Dead Fish in a Box

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

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Location: United States

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Imagine the Possibilities

My wife really surprised me twice the other day. After nearly 5 years of marriage, 9 years all together, I should think that I know this woman pretty well, but I never expected these two things of her. First she called me at work:

“Guess what I’m doing?………I’m knitting!!!!!”

Wow, never saw that one coming. Then, that evening, we rented “Team America: World Police”. She thought it was pretty silly, but she laughed the most at the puppet sex scene – and she laughed really hard. I can only assume that means she was enjoying it. I never expected that one either.

I’m really confused; these two events are diametrically opposed on the scale of sexy. But It may work out for me yet: if she graduates from knitting this scarf to jumpers & cardigans, one can only imagine what sort of movies she’ll want to watch in the future.

Monday, June 27, 2005

War & Peace

Originally uploaded by fishpimp.

I had a rare good day at work last Thursday. I got to let go of a grudge that was really grinding on me. They promoted this kid from the night crew into the sales office in a political maneuver (“see, we really do promote from within!”). He blew out his knee & hurt his back, causing him to gain a lot of weight and more recently a new nickname: The Big Bird.

He’s as green as they get. He tends to employ the “used car sales” paradigm, and poorly at that. He’s very young and still has a young man’s attitude towards life: running up big bills and trying to supplement his income by playing poker. His ski boat is about to be repossessed, but he’d rather default on the loan than sell it. He has not given anyone the impression that he has any sort of intelligence. He’s also been implicated in improper extracurricular activities on several occasions. He got busted for improper internet use a few weeks back and tried to pin it on me. Big mistake. He tried to paint a picture of me using force to make him play a flash-based game that crashed his computer, when in reality it was the plug-in that did it. Regardless, it put me in a bad light.

The real clincher came when he asked me if he could sell some fish that I had already sold. I told him that was not a possibility. Later in the day I walked out into the warehouse and saw the fish in question being loaded into a box to be Fed-Ex’d to one of his customers. He had blatantly disregarded my instructions, not to mention company policy. Hell, he tried to steal my fish! It was all I could to not to absolutely freak out on the kid. I wrote a particularly damning e-mail to him, his boss, and my boss about his attempted fish larceny. When cornered on it by the managers he came up with some feeble story trying to cover his ass. This kid is really amazing, of all the bad things that happen to him, it’s never his fault! Never, ever, ever! What’s really interesting is that for someone who lies as much as he does, he’s not very good at it.

So I’ve been dealing with the rift in a very sophisticated manner: I’ve been giving him the silent treatment with a little evil eye thrown in for variety’s sake. Unfortunately, he’s so dense that he acts like nothing’s wrong.

Finally, Thursday, I exacted my revenge. My buddy, the Punkin’, had his truck vandalized earlier last week, so he was without wheels for our morning Starbucks sortie. The Big Bird offered to let Punky drive his car. The Bird drives a Subaru STI. I’ve been told that it’s the fastest 4-cyl production car ever, and the Bird thinks that if he lets people drive his hot rod they’ll like him better. Punky drives a NASCAR Mini-stock on the weekends for fun, so I strapped in tight. The car is bad-ass. I narrowly avoided getting coffee on the khakis. The Punkin enjoyed driving it so much that he commandeered it for our lunch run also. As we got ready to head back from lunch he flips me the keys. I grinned “I’m gonna get you back for this morning’s coffee run!” Then he made the big mistake: “Go for it, I don’t scare easy.” Hooboy, it was on!

The manufacturer claims a 4.8 0-60 time. I got close to that several times, but what made Punky nearly soil his pants and helped me release my grudge against the Big Bird was our entrance into the business park. It’s a 90 degree turn. I took it wide & punched it putting us into a hard 4-wheel drift for about 50 yards before the AWD snapped us straight at 70 mph. Punky didn’t know the tree-huggin’ college-boy who rides his bike to work knew how to drive. Poor sucka! Nothing like harshing on another person’s property to release the tension in the relationship. When we got back to the office the Punkin starts telling everyone about my exploits. The Bird thinking the “cool-car-will-make-them-like-me” technique had worked it’s magic started acting all chummy. I shut him down, reminding him of his fish-thievery. Finally, finally, he apologized and I was able to burry the hatchet.
I hate holding grudges, very little good can come out of a grudge. At least this time I got to drive a super-hot car and scare the crap out of my big-talking buddy. YeeHaw!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lee Harvey & The Oswalds

Lee Harvey & The Oswlds
Originally uploaded by fishpimp.
I was searching through the my pictures folder and came across this old gem. A but crass, but very clever.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

If She Sings it's Over

If She Sings it's Over
Originally uploaded by fishpimp.

So Saturday the in-laws dragged me down to the Solstice Parade in Fremont. I hate parades. I hate crowds where there's no place sit. But I figured this one would be different - I'd never been to a parade with naked people on bikes before - so I'd give it a chance. If you didn't know, Fremont is on the SW end of the Seattle New Age belt - it stretches from there in a straight line up to the Roosevelt Neighborhood. It's a 'different' kind of place - they imported a 20' bronze statue of Lenin, there's a giant troll sculpture under the bridge a al billy goat gruff, and they claim to be the geographic center of the universe. Understandably, their parade is a little different also. But is was still a parade. Actually, it was 90 minutes of naked bikers followed by about 30 minutes of actual parade, made up of 40% marching drum circles & white chicks attempting to dance like African women, 40% bands on floats, 10% people on stilts, with the remaining 5% mixed costume people with various socio-political agendas.

My Mother-in-law forgot her camera, so she asked me to take lots of photos. She's regretting that one today. There were some pretty interesting costumes - or lack-there-of. She said something to the effect of "I've never seen that many penises in one day in my life!" The bikers came in all shapes - some very pleasing to the eye, others, not so much. For some the hour of biking was probably more than they'd get all year long! At least I've got some good material to put up on my co-workers desktop wall paper!

In retrospect, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had just brought a chair & a cooler of 'beverages' - sheesh, how many events could that statement apply to? I may have to rethink my approach to these sorts of things.


Originally uploaded by fishpimp.

If this kid was looking for available mamaries at the Fremont Solstice Parade, she hit the freaking Mother Lode (pun not intended, but it's a good one, eh?)

Fremont Traffic Cop

Fremont Traffic Cop
Originally uploaded by fishpimp.

This dude was directing traffic after the street fair. He was getting pretty hot; yelling at everyone. No one was listening to him. I guess they didn't see him as an authority figure. I wonder why?

Fishpimp Kitchen

Fishpimp Kitchen
Originally uploaded by fishpimp.

What a weekend. My in-laws are in town. It’s always an adventure when they’re around. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some of the best in-laws around, but father-in-law is like the Energizer Bunny – he keeps going and going and going…

We got a call from them about 6-8 weeks ago: “Hi, we’ve got a free weekend; we thought we’d come up and paint you kitchen!” Like I said, I got lucky in the in-law department – I didn’t even have to tell them how much fun painting the kitchen would be! The trouble started when it came to selecting a color. For some misguided reason the Fishpimps decided the kitchen must be green. There is no right color of green. We looked at endless swatches, bout 5 test quarts at $10 a pop. All the brands ought to sell testers like Ralph Loren does – too bad I didn’t like any of the colors they had available in the packets! D’ah!

We spent all day Friday prepping & painting. The kitchen has to be the toughest room to paint – all the cabinets & drawers to remove & odd angles to tape off. After hours of prep it only took the 4 of us about 30 minutes to paint the whole room! No sweat. We retired to the sister-in-law’s place for beer and clams.

Saturday Mrs. F.P. & I slapped on a second coat of green. She went for a run. I called Comcast & finally got the internet connection up & running (they call it high-speed, but it took a month to get it hooked-up! There’s nothing high-speed about THAT!), then I jumped on the old bike & ripped off 13 miles – it’s a bitch trying to get back into shape, I’m gunning for the Beaver Lake Triathlon in August, I got a lot of work, a lot of work.

When I got back the in-laws were there. They dragged me off to the Fremont Solstice Parade. I’ll write that up separate – it’s worth it’s own post. After the madness in Fremont we grabbed a bite & dropped by the two places showing my brother-in-law’s art. If you’re into fine art, he’s pretty talented, if you think fine art is goofy, then you might think otherwise. I think he’s got some great stuff out there, then again, I minored in Studio Art in college, I’m kinda weird.

We got home around 5 and went back to work. The American Standard paint we chose turned out to be crap, so the womenfolk spent two hours touching up the bad spots while father-in-law & I replaced the cabinet above the stove & attached the hood fan. After finishing the touch-ups the ladies went to put the new pulls & hinges on the cabinet doors & drawers only to find that they were the wrong size. A decision was made to find a different style of pull that would fit rather than fill 48 holes & drill 48 new ones. Trouble is, there were no corresponding pulls to be had at either box hardware store, completely frustrating the women. While they were out we slapped on the hinges & hung all the doors, replaced the fridge, stove, dishwasher, & drawers, pulled up the paper on the floor & cleaned up. When mother & daughter returned in exasperation I declared it to be Millertime, or in this case, Negro Modelo time. We dined at 8:30 on cheese curds, pico de gallo, and the final jar of last year’s tomatillo-chipotle salsa. We were originally to dine at Sister-in-law’s when she returned from the airport with brother-in-law, but when she called around 9 with the dinner bell, the Fishpimps opted to stay home & flip between the Mariners & Ronin (my favorite line: DeNiro to Sean Bean “You gonna ambush me? I just ambushed you with a cup of coffee!”).

Today I threw down some weed&feed on the lawn & went over to my folks place to make breakfast for my Pa. Now I’m sitting here on the most beautiful day in months stuck inside selling dead fish in a box while the rest of the fam is out sea kayaking. It’s a raw deal, I’ll tell you. Raw deal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Quote of the Day

"They think they're going out on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them!"

Read the full story here

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I heard an ad for a local restaurant today. They’re doing a strawberry promotion stating that they get all their wild strawberries from a local farm. Can you imagine that statement transposed into the fish business? ‘We get all our wild fish from the farm’ – yeah, that would fly. I don’t know about produce, but in this industry ‘farmed’ and ‘wild’ are as mutually exclusive as you can get.
The NY Times ran an expose a few months back about farmed salmon being sold as wild in New York markets. They called around in early March, when fresh, wild salmon is very scarce; 23 out of 25 stores claimed they had it. So they went out and bought samples and send it off to a lab in NC for chemical identification. 6 out of 7 stores’ “wild” salmon had astaxanthin in their flesh – the synthetic carotenoid used to impart an orange hue to the meat in farmed salmon. When confronted with the findings the reactions ranged from “The kid must have grabbed it from the wrong pile in back” to ”I know you’re looking at the label on the box that says ‘farm raised’ but believe me, don’t pay any attention to that label!’” But my favorite was this gem:

“Our salmon is from Canada. All wild salmon in Canada is farm raised.”

It sounds like an incorrect answer on a multiple-choice test.

Which of the following statements is false:

A) Salmon are farm raised in Canada.
B) Salmon are caught wild in Canada.
C) Wild salmon is not farm raised.
D) All wild salmon in Canada is farm raised.
E) Canada should be annexed and nicknamed “The Maple Leaf State”.

What a bunch of jerks. You’d think that one could carve out an honest, respectable living pimping the fish, but these guys are making us all look bad. It reminds me of a lawyer joke that could just as easily be adapted to any group one wants to deride:

This guy walks into a bar, orders a beer, and says loudly to no one in particular: “All Fishpimps are jerks!”
“I resent that!” the man at the end of the bar emphatically states.
“Why? You a Fishpimp?” the instigator shot back, looking for a fight.
“No sir, I am a Jerk!”

Monday, June 13, 2005

Kobe Brisket Recap

Kobe Brisket

Last week I was all fired up to fire up the smoker and BBQ this lump of Kobe Beef I’d been given to cook for sales training. So here’s how it went:
I did my research and found that a brisket typically takes 1-1.5 hours per pound to cook for choice grade, which average 8 Lbs, making for a 10-12 hour cook time. But this was Kobe, uncharted territory, these suckers were 13 Lbs each & super fatty. When it comes to protein, Fat equals Flavor – that’s our mantra. It’s why we love bacon, prime rib, & gravy on our dark meat at Thanksgiving. It’s what makes that damn Copper River Salmon so desirable. Fat, in this case, also means reduced cooking time. A 12 oz New York steak will cook 2-3 minutes faster than a 12 oz Top Sirloin because of the marbling (fat content), and these briskets (normally a lean cut or meat) were marbled like prime grade New Yorks!
I put a post up on the message board seeking advice, but didn’t get any before I started. I hedged my bets by picking up a remote thermometer with an alarm. I should have bought one of these things a long time ago, it saved my butt, but more on that in a minute. It’s basically an electronic instant-read thermometer with the display separated from the probe by a 36” lead. The cost being $22, the benefit being the ability to check doneness without having to lift the lid of the smoker, and losing temperature control. It also means I don’t have to go out in the rain to test anything. What’s more, in this over-night cook, I don’t have to go out in the rain in the middle of the night in my p.j.’s to test anything.
After surveying the situation, I realized that these hunks of meat were too durned big to fit whole on the racks, so I ripped them lengthwise & rolled them into semi circles. I put a rub of salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, mustard, & meat tenderizer (aka MSG) and started the charcoal. The meat went on at a little after 6:00 PM with a mixture of Oak, Pecan, and Mesquite wood chunks. I was expecting a cook time of aprox 13 hours. I turned the meat at midnight and refilled the water pan. I was fixing to check the temperature again at 3:00, and pull it off the grill at 7:00 AM. I awoke to the sound of the temperature alarm going off at 2:00. That sucker is LOUD! And boy I’m glad it is, because the access door had fallen off and the coals that should be just barely smoldering were in full-on blaze mode. When I saw that in my semi-comatose state I freaked! I was afraid I’d ruined the meat! Oh, the Humanity!!! I whipped the lid off, pulled the meat off onto some cookie sheets, and moved it on inside. As I gathered my wits I realized that the temperature was a perfect 185F. The lid temperature was at 250F, so it probably hadn’t got too hot. Other than having to deal with the meat 5 hours earlier than I had planned, all was well. Note to self – Kobe brisket cook time: 50 min/lb. I wrapped the slabs in foil, placed them in a 25 gallon cooler, and put warm, dry towels on top. I put the thermometer on top of the closed lid and set the meat-parcel next to the front door so I wouldn’t walk out and forget everybody’s lunch. Then I went back to bed for a couple hours.
I got up at 4:30 like a normal day, let the dog out & started the coffee. When the dog came back in he was acting a little funny. His nose was in the air & he was searching for something. It bears mentioning that he’s a herding dog, not a hound, and I’ve never seen him seek something out solely by scent. But he zeroed in on the cooler o’ flesh. Funny, we haven’t even given him a scrap, I’m not sure he even knows what beef tastes like. Of course, he’s a pretty smart dog; he probably knew it was Kobe. The Cooler kept the meat nice & warm. It had only dropped to 172F in two hours.
When I popped it open at work we were all treated to the smoky scent of barbeque wafting through the fishhouse kitchen. I trimmed off the massive fat cap and went at it with a dull serrated knife. Pushing, but not slicing, across the grain it shredded beautifully. It took me about 30 minutes to get though it all. I drizzled a little leftover juice back into the bowl & tossed it with a pinch of Johnnie’s Seasoning Salt. The team went after it at around 11:00; they were not disappointed. It was tender, smoky, & moist. The 15 of us polished it off with little effort. I spiked the rookie’s bbq sauce with a little Dave’s Insanity Sauce. He’s still sweating 5 days later.
It was some good barbecue. The people told me I’d outdone myself again. I thought it was OK. Either I’m not a big BBQ beef fan, or the Kobe just wasn’t the mind-blowing gastronomic experience I had expected it to be. Judging by people’s reactions, I’d guess the former is more likely than the later; they sure enjoyed it.
I probably won’t do a Kobe brisket again – a) it's about 3 times as expensive as a regular choice brisket, and b) it rendered so much fat that the 2 gallon water pan was nearly filled with black, oily sludge – took me nearly 45 minutes to get it all cleaned up. The bottom line is this: I’m sticking to pork, poultry, & fish on the smoker.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

High Times

This morning I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled today. I haven’t had many cavities in my life, but I don’t understand why people are always carrying on about how awful getting them filled can be. I had a great experience! First of all, I got the cute dental assistant. She offered to take my coat, I declined – it felt cold to me in the office, so she got me a big fuzzy blanket. Then she uttered five of the most beautiful words in the English language:

“Would you like the Nitrous?”

Hell Yes! I loves me some NO2. High Times. Then she got me the wireless headphones with the channel switcher. I flipped through the radio stations and came to the CD player. It was spinning a disc I haven’t heard since college, but I really enjoyed hearing. I asked the cute DA who’s CD’s they were

“Oh, I brought them today.”

So she’s cute AND hospitable AND has good taste in music AND hooked me up with the prescription-strength whip-it!

Who says going to the dentist is painful? For the Fishpimp it was downright pleasant!


Mrs. Fishpimp is a program director for an adventure travel company (AKA coolest job on the planet). She sent me this note yesterday – apparently, there are goofy people in industries other than seafood.

Subject: Somali Minister of Tourism and Wildlife

Said this as one of his reasons to visit Somalia…
“Somalia is a very big country, good weather and a large number of wildlife. Somalia has water, rain, good weather and the biggest population of camels, cows, sheep and goats.”

Her coworker sent this response back:

Wow, where do I sign up?
I recall once many years ago, while attending a travel trade show representing Seattle, I stepped into an elevator with a woman also attending the same show. She looked at my badge & sighed “Oh, you’re from Seattle. That must be a fun place to promote.” I agreed & asked her where she was from (which I do not remember at all). When I asked what they did in her hometown for tourism, she answered brightly “Well, we have one of the country’s biggest hammer factories!” What the heck do you say to that???

Indeed. What do you say to that?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Thrill of the Grill

If you’ve clicked on the “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” link on the right you’ve probably deduced that I enjoy the American smoke-cooking method commonly known as “Barbecue”. Barbeque is a technique not indigenous to the Great Pacific Northwest, but it’s popularity is increasing as people enjoy it’s delicious, tender, smoky goodness. It bears mentioning that there is a big difference between ‘barbecue’ as a style of cooking and ‘barbecue’ the event: the event usually involves small cuts of meat cooked quickly over direct high heat (coals or gas flame), but the traditional barbecue cooking method is very different – it’s slow & low – long cook times over low, indirect heat, usually with large primal meats (primals are what steaks & chops are cut from – like whole loins, butts, & rib-roasts). I like going to a barbecue and drinking a beer or two, but when the cook time is over 5 hours, there is a much larger beer-drinking window to “marinade” one’s self.

I’ve mentioned before that, even though I work with a half-dozen former chefs, I am the designated cook for our bi-weekly lunchtime training sessions. Usually I just whip up lunch in our kitchen here, but last time I took a beef brisket home and smoked it. As the kids at Mt Tahoma High School say, it was the “Bomb-diggity-blast!” The crew unanimously agreed that I missed my calling as a BBQ Joint Cook (They don’t have chefs). I humbly declined this praise, as all I’ve ever aspired to do is to pimp the fish.

That said, this week I’m going to take barbecue to the next level: Kobe Beef. Kobe is the richest, most flavorful beef ever conceived – all because the cows are pampered like rock stars – hell, they even get beer mixed into their feed and daily massages – happy cows = delicious meat. The marbling is off the chart – make USDA Prime grade taste like leather.

That’s right, suckas! I’ll be firing up the smoker to make the most tender, luscious, succulent, juicy, delectable, savory barbecued meat since man discovered fire! I’m salivating over the idea already, and I still have two days before I ignite the charcoal.

I may not be able to bear the strain.