Dead Fish in a Box

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

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Location: United States

Friday, September 30, 2005

Vacation Time!!!

I’m doing my best Humbaba impression these days: Buying a bigger house, renting the old one, going on a week-long vacation and hoping the whole thing doesn’t fall apart. Mrs. Fishpimp and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary this coming week. We take turns planning these celebrations, it’s fun to surprise & be surprised. We’re going for a week and all I know about our destination is the weather forecast: Highs in the high 80’s, lows in the high 50’s with sporadic showers and thunderstorms. I’m thinking the destination is Costa Rica, preferably here. I’ll be sure to post a review if/when we return.

Since I’ll be gone for a week I thought I’d leave you with a great Simonism from the other day:

Simon: “Who is going to sell these 12 oz New York Steaks?!?!?!?! Littleman! Why don’t you send them to your guy?”
Littleman: “I can’t, they use 14 oz New Yorks.”
Simon: “Just send the 12 oz steaks and dummy up!”
Littleman: “No, they’ll catch me and send them back!”
Simon: “No they won’t, I’ll bet you!”
Littleman: “No, they’re not tall enough! They use the 14 oz because they like how tall they are.”
Simon: “I bet you can get away with it! They won’t notice”
Littleman: “ No, they’re not tall enough, they’ll know!”
Simon: “No they won’t; I’ve done it before!”
Littleman: “Ok, fine, I’ll do it, I’ll send them.”

Simon: “No, don’t, they’ll catch it.”

Classic Simon, classic. See y’all in a week!

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Fox Sports Northwest is replaying classic Pac-10 football games of the past 15 years on Thursday evenings this fall. I was very excited to see that last week they were going to replay "The Whammy in Miami" - when Washington snapped the Hurricanes' 56-game home winning streak. I remember watching this game as a sophomore at the University of Puget Sound by all by myself on a dark and rainy afternoon in Tacoma. I was ready to relive the agony of the first half as the Huskies fell behind and looked completely overmatched; ready to celebrate one of the finest hours of this storied team's long traditions as they came back and trampled a defense that included future NFL greats like Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis. I took extra care programming the VCR with the correct VCR+ number so there would be no errors. I checked it three times - I wasn't going to miss seeing this beautiful purple gem. Unfortunately, the Times must have had a misprint, because when I sat down to watch the tape last night I got three hours of the HOME FREAKING SHOPPING NETWORK! %$&#&%$#*$&%$# !!!!!!

The Huskies just can't get any breaks these days!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out With the New, In With the Old

The Bird is no longer the word. It was decided that he should “have the chance to be successful some place else” Our favorite Scandinavian, the Sultan of Stoic, is back. He left town a few months ago; went our to Colorado to get his head together. We were all sad to see him go, but he was way burned out and needed a break. He signed on with a fish company in Denver called Seattle Fish (mildly ironic). There he realized just how good he had it here at the house of fish, so after a scant few months away he’s back. He didn’t miss a beat either. He always enjoyed hassling the Baron, so when he came waddling in Monday morning the Norwegian greeted him with a hearty “MANATEE!!!!!” (see 4/4/05 post)

So then Simon jumps in, ‘cause he just can’t help himself:

“Hey! You be nice! The Manatee has been in mourning for the past month; that hurricane killed a lot of his relatives!”

Oh, the synergy in this place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Our I.T. guy is a bit of a smartass. He's always going around and messing with people's chairs, stealing the trackballs out of mice, unplugging phones, etc. We'll, he was on vacation last week and someone used the opportunity to exact their revenge:

On the plus side, we finally found a use for those weekly Val-pack mailers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The increase in fuel cost is starting to reach into all segments of the economy. The price of Cheetos in the vending machine jumped from $0.65 to $0.85 overnight. The ensuing outrage has cause the fishhouse to descend into absolute pandemonium. In an attempt to regain normalcy we are petitioning governor Gregoire for snack food price controls.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

I'm mentioned seafood piracy a handful of times in recent months, so it seems appropriate to highligh the significance of September 19th:


Friday, September 16, 2005

Where did the summer go?

It’s slow in seafood-land. Winter came very early this year. I remember years when it was busy all the way into late October. One of Simon’s favorite sayings is “when the frost is on the pumpkin the salmon turns pale.” Well, the salmon turned pale in August this year. Uff Da! Almost every account I’ve talked to this week has asked “is it just me, or is it quiet everywhere?” Yes, yes it is.

On top of all that, after working Sunday-Thursday for the past 18 months I’m back to a Monday-Friday shift. Fridays are far and away the slowest day of the week. We have very limited service on Saturdays, so there aren’t a lot of calls to be made. It’s a good day to catch up on paperwork, or, as the case may be, the weblog.

I’ve had an eventful week or two, but nothing worth an entire post so here are the highlights in bullet-point form:

  • Looked at a house in Greenwood listed as 3 bed with a possibility of 4. It had two tiny bedrooms, one in the basement, which had 6’ ceilings, and the possibility of one in the unfinished attic. Agents need to be more honest about what they’re selling; they’d move houses faster that way.
  • The dog couldn’t stop chewing on his tail, so he got the cone. He’s miserable; he keeps bumping into things and freaking himself out. On the good side, out TV reception is fantastic all of a sudden.
  • We’re doing the Kirkland Triathlon this weekend. I was going to do it by myself, but I strained a calf muscle and had to quit running. I shanghaied my wife to run and talked a friend who swam competitively in college to take the aquatic leg. So all I have to do is ride the bike 14 miles and I still get a t-shirt and a medal. Yeehaw!
  • Yesterday was Mexican Independence Day. We celebrated with tacos at Casa Corona.
  • My uncle who did his Masters at UC Berkley was in town for the game last weekend. He was a good sport and didn’t gloat; it was good to see him.
  • Mrs. Fishpimp has been working on a rhubarb crisp for 4 days now. She picked & cut the rhubarb on Tuesday, had to run an after-hours errand for work on Wednesday, got the topping started yesterday, but we went to see the aforementioned house and it was never finished. Maybe, if I get lucky, I’ll get some rhubarb tonight. I love rhubarb.
  • Simon offered this pearl of wisdom regarding Katrina: ”This is a case study in how shit happens. It’s a perfect example of how the government gets f*cked up! The walls go up, people get used to it – it works. Then, all of a sudden, agencies aren’t talking to each other and they can’t find a hurricane.”

Have a great weekend, y’all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I played in a client's charity golf tournament today. I love golf, especially when someone else (i.e. my employer) is paying. I talked my boss, the one who played football for the Oregon Ducks, into sponsoring a hole, and since his back is all messed up I got to use the slot that comes with the sponsorship. He came to the fishhouse from the wine business, so I was glad to see that I got put in a foursome with a bunch of wine guys - they all knew him from back in “the day”, and we got along swimmingly as we all had stories to tell. When we came to the hole my company sponsored I broke out the Fishhouse Invitational commerative golf ball from out company tourney last year in honor of our generous donation. Did I mention that I'm a very poor golfer? No? Well, I am. And, as we were all cracking jokes at my boss's expense, I absolutely shanked the ball off the tee. The overwhelming irony is that on the hole the fishhouse sponsored, using a fishhouse ball, I smashed it right into the ass of a mallard duck sitting on the edge of the water hazard.

We all enjoyed the symbolism.

The wine guys were a lot of fun. They kept taking my cell phone and to leave my boss vulgar messages with my name on his caller ID. The best part, however, was that they all hooked my up with bottles of wine as we departed. Makes me want to be a wine salesperson, I'd smell better and have better samples to give out. And I'd get to play more golf.



This may seem like common sense to most of you, but today I learned that after being sick for two days, then golfing with wine guys who stash multiple bottles of delicious Zinfandel (aka "aiming fluid") in their golf bags it is not a good idea to come home and try to go for a bike ride or any magnitude. Oof!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a Husky fan, and proudly so. The University of Washington has a great tradition both academically and athletically and is worthy of my support despite recent struggles on the football field.

However, many in my office do not support the Purple & Gold. My boss played football at Oregon; one can guess where his loyalties lie. The GM is a Beaver Believer from Oregon State, and the Controller is a Cougar. As one can imagine, the Husky fans have been on the receiving end of college football jokes more often than not in the past 12 months. But I think these turkeys from other Pac-10 schools are running out of steam; after UW gave up the game to Air Force it took a day and a half for anyone to start talking!

My boss is a big fan of spending time on the internet at work. He’s particularly fond of ESPN and has been sending all the Huskies links to “The Bottom 10” whenever UW appears in the column. This week I wrote back saying “I went looking in the Bottom 10 archives for Oregon, but they don’t go back into the ‘90’s, or the ‘80’s, or the ‘70’s, or the ‘60’s, or the ‘50’s, or the ‘40’s, or the ‘30’s, or…well, you get the idea” He responded with something to the effect of “It’s been a long time since anyone had a one-win season in the Pac-10, why don’t you look that one up in the archives!” So I did, here’s what I found and e-mailed back to the Duck and CC’d all the Huskies in the office:

“Well, Oregon did it in ’78 and 4 other times, not to mention the twelve (12) 2-win seasons. How many undefeated, National Championship seasons does Oregon have under its belt? Be careful what you ask for, sucka!”

Silly Duck. Go Huskies!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Problem Solver

One of my best friends is an engineer. When asked about his trade he often says “I’m an engineer; I solve problems” I took that on as my personal mantra yesterday. Between the hurricane, government quotas, Somolian pirates, and the Labor Day holiday we had all kind of trouble yesterday. But I didn’t let that slow me down, no sir! Out of fresh catfish? Hey, I’ve got some frozen stuff that’ll fill in until Mississippi gets the gas tank filled. No rockfish? Don’t let the filled quota ruin your day! Have some smelt! They smelt in your mouth, not in your hand! Pirates holding your tunamen hostage? Try some wholesome Ono from Costa Rica! Down there they call is wahoo. Yessir, you heard me right! WAHOO!!!! The trucker carrying the 12,000 Lbs of halibut is taking the day off? No problemo, hand me the keys, I’ll drive to the airport and pick it up myself, just let me finish my calls and I’ll be on my way! Don’t worry if there’s so much halibut we can’t shut the truck door, we’ll just lock the lift gate in place – it’ll be just fine.

It didn’t stop there – when I got home I found that we were out of lean ground beef for my diet-plan dinner. No sweat, instead of a extra-lean 6 oz patty we’ll have these ½ Lb., 750 calorie Kobe beef patties – Dee-licious!

I am a Fishpimp; I solve problems.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Dang, this hurricane thing is really screwing everything up. Something like 70% of the oysters consumed in the U.S. are produced in Louisiana. Well, since they up and exported their entire crop over the rainbow to Oz, the price of our lovely little Puget Sound oysters went up 30% overnight; and that’s on top of the increase we suffered after last year’s hurricanes knocked out all of Florida’s production. I’m wishing I was one of those eccentric oyster farmers right about now.

The Southern chicken farmers got totally wiped out – it’s like a Sonics game down there: “Floatin’ chickens in the barnyard!” Too bad chickens can’t swim. On top of that, there are freight-train cars full of fresh product, but the rails are torn up or submerged. I guess Mississippi is split down the middle with chicken farms on one half of the state and catfish farms on the other; the chicken guys got it bad. The good news is that our catfish suppliers didn’t suffer much from the storm. The bad news is that all of their employees are out of gas and can’t buy anymore for a while, so they’re unable to get to work to harvest the fish.

The price of gas isn’t helping anything either. All the seafood companies are thinking about adding fuel surcharges, we’re all waiting for the other guy to blink. I remember going through this when I worked at Airborne Express. No one wanted to be the first, no one wants to be the bad guy. It doesn't really matter, prices on all consumer goods are going up. Add to all this Back to School, Labor Day travel, Bumbershoot, and the Boeing strike and we're looking at a pretty weak start to September for Seafood sales.

In other news: Mrs. Fishpimp flew out of Nairobi today, so I’m into my final 24 hours of bachelorhood. Frankly, I’m ready to have her back. I need someone to cook for; I don’t cook for myself, and I’m tired of eating garden burgers & grocery store Chinese food. She’s been out chasing gorillas in Uganda with a friend of hers from the Peace Corps. The ironic/interesting/notable thing is that her friend is a PhD in public health and works for FEMA. Before she left Her boss told her that she should think about rescheduling her trip since there was a hurricane on the horizon. She laughed at him; one cannot simply reschedule gorilla-trekking permits, there’s only 35 or so a day for the whole world.

I don’t think either of them knew how bad Katrina was going to be.

I'm just glad the worst thing I've got to worry about is dead fish in a box