Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Location: United States

Monday, November 29, 2004


Those of you who know me personally know that the wife bought me a Webber Smoky Mountain Cooker for Christmas last year. It's great. I'm a smokin' fool! I've smoked ribs, chicken, salmon, and now turkey.

I brined the bird in a mixture of apple juice, salt, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and cloves for 36 hours. Then smoked it for about 3 and a half hours (that's wicked fast for a 17.5 Lb. bird). It was unbelievable. Moist. Tender. Exploding with flavor.

Problem is I made it too delicious.

My wife, sister-in-law & her husband, and my aunt all agreed it was the best turkey they've ever had...right there in front of both my mother and mother-in-law! D'oh! How terrible did I feel upstaging both matriarchs at the first ever Thanksgiving I hosted?

So bad that I had to have a second piece of pumpkin pie.

Here's a link to the recipe that I used.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Nightmare on 185th st.

I’ve got one particular customer who drives me nuts. Actually, she drives everyone nuts. I am, at the minimum, 5th rep here in the past 4 years. Unfortunately, she seems to really like me. She runs this tiny fish market that her father started 60 years ago. Runs it just the way Dad did. Problem is, everything has changed around her, most notably people, other than the tourists down at Pike Place Market, buy fish at the grocery store now. Seriously, I don’t know how she stays afloat! She carries no fresh fish. What little she does have is either something she couldn’t sell and had to smoke, or it’s frozen.
She’s also insufferably chatty. She uses the royal ‘We’ ad nausium: “We thank you”, “We were wondering…”, “When will we have our fish?”. Who the HELL is “We”? She’s the only one there! And her voicemails, AAAAAHHHHH, they go on, and on, and on, and on. On a side note: to amuse myself I forward every VM to the Norwegian, whom she fired before she ended up with me, really gets his goat. I never call her back, but she’s relentless, just keeps on calling. Seriously, she will take 45 minutes of my time to discuss fish that is not available or too expensive to buy for customers who do not exist. Even if she has no need to talk about seafood she’ll continue babbling about her recent knee surgery, or her personal injury suit, or her boy’s special needs, etc, and how it is affecting her business. There’s no getting rid of her! But I’m too polite to tell her that the reason she’s got no business is that no one wants to buy fish from a lunatic in a run-down shack on a street more known for prostitution than for protein.
Seriously, her average order is only about $250 (By comparison, most of my accounts average over $500). Every time she calls I raise her prices. I kinda feel bad that she’s got no one else that will sell to her. But I feel even worse when I pick the phone up and it’s her! I actually have a physical reaction to hearing her voice, and here is where I begin to substantiate the title of this article:
She and I have been going ‘round and ‘round about some salmon she is unhappy with. Now, we all know that seafood is extremely perishable, so you can understand why we have a 24 hour return policy. She just let me know about this fish she received a MONTH ago. Not only that, but she also smoked it! There is no possible way that I’m going to give her credit on month-old fish that she’s already cooked! Her problem is that she lost a customer over the quality of the product (so she’s only got four left). This alarms her so much (keep in mind that we have already talked about this credit at great length) that she calls up here leaves me a voicemail while I’m out to lunch, leaves my boss a voicemail, and considers the issue so pressing that she hounds the front desk into giving her my cell number. So begins the nightmare.
I cannot express in words the reaction I had upon hearing that voice on my cell phone. To say I felt violated would be a gross understatement. I nearly ran my truck off the road! I looked at my phone with horror and though “I trusted you, man! How could you let her ring through?!”. I wanted to throw it out the window. Throw it on the floor. Anything to get away from that voice! (In an irony of ironies: as I am typing this paragraph, guess who just called, she’s inescapable!) I felt like I had just been contracted a horrible disease from someone I trusted; I could practically feel my internal organs failing. After hanging up with her I got “The Rage”. I called up the office and blew my stack at the guy who gave her my number, not that it’s his fault, he doesn’t understand the magnitude of pain this woman is capable of inflicting on a salesman. I’m not really mad at him, I’m mad that my ability to evade this person who causes me such discomfort has been stolen from me. She can now get me anywhere, anytime. I saved the number into the phone with her name, so I’ll know if she’s calling. But what if my wife picks it up at home on Saturday morning? I’ll never be safe again!
My cell phone is now infected. It should be quarantined. I am afraid to even pick it up. I want to ask the IT guy for a new one. Is that irrational?

This must be what paranoia feels like.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Cougars. HA!

The Apple Cup is this Saturday. Since the Huskies are so miserable this season, I have turned to telling cougar jokes to raise my spirits. Here are some of my favorites:

  • You heard about the Cougar who broke his leg raking leaves? Yeah, he fell out of the tree.
  • What's the most common pick-up line used in Pullman? "Hey, nice tooth!"
  • Hear about the Cougar who won the Gold Medal? He had is bronzed.
  • What do you get when you cross a Cougar and a Mormon? A basement full of stolen groceries.
  • The three biggest lies told in Pullman:
  1. The Combine is paid off.
  2. I won this belt buckle in a rodeo
  3. Honestly, I was just helping that sheep over the fence!
  • Why don't you ever see nativity scenes in Pullman? You try to find three wise men & a virgin there!
  • What is 36-24-34? The IQ of the Coug's D-line.
  • Why don't they raise chickens in Pullman? They plant the eggs too deep
  • How do you keep a Cougar out of your yard? Put up some goalposts.
  • Why to the Wazzu cheerleaders wear bibs? The keep the chew off their uniforms.
  • What's the most common thing found on a Coug's final exam? Drool.
  • What do you get when you cross a Coug and a groundhog? 6 more weeks of bad football.

And my personal favorite:

It seems the Cougs had no ice water on the sideline this year. Yeah, it turns out the guy with the recipe graduated.

[insert rim-shot here]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Auto Pilot Uptade

I have to update my 6/8/04 Post for you all. So we had a test kitchen & conference room put in over the summer. It's great - huge Viking gas range, lots of counter space, 2-bin deep fat fryer, Huge Fridge & Freezer, retractable overhead screen & projecter - a real class job. We have our sales meetings up there every morning.

So today, when we had the weekly solemn reading from the company handbook (aka 'the bible') Simon goes behind the counter and starts cleaning out the fridge, just throwing stuff out onto the counter. While we're supposed to be listening with great reverence, he's back there shouting "Aw, Shit!! WHO LEFT THESE GODDAMN STEAKS IN HERE?! THEY'RE LEAKING ALL OVER EVERYTHING GODDAMMIT!


Friday, November 05, 2004


I got this e-mail yesterday:

Subject: Coho#124070-and associated kids
The coho we received from [Brand X] today are pussy and broken, thus they are being kicked. Expect no more coho this season.

Here's my response (copied to everyone in the branch)

Can we agree to say that the fillets are "full of puss", or have "puss pockets"? We should be respectful to our salmon brethren, and not call them derogatory names.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Fever!

Seems that everyone’s talking about this election-thing in their ‘blogs, so I might as well put my perspective out there. I can’t wait to get it over, regardless of who wins, because this place is driving me nuts. I consider myself a moderate independent, slightly right of center, if anything – hell, I voted for a number of Libertarians on the state ballot! But around here I’m the flaming liberal – they call me (among other things) “treehugger”. Simon is wearing a “W” sheriff’s badge today. Last week he was handing out Republican bumper stickers. Other managers bombard me Republican propaganda, hoping to elicit a passionate rebuttal to snicker at.

If there’s anyone else who’s voting for Kerry I don’t know who they are – they’re keeping their heads down to avoid ridicule. I’m not kidding – talk about hostile work environment! There are tons of savory sound-bites coming out today, but my favorite show of ignorance sounded something like this:

“The Democrats will probably win. They’ll have better turnout; they’re all unemployed, and it’s the first of the month, just got their checks, so they’ll all be out of the house today spending my money!!!”

Seriously, I just quite trying to reason, it's like trying to fill the grand canyon with a teaspoon.


OK, someone just fried up a mess of coconut prawns in the test kitchen and brought them downstairs for us to try and Simon let this one fly:

"You stand back from the coconut prawns Big-Boy! (See the 7/13/04 post on the Big-Boy) It’s OK if the Tree-hugger wants one, because he’s not a hypocrite – you took the child tax credit it and spent it on pornography! You’re just like Kerry, but when you flip-flop the whole world shakes!!! You must think these are Democrat prawns – you’re always looking for a handout! Well, you step back! These are Republican prawns! Step back!"

You can be sure, regardless of who wins the presidential race, there will be an update coming on election-related Simonisms. It ought to be rich. Stay tuned!