Thursday, December 28, 2017


Last year when I wrote my post for 2016, things were pretty bad. I had sort of lost my mind for a minute there. All of the stresses of work and life came to a head at once, and they led to what I can only describe as a nervous breakdown.

So when 2017 started, I wasn't in a very good place. And it was kind of a bad time for me to not be in a very good place because I had a lot going on. I joke with friends that I ate my feelings during that time, which is actually pretty true.

Before I knew it, I had a puppy. But still the same old problems. I found out that even a puppy can't make all your problems go away. Sorry for the spoiler alert.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts of 2017


One of my favorite Stranger traditions is looking back over the year to put together the Top Ten post.

2017 was a really really fun year at Stranger. To be honest, every year I think that this probably can't go on much longer. I think everyone is going to get bored at some point or the internet fad will die down or The Suzzzzzzz will finally organize our family reunion where we'll all die by Snuggie suffocation (Snuffocation?).

But every year you keep sticking around and helping make Stranger something fun and thoughtful and slightly evolving. This year we had so much fun with Strangerville and Strangerville Live. We laughed about essential oils. We got to know Meg a little better. We ogled over pictures of puppies.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Most Embarrassing Thing That Has Ever Happened To Anyone Ever.



I still can't believe that what I'm about to tell you actually happened.

This is beyond an embarrassing moment. This is something where I legit think I might have to move.


Just the other day I was thinking about that terribly embarrassing experience I had last December at that movie theater late on a Friday night and I was like "I haven't done anything embarrassing for a while. Good job, Eli. You're growing up."

And then this morning happened.

It all started because I noticed that the "Check Battery" light had come on in my car. It's actually been happening a lot lately. Ever since I jumped Matt's vehicle when it wouldn't start last month and then I think his car gave my car a car STD.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Silly Face Picture

Eli: Uh . . . Skylar?

Skylar: What?

Eli: Can you please explain to me what is happening here?

Skylar: What are you looking at?

Eli: A picture of the two of us from that party last night.

Skylar: What about it?

Eli: Well, someone just texted it to me. And I'm wondering what the hell is going on with you in this picture.

Skylar: Oh, I was very sweaty because it was hot and for some reason I had decided to wear a cable-knit sweater even though I knew it was going to be 100 degrees inside that apartment. I had also not been feeling very well and had a rash on my--

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You'll be happy to know the Snuggie, of such fame as the Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie, has made it to half a dozen lucky wearers in multiple United States of God Bless America. I'm told only one person has died so far. You know those websites that show where Santa is on Christmas Eve so kids can track his progress? We should have one of those for the Strangerhood. Awesomesauciness, can you hurry and build that for us?

Also, because I told you this week I was sick and then all of you were like "DON'T GO TO WORK YOU SELFISH BASTARD YOU'RE GOING TO KILL EVERYONE" I decided not to go to work because I didn't want the guilt of killing everyone on my conscience. Then I donated five dollars to [charity that will appease you] to make up for having gone in early this week.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Ollie makes a mean borsch.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Diphtheria OMG I actually spelled that correctly on the first try

Last month the Stranger troll said I was desperate because I shared the most recent Strangerville episode twice in one week and I'm nothing if not consistently pathetic so you should all definitely click on the below. Every time you do a troll learns one new grammatical rule.

In other news, I'm still alive, thanks for asking.

The neighborhood was probably worried starting around 9:30 on Saturday night when I found myself slumped over on Lynne's couch while two dozen well-dressed people tried to make conversation with me. This included our mailman, whom Lynne invited to our party after apparently developing a much more successful relationship with him than I have.

I really probably should have gone home. Nevertheless she persisted. I stayed out at the party until around 1:00 in the morning. So late that you can see Bob and Cathie shaking their heads from space.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bad Dates

Last night Lynne had her big holiday party at her house so I made enough meatballs to feed the entire population of a medium-sized country. By the time the party started I was feeling like I had been run over by a dozen trains. Like, Depression Era trains.

I don't know what I've come down with but I am so sick right now. I was up almost the entire night rolling around in bed, aching all over, and pleading with the good Lord to take me home. Duncan tried to be helpful by lying directly on top of me all night long and then aggressively licking my face whenever I moved.

We've been in a half dreamlike state all day, wandering the house cloaked in a heat blanket connected to an extension cord that's so long that it can wrap around the world twice.

I am trying desperately not to turn to Web MD (I already convinced myself once this morning that I have Meningitis). But I seriously have no idea what I might have come down with. It feels different than anything I've ever experienced.

The point is, we have a brand-new episode of Strangerville for you today and it may be the last one because I'm probably dying. Well, unless Meg and Jolyn carry on without me. Which actually would probably be an improvement. Now I sort of hope I die.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


I want to write but my mind is frozen.

This is partly because it is negative eleventy degrees today in Salt Lake City. And, I know. Some of you live in Michigan or Wisconsin or Siberia or wherever and I shouldn't complain about our winters because you're doing it uphill both ways in a mini skirt up to here and a candy bar is a nickel but minimum wage is 10 cents and the only good jobs are at the mine.

I got lost back there somewhere.

The point is, my mind is frozen.

This is partly because I just took Duncan for a walk in the cold and dark and he demanded that I throw the ball in the snow for him eleventy hundred times. Duncan is immune to the cold, I believe. It has no effect on him. He could sleep in the freezer, and probably would if I put peanut butter in there. Skylar is mad at Duncan because Duncan "bit" him on the nose last week. Duncan didn't actually bite him on the nose. But Skylar was kissing Duncan on the face for 3 straight minutes while Duncan was trying to take a nap and he suddenly got startled and nipped at Skylar's face. Duncan walked away from that exchange more freaked out than Skylar. But Skylar is the only one who has held onto the emotion from it.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Scary Gandalf

It was Thursday morning and I was very late for work. Or as Brianne would call it, "having a typical morning."

Brianne decided some time ago that I never go to work. This is based on the two or three times in the last year that she has stopped by my office to see me and I wasn't there. Now occasionally when she sees me around 4:00 in the afternoon her usual greeting is "did you just get here?"

She also thinks that I don't dress appropriately for the office, a sentiment apparently shared by a colleague named Ryan who upon seeing this picture posted on Instagram recently

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Every single December I have the exact same interaction with Brianne. I hand her an envelope with her name on it and tell her that I picked out something really special for her for Christmas. She hurriedly opens it and sees that it's a Nordstrom gift card. Then she pretends to cry, holds it to her chest like she's hugging it, and says "this is the best gift anyone has ever given me." I give her a knowing nod and then walk back to my office.

Five years running now.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

By The Way, I Can See Your Underwear

A few years ago Matt was at family dinner with me at Bob and Cathie's house. All of my nieces and nephews were there so the place was a circus, as it commonly is on Sunday evenings.

Matt and Emrie, my sassy niece with whom I have always had a very inconsistent relationship, hit it off relatively well from the beginning. This was probably because Matt is artistic and was perfectly happy to sit with Emrie and color while the other grownups did grownup things.

Emrie was 5 at the time. The two were at the kids table, furiously working through a coloring book of Disney princesses, when we suddenly heard a very serious argument break out.

Matt: You aren't coloring between the lines.

Emrie: My mom said that it doesn't matter.

Matt: Well, it does. You need to color between the lines or it won't look good.

No. Stop. Go back to the beginning and read that conversation again. Because I promise that you read it in the wrong tone.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Perils of Sitting in the Exit Row

Last month I was in Chicago. I told you about that already because I don't believe in keeping secrets from you.

The weekend ended after several days of shenanigans with my childhood best friend Sam (shenanigans=gossiping about everything every person we went to high school with has ever posted on social media until 1:00 in the morning). And then it was time to go home.

Skylar had met us in Chicago because Skylar isn't like you and me. He lives on airplanes and when someone is like "I'm going to fly to India" he's like "ok I'll just meet you there" like you said you are going to the backyard to sunbathe.

I don't understand this part of him. I loath flying in airplanes with a hot and fiery passion. There is no person who is more angry in this world that Eli Whittlesconsin McCann waiting by the conveyor belt for a bag in the Boston airport after a red eye flight.

Did that sound like a very specific example? INTENTIONAL.

Because Skylar travels so much for work he has Holy Virgin Mary Celestial Kingdom Extraterrestrial Oprah Winfrey Status with Delta, which technically exempts him from all laws and allows him to use the U.S. military for any personal reason he wants. This means that Delta throws gold at him every time he even drives by an airport. And if twelve people aren't giving him a full body massage by the time he starts making his way down the jet-way, he has a random Delta employee waterboarded.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Great. Now we all have lice.

So the other day I posted that thing about Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie and I thought that maybe you guys would all just think it was such a stupid idea that you would be ashamed to know me and you would delete my number from your phones. But instead eleventy hundred of you emailed me your addresses and social security numbers and names of your children's pediatricians, which was weird because I already have a pediatrician.

First of all, it's very alarming how easy it is to get you people to send me your addresses on the internet. WE HARDLY KNOW EACH OTHER YOU COULD GET KIDNAPPED!

Not that we know what kidnapping is!

Second, I'm so happy that you all sent me your addresses because as it turns out you are all very evenly spread out across the country so I now have a place to stay in every state, which is going to be very convenient when I'm running from the law.

I am so excited about this incredibly important thing we are doing. I'm trying to organize the list so that the Snuggie moves as efficiently across the world as possible (with some exceptions). There were handfuls of people living in the same town as each other so I'm trying to group those up together so that some of you can save the time and postage and just hand-deliver the Snuggie package.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie

So the other day I was in the shower NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT NAKED IS and the phrase "Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie" came to my mind and I was like "why is that not a thing yet?"

Then I realized that I don't know what that thing would be because I've never seen or read the Traveling Pants(?) series(?). I don't know the story or the concept but I think it has something to do with an item of clothing that gets passed around between friends and this makes the people feel closer and then we find out that Snape is Luke's father or something.

By the time I got out of the shower I decided that we should probably do this exact thing. So I'm going to formally launch Strangerhood of the Traveling Snuggie.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Eli: What are you doing tomorrow morning?

Skylar: I have a meeting that I'm leading.

Eli: That sounds like a rap lyric.

Skylar: Huh?

Eli: You have a meeting that you're leading while the people are bleeding from their grieving, overcome by the deceiving retreating

Skylar: This isn't even making sense

Eli: interspersed with their retreating conceiving, outspoken in the seething pleading

Skylar: Are you the new Eminem?

Eli: No. Vanilla Ice.

Skylar: That fits.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How To Get Through Winter

As you know, this is The Year of Creativity for me. You can tell because of all of my artistic face tattoos.

It's been a really good focus for me for 2017. I've immersed myself in more writing and Strangervilling and that has been incredibly therapeutic. Strangerville Live, which we launched at the beginning of the year as a part of my Year of Creativity has been one of the most fun projects I've ever had. And all of it so far has led up to my niece telling me that my hair is "a little out of hand."

Seriously. If you haven't listened yet, you need to check out The World of Babysitting. These stories are giving me life right now.

The last few weeks of work have been like a roller coaster for me. A really long, unfortunately-bumpy roller coaster that often happens until about 2:00 in the morning. But without the fun parts.

So I decided that I needed to take on a new creative hobby because my life philosophy is why be exceptional at a few things when you can be pretty bad at a lot of things?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The World of Babysitting

I have a special treat for you today for a lot of reasons.

So a few months ago I wrote that thing about how I was watching Ollie and Duncan and they both ran into the dorms at the college by my house and the door locked behind them. Then you guys were all like "I'VE HAD THE WORST EXPERIENCES BABYSITTING CHILDREN" so I decided we needed to have a Strangerville episode about it.

This episode includes contributions from Amy Rose AND The Suzzzzzzzzzz. My niece, Emrie, also showed up for what might be the funniest conversation I have ever witnessed in my life.

You guys. I'm not kidding. I actually thought I was going to hurt myself during this interview. Even Meg, who never ever laughs no matter what ever, was leaning against a wall, with tears of joy coming out of her eyes.

You need to listen to this.

Meg's daughter, Ivy, makes an amazing appearance.

We also had my sister Krishelle and local storyteller Rachel Miller. I didn't mean to "the Professor and Mary Ann" their contributions. (Did that joke make sense? I'm leaving it.)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have a work thing out of town tomorrow so I dropped Duncan off at Matt's house this afternoon. Ollie was taking his 9-hour nap on Matt's bed so he didn't bother to come to the door to greet us. Duncan searched the house for about 20 seconds before finding him, taking a flying leap onto the bed, and landing right on Ollie's head.

You guys. I think Ollie Pants may be the Zodiac Killer based on the psychotic response that I saw come from him.

I have learned to never wake the Pantses up from naps.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
My niece, Emrie, in the studio for Strangerville. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When Your Brain Turns Off

As you are aware, Skylar is a smart person. Like, I think he might actually be a genius

Sometimes I think that maybe his brain is functioning at such a high level that when it has to do day-to-day insignificant computing it's like "BASIC THOUGHT IS FOR POOR PEOPLE I CAN'T BE BOTHERED WITH THIS!"

And so he dies trying to make toast in the bathtub right after winning Jeopardy.

A few weeks ago Adam had a pumpkin-carving party at his house and I knew Skylar was going to be at the grocery store that day at some point and so, hoping to save myself a trip, I asked him to pick up two pumpkins for the party.

For a second I was like, "Ok, Eli. Maybe you should call him and micromanage this." But I stopped myself because Skylar haaaaaaaaates being micromanaged by me just because of these like 15 to 30 times when he was cooking and I was hovering over him constantly saying things like "stir it this way" and "you're doing that wrong" and "here, let me just take over. Go outside and play."

So I didn't. I didn't micromanage him. I decided to choose my micromanaging battles and save my contributions for times when the instruction truly leaves a lot of room for discretion.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Eleven Eleven

We know Duncan was born sometime around the beginning of November, but we don't know the exact date. I explained to him recently that his biological mother didn't keep detailed records (she was a big ol' mess and I don't think she actually knows who the father is). Duncan took it surprisingly well, probably mostly because I told him on Halloween right before trick-or-treating started so he was distracted at the moment.

I adopted my baby at the end of January and at the time a lady who smelled like dog poop and who handed him over to me said that they thought he was about 12 weeks old based on his teeth or his eyes or the number of rings around his core or something. Then she took all of my money and forgot to tell me that I wasn't going to get a full night of sleep for the next four months.

I pulled out my calculator and did very complicated math to determine that Mr. Doodle entered the world in early November. Sometime after that I decided we would just celebrate his birthday on 11/11 because it's memorable and it will look cool if we ever decide to tattoo it onto his clavicle.

We texted Adam the other day to make sure Teddy and Renley had it in their calendars. Adam responded that he saw them putting it into their phones.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Two Adults Came To My Door

So the other day I posted that thing about how I ain't much for book learnin' and I told you how I'm trying to read now so I don't get executed for failing to know how many characters in Of Mice and Men are mice. And then you guys left eleventy million comments about all of the books I should be ashamed of myself for having not read. And this level of response really surprised me. Because I had previously assumed 97% of you were illiterate.

Anyway, the comments section of Stranger turned into a full-blown cyber attack on the public education system, which was new for me because it's usually an attack on how tight my clothes are or how I'm not supposed to offer to slap your children at the grocery store.

I haven't referenced that in a while. Were any of you around when that happened? I made a joke about how I'm totally willing to help slap people's children in the grocery store if they're acting like brats and then every single mom on the entire internet emailed me and was like "I'M REPORTING YOU TO THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU" and then I had to respond to every single one of them with badly-photoshopped pictures of me petting kittens so the internet moms would know I was actually gentle and nominate me for employee of the week at Shakey's instead.

I got side-tracked.

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's A Classic!

When I was in high school I read nearly zero books and I've been feeling guilty about this for mumble mumble cough years. So guilty that if I knew where my diploma was I would probably send it back with an apology note and some homemade pumpkin bread because Cathie didn't raise me in the wild.

My ability to fake preparedness has been both one of my greatest assets and one of my biggest hindrances. What this meant was that when Mrs. Voorhees was like "what did The Scarlet Letter teach you about humanity" I could be all like "in a way, isn't the fact that the literary letter was scarlet so symbolic of every inadequacy felt by man in a literal sense?" and Mrs. Voorhees would be all like "A! PLUS!" but then when I got into the real world and someone was like "name one character from The Scarlet Letter or you'll die" I just had to die.

So it's not good that I didn't read books.

There were some exceptions to this. I read To Kill A Mockingbird, and have since reread it a number of times because I believe that if I love it enough, Atticus Finch will have to appear in my life and grant me three wishes. The nearly-perfect Atticus Finch. Not the racist one. And if you don't know what I'm talking about DO NOT FREAKING READ GO SET A WATCHMAN.

You have been warned.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have a work thing this week in Chicago, or as Bob and Cathie like to call it "DON'T GET MURDERED." I'm staying with my childhood best friend Sam. He's an orthodontist and apparently they get up at negative elventy o' clock in the morning for work because he was long gone by the time I rolled out of bed.

I realized that I had totally forgotten to pack my computer charger and underwear when I got out of the shower and tried to get dressed and quickly finish drafting something that needed to be filed in court today. And so, totally unfamiliar with the city and desperately wanting not to get murdered because then Bob and Cathie would be all like "SEE WE TOLD YOU" and that would be super annoying, I ventured out onto the streets.

Thirty minutes later I found a store that sold both a universal charger AND underwear.

Checkout Woman: 9:00 AM and you out buyin' underwear and chargers.

Eli: And I found both in the same store! It's a Halloween miracle!

Checkout Woman: We have fresh-baked goods, too, if you're looking for breakfast.

Eli: Shut up. You had me at hello.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Personal Assistant: Apply Now

One of the reasons you shouldn't be friends with me is I will turn you into my personal assistant.

Look. It's not like the job doesn't pay. It pays exceptionally well.

Not money. No. It doesn't pay money. But what it pays is much more valuable than money.

Take, for instance, yesterday when Matt texted me 17 pictures of a bleeding mole on his back and asked me if I thought it might be "stage 7" cancer.

A normal person would have ignored these texts. Or at least educated him on how many stages there are. And then blocked his number before he sends more close-up shots of his least appealing body parts.

Not me. Matt is on my staff and so he is entitled to his salary.

So I texted him back and fed his fears. Because that's what he wants. Not someone to talk him off the ledge. But someone to ask him when his appointment is with the dermatologist and then tell him that next Monday is probably too late. Then I forwarded all of the pictures to Skylar without any context.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Escape Room

Jolyn's birthday is next week so we decided to have a birthday thing for her. Skylar found what the kids are calling an Escape Room and signed up 8 of us basically without asking.

Do you guys know what an escape room is? Ever done one?

What it is is this place on the bad side of town, down an alley, up on the third floor of a half-abandoned office building. You feel like you are going to an appointment with your pediatrician in 1991. It even smelled like an appointment with my pediatrician. Interpret that as you will.

Then a guy with a Metallica shirt and black eye makeup comes out and tells you in a monotone voice that he's going to lock you in a room and you have 60 minutes to find four keys and the combination to get back out of the place. Just like my pediatrician.

Also, ours was Halloween themed or something so our room was pitch dark and he told us he had cameras in there and if he saw anyone pull out a phone for light we would be "punished" and considering that we were on the bad end of town I absolutely read a lot into the word choice and so resisted the urge to pull my phone out for the entirety of the time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I have this monthly ritual with G-Mac. I go pick her up and drive her to my parents' house where we have dinner and gossip about all of the latest dating scandals at her assisted-living center. Then I drive her back home and walk her to her door, arm-in-arm. On more than one occasion she has yelled out to geriatrics we've passed in the hallway, "have you met my new booooooyfriend?" And she says "boyfriend" holding out all of the Os just like I typed out.

Sunday was a G-Mac dinner day, which meant that it was something of a "perfect storm" Sunday because once a month Bob and Cathie have all seven of their grandchildren over for dinner as well and this month the G-Mac Sunday happened to coincide with the grandchildren Sunday.

By the end of the night my anxiety had a headache. Yes, you read that correctly.

G-Mac and I both took turns saying the safe word ("GETMEOUTOFHERE!") and then promptly got up and left before she could build enough of a case for elder abuse.

When we got in the car and started to pull away, she told me "children are wonderful. But usually from a distance."


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The World of Spooks

For a long time I have thought about how TV shows from our childhood (I'm assuming every single one of you is exactly my age) are so different than what the kids are watching now.

I think our shows were typically better. I mean, obviously they produced such specimens as every single one of us. You guys. TV raised me. When Bob and Cathie were busy making prank calls to the Home Shopping Network (true), Mr. Rogers was there to teach me how crayons were made.

(Bob and Cathie are my heroes for the above and more)

But do you guys remember how occasionally there would be the "special" episode that was about some real-life problem that was totally traumatizing to watch?

Those episodes stuck with me. To this day I have moments where I think that I had a friend once who stopped eating and then fainted on a treadmill at the gym and then I'm like "oh wait. That was D.J. Tanner from Full House."

Well, there's one show in particular that had a super traumatic episode about refrigerators and a little while ago I decided that I wanted to do a full Strangerville segment on this topic and specifically try to find out how impactful this and other similar examples from 80s and 90s programming was/is on our generation.

I finally did so, with several awesome contributions from you (most of them unwitting SO SUE ME), and I am thrilled to present it to you today in this Halloween episode of Strangerville. It is one of my favorite things I've ever put together (rethinks whole life) and I hope you will enjoy it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I woke up this morning to an angry email from Brianne demanding to know "why the hell" I hadn't shared with you all the story of our annual date, which happened yesterday. Brianne and I go on a very important date every October, date selected weeks in advance, wherein we walk the ten minutes to Starbucks, arm-in-arm, and purchase pumpkin-flavored treats.

We dress up for this event. It's our favorite thing that happens all year. It is the most important thing we have going on in our lives. And I failed to mention it anywhere on the Internet. So I hereby do so in hopes that I do not end up dead by the end of the day.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Autumn in Utah.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Candy From Strangers

I got home from work around 5:30 and it was nice out so Duncan and I went for our evening walk. We like to go to the college campus near our house because there's plenty of room to run off leash there and because Duncan is something of a celebrity among the college students.

Usually the place is pretty quiet during our evening walks. But for some reason it was Grand Central Station tonight.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Worst Movie Ever Made

So last night Anna, Emily, Skylar, and I decided that since it was one of the final "good" weekends of the year in Salt Lake City, we would take advantage of the weather. 

I'm not kidding you about my town right now. It is unbelievably gorgeous. Not to get all basic white girl on you, but I love me some Autumn. I'm like totes pumpkin spice lol rofl leggings warm fire hot cocoa about it and I like totes pumpkin spice don't care.

But this year is extra beautiful. I think it's because we had such a wet winter season last year and that led to a greener spring and summer, which means a more colorful fall. 

Check it out. This is from my run up Emigration Canyon with some friends.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Tonight Lynne called me to see if I wanted to walk over to a city council debate between a few of the candidates in our area. I wasn't home so I told her she would have to go without me and then let me know after what she thought. I also asked if she knew whether one candidate in particular was still in the race and told her that this candidate was an attorney with whom I was somewhat familiar.

An hour later Lynne texted me and said "I just talked to the candidate--you know, your friend--and I told her that we're neighbors and then I gushed all about you and I felt like such a mover and shaker because I never know ANYONE in this town but there I was rubbing shoulders with the who's who!"

Note: This candidate doesn't actually know me. We're not friends.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Celestial Being to Brighten Your Day

Last week I stopped by Adam's house largely because of the celestial being who lives there.

I'm not talking about Teddy, who is still to this day one of the cutest animals that God or whoever is in charge of cute animals has deigned to allow on this Earth.

Did I tell you guys about how when I met Teddy and he was only a few weeks old that I fell to the floor and legit cried as he licked my face and peed on me?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lantern Festival

About a month ago my neighbor, Lynne, texted me and asked whether I wanted to go to something called "lantern festival" with her. I said yes because the event was a few months away and I always commit to things when they are a few months away because I just assume I'll be dead by then. This is why I have gone camping 14 times in my life.

It's apparently a Chinese thing. I will not pretend to be enlightened or cultured. We were just a couple of very white people driving out into the desert because they were lighting crap on fire and we were bored and we may as well have been wearing Native American headdresses over Japanese Geisha robes for how much HASHTAG cultural appropriation was going on.

That last sentence is exactly how I plan to explain to my future children how I got married one day.

Skylar came with us, too, buying a ticket at exactly the last possible moment. He drove while Lynne and I gossiped about our entire neighborhood, speaking in hushed voices as though people might hear us.

When we arrived it was cold and windy and there were thousands of people who had already been camping out on the gravel field for the whole day.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

You guys! Look! I Pictured and Distracted! I almost forgot how to do this! The last time we had one of these posts they hadn't even invented electricity yet.

But in even more important news, I have our Snuggie winners. Thank you so much to all of you who shared your kind words about Stranger and your fun memories of this community over the last week. I will cherish the comments section of the ten-year anniversary post for many years to come.

And now dddddrrdrerdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdr (that's supposed to be a drum roll. I don't know how to type it out) our winners of their very own Snuggies and a lifetime supply of meatballs (I'm kidding about the meatballs. Don't try to cash in on that. I only have enough meatballs to supply you for like 12 years) are dddddrerdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrdxddrrdrdrdrjkdrjdrdrdrdrkittydrdrddrdrdrdrdrdrdrdrd

Jayne, Jake, and Gretchen

Congrats! So all you guys need to do is go to the store and buy a Snuggie. 


Jayne, Jake, and Gretchen, please shoot me an email and tell me where I can send your Snuggie. I may also slip in some dirty laundry for you to wash and send back. I haven't done it in like 5 years.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Return of the DoTerra

I really thought my essential oils deal was going to be a two-part series. I should have known better when I entitled the last post on the topic "Essential Oils Strike Back."

That ain't the end. This crap doesn't conclude with the Strike Back. I don't know my Star Wars very well, but I do know enough to realize that there's a whole other thing coming after the strike back.

Some time passed and I desperately began airing out my house, performing black magic on it, and letting Duncan poop inside because that would be better than the stench my hoard of women left me.

And I started feeling like things were getting back to normal.

I had been watching with interest to see whether or not they would leave me a review. I was aware, based on the two or three times the main one rolled her eyes at me and stomped down the stairs, that they weren't the happiest guests I've ever had.

And look. I didn't take it personally that they didn't seem happy in my house. This woman was loco And I've had dozens of other people stay with me and leave perfectly positive reviews. I even had a couple return a month after their first visit and stay with me a second time because they liked it so much the first go-around (probably because of my hair TBH).

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Last week I posted about Stranger's tenth birthday (OMG Eli no way how is that possible you look so young yolo i no stop u guys srlsly) and I told you I would give one of you a Snuggie as a little celebration gift and if you wanted to be eligible you just needed to leave a comment. Then eleventy of you left comments and half of you were all like "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."

First of all, thank you. I like that shirt you're wearing right now. 

Second, thanks for finally saying hi. This reminds me of this one time I sat next to the same woman in four different classes over three full semesters in college and we never once said a word to each other or knew one another's names and then finally on the very last day of class and just a couple of weeks before graduation she turned to me, held out her hand, and said "Hi. I'm Amanda."

We're still friends.

Or this other time when I was in law school and I used to take the 6:00 AM bus three times a week to Salt Lake City because I was working at the AG's office and one morning I sat down next to a blonde woman but didn't really take a good look at her until an hour and ten minutes later when I stood up to get off of the bus and I saw that it was Heather, one of my favorite cousins.

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.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Shoe Molding

I finished putting the new laminate floors into my office and bedroom a few weeks ago and subsequently vowed to never do a day of work again in my life.

Well, the problem with this plan was that I wasn't really done with the project. There was still something called "the shoe molding" that had to be put in. 

I knew about this mostly because on one of my trips out to the saw on the driveway while installing the floors I ran into Mr. Perfect and lamented (or lamintated HA! I'm pretty sure I stole that joke from one of your comments in the last post on this topic. But I probably had better hair when I said it so it really landed) the fact that the edges of the floor where it meets the walls didn't look very good because of the little gaps and Mr. Perfect was like "you're an idiot. That's what shoe molding is for." Except he said it much less patronizingly than Matt, who confirmed that this was true when I walked back into the house and he gave me a lecture about how I've owned a home for three years and still somehow don't know what the hell shoe molding is.

For all other idiots out there, shoe molding is the little piece that runs along the bottom of the baseboard. I always assumed that it was actually a part of the baseboard and not a wholly separate piece. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Strangerville Live III

All y'all. I told you, nay whined at you, about how essential oils are ruining my life. Today you get some evidence of it.

We have for you our third Strangerville Live show for your listening pleasure. The audio recording is rough in some places and you can unfortunately hear the screams of about 200 hundred witch doctors upstairs. But the stories are awesome and we don't like that not all of you can come to the shows and hear them so we're going to make you listen to them in your underwear. (Hopefully you are at home).

Also, Meg told me we have to get money or else her children will starve. We basically lived that scene from Sister Act II where Lauren Hill's mom is like "singin' does not put food on the table! GET YOUR MIND IN THOSE BOOKS!"

I made Skylar watch 200 youtube clips of Sister Act II recently when I found out he had never seen it and now his favorite thing to say to me whenever I talk about my hopes and dreams is "there are a lotta people on the streets singin' their shoulda woulda could-ofs!"

I digress.

The point is, Strangerville is getting more and more expensive and our future plans for Strangerville will continue to cost more and more money and I've had a couple of people ask me over the last year if there was some way to donate to Strangerville and I just held out my hand but they refused to put money in it. And two weeks ago we had a very drunk man called "Ben" repeatedly ask us if he could make a monthly donation to Strangerville.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Breaking & Entering

Look. I know. I should have been paying more attention. That's what a responsible person does. He pays attention to the dogs in his care. Because dogs can be unpredictable.

When I told Brianne about this I started the story with "you know how important it is to keep an eye on your child because you're also a parent" and then she wouldn't let me finish because she was screaming over the top of me "STOP COMPARING RAISING MY SON BY MYSELF TO HAVING A DOG."

Brianne doesn't understand that moms are supposed to stick together and not attack one another.

The point is, I knew better than to look away from Mr. Pants and Mr. Doodle when I had them off leash on a college campus yesterday.

Mr. Pants is staying with us this week which means that for the last three days this has been constantly happening:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Essential Oils Strike Back

Last week I told you about my essential oils nightmare.

All seventeen hundred ladies were scheduled to stay in my place until Saturday. They asked multiple times if they could extend their stay and I politely told them they could not each of those multiple times.

Last week was a stressful week for many reasons. Some of them work related. Some of them essential oils related. And toward the end of the week, many of them were Strangerville Live motivated.

Our show was on Friday evening, and we were frantically trying to get everything ready to go.

Look. I have control issues. I know this about myself. It's ok if things ultimately don't go exactly how I want them to go, but I plan and prepare for every possible contingency and I stress myself into oblivion in the process. So much so that on Thursday night I'm pretty sure Meg started slipping chill pills into my drink.

To give you an idea of just how obsessively controlling I get with these shows, I legit prepared and memorized two fifteen-minute stories just in case one or two of our storytellers had an appendectomy the night of the show. I stopped by the venue twice during the day on Friday to make sure the place hadn't flooded or burned to the ground or been taken over by zombies.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Essential Oils Are Killing Me

The other day I tweeted this:
Look. I don't actually know anything about essential oils except that they are oils and they are ESSENTIAL.

I don't know what they are. I don't know what they do. I don't know if they save or kill the dolphins. I. Just. Don't. Know.

Everything you read in this post might offend the rosy grandma scent right out of your house. And I invite you to tell me so.

But not until next week. Put it on your calendar. In one week you can send me an angry email about how I blasphemed a sacred multi-level marketing order.

This week, I want to just complain at you about essential oils without an ounce of opposition from you. IT'S MY RIGHT AS A TECHNICALLY-MILLENNIAL.

So you can fully understand the angst in the above tweet I must give you some background.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Romeo & Juliet

When I was in the sixth grade we had to put on a Shakespeare play. Our class was assigned to do Romeo and Juliet and I wanted to be Romeo so badly but the part went to my best friend to this day, Sam, who was a foot taller than all the rest of the kids.

Sam didn't really want to be Romeo because he was embarrassed about having to say love cliches to Juliet in front of his three older brothers who would most definitely make fun of him into oblivion after the show. He was so embarrassed, in fact, that he changed his final line in the play without telling anyone he was going to do it.

In the final scene of the 12-year-old version of the script we were provided, Romeo comes upon Juliet and thinks she's dead so he decides to kill himself (or maybe she really is dead at this point? I don't remember. I played the part of Tybalt, which meant that during this scene I was backstage practicing cartwheels with Melanie Jones. That's not a euphemism.).

Upon finding a dead Juliet, Romeo kills himself and in our script he was supposed to say, "with a kiss, I die." (Cue academy-award-winning death scene).

But Sam absolutely did not want to say "kiss" in front of his brothers. So he made an executive decision. And when the time came, he yelled out in the way 12-year-olds putting on a Shakespeare play do, "and with a breath, I die."


Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Binder of Documents

I poured over a binder of documents that if presented carefully should have helped someone in court. It was late, and I was tired. But it didn't matter.

The contention of litigation didn't care that I was tired.


That's what people do.

They spend their time just fighting each other. Sometimes over petty things. Sometimes over significant things.

And I get involved because they ask me to.

I went to law school in 2008 with this eternal optimism that if I worked myself to exhaustion, I could be good at this, and one day I could actually help people stop fighting and find peace.

Was that naive?

Part of me wants to insist it wasn't. Because if it was naive, that might mean that the calloused lawyers who make people hate lawyers are winning. But part of me wants to admit that it was naive. Because letting go of that optimism feels a little like relief.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The F Word

I was playing throw the ball with Duncan on campus at the liberal arts college next to my house when two female students approached and asked if they could pet him.

Eli: Sure! If you can get him to come to you.

Student 1: So do you live here on campus?

Eli: No. But thank you for thinking I'm young enough to be able to!

Student 1: Obviously I didn't think you were a student. I thought maybe you were a groundskeeper or something.

Eli: Like Hagrid?

Student 2: Anyway, we don't have age restrictions here. This is an inclusive safe space.

Eli: Sounds like my dating life!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Laminate Flooring Comes Straight From Hell, Part II

Before you read about today's drama, let me remind you SINCE YOU ALREADY FORGOT HOW COULD YOU that Strangerville Live is somehow already next. freaking. week.

I don't know where the time goes. Probably the same place all of Duncan's toys are going. If I ever find that place I'm going to get a lot of my chewed up socks back. 

The point is, you should get your tickets for our September 8 show right now if you haven't done so already. It's going to be so much fun.

Voice: It IS a lot of fun! I've been there and I loved it! 

Eli: Thanks, whoever said that!

You guys: Um, Eli, that sounded like your voice.

Eli: No, that came from over there.

You guys: No. It came from your mouth. You didn't even try to make it look like you weren't talking. Your mouth was moving the whole time. You would make a terrible ventriloquist.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Laminate Flooring Comes Straight From Hell

There's this room in my house that you have to walk through to get to my bedroom and I have no idea how any of the prior owners of this hundred-year-old place used these two rooms. I wish I could sit them all down and find out. But I can't. Because they are literally all dead. Well, except for the two guys who sold it to me. But they never lived in this place. They just flipped it and probably thought it was a miracle that some idiot was willing to buy a house that has a bedroom that is only accessible by walking through another bedroom.

When I bought the place I decided that I would make the back room my bedroom and the odd in-between room an office.

And thus began three years of treating the largest bedroom in my house as a "just throw it in there" space. Because despite my professional ambitions, I have never furnished or treated the room like anything even remotely close to an office.

Last week I panicked. Well, actually Skylar panicked. You see, on the very rare occasion that Skylar is in town and not earning Holy Virgin Mother Mary Celestial Being Status at some Marriott, he works from my kitchen table and keeps Mr. Doodle company.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Crime & Punishment

I have spent my weekend in home improvement hell and I need to tell you every single detail but right now I don't have time and at least 12 of my fingers are currently bleeding so I'm basically typing this all out with my nose which is unfortunate because I only type like four words a minute with my nose and that's only if they're short words and tomorrow is the eclipse which I accidentally referred to last week in a work meeting as the "apocalypse" and I didn't realize that I had done that until two days later when I was reliving the meeting because that's what you do when you have anxiety and now I'm wondering why nobody corrected me because it means that either they think I'm a crazy doomsdayer or they're all crazy doomsdayers or maybe nobody was listening to me and I don't know which of those is worse.

The point is, we have a new Strangerville episode and I'm tired and my fingers are bleeding and I just need you to listen to it. So do me a major solid and click on the little triangle play button below and tell me how sexy my voice is with its hair pushed back.

We love Strangerville. We love you. We love doing this. We love snuggies. And we love this episode. Please enjoy it. And I'm supposed to ask you to please become a Strangerville Patron.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Charlottesville Vigil

A long day went by. It was long for me but surely much longer for others.

I felt a heaviness that I've felt too much lately.

A heaviness because of the disgusting show of white supremacy and Nazism with which we were all assaulted this weekend. And because of so much of the hurtful response to it.

I came home tonight and turned on the TV, almost habitually, and saw live coverage of a Charlottesville vigil. The news station just pointed a camera at it for a very long time without commentary. The crowd of hundreds or thousands or it might as well have been millions broke into every familiar song together.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things I Never Thought Would Need To Be Said

White supremacy is wrong.

Nazis are evil. All of them.

Misogyny is disgusting.

Antisemitism is unacceptable.

White people are capable of committing terrorism.

Christians are capable of committing terrorism.

Hurting or killing people for standing up to white supremacy is terrorism.

This cannot be ignored or accepted.

Following up any of the above statements with a clause that begins with "but" is unhelpful at best and reprehensible at worst.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Just Sent You Something Really Important

Skylar: I just sent you something really important.

Eli: To my house?

Skylar: No. It's an email. You need to go look at it. It's one of the most important things I've ever done.

Eli: What is it?

Skylar: It's just . . . well I put something together to let you and Jolyn and Meg know how I feel about you.

Eli: Something sentimental?!

Skylar: Yes. And now I'm kind of embarrassed. It's not . . . look. It's not that big of a deal. I just wanted you guys to know how much you mean to me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Perfect Omelette

Originally published by Skylar in 2013 in Facebook notes, which Skylar does not understand nobody ever views:

The Perfect Omelette

I find myself in the kitchen today. The scene of many tragedies, but this time it will be different. I’m gonna make an omelette. Just an omelette. It’s so easy. People have been doing it for centuries. I think they found cave paintings of little cave people cooking little cave breakfasts. It should be instinctual. Plus I have a nonstick pan. It really shouldn’t be hard. I am a domestic goddess.  
  • Step 1: Research

Jamie Oliver makes the Perfect Omelette. Jamie Oliver makes the perfect man.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How Do You Know When It's Time For An Intervention?

As a follow-up to last week's post in which I implied that Matt may need an intervention if he allows one more puppy into his life, I give you the following:

This weekend I went to Jackson Hole Wyoming because I'm basically a cowboy now and I wanted to experience having my heart stop multiple times because DID YOU KNOW THEY JUST LET CATTLE STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGHWAY IN SOUTHERN IDAHO WHY DO THEY DO THIS. So I asked Matt if he could take Mr. Doodle for me for a couple of days.

Matt obliged and sort of acted like he wasn't really that excited about it but then at negative eleventy o clock in the morning on Friday he texted me and asked when Duncan was coming over and I thought that maybe he was just trying to plan his day but then I found out that he was just working from home and it didn't matter when Duncan came over and he just wanted to know because Matt wants ALL THE PUPPIES.

Then I drove to Jackson Wyoming and almost murdered all of the cows of America with my car and recklessness.

On Sunday I texted Matt to find out how things were going and he responded with this picture:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hard Conversations

For the last couple of years I've been silently obsessing over something about which I have been unable to come to a conclusion.

I don't love conflict. I'm usually a peacemaker. I'm not bad at dealing with conflict, but I don't like what it does to me. If I have a dispute with someone over something that really matters to me, it is usually difficult for me to get it out of my mind until that dispute is resolved.

What this means is that I tend to keep frustrations to myself in order to avoid rocking the boat.

Good thing I didn't decide to go into a career where people sometimes have disagreements!

Oh wait.

When it comes to representing other people's interests, I buck up and deal with the contention, even if it does have a negative effect on me.

I hadn't realized how damaging this flaw can be until a few years ago. By the time I was leaving Palau, my relationship with Daniel had completely soured. There were a lot of reasons for that, some of which I've talked about here before. But as I unpacked that complicated year over the next many months, I came to realize that a big reason things became so unnecessarily toxic was because I had clammed up and completely avoided being real with Daniel.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's His Dream Come True: Diving Into A Pile of Dogs

Matt's birthday was on Monday so we had his birthday party on Tuesday because we're badasses like that. He turned eleventy, but if you hear the way he says "now get off my lawn," you might think he's much older.

Being able to tell people to get off his lawn is a new thing for him. For the last many months, the yard at Broome Bungalow has looked like Xeriscaping gone wrong. (DID YOU GUYS KNOW THAT'S HOW IT'S SPELLED)

When he bought the place the yard was fine. Nothing fancy. But there was some grass and some bushes. Unfortunately there was no sprinkler system and, realizing that he was going to have to dig half the place up just to install one, he ultimately decided to just rip everything out and start over.

He really got sick of me saying some variation of "I really like what you've done to the place" every time I have visited him in the dirt-covered and dusty backyard over the last five months. But I don't feel that bad about it considering that he texted me at 11:47 last night to inform me that the Strangerville Live image I put on Monday's post "sucked" but then graciously offered me an "A for effort." He then emailed me with a cleaner version, which I have since used to replace the old one.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Falling Out With Jolyn Metro

One of my coworkers told me yesterday that his wife is very concerned about Jolyn. So much so that she asked him to check with me and make sure that "things are ok."

Apparently she has assumed that Jolyn and I had a falling out and for that reason Jolyn has been removed from Strangerville. FIRED. ELIMINATED.

This made me sad because I was really hoping people were instead developing my VERY PLAUSIBLE conspiracy theory that Meg has been slowly poisoning Jolyn for 18 months and she's coming after me next and by Christmas and Strangerville will both be renamed and Meg Worship, respectively.


But apparently, instead, at least one person thinks that Jolyn and I split up because of creative differences like Simon and Garfunkel (obviously I'm Simon). But it's not true. Jolyn and I have NO creative differences.

Actually that's a lie. We have one significant creative difference.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Our Big Announcement

It is with great excitement that we announce our next Strangerville Live show, an event that is already being described by OWN as "probably a safe place to be in the event of a flood or goat stampede."

We are thrilled to announce our September storytellers, so much so that Jolyn and Meg have had to threaten me to "stop talking about it" and "you sound like a crazy person" and "put your pants back on. Seriously. This is a church." We have a brilliantly-hilarious line-up. In addition to appearances by Meg Walter and yours truly, our September 8 show will feature:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

TSA: Sir, is this your bag?

Eli: Yes.

TSA: So this giant bottle of self-tanning lotion belongs to you?

Eli: Oh. No. I don't know . . . uh . . .

TSA: What about this Hello Kitty pocket knife?

Eli: Maybe can we talk more quietly?

TSA: And this book called "Love the Inner You" forward by Oprah Winfrey?

Eli: Definitely not mine.

TSA: Sir, are you saying someone tampered with your bag?

Eli: That's actually not even mine at all. You can just keep it.

And then I bought new clothes.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Why is Duncan always looking at the camera like he's Jim from The Office.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pioneer Day Marathon

Yesterday was Pioneer Day and Tami's birthday so obviously Tami and I did our favorite activity--the one that brought about her existence--and ran the Pioneer Day marathon.

A few things you should know about this experience:

1. I, Eli Whittletown McCann, have gained nearly 30 pounds since November ("What!? You look so fit and beautiful!" stop it you guys).

2. I signed up for this race a few months ago, thinking that having one on the calendar would, oh, I don't know, motivate me to change my life.

3. There were exactly two pairs of pants left in my house that I was still able to button up. Notice I said "were." On Sunday, a button violently popped off of one of those two pairs when I bent over to pick up a piece of fried chicken that I was 10-second-ruling from the floor STOP JUDGING ME.

4. Be ye warned, oh ye little ones, when you turn 33 you are no longer able to eat and behave however you want and anticipate absolutely zero repercussions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Medical School

If you've been reading Stranger for a while, these might be your general impressions about the people of Stranger:

Bob and Cathie: Hippies who don't want their children to be exposed to any form of indecency.

Matt: Knows how to do everything and speaks to his family in such a strong southern accent that he's technically bilingual.

Jolyn: Inevitably responsible for the upcoming Apocalypse.

Brianne: Eli's organic life support.

Herminda: Bravely forges on after being exposed to repeated accidental nudity.

Rebecca: A (welcome) complication in Eli's life.

Skylar: Completely unaware of anything that happened prior to 2011.

And if the above is true, that's actually a shame. Because it means that you don't know anything about Jolyn's surprising talent for braiding armpit hair. And it also means that you don't know that Skylar is actually a genius and he's going to support all of us one day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rebecca and Pillows

Ring ring

Eli: Becky?!


Eli: No. You have tried to call me 2 times.


Eli: Someone was trying to murder you?

Rebecca: Someone is always trying to murder me! That's why I call you!

Eli: I would encourage you to reach out to an emergency response team and not a 33-year-old man 2,000 miles away who just realized he has 11 pillows in his house despite having never bought a pillow in his life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The World of Embarrassment

We have somehow arrived at Episode 18 in our Strangerville journey. I don't know why it took us so long to do this episode. It is basically It Just Gets Stranger's theme music. Today, three incredible stories about truly the most embarrassing things I can imagine happening to a human.

And that's coming from ME. You know. The guy who once unnecessarily wandered around a Korean airport completely naked.

Today's episode contains a very special treat thanks to all of you. Sometime ago I asked you to share your most embarrassing moments on the Stranger Facebook page. You delivered. And then some. Meg and I were delighted to include some of our favorites from your offering in this episode. So check it out, and feel a little closer to your wonderfully-awkward Stranger family.

As always, thanks for your incredible support of Strangerville and the outpouring of love as we have embarked on this beautiful journey, collecting stories and sharing the best parts of life with you. We love you.

Please enjoy:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I swear to you I'm going camping this weekend. I KNOW. This basically isn't even America anymore. I've been writing Stranger for hundreds of years now and during that time I have alerted you no less than 75 thousand and eleventy times that camping is a lie perpetrated by the Chinese to make us all communists. And I know that it's basically unconstitutional that I would do this more than once. AND I'M SORRY OK?!

Please enjoy some Pictures & Distractions:
Post-work snuggles.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Waiting For Brunch

This weekend my 14-year-old niece who is 1,000 times cooler than I could ever dream of being and who will probably never again go anywhere in public with her haggard and embarrassing uncle came to stay with me.

I demand this from her from time to time because it makes me feel like I have friends. I am basically this:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The One Day

Last year, in honor of one of the top 1,200 best lines from the cinematic classic Mean Girls, I tweeted on our nation's birthday the following:

For those unfamiliar, there's a line in Mean Girls when the protagonist's voice-over narration says that "Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."

I congratulated myself for my well-placed reference, one which was hardly noticed by my seven or so perpetually-disappointed Twitter followers who have correctly surmised by this point that I still don't really understand how Twitter works.

Then, a few weeks later, it was Pioneer Day/Tami's birthday and I realized that the joke would have been much funnier on Pioneer Day. Never one to let an opportunity to recycle a joke and then beat it to death go by, I went for it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

On Sunday Gmac told me she recently found a restaurant pager in her purse and she doesn't remember where it came from so she's going to carry it around and ask every restaurant she visits until she figures it out.

Somewhere, there is a table patiently waiting for an 85-year-old woman.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Utah! This is the Place!

Last week Meg found herself in a Pioneer Day crisis AND IT WASN'T EVEN PIONEER DAY.

She desperately needed a non-copyrighted audio version of the State Song, UTAH! This Is The Place! for some project at work because Meg has a very weird job.

When you find yourself dealing with paranormal activity, you call the Ghostbusters. When there's a bank robbery in Gotham, you call Batman. When you need to remember how good bread is, you call Oprah. But when there's a Pioneer Day crisis, you call the hell out of Eli Whittlebottom McCann.

So that's what Meg did. She called me right up. She asked me if I could possibly figure out how to play the State Song on the piano, record it for her, and send her that recording.

A few things you should know about my piano skills: they are exactly impressive enough that people ask me to do things but not quite impressive enough that I'm able to do those things.

I asked Meg if she at least had some sheet music I could look at. I don't know why I asked her this. I sight-read piano music at a Kindergarten-equivalent-reading level. In any event, she told me that after searching the ends of the Earth, she was convinced that sheet music for our State Song does not exist.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

So, are you like famous?

Attorney: I was googling you recently to find an article you wrote and I found out there's someone else out there with your name who is kind of famous.

Eli: What do you mean?

Attorney: When I googled "Eli McCann" some stuff came up for an attorney also named Eli McCann and that person is apparently some kind of celebrity.

Eli: Oh. Well, I'm definitely not a celebrity, but I do have a small web presence outside of lawyering so I guess you have discovered that.

Attorney: So . . . you're saying the stuff I saw was actually about you?

Eli: Yeah. I hope you didn't go back too far. Or read too much. Some of it is probably embarrassing now that I think about it.

Attorney: You dated Britney Spears?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cathie with a C

My mother, Cathie with a C Whittle McCann (her full legal name), was a force to be reckoned with from the years 1978 to 2004 during which she was legally responsible for the minors in her care.

That's 26 years, in case you need help with the math.

For over two and a half decades, Cathie with a C reared her four children. And her four children attempted exactly zero shenanigans during that time. Because Cathie with a C had no interest in shenanigans.

She wasn't a yeller. But her stern voice was far scarier than any yelling that has ever been done by any person.

Cathie with a C was not viewed by anyone as a cruel or cold person. Her one greatest miracle, the one for which she may be canonized one day, was her ability to instill the fear of God into her offspring while being simultaneously wholly approachable.

Cathie with a C ran an organized ship. Her giant squiggly handwriting appeared on all 365 days on the hanging calendar loosely strapped to her pantry door, detailing every appointment of every one of her children. This calendar was perpetually up-to-date, strictly followed, and consistently read into the minutes of the weekly mandatory attendance family meetings that Cathie with a C conducted.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Puppy For Sale

There's a puppy at my house who has decided that every hour of the night is the best possible time to scratch at any closed door, bark, and demand to be allowed to go outside.

THIS puppy.

I've been doing this thing where I try to reason with him and help him understand what night time is and what it means to have to get up early and go to a job and how I'm not as young as I used to be and how money doesn't grow on trees OMG I AM MY FATHER.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

I have a red eye flight to Boston tonight (thank you for your prayers) so I took Duncan over to Meg's house this evening to drop him off. She watched him last time I was out of town as well so he's used to her house. It's extra convenient to leave him there because she has a dog named Ollie and Duncan already knew that dog name because of Mr. Pants so it just made sense.

When we pulled up and I opened the car door, Duncan took a flying leap and dead sprinted in through Meg's open back door because Meg is irresponsible like that.  By the time I finished bringing his mounds of furniture and personal items into the house, he had already forgotten me. Duncan has a new family now.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Made A New Best Friend On Twitter

1996: "The Internet is going to allow people to connect in such important ways!"


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The World of a Special Need

It's a big day in Strangerville. Jolyn and I got divorced. She took the kids, the house, the car, and my entire rubber stamp collection. I got her wigs.

Because Jolyn is going to be starting grad school in the fall and because she will be away for a lot of the summer, she decided to retire her jersey. Did I just make a sports reference? Am I an athlete now? Did this just become a sports blog?

Meg Walter, whom you know from such hits at Strangerville Live, is stepping in to fill Jolyn's medically-alarming big shoes as my co-host at Strangerville. Jolyn is going to continue to co-produce Strangerville Live and assist with some Strangerville production and Shorts. Nonetheless, we will miss her profanity and comedic nudity.

When Jolyn agreed to help me launch Strangerville over a year and a half ago, I really had no idea what we were getting into. The journey we've gone on together during the last 18 months, in which we interviewed nearly 60 people, produced dozens of great stories, and started our own live show, will forever be an incredibly happy memory for me.

Thank you, Jo Metro. I love you.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Duncan has been going through this phase since he was born where he likes to get up in the middle of the night, jump off of the bed, and then scratch my bedroom door until I take him outside so he can poop the sins of all mankind even though he already did this right before we went to bed and eleventy times throughout the day before that. The Internet told me that he doesn't actually need to go poop in the middle of the night and that he's only doing it because I'm enabling him by getting up and letting him outside. Which kind of made me annoyed at the Internet because why does it always think it knows everything, including when we need to poop?

So last night I tried to ignore him and I thought it was working because he got really quiet. Then after a while I opened my eyes to see where he was and he was standing over my head, looking into my soul, and now I'm 45% convinced he's a dementor and he was preparing to practice the Kiss of Death.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Broken Windows

I have two giant windows at the front of my house. The larger one is five feet tall and nine feet wide. Just one, giant, single pane. It basically covers the entire wall in my living room.

When the family who had the house built sat down with the architect 100 years ago, that conversation went like this:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Saw Wonder Woman

Yesterday Skylar told me that everyone has to see Wonder Woman and then talk about how much they like it because if you don't it means you hate women. So I agreed to go because I don't want people thinking I hate women considering that my mother currently is one.

Ten seconds after acquiescing to the manipulation, Skylar informed me that he had purchased the last two tickets at the neighboring theater for that night.

I want you to know that I spelled "acquiescing" correctly on the very first try. TAKE THAT, GRAMMER NATZI'S'!

Because he purchased tickets for a very popular film so late, the only two seats available were so close to the screen that I actually got radiation poisoning during the viewing.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pictures from my Phone & Weekly Distractions

Mr. Duncan Doodle has been doing this thing where he starts following me around as I'm getting ready for work because he senses that I'm about to leave him. And he makes himself look as pathetic as possible, which works in persuading me to stay home a little longer exactly 125% of the time.

I never thought I would find myself in a place where I was only the second best manipulator in the house.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:
Caught spyin' on The Perfects.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Life Changing Library

Skylar: That reminds me.

Eli: Of what?

Skylar: Of that time in the library when that guy tried to change my life.

Eli: Ok. You've piqued my interest. Go on.

Skylar: I was in college. It was a winter day. I was standing in line when a mysterious man turned to me and tried to change my life.

Eli: How did he try to change your life?

Skylar: By saying something.

Eli: By saying what?

Skylar: Something ominous. 

Eli: This story is killing me. 

Skylar: He did it with one sentence. 

Eli: Say the thing!

Skylar: I was a student at Boston College.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

CSI Salt Lake City

I pulled up to my house on Thursday and there was a cop car and a CSI van out front.

I had the following instinctual reactions in the following order:

1. Keep driving; never look back.

2. Pull in, act surprised at whatever they accuse you of doing.

3. Not "act." Of course it would actually be a surprise. You're not a criminal, Eli.

4. Actually, can you go to jail for stealing Netflix from your friend Corey for nine years?

5. Oh, and Hulu Plus. And Amazon Prime. And some food from Lynn's house whenever she goes out of town.

6. No. They wouldn't call the CSI van to the scene of the crime for Netflix.