Wednesday, May 5, 2010



Superheroes have become a regular thing in my life in recent years; the result of both their increasing presence in movies and my daughter's love for them. While I collected comic books during childhood and teen years, my collecting slowed to a trickle and completely stopped in my twenties. I only saw the old familiar faces of characters such as Nightcrawler, Magneto, Spiderman, Hulk, etc. in the occasional movie and in the form of little plastic figurines from the Heroclix game that was one of our most popular products when I still co-owned a game store in Utica, NY (I admit, I wound up collecting Heroclix figures too).

Then Kyra discovered those characters for herself thanks to shows such as Teen Titans and Superhero Squad (her favorite) as well as movies and video games (Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1&2 get a lot of play in this house). Kyra dressed up as Supergirl for both the Hilton Kid's Parade last summer and for the opening of the Superhero exhibit at the Strong National Museum of Play this past fall. My wife and I have taken turns using stuff lying about around the house to transform ourselves into imaginary supervillains for our little Supergirl to vanquish (I've also had to dress up as a bad guy for her to lightsaber duel with when Kyra wears her Yoda costume).

Come to kick Sith butt she has.

Kyra started taking Marvel Superhero vitamins this week. Last weekend she took part in Free Comic Book Day and wound up with 18 (!) free comic books after visiting two different comic shops. Kyra wants to go see Iron Man 2 this weekend... though she mainly wants to see it because Black Widow is in it and not because of Iron Man or War Machine's presence (Her daddy wants to see it because of all of them). It's a big-time superhero week here.

Then, a friend called my attention to this article about the Make-a-Wish Foundation working their magic to bring to life the superhero dreams of a young cancer patient. The foundation, along with a large number of big-hearted volunteers played an elaborate and very sizable version of the superhero make-believe game Kristy and I play with our daughter. Police shutdown traffic and provided a motorcade to guide the young superhero, Electron Boy, to Seattle where he saved a football team and a number of others from a pair of make-believe supervillains. I'm always impressed when I read or hear of the efforts of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and those who assist their efforts. Granting wishes is a super power and according to their Web site they do it on an average of once every forty minutes. There are superheroes after all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Attack of the Toddler

Eli took his first unsupported steps yesterday. At 13 months of age, he's been a little bit behind on learning to walk. We were told it isn't unusual for a child his size to have difficulty learning to walk. He's currently 32 1/2 inches in height, weighs 29 lbs and has been wearing clothing meant for two-year-olds for months now. It's good to see him finally taking his first steps, though the cats will be horrified.

Back in March, I explained to Kyra that her brother was turning into a toddler and was no longer a baby. She asked me what toddler meant. I told her that I thought the word came from kids at that age toddling along with their first attempts at walking. She asked me what toddling meant. I told her that it meant walking clumsily. Kyra responded with "Oh! Like zombies!"


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Elastic Park

Larry Moss, the artist behind the Balloon Manor Halloween attraction (see Balloon Manor), is at it again. His newest project is called Elastic Park; it is an interactive dinosaur-themed exhibit featuring Airigami balloon artistry. The exhibit, which will be both fun and educational, is intended to be a travelling exhibit that will be featured at numerous museums (click here to view Elastic Park Web site).

Larry needs your help to make this exhibit a reality. Pepsi Cola is running a contest called the Pepsi Refresh Project. Various organizations are competing for a $50,000 grant to fund their projects. The winner will be determined through online voting. Currently, Elastic Park is in 13th place in the contest. Voters are allowed to vote once per day and voting ends February 28. Please take a moment to visit the Elastic Park page at the contest web site and vote.

Click here to vote for Elastic Park!

-Tom G

Friday, January 8, 2010

My first week returning to a stay-at-home dad status is nearly at an end. The first day was a bit of a bumpy ride, but we got through it. By the third day I was actually able to get a little bit of writing for done. I revised an article about Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas. It has an unfortunate anniversary today that is tied in with a popular 1990s song.

By Thursday, I was back in the swing of things enough to get back in practice with Kyra's hair. After roughly half a year of not dealing directly with those curls, I'm afraid I didn't do so hot a job on her hair the first few days. She was happy with the results on Thursday.

Next week Kyra and I will be touring a local elementary school that we are interested in having her attend. It has a progressive approach to teaching. It has multi-age classrooms and has a International Baccalaureate program. Kristy and I attended a meeting with teachers, parents and students from there last night. The students are encouraged to be outgoing, outspoken and to develop a love of learning through exploration rather than just having facts thrown at them and being expected to remember them. I think the school would be a great match for her. Enrollment is lottery-based, so we're crossing our fingers that she gets in. Getting our kids into this school could make our 2009 upheaval ultimately worth it.

In Eli news: Our little giant has been stepped up to 3 full feedings of cereal and one snack before bed. Replacing the usual bottle of formula before bed with a bit more cereal definitely seems to help him sleep through the night without waking up hungry a few times thoughout the night.

Earlier in the week, Eli had his first taste of sour. He sucked on a lime. He made a horrible face at first and seemed almost ready to cry after the first taste but then suddenly smiled and dove back down for more. We still haven't found a food that this kid doesn't like! Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to grab my camera and capture his initial reaction. Here are photos of his later enjoyment of the lime.



Mmmmmmmm. Lime. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Return of Son (and Daughter) of the Horror Dad Journal

The Horror Dad Journal will be returning in 2010, ending the extended break it has been on. I'll have to change the subtitle to "Stay-at-Home Dad with a Part-time Job."

My family and I continue to live with my mother. I've been working a low-paying full-time overnight security job for months. The schedule (1 am to 9 am) has made it difficult to spend time with my kids. Luckily, Kristy landed a job with a good hospital out here (with only a week to spare on her unemployment!). So, I am switching back to being a stay-at-home father during the day and will be looking for part-time supplemental income during the evenings. I will also be returning to writing (and thanks to being back in Rochester, possibly even filmmaking again). Unfortunately, we're still saddled with the old house back where we used to live. Hopefully it sells soon so we can finally stop making payments on a place we no longer live in and can move on with our lives.

In the time since I last wrote an entry, Eli has grown immensly in size. He is 98th percentil in weight and 100th percentile in height. He outgrows clothes faster than we can buy them. At 9 months of age, he's weighing 25 pounds and wearing clothing meant for 18-24 months of age. Kyra also began preschool in the fall and is absolutely loving it. She also insisted that we do a zombie walk this year, and even though I wasn't really feeling in the Halloween spirit this year, she got her old man out there and shambling with her and the other undead the night before Halloween. She was a vampire for Halloween itself.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. See you again in 2010!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Media Who Cried Flu

During the early stages of reporting about this new swine flu pandemic, I found myself not paying much attention. It seems that every few years now the media is trotting out stories about some new germ or virus that will destroy us all. Remember SARS? Recall the unease over the avian flu? You barely hear about them now. Heck, I rarely hear about AIDS anymore and that actually killed people I knew. Every time I checked the news online, multiple headlines were dealing with the swine flu (CNN had 3-4 swine flu headlines running at the same time at one point). There were news stories about how handshaking might become a thing of the past because now there is SWINE FLU! Swine flu was going to change the way we lived forever.

Even with two young kids to worry about, I found myself disinterested in the swine flu stories and unable to take them seriously. Our news media has cried wolf too many times for me to take them seriously about something like this. They are so quick to spread fearful stories before getting all the facts. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, news stories come out that the swine flu is no worse than (gasp) the regular plain old flu which kills 36,000 Americans a year. In other words... no need to panic. It's not a good thing, but your world isn't going to turn into Stephen King's The Stand either.

One last gasp of the swine flu story is that it might combine with the avian flu (see story here) I think that we should call the avian/swine flu offspring "flying pig flu." It will at least make it more entertaining when the media is trying to panic its audience.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Sorry about the long pause between blogs. Due to changes at Kristy's job, we are in the process of moving back home to Rochester, NY. Currently the kids and I are living at my mother's house, while Kristy ties up loose ends back in the Ithaca area (packing, getting the house ready for sale). It is great to be back home in Rochester. We just wish the move could have been more planned and less jarring.

I've already managed to secure part-time employment through former employers of mine here in Rochester. I'm still hunting for full-time employment. The change has been stressful for everyone, including my mother. We're grateful for the temporary place to stay while we get our family set-up out here. The first order of business for me was getting Kyra registered for Pre-K. I just barely made the deadline. So hopefully she's able to attend and the classes aren't full already.

It has gotten me thinking about how many films (including horror films) start with the same situation: Kids suddenly finding themselves moving into a relative's home. Luckily for my children, Rochester has fewer vampires than Santa Carla. However, it does have more were-sloths than any other city per capita. Hence the title of my new horror film, The Sloth Boys. With their current careers, I could probably afford to cast Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in it too.