Get your Rogue One tickets NOW!

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Rogue One a Star Wars Story movie Poster

The release of the first stand-alone Star Wars film, Rogue One, is just around the corner. And I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about it. In case you aren’t familiar with the storyline, Rogue One is about the Rebellion’s attempt to steal the plans of the Empire’s ultimate secret weapon: the Death Star. If the trailers are any indication, this movie is going to be one wild ride. The movie opens on December 16, but advance tickets are available NOW through Fandango.

Will there be Bothans?

There has been a little bit of confusion about when this story takes place. It is not the mission Mon Mothma is referring to in Return of the Jedi (it’s my favorite, you might remember) when she says that “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.” That was for the second Death Star. This story takes place immediately before A New Hope (also my favorite). It’s presumably the plans that Princess Leia hides in R2-D2, which leads to a swashbuckling adventure unmatched by most (if not all) films.

I secretly hope Bothans are part of this story. I hope they’re tucked away in the background somewhere. But I also hope none of them die. Because it sounds like far too many of them die later on.

“Rebellions are built on hope.”

Hope. That’s what the original trilogy is full of. Obi-wan Kenobi is Princess Leia’s only hope. It’s clear that Luke Skywalker becomes the Rebellion’s new hope. And by the end of the trilogy, it’s the hope that there is still good in his father that compels Luke to journey into the heart of darkness. There’s hope in friends. The Empire has misdirected hope in power and technological terror. There’s hope in the mystical unknown. The original trilogy is fueled by hope. And it sounds like Rogue One taps into that same spirit. We are surrounded by reasons to have hope.

I look forward to another reminder of how much hope we can have in the midst of darkness.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Tickets

The trailers.

In celebration of the upcoming release of Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, I’ve compiled the film’s trailers below. I don’t know about you, but watching them really makes me excited about watching this movie. I hope (there’s that word again) it lives up to my expectations.

I’m sure it will.

Buy your Rogue One tickets today.



Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Tickets

TV Spots

If that isn’t enough to get your blood flowing and your adrenaline pumping, here are some of the trailers that have popped up on TV over the last month or so.

I have to admit, I wasn’t that excited when I heard of  Disney/Lucasfilm’s plans to release stand-alone films that are outside the main Star Wars saga storyline. The story of how the Rebellion stole the plans to the Death Star is the perfect way to kick off these stand-alone Star Wars films, in my opinion. This movie looks good. Very good. I’m excited. And I hope you are, too.

What are you waiting for? Join the Rebellion today.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Tickets

X is for X-Wing

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FandangoNOW

I know what you’re thinking.

“Really? An x-wing? What does that have to do with Ethiopia?”

I promise. There’s a legitimate connection. But even if there wasn’t a real connection, you really shouldn’t be surprised that X is for X-Wing. During my first endeavor into the Blogging through A to Z Challenge, I announced that X is for X-Wing. And that it will always stand for x-wing, no matter the theme.

While I was in Ethiopia, The Force Awakens was in theaters around the world – including Addis. I even had the opportunity to go to the cinema housed at a nearby mall and watch the long-anticipated and much-hyped Star Wars sequel.

Edna Mall in Addis

It would’ve been a pretty interesting experience, watching Star Wars in a foreign country. And it would’ve been fun to share this experience with the missionary friends of mine who suggested that we go watch it together. It’s always memorable to watch a movie in a different place.

StarWars_BannerAds

I remember watching A League of their Own with my family when we were in the Southwest. I remember watching Apollo 13 and Batman & Robin in the same night in Taos, New Mexico. I also watched Independence Day in Taos the following year. That was also the year I wound up looking down on the fireworks display, but that’s another post for another time.

It was certainly tempting to watch the movie in Ethiopia. I really didn’t want to have to wait any longer. But I had a commitment to watch it with Aiden. And I was going to keep that commitment. I’m glad we have that shared memory together.

Obligatory “We’re about to watch #StarWars, y’all!!!” pic.

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Of course, I’m looking forward to the release of Star Wars: Rogue One this December. It’s another memory I’ll be able to share with my boys. Shoot, I’ll probably share it with my whole family. Because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I became a Star Wars fan at a very young age. And I’ve done my best to pass on what I have learned.

Me and Vader

Maybe there will be some x-wings in this new installment. I mean…Rogue Squadron had a pretty strong connection to x-wings. But who knows if Rogue One is actually connected to Rogue Squadron in any way, shape or form? There’s part of me that hopes there isn’t a connection. But there’s also part of me that does.

That way I’ll already have my “X” entry for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Of course, at the rate I’m posting for the 2016 challenge, it might be 2017 before I finish posting!

Who you got?

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Superheroes vs. superheroes.

Good guys fighting good guys.

Batman vs Superman Fandango Tickets

Someone superhuman strength taking on a super-rich man with amazing toys and glowing eyes.

It’s madness, that’s for sure. Some might even call it a war. A civil war.

I’ve been a big fan of the man in the red cape for as long as I can remember. Superman II is still one of my all-time favorite movies. And The Death of Superman was a big deal when it happened. I’ve also got a soft spot in my heart for the Caped Crusader. So Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice is definitely on my list of movies to watch in the theater. And the Captain America movies have been my favorites in the Marvel cineverse. So I’m pretty excited about the arrival of Captain America: Civil War, too.
Captain America Premiere Sweepstakes

2016 proves to be a year of epic proportions. And the blockbusters are coming soon to a theater near you!

So who you got? Are you #TeamBatman or #TeamSuperman? Is your allegiance with #TeamIronMan or #TeamCap? Or are you like me: #TeamJustGetAlong?

Apparently not.

I hope they can work things out soon. The world desperately needs a few good superheroes.

What movies are you excited to see this year?

7 Popcorn Toppings That Will Change Your Movie Night

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

7 Popcorn Toppings

There is nothing like a family movie night. With everyone’s hectic schedules and all of us running this way and that, it’s hard to get our whole family to sit down in the same room for 10 minutes at the same time. So when we’re able to gather around the TV for a movie night, we want to make sure we’re maximizing our time together and making memories along the way.

Our most recent Family Movie Night? War Room with a nice big bowl of popcorn topped with peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies (more on this amazing combination in just a minute) and a nice, cold bottle of Coca-Cola. It’s a perfect Movie Night snack.

Ever since it was released in movie theaters earlier this year, I’ve heard a lot about how good War Room is. “It’s better than any of the other movies the Kendrick Brothers have made,” was a review I heard on a regular basis. I wanted to see it. I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. But the theaters weren’t showing it anymore by the time I could go see it. But now that War Room is a new release at Walmart, I was excited to finally get to see the movie.

WarRoom

There’s a lot of truth in this film. And I think it lived up to the hype. It certainly did not disappoint. It’s something I suggest you include in one of your future movie nights. Because if we’re going to make memories with our families, why not watch something that will help them change the world while we’re at it?

Growing up, we had regular family movie nights. We’d rent a movie from the local video store, grab a bottle of Coca-Cola, and head down into the basement and begin watching a family-friendly movie together. As the movie started, mom would come downstairs with a big bowl of popcorn for us to share.

Oh, that popcorn.

I don’t remember many of the movies we watched together. But I do remember that popcorn. It wasn’t just any old bowl of popcorn. This popcorn was different. It was Taco Popcorn. She would make other toppings, too. Some weren’t that great. But others, like Taco Popcorn, were pretty amazing.

Every time I sit down with a bowl of popcorn, I think of the different toppings my mom used to make for our popcorn. I believe popcorn is the perfect movie night snack. It’s great on its own. But it’s also a great vehicle for some pretty amazing toppings.

In the spirit of my mom’s memorable popcorn toppings, here are some toppings that you really need to try. They’re pretty simple. But you might not ever eat popcorn the same way again.

7 Popcorn Toppings That Will Change Your Movie Night

These toppings are amazingly simple. But they’ll revolutionize your movie night experience. Of course, you’re welcome to adapt and adjust these recipes to your own personal taste as you take your popcorn experience to the next level.

M&M’S® Chocolate Candies Popcorn

MMs Popcorn

I remember when I first tried this topping a few years ago. I wondered where it had been all my life. I was definitely missing out. I love M&M’S® Chocolate Candies – especially the Plain ones. I also love popcorn. Combining the two? Well, that’s just a match made in heaven. The chocolatey goodness of the candy mixed with the buttery saltiness of the warm popcorn? Oh, it’s an experience beyond any mere human description.

This is a classic combination that everyone must try.

Ingredients:

1 Package M&M’S® Chocolate Candies (any variety)
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
2. Pour M&M’S® Chocolate Candies into bag of freshly popped popcorn. You should do this while the popcorn is still warm because it will soften the candies ever so slightly. I promise: it enhances the popcorn eating experience.
3. Eat and enjoy!

Curry Coconut Popcorn

Curry Coconut Popcorn

We’re big fans of Indian food at our house. So this warm, spicy creation is right up our alley. While I’m usually not a fan of coconut, I could eat this popcorn all day, every day.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Coconut Flakes
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
1 Tablespoon Ginger Powder
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl (approximately 30 seconds).
2. Combine curry, ginger, and coconut in the oil. It will look like a thin paste.
3. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
4. Mix spice paste in the popcorn.
5. Eat and enjoy!

Taco Fiesta Popcorn

Taco Fiesta Popcorn

This is the recipe that started my popcorn topping discovery adventure. It’s amazingly simple. But it’s also amazingly good. I still think of my mom every time I have this popcorn.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Butter
1 ½ Tablespoons of your favorite Taco Seasoning
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Melt butter in microwave-safe dish.
2. Mix taco seasoning into melted butter.
3. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
4. Pour popcorn and seasoning mixture into a gallon-sized bag.
5. Shake bag until popcorn is evenly coated.
6. Eat and enjoy!

Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

Cinnamon and sugar on top of your popcorn? Yes, please! Experts say that the perfect ratio is ¼ cup of sugar to 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon. I like it a little sweeter than that, so I add another dash or two of sugar to my mixture.

Ingredients:

¼ Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over popcorn. Don’t skimp! Sprinkle liberally so you cover all of the popcorn.
4. Place remaining mixture in an airtight container and store for later use.
5. Eat and enjoy!

Peppermint Paradise Popcorn

Peppermint Paradise Popcorn

My wife introduced this treat to our family a few years ago. While we generally reserve this treat for the winter months, there’s really no reason you can’t have this cool topping any day of the year!

Ingredients:

2 2-oz. cubes Vanilla Almond Bark
2-3 Candy Canes
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
2. Place candy canes in a small plastic bag.
3. Crush candy canes.
4. Melt vanilla almond bark in microwave-safe bowl. Allow to slightly cool.
5. Pour slightly cooled almond bark over freshly-popped popcorn.
6. Mix popcorn and almond bark.
7. Sprinkle candy canes over popcorn.
8. Eat and enjoy!

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

Another simple recipe. You’re welcome to adjust the garlic to Parmesan recipe according to your family’s taste. To be honest, we usually estimate our garlic and Parmesan, sprinkling each ingredient in until we’re satisfied with the amount.

Ingredients:

½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Garlic Powder
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
2. Combine Parmesan and garlic powder in a bowl.
3. Sprinkle over popcorn. Store remainder in an airtight container.
4. Eat and enjoy!

Buffalo Ranch Popcorn

Buffalo Ranch Popcorn

Do you like Buffalo Wings? Then you’ll love Buffalo Ranch Popcorn!

Ingredients:

⅓ Cup of your favorite Hot Sauce
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon of your favorite Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1 Pop Up Bowl Orville Redenbacher Popcorn

What to do:

1. Melt butter in microwave-safe bowl. Allow to cool, slightly.
2. Pop popcorn, following instructions on the package.
3. Combine hot sauce and dressing mix in melted butter.
4. Pour popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
5. Add sauce mixture to the bowl.
6. Toss popcorn in sauce until evenly coated.
7. Eat and enjoy!

War Room Movie Night #MakeItAMovieNight #ad

I hope these popcorn toppings help add another layer to your family movie night memories. I don’t know about you, but I want to build on the memories I’m sharing with my own kids. We want our family movie nights to be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, Walmart has made it easy to make it a movie night together.

In store collage

If you purchase four eligible products in one transaction between now and February 2, 2016, you’ll receive a $10 VUDU movie code* via email (*while supplies last. Limit one [1] per person). Simply purchase a 6-pack of Orville Redenbacher popcorn (you can find them here on facebook, twitter, and instagram), M&M’S® Chocolate Candies (facebook, twitter, and instagram, and pinterest, a 6-pack of Coca-Cola (facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest) .5 liters, and select DVDs from Sony Pictures (facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest) – including War Room, a movie that has changed lives around the country. Snap a picture of your receipt and upload it here for your free $10 VUDU movie code. Then you’ll have enough snacks and entertainment for multiple family movie nights! You’ll also be ready to try these amazing popcorn toppings and create some family memories of your own!

#MakeItAMovieNight

Looking for more ideas? Be sure to check out more fun movie night ideas here and be sure to take advantage of the VUDU offer and make it a movie night tonight!

Star Wars spoilers and a new The Force Awakens trailer (with footnotes)

Star Wars The Force Awakens - no spoilers

A long time ago…

Back when they did the Star Wars Special Edition releases in 1997, I became a big fan of the website that was known as Red 5. The site leaked all kinds of information about the changes that were expected. I’m sure I visited that site several times a day in anticipation of this re-release. I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but when the movies were finally released, I almost felt a little bit of Star Wars fatigue.

I know. That’s borderline blasphemy.

But it’s true. And I think some of it had to do with the fact that I was following all of the leaked information so closely in the months and weeks leading up to the release.

Fast-forward to Episode I.

I pretty much knew the whole story before the movie was released, thanks to leaks, the song listing on the Phantom Menace soundtrack, and Weird Al Yankovic.

So I left the movie feeling…underwhelmed. While I know the film could never live up to the hype generated by the 16 year buildup of anticipation between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, the movie itself falls pretty flat (no, this isn’t a reference to the 3D re-release. I almost kind of liked that one, oddly enough). I’m convinced that part of my initial lackluster response to Episode I had a little bit to do with having been inundated with spoilers during the time leading up to the film’s release.

Don’t get me wrong. Episode I was awful. It’s still awful. But it was made even more awful-er because of the spoilers.

Yep. The spoilers spoiled the movie. That’s why they’re called spoilers.

No more spoilers.

Continue reading “Star Wars spoilers and a new The Force Awakens trailer (with footnotes)”

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.

Our family is ready for The Avengers! How about yours?

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

My family of Super Heroes #AvengersUnite

Have you heard? Of course you’ve heard! The Internet has practically exploded with each movie trailer release over the past few months. A huge impact has already been made on the international box office.

MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost here!

Super Heroes Assemble Screenshot #AvengersAssemble
Check out the Super Heroes Assemble app for exclusive MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron content!

I’ve done my best to turn my family into a gaggle of geeks, and I think it’s starting to pay off. We are super excited about this super hero movie. To help us get ready for the coming blockbuster, I downloaded the Super Heroes Assemble app (available via Google Play and iTunes) and discovered tons of great stuff about MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

With this app, you can unlock all kinds of cool features like character bios, featurettes, special behind-the-scenes features, a tour of the Hulkbuster facility, and other great content by heading over to Walmart or Walmart.com and scanning specially marked displays.

Walmart Collage #AvengersUnite

You can also unlock content on the app by scanning specially marked packages. And starting today, you can unlock a special digital comic book thanks to Dr. Pepper. All you have to do is scan a Dr. Pepper sign at Walmart. Or you could scan any Dr. Pepper 12-pack that has The Avengers on its package. It’s a pretty cool feature and it’s the perfect tool to help you and your family to get ready for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Product Shot #AvengersUnite

There’s even an opportunity to use the app to “suit up.” Our family, however, decided to take that whole suiting up thing one step further. It’s really only the next logical step – especially for a gaggle of geeks like mine. Right?

My family the Avengers
So watch out, world! I grabbed these masks and other accessories from The Avengers at our local Walmart. So now our family has suited up and is ready to take on any foe that may come our way. You might find us walking the halls of an upcoming convention. Or you might even find us roaming downtown dressed as these heroes. Just for the fun of it.

We didn’t choose these heroes in a willy-nilly fashion. Each of these characters from MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron has a connection with each of our family members. That’s right, friends. There was a method to our madness. Here’s how characters from The Avengers universe connect with my family:

Christy as Captain America #AvengersUnite

Christy as Captain America

Captain America has a strong moral compass. He stands up for what is right with little concern for any personal gain or profit.

That’s my wife. She has an inner strength and compassion that compels her to act on the behalf of others, giving a voice to the voiceless and remembering the forgotten. She is always helping others and trying to make the world around her a better place.

Aly as Thor #AvengersUnite

 Aly as Thor

Thor, a visitor from another realm, has a strong connection with the natural world. Thor can control the weather and has the ability to call down lightning from the heavens. He alone is worthy to carry his hammer, which focuses his power.

Aly can’t call down lightning from the sky, but she has a deep connection with the world around us. When she was little, she said the animals would talk to her. I don’t know how, but there were times where it sure felt that way. She is in tune with the nature around us. It’s almost superhuman.

Aiden as Hulk #AvengersUnite

 Aiden as the Hulk

Bruce Banner is smart. He’s super-smart. His alter-ego, the Hulk, is a giant mass of muscle and is misunderstood by most people. The Hulk possesses superhuman strength and can smash just about anything.

Aiden is smart. And as a teenager, he’s often misunderstood. And much like the Hulk, Aiden is a man of few words. He has been working out with the high school football team for the past six months. He’s become a lean, mean, muscular machine. Because of his strength, he has been called upon several times to help move furniture.

Aiden SMASH #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man

With the help of sophisticated technology, Tony Stark can suit up in a powerful set of armor to become Iron Man. Much like Dr. Banner, Mr. Stark is very smart. And his creativity knows no bounds. He’s a determined person whose Iron Man suit helps him accomplish his dream of protecting the world.

Mihret’s nickname at school is “Miss Determination.” Much like Mr. Stark, she won’t take “no” for an answer. Although she requires the use of mobility aids in order to walk and get around, she is always using her creativity to find new ways to achieve what doctors have suggested she wouldn’t be able to do. She always has on her “armor,” ankle and foot orthotics that help her walk. She is able to use the assistive technology available to her to help her achieve her goals and accomplish her dreams.

Our family is united

When you watch the trailers for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s apparent that, once again, the world needs these heroes to unite together in order to defeat a powerful foe. Working together as a team isn’t always easy. It requires sacrifice, humility, honesty, and teamwork. It can be messy. But when they work together, they can accomplish much.

That’s not unlike our family. Sure there are personality clashes at times. And we a little rough around the edges. Life together can be messy – both physically and emotionally. But we’re united. And when we work together, we can accomplish much. Who knows? We just might end up changing the world.

I know what you’re asking. What about me? Which members of The Avengers am I? Well, he’s really not an Avenger, but I think I might relate the most closely with Nick Fury, who gets things done in the background and does his best to help the rest of his team succeed.

How about your family?

Why not check out the MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron section at Walmart.com and find the perfect snacks and equipment for the super heroes in your life? I’d love to hear which members of The Avengers are most like your family members.

Feel free to share those connections in the comments!

H is for Heroes!

H is for Heroes - A to Z Challenge

Oh man.

The Age of Ultron is almost here.

I’m a sucker for hero movies. So I can’t wait for the second installment of Avengers! It promises to be a great way to kick off Summer!

How about you? What movies are you looking forward to this Summer?

**I’m participating in the April A to Z Challenge. This post is part of that endeavor. You can see my other entries to this year’s challenge here. A lot of people are doing the same thing. You should check out some of their posts!**

The 2014 Matty Awards

The ballots have been cast. The votes have been tallied. They winners are about to be revealed.

That’s right, friends! It’s time for the annual release of the Matty Awards! I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat in anticipation of this year’s announcement. This is, after all, a highly coveted award. It’s right up there with The Old Man’s fragile Leg Lamp.

So here’s this years winners in all their glory. But before I announce them, please note that the links included are affiliate links. If you happen to buy any of these fine products, a small portion of the profits will go back to me. And that helps keep this blog up and running. Thank you for your continued support!

Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, I’m pleased to present the 2014 Matty Award recipients.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2014 Matty Awards

Best Movie


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I think the second Captain America is my favorite installment in the Marvel series so far. Of course, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Some say it’s even better than Winter Soldier. That’s a pretty tall order. I plan on finding out soon if this is a valid claim or not.

Best Album


Andrew Peterson, “After All These Years: A Collection

Andrew Peterson is no stranger to this award. In fact, his album, Behold the Lamb, won the award for Best Album in the inaugural appearance of this award (back when it was called the Ralphies).

This is not your typical “best of” or “greatest hits” album. There are some new songs mixed in with the old ones. And the old ones have been redone. It’s like Andrew Peterson is covering Andrew Peterson on this album (or something like that). While I love every song on this album, I’m especially fond of the second half.

Best Song

I think this category is going to be handed over to my kids. Permanently.

Here are their choices…

Aiden


Lecrae, “Nuthin”
from the album, Anomaly

Alyson


One Direction, “Girl Almighty”
from the album, Four

Mihret


“Let it Go”
from the Frozen soundtrack

I know. Mihret’s choice is a shock. Isn’t it?

A #Frozen #selfie with Olaf. #Christmas2014

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Best Book (nonfiction)


Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmul

Not only is this the story of the creation of Pixar and the resurrection of Disney Animation, but it also talks about how to be a creative organization. This is a must-read for any fan of Pixar, Disney, or Steve Jobs. It might even be a must-read for fans of Industrial Light and Magic. It’s also a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about leadership, management, creativity, teamwork, or storytelling.

The chapter about failure is worth the price of admission alone. It’s completely contrary to what I’ve experienced in the corporate world.

Best Book (fiction)


The Warden and the Wolf King
by Andrew Peterson

No, this hasn’t become the Andrew Peterson Awards Show or anything like that. I managed to read some good works fiction this year. The Warden and the Wolf King is the best work of fiction I’ve read in a long time. I laughed. I cheered. I cried. I couldn’t put the book down. It is a fitting end to the Wingfeather Saga.

Best TV Show

Still retired. I have one show that I’d like to name, but I don’t want to jinx it. It seems like every show that wins this award is canceled shortly afterward. So I’ll keep my choice to myself because I kind of like watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

oops.

Best Sports Moment

Aiden Todd, North Middle School

I didn’t write about this when it happened. And it was one of the few times I didn’t have the camera ready when Aiden was on the football field this season, but the best sports moment, by far, has to be the interception he got during one of his games. Hopefully it’s only the first of many in his career. Although I don’t have a video or a photo of his interception, here’s a little video I put together while playing around with flipagram.

 

Best Blog

DorkDaddy
Dork Daddy
I mean, the guy is raising his kids in the ways of the Geek. And he and his family dressed up like characters from The Princess Bride this Halloween. And he even took his kids to meet Wesley himself. That makes for an awesome dad. And an awesome blog.

I could probably also give the award to Indy with Kids and Geeking in Indiana, too. But they’d be repeat winners. And we’ve already had repeat winners this year. Besides, they’ll probably win next year, too. Because they’re pretty awesome people with some pretty cool blogs, too.

Now it’s your turn! What books, movies, etc. are on YOUR list for 2014?

The Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser is REALLY here!

Well, here it is, kids! After several fan-made versions faked out legions of fans this week (I’m sure Admiral Ackbar is shouting about how it was a trap), the official version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released about an hour ago.

I have to admit that I was so excited about the release that I hooked the laptop to our big TV so I could watch it in as close to theatre as possible. I should’ve popped popcorn, but I didn’t. I’ll remember to do that next time, though.

I’m still not happy that they’re releasing the film in December instead of the traditional May (it is Star Wars month, after all), but after seeing this teaser, I’m also not happy that I’ll have to wait a whole ‘nother year before this film’s released!

And that lightsaber seems kind of strange. But I’m sure I’ll grow to love it.