You’ll notice a new entry in the “other people’s stuff” list over there on the right. HP just turned me on to Life in Alaska today, and I’ve spent much of the evening going through the site. It’s excellent, and you should check it out when you’re done here.

There are some obvious differences between John’s life, in Fairbanks, and that of Uncle Crappy in Pittsburgh. For instance, I have yet to spot a moose wandering around in my yard, and I’m not sure what the squirrels would do with that kind of visitor.

But John’s most recent post did strike me, because of his interactions with his wife (he calls her The Mrs. — love it!). They were tag-teaming a pile of logs, cutting them down to the size that would fit in their stove and stacking them near their home. Once John’s chainsaw ran out of gas, he turned to help The Mrs. with the stacking part, only to be told he was stacking the wood incorrectly.

Hm. This is familiar.

Honestly, I can say I don’t have many gripes with The Wife, and none of any real consequence. But there is this one thing that’s been a point of contention for as long as we’ve known each other: Apparently, I do the dishes incorrectly.

Here’s my general approach. All the silverware goes in the sink, which I slowly start to fill with hot, soapy water. While it fills — and while the silverware soaks — I wash any glasses and coffee mugs that are waiting and I use the still-running water to rinse. Generally by the time the sink is full, I’ve finished the glasses, so I turn off the water and use it to wash plates, bowls and other stuff we put food on. Then you drain the sink, rinsing the plates. Wash the silverware and cooking tools and then finish up with the pots.

Summary: It’s all washed in hot, soap-filled water. Rinsed in more hot water. Set in the rack to dry. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Right?

No. From what I understand, there’s a problem with the initial running of the water, even though it’s filling the sink and will be used to wash other things. And some other stuff. It’s a little baffling to me, because I watch her do the dishes, and we seem to have the same general plan: hot water plus soap, scrub, rinse, repeat. And while I have adjusted the order in which things are washed — I never used to do the glasses first, which I guess is bad — I still get troubled scowls when she wanders into the kitchen while I’m standing in front of the sink.

She also says I’m a nancy-boy because I wear gloves. This is a genetic issue. I happened to be born into a family whose members have nerve endings in our fingers; she was not.

At least I don’t get the “Mom” voice. Although it strikes me now that I’m not sure I would know what The Wife’s “Mom” voice would sound like. Hm.

I think we’ve both made reasonable adaptations to each other’s habits and wishes in the 13 years we’ve been together. In this case, though, our differences seem to be insurmountable. Not that washing dishes is a deal-breaker, but it is contrary to John’s conclusion: “If The Mrs. ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” I prefer to see this in the light of Father of Uncle Crappy’s advice on marriage: “If you say ‘Yes, dear’ more than ‘No, dear,’ you’re probably going to be fine.”

And I do. Just not about the damn dishes.


it’s a mystery.

There are a shitload of people who reach Uncle Crappy while searching for information about K2’s Mystery Luv skis, a women’s ski meant for those who are just starting out.

I have no technical information to offer you, but I can say that The Wife loves her skis, which she bought last year. They’re soft, very stable and very forgiving. And I have no idea why K2 has no promotional stuff available about them.

Maybe that’s what’s so goddamn mysterious.

** UPDATED, Feb. 23: I’ve come across a couple things that say the Mystery Luv is the exact same ski as K2’s First Luvs, but with a different graphics package meant for European and Big Box store consumption. So buy without fear folks — not only do you have the endorsement of The Wife, but you now know what you’re getting.


As predicted, the Internet Archive restored the aud recording downloads, and made the soundboards available for streaming only. Good for us, and good for the band’s business interests. I’m happy, and after a little reading, it seems like most reasonable Deadheads are happy as well. Here’s what the folks at the Archive had to say:

We at now realize that our mistaken attempts to move quickly were based on what we thought the Grateful Dead wanted. For this we apologize both to the Grateful Dead and their community. There has been a great deal of reaction, our actions have caused more than necessary.

We believe these changes will be more appropriate for both the Grateful Dead and its community:
* Audience recordings will be restored as they were before– for download and streaming.
* Soundboard recordings will be available streaming only.

Thank you all for helping guide this process. There may be changes in the future, but for now there is access to great concerts, and the audience recordings may be downloaded from here freely.

This will take a day or two to fully implement.

Founder, Digital Librarian Internet Archive
-Matt Vernon

I’m not completely sure that they have anything to apologize for, because Dennis McNally’s initial statements made it seem like the removal of all downloads was what the band — or some of them anyway — had in mind. But I guess I’ve had enough of trying to figure out what happened and whose fault it was.

And now would be a good time to say something I just realized I had omitted through this entire thing: The folks at the Archive provide an amazing service — and not just with the live music section of the archive, although I’ve used that section to about double my music collection in the past year or so. The rest of the archive is just as cool; take a break from downloading Dead at some point and poke around — they’re hosting lots of great stuff.

And now, back to my list. In a scattershot fashion typical for Uncle Crappy, I had started going through and downloading my favorite shows and those with especially sharp soundboards. No more, especially since there’s still a little voice in the back of my mind that’s telling me to get this done before someone changes his mind again. Buckeye Lake 1988 — Hornsby’s first appearance with GD and an ungodly hot afternoon in Central Ohio — is up first.

without a warning.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In an astounding turn of events Tuesday evening, 4,000 Deadheads managed to put aside their crippling grief and anger over internet downloads and actually had some fun listening to live music.

OK, especially in light of the band’s reversal, I’ll try to keep the sarcasm to a minimum. But so much of what I saw, heard and felt at Phil’s show last night at Palumbo Center confirms everything I wrote a just a day ago in reaction to the ugliness about the Internet Archive thing. But before we get to that, let’s start with the set list:

Set 1: Let the Good Times Roll, Tennessee Jed, Girl on the Mountain, Peggy-O, The Weight, Doin’ that Rag, Not Fade Away
Set 2: Sitting on Top of the World, Eagles on the Highway, Big River, He’s Gone, Mountains of the Moon, Terrapin, Lovelight, Roll in my Sweet Baby’s Arms, Lovelight
E: Going Down the Road

What you don’t see in the list was a “Hard to Handle” tease in the first set and a calypso-flavored “Terrapin” that was totally new to me. Lots more jamming in the second set, including seamless transitions from the end of “Terrapin” through the end of “Lovelight.” I was really impressed with Larry Campbell. Just in listening to shows from earlier this tour (audience recordings that were DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET, for crying out loud) I thought it sounded like he’s already a lot more comfortable with the material … he could be scary by NYE. And then … just good energy from about mid-first set on … and, Jesus, it’s just fun watching a band having fun, and they clearly were.

And, just to show that I have some Picky Deadhead tendencies as well, here’s a couple gripes: I wish Chris would take the time to learn the lyrics … he relies on a teleprompter and spends a little too much time catching up with the rest of the band. And as much as I like Molo, there were a few times I thought the flow would benefit from a lighter touch, drummingwise.

How does this fit with what I posted Monday, specifically in The Rant at the end? In poking around on message boards today, I’ve already come across several “reviewers” who do little but gripe about the show. My question is this: If it’s so consistently bad, why do you keep going? If you’re comparing a Phil and Friends show to the best Dead shows you saw, you’re going to be disappointed with Phil’s band every time.

But if you narrow your focus — just a little — you’ll find there’s plenty to like. You want some things to talk about? Compare Phil’s current band with past incarnations. Debate Barry vs. Warren vs. Herring vs. Kimock. Look at song lists: what’s been added, what’s been deleted, what works and what doesn’t.

And if you can calm down just a little bit more — like, say when you walk through the doors of the Palumbo Center about 20 minutes before Phil gets started — you might even find that you enjoy yourself. Again: I’m clear on the fact that the 2005 version of Phil Lesh and Friends generally isn’t going to be as good as 1974 Grateful Dead. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel an oddly familiar rush when Phil started to roll through the intro to “Lovelight.” It’s just as real as it was 20 years ago … and it’s there for the taking.

That’s what the 20-year-olds were doing last night, and they were having as much fun as I had at Richfield, Buckeye, Louisville, Pittsburgh, etc., 15 or 20 years ago. They have (or had) the same access to GD shows that we do, so they know what they missed, but in the moment, it doesn’t matter much. And that’s how it should work.

I got pretty bitchy at the end of Monday’s post, and I don’t apologize for it. I started to get a little bitchy just now, but I thought one rant was enough. My big point is this: Relax. There’s still plenty about our scene to enjoy, now, if you just take the time to enjoy it.

this must be heaven.

Apparently, GD has decided that its original decision concerning was, at least in part, the wrong one. We’ll never know for sure, but I’d have to think that the public pressure — hopefully the constructive kind, at least — and the accompanying media attention — there was plenty more besides those I cited in the previous post — had something to do with the change.

The Relix web page is reporting that Dennis McNally said this afternoon that the deletion of aud recordings from Internet Archive was caused by miscommunication; they’ll be back soon, perhaps as soon as tonight. The Relix piece glaringly omits reference to the future of the soundboard recordings, but I’d have to think they’ll be off limits, so the band can expand its own download business.

As I said two days ago: While I’d love to continue to have access to free soundboard downloads, those recordings are theirs to sell. And yeah, I’ll be buying.

I’ve already noticed some carping about the still-MIA soundboards, and that likely won’t abate for a while. For some, it won’t. Ever. They’ll continue their boycotts, allowing bitterness to take over the parts of their souls where the fun should be. Sound a little dramatic? Maybe, but are you reading some of this stuff? Jesus, we’re still talking about suing and greed and fuck-the-drummers-it’s-all-their-fault. I couldn’t possibly make Uncle Crappy enough to do it justice.

I’m happy with this apparent solution. I’ll be able to complete my set of shows, and I’ll still come across that nice aud tape of a killer show to round things about. And when the band gets around to releasing those soundboards I’ve been waiting on, I’ll be right there, my wallet open and my credit card out and ready.

food for thought.

I’ve got a ton to say about last night’s Phil show — mostly along the lines of “Holy Shit!” — as well as what it means in the context of the current Internet Archive issues. While I’m working on that, here’s some other stuff to consider.

New York Times story that ran today.

Rolling Stone web page story from a day or two ago.

The apparent reaction of GD lyricist John Perry Barlow, on

There may be even more stuff available on the wire, but I’ll have to check that when I get to work today.

Finally, there’s an update, dated today, posted on Phil’s web page. And Phil does as nice a job of any I’ve read in describing how cool the archive was.