Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm going to jail

June 8th is a day we may all celebrate. It's the day I go to jail. That's right, jail.

I am going to show up at work at 6:30 and go about my day until "sometime in the afternoon", a group of people are going to arrest me and take me to Qwest Field and lock me up. To post bail, I'm raising money for the Seattle Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

This is an organization here in King County that Pike Place Fish has partnered with in the past. Last year, our own 25 year veteran Sam Samson went behind the bars and this year, it's gonna be me! I kicked off the donations, but please help us provide the healthcare and support for those affected by muscular dystrophy. This page is where you can donate to our push to bust me out of jail:

91 cents of every dollar I raise actually stays local to provide medical services and fund research in Seattle. Can you help me reach my goal of $5001 by funding one of the services provided for the 600 MDA clients in King County?

MDA funds go directly to research, health care services and education.

* $30 pays for a flu shot for someone for whom respiratory disease could be very dangerous
* $74 pays for one minute of research at University of Washington Medical Center and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
* $100 covers a vital support group meeting
* $150 provides for an expert consultation in physical, occupational or respiratory therapy
* $200 covers a diagnostic workup at one of MDA's 235 clinics
* $500 covers the cost for annual repairs of durable medical equipment- wheelchair, leg braces or communication device
* $800 sends a kid to MDA summer camp

If so, you can donate on my secure website:

OR, I can accept cash and checks made out to MDA to bring with me to “jail” at the Qwest Field on June 8th.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Donations to MDA provide help and hope in many ways:

  • Clinics - expert specialized medical care
  • Research - cutting-edge investigation into treatments and cures
  • Support - help obtaining equipment and coping with challenges
  • Camp - a barrier-free week of fun, friendship and laughter for kids

And so much more - visit for information on how MDA makes a difference to people around the country and in your community.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Global Perspectives on fishmongers

Fishmongers, whether members of the 13th century London system of guilds, foul-mouthed citizens in medieval France, or scruffy blue collars in Seattle are a unique bunch. They are people that know good fish and can pick it out, cut it, cook it, and talk your ear off about it. They are providers for a community that demands nutrition. Fishmongers are also found all over the planet and just this week, we were fortunate to learn a little about some fishmongers in Takoradi, Ghana on the Sea of Guinea.

After an email and introduction from Diana Lilla, an international management consultant, coach, educator and speaker located in the northwest, we met up with Gifty Baaba Asmah on her first visit to Seattle and trip outside her home country of Ghana. Gifty is the Director of a micro-finance organization called the Daasgift Quality Foundation that helps to bring possibility and success to the rural and urban poor. This lady and her stories will blow you away! The work she does, the lives she touches, and just who she is for her community are inspiring. To think that this woman wanted to see us was humbling.

Her organization has done a lot of work with fishmongers in Ghana and so she had to make our spot a stop on her visit to Seattle. Along with smoking and storing their fish, the fishmongers in Ghana must do their best to do so efficiently with the little money they have. They provide a valuable source of protein for a wildly underfed country. It's people like Gifty and Diana that provide structure and guidance for the fishmongers so that poverty and malnutrition can become less severe problems for the country. Presently, Gifty's organization has served over 3000 people and have 1000 active borrowers.

Well "fishmongering" for Gifty on this particular Wednesday meant everything from rooting through some of
our specialty fish in the cooler with Anders, to selling some NW dungeness crab to throwing salmon and handing out smoked salmon samples in the corner with Erik. She leaves us with some stories and pictures to relay to her fishmongers and a copy of our book Catch so that hopefully our energy and intention can make sense for the people she works with back in Africa.

From energy conservation, to climate change to healthcare, poverty and starvation, Gifty and Diana are working towards world peace and we're honored to have had them at our stand and hopefully inspiring them to continue their work; I know they inspired us. Check out the websites for both women, they're changing the world for sure. This one
details a work analysis Diana did about streamlining the fishing operations in coastal Ghana

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

miracles and the spacetime continuum

So I've been to Portland once. Only once and between the coffee shop in the morning to the brewery at lunch to the relaxing afternoon I spent with a friend, that town can do no wrong for me. Bellingham, Washington I have been to a couple times and every time, I hit the same burrito place and the same bar. I keep the experience at these places limited and so they keep a pretty amazing place in my head. These are good times for me because they existed and well, ended. I know I can't eat burritos all day and if I spent all day in a brewery, I'd be broke and probably not in a state to do too much else. The point is, these are brief moments of greatness that exist in my mind, a lot like the flight of a fish from one guy to the other. This happens and it's over right? The throw, the flight, the catch. It's over and if you see it, you can now remember it (and the facial reactions to this one are still a big reason I work here). But in real life, the clock continues to tick and it's a new moment now...and now....and now.

What sparks this ontological questioning? Did I watch Back to the Future today? No. Have I been discussing the show LOST too much? Probably, but I will spare you and not draw any parallels. I bring this up because I am continually amazed at the space of our fish stand and how it just does not exist any where else. That's one thing but what's even more staggering is how simple it is what we do (often times because it's not what we do but rather who we BE when we do these things).

We talked about miracles at our last work meeting and how they happen and what is significant about their occurence. Somebody said they can usually be defined in hindsight. To recognize a miracle while it's happening is a rare occurence but when you think back to something, you can almost talk yourself into it being a miracle. "It happened and as quickly as it started, it was over". I look at some pictures on our facebook page and whether it's a couple that bought our first plastic gift card or it's one of Japan's most famous anime artists in Seattle as a keynote speaker for SakuraCon, it always started with "hello! you guys doing ok? Questions?".

I'm often asked who the most famous people people are that I've met at work. Even though David Beckham tops that list and I shamelesly couldn't help but speak in a demented Geico-gecko version of an accent to him knowing full-well he makes most women on the planet unable to stand, I also remember that his wife was across the street buying produce while I wrapped up halibut and dover sole as his kids caught a fish and he smiled like a proud father. This was a great experience but I also remember the two giant manila envelopes of mail we just got from Mrs. Brown's elementary school class in Hutchins, Texas asking us questions about our jobs and what we like about what we do. I remember days we had 40 pound king salmon on the display, I remember last week when we had 2.99 a pound buffalo and gaspergoo fish. These are all things in the past and they're over. All we have is now and all we have is to BE in the now.

I think what makes Pike Place Fish have so many miracles what makes my times in Bellingham and Portland so great for me are one in the same and that is awareness of who I am in the present and who we are as a creative space at 86 Pike Place.

The buddhist belief of nirvana is of a reality that knows no change, decay or death; too bad we don't live in that. Where we do live is our own individual reality to create and I know for me, it has peaks and valleys but when I choose to have fun in my reality, others want to too and when my buddy Ryan wants to sell some fish or some crab in his reality, sonofabitch someone shows up and buys a 20 pound case (none of us knows how he does this). So until Doc Brown, Marty McFly or the guys from LOST can control the reprecussions of our past actions in the time-space continuum, take these as reminders to get present and keep a mindful memory for miracles that may have happened...........and don't forget to celebrate them!