Friday, August 31, 2007

Check out my review of DVD for new dads...

I usually don't write here about the reviews I do for products on my own blog via the Parent Bloggers Network, but I just posted a review of something that I actually really liked and that may be of interest to dads and friends-of-dads here on RD. So go check out my review of Armin "Mr. Dad" Brott's "Toolbox for New Dads" DVD and see what you think. As an added bonus, if you order the DVD via the link from my review and note in your order that you're coming in via daddy in a strange land, I get 25% of the purchase price back, and I will put any monies generated through this toward our RD Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, our ongoing philanthropic effort via Donors Choose.

[On a side note, I'm also posting about my review here because since the upgrade to Apple's iLife 08 and its new version of iWeb, things have been all screwy, including my rss feed and the address being redirected to, so if I don't post a link here I'm afraid nobody's gonna know it's there. So if anybody out there's a Mac genius and knows all the fixes for these problems, holla]!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All Look Same Jr. ;)

Every time The Pumpkin sees photos on our computer of the daughters of some of our blogfriends, she asks, "Is that me?" So, I thought I'd put up a few shots and see if you can figure out who's who. :) Below are photos of Eliaday's Tae (Chinese/Korean), MetroDad's Peanut (Korean), The Pumpkin (Filipina/Japanese/White), and Peachboy's Elle (Japanese/Chinese/Filipina - did I get all that right, Peachboy?). Have fun!

Don't forget that you can upload pix of your rice babies to the Rice Daddies flickr group - we pick shots from the flickr group for our blog photo banner!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Early Muir Owl

Chicago designer George Aye took an important next step to ricedaddy-ness (OK, he may not see it that way), proposing to his sweetheart with an elaborate guise involving a gallery, a non-existent artist, laser-cut foamcore, and the power of pattern recognition.

As a married ricedaddy, it sure reminds me of being on that limn between being single and being married, and how beautiful it all looks from there. Still looks beautiful from here, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

In the Land of the Living Ancestors

When my wife's 93-year old great-grandmother (Sunshine's great-great-grandmother) was hospitalized a few weeks ago, we dropped everything and booked a couple of tickets to the Philippines. You see, it has been nine years since her family has had five generations alive concurrently. And now that we've given rise to the long-anticipated fifth generation with our 7-month old, my wife wasn't about to let anything get in the way of her prized five-generation family photo.

Fortunately, great-great-grandmother’s condition has stabilized since, and she’ll probably stick around for some time to come.

So now, we’re here in the Philippines, and today we finally had the chance to have the photo the family has been waiting nine years for.

standing in for my late father-in-law is his brother, my wife's uncle.

and here's another priceless photo of Sunshine with her great-great-grandma!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Challenge Update: Reallocate your Philanthropy Credits

This is just a note to those of you who generously donated to the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge. Apparently, one of the educational proposals we funded, Exploring Inner Beauty with "The Bluest Eye", will not need the funds contributed. Those of you who donated to this particular proposal have had your donations returned in the form of Philanthropy Credits.

To reallocate your Philanthropy Credits, simply CLICK HERE to visit the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge, and select another project that you find compelling. You will be prompted to use your available Philanthropy Credits toward your contribution.

The educational proposals currently featured in the RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge are:

Developing Cultural Self Awareness with Literacy and Art
I hope to engage my student in conversation about culture and race. While they are engaged in an art activity I hope to teach my class to have similar conversations with peers....

Materials Needed that Promote Racial and Cultural Awareness
By adding Multicultural and abilities materials to the centers in my classroom my goal is to facilitate the children's awareness and to help them understand that they are part of a large group with similar characteristics (not "different" from everyone else)...

Big thanks go to Daddyinastrangeland for the heads-up!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Race (and me) on the (Internet) Radio - Tonight!

Listen Live
Continuing the recent discussion about race in the blogosphere and the (in)visibility of parentbloggers of color, I'm gonna be a guest tonight on Motherhood Uncensored's BlogTalkRadio show. Folks have been posting up a storm—check out the links in the comments of my cross-post on disl, and see what folks are saying on ARP and BlogRhet. Tonight, from 9 to 10 EDT (6 to 7 PDT), you can hear me, Glennia of Kimchi Mamas, and Kelly of Mocha Momma talk with Kristen Chase about all this stuff, and you can even call in live to add your 2 cents at (646) 915-8634. Click here to learn more about tonight's show.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Soccer Dad: Embryology

A common question wifey and I get asked is "Are you going to have another one?" For us, the answer is quite complicated. Maceo is an angel that we struggled for five years to conceive. After many intrusive treatments, we turned to IVF and lucked out on our first try. So when the question arises, and it does alot, we would be looking at another long round of injections, more disappointments, Clomiphene "rage" and some not-so flattering trips to the donation station (the fertility clinic we went to stocked the room with lots of Asian porn. Whatever). Add to this, Mace has been steadily kicking our asses, especially now that he's turned The Assertive/Terrible Twos. Short answer? Probably not.

Over the past two years, we kept two spare embryos in crystorage (at $500 a year storage fees), yknow, just in case. Last week, we made the decision to donate the embryos to UCSF stem cell research center. It was a very personal decision, not arrived at quickly. When we would discuss the embryos fate, wifey would speak of them as "Maceo's brother or sister." I, on the other hand, felt they were nothing but a cluster of cells. We definitely felt they were a part of us, though. In time, we knew the embryos would do better with scientists searching for cures than lamping in freezing temps. We did a little digging and, along with our President's itchy veto finger on research funding, we found a recent Newsweek article that mentions that 60 percent of fertility patients surveyed would donate their extra embryos to research. Sounded like us.

We signed some papers, got them notarized, did a few interviews with the clinic and they did the rest including handling transportation. Now the embryos are off hopefully helping assist in a cure for Alzheimer's or some other valiant cause. I remember when we implanted the embryos, one of which became the mighty M, the Dr. brought out the huge needle. Before the Dr. implanted, I told him to wait. I came in close, waved at the needle's contents and said, "Hey buddy, see you in nine months. We love you." Now I bid adieu to the other two embryos: Go forth and conquer disease.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fire up the grill, it's Kalbi time!

photo by su-lin via flickr.

Ever since I discovered Costco carries huge trays of beef short ribs, I've been grilling up Kalbi-style short ribs on my old skool briquette-powered grill.

The source of my recipe, I'm almost ashamed to admit, was a google search which lead me to a story on NPR by a Howard Yoon in Washington, D.C., who says about his family's Kalbi:

Kalbi is surprisingly easy to make once you understand the balance of sweet and savory flavors. Many Korean restaurants tend to serve their kalbi on the sweet side, perhaps to cater to an American sweet tooth. Other recipes I've seen recommend additional ingredients such as sherry or white vinegar, Asian pears or brown sugar along with white.

In my opinion, these are mere distractions to the main event — beef, soy, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and green onions. That's it. If you let these ingredients stand out, you'll have a foolproof dish that will satisfy any meat lover.

So, I've adopted the Yoon Family Kalbi recipe (see article) as my own. It works decently well on the much-thicker cut of short ribs that Costco sells, I've yet to try it on thin Kalbi-style cuts.

Really though, I'm just trolling if anyone out there is willing to serve up their secret Kalbi recipe here. Do you have a Kalbi recipe you're chest-thumpin' proud of (I'm looking at you, Monster Daddy)? Post it here!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Soccer Dad: On This Day in History

August 10

1905 - Russian and Japanese peace negotiations begin in Portsmouth.

1982 - Model actress Devon Aoki born.

1988 - Japanese American Internment: US President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans who were either interned or relocated by in the United States during World War II.

1990 - The Massacre of more than 127 Muslims in the North East Sri Lanka by the paramilitaries.

2005 - Lee Seung Seop dies from exhaustion in South Korea after playing the computer game StarCraft continuously for 49 hours.

2007 - Japanese-Korean American 2-year-old Maceo I. successfully takes a dump on the potty for the first time. He earns accolades and a Thomas the Train sticker.

Excuse me, I gotta go update Wikipedia


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The New Redshirting

As summer draws to a close, ricedaddies everywhere are preparing to send their kids back to school. Deciding whether your rice baby is ready to take the leap into Kindergarten isn't easy. And now, after the decision's made, you're left second-guessing whatever it was you decided.

A friend of mine told me about a recent article from the NYT magazine (via the Dallas news) which talks about the not uncommon practice of 'redshirting' your kids into kindergarten:
"the term, borrowed from sports, describes students held out for a year by their parents so they will be older, larger or more mature and thus better prepared to handle the increased pressures of kindergarten today."
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? But like so much, the decision to wait on Kindergarten is tied up with affluence and class, which means of course its tied up with race:
"Recently, redshirting has become a particular concern, because in certain affluent communities, the number of kindergartners coming to school a year later are three or four times the national average...
"Demographically speaking, any child with a father willing to call on a teacher to discuss if it's best for that child to spend a third year at a $10,000-a-year preschool is going to be fine.

"[But,] Ms. Andersen told me, "I've had parents tell me that the preschool did not recommend sending their children on to kindergarten yet, but they had no choice," as they couldn't afford not to. In 49 out of 50 states, the average annual cost of day care for a 4-year-old in an urban area is more than the average annual public college tuition."

In the kingdom of thisislarry, we're past the point of no return. As of this September, we'll have only schoolkids in our house. But something to ponder for the rest of us slowly (or quickly!) approaching this milestone.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


As both a father and scholar, I find parenting trends in America to be fascinating statements on changing social ideals and identities. Naturally, this story on NPR about multiple children as a product of affluenza. The basic idea here is that more affluent parents are having more kids in what the story terms "competitive birthing".

I'll admit - there's something a little sensationalist about stories like these - nothing seems to attract more "most emailed stories of the day" than articles dealing in either "look at those crazy rich people!" or "look at how crazy parents are!" topics so this story is a two-fer. That said, as someone who can't afford a 5BD in Connecticut, I do harbor secret glee at stories that make rich folk look like a**h****.

Then again, even uber-rich parents have family problems. Guess money, along with love, can't buy peace of mind.

Speaking of NPR - as it turns out (much to the surprise of no one), Baby Einstein makes your kids dumber.

National Night Out!

photo by marmix via flickr

Hey rice daddies, its National Night Out! So, call up that babysitter and grab your partner and have a nice night on the town!

Oh, wait, it's not THAT kind of night out? Oh. Well, enjoy turning on that porch light then.

Monday, August 06, 2007

What’s Race Got to Do With It: Some Thoughts on Parentblogging, Community and Identity

*cross-posted at Anti-Racist Parent and daddy in a strange land*

Last week, the parentblogosphere (or at least the neighborhood I frequent) was buzzing, post-BlogHer, with HKMIC (that’s Head Kimchi Mama In Charge) CityMama/Stefania Pomponi Butler’s smackdown on clueless PR flacks trying to get mombloggers to flog their stuff for free to their highly coveted demographic. Seems that that demographic of tech-savvy, hip, acquisitive parents doesn’t include parents of color. As for the perception that PR folks don’t pitch mombloggers of color, one dude straight-up told Stefania, “You’re right. We don’t pitch to bloggers of color. We just don’t know what to do with them.”

Ummm, say what? Now, before I go too much further, let me say this. This is not about wanting to be marketed to, or to be offered swag or recognition. I mean, sure, free stuff can be nice, and knowing that folks read you is ego-boosting, but you all know I write (unfortunately) so infrequently that I’m not about to put a reviews blog on my to-do list too, and I am so technologically backwards that I couldn’t tell you any site stats to save my life. And yes, some more diverse and non-stereotypical representations of p.o.c. in media, whether fictional, non-fictional or marketing, would be nice, but that’s a “duh” proposition, and a blog topic in and of itself (as are the concomitant topics of teaching critical media literacy to our kids and combating the ill effects of rampant commercialism and capitalism on our families and communities. (Say that five times fast.) [Have I told you how much I love the Home Depot ad where the AsAm mom bribes her daughter to trick the clueless AsAm dad into wanting new a new kitchen? Or the Baskin Robbins (I think) commercial with the AsAm grandpa (or older dad? could be!) who changes the kid’s F grade to an A because the offscreen mom had promised some ice cream treat for an A, and then he busts past the kid to get to the car first? Heh. But seeing as how I can’t even remember for sure who was selling what in that one, I guess it didn’t really work on me. Oh well.]

No, this goes beyond clueless folks who don’t know how (or why) to sell to parents of color. This is about how blogging, specifically by parents about the enterprise of parenting, builds communities that both replicate and challenge boundaries of inclusion and exclusion found in “the real world.” Though a lot of talk stemming from the BlogHer incident revolves around the marketing piece, let’s bring it back to the real, deeper question that Mocha Momma posed at the beginning of the State of the Momosphere panel: “I pointedly asked if we could please discuss the lack of racial diversity in the blogrolls and communities we find ourselves in as a general topic but if we could explore issues of moms of color.” When the conversation got stuck on marketing and monetization, she tried to get it back on track, asking the marketing folks, “When will the diversity come into play?” Except for Stefania’s comments, the assembled mombloggers let the question and the topic die, ignored. And here, then, is the crux of the matter, straight from Mocha Momma:

Certainly, I am grateful to the dozens of people I spoke to after the session was over. There was a full 20 minutes of chatting with people who agreed with my comment and told me to press on and to keep fighting for women of color. I needed something else instead. I needed any of them to take the microphone and say, “Excuse me. Isn’t anyone going to answer Kelly’s question?

Where were you, Mommybloggers? I needed you.

The concept of finding community through blogging, especially parentblogging, is an interesting and important one to me, because I started reading blogs and writing blogs because, like so many, I was looking for online community to combat offline isolation. I was a multiracial, Asian American, politically liberal, stay-at-home-dad living in a conservative, homogenous, segregated, traditional community where all those things made me “other.” Of course, I was used to being “other,” I’d practically made a career of it. But in looking for information about being a SAHD, or even looking for a recommendation for a non-ugly diaper bag, I stumbled onto the parentblogosphere. A handful of dadblogs served as my gateway to more blogs, as every new blog and blogroll and comment link introduced me to a world of SAHDs and SAHMs and WAHDs and WAHMs and work-outside-the-home parents of all types and stripes.

And then I started to notice something, something not surprising for the guy who used to start every class in college by tallying apparent race and gender demographics in his notebook margins to get a preemptive handle on potential participation/representation issues: I started gravitating to bloggers who turned out to be parents of color, or parents (through adoption or intermarriage) of kids of color, or multiracial parents, or Asian American parents, and not only that, I started looking for them. It wasn’t that race, culture or identity were necessarily major themes or even talked about at all on all of these blogs, but when it was there, I noticed.

With those that did explicitly talk about the intersection of race, culture, family and parenting, the connection was even deeper. Why? Well, I guess that’s part of what we’re talking about here, or talking around—the invisible line between those who understand that, and those who even have to ask the question, and the wish that, at least in these virtual communities we share with others due to the ties of parenthood, we could get rid of that line altogether, or at least assume that those on the other side of it realize it’s there and are doing their part to erase it.

When we launched Rice Daddies as a group blog by Asian American dads, started with the only other two self-identified AsAm dadbloggers I’d been able to find at the time, I wrote that what we had in common was that we were Asian Americans who happened to be dads, and dads who happened to be Asian American. While one or another part of who we were might come to the fore on the blog at any given time, they were all integral parts of who we were. So, while we expected it, it was still frustrating to deal with commenters who said things like, “I thought this was a blog about parenting, what’s with all this race stuff?” When Anti-Racist Parent launched, I wrote about how, contrary to popular belief, racism is a parenting issue. When it comes down to it, I notice when issues of race, racism, and diversity are raised in the parentblogosphere, or when parents of color are blogging (even when it has nothing to do with race) because it’s still an exception, because it’s noticeable.

Thinking about issues of blogger diversity after the Blogher session on inclusion and exclusion, Mocha Momma wrote:

That brings up another question as well: why aren’t the Top Bloggers people of color? Where is the Black/Hispanic/Asian/Indian Dooce? Is there a mommyblogger (I think I will just pick on stick with that one genre for the moment to make a point) of color who is considered an “expert”? The reason I ask this has to do with a question someone posed to me in a private email (which, as you’ll realize, needs to be out in the open here so I’m repeating it).

Are you a mommyblogger?

Well, that was rather pointed. I mean, it reads “Mocha
MOMMA” on my address bar and my banner. To be fair I have children. They aren’t the focus of everything I write about so does that make me less of a mom?

No. Not at all.

What’s my point? That it matters that we’re here. Whether we’re talking explicitly about how race and difference affect our lives as parents and the lives of our loved ones or not, it matters. Does anyone besides me care that the woman behind Motherhood Uncensored, Cool Mom Picks, the Parent Bloggers Network, and The Mominatrix is a hapa mom? Maybe not, but it matters to me. Does anyone else notice that the mastermind behind ParentHacks is a South Asian American woman? Or that the dad behind Thingamababy is a partner in an interracial marriage and the father of a biracial child? Or not only notice but appreciate that there’s an Asian American on the crew at Dadcentric or that there’s not one but two black dads with The Blogfathers (not to mention an out gay dad)? Or a Latino dad writing for Neal Pollack’s parenting humor blogzine? Or Asian American moms blogging for Parenting or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer?

That’s not even to get into the sustenance and energy I get from blogs like Rice Daddies, Kimchi Mamas, Filipina Moms, Our Kind of Parenting, Anti-Racist Parent, and the blogs of all the contributors and regular commenters on these sites who are unafraid to say yes, this shit matters, for us, and for our children, and let’s talk about it.

On BlogRhet, a site that is “a discussion space that reflects on the practice of blogging itself, especially as it pertains to questions of community, citizenship, and identity,” blogger Tere writes of feeling a strange sense of exclusion as a Latina momblogger reading the mainstream of the momosphere:

The second reason for my prevailing sense of exclusion is by far a more important one to me…. And that is the fact that I am a minority; and that, more than anything, perpetuates this feeling - even in places where I have been included.

If you doubt it (or, do you even think about it?), let me confirm it for you: the mommy blogging community is white. And I am not. At least, not as a general cross-section of Americans define "white". I am white in race but Hispanic in culture. And that makes me not white - at least to anyone who is not like me (I use the term "white" and "regular Americans" to mean white Anglos and basically, what has always been considered the majority in this country)….


And while blogging has opened my world in so many ways, it has also made me feel quite alienated at times. It has underscored just how different I am. And it's frustrating. I mean, I read some things that are completely foreign to me. Like, I can't wrap my head around it. And then I check the comments out, and everyone's agreeing, and I'm just floored….

Obviously, this is not intentional exclusion. But it is a kind of exclusion nonetheless. It is my feeling that the MB world-at-large is predominantly made up of white women. Few are the African-American women, the Hispanic ones, the Asian ones, etc. Of course, this ties to questions of privilege; and the assumption is that white, in many ways, equals privilege. But there are plenty of African-American, Hispanic and Asian families that are educated, wealthy and just as privileged as white ones (to name the top minority groups in the U.S., but certainly this is can be true of all minority groups). I have made an effort to find blogs (specifically, MBs) by minorities. And they're out there, but not as many as I wish there were, and certainly not in numbers that would drive the point home that we're here and living and loving and have just as much to offer as anyone else. This dearth of minority-voice blogs is another topic unto itself, but for the purposes of inclusion or exclusion, I have to ask, where are the minorities as far as commenting in MBs? I mean, yeah, you don't comment on a blog by first announcing your ethnicity, but there is a void of comments and conversation from women (and mothers) from the perspective of a minority voice.

Is this just me? Do any minorities who read MBs ever feel like, "WTF? I so can't relate"? Does anyone else feel sometimes that the mommy blog world is a microcosm of the United States, where white voices lead and prevail and there seems little room for minorities? And where these white voices seemingly have little to no experiences beyond their white world?


The exclusion of the mom blog world of minorities is simply one based on ignorance. You cannot address, or include, that which you do not know. It is true of me in the reverse. But as the minority here, I can't help but see it as a disadvantage….

That’s what we’re talking about here, at the root, not advertising dollars or even readership stats, but acknowledged presence in this community we’ve already called our own, acknowledgement of our diversity and our issues, of our part in all of this. So that there are no more “surprises” like the “White PTA” fiasco on Silicon Valley Moms, with some folks wondering why others were so upset. So that when someone, say, a newbie parentblogger of color, or even a PR flack, reads a piece on Babble’s Strollerderby decrying the treatment of bloggers of color, they don’t have a forced moment of cognitive dissonance when they glance over at the bios of the resident bloggers.

After watching the fallout from this year’s momblogger panel at the nation’s premier event for women bloggers, I can only hope that any parenting-focused events at next year’s planned Blogging While Brown conference feel more like home for folks like us.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Raise your hand if you drive a minivan. Someone please talk me off the edge.