fri>sat>sun.

How the weekend went:

seven

strip1

goodies1

chux

muffin

shoe

And: Homewood Reserve, breakfast at Pamela’s, funky old furniture that was too expensive to buy, grill cover at Rollier’s, Spice Island Tea House, nightcap at AA’s Living Room, holy crap it’s snowing again, “How about a weather story?”

Hope your weekend was a fun one too.

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look: bullets.

Hi. It’s snowing. And I’m not skiing. Yet.

In the meantime, here’s a few things:

  • For the first time in the history of Uncle Crappy, the domain I should have been using all along is active. Unclecrappy.com will direct you back here. Try it for yourself: unclecrappy.com
  • Yes. The site looks a little different. Just a switch of templates. I haven’t tinkered for a while.
  • I’m still going to Seven Springs on Friday. A couple days ago I told you the high temp was to reach 7 degrees. That’s since been revised; the high is expected to be: 1. Yes. One freaking degree. The good news? They could get around 8 inches of new snow between now and then.
  • This will mean a lot to a few of you: There’s no FOG weekend this year. You’ll get an email soon, or you can check here for a quick explanation. We’re bumming over this.
  • We may try to do something fun when it gets warm, though. Stay tuned.
  • Last weekend’s ice skating adventure was a Tweetup of sorts. There’s another that just popped up, one that has the potential to make a difference in the lives of a few people. It’s our first TweetUp HeatUp — show up at the Harris Grill on Jan. 26, meet all those people you’ve been tweeting with … and bring an article of men’s winter clothing with you. We’ll pass them on to the shelter at the East Libery Presbyterian Church. Details are here. Thanks to Jennie and others for putting this together.
  • Maybe Jennie can tell me who the others are?
  • I just looked at the Harris’ site to grab the link — and they’re hosing Groundhoggapalooza on Jan. 31. Hmmmm…
  • So I don’t have to think about football any more than necessary: The Indians’ pitchers and catcher report to spring training in 28 days.

delicious.

white_castle

When Uncle Crappy’s readers have a question, I try to respond.

A search that has been bringing people here a lot recently: “Closest White Castle to Pittsburgh.”

I’m not sure why Mr. Google thinks I’m an expert on White Castle — and all the associated steamy, luscious, oniony goodness — but I’ll let someone else worry about that. Here’s your answer:

1) 2900 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio This is actually just off I-77 between Akron and Canton, easily accessible from a nearby exit. Google Maps says this is 110 miles from my front door in Brighton Heights, and that it’ll take 1 hour and 58 minutes for me to get there. I know for a fact, however, I can get there much faster.

2) 5095 Northfield Road, Bedford, Ohio I can’t vouch for this White Castle personally, but it looks to be a pretty easy one to find as well. It’s in Cleveland’s east suburbs, kind of out by Solon and Chagrin Falls. From my house? About 115 miles or 2 hours and 6 minutes.

challenge.

Each Christmas Eve, The Wife and I make a point of taking a quiet night for ourselves. The month to that point has been filled with shopping, decorating and other mandatory fun; the rest of the month promises to be just as insane, driving to various Christmases with our families and friends.

We both love all that stuff, but — December 24 is ours. We make something nice for dinner, and crack open those bottles of wine or beer we’ve been sitting on for a while.

This year was no different; I like taking the opportunity to make crabcakes, one of a handful of dishes in which I’m completely confident.

In fact, I was feeling so good about how things were going during this year’s preparations that I Tweeted something about thinking that my crabcakes were probably better than yours.

ClumberKim couldn’t pass up a taunt like that. And LadyD — @onedamnthing on Twitter — saw an opportunity. Here’s the exchange, starting at the bottom with Kim’s reply:

caketalk

So. I’m ready for a crabcake throwdown. We have two contestants and a judge, and I’m sure we could find some other volunteers to help eat up the scraps.

crabcakescook

Ladies? Can we make this happen?

2008 > 2009

It’s about 11:10 p.m. on Dec. 31. This won’t be posted for another hour, but I have some things I wanted to share about the past year, and I thought this would a good time to get started.

At the moment, I’m sitting on a bright red-orange couch in the middle of my new living room. On the television is a DVD of a 1987 Grateful Dead show in Oakland. The New Year’s Eve show was a tradition for GD for many, many years; it’s now a tradition for me as well, going back as far as the year we were skiing at Breckenridge and I badgered the DJ at KSMT to play an hour of Dead starting at the stroke of midnight Mountain Time. Maybe it’s a little odd, but that brief shot of weirdness always does a nice job of making me feel centered for the year to come.

Come to think of it, I didn’t really have to push the guy all that hard…

—–

In the five years, I’ve kept Uncle Crappy (the blog) alive, I’ve stopped nearly every year, sometime in December or January, and made some kind of statement about what happened the year before and what I was looking for in the year to come. I’m generally an optimistic person, and I usually made grand, but sort of nonspecific predictions about what was to come.

And I was usually wrong.

Last year, though, I was a little more specific, and as it turned out, I did pretty well:

  • I said that I wanted to start a podcast or two; I didn’t do that, although I did tape and edit a show featuring The Wife and me. Let’s go ahead and make this a goal for 2009.
  • I said I would do a better job at posting regularly here. I think I’ve done that, and I think it shows. In the last three months of the year, my daily page views have doubled; I’m not sure who I have to thank for that, but whoever it is: Thanks. That’s pretty cool.
  • I predicted I’d weasel my way into some additional new media projects at work. This has been mildly successful, even with the roadblocks erected by layoffs and other limitations at the paper. We have a 2-month-old Twitter account which already has about 70 followers. We’ve continued to do video, slideshows and audio presentations, even after the newsroom’s biggest proponent of new media tools was switched to a different department.
  • I said we’d buy a house. We did that, and we couldn’t possibly be happier about it. The purchase will mean we have less time and less money than we had before, but to have a place we own … it’s hard to describe, but it feels very good.

—–

There’s one other thing I accomplished this year, something that wasn’t on my list from a year ago. I’ve met a ton of people who have become very good friends in the past 12 months. I’ve always been grateful for the friendships I’ve kept over time, some going back to grade school. But I’m equally grateful for my new friendships, and I think they’re going to go a long way in keeping me young — OK, a little younger, maybe — in the years to come.

How cool are these folks? There may be as many as a dozen of them joining me in a few hours to jump in the Mon, as a commemoration of the start of 2009. No one is doing this because of me, but I asked the question a couple of days ago, and a surprisingly large number of friends — by which I mean idiots, just like me — responded. I may be a bit drunk at the moment, but I mean this with all the sincerity I can muster — I love you guys.

—–

I ended 2007 — and started 2008 — with a bottle of the 2006 version of Gratitude, the barleywine produced every year by East End Brewing. Other than a very small taste of the previous year’s vintage, I hadn’t had Gratitude before; I was not only blown away, but it seemed to set a nice, positive tone for the year that was just getting underway. I’m not particularly superstitious, but listen — Gratitude was my first beer of 2008, and that year turned out to be pretty good. So I’m doing the same thing this time around; it’s about 11:45 p.m. now, and I just cracked open the 2007 Gratitude I picked up a day ago at the brewery. Here’s hoping it brings similar results.

And here’s hoping 2009 is everything you want it to be.

mobile.

I’m writing this from the comfort of my living room, unencumbered by wires or The Wife, who swears she can hear me typing from three rooms away.

I’m able to accomplish this thanks to the new white box sitting on the desk upstairs — yep, I finally got an Apple base station and set me up some wireless in the house.

This is one of those things I’ve always thought about doing, but never got around to it. Now is the time, because as of Sunday, both our guest room and our third bedroom — otherwise known as my room — will be occupied, and I won’t have the kind of access to the computer I normally have.

Not that I couldn’t give it up any time I wanted to. I just don’t want to.

So. I got it set up last night and have been enjoying the speedyfast iPhone – and the plodding old iBook that can at least get me going on the internet. At speeds rivaling dial-up!

Ah. No matter. The point is: I’m sitting in my living room posting to uncle Crappy. And I’m happy about that.

* * *

photo2

In other news, the tree has lights on it. The ornaments will come tomorrow, followed by presents and probably a cat, although perhaps not in that order. See you then.