Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

You know I'm a hypochondriac. What you don't know is that I only tend to believe I have a disease when I don't actually have one. The moment there really is a serious medical concern, I'm like, "Nah. I'm immune to that. I'm fiiiiiiiiine."

For example, I was sure I had leukemia in 2009, and in fact read half of a book on it so I could best understand how to cope with the inevitable diagnosis. Two months later I was taken ill while everyone around me was incapacitated from Swine Flu. When my friends insisted that I also had Swine Flu, I repeatedly assured them that I was immune to this.

It wasn't until my friend Annette picked me up off of the floor where she found me in the hallway of BYU Law School and took me to the doctor that the diagnosis was confirmed. What proceeded, then, was the most dramatic Christmas of my life, including fainting spells, a broken hand, emergency surgery, and law school finals while under the influence of drugs that doctors promised me were legal.

And so it was no surprise when I disregarded Brianne's screaming with a dismissing hand wave, despite the obvious merit in her concerns.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I'm having some sort of midlife crisis recently, one that I don't have the stamina to try to explain right now. It's causing me to make some rash decisions. For example, I started a furniture-making business with Adam despite having never ever made furniture in my entire life.

The furniture business was a result of a series of panic attacks wherein I suddenly became extremely worried that for irrational and illogical reasons I am going to (a) lose my job, (b) become incapacitated, (c) zombie apocalypse, (d) The Queen of Colors, (e) etc.

I just suddenly became really worried that I'm not being smart with money and that I won't ever be able to retire or provide Tami the lifestyle that she demands.

My friends are extremely worried right now. These are actual quotes from them over the last month:

You need to pull yourself together because I'm counting on you raising Ollie when I'm dead.  Matt

If you become an Uber driver I'm taking your keys away.  Skylar

Please don't start selling your body.  Cathie

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

So last night I went to Wendy's at 11:00 PM because last I checked this is still America and I can do what I want STOP JUDGING ME. I went through the drivethrough because obviously I wasn't wearing pants or shoes and when I got to the window the man handed me a bag with 12 hamburgers in it which was crazy because I only ordered three STOP JUDGING ME.

He said that they just made a whole bunch and they didn't want to throw them out so they were giving them to me and I screamed "THANK YOU" like I just won the lottery but then as I was pulling away I realized that I didn't know what I was going to do with the 9 burgers I didn't order (ok let's be honest, the 7 burgers). And I also didn't want to throw them away because Bob and Cathie raised me in the great depression and one should never throw any food away so then I drove around in the snow looking for homeless people to give them to, and as I stepped out of my car, pantsless and shoeless, to do so, I kept feeling the need to explain to everyone that Wendy's gave me these for free because I didn't want unearned credit for good deeds, but mostly everyone just seemed interested in the fact that I wasn't wearing pants and then one man (whom I actually know) asked me if I wanted one of his blankets.

So yeah. I'm not sure whether I did any good last night. But I did eat 8 hamburgers right before bed.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Mr. Pants, just as we brought out the stuffing. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Constitutes "The Midwest"?

Last week I complained to y'all on the Stranger Facebook page that Skylar keeps referring to Salt Lake City and Denver as "the Midwest."


Skylar is from Portland and his general lack of knowledge of any city that isn't somewhat near an ocean is disconcerting.

I need this to stop. I don't have a problem with the Midwest. But I do have a problem with misinformation.

I have explained to Skylar on several occasions that this area is, at most, called the "Mountain West," but he usually dismisses this with a wave of the hand and a condescending up-turned head shake.

It is very obnoxious to argue with Skylar because of this exact type of argument strategy. How can I argue with a condescending head shake? I invented the condescending head shake. I invented it because you can't argue with it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Can Dogs Be Racist?

Recently I told you about Herminda.

She comes to my house every two weeks. I never know what time, exactly, she'll be showing up. So it sort of feels like a ticking time bomb. Unfortunately sometimes I forget altogether that it's an Herminda day. This happened last time she came.

I still don't know how many minutes she heard of my twenty-two minute performance of the first twenty-two minutes of Hamilton wherein I do the men and women parts, including occasional beat boxing and sound effects that make very little sense and are not part of the original production.

All I know is that when I came out of the bathroom in a towel, dancing (also my own unique addition to the production), and caught somewhere in the middle of an excessively-vibrato'd and high-pitched "HELPLEEEEESSS," Herminda was finishing loading the dishwasher.

As a credit to her professionalism, she didn't even look at me when I screamed.

Herminda has tried to explain the schedule to me on several occasions, wanting even more than I want, to avoid these bi-monthly accidental encounters. At least I think she has. 99% of our conversations sound like this:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Idaho City

This weekend Skylar and I drove from Portland to Salt Lake City. In case you're not familiar with maps, that is just under 600,000 miles and it takes 12 weeks to travel the full distance. Actually a little more when you factor in the time warp.

Obviously I don't have the temperament or . . . what did Skylar call it? Oh yes, "human decency." I don't have the temperament or human decency to "behave like a good person" on road trips exceeding two hours.

We split the drive into three days and explored Oregon and southern Idaho, which made it a lot easier for me to avoid a toddler-like tantrum.

The plan was to stay in Boise over night before making our final leg of the drive, but then I serendipitously stumbled upon a place called "Idaho City" while interneting. After google imaging the place for five seconds, I demanded that we visit the 300-person town, 45 minutes out of Boise and buried deep in the mountains.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Tenth Circuit

Some time ago I took on this interesting case with a partner at my firm. It's an Eighth Amendment case (the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment).

A year ago I successfully argued a part of the case and after the judge issued his ruling, the State of Utah decided to appeal the decision. When something is appealed from federal court in Utah, it gets heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in Denver.

I was happy to go to Denver to argue the case, and I did that this week. It has actually been a dream of mine for a long time to get to argue in front of that court.

Normal people dream about becoming a famous musician or meeting Oprah or getting hit by a car owned by a very wealthy person and being injured badly enough to never have to work again but not badly enough that life is miserable. I dream about standing in front of a panel of judges and indignantly saying something like, "WELL THEN I GUESS THIS ISN'T EVEN AMERICA ANYMORE."

When I told Rebecca that I was going to be doing this argument, she immediately invited herself, bought a plane ticket from Mississippi (where she lives right now I swear don'tevenask), and turned our text chain into a paper chain every 24 hours to count down the days until we could meet up in Denver.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Episode 10: The World of Hard Conversations

It's an ultra packed episode this week in Strangerville, in large part because of all of the happenings in America over the last week. We invite you to join us on a thoughtful and peaceful journey through stories about hard conversations. Come and laugh with us, cry with us, blow snot all over the wall with us (wait . . . you guys don't do that? Yeah . . . neither do we . . . we were just testing you . . . ).

As always, we beg you like people without pride to share Strangerville with your family and friends. And if you haven't done so yet, please go leave us a review on what the kids are calling the iTunes. Cathie will nod approvingly if you do (this is worth a lot).

Also, of special note, Jolyn and I tried our hand at singing a Paul Simon song in this episode. It was much more complicated than we were expecting. And I now have a new respect for professional musicians. 

Without further ado,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

We're all exhausted. So let's just enjoy some pictures of puppies and some links of stuff to waste your day.


Too soon?

I love you guys.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
I will be arguing an 8th Amendment case in front of the 10th Circuit in a few days. My friend Jenna came to help me practice. We call this "mooting with puppies."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


A lot of people were shocked last night when the election results unfolded. There's disappointment in many people today. This disappointment is the most consistent part of American presidential campaigns. I can promise you right now, there has never been a presidential election in my country that hasn't left hoards of people feeling a pit in their stomach and something like extreme worry or terror for their future.

And those people are entitled to that disappointment.

That disappointment is beautiful. It's beautiful because it means that apathy isn't winning.