Sunday, May 19, 2019

Petitions

Ok look. Game of Thrones is ending tonight and I feel like I've been very patient with its existence because the HBO boobs bring y'all so much joy so I haven't complained about it hardly at all.

Every Sunday night when Skylar watches it I have to leave the house because the sounds of Game of Thrones stress me out to a point that I truly don't need when I'm already experiencing the Sunday Night Scaries.

I don't complain. You guys know I don't complain about anything. I am so supportive of Skylar and all of you rotting your brains through mindless violence.

But then yesterday Skylar told me the millenials have started a petition to get Game of Thrones to redo the last season because the dragons aren't fiery enough or Gandalf died too soon or they don't like how Jabba the Spock was portrayed driving the starprise galactica through Hogwarts and I'm putting my foot down here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

I really can't go back to this gym again. For real this time.

You guys.

There's a gym right next to my office so most days I take some time in the afternoon to go workout and get all swole and gainzzz and stuff. A lot of the people I work with do the same so it's sort of like a sweaty office party every afternoon, but with lots of other offices as well.

So today I walked over to the gym at my usual time. It was full of everyone I know. I changed into my gym clothes. I was wearing bike shorts and a t-shirt that used to fit me back when I was young and cute and desirable.

The workout I did was one I do often. I bike a little and run a little and lift weights a little and not always in that order. I don't have any science or results to validate this as an effective routine. It's just a thing I do until I get tired because I don't care enough about exercise to actually look up a training program and follow it.

If you follow my program, you can look like *this*, too! [sucks in stomach and feels bad about self]

So there I was, minding my business, listening to a podcast about TV because it is no longer enough for me to just watch TV, I now have to spend time listening to people talk about watching TV. I biked a little. I ran on the treadmill a little. I lifted weights a little. Not necessarily in that order.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Zion Face

The other day I wrote that thing about hiking in God's Costco with Skylar last weekend. I shared some pictures and of course expected you, my adoring fans, to gush over how talented a photographer I am (even though Skylar took the pictures).

But then Kina in the very first comment was like "WTF IS THAT FACE IN THE ROCK OF THE THIRD PICTURE DOWN."

Look. I'm already scared enough of the mountains of southern Utah. I did not need this crap. I grew up in a family that convinced me there was a creature called The First Eye that was just a giant eyeball with one-thousand toes all the way around it and it lived in the red rock caves of Utah's deserts.

I know it's irrational. I know The First Eye isn't real. I haven't believed in it in like a decade. But every time I drive through southern Utah and see holes and caves in the mountains next to the road I get slightly freaked out.

When the above comment was posted, I scanned the photo for several minutes trying to figure out what Kina was talking about. When I finally saw it, I actually screamed and then woke up Skylar even though he told me to never wake him up BUT THIS WAS IMPORTANT to make him look at the photo.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

ZionSSSS

I had a work conference in St. George Utah this weekend, which should have been a hate crime since I was there one week ago for the half Ironman. You want to know what's worse than driving through Filmore Utah in one week?

Doing it twice.

No offense to Fillmore. But if you live there, you know it's not a tourist destination.

By the way, years ago Fillmore had this giant billboard along the freeway that said "YOU HAVE FRIENDS IN FILLMORE." This started a very long habit of my sister Krishelle, who is one of the top three funniest sisters of all time, telling members of my family, "no matter how bad it gets, you always have your friends in Fillmore" whenever anyone was having a hard day.

Skylar and I decided to go to Zion National Park, or as it's known in Utah, "ZIONS," on Saturday morning for some hiking.

I forced him to get up at eleventy o'clock because the last time I went to ZionS, it was so crowded on the main hikes that I got gonorrhea just from the shuttle ride into the park.

That year it was so bad that we couldn't finish a couple of the hikes we had started because we were wall-to-wall with The People of the World who had come to visit our beautiful national park.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I'm in St. George for the second time in seven days because apparently I really love driving now. I have a lawyer conference here this weekend wherein I will be spending 48 hours trying very hard not to accidentally call any federal judges "dad."

Thoughts and prayers.

And now, please enjoy some Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Intruder

On Monday night at about 3:00 AM Skylar suddenly sat up in bed and screamed. It was HORRIFYING.

It obviously woke me up.

"What's wrong?!" I asked him.

"Eli! There's someone . . . in the house." he whispered.

Let me tell you, in case you haven't been in this situation before, this is the worst thing in the world to wake up to.

I honestly thought we were about to die.

"What are you talking about?!" I whispered back to him. "What did you hear?"

"Sliiiiiding" he whispered back. "I heard something sliding across a surface."

Monday, May 6, 2019

Half Ironman, 2019

The worst part of doing a half or full Ironman, besides the swimming, biking, and running, is the whole week leading up to the race. You're supposed to go to bed early and eat boring food, but not overeat, and say your prayers and stuff, and exercising that much self control for several consecutive days is torture.

By the time the race comes, I just want it to be over. I just want it to be over so I can go back to my usual lard-face slothful life.

I got to St. George for the half Ironman powered by your podcast recommendations, which you gave me on the Facebooks. Skylar couldn't ride down with me because he apparently loves his school and his future more than making me happy by keeping me company in the car for four hours.

He rode down with Bob and Cathie later that night. I'm told they sang 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, but they started with 12,000 because the trip was so long. They even stopped on the way and got matching tattoos of Celine Dion. Bob and Cathie now plan to sit on Skylar's side of the aisle at our wedding.

Joke's on them though: my side will have Celine Dion.

Then Saturday morning arrived. I got up at the ungodly hour of eleventy o' clock because for some reason they make everyone get to the lake TWO HOURS before the event starts.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Hole in my Front Yard

I told you a little while ago that my concrete steps leading up to the house look like Chernobyl. They have been crumbling apart for years. They are as old as the Titanic. I can still smell the paint.

So I called a concrete contractor who showed up and was like "I can fix those for you and it only costs twelve million dollars and half your virtue" and I was like "MY VIRTUE IS PROBABLY PRICELESS."

Speaking of virtue, Meg recently taught me a new phrase:



The point is, stuff be going on at Meg's Twitter and I don't always know how to feel about it.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Voicemail Surprise

It was 2007 and my roommate, Quinn, had a birthday coming up so I decided that I should throw him a little birthday party. I was going to make a cake and everything.

I found a time that would work, put together a guest list, and then started calling people to let them know. I was responsible. I was organized. I was just a damn good friend.

Quinn had recently started dating Pam. The two were high school sweethearts that had spent a couple of years apart because of a Mormon mission, but now they were getting back together. I think I had met Pam once by this point. I'm not totally sure. I may not have met her quite yet. This detail is foggy.

The point is, I absolutely did not know Pam well and she hardly knew me at all.

Pam was on the invite list, but since I didn't really know her, I had to find a sneaky way to get her number. This was before Facebook was nearly as ubiquitous as it has since become so I'm not sure trying to find and contact her there even seemed like an option to me. In fact, although I had set up a Facebook account in 2005, I don't think I actually started using it until about 2008.

So I stole Quinn's phone while he was in the shower and pulled Pam's number from it. This was pre-smartphones so his phone wasn't password protected. It just struck me as so odd that we used to be able to flip open any person's phone and access its content without ever being asked for a password.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I came home and found that my rhubarb plant, which I'm convinced could survive a nuclear blast on Venus during Coachella, has basically filled my backyard. So I chopped up a bunch of it and boiled it in some carrot juice (#juicing #newyearnewme), sugar, and cinnamon for many moons and now I think it's jam? I don't know. It's still a little soupy, but the internet says it will thicken as it cools. I think. It's delicious, and that's what matters.

The point is, Skylar just informed me that he's going to write on my tombstone "I didn't really follow a recipe" because I say the phrase so often and because he thinks it perfectly sums up my life. I can't tell if that's sweet or insulting. But also, it's adorable that he thinks he's going to outlive me.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
We always just take the nicest pictures together. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Restaurant By Our House

There's this restaurant we like to go to near our house because the food is fine and it's always empty and this face wasn't meant for crowds.

I don't know when that happened, exactly, by the way. The crowd thing. One minute I was 22 and all like THIS LOOKS FUN


and then the next thing I knew I was 34 and refusing to go inside sandwich shops if there was even one person waiting in a line.

You guys. I would rather starve than wait for one minute in any line anywhere on this planet.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Movie Scenes You Skip


As you know, I've been working on this four-part series on very uncomfortable Mormon films for Strangerville. Today we're releasing part three, which includes a review of some films about dating. Because I've been watching a shocking amount of really obscure content from eras now gone, Youtube has decided I'm a kind of person I'm truly not. It's been recommending all sorts of things I never knew, or wanted to know, exists.

I have gone to some very dark places in recent weeks.

The other night I came across a BYU propaganda film from 1969.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

We're babysitting Mr. Ollie Pants this week because Matt is in "Miss'ippi." What this means is I've got a very judgmental dog following me around all day every day looking up at me like he's disappointed and I know this makes me sound a little crazy but I've been cleaning more than usual because of it.

IT HAS HUMAN EYES, YOU GUYS.

See below in this week's Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Game of Thrones

Skylar: Do you want to watch Game of Thrones with me?

Eli: I'd rather be eaten by warlocks.

Skylar: Joke's on you because there aren't warlocks in the show.

Eli: Well what does Game of Thrones have?

Skylar: Zombies.

Eli: That has to be a lie.

Skylar: Well, technically they aren't zombies, they're whi--

Eli: Stop. I know the fact that I've now given you upwards of 10 seconds of my time for this conversation probably makes you think I care, but I truly don't.

Skylar: Just come watch it with me while I file the divorce papers. I'll even let you ask me which one is Dumbledore.

Eli: You can't divorce me because we aren't married yet and I've passed my prime so I can't find anyone else.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Text Gone Wrong

Hola--Before we get to today's story, please enjoy Part 2 of our series on cringeworthy classic Mormon movies. This week we look at films about family. Isn't it about . . . time.

 

*****

Like anyone who is paying attention, school shootings stress me out and make me sad. There's nothing funny about them. The fact that we have to worry about them and that they regularly happen is insane.

But.

You guys.

My friend Nancy texted me the other day about a thing she accidentally did and I canNOT stop laughing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Mormon Coffee Rumor

Meg is mad at me about coffee. I didn't actually do anything wrong, but homegirl is taking all of her anger out on me anyway.

It started a couple of weeks ago when she tweeted.


Skylar "I don't even use Twitter and that's why I never like your tweets don't take it personally" Westerdahl immediately showed it to me and asked whether I knew what Meg was talking about.

Quick side note, yesterday morning I somehow ended up in a very confusing journey through Skylar's twitter. I got deeeeeep. And eventually found the moment he became gay.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mormon Films, Part I: Gender Roles

For a little while I've been wanting to do a series on the cringiest and most memorable Mormon films from my childhood. There were a whole bunch of these that I grew up watching over and over at church functions.

These films hold a weird special place in my heart. There's a certain special horror and nostalgia I feel watching them as an adult. Nostaliga, because they remind me of being a kid in the early 90s when times were simple, but horror because most of these films have not aged well.

This week for Strangerville we released the first of what will be a four-part series reviewing and analyzing these religious movies. Today's offering includes some films that explore gender roles and the treatment of women in the 70s and 80s.

Please enjoy.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Next week Meg and I are doing another event for this whole Provo bachelor business (I know. Don't even start with me.). It's this "women tell all" or something where we ask the teenagers who the man teenager didn't choose to date for the rest of the semester why they're mad. The point is, I really need like 1,000 Strangers to come to this thing because the last event was filled with BYU students who were legitimate fans of the show and I'm pretty sure they booed me and I'm not sure I can handle that kind of adversity again.

The event is free. Register at this link. And please come. It's next Thursday.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Half Ironmans are a Mistake

The St. George half Ironman is somehow only one month away, which means that you people are about to commit your annual felony of failing to stop me from doing this stupid thing.

The only reason I can think of for why I sign up for this every year is that I'm a creature of habit with debilitating FOMO so I refuse to give up on something that causes me a massive amount of pain on an annual basis. So I sign up for the half Ironman and keep watching Fuller House and repeatedly befriend people who use essential oils.

I convince myself in the midst of a post-Christmas sugar coma every December 26 that doing that May race in the harsh desert climate for the better part of a full Saturday is an exceptionally good idea that will give me not insignificant opportunities for humble bragging for months to come.

Then January hits and I'm like "OH HEY-O NO" because getting into a swimming pool is voluntary self-waterboarding and no one should do it. But I always seem to forget that. For real. I forget that no one has ever enjoyed swimming in any kind of liquid since the beginning of life in the universe.

I took science in high school. I know our history. First we were water snakes. Then we turned into dinosaur alligators. Then we climbed out of the water to be swamp people. Then there were tons of wars and diseases. And now we follow Chloe Kardashian on Instagram so she can be a billionaire.

The point is, we spent millions of years in a lake trying to figure out how to evolve so we wouldn't have to be in a lake anymore. It's basically a hate crime against our lizard ancestors when we disrespect them by voluntarily spending our time in swimming pools when we could instead be wearing cashmere and sipping wine in a penthouse.

#genealogy

Sunday, March 31, 2019

From Tinder to Temple

Today, please enjoy my long-promised story about my first date with Skylar, which I told onstage at Strangerville Live last month. Written version also below.



*****
From Tinder to Temple
By Eli McCann

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I do this plug from time to time because I'm needy and I like attention and compliments: apparently the internet gods treat you differently when you receive positive podcast reviews. I don't know what happens exactly, for the internet is Satan's realm and we are a righteous people, but I'm supposed to periodically beg you like a man without pride to go to wherever you listen to your podcasts (iTunes? Is that a thing?) and leave Strangerville a review. If all y'all could do the same for The Beehive, and reference Hive Mind specifically, Meg will have another baby this year and name it after all of you.

The SuzzzzzmyRoseomesauslee has a nice ring to it.

So, yeah. Go do that, por favor. Then please enjoy some Pictures & Distractions:
I just found this old picture of Duncan and now I want to go give him so much kisses.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Provo's Most Eligible

My best friend from law school, Corey, moved to New York City a bunch of years ago. I'm eternally indebted to her ever since she saved my life during our first semester of law school in 2008.

Her husband has been deployed overseas for several months, #thankyouforyourservice, so I decided to go visit her last weekend to make sure she's eating all her vegetables and saying her prayers and paying her taxes and stuff.

I was in New York for three nights and we decided to make the most of it by seeing three shows. We saw Mean Girls, very fun, Dear Evan Hansen, very emotional, and then Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, which, I know, seems like a risky choice, but you guys. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Nest of Hairs

Hola! Please enjoy a very disgusting story from Jolyn this week, which she told on stage at our last Strangerville Live. I've included the text below for those who want to read along and say it aloud with her while you listen so you feel like you are one with Jolyn the same way she feels she is one with you.


*****

Nest of Hairs
by Jolyn Metro


It’s no secret in my family that I was the unplanned baby. My mom is always quick to add that I may not have been planned, but I was a “welcome surprise” anyway. But she says it with the same tone you use when you’re talking about getting socks for Christmas. I was born 16 months after my older brother Sam, and according to my mom I came out fists waving and independent as hell. She jokes that my independent personality didn’t make me hard to raise, it’s just that it made me very hard to raise. And while that probably is true, my independence is largely something that I am very proud of and that comes with a lot of benefits. I’m happy going to the movies alone, I’m comfortable putting together Ikea furniture myself, and generally am capable of handling the problems in my life--the little to the big--by myself. But sometimes that can get in the way when there are problems so big you literally can’t do it alone.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Prison Steps

The steps leading up to my house are what we in the business call "a mess." I'm not sure what business we have or why we have it, but the point is: mess.

Look

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Carrots

There was a man at the Harmon's grocery store down the street from me who LOST HIS MIND over carrots last Sunday.

I was at the store to buy an entire shopping cart full of vegetables so I could feed them into a juicer because I'm juicing now. I started in January. My friend Corey sent me a juicer for Christmas. Now I buy jumbo bags of carrots and then drink them and have regular diarrhea and stuff so I feel great.

I actually have lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of the year. I assume that some of it is the juicing. The other part is that I've been running a lot more because there are eleventy million murder podcasts available currently and I want to listen to them and for some reason I can only get myself to listen to podcasts when I'm running.

The point is, I was buying carrots last Sunday because apparently I don't even care about the Bible anymore, and that's when I saw a man LOSE HIS MIND.

Harmon's is one of the nicer grocery stores in my neighborhood. Historically, I avoided the place because it feels elitist since their produce is slightly more expensive and substantially less rotting than the other grocery store I had been patronizing for several years. When Skylar moved to Salt Lake City, he would only shop at Harmon's or Whole Foods because he's a hippie socialist snob who gets pregnant sometimes just so he can get an abortion.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

We have Photoshop so now we're ALL going to college.

Because I STILL cannot stop reading and talking about the college admissions scam stuff, I tweeted the other day 


That's only partly a joke. I really do want in on Cathie's sewing group. So do several of my friends. A few years ago I told Cathie that Brianne and Matt had both asked how they can get in and she just laughed dismissively and said something about how they couldn't even get into her C group. Then I found out from my sister Krishelle that there really are several sewing groups and Krishelle has tried to infiltrate the top one but you basically have to be part of the Illuminati to get in at this point.

Anyway, only 21 minutes later someone named Shane responded:




which is EXACTLY why I'm on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The College Scam Details Are AMAZING.

You guys. There are parts of this whole celebrity/CEO/world emperor college cheating scandal that are AMAZING. I have spent the last eleventy hours reading every document I can find on the entire internet and I want there to be ten thousand more documents. AND INTERNETS.

In case you live under a rock or you don't seek out news to find pleasure in others' misfortunes, today news broke that all these rich people are being indicted (and publicly shamed) for engaging in incredibly entertaining fraud for purposes of getting their children into Yale and Stanford and etc. Apparently all of these people hired this guy and paid him literally millions of dollars to totally fabricate application materials and bribe people at the schools to get their mediocre kids accepted.

And I know. If we're like being sups woke we're probably not supposed to find any of this funny and instead focus all of our energy on how rich people milk the system and hard-working kids didn't get into these schools because someone else's parents have money and what would Jesus say and stuff. But y'all can go to Oprah for that stuff right now. Because I'm only going to be entertained by this tonight.

So they fabricated exam scores, in some cases paying this 36-year-old man to go take tests for students, and apparently he could get perfect scores, which, WHAT IS THAT MAN DOING WITH HIS LIFE.

But the absolute best thing about this is that these people were legit paying this man to photoshop their children's faces onto pictures of athletes in the middle of sportsball in an effort to lie to these schools about their kid's athleticism.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

What's Your Emergency?

This week we've got our first of four stories from our recent Strangerville Live show. This one comes from the very funny Janilee Johnson. You can find the recording on this week's Strangerville, which also includes very important conversations between me and Meg about such topics as Harry Potter and Meg's parenting. Feel free to check out a written version of Janilee's story below as well.

Enjoy!



*****

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Conversion Therapy

My state has been debating a bill that would try to ban conversion therapy. As you could guess, this is a topic about which I have some thoughts.

I've never engaged in any form of conversion therapy. I'm lucky. That's luck. My inexposure to the torture is not something I chose. I never told anyone I was gay while I was a child, so no one ever thought to force me to go to camps and beat an effigy of my parents or blame my dad for not loving me or undergo shock therapy or pray the gay away and take personal responsibility for my lack of faith when it didn't work.

I was fortunate.

For some reason, I escaped even the private internal torture that a lot of young gay kids and adults experience in believing their sexual orientation could be changed and that they should be ashamed of themselves if their efforts to do so didn't work.

I don't know why, but it just didn't occur to me when I was 12 that liking boys was somehow my fault and that I could like girls if I sought help.  Even as a child, when straight people at church told me that being gay is a choice, I remember thinking "No it's not, because I didn't choose this."

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

"I Do Love Him"

Skylar worked in Santa Barbara as a consultant for a hospital for over a year and when we were in town last week Mr. No One Will Even Remember Me So We Probably Shouldn't Stop By was finally coerced by a doctor with whom he has stayed in contact to go to the hospital and say hello to people.

It was absolutely no surprise to me when the entire place basically gave him a standing ovation and then carried him around like Jesus with the donkeys and the parade into Jerusalem and elephants and stuff.

I may have combined the Bible with Aladdin. Don't @ me. I haven't been to church since Jasmine escaped the palace and turned water into sauvignon blanc.

Skylar has this way of making everyone he meets feel like they are the most important person in his life, which is usually really lovely but sometimes it causes problems because the person he rode a bus with once can't believe she isn't invited to his wedding.

He's totally sincere about it, too. While we were chatting with his adoring fans/former coworkers I remembered this one time a year or two ago when he was on a call with some man with whom he worked. When they finished discussing their business I heard Skylar say, "Ok, Brad. Thanks for chatting with me. Talk to you later. I love you. Bye."

When he hung up I laughed and yelled "OMG ARE YOU SO EMBARRASSED?" Skylar didn't know what I was talking about so I said, "you accidentally ended that call by saying 'I love you' to that guy!"

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mud

There I was, standing on the side of a street, in front of what looked like an abandoned construction site, barefoot, my legs covered in mud, last Thursday night. We were in Santa Barbara. After a minute or two a woman with dark brown hair and a yellow jumpsuit turned the corner, looked at me, and said, "honey, you look like you're having a night."

She was right. I had been having a night.

It started a couple of hours before when I told Skylar that I was going to go for a run on the beach. He went surfing in another part of town. We had planned to meet back up for dinner after our activities.

The run was getting along just fine, until I got lost. The tide was coming in and it was getting dark and I couldn't remember how to get back to my car. I also came across about nine different dogs that I had to stop and give so much belly rubs.

By the time I escaped all of the unintentional detours I had run over 12 miles.

The point is, I was starving, and tired, and sufficiently cranky.

Skylar had arranged for us to meet some of his friends at an Indian restaurant, and we were already running late.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Hey look! Another Pictures & Distractions! Someone give me a baby because I am RESPONSIBLE.

We are in Santa Barbara. Skylar has spring break. Did I think my vacation schedule would revolve around spring break in my mid-thirties? No, I did not.

For about the first year of dating Skylar, the poor thing was working in Santa Barbara. He would come to Salt Lake City on the weekends and then stay in Santa Barbara during the week. He couldn't even keep a straight face every Monday morning when he looked me in the eyes and said, "I really wish I didn't have to go." He didn't think I was watching him from the front window literally skip to the Uber that took him to the airport. He had to order an Uber because I refused to give him a ride. I was not interested in enabling his lifestyle.

He wanted to come to Santa Barbara for spring break, I guess to visit all of his old lovers. Or, as he calls them, "bakeries." Seriously. I'ma be 600 pounds by the end of this week.

We found the most wonderful Airbnb on the edge of town. Pictures below. I may have uploaded some twice. And I didn't bother cleaning up before taking them. It's been a long day.

Please enjoy this week's Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cabin Fever

On Saturday morning Skylar, Duncan, and I went up into the mountains with our friends Andrea and Shane to stay at a cabin and go snow-shoeing, which is a fancy way of saying "wear comically-large shoes and walk in the cold."

Andrea and I went to high school together. To prove it, she brought to the cabin a video of the two of us performing a song and dance on stage about kissing under the mistletoe in 2001. She showed this to Skylar, which is an actual hate crime.

Andrea and I were in the same choir together in high school, which is proof that the talent range at our school was wide since Andrea had an incredible voice and I mostly just mouthed the words so I wouldn't ruin things for the group.

We brought our dogs to the cabin, mostly so we could force Duncan to wear doggy shoes made for the snow.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ebola

I basically didn't see Skylar for about two weeks because he had some big test on Friday that he had to study 34 hours a day for. And I know that there aren't 34 hours in a day. Don't look at me. I tried to explain that to him and when I did he was like "WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME WITH THIS CONVERSATION I NEED ALL 34 HOURS TODAY TO STUDY."

His brain has been totally fried. Last weekend we were driving home from somewhere and I was trying to coordinate schedules with him. We had this whole five-minute conversation where he gave me his input and answered my questions. We finished the conversation just as we were pulling into the driveway.

When we walked inside he immediately asked me a question that was fully answered by the conversation we just had and in which he had participated so I reminded him of this. He just stared blankly and said "we talked about this already?"

It's one thing to not remember a detail of a conversation from two days ago, but we had literally just talked about this thing and as I recounted the entire conversation, including the parts that he said, he had no memory of any of it.

It was really impressive, actually, the way he has figured out how to put his brain on auto-pilot.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Give me drugs

Skylar has some big test this Friday and I've got Strangerville Live on Friday and both of us have been wandering through our lives like zombies for about two weeks.

Sky has been spending an unreasonable amount of time studying in the cafe area of Barnes & Noble, or as he still calls it, "Barnes & Nobles."

I'm serious. I can't get him to stop doing this. He refuses to acknowledge the pain he is causing me. This is basically a hate crime at this point. If I could change only one thing about him, it would be this. Well, actually it would be the toothpaste spit he doesn't wash down the drain in the bathroom sink like a civilized human should do. Or I would change the fact that he's only at the beginning of grad school and instead make him a billionaire so I could retire and work on my garden. Or, rather, have my people work on my garden.

I'm not doing labor if I have a billionaire sugar daddy.

I've been lecturing him on a regular basis about "priorities" whenever I think he should be studying and he isn't. Skylar doesn't need the lectures. He's a responsible grownup, even if he does say Barnes & Nobles. But if I'm not bossing someone around, who even am I?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Matt's Stairwell

[Strangerville Live is THIS FRIDAY. Please get your tickets, if you haven't already!]

I think I may be the victim of the world's most elaborate prank. When Matt bought his house a few years ago I swear he promised me that we were just going to do a little remodeling. Since then, we have gutted so much of the house that I'm not actually sure there is a single original brick or piece of wood left.

The problem with being the silent brooding artistic genius that he is is that he's never satisfied with the way things are. "JUST LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE" I want to scream at him every time he lets me know that he's torn down another wall or ripped out another light fixture or demolished his entire yard.

He knows what he's doing, so he's able to do most of the projects himself, which is good because he is satisfied with no contractor ever. I want to call and issue a warning to anyone he hires to help him.

"You can't get away with woefully sub-par work at his house like you can at mine," I would like to tell these people. "Matt's not the pushover you're talking to right now."

It's true. I've hired contractors before. They could literally burn my house to the ground and accidentally bring in a colony of rats and I would be like "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE HERE'S 12 MILLION DOLLARS."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pictures & Distractions

I haven't done Pictures & Distractions in a while and I don't know if any of you care but I miss it and I'm feeling 1% less lazy right now so here you go.

Also, speaking of not being lazy, please don't be lazy yourselves and get your tickets to Strangerville Live. The show is next Friday all y'all. And you know I literally never say that. Jolyn and I both promise nudity if you come. Meg promises modesty. Our promises cancel each other out.

In other news, it's Valentine's Day and Mr. We-Don't-Celebrate-Valentines-Day-In-THIS-House-So-Don't-Get-Me-Anything woke up early to make breakfast and give me a sentimental card. After I read it and told him I thought he said we weren't celebrating he yelled "THAT WAS A TRICK SO I COULD PROVE THAT I'M BETTER THAN YOU!"

So things are going super well.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Good Year for the Reservoirs

When I was a kid my grandpa lived in southern California and he was obsessed with the Weather Channel. He always seem to be acutely aware of the likelihood of a storm on any given day in Salt Lake City, even though he lived a 12-hour drive away.

Grandpa was also the most paranoid human being I have ever encountered in my life. I have somewhat crippling anxiety, and I 100% inherited this through my mother's father. Grandpa was convinced that the life of every single person he knew was hanging by a thread at all times, and he regularly issued all of us both comically specific and ominously general warnings every time we saw him.

It became a family game to keep a list of these warnings and reference them from time to time.

One time my mom and I had lunch with grandpa while he was visiting Utah. I think I was about 15. As we each walked to our separate cars, grandpa to his and mom and I to ours, he called over to us, "it's a sunny day and you'll be driving into the sun, so you need to be careful."

It was so earnest and intense, the way he said it, that it took us a few minutes to realize how funny the request was. He literally warned us that the sun was out, and he did it in a tone like we were swimming in a pool with sharks and didn't know it. We laughed for the entire drive home and to this day, now twenty years later, my mother and I regularly remind each other to be careful about driving when it's sunny.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Confessions

(Woot. Strangerville Live is next week. Get your tickets if you haven't already. Support Jolyn. She supports you.)

When I was 14, my older sister Krisanda offered to drive me and my best friend Sam to our local movie theater. I don't recall what movie we were seeing. This would have been around 1998. I want to say it was Titanic, but I know that Cathie McCann would never have allowed me to go see that film without her and her hand over my eyes so I wouldn't be tempted by boobs. Sam had been issued a similar embargo.

I don't remember why, exactly, but neither of us ever seemed tempted to break the rule and sneak in to see Titanic without our parents.

In any event, Krisanda offered to drive us to see a movie that was definitely not Titanic and certainly contained zero to negative zero boobs.

We were on summer break and it was a rainy day. Krisanda was in high school and had regular access to the white family Astro van, which was something of a sexmobile in the 90s.

We were free, independent, and cruising the streets of South Jordan Utah, nary a parent or guardian in sight, when suddenly, for reasons I still don't know to this day, the van swerved off of the road and into the front yard of a little house.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Vomit

Skylar found vomit in our backyard.

Actually, Duncan found it first. We noticed that Duncan had taken an extreme interest in one corner next to a climbing rose bush. A big snowstorm had come through, dropping more than a foot of powder. Duncan spent a few days frantically digging through that snow at that spot for reasons that were unknown to us.

We kept wondering what was going on, assuming that maybe one of his toys was back there. Then I came home from work a few days ago to confrontation.

"Did you vomit in the backyard?"

He said it more like an accusation than a question. Like I was in trouble. And I immediately became defensive, so defensive in fact that I probably looked more guilty because of it.

Then I paused, reminding myself that if I vomited in the yard I wouldn't be ashamed of it, and I would have probably written about it on the internet by now, so to whatever extent Skylar was accusing me of something, the shame projection was misguided.

Skylar apologized, "but to be fair" he did remind me that I have a history of vomiting in the backyard. It happened last summer, in fact. Skylar had made lamb chops for dinner and I ate too much of them. I had taken Duncan outside to do his businesses when I suddenly started thinking about how barbaric it is that we rip meat off of bones with our teeth and the next thing I knew, I was projectile vomiting into our raspberry bush.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Auto Signature

I was in the middle of my third year of law school when a professor with whom I did some work noticed that her secretary had been sending emails out with an auto tag line after her name. I know that doing this is possible. I communicate with people professionally whose emails have some inspirational quote automatically inserted at the end in a font very inconsistent with the body of the message. I've just never quite figured out how to do it myself, which is how so many of you have received pathetic email responses from the Stranger account that don't even include any brainlessly life-changing catch phrases.

The professor was sitting at her computer, reviewing some message the secretary had sent to a large group of law professors across the United States when I suddenly heard her gasp and say "how long has this been going on!?"

She said it like there had been an affair of some sort, and this caught my attention and intrigue.

I asked about it. The professor told me to come over to her computer screen.

At the bottom of the secretary's email and in large bright pink font appeared the message:

THOSE WHO KNOW GOD DON'T NEED ANSWERS THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW GOD DON'T DESERVE THEM

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I made cookies to prove to you that I'm not incompetent.

Look, I know you people think I'm incompetent. In the kitchen. Shame on all of you who started nodding your heads after the first sentence and before I could qualify it.

That reminds me--last night Skylar and I were talking about one of our past Strangerville Live shows and I said "oh that show was great. So-and-so's story was my favorite that night" and Skylar said, "totally. But yours was pretty good, too." And I was like "OBVIOUSLY I WASN'T INCLUDING MYSELF IN THE COMPETITION BUT I'M GLAD TO KNOW YOU WERE."

Skylar is up against some, frankly, very reasonable expectations that I have for him and he doesn't always do that well. These expectations are that he considers me the best at everything all the time no matter what and he puts his life on the line for this belief if required.

The expectations were formed from years and years of Bob and Cathie telling me after every single performance of any kind whatsoever that I was the "best one." This included a time when I was 14 and I ran a cross country race and took dead last, after all the boys and the girls. They had already taken down the finish line by the time I got to it and most people lingering in the area assumed I was just coming back around for a cool down run after the race because I was so far behind that nobody could have possibly fathomed that I was still competing.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Twenty-Two

(Yo. Strangerville Live is February 22. You should get your tickets. Meg and Jolyn are doing a circus routine. Something about a bearded lady and roller skates. I'm scared, too. Find tickets and info HERE.)

Skylar's medical school classmates are all 14 years old and this freaks me out because they are going to be giving every one of us prostate exams like tomorrow.

It's never really been my practice to date or surround myself with people much younger than me. For years, pretty much everyone I ever dated was my age or older. I've never understood the allure of dating someone half your age. I don't know why that's a thing.

Then Skylar came along. He's nearly six years my junior, and most of the time that's not noticeable, but it comes up every once in a while. Like the other day when I made a very clever joke about Linda Tripp and Skylar was like "who's that" and I explained it to him and then yelled something about why doesn't he follow current events and he was like "BECAUSE I WAS SIX."

Skylar is too young to really remember Princess Diana. He doesn't recall the OJ Simpson trial. Zero memory of Jurassic Park hitting the theaters. He was barely five when the Oklahoma City Bombing happened.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Swearwords

Skylar is making "ramen" for dinner tonight. I always put the thing he says he's making in quotes until I actually see the end the result.

My understanding of how one makes ramen involves placing a plastic non-microwave-safe bowl of water and hard noodles in the devil's box for three minutes, mixing a small pouch of MSG into it, and then burning your mouth off while trying to eat it. Also it's 1994.

His version involves boiling about 600 vegetables in a dutch oven and occasionally screaming "awe fiddlesticks darn!" when he realizes he's forgotten something.

I'm not kidding about the fiddlesticks darn business. It didn't occur to me until very recently that Skylar doesn't swear. I just somehow went several years without noticing this. It fully hit me a couple of weeks ago when I heard him yell from the other room "GOLLY DARN MOTHER MONKEYS!"

I was writing when he said it. I paused for a solid minute, suddenly trying to remember if I had ever heard Skylar swear. Suddenly I had flashbacks to him telling me after watching various movies, "I really liked it, if it wasn't for all the language."

I think I may be marrying my mother.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Better or Worse

I woke up on Saturday morning to tweeted videos of boys from a Catholic school taunting and mocking elderly indigenous people. If you somehow haven't seen this yet, you can find at least one article about it here. The school and the boys are being raked through the coals on social media. The whole event and the seemingly endless stream of videos that have been surfacing has spurred a bunch of debates in a very short period, several of which have been fascinating and sometimes disturbing to follow.

This isn't a political post. It could be--there are plenty of articles being published now about the incident--articles that try to digest the politics associated with the thing that happened. That's fine and well, but while I've watched with horrified curiosity for a dozen different reasons, one of the sub-debates happening has made me think about a topic I've wanted to broach on Stranger for some time: religion. You know. That other thing about which no one has strong opinions.

Whenever religious people are involved in some publicized despicable act, a conversation about religion and whether it's good or bad or something in between often surfaces. I'm usually curious to hear these debates, largely because for a long time I was quite religious.

Growing up Mormon, I was used to spending three or more hours at church every Sunday. Church events took up portions of my weeknights, too. For all four years of high school, one of my daily school classes was a religion class held just at the edge of the public school's property. The home I grew up in had religious pictures hanging in every single room, bathrooms not excluded. As a child I just sort of assumed that this was probably the case with every house in America. I was used to this. The religion wasn't a thing we did; it was a lifestyle, infiltrating every aspect of everything we knew.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Wedding Planning Part II

I'm caught in the the nine circles of Hell right now.  This is because I'm suddenly required on a much more frequent basis than I signed up for to visit or view pictures of places where homosexuals can get married to each other.

Yes. We are in venue-hunting season, and it is exactly eleventy times more miserable than I predicted.

I keep doing this thing where I tell Skylar that I don't care what we do and he just needs to choose whatever he wants but then when he gets close to making any decisions I jump in and make him feel as much doubt as possible about his choice. I don't know why I do this. It's like wedding planning occurs at the intersection of the controlling and apathetic parts of my personality. You know. The one with manipulation right on the corner.

Skylar would likely have elected not to marry me by this point if he wasn't so excited to invite everyone he has ever met in his life to the world's most expensive party. With each passing day I become slightly less relevant to his relationship with this wedding.

But for real. Why do we need flowers? Can fun not be had and nuptials not be formalized without floral arrangements? Can't we just save those for funerals? Did you know that flowers cost $200,000? They do. I don't know why this is the case. They spontaneously grow in parts of my yard for free.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Vegetarian Dinner

"I'm making a healthy dinner tonight, so don't eat."

Skylar said it almost like a threat yesterday afternoon. I've tended to try to avoid these situations with him when I can. Not because he's incapable of preparing edible food, but because of all the commotion that I have to deal with while he's doing it.

We have an ongoing fight about whether or not one needs to follow a recipe to a T while cooking. Skylar starts freaking out because we don't have the exact quantity of an obscure spice in the form dictated by some snooty internet blog. I tell him to just consider the instruction as a general guide, but to use whatever he thinks might taste fine and whatever we have in the cupboard. He screams at me that he must follow The Recipe perfectly or we could die. I tell him he's an idiot. He says he hopes I get typhoid. I throw a pan at him. He goes to the emergency room. It's all very healthy.

And it drives me crazy.

When I cook, I just glance at the recipe and then make something in the spirit of whatever I've read. I'm not a phenomenal cook. But the things I make always turn out fine. People like them. You can rely on me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fear of Failure

Years ago, when I was living in Palau, I decided to try to write a book. It was a good time to make a first attempt because there are, let's see, multiply by the integer, carry the one, subtract Oprah, 112 hours in a day when you live on a one-square-mile island in a country of 22,000 people on the equator.

Even more, there are only nine things to do in Palau. Five of those involve coming in close contact with sea snakes and the other four are eating.

And you people thought I couldn't do math.

I think I became a much better writer during that year. Typing out 95,000 words will do that. But I was young, and pretty dumb, and moderately to severely depressed, so I really didn't know what I was doing.

By the time I moved back to the United States of God Bless Sea Snakeless America, I didn't really know what to do with those 95,000 words. I did some research about how to get a book published, and I even contacted some people who were kind enough to give me feedback and advice. But that whole process was incredibly daunting and intimidating. So I just sort of walked away from it without really trying very hard.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Magic of Throwing Crap Away

We made the mistake most of you have made when pressing play on an episode of Hoarders last night while making dinner.

We were at Matt's house. Skylar was in the kitchen doing something with fish that had nothing to do with salt or butter or oil or anything that makes life worth living, all because I foolishly told him that this was my Year of Health.

For Matt's part, he's making 2019 The Year of Taking Care of Myself, which so far has mostly consisted of sending Skylar and me 20 selfies a day and saying "look. I combed my hair again."

It's harder to get Skylar to take anything like this very seriously. Last year when a large group of friends went around the table on New Year's Day declaring their themes, each of them emotional, thought-out, and dramatic, we ended with Skylar, who said, "I would like to drink more water this year. No. I would like to try to drink more water this year."

I guess I admire his realism.

Also, in case you're wondering, he did not drink more water in 2018, but he says he did try, so his integrity is still very much intact.

This year is his Year of Abs, he says. When I asked him what he was going to do to get abs in 2019, he laughed and said "that's June Skylar's problem. I'm not even going to think about this for six months."

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Year Of

As you know, because you all did your 10.5 years of assigned reading on Stranger, every January I pick a new theme for myself. I do this rather than make traditional resolutions, mostly because the resolutions never really worked for me.

I would get all excited about my 600 very specific new rules for myself until about January 6th, when I would break the first resolution, and then this would completely demotivate me because "well I already failed."

I know. You people are all better than me. You don't break your resolutions. And you read the Bible and floss every day.

But when I declared 2013 "The Year of Attitude," I found out that there was actually a way for me to hold onto that motivation to be better. Instead of making a bunch of rules, I decided that for that year, I was going to really try hard to think about what it means to have a good attitude. I was going to make a general effort to be more positive. And this actually worked.

I regularly, and often facetiously, told people around me that "I'm going to stop complaining about this because this is THE YEAR OF ATTITUDE." I said that so frequently that friends would sometimes parrot it back to me if I ever seemed like I wasn't living up to my own new standard. If they had done this about a rule I broke, it would have been annoying. But in this context, it was actually really encouraging.