Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Many Lives of O2

I have a plant named O2. I know I've mentioned him before. Usually when I've mentioned him it's because I'm comparing myself to all of my peers who practically have grandchildren by now and I want to make sure everyone knows that I have taken on responsibility in my life as well. Because I have my plant.

O2 and I have been together for 15 years now. He is a part of me and I, him. My uncle passed away when I was 14 and someone, I don't remember who, gave Bob this small plant with a nice card. Bob passed it off to me and I began caring for it. O2 grew and grew. We've been through so much together. I've seen him outgrow several pots. I've watered him. There was one brief period of awkwardness when he went through puberty and I did not. But I'm not angry with him anymore.

My time will come, too.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jolyn's Birthday Present

This week was Jolyn's birthday. She says she turned 25. But I have my suspicions that she's actually one of those immortal people who sticks around until others begin wondering why she never ages and then she moves on to a new town and starts her rein of terror over.

It's really no surprise that Jolyn Metro's birthday is so close to Halloween. Which reminds me--please tell me someone is dressing up as the Queen of Colors and/or The First Eye for Halloween this year. I don't know why I said "and/or." I don't know how you could dress up as The First Eye AND the Queen of Colors. The world would probably explode.

We went to dinner last night to celebrate the birthday. I gave Jolyn this gift, which I turned a used book store upside-down to find:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Over the weekend a few of my closest friends and I headed south to Moab, Utah, to explore Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. These places are quickly becoming a couple of my favorite spots on God's green brownish-redish Earth.

This was the first time I've gone down there without Daniel, who doesn't live close enough right now to join the weekend getaways. Coincidentally, this was also the first time I've gone to Moab without having someone meow songs into our ears for the entire three-hour drive.

Below, pictures courtesy of Maggie Liveri.

Unintentional modeling with Anna and Kurt in front of Delicate Arch.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I've been angry with someone for a little while. I don't get angry all that often. It's just not really my thing. Frustrated? Yes. Flabbergasted? Most days more than once. Annoyed? At least every time I see an ad for Glee. But truly angry? Not often.

Someone I know well and was close to did some pretty terrible things to me not long ago. Some of the worst things anyone has ever done to me. And when it first happened I became sad. I felt weak. I didn't know how to process what I was feeling because what I was feeling was unprecedented for me. This may have caused me to act a little crazy. Not a lot crazy. But a little.

I will forever give people the benefit of the doubt when they act a little uncharacteristically crazy from now on. Because I'll wonder if they've just experienced unprecedented pain. And I'll guess that they are on the rocky road of figuring out how to process that pain. A journey that may cause a few missteps, here and there.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

It's been a long and exceedingly difficult week here in Salt Land. Maybe when my head stops spinning I'll tell you about some of it. But for now, let's just enjoy some pictures and distractions.

Happy weekend, Strangers of the world. Stay safe.

Walking home from work at 4:00 in the morning. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Making a Dentist Appointment

I called the dentist to make an appointment today. I really hope they don't record their phone conversations:

Dentist: Hello. How may I help you?

Eli: I need to make a dentist appointment for as soon as possible.

Dentist: Ok. We have an opening for 1:00 today.

Eli: Oh. Wow. No, I can't do today.

Dentist: You said "as soon as possible."

Eli: Right. But you're the dentist. I assumed that as soon as possible would be sometime around Easter.

Dentist: Well let's see . . . if you can't make it today . . . the next possible time is November 4, 2097.

Eli: That sounds more dentist-like of you. I'LL TAKE IT!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ringworm Survivor

I think I've survived ringworm.

Axel appears to have left me. On the way out he was all, "I'm gonna find a new family who will appreciate me!"

And I was like, "Why does everyone I love always leave me!"

And he was all, "Because you don't shower or wash your clothes and you talk too much! Plus you spend two hours every day practicing thank you speeches in the mirror for winning unimpressive awards!"

And I was like, "First place at county hog wrestling in Oklahoma is NOT unimpressive!"

And he was all, "You're not even doing the correct accent! There is no reason to stay with you! None!"

And I was like, "What about cheesecake!?"

And then he stayed for another two days. But now it looks like he's pretty dead. And I'll miss him. It was the first time in my life that I've ever felt like I had a tattoo. It made me seem cool. People would run away from me at the gym because my tattoo made me look so fierce and intimidating.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Recently I was informed by a multitude of individuals that apparently "smelling good" is not a thing I'm good at. I'm good at a lot of things. I know the Heimlich maneuver. I can quote word-for-word the entirety of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. There's a magic trick I can get any child under age seven to be impressed with. Etc.

Before "recently," I would have included in the list of things that I'm good at, "usually smelling fine." But then that multitude of people stepped in to clarify.

Here are some quotes from people on the topic:

"You know, you usually don't smell good." Kurt

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Car Accident Videos

Jolyn Metro has used technology from 1974 to provide us video proof on what the kids are calling "the Youtubes" that we recently visited The Porch. At Stranger, we only go in reverse when it comes to technology so this time we used a camera with AN ACTUAL VIDEO TAPE INSIDE OF IT to record the story I told at The Porch a couple of weeks ago. I'm not even kidding. Jolyn basically had to practice black magic and sell her soul to the devil to get that thing from the camera to the Youtubes.

Joke's on the devil, though. Jolyn's soul is going to burn Hell down come April Fools' Day. So he'll be sorry.

Here it is, in two parts: Videos that were recorded two weeks ago but that look like they're straight out of The Bob Hope Show.

Note: I hate the "still" shot on the second video below with every fiber of my being.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. I hope you all have a nice one. My 10-year-old niece called me late last night to remind me that I said she could come stay with me Friday night. I picked up the phone and asked her why she was up so late and she emphatically explained, "I need to know if I can still come over. I just CAN'T sleep until this is resolved."

I hope this kid never runs for president.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

Kurt and Hannah at the Farmers' Market.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Roommate Assessment

Val: Kurt, what's it like living with Eli?

Kurt: It's a little challenging.

Eli: Guys? I'm right here.

Val: Shush. The grownups are having a conversation.

Kurt: It takes a lot of energy and I don't always understand why the things that are happening in my life are happening.

Val: I bet. Is it ever scary?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


There's this really serious problem that I have that I didn't realize I had until I moved back to Salt Lake City. It's sort of a subset of a greater problem that I did know I had. And, well, I guess I'm finally ready to declare it publicly:

My name is Eli McCann, and I'm a lamp hoarder.

"Hi, Eli."

Oh gosh. That was hard to get out. But the first step is admitting there's a problem. Step two: talking about it. Steps three through fourteen: ice cream and cheesecake. Step fifteen: reward yourself by buying another lamp.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Window Washer

The other day I was sitting in my 16th floor office, minding my own business. It was a beautiful fall day outside and I occasionally glanced a few inches above my computer monitor to enjoy the breathtaking views of the western side of the Salt Lake Valley.

Then, without any kind of warning, this immediately dropped in front of me:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Settling Dust

I got back to the United States of God Bless America about six weeks ago. The last six weeks have been a whirlwind of change. And it's been difficult to catch my breath and take a bird's-eye view of what my life has recently become.

Things have started to calm down a bit and it's been interesting to see what it looks like to have the Palauan dust settle. I've been thinking a lot about how Palau changed me and why it changed me and what scars are left to prove it. As I've started to recover from what I experienced and have felt myself heal, I've been able to see much more clearly where and what the wounds were that preceded the scars.

It's no big secret to those of you who have been reading Stranger for a while that Palau was not the easiest experience of my life. And I'm not just referring to Leotrix--although he was no help.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, all. A huge thanks to those who came out to The Porch last night and said hello. It was fun to meet some of you. And due to recent accusations from some of you, I tried to be SUPER friendly and at one point Jolyn had to pull me aside and tell me that it's not ok to touch people I don't know and ask to try on their clothes. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this whole "interaction with others" thing.

And now, your pictures and distractions:

Axel is dying! Unfortunately he is not taking all of my freckles with him.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Emergency Contact

One more reminder that The Porch is on Thursday evening. Doors open at 8:00 and the show starts at 8:30. I think there are still tickets and you can purchase them here. Also, I know that even when they sell out online, they usually reserve some for the door so if you can't get any online and you want to try to show up and buy tickets at the door, that may be an option.

We're hoping to record it and upload the video to what the kids are calling the Youtubes like we've done in the past, but Jolyn has informed me that the camera she was going to use is no longer available. (I can only assume she has murdered the person she was planning to borrow it from). So hopefully we'll be able to secure a different one by Thursday. I just wanted to warn you, though, in case it doesn't happen . . .

And now,

A Conversation with Kurt Today about Being My Emergency Contact

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bob & Cathie

I was at Bob and Cathie's house the other day and they threw a photo album in front of me of a trip they took not too long ago. I was glancing through it and I saw this nice candid shot of Cathie.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Remember last week when I was worried that I maybe had skin cancer? With my particular kind of skin (cough--FRECKLES--cough--hash tag, searchingforacure), skin cancer runs in the family and is, unfortunately, something that really concerns me. Bob had skin cancer a number of years ago. Fortunately it was caught early and he's ok now. But I don't want to join him in the "survivors" group.

Bob McCann: Navy vet + cancer survivor + once tackled an angry 18 year old kid in a doctor's office before the kid attacked a doctor - won't eat cheese x prank calls 1-800 numbers = father of the century.

When I saw a terrifying mark on my arm a few weeks ago, I was sure it was going to be skin cancer. Guys. I lived on the Equator for a year. OF COURSE it was going to be skin cancer. Even though I was really careful in Palau. I wore sunscreen. Plus I didn't go out into the sun that much because I was usually inside crying.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Another week has come to a close here in Strangerville. Remind me next week to give you the update about the thing on my arm. Oh, and if you see me before then, DON'T touch me. My ringworm, Axel, is looking for a place for his 5 million babies to live.

And with that, I give you this week's pictures from my phone and weekly distractions.

My adorable niece (the one who hates me). Also, Bob looks like he might be having a stroke in the background.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Announcement

First, an announcement. I'M PREGNANT.

How many more times can I keep making that joke? The problem with humor blogging is that I make all kinds of jokes and I never have any idea whether you think a particular joke is funny because I can't tell if you're laughing. So I say "twice up the barrel, once down the side" eleventy times in every post and I imagine you bent over laughing. But for all I know forty of you stop reading every time I write that phrase because you're so annoyed that I'm using it and because you don't think it means anything. Even though I've already told you that it means "twice up the barrel, once down the side."

Anyway, if for no other reason, I should stop making the pregnancy joke because what if one day I actually do become pregnant and then I'm really excited to tell you and none of you believe me? Then who would throw me a baby shower and slap my child at the grocery store?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wedding Planner Emails

A Stranger (David) emailed me a while back suggesting that I mess with a wedding planner. In the middle of my attempts, another Stranger (Jess) requested the same, directing me to a pretentious wedding planner with whom she had recently been in contact. I scouted out a few others online and attempted some different things. Most of them wouldn't take the bait. But a couple turned out nicely. Here's one of them:

To: Wedding Planner
From: June Snapple
Subject: Most Beautiful Wedding EVS!

I'm looking to plan a wedding but need SO much help because the bride is being BRIDEZILLA to the extreme and she won't listen to me anymore and I'm like just trying to do whatever I can to make it so that she has the wedding of my dreams because I probably won't ever have the wedding of my dreams and I don't even know where to start anymore. Do you do real weddings or just weddings in movies and birthday parties and stuff?