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It All Seems to Come Back to Medium

it_all_comes_back_to_mediumWell, not exactly “all” but for anyone writing online, yes, all roads seem to point to Medium. And I keep asking myself why that is?

At first, people were excited about the visual elegance and simplicity of the platform (that is, after it was opened up to the general public). Easy to use, beautiful, free—just log in with your Twitter or Facebook account and start writing. And with Medium, the focus has always been on the writing.

But with other platforms, especially WordPress, anyone can easily set up their own blog with an elegant, simple theme and start writing. So why Medium?

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One Step Forward

It’s been an interesting ride since my last post about my daughter’s school punishing the kids who opted out of the (optional) standardized test. I thought maybe 10 people would read it, but I guess it struck a chord, because it’s gotten a little over 900 views since I posted it four nights ago. The support has been overwhelming and the handful of trolls talking trash along the way have kept things in perspective. I appreciate the majority of people who took the time to read the post and respond thoughtfully—whether they agreed or not—either in the comments, on Facebook, or through Twitter. Especially given this response, it seems important to catch everyone up on what’s happened since.

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Singled Out

My daughter was excluded at school today. Not from some game on the playground or for misbehaving in class, but because we opted her out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. All the kids who took the test over the last couple weeks had an ice cream party, but my daughter—and other kids who opted out of the test—were asked to leave the class while the party took place. In fact, it was covered up. She was sent to another class to share a story, and she didn’t know what was happening until she returned to her normal class. When she entered the room, the other kids were whispering, “Shhhh, don’t tell her!”

Where do I begin?

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A Poem for My Son

You certainly are not a poem that rhymes,
yet, my son, you are poetry in motion.
Your regal stroll and stately stare
have certainly won my life-long devotion.

As a young lad you were adorable and dangerous,
irresistible, unstable, unpredictable, but sweet.
We would spend hours chasing and pouncing,
or napping just blocks from the sea, you at my feet.

But time extends as it always does,
your spots and stripes grew more gray,
I, of course, married and had kids,
which you tolerated with just the slightest dismay.

We do a lot less chasing and pouncing now,
and we rarely, together, enjoy a nap.
Our life is just a different crazy,
yet you still spend a little time in my lap.

Fourteen years is a lifetime and nothing at all,
fourteen years a proud father to a son.
You’ve been the most magnificent, unapologetic companion,
to which none can compare, not one.

miko

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Zeroing Out

zeroing_out

Earlier this year, I made a sort of vow to blog more often and zero out my article reading list (which mostly lives in Pocket). A friend on Twitter quickly replied, “Good luck.” I was undaunted though and set out to tackle these unrelated goals.

I’ve been blogging more often—mostly through a weekly photo post and a weekly music post—but the zeroing out of my article list has been much harder to do. Why?

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Not A Thousand Words, But…

Not A Thousand WordsYears ago, when I started this blog, I was using a service called Posterous (some of you may remember it). It was really easy to post anything there—writing, photos, videos—and I had it linked to my Instagram account (which was also new to me at the time). Any time I posted to Instagram, Posterous would automatically grab the title of the picture, the picture itself, and create a blog post on my site. It was a very easy way to photo blog.

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What’s Holding You Back?

fearI know my answer: fear. Pretty simple. I hate admitting that and saying it out loud, but it’s real. As I look forward to another day, another month, another year, the one thing I want focus on is accepting my fear and moving beyond it. I want to continue to work on letting go of the phantoms of things that haven’t been because of my fear—fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of doing too much, fear of doing too little, fear of not being the husband or dad I want to be, fear of not being the man I want to be…so. many. fears. They’re not debilitating fears, but everywhere in my life I can see the remnants of decisions based on fear.

I’m ready to move beyond it.

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Every Day Magic

Photo | Shannon Kringen

Photo | Shannon Kringen

I have a tendency to wait too long. Whatever the word is beyond “procrastination”—that’s what it is. Sometimes it’s laziness, sometimes I just don’t want to do what I know is ultimately good for me. Gratitude works a bit like that in my life. Whenever I’m struggling with feeling overwhelmed by work, the kids—life—I know that taking a minute to write down or say out loud what I’m thankful for will help me shift to a more positive place. And yet, there are still times I just don’t take the time to do it.

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Engaging for Mental and Social Health

ConnectingThere are two obvious indicators of the level of stress in my life: how long my beard is and my presence (or lack thereof) on social media. When I’ve got a lot of projects at work, someone in the house is sick, extra family appointments/obligations—or D, all of the above—I can’t seem to make time to trim the beard or bring myself to carve out time for the socials. Those two things, for whatever reason, are the first to go.

It’s a little complicated because part of my job is actually managing our social media accounts. I have a small team now to help with that, so during times I’m overwhelmed, I lean on my fellow team members, just making enough time for quality control, but not much else. And my personal accounts? Forget it. Basically comatose.

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The video above does a great job explaining Net Neutrality, what’s at risk, and why it’s important to maintain. Of course, several corporations are threatening to further regulate speed, access, and even content based on who can pay the most, acting as gatekeepers to the internet, something that should be open to everyone. Already, the internet isn’t free and open since we have to pay for service and devices to access it—and for many providers, data speeds are regulated based on how much you pay—but soon the FCC will decide if internet service providers can further throttle speeds and content, allowing corporations even more control of an important component of our infrastructure.

It’s sickening how many of the important decisions for our entire society are decided by they wealthy few, and this is just another example of a basic freedom that we need to be aware of and fight for.

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