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Sunday, March 23, 2014 01:50 PM
A Song
 by Fëanor

Hey, remember when I used to post here like multiple times a day? Those were different times. Anyways, I wanted to record a song which Griffin performed extemporaneously the other day. I'm not sure I have all the words in the exact order they were sung, and some were repeated many more times than below, but it's pretty close.

Super Griffin
Go go Griffin
Go Griff
You can do it
Super Griffin
Griffin Genzano
Go Go Go
You can beat all the robots
He's the man
He can do anything
Go Griffin
Super Griffin, go go
Go Super Griffin, and that's me!
He's so crazy and so strong
Go Griffin
Go go go go go go go go go go go!
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Music (Not), Parenthood (Not)
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Saturday, November 16, 2013 05:14 PM
Voltron Power Ranger Rescue Bot Palooza
 by Fëanor

A while back I gave Griffin the old Vehicle Voltron that my brother and I shared. This is really an impressive toy. It's fifteen separate vehicles that can be assembled into three larger vehicles, or into one gigantic robot. My folks had kept it intact in their attic, in its original box, complete with original styrofoam insert, all these years. Needless to say, the box was soon wrecked. Griff kind of liked it, especially the cars it uses for feet, but in general it sat forgotten in the corner of his play room.

Then, just recently, Griffin discovered Power Rangers. I'd been thinking for a while that he'd probably like this show, as it involves a team of guys, each wearing his own bright primary color suit, who rescue people and fight monsters, and also ride in gigantic transforming robot animals. It's kind of totally his thing. He'd been watching it for a while when he started taking his Transformers Rescue Bots toys, stacking them on top of each other, and calling them Rescue Bot Voltron. I was surprised he even remembered Voltron, but I guess I'd mentioned it a few times in connection with Power Rangers. I've always thought of Power Rangers as a lame, live-action rip-off of the original, far superior Voltron (although to be honest, Voltron was pretty lame, too). Anyway, when I heard him say that, I couldn't help myself. I went down into the basement and brought up the bag that contained Lion Force Voltron. Yep, we had that one, too, and my folks also kept it intact in their attic. Well, Griffin's a pretty big fan. He played with it continuously for a couple of hours. "These lion Transformers are pretty cool!" was his comment.

Anyway, more later. I gotta get back to this episode of Power Rangers. Did you know the Power Rangers Samurai Megazord has different powers depending on his hat?
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Toys (Not), TV (Not), Video (Not)
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Friday, May 10, 2013 11:33 AM
Boy Dad
 by Fëanor

The other day Griffin was playing with his electronic Hess helicopter. He decided to hang two of my old, much smaller Voltron helicopters from its rotors and turn it on to see what would happen. The Dad in me reacted immediately, saying, "You can't do that! Those things could go flying, you could get hurt!" Then the boy in me said, "So stand back and let's see what happens."

Next we put some cars on the rotors.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not)
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Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:12 PM
Bath Albums
 by Fëanor

When I was younger, I feel like my default unit of music was the album. My brother's, too. When we heard a song we liked, we didn't buy the single. (Well, maybe once or twice we bought some cassingles. Remember those??) We went out and bought the whole album. If we liked the album, we went back and bought all the other albums that band had made. Or, as many as we could find at the record store. Remember when you had to just keep going back to every record store you knew of to find albums you wanted? And if those stores didn't have those albums, you were just out of luck? Crazy.

Anyway, not long after I embraced MP3s and moved my entire music collection onto my iPod, my default unit of music changed to the song. I stopped listening to whole albums and I started listening to playlists on shuffle. It was kind of a seismic shift. It felt freeing. I love the weird juxtapositions a random shuffle can create. And there's no commitment or continuity in a random shuffle; you can break off and start again whenever or wherever.

But for whatever reason, I'm starting to embrace the album again. I'm buying albums of music, and I'm listening to whole albums with my son, instead of playlists on shuffle. And I'm seeing again what you can do with an album, how it can be a deeply meaningful grouping, how putting a bunch of songs together like that can give them more power and meaning than when they're just ripped out and played alone, out of context.

All of which is to say, I'm playing albums when I give my son a bath at night, and here are some of the classics I'm revisiting and new stuff I'm discovering:

  • Abacab - Genesis

  • Abbey Road - The Beatles

  • Achtung Baby - U2

  • Act II: The Father of Death - The Protomen

  • The Suburbs - Arcade Fire

  • Band on the Run - The Wings

  • Beaster - Sugar

  • Genesis - Genesis

  • Sheer Heart Attack - Queen

  • So - Peter Gabriel

  • Specter at the Feast - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

  • Strange Cousins From The West - Clutch

  • Jesus Christ Superstar - Andrew Lloyd Weber

  • The Protomen - The Protomen
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Lists (Not), Music (Not), Parenting (Not)
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Sunday, March 3, 2013 08:49 PM
Spec Script
 by Fëanor

Here is a story that Griffin and I developed the other night while I was giving him a bath and he was playing with his "tiny Super Friends" (which are a dozen small plastic figures of various DC super heroes and villains):

Hawkman was hungry, so he swooped down and grabbed a fish out of the water with his teeth and ate it. But Aquaman popped up out of the water and berated him for eating the fish out of his ocean without his permission. So Hawkman said he would go get a hamburger at the fast food place instead. But then one by one all the other Super Friends appeared asking Hawkman to pick up a hamburger for them, too, since he was going. And Hawkman was very put out.

I'll await a call from DC Comics.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Comic books (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not)
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Saturday, January 26, 2013 06:13 AM
The Dangers of Having a Comic Book Geek Dad
 by Fëanor

I can't remember where he got them (I think from my brother?), but Griff has small action figures of Hulk and Thor. Last night he suddenly got really excited about them and had them fighting each other. Then he decided that his Playmobil astronaut should join in on the fight. I pointed out that unless the astronaut had some omega-level mutant powers I didn't know about, he wouldn't be much of a match for Hulk and Thor.

Later he insisted on taking the Hulk figure with him into the bath, and he started swinging it around in the air, and told me he was flying. "Actually," I began. I told him the Hulk couldn't really fly, but he could jump really high and really far. The next time Griff started to say that the Hulk was flying, he corrected himself and said he was jumping. I nodded proudly and said, "Now that's canon!"

Griffin also insisted on taking the Hulk figure with him when he went to bed. This morning the first thing he said to me when I came into his room was, "Where's Hulk?" When we came downstairs, he demanded Batman on TV.

Ah, my little fanboy.
Tagged (?): Batman (Not), Children (Not), Comic books (Not), Griffin (Not), Hulk (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not)
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Friday, January 18, 2013 02:07 PM
(Last updated on Friday, January 18, 2013 02:41 PM)
Superman
 by Fëanor

I feel like I might need to start a new tag or recurring feature about watching stuff with my kid, but I dunno. Anyway, the other day Griff asked me to put one of his shows on, and when I turned on the TV, the Superman cartoon from the '90s happened to be on. I watched it for a minute because... well, y'know, Superman cartoon! Then I was going to put on one of Griff's regular shows, but he stopped me. He wanted to watch that Superman guy. So he sat through the rest of that cartoon, and then watched a Batman cartoon.

Win!

Years ago poppy got me a DVD of the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from the '40s (which would have originally played as shorts in movie theaters, maybe between two films in a double feature). They're amazing pieces of work, if seriously politically incorrect. The art is detailed and beautiful and done up right in lush Technicolor. Superman fights gorillas, volcanoes, dinosaurs, thieves with bullet cars, thieves with robot armies, thieves dressed up as Superman, giant reanimated mummy guards, birdmen from the Inner Earth, Japanese saboteurs (who are portrayed in regrettably stereotyped fashion), Nazis using African natives as their slaves (oy), and a Native American mad scientist who demands that the island of Manhattan be returned to his people (oh man). It is crazy, crazy stuff. But only so crazy - this was before the madness of the Silver Age when Superman gained a bunch of new powers. This is the Superman who is very strong, has X-ray vision, and can literally just leap tall buildings - he does not fly.

And Lois is always there with him, getting herself into trouble and needing to be saved. It's a bit of a troublesome dynamic, but it's a consolation at least that this Lois, while a bit of a jerk to Kent, is also brave as all hell, a bad-ass, and deep down a decent human being. She runs in to take pictures of the madness when a giant gorilla gets loose at the circus, but when she sees a child in danger, she drops the camera immediately and dashes in to help the child to safety with no thought for herself. And when she's caught on a runaway train and being shot at by criminals from a nearby car, she doesn't just cower in the corner; she picks up a discarded Tommy gun and shoots right back at them.

Needless to say, when Griff asked to see more Superman, I put on this DVD, and he loves it. He's been watching it over and over recently. Probably soon we should upgrade him to the more politically correct '90s cartoon. But this'll do for now.
Tagged (?): Cartoons (Not), Childhood (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Superman (Not), TV (Not)
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Sunday, December 2, 2012 08:24 AM
(Last updated on Sunday, December 2, 2012 09:22 AM)
Building
 by Fëanor

I bought building blocks for Griffin as soon as he entered the safe age range of the set that had the lowest safe age range (Mega Bloks has sets that are okay for ages 1 and over - they're basically big, chunky LEGO bricks that not even the most determined infant could choke himself on). I love building blocks and remember countless happy hours as a kid putting crazy stuff together with them. The thing is, infants and toddlers aren't so much builders as destructors. The boy wasn't really interested in doing anything with his Mega Bloks but knocking over and taking apart stuff built by other people. We kept his bag of bricks in his playroom, but didn't touch them much; he's been focused mostly on playing with cars and guys.

Then, yesterday, while he was pulling down and throwing around all his toys (like he does), he came across the bag of Mega Bloks. He handed it to me and I asked him if he wanted to build something with them. He said yes. We dumped them out (he loves dumping things out) and I asked him what he wanted to build. He didn't seem sure, so I suggested robots. I built a small one myself, and then, after some trial and error, he built two more. When he was done he did a little dance and said, "RO-BOTS! RO-BOTS!" Although it was more like "WO-BOTS! WO-BOTS!" Our creations are below. Mine is the one on the left.

Robots


I'm a little embarrassed at how happy and proud this made me.

UPDATE: I should add, the boy's robots would have been bigger if we hadn't run out of blocks. I was like, "We ran out. We need more blocks!" I'm dangerous in toy stores. The other day we were in Target and he was playing with a little car, and I think he would have actually put it back and left peacefully, but I said, "No, you need to have this."
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), LEGO (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not), Toys (Not)
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Friday, November 9, 2012 09:05 AM
How to Fight a Toddler (And Lose)
 by Fëanor

The good news is, if it comes down to a physical confrontation, you will almost certainly win. You're bigger, stronger, smarter, and (if you're lucky, and not too out of shape) faster. But even then it won't be easy, and here's why: that little creature doesn't have any empathy, man! Even though he needs you and cares for you, he has no idea he could seriously hurt you or himself in his struggles. So he is going to fight you with everything he's got, holding back nothing, using all of his tiny psycho strength. He's not going to fight fair; he doesn't know what fair is! He's going to take a cheap shot without even realizing he's doing it. He's just the right height to punch or bite you in your most delicate areas. Meanwhile, unless you're blind with rage or a complete scumbag, you are going to be holding back; you don't want to hurt him or yourself. You're at a disadvantage.

And really, let's be honest, if it's come down to a physical confrontation, you've already lost. You're fighting a toddler, man. That's just sad.

The bad news is, if it's a battle of pure will - a game of chicken where he who blinks first loses - you've got no chance. The toddler will win every time. There's a couple of reasons why. One is, your time is limited. You want to go to sleep at some point. You've got somewhere to go, something to do. He doesn't. He has all the time in the world. He doesn't have any appointments. He's barely aware that there's a past and a future. He's living in this moment, and in this moment, he wants to beat you. That's all he has going on.

Another reason is, repetition. The average adult can build up a pretty decent tolerance for repetition. But the average toddler thrives on it. He loves it! Do you know how many times he can watch that same episode of Dora in a row? Infinite times. He is prepared to say, "I wanna watch TV, Daddy!" until the end of time. How long can you stand up to that? Professional trained torturers should observe toddlers for tips and tricks.

But don't worry. He won't be a toddler forever! Eventually he'll be a teenager.

ARGH!
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not)
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Thursday, November 8, 2012 11:46 AM
Knowing
 by Fëanor

Often Griffin will see something and ask me (or poppy, or my parents), "What's that?" And very often when he is given the answer ("Oh, that's X."), he will either insist that it's wrong, and that he has a better answer ("No, not X, Y!"), or intimate that he knew the answer all along ("Yeah, X.").

Probably I'm getting a little too philosophical and pretentious here (I considered not posting this at all; I'm afraid it's a bit corny), but this has got me thinking about how early in life we decide we know everything, and how long it takes us to realize (if we ever realize it at all) how wrong we are. Maybe we can't ever fully understand how little we know, and how little we can ever know, because it would fill us too much with existential dread. There's a lot of cognitive dissonance around the recognition of our own ignorance - knowing that we don't know. We have to believe that we have a good working knowledge of the universe in order to keep moving through it and not just give up entirely. That being said, I think it's definitely useful to stop every once in a while and remind yourself just how much you've learned, and how much there is still to learn, and that you can't ever stop.

I'm not going to burst the guy's bubble any time soon, though. In twenty years or so he'll figure this all out for himself. I just hope it doesn't come with a lot of existential dread, because that stuff sucks.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not), Philosophy (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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