Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Obvious, Even

I just came across a picture in my phone from 2015. It's the first picture I ever took with Skylar.

We had met in person for the first time just the day before this. I had flown to Cleveland to go to a wedding with him. I thought I was being crazy. I've told that whole story before.

I felt like a crazy person for trekking halfway across the country to meet up with an internet stranger, but I convinced myself this would make a fun story no matter how it turned out. I felt like when I looked back much later in my life I would probably regret not taking chances like this and being a little more spontaneous while I was young and single. There was very little chance that I would later regret having done this. I mean, if it went bad enough, I would just be murdered and therefore not really able to regret anything at all.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

This Supposed End of the World

On Friday night Skylar started having a meltdown.

To give you some perspective, his meltdowns don't look like mine. Mine are like the Chernobyl disaster. His are more of a "I've slightly burned the crust."

But since he has them so infrequently, they are very unsettling when they do happen.

I was recently trying to explain to some coworkers what it's like to live with him. He's unlike anyone I've ever met. Somehow simultaneously productive and accomplished while also blissfully unaware. "He's the only perfectly calm and easygoing person I've ever met who is completely frozen by crisis," I said.

We're lucky that we're different in this way. I'm a constant stress case. Every muscle in my body has been constantly flexed since at least 2008. His daily energy, on the other hand, is very much like those old Mickey Mouse cartoons back when he looked much creepier, but was usually seen briskly walking, his arms swinging in front of him in enthusiastic propulsion, a chipper whistle coming from his puckered lips.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Does This Count As Pictures & Distractions Who's In Charge Here?

I was going to do Pictures & Distractions but then I got distracted (ha!) and started word vomiting. I guess the below does include some pictures and links, so maybe this counts? I don't know.

I was going to start this off by bragging to you about how I spent my weekend painting my garage door and patio in the backyard and I went to pull up a picture and somehow clicked on something on Instagram, which turned out to be a "live video."

As you know, I'm what the kids call "not tech savvy." I've seen people do these live videos before but I guess I just always assumed this was not a resource available to me for some reason. WELL. As it turns out, IT IS available to me, and if there's one thing I like more than watching TV it's BEING tv (hashtag attention seeker).

Being the international superstar that I am, upwards of SEVENTEEN PEOPLE tuned into this thing. Now I can't walk around my house without sunglasses on and TMZ hired a new person to just cover my life. That person followed me around for a week and then got fired when there was nothing sensational to report besides my skin-care regimen WHICH IS OUTRAGEOUS.

It was all very fun and very exciting and I think we should do a Quarantine Stranger Show where everyone gets their favorite not-that-I-know-what-that-is-Cathie beverage and joins us on Instagram one night for a story or something. Or is that lame? Is this a bad idea? I've been locked in my house so many days in a row now that I can't tell whether this is a bad idea. Someone reassure me here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Earthquake Drill

In 1993, Jordan Ridge Elementary School revamped its earthquake training efforts. “We’re going to take emergency preparedness more seriously,” we were told. Prior to this, there had been an assembly once a year during which Principal Anderson stood on the two-foot stage in front of several hundred kids sitting with their legs criss-crossed on the gym floor, telling us to “duck and cover” if ever called upon by mother nature.

That was pretty much it. There was no actual earthquake practice. No specific conversation about what one would really look like. Not even doomsday warnings of The Big One wreaking havoc on our community.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Role We'll Play

Last week Meg told me about an app called "My Talking Pet" which allows you to upload a photo of your pet and then speak into your phone and the app makes your pet's mouth move like it's talking. Obviously I immediately downloaded this app and paid the $1,600 monthly service fee for this and started using it nonstop.

Well on Friday morning Meg texted me and Skylar "We should do the Imagine video but with our dogs."

In case you've been avoiding the internet, which, if so, what have you even been doing? But in the event that you have not seen this yet, last week 20-something celebrities released truly the cringiest video on the entire internet of each of them taking turns earnestly singing a line of John Lenon's Imagine.

They made it as a gift for us--something to help bring us all together during this trying time. Well, it worked. Because everyone got unified around mocking the video relentlessly.

So when Meg suggested we use My Talking Pet to dub over the mostly off-key vocal performances to short clips of our friends' pets, we obviously had to cancel all of our responsibilities for the day and make this happen.

We started gathering photos of pets who wanted to participate in our imagine project. Meg and I used the sound from the celebrity video to make the individual clips. Then Skylar, who is going to be someone's doctor someday, used his video editing skills to put it all together. And we are honestly so proud of the result:

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Yesterday we were woken up by an earthquake, which, in case you've never experienced this, is a super crazy way to start your day.

It happened at some ungodly hour, like 7:00 or something. It took me a few seconds to realize what was happening. There was this very loud rumble and the whole house seemed to be rocking.

Before I could say a word, suddenly Skylar, who was apparently now awake, flew out of bed and screamed "OH GOD IS THIS AN EARTHQUAKE." Then he ran through the house screaming the F-word, which is a very funny thing to hear come out of a person's mouth when that person's typical swear of choice is "ah fiddlesticks darn fudge monkeys!"

I don't know how long the earthquake lasted, partly because I was asleep when it started. In my memory it simultaneously was over in a second and took the entire morning. Apparently it measured at 5.7.

Somehow nothing in our house fell or broke. I honestly have no idea how that was possible. The light fixtures in our kitchen and dining room were swinging like a straight couple in Draper. A few things on shelves moved closer to the edge. But otherwise, nothing.

It's really hard to explain what it feels like to wake up to an earthquake while on lock-down because of a worldwide pandemic. The whole rest of the day felt like a weird dream. We kept having aftershocks, and knowing that another one could come at any second sort of put the town on edge.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

More Social Distancing

Skylar read some advice on the internet for couples who are now stuck at home together all day. It said to come up with an imaginary coworker and blame everything on that person so I've been listening to him say stuff all day like "Oh dear, it looks like Betty left all her dishes in the sink again. How inconsiderate."

It's not really helping things. Even he has to admit that. Only yesterday he spent an unfortunate amount of time making a graph:

He tweeted that out and then an hour later he gasped and said he realized he got the red and yellow lines backwards.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Social Distancing

We're social distancing at our house right now. It started around Thursday, kind of in phases. I went to my office in the morning, Skylar went to school. Later that day we found out the University of Utah was moving all classes online for the remainder of the semester. I started packing up my office to bring it all home not long after that.

Hereby set up for werk.

Now we're shut in the house together trying to find out how strong our marriage is. On Saturday we upped our "use Duncan to fight with each other" game. We've been pretty good at this for a while. But now we're starting to do it so habitually that I don't think either of us even notices when it's happening anymore.

Friday, March 13, 2020

The BYU Honor Code

Hi, Strangers. We're self-quarantining at my house since the whole world is exploding. Bob and Cathie called me yesterday to tell me church was canceled. They sounded so alive. Then they read multiple memes about the Coronavirus they had found on Facebook and giggled into the phone.

Skylar, Duncan, and I are taking turns sharing our one Snuggie between the three of us. How, after all these years, do I still only have the one Snuggie? I should have started a collection by now.

Anyway, I wrote a thing for The Beehive about being gay at BYU in 2008. There's been a lot of discussion of the topic in recent weeks--lot's of fighting about the Honor Code and LGBTQ people. I've mostly avoided letting myself get angry, because I don't know if that would be productive for me and plus I don't have time to be angry because eating and TV.

I felt like I needed to share a perspective on this that I think is maybe getting a little lost amid the technical details, so that's what I did. I would love it if you would check it out here and give it some thought.

Love you all. Stay safe.

1+1=Furrrever, even when we're quarantined.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The BYU Honor Code

It was 2008. I had enrolled in a conflict resolution class at BYU. I needed the credits to finish my business minor. I had been in Provo for three years by this point and I was getting ready to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. The coming fall I would start attending the law school just on the other side of campus.

The class was small—only ten of us. We were supposed to do an exercise that day. The instructor had asked us to share with the group an opinion that might be unpopular so we could practice disagreeing without arguing by using some tactics we had just studied, or something like that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Twilight: A Comprehensive Review

A couple weeks ago I finally sat myself down and watched me a Twilight and friends, I am so confused.

I did it so we could record this episode of Hive Mind. I watch a lot of . . . unique programming because I'm commanded to do so by Mob Boss Meg.

Somehow I had gone eleventy years from the time the first book came out until a couple weeks ago with almost no exposure to the Twilight universe. Basically all I knew about it was there were some books about a vampire that were converted into a series of films where the muscles in Kristen Stewart's face were completely paralyzed.

That's honestly it.

And then I sat down and started this film. Matt came over and watched it with me. He was sort of tricked into it. I had texted him "come to my house! I'm ordering Chinese food and watching a classic movie!" The moment it started he began yelling at me in such a strong southern accent that it retroactively changed the outcome of the Civil War.

This is basically the plot of this movie:

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Girl Scout

Yesterday I tweeted this thing that has gone viral. I don't understand how Twitter works but I think this means I'm the president of the Philippines now.

I had just left the gym and decided to stop by the grocery store on my way home to buy stuff to make pizza. When I pulled up I saw the girl scouts out front at a table selling Girl Scout cookies.

Like many people, I have a very abusive relationship with Girl Scout cookies. They enter my life for a mere few weeks every year. I take myself to the brink of Type 2 diabetes. And then they suddenly disappear without warning.

As I started walking toward the table of Girl Scout cookies I thought that maybe I wouldn't go down that road this year. Maybe if I didn't start the cycle of abuse in the first place I wouldn't end up gutted with abandonment next month.

But as I was contemplating this, and right when I got about ten feet from the table, I saw out of the corner of my eye a man start walking from another direction, also toward the cookies. He had a huge grin on his face. Probably late 40s. He was rubbing his hands together with a very "let's make a deal" energy. A bounce in his step. He looked like he was coming home.

He was about as far from the table when he said it as I was.

The dude SHOUTED "my bitches are BACK."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Please turn in your keys, you're fired.

We're swamped with last-minute show panics since Strangerville Live is in about 24-ish hours from the time I'm writing these words, so I'm not putting up a Pictures & Distractions post right now. Instead I've decided to do an interpretive dance for you.

Hit it! [Someone starts playing Hold On by Wilson Phillips. Eli does an extremely impressive dance for a man of his advanced years and exceptional hair.]

You're welcome for that. Now pay me back by getting your tickets and coming to our show tomorrow (or tonight. Or yesterday. Or last week I DON'T KNOW WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO READ THIS I'M NOT PRESCIENT.)

The show is Friday night (March 6) at 8:00 at The Gateway in Salt Lake City. The venue is called Kiln. It's lovely. We'll have free snacks for you to eat or throw at us. I think there will even be soda and wine NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT WINE IS THAT'S PROBABLY NOT WHY MY TEETH ARE RED.

Bring friends. Come have fun with us. I promise to make you laugh or cry or both or neither.*

*Offer not valid outside of Prince Edward Island

Tuesday, March 3, 2020


[Strangerville Live is on Friday! Get your tickets! It shall be a good time! Click HERE.]

Eli: Did you hear we have to start washing our hands?

Skylar: Uh . . .

Eli: Yeah. There's like a super contagious disease going around right now so we have to wash our hands after we touch stuff like the bathroom door handle and payphones.

Skylar: Are you . . . using payphones?

Eli: You really need to educate yourself. This thing is bad. We really have to start washing our hands.

Skylar: No, I'm aware of the Corona Virus. But I'm concerned about the word "start"--

Eli: And coughing and stuff. Like, you have to be extra careful not to cough on people right now because there's like a 50% chance of dying if you catch this.

Skylar: Well, no. Actually--

Eli: It's basically worse than Ebola. And Smallpox. And tetanus.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sugar Daddy

[You guys. Strangerville Live is this Friday, March 6, at 8:00 in Salt Lake City. Get tickets now or else I'll turn this internet around. You can find them HERE.]

Skylar likes to complain that he doesn't get hit on. It's a very strange thing to whine about to the person you have vowed to love and to serve and worship for all time in a ceremony before your friends and family and gay God.

I think that's what we promised. I'm not totally sure. It was hard to hear over the sounds of the panicked screaming in my head.

The point is, Skylar thinks I'm going to be a sympathetic ear when he tells me "no one ever even flirts with me or tries to get me to violate the bonds of our marriage."

"I mean, obviously I would turn them down," he promises, you know, like he did on September 28, 2019 at a very expensive party in the mountains where I was forced to wear a suit for 10 straight hours.

"It's just so unfair because you always get hit on," he tells me.

This is not true. But Skylar is convinced I spend my days batting away dozens of potential suitors. I honestly don't know where he came up with this idea. Whenever he's with me he thinks every person we encounter is trying to have an affair with me. The barista at the coffee shop. The flight attendant. Anderson Cooper, who Skylar is convinced can see me through the TV.