Dear Dust

I’ve recently been diagnosed with a few different personality disorders. So, guess I’m legit crazy. They got me on three different drugs. Thing is, I know I’m weird, but pretty much always just went with that whole haircut/arty/creative vibe and it felt about right. Now that I’m thirty, though, my husband is like “no more Iggy Pop bootlegs and midnight canvas stretching, you need to see someone.” This therapist had me figured out in two sessions, had me on the pills the third. The pills make me feel mushy and boring. Worse, for sure. My question is, if I don’t feel crazy, just different, but people are telling me I’m crazy, should I believe them? I mean, if I really am crazy, wouldn’t I not buy it? And so the fact that I’ve bought in, at least this far, does that mean I’m actually sane?

Shit, Dust, should I take these drugs or not? I’m leaning toward a cold turkey Fuck You attitude these days, but I need some counsel that’s not going to shove more Zoloft in my mouth the second I open it.

Thanks a million. I mean a milligram!


Dear Dust

Can you let Fabian do more columns? He was awesome.

Lisa Zee


Dear Lisa


Fabian’s Note — Technical Difficulties Update: due to the fact that this column was inaccessible for most of the last 168 hours, and a deluge of mail was received at Castle Dust remarking on that fact, Mr. Dust has decided to pull the previous column early and repeat it in this week’s slot. That way, the majority of regular readers who were denied their weekly Dust fix can now enjoy the original column unmolested by spinning bufferers and Latvian Viagra ads. Also, since Mr. Dust was shut out of the mainframe, he was unable to write anything new, so there wasn’t much choice. Also, we’re all drunk.

However: if you were one of the few who read this before, read it again! It has additional bonus material, PLUS a hidden treat! There will be prizes!


Assistant’s Note: Hi! I’m Fabian, Mr. Dust’s personal assistant. Mr. Dust has asked me to let you know that he is out of the country on business this week, and instead of sending a haphazardly written telex from Bangkok, wants me to fill in for him instead! It’s a great opportunity and a real extension of trust, and I so totally promise to do my best and not abuse it. Or you! And by “abuse'” I don’t mean “fondle,” and by “it” I don’t mean…oh, never mind. Can you tell I’m very excited! Well I am! So, let’s go!


Dear Dust

My uncle, who I was more or less raised by, kept a little flip pad in his top pocket and wrote down sayings that he thought a man should live by. He used to read them to me, licking his thumb before leafing through the pages to find just the right one for any given situation. One of my great regrets in life is that his pad was lost when he died. I came across your last few columns and it occurs to me you might be a man with a few sayings tucked away somewhere. Care to share any? Maybe I’ll start making my own list for when my son is old enough.

Dust Rocks!


Dear Dust

Well, okay, I know you have a take on Weinergate. The left loses a hero! So lay that bulge on us, Dust! And don’t be shy!



Dear Dust

I’m bored silly. With this site. With my boyfriend. With food. With movies. With the world.



Dear Dust

Sarah Palin is officially running for president. Sarah Palin!

That is all.


Dear Dust

I’m a forty year-old guy, divorced once, now seeing a great woman. Let’s call her Wendy. I’m not ugly, but it’s not like before I met Wendy other women were falling all over me. I’m a little out of shape and I have a pretty lousy job. But Wendy is OK with it and I accept her for who she is too. In most every respect, I’m as happy as I’ve ever felt I have a right to be. But here’s the problem. Wendy’s a big dog lover. Like, she gets dog magazines and has dog pillows and her whole house smells like dog.  All of which is annoying, but I could live with it if her enormous German Shepard didn’t come into the room every time we’re fucking. It pushes open the door with its nose since there’s no lock, and it sits there and watches. The shit freaks me out. The dog has these flat dead eyes. I can’t tell if it’s enjoying it, or if it wants to kill me. I swear, I go soft just thinking about his face. I tell Wendy, but she says I’m being uptight. I bought a lock at the hardware store that she wouldn’t let me install. She says the dog is harmless. She gets all bitchy when I bring it up now. Last night it watched us again.

Am I being unreasonable here? I’m ready to put that dog in a fucking sack and drop it in the river. Or find a new girl.

Home Alone

Dear Dust

Sports are terrible now. The NFL is in the middle of a lockout because the millions they’re all making isn’t enough. MLB has seen two no-hitters this year and fans continue to stay away from ballpark. Even the media are having a hard time to find compelling stories to highlight. The NBA is a joke — players collude in the off season to determine what team to play for, demanding salaries that could relieve entire nations of health and medical problems. Tiger Woods was the reason to watch golf and now he can’t make it through nine holes. Seriously, do sports suck so hard?

All Blows

Here we are roaring up to June and it’s looking unlikely that anyone is going to ask me to give a commencement address. But just in case…

Whatever it is that you want to do, don’t do it to show them, whoever they are, because by the time you do it, they, whoever they are, your parents, your relatives, the neighbors, and anybody else who said, You’re a feather, you’ll never amount to anything, what planet are you from?, all of them are going to be sick or dead or dotty or just trying to get through the day, and nothing is going to be about you and whatever you did. If you are lucky enough to be able to do whatever it is you want to do, do it for yourself and the joy and worthiness of doing it, because even if they, whoever they are, aren’t sick or dead or dotty, they will not care a fig, you’ll hardly even have a chance to get your news in, at the very most, they will only say they aren’t surprised one bit, not one bit, didn’t they always say from the beginning that you were going to do great things, and you’re going to say, “Whaaa?” Satisfaction and respect and fulfillment and purpose and meaning are not out there. Do whatever you do, for your best self who can appreciate it more than anyone else ever could, and if you do it, you’ll have done it against all odds, so fill with pride, you hero you.

Dear Dust

So Bin Laden is dead about nine minutes and suddenly everyone around me is all conspiracy this, perfect timing that. I’d say about half of my friends think Bush knew where he was all along, and the other half think Obama killed Osama to distract us from the birth certificate. I’m confused. Do any of these theories have merit? Please un-confuse me.

Miss Lu

Dear Dust

Why can’t I quit smoking? I feel so sad without cigs, and they are killing me. Am I nuts? I can’t sleep or even work without them. Help.


To begin I have absolutely no place peddling love advice to anyone. In college I had my fair share of trysts, long distance relationships, one-night-stands but that was less romance and more “young horny people doing it.” There’s no trick to that, other than confining yourself in a small town with an unlimited supply of alcohol and surrounding yourself with people between 18 and 22 who don’t live with their parents.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been lucky in love, but I have been lucky once, lucky enough to realize I had a good thing and mature enough not to fuck it up. I’ve been married for ten years, but I’m not cocky  enough to call that success. Should longevity be the only standard? What about variety? Would I be more successful if like the late Liz Taylor I had seven marriages? Longevity in a marriage can mean many things aside from success in love, such as inertia, you’re too lazy to divorce, or busy enough with careers and kids to bother thinking about it. Wow, that was harsh. Minor reactor leak. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

To quote from those masters of the persuasive arts, the infomercial writers, I know my Star Wars advice is effective because it works.  I have seen it. And more importantly the inverse fails every time.

This astonishing advice pertains specifically to men. Though ladies, if you want to jump on the band wagon and woo a mate by dressing like Slave Princess Leia, I will not stop you. But first a caveat. I have been to ComicCon. There are precious few body types that work with Slave Princess Leia: elven maids, dryads and anyone with the special effects support of Industrial Light and Magic. And Kristen Bell. It’s very easy to be either too fat or too thin to successfully occupy the outfit. The outfit looks a little better if you have a few extra pounds; if you’re too thin people will suspect you are actually one of Jabba’s slaves in real life. And they will worry.

My advice is for guys who have realized that they are too nice. You know who you are. You’ve all of a sudden been run roughshod in a string of relationships, your heart has been pulled violently from your chest on too many occasions, women think of you as a friend, that really safe friend with feathered dirty blond hair, a love of khaki and two quirky robot sidekicks.

The Star Wars advice for you Sensitive New Age Guys, those who actually like Ani DeFranco instead of just pretending to like her to get laid (and come on, who hasn’t?), is this:

Turn down the Luke. Turn Up the Han.

Learn it. Embrace it. Become it. (Yes, t-shirts are available).

Most guys who see Star Wars for the first time at a young age originally identify with Luke. He was the ultimate good guy, the farmer turned ninja/priest who could move stuff with his mind. The naive teenager who eventually brings his successful and powerful father back from his really busy corporate job so they can finally play ball together. The last Jedi, who blew up the Death Star not once but twice because come on, George Lucas doesn’t have time to think up new stuff.

When I played Star Wars with my friends during kindergarten recess everyone wanted to be Luke. But as we got older though we no longer whined to go Toshi Station*. We wanted to be the cool space cowboy who shoots Greedo at point blank range. Mal Reynolds, the Sergeant who called himself Captain in Joss Whedon’s Firefly is a clear homage to the cult of Han. The series was not at all harmed by a lack of Luke, and believe me: if Joss Whedon doesn’t need Luke, neither does your girlfriend. Even George Lucas realized the dangerous sex fountain he’d unleashed with Han Solo and tried to take it back, digitally editing Star Wars to make it look like Greedo shot first, and Han shot back in self-defense.

This is not to say that “you should start out like Han and end up like Luke,” because every girl is secretly attracted to The Bad Boy but wants to marry the Good Boy. Nobody ends up with Luke. Because seriously, even though Luke Skywalker is the chosen one and has enough midi-chlorians to fill an Olympic swimming pool, he lacks the kung-fu to realize immediately that Princess Leia is his sister? That dude is not on the lady wavelength and I don’t care if it was a long time ago in a galaxy far away: you do not bang your sister, Jedi.

To the Lukes out there, I feel your pain because I used to be one of you. You’re the guys who fall in love too quickly and too deeply, who pine away then can’t believe that anyone would deign to sleep with you much less go shopping with you for power converters. You are prone to jealousy, your wounded deer over-sensitivity eventually drives them off and you don’t know why you’re constantly nursing a broken heart. When women are with you they say “you’re so nice.” Behind your back they say you’re too nice.

It took me nineteen years to transition out of the Luke costume. I was in a stalled relationship, living with a girl with whom I held a mutual dislike. At a Berkeley Halloween party at twenty-five I dressed as Han Solo, and one night in his big leather space boots made all the difference. I noticed a new girl. We started flirting. There was risk, sure, and it led to more than a little heartbreak. The new girl was who I married ten years ago.

It’s not that you shouldn’t be a gentleman. But if you turn up the Han you’re an honorable scoundrel and a gentleman, you’re self-assured enough drive a shitty car without worrying what other people think. Turn down the Luke, turn up the Han and don’t be afraid to shoot first.

[Nerd Flame Bait: yes I recognize that there are two spellings, Toshi and Tosche, to describe the Anchorhead general store Luke whines about in Episode IV. If you don’t like what I’m selling buy your power converters elsewhere. But don’t give into hate.]

Dear Dust

I DARE you to print this. I know you won’t. And when you don’t, I’m going to start posting this on comment boards around the site.

Why? Because I’ve been studying “The Dust” ever since the (I won’t say your, because you are not you) first column. I’ve done a good deal of research: cross-checking, old posts, word comparisons, repetitions, likely suspects. And I’ve finally narrowed your identity down to one person.