A couple weeks break in the family history project (Started July 2014, paused in July 2015).


I am going to take a couple of two maybe three week break from picture and family history blogs. I realized the other day when I started the random picture blog that I was getting bored with publishing pictures and family history only. I miss publishing reviews and more traditional Scott blog topics like Serial Stories and other things like that. So, a break is in order. I never want the family history project to be a chore.

Watching the jockeying for president right now I am concerned about the shift our country seems to have taken. It isn’t a horrible shift, but one that is a little concerning. The court of public opinion seems to be all consuming now.

That isn’t bad overall but it is new. Previously it was as important what you were about as what you said. Being the charged person meant you were innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Now it seems that people are allowed to convict in the court of public opinion rather than a court of law. In the court of public opinion it is as much who says what as anything remotely resembling facts. In the court of public opinion you are not always sworn in to testify you are simply activated by acquiring celebrity.

The other thing I find interesting is the information that explodes now rather than leaks. Organizations often leak information. The value of a leak is that they, the leaker controls the information that is released. You can effectively manage the nozzle that controls information flow. Once you control the flow of information you can manage the impact of that information.

Reality is that information that once leaked spread over a course of a week now spreads over the course of minutes. At a recent baseball game the crowd had gotten the rumor that one of their favorite players had been treated. They cheered his last at bat as if it were his last at bat for the organization ever. The ball player cried thinking that he would no longer be in the city and with the team. But the thing was the trade wasn’t real. So the rumor that became known by everyone in the end was only that a rumor and no one was being traded.

Journalism is the practice of building and managing sources. Of collecting verifying and ultimately validating information. The court of public opinion allows for the concept of celebrity based information providers. Not that celebrities are wrong. Many of them are wonderful intelligent people. Rather there are some celebrities that are famous because they will say anything.

We gain information in a heartbeat. We lose the validation and verification of that information. It becomes in the end a trade-off. What are you willing to give up? Are you willing to be a crying baseball player believing he has been traded from the only team he has ever played for? Or are you more interested in at least a more controlled process. Rumors are going to flow. But someone comes back and validates that rumor and if it isn’t true that becomes the story. Not the actual rumor.

.doc

back to just plain blogger

The Hills and Valleys of Brown County Indiana (and a couple of parking lots to boot!)


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East and just a smidge south of Bloomington Indiana is the tiny tourist town of Nashville Indiana. Just south of what is Nashville proper is Brown County State Park. We went there often when I was a kid. There are hiking and camping places located all over that park. In 2009 we went to the park and stayed at the Inn. This picture is taken from the window of the room we were in.

Why a random person walking I do not know. I would like to think there was some logic to the pictures I take. But I am smart enough now to know that there isn’t always. The difference between a film photographer with 36 perfect shots and a digital photographer with virtually infinite shots is that you can afford to take the 40 or 50 shots like this that in the end are better fits as openings to a Faulkner novel than to a blog about a place and time. Plus parking lots and gravel roads are the stuff of which legends are made. Without gravel parking lots there would be no modern medicine and well you get that is a joke…

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Still Brown County State Park and still from the Inn up in the room area. This is from my hand collection. Famous photographers are known for their various studies. They examine one topic over and over. They photograph that one thing and capture its essence. The beauty and elegance of that study is that the thing becomes part of history. Think of some of the most iconic photographs of all time.

So I am not a great photographer. Luckily with digital pictures I can take the 300 I need to get the one good shot. Versus a professional that can take 2 and have two perfect shots. Brown County is a beautiful place in Southern Indiana. The park is simply a wonder. I remember going there when I was camping more often. We would setup the tent and be under the stars. The park is filled with a large herd of deer and in the gloaming if you are careful and quiet they will walk right by you as if you weren’t there. Of course it is there world so you really aren’t there. Such beautiful creatures.

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There are a number of cuts outs like this around the park. It feels like they shouldn’t do this. Cut down the natural beauty so that people can take pictures like this of the further away natural beautify. The hills are lovely. They represent the last bastion. Hills that were stronger than the last Ice Age. They are remnants of land that was pushed in front of the glaciers as they moved slowly to the south.

The park has many interesting trails. I think that is one of the best parts. Places you can walk to that show you Indiana the way it was when the Pioneers made to Indiana the New West. There are bits still there in the park and protected of Virgin Woods. Woods that were there before the Pioneers. We used to walk through those in amazement trees that  they were older than the city we lived in.

If you are ever in Southern Indiana and need to get away from the city – wander over to Nashville and then cross back through time into the Brown County State Park.

.doc

Family Historian

Oh mighty snow that falls my friend once, my enemy once but always a wonder…


I decided to do the Ouija board guided random today. I picked a folder and then decided on the number of the pictures I would talk about. Random Random ended up making a couple of really tough blogs to write.

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The weather outside is frightful and that fire is sure delightful. Or so we would have sung this morning as we awakened to the Blizzard of 2007. There have been a few Blizzards over the years in Indiana. This was probably the deepest snow we had in a long time.

The snow started falling in the late afternoon the day before. There were 14 inches on the ground when we woke up that day. Snow is funny. It covers everything in a gentle white coating. I remember being young and rushing outside at my grandparents house in the winter. Snow covering the hill I grabbed the sled and spent the day outside tearing down the big hill behind my grandparents house. Hour after hour of sledding and fun.

Then one day my father handed me a shovel and said clear the driveway. Snow changed forever that day. No longer just the innocent purveyor of white cover.

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Snow for a time became the enemy. The hated villain is a story that never ended. All winter long we would do battle snow and I. Once my great friend, hugging me as I rolled off the sled. Cold and yet it could be wet it would not always be wet it was perfect.

Covering everything now though it was the enemy. A battle not of wits of power and strength. I and my trusty shovel against the evil horde that was snow. I shall defeat you I would cry as I walked out the garage door to clear the driveway. You shall not win. But the snow always won. I could hate the snow with a passion but it would take my breath at times. Make me stop and look. Make me wonder. If you think about snow, it travels many miles from the clouds to the earth. It floats along on gossamer wings drifting with the wind and the will of the wind is the will of the snow so it drifts. In and out of clouds slowly falling to the ground. Then on the ground joining its brothers and sisters to unite in a blanket of clean snow.

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That blanket of snow covering everything equally. Houses, streets and mailboxes. Lost in a sea of white snow. Oh it was my enemy so close so visceral. I had changed though not snow. I was the one that didn’t wake and rush outside to slide down a hill. I was the one that no longer spent hours outside enjoying the wonder. I pushed a snow blower and moved the snow off the driveway.

I shoveled the front walk so people could come to the door.

I changed and snow knew it. It twinkled at me, to remind oft of the fun we used to have. Here as the sun rises and the day begins with pristine perfection. There, there is snow I knew from my childhood. It was the same as it always had been. Me standing in the garage preparing to clear the driveway realizing snow was never the enemy. Snow had never changed. I had changed. In growing older I forgot that the wonder of snow is the magic of childhood.

For a moment I enjoyed the snow. Then my quiet was destroyed by my children shouting “school is cancelled, school is cancelled.” I turned my back to the noise and started the snow blower.

.doc

Family Historian

Random project continues–today’s features Cincinnati Ohio


Today’s random folder was the fifth folder in the fifth folder and this is the fifth picture in that folder. It isn’t a very good picture which as I talked about P0000028yesterday the risk is not knowing where the picture is taken the other side of that is that it won’t be a good picture. Gwen’s face actually did extend to the end of her nose. Unlike this picture of her begging which I suspect was taken in the Kitchen of our house on Shafer.

Gwen was an interesting dog. Her personality was never really that of a family dog. She was a loner that just happened to hang out with a family. I remember countless times have to intercede with Gwen herding Jakki and her friends in the back yard.

The picture is from Cincinnati Ohio. Based on the flooring it was taken in our house on Shafer avenue. We lived on Shafer for about 5 years.

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While in Cincinnati I started doing STEM outreach (later expanding that to STEAM and then CSTEAM). This was a class of kids I took the newly released Microsoft Barney kit to show them. We talked about the many potential things that robotics could accomplish.

Barney was a great tool to show the initial integration between a device, a computer and software. We would talk about what was possible with the tools, what happens with connectivity and the potential of software. The Barney tool has independent and dependent actions it could take. You could interact with it in a number of ways. I never hacked the device, although I have friends that did. I always wanted Barney to say Barney things. I suspect there are millions of children in the US that say please and thank you because of Barney.

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Growing up going to Kings Island (an amusement park just north of Cincinnati Ohio) was a big deal. When we moved to Cincinnati we actually had season passes the first three years. That as things local often do wore off eventually. We went there a number of times in the nine years we lived in Cincinnati.

The most magical experience we had was when Jakki was a tiny baby and we went to see the Kings Island Festival of lights for the holidays. It was an amazing display of Christmas lights. You got to ride on the old town train in the park and see the lights. Jakki’s little eyes were wide open and staring in wonder.

They stopped doing the lights displays the next year so we never really got a chance to go back and see them again. They started up again many years later but we had moved to Greenwood Indiana by then and Kings Island had fallen prey to Six Flags over mid America in Louisville and Holiday world.

.doc

Family Historian

Making this a little fun and mixing up the family history blog for this week….


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Today I changed it up a little. For the next few days the family history project blog will be a random folder and then a random number from within that folder. This may fail with larger numbers and smaller older picture folders. Some of the new folders this will work greatly!

Now, reality is I have no idea where this is. It doesn’t look like anything I have ever seen. I did however based on the folder take the picture. So I have been here. This is the 11th picture in the third folder in the other folder. So I guess this is unknown place. It looks like a school. But I don’t recognize the buildings so I can’t be sure.

This is going to be a fun game. Some of the go forward blogs may be more about the process of the game than the picture produced by the game itself.  But the fun will be trying to figure out what the picture was taken.

Strike one. Swing and a miss.

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The winner is bubbies! Well a bubby. This is taken at my parents house a few years ago – they are not this small anymore. This is the first iteration of my parents new back deck. There were at least three that I recall. Although to be honest there could have been many more.

They were just toddling around at this stage. They were cute until they learned how to walk and then all heck broke lose. As they got older and taller things began to break more often. You couldn’t leave anything just out of their reach as they would figure out how to bridge that gap.

It must have been cold but not winter so I suspect early spring for this picture. Luke’s cheeks aren’t red so it isn’t freezing. He is pretty bundled though. I suspect if he fell he wouldn’t feel much in his butt. From the looks of his gait he was still struggling a little with walking.

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I guess I can’t really make fun of my father for all his pictures of plants. We lived in Greenwood for 12 years. I probably have 100 pictures of the geese in the pond behind the house. So the random nature of this new blog series in the end only produces images that are there. But the likelihood of pictures occurring –

Boys and Jakki first (I have the most pictures of the three of them)

Becca next (I have fewer digital pictures of Becca)

Geese/wildlife and family dogs next.

So we hit two out of the three on the first run. There are folders that don’t have any of the three in them so perhaps I will mix it up tomorrow.

.doc

Family Historian

Those were the days….


DSCN0011For those of you that follow my podcast I caught up today getting to my two posts per month average. Sorry if you follow that for the missed month. Sometimes life gets in the way of sharing. With just over 1100 pictures shared the remainder of the project leaves me another 1000 blogs to write.

This one is mom and the boys. They were in the infamous twins stroller. We had three different strollers over the life time of pushing the boys. They were used a lot, packed a lot and in the end damaged a lot.  Not that the boys were hard on stuff because they were, but also because we always found a better stroller.

This is at a hotel somewhere. It could be French Lick Indiana. I am sure I will remember right after I post this.

They have grown up considerably since this picture. It is amazing but in just 3 weeks they will head off for their junior year in High School.

Such a change.

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I used to do college recruiting and hiring years ago. I remember going to events and the line to talk to us was around the corner.

We would talk to college kids and young professionals about the rest of their lives. It was sort of like being a teacher except in the end you didn’t get to talk to them for a whole year and for the most part they knew how to read and write. Talking, some of them still struggled with.

Its ok not to make eye contact. It isn’t ok to talk into your lapel.

I spent a lot of time doing those gigs. They were fun. We had a great crew of people that we were all a part of. Lots of fun. Back in the day we would interview people and depending on how they were doing we would change around the internets and styles. Just to see if in the end they would be a good fit for our team.

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The play yard we added to our house in Indiana. That beautiful landscaping lasted until the first big rain then it was all over the yard. Took me three hours to get it all back. Then it happened again. so another three hours. After the third time I stopped and we filled the area with gravel.

Then we got rid of the play yard when the boys were a little older. It was really only heavily used for about three years. Then never more, and Indiana doesn’t really have Ravens.

Still it was a time.

We did only have the one play yard luckily. We’ve actually taken play yards out of two houses now and have left two houses with play yards in them. I guess that is part of having young children…

.doc

Family Historian…

Dogs are amazing–we’ve been gifted with so many wonderful dogs over the years…


Fran passed away a year ago well a little over a year ago in April 2014. She ruled our house with an iron fist implementing many rules over the years. Her first IMG_0011rule was yellow food belongs to yellow dogs. Gwen was the first long term dog who lived with us. She joined our family in Cincinnati and moved with us to Indianapolis. She was cranky and grouchy most of the time. When Fran as a tiny puppy joined our family (the last puppy we would ever have) Gwen ruled the roost. Until Fran realized she was bigger than Gwen was.

The two had a mutual destruction pact for the next few years. In the spring of 2011 Gwen had fallen apart physically and they didn’t interact much anymore. Gwen stopped really interacting with anybody beyond short bursts. She passed away in the early spring of 2011 just before we moved to Maryland. Gwen was a fighter and a very scared little dog. She acted tough but was never tough. Fran on the other hand was stubborn. Once she determined that things worked a certain way you had better not change them. Jakki had a number of knee surgeries over the years. She would take over the living room couch as her sick bed. Anyone who disturbed Fran’s girl would either receive a deep Labrador glare or an actual growl. Grandma had IMG_0004some and was changing Jakki’s wrap, Fran didn’t like it because her girl was in pain and she growled.

Fran was our first lab. We love labs (two live with us now). Actually I shouldn’t say two live with us now. Two Labs allow us to accept their control of our lives. I don’t remember the last time I was able to sit on a couch or a chair that a lab either didn’t sit in front of me and glare at me for sitting in their spot or wasn’t already in the spot. As you can see from the expression on her face Fran was the master of the couch, the chair and any other furniture the humans had in her living room.

She was clearly in charge. If you didn’t believe that you simply met her and asked her. She would clearly tell you that she was in charge and the humans better listen.

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Gwen came from a pet store. When they called me from the pet store my first question was would the spots fade. They never actually did fade. She remained this color her whole life. Not sure what this color in the end was or is. Multiple colors. She had different colored many things.

Gwen was a dog that struggled as a family member. She was really more of a one-person dog. But she tried to be part of the family. She just didn’t like children. She didn’t like pools and we found out one summer that she didn’t like chipmunks either. Not in any form did she even tolerate them. One day we were in the pool that sat in the back yard of the house. Gwen was talking something in the bushes that were on the terraced level above the pool area. Suddenly Gwen pounced and there was a squealing noise. She shook her head and the poor chipmunk she had caught split not two pieces.

It was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.