January 1st, 2007

Flag Burning

I took the new computer to the basement and booted it up. The first thing I discovered was that you need a working computer to get this system set up, because you need to make an install floppy for the disk drivers for this motherboard. Ok, I can handle that. Off to the office computer I go, where I make a floppy to use in the installation. And I eventually get a screen that tells me that it's now installing Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2.

The only problem is that what I'm trying to install is Windows XP Media Center, which is what I bought for the new computer. But these hard drives had been in the old computer and had gotten XP Pro SP2 installed on them earlier and it looks like it really wanted to install it again. Unfortunately, this meant that Microsoft would probably blow a raspberry in my direction once the whole process was completed.

So the hard disks are now being reformatted. Very slowly. We're up to 58% now.

This means that I had time to burn a flag.

You see, Bilbo had done a bad thing to our U.S. flag which we fly irregularly on holidays. And the U.S. Flag Code specifies that the right way to dispose of a flag that you are done with -- and trust me, we were done with this flag -- is to burn it in a respectful manner. We also had shed wax from the blessed candle that had been used for Katie's christening that also needed to be disposed of by burning.

So I got some very old gasoline from the garage that would probably have just killed the snowblower if I put it in there and took it out to the backyard, along with a lighter, some newspaper, and the blessed wax. I removed the ash catcher on the grill, the grill lid, and the grill surface, since I didn't want them getting involved in this mess, placed the flag in the grill with the wax, and doused both with the gasoline -- which promptly ran out through the bottom of the grill where I'd removed the ash catcher.

The last time I'd tried burning something with gasoline as a starter, it hadn't caught well. However, I had a hunch that this had been an outlier as events went. So I rolled up the sheet of newspaper to make a yard-long torch, lit one end with the lighter, and tossed it toward the grill as daisy_knotwise stood back and watched.


Ok, that caught nicely. The inside of the grill was a fire pit. So was the patio beneath it, where the spilled gasoline was blazing merrily away. This wouldn't have been a big problem (although I'm not sure what the long-term effect on the patio is going to be), except that one wheel of the grill melted, causing the grill to tilt alarmingly. But by that time the fire had pretty much burned out.

No trace of the flag remained, although the wax took a bit of time to finish burning out.

There's a brick holding up that very flat wheel and I've ordered a new grill of the same design. This one was over ten years old and was probably due for replacement, as it was getting fairly rusty. I'll salvage the replacement parts that I've added over time and use them with the new grill first.

In the meantime, I've put a bit of charcoal in the barbecue and we'll be grilling steaks for dinner soon. And no, I didn't use gasoline to light the charcoal...