SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ah, technology!

By Dave Kiffer


September 03, 2008
Wednesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Despite the fact that I love grilled food, I am just not much of a griller.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Maybe I haven't found the right kind of grill yet. Charcoal is a smelly pain and gas, well, really I just can't get over the idea that gas and an open flame is a good idea.

I keep seeing those large black holes in the ground that happen in cities where they have natural gas pipelines. I would hate for our house to end up like one of those.

Someone once gave us a fairly nice gas grill. I noticed you could smell something when it wasn't even on. We gave it someone else. Someone who lives quite a ways away!

So that leaves us to "charcoal it" on those rare sunny days when an outdoor grill is feasible in Our Fair Salmon City.

As I noted, charcoal lends a certain pungent aroma to the proceedings. Especially when you add the three gallons of “fluid” that I always seem to need to achieve the appropriate burn. And charcoal grills are always SO much fun to clean up. More on that in a minute.

Actually, I always thought that a wood grill would be pretty cool. Burning wood is always a sweet, nostalgic smell. Unless, of course, it is your deck or your garage that is burning.

They do have wood burning grills out there, but I'd rather not get a second mortgage just to afford one for the three days of the year when I am inspired to grill.

And yet, if I were a griller, technology just called my name.

I just saw an ad in one of those on-line "you need to buy this expensive cool stuff" catalogs.

It's for a grill cleaning "robot."

How cool is that?

Everyone hates cleaning the barbeque grill and now for about $120 you can slap a little red robot cleaner on the grill and, in about 30 minutes, all those charcoalized, carbon-datable bits will be gone.

Even cooler, the little red robot gives you a "signal" if the grill is still too hot for cleaning. I'm sure it’s some sort of little "beep." But wouldn't it be fun if you could reprogram it to shout "ouch, ouch, ouch” when you put it on the grill?

That would be a hoot and a half to hear during a deck party.

This, of course, is a take-off on the “Roomba.” That’s the little round robot vacuum that bounces from room to room in your house sucking up all the debris of life and scaring the bejezzus out of the house pets.

Except one.

I just LOVE those YouTube videos of the cat riding the Roomba around the kitchen. Of course, the cat appears to be completely stoned on catnip, but hey, it's still pretty funny.

A thumbs down, though, to the cat wearing the little shark suit while riding the Roomba. That is just TOO over the top.

But I digress.

Anyway, if the cleanup is keeping you, as it does me, from grilling, then the grill-bot is just the thing for you.

Ain't technology grand?

Which also reminds of a visit Liam and I made to the outdoors store the other day. We were looking at the kayaks out front and I noticed something I hadn't noticed before.


Yep, you now have a place for your beverage(s) as you paddle around. Awesome!

Traditionally, kayaks have been pretty utilitarian. I guess that's because people who tend to kayak a lot also tend to want to make sure you know that they don't like modern amenities all that much. If they did, all kayaks would have little outboards on them.

But now that kayaks can have cupholders, well, the possibilities for more civilized accoutrements are simply endless.

As it stands now, your kayak seat has to resemble something from the Amsterdam Torture Museum (yes, it does exist!).

That’s because kayakers really don't care much about going from A to B. What they care is that you know how tough they are to go from A to B in something so intrinsically uncomfortable and completely impossible to get out of when you get to B.

Heck, why do you think someone invented the ”Eskimo” roll? I mean, the last thing you want to do is get wetter while in a kayak, so you have no need to roll yourself upside down. Unless of course you can't get out of the danged kayak any other way.

Sure, sure, you are probably thinking: Well, you need the Eskimo roll to right yourself if you get turned upside down in a kayak. Perhaps, that was case once upon a time, but these days “modern” kayaks are designed to never roll over on their own.

Think about, there is no need to be upside down in a kayak, other than using your waterproof smart phone to take selfies of you and the fish. And even the Naval Gazers Society of The Internet of Everything (NGSTIE) agrees that is TOO much, much, much.

The only other reason to roll yourself under the water is if you are kayaking in the Caribbean and you need to shower. Fortunately the super cool, expensive gadget catalog can help you with that as well. It’s called the Kayak bidet. For only $298 you can be made to always feel as fresh as all outdoors with just the push of a button. Shipping is extra.

Anyway, as noted above, modern kayakers still need all times to show how “tough” they are (otherwise they would could sail hither and yon in a Boston Whaler). So they need to use the reverse roll to put themselves underwater.

Preferably in climes that resemble the currently popular “challenge” that is sweeping the Egosphere. Seriously, a frozen water with killer whales “challenge” is pretty hard to beat. Just donate the money before you try it, the non-resident pods are peckish this time of year.

But, again, I digress.

Anyway, the first thing on my kayak upgrade list is a rich Corinthian leather, vibrating kayak seat. Preferably one that has a little button you push to eject your butt-on-out of the kayak, like they have on modern Barcaloungers.

After that we'd need tunes. Yeah, yeah, I know some of you Kayakanians are all into getting jiggy with nature. You probably would rather hear the waves slapping against the shores, the cry of the seagulls, the splash of the whales. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Me, I'd rather rock the rocks with some thumping bass and a shredding guitar solo because, well just because I can.

And the volume would have to go up to "11" just because, too.

Next, I think I would need some sort of cooler.

Hey, they have recliners with coolers built into the seat, why not a kayak with a cooler. Nothing worse than putting a warm beverage in your cup holder.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Which brings us very circuitously back to the start of this missive. You really need a grill for those three totally flat calm days out on the water. You can match the cooler up front with a grill on the back.

Now that’s keeping things in balance.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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