Friday, July 31, 2015

Election Central: Follow the Links

 Have you been keeping up with Election Central?
As the political season heats up, this site is heating up as well.

Credit: McGraw-Hill Education

Everywhere you click on this site, you can find something interesting and useful. And here's a recent example:

From the home page, choose the "Tracking the 2016 Election Candidates" post.
That will take you to the timeline that is (trying its best to stay) up-to-date on who has entered the presidential race so far.

But . . . if you follow the links from there, you'll be able to land in the other candidate biography pages. Those two posts are subdivided by political party and give each official candidate a brief biography of who they are, what their experience level is, and things like that. And if you click on the last tab of those biographies, you can discover the various social media platforms used by each and every candidate.

Building all of these links has really taught me a few things. For instance--
  • Google+ is not a platform used by almost anyone. (But there are a few out there.)
  • The Marco Rubio campaign never met a social platform it didn't like . . . even Pintrest.
  • The Bobby Jindal YouTube page is depressing in its lack of content.

Come on. Go explore. You'll see some fun stuff.
(But if you are epileptic . . . watch out for Rick Perry's Web page--especially if your computer's speakers are turned off.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Party Month 2015

 It's been an eventful Party Month--as they often are. (For those of you who may not know, the stretch of the calendar from late June through late July is called Party Month at our house. Why? Well, it encompasses Grace's birthday, Lynda's birthday, Lynda and my wedding anniversary, and Sarah's birthday.)

Party Month 2015 ALSO included a family trip down to Ft. Walton, Florida for some beach fun with the rest of the Martins. So, as I said . . . eventful.

We started Party Month off with a celebration of Grace's 12th birthday. I know that I say this every year . . . but I really love how Grace holds such a fierce attitude toward life and towards herself. She expects the best and the most out of herself. And while that sometimes generates feelings of frustration, I want her to hold onto her high standards and keep up the fight.
It's no secret that over the years, the quick temper that she inherited from me has caused clashes between us. But I'm very happy to say that those kinds of problems have diminished so much as she has aged and matured.
You might think that her middle child status might be a problem. But then you don't know Grace Martin. She's never going to allow you to overlook her. (And you totally should not. She's a special person and is only getting better.
As June transitioned into July, the family packed up and we went to the beach for fun with family in Florida.  I hope that everyone had as good a time as I did. And I hope Florida got to appreciate hosting the 2015 Official Hat of Summer for a few days. While we were there I hung out on the beach, played in the surf, went fishing with my brothers and my dad and enjoyed lots of good food and family time. While we were travelling down South, we also had the chance to finally eat at Amy's SASS restaurant in Thomasville and to see the new Thompson twins in Waycross. The food was delicious (as expected) and the babies were cute (as predicted). It is too bad that we can't be with family more often. But I hope we made the best of it when we have the chance.

While we were in Florida, Lynda and I observed our 20th wedding anniversary. We got to go out by ourselves and had a really great dinner--with incredibly fast service--at the Red Bar. It was highly recommended by many people that we talked to and I definitely wasn't disappointed by the experience.
(I feel that much of this stuff isn't really news to you guys, because we've already posted these pictures and made comments on the Facebook pages while it was happening. But the institutional pull of WWYG?! and occasional blogging demands that I try to put some of these events into a different perspective anyway. Maybe I did a better job describing Party Month in years past when my digital focus wasn't pulled onto different platforms and social media services so often.)
And there are many, many more things to say about the 20 years of happiness that Lynda and I have shared. But I'm hoping to focus on that stuff later this year . . . when bigger plans for a anniversary-dedicated trip can be discussed. So, just assume that I know I'm incredibly lucky.

Once we got home from Florida, it's time to settle back into the rest of the summer and look for fun before the mid-August first-day-of-school arrives. Part of THAT effort was when Grace and Sarah and I stood in line outside Columbus' Ohio Theater to experience a bit of the Paper Towns movie pre-release madness. The weather wasn't too hot or rainy and the crowds were amiable and excited. We were treated to a 19 minute preview of the film and a question & answer session with author John Green and three members of the film's cast. I think we all had fun experiencing a bit of Nerdfighteria IRL. Maybe it wasn't as intense as the Pottercast visit back in 2007 . . . but it was still fun.
And then, as happens each year . . . Party Month comes to a close with Sarah's birthday. This year she is turning 15 and is firmly established in teenagerdom and high schoolery. And as is often the case, her birthday overlaps with some other event. In years past it was either our church's Vacation Bible School or when she was out-of-town at a summer camp. In 2015, it just happened to be both of those things at once!
So, she wasn't here when the big day came. But we'll find a way to celebrate after she (and Grace) return from Procter Camp this weekend.
From my perspective, I think Sarah is handling her teenage years pretty well. There are definitely highs and lows--but she is holding onto a pretty clear understanding of who she is. Unfortunately, she is just having to wait for other people to catch up to her. And I dearly wish it could happen faster. Sarah is funny and smart and engaging and great and I really want more and more people to understand that. Someday they will. And we can say we knew it first.

So, goodbye Party Month 2015. It was a good one.