Vital Statistics

The last time we used the grill, Tina couldn’t get the burners to turn off and there were flames coming out of places that they shouldn’t. Tina bought this grill for me for Father’s Day years ago when we lived in the Mall house. It only cost $150 from Sears and over the years I’ve had to replace the burner bar and the grate and had to buy a new tank for it when they changed the laws regarding the connectors. Even so, it’s been a damn fine grill for 10 years. We bought a grill cover in the beginning, but it was always a hassle to get on and off, so it was soon lost. I also made an effort early on to keep inside during the rainy season, but that also fell by the wayside after a couple of years. Thus, it has been just outside our patio door underneath the eaves all year round whenever we cared to use it.

Well, we wanted to have steaks yesterday, so I was tasked with fixing the grill. I fired it up and soon found the problem: the burner bar was completely rusted through in the middle. The current grate was also quite rusted, so the combined replacement cost of these convinced me that it was time for a new grill. So after dinner we dropped by Lowe’s to see what they had. They saw us coming from a mile away because they had a nice array of pre-assembled grills displayed outside. After I briefly tried to convince the family that the $119 model looked like an excellent replacement for our current grill, we decided that stepping up to the $199 was a better idea.

You can see the details by clicking on the picture, but here’s the main selling points:

  • 640 sq. in. cooking area (rated for 28 burgers in their flier)
  • Three burners that produce 42,000 BTUs
  • Porcelain cooking grates
  • Porcelain heat tent
  • Stainless steel
  • Push-and-turn ignition


We fired her up tonight and cooked the steaks. The push-and-turn ignition is sweet and it heated up pretty quickly. The steaks were fair and cooked a little uneven. I’ll have to learn the cold spots on this grill.

Bike odometer: 6122 miles
Current reading: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Smoke and Guns by Kirsten Baldock and Fabio Moon
Recent listening: A Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
Recent viewing: Lakers at Suns, Cavaliers at Pistons, Mavericks at Spurs, Nova, Sportscenter, The West Wing
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: bought a new grill
Imperative To Do: Bike repairs, get watch fixed, truck shopping, bank
Cool link: The Wrongness Singularity

Vital Statistics

This morning, because I was starting a new book, I chose to climb the big hill on 162nd so that I would have a shorter bike ride and a longer Max ride. By the time I get to the Max station at 162nd and Burnside, I’m pretty out of breath and end up sucking wind while I do my doctor-prescribed back stretches as I wait for the train. Today I was unfortunate enough to suck in some unexpected smoke while I stretched. I looked up and some kid was smoking the last two puffs of his cigarette 10 feet away from me. I was standing directly under the No Smoking sign and considered getting his attention and pointing to it, but I chose to do nothing since he was nearly done with it. Nevertheless, during my entire ride and even up until now, I’m plagued with a cough that I just can’t get rid of. It started out as “the tickle”, but evidently coughing once or twice made it worse.

I continue to assume that smokers don’t know the effect they have on people.

Bike odometer: 6113 miles
Current reading: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Smoke and Guns by Kirsten Baldock and Fabio Moon
Recent listening: Not Blue by Various Artists (compilation by Curt Nelson), Grace by Jeff Buckley, Dreamboat Annie by Heart, Rainy Day Music by The Jayhawks, Science Friday
Recent viewing: Sportscenter, My Name Is Earl, Distraction, The Daily Show
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: n/a
Imperative To Do: Bike repairs, get watch fixed, truck shopping
Cool link: Hallelujah: Excellent Wikipedia entry about an incredible song. I totally dig the explanation of the “secret chord” in the first verse and how the lyric explains the chord progression of the song.

Vital Statistics

As promised, here’s a picture of the truck that I was thinking about buying:

After I asked a number of stupid questions, my co-worker concluded that I was not man enough for such a truck. Alas, I have to agree. So I have been browsing Craigslist to get an idea of what kinds of trucks are out there and how much they cost. I’ve been narrowing my criteria and this is what I’ve come up with so far:


  • $3000 or less
  • Less than 150,000 miles, preferably less than 125,000
  • Less than 15 years old
  • Extended cab
  • Gas mileage doesn’t matter much
  • Tags good, recently passed DEQ
  • Owner will let John Mechanic check it out at his home

My co-workers seem to have an anti-American car bias and recommend Nissan trucks. My sense is that both Ford and Dodge make fine trucks (my little Mitsubishi is really a Dodge). Although my preference is probably a smaller truck, I’m not going to use it for commuting, so bigger trucks are OK, too. I’ve always been attracted to SUVs, but not so attracted to SUV pricing. Does anybody make an SUV with a rear bed?

Current reading: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, 9-11 by Noam Chomsky
McCartney Trivia: According the the book I’m reading, George Harrison’s “Something” was written about his then-wife, Patti. Years later, George’s best friend would write another song about Patti, with whom he had fallen in love. The friend was Eric Clapton and his song is “Layla”. (last installment)
Recent listening: Decade
Recent viewing: Nova, World Poker Tour, Saturday Night Live
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: Taxes done, entered and reconciled transactions
Imperative To Do: Bike repairs, truck shopping
Cool link: Craigslist RSS feed: An RSS reader allows you to watch for new and updated postings. Unfortunately, you can’t save your search criteria (“truck” + price range) as an RSS address.

Vital Statistics

Bike odometer: 5966 miles
Current reading: Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, 9-11 by Noam Chomsky
McCartney Trivia: Most Lennon/McCartney songs were composed before going into the studio. One exception to that rule is “Birthday”, which started with Paul jamming at an upright piano. It was not written for anybody in particular.
Recent listening: NPR Story of the Day, DrugMusic, Throw Down Your Arms
Recent viewing: The Henry Rollins Show, Saturday Night Live, World Poker Tour, Nova
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: Sunday To Do
Imperative To Do: Call John Mechanic, gather tax materials, lube bike
Cool link: LaLa: CD trading website with a great UI. Each trade costs $1 plus shipping which is about 60 cents with the free envelopes they send you.

Vital Statistics

Bike odometer: 5953 miles
Current reading: Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, 9-11 by Noam Chomsky
McCartney Trivia: Ringo “quit” the Beatles for two weeks during the making of the White Album. While Ringo mulled his future on Peter Sellers’ yacht, the other Beatles continued recording “Back in the USSR” and “Dear Prudence” with Paul on drums. When Ringo returned, he found his drum kit wreathed in flowers with a large “Welcome Back” sign.
Recent listening: Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Science Friday, NPR Story of the Day
Recent viewing: Suns vs. Clippers, Mean Girls, Saw, Final Four
Recent playing: Poker Room
Recently Accomplished: cleaned and lubed bike, vacuumed house, entertained the Bartons, started taxes
Imperative To Do: Buy lug nut wrench and jack for van, finish taxes, figure out what to do about the truck
Cool link: Boot Camp: Apple released beta software to let you boot Windows on your Intel Mac. It will be included in their next OS version which is code-named “Leopard”.