Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

Bon Jovi in Indianapolis

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

Once upon a time, not so long ago…

It’s no secret that I lived under a rock for a long time when it came to non Star Wars related pop culture, especially when it came to music. Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet pulled me out from under that rock and helped me see the light. Whenever my friends, Matt and Aaron came over, we’d pop the album in my cassette player. We subsequently turned my room into a stage in the center of a packed arena, pretending to perform Bon Jovi’s jams in front of thousands of screaming fans.

We needed another member to complete the group. Fortunately, Kevin was always a willing participant. So the four of us would jump up and down on my bed, shouting the lyrics at the top of our lungs and shredding the air guitar with each rockin’ solo.

See? There’s more to having a younger brother than just having someone to sneak attack with a pillow at Grandma’s house.

But that’s pretty fun, too. Continue reading Bon Jovi in Indianapolis

3 reasons I love the Carmel, Indiana, GetGo

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WelcomeToIndiana #CollectiveBias

GetGo in Carmel Indiana #getGoCarmel #WecomeToIndiana

Need gas? Need some tasty, convenient food? There’s a new place that you must try if you’re anywhere near Carmel, Indiana. I had a chance to check it out not too long ago and I was blown away by my experience. Visiting the new GetGo gas station and convenience store will create a memorable experience.  Here are three reasons I love the new GetGo store in Carmel:

1. The Gas Station and Market

GetGo gas station in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

Open 24 hours, seven days a week, GetGo provides 100% guaranteed high-quality fuel, including diesel. There was plenty of room between the pumps so I could get in and out with no problem. I paid at the pump during my visit, but I could have just as easily paid inside. Filling up was quick and easy. GetGo also offers free air for your tires. Properly  inflated tires are a key to maximum gas mileage, and it’s great that GetGo allows free use of their air pump.

Hoosier Lottery kiosk and over 150 different gift cards at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

After filling my gas tank, I took a quick trip inside the store. I was greeted by a Hoosier Lottery self-serve kiosk and a display of over 150 different retail gift cards. And the market area is fully-stocked with your basic grocery items, everything from boxed cereals to fresh fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of snacks available to satisfy any craving. They also have pre-made salads and yogurt parfaits that are perfect to grab and go. And there’s a wide selection of  drinks, of either the piping hot or ice-cold variety.

The Market at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

And to make the experience even more convenient, GetGo has a surcharge-free ATM from PNC Bank inside their walls. And they offer free WiFi, too!

Of course, my GetGo experience didn’t end with pumping gas and running in to get quick snack a cold drink. No, this was only the beginning of the GetGo greatness in Carmel.

2. Made-to-Order Drinks at the Smoothie & Espresso Bar

Before I talk about the amazing selection of hand-crafted drinks that are available at GetGo, let’s pause for a moment and discuss the ordering process.

Place your order on the touchscreens at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

This is one of the most high-tech experiences I’ve ever had when placing an order. I’ll admit that I might have been just a little bit intimidated by the idea of ordering my meal via touchscreen. I don’t know why. Because it was much easier than I could’ve imagined.

I simply bellied up to the touchscreen kiosk and perused the drink menu. When I found what I wanted, I placed my order. A receipt printed out and I took it over to the cashier. By the time I had paid for my order, my drink was already waiting for me at the pickup window. It was quick, easy, and amazingly convenient.

The GetGo Smoothie & Espresso Bar has a wide variety of hand-crafted, made-to-order drinks available. They are sure to quench any thirst you might have. I’m not much of a coffee guy, but I saw a pretty good selection of coffee-based drinks. They also have hot chocolate and hot chai tea.  I could’ve chosen something hot, but I was in the mood for a smoothie. I had the choice between strawberry, strawberry banana, raspberry, and mango. I tried a strawberry banana smoothie. I was not disappointed in the least. It was the best smoothie I’d had in a long time.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

3. The Food

I was impressed with the selection of ready-made sandwiches that you can grab and go when you’re in a hurry. They were hot, affordable, and ready to go. But what really caught my eye, and cause my stomach to growl in approval, was the selection of appetizers and sandwiches that are available

Following the same steps I took to order my fabulous strawberry banana smoothie, I decided to grab a little snack before heading home. They have the standard fare when it comes to appetizers and sides: fries, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks. But GetGo has also taken their appetizer offerings up a notch. They offer some pretty unique appetizers like burrito bites, spicy fried pickles, pierogies, and mac & cheese bites. Oh, and fried chocolate chip cookie dough! If you can’t pick just one, you can create your own sampler platter. How cool is that?

Mac and Cheese Bites at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

I went with the mac & cheese bites. They were amazing. I’m going to have to go back again for the burrito bites. And the pierogies. And the cookie dough. And probably some more fried mac & cheese bites.

But the snacks and appetizers are only the beginning.

They offer all kinds of different sandwiches and subs: pretzel bun sandwiches, all-beef burgers, and specialty subs. The subs are available in three different sizes: 3.5-inches, 7-inches, and 14-inches. They’re made-to-order with high-quality ingredients, including deli meats, cheeses, and classic toppings all piled onto freshly baked bread. Their specialty subs include sandwiches called the Big Boss Meatball Sub, the BuffaLOADED, and the Kielbasa Blitz. They also have seasonal subs that are available for a limited time. And that’s the sub that I decided to try:

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim sandwich at GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

Holy cow. One of the ladies who works at GetGo told me that it’s like having a turkey dinner on a bun. And she wasn’t kidding. This thing is the most amazing sandwich I’ve had in a long, long time. It’s turkey covered with gravy and white cheddar cheese. You have the option of adding cranberry sauce. This really should not be optional. You have to include the cranberry sauce if you choose to try this delicacy. It brings the whole sandwich together. The real trick, according to the nice lady I met at GetGo, is the bread. It’s just like the bread you’d use to make the stuffing for your turkey on Thanksgiving Day. It’s amazing! It really is like eating a turkey dinner in sandwich form. I’m glad I tried it and I encourage you to do the same. It’s definitely something worth trying.

Snacking at the GetGo in Carmel Indiana #WecomeToIndiana

You have to hurry if you want to give The Pilgrim a whirl. It’s  a seasonal item so it’s only available for a limited time. But I promise. You’ll thank me after trying it.

As you can see, GetGo is so much more than just a gas station. The new store in Carmel, Indiana, is an encounter you’re going to have to experience in person!

Have you been to GetGo in Carmel yet? What was your favorite food or drink?

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.

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.

The YARD SALE is almost here!

Update (5/15/2015):

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we’re delaying the Yard Sale by ONE WEEK!! We’ll see everyone on Saturday, May 23!

Thank you for understanding.

Yard SaleRemember how I mentioned that we were going to have a yard sale in the very near future? Well, that day is almost here! Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise, we’re going to have our yard sale on Saturday, May 16We’ve arranged to host it on Chase Boulevard in Greenwood, Indiana. There will be plenty of signs to point you in the right direction.

All money raised will help fund efforts to complete the adoption process. Several families have donated some great items for this Sale. And now we need your help to spread the word! Please help us in letting everyone know about this coming Yard Sale in the Indianapolis area. You can share this link on Facebook, Tweet about it, or you can share the Event page via FacebookFamily of SixThank you again for your continued support of our adoption efforts. We cannot wait to bring “W” home to be with our family forever!

If you have any question about this Sale, please shoot me an email and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”James Naismith

Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.

So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.

#FinalFour #Indy

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.

Waiting to get our dribble on. #FinalFour #FanFest #Indy

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Mihret has mad ball handling skills #FinalFour #Indy

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!

Dunk King #FinalFour #Indy #FanFest

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

 

Lady Antebellum. Can you tell? #FinalFour #JamFest #Indy

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.

Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon, though. We can’t wait for the Final Four to return in five years!

All Star dribblers. #FinalFour #Indy #dribble

A post shared by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

What’s up, #Mixwest14?

image

What’s up, Mixwesterners?

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here on my humble little site.

Feel free to find me while you’re here and I’ll sign you up do a giveaway.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t have any prizes to give away. But if you do say hi to me and take my business card, I’ll gladly shake your hand. Or give you a hug. Whichever you choose.

Anyway, I hope you have a great day.

Savior’s Serenade is changing the world

As part of the ongoing, yet somewhat irregular Change the World Wednesday series that I began in January, I’m taking a moment to highlight an organization called Savior’s Serenade
Saviors Serenade

Our family has been in the hospital on a few occasions with Mihret. I know what it’s like to walk through those halls with some uncertainty on your heart. It can be confusing, heartbreaking, scary, and exhausting. It can be a very dark and lonely place for your body, mind, and spirit. I can only imagine that these feelings of fear and isolation would be magnified if you’re the patient and you’re facing a life-threatening illness.

Cancer has the ability to pull the rug out from under entire families. Its impact can be felt throughout a community. And it can leave everyone wondering, “What, if anything, can I do to help?”

Brad Baxter and his family experienced the emotional toll of a battle with cancer when Brad was diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer. And in the midst of one of his darkest moments, God showed up on his doorstep when approximately 100 friends and family members gathered on his front lawn and serenaded him with hymns and Christian songs. Light pierced through the darkness. Brad says it was a powerful moment in his life. I’m sure it was a powerful moment in the lives of everyone else who participated that evening, too.

Not long after that, Savior’s Serenade was born. The premise of Savior’s Serenade is simple: It’s a ministry focusing on those battling cancer and in need of an uplifting spiritual experience. Much like Brad’s friends and family did for him, Savior’s Serenade gathers people together to be the hands and feet of Jesus to someone who is fighting cancer. Songs and hymns are sung. Prayers are prayed. Tears are shed. Light shines in the darkness. Hope is revived. Love is shown. The world is changed. One song at a time.

How can you help change the world through Savior’s Serenade?

If you have a loved-one in the Indianapolis area who is fighting cancer, you can schedule a 30 minute serenade for that friend or family member. You can contact them by email or by phone (Brad Baxter: 317-501-3202 or Steve Hatchel: 317-501-3202) to schedule a serenade

If you live in the Indianapolis area, I encourage you to join them on their next serenade. Serenades are announced on their facebook page (why not go ahead and “like” the page while you’re at it?) and everyone is invited to participate. It’s only 30 minutes out of your day and you’ll be actively changing the world of people who have been impacted by cancer.

Go on. Change the world.

Please don’t miss this at Indy PopCon

Today’s the day for cosplay at Indy PopCon. It’ll be worth your while to head on out to the Convention Center today just to people-watch, if nothing else. The result of countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears will be on display for all to see. That place is going to have creativity oozing out of every corner of the exhibit halls today. It’ll be pretty awesome.

In addition to watching the parade of characters invade the Convention Center, there’s one room you absolutely must visit while you’re there. In fact, if you’re going to go anywhere at Indy PopCon this weekend, you have to go to Room 145.

Room 145 at Indy PopCon 2014

Why Room 145?

Because you will be inspired in ways you can’t even imagine. And you’ll see millions of dollars worth of comic collectibles in one tiny room. The centerpiece of the collection is the Holy Grail of superherodom.

Action Comics Number 1 at Indy PopCon 2014
OK. I don’t know if it’s officially known as the Holy Grail, but I think you get the picture. It’s pretty awesome to see. That’s right. Action Comics #1 – the debut of Superman – is on display at Indy PopCon. And it’s amazing. This piece alone is worth more than a million dollars.

I was in its presence. You can be, too.

In addition to some other amazing Superman collectibles, there was also a cape and a crystal from Superman II.

Cape from Superman II at Indy PopCon 2014

There’s also a traveling exhibit about Sunday comic strips that’s awe-inspiring. I wish I had more time yesterday. I could’ve easily spent an hour or more in room 145.

One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages at Indy PopCon 2014

Comic Exhibit at Indy PopCon 2014

So make your way to Room 145 at Indy PopCon. You won’t be disappointed.

But don’t try to take a picture of the State Trooper while you’re there. I asked him if I could take his picture. He respectfully declined. I was OK with that. Especially since this guy said “What about me? Don’t you want to take my picture?”
Dude at the Comic Museum at Indy PopCon 2014

So I did.

Don’t forget. Room 145.

You’ll thank me later.

Indy PopCon: One con to rule them all!

Indy Popcon Header

Imagine 300,000 square feet of convention space packed to the brim with all things pop culture: Internet, comics, fantasy, cosplay, sci-fi, gaming, anime, art & music, and tv/movies.

Imagine a place where the 7th Doctor, Bad Luck Brian, Joel Hodgson, Battlestar Galactica’s Anastasia Dualla, a comic book with the original appearance of Superman, a Minecraft recreation of the city of Indianapolis, and Rupert, the lovable Survivor contestant and former candidate for the state of Indiana could be brought together under one giant tent.

Imagine no more.

Indy PopCon will have it all.

I must admit that when I first heard about the vision for Indy PopCon, I was a bit skeptical. Don’t get me wrong. It was a great idea. But it sounded a little too broad. Like maybe the fine folks who were putting this convention together were biting off a little bit more than they could chew. But the more I learned about their efforts and the more I saw the project starting to come together, the more excited I got about it. So although I was unsure at first, I’ve totally bought into what they’re doing. In fact, I believe in it so much that I joined their Street Team.

As we lead up to the convention’s launch this coming Friday (May 31), I’ll be highlighting a few things that excite me the most about Indy PopCon. In the meantime…

What are you waiting for? It’s going to be amazing!

Presale tickets are ending soon. So hurry on over and buy your Indy PopCon ticket(s) before it’s too late! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Do you already have your tickets? Awesome! Let me know what day(s) you’re going! I’d love to hear about everyone’s experience at Indy PopCon: the One Con to Rule Them All.