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.


While we were in Cleveland, Ramrod died.

Joel Selvin, music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, explains here.

The old days seem to be getting further and further away.

passed tense.

Just after I outed myself to my friends earlier this year, I heard from a couple of you about how odd it can be to read what someone else writes about his life. While there are a lot of entertaining blogs out there, you also tend to feel a little voyeuristic, and depending on the content, even a little creepy.

I’m not sure that’s quite the feeling I got from reading Greg Mergen’s blog last night. Greg was a fixture in Athens when I returned to school, and I got to know him just well enough to stop and chat when we walked past each other on Court Street. Greg was heavily involved in campus politics, to the point where he actually ran for Athens City Council a couple of times (losses both, but pretty close). I remember him as being a smart and pretty funny guy, and his blog reflects the same. There’s the day-to-day tedium: Exchanging his broken iPod for a new one, bitching about riding his bike to work in the heat. There’s the political rants, a natural for Greg. Lots of computer-related stuff, because he really knows what he is doing, to the point where he did support work for several offices, on both Mac and Windows platforms. Applying for jobs. Almost getting run over by a pissed-off Metro bus driver. Funny shit about pets, relationships and Coke Zero, which he was surprised to find that he liked.

Nothing weird there. Except for the fact that I found Greg’s blog about a week after someone found him dead in his apartment in D.C.

I still don’t know what happened. I know what conclusion I reached about the death of an apparently healthy 35-year-old, but it after reading Greg’s blog, it seems less likely to me that he committed suicide. He seemed happy with what he was doing at the moment and excited about some new opportunities on the horizon. Suicide rarely makes sense, but in this case it seems even more unlikely than usual.

Of course, Greg’s blog just stops, after a July 27th entry about how freakin’ hot it was in D.C. on that day. If you don’t read the comments, you obviously don’t get the sense that anything has happened. (If you do check the comments for the last entry, you see a message from Greg’s younger brother asking a few friends to get in touch with him as quickly as possible, and then you see the reactions as people who really knew him.)

Blogs are funny things. Someone who stumbles across Uncle Crappy is going to get a decent idea of what I’m about. But the picture is definitely incomplete. That’s what I found myself wondering while reading Greg’s blog last night: What’s missing? What isn’t he saying? Is there anything hidden in the posts that would indicate what happened? It’s a hard thing to know, because while I didn’t know Greg well, the Greg Mergen in the blog is the same Greg Mergen I remember from Athens years ago.

Hm. I’m left with lots of questions. And there probably aren’t many answers out there.