Well, here is a mini update for anyone who was interested, and some info I've learned in the past week or so.
-First, my first roasted batch turned out tasting incredible. In Chicago we have access to some fantastic fresh roasted beans (La Colombe, for example) and these home roasted ones tasted comparably well. The wife and I enjoyed the heck out of this batch....buuuuut, the half pound I roasted didn't last long
-I went about roasting the other half pound of beans we had. I did the same procedure as before: Whirlypop on the grill's side burner, preheating on high heat for about 5-7 mins, then adding the beans and keeping the heat on low. After about 7.5 mins I decided to look and see how brown they were looking (they hadn't made a noise yet) and to my surprise they looked no different then when I had added them to the Whirlypop and showed no signs of roasting.
-I realized the wind was blowing my burner's flame all over the place. I cranked up the heat, eventually raising it to the highest level, but still had a really hard time. I had a timer going, and I think I was at about 30 mins when I finally decided they looked roasted enough. Of course, by this time it was dark out and even with patio lighting I couldn't see much.
-I killed the flame, dumped the beans into a collander, and began tossing them around, and didn't notice much coming off the beans. Eventually brought them inside and found that they weren't roasted nearly enough. At this point, the wind was worse and it was real dark, so I quit. I cranked that Whirlypop for about 40 mins and couldn't even get a city roast.
-For kicks and giggles, a couple days later I ground it up and tried the coffee. Yeah, it was bad. Took about 5 sips and dumped the beans in the trash.
So, I guess I learned not to try roasting when it's windy because I just couldn't keep the flame going. Another interesting thing was I had posted a few days back about not being able to hear the crack. I was using a peaberry bean, which I read elsewhere is prone to give very faint cracks which some can not easily hear. Couple faint cracking noises with the sounds of passing cars and sirens outside my patio, and I probably just didn't catch it in my first roast attempt a couple weeks ago.
In short, I ordered a 4 lb sampler from Sweet Maria's and I'm looking forward to trying it again. The first batch turned out very well, so I can't wait to try to replicate it again.