Category Archives: Dave’s Rules

Do it Yourself – The Essential Questions


Do you like the super cool DIY headboard my wife and I made?  Totally posh right?  Do people still say ‘posh’?  Did they ever?  Anyway, my wife found it on Pinterest and it looked super easy.

We bought some decent wood, cut it, stained it, finished it and command stripped them to the wall.  (Quick fact: If you are doing a DIY project you command strip stuff instead of screwing or nailing.)  Anyway, the boards spontaneously would launch off of the wall and smash into the bed (or the person in it).  I slept the night upside down, stripped it back up the next morning (that’s about $40 in command strips now) and as I pulled away to go to work, all four boards came crashing down, waking the kids and the dog.

Pinterest didn’t say that this would happen.  Maybe the Pinner bought the straightest, most high quality wood in the world and maybe they found some NASA command strips, because 4 x 16lbs command strips per board couldn’t do the job at my house.

Yes we all think it’s super cool to jump into that DIY project, its worth a few Facebook likes and definitely worth showing off at dinner parties if you’re vain.

Truth is, everyone who looks at your project knows its a DIY project without being told.  Spare yourself some pain, before you decide to commit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the total cost of all the stuff you have to buy at Lowes, Michael’s and Walmart six times as much as what you would pay for the product itself?
  • Will the final project look “hand made” or just fucked up?
  • Do you think you will gain a great deal of satisfaction from following the instructions on Pinterest or just a great deal of anger?
  • Have you considered buying the same product (but better quality) at Target or on Amazon just for simple convenience?  (It’s 2015, goods are readily available)
  • Did you think about the fact that it will take 4-5 weeks to complete the project as opposed to 3 day prime shipping?

If you’ve answered honestly and still want to do the project, good on you…but my guess is you’re fooling yourself – you’re not fooling anyone else though.

My Headboard Now - Posh Right?

My Headboard Now – Posh Right?


Kids Have Standards

I was wearing a Batman shirt yesterday.  It has the old-school logo on it.

Evan, my 9 year old neighbor-kid rolled up on his bike and asked, “You like Batman?”

“Yeah, I do.  He’s a solid dude, you?” I replied.  In truth, I don’t know anything about super heroes.

“No.  In the cartoons they draw him with long pointy ears,” he said.

“Yeah but he’s a super hero and he’s strong and stuff…a good guy.”

Evan looked off in the distance.  “Terrible,” he declared and rode away.

Was he talking about me or Batman?


Make Work Suck Less with Better Email

"Did you get that email?"

“Did you get that email?”

Since I am in the communication bidness, people often ask me for advice on email writing.  Many of us spend a great deal of time slinging email.  Usually these requests for advice are born from accusation, “Do you teach stuff about writing because (insert name) sends really long emails and they suck [the person and the email].”

Well (insert name), here you are.  Email advice from a not-very-good writer.

Read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. This comically concise book is a timeless work worth reading annually to improve writing and speaking.

Rule 17:  Omit needless words (The Elements of Style).

Rule 12:  Choose a suitable design and hold it (The Elements of Style).

Once upon a time I had a tyrannical, disconnected dictator supervisor who demanded that I (and the others) used this specific format for email.  Now, free from his oppression, I still use it and am imparting the wisdom on you in the spirit of Rule 12.

Addressee:  Enter the addressee’s name here genius – this isn’t Twitter, it’s work.  This line should correspond with the ‘To’ line, don’t write to someone in the ‘CC’ line.  CC stands for ‘courtesy copy.”  And while we’re on it, ‘CC’ is not a verb it’s an acronym.  People can’t be “cced” they’re copied.

Action Requested:   Clearly convey what you’d like to happen.  Some examples are, “For Decision” “For Awareness” “For Action.”  Don’t know?  Then don’t write the email.

Summary/EXSUM:  Only impart what is needed to achieve the action listed above.  Write clearly in active voice and always use Rule 17.

Way Ahead:  Explain to your reader what will happen next so that they have context in terms of time and project work flow.

Expanded:  Include other detail only if necessary for additional context, always adhere to Rule 17.

Sound robotic?  It can be and that’s ok; it’s email.  We get hundreds of emails a day, using the above technique will prevent 2 emails from becoming 5.  In using this technique, may also help you. You may realize you don’t know why you’re writing or that you might lack the information the addressee needs to take a requested action.

Now go to your work place and share the ideas in this post- wield the angry stick of formalization.  Beat your leaders, coworkers and subordinates into submission so that you may, someday, enjoy fewer and clearer emails.

Personal note:  I used to carry a gun every day at work and now I’m giving advice on email.


Time Travelers

He lives in dog years so it's really late 'his' time

He lives in dog years so it’s really late ‘his’ time

Dave’s Rules: Adjust to whatever time zone you are in and STFU.

“Oh, I’m so tired, its 3am MY time.”

Really? Well, its the year 2052 my time.

Consistent revisitation of ‘your’ time zone doesn’t help anyone.

Jet lag is a real symptom of circadian rhythm disruption caused by traveling across timezones. Some coping mechanisms include exposure to daylight and drinking water (my answer to most ailments).

Help yourself by reading this useful bit of research.

Help others by not talking about ‘your’ time. No one cares.

Booyah is Back!

Tiger has every reason to yell Booyah.  The nation (and Nike) have forgiven you.

Tiger has every reason to yell Booyah. The nation (and Nike) have forgiven you.

Its official: The term ‘Booyah’ is back and it has little to do with Tiger Woods.

I’m happy to say booyah hasn’t left my lexicon since 1992ish – 22 years and going strong. My coworkers and family can attest to my loyal usage.

Turns out, the use of booyah is at an all time high and we can only expect it to skyrocket as a result of being published right here on T&R. Reference google word stats.

For those of you who are boo-curious and want to get started right away, here are a few of my favorite uses:

  • Dennis Rodman checks himself into rehab after his visit with Stinky Pete Jong Un…Booyah!
  • My kid:”Dad, why does metal rust?”  Me: “When water hits iron, it mixes with carbon dioxide in the air. This mix creates a weak carbonic acid, an electrolyte that starts to dissolve the iron. The dissolved iron then combines with the oxygen freed from the water. These two compounds combine to create iron oxide, or rust. Booyah, Dad knows everything sucka!”
  • Drone strike…booyah!
  • Booyah, its a little chilly out.

According to The American Slang Dictionary, the term is often combined with the Ice Man volleyball style arm pump. I can dig it.

For those of you who have not been afraid to continue its use, I commend you.

For those of you that are willing to get your foot in the door on this about-to-be-viral trend, congratulations.


Wasted Breath

How was the flight?

Truth is, it was fine but I’ll do us both a favor and spare you the answer.

I waited for my baggage the other day and had to listen to some lady tell her friend the details of what was a mundane trip.  Turns out she had to walk a little bit to meet her connecting flight.  She also was apparently the only one on our flight who experienced a ”hard landing.”

Why not just eat another bag of peanuts and shut your freaking mouth?

What is the function of idle chit chat?  Does it fill the silence?  Serve as an ice breaker?  It’s unneeded, there is way too much comical, important or necessary things to talk about.

Next time, save the useless banter and talk about the good shit.

If you trust me, I’ll trust you


Hylete began making workout gear a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Not really, they’re pretty new.

I bought a Hylete hoodie.  Truth is, I think I’m cool when I wear Hylete gear; at least that’s what my wife says.  You might remember a post about their customer service a few weeks ago, here.

Anyway, the sweatshirt I bought was too small for me.  I emailed customer service and told them.

Elise, the customer service lady, the self-proclaimed Brand Experience Jedi seems to take her job seriously.  We’ve had run-ins before.  Like the time I had trouble creating an account; she took my info and created it for me.  Like the time my shirt was the wrong color, she gave me a new one and didn’t ask for the old one back.

This time Elise answered my email by sending me a shipping slip; she added a personal touch by remembering who I was- I felt special.  Moments later, she credited my account for the replacement sweatshirt.

“But, I haven’t sent it yet,” I thought. “But they haven’t received the sweatshirt and taken several days to process my return.”

They trusted me.  They gave me the money to buy a new sweatshirt before I sent the old one back.

I asked Elise about it. She said, “Our customers have proven to be very trustworthy.”

Of course they have; so has Hylete.

Just Stop Talking


Remember the other day’s post about listening? You can listen while you talk too, in fact, I recommend it.

Watch the audience or the person you’re talking to. Listen to their body language and comment.

It should be clear if they are getting it or not. If it’s not clear, ask.

If there not getting it, start again, reframe your point and see if they catch on.

If they still don’t get it or just don’t care about what you’re saying, stop. Please, just stop.

Your prudence now will pay dividends later. People will see you and say, “See that guy? He doesn’t have diarrhea mouth.”

They might not say that but they might be more receptive to listening to you later.



Running is a Team Sport

Running is a community.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend on the running trails; running is beginning to lack community.

I am usually suffering when I run, even so, I attempt eye contact with an oncoming runner and at least grunt, “hey.”

What I’ve received back over the past several months is nothing.  Only cowardly ‘look-aways’ or stoic ignores.

At races, runners are happy, they communicate, they laugh.  It’s a social event.  After a decent race, beer will be served and runners will exchange stories of that horrible hill, a cool piece of gear or the enduring heat.

Automatic Facebook posts from your run program don’t count.  Actually, between you and I, they are super lame.  Really.

Friends, let me lay this out for you:

When we are out on the road or the trail, we’re a team.  It’s us against them.

It’s us against the traffic, the wind, the sun.

It’s us against the gnats who are making a swimming pool in our eye sockets.

It’s us against the mileage and the pace.  It’s us against your goal.  That hill.  The rocks.  Your mind.

It’s us against the world.

Enjoy your run, be communal, enjoy the community.  At least say, “hi.”

The Fall of Man

If your friend orders this for you, he is playing a trick or he’s not your friend. Bros don’t let bro’s do feminine shots.

I often order food from this pub close to the local university.  The other day we got some sandwiches to go. When I walked in I noticed a group of college age guys hitting on the waitress.  Ha, I thought, that must be annoying.  Then I smiled as I remembered doing the same while I was in school and after.

Waitresses never (hardly ever) are interested, they’re busy and probably get hit on all the time.  These guys were actually having some luck it seemed, I was impressed.

As I bullshitted with Scott the bartender he reached to the well and grabbed the Baileys and poured a few counts into a shaker, then the Goldschlager..then Kahlua.  I thought to myself, “Nasty, chicks will drink anything with Baileys.”  Scott shook the shots over ice then poured three shot glasses.  I saw the same waitress pick them up and head to the fella’s table.

“Nasty,” I thought, “Dudes will drink anything to get a chick to do a shot.”

She dropped the shots off and left.  These guys just did a shot of Gingerbread Man by themselves.

Hopefully it doesn’t interfere with their menstrual cycle.

« Older Entries