Friday, September 18, 2009

Part 1: JK learns to gut a fish. Part 2: A donkey and matching motorcycle jackets

Part 1: As said above I continued my outdoor education yesterday by learning to gut a fish. As stated previously, I have been fishing quite a bit lately, mostly with my dad. Fishing is cool, but seeing that I don't really like to eat fish, I just catch them and release them, and then try to catch the same fish again. But yesterday, we had a visitor who does like to eat trout, and he agreed to let me "clean" them (which is code for robbing them of their intestines and, if applicable, eggs).

You start by smacking them in the face, really hard. This shocks and immobilizes them and makes you feel like a real fish-beating man, and I accordingly wore what's properly known as an "A" shirt, informally known as a wife beater. I asked my dad and visitor why you don't just stab them straight through the eyes to shock and immobilize them, and they conceded that method would work as well.

So after you beat the fish a bit, you gut it. This consists of slitting the fish belly from anus to just proximal to the lower jaw. It's pretty easy with a quality knife. Then you slit it laterally through the gills, proceeding upward to free the lower jaw, which you use as a "pull-tab" of sorts to rip the intestines (and, if applicable, eggs) out. You then dispose of the innards on land (oddly, other fish won't munch them if you throw them back). You squeeze all the blood out of a large central vessel, wash the fish in the water, and you're ready to go! Decapitation is optional but it's much cooler to cook the fish with its head on.

So that's what I learned yesterday! I also managed to get another wicked sunburn, further increasing the number of burn and tan rings around my neck to four fully visible. A bee stung me on the neck, and then proceeded to sting me three more times on my back after diving into my shirt. Await the sequels of this segment, which will likely be: 1, JK cleans a blue grouse and 2, JK guts a deer (which I will eat later, no trophy hunting for me thank you.)

Part II: So things moved on toward evening. I pan-fried some blue grouse (like a wild chicken) that I traded for last week, making the barter economy very favorable to me. Then I proceeded to the Friendly Store/Century Bar and Grill, which thankfully does not discriminate against patrons like they do prospective employees. I arrived to find a cache of regulars partially watching Miami (henceforward referred to as "The U") crush higher-ranked Georgia Tech. I would denigrate the entire "U" much more thoroughly right now, but I do fear being hunted down and shot by any member of their football team.

When I got to the bar, I ordered my usual Jim Beam and diet and proceeded to talk to the couple on my right. I described the new bartendress to him and, now that I have seen her again, I upgraded her to a 7.5 (great eyes!). At that point, the guy on my right turned to me and said, "Hey, watch out, you're talking about my future girlfriend." I laughed and took a sweet picture of his mullet, which I am unfortunately unable to upload from my telephone. At that point, someone asked him if he was the "guy with the donkey."

This newcomer in town had been spotted on the road over the last couple days, walking barefoot with a dog and a donkey. When asked why he had a donkey, he stated (quite correctly) that no one would pay attention around here to a barefoot guy with a dog, which is a far more common occurrence than you would think. So we asked him why he wanted to draw attention to himself, and he stated that he was trying to get Bill Gates' attention (?) to help fund and promote a revelation in education called "adaptive learning."

In short, adaptive learning consists of an interconnected web of electronic devices (computers, cell pieces, etc) that network around you, recognize you, and provide you with relevant learning experiences as you use these pieces of technology. It sounds to me like a Montessouri type school system, but ever present and transmitted via technology rather than fellow students. Anyway, the system itself doesn't sound so unreasonable, but I did take a chance to look at his website, which I would encourage you visit: It's quite entertaining, and could conceivably serve as a cautionary tale for what happens when you take too much acid in your younger years and later find Christianity wrapped up in all types of self-help info.

So I listened to this guy out of the corner of my ear, and we accused the best-known old codger in town of various criminal offenses to explain why he had just got out of jail (felony animal cruelty? Exposing yourself to minors?). Some lady came up behind me and rubbed my shoulders. Another woman asked me if I was indeed doing a crossword puzzle (as if it was a question she needed to ask) and told me that she had a "thing" for crossword puzzles. I, for once, was really at a loss for how to respond to this statement.

It was one thing if she would have said she had a thing for guys (or gals) who did crossword puzzles. I would have told her I was a leper or something to drive her away. But she actually said, and I quote, "I have a thing for crossword puzzles" and stared longingly at the paper. I don't even know what this means; does she like to do crossword puzzles, or "do" crossword puzzles? Confused I was. So I said nothing and kept "doing" the crossword puzzle. I disposed of the paper before leaving so no one else would be put in that awkward a situation, ever again.

When it was indeed time to leave, the couple on my right stated that they had arrived on a motorcycle (sweet). Then he proceeded to pull two matching helmets and matching Triumph motorcycle jackets out of a closet. They were both black and white, and as they walked out the door, a black and white dog kept barking at them. It was pretty awesome, and reading this over again, it was something you had to see to fully appreciate.
I proceeded home, thinking that everyone would be tucked in for the night as they usually are. However, there was a man sitting in a chair in the corner in faint light, drinking a Busch heavy. All he said was "Home already? Not the way to close down the bar." I said nothing. I sat and did a Sudoku and another crossword and went to bed in silence.

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