Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Christine

I have this monthly ritual with G-Mac. I go pick her up and drive her to my parents' house where we have dinner and gossip about all of the latest dating scandals at her assisted-living center. Then I drive her back home and walk her to her door, arm-in-arm. On more than one occasion she has yelled out to geriatrics we've passed in the hallway, "have you met my new booooooyfriend?" And she says "boyfriend" holding out all of the Os just like I typed out.

Sunday was a G-Mac dinner day, which meant that it was something of a "perfect storm" Sunday because once a month Bob and Cathie have all seven of their grandchildren over for dinner as well and this month the G-Mac Sunday happened to coincide with the grandchildren Sunday.

By the end of the night my anxiety had a headache. Yes, you read that correctly.

G-Mac and I both took turns saying the safe word ("GETMEOUTOFHERE!") and then promptly got up and left before she could build enough of a case for elder abuse.

When we got in the car and started to pull away, she told me "children are wonderful. But usually from a distance."

Savage.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The World of Spooks

For a long time I have thought about how TV shows from our childhood (I'm assuming every single one of you is exactly my age) are so different than what the kids are watching now.

I think our shows were typically better. I mean, obviously they produced such specimens as every single one of us. You guys. TV raised me. When Bob and Cathie were busy making prank calls to the Home Shopping Network (true), Mr. Rogers was there to teach me how crayons were made.

(Bob and Cathie are my heroes for the above and more)

But do you guys remember how occasionally there would be the "special" episode that was about some real-life problem that was totally traumatizing to watch?

Those episodes stuck with me. To this day I have moments where I think that I had a friend once who stopped eating and then fainted on a treadmill at the gym and then I'm like "oh wait. That was D.J. Tanner from Full House."

Well, there's one show in particular that had a super traumatic episode about refrigerators and a little while ago I decided that I wanted to do a full Strangerville segment on this topic and specifically try to find out how impactful this and other similar examples from 80s and 90s programming was/is on our generation.

I finally did so, with several awesome contributions from you (most of them unwitting SO SUE ME), and I am thrilled to present it to you today in this Halloween episode of Strangerville. It is one of my favorite things I've ever put together (rethinks whole life) and I hope you will enjoy it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I woke up this morning to an angry email from Brianne demanding to know "why the hell" I hadn't shared with you all the story of our annual date, which happened yesterday. Brianne and I go on a very important date every October, date selected weeks in advance, wherein we walk the ten minutes to Starbucks, arm-in-arm, and purchase pumpkin-flavored treats.

We dress up for this event. It's our favorite thing that happens all year. It is the most important thing we have going on in our lives. And I failed to mention it anywhere on the Internet. So I hereby do so in hopes that I do not end up dead by the end of the day.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Autumn in Utah.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Candy From Strangers

I got home from work around 5:30 and it was nice out so Duncan and I went for our evening walk. We like to go to the college campus near our house because there's plenty of room to run off leash there and because Duncan is something of a celebrity among the college students.


Usually the place is pretty quiet during our evening walks. But for some reason it was Grand Central Station tonight.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Worst Movie Ever Made

So last night Anna, Emily, Skylar, and I decided that since it was one of the final "good" weekends of the year in Salt Lake City, we would take advantage of the weather. 

I'm not kidding you about my town right now. It is unbelievably gorgeous. Not to get all basic white girl on you, but I love me some Autumn. I'm like totes pumpkin spice lol rofl leggings warm fire hot cocoa about it and I like totes pumpkin spice don't care.

But this year is extra beautiful. I think it's because we had such a wet winter season last year and that led to a greener spring and summer, which means a more colorful fall. 

Check it out. This is from my run up Emigration Canyon with some friends.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Tonight Lynne called me to see if I wanted to walk over to a city council debate between a few of the candidates in our area. I wasn't home so I told her she would have to go without me and then let me know after what she thought. I also asked if she knew whether one candidate in particular was still in the race and told her that this candidate was an attorney with whom I was somewhat familiar.

An hour later Lynne texted me and said "I just talked to the candidate--you know, your friend--and I told her that we're neighbors and then I gushed all about you and I felt like such a mover and shaker because I never know ANYONE in this town but there I was rubbing shoulders with the who's who!"

Note: This candidate doesn't actually know me. We're not friends.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Celestial Being to Brighten Your Day

Last week I stopped by Adam's house largely because of the celestial being who lives there.

I'm not talking about Teddy, who is still to this day one of the cutest animals that God or whoever is in charge of cute animals has deigned to allow on this Earth.


Did I tell you guys about how when I met Teddy and he was only a few weeks old that I fell to the floor and legit cried as he licked my face and peed on me?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lantern Festival

About a month ago my neighbor, Lynne, texted me and asked whether I wanted to go to something called "lantern festival" with her. I said yes because the event was a few months away and I always commit to things when they are a few months away because I just assume I'll be dead by then. This is why I have gone camping 14 times in my life.

It's apparently a Chinese thing. I will not pretend to be enlightened or cultured. We were just a couple of very white people driving out into the desert because they were lighting crap on fire and we were bored and we may as well have been wearing Native American headdresses over Japanese Geisha robes for how much HASHTAG cultural appropriation was going on.

That last sentence is exactly how I plan to explain to my future children how I got married one day.

Skylar came with us, too, buying a ticket at exactly the last possible moment. He drove while Lynne and I gossiped about our entire neighborhood, speaking in hushed voices as though people might hear us.

When we arrived it was cold and windy and there were thousands of people who had already been camping out on the gravel field for the whole day.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You guys! Look! I Pictured and Distracted! I almost forgot how to do this! The last time we had one of these posts they hadn't even invented electricity yet.

But in even more important news, I have our Snuggie winners. Thank you so much to all of you who shared your kind words about Stranger and your fun memories of this community over the last week. I will cherish the comments section of the ten-year anniversary post for many years to come.

And now dddddrrdrerdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdr (that's supposed to be a drum roll. I don't know how to type it out) our winners of their very own Snuggies and a lifetime supply of meatballs (I'm kidding about the meatballs. Don't try to cash in on that. I only have enough meatballs to supply you for like 12 years) are dddddrerdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdxddrrdrdrdrjkdrjdrdrdrdrkittydrdrddrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrd

Jayne, Jake, and Gretchen

Congrats! So all you guys need to do is go to the store and buy a Snuggie. 

I'M KIDDING CALM DOWN THIS ISN'T A SCAM.

Jayne, Jake, and Gretchen, please shoot me an email and tell me where I can send your Snuggie. I may also slip in some dirty laundry for you to wash and send back. I haven't done it in like 5 years.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Return of the DoTerra

I really thought my essential oils deal was going to be a two-part series. I should have known better when I entitled the last post on the topic "Essential Oils Strike Back."

That ain't the end. This crap doesn't conclude with the Strike Back. I don't know my Star Wars very well, but I do know enough to realize that there's a whole other thing coming after the strike back.

Some time passed and I desperately began airing out my house, performing black magic on it, and letting Duncan poop inside because that would be better than the stench my hoard of women left me.

And I started feeling like things were getting back to normal.

I had been watching with interest to see whether or not they would leave me a review. I was aware, based on the two or three times the main one rolled her eyes at me and stomped down the stairs, that they weren't the happiest guests I've ever had.

And look. I didn't take it personally that they didn't seem happy in my house. This woman was loco And I've had dozens of other people stay with me and leave perfectly positive reviews. I even had a couple return a month after their first visit and stay with me a second time because they liked it so much the first go-around (probably because of my hair TBH).

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Yearbooks

Last week I posted about Stranger's tenth birthday (OMG Eli no way how is that possible you look so young yolo i no stop u guys srlsly) and I told you I would give one of you a Snuggie as a little celebration gift and if you wanted to be eligible you just needed to leave a comment. Then eleventy of you left comments and half of you were all like "I never comment I just lurk but I've been watching you for several years and never said anything and I have a dozen lockets of your hair and I used to have two dozen but I sold a bunch of them on the black market and I like that shirt you're wearing right now."

First of all, thank you. I like that shirt you're wearing right now. 

Second, thanks for finally saying hi. This reminds me of this one time I sat next to the same woman in four different classes over three full semesters in college and we never once said a word to each other or knew one another's names and then finally on the very last day of class and just a couple of weeks before graduation she turned to me, held out her hand, and said "Hi. I'm Amanda."

We're still friends.

Or this other time when I was in law school and I used to take the 6:00 AM bus three times a week to Salt Lake City because I was working at the AG's office and one morning I sat down next to a blonde woman but didn't really take a good look at her until an hour and ten minutes later when I stood up to get off of the bus and I saw that it was Heather, one of my favorite cousins.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Decade Later

I had been writing emails to my family members, telling them exaggerated stories about what I was up to. They were supposed to be funny. They weren't funny.

My family members would occasionally respond to those emails. Their responses called me a "weirdo" and other names that communicated that they had read the stories and appreciated them in some way.

One of them was about seeing someone riding a unicycle. The entire email was about whether or not this was actually an efficient mode of transportation (it's not).

Another email was about how many college students I had seen that week on campus wearing capes (a lot).

I wrote most of them while I was at work. I was a teller at a bank and there would be slow stretches. So I would take that time to write. That's what I've always done during slow stretches. When I was a child my report cards repeatedly contained teacher's notes criticizing me for being "distracted" or "in his own world" because instead of listening to class lectures I furiously wrote away in my notebook--stories about a fictional world I had created which was almost identical to the one I actually lived in. Except the fictional world was just a little stranger.

I walked into the house I was living in at 761 N University Ave in Provo Utah after a shift at the bank where I had written another email to my family. I had nearly a dozen roommates at the time. This was as near to being a frat house as anyone could find in Provo Utah.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shoe Molding

I finished putting the new laminate floors into my office and bedroom a few weeks ago and subsequently vowed to never do a day of work again in my life.

Well, the problem with this plan was that I wasn't really done with the project. There was still something called "the shoe molding" that had to be put in. 

I knew about this mostly because on one of my trips out to the saw on the driveway while installing the floors I ran into Mr. Perfect and lamented (or lamintated HA! I'm pretty sure I stole that joke from one of your comments in the last post on this topic. But I probably had better hair when I said it so it really landed) the fact that the edges of the floor where it meets the walls didn't look very good because of the little gaps and Mr. Perfect was like "you're an idiot. That's what shoe molding is for." Except he said it much less patronizingly than Matt, who confirmed that this was true when I walked back into the house and he gave me a lecture about how I've owned a home for three years and still somehow don't know what the hell shoe molding is.

For all other idiots out there, shoe molding is the little piece that runs along the bottom of the baseboard. I always assumed that it was actually a part of the baseboard and not a wholly separate piece. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Strangerville Live III

All y'all. I told you, nay whined at you, about how essential oils are ruining my life. Today you get some evidence of it.

We have for you our third Strangerville Live show for your listening pleasure. The audio recording is rough in some places and you can unfortunately hear the screams of about 200 hundred witch doctors upstairs. But the stories are awesome and we don't like that not all of you can come to the shows and hear them so we're going to make you listen to them in your underwear. (Hopefully you are at home).

Also, Meg told me we have to get money or else her children will starve. We basically lived that scene from Sister Act II where Lauren Hill's mom is like "singin' does not put food on the table! GET YOUR MIND IN THOSE BOOKS!"

I made Skylar watch 200 youtube clips of Sister Act II recently when I found out he had never seen it and now his favorite thing to say to me whenever I talk about my hopes and dreams is "there are a lotta people on the streets singin' their shoulda woulda could-ofs!"

I digress.

The point is, Strangerville is getting more and more expensive and our future plans for Strangerville will continue to cost more and more money and I've had a couple of people ask me over the last year if there was some way to donate to Strangerville and I just held out my hand but they refused to put money in it. And two weeks ago we had a very drunk man called "Ben" repeatedly ask us if he could make a monthly donation to Strangerville.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Breaking & Entering

Look. I know. I should have been paying more attention. That's what a responsible person does. He pays attention to the dogs in his care. Because dogs can be unpredictable.

When I told Brianne about this I started the story with "you know how important it is to keep an eye on your child because you're also a parent" and then she wouldn't let me finish because she was screaming over the top of me "STOP COMPARING RAISING MY SON BY MYSELF TO HAVING A DOG."

Brianne doesn't understand that moms are supposed to stick together and not attack one another.

The point is, I knew better than to look away from Mr. Pants and Mr. Doodle when I had them off leash on a college campus yesterday.

Mr. Pants is staying with us this week which means that for the last three days this has been constantly happening:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Essential Oils Strike Back

Last week I told you about my essential oils nightmare.

All seventeen hundred ladies were scheduled to stay in my place until Saturday. They asked multiple times if they could extend their stay and I politely told them they could not each of those multiple times.

Last week was a stressful week for many reasons. Some of them work related. Some of them essential oils related. And toward the end of the week, many of them were Strangerville Live motivated.

Our show was on Friday evening, and we were frantically trying to get everything ready to go.

Look. I have control issues. I know this about myself. It's ok if things ultimately don't go exactly how I want them to go, but I plan and prepare for every possible contingency and I stress myself into oblivion in the process. So much so that on Thursday night I'm pretty sure Meg started slipping chill pills into my drink.

To give you an idea of just how obsessively controlling I get with these shows, I legit prepared and memorized two fifteen-minute stories just in case one or two of our storytellers had an appendectomy the night of the show. I stopped by the venue twice during the day on Friday to make sure the place hadn't flooded or burned to the ground or been taken over by zombies.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Essential Oils Are Killing Me

The other day I tweeted this:
Look. I don't actually know anything about essential oils except that they are oils and they are ESSENTIAL.

I don't know what they are. I don't know what they do. I don't know if they save or kill the dolphins. I. Just. Don't. Know.

Everything you read in this post might offend the rosy grandma scent right out of your house. And I invite you to tell me so.

But not until next week. Put it on your calendar. In one week you can send me an angry email about how I blasphemed a sacred multi-level marketing order.

This week, I want to just complain at you about essential oils without an ounce of opposition from you. IT'S MY RIGHT AS A TECHNICALLY-MILLENNIAL.

So you can fully understand the angst in the above tweet I must give you some background.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Romeo & Juliet

When I was in the sixth grade we had to put on a Shakespeare play. Our class was assigned to do Romeo and Juliet and I wanted to be Romeo so badly but the part went to my best friend to this day, Sam, who was a foot taller than all the rest of the kids.

Sam didn't really want to be Romeo because he was embarrassed about having to say love cliches to Juliet in front of his three older brothers who would most definitely make fun of him into oblivion after the show. He was so embarrassed, in fact, that he changed his final line in the play without telling anyone he was going to do it.

In the final scene of the 12-year-old version of the script we were provided, Romeo comes upon Juliet and thinks she's dead so he decides to kill himself (or maybe she really is dead at this point? I don't remember. I played the part of Tybalt, which meant that during this scene I was backstage practicing cartwheels with Melanie Jones. That's not a euphemism.).

Upon finding a dead Juliet, Romeo kills himself and in our script he was supposed to say, "with a kiss, I die." (Cue academy-award-winning death scene).

But Sam absolutely did not want to say "kiss" in front of his brothers. So he made an executive decision. And when the time came, he yelled out in the way 12-year-olds putting on a Shakespeare play do, "and with a breath, I die."

THE SCANDAL.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Binder of Documents

I poured over a binder of documents that if presented carefully should have helped someone in court. It was late, and I was tired. But it didn't matter.

The contention of litigation didn't care that I was tired.

Fighting.

That's what people do.

They spend their time just fighting each other. Sometimes over petty things. Sometimes over significant things.

And I get involved because they ask me to.

I went to law school in 2008 with this eternal optimism that if I worked myself to exhaustion, I could be good at this, and one day I could actually help people stop fighting and find peace.

Was that naive?

Part of me wants to insist it wasn't. Because if it was naive, that might mean that the calloused lawyers who make people hate lawyers are winning. But part of me wants to admit that it was naive. Because letting go of that optimism feels a little like relief.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The F Word

I was playing throw the ball with Duncan on campus at the liberal arts college next to my house when two female students approached and asked if they could pet him.

Eli: Sure! If you can get him to come to you.

Student 1: So do you live here on campus?

Eli: No. But thank you for thinking I'm young enough to be able to!

Student 1: Obviously I didn't think you were a student. I thought maybe you were a groundskeeper or something.

Eli: Like Hagrid?

Student 2: Anyway, we don't have age restrictions here. This is an inclusive safe space.

Eli: Sounds like my dating life!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Laminate Flooring Comes Straight From Hell, Part II

Before you read about today's drama, let me remind you SINCE YOU ALREADY FORGOT HOW COULD YOU that Strangerville Live is somehow already next. freaking. week.

I don't know where the time goes. Probably the same place all of Duncan's toys are going. If I ever find that place I'm going to get a lot of my chewed up socks back. 

The point is, you should get your tickets for our September 8 show right now if you haven't done so already. It's going to be so much fun.

Voice: It IS a lot of fun! I've been there and I loved it! 

Eli: Thanks, whoever said that!

You guys: Um, Eli, that sounded like your voice.

Eli: No, that came from over there.

You guys: No. It came from your mouth. You didn't even try to make it look like you weren't talking. Your mouth was moving the whole time. You would make a terrible ventriloquist.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Laminate Flooring Comes Straight From Hell

There's this room in my house that you have to walk through to get to my bedroom and I have no idea how any of the prior owners of this hundred-year-old place used these two rooms. I wish I could sit them all down and find out. But I can't. Because they are literally all dead. Well, except for the two guys who sold it to me. But they never lived in this place. They just flipped it and probably thought it was a miracle that some idiot was willing to buy a house that has a bedroom that is only accessible by walking through another bedroom.

When I bought the place I decided that I would make the back room my bedroom and the odd in-between room an office.

And thus began three years of treating the largest bedroom in my house as a "just throw it in there" space. Because despite my professional ambitions, I have never furnished or treated the room like anything even remotely close to an office.

Last week I panicked. Well, actually Skylar panicked. You see, on the very rare occasion that Skylar is in town and not earning Holy Virgin Mother Mary Celestial Being Status at some Marriott, he works from my kitchen table and keeps Mr. Doodle company.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Crime & Punishment

I have spent my weekend in home improvement hell and I need to tell you every single detail but right now I don't have time and at least 12 of my fingers are currently bleeding so I'm basically typing this all out with my nose which is unfortunate because I only type like four words a minute with my nose and that's only if they're short words and tomorrow is the eclipse which I accidentally referred to last week in a work meeting as the "apocalypse" and I didn't realize that I had done that until two days later when I was reliving the meeting because that's what you do when you have anxiety and now I'm wondering why nobody corrected me because it means that either they think I'm a crazy doomsdayer or they're all crazy doomsdayers or maybe nobody was listening to me and I don't know which of those is worse.

The point is, we have a new Strangerville episode and I'm tired and my fingers are bleeding and I just need you to listen to it. So do me a major solid and click on the little triangle play button below and tell me how sexy my voice is with its hair pushed back.

We love Strangerville. We love you. We love doing this. We love snuggies. And we love this episode. Please enjoy it. And I'm supposed to ask you to please become a Strangerville Patron.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Charlottesville Vigil


A long day went by. It was long for me but surely much longer for others.

I felt a heaviness that I've felt too much lately.

A heaviness because of the disgusting show of white supremacy and Nazism with which we were all assaulted this weekend. And because of so much of the hurtful response to it.

I came home tonight and turned on the TV, almost habitually, and saw live coverage of a Charlottesville vigil. The news station just pointed a camera at it for a very long time without commentary. The crowd of hundreds or thousands or it might as well have been millions broke into every familiar song together.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things I Never Thought Would Need To Be Said

White supremacy is wrong.

Nazis are evil. All of them.

Misogyny is disgusting.

Antisemitism is unacceptable.

White people are capable of committing terrorism.

Christians are capable of committing terrorism.

Hurting or killing people for standing up to white supremacy is terrorism.

This cannot be ignored or accepted.

Following up any of the above statements with a clause that begins with "but" is unhelpful at best and reprehensible at worst.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Just Sent You Something Really Important

Skylar: I just sent you something really important.

Eli: To my house?

Skylar: No. It's an email. You need to go look at it. It's one of the most important things I've ever done.

Eli: What is it?

Skylar: It's just . . . well I put something together to let you and Jolyn and Meg know how I feel about you.

Eli: Something sentimental?!

Skylar: Yes. And now I'm kind of embarrassed. It's not . . . look. It's not that big of a deal. I just wanted you guys to know how much you mean to me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Perfect Omelette

Originally published by Skylar in 2013 in Facebook notes, which Skylar does not understand nobody ever views:

The Perfect Omelette

I find myself in the kitchen today. The scene of many tragedies, but this time it will be different. I’m gonna make an omelette. Just an omelette. It’s so easy. People have been doing it for centuries. I think they found cave paintings of little cave people cooking little cave breakfasts. It should be instinctual. Plus I have a nonstick pan. It really shouldn’t be hard. I am a domestic goddess.  
  • Step 1: Research

Jamie Oliver makes the Perfect Omelette. Jamie Oliver makes the perfect man.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How Do You Know When It's Time For An Intervention?

As a follow-up to last week's post in which I implied that Matt may need an intervention if he allows one more puppy into his life, I give you the following:

This weekend I went to Jackson Hole Wyoming because I'm basically a cowboy now and I wanted to experience having my heart stop multiple times because DID YOU KNOW THEY JUST LET CATTLE STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY IN SOUTHERN IDAHO WHY DO THEY DO THIS. So I asked Matt if he could take Mr. Doodle for me for a couple of days.

Matt obliged and sort of acted like he wasn't really that excited about it but then at negative eleventy o clock in the morning on Friday he texted me and asked when Duncan was coming over and I thought that maybe he was just trying to plan his day but then I found out that he was just working from home and it didn't matter when Duncan came over and he just wanted to know because Matt wants ALL THE PUPPIES.

Then I drove to Jackson Wyoming and almost murdered all of the cows of America with my car and recklessness.

On Sunday I texted Matt to find out how things were going and he responded with this picture:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hard Conversations

For the last couple of years I've been silently obsessing over something about which I have been unable to come to a conclusion.

I don't love conflict. I'm usually a peacemaker. I'm not bad at dealing with conflict, but I don't like what it does to me. If I have a dispute with someone over something that really matters to me, it is usually difficult for me to get it out of my mind until that dispute is resolved.

What this means is that I tend to keep frustrations to myself in order to avoid rocking the boat.

Good thing I didn't decide to go into a career where people sometimes have disagreements!

Oh wait.

When it comes to representing other people's interests, I buck up and deal with the contention, even if it does have a negative effect on me.

I hadn't realized how damaging this flaw can be until a few years ago. By the time I was leaving Palau, my relationship with Daniel had completely soured. There were a lot of reasons for that, some of which I've talked about here before. But as I unpacked that complicated year over the next many months, I came to realize that a big reason things became so unnecessarily toxic was because I had clammed up and completely avoided being real with Daniel.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's His Dream Come True: Diving Into A Pile of Dogs

Matt's birthday was on Monday so we had his birthday party on Tuesday because we're badasses like that. He turned eleventy, but if you hear the way he says "now get off my lawn," you might think he's much older.

Being able to tell people to get off his lawn is a new thing for him. For the last many months, the yard at Broome Bungalow has looked like Xeriscaping gone wrong. (DID YOU GUYS KNOW THAT'S HOW IT'S SPELLED)

When he bought the place the yard was fine. Nothing fancy. But there was some grass and some bushes. Unfortunately there was no sprinkler system and, realizing that he was going to have to dig half the place up just to install one, he ultimately decided to just rip everything out and start over.

He really got sick of me saying some variation of "I really like what you've done to the place" every time I have visited him in the dirt-covered and dusty backyard over the last five months. But I don't feel that bad about it considering that he texted me at 11:47 last night to inform me that the Strangerville Live image I put on Monday's post "sucked" but then graciously offered me an "A for effort." He then emailed me with a cleaner version, which I have since used to replace the old one.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Falling Out With Jolyn Metro

One of my coworkers told me yesterday that his wife is very concerned about Jolyn. So much so that she asked him to check with me and make sure that "things are ok."

Apparently she has assumed that Jolyn and I had a falling out and for that reason Jolyn has been removed from Strangerville. FIRED. ELIMINATED.

This made me sad because I was really hoping people were instead developing my VERY PLAUSIBLE conspiracy theory that Meg has been slowly poisoning Jolyn for 18 months and she's coming after me next and by Christmas itjustgetsstranger.com and Strangerville will both be renamed almightymeg.com and Meg Worship, respectively.

WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

But apparently, instead, at least one person thinks that Jolyn and I split up because of creative differences like Simon and Garfunkel (obviously I'm Simon). But it's not true. Jolyn and I have NO creative differences.

Actually that's a lie. We have one significant creative difference.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Our Big Announcement

It is with great excitement that we announce our next Strangerville Live show, an event that is already being described by OWN as "probably a safe place to be in the event of a flood or goat stampede."


We are thrilled to announce our September storytellers, so much so that Jolyn and Meg have had to threaten me to "stop talking about it" and "you sound like a crazy person" and "put your pants back on. Seriously. This is a church." We have a brilliantly-hilarious line-up. In addition to appearances by Meg Walter and yours truly, our September 8 show will feature:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

TSA: Sir, is this your bag?

Eli: Yes.

TSA: So this giant bottle of self-tanning lotion belongs to you?

Eli: Oh. No. I don't know . . . uh . . .

TSA: What about this Hello Kitty pocket knife?

Eli: Maybe can we talk more quietly?

TSA: And this book called "Love the Inner You" forward by Oprah Winfrey?

Eli: Definitely not mine.

TSA: Sir, are you saying someone tampered with your bag?

Eli: That's actually not even mine at all. You can just keep it.

And then I bought new clothes.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Why is Duncan always looking at the camera like he's Jim from The Office.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pioneer Day Marathon

Yesterday was Pioneer Day and Tami's birthday so obviously Tami and I did our favorite activity--the one that brought about her existence--and ran the Pioneer Day marathon.

A few things you should know about this experience:

1. I, Eli Whittletown McCann, have gained nearly 30 pounds since November ("What!? You look so fit and beautiful!" stop it you guys).

2. I signed up for this race a few months ago, thinking that having one on the calendar would, oh, I don't know, motivate me to change my life.

3. There were exactly two pairs of pants left in my house that I was still able to button up. Notice I said "were." On Sunday, a button violently popped off of one of those two pairs when I bent over to pick up a piece of fried chicken that I was 10-second-ruling from the floor STOP JUDGING ME.

4. Be ye warned, oh ye little ones, when you turn 33 you are no longer able to eat and behave however you want and anticipate absolutely zero repercussions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Medical School

If you've been reading Stranger for a while, these might be your general impressions about the people of Stranger:

Bob and Cathie: Hippies who don't want their children to be exposed to any form of indecency.

Matt: Knows how to do everything and speaks to his family in such a strong southern accent that he's technically bilingual.

Jolyn: Inevitably responsible for the upcoming Apocalypse.

Brianne: Eli's organic life support.

Herminda: Bravely forges on after being exposed to repeated accidental nudity.

Rebecca: A (welcome) complication in Eli's life.

Skylar: Completely unaware of anything that happened prior to 2011.

And if the above is true, that's actually a shame. Because it means that you don't know anything about Jolyn's surprising talent for braiding armpit hair. And it also means that you don't know that Skylar is actually a genius and he's going to support all of us one day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rebecca and Pillows

Ring ring

Eli: Becky?!

Rebecca: I HAVE TRIED TO CALL YOU 27 TIMES!

Eli: No. You have tried to call me 2 times.

Rebecca: I COULD HAVE BEEN MURDERED!

Eli: Someone was trying to murder you?

Rebecca: Someone is always trying to murder me! That's why I call you!

Eli: I would encourage you to reach out to an emergency response team and not a 33-year-old man 2,000 miles away who just realized he has 11 pillows in his house despite having never bought a pillow in his life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The World of Embarrassment

We have somehow arrived at Episode 18 in our Strangerville journey. I don't know why it took us so long to do this episode. It is basically It Just Gets Stranger's theme music. Today, three incredible stories about truly the most embarrassing things I can imagine happening to a human.

And that's coming from ME. You know. The guy who once unnecessarily wandered around a Korean airport completely naked.

Today's episode contains a very special treat thanks to all of you. Sometime ago I asked you to share your most embarrassing moments on the Stranger Facebook page. You delivered. And then some. Meg and I were delighted to include some of our favorites from your offering in this episode. So check it out, and feel a little closer to your wonderfully-awkward Stranger family.

As always, thanks for your incredible support of Strangerville and the outpouring of love as we have embarked on this beautiful journey, collecting stories and sharing the best parts of life with you. We love you.

Please enjoy:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I swear to you I'm going camping this weekend. I KNOW. This basically isn't even America anymore. I've been writing Stranger for hundreds of years now and during that time I have alerted you no less than 75 thousand and eleventy times that camping is a lie perpetrated by the Chinese to make us all communists. And I know that it's basically unconstitutional that I would do this more than once. AND I'M SORRY OK?!

Please enjoy some Pictures & Distractions:
Post-work snuggles.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Waiting For Brunch

This weekend my 14-year-old niece who is 1,000 times cooler than I could ever dream of being and who will probably never again go anywhere in public with her haggard and embarrassing uncle came to stay with me.

I demand this from her from time to time because it makes me feel like I have friends. I am basically this:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The One Day

Last year, in honor of one of the top 1,200 best lines from the cinematic classic Mean Girls, I tweeted on our nation's birthday the following:

For those unfamiliar, there's a line in Mean Girls when the protagonist's voice-over narration says that "Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

I congratulated myself for my well-placed reference, one which was hardly noticed by my seven or so perpetually-disappointed Twitter followers who have correctly surmised by this point that I still don't really understand how Twitter works.

Then, a few weeks later, it was Pioneer Day/Tami's birthday and I realized that the joke would have been much funnier on Pioneer Day. Never one to let an opportunity to recycle a joke and then beat it to death go by, I went for it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

On Sunday Gmac told me she recently found a restaurant pager in her purse and she doesn't remember where it came from so she's going to carry it around and ask every restaurant she visits until she figures it out.

Somewhere, there is a table patiently waiting for an 85-year-old woman.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Utah! This is the Place!

Last week Meg found herself in a Pioneer Day crisis AND IT WASN'T EVEN PIONEER DAY.

She desperately needed a non-copyrighted audio version of the State Song, UTAH! This Is The Place! for some project at work because Meg has a very weird job.

When you find yourself dealing with paranormal activity, you call the Ghostbusters. When there's a bank robbery in Gotham, you call Batman. When you need to remember how good bread is, you call Oprah. But when there's a Pioneer Day crisis, you call the hell out of Eli Whittlebottom McCann.

So that's what Meg did. She called me right up. She asked me if I could possibly figure out how to play the State Song on the piano, record it for her, and send her that recording.

A few things you should know about my piano skills: they are exactly impressive enough that people ask me to do things but not quite impressive enough that I'm able to do those things.

I asked Meg if she at least had some sheet music I could look at. I don't know why I asked her this. I sight-read piano music at a Kindergarten-equivalent-reading level. In any event, she told me that after searching the ends of the Earth, she was convinced that sheet music for our State Song does not exist.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

So, are you like famous?

Attorney: I was googling you recently to find an article you wrote and I found out there's someone else out there with your name who is kind of famous.

Eli: What do you mean?

Attorney: When I googled "Eli McCann" some stuff came up for an attorney also named Eli McCann and that person is apparently some kind of celebrity.

Eli: Oh. Well, I'm definitely not a celebrity, but I do have a small web presence outside of lawyering so I guess you have discovered that.

Attorney: So . . . you're saying the stuff I saw was actually about you?

Eli: Yeah. I hope you didn't go back too far. Or read too much. Some of it is probably embarrassing now that I think about it.

Attorney: You dated Britney Spears?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cathie with a C

My mother, Cathie with a C Whittle McCann (her full legal name), was a force to be reckoned with from the years 1978 to 2004 during which she was legally responsible for the minors in her care.

That's 26 years, in case you need help with the math.

For over two and a half decades, Cathie with a C reared her four children. And her four children attempted exactly zero shenanigans during that time. Because Cathie with a C had no interest in shenanigans.

She wasn't a yeller. But her stern voice was far scarier than any yelling that has ever been done by any person.

Cathie with a C was not viewed by anyone as a cruel or cold person. Her one greatest miracle, the one for which she may be canonized one day, was her ability to instill the fear of God into her offspring while being simultaneously wholly approachable.

Cathie with a C ran an organized ship. Her giant squiggly handwriting appeared on all 365 days on the hanging calendar loosely strapped to her pantry door, detailing every appointment of every one of her children. This calendar was perpetually up-to-date, strictly followed, and consistently read into the minutes of the weekly mandatory attendance family meetings that Cathie with a C conducted.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Puppy For Sale

There's a puppy at my house who has decided that every hour of the night is the best possible time to scratch at any closed door, bark, and demand to be allowed to go outside.

THIS puppy.


I've been doing this thing where I try to reason with him and help him understand what night time is and what it means to have to get up early and go to a job and how I'm not as young as I used to be and how money doesn't grow on trees OMG I AM MY FATHER.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have a red eye flight to Boston tonight (thank you for your prayers) so I took Duncan over to Meg's house this evening to drop him off. She watched him last time I was out of town as well so he's used to her house. It's extra convenient to leave him there because she has a dog named Ollie and Duncan already knew that dog name because of Mr. Pants so it just made sense.

When we pulled up and I opened the car door, Duncan took a flying leap and dead sprinted in through Meg's open back door because Meg is irresponsible like that.  By the time I finished bringing his mounds of furniture and personal items into the house, he had already forgotten me. Duncan has a new family now.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
"Possession" 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Made A New Best Friend On Twitter

1996: "The Internet is going to allow people to connect in such important ways!"

2017:






Sunday, June 18, 2017

The World of a Special Need

It's a big day in Strangerville. Jolyn and I got divorced. She took the kids, the house, the car, and my entire rubber stamp collection. I got her wigs.

Because Jolyn is going to be starting grad school in the fall and because she will be away for a lot of the summer, she decided to retire her jersey. Did I just make a sports reference? Am I an athlete now? Did this just become a sports blog?

Meg Walter, whom you know from such hits at Strangerville Live, is stepping in to fill Jolyn's medically-alarming big shoes as my co-host at Strangerville. Jolyn is going to continue to co-produce Strangerville Live and assist with some Strangerville production and Shorts. Nonetheless, we will miss her profanity and comedic nudity.

When Jolyn agreed to help me launch Strangerville over a year and a half ago, I really had no idea what we were getting into. The journey we've gone on together during the last 18 months, in which we interviewed nearly 60 people, produced dozens of great stories, and started our own live show, will forever be an incredibly happy memory for me.

Thank you, Jo Metro. I love you.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Duncan has been going through this phase since he was born where he likes to get up in the middle of the night, jump off of the bed, and then scratch my bedroom door until I take him outside so he can poop the sins of all mankind even though he already did this right before we went to bed and eleventy times throughout the day before that. The Internet told me that he doesn't actually need to go poop in the middle of the night and that he's only doing it because I'm enabling him by getting up and letting him outside. Which kind of made me annoyed at the Internet because why does it always think it knows everything, including when we need to poop?

So last night I tried to ignore him and I thought it was working because he got really quiet. Then after a while I opened my eyes to see where he was and he was standing over my head, looking into my soul, and now I'm 45% convinced he's a dementor and he was preparing to practice the Kiss of Death.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Broken Windows

I have two giant windows at the front of my house. The larger one is five feet tall and nine feet wide. Just one, giant, single pane. It basically covers the entire wall in my living room.


When the family who had the house built sat down with the architect 100 years ago, that conversation went like this:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Saw Wonder Woman


Yesterday Skylar told me that everyone has to see Wonder Woman and then talk about how much they like it because if you don't it means you hate women. So I agreed to go because I don't want people thinking I hate women considering that my mother currently is one.

Ten seconds after acquiescing to the manipulation, Skylar informed me that he had purchased the last two tickets at the neighboring theater for that night.

I want you to know that I spelled "acquiescing" correctly on the very first try. TAKE THAT, GRAMMER NATZI'S'!

Because he purchased tickets for a very popular film so late, the only two seats available were so close to the screen that I actually got radiation poisoning during the viewing.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Mr. Duncan Doodle has been doing this thing where he starts following me around as I'm getting ready for work because he senses that I'm about to leave him. And he makes himself look as pathetic as possible, which works in persuading me to stay home a little longer exactly 125% of the time.

I never thought I would find myself in a place where I was only the second best manipulator in the house.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Caught spyin' on The Perfects.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Life Changing Library

Skylar: That reminds me.

Eli: Of what?

Skylar: Of that time in the library when that guy tried to change my life.

Eli: Ok. You've piqued my interest. Go on.

Skylar: I was in college. It was a winter day. I was standing in line when a mysterious man turned to me and tried to change my life.

Eli: How did he try to change your life?

Skylar: By saying something.

Eli: By saying what?

Skylar: Something ominous. 

Eli: This story is killing me. 

Skylar: He did it with one sentence. 

Eli: Say the thing!

Skylar: I was a student at Boston College.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

CSI Salt Lake City

I pulled up to my house on Thursday and there was a cop car and a CSI van out front.

I had the following instinctual reactions in the following order:

1. Keep driving; never look back.

2. Pull in, act surprised at whatever they accuse you of doing.

3. Not "act." Of course it would actually be a surprise. You're not a criminal, Eli.

4. Actually, can you go to jail for stealing Netflix from your friend Corey for nine years?

5. Oh, and Hulu Plus. And Amazon Prime. And some food from Lynn's house whenever she goes out of town.

6. No. They wouldn't call the CSI van to the scene of the crime for Netflix.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alexander Hamilton

On Saturday I saw Hamilton in the Big Apple. My friend Natalie had invited me to go with her after she scored some tickets by swearing her soul to the devil. Hashtag worth it. Hashtag, not that we know what the devil is.

I arrived in New York City two days in advance of the production because I'm a generally paranoid person and I'm 1,000 percent convinced that impossibly-amazing things like me going to see Hamilton on Broadway are not going to work out.

For this reason, I was positive that a catastrophic event would occur before the Paul Simon concert last year as I waited a few months for the big day to arrive. I routinely checked all of the ticket information twice a day, every day, for eight straight weeks. I even practiced a conversation in my head over 100 times wherein a ticket taker would tell me my tickets weren't valid and I had to explain how important Paul Simon was to me so he would still let me in.

I'm not a fun person to be with.

Natalie invited me to go to Hamilton with her a few months ago. She was visiting Salt Lake City and she casually asked me if I had ever listened to the soundtrack. This prompted me to perform the entire musical, every single part, even the female roles, for the next three hours. By the time I concluded the closing number, there were tears. I mean, they were mine, but tears nonetheless.

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Conversation with Laura Linney

Natalie: Oh my gosh. That's Laura Linney ten feet in front of us.

Eli: WHAT?! WHERE?

Natalie: . . . ten feet in front of us.

Eli: I'VE NEVER MET HER!

Natalie: Should that be a surprise to me?

Eli: She's just standing there! Right. There.

Natalie: Yeah. So she can probably hear you. Because you're talking super loudly.

Eli: What are we supposed to do in this situation?! HOW DO I EVEN LOOK OMG MY BREATH!!!?

Natalie: I'm guessing from the tone of your voice and the fact that your words aren't making sense that you like Laura Linney?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Conversation with someone at Impact Hub while we were setting up for our Strangerville Live show:

Woman: What's all this for?

Eli: Oh, it's for a storytelling show happening tomorrow.


Woman: The Moth!?!

Eli: No. It's called Strangerville Live.

Woman: Oh. Is that like The Moth?

Eli: Kind of. It's a show I started in conjunction with my blog.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

HD is the Future

Woman: Comcast, how can I help you?

Eli: Yes. Good day. HD does not work.

Woman: Excuse me?

Eli: I turn on the television and there is no high definition.

Woman: So . . . you are not experiencing HD? Are you certain?

Eli: Quite. For a while I just thought it was because I wasn't wearing my glasses. But then I remembered that my glasses are basically just for show anyway so that didn't really make sense. But then I put them on just to test the theory anyway and NO HD.

Woman: Ok. How long have you noticed the problem?

Eli: Well, it started when I was watching Full Hou--NEVER YOU MIND WHAT I WAS WATCHING--but when I switched it over to Naked and Af--NEVER MIND--I noticed that the 1992 program I was watching looked the same as the 2016 one.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weirdest Birthday Party Ever

It was my birthday last week ("oh em gee eli no way you look so young you never age!" stop it you guys).

I was informed by friends that they would be giving me a birthday party at Matt's house on Saturday. I was excited about this, assuming that there would be balloons and cake and several clowns. You know. Normal adult birthday party stuff.

I knew something was strange when Skylar picked me up and started driving me to Matt's house because he seemed very pressed for time. And Skylar is never concerned about the time. Not even when he needs to fly somewhere and he's like "can you take me to the airport?" and I'm like, "sure, when does your flight leave?" and he's like "20 minutes ago" and I'm like "WHY DIDN'T YOU LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT 2 HOURS AGO?!" and he's like "I'm sure I'll make it" and then he tries to get me to take the scenic route to get there.

My suspicions that something strange was happening were confirmed when we arrived at Matt's house.

The curtains were all pulled shut. The house was dark. We walked in and I saw these things:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Meg went out of town but before she did she asked me if I would watch the premiere of The Bachelor next week and recap it on TV & Jelly. You guys. I, Eli Whistletown McCann, have never watched one second of The Bachelor. I feel like I'm going to need therapy after Monday. The only thing I know about the show is what I've read from Meg's recaps. And those aren't exactly informative. Are there rules? Do they follow the rules? Meg tried to send me a few links to some sites that apparently explain what the hell but I told her if she assaults me with any more Bachelor material, I will block her on Facebook.

Also, it's my birthday. So tell me you love me or I'll send you Tami in a box. I have all of your addresses.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Teddy is really stealing the show here. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What are you wearing?

A barely-exaggerated transcript of a conversation that happened today at work:

Woman: What are you wearing?

Eli: Oh I see what this is! Brianne put you up to this! Listen, I can wear the same t-shirt two days in a row. That doesn't make me a bad attorney.

Woman: But--

Eli: Not everyone has to wear a suit all the time. Get with the picture. This is 2017, ma'am.

Woman: I mean--

Eli: And another thing! What makes you think it's ok to walk up to someone and criticize the way they choose to dress?! Do I ask you why you're wearing those shoes?!

Woman: No--

Eli: Exactly! I leave you alone! I don't judge you for looking like a homeless person in a work environment so why do you think it's ok to judge me?!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Episode 16: The World of Strangerville Live II

It wasn't without its drama, but we pulled our second show off this weekend. It was a wonderful time. It began with Cathie walking in the door and handing me a sandwich baggy full of coupons, despite the fact that the vein in my forehead indicated that 10 minutes before the start of the show was not the best time to try to convince me to save money on curbing this summer.

We had a great turnout for the show. There was even a June Snapple supporter in attendance.


So that was awesome.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Here's The Thing About Parenting

Strangerville Live is this Friday! Grab your tickets if you haven't already. It's shaping up to be a great show. FYI also, you don't need to bring a printed ticket to the door. We will check you in by name.


My baby sister and her husband are out of town right now so I was put on a sign-up sheet of sorts for child care for their three children. They needed someone to come and stay the night. I was signed up for two consecutive nights. Essentially 48 hours. Or, as it turns out, 1200 years in child care time.

This didn't seem like a big deal. I mean, how much trouble could these three be?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Guess Who Happened To Be On My Flight Home

My body is jet-lagged and I'm not sure anymore what day or time it is, but I'm told by a thing that the kids are calling "the calendar" that Strangerville Live is happening THIS WEEK.

THIS WEEK, Y'ALL.


I decided that for this show I would finally tell a story I've alluded to on Stranger many times over the years, but one which I've abstained from sharing because I wasn't sure whether all 1,200 relevant statutes of limitations had passed yet. 

Does this count as a teaser? Do you feel teased?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Hungary Might Actually be a Magic Land

Skylar and I took a train a few days ago back to Budapest to gather a vehicle for more adventuring, but this time not by getting tuberculosis on trains.

In their usual fashion, the Eastern European car rental company handed us a car that only barely survived World War II after informing us in no uncertain terms that we would be charged astronomical fees if we returned it with so much as a dead bug on the windshield.

We pointed the car south to a place called "Lake Balaton," which has so many vineyard surrounding it that you are all drunk for having just read this sentence.

We've discovered that Airbnb is supremely unreliable in the blessed nation of Hungary. Exactly 100% of the 17 times we have attempted to book a place here, the host has canceled the booking and sent us some variation of "WHO IS THIS HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER." But in much more broken English.

So we gave up on that, and instead decided to try to book a place the old-fashioned way: by using what the grandparents are calling "the telephones."

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hungarian Toilet Water

After a day or two in Bratislava, we took a train to Vienna where a very angry Uber driver yelled at us in several languages we could not identify before dumping us out onto the street in front an airbnb apartment we had booked.

Skylar, who decided to come late to the party flew into Vienna later that night, just in time to force us to go to a symphony that was so boring that if you took my pulse at any point during the performance you would have discovered that I actually had a negative heartbeat, which means that the symphony was not just taking time out of my present. It was somehow taking life away that I had already lived.

I posted about this on Instagram and somebody excitedly asked what the orchestra played, to which I responded "EXACTLY." This person is a conductor or music chief or whatever the hell the person is called so I probably now have one less Instagram friend.

Vienna was lovely and without much drama, until the last night when we decided it was time to try to book an airbnb for our next city, Budapest.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Castles

In the last 24 hours I have ended up very naked in a castle and shaken down by angry Slovakian authorities. Yes, these were two separate incidences. Yes, knowing something about my travel history, you had good reason to ask.

Let me step back and explain.

We left that slaughterhouse in the country after noticing that the vast majority of the dishes in the kitchen had lipstick stains in places I never in my life considered areas on which someone might put a mouth.

We climbed into our car and pointed it west toward the Slovakian central mountains.

Every twenty minutes or so, the trees would clear and a GIANT castle on top of a mountain would come into view. And when I say "giant," I mean like "we thought the castle was the just the top half of the mountain until we got close enough and realized that what we thought was God's doing was actually the doing of some very sad people who probably had terrible backs but Jane Fonda level buns of steel from having to haul eleventy million rocks up to the top."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Slovakian Ramblings

I took a flight from Salt Lake City on Thursday night. A flight to another flight to another flight to another flight to maybe a portal of some kind and then I think to a horse and buggy followed by that one car from Back to the Future, and after eleven hundred hours of being on moving things and not sleeping and being coughed on by strangers, I ended up in Krakow Poland.

My friends, Anna and Emily, joined me on the journey. They had never seen Krakow before and I would be lying if I told you that 78% of the reason we went was not so I could take them to this underground restaurant I found several years ago called Babci Malina's where this old lady screams at you and then gives you more comfort food than any human should ever try to consume.

We were eating said comfort food a few minutes after arriving in the city. And then we were off to go church-exploring, because every time I end up in Eastern Europe I think I'm catholic or Russian Orthodox.

There's this very old and very massive church in the middle of Old Town in Krakow. I had been in it before. The place has always confused me because it has a very large chapel, and then a series of long stone-walled corridors that lead to nowhere. But the corridors are usually blocked by various black gates.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Duncan's First Haircut

Mr. Duncan Doodle was starting to look like a homeless dog because of his scraggly hair. I was terrified to take him to get a haircut because let me remind you of that one time Mr. Pants got a haircut and went from this:


To this:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Episode 15: The World of Perspective

Obviously I'm going to start this by reminding you that if you haven't gotten your Strangerville Live tickets for our May 12 show, you should do it now.



I sometimes treat you people like you have Alzheimer's. It's how I get away with using the same jokes over and over again on Stranger. I bet if you did a full survey, you would discover that there have only ever been like seven jokes on Stranger in its entire history, and nearly half them are about puberty.

NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT PUBERTY IS.

Speaking of Alzheimer's, today's episode of Strangerville is sort of about Alzheimer's Disease. Episode 15 is one that I'm particularly proud of. I've been wanting to produce it for some time and I was finally able to get all of the parts together that I needed for it. Please enjoy. And if you haven't done so yet, please do what the kids are calling "subscribe" and follow Strangerville on what the kids are calling "phone-a-ma-jigs."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Ollie has been staying with me this whole week for reasons that aren't entirely clear considering that Matt is in town. But the point is, the other day I had to give him and Duncan a bath because at least one of them smelled like poop so everyone was punished for this. So we all got into the shower because I don't believe in making them do things I'm unwilling to do. Of course, drying them was a nightmare since their entire bodies are hair. And finally, after everything was done, they really wanted to go outside and literally the first thing they did when they got there was take a unison flying leap into a pile of mud.

So now I have zero dogs.

Here are your Pictures & Distractions:
Snow Canyon

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Neighbor's Tree

One quick word on Strangerville Live: I did what the kids are calling "the social medias" and made an actual Facebook event page. Do us a solid and go join that page and invite all twelve trillion people you know to it.

Also, in case you need a reminder:


Then Meg Tweeted this:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Big Announcement and Stuff

First, an exciting announcement: I'm pregnant.

Ok. I'm not pregnant. I just haven't used that never-was-funny-in-the-first-place-why-is-it-a-repeat joke in a while. Although, it's kind of truer today because I was in a car for six hours and I had to pee so much that I swear I actually started having contractions.

I know what those are since I've recently experienced the full range of parenthood and every single responsibility that comes with it because I adopted my puppy in February.

Where was I. Oh, yes: an exciting announcement that has nothing to do with my nonexistent ovaries.

We are hosting a second Strangerville Live show in Salt Lake City, at Impact Hub, on Friday May 12,  at 8:00 PM.

Our next show will feature the following four storytellers:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Very late. So tired. Only one of us is in his onesie and it's not the human one of us.

Happy weekend, all. With love, Stranger.

And their bodies almost make a heart, too. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Lost Journal Series, Part XIII

Today I give you the next edition of The Lost Journal Series.


March 14, 1995 (10 years old):

If I had to disect a cat I would throw up. Even though I hate cats it would still be sick. I hate disecting things mostly because they stink and if it was the other way around they would disect us. I hate tests especially math tests. Who invented math. Maybe people did but it would of been hard. you would have to be really smart and I hope THEY ARE PROUD OF THEMSELVES.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Great Neutering

As you are aware, Mr. Duncan Doodle got neutered last week.

It was every bit as dramatic as it sounds.

I was required to deposit him in the neighborhood home for lost dreams at 8:00 in the morning. Mr. Doodle had no idea why we were there, even though I had tried to explain it to him through the use of such children's books as "You Were Smaller Than A Dot" and "Why Your Testicles Are Being Sawed Off."

NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT TESTICLES ARE.

When we pulled up in the parking lot, Mr. Doodle bolted for the door. He could hear the animals inside and so, I assume, believed we had arrived at a McDonald's Playplace for puppies, which WHY DOES THAT NOT EXIST. But by the time we arrived inside and Mr. Doodle took inventory of the half dozen shaking terrified dogs sitting wide-eyed and horrified next to their owners, coupled with the warning calls of tortured animals in the back room, Mr. Doodle's entire attitude changed.

A woman with so many tattoos that she is technically a different race now screamed instructions to me over the sounds of backroom despair, telling me to sign 17 dozen forms acknowledging that my puppy was probably going to die from this. Or, at least never love me again.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Duncan got neutered today and he's sitting next to me completely and totally high. Like, out of his mind high. He's been staring at his bone for 35 minutes without moving or looking away. Also, he seems kind of mad at me. And his eyes look so sad that three angels just lost their wings.

Dropping him off at that place this morning was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. And now I feel so bad for him that I can't look at him for very long because I start getting teary eyed. I keep wanting to say that today has been harder on me than it has been on him, but then I remember what it means to get neutered.

Duncan wins this one.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

People Who Say They Like Spicy Food Might Be Lying

Skylar is delusional when it comes to food.

He swears that he likes really spicy food. And maybe he does. But you wouldn't know it if you watched him try to eat it. Because when he does, he inevitably goes into shock and then spends the rest of the evening searching for effective home remedies and emergency medical care.

Look. I wish I liked spicy food, too. I've wanted to like it for a long time. This is mostly because I hate that I totally fit into this Utah stereotype of not being able to touch anything spicier than a banana.

I legit think people who can eat really spicy food and like it are better than me. That's not hyperbole. I actually think these people are better than me. When I'm out with friends and one of them is like "make that extra spicy" after I asked them to let me pepper it myself, in my head I'm like, "yup. You're going to be more successful than me. And you deserve it. And I'm a weak suckface who doesn't deserve happiness."

And maybe instead of working on trying to like spicy foods I should instead work on loving myself. But I don't even want to love myself as long as I insist on being a 32-year-old man who still buys baby food and cries when he accidentally eats zesty ranch.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Condo Clothes

Last weekend I decided to convert my body into a senior citizen. I did this the best way I know how: eleventy hundred hours of yard work.

Y'all. There are muscles that yard work requires of the human body that literally no other task also requires. The closest any physical activity has ever come to forcing the same kind of exertion out of the body as yard work does is probably Crossfit. But since all of those people are going to be in a coma by 40, it's really kind of a waste anyway.

I don't understand it. Look. I'm not an 18-year-old gymnast. I know that. I didn't even spell "gymnast" correctly on the first try. (I should have just left my initial spelling so you guys could all be like YOU GRAMMARED WRONG YOU IDIOT which is sort of my favorite thing about you. Well, that, and when Awesomesauciness yells at us for not being old. WRITE THE BOOK ALREADY. 1,200 pages of stream-of-conscious writing without punctuation is all I ask.)

The point is, I don't think that I'm the most physically-fit human being to ever live. But I'm not in bad shape either. I mean, I am an Ironman [flexes both biceps, kiss two fingers, and then holds a peace sign up to God].

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

There's this wizard-looking man who has been wandering my neighborhood in recent weeks selling jewelry. Actually, I don't know if he's selling it. And I don't know if it's jewelry. He carries this really long stick and that has a bunch of necklaces and ornaments hanging from it. He has a long grey beard and he wears a cloak and although I've never spoken to him, I'm certain his name is Willow.

I've been watching him for a few weeks now, just thinking that he's a small-business owner trying to make it in this dog-eat-dog world. But then today it occurred to me that he may be an actual wizard and what if he's wandering my neighborhood putting curses on everyone and preparing to depart with the souls of our children.

I'm so so tired. Has anyone in the Salt Lake City Sugarhouse area seen this man or have I invented him?

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
1,000 hours of yard work later, my new tree is planted and the raspberry bush has been cleaned out.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Nanny

SINCE YOU ASKED, Duncan is doing fine.

I start a lot of conversations this way with people at work. Notice I said "start." As in, nobody said anything before I offer "since you asked" and then follow that up with scrolling through 300 of basically the exact same photo of a dog sleeping on a couch that is only a slightly lighter color than the dog, making it nearly impossible to make out the dog.

The point is, Mr. Duncan Doodle is doing fine. But y'all, he be driving me crazy the last few days.

I had gotten into the habit of bragging about how good of a sleeper he was. Pretty much from the moment I got him, he has slept through the night and just gotten up when I was ready. Some nights he would wake me up around 4:00 to go out and go potty real quick, but even then he would go right back to bed.

I had not expected this. I assumed when I got Mr. Doodle that I was basically not going to sleep for the next year. Because that's how Mr. Pants was. He would wake up at an ungodly hour every day and then relentlessly demand play time.