Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Today I was sitting in my office, minding my business, working like a good Mormon boy, when suddenly something that has never really happened to me before happened to me. I took a sip of water and tried, apparently very hard, to swallow it into my lungs. And suddenly, in a totally uncontrollable manner, I violently COUGHED it at the wall.

I don't know how much water it was, but it looked like at least one full cup. And it made a splashing sound when it hit the wall. And I kept coughing, bending over, and trying to get air. But I was also laughing really hard, which made the whole thing worse. When I finally gained composure and looked up, I saw an older attorney standing at my door, staring at me. No words were spoken. He just walked away.

And THAT is reason 1,247 why I'm pretty sure everyone considers me "the awkward guy at the office."

Reason 1,248, the pictures for today were taken in my office at 10:00 PM.

And now, your pictures and distractions.

Dear Marsha

I know that this month I haven't been the most consistent blogger of all time. My life has been a roller coaster in January and it's been difficult to keep up with a lot of things, including Stranger. And now you guys are all mad at me and I hate it when you're mad at me because then nobody stops me in the street and gives me back massages.

But it's not like I've abandoned you entirely. Even when I'm blogging inconsistently, I still post something three or four times a week. LET'S EVERYONE CALM DOWN. The back massages from Strangers may now resume!

It's already almost 8:00 AM on a Thursday and I haven't posted anything for the day and it's giving me some anxiety. So I thought I would finally tell you something I've been meaning to tell you for a while.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hot Yoga

I have the very good fortune of working with my very good friend Annie, with whom I went to law school. Our offices are right next to each other and she is the person I go to 100 million times every day with a look on my face that communicates "someone just asked me to do something and I think they were speaking Hebrew!" Then Annie sits me down, talks it out with me, and helps me understand what the heck I'm doing. Also during that conversation she makes a quiche and solves the conflict in the Middle East. Because she is the most efficient human being who has ever lived.

Annie has been trying to get me to go try Bikram Yoga (aka "hot" Yoga) for a few weeks. She goes every Saturday and has assured me that it's a wonderful experience. I kept telling her I wasn't that interested because I've been to Yoga classes before and it's just not really my thing. Finally on Friday Annie explained, "it's weird. You'll like it. Because it's weird."

I'm not really sure what this says about me, but that was a compelling enough argument and the next morning I walked right into a Bikram Yoga studio.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Eli's 10 Favorite Cities

Frequently Strangers email me and ask for travel suggestions. I've been fortunate to be able to hit a decent portion of the world in my 20s. And besides writing, traveling is probably the thing that I enjoy most.

I thought today it would be fun to give you my top ten list of my favorite cities in the world to explore. This list is constantly fluctuating, but this is how I feel today. Full disclosure, I have never been to South America and my travels in Asia, Africa, and far western Europe are sparse. I have explored eastern and central Europe and Central America extensively and I've wandered through the Middle East and a few other places.

Also, I went through my photos to find a picture for each of the ten cities and it hit me once again how TERRIBLE I am at taking pictures. And I used to be worse. Anyone who reads this blog and sees the Pictures from my Phone on Fridays knows this. So, sorry about the photos below. These cities are much better than I've represented.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Right now the Sundance Film Festival is happening in Park City, about a thirty minute drive from Salt Lake City. The Festival happens every year and every year people scramble for tickets to screenings of independent films if for no other reason because EVERY famous person that has ever lived is out walking the streets of this small town for a couple of weeks and the chances of seeing them are high.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Feed the Birds

There's a popular movie out right now called "Saving Mr. Banks." It's about the making of the Mary Poppins film with Julie Andrews. I don't tend to go see movies very often in the theater because I have a VERY short attention span for such things. Most of my friends won't go see any movies with me anyway because they don't like feeling as though they need to kill someone they care about for two hours.

But I was excited to go see this movie because it looked interesting. And because I remember seeing Mary Poppins as a child and I really liked it. Before going to see the movie, I thought it would be good to refresh my memory on the story of Mary Poppins, so I did that, watching the Disney classic a few days before heading out to see Saving Mr. Banks.

I had an experience watching Mary Poppins that I've had with a lot of movies that I saw as a child and then re-watched as an adult. I found out that my interpretation of the story was completely different as an adult than it was as a child. And I found myself blown away that there was so much meaning in something that I never really understood as a kid.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I just pulled up the pictures from my phone this week and almost all of them sucked. So this is probably the most lackluster Friday picture performance in Stranger history.

But I at least have a couple I need to share with you. Yesterday my assistant walked into my office and said, "Uh . . . Eli? I have a package here from Wheeler Farm for you."

Wheeler Farm is this place near Salt Lake City that every child within a 100 mile radius visits for a school field trip at least 70 times during the course of their public education. For normal children, it is a magical place full of chickens and cows and unicorns, etc. Wheeler Farm is probably the reason I hate animals.

I opened the package and found this inside:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Late Night Phone Call

Last night I had entered into full zombie mode. This is because for the past week I've basically only slept for about 12 minutes, total. I feel like a workaholic right now, which is not at all glamorous, by the way. Fortunately what I've been experiencing with my job appears to be a relatively rare perfect storm of events and NOT the norm. 

By the time yesterday evening approached, I decided that in order to be able to function and not scream at children in public places for innocuous but OBNOXIOUS behavior, I should definitely get one good night of sleep. So I wandered home and climbed into bed at about 9:30.

I had dozed off when I was violently awaken awoken awaked woken up twice up the barrel once down the sided by the sounds of my phone buzzing. It's disorienting to . . . get called out of sleep like that and when you're as tired as I was last night when I received this phone call, everything seems like a colossally big deal. 

My Best Memory of the Phone Conversation I Had Last Night When I was Basically a Zombie

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Punderful Idea

I've suddenly become very busy at work. For the past week I've spent much of my time in a zombie-like state. Except for when someone approaches me and asks me to do something because then I turn into 1920s-just-entered-the-adult-world man and I'm like, "YES SIR! WHATEVER YOU SAY, SIR!!!" And then as soon as they walk away I take a quick shot of crystal meth to keep myself from falling onto the floor.

Note: "take a quick shot of crystal meth" is a euphemism for "shove candy and Diet Coke down my gullet," which is a euphemism for "destroy my body," which is a euphemism for "I can't believe I signed up for another Ironman," which is a euphemism for "I wonder if they let you use the Witness Protection Program for these types of situations," which is a euphemism for "does anyone know what a euphemism is anymore?"

Yesterday, in my my zombie-like state, I received the following Snapchat from my friend Hannah:

Monday, January 13, 2014


On Saturday my sister Krishelle asked me if I wanted to make a "quick trip" to IKEA with her. I agreed, and in so doing made the biggest mistake of my entire life. Besides last year when I ate some bad salmon at a restaurant in Palau where I knew everyone had the stomach flu. And besides some bright red socks I wore to work a few weeks ago when a colleague told me I looked like I was on a University of Phoenix commercial. And besides every time I went to scout camp as a teenager instead of intentionally breaking several bones to get out of it.

Ok. The IKEA thing actually takes a back seat to a lot of other really bad decisions on the list of my life's bad decisions. But on Saturday it felt like a top contender.

This is because on Saturdays the population of the entire world attempts to fit inside of all of the IKEA stores at once. And once you get inside you can't leave until you've walked the maze of mass-produced generic furniture covered in norovirus and throat chlamydia from all of the people who have rolled around on it since it was last sterilized.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

It's the middle of the night and I'm sitting here in my office because I suddenly seem to have a million things to do in my life and only like 12 minutes a day to do them. It also doesn't help that things like Youtube and laying on the ground doing nothing are still accessible to me. Combine this with the fact that self-control is apparently not a thing I get to have and BAM. In my office in the middle of the night trying to do work.

And with that, happy weekend. Here are your Friday Pictures and Distractions:

Jolyn and I wandered to Midway Utah to see the ice palaces. There were one million children there. Jolyn and I were two of them.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Car

Earlier this week I made a very significant purchase. I bought a car.

I've had the same car for 8 years or so. It was never anything fancy and in recent years it has threatened to give up the ghost many times. The poor thing saw some hard times, and I suppose it was a miracle that it was still functioning earlier this week.

I'm not really a car guy. I don't know anything about them. I've never been that interested in them. Sometimes I couldn't even tell you what kind of car I was driving without thinking about it really hard and looking to people around me to start mouthing the first part of the word. So it was with that background that I approached this most recent car buying.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cathie's Music Suggestions

And in slightly less controversial news . . .

The other day I was trying to find some new music to listen to. Having been in Palau for a year, and generally aloof before that, I am WAY behind on all things. And I have NO idea who the kids are listening to these days.

NOT the Spice Girls, apparently. Learned that one the hard way last month. When did the kids stop listening to the Spice Girls? One minute they're the biggest thing in the world and then all of the sudden it's December 2013 and my 10-year-old niece is like "spice who?"

And I'm all, "zig a zig ah!"

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Gay People Are Getting Married

For the last many years there has been a huge fight in America about marriage equality. How do I know about this? Because I've seen people scream about it on Facebook since at least 2008.

In recent weeks the issue of marriage equality has been at the forefront of everyone's attention in Utah. This is because in December a federal judge in Salt Lake City struck down Utah's ban on "same sex marriage" as unconstitutional.

Since then, all of the gay people in Utah have gotten married and divorced at least 46 times. Because they can.

And my personal belief on this? That's awesome for them. And for everyone else. Because it means that we are moving in the direction of getting better about putting ourselves in other people's shoes.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Today is my baby sister Micalyne's 60-somethingth birthday. For some reason she's always stuck at age 16 in my mind. Which makes her story a really strange one. Because she has two kids now. And one of those kids is like almost five years old. Which makes me really sad for my 16-year-old sister. But on the other hand, she has a pretty good job and owns a house. So, she's sort of an impressive 16-year-old.

Why is my younger sibling 30 years more advanced in life than I am?

Happy birthday, Muggy. Sorry for all those times I tried to get Cathie to walk fast in the grocery store when you were three because I didn't think you could keep up and I wanted to try to lose you.

And now, your pictures and distractions.

Looking out from the office. A wintry Salt Lake wonderland.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January is Happening. AGAIN.

Last year I was the guy who informed you that the magic of the season had come to a screaming halt on January 2. Some of you still blame me for the close of the holidays. Like I'm the one who made them end and not just the bearer of bad news. I find this mostly unfair, but I've blamed the last 30 winters in Utah on Bob and Cathie so who am I to judge your grudge?

And in true tradition, I suppose I should be the one to call the horror of our collective situation to your collective attention on this January 2.