Archive for February, 2009 —

Thinking About Induction Cooking

It took a well-placed comment from The JimRay™ in my last post, but induction cooking is beginning to look very interesting to me.

Check out this illustrative image from GE showing ice cubes sitting calmly on one side of an induction burner and a half-pot of boiling water on the other:

You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to set ice cubes randomly on a burner.

Anyway, induction cooking is more than just an impressive technology for party tricks. It heats pots faster than even gas and expends less energy doing so… all via the power of magnetic force. The chief downside appears to be that you need to use iron or steel cookware, which isn’t a big deal to me since I only own a few pots and all are magnetic. The other downside is that I haven’t found a model which includes any sort of built-in griddle, which kind of sucks.

For more information on induction cooking, check out GE’s Induction Cooking site. It looks like you can get models ranging from about $1000 to several thousand, depending on what you’re looking for.

Anyone have any experience with induction cooking? Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

City Issues

It’s been about two months since plans were submitted to the City of Seattle and we’re finally nearing approval. The Department of Planning and Development has really been scrutinizing the hell out of everything, probably because the amount of applications flowing through right now are minimal. The fine folks at Build have dutifully made all of the “clarifications” and modifications the city has requested and we’re entering the home stretch.

As part of the extra scrutiny, we had to do a little more geotech reporting at a cost of $350 and structural engineering at a cost of $2,642.50.

More troubling, however, is a contract the city wants me to sign not only absolving them of any liability related to damage that may occur to my property (because it is near an “environmentally sensitive” zone) but actually indemnifying them against claims made by others for issuing me a permit.

Initially, even the first clause scared me but I’ve been advised that they are still culpable for negligence. So for instance, if they run a sewer line such that it dumps 10,000 gallons of water right onto my property causing the entire cliff to collapse, I can still seek damages. We may need to clarify language around this though.

The second clause is more concerning though. It essentially says that even if a neighbor sues the city for issuing me a permit, I must pay to defend the city and also pay any judgements or penalties against the city, if there are any. That seems extremely onerous to me, especially since I have no control over what sorts of crazies might want to sue the city. At least when I indemnified the family who sold me the house, it was for a very specific situation that I knew had a 99.9% chance of not mattering… not to mention, I quickly nullified my liability by having the only potential litigious party sign a litigation waiver.

Because of this latest issue, I’ve decided to seek the advice of a real estate attorney, recommended to me by a friend. It’s probably a good time to get to know a good real estate attorney anyway, since there will be plenty of contracts to execute moving forward. Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the situation soon.