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Day 216: Backwards Pescetarianism

Ok so I’m going to gloss over the fact that it’s been 5 months since I’ve updated this blog.  But for what it’s worth,  there was a MacDonalds in Richmond that was robbed 3 times over the course of 5 months.  Some Company in Sunnyvale went through 4 CFO’s in 5 months, and some company called Medscape doubled it’s members to 200,000 in 5 months.

To be honest, Googling for ‘5 months’ was pretty underwhelming.  And luckily for me, as I was writing a draft of this entry originally it’s been two full months since then… so instead of a month mark, how about this… according to WikiAnswers, every day 138,240 people die.  Which means in the time I wasn’t updating this blog 33,868,800 people have died.  That being the case, even if I had managed  to butcher a goodly deal of turkeys, pigs or other godfearing animals, way more people would have died (albeit, not at my hands) than animals.  That being the case I think my meager moral victories are somewhat dubious.  However I did manage to kill 3 animals of the same species since my last post.  That’s me, keeping up with mother nature on a 1:11289600.  Bring it on you frigid bitch!

According to wikipedia’s article on Pescetarianism (Eating seafood, eggs and nuts… don’t ask me why they have to specify nuts), it is often used as a transitional diet for people moving from Omnivore-ism to Vegetarianism.  I was sortof using this backwards, going from Vegevoreism  (Cancivore specifically)  to deeper into Omivorousness.  It’s also worth noting that my built in spell-checker doesn’t know or like the word Pescetarianism and wants to replace it with either Vegitarianism (rightfully so), Sectarianism (All Hail the Fish), Libertarianism (All Fish Should Be Eaten Because the Constitution Says So), Egalitarianism (All Fish Should Be Eaten Equally), and Utilitarianism (We Eat Fish, Because We Can).  All -THAT- makes me think of those old school shirts which explain various religions either in terms of weed smoking, or fecal matter.  Man those shirts were awesome.

So since I’m talking fish, I’ll cut to the spoiler.

I murdered a fish, and ate it’s delicious flesh.  Well three fish, and ate all of their delicious fleshes.

I suppose I can give you some setup.  I’ll admit that it’s been long enough now that I don’t remember the exact day, but it was a Sunday in August and I went to the Ventura pier.  I did a bit of internet research ahead of time to figure the best time to go and the best kind of bait to use.  I took the salted anchovies that I had left over from when we went spear fishing.  Who knew dead salted fishmeat kept so well in the freezer, I was expecting WAY more stink.

When I got there I noticed it was cooooooooold and I, being the prepared boyscout that I was, didn’t actually have a sweatshirt.  I dug around in the car and found like 4 dirty t-shirts (who says you should keep your car clean) and put them all on, grabbed my fishing pole and a handfull of frozen sardines and made my way onto the pier.

Turns out I didn’t actually need a license to pier fish (though I heard conflicting stories on this one) because the idea was as long as you were standing over where there was sand, you were fine, but if you went off the end of the pier… you werent?

I don’t quite get how that works.  Is the idea I’m only catching the retarded fish if I’m fishing in the sand?  I’m sure that has some bureaucratic backing somewhere, but the important thing was that I did have my license and it seemed like fishing off the end of the pier was obviously the better place to go fishing as that’s… where all the people were.  Anyways there were way more people at the Ventura pier at 10 o’clock at night than I expected them to be there were various gaggles of teenagers and a few older guys.  There was a pair of thuggish looking weathered dudes who ended up helping me as I realized I had no idea whatsoever how to even start hooking dead fish to lure in more fish (though that makes me realize fish are totally cannibals).

Eventually I had managed to stick my dead fish in the water and proceeded to engage in what is the time honored tradition of sitting on one’s ass.  Staring at the black abyss of the ocean, in the middle of the night in the freezing cold, hoping by happenstance to take something’s life.

Eventually, by some freak miracle I managed to catch a fish.  I really need to point out at this point that this effort came about ENTIRELY as a result of the guys fishing next to me giving me the 4-1-1.  I pulled up some gross looking rockfish and wasn’t really sure if the thing was small, or if this was what I should expect.  The guys told me it was right on the cusp, and I was pretty anxious to murder something so I decided I wouldn’t throw it back.

I figured this was going to be pretty easy, except once I got the slimy writhing mass untangled from my fishing line, and was going to put it down somewhere, I could feel it’s heart pounding inside it, and see it’s lips pumping trying to get oxygen.  Even now thinking back on it makes me wince a little bit.  In this particular instance though, the thing was now sitting on the side of the ocean, out of it’s home, had been stabbed through the face and was suffocating so it was time to end it’s life.

I reflected on how terribly I’d done the first time, so I took “Gofberg’s Gift” into my hands and brought it down on the thing, whacking it hard right behind it’s eye (I heard this was sortof the ‘kill spot’).  It still writhed a little, so I whacked it twice more for good measure.

El Pescado Muy Muerte

BTW, Gofberg’s gift is a sword my buddy Paul Gofberg gave me.  I’ll post pictures of it later, I used the flat bludgeony part, not the sharp pokey bit.   I’m pretty sure people at the pier thought I was a maniac for clubbing a fish with a sword.  It’s bad enough someone was doing their best Aragorn at 2 AM in the dark, but I think the fact that I was using the sword WRONG only made it worse.  But after a few more whacks, this seemed to pretty much have done the fish in so I chucked it into my ice bucket I had with me, and fueled with the bloodlust churning inside of me, I grabbed my hook and line and turned back to that sweet yielding whore we call the ocean and waited for her to put out for me again.

And then I waited.

And then I waited.

Eventually the guys next to me who still hadn’t caught anything offered to trade me some of their dead squid for some of the frozen sardines I had.  I made the swap and within 5 minutes had caught and butchered another fish.  I laughed with glee and then.

I waited

And then I waited some more.

By this point I was covered in fish ichor, freezing cold and had been sitting on this pier for hours and caught a grand total of two pitiful fish.  I stopped briefly on my way out and dropped my lure in the shallow water where the sand and dumb fish were and got one more on my way out.  I don’t know how but this was the laziest bit of fishing I’ve ever done in my life.

The Haul (I didn't eat the sharpie)

The Grand Haul (I didn't eat the sharpie)

I stumbled back to my car, and didn’t even have to pay parking since it was now rediculously late, and I blearily drove home and wanted desperately to take a shower, but I also didn’t want to just put away the fruits of my labors.  After all I’d spent HOURS getting these fish.  I was prepared for the tastiest meal of my life.

After a bit of poking around on the internet, I found the best way to clean and cook the fish.  I was disturbed by the number of different methods of cleaning a fish I found that said “Insert the knife into the fish’s anus” or descriptions of how to find the fish’s butthole.  Eventually however I removed the heads and butts and guts of the fish and was left with their “fillets”.  I also ended up having to cut out the backbone on the largest fish, but for the two smaller ones they recommended not even de-boning them (did you know that deboning and boning a fish are the same thing?  And neither one will get you sent to prison in the state of California?).

Les Fillets

I noticed that throughout this process, as I prepared the fish to be consumed, what started out as ‘small fish’ became ‘WTF?’ fish.  These things got smaller and smaller, and cooking them was rediculously easy.  Get a ton of butter in a pan.  Wait till the butter was sizzling and popping, and drop the fish bits in.  It was basically like deep frying, but with butter and they turned out pretty awesome.

Like Buttah

Im pretty confident that whatever normal food there is, can be cooked by dropping it into a pan of bubbling butter and taste delicious.  Whatever moral issues I had previously melted away as soon as I had removed the heads and guts.  It was somewhat like magic.  Once it didn’t look like an animal, it was like every other time I’ve cooked fish (which I’ll be honest is pretty rare).

It got me wondering if eating other foods is going to be like that too.  Troublesome up until I get it into a familiar shape “Oh wow, it’s just steak now” or if it’s going to stick with me.  I haven’t noticed any difference eating fish since when this thing began, and I havent really found myself thinking about fish, even when I’m in the supermarket, but when I think back to this exact experience, I really do find myself feeling bad about feeling the fish’s heart beating in my hand as I held it.  It made me realize I might be running out of animals I’m capable of murdering fast.

Here’s to eating my way up the food chain.

What's left after cookin'

1 comment to Day 216: Backwards Pescetarianism

  • Bill Maxwell

    Still remember when my buddy Keeper went scuba diving off near the piers and came back with a truck bed of fresh scallops. We shucked them, ate about 1/2 of them raw and pulsing out of the shells and froze the rest for a — you might have guessed it — fried in butter & garlic delight. 🙂 Ah… I can taste them right now. Yum.

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