Shootin' and Sharin'

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wins and Losses.

Words can't describe the feelings I've had this weekend.

No, I'm not talking about the Colts going to the Superbowl. As thrilling as that is for me and my city, there was something even more emotional about my weekend.

As you all know, I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. I got that from my Mom... Thanks for that, Mom. My mother has boxes and boxes of pictures. And she is sure that one day, she will take the time to organize them all and get them into albums.

For me and my generation, lots of pictures doesn't necessarily mean boxes of prints in the closet. It means lots of data on the hard disk of a computer. That works well for me. Since managing data infrastructures is what puts food on my table, I have a pretty good idea how to take care of my image files.

When my Mom sits down with her pictures, she takes them all out and starts to organizes them by date or by subject, then puts them all back in the same few boxes that they came out of, and puts them back in the closet.

When I decide to organize my pictures, they get moved from folder to folder, disk to disk, computer to computer, server to server. Every time I shoot, the data piles up. Every time I edit an image and keep the previous copy, it grows that much more. And every time I upgrade my camera body, each new image file gets even bigger. Over the past decade that massive chunk of data has gotten completely out of control, and storing it all has been... well... tricky, at best.

You can't put that many pictures on one hard drive. And at some point, all hard drives fail. Did you hear me? Let me say that again. AT SOME POINT ALL HARD DRIVES FAIL.

I've been in this business long enough to know what kinds of loss that brings. Sometimes it's just your resume that has to be recreated, or last months accounts payables that have to be re-entered. But when it's your pictures, and they're gone... they're just... gone. The loss is no different than losing your photo albums in a house fire. The experience is devastating.

A while ago I came to the realization that I had misplaced some of my pictures. I was in complete denial for a solid month. With as many computers and external hard drives as we have floating around our house, I thought they just HAD to be here somewhere, right? Nope. They were gone. Gone forever. My heart slowly sank. How many pictures? No clue. All I really knew was that I couldn't find much of anything before 2005.

Being the resident 'computer support' guy to nearly all of my family and friends. I hear these stories at least every couple of months.

"Jeremy, my computer just died, and I bought another one, but all my stuff was on the old one."


"Jeremy, my computer won't come on, and this project I've been working on is stuck in there somewhere."


"Jeremy, ummmmmm...." is usually a little more like it. And I just cringe.

My heart sinks for every one of them. I know the loss. I understand the loss. I can completely empathize with the loss. And I have told every one of them, since the 80's, "Backup!" "Save early, save often, and please, PLEASE, backup you data."

The promises of "Oh I will." so often become the cries of "I was going to, but...", or "I know that I should have, but..." But it doesn't matter at that point. Their stuff is gone. Their documents, their emails, their spreadsheets, their contacts, their... no... MY pictures... are gone.

Now let me step back here for a minute. I'm not here to apologize for being hypocritical, or whine about my loss. In fact, it's just the opposite. I spent most of this weekend rebuilding an old server, reinstalling old backup software, mounting an archaic tape drive, searching for, inventorying, cataloging, praying, and finally, restoring my old pictures from backup tapes that I had made five years ago.

And I am THRILLED! I'm beyond thrilled. Yeah, 'Go Colts', I'm really proud of them, but the highlight of my weekend was the recovery of the nearly 90,000 images that I thought just might be gone forever.

So, let me ask you: What's your plan? What happens when you computer hard drive fails? And did you hear me before? It's going to. Your hard drive is going to fail. At some point they all fail, and you, as incredible as you are, are no exception to this rule. So what happens then? What's your plan?

Do you have an external hard drive? It's going to fail, too, you understand.

Did you back your stuff up to tape, like I did? Those fail too. The fact that ALL of those things fell into place, and my tape recovery happened is nothing short of a miracle.

Are you a real geek with mirrored system drives, a RAID5 data array, offsite tape backup, AND full system snapshots that get replicated to the other side of the country every 30 minutes? Well, you are probably OK, then.

But the rest of us only have one real option. Online backups. That is, put a copy of your data out on the internet, and have it set to automatically backup your files every time you are online.

Please, I beg you. Go to or , spend the five bucks a month, and back your stuff up. As good as it felt to recover the images that I thought were gone forever this weekend, I would have traded it in a heartbeat for the security that comes with knowing that my stuff was truly safe.

Personally, I've used Mozy for the last few years, and it's worked well for me. I've recommended it to not only individuals, but businesses as well, and have been pleased not only with the backup, but the recovery as well. As my needs have changed, I've chosen to switch to Carbonite, and am currently in that transition.

Which is better and why? You don't care. All you care about is getting your stuff back after your hard drive fails. (Did I mention that it IS GOING TO?) So please, PLEASE, go.... NOW. Either one: or . It really doesn't matter. Just do it.

Unless you are a Jets fan, and just enjoy the feeling of major loss with no way to recover, please... go... now.

And yes... Go Colts!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Temple Reunion, the Aftermath.

A photo of about 50 together for a class reunion would be a pretty good turnout for most schools, but for a kid that graduated in a class of 10, I find it absolutely amazing.

OK, so maybe it wasn't just a 'class' reunion, per se. It was open to the entire school, including staff, parents, students, class pets, etc. But for a school that ran about 100 kids in any given year, I think the turnout was just incredible.

How many actually showed up? Now, that's a good question (and one that we will be much more ready to answer next time) My personal estimation is at least 200. But estimating has never been one of my strong points.

I could throw you the same old lines here, that it was so good to see everyone after 20 years, but that just doesn't do it justice. Maybe my perspective is a little skewed. You see, I spent nearly 14 years with these people for 8 hours a day. Then there were field trips, sporting events, social functions, birthday parties, youth outings, and the hours spent singing in the car back and forth (everything from the Cathedral Quartet to Billy Joel) If you knock out my parents, sister, and wife (who I met there), I have spent more time with this group of people than with any other. Period.

I could babble on and on about the memories that come to mind as I look across the faces in this picture. And it's not the typical... I sat next to this kid in science class stuff either. We did 'life' together... for years and years. I imagine that kind of closeness with schoolmates is difficult for most people to imagine. But for me, it was... it is... just family.

Alright, I'll save the rest of the mushy stuff for another time. For now, just let me say thank you. Thank you to my parents, who sacrificed so much to be sure that I could be a part of this group. Thank you to everyone that made that effort to come out, leaving any past issues behind, and reunite with this family. And a special thanks to all of you who came together to make this event happen. For some reason, I wound up with a lot of the credit, when I really did so very little. It took a LOT of excited people to make this the success that it was, and I am so thankful for them.

I'll make one last plea... if you are not on facebook, then please, plug-in. It's an incredible tool for reconnection. There are lots of pictures from the event, and a group page for all of us to get together. Without it (as my sister said) this would have been 3 chairs and a bag of Doritos. Of course, that would have been fine, too.

Jeremy C. Plummer
Temple Christian School
Class of 1993
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 TCS Reunion

Yes, I'm still talking about a TCS Reunion.

If you were in any way affiliated with Temple Christian School over the years, YOU are invited (as are your guests)

PLEASE, Please, please RSVP to this evite to help us with a headcount:


Also, please tell others to do the same. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone!


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I've had better days.

I've had better days. We all have.
But Tuesday wasn't as bad as this picture makes it seem.

First, we got up and went to see Steph's dietician. Steph's normal dietician was MIA, so we got to see a new one who was MUCH better than our her old one. We requested to see her again next time. She encourage Steph, answered questions, and told her she could move on to her next phase... soft cooked veggies. Steph was really excited, I was a little disgusted, and we started to plan where we would go to lunch.

Next, was a follow-up appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Jones. We both love Dr. Jones, and reccommend her highly to anyone considering bariatric surgery in the Indianapolis area. She was as nice as ever, and very pleased with Steph's progress. She gave her a goal weight for their next visit, and struck a little deal with her. "If you will skip the 'starches' phase (which would come in a few weeks), I will allow you to start eating salads, now." I honestly thought Steph was going to cry.

Now personally, I've never really been excited about a salad... ever. But Steph has been eating cream soups, yogurt, and protein shakes for the last 4 weeks, and she LOVES salad. I'm pretty sure that's all she ate through high school, or at least after her microbiology class. She was SO very excited. And I am so excited for her.

This changes everything. She has done SO well to stick to her diet. I am so proud of her for that. But, she has been avoiding going out socially, because that usually revolves around eating out... which is difficult to sit by and watch, when you can't eat. NOW she can join in, again, and I am SO thankful that she can.

So, we went to the nearest salad joint (subway, oddly enough). Then on to her next doctor appointment.

Enter, photo.
As we were leaving subway, I noticed my fuel gauge sitting on E. It was on F when I left the house that morning, and everywhere in between on the ride over. It's been a little erratic for the last few days, so I didn't see it as an emergency, but decided we should go straight to the gas station. Well, we got about half way there. :-) My good friend Greg brought us some gas, and took Steph home so she could get comfortable (since the car didn't start right back up.) Larry, a good guy from Paddock, came and towed the car to the nearby Tutwiler Cadillac dealer. They are burning up my cash, as I type, installing a new fuel pump, and replacing my crankshaft position sensors.

After Greg picked me up from the dealer, I picked up Steph, and took her to the gym, so she could do her physical therapy in the pool. It's amazing to watch her move around in there. Power walking with resistance and pushing herself every step of the way. Then, to O'Charleys for a REAL meal in celebration of her accomplishments. A Grilled Southwest Chicken salad for her and something off the BigFatFatty menu, for me.

I'm so proud of that girl. She's lost about 40 pounds now, and she's pushing herself every day to do the right things, even when she doesn't feel like it. In case you don't remember her, this is the girl I fell in love with 20 years ago. The girl with drive, and ambition. The girl who needed more than a small town had to offer. My Princess, Stephenie. It's just so good to have her back.

I love you, Doll.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Day at the Zoo.

Last week was a busy week for us. Since Steph had a surgery coming up, we had a long list of things we wanted to do before she went under. Most of them involved some pretty tasty foods that she would be missing for a while. But spending a little time with Stacey's kids was on the list, too. At the last minute, I decided to join them all for a trip to the zoo. I quickly packed up some camera gear and thoroughly enjoyed every minute that I got to share with them.

Click the collage above for a gallery of images that I shot while we were there. The initial load time is a little slow, but once it's all there it should move pretty fast. Also, you'll have to forgive me for the animal pictures. I'm still waiting to get their model releases back from their agents so that I can publish photos of their faces.

And yes, Steph is doing just fine, post-op... I'll tell you a bit about that, later.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Seats.

During the Spring and Fall, the seats around the firepit are about as warm as they come.

Today? Not so much.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Soup and Games

Every time I mentioned it, "Soup and Games," I got the same response.

"What's soup and games?" They'd ask.

Now, since I've been told on occasion that my wit has a tendency to be sharp, and hurtful sometimes, I did my best to respond kindly.

"It's soup..." I'd say, pausing as long as I could to keep from hurting anyone's feelings. "... and games."

Maybe this blog is a better venue for an explaination:

The time we get to share with our extended family seems to be spread thinner and thinner as the years pass. When I was a kid, there wasn't a week that went by when I didn't spend two, three, even four days a week with one cousin or another. As we grew into our pre-teen years, it quickly became once every few weeks. By the time we could drive, it was nothing more than major holidays. Now, everyone has developed their own families, each with it's own unique commitments, obligations, and schedules. Missing one or two of the majors, or just stopping in for an hour or so, isn't really a big deal.

But it is.

This past Thanksgiving, my mother's mother's side of the family played some silly game together over our turkey dinner. Oddly enough, the game bridged generation gaps, and brought only conversation that ended in joy and laughter. Realizing how little we get to do this, we decided on another day, well after Christmas, to just sit back, enjoy ourselves, play games, and eat soup. Why soup? I don't know. What I do know is that it brought a family a little closer together.

As usual, click on the collage above for a quick look into our day. Not everyone got to show up, but those of us who did will remember the first annual Soup and Games for years to come. And those who did not make it this year, will try a little harder next year, I'll bet.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Lists

As a child, it usually started around Thanksgiving. My head began to fill with dreams of what would be under the Christmas tree that season. I think it was all prompted by the delivery of the new Sears Catalog. "The Wishbook," they called it. I can remember sitting around my Grandmother's house with whichever older cousin would put up with me, and a plate full of turkey. We'd take turns with the wishbook, a marker, and a calculator. It wasn't serious yet, we were just dreaming. We'd set imaginary limits of five or ten thousand dollars, and start circling everything we could possibly want. Each of us ooooing and ahhhing over the other's keen stuff hunting skills. It was a great game.

But a few days later, it was no laughing matter. My parents, without losing any of the magic of a child's Christmas, were very practical in their approach. They set a realistic dollar limit, then gave me the wishbook, a marker, and deadline.

Of course, that dollar limit was always a problem for me. No matter how I worked the numbers, I could never seem to get that Omnibot 2000, or the MRC Trainer Hawk. (Aww, poor me... I know.) Even today as I go through the digitized pages of that 1985 Wishbook, my heart begins to race. The hopes and dreams of those four weeks were worth so much more than actually having them, come mid January.

My sister, the genius that she is, has found a way to take this tradition to the next level. She actually took the kids to Toys 'R Us, gave them a bar code scanner, and let them go to town creating their own electronic Christmas registry. For hours, they dreamed of what would be under that tree. They got to see it up close. Touch it, smell it. It's right there within their grasp.

Now, it's our own fault that we don't spend enough time with the kids we are buying for this Christmas to really know what they are into, what they want, and what is going to make look completely out of touch. And when you put them on the spot in the few moments you have with them, they can't really tell you what they want. That what makes an electronic wish list so cool.

So let's take it up a notch, shall we? Ask ME what I want for Christmas. Go ahead, ask. I'd be happy to tell you, but you're not going to like it. My hobbies are photography, motorcycles, marketing, home theater & automation, etc. See a problem here? It's not that you don't know me... or that you don't care what I like. It's just that, that stuff doesn't really fit into the $10 & $20 gift range very well. My wife wouldn't even know how to help you there, other than the old standby... "Get him a Gift Card."

If only you could put all the stuff in the world into a catalog, and give me a marker, you would know what I want. I would know what you want. We could give each other gifts that we actually wanted, without being generic or spoiling the surprise.

Oh wait. We have that. It's called the Internet... or more specifically, Amazon. (They have a LOT more than just books!)

So please, I beg you. Go to amazon, start your own wish list, make it public, and let people know how to find it. Put it on your MySpace and Facebook pages. Send your kids to make one. Make your husband do it, too. If you need some help, just ask. But please, PLEASE, make it easier on everyone. Give them your wishlist.

Oh, and just to get everyone started, here's mine ;-)

My Wish List

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Game is about to start...

Odds are, if you ever come here to read this blog, you've already seen this post somewhere else, but just in case, here's a duplicate:

Novemeber's 26Things will be the classic version... a typical photographic scavenger hunt, as originated by Traci of .

The rules are simple, although they have been slightly modified for this round:

1. Shoot one of these subjects every day.
I've found that it's best to print the list, and keep it (and your camera) with you for the next month. There is no particular order this time, so just mark them off as you go along.

2. Post that subject by Noon on the following day.
Failure to shoot and/or post by the deadline will result in the required 'penalty shot,' which is a self portrait, as well as the make-up shot, for that word. Now, since there are 26 things, and 30 days, that gives you 4 days of grace where no post is required. Use them wisely, and call them out. If you post on day 2, and skip day 3, post a 'Grace Day No. x' entry before you post your day 4.

3. Challenge yourself.
For those of us with DSLR's and the more advanced point & shoots, it has been suggested that your challenge will be to shoot in a manual mode, and post those manual settings. That is, Av, Tv, or M. If you have a DSLR, and you don't know what those things are, get your owners manual out, or ask a friend. For those of you who wish to participate, but have not yet made the jump to DSLR, the same thing applies: Read your book, and do things with your camera that you are not used to doing. Get creative. In any case tell us, what you are doing. Include your manual settings, or lighting notes, or white balance shifts, etc., as part of your post.

4. Challenge a friend.
We all need some accountability. Find someone to shoot with (or against), and add them to the mix. It's an open invitation, people. Make a bet with someone over who will post the most, or the earliest, or with the fewest grace days. It will help you both stay motivated. (This is really more of a suggestion than a rule, but it's very helpful)

OK, so here's the list. Interpret it as you will. It's actually the July 2005 list from , the orginator of the game. Shooting should begin on November 1, and your first post should be online prior to noon on November 2.

Any questions?

light up
parking sign
mixed bag
down the street

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Another TCS Yearbook... 1987

Yes, it's another Temple yearbook, this time the year is 1987.

I've given you my first and my last... here is one in the middle.

For your entertainment, and to help create some re-connections on FaceBook.

Just click the pic.

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