Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

Here’s what I love about Indy PopCon

What I love about Indy PopCon

I have been to several conventions over the years. Several of them were of the geek-related variety in Indianapolis. And what I can say without a shadow of doubt is that Indy PopCon is my favorite of the cons that I’ve attended. Due to the fact that we were moving that weekend, I was only able to attend for a little while during last year’s inaugural run. But I loved every minute I was there. And I can’t wait to return this year.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy about all the cons that are here. They are great for Indianapolis. And I think Indianapolis is great for them. But Indy PopCon? There’s something entirely different about it. And I love it.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s how the fine folks in charge of Indy PopCon describe the event:

PopCon was founded to celebrate all aspects of pop culture, rather than just hyper focusing on a specific genre. We have a wide variety of interests – just like our fans – so we created a con to celebrate them all in one awesome weekend!

I don’t want to miss this event. There’s a lot that I love about this event. And I’ll share some of those things in just a minute. But first, the rest of the basic details:

Indy PopCon
Indiana Convention Center
Indianapolis, IN
Friday, June 26-Sunday, June 28

You can go here to order your tickets. And if you use “ATRO” as a promo code, you’ll be helping out one of my palsplus, you’ll get an exclusive PopCon print.

Indy PopCon is a con of the people, by the people, for the people

I nifty little community has sprouted up in Indy. It began close to two years ago when they started making noise about the coming of Indy PopCon. The con’s Indy Popconcreators are local pop culture enthusiasts. And they wanted input from other local pop culture enthusiasts. A lot of dreaming, planning, implementing, and promoting has gone into this event.

The 2015 con promises to be exponentially better than the 2014 con. And the 2016 version will be exponentially better than this year’s. That’s because the organizers regularly listen to feedback and actively participate in the local community. They aren’t a group of outsiders just swooping in to Indianapolis hoping to make a quick buck. Like many of us, they love Indianapolis. They’re part of the community. And that shows by the quality of the event they strive to pull off.

You can be who you are at Indy PopCon

I love that Indy PopCon celebrates all things related to pop culture.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the genre-specific cons that focus on things like comics or gaming or Star Wars or Star Trek are great, great things. But I can bring my kids to Indy PopCon and use it as a teachable moment, reminding them that they can be whoever they want and love whatever they want to love. They don’t need to feel boxed in to one type of label. At Indy PopCon, YouTubers rub elbows with gamers who hang out with cosplayers who share a drink with film buffs who get to chat with artists. Seeing such diversity can encourage my kids to be more comfortable in their own skins.

Indy PopCon is a grand assembly of all things geek. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Movies! Tons of movies!

Have you seen how many movies they’re screening? Holy cow! That alone is worth the price of admission. I mean, where else can you see The Last Starfighter, The Rocky Horror Picture ShowRed DawnAlien, Gremlins, and The Princess Bride (just to name a few) in one place?

Oh, and did I mention that Flash Gordon himself is going to be there?

Edward James Olmos will be there, too.


Yeah. I’m kind of excited.

I’ve only scratched the surface

There is so much going on at Indy PopCon that I can’t even begin to cover it all! You’ll just have to make a visit to downtown Indy and check it all out. So when will I see you there? Let me know and we’ll get together! Or we can just hang out at the Awkward Twitter Mingle.

The Force will be with us as we live long and prosper at one con to rule them all. So say we all.

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Celebrating Bosse Field’s 100th anniversary!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase using the link.
Bosse Field is 100 years old

I’ve been to sports facilities that just ooze history out of every corner. It’s a mystical, magical experience. Some say Bosse Field has that same kind of feel. There’s good reason for that.

Bosse Field is about to turn 100 years old.


It’s the third-oldest ballpark still in use in the United States. Only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are older. From concerts to an NFL team (ever hear of the Evansville Crimson Giants? Yeah, me neither. You learn something new every day.) to minor league baseball, Bosse Field has seen its share of memorable moments.
Bosse Field

I have a few personal memories of Bosse Field. Both are honestly pretty faint. I think I remember attending an All Star game for our t-ball league there. I also remember attending a Triplets game. Or maybe more. And I think I had one of their Knothole Gang shirts at one point.

Bosse Field is a place steeped in history. That made it the perfect setting for A League of Their Own. Although Madonna later said she wasn’t much of a fan of our fair city, the fact that A League of Their Own was filmed in Evansville was a source of great civic pride. In many ways, it still is.

Shop for thousands of 100% authentic autographed sports collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comI still puff out my chest a little bit whenever I talk about the movie. I’m always quick to inform people that it was filmed in my hometown. And that Uncle Dale took Grandmama to the filming of the final scenes. They needed extras dressed in 1940s attire to fill the stands for the championship game. I have other friends that were there that day, too. Every time I watch the movie, I scan the crowd to see if I can find anyone I know. I haven’t been able to find anyone yet. But I’m sure I will someday.

I remember riding in the car with my Aunt Patsy one evening. A limo pulled beside us while we were heading down Morgan Avenue. “What if that’s one of the cast from that movie they’re filming here – the one about girls’ baseball?” we said to ourselves. Then a window rolled down and a hand reached out and waved at us. Aunt Patsy was convinced that it was Tom Hanks. I’m still not convinced.

Fortunately, Mr. Hanks doesn’t think Evansville is the equivalent of Prague.

So in honor of Bosse Field’s 100th anniversary, I’m going to be introducing my kids to A League of Their Own. Of course we’ll have peanuts and cracker jack. And since the Rockford Peaches play such a prominent role in the film, we’re gonna have an old favorite of mine from my Scouting days: Simple Peach Cobbler a la mode.

What? I haven’t shared this fabulous recipe yet? That’s a travesty. I’ll have to do that very soon. But for now, you’ll have to wait. But don’t cry about it while you wait.

Because there’s no crying in baseball.

If you’re looking for smoe pretty cool memorabilia from A League of Their Own, check out this link:Movie Collectibles and Memorabilia. They also have some pretty cool All American Girls Professional Baseball League memorabilia, too.

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So what shall I do with @Just_Matt_?

No straight lines make up my life; And all my roads have bends; There's no clear-cut beginnings; And so far no dead-ends. Harry Chapin, All My Life's a Circle

One year ago today, I received an email from the HR Director, asking if I wouldn’t mind stopping by her office for a little “chat.” I knew what that meant. It was early Tuesday morning and very few people had arrived in the office yet. I knew exactly what that meant.

Less than an hour later, I was walking out to my car to get a box so I could gather up my belongings. It wasn’t a surprise, really. It had happened to a lot of people in recent weeks. In fact, I was starting to see a bit of a pattern. But it still left me a little disoriented.

I had just been fired.

I can say all I want about how this was a blessing in disguise and that I’m better off now than I was then. Those statements are true. And I probably said those exact things to people that day. Because I believed them. But this was still a rather significant change in direction for our family. And can I just say that this couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time?

A week before this event, we moved into a new rental.

A week before that, we had purchased a new (to us) van.

Two days after I was fired, Christy’s teaching job lost funding.

The day after that was the one-year anniversary of Dave’s passing.

Emotionally? I don’t know if there could’ve been a worse time for this to happen. There was all this excitement about new things like the adoption and the van. That excitement was mixed with sorrow and uncertainty as we didn’t exactly know where this road was going to take us. It’s kind of tough to know what’s happening next when both family members lose their jobs in the same week.

Of course, there never really is a good time to get canned. Is there?

Anyway, I promise I’m in a better place. Of course, I miss some of my former teammates. But I really do love my new jobs. And pretty much everything about my life is in a better place. A much better place.  So I’m not really carrying any emotional baggage like I did back when we moved to Greenwood.

Back when I was guest-posting and doing other digital promotion for my former employer, I had created a second twitter account. Y’all already know about @mattdantodd. Right? And y’all are already following me. Right? If you aren’t, you can go ahead and click on over there and do that. I’ll wait.

I promise. I’m waiting.

Done?

Good.

You might have known about @mattdantodd. But I’ll bet you didn’t know about @Just_Matt_. Well, now you do. And I’m looking for some input about what to do with this account. You see, @Just_Matt_ has kind of lost his way. I’d love to help him find his way back on track. There’s no need for him to end at a dead end. Is there?

So on this, the one year anniversary of my life taking an unexpected turn, I’d like to know what you think I should do with @Just_Matt_. Should I primarily promote this blog through him? I kind of do that already through my main twitter account. I’m really not sure what to do with him at the moment. But I’m open to suggestions. Actually, this is me begging for suggestions.

What should I do with this twitter account?

I could try to bribe you by saying the winning suggestion will get some awesome prize. But I really don’t have an awesome prize to give away. All of our extra money is tied up in adoption expenses right now. Remember?

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Oh, and that quote at the top of this post? Here’s the rest of the song. I think it’s kind of fitting for today. Don’t you?

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3 ways you can start changing the world TODAY

Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room. - Christine Todd WhitmanThis world is broken. You know it. I know it. It’s full of people who are broken. There’s so much hate and violence and destruction and poverty and loneliness and dysfunction and sickness and bullying and the list goes on and on and on. When you look at all the problems on a global scale, it’s completely overwhelming and it can be tempted to just throw your hands up in the air and say, “I give up. The problem’s too big. I’m too small. It’s not even worth the effort.”

Whenever you think that’s the case, I hope you remember this quote:

“Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.” – Christine Todd Whitman

And you know she’s right. So let’s learn from the mosquito’s example and change the world by doing the little things. I promise they’ll have a huge impact.

Here are three ways you can start changing the world today:

1. Care for orphans.

There are many ways you can help orphans without adopting. Some don’t even require you to leave your house! Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that there’s a way you can help our family in our own adoption journey. Here’s how
Continue reading

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We’ve been awarded a matching funds grant for our adoption!

Family of Six

I posted this announcement on twitter a couple of nights ago…

And quickly followed it up with this…

Like I said, that was a few days ago. The details were never posted. I’m sorry about that. I had to make sure all our ducks were in a row before making it public. But now? Everything’s a go and I am beyond excited to share this news with you!

Let me catch you up on our story.

It isn’t a secret that there are many joys that come with adoption. But there are many challenges, too. One of the greatest immediate challenges is financial. With updating our home study, all the agency and country fees, and the expected costs related to travel, this adoption journey will add up to thousands of dollars in expenses.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances and some changes in the way Ethiopia handles adoptions, this adoption journey is going to wind up costing significantly more than our first.  When all is said and done, the final cost will be around $32,000.

When we announced that we had started the process for a second adoption, we only had enough money available to cover our home study expenses. That was it. We moved forward in faith, though, trusting that God was going to provide.

And God has provided every step of the way.

Through grants, sponsored blog posts, and successful fundraising efforts, God has provided in unexpected ways. And the funds have been there every time they were needed. After watching God move time and time and time again, I have no doubt that He has had a hand in this. He has moved on His own timetable. And His timing is perfect. And through His guiding hand, He has provided an opportunity to cover the rest of the expenses.

Thanks to Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc., we are close to having the final expenses of this adoption journey covered! But we’re going to need your help.Hand in Hand Christian Adoption INC

We have been awarded a fund-matching grant from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.!

What does that mean? 
It means that Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. a non-profit private operating foundation, will match any funds that are donated for the expenses of our adoption. All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount. That means that every gift will essentially be doubled. And all donations are tax-deductible.

We’ve had a lot of people who, for one reason or another, could not participate in any of the fund raisers we held during the last year and a half. They’ve asked if there was another way they could financially support our adoption efforts. We’ve asked them to wait until a later time. Well, it’s later.

Now is the time!

If you have a gift, no matter the size, that you would like to give to help us with this journey, please send a check made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption,” postmarked by July 2, to:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.
Matt and Christy Todd
18318 Mimosa Court
Gardner, KS 66030

For tax purposes, please include our name on the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself!

If you have any questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program, please feel free to email me. You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have. They can be reached via email or phone (913-248-5015) .

If the full amount available from this matching grant is reached, we will have seen God provide, through grants and fundraising, $26,000 of the $32,000 necessary to complete this adoption. How amazing is that?

Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping a child find a “forever” family. We are so close to completing this leg of our journey!

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The Yard Sale is over. Thank you!

Yard Sale Sign

I’ve been trying to come up with the proper words to explain what happened at Saturday’s Yard Sale. While I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, I think it’s altogether fitting and proper to go ahead and say this…

it was a smashing success.

It went so well that we didn’t have enough stuff left in order to justify having the sale again Monday morning. Sorry if you were planning on stopping by on Monday, but most of the major stuff was already gone. Thanks for thinking of us, though!

We raised more money than I’ve ever seen a Yard Sale bring in.

I have to say that I wasn’t so sure things would turn out like that when we opened Saturday morning. In almost every other yard sale that we’ve ever had, people show up more than a half an hour early and start rummaging through the stuff while we’re still setting up. That didn’t happen this time. While it’s a major annoyance to have people go through the items you’re selling while you’re in the midst of the mad rush to set up, it is a good sign that people know you’re having a yard sale. So when no one showed up until 10 minutes before we opened, I have to admit that I got a little nervous. What if this whole day was a bust? All of this time and effort would’ve been wasted.

People started to trickle in. The traffic was steady, but it was nothing overwhelming. I left at 9:30 to take Mihret to soccer. Before driving away, I snapped this picture:

Like I said, people were coming, but it wasn’t horribly busy. Things changed while I was gone, though. Halfway through soccer, I started getting texts like this from Christy:

It’s CRAZY!!!

 

Help!!!!!

It seems that the floodgates had opened and the entire region had arrived at our driveway. This is what the scene looked like shortly after I got home:

It’s going fast! #YardSale #Greenwood #Indy

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on


As you can see, a lot of stuff is gone – including most of the big-ticket items. The dishwasher, drum set, trunks, bike, armchair – all gone. Stuff was flying off the shelves! Like I said, it was a smashing success.

Now that I’ve told you what happened, I need to say this: If you supported this fundraiser in any way – donations, spreading the word, prayer, etc.) – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

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A tale of two Star Wars Days

I’m about to get my geek on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A Star Wars Day Hipster

I remember making a “May the 4th” reference several years ago. I think I might have still been in grad school at the time. I thought the play on words was fun. So I shared it as an update on a social network – possibly on Myspace, but maybe on Facebook. I don’t remember the specifics and I can’t find the status anywhere, but I remember saying something like “Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you! (Yes, it’s corny. Don’t kill the messenger)” And I do know that the earliest reference I can find on this blog is from 2007. Once I learned about this quirky day, I was determined to celebrate it the following year.

And I did.

May the 4th be with you

A few other Star Wars geeks mentioned Star Wars Day. With a wink and a nod, I noticed a few more references to the Day that following year. And the year after that. But there really weren’t very many people making that big of a deal about May 4th. And that was OK. I was kind of used to being a loner when it came to being a fan of Star Wars. But it eventually caught on. So you could say that I liked Star Wars Day back before it was cool.

I guess that makes me some kind of Star Wars Day Hipster.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

When I logged onto facebook on May 4 of this year, I was kind of shocked at what I saw. It seemed like everyone and their brother was posting about May 4th and Star Wars Day. In some ways, it warmed my heart. Continue reading

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A brief Yard Sale update

image

Well, we might have been a little too ambitious when we planed on having the Yard Sale this past weekend. A ton of stuff has been donated to our fundraising efforts  (including a Foosball table, a dishwasher, and a drum set) and we just plum ran out of time to get everything ready. In reality, this is a good problem to have. Right?

So we decided to postpone the Yard Sale by one week. It’s a good thing, too. Saturday’s weather was not conducive to having any type of yard sale at all.

So now we get to have the same bat sale at the same bat location at the same bat time, only one week later. So here are the details:

Todd Family Yard Sale

Saturday, May 23
7 a.m. until noon(ish)
On Chase Boulevard in Hunting Creek in Greenwood. Simply follow the signs and you can’t miss it! You can email me if you need more specific directions.

But wait…

there’s more!

We’ll also be selling items the following Monday! If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday and you happen to be out and about Memorial Day morning, why not stop by and check out what’s left?

Obviously, the goal is to raise as much money as possible. Maybe we’ll even be able to cover a plane ticket to Ethiopia with these funds.

If you can’t make it to the Sale, that’s OK. It would be great it you’d share it with anyone you know who might be able to make it. Just click here and share away.

We’d be ever so grateful.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Thank you for partnering with us as we take this adoption journey.

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7 lines I love to quote from Star Wars

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase using the link.

Limited Edition, $11 shirts at TeeFury.com!

One day not too long ago, while Aiden and I were driving home from some event, I had to make a quick stop at a store. Aiden didn’t want to go inside, so I told him he could stay in the car. Since he’s 14 years old, there wasn’t any danger of him getting too hot in the car. I left the car running because it was going to be a quick dash in and out of the store. That way, he could stay cool with the air conditioner on and he could listen to whatever tunes he wanted to hear. I could get in and out without having to wait on him. It was a win-win proposition.

As I stepped out of the car, I turned to Aiden and said one of the lines from Star Wars that I love to quote:

“Lock the door. And hope they don’t have blasters.”

In case you’re unfamiliar with that quote, it’s Luke and Han’s response to C-3PO when he asks what the droids should do if they’re discovered in the Death Star. But you already knew that. Right? Of course you did. If not, I highly recommend watching A New Hope again. After all, it’s my favorite movie. It should be yours, too. Unless The Empire Strikes Back is your favorite. Or Return of the Jedi. Those are great choices, too.

I realized as I walked away from the car that I use that line a lot. In fact, I find myself saying this almost every time I ask one of the kids to lock a door. Then I realized that I use several lines from Star Wars in everyday conversation on a regular basis.

So here they are, in no particular order. Seven lines I love to quote from Star Wars.

7 lines I love to quote from Star Wars Continue reading

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Here’s what happened at SoFabU OTR in Cincinnati

This grant was  provided to me by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias
SoFabU OTR in Cincinnati name tag

I love it when I leave a leave a conference feeling equipped, encouraged, challenged, and inspired. That’s exactly what happened at SoFabU On the Road (“OTR,” for short). Here’s how it happened…

On the Road Again

I hopped in my car before the sun came up a few Saturdays ago. I gassed up the car and hit the open road, headed east towards the Land of Seven Hills, the home of the Reds, Graeter’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, and Ahalogy. It was also a stop on the SoFabU On the Road world tour.

OK. It’s not really a world tour. But they’re definitely hitting all regions of the contiguous United States. And that’s pretty cool!

 Ahalogy was a gracious host

For the morning session, we met in the offices of Ahalogy. They’re experts about marketing on Pinterest. They know their stuff. Not only did they welcome us to their amazing facility, but they also dropped some serious Pinterest knowledge on us. Continue reading

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