Sunday, June 30, 2013

Instant Messaging with Connie

Connie: Hi! How have you been?

Eli: Great! Just about to head out to the beach! How are you?

Connie: Wonderful. Wish you were in town this weekend. We could find a really wild party to go to.

Eli: Ugh. After the last one you took to me to, I think I'll be in recovery for another four years.

Connie: Didn't you enjoy it? I thought it was fun!

Eli: NO. Remember how I had to find my own way home because you disappeared around 2:00 in the morning. And I don't remember--did you ever find your shirt?

Connie: Who knows? They're opening a new club just across the border and I wish I didn't have to go alone.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

After yesterday's post about the book writing, many of you sent me such helpful information regarding finding a literary agent and publisher. THANK YOU. You Strangers are the wind beneath my wings. I just asked Bette Midler if she was free to give you an individual performance as a thank you and she said that she totally is and will be dressed in clothes from the '80s and waiting for you on Youtube.

Several of you emailed asking what the book is about. Basically it's the story of a young boy who gets a letter inviting him to go to a school for witches and wizards and it follows his seven year progression in which he has to fight off dark magic and stay out of trouble with a couple of close friends.

I kid. A book like that would never sell.

I'll do a fuller post on it soon when I have the stamina to write it out. For now just rest assured: if you like Stranger, you should really like this.

And now, your pictures and distractions:


My worlds are colliding.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Writing Update

I may have mentioned at some point here that I'm not exactly "in the know" on what the kids are calling "technology." Pretty much every medium of social media scares and confuses me. And what's worse, I have not attempted in the slightest to keep up on electronic devices.

Currently I own an ipod, which I bought in 2007 and have not upgraded since. I have never put a single thing onto that ipod. My sister Krishelle takes it from me every six months or so and returns it with an updated collection of tunes. She tried to make me part of the process the first few times because of something about "if you teach a man to fish" but as it turns out I'm like an inanimate object, and you can't teach an inanimate object to fish.

The phone I had in the U.S. before I came to Palau is what the kids are calling a "smart" phone. But this was only because that same sister stole my very basic and incredibly unreliable phone and replaced it with her old phone after she upgraded to something that I was pretty sure mankind would not develop before the great and terrible day of the Lord's Second Coming.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daniel's Departure

I wrote yesterday about how Daniel is now a week and a half into a three week trip to the U.S., leaving my poor pathetic self alone with Leotrix.

He only had a couple of weeks to plan the trip because he got pretty late notice that Palau wanted to send him to this conference. For those two weeks I watched the time slip away until suddenly it was Saturday evening, just a few hours before his flight was scheduled to leave.

Eli: Do you still need to do anything to get ready?

Daniel: Just pack and stuff.

Eli: Ok. So you're saying that you haven't packed yet?

I'm trying this new thing where instead of getting really frustrated, I repeat what I have just heard to make sure I understand the situation. I think this is called "therapy."

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Huge Surprise

So remember last week when I wrote the most vague post about all time and complained that I have all sorts of things that I wanted to tell you but that I couldn't tell you because it wasn't the right time? Well GUESS WHAT!? Now is the time I can tell and SHOW you some of those things! And I have been SO FREAKING EXCITED to share this with you!

And I should probably wait for another day or two to get a more full story. But guys, there's no way I'm waiting. Waiting is not a thing that I'm good at doing.

About a month ago Daniel's employer, the Ministry of Health of Palau, decided they wanted to send him to some health conference in Montana. I know. What on Earth is in Montana? Health conferences for people who live on the equatorial Pacific, apparently.

That health conference took place all of last week, which means, Daniel flew out of Palau ten days ago. Much to discuss on that topic later, but for now, we're going to focus on his birthday.

When Daniel found out that he would be going to the U.S. he decided that he would make the most of the trip and stick around for a little longer to visit family and friends in Salt Lake City and New Mexico (which is where his parents live). This makes sense because Palau is twelve hundred light years away from the United States of America so when you make that journey, it's important to stick around a bit.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Forrest Gump

Palau obviously doesn't get The Price is Right because it totally does not help control the pet population. As you can imagine, the over-abundance of "pets" is not exactly my favorite aspect of Palau living. It probably doesn't even come in top 500. I'm sure it would come in the top 1,000, but only because after a while I would run out of things to list.

I have limits, guys. I can't spend all day making a list of everything about Palau.

Anyway, living in Palau sort of feels like living inside of a zoo. Except there are no cages for the animals. Dogs, bats, cats, birds of all sorts, panda bears, elephants, etc. roam the streets like they own the place.

Ok, so I've never actually seen a panda bear or elephant here. But I'm sure they're around. I'm almost certain I've heard an elephant in the trees next to my apartment building.

I want all of the animals to just go away. They can go have their own island and leave the good people of my island alone. Except for the sea turtles, because sea turtles are magical and beautiful and I don't understand why we don't worship them. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. PEOPLE WORSHIP SNAKES!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Happy weekend, Strangers. We've got a great set of pictures and distractions for you this week. Enjoy, and stay safe. Beware of Leotrix riding on the back of the Queen of Colors.

This weekend is my mom's (Cathie's) 60th birthday. Happy birthday, big C. You don't look a day over [insert whatever age you want to look]. For 60 years you have done a pretty good job confusing, terrifying, loving, amusing, and entertaining all of the people around you. I don't know many people who are as loved and admired as you are, and as always, I feel so lucky to get to call you "mom." Here's to another 60 years! (Photo courtesy of Mindy Young)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Inescapable Leotrix

Ever since Leotrix entered my life, I have existed in a state of constant nightmare. This is where you are having a nightmare but instead of it being a nightmare it's just your real life. Trust me. It's a thing.

Every movement I see out of the corner of my eye makes me think that Leotrix has returned. I thought this was impossible at first because a week ago I found Leotrix dead during my walk to the Stormtrooper (you might have heard my scream; at the speed of sound it should have reached you on Tuesday at about 12:17 PM). But then two days later I saw him again, scaling a wall.

I HATE Leotrix.

And now, because I'm aware of his existence, that thing is happening where I am suddenly realizing that Leotrix has always been around and I just didn't notice him until recently. It's like when you learn a new word and then after that it seems like you hear that word being used every 15 minutes. SAME THING. And yesterday, while going through some pictures, I noticed Leotrix where I hadn't noticed him before.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thank You, Please Come Again.

So I'm sitting here at my computer, avoiding productivity at all costs because, DUH, I LIVE ON A TROPICAL ISLAND. And I'm feeling a little like Jabba the Hutt physically and I don't know why. I mean, it might have something to do with the entire frozen pizza and half gallon of cookies and cream ice cream that I consumed all by myself at 10:00 PM last night. But, whatever. Enough with the judging! Do I judge you!?

I stopped by the store last night to buy the pizza and ice cream after wandering the jungle to visit a bunch of church members to see how they were doing, a story in and of itself. Inside the grocery store I saw like 14 people I know so I had to try to hide the two items I was trying to purchase because it was so embarrassing and I have Fear of Purchase Judgment (FPJ), which is why I always use the self-checkout in the states.

I know. Probably an overreaction. The way I was acting, you would think I was trying to buy Barbie cars. Again.

Then one guy spotted me and I immediately walked over to the produce and selected a large bag of apples.

Guys. I bought apples at the grocery store last night only because someone saw me purchasing a frozen pizza and ice cream at 9:00 and I was embarrassed.

Anyway none of this is at all relevant to what I'm here to tell you today. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Emails With A Polygamist

One Stranger, Sarah, started getting spammed via email by an obnoxious man looking for extra wives. A google search of this guy revealed that he has gone to great lengths across the Internet to find new wives to claim as his property. Sarah gloriously messed with him for a bit and then passed his contact info on to me. Below is the polygamist's (AKA "Genius") email communication with one J. Snapple, in its entirety.

And for the record, while I tend to try to be merely annoying and not mean-spirited in these things, I don't feel bad for crossing the line slightly with this one.


To: Genius
From: J. Snapple
Subject: POLYGAMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey Big Spender!

My friend Sarah contacted me and let me know that you may be in the market for some good ol' fashioned polygamy. I would be interested in negotiations for marrying. Are you guys still looking?

Please get back to me as soon as humanly possible.

J.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Post About Nothing

First of all, it's a Father's Day miracle! Dean received enough votes to make it to Ironman Kona. His family is bouncing off of the walls with excitement. Thank you all so much for voting and caring. You've helped make some good people very happy.

Now, this is a post about nothing. Because it can't be a post about anything because everything I want to tell you right now, I am basically forbidden from telling you. So many secrets. There are like four things happening in my life at this moment that I want to share with you. But I can't.

And I'm not just doing this to further anger that Stranger who anonymously gets mad at me in the comments of every post about how vague I apparently am on Stranger, even though I share almost every detail of my life here every day with tens of thousands of people I don't know.

Hey, angry Stranger. This isn't Facebook. I can be vague on Stranger. Stranger loves vague. Vague is the new full-disclosure.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

Happy Father's Day weekend, Strangers. Special shout out to Bob. Remember when I was ten and you exchanged five days of being grounded for getting to watch me eat a whole tomato from the backyard, which you knew was disgusting to me? That, Bob. That's why you are the best dad ever. Well, and because you taught us how to prank call 1-800 numbers. Happy Father's Day. Wish I could celebrate it with you in person.

And now, this week's pictures and distractions.

Overlooking Palau from home.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Joys of Island Living

The other day I was running some errands during lunch and I happened upon Daniel, who was also out and about. He told me he wanted to slip into a small clothing store nearby to get some shorts and since I don't let him do things alone, I went with him.

I've mentioned before and I'll say it again: Daniel is a giant human being. I can't believe they haven't studied him for science yet. Science is totally missing an opportunity here.

While this is very convenient for me because it means we can store stuff up really high in the apartment and I never have to be the one to retrieve it or put it away, it's usually really inconvenient for him. This is particularly so when he has to buy clothes and, worse, shoes.

This world was not made for Mr. Daniel.

So you can only imagine what joy filled his soul when he found a rack of bathing suit shorts that were long enough to cover his four-foot-long femurs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Precipice of Innovation

The next wave of technology.

This week I am doing a REALLY important video conference with people in the U.S. I'll be using Skype, which is the way I video chat with my family each week.

Here's the thing though: I've been nervous about this video conference because the Internet in Palau has the same speed and capabilities they used during the Dark Ages.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trust and Haikus

A few weeks ago I wrote the longest post of all time about trust. If you don't have time to go back and read it, let me summarize it for you in this haiku:

Some people tell lies.
It is hard to trust again.
Tigers and dragons.

I realized after the second line that I had already completed the summary so I just went with "tigers and dragons" after that. And then I was like, "really? That was such a long post. Is that really all it said?" So I went back and read it just now and that wasn't all it said. And if I knew how to edit, I would go above and add a second part to the haiku:

How to find balance,
Between trusting and guarding?
And how do you keep yourself from strengthening without callousing when bad things happen?

I stopped counting syllables towards the end because of laziness. Sorry if the last line ended up exceeding seven.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sex, STDs, and Hieroglyphics

On Friday just after lunch I was walking down the main road in Palau with Daniel. Actually, I should say, we were walking down THE road in Palau.

There's a piece of the road "downtown" that is the frequent location of tents and street campaigns, usually sponsored by one of the government's agencies. Recently, for example, we had the church kids make a bunch of anti-drug signs for Ministry of Health personnel to hold up on the side of the road during Drug Prevention Week. Sometimes people are out there advocating for a political candidate. And every once in a while the town crazy pulls up a lawn chair on this spot and screams gossip to all passersby.

I have found out a lot of juicy information this way.

On Friday large tents had been erected along the side of the road, staffed by hospital personnel who were attempting to recruit blood donors.

Daniel: Oh. My. Gosh. Don't panic. But they are giving out donuts in that tent. RIGHT. NOW.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pictures & Weekly Distractions

I saw Leotrix last night! I need everyone on high alert! And NO, this is NOT one of those things where I "see" Leotrix everywhere. I saw the real and true Leotrix. It ran right in front of my feet as I was leaving my building, like it was trying to show me that it wasn't afraid of all the rat poison lining the complex.

Guys. I HATE Leotrix. Twice up the barrel, once down the side.

In other news, THANK YOU so much for your support of Dean Bullock. Voting lasts for about one more week for his Ironman entry, and you can vote an unlimited amount of times. His story is so inspirational; you can see it and vote for him here. Thanks again. I love you Strangers as much as I hate Leotrix.

And now, your pictures and an insanely high number of distractions. Better just take the day off today.

I bought all of the best produce in the entire country and made chicken skewers. And they were wonderful.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Out of Context

The other day I got some notification that a person had Twittered a Tweet on what the kids are calling the Internets and this Twitation invoked my name somehow. It's all very confusing, I know. Just try to follow along.

Anyway, the notification indicated that this person Tweeted a quote from Stranger. And when I saw this, the thought came to me, "this isn't necessarily a good thing." Because there are a LOT of things you could quote from Stranger out of context . . . well . . . and sometimes in context, that wouldn't exactly make me look great. So I did a quick scan and found some examples for you from over the years. Enjoy:

"I was a French prostitute on the brink of starvation."

"So happy I didn't go through with that sex change."

"I used to have people over but it was always the same old complaints. 'Your place smells like cat feces.' 'What is this green stuff that got on my pants after sitting in your chair?' 'Who is making that crying sound in the back?'"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The World's Largest Cat

A little while back I posted the link for you all to vote for Dean Bullock to get a spot in the world championship Ironman race. Dean has terminal cancer and has a dream to compete in the Ironman in Kona. His family posted a video of him on the Ironman site and if he gets enough votes, Ironman will grant him a spot in the race for which a person usually has to qualify with an insanely fast time.

Thanks in part to your help, Dean made it through to the final round of voting, which will last ten days. If you would all take a minute and vote for him here, you'll have done a great thing today. You can vote multiple times too, in case you've got nothing going on today.

I grew up with several of Dean's kids and have considered them great friends over the years. In fact, I may or may not have had unreciprocated crushes on two of his daughters. But I'm not bitter! My cousin Katie married one of Dean's sons a while back and our families have stayed connected partly because of that. They are wonderful people. The kind of people any person is blessed to know. And Dean is a great man. I hope the best for him as he tries to get into this race. EVEN THOUGH I THINK ANYONE WHO DOES AN IRONMAN IS INSANE.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Video Rental

In the immediate days before moving to Palau, my life was utter chaos. My belongings were spread to and fro across the face of the Earth and I had shipped twenty or so boxes to the equatorial Pacific without really knowing exactly what I had shipped.

Note: I had shipped SEVEN freaking blankets. And there has not been one single moment in Palau when I have thought, "gee, I should put a blanket around my heat-stroked sweating dehydrated body!" Rather, I have been looking for a procedure to have all of my skin removed so it will stop retaining warmth.

With two days to go, I decided that I would go ahead and ship my tv to Palau, which I had previously not planned to ship because I was certain I was going to be spending ALL of my free time on the beach doing that 1950s rock and roll beach movie dance. You know the one I'm talking about.

Let me be clear about this: Shipping the tv to Palau ended up being the best decision of my entire life. No. Seriously. Not an exaggeration. Even if I was happily married and had children and had built the world's largest Snuggie fort, I am certain that shipping the tv would STILL be the best decision of my entire life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Deviled Eggs

On Friday I had a conversation with Daniel about deviled eggs.

A Conversation with Daniel about Deviled Eggs

Eli: Um . . . why are there . . . [counting] . . . SIXTY deviled eggs in the refrigerator!?

Daniel: For an afternoon snack.

Eli: For whom?! Are we hosting a town hall meeting here?

Daniel: Just for us. I thought you liked deviled eggs?

Eli: SIXTY?! Why did you make SIXTY deviled eggs?!

Daniel: Well, it was sort of an accident.

Eli: How can someone accidentally make sixty deviled eggs? This isn't like tripping or snagging your sweater. Making deviled eggs sort of takes a conscious effort.