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!"

I made 7 year old me extremely jealous last weekend

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I’ve only been working at the new job for about two months and I’ve already done some pretty memorable things. I got to tour a local bottling plant and was very tempted to pull a Laverne and Shirley. I was a good boy and didn’t do it. But, man. It was so tempting.

Then, not long after that, I had the opportunity to tour a local radio station and Continue reading I made 7 year old me extremely jealous last weekend

X is for X-Wing

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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.

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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!

Confessions of an Addict

Confessions of a Star Wars Addict

by Will Oates

For most of the 80s I was totally addicted.  I couldn’t conquer my addiction, and I didn’t really want to.  It was a fantastical groovy trip every time I revisited it.  The colors, the sounds, the rush.  Many didn’t understand my addiction, but there were others who were into the the epic scene I was taken in by.  If you were born in the mid 70s or 80s you, like me, may have tried this drug and were addicted too. You are probably also blown away when people tell you that they haven’t even tried it or, if they have tried it, they didn’t find it appealing.  Of course the drug I speak of is, was, and shall be Star Wars.  It was giant space cruisers knocking each other back and forth with laser bolts. It was people saying things I didn’t understand like “kessel run,” “parsecs,” “S-foils.” It was guys with names like Wedge, Porkins, Lando and Jabba.  There were X-Wings, Y-Wings, Tie Fighters, Star Destroyers and of course the Falcon.  And there were midichorians…..OK maybe not the last one so much, but you know what I am talking about if you were hip to the scene.

There has always been something about the original Star Wars movies that resonates with my soul.  I am not by any means a total prequel hater. They had their moments, although they do pale in comparison.  I think being raised in a Christian home, in a small midwest farm town with one blinking red light, I could relate in a big way to many of the classic themes and characters that Star Wars brought forth in a new appealing way.  It is a classic story, nothing particularly new.  A kid from the backwater goes out to win the ultimate battle of good vs. evil and learns valuable lessons along the way.  It clicked with me.  Of course as a kid I thought Han Solo was so cool- he had a cool dog, cool ride, cool gun, cool smirk, and said cool stuff like- “don’t get cocky kid,” “flying through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops” or “one thing’s for sure we’re all gonna be a lot thinner.”  I wanted to be that smooth, but realistically I was probably more like Luke.  Clueless, awkward, frustrated, and sometimes whiny but eager for something bigger.  I still think Han is the coolest, but Luke had to learn many of the lessons I had to learn- patience, confidence, trust in a power outside of himself, love for friends and family, and just finding his way to maturity.  Luke had the biggest transformation from New Hope to Jedi.  As I have matured and continue to mature, I see that change in myself.  I strive to learn more and become a better person.  I still haven’t mastered my own lightsaber or used the force to get the remote, but I am growing up and still have a lot to learn on my life journey.  Now I understand life is a journey and there will be successes and failures.

As much as I related to Luke, I was terrified of Vader.  He was and continues to be the ultimate bad guy.  My dad hung Star Wars lobby cards in my room as a kid.  As much as I wanted them to be there at bedtime, I couldn’t handle Vader looking down at me as he surveyed the carnage on Tantive IV.  I gave into my fear and the stills had to be taken down.  I was like the guys on the star destroyer that were curiously watching Vader force choke a commander but quickly scurried away when it was over.  He was mysterious and commanding, but you couldn’t look away.  No one could talk back to him except for some reason Boba Fett, Moff Tarkin and the Emperor.  I always wondered why that was, but that’s a question for a different day.  Vader’s journey is as important as Luke’s.  A man so lost he forgot who he was, but the love of his son brought him back.  I can’t relate to being that lost but I do know I constantly fail and love brings me back.

There are many other characters and life lessons that come from Star Wars for me but growing up, love and redemption are the ones that always ring true.  I treasure the Star Wars films and will continue to do so.  They have this uncanny ability to bring people together, and I think that is ultimately what I love so much about them.  I’ve stood in unbearable lines at two Star Wars Celebrations in Indianapolis but gabbing and joking with fellow fans made the wait worthwhile.  At college, my good friend Noelle begged and begged the pimple faced usher to let us into the press screening of Star Wars Special Edition a night early.  He finally relented, we got in, I got to see New Hope on the big screen for the first time and she promptly fell asleep.  I got to go the next night and see it again with a theater full of fellow fans from Milligan College and it was amazing.  There are so many other fond memories of Star Wars and friends.  I can’t wait to further share my Star Wars adventures with my 2 year old son and my daughter.  I hear Episode VII may have a major young female character; I hope she can relate.  My son Liam has a blanket from Celebration Europe with the A-Z’s of Star Wars.  We’re working the characters- so far we have Vader, Chewbacca, D2, and Trooper down.  He’s my padawan and I hope he finds as many great friends and great times in name of Star Wars as I have.  I could continue on with memories but I will end with this this quote from one of my favorite bands Gaelic Storm. They sum up my Star Wars experience the best, “if good times were dollars I would be a millionaire” If I had a buck for every great Star Wars friend or experience I’ve had, I’d be rich.  The good thing is that I’m not like Han in this respect “if money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.”  In the end even Han realized it was more about friends than it was the payoff.

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Will and I met at Milligan. We have two very strong bonds: Star Wars and intramural softball. We were on the same team for a couple of years and while I don’t want to toot my own horn, the Quaker Oats were pretty good. As I plotted out what I was going to do in recognition of Star Wars MONTH, I knew I needed to have Will share his story. As you can see, I wasn’t wrong. Thanks, Will, for sharing your story!

If you, dear reader, have a story to tell about your Star Wars experience, I’d love to hear it! Shoot me an email and we’ll get the ball rolling!

Our epic Star Wars breakfast

I promised that this year’s May 4th breakfast was going to be epic. I think this was a pretty good effort. Don’t you agree?

Epic Star Wars Breakfast #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Here’s a breakdown of what we had:

Millennium Falcon Shooter

Inspiration: I had originally called this the Death Star Shooter. And I still feel good about that name. But then I remembered that tradition states that the Millennium Falcon was inspired by a hamburger with an olive randomly placed beside the burger. So naming a breakfast sandwich that kind of looks like a mini cheeseburger after the Millennium Falcon makes total sense. Right?

Recipe:

1 slider bun
1/2 sausage patty
1/2 of a fried egg

It makes the most sense to make two Shooters at a time, since you really don’t want to waste half of an egg. Or if you really really like a lot of egg, you could put a whole egg on the sandwich. On Saturday, I cut a pound of sausage into patties. Then I cut those patties in half again. I cooked them Saturday afternoon and put them in the fridge so that would be one less thing I had to do on Sunday morning. It’s crazy enough trying to get out of here in time for church on Sunday morning without having to wait for sausage to fully cook.

On Sunday morning, I fried an egg and cut it in half after it was done cooking. I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese on it and placed the egg on a slider bun with a reheated mini sausage patty.

Viola! Awesome Falcon Shooters!

Princess Leia Cinnamon Roll

Inspiration: Come on. Really?

Princess Leia cinnamon roll hair
image via cheezburger.com

Recipe:

Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. A cop-out? Probably. But I’m OK with that.

Tatooine Sunrise

Inspiration: The binary sunset on Tatooine. But I couldn’t really call this a sunset because it was for breakfast. So it really needed to be called a Sunrise.

I guess you could also say it was inspired by a tequila sunrise, too. But there isn’t any alcohol in it. Or grenadine. So we’ll just say that I came up with this all on my own. 🙂

Recipe:

3/4 glass of orange juice
splash of strawberry Sunkist

If I was thinking, I would’ve included 2 thin slices of clementine orange to represent the two suns of Tatooine.

Oh well. There’s always next year!

I think it’s safe to say that this year’s Star Wars breakfast for Star Wars Day lived up to the hype. It was pretty spectacular.

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! What awesome things did you do to recognize the day?

 

X is for x-wing

Of course X is for x-wing. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you shouldn’t be surprised by this at all. What else could X be for? X-Men? I guess. X-ray? Maybe. Xylophone? A cop-out. If any letter is perfectly combined with any word, it’s X with -wing. X always has been and always will be for x-wing. Unless I do this challenge again next year. Then I’ll have to pick another word for X because using x-wing again would be cheating. Right?

x-wing in the Death Star trench

From video games to role-playing, I’ve always chosen to fly an x-wing for the Rebellion. OK…there was that short stint where I was totally engrossed in the TIE Fighter video game experience while in undergrad, but we’ll not dwell on that right now. It was because of the x-wing that I begged my parents to take me to Showbiz Pizza. I didn’t care about the food. I didn’t care about Rock-afire Explosion. All I cared about was climbing into that cockpit and destroying the Death Star again and again and again. This was my favorite game of all time. All. time. I would give practically anything to own one of these machines. I don’t think any other game comes anywhere close to the amazing awesomeness that was the Star Wars arcade game.

Star Wars arcade game screenshot x-wing

As a child, I regularly played Star Wars with Darren, who lived a few houses down from us. We would act out scenes from the movies and even make up our own stories. We would draw out battle plans and brief the other Rebel pilots before going out on our missions. It seems that Wedge was always getting in trouble with us, the commanders, because he wouldn’t pay attention during the briefings. Of course, when it counted, Wedge was always came through as our x-wings engaged in heavy fighting against Imperial TIEs.

Me and Darth Vader

I’m hoping they keep the x-wing around in the new movies that Disney produces. I kind of missed them in the prequels. You know what would be even better? Chewbacca flying an x-wing. That would totally blow my mind. Because, like the x-wing, Chewbacca is kind of a big deal.

Hey – a guy can dream, can’t he?

Oh by the way – I was totally listening to The Battle of Yavin while I wrote this. But that really shouldn’t be a surprise. Should it?