Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yes, but which grill? Can I have two?

So this is one of the Viking gas grill. Pretty much the middle of the range option. And what I'm working on is which one of the range might be most suitable for us. Start from the point that we live in a warm climate, that while it's not summer all year even now in late November we'd quite happily cook and eat outside in the middle of the day (but not at night at this time of year). OK, so that's the first hurdle, erm, hurdled: we eat and cook outside for enough of the year that it's worth our making sure that we've got top end equipment to do so with.

Now to the second issue: are Viking grills actually that top end equipment? Yes, clearly and obviously they are: they are pretty much what a commercial establishment might use. Made out of stainless steel (so no worries about their being out in the garden all year) and with 29,000 BTU in the burners (yes, this is a lot) the grill itself is capable of grilling just about anything. And yes, they're robust, they'll even put up with my less than careful handling.

But now comes the decision about which one in the range to have. Do I want just a Viking grill? Just that, a 30 inch grill? Or might I want to have a larger grill, perhaps with a couple of side burners, as in the one pictured? Or should I go all the way to the top end for a massive 53 inch grill, the sideburners, an oven and even warming drawers? An entire standalone kitchen all on its own? Decisions, decisions, I know, it's a tough life. I have a feeling that the correct answer will come from (as so often happens) the wife. Should I be preparing to cook just for us, in which case the small grill, or am I to get ready to cook for passing armies? In which case the largest possible I would think.

Anyone else know the answer?


Riboflavin is a vitamin, yes, Vitamin B2.

OK, excellent, but is there anything else we can use Riboflavin to teach us? Well, actually, yes, we can. For we can use it as an estimation of how well educated Americans are.

And here's how we can use Riboflavin to work this out.

In todays Dilbert comic Dogbert decides that he's going to use Twitter. But he being Dogbert he decides that he's only going to tweet one word a day. And today's word is Riboflavin.

Unh, hunh....what happens next? Yes, Riboflavin becomes one of the words that Google Trends tells us that tens of thousands are searching for as they desperately try to make sense of today's Dilbert strip. Not that you need to know what it means to get the joke.

But it would indicate, however slightly, that Scott Adams is perhaps writing a little above his audience's reading grade. I mean, really, not knowing that Riboflavin is a vitamin: doesn't anyone read the back of cereal packets any more?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's nearly greenhouse time!

As all of you regular readers know we're renovating these houses down here and are close to finishing the actual houses. What happens next is of course that we work on the gardens and part and parcel of this is looking at garden greenhouses. For what is a garden without its greenhouse? It's as essential a part of the package as the lawn, the patio, the barbecue and the flower beds: although it doesn't necessarily contribute all that much to those. What it does contribute to is the vegetable and salad plot.

Wifey (make that my long suffering wife perhaps) grew up helping with such things as the garden greenhouse and the potting shed. She's very keen, now that we have our own garden, to get back to doing so (interesting how the habits of childhood come back in middle age, isn't it?) and has had me preparing the soil for her spring adventures into growing our own food again. There's three reasons she want's to do this: the first being that she simply likes doing so. The second being some vaguely green feeling that providing more of what we eat ourselves is good for the planet. I'm not entirely convinced by the logic there but of course defer because of reason one, thinking reason two not all that important.

But the real reason for the interest in garden greenhouses is that we are used to regional specialties from other regions than the one we find ourselves in. And that means that it is much easier to grow them ourselves, as treats if you wish, than it is to try and track them down through stores. Yes, I know, in this day and age of modern supermarkets that sounds like a strange thing to say but it is true: you don't get pig's ears and chitlins in Boston Safeway and the same is true of many regional spices and salady bits etc.

So, we'll just grow our own.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

10 bodies found so far.

The Anthony Sowell case continues to horrify.

To recap, last Thursday cops went around to Sowell's house with a search and arrest warrant over a rape allegation (and he was already a convicted rapist who had served his time). He wasn't there so they searched the place and found three dead (and decomposing) bodies.

They catch him a few streets away and then search the house again on Saturday and find another three bodies. Then they searched the garden yesterday and they found four more: that's right, they're up to 10 bodies found so far.

How I love these things

How I love these things, a patio heater, outdoor heaters in all their shapes and forms. This might sound a little odd for someone who lives in a warm climate but then most who don't live in a warm climate seem not to understand that they're usually only warm in the daytime. But the time the sun has gone down and the wind starts to come in off the sea or down off the mountains it can get pretty chilly while you're sipping that first adult beverage of the evening. Definately by the second, anyway.

But that isn't why I have such a love affair with outdoor heaters, so much so that if it were legal I'd marry a patio heater. No, last year I spent the winter on a contract in London, England. There are two things everyone knows about England: that the weather is terrible and that they have these fabulous things called pubs. And indeed, just like every other visitor to the country I made sure that I stopped off soonish for a visit to a real olde English pub and a pint of that olde English beer. Which was wonderful.

But the bit that hasn't quite yet hit the airwaves about England is that you cannot smoke in a pub. Not even a little bit: which means that to do so you have to go out into that terrible English weather and freeze while doing so. Until, that is, you work out which pubs have that life saving outdoor heating technology like the one pictured.

And yes, I spent all winter in London and yes, I'm sure the reason I didn't come down with hypothermia is because I did work out which pubs had such outdoor heaters.

OK, OK, marrying one might be going too far but I have one which I sit under with my wife but I've not quite yet had the courage to tell her of my feelings for the heater. Could be a little fraught if that got out.