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:

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!"


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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."


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.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Mr. Pants is sleeping over for a few days because Matt is going on a trip. So last night I had two dogs in my bed, which is obviously heavenly, and things were going smoothly until, right around 2:00, both of them sprung into the air like possessed demons and began howling as though our lives were about to be taken from us.

I jumped up in a panic and ran to the window, which I had left open because I do this when the weather is nice so I can tell my granola friends that I sometimes go camping. And creeping through my backyard was a raccoon that I swear to you was the size of a pony.

It was horrifying. I had never seen one in my neighborhood before. So obviously I spent the day today googling raccoons and now I know that there's a really good chance all of us are going to get rabies. So that sucks.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why I May Never Call The Gas Company Again

I opened a cupboard in the basement and smelled gas and my friends and family all told me that I needed to call the mayor himself to get this resolved right away because "responsibility" and "chance of dying" and "you have a puppy now" and "where are your pants."

So today I called the gas company, because gas. They descended upon my home twenty minutes later. Two of them. Two guys. One who appeared to just be starting puberty and another who swaggered so much walking up to the front door that it actually caused Earthquakes in Germany.

They joined the circus that was already happening, because Tim the Contractor and his two sidekicks were also in the basement hitting stuff with hammers and playing mariachi music so loudly that Salt Lake City is now technically considered part of Central America.

I wandered back and forth between the gas company people and the Tim the Contractor crew, holding Mr. Doodle the entire time because he now thinks that the basement is the same thing as a toilet and he finds a way to poop down there if I set him down even though he just pooped enough to cover the globe twice out in the backyard. But he can get away with it because:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Episode 14: Strangerville Live

Today is your lucky day. We are releasing our February Strangerville Live Show as Episode 14 of Strangerville.

We'll have details out to you in the coming weeks about our May show. In the meantime, please do go follow @strangervillepodcast on the Instas. It's the only Instagram account I've ever suggested to you that isn't completely filled with pictures of puppies. But it has a lot of pictures of Jolyn in it, so it's still got something to gawk at.

Thanks again to all of you who came out to our show, to all of you who have done an amazing job supporting Strangerville, and to all of you who occasionally tell me that it's not ok to joke about slapping other people's children at the grocery store.

I love you all. AND I DON'T EVEN SAY Y'ALL. Oh wait . . .

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I told some people at work today that I had a court hearing this morning at 9:00, which was true, but what I forgot to mention was that I was able to appear telephonically, which means that I could attend this wearing a t-shirt that I legit slept in. So when I had to run to a meeting literally 5 minutes after it ended, there was general confusion about my choices. And so I tried to explain to them that I attended the hearing telephonically "so that's why I'm still wearing the t-shirt I slept in last night." And then I remembered that actually I have worn a t-shirt to real court because it was an emergency once, but by the time I was finished explaining this, everyone was still focusing on the fact that I slept in the shirt I was still wearing and that I didn't bother to change out of it, regardless of whether or not I needed to go to court. So I made a very responsible choice and did NOT inform them that I had actually slept in this t-shirt for two nights in a row.

So maybe don't take anything I have to say today seriously.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Skylar helped Mr. Doodle get his first puppuccinno from Starbucks. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Today or Tomorrow or Soon

A couple of weeks ago we announced that we were going to do a raffle and gift a 1+1=furrrever Snuggie to one lucky person who was kind enough to leave Strangerville a review on what the kids are calling the iTunes. Well, last night Jolyn sent me the video she made, announcing the raffle winner.

Even if you didn't enter the raffle, you should just watch this video. Because Jolyn.

In other news, the bathroom renovation is taking one and a half full eternities. Y'all. I've been without a washer and dryer now for SIX. WEEKS. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Cleaned Out My Car

Yesterday I got up and I said to myself I said "Eli. You look great today. And you're finally going to clean out your car."

I've been putting it off for a while because my Tetanus shot wasn't up to date. But then last month I reached into the cup holder in the center console of my vehicle to fish out two quarters for something I don't really remember now and as I type this it seems weird that I needed quarters because it's 2017 and the last time I needed quarters was to do laundry in Palau where Daniel and I one time accidentally brought home a red pair of lacy women's underwear that we named "Jasmine."

And when I reach for the two quarters, and dug through the six inches of straw wrappers, stale french fries, receipts, and then a really dark layer that I don't care to revisit right now, I finally got to the coins. But I couldn't retrieve them because they were caked in something very hard that obviously used to be very soft but then solidified and now looked and felt like tree sap that had preserved insects containing dinosaur DNA that Chris Pratt will probably teach how to love one day.

I tried with all my might to get the two quarters out. I used sticks I found in the backseat. I rolled up a Runners World magazine from 2005 that I found under the driver's seat. I poured water into the cup holder from a nalgene bottle I took camping in September. I tried to break it up with one of the pens I was able to pry loose from it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I've been working from home most mornings lately because I feel bad leaving Mr. Doodle alone for an entire work day. Sometimes Matt or Skylar work from home and whenever they do, they gather all of the puppies in Salt Lake Valley and keep them for the day. But when this doesn't happen, the onus is on me because I'm a single parent now and I know exactly how Brianne feels in every way possible even if she won't admit it.

So this morning I was working from home. Mr. Doodle and I were doing our daily routine: I work at the kitchen table while he lies on a blanket by my feet, completely dead to the world, as though he didn't just sleep in a bed for ten straight hours. Then we get up and go for a walk and throw some sticks and do tickle bums which where I tickle his little bum and yell "tickle bums!" as he tries to run away from me trustmeitsnormal. And then we come back inside and I give him a treat.

Well this morning, after I gave him the treat, I heard him start hacking. I ran to him and instinctively put my hand under his mouth and caught all of his vomit. It didn't even gross me out at all. It was just what I needed to do. SO I GUESS I'M A MOM NOW.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


So I'm sitting on the couch at Matt's house editing Meg's hilarious Bachelor recap and Matt is on the couch opposite of me next to two dogs who are probably fighting.

We have a record playing in the background because we are either hipsters or we're 75 years old (we are 75 years old. The record is Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which is the only record collection Matt actually has in the house).

And suddenly Matt offered, without even looking up, "my first girlfriend broke up with me because of Beethoven."

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Strangerville Live Panics

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but we did a show last week called Strangerville Live.

You guys. That was a joke. I made a joke about the fact that I have mentioned that. Like, 1,000 times now. Awesomesauciness has had 30 dreams about Strangerville Live and some of you accidentally wrote it in as your choice of candidate for several mayoral elections because I've mentioned it so many times.

I am so good at jokes. And at explaining them.

The show was a smashing success ifwedosaysoourselves. Because you've read stuff on Stranger before, it is likely not a surprise to any of you that a series of near nervous breakdowns preceded Strangerville Live, occurring every 5 to 10 minutes throughout the week leading up to 8:00 PM on Thursday.

We wanted this to go perfectly. Flawlessly. Elihairlessly.

And so, when we discovered 45 minutes before the start of the show that the sound system was having some problems, and as nearly 200 people started funneling in and filling the nearly 200 seats, you can imagine the number of anti-anxiety pills that would have been helpful. And when, five minutes before the start of the show, the sound system was still not working, I may or may not have actually googled "witness protection program."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Duncan Doodle School of Potty Training

In case you didn't see this incredibly important video I shared as a part of Monday's Episode 13 post, I'm including it below.

To say that we are excited/terrified about Strangerville Live's inaugural show on Thursday is an understatement. I'm pretty sure our contact at the venue is nearly ready to get a restraining order against us. Which would be her loss because I accidentally spilled linen-scented soap into my gym bag on Sunday so now I smell like a fresh summer breeze.

But seriously. If you are debating whether or not to come, just let yourself win the debate and get your tickets. We'll do everything we can, up to and including foot massages, to make it worth your while.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Episode 13: The World of Courage

Y'all. I'm choosing this one time in my whole life to just actually say "y'all." Because this is important. I've been saving up my once-in-a-lifetime use of that word for this moment.

Strangerville Live is somehow only a few days away. Jolyn put together this very informational video to prove it.

Obviously I'm working hard to put together my act. If you have any other suggestions of things I should incorporate into it, you better speak up now because we are running out of time.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have positive news on the potty training front. We seemed to have reached some sort of milestone. No accidents in the last 6 days. And Mr. Duncan Doodle is doing pretty well too!

I have been taking him out, sometimes in the middle of the night, chanting the word "potty" in a cult-like voice as he goes so he'll associate the word with the action and do it on command, something I, for one, cannot do myself. Because this seems to have worked and he now immediately stops playing and does his business when I say this word, I have to be very careful not to say it in the house. I've been whispering it through this entire post because he's curled up in a ball next to me and I'm not sure if he's sleeping.

The point is, I think Mr. Duncan Doodle is well on his way to being potty trained, and I may be on my way to getting some sanity back.

In other news, if you aren't following Mr. Doodle on Instagram, you are unAmerican. He's doing vlogs on there now and they are very informative.

And now, your Puppies Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Miscommunication with Herminda

Considering that I already communicate with Herminda at about 7% mutual comprehension (generous), it was probably not the best idea to up and complicate my life through what is turning out to be major construction and the introduction of yet another animal.

On Herminda Day (better than Christmas), Herminda usually arrives around 8:00 AM. I'm typically gone by then, and she's typically gone by the time I get home from work, so it sort of feels like magic cleaned my house. But, like, magic that costs money. And doesn't speak English. And sometimes puts spatulas under the bathroom sink.

But last week I felt like I needed to greet Herminda when she arrived so I could explain why my life is such a mess right now.

I had practiced saying "I have a new dog" in Spanish, using a full 22% of the words I remember from watching Sesame Street in the 80s. And I delivered this phrase with aplomb.

And then Herminda yelled out, "DONDE ESTA OLLIE!?"

Ollie was not at my house. He very frequently is on Herminda Day because Herminda loves Ollie so I tend to keep him on Herminda Days so they can hang out. Ollie hates Herminda because he's racist and ageist and probably sexist. But we've already discussed that at length.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tim the Contractor

When I bought my house two years ago one of the first things I noticed about it was that the seller was, shall we say, a bit generous with a few of the listing details. For example, the listing said there were four bedrooms.

To be fair, I've lived in the place for 26 months now and I'm still not really sure how many bedrooms there are. There's the space where I put my bed. It's an add-on to the house from 1952 and it has 7-foot sloping ceilings and a light switch that is so inconveniently placed that you actually have to do yoga just to reach it.

Then there's this other room that you have to walk through to get to that first one. I still have no idea what to do with this room. It's currently strewn with dog toys and furniture that couldn't fit anywhere else.

Then there's another 1952 add-on room that has no closet and is somehow colder than it is outside during the winter because they decided that insulation wasn't really all that important when they built it.

And finally, there's a room in the basement that some of my friends have critically referred to as "the sex dungeon" because there are exposed pipes, one exposed light bulb in the center of the room, and for a while, just a mattress on the floor. The mattress situation happened because the stairway to get to the basement was dug out by prisoners trying to escape Azkaban, so you can't get anything larger than Trixy Meowman down there.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I went to the vet the other day so Mr. Duncan Doodle could get some shots (I still have no idea what they were) and the vet told me that the reason Mr. Doodle goes potty in my house (0 days without an accident--I have a chalkboard and everything) is because I give him too much freedom. And I was like, "oh I'm sorry. THAT I LOVE ANIMALS SO MUCH AND WANT THEM TO HAVE A HAPPY LIFE." And the vet was like, "Mr. Doodle will not have a happy life if he's trying to live in your house without rules."

Then he told me that Mr. Doodle needs to be either in my arms, in his kennel, or on a leash whenever he's in the house until he has gone FOUR WEEKS without an accident.

You guys. FOUR WEEKS. That is an amount of time that I'm actually afraid of. I feel like when Matt sent me the pathetic rescue picture of Mr. Doodle and guilted me into saving him he forgot to mention that for at least four weeks I wouldn't have any semblance of peace in my life.

But oh my gosh. Because take at look at these Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I Am Legend

Skylar, looking like a hipster on our weekend snowshoeing excursion during which we had the below conversation.
Eli: What would you do if you had an I Am Legend situation and you suddenly woke up one morning and had the whole world to yourself?

Skylar: Are there zombies?

Eli: No. No zombies. Just all of the people have disappeared and the whole world is yours.

Skylar: Suicide pill.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

So Neil Gorsuch's name was put forward as a SCOTUS nominee this week and this has caused me all sorts of PTSD because you may remember that in November I wrote about arguing an Eighth Amendment case at the Tenth Circuit. Well, Judge Gorsuch was on my judging panel and I have traumatic memories of fighting with him about something I didn't think would be an issue for the first seven minutes of my argument.

I immediately texted Rebecca, who was in attendance that day, to see if she had heard the news. She responded, as any supportive friend would, "I can't believe you were beat up by a future Supreme Court justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I don't love her characterization of the fight's outcome, but it does make me sound slightly bad ass.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Mr. Duncan Doodle sleeps a lot.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Matt Sent Me A Very Important Text

Matt texted me on Sunday morning. It was a picture. And he followed it up with "adopt this."

I was tired from getting up at negative eleventy o'clock to take Natalie to the airport, so I threw the phone aside and ignored the text.

Matt sends me these things from time to time, telling me that I have to take in a new puppy if I "care about Ollie at all." I've successfully resisted every single one of these attempts at manipulation. Because I, Eli Whittlebottom McCann, do not want a dog.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Natalie's Tinder

Almost exactly four years ago, I was hitting my low point in The Land of Coconuts. How it has been four years since I was living in Palau makes no sense to me but it does mean that you people are getting super old and I hope you've been saving for retirement and getting all of your colonoscopies. Also, prune juice.

I met some amazing people while I was in Palau. People who deserve to have entire galaxies named after them for how supportive and wonderful they were to me during that time when I was experiencing Island Ebola. (I call it "Island Ebola" because "Island Fever" is far too inept a phrase to explain the emotional explosive diarrhea).

No exception was my friend Natalie, whom I met on a boat one day. Natalie and I formed an immediate bond because she was experiencing her own isolation trauma. Except she had much more reason for it. Natalie was a Peace Corp volunteer and she was sequestered to a very small jungle village that was so tiny and isolated that she used to refer to the town I lived in as "The City."

My town had 10,000 people living in it. 200, if you only count people who regularly wore shoes.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Ever since I started to Airbnb out my basement a couple of months ago I have regularly experienced this thing where I think there's a burglar in my house 20 times a night. It is amazing how often I forget that someone is staying in my basement. So I'll be lying in bed, minding my business, being a good person who doesn't deserve bad things, and then suddenly I'll hear a sound from below, sit up in my bed, let out a little scream, remind myself that I let these people in, and then resume my lying-in-bed-good-person position.

And so last night when I heard the sound and started to panic, I quickly reminded myself of the situation. I calmed down remarkably quickly, congratulated myself for not letting anxiety win this time, and I eventually fell asleep.

As I was getting ready for work this morning I remembered the incident and I also remembered that last night I did not have any Airbnb guests staying with me. So I think there was a legit burglar in my house. And I did nothing.

They better not have taken my Snuggie.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Quinn snapped this picture so he could later show me how ridiculous my life is. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

America's Spirit Animal

So I just realized that last week I was supposed to announce the winner of the Strangerville Live raffle. But I didn't do it because lazy. And distracted. And also sometime around Wednesday I started thinking I had black lung. Then I thought it was just pneumonia. Then I thought maybe it was Plague. Then I binge-watched Bob Ross on Netflix and forgot I was sick until just right now.

So now I'm wondering if I have Swine Flu. And also I just realized that I've been wearing the same shirt for 48 straight hours. Like, legit, I've slept in this thing even. And I didn't notice until just right now. And this is especially sad because I've been to work in the last 48 hours. Twice. And also I can't totally promise that I'm going to change by tomorrow. I can promise that I plan to sleep in it tonight.

I got distracted again. See? It's very confusing to be me.

The point is, I finally drew names from the raffle. I actually wrote the names down on little pieces of paper, put them in a hat, and drew one. And I just realized right now that I covered my eyes when I did this, I guess so no one would think I was cheating. Which seems a little silly now considering that I'm home alone and nobody could see me anyway.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Episode 12: A Year in Review

If you can believe it, Jolyn and I have somehow lived a full year since we launched Strangerville. Take that, our parents.

Ok, truthfully, our parents never expressed doubt that we could survive the year. But Jolyn and I need to funnel our teenage angst somewhere and Bob & Cathie are firm and steady targets for this sort of thing because they're mature and they don't fight back when nonsense is spewed at them, which is exactly what I look for in my life associates because I have a very loud bark but ultra-sensitive ears.

Where was I? Oh yes.

The one-year anniversary of Strangerville is upon us, and Jolyn and I need you to come celebrate with us. We have cake and everything. Unfortunately you can't have any because this is a podcast and we ate it all anyway. Unless you want to go get your own cake and then listen to this episode while you eat it. There's a 12% chance Jolyn will jump out of it if you get it from Baskin Robbins. Even higher if the cake is large enough to fit a human inside.

This year has been amazing and this is largely because of you. We have had so much fun building Strangerville and sharing it with all of you. You have made Strangerville so much better than it ever could have been by sharing your stories, your feedback, your voodoo, etc. And we don't know where we would be if you hadn't helped us spread the Strangerville word by sharing your favorite episodes on social media and bathroom walls.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This is Brianne

I told Brianne that I was pretty sure I had pneumonia considering that the cough I inherited from winter 8 weeks ago has not only failed to die but has actually gotten stronger in recent days. Brianne informed me that I was being a hypochondriac, but then gave me an office-appropriate physical, which she does at least once a week.

I use the term "office-appropriate" with some tongue-in-cheek when I talk about my sassy-single-mother assistant who isn't afraid to tell me regularly that I'm "behaving like a child" and "stop bothering me, I'm busy" and "can't you take your requests to someone who cares?!"

Sometime in 2016 Brianne decided that we needed to bring some feelings back into our relationship, which had soured due to a little thing called "work" and "professional responsibilities." And so she instigated an "I love you" policy, which meant that we were required to end every single office interaction with a mutual exchange of "I love you."

I complied, because this is less complicated than protest, and we began loudly pronouncing our love for one another six to seven times per day.

Be it known that Brianne and I work in a law firm that employs roughly 400 people. What this means is that during 2016, a small army of folks consisting of a large range of personalities observed our sentimental pronouncements on a daily basis. This was met with mixed reviews.

Monday, January 16, 2017

How To Get A Southern Gentleman To Work For You For Free

I received an automated voice message, an email, and two texts last week telling me that this chair I ordered at a store in Salt Lake City, which would be delivered "for sure before Christmas," would arrive on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I was told I needed to be home to greet the delivery people. I knew this wouldn't be a problem because we suck at celebrating this holiday so I wouldn't have anything else going on, but my office would be closed for the day.

Then on Sunday I received all of the automated messages again, this time with a "window" for delivery, which was something like "sometime between the first crescent moon and the howling of the snowchest wolf."

I've never been a delivery service company so everything I'm about to say is fully marinated in ignorance and probably served with a side of inadvertent pretense, BUT: why is it so difficult to schedule a delivery for a specific time?

I kind of get it when a service provider can't give anything more specific than a one or two-hour window because they have appointments throughout the day and it may be difficult to gauge how long it might take to fix a problem before actually seeing the problem.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Probably because I look super hot in jean shorts, we had an amazing response to Monday's announcement of our Strangerville Live show. So amazing, in fact, that we sold out tickets in about a day. Fortunately we were able to secure a much larger (and cooler) space at Impact Hub that will be able to accommodate a sexier Stranger crowd (I always say, the more Strangers, the sexier the room. Twice up the barrel, once down the side).

We are on our way to selling out that larger space, too, and since the University of Utah football stadium is not available on February 23, we are going to have to cap out with this venue. SO, if you want to be there for the show, you should probably not wait to get tickets. We will sell at the door, if there are any left, but please don't count on that. Once we sell out, we won't be able to let anyone else in, and it would break June Snapple's heart if we had to turn anyone away at the door.

Also, because my hair looks so good today, I've decided to have a raffle. Leave a comment about Trixy Meowman or The Queen of Colors on this post and include your name. I'll draw at random and give two tickets to the winner (and if you already purchased, I'll comp your tickets or give you two extra so you can bring more friends--whichever you prefer). Honor system here. Please only enter for yourself and only one time. Give everyone an equal chance. It's what Oprah would want. I'll announce the winner next week.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Taking a walk through Westminster campus.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Letters From HR

Week One

            Good morning dear office and happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday. This is your friendly office HR rep here to help you ring in the new year! I’m new around these parts and happy to be working with you! Because of the incident with Fred in November, HR has a new mission to improve office morale and as a part of that mission, I have decided that this year the HR rep should be better about communicating with you all through messages just like this one. Through the end of 1984, I will post a letter on the front door every week with uplifting messages for you all to read and think about for the remainder of the working days. My messages will usually just contain an inspirational phrase to help you remember how important the work is that you all do here! So please take a moment to read these messages every Monday morning and help me make 1984 our best, and safest, year ever!

            We’ll start this week off with an old classic: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! This is a message I know each of us who is still here in the office can definitely use!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Huge Announcement

As you know this is The Year of Creativity for me so now I'm an an artist and I demand that everyone refer to me as "Willow." I just painted one black line on a dirty canvas and I've already listed it on Craigslist for $1200. I'm pretty legit now.

I told you that as a part of The Year of Creativity, I would be unveiling some new creative projects that will expand the Strangerverse and turn into yet more barriers to Bob and Cathie getting extra grandchildren out of me.

Well today I give you one of those announcements. Now introducing:

Courtesy of Matt Broome

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Salt Lake City is snowmaggedon lately. E'ry day there is another 97 feet of snow that I have to go out and shovel off of my driveway. And e'ry day this takes one full hour. And this morning I had to do this with a horrible cough and a voice so deep that there are earthquakes in Djibouti every time I answer my phone.

Send help.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

First, a video. Because I love Paul Simon. Not because I'm good at this.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Celebrity Flight

Skylar took a flight from L.A. to Salt Lake City last weekend. While he was at the airport in L.A., he started texting me.

In the above video, Skylar stealthily moves the phone from his hand to show a girl sitting at a table with someone who is probably her mom. I wanted to show you this video so you could weigh in. But:

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Year Of

To recap this other post:

Rather than have New Year's Resolutions that I abandon with reckless disregard on January 7th, I choose a different theme for each year and then drive my three friends crazy by yelling the theme at them for 12 straight months.

I started this in 2013 and have done the following:

2013: The Year of Attitude

2014: The Year of Honesty

2015: The Year of Standing Up for Myself

2016: The Year of Productivity 

For the past several months I've been thinking about what I want out of 2017. Obviously I considered all of the usual options: The Year of Hot Yoga; The Year of Nudity; The Year of Murder; etc.