Hey all-- thanks to AFAJ Brew Guy's Harddrive magnets (thanks again, man) and suggestion to put a metal washer on the fan so I could center the magnet, my stir plate is finally making a whirlpool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here's my question: How much of an actual whirlpool does there need to be? I dropped in a few drops of food coloring and it sucked it down the funnel and dispersed it evenly throughout the 2000ml flask pretty quickly...but the whirlpool itself is pretty small. Every once and a while a little air funnel will travel about an inch to an inch and a half below the water surface...but never even close to a quarter of the way down the erlenmeyer -- is that expected?
Thanks again to everyone -- I'm stoked to use this puppy w/ my yeast!