season finale.

Recordbreaking year, 2019. So end-of-Thelma & Louise-style recordbreaking that I decided not to even document huge swaths of it. But now I find myself going back to New Smyrna Beach and thought hey, heck, etc: if the Season Finale isn't reason enough to squeeze out a few words and a picture or two, then what will be.


note to self.

Find dressing for my watermelon-edamame-peanut salad idea. Maybe it's just Chef John's peanut vinaigrette.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Yeah, you, um...didn't invent this. Maybe the peanut part. Sorry.)



take a ride in the sky.

Yeah I made this up, there's no such thing. Should have olives too but the requester of this recipe thinks he doesn't like olives. Or ginger. Or beans. Or chickpeas. Or, or, or. Sauce/pasta ratio is approximate.


puttanesca alla siciliana/arizoniana.

2 good quality anchovy filets
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, chopped small
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced or chopped
2 cans high-quality Italian tomatoes
1 tbsp raw sugar
3 or 4 tbsp capers, drained and chopped if large 
zest of one small orange, or half of one large orange, duh, minced fine, and maybe a little juice too if it's a delicious orange
pinch smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
450g spaghetti or bucatini

A few leaves of basil, torn
A handful of flat-leaf parsley tops, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, salted, and chopped roughly
1/2 cup Pecorino or Parmesan, grated

Melt the anchovies in the olive oil. Add the carrot and saute for 5 minutes, add chili pepper and garlic and saute for one minute, not burning your garlic. Add tomatoes, sugar, capers, orange zest and smoked paprika, simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is not crunchy and tomatoes taste good, if you buy good tomatoes 15 minutes should be enough. SALT TO TASTE, shit is already salty because of the anchovies and capers. Cook pasta in well-salted water. Serve with parsley, basil, hazelnuts and cheese on top. Serves....3? 2?




Guys, I know what happened: I slowly replaced my hobby of almost talking about my feelings with Texas Hold'Em and Fortnite. And then completely didn't write for 5 months. No wonder I was so fucked up! I'm fine now!!!



let's say we did.

On the other hand, VDuck was always an exercise in how to almost but not quite write about the biggest thing that was going on in your life. Why, I don't know. Balls, probably. Missing balls.

But riiiiight, one great thing about VDuck being disguised as a food blog is that we the writer could  always rely on the necessary daily inspiration of cookingggghhhhhhkkkk to force us to tap out some narcissistic sentences and then obsessively/compulsively revise them until we'd wasted most of the day and oh yes we'd also eventually emitted some sort of something: something pointlessly, uncommunicatively oblique or not. At least it would be a record that something happened. Mostly in our stupid mind, we the writer.

Thus I will start there. Pardon my continuing on as if nothing is amiss. That's just how we do.


So (flips/tosses hair), anyway, guys? Imaginary guys? This is something rilly great that I totally invented, and it's totally worth recording BECAUSE GET A  LOAD OF THIS: IT'S A VEGANIZABLE CROSS BETWEEN TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE AND MAC AND CHEEEEEEEEESE!!!!!!!!!!! (Imagine these words being screamed in the hideous death voice of the bear creature in Annihilation),

Mkay well anyway. It really was something. It isn't really trying to be either TNC or MnC but gives you the feeling of both. And it's pretty fucking healthy without trying to be. The creaminess comes from the starch from the pasta and from white beans, and the tang comes from lemon and from sourdough breadcrumbs. Yeah yeah whatever. Here's the shorthand notes:


baked noodles with fennel and white beans

so you make one recipe vegetarian zuppe di sedano from Giuseppe's Sicilian/Sardinian cookbook
ok i know
i hate recipes where the first step is to make some other recipe
but this is pretty brainless, it's basically a simple vegetable soup with almost a whole thing of celery. head? head of celery? you leave out the pork eyeball or whatever his version calls for.

add 400g cooked white beans
add 400g whole wheat small and fun noodles of your choice, i used elbow. you should use something that things can go inside. anyway that sounds like a lot of noodles but they need to suck up all the soup.

leave overnight
in the morning you will see that those evil noodles have indeed sucked up the soup
it's pretty good to just eat right now if you're curious.

but then you roast one bulb fennel with one sweet onion and 3 cloves of garlic for like 45 or 46 minutes.

add salt and pepper/TASTE FOR SEASONING
add the minced zest of two lemons
top with grated pecorino and sourdough breadcrumbs

bake at 200 for 15 minutes


immediately germane.

But. And. It's really rather, I don't know, upsetting to feel so foreign and uncomfortable writing here. It underscores the seemingly paradoxical clarity with which I Have Lost My Way. Like, you''re lost, totally lost, mayday mayday, and suddenly you come upon an impossibly giant, roaring river you certainly don't remember crossing, you'd remember that wouldn't you, and then, oh look, there on the other side of it you spy exactly the place where you came from. How stupid. I was literally just having the thought "you used to have hobbies, right? Or, a hobby?"

I guess it was this, or this was one of them. How healthy, to have a hobby consisting of almost daring to write about your feelings (I guess really writing about them is what your Drafts folder in Gmail is for). Anyway, being here, I am now experiencing "conflict", or, my pretty normally conflicted state is being pushed stumbling into the spotlight, for many reasons, the most immediately germane of which is that this was (I now realize) a surprisingly important thing I did that kept me me, and now it feels impossible to do, or at the very least not very plausible. So in typical fashion I am of course deciding that the easiest thing to do would be to keep not doing it.

And, yet. Or, but. Some connective word tissue. Continuing to do nothing is not how you get to "doing something". Plus. regardless of all that, I don't think I want it to end like this. This blog. Well who would want anything to end like this, in a slow and unspectacularly repetitive death spiral of redaction, retraction, more bad action words. That's a rhetorical question about the boring death spiral. So there will be writing attempts.

And oh hey I turned 50.



my visit to america.

As you can see, it was "pretty exciting". Also the weather.


what to expect at your first AA meeting.

As if going to an AA meeting didn't feel like enough of a boring, put-me-in-a-box-I'm-done cliche (although, how is this more boring than just continuing to fail at "drinking in moderation" I ask you completely rhetorically), I came back feeling something like buoyancy (struggling for properly oblique reference, should just mention Jay-Z), lifted by a surprising, hopeful recession of my usual weighty cynicism about the whole endeavor. I told a couple of people "how it went" (amazing how quotes destroy any honest emotional content), putting some real effort into "conveying the details", etc. 

Then, (surprisingly, still) somewhat content, I slipped into wondering if I'd had a "normal" experience or not. Cinematically tapping my pencil against my brow with a (surprisingly?) hollow sound and/or nibbling lightly on one of the arms of my glasses (is this enough adverbs? I'm never sure) to indicate thought (Editor's Note: physiologically possible? Sounds awkward, doing both), I spent a little time on the Google, which revealed that not only was my experience completely "normal", it was "normal" enough to where (thank you Mysterious Higher Power) I didn't even get the opportunity of struggling through writing creatively about the basics in an original way: several hundred other people had already uncynically included all the pertinent hopeful surprises. I guess this is the most representative of them. In terms of the uncynical facts of what happened, my meeting was pretty much exactly like that. Maybe it'll be easier to say something original about my second meeting.

Then another helpful friend sent one of DFW's rather mercilessly bleak summaries of what I guess is "one way to look at" the cliched AA cycle:
“....the Crocodiles say they can't even begin to say how many new guys they've seen Come In and then get sucked back Out There, Come In to AA for a while and Hang In and put together a little sober time and have things start to get better, head-wise and life-quality-wise, and after a while the new guys get cocky, they decide they've gotten `Well,' and they get really busy at the new job sobriety's allowed them to get, or maybe they buy season Celtics tickets, or they rediscover pussy and start chasing pussy (these withered gnarled toothless totally post-sexual old fuckers actually say pussy), but one way or another these poor cocky clueless new bastards start gradually drifting away from rabid Activity In The Group, and then away from their Group itself, and then little by little gradually drift away from any AA meetings at all, and then, without the protection of meetings or a Group, in time--oh there's always plenty of time, the Disease is fiendishly patient--how in time they forget what it was like, the ones that've cockily drifted, they forget who and what they are, they forget about the Disease, until like one day they're at like maybe a Celtics-Sixers game, and the good old Fleet/First Interstate Center's hot, and they think what could just one cold foamer hurt, after all this sober time, now that they've gotten `Well.' Just one cold one. What could it hurt. And after that one it's like they'd never stopped, if they've got the Disease. And how in a month or six months or a year they have to Come Back In, back to the Boston AA halls and their old Group, tottering, D.T.ing, with their faces hanging down around their knees all over again, or maybe it's five or ten years before they can get it up to get back In, beaten to shit again, or else their system isn't ready for the recurred abuse again after some sober time and they die Out There--the Crocodiles are always talking in hushed, 'Nam-like tones about Out There--or else, worse, maybe they kill somebody in a blackout and spend the rest of their lives in MCI-Walpole drinking raisin jack fermented in the seatless toilet and trying to recall what they did to get in there, Out There; or else, worst of all, these cocky new guys drift back Out There and have nothing sufficiently horrible to Finish them happen at all, just go back to drinking 24/7/365, to not-living, behind bars, undead, back in the Disease's cage all over again. The Crocodiles talk about how they can't count the number of guys that've Come In for a while and drifted away and gone back Out There and died, or not gotten to die.” 
Not having gotten past the first 59 pages of IJ myself, it's hard to say how much of that is complete fucking-with-you sarcasm, I mean, is this the author's voice or a character's voice, etc. Devil's advocate and whatnot. Or reverse Devil's advocate. Author hangs self, strongly suggesting that he "may not have had all the answers". Do I really have to find the book and start over again I ask uncynically.