Happy Birthday to me

coogans IMG_0180sm2
Coogan’s in Boston, MA

The color of the wall in the image above changed, so the “missing piece” image doesn’t quite line up, but I’m really glad I was able to take it.

I frequently use the image below as my Facebook profile picture. I’ll share the text from Facebook recalling how thrilled I was to find the original file.

I’m used up and spent today. I somehow threw my back out yesterday and wasted most of the day on the couch or the bed. I couldn’t even walk Gozer, it was so painful to move around. I haven’t slept well for a few days straight. You’d think I’d have a lot of profound things to say on my birthday, but I’m just so exhausted and can’t think very clearly.

Instead, I am posting the following text, which is a slightly edited version of what I posted on Facebook the day I used this as my profile pic for the first time. It sums up the photo well enough.

coogans IMG_0576 3edit
I’m going to share this original image, as well. The “missing piece” image was important to me, but look at her face in this original shot … I wanted to make sure you could clearly see it here.


From Facebook:

You can’t know how incredibly happy I am that I found this image.

For a year, I’ve been searching every hard drive I have for this image. I was prepared to completely reconstruct the image using Photoshop. Until tonight, all I had was a tiny, unsatisfying, shitty, compressed version from Beth’s Facebook page.

I continued to use the tiny, compressed image, on and off, as a profile pic last year. After all, a crappy, compressed version was better than nothing at all.

Because Beth had saved the compressed version to her phone, a thumbail existed in iPhone backups, which reinforced my mistaken assumption it was taken with one of our iPhones. So, every time I searched, it was in backup folders for old phones and on the only remaining phones I still had in my possession.

Then, tonight, I happened upon an image taken in the same location on the same day. I quickly dug deep into the metadata of that image and discovered it was taken with a Canon G10. I didn’t recall having that camera on the trip, but once I realized that, I started a search of more than 20TB of hard drives for all images taken with the G10.


I found a whole folder from that day. I was certain – absolutely positive – all of the original images were lost when one of several hard drives failed several years ago. I had told myself, repeatedly, the image was lost forever and there was nothing I could do about it. I would just be glad I had anything at all.

This makes me so happy. I mean, look at her. Look at the love and joy on her face. I needed this more than you could possibly know. It’s a bit sad to abandon the compressed image with all the comments and likes, but clarity is more important to me.

As much as anything can right now, this just makes me so happy. 

I love seeing this image more than any of the others.

It’s no contest.


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