a what?

If you ever want to try something funny, ask an employee of an Apple Store, like this one in Shadyside, for a piece of paper and a pencil. Blank stares. Mild confusion. “Um, can I just email you a list or something?” It took five minutes.


Helpfully, ESPN has already played Saturday’s game, via video game NCAA ’07 on one of the game platforms, I don’t remember which. What we learned:

Troy locked up the Heisman by throwing for three touchdowns vs. only one interception, and running for an additional 48 yards. Gonzo had two of the catches and Teddy caught the TD that sealed the game. Pittman also ran for a touchdown.

The defense was tested, especially when Troy threw his fourth-quarter interception, but they held UM to a field goal on the ensuing drive. The final score? 28-20.

We also learned that it’s either going to be snowing in Columbus on Saturday or very foggy. Maybe both. You’ve been warned.


I got in touch with my artsy side today, prompting a venture into our local JoAnn Fabrics store. Men apparently appear at JoAnn Fabrics — at least, this JoAnn Fabrics — frequently enough that no one bothered to look my way as I wandered around. But once I picked up the bolts I needed and headed over to the counter to get it cut I started getting “The Look” — you know, “Um, what is he doing here?”

It got even better when I briefly outlined my plans for the manager, so I could ask her a question about whether I needed elastic thread for my project. The manager looked a bit startled; the woman behind me in line also looked puzzled as she answered my question.

And when I was waiting on the cash register, another woman asked what I planned to do with my fabric and my thread of the non-elastic variety. I explained, and she looked like she was trying not to laugh as she processed my answer. She asked me about The Wife’s sewing machine and was even more surprised when I said the sewing machine in the house was actually mine.

No problem; that’s the reaction I expect. I came home and made a kick-ass whatever it is that I was making — which I will unveil at next week’s tailgate party. I like sewing; I can’t do anything complicated, and a real expert would find my stuff pretty sloppy. But the thing I made turned out well, and it’s totally cool. And if you have a problem with me sewing, I’m going to get drunk and kick your ass.

In other news:

@ Before tomorrow’s 3:30 start against Northwestern — the third and final leg of the coveted Illinois State Championship — I’m going to attend Podcamp, specifically a new media unconference to learn about blogging, which I hopefully have decent handle on, and podcasting and web video stuff, which I have no idea about. If you’re interested and in Pittsburgh, you should check it out.

@ I’m not certain we’re going to be able to see the Northwestern game tomorrow, as Pitt plays as 3:30 game as well. It would be my guess that the Pitt-UConn game would be the choice here, because of its Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl implications.

@ On ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption just now, Michael Wilbon just said Northwestern is going to beat Ohio State tomorrow. Hm.

@ The Disco Biscuits show on Wednesday was pretty cool. I’m bit-torrenting an aud of the show as we speak, so I can get a better sense of exactly I heard. And I was as tired as I thought I would be.

@ OK. Time for dinner and the continuation of the holiday beer tasting we started last night. Y’all be cool. Right on.

big time.

So when my brief mid-life crisis manifested itself last week with an uncontrollable urge to play around with this here blog, I inadvertently made a change that makes Uncle Crappy look a whole lot more interesting than it really is.

Here’s what I did: Blogger had been pestering me for a couple of weeks to switch to a new beta version that promised much more control over templates, along with a whole lot of extra goodies I’ve been wanting to add for a long time. So, as I mentioned before, rushing out and buying that sports car, obtaining a mistress and getting fitted for a hairpiece weren’t realistic options, so I decided to jump to Blogger Beta instead.

There were some jokes in that last part. Really. Don’t get all excited.

As part of the switch, I had to dump all the coding changes I had made to the original blog. Most of the stuff I had was fairly easy to re-create, but in one instance — that of the tracker button — I had to start over.

Not really a big deal, because they had a new version ready, one that tells me where you’re reading from, all the specifics about your computer and every single password and bank account number you possess.

Again. Joking. As far as you know.

So I installed the new version and went to bed, forgetting about some previous nonsense I had signed up for while wondering how to get people to read Uncle Crappy — well before I cleverly thought of actually telling people it existed. So I had forgotten that one of those services automatically directs a shitload of people to your blog … on your birthday.

I completed these changes late in the evening of Oct. 11. When I woke up on Oct. 12, the 40th anniversary of my birth, I noticed that something like 19 people had visited overnight. And I ended the day with 39 visitors, most of whom are unknown to me.

In and of itself, that’s kind of a cool thing, although it’s really screwed my average daily visits, which had been hovering around eight or nine a day. The current average? 17.

Wow. Uncle Crappy is huge, boys and girls. Time for me to start selling some ads. Maybe for sports cars. Or hairpieces.


Welcome to Uncle Crappy, The Holy Shit I Turn 40 Tomorrow Edition. I don’t have the money to rush out and buy a sports car, so I’m tinkering with the blog instead. There are some things that require a fair amount of tinkering — and I may decide to go with a whole other template instead — so this could take a little while. Maybe a couple of days. Or, maybe I’ll get it all done tomorrow, since my plans to play golf on my birthday may be changed by the fact that it’s supposed to snow.

Anyway, check back often. It should be interesting to watch…


* Did you see the boys totally handle the Hawkeyes on Saturday? Despite the offensive domination, I really have to think the Bucks’ defense was the standout crew. They held up against an experienced quarterback – probably the best in the Big Ten outside Troy Smith – and actually played very well against the run. I think we still have some problems to solve on special teams; no matter how good he is, Teddy Ginn needs a little more blocking before he can start breaking those long returns. And our biggest challenge is simply to remain sharp through a stretch of opponents who, on paper, shouldn’t be able to hang with us. One of those teams – Michigan State maybe, or even Illinois – is going to show up and push us harder than they should be able to. Remember Michigan State in 1998? I do. I hope Tressel does as well.

* As I mentioned before, The Wife and I finally dumped dial-up, in favor of a connection with our local cable company’s service. Wow. Fast. Did I mention fast? I’ve already jumped into the world of bittorrent, a file-sharing, uh, thingie used by tapers to distribute their stuff, starting with the set played by the Rhythm Devils – Billy, Mickey, Mike Gordon, Steve Kimock, et al – at the Gathering back in August. Next on the list? A copy of my first Phish show, at the Newport in December of 1992. I could have downloaded the Rhythm Devils set on the old connection, but it would have taken me about three days to complete. Today, it took a little more than three hours. Did I mention fast?

* The countdown is underway. It’s now early Tuesday, so I’m 10 days away from turning 40. I tend to get a little freaked out by birthdays; not so much by the event itself, but the rapidly escalating numbers associated with them. And this one comes with a little extra baggage. I have to start thinking about fun stuff like prostate exams and putting the cigarettes away for good. I’m sure there’s going to be fun associated with this as well; I’d like to stretch this out into three or four birthday celebrations if possible, because that’s how I like to do it. But. In the meantime, there’s that number. 40. Yikes.