Things to Teach My Son

I must be getting older. I want kids. I want little minds to mold – to make into little Dustins. I’ve been keeping this list for almost a year now and every once in a while I come back to it and pear it down and add something. It’ll never really be complete, but I’ll publish it for now, and will revise it continuously. Unfortunately I fail to follow many of these, but perhaps one day I will.

1. Do the dishes everyday.

2. Always carry a book. Patience is sexy and much easier with a book on hand.

3. Read everyday, read well, and reread as often as not. A good book read 10 times is more worthwhile than 10 mediocre books read once. And don’t trust anyone’s opinion that isn’t well read.

4. Don’t underestimate a pure mind and clean heart. Be innocent, but neither nieve nor ignorant.

5. Good and evil are real.

6. Don’t accumulate crap. Give away and throw away.

7. Don’t build friendships based only on a shared addiction or hobby.

8. Read magazines for news, not newspapers or television. Except of course Colbert and Stewart, if they’re still around.

9. New is not always better – be it books, art, people, and music.

10. Trust your intuition.

11. Be more afraid of not trying than of failing.

12. Write well. If you can’t write well you can’t think clearly.

13. Consider others as more important than yourself.

14. Play one sport well. Preferably basketball.

15. The goal of life is to grow your influence to love, not to grow the amount you are loved. Though the second will come with the first, most people get them confused, and that confusion is ruining the world.

16. Similarly, judge people (and yourself) by the objects and magnitude of their love, rather than who loves them.

17. Give credit where its due. Build up other people and don’t expect it back.

18. Being described as a “nice guy” is an insult.

19. This may not be a thing in 10 years, but don’t hipsterize your photos. Ever.

20. Don’t drink more than your boss.

21. Eat like a local and tip like an American. And if a street performer makes you pause, give him a dollar.

22. If you’re not confident, fake it.

23. Always buy the first meal.

24. Clean to good music, not to a tv show.

25. Take the stairs.

26. Nothing good ever happens after 2am. Go home.

27. Learn to say no.

28. Sit in the front of the classroom.

29. Don’t go to the gym more than three times a week.

30. Don’t sit down on a crowded bus.

31. They don’t care what you have to say until they know how much you care.

32. A good drink only needs one ingredient, sometimes two.

33. Support the vegetarians, and be one at least for a while.

34. Play guitar.

35. Change your own oil but leave your brakes for the mechanic.

36. It’s ok to wear the same clothes, but brush your teeth and change your underwear.

37. It’s ok to sing loudly while you drive, even with friends, and even on a motorcycle.


Switchfoot – Enough to Let Me Go

Do you love me enough to let me go?
To let me follow through
To let me fall for you, my love

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Ed Sheeran – Kiss Me

Can’t get these lines out of my head. Loving the guitar tone, vocal tone, drum tone – every tone. Actually this whole album is amazing.

Kiss Me like you wannna be loved
like you wanna be loved
like you wanna be loved

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Ira Glass

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.


My Favorite Gifs!!

Well yesterday I finished my MBA program and I feel obligated to write a sweeping post summarizing the myriad life lessons that have irrevocably changed my life this past year. Screw that. I have free time! So I’m going to post my favorite gifs. I’m a reddit stalker and these have been accumulating in my bookmark folder, waiting to be unleashed.

Just open the page and do something else while the gifs load. It’ll be worth it. Enjoy!

By the way, check out this blog full of amazing pastor related gifs:

My favorites are definitely the pretty ugly girl, the intense black man, and the compassionate kid. Which one(es) is(are) your favorite?


I Hate Photography

Actually I don’t. But I’m frustrated. Like anything, the better you get, the more you realize how far you are from being where you want to be. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. It’s the same with guitar. I would think I achieved a new level of wicked guitarist god-ness, and then realize I’m a chump.

This is a healthy process. Photography, like any art, is not the spontaneous result of God-given-middle-of-the-night inspiration. I often image songwriters accidentally penning masterpieces drunk or in some sub-conscious stupor. This has been, no doubt, the process of some geniuses – Dostoyevsky comes to mind – but it certainly is not the norm. Art is the outcome of a long process of self-doubt and courageous reinvention. Tomorrow I may be worse, but in a year I will be better.


Shadow Days


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

People change everyday, for good or for worse. We can become more responsible or less, more compassionate or less, more understanding or less. It’s up to us, and those who influence us, to make the right decisions to nurture our selves into better people.

I must confess, I’ve had some troubled years in my past. I’ve had many sleepless nights, whisky soaked mornings, burned bridges, and broken hearts. But I’m glad to say that I think I’m coming out of those stormy conditions. Finally, I’m stabilizing. I turned 27 this week and realized that I’m very different from the person I was even a year ago, and very different from the 23 year old Dustin; I think I’ve changed for the better. Though there are many times I regret and many memories I wish I could forget, God can still make rubies out of mud. My shadow days help me appreciate the sunny, and understand those still there. Thank you to those who have stuck by me, believed in me, challenged me, forgave me, understood me, and saw the best in me even when I couldn’t. I am the product of the expectations of the people most important to me, and I am surrounded by some amazing people.

Cheers 27. This is the first time I’ve been able to say this in a while and I’m so glad I can: I think this will be one of the best years I’ve had in a long long time.


William Strunk Jr.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.


Dustin the Hippie

One of the things I loved most about the Steve Jobs biography is that it reaffirmed my belief that you don’t have to conform to the superficialities that culture tries to impose on you. For example, what is fashion and why am I supposed to follow it. My mother tells me that I can’t shave my head anymore as that’s what college children do. I just can’t wrap my head around that. What does the length of a man’s hair reflect about his character, integrity, and maturity?

On the other hand I’m beginning to sadly recognize that these superficial trivialities open doors for influence, especially on first encounters. One’s grooming or good looks don’t matter in the long run, but in an initial encounter they can be highly influential. For example, President James Harding was one of the most incompetent and dangerous presidents in American history, but many believe he was voted in based on his stunning good looks. He looked like a president. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln, the best president, was lanky, awkward, and wore a stupid hat.

But Steve Jobs gives me hope. He didn’t shower. He didn’t change clothes. He didn’t furnish his house. He didn’t even wear shoes around the office. And then when was older he didn’t even bother to change outfits.