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.

I shared a room with my best friend from high school, Jason. I walked into to the room, sat down on the bed, and asked him if he had ever heard of this thing called "a blog." I don't remember his response. But I remember asking him if he knew anything about blogging and could explain to me what it was.

I had heard about it somehow. I knew it was something one could do on the Internet. I was otherwise almost entirely oblivious on how to use the Internet. Only a few weeks before this I had asked Jason to explain to me "the difference between Yahoo and the Internet."

He did, by the way. Although I didn't really grasp his explanation until sometime around 2010.

I sat down on my bed, opened my brick laptop, which I still have by the way, and I found out recently that it still turns on after I discovered it in a closet in my basement.

I opened blogger and it asked me if I wanted to create one of these blog things. I did.

It asked me what I wanted to call this blog. I had no ideas. But I typed the exact first thing that came to my mind. "It Just Gets Stranger."

That seemed ok. This blog thing would just become the place I kept all of these strange and exaggerated stories I had been sharing with my family. And surely they would just get stranger.

I would later regret that title and wish I had had the foresight to realize that this was going to be a lot more permanent than most abandoned projects.

I would later come to like the title after a long period of regretting it.

I would later appreciate that the word "Stranger" had dual meanings, and that it could be used to lovingly describe people who like this site.

Just like that, It Just Gets Stranger dot blogspot dot com was available to view on the Internets. AND Yahoo.

It looked terrible. The color scheme was mostly black and white. Except the header was in vibrant colors. The bright text hurt people's eyes because of the size and contrast with the exceptionally dark background.

I was supposed to write a post to truly get this thing started. I typed in three sentences of stream of conscienceness as a test more than anything else.

"In the interest of giving my friends a break from providing my 24 hour free therapy service, I bring you this blog. Its intent, to house my thoughts, especially the strange ones, and bring balance to the world. It also serves as a sad excuse for my inconsistent journal writing."

I was 23. A baby.

That was exactly ten years ago, tomorrow (Friday).

In the ten years since I wrote those words and chose that title I have graduated college and grad school, moved to two different countries, practiced as an attorney for six years, and experienced a whole lot of, well, strange along the way.

This blog became a journal for my law school experiences, documenting a subtle maturing that is common for people in their mid-twenties and typical for young adults who are entering the real world for the first time.

The blog became something really different shortly thereafter. A woman sent me a text message by mistake, and I responded to it, asking her if she wanted to "go halfsies" on a Snuggie as a wedding gift. The Queen of Colors was born in print. A cheap mommy blog entered the interwebs. Nobody wanted no bunny banana frog ok no way for a little while.

Suddenly, people who weren't my family were reading It Just Gets Stranger. And they were commenting on it. And they were pointing out all of my typos. 

And I found myself trying to figure out how to write to this new and fun audience whom I didn't know and who didn't know me.

That audience stayed, and grew, and watched me and It Just Gets Stranger clasp onto one another in the hot tropics of the equatorial Pacific when I learned the true meaning of loneliness. I found out there what it felt like to be truly grateful that that dumb 23-year-old created this blog thing. Because this blog thing was a source of strength during a time when I needed it.

I returned from Palau and continued to write and you continued to read, joining in on the jokes and adding your own. And we had a really twice up the barrel and once down the side kind of time doing it.

And after a while I thought that it would be fun to stop just sharing my own stories, exaggerated as they may sometimes be, and actually start to share some of yours.

Welcome, Strangerville.

A year after that, with the help of a couple of pretty wonderful people, Strangerville Live took the stage. And you guys showed up and laughed with us. 

And somehow, here we are, ten years later. I can't tell you how strange it is that all of this has happened just because on a whim I sat down one day on my twin-sized bed in my sort-of frat house and created a really ugly blog that hurt people's eyes to read. I can't tell you how strange it is to me that it just got stranger over the years, and I that kept telling you about it.

Unless you are my family or one of a couple of very old and dear friends, you weren't here ten years ago. But you showed up sometime since then. Maybe it was because you were looking for Snuggies. Maybe it was because you thought the tropics sounded paradisaical. And maybe you just stumbled here yesterday looking for a chicken recipe (you won't find one, I'm sorry to say).

Whatever your reason, I'm grateful for you and for your love and support and friendship and sense of community over the years. I hope you love being a Stranger as much as I love that you exist (it's a lot, by the way). 

Some time ago I asked on the Stranger Facebook page what brought you to Stranger and hundreds of you responded. Reading those responses was truly a delight for me.

Even if you responded then, do this Stranger a solid and comment here again today. Tell me how you ended up here or a good memory you have of this community or anything else at all about Stranger. As a thank you and to celebrate Stranger's tenth birthday, I'm going to randomly select one of you and send you a Snuggie ("Anonymous" comments are welcome, although if you don't somehow include your name in the comment, I obviously won't include you in the drawing). 

Thanks again. I love you.


Eli, circa 2007.

~It Just Gets Stranger

191 comments:

  1. Oh this blog, this wonderful blog. I found this blog very shortly after the Snuggie texts. Cause Pinterest is a wonderful place. Like all things I discover, dove in and went back to the beginning. So I've read every blog post, even though I have definitely not been here for 10 years. I laughed, I cried, I told all my friends about your blog and read blog posts out loud to them in annoying voices until they finally broke down and started reading the blog themselves. Now if I say 'oh Eli said.....' to any of my friends or family they know I'm talking about a wonderful Stranger who's blog I read. It makes me feel sappy just thinking about it, but anyway the story of how I got here isn't interesting. What's interesting is how a little blog has become such a big part of so many people's lives. Thank you for starting a random blog almost 10 years ago! It was very twice up the barrel once down the side of you. (PS remember that time you dated Britney Spears πŸ˜‚)

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  2. I came after a friend sent me the link to the first snuggie texts posts. I laughed until I cried, passed it on to other friends, and then I stuck around for more. It's been so entertaining to read your posts over the last several years. Thank you!

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  3. My cousin sent me your snuggie blog post and I was hooked! I spent all of my free time reading the blog from the first post up to the most current post at that time.
    Eli, you have made me laugh when I feel down, you have made me think deeper, and you have made me realize that strangers really do have the best candy.
    Once up the barrel, twice down the side.

    First person to get that saying tattooed on their body wins at life.

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  4. I think I was looking for prank ideas and googled “messing with people,” stumbling upon the Snuggies adventure. :)
    -Ali H

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  5. A friend sent me your post about getting stuck in your sweater in the locker room. I still almost cry when I go back and read it, along with so many other posts. It gives me a lift to the day. I started a running blog eons ago (long forgotten) and was heavily into the blogworld....it is a great escape for us introverts who want to 'meet' people. I have met some of my now best friends via the blogworld. I've shared hotel rooms at the Boston Marathon by people I met on the blog, even. It's family, after all, without having to go to the family reunion and be social. I don't publicaly blog any longer; I just didn't have time to keep up with folks, but I truly thank for still being there.

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  6. Andra who commented above actually showed me this blog. I’ve ugly laugh cried and at other times it’s surprisingly provoked a deep thought. I haven’t been here for 10 years but thank you for giving us 10 years worth of amazingly hilarious content to read and re-read and share with anyone who will listen! I love this community so much and I’m so thankful for you EliπŸ’•

    All the other social media’s you have are pretty cool too!

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  7. Someone posted the Snuggie posts on Facebook and I was hooked. You're the only blog I still read. I stopped blogging five years ago, and stopped reading them... But the stranger community is keeping me here!

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  8. Did KSL run a story on the snuggie texts? I think I first came because of their story. Since then I've read every new post you've written, and many older ones too. I have looked forward to laughing, crying, or pausing to really think every time I se a new post. Thank you for bringing your light into the world for so many strangers!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I had about 15 friends and family members send me a link to the KSL story all saying something along the lines of "this sounds like something that would happen to you". I read the texts and was hooked. This blog has kept me entertained on boring travel interludes, it has allowed me to connect with weird and wonderful people, and it has allowed me to laugh or at least distract me during some really dark and difficult times. Thank you Eli!

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  9. It was a link I saw somewhere to the Snuggie texts and I thought that was hilarious and stuck around. Seems like I have been reading now for about five years. Your audience stretches far and wide as I am a middle aged mom of four and Middle School English teacher. I am always glad to see a new post when i open my Feedly.

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  10. 2 pounds chicken breast
    Half cup flour (for dredging)
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons pepper
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or a can of evaporated milk)
    1/3 cup brown mustard
    1 tablespoon tarragon
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon butter

    Preheat oven to 350
    Trim chicken and tenderize until the pieces are all the same thickness (just hit them with a kitchen hammer).
    Put salt, pepper, and flour into a bag and shake until blended. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time to the bag and shake. Place chicken pieces on a well-greased baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until chicken is not pink, but still juicy. I have a convection oven, so I have no idea how long a normal oven will take.)
    While chicken is cooking, melt butter over medium-low heat in a pan. Add minced garlic, cook until tender. Add heavy cream, and whisk in mustard. Continue whisking, as mixture thickens, add tarragon and continue whisking. When mixture has thickened to a nice sauce, it's finished.
    Once the chicken is finished remove from oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then place chicken pieces in a casserole dish. Turn heat back on to low, and add any chicken juice from the pans while whisking. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve. (Bask in the adulation of your friends and family.)
    There. Now your blog has a chicken recipe. :D
    Happy bloggerversary, Eli!

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    Replies
    1. Now it's the girl who has everything.

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    2. Isn't there a borsch recipe on here somewhere? That totally makes it a twice up the barrel cooking blog.

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  11. Your aunt Connie is a dear friend and mentor of mine. I think she shared your snuggie texts one day? Anyways, I love the rawness of your truth as you exaggerate it and bring us all in to your world.

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  12. I don't remember what brought me to stranger first because after the first post I saw, I had to go back and binge read ALL THE POSTs! It's even on my browser tool bar so I can check it daily and live vicariously through you and your great hair! Congrats on 10 years. I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say we love you, too!

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  13. I asked the interwebs for funny blogs and this one was on the top of the list. I clicked on it, read that days post, went and started to read older posts. Then I read the snuggie post. I peed a little that day. I have been coming back for 5 years. I check it first thing in the morning when I get to work. If nothing new, I know my day will be sad and full of remorse. If something new, the joy warms my soul and I know I can handle anything the day will toss at me. Thank you for being an important part of my life.
    Someone else mentioned that they will say "Eli this, Eli that" my wife knows who I'm talking about when I say Eli said thus and so. And I don't even say "Thus and so".

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  14. I found your blog because of the snuggie text post, but can't remember how/why. I feel like it was something recommended by a robot. I didn't follow the blog for a while, but every couple weeks or months, I'd do a search and find it and then binge read and crack up laughing! Finally about 2 years ago, someone I follow on Google+ kept reposting your blogs and I added you to my reader feed. I'm glad I did. Your posts always bring a smile, and I do love it when you get deep also!

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  15. I started at BYU law right after you graduated, and all the hypotheticals in Cheryl Preston's powerpoints still bore the name of her fabled former TA. So I'd heard of you already when, during finals that semester, a classmate showed me the first Snuggie texts post.

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    1. Now I want to see those ppts

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  16. It Just Gets Stranger and I share a birthday! I like to think that good things come from September 22 :) Happy Birthday Stranger!

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  17. I have been here so long I'm not sure but I think I also started with The Snuggie. I think I had two fewer children then. My mornings go like this: alarm. Groan. Look at phone. Read texts from family. (I usually have between 20 and 100 when I wake up from the family group chats). Check Stranger. Read all the comments. Check pulse to see if I am awake enough for coherent comment of my own. Wake up children. And then it's off to the races and I am just so thankful for this second family I have to check in with every morning.

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  18. PS I do miss the pictures and distractions, so if you ever bring that back I have a backlog of pictures and distractions to send you. But no more books of essential oils, I promise. I felt so bad for giving you a panic attack. Seriously, brownies are in the mail. As soon as you send me your po box number.

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    Replies
    1. They really are coming back. It's just that stuff keeps coming up every Friday lately, like Strangerville or Stranger's birthday or tv and eating. So send me what you have!

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  19. Wait, there's a difference in Yahoo and the Internet? Mind. Blown.

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    Replies
    1. The short answer is no. They are exactly the same. The long answer requires you to understand dark magic.

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    2. And probably maths. Oh wait, math and dark magic are synonyms aren't they? Ok, carry on then.

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  20. When you were living in Palau, I was in my last year living in China. I had just broke an engagement and desperately needed to fill time. I did this with Pinterest, web comics, and reading every blog post you had ever written until then. Granted, I found your blog through Pinterest, as so many others did, and loved those snuggie posts. I read the other messing with people posts, and it honestly took me a little while to realize that you wrote regular things too.

    Since then, your writing has cheered my mornings before I teach my classes, and I am working to turn your "year themes" into a viable back-to-school project for my students. I like the idea of them having something to see and think about. It worked last year; this year was not so successful...

    I've loved getting to know you and your exaggerated adventures, and just as much, I have loved learning about fellow readers. Generally, I lurk, but I'm always here.

    Thank you for ten years of strange and wonderful. Your thoughts and insight have been delightful and pointed and very impactful.

    I'm excited to see how you and It Just Gets Stranger continues to change and grow.

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    1. I would really love to hear more about how you are implementing them in the class.

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    2. I basically have the kids read your posts and try to get them to come up with their own themes. We talk about the difference between a theme and a resolution, and then we create mini posters with their themes on them for me to put on the wall.

      I'm very open to suggestions. I'm pretty sure I, maybe, requested permission to use them when I first started doing this...

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    3. It just makes me so happy that you're doing that! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. As for how I got here...I have absolutely no idea. But, that's okay I don't remember what I had for breakfast.

    Happy Blogday, Eli...you weirdo, you!

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  22. I haven't been here long. I found your blog from a link someone on facebook posted to your post about the essential oils people that stayed with you!

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  23. The Snuggie texts brought me here, but your post from so many years ago about the evil and terribleness of snakes ensured you had me as a reader and supporter for life. Thank you for your commitment to keeping us entertained and for your more somber, thoughtful posts as well. Bust most importantly, thank you for your anti-snake missionary efforts. You deserve a Nobel peace prize for your bravery.

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  24. I think pinterest brought me to Snuggie texts, though I'm not sure when exactly. I think you were in Palau when I started reading? And I don't comment hardly ever … but I do still read every single post. (Not true of most blogs—everything comes and goes in spurts of "I like this!" and then a week later "oh my word that blog is so boring") But I ALWAYS read your stories, because Tami obvs. Strangerville is also what got me through several tedious hours at the gym earlier this spring … yes, I was the red-faced, sweating idiot who kept giggling on the treadmill. Sorry not sorry,

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  25. A friend posted a link to your Snuggie texts post on Facebook, and I silent laughed until there were tears streaming down my face. My husband had to read it too, because he wondered what was wrong with me. Then I went and read more and more of your stuff (I think I discovered you during the Palau years). And your blog is the ONLY one I consistently follow. Thanks for giving me something fun to read every few days! (And your hair has looked really amazing for the past ten years,so congrats on that, too.)

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  26. It was totally the Snuggie blog. I laughed so hard at that one. I was working midnights and board out of my mind. Me and a friend were making fun of a coworker that DESPISED snuggles, and we were going to go halfsies on one so I was googling them, (we got him a purple leopard print one eventually) and on page 3 of Google there was your blog. I have no idea why I opened it, but I have never been happier to do something.

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  27. I honestly don't remember how I found Strangers. All I know is Ive been reading it for years and it has immensely cheered me up on days I need it. Thank you for sticking with it and sharing so much of your crazy funny life with us.

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  28. I got to Strangerville via the Facebook's. One of my friends posted a blog of yours. It was about the Queen of Colors and I sat there reading it crying because I was laughing so hard. I've been hooked ever since. I love reading your stories about your parents, those are the best. Happy Blogivesary, keep up the great work. PS I never post, I'm a constant lurker, but I didn't want to miss out on a sweet...sweet...SNUGGIE!!!

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  29. I found my way here when you were in Palau. I don't remember how I found my way here, but it was likely the Snuggie. My kids think I'm crazy for reading a blog of someone I don't even know; I've apparently been successful at teaching them Stranger Danger, but I'll continue to take my chances.

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  30. I honestly can't remember. I think I stumbled upon you from a link The Bloggess shared. Maybe it was pre-Snuggie texts? Maybe it was BECAUSE of the Snuggie texts. I don't know. Either way, I'm glad I stumbled to this part of the internet.

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  31. I saw the Snuggie texts shared on Facebook and was hooked. I don't remember exactly how long ago, but it was before Palau because I was along for that whole ride. I also used to follow your mom blog, and I was pretty sad when that ended.

    I came for the funny, like Snuggie texts and Yahoo answers, which I love, but I've also enjoyed the serious and poignant posts, too. I love how intelligently and tactfully you tackle hard subjects like gay marriage and the election. I totally quoted your blog to tell people to stop hating on Frozen since they obviously missed the point.

    And you've become part of my life, too! I tell my husband about your tweets and posts so often that I no longer have to refer to you as "the Snuggie text guy." I can just say "Eli" and he knows exactly who I'm talking about. Even though neither of us actually knows you. But it feels like we do!

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  32. The Snuggle brought me. The quirkiness kept me.

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  33. Replies
    1. But don't we all want to snuggle with Eli.

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  34. I think it was the Snuggie texts that first introduced us. And then I'm guessing Jolyn shared something on Facebook that reminded me of this hilarious blog I read before my mission. Now sometimes I talk about this hilarious thing that happened to my friend, as if I actually know you.

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  35. This is truly one of my online happy places. I undoubtedly came along with the Snuggie texts and I went back to the very beginning to read from the start. I don't always comment, but I love the little (or not so little) community that is on here. Even in moments of tension or conflict, this is one of the few corners of the web that isn't profoundly negative or offensive. That is something to be proud of.

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  36. I don't remember how exactly, but the Snuggie texts are what brought me to your blog. I have since read many of your posts out loud to my family, with frequent stops to get my breath back and wipe the tears of laughter away. I will also say that I appreciate just as much when you do stop and post something serious about a current event or something else on your mind.

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  37. I came because of the snuggie texts - read it a couple of times. Then one day when I feeling particularly down you posted something (not sure what) but it made me smile. It was the first time I had smiled in weeks. I decided to keep up with your blog. I started my own blog (really just for me to get out my emotions). You have helped to keep me smiling with your humor, grounded with your insight, and hopeful with your words. Thank you so much for It Just Gets Stranger - it has made my life so much better. Plus I tell everyone about it!

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  38. I roomed with your cousin, Heather, around 2008-2009 and I think the first blog post she shared was the Snuggie posts. And I have never regretted following your blog since.

    Your writing and stories are great (although nothing to compare to your hair) but I think the truly remarkable thing about this blog is how you inspire both thoughtful and hilarious comments that aren't mean-spirited or divisive. It's become a haven in this wide expanse of internet that I don't know I need until I read the posts and comments. Anyway, thank you again for starting and keeping IJGS alive! And thank you for breathing life and energy into Strangerville! Long live Strangerville!

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  40. I can't completely remember how I found this blog. Probably the snuggies. (Always the snuggies)
    I DO remember binge-reading your blog and sitting on my grandma's couch. Every 20 seconds or so I'd burst out laughing and she'd give me a You're-annoying-me-but-I-still-love-you-but-I'm-really-trying-to-meditate-so-plz-stop-thx sort of look. I was about done in when I fell off the couch laughing at a Palau post (maybe it was Daniel diving?).

    I absolutely love your writing, whether it be the hilarious, the sincere, the political, and sometimes Tami. Sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing it with us strangers. :)

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  41. My husband and I grew up in the same neighborhood as you, though we are a few years younger, and I adore your mother (who doesn't). However, that is not how we found this interesting corner of the web. Several years ago my husband clerked for a judge on the Utah court of appeals, and after learning that we grew up in the same neck of the suburban woods, recommended that we take a gander at the Snuggie texts. Obviously I was hooked. Now my husband is a JAG in the Air Force and we have lived outside of Utah for several years now; reading this blog is like a little slice of home.

    Krissy Kagie Mitchell

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    Replies
    1. Judge Voros, and later, Justice Pearce

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    2. That was one of three guesses I had. I love Judge Voros.

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  42. I vaguely remember the snuggie post so I must have seen it when one of my friends shared it. But I didn't start really reading it until very recently with your posts about the essential oils ladies. So I'm brand new but happy to be here.
    Amy Wakefield

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  43. I vaguely remember the snuggie post so I must have seen it when one of my friends shared it. I didn't really start reading until recently with your posts about the essential oils ladies. So I'm new, but happy to be here.
    Amy Wakefield

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  44. I found your snuggie texts on pinterest when I was working as a bank teller at an office that had some of the meanest customers I have ever met in my life (and also some of the sweetest). I pinned the post to a board titled 'when I'm having a really bad day at work' and I cannot thank you enough for helping me cry tears of laughter on days when people sucked. Your writing is excellent and brings me so much joy-- happy 10 years!

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  45. I found your blog through the Snuggie texts going viral when I was in college. I remember reading them to anyone who would listen, and no matter how many times I read them aloud, I would laugh so hard that I couldn't talk or breathe every time. Eventually I went back and read Stranger from the beginning, and have read every post since. Most of them get discussed with my best friend (also a long time reader). I got kind of nostalgic thinking about how long "we've (your blog and I) been friends." Through snuggles, Palau, freaky Ukrainian bath houses, missing toenails, and triathalons. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

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  46. I found Stranger during the last few months of Palau. I came for Snuggie texts, but stayed for your writing style, humor and insightfulness. I love it. You're doing a great thing here. Many days your posts are exactly what I didn't realize I needed. Also, ahem... *stream of consciousness*.

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  47. I first found you from the Snuggie Texts, have read pretty much everything before and since, and had the distinct pleasure to be the paramedic who is definitely not Oprah. If you're ever in Southern Utah again, feel free to stop by, my children need to see your hair to understand how much room they have to improve.

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  48. I came here because my friend was researching Palau. He ended up replacing you, or I guess serving the year immediately after you. Palau has come and gone but I still keep coming back here for the stories.

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  49. I love stories. I love telling them and hearing them and collecting them. I was excited to go to The Porch on a trip to UT, and my friend was a huge fan of your blog. She was so excited you were going to be at The Porch the same night as us. There I heard your horrifying appendectomy story and shortly thereafter read your blog beginning to end and I've followed ever since.

    If I ever am able to buy a baby (which is how I lovingly describe the IVF process) and that baby turns out to be a boy, I may just name him Eli, because it's one of the few names my husband and I agree on, and also because it was through you and this blog that I learned about Tinder and there I met my husband and got my very own Happily Ever After.

    You're a good egg, surrounded by other good eggs. Thank you for putting so many stories out into the world - it makes it a funnier, more poignant and more connected place to exist.

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    1. I am now crossing my fingers even harder for you to get that baby!

      I'll always remember meeting you at The Porch and will always be thankful to you for helping us launch Strangerville with your incredible story.

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  50. There is a borscht recipe somewhere in the "Palau years" I remember thinking I wanted to try it but never did. Opportunity lost. Sad face emoji.
    Anyway, came for the snuggies, stayed for It Just Gets Stranger-the college years, became totally addicted in Palau (seriously, its like I was there), read every past blog post like the stalker that I am, totally appreciate your humor and style. You've totally become my "friend" as in will tell people in random conversations "oh, you're going to Palau? I have a friend who used to live there" and proceed to tell them stories. It makes me laugh every time.

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  51. It was some sort of link to the Snuggie Texts that brought me here. I think my daughter shared it with me. I was instantly hooked and went back into your archives and read it all. Thanks for sharing your Strange life with us. Happy 10th Bloggiversary!

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  52. The first time I stumbled upon Strangerville, my mom wanted me to go with her and some family members to a spa and get a body scrub and... Spa things... Massages, having rocks grinded on your skin, saunas, whatever. And I was searching for some sort of information on what it was like on google because I absolutely did not want to go and I ended up here out of curiosity, finding your post about the whole Body scrubs. And while I didn't find anything that could overturn my fate that excruciating night, I did find myself enamored and laughing my lungs out at your post and ended up binge reading your posts for the majority of that week. And I've been a reader from then on. I don't comment a lot, but I always check in within the week. I'm still trying to dent the past posts though. hahahaha.
    I think I emailed you this story of mine when it did happen. I don't quite recall though.

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  53. I found the snuggie texts post via pinterest I-don't-know-how-many years ago and it was just my kind of weird so I immediately read everything you had written up to that point and have been reading(and listening) ever since. I don't ever comment, but I've been quietly in the background for many years now and have cried and laughed and felt connected and in my own quiet way have been a part of a really beautiful community of strangers. So thank you for that.

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  54. Back in the day when StumbleUpon was a thing, I hit the button and there you were! I ready the current post, and then spent an entire day ignoring the rest of my work to read all of the previous posts you had made. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you grow and appreciate that you take the time to post not only your ups but your downs that help show people they aren't alone in this world.

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  55. Eli, you were a bright spot in our office during law school and have continued to be for me afterwards through your blog. You have always had such great stories and crazy (fun) experiences, and now you have a wider audience to appreciate your gifts of humor and storytelling. Thanks for bringing us laugh-till-we-cry moments, thoughtful reflections, and sharing your life (and cute doggies) with us. #foreverstranger

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  56. You don't know me in real life but I've been a fan since the Snuggie adventure. I fell away for a while (because life) but then you did a podcast with Jeff Barlow who is a friend of mine so now I'm back. Thanks for the laughs - my all time favorite is the sweater getting stuck on your head in the locker room story!

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  57. You don't know me in real life but I've been a fan since the Snuggie adventure. I fell away for a while (because life) but then you did a podcast with Jeff Barlow who is a friend of mine so now I'm back. Thanks for the laughs - my all time favorite is the sweater getting stuck on your head in the locker room story!

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  58. Like many others, I came for the Snuggie texts, stayed for the poignant writing and hilarity. And you inspired me to start training for a triathlon!

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  59. Snuggie Texts brought me - I don't remember how I found them or who introduced me to them but I keep trying to entice loved one into reading the blog with the Snuggie Texts myself.

    And thank you for this post. I've often thought of creating a blog and then think - no one wants to read the ramblings inside your brain . . . but then - maybe they do.

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  60. What brought me here: The Snuggies
    What kept me here: Well of course your writing is hilarious and poignant when need be, but the community of genuinely nice people that surrounds you both as lurkers on this page and your real life friends are amazing. It is one of the few places where the comments aren’t all negative and depressing, granted I know you screen them, so thank you for that. You have created an internet family, inside jokes and all.

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  61. hmm. i wish i could remember how i found stranger. I think it was a friends facebook page that contained the link. But i keep coming back. First for the messing with people stuff, and then for the jokes, and consistent content. I remember the time i thought i saw you at city creek mall. I got all excited and almost fan girled all over you. but that would have left a mess and i ain't cleaning it up. I appreciate your candid humility, making fun of everyone including yourself. and i appreciate that you hate essential oils. even though we all know they are essential. the few times you get serious, i even appreciate it. thanks for the laughs. i am often on my own private Palau, and i need the laughs

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  62. I also arrived here from a friend sending me the link to the Snuggie posts. And I shared the post with everyone. Now I read your blog and talk about it with people, as if you're a real-life friend telling me these stories. It's like being cooler by association, even if it's just associating with you through a blog, ha!

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  63. Congrats on 10 years Eli!! I cannot for the life of me remember how I found you, but I do know that I sent your blog to my sister and we've talked about you ever since. It was sometime before Palau, that much I do know.

    I've always appreciated the fact that you're honest about not quite having it all together (except of course, your hair game is on point). We're not that far apart in age, and it's helped me when I think I should have things more figured out than I do, and as things have fallen apart that I thought were together. Of course I also appreciate how often you've made me cry laughing. Really I appreciate everything besides Tami pictures.

    Thanks for sharing with us all!!

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  64. I found you by accident on Pinterest. This was during your Palau experience. I've spent a few years in Papua New Guinea so could relate and commiserate with many of your stories. I commented on your blog and you responded which made my day and I was hooked. I've laughed with you and cried and felt all the feels in between. I've shared your blog with countless people, read posts aloud to friends and couldn't make it through for tear filled eyes. You have such an incredible gift, thanks for sharing it with us.

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  65. I don't remember how I found your blog, maybe one of my sisters mentioned it? Anyways, I started reading it when you were in Palau.

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  66. OH yeah, when is the family reunion? we're like 10th cousins or something.

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    1. Chelsea I think it's your year to plan it. I'm in charge of bringing plastic bags because I can't trusted with a food assignment.

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    2. But this year let's agree not to put Eli in charge of the deviled eggs. We know he can't be trusted not to forget them in the car, and then still foist them on us later. Also, I call dibs on bringing the root beer floats.

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    3. Uh, no, Amy Rose IF THAT'S EVEN YOUR REAL NAME. Daniel was the one who left the eggs in the car. I'm the responsible grownup who saved everyone.

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    4. What was the website that checked this again? Last year I did a TON of work on Ancestry.com and now I feel like maybe I could be someone's cousin . . .

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    5. I can't believe I got that backwards. And yes Amy Rose is my real name, but if you try to google me and check and all you see under images is a pink cartoon hedgehog, well, don't say I didn't warn you. But also Eli, I think you should bring the pie. You've really mastered that skill over the years.

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    6. Nicole I think it is Relative Finder, it's tied to Family Search

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  67. I found your Snuggie texts on Pinterest and haven't stopped reading. That was shortly before you moved to Palau. Love your blog!

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  68. The snuggie texts introduced me, but I stuck around because your description of being a lost twenty-something trying to figure out how to adult really resonated with me. Plus, Paul Simon is my favorite, too! =]

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  69. Awww....our blogs are the same age!

    I found your blog when a friend shared the Snuggie Texts posts, and I've been hooked ever since. I'm glad you're on the internet. And on Yahoo.

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  70. I've been hanging around here about 6 years. Initially I came after following a link to the Snuggie Sagas. I can't recall where I came across the link though. It must have been shared by a friend, likely one of my brothers. I have very found memories of returning to some of the stranger of your posts to reread them and laugh again. In particular, your massage/body scrub in Palau. I read that one aloud to my husband, pausing to wipe the tears from my eyes and gasp for breath. Some things, even when you know what is coming, will just always be funny.

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  71. I'm a newbie around here and still working my way backward through your stories. I started reading after someone posted a link to your posts about the essential oil visitors in a Babycenter thread about hating MLMs, and I stayed for the adventures in laminate flooring and the pictures of cute dogs.

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  72. I too was hooked by the Snuggie texts.

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  73. I have no idea what rabbit hole I was in to find the Snuggie texts, but pretty sure that's what brought me here. This was sometime during the Palau years and I've been reading faithfully ever since! I've never commented before, but this seems like an appropriate time to say hi - so HI!


    I love the fact that I never know what to expect with this blog - except solid content, that's always been a given. I appreciate the posts that keep things real and the ones that make me literally laugh out loud at the most unexpected times. This is also one of the only places on the internets that I purposefully come back later just to read the comments. There is no other community quite like this one (even for us lurkers), and that makes It Just Gets Stranger even more special.

    Like so many others, I've truly enjoyed this space and sharing it with anyone who will listen! Thank you for starting this strange place - and most of all, for keeping it stranger!

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  74. Started reading at Snuggie Texts. I laughed until my stomach hurt, then kept reading to see if there would be an update. I was hooked. I then went back and read from the beginning, and can say I've read every single post and listened to every podcast since. You make me feel like I have a friend that so gets me, even though we've never met! We moved to Colorado from Utah the same time you were in Palau, and I oddly felt comforted (even though your experience was so much more drastic than mine). To date my favorite of your writings are from Palau, and Mr. Daniel is my favorite of your characters.

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  75. I can't really remember how I came across your blog, but you had just gotten to Palau and it cracked me up! I used to read more blogs but as work/life/etc has gotten busier, this is the only one I have stuck with! Being the same age as you (May 84 what what) makes me feel like we have similar shared memories and for whatever reason I relate to your blog so much, even though I'm a married mom now living in GA!

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  76. I don't recall who it was that sent me the link to the Snuggie texts, but I am forever grateful to have received it. It was on a day that I was working in Chico, Ca. The laughter that ensued was uncontrollable. My co-worker and I were onboard, hook, line and sinker. Many days following that, we got little work done because we spent many afternoons on the internets reading the Stranger blog instead of working. To this day, we still have so much fun talking about One eyed Wendy and the queen of colors, bartering services using Brita water filters, imaginary cats and cat clothing (I get her cat shirts for her birthday and holidays and she raves about how much she loves them). We both agree that snakes are evil to the core and still can't understand why they were created. We've learned helpful cooking tips. For instance, when making mac and cheese for a large group of people it's much easier if you use your whole arm to stir. It's definitely been a twice up the barrel, once down the side type of experience. We thank you for the wonderful memories. Eli!

    P. S. - Didn't you once date Britney Spears?

    Geena Day
    Live Oak, Ca.

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    1. Chico is a beautiful place to live and/or work. However, we DID find a dead chicken on our office doorstep once. Coincidence????

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  77. I don't remember when I started reading, I just know I keep coming back for more. Also, your hair looks amazing.

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  78. I think it must have been the sunggie texts that brought me here, but I've been reading this for so long now, I can't remember! Also I've never commented, so, sorry if that's creepy that I've followed you for years without saying anything, ha! Also I tell my friends to read it, and I even dragged one with me to the first strangerville live (she ended up loving it) But seriously, this blog makes me laugh and cry and think, and I love that. Thanks for creating this really strange thing!

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  79. I found this from Pinterest and the snuggie texts. Since then I come here multiple times a week- a habit I didn't even realize I've had for so long. You are great and I love to read your stories!
    Now stop trying to get so much information on me, I'm totally married ;)

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  80. i read the snuggie post after someone shared it with me. i didn't become a regular reader until i heard you on sistas in zion while i was in denver on a work trip. i looked up your blog, read the snuggie post again, and then read every post since then until i caught up. been a faithful reader ever since, and became crazy excited when you shared my instagram post of my dog wearing the june snapple t-shirt. (: thank you for writing!

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  81. I always thought of blogging in relation to mommy or beauty blogs, which are extremely annoying because generally I'm just looking for a recipe, and the recipe is /always/ at the bottom of the post. I don't care that your husband/kids/dog/cousin/mailman love your cookies. I just want to see how hard it is to make the cookies so I can decide if I want to be ambitious enough to try baking them. Basically, I was never a fan of blogs.

    That said, I found your blog when I was a freshman in college. I stumbled upon the Snuggie post on Pinterest while I was distracting myself from an essay or something generally more impotant. I, like so many others, read all your older posts and felt like I had found a community of kindred spirits.

    I'm 23 now, so I guess I'm still a "baby." Still, since I found you, I've earned two BAs, bought a house, got married, started a career, and now we have our own baby on the way. In all that time, I've been reading your blog and have followed your life over the past few years. It's so strange to me to feel like I have a "friend" in SLC who in reverse doesn't even know who I am. That's who you are to us Strangers - a friend who we can always count on to make us laugh or cry, or to so eloquently voice our thoughts on matters of the day.

    That said, I hope you'll answer a question. Does it seem strange to know that thousands of people you've never met genuinely care about hearing (reading, rather) how your day went? Or is that something you've gradually grown accustomed to over the years? Does it even feel like you're writing to strangers anymore?

    Anyways, happy Stranger birthday! Thanks for everything.

    Kayla S. of Arkansas

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    1. It is *very* strange for me, although I have gotten more used to it over the years. When Snuggie Texts happened and people suddenly were recognizing me it was a trippy (and not always good) experience. Then over the next couple of years I would run into people who knew a lot about me even though we had never met and this was flattering and kind of freaky. Now when I meet Strangers it's just a really awesome experience because I feel like we have this shared thing (our community) that brings us both a lot of joy and no matter what else our backgrounds or opinions might be, I feel a kinship with the people who read this site (and participate in the Strangerverse in whatever way they choose). So, yeah. It's still really really strange to me to know that there are a bunch of people I don't see and I've never met tuning in to see what's going on. And one of the greatest ironies of this blog is that it is often the reason my life just gets stranger. And I am so thankful for that.

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    2. Hello fellow Arkansas friend! It's nice to meet you digitally. I've live in NW Arkansas for a couple of years now.

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    3. I'm in north central Arkansas!

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  82. I found you shortly after I discovered Pinterest while you were still on your island.

    I'm sure I was looking for some inspiring and came across the Snuggie texts. This lead to a Stranger blackhole, similar to a WebMD or Wikipedia blackhole but funnier.

    I now refer to you, by name, in general conversation as if everyone knows you.
    My husband is always confused and I'm sure he is convinced you are a cousin (I have a very large family).

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  83. Happy birthday It Just Gets Stranger!

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  84. Somebody post a chicken soup recipe ASAP!

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  85. I'm friends with some of your friends (Mallory Platt, Anna Swayne, Isabel Rojas, Emma Tanuvasa) and they each mentioned your blog enough (years ago) that in spite of my introverted aversion to stalking a stranger online, I became a Stranger!

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  86. I am too old (37--get off my lawn!) to remember how/where I discovered Stranger, but I don't think it was the Snuggie. Perhaps it was a running post? Regardless, I stayed because of Paul Simon. And the stories. And the puppies. Even Tammy. Especially your hair.

    What a long, strange trip it's been--thank you for being you and sharing your world with us. May the journey continue to be charmed! :)

    Much Nebraska Stranger Love,
    Jenny

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    1. Gasp!! There is another Stranger from Nebraska! Suddenly I am hving visions of road trips to Strangerville Live, and the family reunion, and sleeping behind the trash cans in Eli's driveway! (We'll be safe there because he never remembers to take his trash to the end of the street.) I think I just unlocked another level on my stalker game.

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  87. This one time you decided to run an ultra RAGNAR with my sister, Kati, who sent me here to read about just how much fun y'all had (and I don't even say y'all).

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  88. My sister (whose name really is Amy Rose) shared the Snuggie texts with me. I thought they were hilarious but didn't become a regular reader until she continued to share other posts with me. I became hooked when you were in Palau, and now my sister and I sometimes even have entire conversations in your comments thread.

    I love your blog, and I proudly wear my June Snapple shirt even though it gets questions. (My sister and I actually share custody of the shirt.)

    Your post made me curious when my blog began. I just checked, and it's almost my anniversary. My first blog post was from September 30, 2004. I started because I was tired of emailing updates to everyone back home, so I figured with a blog, those who cared could check it, and those who didn't care, wouldn't have their inboxed full. It's a silly post about bus stops to ride public transportation to get to campus, , and it kills me to admit that I don't think I capitalized a single letter in that first post!

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    1. I am planning to send June to you as soon as I figure out this mailing to Africa thing. I figure you will get more wear out of it through winter than I will!!

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  89. My daughter sent me a link to the Snuggie post and we have both been fans ever since that time. We talk about you like you are part of the family. At family reunions my husband is always pointing people out and whispers in my ear, "Is that one Eli?", like my REAL family is even cool enough to have an Eli. Most of them are strangers, though.....as in, I really don't know who most of them are. And someday when you have a week to kill, you should come to Iowa and do RAGBRAI. No swimming or running involved...just a L-O-N-G bike ride across the state during the hottest, most humid, time of the year. I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines with my portable air conditioner :) Thank you for 10 years of strangeness!

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    1. I just heard about that bike ride from an NPR podcast! It sounds amazing and miserable all at the same time, so naturally, it would make a fabulous story for Eli!

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  90. Wow, first off. I have to say that reading this made me cry. Like, good tears, because It Just Gets Stranger is one of my favourite places on the internet, where I can count on good things and funny things, insightful comments and ridiculous stories, and a generally wonderful community. Ten years is kind of a big deal! Congratulations!

    I honestly am not even sure how I found Stranger. I know I've been here since I was in middle school... in 2011. Holy cow, that's actually a really long time. Being at university now, it's interesting to see how I've grown up as you've also grown up and all the things that have happened. I must confess that when I'm in Salt Lake I half look for your fabulous hair. Someday, someday...

    Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the internet. Please continue. :)

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  91. I once worked in a call center where I talked to seniors about their annuities all day. it was a frustrating and difficult job for me, but a coworker of mine and I would read your posts and laugh about them between calls and it helped make my day a little easier to get through. that was around the time you tried hot yoga for the first time. ❤

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  92. I definitely came for the snuggies and stayed for everything else. I try to use twice up the barrel with my friends, but that usually goes once down the slide because some of them only stayed for the snuggies--I need more Strangers...

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  93. I found It Just Gets Stranger when I made the crazy decision to compete in a triathlon. I googled for information on training and you came up. You were just starting to train for the first time for a triathlon. Your blogs made me laugh till I cried because I could so relate to the absurdity of what you were describing as preparing for that madness. I don't comment often on the blogs, but I am a faithful reader. Happy Anniversary, Eli

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  94. You forgot the one time we took over an up and coming social media site! And apparently we also killed it. Or maybe I just forgot my password and couldn't log in anymore. Who knows.

    I found your website maybe 6 years ago? Or 5?? And it was thanks to following a link to Snuggie Texts on Pinterest. What keeps me coming back is all the nudity (NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT NUDITY IS, CATHIE). And some of the proudest moments of my life were when 2 things I emailed you were deemed worthy of the Friday distractions posts. Thanks for sharing your humor with us, Eli!!

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  95. I came for the Snuggie text and stayed to hear about your adventures in Palau. I came back again and again for every naked escapade, messing with people on the internets, and a myriad of other embarrassing stories that most people would block from their memories or divulge only to their therapist. You, however, shared them to Strangers online. And I think that's what really keeps me coming back is that you're real. You're human. You earn a Tellin It How It Is Award every time you post. If how it is is vastly exaggerated and results in fits of laughter. I've been here because I love it here. Sometimes I even comment, but usually as Anonymous because lazy. And can I just say, this blog looks really sexy with its hair pushed back.

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  96. I found your blog when it was listed as a contender for funniest blog of the year on some website. Did you win?? I don't even know. It was while you were in Palau. I was hooked from the start. I've always wanted to go back and read from the beginning, even though that would mortify you. I always read your blog first on my feed and squeal inside when you post. And now I feel awkward because you know how much I like you. I love your blog and don't you ever ever ever "take a break" because you get too big for your britches. And I don't even say britches.

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  97. I also saw the Snuggie text somewhere and landed here. I don't know how many posts I read that first night, but I do know that I laughed until tears streamed down my face and I couldn't breathe (the best kind of laughter). Thanks for 10 years of fun and thought provoking reads. Here's to many more!

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  98. I was referred to your blog by BYU's The 100 Hour Board. I just looked back and realized that question posted a year and three days ago, so I just had my first Stranger birthday. At first I had no idea what your blog was about or how much to take seriously. Then, I went back to the beginning and binge-read through the last ten years' worth of posts. It's been so funny learning the sayings, nuances, and jokes that have built up. Now I check every couple days to see if there's another hilarious or thought-provoking insight into your life or life in general. Thanks for all the time and love you put into Stranger!

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  99. I wish I had a more unique answer, but I also found IJGS through Snuggie texts. Once I found it, I did nothing productive for a week or more catching up on all old posts. You had just moved to Palau and your Daniel stories kept me coming back day after day. I'm so happy to have found you and IJGS. You have a gift and I'm thankful to get to share in this gift with the rest of strangerville!!

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  100. Like a lot of other folk, I found you and my community via Pinterest and the snuggie incident and have lurked about quietly since. Im old enough to be your mother - your Australian mother - but thats what I love about this community, we are just one big messy oddball family. I love hearing from my friends-ive-not-set-eyes-on: the Suzzzz, awesomesauciness, Amy Rose and so many others (I do miss Lee and hope he is going ok). I love all of your posts but also the more thought provoking ones. You help me to see the world in a more positive light, thank you for continuing to share your gift!

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  101. Snuggies and word blocks brought me it. Palau and triathlon training kept me hooked!! Happy Anniversary!

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  102. Someone shared a funny post of yours on Tumblr years ago. I've been reading and laughing ever since. I'm kind of a lurker and don't comment much. I apologize for that. I should probably do that more. Please keep writing for another ten years!

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  103. I too was introduced to Eli through the Snuggie text, especially of interest to me up here in blustery Canada. But it was the queen of colours that ensured I was yours to stay. Your stories about her and your sisters tormenting you resonated as the eldest with two brothers. Stranger for life. *does stranger secret handshake*

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  104. I also found the snuggie texts on Pinterest then went back and read everything, and have been hooked since. I'm not much for the internets but LOVE your blog. Thank you Eli, keep up the good work, your Strangers appreciate it!

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  105. Hi Eli. Gretchen in PA here. Remember when I found out Paul Simon was coming to SLC and immediately was like omg I have to tell Eli and I did so now we’re best friends forever? Anyway, I started reading your blog after the Snuggie posts and stay for many reasons. You have a huge talent for humorous writing and finding the absurd in the everyday. You never take the weirdness and novelty of being able to reach all of us for granted. You have shared enough of yourself and your life to inspire real affection for you (and for your world’s most adorable puppy and your friends and your friends’ dogs…) You also post extraordinarily thoughtfully on difficult subjects in a way that manages to compel civility in responses. But I also appreciate what you don’t say. Given how many stories involve involuntary nudity that may sound odd, but you keep an appropriate boundary between your personal life and your internet followers. For as much as you choose to share you never overshare. Your maintaining some privacy is a reminder that you don’t owe us any of this- it is a gift. Perhaps in turn that makes us a more appreciative and warm audience. I think you’ve got us turning strangers into neighbors, Eli, in a way that encourages us to love you and each other a little more easily and not judge each other’s lawns. cheers to 10 more years!

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    1. Beautifully stated! Agree with every word!

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  106. Something, somewhere, brought me to the Snuggie texts, probably 6-ish years ago. I laughed until I cried, and then I went back to the beginning. I was living in a state I hated, and was miserable and lonely, and you made me laugh. Still do, and I love that there are other Strangers out there.

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  107. A friend recommended the blog and I came for the laughs. I then stayed for the shirtless pictures. :)

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  108. In the fall of 2012, I filed for divorce. It was a dark time and I laid awake at night trying to fight fear and anxiety. I typed "humor" into a search on Pinterest and saw a post about the Snuggie Texts. I literally laughed out loud. For the first time in a very long time. I haven't missed an entry since. Sometimes I comment and give you a hard time. Once, I was so hard on you, you addressed it in a post. I would later email you an apology. I love this blog and appreciate your humor. But for the record, I miss pics the poorly Photoshopped pics of the Queen of Colors, Leotrix, and Tammi. Stop being so mature and regress a little!

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  109. I arrived here after clicking on a link somewhere in the interwebs and found your snuggie post. I've been a loyal stranger ever since then. I think I've even sent some cat video links and a picture of my feet to compare with other strangers. Thanks for the laughs, life insights, and entertainment through the years. Twice up the barrel once down the side. -Taylor

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  110. I keep hoping there is a Stranger with iMovie skillz (or whatever the "in" app is right now) and enough spare time to create a ten year anniversary montage video. I would watch it. On repeat.

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  111. I remember where I was when I read the snuggie texts for the first time, and I've been reading ever since!

    I have also been patiently waiting for you to write a book.....

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  112. I once sent you a picture of a rooster pillow that my mother has in her living room (the horror) and it made it onto a Pictures and Distractions post.

    That basically made my life.

    Happy blog-birthday Eli! (Your hair looks amazing today by the way.)

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  113. Long time reader, first time commenter. I was browsing KSL one day (as 15 year olds tend to do) and happened upon the Snuggie Texts article! Once part two came out, I knew I was hooked, and I've gone back and read every post since day one. I've always loved hyperbole, but I've also been surprisingly touched by some of the more thought-provoking posts. I'm an avid fan, and I'm always telling people stories about "my blogging friend, Eli." So, thanks Eli. Here's to another 10! (Your hair looks fabulous today, by the way)

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  114. My sister forwarded me the snuggie texts. They had been going around Facebook. I remember standing in a line at an amusement parking with my mom and daughter and all of us cracking up as I read it. Sometimes I feel like people don't get my sense of humor and after I read the Snuggie texts I was like "Here is someone that would totally laugh at the same weird things I do!" I've been hooked ever since!! I do miss you pranking people though. You've got to do some more of those. The book club ones were my favorites! Thanks Eli, for keeping us laughing and thinking more deeply about crazy world issues. You're amazing!

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  115. I found your snuggle post, but I can't remember where I got the link. I've been hooked ever since. I may now refer to you as my lawyer friend from SLC. I actually had a legal question recently and thought of you. Then it occurred to me that I know you a lot better than you know me.

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  116. I found your blog via Pinterest in December 2012, and I've been reading it religiously ever since. I've loved so many of your posts, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be your attempt at teaching a chastity lesson to the teens in Palau.... honestly, all of your posts about the youth in Palau were gems. I still laugh out loud when I think of how they were amazed to learn the concept of "being late" to something.
    I absolutely love your blog and your hair. Thanks for writing!
    -Sonja H

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  117. I somehow stumbled upon your snuggie texts, and loved it! I laughed so much, so I chose to start from the beginning and read all of the way through! Now I get on at least a couple times a week to read what insightful and/or funny things you have to say! I love this place! Twice up the barrel, once down the side!

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  118. I started reading because of the snuggies but have kept coming back because of your writing; the way you mix humor with deep truths is really beautiful.
    Also, I live in Mississippi and snorted when you said Matt's yearbook was filled with "your friend in Christ." I can't always tell when you're exaggerating, but I know that one is true.

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  119. I think I first came across the blog because of the Snuggie texts. Then I met you for a brief 10 seconds at a mutual friend's birthday party. Shortly after I started religiously reading your blog and decided to read every post, but instead of starting at the beginning, I just read it backwards from where I was at and finished every post. I've loved reading the variety of posts you have and the Strangers' comments. This is by far my favorite place on the Internets.

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  120. I'm another of the Snuggie Texts on Pinterest crew. Also went back and read the blog from the start at that point, and haven't missed a post since. Thank you for not giving up on us!

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  121. Have a neat summer!

    Your friend in Christ,
    Melanie

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  122. I found you through the Snuggie Texts, and then immediately went back and read all your other posts. I've been stalking you ever since because I can't get enough of your hair.

    Seriously. I need more to finish stuffing my pillow.

    Have a neat summer! Keep in touch. (or K.I.T. as the cool kids would write in yearbooks).
    ~Katie

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  123. Hey Eli! It's been a great year. English class was so fun with you in it. Sorry we didn't talk more. I hope you have a great summer! We should totally hang out. Call me!

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  124. I came across a link to your Snuggie post on Facebook a couple months ago. Your blog gives me a good laugh on my depressed stay at home mom days so thanks for that.

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  125. I first found your blog because of the snuggie post. My brother and I were at college together for one semester and would read your posts when we are lunch together. HAGS

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  126. I found the blog through snuggie texts as well. I feel like a total slacker for not going back to the beginning of the blog like so many others have done. Now I know what I will be doing when I need a distraction at work.

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  127. I met you through a mutual friend a long time ago and they were definitely stranger times. Life has changed a lot since then. I don't need a Snuggie, but I'd like to say that I'm truly happy for you and your many successes. I enjoy reading your blog and hearing your thoughts on life. Perhaps I'll see you again in person someday.

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  128. The snuggie texts were my first introduction to this most wonderful blog. Those snuggie texts made me laugh so flipping hard I almost died.

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  129. My sister showed me the Snuggie texts and we did a dramatic reading at a family Thanksgiving dinner that ended in everyone cry laughing (although my Italian uncle's Prosecco collection may have had something to do with it!) I started reading regularly while you were in Palau.

    TTYL! Have a nice summer!

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  130. I found you because of Snuggie Texts and stayed through Palau and everything else that has come since then. When I first found this strange place, I was working at a job with LOTS of downtime and so I got to know Eli through the years. I must say, it's been nice knowing you. (I'm sticking around even though that sounded like we were going our separate ways). Thank you for your travel tips for when I was in SLC. I looked for you on the streets and up Emigration Canyon but I wasn't fortunate enough to "accidentally" run into you. My husband Eli (no joke, met and married him BEFORE Stranger) thought it was odd that I was looking for you everywhere but he put up with it anyway because Elis are great guys like that. This blog has changed over the years but at the same time, it has stayed the same and true to its name.
    Have a great summer!
    Carmen

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  131. I first stopped by with the snuggie texts and knew then and there we were soul mates. All these years later you are one of the few people whose blog I follow that actually updates their blog. I got my sister hooked too, which is awesome because she got me a June Snapple shirt. In perfect Eli fashion it's about 3 sizes too small, but sadly I don't have the hair to pull it off. I used to wear it to actual PTA meetings, but it confused people. So now I'm just a naked follower. TMI?

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  132. My day is made when I read this blog! I cry, I laugh and I make others read it as well! I am a good friend like that.

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  133. The snuggie texts, then Palau...I love this blog. I laugh, I cry and I make all my friends read it because I am amazing like that and this is America ya'll.

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  134. I started reading in 2010 and have loved it! I saw you tell at the Porch in Provo a few years back and got a photo with you and your amazing hair. It was a highlight.

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  135. Found you with the rest of the world when the Snuggie Texts hit the local news. I followed for about a year, but then I had another baby, and interneting became too hard. However, fast forward 3 years... I found myself internet-stalking one Jolyn Metro because I was about to entrust my 5-year-old to her care. I rediscovered your website, and somehow simultaneously became both more and less concerned about sending my kid to kindergarten. I've been faithfully following/catching up on what I missed since.

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  136. 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. H.A.G.S.

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  137. I stumbled across your blog by accident, shortly after the Snuggie Texts. Since then, I've gone back to read everything you've ever written on here, including a gazillion of the reader comments. At this point, I find myself constantly having to mentally correct myself before referring to you as "a friend of mine" when discussing your blog with others, but I feel as if I know you on a personal level since I've read so many of your thoughts. I am a lurker, however, and am not sure I've submitted a comment before....I identify with so many of your posts, and yours is the only blog I've ever regularly followed. Thanks for being so regular in posts and for keeping so many of us Strangers connected!

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  138. It all started with the snuggie post I stumbled across from Pinterest. I stayed for the comic relief that you often provide, but what hook me the more was the thought provoking post wether I agreed with your stance or disagreed. Then other strangers that comment have also been a mainstay for me. I often have to stop myself from speaking as if I actually know you in person. Although it was rather comical when I was talking about you and my now husband got jealous and was like who is Eli. Pretty sure he thought I was slightly insane once I explained the connection.

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  139. Eli, you kept me laughing through some hard times. When I cried about moving back to Utah my husband consoled me by saying "maybe you'll run into that guy with the weird toenail thingy." (He's not quite stranger material yet, but I'll get him there eventually through my dramatic readings about your essential oils experiences).

    Have a great summer!
    Your friend-

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  140. One of my friends sent me a link because she thought you and I had a lot in common with the living abroad and traveling a lot. I started reading it and haven’t stopped! My favorite posts have been about ending up naked in spas and just the various embarrassing moments. I often read them aloud to my husband and other people if they are super memorable. They def make me feel better because I do embarrassing things all the time but thankfully haven’t ended up naked in public quite as often as you have (or ever, thankfully).

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  141. I think I started reading your blog about 6 years ago. I ran across the Snuggy post on Pinterest and found your writing style hilarious. During particularly boring college classes, I would read your blog. That often resulted in random outbursts of inappropriate laughter during class and grumpy looks from professors, but it was totally worth it. You are one of the only people who makes me laugh out loud while reading, so thank you!

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  142. Well, I have to comment now, right?! Somehow I stumbled on your blog 5 years ago and shared it on my Facebook page. And then Facebook reminded me of it about a month ago. Let me tell you what, great timing to be reminded. I left for a work trip 6 weeks ago and this blog has given me all kinds of laughs over the last 6 weeks as I read the posts over the years. I'm excited to get home to my wife and kids, but during a lonelier time of my life these last few weeks this blog has been a great joy to read. So, thanks! I'm your latest regular follower.

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  143. I was googling "blog Palau" a few years ago because I remembered having some fun reading a lawyer's blog and saw the link to this site. In the end, I did end up reading a blog by a lawyer who lived in Palau, even though it was a completely different blog than the original one I was looking for.

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  144. I came for the Snuggie texts, and then later ended up reading every single post in chronological order as to better enrich my life. :) Catching up on your latest posts is one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Congrats on 10 years, and thanks for all the laughs and poignant moments and everything in between!

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  145. I don't even know how many years I've been reading this blog (and if I think about it too much, I'll feel old), but Snuggies brought me here and it's the potential promise of a Snuggie that's causing me to comment today. All I can say is that this blog has brought me both laughter and tears (sometimes tears from laughter, sometimes laughter through tears). And for that, I thank you.

    P.S. You're awesome. Don't ever change. Have a neat summer.

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  146. I believe I found this blog due to the Snuggie texts post. Or maybe StumbleUpon. Not many things on the internet keep me coming back for more, but your blog certainly does. I have found it touching, insightful, hysterical, a place to agree, a place to commiserate. I love reading the blog on my lunch break.

    My sister is a psychiatrist, and sometimes does in-patient rotations. She texted me one day while at work asking for something funny to read. I sent her the Snuggie texts. After about 5 minutes, I got a text back from her saying: "I couldn't read to the bottom because I was laughing so hard... not a good look in front of the patients." I got her a shirt that reads "I put the HOT in psychotic". The last sentence really isn't related to the rest of the paragraph but I remembered it and felt you'd find it funny.

    Happy bday, blog, and congrats, Eli!

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  147. I started reading the blog when you TAed my Contracts class. I'm pretty sure you snuck it into a review session. Reading the travelogue was fun, but you definitely took off with the Snuggie Texts. It's been awesome to do a bit of vicarious living--I love my kids, but they keep me pretty tethered to a structured life. You take advantage of your opportunities to do wacky things, and it's completely enviable. Not the things (though they are), but your ability to throw caution and anxiety to the wind and put yourself out there.

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  148. I've been reading Stranger for years and honestly don't remember how I found you, but glad I did. Have a neat summer!

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  149. I found you via Pinterest with the Snuggie texts about 3 years ago! I stayed with you all through Palau and a little beyond, all while going back and reading old posts I had not seen...then I had my first baby and found that my internet time dramatically decreased. This past June, I had my second baby. This time, my husband is a stay at home dad so while nursing #2 I've been able to catch up with the last 2 years of your life! I'm so glad I've caught up and become a Stranger once again.

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  150. A work friend shared the triathlon posts with me since I was training as well, and I was hooked by the humor and honesty. It's been nice to watch you grow up right before my eyes. I feel like a proud parent!

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  151. I too am a Snuggie text blog finder. An LTRFTW (long time reader, first time writer). I share this blog with just about everyone I have daily contact with and read my wife every post and we usually end up laughing out loud until our cheeks hurt. I also love your takes on serious subjects and retweet them when I see them. It would be an honor to win a Snuggie, but I’m just here for the lolz and to say thank you. I feel like you’re part of my family even though I’ve only talked to you in person twice (hair compliments at craft lake city back to back years!). Thanks for bringing laughter and real talk into my world.

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  152. I think the snuggie post was what got me started reading. Now it's one of very few blogs i read religiously. I enjoy the humor, but also the deeper posts. And I love to travel, so I also enjoy getting to see all the pictures of places you go.

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  153. A friend shared your post about getting stuck in your multiple shirts in the gym with just the comment "this is hilarious". I read it and agreed and kept on going!

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  154. I discovered you via the snuggie text. I was 22 and in grad school in 2011 (I can't believe I've been a stranger for 6 years!) and was 3000 miles away from home in a city I had only visited once before a decade earlier.

    June Snapple's mommy blog kept me busy during the struggles of grad school. I went to London to do an internship while you were in Palau. I learned how to be alone but not lonely, and how to be truly independent.

    I've watched the parallels of my life as you share your own growth, and it seems your insights always come at the right time for me.

    But all that aside, my absolute favorite memory was early in my Stranger journey. My brother and I found the most amazing ugly cat Christmas sweater. You still didn't like pets basically at all back then. Anyway, we gleefully emailed you the link and you gleefully wrote back how much you and Krishelle enjoyed it. You've responded to nearly all of the emails I've sent over the years, but that was my favorite moment, of a pair of siblings enjoying a strange corner of the internet.

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  155. Don't even remember how I found you, but it was early on in Palau. I stopped reading pretty much anything but textbooks during grad school and it nearly killed me. But I am all caught up now and I'm so grateful for the medicine of laughter I find here!


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  156. In my aimless meanderings across the adolescent years of the Interwebs, I was unceremoniously directed to the Snuggies post by either human, robot or dark overlord means. I'm thinking the latter. Been inconsistently consistent on following ever since, because life.
    Always enjoy the terrific stories and writing. Truly talented. Stay for living vicariously thru your crazy and quirky travelogues, the Queen of colors, Bob and Cathie, THE Anna Swain, tales of essential oil witchcraft, and the insight.
    Thank you.

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  157. I actually met you in person BEFORE knowing about your blog. Mike Allen, an old highschool friend/acquaintance of yours, invited you and Daniel to a Tri group bbq because I think he'd heard you two were going to attempt SGIM that year. I remember Daniel coming out to the patio and sitting with all of us and we dispensing our Tri knowledge, Like-it's a REALLY bad idea to try and swim 2.4 miles in wetsuits that you borrowed off a family member's boat, you need Actual Tri wetsuits so your shoulders will hold you on your bike after that torture.
    I remember you stayed inside, maybe catching up with Mike, but I didn't really 'meet' you. At some point in the evening Mike tried to explain that you were the "snuggie texts" guy, I had no idea what he was talking about and he had to forward me your blog post. I remember being amused and impressed with your dedication to see the conversation through.
    Other than that, I don't remember how I came to be a fan. Maybe the snuggie text part deux, or wanting to read your SGIM post race recap - seeing as I was there cheering you on, slathering sunscreen on the swimmers as they headed to the bikes. I remember Daniel came through my sunscreen line and I taught him the definition of 'tramp stamp' in regards to the sunburn you get on the lower back as you bike.
    I've often wanted to 'meet' you again in person, but Strangerville Live has been on nights where I'm out of town or otherwise required to be elsewhere. I definitely feel like I 'know' you, but you probably know very little about me. It's strange being on the reverse side where you feel like you know someone well and consider them a friend, but in reality, they wouldn't recognize you in a crowd. :)

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  158. I probably found you through Snuggle texts, but this blog matters to me for other reasons.

    I was going though a rough time, I'd just seen something that had reminded me of my former roommate who had killed herself, (so I was feeling emotionally drained) and I read your blog. It made me laugh and feel better. It's been about three years since then, but I still remember that. Thank you.

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  159. Snuggie texts brought me here. The hilarity and realness of your writing made me stay.

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