Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kaiju! Um...Gesundheit!

EDIT: Still no word from Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday, the day this was scheduled to go live. So I figured I'd go ahead and let it post and if any updates on Bennett's Brain Tumor Pathology come my way, you'll be the first to know. Well, actually the fourth or fifth, but I'll post about it quickly, capisci?

Occasionally, you have to step away from the Internet searches about Oligoastrocytoma Brain Tumors and AED medication side effects, watching for seizures and trying to keep a little kid a bit more than a week out of major brain surgery from walking into the wall or falling off the sofa.

More often than not, it isn't easy to let go of this or that week's latest medical obsession. And who gets hurt the worst in these worst of times? Well, other than having nothing at all resembling a real 'relationship' with my wife, or friends, my relationship with my older son Carter hangs by a thin, over-stretched membrane, in real danger all the time of snapping and sending us even further apart than we already are.

These are the casualties of a life infiltrated by a serious medical condition. There are others. Passion about certain aspects of life, about yourself, and on and on. There are times, and I guess I should consider myself fortunate enough that they occur, when Carter and I can connect. I look forward to these times, and I often think of ways to put something in his path that he and I can get into together.

Enter: Godzilla.

One night a few weeks ago, Jen DVR'd a Millennium Series Godzilla flick called Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.. Carter watched it and he was about as hooked as I was on Godzilla when I was his age.

See, when I was 5, we had shit for cool TV or movies. Some of the coolest stuff to watch was on the grainy UHF stations that we could barely get in on our rabbit ear antenna on the TV. Shows like Speed Racer, Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot, Ultraman and movies from the Godzilla series were AMAZING to me in my first decade of life. Of course, then 1977 came along with a film that took my imagination away from these types of things and transported it to a galaxy far, far away, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the genre of the 'giant monster movies' of Japan.

They are called Kaiju, which literally means 'strange beast', but is often translated in English as 'monster'. Specifically, the term Kaiju refers more to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment featuring giant monsters. Tokusatsu translates to 'special effects'. Obviously, the most famous of all of these giant monsters is Godzilla.

But I remember as a kid being blown away by some of the great battles between Godzilla and MechaGodzilla, King Ghidorah and the rest. To me it was just fun, scary mayhem. As an adult I appreciate it on a whole new level.

So lately that's my meeting point with Carter. I bought him the DVD Godzilla: Final Wars and as shitty as a lot of the human/alien/mutant aspect of it is with the Matrix rips galore, you can't deny it has some great 'suitmation' special effects and some fun battles. He LOVES it. And I liked some of the battles, too.

I even picked up a sweet BanDai Mecha-Godzilla 3 and Godzilla at the local TRU. These are the larger scale deluxe roto-vinyl versions of the characters. Too bad there was no Mothra in that scale, cause man does he have a thing for Mothra. He doesn't go far without them.

I want to keep this connection going (since Star Wars sort of fizzled out with him with no new Clone Wars to watch and he still thinks the original trilogy is boring) so I have more DVD's on the way. I picked up a couple of the more recently released boxed sets, that have some good widescreen versions of films from all three eras...Showa, Heisei and Millennium.

See, fans of the kaiju genre often argue about these three 'stages' of the Godzilla film series (the longest running film series of all time, in case you were wondering, longer than James Bond). Of course, none of those particulars matter a hill of beans to him. He just wants to see giant monsters battle and that's what he's gonna get. And I'll enjoy them for the cheese factor. But if we can watch them together or spend some time with each other as I TRY to teach him how to play Godzilla: Save the Earth on X-Box (hard for him at 5 to get the controls just yet), then that's all that matters to me too.


  1. Glad you found movies to connect with Carter on.

    Now if only you could find some movies to connect with Jen on... ;)

  2. You are too funny, Jen Smith.....

    And now we know yet another strange thing you are into, Ken. But I'm glad it has given y'all a shared interest.

    Hoping y'all get a phone call soon.

  3. I like Star Wars.

    Just so I feel like I fit in. ;)


  4. (Lips move for 5 seconds)"Uha."

    (Lips move rapidly for 10 seconds)
    "Very interesting Ken-san."

    (Lips barely move at all.)
    "I really enjoyed reading about this!"

    (Lips in sync)

  5. I don't know anything about Godzilla, but I think a good father son connection is always a positive thing so yay!

    Curious about Bennett's tumor--such a rarity in a small child. I did a little reading and I all I can say is that the "feeling" I got on the 'net and found it more confusing that helpful.

    Here's hoping the crap is gone and never comes back.

  6. LOVE to read your posts about just being "Dad"....I so wish Shawn-Michael and Colby had been as fortunate as Carter and Bennett...

    (Speaking of their "father"....Who I usually refer to as The Sperm Donor"....You'll like this...On our honeymoon in 1980, two movies were playing, the romance "Somewhere in Time" [with Jane Seymour & Christopher Reed] and "The Empire Strikes Back"...

    Guess what we saw?

    That should have been a sign to me!!!


  7. Props to you for making your relationship with Carter a priority despite the unbelievably overwhelming situation with Bennett. Stuff like watching a movie seems so small to us, but for kids that stuff is huge. You are a good Dad.


  8. Dora's Daddy, that was hilarious!

    Ken, the fact that you are so concerned about the connections you share with Carter tells me that you are way ahead of the curve here. Just keep being intentional about connecting with him, even if it's not as often as you'd like, and Carter will certainly continue to benefit.

  9. Cyndi, I would have taken you to The Empire Strikes Back, so I'm not sure that's a good litmus for future father behavior. :)


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