I FINALLY saw Bon Jovi in concert

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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 “I FINALLY saw Bon Jovi in concert”

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.

What’s up, #Mixwest14?

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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.

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.

 

 

 

Why I’m glad Peyton is no longer a Colt

Peyton Manning conducting Rocky Top at Neyland Stadium
image via Washington Post

I’ve been a fan of Petyon Manning’s since we lived in the long, orange shadow of the Vols while he was playing for Tennessee. I was excited that he was drafted by the Colts. I, like the rest of Indianapolis, was sad to watch this press conference not too long ago:

Apparently, some people still think that Irsay made the wrong call. Some people think that Manning should still be a Colt.

While I wish Peyton was still wearing the Blue Horseshoe, I’m glad he is no longer playing for Indianapolis. I have 41 reasons why. Some of them are pretty vicious.

Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Vikings
image via TwinCities.com
Andrew Luck sacked by the Bears
image via NY Daily News
Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Redskins
image via Washington Post

Mr. Luck spent a lot of time on the ground last year. Peyton Manning playing behind that kind of “protection” could have led been career-ending. Watch that video again and imagine #18 getting hit like that. I realize and appreciate how violent football can be. I realize that Manning got hit in Denver last year. But he didn’t get hit as much as Luck did. He was only sacked 21 times.

In case Skip Bayless didn’t know, that’s twenty fewer sacks than the Colts offensive line allowed. Getting hit like that can take its toll on the body. And remember – no one really knew how Peyton’s neck was going to hold up last year.

I’m glad Peyton landed on his feet. I’m glad he’s shattering all those records in Denver. I hope he keeps doing well. And there will always be part of me that wishes he was still a Colt. But not after last season. Because I’m not entirely sure he would have survived last season. The way that O-line played last year, Mr. Manning could still be a former Colt.

I’m much happier seeing him on the field instead of out of the game altogether. That being said, it’s still going to be tough watching the Colts hit him (assuming, of course, they can get to the quarterback – something they couldn’t do last night).

You might disagree with me. You still might think it was a terrible decision to cut ties with #18. That’s OK. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Unless you’re Skip Bayless.

Preparing for my first Gen Con

image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoologist/2786897274/

Thanks to the good folks at Doing Indy, I won tickets to Gen Con this year. Although I’ve always wanted to go, I’ve never been before. I’m excited. And I’ll be honest: I’m a little bit intimidated and overwhelmed.

Giant Wookie

I’ve already read some good insight from Geeking in Indiana, and I’ve received some pretty good advice from Gen Con vets via twitter:

But I still feel woefully unprepared. That being said, I’m committed to having a fabulous time at Gen Con, even if it means that I only wind up people-watching.

If anyone else has any helpful hints to pass along, I’m all ears!

Summertime fun at BounceU in Fishers, IN [GIVEAWAY]

Aly and I had the opportunity to visit BounceU of Fishers this past Friday. I’m pretty sure the experience exceeded all of her expectations. In all honesty, her expectations really weren’t that high because I didn’t explain where we were going and what she was going to be doing. All that being said, she had a blast. I’d like to thank the BounceU team for giving Aly the opportunity to bounce her heart out.*

The BounceU rules

The facility has two giant rooms full of inflatable bounce houses, slides, and games. Parents are welcome to join in the fun (for free) as you wear your child out and make a few memories along the way.

Giant slide at BounceU Fishers

boxing gloves at BounceU FishersAly’s favorite experience was the Giant Vertical Tower of Doom (that’s my name, not theirs). She spent well over an hour climbing this monstrosity, determined to grab one of the highest and most difficult flags on the tower. It was much more difficult than it looked.
Giant tower at BounceU Fishers

See? It's pretty steep!

SO close!

She did eventually grab the flag. She was quite proud of herself – and rightfully so!
The proud victor!

With Open Bounce, Family Bounce Night, and Cosmic Bounce there are plenty of opportunities to play with your kids. Just be careful. The slides are slick. And fast. And if you don’t tuck in your elbows, you’ll get a nasty form of carpet burn.

DSC04842

But it was definitely worth the trip for us. And we’ll be back. I’m not sure if that’s a threat or a promise. I guess you’ll have to ask the fine people at BounceU 😉

The Giveaway

As a Summer promotion, BounceU of Fishers is offering a Summer Passport, which gives you unlimited access to all of the Open Bounce sessions they’re hosting throughout the season. Passports are $79, but the good folks at BounceU have given me one passport to give away to you, the fine readership of Life in the Fishbowl. All you have to do is enter the raffle down below. Come back every day to earn more entries!

Click the image to enter the giveaway!

Click here to enter the giveaway

I’d like to have the widget embedded on this site, but wordpress.com doesn’t like scripts like this. Don’t worry, I’ll be fixing that problem in the very near future. If, for some reason, the link in the image doesn’t work, just click here.

Good luck!

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Cick the logo to read my full disclosure on this post

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Just a kid in a See’s Candies shop

See's Candy Grand Opening in Indianapolis, Indiana

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a grand opening event at See’s Candies at the Keystone Mall. I was vaguely familiar with See’s because of this glorious sign:
Free samples at See's Candies!

I found out during the tour that See’s Candies gives away over one million pounds of chocolate every year. It’s great marketing because they know they’ve got a great product. Once you try some, you find yourself counting down the days until you’re able to make a return trip to See’s to have even more of their chocolate. It’s not like I would know anything about that or anything. Let’s just say that giving away that candy is a great investment on their part. And they get a great return on that investment.

Even though See’s isn’t very well-known here in the Midwest, we definitely know our classic television episodes. OK…maybe not all of us. But sure do! One of the most memorable bits in the history of sit-coms has a connection with See’s Candies:

Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance trained for this episode at the See’s factory. And it seems that the good folks at See’s are proud of this connection. As they should be. And so as part of the grand opening, they invited all of us to try our hand at packing our own quarter-pound boxes of candy. Just to keep things interesting, we had to race our fellow participants.

Man in hair net. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I’ve made and cut pizzas before. I’ve scooped countless scoops of ice cream before. But I’ve never done anything as complicated as picking a piece of chocolate and packing it in a tiny box. You have to hold the paper cups just so. And it’s much more difficult than it looks at first glance. So I watched other participants and picked up a few tips from the great employees who were there to answer any questions we had. Oh – these employees were also holding boxes of chocolate for us to sample. I think I tried five different pieces. Really loved the Polar Bear Paw and the Scotchmallow. The most unique, however, was the  the pineapple dark chocolate. I even texted Christy about it, to which she responded:

Ummm -the dumbest thing to do is give your wife a play by play of each of the yummy chocolates you are trying at a candy store’s grand opening, just FYI. 😉

Note to self: You’ve known this woman since 1995. You know that was a pretty boneheaded thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you knew you’d be bringing some kind of chocolate home. This is the perfect way to get yourself in the doghouse and a great way to make sure you’re sleeping on the floor in the Living Room for a month. No. You don’t even get to sleep on the couch. Not a wise move there, Matty.

So I need to remember that next time. Or better yet, figure out a way to bring her with me! 😀

But anyway…back to boxing the candies. I gathered up my tips from the experts and prepared to be humiliated by my lack of co-ordination. Remember: this is the guy who can’t sing and clap at the same time. How is it that I made it through marching band again?

Re-enacting the I Love Lucy episode at See's Candies in IndianapolisAs you can see, I was hardly a natural. And, like Lucy, I was tempted to just shove the chocolates in my mouth. Didn’t think the fine folk at See’s would appreciate that though. They’re quite proud of their chocolates. And they should be.

Doing a really bad job at packing the candy at See's Candies in IndianapolisPaper cups were flying around. Arms were flailing. And chocolates were bouncing out of the box. See the lady on the left? I think she’s getting a kick out of my performance. It was quite pitiful.

Grand Opening at See's Candies in Indianapolis

Can I help it that I was doing such a poor job of keeping the chocolates in the box that she decided to help? No. Absolutely not. And in spite of what some people might say, she wasn’t my private coach. Just a good Samaritan. And there was definitely no illegal doping going on. I was already too jacked up on sugar.

That's a fancy box of chocolates from See's CandiesYou know, Forrest’s mama makes even more sense. You never know what you’re gonna get. Especially if I’m the one packing your box of chocolates. You might not even get them turned the right way. I know. It’s sad.

See's Candies at Keystone Mall in IndianapolisDid I mention I won the race? Well…I guess I should say that we won the race. But that’ll be our little secret.

Right?

I mean…I’ll gladly have a rematch if See’s wants to provide the candies again. 😉

It was a great evening of camaraderie, chocolates, and a little friendly competition. In addition to learning about the great story behind See’s Candies, meeting some pretty cool people who work with the company, and seeing first-hand how proud they are of their chocolates, I came away with one great tidbit about their chocolates.

Almost all of their candies are gluten-free! The only candies that contain gluten are the ones that have a decoration on them (like this). This was amazing news for our family. It might even be life-changing.

When all was said and done, the good people at See’s Candies sent us home with enough candy to last well past Valentine’s Day – unless some children find the secret stash. That’s a good thing, too. I really didn’t want to have to sleep on the Living Room floor. Thanks again, See’s for a wonderful evening!

Bag of candy from See's Candies at the Keystone Mall in Indianapolis

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Proud Indy Blogger

Soldiers & Sailors Monument from the Indianapolis Super Bowl Village

I’m proud to be a Hoosier. I’m proud to live in the Indianapolis area. Even though we tend to be a bit fickle with our professional sports teams (but don’t mess with our college or high school teams), we’re a pretty hospitable bunch. I have always called myself a Hoosier, even when I had taken up residence in other states. It’s in my blood. There’s no denying it.

And now I’m happy to join a pretty remarkable team of bloggers who write about life in and around the Circle City. I’m happy to be an Indianapolis Blogger and look forward to sharing the love for our fine community.