Tag Archives: Dustin

The Tao of Peggy Olson

With AMC’s Mad Men having recently poured its final glass of 9am bourbon, neat, I am left with a moment to reflect on the show whose legacy was always a little bit grander than its reality. And really, isn’t that sort of what we’re all aiming for in life? You’ll see a hundred op/ed pieces on the technical hits or misses of the show, but for me, even though the show was centered around Don Draper, the true protagonist of the series was Peggy Olson. Don’s was a journey that was focused on discovery on self (and probably more than a couple of STDs as well), but Peggy’s was a true battle. A David vs. Goliath struggle where sometimes her Goliath was the ultra-misogynistic corporate workplace of the 1960s and /70s, and sometimes her Goliath was herself. With that in mind, I present a handful of moments that Peggy brought us that will stick with me much longer than Don’s loose views on fidelity and identity theft. And so I present to you:

THE TAO OF PEGGY OLSON

“When I was little, my mom would take a twin pop and break it in half and give one to me and one to my sister. We were completely equal in her eyes. Beloved. Everyone does this with Popsicles, but they may not realize what it means. It has nothing to do with an ice cream truck on a hot summer day. Or the flavor. Or the color. It’s a ritual. You take it, break it, share it, and love it.” —Season 2, Episode 12
• A central theme for Peggy throughout the Mad Men series was that of love. Not just romantic love, but familial love, love in friendship, love in a professional environment, and love of self (or at least learning to accept yourself for who you are). This mini monologue (minilogue?) is a great example of Peggy romanticizing her own past (to a fault, at times) for the sake of remembering the good and the love that surrounded her, rather than focusing on the negative aspects of life. Classic Peggy.

“Every time something good happens, something bad happens.”  —s4,e11
• Peggy’s strength as a character (and as a person) isn’t that she’s blindly naive and ignorantly optimistic, it’s that she sees the world for the crappy, run down mess that it is…but chooses to hope anyway. Anyone can live a sheltered life and think the world a perfectly pleasant place, the real challenge is to continue to seek after your ideals in spite of adversity. If Peggy was a pro boxer, she wouldn’t be a one-punch wonder, she’d be the sort of marathon fighter who wears you out by taking hit after hit for twelve rounds and staying on her feet till the final bell. And in life you’re going to have a lot more knockdown, drag-out fights to endure than quick, Muhammad Ali-esque 15-second KO’s. Be built for the full twelve.

“Well, I’m fun! And I love to have…fun.” —s3,e4
• For the pitch perfect pitchman she became (pitchwoman? Pitchperson?), Peggy was always a little too humble to really sell herself, and we see that here in her awkward attempt to sound…well, fun, on a first date. Even though she struggles to really sell herself for the great gal she is in this particular instance, she manages to get to the heart of “free time Peggy,” which is that even though her work/life balance might have been a little uneven at times, at her core she’s still just a girl who wants to have fun, and be fun to be around to others. Despite how intense her career focus could be at times, you still get the idea that she found fun in her work, and wanted others to find the fun in theirs as well (as long as it didn’t compromise the quality of the final product). Remember kids: Be fun, have fun. It’s what Peggy would want.

“Don Draper: That’s how this works. I pay you for ideas.
Peggy Olson: You never say ‘Thank you.’
Don Draper: That’s what the money is for!” —s4,e7
• Despite her eventual rise to the top creative ranks in the ad agency world, Peggy was never in it for the money or the power or even the acclaim…she was in it for the respect that she knew she deserved and the recognition of her talent in a world that tried repeatedly to write her off. A recurring theme throughout the series is Peggy working out her daddy issues through Don (sometimes effectively, sometimes not), and ultimately having the revelation that we all need to have: someone else’s approval is never going to replace or validate our own self worth. I know a lot of us feel under-appreciated and even unloved in our professional and/or personal lives, but the moral of the story is that it’s up to us to know that we have value, rather than waiting for the accolades of the outside world that may or may not ever arrive. Easier said than done, perhaps, but worth the effort nonetheless.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” —s6,e5
• At the end of the day (one of my all-time most hated clichés, but gets the point across), we almost always know the right thing we should say or do or not do in a given situation, but the real test of mettle is whether or not we can act on that knowledge, to resist the easy path in favor of the more difficult one, even if it’s less rewarding or we won’t get any recognition for doing so. How many times in your life have you looked back on something you regret and thought, “Geez, that was stupid…I knew better”? And you’re right, you did! The difficulty lies in having the willpower to not do the stupid thing in front of you, no matter how appealing it might be in the moment. A daily battle for most of us (or at least me), but a battle worth fighting, even if the victories are more infrequent than the failures. But just know that in spite of your past mistakes, you have ability to make the right choice the next time. And the next time. And the time after that. I’m pulling for you. And so is Peggy Olson. I’ll even buy you a shot of bourbon when you get there. Good luck and God bless.
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Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every other Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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My Week with Apple Watch

The absence of a house, spouse, child, or discernible adult responsibilities of any sort in my life have left me with enough extra income to purchase Apple’s latest gadget, The Apple Watch. (Anyone who calls it the iWatch might as well stop reading now and save both of us the hassle). The following is a day-by-day account of my first week with The  Watch, journaled for posterity so that when the robots have taken over in the semi-distant future, we will have a better idea of where we went wrong.

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

Apple Watch Sporty Spice

April 30, 2015

Day 1 — The Apple Watch is definitely a solid device, meeting or exceeding all my expectations. Big takeaways so far are that battery life is way better than advertised, it’s more water-resistant than I realized, and I’m finding nuanced little features I hadn’t heard about before all the time (i.e. using the watch as a remote control for my AppleTV, using it to take pictures with my phone, checking into my gym with it, etc.)

Day 2 — Really dug into some of the fitness features today. The Apple Watch has a different workout setting for most of the common cardio exercises; really cool to see my heartbeat and calories burned in real time. I sprinted a mile as part of my workout and felt myself pretty out of breath…hm, weird, I would’ve thought Apple Watch would’ve fixed that. Apple Watch also failed to add ANY weight to my max bench press. Odd. Might have to make a Genius Bar appointment to make sure I didn’t get a defective unit.

Day 3 — Despite owning the Apple Watch for almost half a week, didn’t get to see Avengers 2 yet. Weird, because I know I really wanna see Avengers 2, and Apple Watch is supposed to be the more personal and effective device ever and yet here I am, still not having seen a single second of what my girlfriend has called the “I will break up with you” movie of the summer. Instead spent the day reading Shakespeare’s King Lear on my Apple Watch. Eyes were pretty strained after the first two hours, blacked out from a migraine for a little bit, but felt way better after I woke up. Thanks, Apple Watch!

Day 4 — Got fired at work for physically assaulting my boss when he said he thought the Apple Watch “wasn’t for everyone,” definitely didn’t see “getting fired” as a side effect of the Apple Watch, but it’s still a pretty new device so they’re still working out some of the bugs. Hopefully future versions will be less likely to get their owners fired. Getting pretty good at drawing dicks on the Apple Watch screen and sending them to my friends.

Day 5 — Well my girlfriend left me (out of nowhere!), and despite me REPEATEDLY sending her my heartbeat via Apple Watch, she still hasn’t come to her senses and begged me to take her back yet. And my heart was beating extra fast today, too! (It always does when I’m taking her cute best friend out to dinner). Really need to make that Genius bar appointment to make sure I don’t have a bum unit. Maybe her cute best friend will go with me, and we can see a movie and take a moonlit walk on the beach afterwards under the stars. I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple Watch is altering my perception of time to better fit in with its own battery cycle, as I’ve been up for 51 hours but Apple Watch keeps saying it’s still Tuesday. Which is a pretty cool feature, if you ask me.

Day 6 — At this point I’ve had the Apple Watch for almost a week, yet that STILL didn’t stop the bank from foreclosing on my condo today, something about 18 months of back-payments and overdue property taxes. I don’t know, I didn’t get any reminders about anything like that from my Apple Watch, so it must be some sort of clerical error. Clerical Error would be a great name for like a speed-metal band. Oh also my (now ex) girlfriend finally texted me back today and told me she was pregnant, but said she won’t let me near the kids, which is a terrible Apple Watch feature that I hope they fix in the next beta.

Day 7 — The IRS is auditing me totally out of the blue, despite the fact that I literally just filed my taxes four years ago. Sounds like an Apple Watch bug. There’s just a sinkhole where my condominium complex used to be, although I’m told the bank can still foreclose on my condo even if it’s three stories underground now. As if that wasn’t enough of a bummer about the Apple Watch, my neighborhood has been hit hard with an intense breakout of tornadoes, famine, tsunamis, freshwater drought and a plague of toa-locusts (a genetic hybrid of toads and locusts), but I think that last one is because my next door neighbor bought a Samsung Galaxy Gear from one of those resellers on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Having some real difficulty finding a virgin for sacrificial purposes (that’s Los Angeles for you I guess), DESPITE using Apple Watch’s Siri integration. Even though I’ve been charging it every single day, Apple Watch has yet to repair the estranged relationship between me and my father. Maybe I should’ve sprung for the solid-gold “Edition” version of the Apple Watch.

Day 8 — Returned my Apple Watch today. Honestly, I liked it a lot, but having to deal with all of the other side effects just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I’ll pick up a future version, but for now I’m happy to be a little more low-tech than the next guy.

Day 9 — Everything is back to normal now…I guess maybe it isn’t for everyone, after all. Looks like my boss was right on that one…but don’t tell HIM that ;) (Rest in peace, Mr. Johnston).

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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American Idol Season 14 Changes

As you may have seen on television (that thing that kills time while your phone is charging), American Idol is about to enter its FOURTEENTH season (another year and it can get its learners driving permit), and like any show that has been on for so long, the team at Idol is implementing some changes to help attract new viewers and keep the old ones. Using my top-secret entertainment industry connections I was able to obtain a list of these changes for you, my loyal readers.

American Idol Season 14 Changes:

• American Idol’s infamously rotating cast of celebrity judges will bump up from rotating every season to now rotating every 15 minutes. Things get especially dramatic when Mark McGrath gives the approving vote to put a contestant through to Hollywood only to have the “rotate judge” alarm go off, with replacement judge Kevin Federline voting the other way for the unlucky contestant.

• In addition to searching for talent in New Orleans, Nashville, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New York City; the show will also be holding its trademark ten-thousand-person auditions in Metropolis, Atlantis, The Emerald City, Mount Olympus, The Alternate 1985 timeline from Back to the Future 2, and The Negaverse from Sailor Moon.

• In an effort to boost ratings, American Idol will declare every show day also Opposite Day, turning their 1.7 into a 7.1 and “a 25% decrease” into “a 25% increase” and “beating a dead horse” into “entertainment.”

• Keith Urban has agreed to a cross-promotion with a hip, young clothing store, legally changing his name to Keith Urban Outfitters.

• Going to just start referring to itself in all graphics, conversations, and materials as “The Voice” and see if anyone notices.

• Taking its well-known list of mentors like Randy Jackson and Scott Borchetta and adding other legendary mentors such as The P90X Guy, Mister Miyagi, Mother Teresa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Professor Dumbledore, Your High School English Teacher, Dina Lohan, Rafiki from Lion King, and Gandalf the Grey.

• End every show with one uncut five-minute block of lemmings mindlessly walking to their demise by the ton and see if even a single viewer picks up on the irony.

• Putting Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, and Taylor Hicks in fake Groucho disguise mustache-glasses and sneaking them back into the competition.

• Following up all eliminations with on-air, real-time executions of whoever is voted off that week.

• Brian Dunkleman.

• Do a Mythbusters-style special on whether or not Ryan Seacrest has ever said anything sincere with all that feigned enthusiasm in the past 13 years.

• Airing all episodes at once, Netflix style, to help induce binge watching like the kiddies enjoy so much these days.

• Regardless of what the votes say, just declaring Ruben Studdard the winner anyway.

…Should be a fun season!

Play on,
Dustin

casual pic of Brian Dunkleman, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson

casual pic of Brian Dunkleman, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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How DO You Deal with Sadness?

On the tumblr account I recently created (if you need me I’ll be over here, keeping up with ALL the hottest trends of 2007), someone asked the anonymous question:

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“How do you deal with sadness?”

Most tumblr questions I answer only insofar as they are interesting to me and/or present the opportunity to be funny via amusing myself and occasionally others (and so the circle of narcissism comes full…well, circle (I was in trouble like four words into that one)).

However, the above question struck me as one frequently on the minds of many young folk (and their not-so-young brethren such as myself), and seemed deserving of a slightly more in-depth answer than would befit the norms of that site. I’m fortunate because I’m generally one of the more positive humans I know, and I have primarily positive and uplifting people in my life, so I don’t find myself in this sort of situation very often. But when I do, it’s as potent as any other emotional state.

The answer (like all good answers), isn’t one answer. The answer is three answers. For me, at least. So far. It may be more by the time I’m done writing this thing out.

“How do you deal with sadness?”

Answer number one: I surround myself with the people, things, and activities that bring me joy.
This may seem the most obvious of the three, but the principle is simple: if you’re going to create an environment of sadness/negativity, you are going to have a lot of trouble not being sad. I’m not saying it’s not possible, you’re just creating more work for yourself than is necessary. I know sometimes when I get sad I don’t *feel* like being happy or being taken away from my world of wallowing (not to be confused with World of Wallowing, the less popular online role-playing game I invented), so instead of going right from sobbing to playing on the trampoline, it’s nice to have something in place that will act as a stepping stone, so instead of taking you from “depressed” to “overwhelmingly joyous” maybe it’s something that takes you from “depressed” to “pleasantly apathetic.” For me, it means instead of watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a movie I absolutely love but does nothing to bolster my mood) — but also not being ready for the laugh-riot that is Anchorman or Dumb & Dumber — I might watch a sports documentary or a Wes Anderson film (sad but not too sad, comedy but not uproariously laugh-driven). The same is true with people; if you’re an introvert and you’re feeling down, you might not want to hit the super hip rager of a party that the popular kids are throwing, but maybe having a couple friends over to drink hot chocolate and watch Netflix (I like movies, if you haven’t gathered that already) would be enough to bolster your spirits. Maybe you’ll think it a bit passé, but I also enjoy reading with some calming but bright background music (classical, jazz, Anderson Cale) as an activity to counteract malaise.

Answer the second: I let God/Jesus do the heavy lifting.
This may not be a very popular or “cool” answer, but truthfully a lot of what gives me comfort when I’m sad or depressed is the hope that comes from relationship with Jesus as Savior. It removes a lot of the pressure that I put on myself or my successes/failures or my environment/circumstances to provide me with happiness and/or a sense of purpose, and lets me rest easy in the hope of Christ. Ultimately, the foundation of my joy comes from the wellspring of eternal love that is God, and all of life’s earthly concerns and sad matters fall into appropriately-lesser perspective by comparison.

Answer three: I don’t.
I don’t want to seem like I’m promoting the idea of wallowing in one’s own sadness, but a myth that is incorrectly perpetuated is that one needs to find a *solution* to sadness at all. The truth of the matter is that in many intense instances (death of a loved one, loss of a career, eviction, etc.), heavy sadness is a very real and very necessary response. And the same is true with lesser sad events as well. Your body is built to respond with sadness as a way to respond and reflect, and I find that meditating through the sad times can be a healthy and effective way to process and learn from sadness. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t begrudge your body the time it needed to heal & repair, and the same is true for your emotional body as well. So oftentimes when I’m struck with sadness, I’ll let it run its course, spend some time in prayer and reflection, and let it provide the sharp contrast that makes my happiness all the brighter.

So, my anonymous occasionally-sad chum, maybe some of this is helpful to you, maybe it’s not, but either way this is how I process through the sad times, and it works for me. And if none of that helps, there’s always alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Play on,
Dustin

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…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagram, tumblryoutube, (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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If Fast Food Restaurants Were Girls I’ve Dated

If Fast Food Restaurants Were Girls I’ve Dated:

McDonald’s = The slutty one. Too available, too eager to please, and kind of gross when you find out some of the behind-the-scenes, next-level details. Over six billion served.

Taco Bell = The girl that I was ashamed to be seen with. Sure we got along great, same interests, fun chemistry…but for whatever reason, I found myself embarrassed to be seen with her. Maybe it was her lack of intelligence, maybe it was her off-putting style, maybe she was the kind of girl I didn’t think would get along with my friends — whatever the reason, I kept our relationship on the down low the same way I sneak my bag full of chalupas in the back way to my apartment, then dispose of the evidence in the trash before the roommate gets home.

Wendy’s = The boring one. As all-American as the redhead with pigtails on the front door, this girl is as plain and simple as the good, old-fashioned hamburgers we’ve had for years. Unfortunately, plain, simple, and old-fashioned aren’t always the adjectives you want to describe your relationship, and this girl gets stale as quickly as a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger that isn’t eaten in the first 90 seconds of being served.

Burger King = The doormat. Whatever you want, that’s what she wants too. Burger King wants you to “Have it your way” and so does this girl. Her favorite movie? Whatever you want to see. Her favorite hobbies? Anything you’re in to. Her ideal date night? Doesn’t matter as long as it’s with you. This girl is fine if you’re the sort of guy who doesn’t want to be challenged or questioned in a relationship, but the rest of us prefer to date equals, not just Yes-Men/Yes-Women.

Carl’s Jr./Hardees = The one that stopped trying. For some women, the goal is just to get a boyfriend, any boyfriend, and that’s as ambitious as they’ve ever gotten. At some point in the ‘80s, the Fast Food Civil War was declared a three-way victory between McD’s/BK/Wendy’s, with everyone else left to just snap up whatever scraps of success they could. For Carl’s Jr, that was plenty. No desire or ability to shoot beyond their current level, they’re just happy to be in the game at all, and if that means settling for less than the best, then come on in, because we have an order of microwaved chili-cheese fries and some B-rate marketing with your name on it.

Subway = The fake. If you like your ham to come from a tube and your tomatoes as soft as a Drake album, then this is the place for you. This is the girl who sings your praises as “world’s best boyfriend” to your face, then rips you to shreds with made-up maladies in front of her girlfriend crew just so she can have some drama to dish about. You could never figure out why her family didn’t like you the same way you couldn’t figure out how all these pro athletes stay in Olympic shape on a diet of footlong meatball subs. Only after the fact do you realize that your girlfriend was painting a picture of you that was drastically different from actual reality — the same way Michael Phelps is only eating Italian BMTs after his medical marijuana-induced munchies have kicked in.

In N Out Burger = The Keeper. Quality ingredients, happy and confident in what they are, and a delicious menu that seems simple at first glance but actually has a much more-than-meets-the-eye complexity to it; this is The Mrs. Right of restaurants. Smarts, looks, and a great heart all swirled together like a delicious Neapolitan shake, this is the one that you compare all the others to — and realize they don’t even come close. And of course, always worth the wait (even when the drive-through line is wrapped around the block).

…But then again what do I know? I’m just an Arby’s — overpriced, overrated, thinks it’s better than it actually is, past its prime, and nobody’s first choice. But hey at least we’ll always have that Jamocha Shake to look forward to, right? …RIGHT?? :’(

Play on,
Dustin

NOTE/DISCLAIMER: I am generalizing types of women from MY LIFE that I HAVE MET/KNOW, not all women as a whole. So if you think that this jokey list doesn’t thoroughly/accurately represent every type of woman that exists: you’re right. Women are a diverse and wonderful species and this is meant to be a jovial/exaggerated documentation of my own experiences with a handful of them, not an exhaustive catalog of all the majesty that is womankind. This isn’t an objectification of women, it’s a personification of fast food restaurants. So spare me the hate mail. :) And if you’re still offended, then no worries, I’ve already written you an apology here.

fast-food-logos
=
girlfriends

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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