?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Zer Netmouse
October 18th, 2004
11:28 am

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
weekend happenings...
Let's see... The Saturday night dinner was fun and the Stilyagi meeting went pretty well. It had a very up ending as we called Chuck Firment on Brendan's cell phone and invited him to be the 2006 ConFusion Fan GoH on the spot. He accepted and it was fun to have put the topper on a good day for him.

I am pleased to say I have initial invitations out to three other nominees and Roxanne has agreed to do the other invitation. I'm actually on top of something! It's a good feeling. (too much smoffing does eventually make smoffing easier -- I had the email addresses for two of the nominees already...)

I also got to see Chuck on Sunday along with many of the other concom members. He was glowing- it was nice. I think it would have beeen a better concom meeting if I had had a real breakfast and/or lunch, but we limped along despite my low blood sugar and afterwards Chuck and I went to Depot Town for a sandwich. That made me late for the SFOHA board meeting but I had called ahead and no one seemed to mind. They all seemed more worried about my shoulder, which I was visibly favoring.

With their urging, I called my surgeon today and have an appointment to see him next monday morning. I haven't lost any mobility but then I didn't lose any when I initially hurt it, so that might not be a very good indicator for me.

After the SFOHA meeting, I went home and worked on finishing a couple of Top Michigan Women in Computing Bios for the AWC Gala program. I've got all but one done so I'm almost on top of that. In the meantime, Bill vaccuumed the house. It's much nicer now. We tried going to the Village Theatre for a movie but it turned out their website was wrong and the movie we were interested in wasn't actually showing. We went back home and Bill worked on getting the sewing machine working while I went downstairs to feed the oscars dinner.

That involved cutting up some goldfish that were too big to just drop in the tank. I have some observations about that, but I'll hide them behind a cut for the sake of the squeamish...



Bill didn't want to cut up anything that felt like a pet. I've long held that one ought to be able to dispatch anything you would eat yourself or feed a pet, and figured it wouldn't bother me too much.

so, I had this theory that chopping up fish was logically something you do with a cleaver and a cutting board, where you chop the fish's head off with a single blow. We don't use our cleaver very often, so it wasn't very sharp. I sharpened it a bit.
The fish were relatively small, three goldfish, each four or five inches long. I caught the first one from the bucket in a net and held him out of the water until he stopped thrashing so much. I laid him in the net on the cutting board, got hold of his tail through the net and moved the rest of the net out of the way. The fish seemed relatively calm, as I explained that he was going to be food anyway and this would hopefully be a much faster, more painless death. I swung the cleaver.. and only cut slightly through the fish's shoulder. The fish didn't really respond, other than to look at me. I apologized. The cleaver turned out to only be really sharp in the top two inches of the blade. I swung the knife again, harder, and got the desired result- fish instantly dead, head chopped off.
I hadn't really been prepared for the blood. I've seen films of bears eating fresh fish of course, and such, but I've never gone fishing, never cleaned a fresh fish. We think of fish as white meat - the opposite of red, bleeding, heavy flesh, and the fish fillets and steaks you get in the store have no sign of blood about them. So I realized I was surprised to have red red blood splatter on my hand.
I cut up the fish and fed it to the bigger fish in the tank, then caught the second goldfish out of the bucket. This time I knew which part of the knife was sharp and how hard to swing. I successfully chopped the head off in one motion on the first try. However, I cut a little too far back in the fish, so although the head was severed from the body, it wasn't instantly dead. The fish tried to breath and looked at me a bit reproachfully while it suffocated to death, I'm sorry to say. While I felt sorry for the fish I did feel a sort of fascination, watching this severed head continue to move its mouth and gills.

I decided the third fish was small enough for the oscars to catch and eat it so I just threw it in the tank. The oscars all had their mouths full at that point, and completely ignored him, so he got a reprieve.

It was an interesting experience that all in all firmed up my conviction that people who eat animal flesh ought to have the experience of killing an animal and therefore a deeper appreciation of what their diet involves. One ought to be thankful for the life that goes to feed you, and willing to look that animal in the face and say so.

If I ever do this again, though, I will make sure the knife is very sharp.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:the_leewit
Date:October 18th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Sigh... I'm not a terribly reliable or businesslike person, but it was me they came to at the pet store when something needed to die without fuss and as painlessly and respectfully as possible. I speak from bitter experience: it's the sort of thing you only botch once, if you want to live with yourself. And being a vegetarian... somehow made it easier?

I guess this does make me less of a person. A great man told me yesterday evening that there is no point in life where it becomes not worth fighting for, and that my views on euthanasia were something I was entitled to but (he implied) a reason why we can't be better friends.

I think sometimes that the everyday killings that others might live are the lot of woman. Who better to understand TANSTAAFL on the food chain?

Random babbling, sorry.
[User Picture]
From:the_leewit
Date:October 18th, 2004 09:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Sheesh! And ungrammatical babbling... I mean, of course, "It was I, etc."
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:October 18th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Sheesh! And ungrammatical babbling... I mean, of course, "It was I, etc."

*grin*

I am currently goofing off (translate: not doing job hunting because I'm) proofing the Fiddler's Green program. This is going to be a publication that attendees will find nearly worth their high membership price all by itself -it is ~90 pages long and has lots of art in it, interviews with most guests of honor, and the first ever printing of the script of Sandman #70.

If I ever end up a professional editor, I am sure I will join Teresa Nielsen Hayden in being the type of editor who giggles fiendishly to herself about having this sort of material in her hands before most anyone else...
[User Picture]
From:the_leewit
Date:October 19th, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The image of you giggling fiendishly is enough to inspire any writer to do so...
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:October 18th, 2004 09:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Of course this doesn't make you less of a person! Why would it? I should think the opposite, quite. In fact, I do.

There should be no point in life where it becomes not worth fighting for, that's true. But there is also no point in life where it becomes something belonging to someone other than the person who's life it is. At the beginning and end of life we are often stewards of others' lives, but stewards only. If an adult is sane, and sanely chooses to discard this mortal sheath, we ought indeed to fight - to convince them otherwise. But that fight can be lost. And once lost, it should be surrendered with grace and dignity. The very value of life itself demands we treat the whole moment with due dignity. Heroes so often get to choose the moment of their deaths, and be lauded for it. Why should people in less obviously heroic circumstances deserve any less control?

[User Picture]
From:matt_arnold
Date:October 19th, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Very well put.
[User Picture]
From:bjorng
Date:October 19th, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't know how you judge greatness, but to me someone who can't accept others due to an honest difference in opinion are among the lesser, not greater people.

Regardless, I'd say that having "front-line" experience gives you a better perspective on it. If you take killing seriously and yet do it, then you have a more complete sense of what it means than someone who regards it as unacceptable but is never faced with the first-hand prospect of its consequences.

It's been a while since I took the life of anything that lacked an exoskeleton. Growing up it wasn't uncommon for me to kill fish, though it was always for *me* to eat. As I recall, snapping their necks before you took the hook out was pretty effective.
[User Picture]
From:the_leewit
Date:October 19th, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't know--- Lao-tze or possibly the author of the Book of Five rings says that when we do not hold to our principles when they cause us discomfort, they become meaningless. I call this man "great" on the basis of his work, his principles, and his adherence to them. I would have a lower opinion of myself if I let my opinion of someone's work be coloured by how he or she felt about me personally, although I reserve the childish right not to like someone as much if I think they aren't willing to accept me. Yes, it *is* childish of me, but more "immature" is going against one's basic nature, and I have had disastrous results from saying, "Fine. I like you anyway." Is it more or less "moral" to consider real-world consequences to one's principles? What is the sound of one hand falling in the forest?

"Perspective" is an excellent word in this case, wouldn't you say Anne? I cannot go so far as to say you can't judge the morality of a situation unless you yourself have been in it, but it does lend weight and dimension to one's viewpoint.

Snapping the neck is generally regarded as the most painless non-drug method of killing a fish--- at least in the circles I ran in. You grasp the fish by the tail using a cloth for friction and whack it against a (washable) wall or countertop as fast and hard as possible, and hope that you don't have to do it often enough to perfect the technique.
[User Picture]
From:bjorng
Date:October 20th, 2004 08:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't know the situation, and I didn't mean to imply that (as Matt suggests below) friendships can be forced. My point was that you're not childish if he rejected you (as opposed to your opinion) based on this one disagreement. Instead, he's the immature one. Or haughty, or whatever. Regardless, I feel you've put too much weight into my words on this topic. Sounds to me like you've approached the situation reasonably.

On the (to me) more significant topic, I am of the view that experience is the best teacher. You can certainly form an opinion about something in a vacuum, but you don't know the realities of it until you've been there. As you say that adds depth, and I'd also add authority, to your viewpoint. You're right that that doesn't preclude less-experienced opinions from being valid and defensible.

Who knew fish could lead to such philosophy?
[User Picture]
From:matt_arnold
Date:October 20th, 2004 05:24 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I wish dealing with these differences were as easy as you say. It's not just a matter of fully accepting or fully rejecting someone. Leewit's friend didn't do that. Closeness of a friendship is measured on a scale of shades of grey. Honest differences of conviction are a barrier to getting closer to a person, because being close means openness and honesty. So, with more and more truly important things two people don't talk about, because they just wouldn't understand, the farther apart they naturally get. This is no one's fault, it just happens that way. Even if they make an effort to talk about it with acceptance, if it's a true difference on an important topic of moral action (such as killing) it would just drive them apart more. This effect is sadly unavoidable as far as I can tell.
[User Picture]
From:bjorng
Date:October 20th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yeah, I agree with everything you say. My take on how the_leewit described the situation, however, leads me to a different conclusion based on different assumptions. Of course, I don't know the whole situation and I can't say my assumptions are right or wrong. I can only describe my thought process.

The way I read her comment, it sounded like they understood one another's positions, and respectfully disagreed. I presume they had been discussing it, otherwise the topic wouldn't have come up. Thus open discussion wasn't a problem per se. Other than this issue, they were agreeably inclined toward one another.

Yet this guy implied that this one disagreement made the_leewit unworthy of further consideration for friendship. If he considers this such a critical point, he should welcome the chance to have a sounding-board who can discuss the other point of view reasonably. If his whole world revolves around this issue, I'd hope he would want to convert otherwise reasonable people to his point of view. If it's not that important to him, it shouldn't be such a sticking point; you can't find people who share your view 100% unless they are fawning yes-men. Thus I see him as insular, lazy, and/or having too high an opinion of himself.

As I say, that's where I was coming from when I said that. Your point of view may vary. And as I said, everything you express is perfectly valid to me. With a slightly more optimistic take, I can see his comment as completely legitimate for the reasons you describe.

In any case, my main point was more about the value of direct experience. And my secondary point was about killing fish effectively. ;-)
Netmouse on the web Powered by LiveJournal.com