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February 08, 2008


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am i first?! Heyo MD, I'm a totally new reader to your site, and I surfed by from Karen Cheng's blog after reading that interview you did with her -- so yes! I'm a week-old reader of your nasty humour. Love it.

Now, I'm neither married, nor dating, but wow, if I could find a guy as funny and romantic as you... I'd pounce on him like a little bunny. You and BossLady sure share a lovely marriage topped with the adorable Peanut!

p.s. BossLady, is a literal translation from Mandarin for, 'the boss' wife' ey? Or does it work the same in Korean too?


In my opinion, the site is a little hard to read. Mainly because I think the font is small and my 42-year-old eyes are having a hard time reading these days. I think a white background would probably help. But heck, what do I know? Just keep up the great writing, dude.


I agree that the font is a wee bit too small, but I don't mind straining my eyes for YOU, MD. (swoon!)

As for Valentine's Day, you know damn well that the only way a big ass tv is acceptable is if you make a dopey but sincere romantic dvd extolling all the ways in which BossLady rocks to play on it. The sentimental effort will balance out the electronic testosterone of such a "gift."


I like how your site is uncluttered with ads and is relative clean. I think a white background might make it easier to read. Either way, I'll alway come here to read your hilarious ramblings even if it does look like a bunch of pumpkin poo!


It, of course, depends on how much your wife likes bowling, but I'd call that a bowling ball. PLUS they've (you know who they are, right?) shown that a tele in the bedroom == less sex. That's not a very romantic gift!

Anne Glamore

Big fan here of black type on a white background, now that I had to go to Ricky's and buy a pair of funky reading glasses for EVERY room of the house AND the car.

I couldn't be caught dead wearing an eyeglass chain, could I?

SciFi Dad

Interestingly, I just redid my entire design (launched today).

It's more or less readable. I'm not picky when it comes to stuff like that. However, from my readers, most say WHITE background, DARK text (really, really low hex number for colour code). So, some may prefer white to your current grey.

I'm going to email you about the banner thing.


I think you should change the font size on your blog and the background to white and you should be good to go.

And ooh, work out clothes. I don't think I should work out in jeans anymore. I might enter your contest (as procrastination for redesigning my own site).

Congrats to Stephen. That's way worse than my having to dress as an "Indian" in my 1st grade Thanksgiving play. My "Indian vest" was really a brown paper bag. Alas it wasn't embarassing as my entire class had to do that.

Papa Bradstein

Yo, a big ass TV in the bedroom sends the message that you can't think of anything more interesting to do in there than watch the Mets. Might as well give a vacuum and an apron. You of all people should know that the way to her heart will be through her feet--specifically through new shoes. She'll be so happy to get them, delighted at your thoughtfulness, that she'll buy you the TV for the bedroom, so you both are happy. (Right, BossLady?)


Yeah, it's a bowling ball for the 21st century, dude.
Babysitter? Do those exist in real life? I've lost track...

But for what it's worth, I love your little iPod rip-off icon with you and Peanut and MetroDog. You could spin that into a banner, I'd bet.

Jessica H.

Yay, Asian Leprechaun guy won! That story had me rolling in laughter. Well done.


When I was growing up, my parents would always purchase gifts for themselves and put the other's name on it. That way everyone got what they wanted. Of course they are divorced now... so draw whatever conclusions you want about that.


First: all I care about on this site is the writing too so I could give a possum's patootie about the rest of it. Sleek IS nice though. I can't wait to see the results of this contest.

Second: I have consistently found excellent babysitters by placing an ad in the on campus newspaper of the closest private/yuppie college. Sorry to be elitist but I did not have great results with the state university - at least around here. I paid my way through school by babysitting/nannying so I knew exactly what I was looking for. We kept one sitter for 3 years until she graduated and another we still use occasionally though she got her masters ages ago.

The key is to have high standards and expectations and be willing to pay top $ (or offer perks if you can). We now pay $12-15/hour for two kids and expect our sitters to help with homework/food prep/cleanup and to keep bedtime routine pretty strict. The other thing we found is to have a regular schedule with your sitter. If they can depend on you for regular spending money at a good rate then they'll be really willing to make themselves available to you when you need them most - the windfall concert tickets were where it paid off best for us. We were always getting great concert tickets at the last minute (back in the day) and very often I knew I could count on our sitter to be available.

We had a sitter 3 nights per week after our first was born (you could say we were in denial) and by the time the second one rolled around we were going out maybe 3 times per month. We're almost past needing one now but our neighbors step in occasionally when we do - they're all DINK's who like to play house with our kids so it all works out - everyone is entertained (and we don't usually have to pay a neighbor).

Good luck, can't wait to see the new site.


My husbo is a totally kick-ass designer, maybe I can get him to throw something together for you!

I would totally take a plasma screen over the traditional V-Day gear anyday! It connotes snuggling up under the covers together...what's more romantic than that?

Rachel E.

Color, color, color - MORE COLOR!! Not as if you're a psychotic clown kind of color, but just some contrast. Subtle tones would even do - just something more than gray, black, white and the occasional slate blue and dark tan.

That being said, the writing is still tops!


PS. Big ass plasma in the bedroom is a BAD idea. We have one and I hate it. One of us is always wanting to watch it while the other one is trying to sleep. I'll let you guess who is trying to sleep. Plus haven't you read that people with big ass plasma's in their bedrooms have LESS sex? You can google it so it must be true. Why would you even risk it?


We haven't been able to find a babysitter brave enough to handle two at a time.

We're doing takeout on Thursday.

Until you mentioned it, I didn't think your site is hard to read but I see your point.

I wish I was talented enough to design you a banner but I paid someone to do mine.


I'm with Hetha. When we put a TV in our bedroom, we were worried about lack of intimacy. However, now that we have it, we love it! We still mainly watch television in our den. However, there is nothing more romantic than getting under the covers on a cold night and snuggling together to watch a movie.

Tina Q

I found your site from Karen's blog and I couldn't agree with her more. Your writing really is refreshing, wickedly funny, yet oozes with warmth and love. I've just spent the past hour reading through some of your archives and I can't wait to read more!


To find a babysitter, you call a LOCAL PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL. Not a private school where the kids are all like, "$100 for one night, NO WAY! I get that much for allowance every day!"

I'm talking about kids that need the money.

Anyhow, call the school, or even a junior college, and ask to talk to the jobs coordinator. Tell them you need a sitter and offer a LOT of money. And I mean a lot. Like $25/hour.

You will find a sitter very quickly.

Too bad you're not in Boston. I know plenty of sitters (like my kid) that would love an evening with the Peanut.


Just say no to the Valentine's Day crowds and babysitter scarcity. Go out on the 15th. Or the 13th. (Yes I'm a cynic about the VD. I just never understood the mentality, but then again I don't like fighting the crowds.)

I'm all for big ass plasma, having just bought one for the LR for Christmas. (Well, an LCD, which rocks. I lick it when no one's looking. ...Then again, so does Bean.) As for S8x... bah. Have you people never heard of p*rn?

Black text on white, definitely.


I don't care how your site looks, MD. I just need the font to be bigger. These 42-year-old eyes just aren't what they used to be!


I'm with PRA. I don't really care what it looks like but my eyes are going totally blind reading hours worth of your past entries (I'm a new reader) so just make the font bigger. Re: the babysitter problem,going out on the 13th or the 15th sounds like a good idea but I don't trust strangers to care of my kids. I would definitely get referrals from people you know and trust. You NEVER know these days...man, especially in a big city!


Oh, if only I were talented in the design arena! Can't wait to see your new look.


Suddenly, my childhood doesn't seem so embarrassing. I think I would have died than go to school as a little Asian leprechaun. Have you billed your mother for therapy session, Stephen?

Ahh, the babysitter conundrum. Dude, we get booked months, if not a year, in advance. I'm prebooked by one family for every, single year - and they guarantee to out-pay any competing offers.

Hope you and BossLady have a wonderfully romantic Valentine's Day!


1. If you make the background a lighter shade of grey, it will be much easier to read. Also, you are using a sans-serif font, which is typically difficult to read unless it is used strictly as a headline. Stick to a serif font (Palatino is my favorite) for areas with lots of text, and use your sans serif font of choice for bolded headlines.

2. The banner is just boring. I'm sure lots of people will be sending you some great ones to choose from.

3. Karen's site led me to yours.

4. Start by asking every babysitter you already know. If you still cannot find someone, a great deal breaker would be to choose your ideal babysitter, contact the significant other, and arrange a gift certificate for a nice restaurant for the evening after Valentine's Day. Suddenly your ideal babysitter will be free.

the mad momma

white background and black text with a bigger font would make it perfect. i love the little silhouette thingie though and will miss it if you get something new.

nothing says i love you like oh.. i dont know, a ski vacation, diamonds, chocolates...

tv - well it depends on how much tv you watch. i would never give my husband one because he watches way too much tv anyway. i'll be damned if i make it more tempting and that too in the bedroom.


Nothing says lovin' to me like the closeout laptop my husband just bought me last night from our CompUSA store. And yes, I'm being serious. I wanted a new laptop.


Going to dinner on VD (not WITH VD) will only make you frustrated. Plus, dinner for two in NYC, plus drinks, cab, dancing/movie, etc., a nice LCD screen might be cheaper and it keeps on giving.

Stephen Joyce

Thanks for all the comments. I always enjoy telling that story because it really illustrates the perils of trying too hard to fit into a new culture. That and it is so ridiculously funny! Anyway, I can't wait to hang up my Mandy Moore poster. I'll put up next to my Knight Rider and Transformer posters. My 7 year old will be sooo jealous.


With respect, it doesn't seem right to compare Karen Cheng to Dooce. She takes lovely photographs and writes sincerely. But I don't think her posts pack the same emotional punch as Dooce's.
For instance, her post re: her husband's cancer is undoubtedly heartfelt and honest. But it doesn't bowl you over with the emotive power and raw truth found in Dooce's posts about her struggle with PPD or even her gut-wrenching love for her daughter.
Karen's just not as gifted a writer -- which doesn't mean she doesn't have interesting things to say.
I'm just sayin...

pnuts mama

pnuts daddy has class thursday night- so if you're not too beneath dining out in the queens/nassau area, feel free to drop your peanut here and the pnut and i can entertain her while you wine and dine the bosslady...if not i've found craigslist nyc to be useful for such last minute endeavors...

and i always think nothing says i love you like taking a long weekend somewhere wonderful for just the two of you- time together and making memories are meaningful, not another "thing" that will eventually be obsolete and tossed in the trash or upgraded- i don't know, that's just me...


I'm so glad the leprechaun won. He so deserves it after all that suffering.

Blog wise it isn't that bad. Mine is terrible; too busy and too pink. I think the easiest font to read is supposed to be white on black, but I really agree that more colour would be nice. But hey, this is your place, do what you want.

My husbands new template is very orange -


My babysitting advice is not to be afraid to ask people who are older, i.e, college students. I started babysitting when I was about 14, but it wasn't until I started university that I started appreciating my babysitting jobs. Those Uni students be poor, yo! Unfortunately, after I left high school, a lot of the families I used to babysit for were under the impression I'd be "over it" by then. My response to them-hell, no! It seemed like very easy money to me...and I was only charging 5 bucks an hour. And was doing all the food preparation, homework, cleaning up, toothbrushing, etc, without prompting. Imagine my surprise as I slowly came to realise that my fellow babysitting peers were asking for $20+ an hour, to simply sit in the same house as the kids and do nothing, and then expected to be paid "bonuses" for doing "extra work". e.g, reading the poor kid a book. What in the name of ra? If people think looking after a kid for a few hours is this much of a personal inconvenience, then frankly, I wouldn't want them looking after my kid.


How do I find a baby-sitter for Valentine's Day?

I have a 15-year-old sister who is broke. And if she is REALLY unavailable, she has many friends who are also broke.

The end. :)


A TV is better than getting mufflers for your car. Let's just say that was one of the many reasons why I have husband number 2!


I don't have kids, but I am a babysitter. And I have to second the poster who mentioned ever-broke college students. Except a few baby-phobes, I don't know anyone who isn't envious of my job. I basically get to chill with an adorable kid all afternoon- park, Starbucks, museum, whatever- and get paid for it. Plus, during naptime, or if it's a late-night affair, you're basically being paid to study while the kid sleeps.

The first family I worked for met me in the elevator of our building and hired me on the spot (blind trust, or faith in the mandatory criminal background check required in the lease?) Once I had worked for them for a while, and professed sufficient loyalty, they started pimping me out to their friends.

Do you have interns? With enough cash, they might be tempted to put in a night every once in a while. Or you could always nanny-poach at the park and try to find someone looking to pick up some more hours.

No matter how much you pay the sitter, if the kid is a nightmare, you're going to have problems. Seeing as Peanut seems to be the opposite of a nightmare, I think you'll be fine.

tiny cricket

barnard has a great babysitting service. don't get scared off by the overly cheery website. hope it works out for you...


not her

I am design-impaired, but hope that your changes include making the post font bigger. I had to hold the screen inches from my face to read today's post.

Mama Nabi

1. Damn, if I had known that Mandy Moore poster was part of the deal, I'd have tried harder with embarrassing story.
2. I am neither a designer nor so old that I can't read your font, not yet anyway. That said, as long as my eyesight lets me, I think I'll still be reading your blog even if a blah beige were to replace the currently oh-so-hip grey beehive hexagon background. Really. That's devotion, dude.
3) Nothing says I love you like a plasma TV... in the bedroom, no less. You da man. (Okay, don't pay attention to my #3... I wouldn't know a good valentine's day gift even if one hit me in th eyeball.)


You might have more luck with a redesign and blog banner by just paying a designer for the services. I've had a handful of people send your link my way, and while I hope it works out for you I'm just to busy to design something on the off chance it might be chosen.

Another vote for black type on a white background here, and a larger font size. You could have a CSS button that would enlarge or shrink your type face and also change the layout from black on white to white on black for those who prefer it. Ah, the magic of CSS ;o)


There is probably some truth to readability being better with black on white. Or any dark color on white. Your writing always makes me laugh so I'd keep coming back even if I needed to use a magnifying glass. I have put together a little banner design but I am going to email it to you to check out.

creative-type dad

We got lucky with the babysitter - we have 3 friends with 12-year olds.

They work for cheap and don't eat much. What else can you ask for?


I have not played around much with Movable Type but you should be able to change the font size in the CSS file. Personally, I would not change the font size, anyone with a current browser can change the font size to whatever they want (hold down Ctrl and move your mouse wheel up or down). However I would suggest increasing your line-height. This would add space between each line of text and would make it a little easier to read. Hope this helps, now I just need to find the time to work up a banner for you.

alice, uptown

When you get far enough from your childhood, it gets easier to block the mortifying memories -- or you find that you and your parents have mutually exclusive ones.

I do pity the poor Asian Lephrechaun. That memory seems indelible.

alice, uptown

When you get far enough from your childhood, it gets easier to block the mortifying memories -- or you find that you and your parents have mutually exclusive ones.

I do pity the poor Asian Lephrechaun. That memory seems indelible.

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