day 50.

It would seem that there are officially some changes afoot with the 15mg Remeron/mirtazapine experiment. Nothing to be concerned about (unless TSF's recent 80-day disappearance is in any way related to a similar "efficacy reduction", since he was one of the inspirations for my choice of medication, ha), just making some notes here in case any other insomniacs are following the breadcrumb trail (and for my own breadcrumb-following, here's that dosage thread I keep losing).

About a week ago (so around Day 42 or so) I came down with some kind of flu, one of those that you seem to feel deep in your bones as well as in your forehead and sinuses, and the aching in my legs started to wake me up at night. Plus I couldn't breathe out of my nose so I was snoring/wheezing and probably waking myself up via that awesomeness as well.

During the second night of that, being awake at 3am or whatever, I suddenly had a feeling I hadn't had in, well, weeks: I felt like "myself". It was like something snapped back into place that had been knocked loose, or, yeah, maybe I felt "switched on" or something. Almost immediately I felt like my empathy circuits were fully functioning again, which has its definite pros and cons, but I think this is the main component of whatever difference there was/is.

And since then, I haven't slept through the night. I'm pretty sure it's not because a week ago I suddenly decided that the meds weren't working any more and so now it was time to go back to being miserable between 2am and 5am; I'm not actually very miserable and I'm not being consumed with horribly anxious compulsions...I'm just awake.

I think a huge part of not being miserable about it is that 1) my mornings are thankfully, luxuriantly, completely (and purposely) obligation-free at the moment and 2) it truly helps immeasurably to know that if I absolutely need to sleep, there are options that seem to work infallibly thus far as long as I continue to seriously restrict their use (I'm talking about 0.5mg lorazepam, 15mg oxazepam or 7.5mg Ambien), and by restricting their use I mean using them once a week at most.

So the next decision is either reducing or increasing Remeron dosage by 7.5mg (so either back down to 7.5mg or up to 22.5mg). I know this doesn't appear to make any sense, but calculating a relevant dosage is complicated by Remeron's dual function as sleep aid and antidepressant: it seems that the sedative and antihistamine effects are more prominent at lower dosages, and as you get closer to 30mg the antihistamine backs off and the antidepressant effects kick in, which can also facilitate sleep. I'm imagining/idealizing the difference as either being brained by a truncheon (a la the past six weeks) or drifting off to "healthy, natural sleep" (ahem).

Of course, as all experienced ducks know, increasing one's dosage of something/anything most likely brings one closer to that something's eventual lack of literal or conceptual efficacy. So the next bit of concrete planning involves either 1) do nothing and wait and see what happens if I eliminate alcohol completely for a while. Or, 2) a doctor visit on Monday to see which direction she'll suggest, though I think I already know. And I guess I'll agree in advance: maybe it's better to push forward a little more before retreating. If I do indeed feel more "like myself" right now, I feel like a very stable, pretty rational and semi-peaceful version of myself, which I would say is no small improvement.



true, grits.

One gift leads to another. A certain giant man donated some uncooked pork belly leftover from a BBQ at his place. A certain tiny commanding presence had previously donated some real Carolina grits to our pantry.

Today the two met in a showdown of epic proportions (the pork belly and the grits).

This is Momofuku's Shrimp and Grits recipe. Yes that egg is big and weird-looking. But this was a total chompfest, another one of those underdog recipes from the book that doesn't seem like it can really be all that special, but in the end the mix of textures and flavors results in something potentially classic that just presses every single right button.

Quick notes to self: 4 to 1 liquid (1 part broth 3 parts water) to grits ratio (with these slow-cooking grits); grits needed 15-20 minutes after the first 5-minute starch thingie neurotic whisking frenzy; and they only needed half the amount of butter called for, though I can see how more would've been ok. Pork belly sugared, salted and slow cooked as if for steamed buns then dusted with smoked paprika: real bacon would've been quite different both in terms of salt and smoke. Just used vegetable bouillon instead of the ramen broth. The shrimp themselves were pure and great, involving a quick salt and oil marinade and some extra spatula pressure.


in the still of the night.

This video is pretty much exactly what my home life is like, and the lyrics around @1:50 are scarily accurate: "In the still of the night, in the cool moonlight, I hear the shitbags yowling. In the still of the niiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHT. Ooh baby."

And then Mara and I get on top of the kitchen island and dining room table (respectively, I'm too tall for the island) regardless of what time it is and air guitar the solo section (I also throw in some of Rudy Sarzo's over-the-neck fingerings even though that's the bass part).



we're going to vegas.


That's our catchphrase around here for those times when, inspired by either the time of day/night, caffeine, alcohol, druuuugs, sheer fantasy or any other mixture of inflammatory inputs, you hatch a completely unbaked plan to do something "crazy" like, say...go to Vegas for the weekend. Or start a band called "Daddy's Balls". Or, you know, whatever.

It used to be, back when the Duck had an impervious constitution, a drivable car and spendable money, that there was the potential to truly enjoy spontaneous and stupid adventures like this.

Although the first one that popped into my head just now was gaaaahck, an especially stupid one from Spring Break 1985 or so, wherein I think O'Neill and I somehow talked his parents into letting us drive from Atlanta (Georgia) to Hilton Head (South Carolina) in the middle of the night (only 5 hours or so). We must've lied about where we were going and what the situation there was like, because who would let their 16-year-old children drive through the night into the next state over.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see bottom of post for how we actually ended up in Hilton Head.)

This being pre-cellphones and us being stupid young boys, we arrived in Hilton Head without a guaranteed place to stay and only the vaguest idea of where our "friends" might be. I think we had an address, but probably no map. In trying to dig up these memories I'm getting the sinking feeling that the major impetus behind this underconsidered adventure was this girl Wardell that I had a crush on: she was supposed to be there. 

This isn't exactly as retardedly optimistic as it sounds. Spring Break was the one time of year that almost anyone was fair game to hook up with. If you were of the right temperament (though I myself was not), you could semi-realistically aim for someone one or two levels up in the social strata b/c this is what Spring Break was for: slumming, and reverse slumming, whatever that's called, or at least "satisfying curiosities without suffering lasting social consequences."


Anyway, I seem to remember us idling in O'Neill's white Camaro parked in a parking garage in cold, foggy Hilton Head at 7am or something, early, waiting for people who weren't expecting us to be there to wake up. I think we had peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches that we made ourselves and a bottle of Jim Beam as sustenance.

I don't really remember with any precision what happened after that, though I do have a vague recollection of O'Neill and I trying to be inebriated enough by 9am so as to not be self-conscious about waking up a houseful of not-exactly-friends for the purpose of trying to insinuate ourselves into their crashpad situation (I seem to remember waving a nonchalant yet mortally embarrassed "hi" at a sleepy, disheveled Wardell on her way to the bathroom as O'Neill and I negotiated with the person whose parents owned the apartment...this almost silent greeting would be the only interaction I remember having with Wardell on this trip, though miraculously within a year we would go on an actual date and then make out very disappointingly at a giant house party, which I later found out was Wendy's house, but this was before Wendy and I knew each other, Wendy wasn't even there that night, mysterious stuff). 


My single clear and indelible memory from the whole Hilton Head adventure is of O'Neill and I on the beach later that morning. It was probably 55F, windy, with grayish-black skies. We're semi-ironically reclining in beach chairs, and there are hordes of sand gnats clouding around us. It's just the two of us b/c everyone else was too smart to be outside plus they had real beds and they were in them really sleeping. I'm pretty sure the concept we'd used to lure ourselves up there was that we would "just crash on the beach" after we arrived, the gorgeously sunny, just-warm-enough beach, and then we'd wake up suntanned and rested, and finally we'd party our way into the hearts and beds of our unsuspecting hosts. 

It didn't go down like that. I will never forget this day on the beach because the sand gnat is one of the most unpleasant creatures I've ever encountered. Imagine yourself: sleepless, hungover, dehydrated, young, stupid, sexually frustrated, etc. All you want to do is sleep, you NEED to sleep so that the rest of your stupid adventure has any chance of fulfilling its promise. But every 3 seconds a devious and agile black dot lands on some/any strip of exposed skin and starts tearing and sucking away at it in a motivated and unignorable fashion. You swat, but the flying dot evades you easily and then it or a close relative of it lands on you 1 cm away from the previous bite and starts chomping away. Repeat this every 3 to 5 seconds until you are driven insane with insect toxin and impotent rage. 

I think O'Neill and I maybe lasted an hour on the beach, two at the absolute most. I'll have to ask him to be sure, but I want to say that around noon we looked at each other's puffy, bloodshot, miserable gnat-bitten faces and decided to just give up and drive back to wherever we came from. 


I didn't mean to tell that story. What started all this was me not being sick any more as of yesterday. After a few days of feeling profoundly crappy, the first day you're back to normal again can really seem like the right time for a "going to Vegas" moment. Luckily for me, the middle-aged version of "going to Vegas" involves three beers at Cafe de Tuin and splitting two pizzas with KK at La Perla. 


(EDITOR'S NOTE: As usual, only after trying to tell the story do I begin to realize that I've been remembering some fundamental element completely wrong. Case in point: I am now developing a suspicion that we didn't drive from Atlanta to Hilton Head at all, I think we did something even stupider. I think we were already on Spring Break in Panama City, Florida, and after a day or two there we suddenly decided to drive 8 hours through the night to Hilton Head, without telling anyone where we were).

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I talked to O'Neill, the above suspicion turned out to be correct. O'Neill says I made him do it. He also says that I made him let me drive 100mph in his Camaro and that his dad eventually found out about most of the whole escapade due to an exorbitant gas and beer related credit card charge in South Carolina. What bad children.)



white chocolate pistachio praline.

Nurse Moop attempted to recreate the Belgian awesomeness here at home, and I'd say she got it 99.3% correct. They're quite amazing. And there's an ice cube tray full of them in our freezer.


fungus among us.

A recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks, good enough to serve to guests as part of some kind of pan-Asian meal, and it seems to be even better the day after. They say it works well with tofu too, I'll try that in a couple days since my homie Moop don't really dig on no tempeh.


orange pan-glazed tempeh.

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or, yes, not freshly squeezed
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp shao xing rice wine
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, crushed

300g tempeh
4 tbsp coconut oil

juice of 1/2 lime
handful of cilantro leaves

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Fry tempeh in coconut oil, 5 minutes per side, in two batches. When the second batch is finished, add the orange juice stuff to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce is reduced and sticky. Oh right at some point during the reductionization of the sauce, return the first batch of tempeh to the pan.



nocturnal admission.

I'm sick. Shivering and moaning annoyingly on the couch, my only consolation is a bag of Cool American flavor Doritos (Americans would know this flavor as, yes, Cool Ranch).


Also, and unrelatedly: I had my first ever experience with "sleep eating". A couple days ago I bought 500ml (a pint) of milk, an unusual purchase for this household, we usually don't have anything but pretend milks and creamers. I bought it b/c we've had this butterscotch Jell-O pudding sitting around just begging for someone to make it and we just have to keep throwing up our hands and saying "sorry" b/c we have no actual cow milk. 

The next night at some fortunate snacking moment, a homemade brownie showed up, and yes, I pried open the milk carton to have a tiny glass of ice cold milk with my brownie cause, well I don't have to explain cause why. But I made sure that I left enough for the potential Jell-O. 

Cut to this morning, 6:15am, I'm feeding the cats. While making sure everyone plays nice at the food bowls, I construct half a brown rice cake with tahini and raspberry jam (don't knock it til you've tried it), and as my last bite is being thoughtfully considered by my tooth I think to myself "one more tiny glass of milk won't hurt. We'll still have enough for Jell-O". 

But ehhh...there's no milk. I look really hard for it, b/c I know it's there, and I've just finished eating something that would be perfect with a cold glass of milk. But the moment is rapidly passing and the milk is nowhere. Dejected, I mentally frown at my roommate for ruining a perfectly good milk moment and trudge back to bed.

But it's also weird, because it's totally unlike her to have a glass of milk at night. Still frowning on my way up the stairs, I have a couple quick flashes of oh yeah a great dream I just recently had about an awesome bowl of cereal, it was like the perfect bowl of cereal. Somehow pacified by this a bit, I get in bed and enter a hypothetical slumberland. 

I wake up at 11am, we both kind of do, and while making coffee Mara asks me, "have you seen the milk?" Now this is troubling.  Of course we have the expected discussion, "You mean the real milk?" "ehh....I was also looking for the milk this morning", "ehh that's weird", etc etc. By about the third time I say "Hmmm...I'm pretty sure I didn't use the milk", I'm not actually very sure at all that I didn't use the milk. We look in the garbage can: empty milk carton.  

Turns out my dream about cereal was not a dream at all. While asleep I made a bowl of cereal and ate it. And did not remember it the next day. All while completely sober. Should we be concerned? 

Also: this.




Damn, I know I've mentioned these beans several times out here before, usually in the context of something like "Andy makes some awesome green beans", and then I go on and make whatever version I end up making which is not these.

And the reason why is: every time I've ever wanted to make Andy's version, he's not been around to tell me how to do it. And in that respect this time is no different, in fact it's even more so no different, I guess you'd call that "even less different", but critically one of the respects in which this time is in fact quite different would be: I successfully re-created the legendary beans all by my oneself. I had witnesses here to verify the exaction of my incisiveness.

Yes that's a cat hair on the jar lid. I promise there's none inside the jar and also probably not in the beans.


roasted runner beans with thai bean paste (nam prik pow) or sambal.

2 tbsp coconut oil
4 shallots, sliced
400g runner beans, cut into thirds
2 tbsp Thai chile/soybean paste (nam prik pow) or Indonesian sambal badjak
salt to taste, this will depend on your sambal

Oven at 150°C*, melt the oil for a minute or two, then throw everything else in there and mix it around until everything's coated with everything else. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes, turning every 15 or 20. Adjust seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature.

* More like 210°C or 215°C, at least 200°C. But our oven only goes to 150°C before shutting off.


'taz, day 39.

Just decided that it's called "the 'taz" from now on. Same 15mg dosage, effects still evolving: Friday night I tried to put my headphones in my eyes. It wasn't like multiple sustained attempts or anything ("why won't these things go, ernh, IN HERE [pop]"), but it was the kind of very natural-feeling, completely-wrong impulse which confirms my suspicion that I should never be out of the apartment after taking this (or "'tazzing", as I'm sure someone somewhere calls it).

Weight: holding steady through some moments of serious weakness, still almost two kilos less than where I started, of course I'm sure this is b/c I'm still consuming about 1500 calories a day. Number one craving food at this moment: flour tortillas. Weird. Sweet tooth not so bad anymore but still a battle some nights. When it hits, nothing is sweet enough. I read somewhere about a 'tazzer being compelled to eat sugar straight from the jar and...I hear you.

Emotions: finally had a full-fledged one today after vague hints of it over the weekend. Not too dark, kind of cleansing in a resetting way.

This recipe is adapted from an adaptation from the Austin American Statesman.


lemon buttermilk ice cream.

2 cups raw sugar, processed to be superfine
4 lemons, zested and juiced
500ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Place the sugar in a large container to chill in the refrigerator. After an hour or so, take 2 to 3 teaspoons of the lemon zest and put in the container with the sugar. Add ½ cup of lemon juice and to the sugar and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Chill the mixture for 4 hours or overnight. Freeze in ice cream maker according to ze instructions.



the long way home.

A recipe I've been trying to try for years, finally done, and yes it's a good healthy chocolate ice cream substitute. Apparently it and/or its variants are taking the internet by stormmmm. Below that, a documentation of our attempt to duplicate the family recipe for marinated artichoke hearts.


frozen black bananas and cocoa powder.

1 large extremely ripe banana, frozen and peeled
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 dates, pitted
date syrup

Process everything in a food processor. Serve drizzled with date syrup, maple syrup, and/or cold coconut milk.


marinated artichoke hearts.

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and hearts quartered
juice of a lemon
1 tbsp neutral oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste




I cooked a lot today, for the first time in weeks. Above is Ottolenghi's Black Pepper Tofu, Momofuku's Quick Salt Pickles, and Saveur's Perfect Brown Rice. And VDuck's kind of Indian/Indonesian runner beans with toasted coconut.


slow-cooked coconut runner beans.

3/4 cup dried coconut, recently toasted

2 tbsp coconut oil
400g runner beans, cut prettily
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp ground turmeric
smoked salt to taste

Melt coconut oil in wok, saute onion for 10 minutes, stirring often. Mix in mustard seeds and saute for a minute, until they begin to pop. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for an hour,  checking to make sure there's enough liquid to keep it going.



by any other name.

Ok, this experiment has been brewing for a few weeks now. Today I find myself mildly hungover and have thus limited my goals for the day to 1) shower 2) grocery shopping and 3) making dinner for Moop since she's continuing her crusade to douche the upstairs (NOTE: my mother has pointed out that "douche" is not a generally understood term in this context, where it means "to clean thoroughly but with a coarse, hurried technique, as if you run a meth lab and you've been tipped that the cops are on their way").

Here is the aforementioned experimental amuse. Turns out that if you accidentally overpuree a batch of the fritter mixture it also doubles as a very mysteriously lifelike veggie burger substitute after you add a little brown rice or bulgur for texture.


kamaboko + black-eye pea fritters with grapefruit-avocado salsa and/or garlic mayo. 

100g surimi (or possibly reversed proportions, 200g surimi and onc cup of peas)
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, unsalted if possible
1 canned chipotle chile
1 whole scallion minus wiggly roots
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp fresh mint
juice of one blood orange
1/2 tsp smoked salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp smoked paprika, or to taste

1 egg

1 grapefruit, supremed
1 avocado, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped, torn, whatever
juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup mayo
1 clove garlic

bottled tomatillo sauce for a-drizzlin'


Don't process the cakes too much. You could actually pulse the surimi and herbs a couple times first then add the beans and egg last, pulse it again, and fry from there.




Above: socca experiments continue, this one sports smoked paprika and lots of black pepper in the batter, and on top it's caramelized tomatoes and red onions, plus harissa-and olive-marinated mozzarella. And sriracha, and fresh basil. I know it looks a little blackened in the northwest sector but the blacker parts are good. The whole thing was good. Both of them were good (I made two for us to share b/c they were only like six inches across).

Totally unrelatedly, it's been a long while since I've been so pleased to discover an Amsterdam food blog, but Tjappings is just great.


rollende keukens 2013.

I have officially lost 2kg since I started this whole medication biznuss. Take that, internet!!! Now, am I doing this in the absolute most healthy way possible? Not always: by dinnertime on Thursday I'd only consumed 350 net calories because I knew I'd be having beers with KK/DD that night. Then, as planned, I consumed a couple of beers with KK/DD, and then, less planned, I consumed a couple more beers with KK/DD, and then wobbled home and somehow didn't eat everything in the house, I think I had two eggs maybe, and then went to sleep, or as an unfriendlier person might say, "passed out". And woke up lighter!

On the up side: most days/nights are not like that.


Thursday night was my first night at something called Rollende Keukens (Rolling Kitchens), just around the corner in the Westerpark. Until I finish the big version of this post, here's the little version: go there. It's so much better than it was the last time I went (maybe three years ago?) the food is better, more exciting/creative, and (crucially) less expensive as well. Here's a much nicer post than this one about last year's.

But go before 6pm, the crowds on Thursday night were completely unmanageable if you hadn't reserved a sit-down meal somewhere. The pictures are all from Friday at 1:30pm, there was no one there. Also: hit an ATM before you get anywhere near Westerpark, there was seriously a 20-person line at my normal fun dispenser and the AH across the street was not allowing you to pin for extra cash either.

Tasting notes: my first bite of the day was an American-style pulled pork sandwich from Smokey Goodness. Pork-wise, totally solid: tender and smoky, properly seasoned, could've used a tad more sauce for my tastes but that's me. However, can you see any problems with the sandwich concept:

That's right: BBQ don't belong on no ciabatta: too dry, too crusty, too distracting, especially for such subtly-done pork. Apparently the folks at Smokey Goodness have been working on the bun question for a while, but sadly I'm not sure this is the answer. Still, pretty good stuff in terms of sandwich contents.

These next guys didn't have a name or anything I don't think:

But they were turning out a very well-executed Asian-style pulled pork bun:

They did something very smart with the steamed buns: tossed them into a very hot wok for a minute or two before serving to give them a lightly charred exterior, we're stealing that idea.

Then I thought I was leaving...on my way out I saw The Most Morbid Auto Ever:

And then lo, behold, etc. I saw an all-duck menu, so well I kind of had to go in for a closer look didn't I.

I was pulled in by the crispy duck, but when I tried to get me some it "wasn't ready yet", so I settled for the masala doksa (kind of a Surinamese duck curry), which wasn't exactly bad, more like very average, but as it was competing with the porky offerings above it ended up in last place for the day.

Think I'm going back tomorrow to try banh mi, takoyaki poffertjes and the three or four BBQ stands that weren't open for lunch Friday.



form factor.

Above: trying to use our Cineville cards properly, here we are at Kriterion for The Place Beyond the Pines.


Chickpea flour surplus reduction effort underway here. Messing around with socca again, hampered a bit by the fact we never really did get our oven fixed (I mean, it works, but now if it gets too hot [around 450F] it stops working and the only fix is to push the Reset button, conveniently located on the rear of the oven, that's right, the side FACING THE FUCKING WALL).

So 2013's socca technique is all about stovetop-style crepe-ishness. And while it's not really as good texturally as the ovenblasting method, it's still pretty good. That is, after the first three fucked-up looking ones. Is it impossible when making pancake-esque things to just wait until the pan is the right temperature? Signs point to yes (context for non-elderly/non-Americans).

Anyway, I keep seeing all these people putting things on their socca, and I think that hey I too want to be one of these "all these people". But what for toppings to use? I find myself asking in a Peter Lorre kind of voice. Right before drifting off to sleep last night I envisioned something like: torn harissa-marinated mozzarella; half-dried tomatoes, chopped basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic or lemon-date syrup. Seems like any flavors you'd normally pair with chickpeas would be good (thus Spanish, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian primarily), but the challenge would be the addition of complementary textures to end up with something possibly pizza-achtige.

So maybe some kind of play on romesco sauce plus arugula and manchego? Something with spinach, pine nuts and raisins plus pecorino? Something based on a potatoless pav bhaji (mostly cauliflower and carrot then I guess) with coriander and....whatever cheese goes with Indian food? Please continue without me: I'll be at the stove trying to gauge socca flipworthiness.



day 27.

Above: actually there are about ten funny pages and they're not all that funny, it's almost all lazy hipster irony. It was a hand-me-down.


Last night I dreamed a dream about Kirsten Dunst (who, just for the record, does nothing to float my boat if you know what I mean by "float" and "boat") and I invented a new device that's a combination PedEgg and wireless mouse, two things I've had on my hypothetical Wish List for a very long time (the PedEgg and the wireless mouse, just to be clear).

My dreams have been, as they say, vivid as fuck. Realllly complicated, and so far not unpleasant at all. It seems like every other night I'm immersed in some impossibly labyrinthine scavenger hunt-like environment. And the nights in-between I'm inventing plausible and convenient hygiene/computing aids. 

So: wildly creative while asleep. Irritability while awake receding a bit I think except just before lights out and just after opening eyes in the AM: I remain kind of bastardy then. Not really feeling emotions totally "normally" I notice, but perhaps this is the point of the whole thing: I am finding myself able to consider profoundly unpleasant sequences of events or emotional situations in a less-disabling way, a way that I can totally appreciate the potential benefits of. Yes, I am officially "more detached". It's hard to say what will happen when let's say I want to be "less detached", but so far Robot Boy is proving to be one of the more productive (side?) effects/personas: I'm tackling shitty things on my todo list that I've been avoiding for weeks and weeks. And I'm liking them.



give it up grand dad.

I think I suddenly went elderly. This is my new favorite place to hang out. A bench. It's not totally new, I've been visiting for a year or so, it's just a minute's walk past our Dirk. It's one of those places that all winter long is colder than everywhere else b/c of the wind, but now, as summer begins to think about showing up and temperatures approach 70F for the first time....suddenly my obscure and breezy bench is a great place to do old people activities like read or look at birds.


El Carote Negro is taking a break from meat, so I'll be cooking out of Ottolenghi's Plenty for the next little while. We're also entering a period of serious financial crackdown so yes, there's a weekly grocery budget and I'm even going to try and stick to it this time.

Tonight's first adventure features two items that were on sale at Dirk last week: witlof (Belgian endive) and Gouda, subbing for Gruyere (I'd actually have used taleggio or raclette if either of them had been on sale anywhere).

The second adventure is this.

REVIEW: This could really only happen in this country because Gouda is the default cost-cutting cheese around here: substituting it into this caramelized endive recipe made the results taste pretty much exactly like cheap Amsterdam snackbar pizza (with a finishing note of just-bitter endive), not a totally bad thing.



watch it.

15mg Mirtazapine Week 3: I can only describe my state of mind as "interesting".

As they say your mileage may probably vary, but irritability seems to be a real live side effect. If you were talking to me much back in March or April you might or could say that I already seemed pretty fucking irritable then, but this is different: way less emotional, and applied in a more general fashion.

I actually don't mind it so much in larger social settings b/c it gives me a little wired-y kind of boost and reminds me a bit of when I was younger and kind of faux-extroverted; back then I derived way too much pleasure from being politely combative slash subtly mocking to/about/with people I didn't like, oh the folly of youth, sorry everyone.

But at home, now, all grown-up, yes general prickliness pretty much sucks b/c it (the drug) doesn't seem to care so much who it's mean to. Supposedly this fades around week 4 or so, let's hope so: it's a challenge to assess how undepressed I am when undirected crankiness is running all rampant and shit.

I'm also noticing that the fucked-up speech thing has receded a bit and has been replaced by a bit of memory weirdness, or at least I'm noticing that I'm regularly not able to recall things I should be able to, mostly names of people, places, things, like that, usually in the middle of a sentence.

But the sleeping, you ask? It's still incredible and awesome that I can take a pill and be asleep 15 minutes later. I'm having a problem with mornings, in that I can't seem to actually wake up. Like if my eyes pop open at 6:45am and I feed the cats, I'll think to myself well those eight hours should've been enough sleep, I'll get up now. And then by 7:45am I'm back in bed until 11am, giving me a total of 11 or 12 hours of sleep, this is not ideal.

I'm going to try really hard to implement "robot mode" this week where when I first wake up I go right to the gym before I can go back to sleep. OK I want to try it at least once to see what happens. Who knows, maybe it'll stick, and I'm not even going to put a sarcastic exclamation point there.



hail to the chef.

No okonomiyaki, wtf. Above: cute violinist with her setlist all planned out. Below, I took the same picture of the Jordaan I take every year; we split a Basque bocadillo with chistorra from La Oliva, so yummy that Mara went back for another one later; we did not go to the "Alles Gefrituurd" ("Everything Fried") stand; nor did we pay €1.50 to play drum solos of indeterminate length. Mara did have a bottle of prosecco in her backpack and probably because of this we bought a Swedish Chef hand puppet for €0.50.