Sunday, May 20, 2018

Therapists are better than TV. Except no M.A.S.H.



Before we get to today's Strangerville, I have something of a follow-up sponsored post. After I wrote to you about Peggy the Therapist a few weeks ago, I got messages and emails from many of you, talking about how therapy has helped you, and how our Stranger community has functioned as a sort of therapy for you as well. Which is unfortunate, because I don't take your insurance so you all owe me like $600,000 and I'm sending you to collections.

I really loved hearing from you on this topic because it's a topic that I've grown to really care about in the last couple of years. My heart breaks for the countless people who have needed help and didn't know where to find it or were afraid to ask for it. And since I wrote that last post, I've been thinking a lot about why that barrier exists at all.

I had been seeing Peggy the Therapist for a while when I finally decided that I didn't really need to anymore. BECAUSE I WAS CURED AND PERFECT.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mr. Pham's Patio Project

I told you a little while ago about how I hired Mr. Pham to do whatever the hell he wants with my yard. I had given Mr. Pham a vision of what I was looking for, and he didn't seem to hate that vision, although he did yell "NO" at me a few times as I was explaining some details of the vision. Then he took money from me, marched to his truck, and drove away.

Over the next couple of weeks I would come home from work to find Mr. Pham ripping giant bushes out of my yard and hauling away concrete that I didn't even realize I had back there. On two separate occasions The Perfects yelled over to me to ask what Mr. Pham was doing back there. I told them the truth: "whatever the hell he wants."

I had my own problems dealing with the dying grass situation in my front yard, one which Skylar is convinced is evidence of a hate crime. When I asked him what someone might hate about me he just said "EXACTLY" so I'm probably offended.

Finally, I left town for the Half Ironman, wondering when Mr. Pham might be done.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mansplaining

A few years ago I was at Bob and Cathie's house and I saw Bob's 1968 beautiful green road bike in a pile of junk. I asked my parents what they were doing with this bike and they were like "we're throwing it away because we don't value things anymore" which isn't exactly what they said but that's what I heard.

So I screamed at them a thing I've screamed at them before, which thing is why my garage is currently filled to capacity with a 1970s roll-top desk, various shelving units, and other odds and ends from the 80s, "IF YOU CAN'T TAKE CARE OF YOUR THINGS, I WILL."

As I was putting the bike on my bike rack on the back of my car, Bob was like "are you even going to use that?" and I was like "ONLY EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE."

As of yesterday, that bike had been sitting in my garage untouched for three years.

Skylar is starting medical school at the University of Utah in the fall because he's a genius and he's going to give all of us free and invasive physicals once a year for the rest of our lives. He told me recently that he wanted to buy a bike to ride to school sometimes. So I told him he could have Bob's old bike if we could get it in working condition.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Yahoo! Answers XIII

(Names of the answerers have been slightly changed)

Question 1: What are the best vocational schools for cats? My cat Trixy is interested in learning a trade in case I die or she moves out but she has a hard time in school like she can't talk and stuff. Are there any vocational schools that don't require you to read and write papers or support football?

1. Whatever you do don't send her to ITT Tech. They eat cats alive there. Trust me. I'm a cook in the campus cafeteria. ~Patrickster

2. Don't waste time and resources on vocational school for your cat. Homeschool her! She'll be rebuilding engines in no time! ~Cindygrape

3. Ever since Cats closed on Broadway feline unemployment has been through the roof. ~Jandice

Monday, May 7, 2018

St. George Half Ironman, 2018

I hadn't done a triathlon since 2016 when I did the half Ironman in St. George and it was negative eleventy degrees and I was being punished by God, probably for being a really bad child in the 90s, and I committed myself to never exercise again.

Then at the end of 2016 I had a nervous breakdown, ate my feelings, and wrote a lot of bad poetry (in my heart).

In 2017 I didn't do any triathlon races and I basically forgot how to swim and by Christmas, I had gained like 30 pounds so I finally decided I needed to get back on the wagon.

I trained for the last five months for this year's St. George half Ironman, which was not easy because it was basically winter in Salt Lake City until yesterday at 2:00 PM.

On Friday at negative 6:00 in the morning, Skylar and I took off for St. George. That afternoon we packed my transition bags and took them to the various locations to drop them off.

The first transition is right next to the lake, where I decided I should probably do a quick practice swim to remind myself how miserably cold the water is.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Forest Accordion

The doors to the Sokol metro station were about 50 feet behind me. The trains had stopped running some time ago. It was dark--somewhere around 2:00 in the morning.

I was 24 years old, and at least that foolish. I shouldn't have stayed out so late, especially since I had only been in Moscow for a couple of days and I wasn't familiar with the city. But the sun sets late in Moscow in May and this had fooled me into thinking it was much earlier than it really was.

My Russian wasn't very good. Definitely not good enough to explain to a taxi driver where I kinda-sorta thought I lived, which I would have had to do since I was too careless to ever bother writing down my address.

I was staying with an American family I had met 48 hours prior to this. They lived in a small gated community on the edge of the giant city. The neighborhood was surrounded by a forest, and it wasn't well known.

I had a basic cell phone. Not a smartphone. This was 2009. The phone had died hours before.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Jr. Jazz

Today, please enjoy the recording of my most recent Strangerville Live story, told on stage last month, about what should be the most embarrassing experience from my childhood. And for the hearing impaired and those who hate the sound of my voice, I've included a written version and some pictures below.



I was enrolled in T-ball at age five. My parents were going to make a sportsman out of me.
I didn’t understand the sport, and to be honest, I was only there for the donuts. At the end of our last game of the season we were each handed a participation trophy, the only way I was ever going to be rewarded for the sports. My parents still have in their possession a picture of me holding two donuts. My participation trophy is on the ground.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie Report

As you know, because you've been unable to think of anything else since, several months ago I started Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie. Eleventy hundred of you emailed me your personal information and asked to be added to the list, so after stealing all of your identities and running up a lot of debt in your names to continue to build my Pogs empire, I sent a blue Snuggie off on a great journey.

It kind of feels like sending out Voyager 1. Every once in a while I hear that it has made it to some new place. Last I heard, that Snuggie was off in Ohio somewhere, probably confusing a lot of post office people. It has only made it to a small fraction of the Strangerhood so far, but I started feeling really selfish for keeping all of the award-winning photography I have been receiving, documenting the Snuggie's quest, to myself. So, here you are, in no particular order.

I highly recommend that you open another window and let the original Nintendo theme song for Zelda play while you look at these.
Athena, in West Jordan Utah.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Very Mississippi

Matt is leaving this week for very Mississippi to spend a month in his hometown. You might think I made a mistake by including the word "very" in that sentence, but I assure you that I did not. If you ever heard any of his family members communicate using the English language, you would know what I'm talking about.

Matt is like most of my friends in that he apparently has the ability to leave his job for entire months at a time and work remotely. Rebecca used to do this before she got knocked up. (If she reads this, she will definitely call me and object to that characterization and demand that I change it to something like "experienced God's miracle" and we'll ultimately settle on "lost her innocence"). 

When Rebecca was living in sin with me in 2014, out of the blue one day she told me she was moving to Paris and I didn't see her again for four months during which time zero keys to my apartment were lost BECAUSE IT'S NOT THAT HARD TO KEEP TRACK OF KEYS REBECCA.

I have yelled, nay screamed, at Rebecca eleventy hundred times about losing my keys. Recently she was in Salt Lake City and told me she wanted to come hang out at my house during the day while I was at work for reasons that are still not clear to me. I hid a key for her and later found out that she lost that key literally within 30 minutes of retrieving it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Small Talk


In this week's Strangerville episode I may have overreacted about a thing that has been driving me crazy for a while. That thing is poorly-executed elevator small talk between coworkers.

I work in a tall building that houses several companies. My firm used to be in a different building, and we shared the place with a hip ad agency so every time I got into the elevator with anyone who worked there I felt like I was in an HBO series about millenials trying to make it in New York and have it all.

The ad agency employees would recount their wild weekends for one another every Monday morning, explaining how they're lucky to be alive after getting chased down by an entire gang of warlords while hunting anaconda on the moon. And I would pretend not to listen while actually very listening, because I loved hearing these stories.