Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

My law firm is currently the in process of moving to another building and we were supposed to pack everything in these boxes so the movers can come and move them over the weekend. Naturally I did not do this. Brianne, however, did it for me. And she was not nice about it. And she threw away some stuff that I definitely wanted to keep. And she keeps coming into my office and popping bubble wrap even though she knows I will murder her for this one day if it does not stop. But that just makes her want to do it more. Things have been very tense between us. And so in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, she has made a new rule that we have to end every conversation with mutual "I love yous." She insists on saying this as loudly as possible.

Brianne and I are a social island in this place.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Spoiler alert: it's BREAD.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yahoo! Answers XII

Question 1: How long does Ambien take to wear off on cats? I like to take my cat Trixy to work but my boss is so prejudice and said she can't be there because of food and sanitation even though Trixy is actually really clean because she self bathes and stuff so I gave her 5 Ambien and put her in my shirt and went to work and now it's been a week and she still hasn't woken up and her birthday is coming up and I'm worried we'll have to postpone her party and I work at Arbys.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wedding Dress Shopping

An obviously-candid shot of Rebecca and her lucky man.

Eli: Wait. How did I end up here?

Rebecca: What do you mean?

Eli: How did we get to this store? I don't even remember getting in the car with you.

Rebecca: Hahahaha. What do you think of this one?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Today is Cathie's birthday. Since she was born, we have landed on the moon, the Soviet Union fell, and cookie butter was invented. Coincidence? I think not.

Happy birthday, mother.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Sometimes Mr. Pants looks like a very old wizard who is about to drop some bomb wisdom on everyone. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beware of Sisters

My sister Krishelle house-sat for me while I was in the Baltics. And by "house-sat" I mean "killed all of my flowers and broke my A/C."

Periodically throughout the trip, this text exchange would happen:

Eli: Hello.

Eli: Hi.

Eli: Hello???

Eli: Are you there?


Krishelle: What do you want?!

Eli: Oh, hi. Since you seem to be awake, how is everything going at the house?

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Last week I wrote what is probably the most controversial thing I've ever published on Stranger. Don't worry. This isn't a political post, and today I'm not writing about the substance of that other political post. And I ask that you help me not make it a political one in the comments. There are some other places for that discussion, and I would like for it not to be here.

The post I wrote was in response to my feelings about the horrific tragedy in Orlando last weekend. Adam and I had connected to wifi at the end of a wonderful day in Lithuania, nearing the end of our trip. We were bombarded with texts and news updates about the heartbreaking details that had just started coming out in the States.

We both sat, quietly, thumbing through the news filling our phones' screens. With each new detail, I experienced what so many of you experienced. The knot in my stomach grew tighter. My heart felt heavier. I just felt helpless.

I wrote that thing. I published it, knowing that I was expressing thoughts that would be contrary to the way so many of you feel. Many of you responded with comments and emails, mostly civil and certainly passionate. My writing bred some contention. And while I never want to be the kind of person who doesn't advocate for his beliefs because they might be unpopular or because they might receive backlash, I also don't want to be the kind of person who breeds contention. I think that's a line I'll try to figure out, however imperfectly, for the rest of my life.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cat Videos

When I last left you on mine and Adam's increasingly stinky road trip through the Baltic States, I was recovering from twelve-inch lacerations caused by being severely beaten with entire trees in a Russian banya.

I told you that we were staying in an apartment with a Latvian family. What I did not tell you is that we never saw more than one given family member at a time. And, considering that mom, dad, brother, and sister, all kind of looked the same, we were left to believe that this was something of a Bates Motel situation.

I also informed you that a cat had somehow gotten into our room as I was writing you and I took some pictures of the cat to prove it to you. What I did not realize at the time, but what I discovered several days later, was that during the course of trying to take pictures with the cat, I accidentally took a video. Which video I came across while reviewing the pictures in my phone from the trip. And which video I have now watched 379 times.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Episode 5: The World of Choice

In this heavy week, we bring you an aptly-timed Episode 5 of Strangerville: The World of Choice.

In this special episode, we explore religious extremism from an exceedingly unique perspective. Please enjoy the heartbreaking, thoughtful, and inspiring account from one of my biggest heroes, Jeff Barlow, as he details his experiences growing up in Warren Jeffs's polygamous FLDS community. Explore the value of choice in our lives from the eyes of a man who was kept from it, who escaped the closed community and left everything behind, and who returned later to make a profound difference for the people he never stopped loving.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Thing About Guns

Chanting that "guns don't kill people" and that "people kill people" has never made a lot of sense to me. I mean, I get it. The person shouting it is probably trying to demonstrate in some way that guns are not the problem and so guns shouldn't be regulated. These are inanimate objects. Why should we blame the inanimate object? We should instead blame the person controlling the inanimate object.

Of course, nobody supporting gun control advocates for blaming guns instead of the people who wield them. And really, the propriety of theoretical "blaming" of the inanimate object is a pointless debate. Inanimate objects don't have a conscience, so they aren't going to feel bad if we point the finger at them.

How people in this country do not see that nearly unfettered access to a very dangerous thing is problematic is something I cannot understand. How there are so many people in my own home country who get upset at any suggestion that we ought to consider making it even slightly more difficult for crazy and evil people to take weapons to public places and murder our children baffles me. How these people have developed enough of a critical mass in my home country to actually have longstanding control over the debate feels like a nonsensical nightmare to me.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Latvian Banya

The Internets, or what we could access of them, told us that the drive from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to Riga Latvia would take about three hours so I don't know why, exactly, it took us seven and a half.

Some of it surely was caused by our determination to stop in every town, take every country road, sniff every tree in every forest, and pee on every dilapidated Soviet monument. The highlight of this journey was when we encountered two church-going babushkas in an old country cathedral on the Estonian-Latvian border, wherein we were simultaneously and repeatedly complimented, insulted, lectured, and scolded in the way that only babushkas in Eastern Europe can do. They showed us around, told us we need to eat more and go to church even more than that and then they demanded that we come back on Sunday, grilling us on our organ skills.

We finally showed up in the medieval and surprisingly booming town of Riga Latvia sometime that evening, after which we wandered the cobble-stoned streets in the rain that periodically forced us into shockingly-beautiful Russian Orthodox churches that were in all their glory, hosting Ascension Day services for the Easter-loving religious folks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

We Made it to Hogwarts

We spent a couple of days in the fairy-tale land of Tallin before receiving a lecture from Estonia's skinniest man about all of the ways the police were probably going to lock us up abroad before he handed us a set of keys to a rental car. And then we drove south.

We stumbled upon a roadside diner of sorts, run by a woman who I think might be the actual Anastasia. It was in the eyes. She also kept asking me to compare lockets with her.

Anastasia didn't speak a word of English and I don't speak a word of Estonian so we negotiated our meal through a mix of Russian, Pig Latin, and Ebonics for good measure.

This seemed successful considering that she brought out nearly 75% of the things I thought our conversation directed her to bring. And then we ventured on through country roads and Estonian hillsides that were so pretty that every teenage girl just wrote something nasty about them in a burn book.

And then we landed in a college town called Tartu. Or, as Adam calls it, "Tatooine."

Sunday, June 5, 2016

So I'm in Estonia

First off, check out the latest and greatest from Strangerville Shorts! Episode 5 will be out next week and we think you'll love it.

So I'm in Estonia right now, which I know surprises you, considering that you can currently smell me. All of you.

You can smell me because I reek of a combination of secondhand smoke, sausage, body odor from every person who has touched me on any metro in the last 72 hours, and whatever sweat has seeped into the one outfit I packed for this trip. I think Bath and Body Works has a scented candle matching this description if you need a more intimate whiff of this.

Adam and I had decided to head to this part of Eastern Europe not long ago in an effort to secure a much-needed escape from our jobs. Neither of us really understands how calendars work, though, and so when reminders popped up on our phones earlier this week that it was time to pack our bags for a trip we did not plan in the slightest, panic ensued.