshakes, and letting each other know that we are real people on both the writing and reading side of this magazine enterprise. Here are yesterday’s BHM T-shirt wearers who got a free signed copy of my book, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People.

Dave Duffy

Training for the MREA Fair

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Annie and I will fly tomorrow morning to Custer, Wisconsin in preparation for this weekend’s MREA Fair. The BHM merchandise was sent earlier. I’ve been doing a series of “core strengthening” back exercises for three weeks to keep my suspect back from going belly-up on me.

We’re also tuning up our computers in preparation for BHM’s transition to a new desktop publishing system — Adobe Creative Suites 3 — the issue after next. Annie’s two-year-old Toshiba Satellite laptop did not have enough memory to support CS3, so I gave her my one-year-old suped-up Toshiba Tecra, and bought myself an even more suped-up Tecra. (Sammy took all his savings and bought Annie’s Satellite.) These Tecras are about the best laptops you can buy, in my opinion, and they enable us, as BHM editors, to be extremely efficient in the performance of our jobs. It’s just like with a chainsaw: Buy a lousy machine and you’ve poured your time, as well as your money, down the drain.

We’re looking forward to the Fair. Lots of old friends there, as well as BHM readers who visit the Fair year after year. I intend to kick back and yack with readers and let Annie do all the work.

Dave Duffy

A day at the beach

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

We spent a few hours at North Topsail Beach about 20 miles away. The water was about 75 degrees, compared to our beach in Oregon which stays in the mid-40s so this was a marvelous surprise for us. The kids swam and built a big sand castle.

It was lots of fun until I discovered my sunburnt feet when we got back in the car.

Dave Duffy

Sorting clothes for Good Will

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

We’re just kicking back, mowing the lawn, and helping Erik and Annie get ready for their eventual move back to Oregon. Annie sorted through boxes of clothes she’ll give to the local Good Will store.

Although this climate is hot and humid, it’s better than the incredible 113-degree desert heat at the 29 Palms Marine Corps training area. You can at least go outside for a walk here.

Erik was home for two days and had to go right back out in the field for training for the remainder of our trip. These Marine Corps families sacrifice a lot for their country.

Dave Duffy

North Carolina grandkids

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

We’re playing with the grandkids in North Carolina for a week prior to going to the energy show. Hot and humid here but bearable. We’ll see Erik for only a few days as he is doing a lot of training “in the field.”

Annie and the two grandkids plan to move back to Oregon and live with us during Erik’s upcoming (Autumn) deployment to Iraq. She’ll work at the magazine. They hope to settle back in the Gold Beach, Oregon area when he separates from the Marine Corps in two years.

We’re still tired and I’m allergic to whatever is blooming down here, but it sure is fun playing with the grandkids. Thursday Annie and I will fly to Custer, Wisconsin and do the three-day MREA Energy Fair.

Dave Duffy

The most beautiful galaxy in the world

Monday, June 9th, 2008

As I prepare to ascend in the morning into the heavens on my way to North Carolina, then to the Energy Show in Wisconsin, my brother, Hugh, cc’d this photo of the Sombrero Galaxy, which astronomers selected as the top photo taken by the Hubble Telescope during the past 16 years. There are other views all over the internet, like this one. Just Google them up.

The Sombrero Galaxy is about half the diameter of our own Milky Way Galaxy but it has more than twice as many stars. Here’s some info on the Milky Way.

One of the best things about the internet is it’s so easy to share all the beauty in the world. In the early days of science, most scientists were very religious, believing that God was revealing himself as scientific knowledge unfolded.

Dave Duffy

GBHS graduation

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

The Gold Beach High School graduation was nicely done. The gym was packed — at least 800 people to wish the 59 graduating seniors congratulations. The band played well, giving an impromptu drum-roll for two of the graduating percussionists, Nathan DeLaney and Daniel Koenig. Lenie played piano for two seniors, Summer Robbins and Kylie Sigman, who sang the songs, “I Hope You Dance” and “Something Told the Wild Geese.” Gifted voices.

My son, Sam, and I sat at the top of the bleachers, as sons Jake and Robby played with the band behind us in the “weight lifting” area.  I knew a lot of people, as people in a small town always do. It’s a far cry from growing up in a big city like Boston where I knew very few people.

It was a noisy, fun crowd with lots of hoots and hollers for various students. The graduates themselves were well behaved with only the occasional fist thrust into the air to signify their triumph. A high school graduation in a small town is a very satisfying experience. I caught up with several graduating members of the golf team — Brett Martin and Mitch Longwill —  and wished them luck.

Jessie Denning’s Valedictory speech, which she gave jointly with Salutatorian (and boyfriend) Tim Smith, was superb. Tim, a shy kid, brought laughter from the audience twice with his dry, quiet wit. He took his first steps towards learning that a few carefully chosen words are worth more than many flamboyant words.

All in all, this was the best show in town. Lenie got a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her year-long effort to play volunteer piano for the high school this year. She was delighted, and she also got to serve post-graduation cake to the assembled guests in a room off the gym. There’s just no end to volunteer duties in a small town.

I often get caught-up with publishing BHM, but I love these reminders, like with this small town graduation, of what BHM is all about. This community is impressive. I live in small town America, and I love it.

Dave Duffy

Valedictorian Jessie Denning

Friday, June 6th, 2008


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