Tuesday, May 22

HOLY CREPE!

so,
when the pizza place next door is closed,
and the other other pizza place is closed,
but your good buddy and fellow contemporary pizza enthusiast
is in the building, AND he's ready to go out and get a pie for your eye,
you send him there, and then you have pizza together.
i mean,
c'mon.
no-brainer, right?
right!
dylan came through on the pizza scene, and that was a great addition to the day.
guys, a nicey-nice slice after a pretty freakin' good morning of tattooing,
and a warm, sunny afternoon, with gentle breezes only sorta ruining it-
(wind is wind, even when it's non-committal, and i don't like wind)
that's pretty sweet.
and then, just because too much is the right amount,
we headed to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress and made something
even MORE expert-
quickly, handily, effectively, efficiently, and turbo-muh-fuh-delicioso dudes-
yup.
i wasn't sure about what was on the dinner menu-
he suggested i make pancakes for dinner-
i said: they're too heavy after all that pizza;
and he saiiiiid: light pancakes.
neighbors, what the eff is a light pancake?
i dunno,
but to me, the closest we're gonna get is a crepe.
y'know?
i'm sayin'.
and anyway, that's what happened, and it was a pretty F*ing good move.
check the teleport:

SAVORY SEXXXINESS WITH SUPERIOR SAUCE!!!
yeah!
you gotta get right and get righteous with crepes.
and then, you gotta decide if you're going sweet or not.
i'm more of a food crepe than a dessert crepe kind of guy, but that's just me.
you wanna know more?
good, because i'm for sure gonna tell you more.
-
*
the cauliflower was FUEGO, bro.
that's 2 T coconut oil, in a high walled pan, on high heat-
3 cups of chopped cauliflower;
1" of skin-on organic ginger nubbin, slivered;
1 tsp cumin;
2 tsp turmeric;
1 tsp ground coriander seed;
1 tsp ea. GPOP-
heated up, activated and toasted and otherwise aromatically enhanced,
then turned up to eleven with:
1 T lime juice;
2 T sriracha;
2 T soy sauce;
2 tsp chili-garlic paste;
1/4 cup water.
lidded and steamed until the liquid is evaporated,
and those fat florets are soft and yellow and dope.
tight.
-
*
the sauce on top?
that's that dirty-sexxxy thickfreakness, and that's no joke:
1/4 cup coconut yogurt, whisked with smoked hot paprika, cumin, ground coriander seed,
ground mustard seed, turmeric, black pepper, ground ginger, and a squeeze of lime juice,
just to make sure you've got the whole profile filled out in full effect.
how good is it?
you'd probably chug it straight from the spout if you could.
and maybe you should, who knows?
it turned that cauliflower into a superpower, though.
word up.
and what goes better on some sloppy sauce than sprankles?
right?!
coconut flakies for the F*ing WIN, kids.
mmmmmmm.
-
*
how perfectly-paired were the toppings?
well,
we had ourselves a rapid-fire vegetable exxxplosion, man.
red onion!
jalapenos!
shredded red cabbage!
quartered sweet baby grape tomatoes!
scallions!
slivered purple and orange carrots!
and a sh!t-ton of cilantro, buddy.
that's mandatory for these bad babies, no doubt about it.
-
*
and then there's those crepes...
dudes,
y'can't have weak crepes.
that's a no-no.
lucky for us, my crepes are TILTY af, and that's a damned good thing, too.
we wouldn't wanna ruin the hottness with sloppy floppy jauns, would we?
no way.
the fresh ones are here, and here's how they arrived:
-
1 cup of flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
2 tsp chia/flaxmeal;
1 1/2 cup almond milk.
whip it up, let it sit ten minutes-
then stir in +/- 1/2 cup water,
and pour a spoonful onto a lightly greased very hot pan-
swirl it out exxxtra-thinly, and give it a minute or two on each side-
kaBOOM!
and just like that, you're a flippin' wizard now, holmes.
***********
just be dope, or F* right off.
that's all there is to it.
it's a great thought, and it's a worthy theory,
but it's a helluva hard style in practice.
mostly because it's such a simple straightforward overarching absolutist statement,
but desire and despair affect it so so SO much.
what we want is sometimes NOT dope.
and that's the thing, y'know?
because that's not what we need, so that's gotta F* right off.
rules is rules.
wishes should be regarded with suspicion.
because wishes are the opposite of motivation.
no, i mean it-
'i wish' is the antithesis to 'i will'.
one is idle the other is active, and y'all already know which one i'm subscribing to.
mmhmm.
to me,
being dope and staying that way means moving forward towards the future
in a steady state of ambitious evolution.
i cook, i read, i write, i walk, i work, i draw, i make, etc.
it's all the same, but it's never the same.
every day is practice for the next one-
to be better, all the time, and keep it going.
i hope that it's working, but i will keep working on it.
i've got no plans or intentions of F*ing off,
so we'll have to see how long i can keep it up;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, May 21

CHANGES

scones.
smaller, flakier, butterier, more expert scones.
that's right, neighbors.
i went off-book and scripted some new new jauns,
just because i needed to know that i still could.
not for nothin', but they were flippin' great, too-
and that's good news,
because i'd have ruined my whole day had they turned out otherwise.
y'wanna see how high they rose? ...ok.
look:

C'MON!
tight, right?
yeah.
here's what went down:
-
*
CRANBERRY CACAO NIB TRIANGLES!
-
preheat the oven to 375℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour;
1/4 cup sugar;
1/4 cup coconut;
1/4 cup oat bran;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp baking soda.
then, using a pastry cutter, chop in:
8 T vegan butter;
3 T vegan creamchee';
add:
1/3 cup cacao nibs;
2/3 cup chopped dried sweetened cranberries;
3 T vegan sour cream;
3/4 cup non-dairy milk.
knead, fold, turn, fold, turn, etc etc,
until the whole thing is one uniform, soft, slightly sticky, stacked damascus dough, bro.
mmhmm.
i made a 1" thick rectangle, and cut two lengthwise rows of triangles out.
...you see em up there, you know my style.
and i even put the last few cacao crOmbles on top, for a little exxxtra crunch.
mmhmm.
22 minutes in the oven, and you'll be ready to show off your new scone zone.
too much is the right amount, after all.
and to prove it, i ate an acre's worth of those stacked layers of flakiness,
and i appreciated every crunchy nib of gentle chocolate flavor,
and i cherished each gummy little sweet berry bit, too.
...and then i had a sicilian square with just sauce and fresh basil!
yeah!
elvio's has been dominating the square scene daily.
i'm all about it, actually.
like, one a day to keep me healthy.
like, for real,though.
uh-huh.
i think it's cute when people say they love pizza.
because it's easy to say it, but not really mean it,
and as such, as much as i'd like to, i don't believe 'em.
(sorta like when somebody tells me they love me.)
as for me?
i'm a truth teller, and i LOVE pizza.
i say what i mean, because i know what i mean,
so take it to heart when i say that those sicilian squares are what's good in the woods, man.
no jokes.
just sauce and basil and crust?
that's a testament to true hottness.
get one, and see for yourself-
then maybe you'll have more faith in what i say henceforth.
***********
three weeks i've been walking crabby through the village.
three in a row.
it's our thing.
once the weather is nice, and the light lasts long, and the workday is over,
we walk around a second time and see what's up.
so far,
it's too early in the season for tourists to be out in force-
or maybe, we're just getting there too late.
either way, it's pretty much only he and i,
with the occasional weirdie walkin' along nearby.
mostly, though, we're the weirdies,
plodding and pooping on deserted streets.
that's our routine.
there's no important business, nor any important people waiting for us.
it's just us.
and while that's not terrible, the conversation isn't exactly wow-ing me.
i meet all sorts of people at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
and for the most part they want something i've got.
however,
that's NOT the environment to get to know somebody.
i mean, yes, we all share information about each other,
but that little tidbit of time isn't going to be nearly enough to explain
and describe and detail the person beyond the confines of the studio.
i'd be insulted if somebody thought i was that limited.
heck, i'm usually insulted, as i'm usually only seen through that lens.
sure,
it's not like i'm approachable in other places,
but only in so far as i'm not ever AT other places.
nope.
instead, i'm responsibly devoted to the damned dumb dog,
and we span our time away from potential connections,
exercising our bodies and exorcising our demons and exerting our will
on the wild ways of the woodsly goodness.
damn.
what if i'm just that weird dog walking guy?
i'm sayin'-
without context,
i just might be.
i do what needs doing, but it's not really reaping any companionship upgrades.
there's me and crabtree, and that's pretty much it.
we'll be walking.
if you see us, be cool like our buddy dylan was yesterday
and stop and chat for a bit.
the dog really likes that.
i mostly like that.
heck, maybe you'll even like it a little.
only one way to know for sure;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, May 20

QUICKLY

guys,
i made a cake.
i know, i do that pretty regularly.
but that's just it-
when you're makin' cakes all the time,
y'gotta get creative, so you're not just making the same cake all the time.
i don't want to munch up on an identical one to the last one.
no way.
if i'm going to keep myself motivated,
i'm going to have to keep moving forward.
and forward isn't defined by the same cake, man.
i don't know if that's actually true,
but i made a whole other 'nother cake all the same.
check it out:

WHIPPED GANACHE!!!
that's tempered melted dark chocolate, non-dairy milk,
and a little powdered sugar to help it firm up again,
whisked around while hot, and spread thick and rich and fully
over the surface of a pretty expert, very texturally satisfying crumb.
i'd already baked bread, so the oven was very hot.
that's a plus- not waiting for preheat.
i slept about ten seconds all night, so my brain was both on high alert and deep in the mud,
but i still managed to make this heavy-duty baked greatness with no complications.
although, i did run fairly short on TIME.
but that's what happens every day, anyway.
so,
we got ourselves a F*ing tasty treat,
and i'll wager one of you may wanna make on of your own.
here's how:
-
*
BROWNSUGARYVANILLABEANYCOCONUTTINESS!
-
preheat your oven to 360℉
-
grease a 9"springform pan.
(single layers, neighbors. more cakes more often...that's what's on the schedule here)
-
in your stand mixer, with the cake paddle in place, combine:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1 cup dark brown sugar;
2 tsp vanilla bean paste;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup unsweetened  applesauce.
-
whisk well, then add:
2 1/2 cups flour;
2 tsp bakin' powder;
1 tsp bakin' soda;
1/3 cup unsweetened unsulphured small flake coconut;
1 cup non-dairy milk.
whip it into a frenzy, and aerate the heck out of that wet batter-
-
spread it evenly in the pregreased pan, and bake it for 35ish minutes in the preheated oven.
kaBOOM.
just like that, you've got cake.
let it cool, unsprung, before ganaching the top.
that's a LOT of chocolate on there, but it works like a magic spell
to conjure new hottness and large-and-in-charge lusciousness for your face.
and sprankles?!
of course there are some crunchy candy niblets on there.
c'mon.
i'm not tryin' to make a lame cake, kids.
jeez.
-
i had some frosting, and i used some frosting.
too much is the right amount, right?
and besides, exxxtra frosting is good for you.
that's real.
***********
we laugh a lot at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
we really do.
i mean, day after day, interweaving our lives and our careers together,
and intersecting and overlapping all that information,
interpreted through an obstacle course of linguistic acrobatics,
has got us thoroughly invested in conversations that have an almost
darwinian galapagos isolated evolution, only occurring at breakneck speeds
limited only by how fast we can deliver the next sentence...
..and it's always interesting to me to see just how long it takes for newcomers
to learn the nuances and intricacies of our partially-encoded thieves' cant.
y'know?
we essentially have our own lexicon.
and it's not a secret language, exactly-
it's simple, really-
the patterns that form from repeated familiar interaction,
based in english, with assorted multicultural slang inclusions,
convoluted metamorphoses of pun and wordplay,
and a shorthand that evolves for maxxximum efficiency right in front of
our own ears and mouths, man.
we have that.
we doo-doo that.
it's kind of our thing.
and usually it only takes a little minute,
with context clues letting y'all in on the gist of things,
before the conversation becomes an even bigger, better, more inclusive evolution,
with your help.
talk to us.
please.
we encourage it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, May 19

FAMILIARITY.

i eat all the pizza,
and i eat a lot of pizza,
and i often eat pizza.
that's how favorite foods work-
when things are good, you celebrate with pizza.
when things aren't so good, you get comforted by pizza.
when things are too wild,
the familiarity of pizza is there to hold you down,
and when things are too mundane,
a pizza with unconventional toppings really weirds it up.
for real-
pizza is what's up;
and here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
experience has taught me that i may not ever be able to rely on others,
but i can always count on pizza to carry the day.
word up.
here's another 'nother day saver, dudes:

PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!!
white pizza with potatoes?
man,
you already know i'm no sucka-A* chumpy punk when it comes to apizza-pie,
but you might not have known just how expert y'boi gets on the no-sauce jauns.
uh-huh.
oven roasted potato wedges, baked on parchment while the oven preheated,
olive oiled and tossed with smoky hot paprika and salt and pepper-
guys,
that's exxxactly what sort of hottness these days demand.
lucky for me, that's also exxxactly the kind of hottness i've got.
cashew-garlic chee' AND daiya mozzarella?
obvi- too much is the right amount.
this version of cashew chee' is especially awesome, btw-
-
1 cup soaked and drained cashews;
1 block of firm tofu;
salt and pepper;
1/4 cup olive oil;
3 cloves roasted garlic;
3 T nootch;
1 tsp ea GPOP;
blended until uniformly smooth-
then, (and this is the key to good pizza activation)
withhold 1/4 cup of the chee', and add 3 T non-dairy milk and 2 T nootch,
stir, and soften and let sit to thicken a bit-
spoonfuls of THAT will blow your effing mind, neighbors.
i'm serious.
little off-the-cuff ninja upgrades make my day, and you may consider another day made.
-
add on some fresh springtime asparagus,
and red onion wedges,
a few thinly sliced grape tomatoes,
red pepper flakes,
fire roasted tomato sprankles,
fried garlic sprankles,
and parsley sprankles,
and you've got yourself a championship pizza.
-
the other thing of note is that i went straight up on the dough-
flour, water, yeast, salt.
just to be sure i still had the right touch without all the fancy-pants specialties.
...and it was awesome.
very happy to report that i'm still ON it.
-
i like a hot oven, 480℉ convection circulation is what does it for me.
on a stone, of course, for maxxximum crust activation.
it seems to be the right call for this kitchen, and i call upon it often.
thank goodness for pizza.
without it, i think i would personally be a much much sadder person.
but,
lucky for me, i've got the tools and the skills and the resources
to stay steadily stocked with epic edible excellence for some time to come...
***********
in other, fouler-smelling and more concerning news-
my dog is still effed up.
yup.
and that's not good.
his attitude is identical to always-
enthusiastic and energetic and indifferent to human preferences-
but his digestive system is in turmoil,
and that means that on bust days, like yesterday, his stupid crinkly b-hole
can't contain the muddy waters that're breaching the dam.
and damn, damn, DAMN, there's not enough detergent on hand
to handle the hot fire he's spitting out the back.
this dog is NOT an easy one.
not one bit.
in fact,
he's a challenge, every day, and as often as he's a comfort, he's a major inconvenience.
he needs more attention and more careful supervision, even after years of instruction,
to keep him from killing himself.
he's truly a berserker battering-ram juggernaut-
and that wouldn't be so bad....
even though half my cupboard doors are blasted off the hinges thanks to him-
even though he's literally pushed every woman out of the picture, or at least off the bed-
even though his penchant for eating suicide shrapnel at least once a season is expensive-
all of that wouldn't be so terrible,
but the sh!t, bro-
the sh!tstorm of diarrheally filthy lava and tar that he spouts out during these episodes,
for unfathomable spans of time,
in quantities far larger than the amount of nutrition he's consuming,
all over himself, and his surroundings, and all of my possessions-
that's the part that truly ruins my days, even when there's plenty of pizza.
yesterday,
i came home to him with sh!t on his head.
on his head!
and he didn't even seem to care, at all.
an actual sh!t-head dog, smiling at me!!!!
yeah.
oh, yes, there was plenty of it everywhere else, too.
and before we all say ' awwwww, the poor poor little thing-
this is a trap of his own design he's caught in.
i don't know what he's eating on the sly,
since i'm constantly staring at his untrustworthy self to stave off these episodes,
but he is determined to get some sort of gutwrench in the works,
and consequences are NOT something he can comprehend.
the immediate satisfaction of dooing something self-destructive
is far greater a reward than the unavoidable fallout of that poor choice.
he cannot understand, so he'll forever make the same terrible choice.
it's instinct, but not an instinct to survive and thrive, just to indulge.
...
HOLY SH!T,
I WAS JUST DATING THE HUMAN VERSION OF MY DOG!!!!
how's that for an in-print epiphany, huh?
well,
that's discouraging,
but, there's no time to dwell on failure,
i've still got the equivalent life-lesson, on twice the legs,
ready to literally sh!t all over me.
(i think i preferred the figurative gesture from a far fairer face) 
it's all really happening,
and it all F*ing stinks;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, May 18

MAY'D!

pan-asian noodle-bowliosis!
that's the diagnosis, dudes.
and i've got an acute case of it, flaring up in my F*ing face.
yeah.
spicy noods are what's poppin',
and spicy noods are what i'm makin',
and spicy noods are what i need.
that's real talk.
food is for sure the only outlet i invest my feelings into.
i mean, it always reciprocates,
and nourishes, and sustains, and fills you right back up with nutrients and energy.
how many people can we honestly say the same about?
and really, every time i eat food, i'm synthesizing vitamins and sh!t-
whereas half the time i span with people,
i'm pretty frustrated at the missed opportunities to connect at more than superficial face-value.
so food wins.
and spicy noods?
well, honestly, neighbors, who likes bland noods?
nobody who is any good, i'll wager.
i like 'em HOT and FAT.
wait- is that nudes or noods?
BOTH, b.
duh.
however, right now,
i'm specifically referring to the thai thursday sesame sriracha garlic jauns
that rocked me from my nose to my toes.
mmmhmmmm.
check the teleport:

SO. MUCH. FUEGO.
guys,
the sauce was the superstar here.
it kinda always is.
there are thick udons,
grilled cabbage in sesame oil;
a small head of broccoli;
and then a medley of: sweet baby bell pepper spears, chili pepper, red onion,
garlic, purple carrot, celery, and double sossamon sesame sprankles-
which all got tossed into a hot pan, covered in sauce,
lidded, steamed, and served at lava-hot temperature.
plus, there's cukes, tomatoes, and radishes, on top of a bed of baby spinach-
plus a few cilantro stalks to turn up that freshie-fresh taste.
how about that?
salad, noodles, stir-fry, the works-
sweet heat and crazy crunch, char and sauce and everything expert.
the sauce is the driving force.
here's what i had in the mix:
-
*
 THAILANDO CALRISSIAN!
-
2 tsp sesame oil;
2 T sriracha;
2 T agave;
3 T rice wine vinegar;
2 T lime juice;
1 T tamari;
1/2 tsp ea Garlic Powder Onion Powder;
1 tsp coriander;
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed;
1 large clove crushed garlic;
2 tsp chili-garlic paste;
1 T green dragon ho'sauce.
stir it up, whisk it well, and let it hang out while you're chopping veggies.
a little marinating never hurt a sauce.
-
broccoli color is a good indcator of doneness-
the cabbage gets charred first, before the brox get added,
but, after a quick saute, the sauce and the veg get added,
and then, you just shake the sh!t outta the lidded pan until the florets get almost-olive.
too earth-toned of a broccoli stalk, and you've mushed the whole thing.
that's the big NO-NO.
so pay attention, and you'll be a hero to your tongue and palate.
-
i dunno if i was even feeling like making dinner.
the next thing i knew, i was photographing a tight, TILTY, tasty bowl of hottness.
i s'pose it's a component of my infinite nature.
i make things that are designed to disappear.
huh?
well, yeah, i also make things that are designed to last as long as you do.
right?
tattoos aren't forever, but they're for as long as you're around, at least.
dinner doesn't ever even last long enough to be left over.
both require my attention and my affection and my effort,
but one is a lot more rewarding, while the other one pays pretty good...
***********
root beer floats with two crazy straws.
secret love letters tucked away to be found, at random, later on.
flowers for no special reason.
y'know- cute romantic stuff.
THAT'S what i like-
letters and sodas, man.
c'mon...s'kyoot.
i don't have ANY of that,
and i'm getting increasingly suspicious that wanting it is the surest way NOT to get it.
s'kinda weird how that works.
there's no forcing it, and there's no attracting it-
especially if you work as often as i do,
or span as much time at home otherwise.
i don't imagine that clients are interested in gettin' flirked and flirted on,
and i know for a fact that the tasty lady delivery service does NOT have
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress on it's current route.
also, if there is such a thing as that,
tell me how to get my street address on GPS, because it currently doesn't exist.
so,
there's no smoochie-cuties in my immediate vicinity.
and that's not great news.
however, it gets a little worse-
what i've got instead is a damned dumb dirty dog.
and i don't know what the eff his problem is,
but i do know that it's somehow also always my problem, too.
so,
there's a smooshy, spongy, poop-butt battle-beast A*-blasting the countryside
with exxxplosive apocalypse anus,
and he's all mine to deal with.
i know, it's not sharing dessert, or back rubs, or bubble baths, or whatever-
but it is all really happening.
i'll just go ahead and assume that this'll only make the sweetness so much sweeter
by comparison, if it happens to cross my path-
let's hope the sour stench of a slightly slimy nopale-paddle poop-butt
isn't steaming next to me when that sugar happens to pass on by;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, May 17

BARS!

breakfast time is the right time to start getting expert.
i mean it.
you're up.
you're hungry.
you're deciding the course of the day.
why wouldn't you choose being expert over everything else?
seriously.
me? i can't help myself- the pursuit of competent creativity,
of productive processes,
of  effective, efficient exploration of expertism,
is basically why i get up in the morning.
and if anything is true at all, then the fact that the best i've got on offer
is a batch of cakey treats is pretty disappointing....
but, they're reallllly good cakey treats, anyway.
uh-huh.
check the teleport:

RASPBERRY BARS!!
which happen to be the only bars i give any sort of a F* about being around.
wait.
i'm forgetting about hip hop. i can hang out with those bars, too.
but, no pubs, taverns, wine bars, nightclubs, or whatever else.
in fact,
if they don't have streusel, they can absolutely F* right off.
word up.
THESE bars are incredible .
the bottom is cakey,
the rapsberry part is sweet and sticky,
the crOmbles are buttery and oaty and awesome.
everything expert, like i said before, first thing in the morning.
y'want some for yourself?
here's the plan, and if you stick to it, you're all set:
-
*
RASPBARBARIANS!
-
preheat the oven to 360℉
-
grease a 9 x 11 inch baking pan
-
in a medium mixing bowl, cream together:
1/2 tsp salt;
1 cup sugar;
1 stick (8 T) vegan butter;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp lemon extract.
-
next, stir in, and mix well:
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt.
-
add:
2 1/2 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
3 T tapioca flour.
1 cup non-dairy milk.
-
spread that evenly across the greasy pan,
and keep the bowl handy for the streusel.
...but first, the compote:
-
in a small saucepot, simmer down:
2 cups frozen raspberries;
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
2 T organic non-GMO cornstarch;
zest of one lemon.
-
let it defrost, then thicken slightly, and add:
one handful of quick oats and allow that to set it up.
mmmmmm.
spread that in spoonfuls across the surface of the batter,
being careful not to overload any one area (it'll prevent rising if you do it wrong)
-
in the bowl with the batter remnants,
smash together:
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
1 cup oats;
1/4 cup flour;
1 tsp vanilla;
3 T vegan butter.
you GOT it now, neighbors!
drop those blops on top,
and bake that bad boy for 35 minutes.
VOILA!
now you're a breakfast commander, and that's a great start to any day, for sure.
way to go.
***********
i've got challenging cover-ups and year-later add-ons for appointments today.
that's cool.
it's an opportunity to activate some creative problem solving,
and reciprocate appreciation for these repeat patrons.
that's the good news.
the bad news?
that's a pretty packed schedule,
and crabtree still has suicidal A*-sludge spouting out loud.
ugh.
i don't even have a clue what he ate, or HOW he ate it,
since it's been exclusively he and i staring a each other for weeks now-
but, he managed a magic trick, and his wrinkledot is paying the price-
only,
i may be co-signed on this debt;
because if he's home too long without escape,
i'm sure he'll blast a batch of butt-butter all over himself and his surroundings.
ah, the joy of having a canine companion.
it's better than being alone?
is it better than being alone?
it's better than being at a bar.
but, it's way worse than not eating more of those bars.
that's the truth.
*
i think i need to build something.
i do.
huh?
no. not like construction.
c'mon.
i don't do well with hammers and saws-
more like crafty creation,
because i am a wizard with a glue stick.
the cure for self-preservative destruction is competent creation.
i just need to harness some of that for later in the evening;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, May 16

HALFWAY!

may is half over?
already?
seriously, the days have blurred together,
the nights have passed in a flash,
with little sleep, less rest, and no comfort...
and now, just like *that*-
we're here.
the second half of the very merry month.
-jeez.
it's too soon to be this late in the year.
i s'pose that's the thing about working every day:
the days all start too look more and more alike-
although, the greenery in the scenery has exploded exponentially,
and there's less to see for all the leaves that're showing off on branches, b.
that's pretty neat.
all this woodsly goodsly life moving on and up is cheerful,
even if every flippin' day feels the same at first.
i'll take it,
and i'll smell the flowers as the blossom and bloom in sequence outside my windows;
i'll watch these peewees remake their annual nests above my entryway;
i'll walk the long way home from the hilltops with crabtree,
and we'll make the most of doing our best with the increased light,
no matter how heavy it feels.
.
and there will be tacos on tuesdays, neighbors.
mmhmmm.
that's a thing.
and you'd best believe it won't be some bummer-A* box-mix bullsh!t, either.
nope.
only that new hottness, with exxxtra deliciousness is what i have to offer.
the days may feel similar,
but the meals are as unique as thumbprints, bro.
check the teleport:

MY LIFE IS A SMALL ONE, BUT MY FOOD IS GRANDE AF!
soft flour, as always, because those are the good kind.
shredded cabbage, radishes, sweet peppers, red onions, jalapenos, scallions, and cilantro.
that's the crawnchy portion of the program.
quick-fast fire-roasted tomato salsa?
that's part two, but it's numero uno in tastiness.
for realsies, a good salsa will make or break the meal, man.
this one definitely hit me with the upgrade.
-
*
F'ROASTY SALLLLLZ!
-
15 oz fire roasted tomatoes, juice drained;
3 cloves garlic;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
1 jalapeno, seeds in;
1/3 red onion;
1/4 cup sweet baby red peppers;
1/2 bunch cilantro;
2 T scallion greens;
pink salt, black pepper, and the juice of a lime.
food processed until it's all uniformly chunky,
and allowed to marinate, or more likely, get devoured,
while the other stuff gets ready.
... and dammmmmmmmmmmn, it's expert.
like,
you're gonna wanna put it on everything.
...and nobody can stop you, either.
*
then there's roasty chili potatoes, b!!!!!!!!!!!tches!
...and potatoes, on tacos, is now super-officially a great idea.
yup.
no joke.
these chippers were the F*ing TRUTH.
two potatoes, halved and sliced thick,
olive oiled, and tossed in smoked hot paprika, salt, pepper, and cumin,
arranged evenly-spaced on parchment,
and baked in a preheating oven as it approached 450℉.
when it's hot, they're ready.
crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, smoky and spicy and elite to eleven.
not everybody has to be all about chili potatoes,
but anybody who isn't has just outed themselves as a total A*-hole.
wordimus prime.
*
last up, we got ourselves some spring onions, chick peas, and pumpkin seeds,
with olive oil, cayenne, black pepper,
and the previously-reserved fire-roasted tomato juice.
sauteed until the liquid is gone,
then activated with a glug of agave to make it sexxxy.
yeah!
-
tacos on a tuesday.
imagine that.
and then sunshine and sweetness
and all of that sort of stuff followed us immediately afterwards.
no foolin',
the whole day was a bummer of rainy downpours,
until the tacos showed up.
then, it was just right for a little bit of dog-walkin' in the village.
crabtree really likes going into town for a walk.
i mean,
he really gets psyched to pee on all that other stuff.
and when the rain makes some of those smells disappear?
it's like it's all suddenly brand-new stuff to pee on!
we find our joy where we can.
if he gets taken care of correctly, and his dumb little brain is occupied,
and he gets to span time outside, being social, and publicly urinating on private property,
then somehow, that implies that i've done my job.
it's easy, really.
y'just do the things that make sense.
it's impossibly more difficult with people.
i can't for the life of me figure out what makes sense with 'em-
so, they're not invited for a while...
it's me and my little milky boi making sense,
and the rest will git it in where it fits in;
never quiet, never soft..... 

Tuesday, May 15

TORTELLONI ALBERTO!

UGH!
my grandma would always say:
they say; they say; but watch their feet.
it is a reference to talk being cheap, and actions speaking more clearly.
everybody's gonna, gonna, gonna,
but, if you watch closely what they DO-
the answers are in front of you and they are rarely what's being said.
i love that good ol' italian grandma wisdom.
and my eyes see all too clearly the soles and the piggies
as they march themselves right out of my world.
i have good news, though.
yup.
i also love good ol' italian grandma food, too;
and that's not going anywhere but into my bellyhole, bro.
yesterday,
i left work early.
i did.
and i didn't even feel the least bit badly about it.
y'know why i was so content to head back to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress?
because i had a plan in place to produce some epic expert edible excellence.
and i love to work a plan, neighbors.
y'ever have BIG tortellini?
well, then you actually had tortellOni, kiddo.
that's right.
and last night, so did i.
check the teleport:

HOLY SMOKES AND THAT'S NO JOKES!!
so many notes in a symphony am i right?
and this bowl blew my mind out the front and sides of my head!
homemade pasta, homemade filling, homemade soup-
a furious from-scratch frenzy of flavorful fresh-to-deathness.
and i ate two bowls of it.
mmmmmmmmm.
ok.
so,
the dough was easy:
-
*
-
in your stand mixer, with the dough hook attached,
knead together, for 10 flippin' minutes:
1 cup semolina flour;
1/2 cup+ a.p. flour;
3 T olive oil;
dash of salt;
1/2-2/3 cup hot water.
-
wrap and rest that shiny smooth ball for twenty-thirty minutes
while you're getting everything else ready,
roll it out thin on a well-floured surface,
and cut out as many 3" circles as you think you'll need.
i had twenty four? and there's enough dough to do it again tonight.
(easy, it's tuesday, and i'm going taco, okay)
-
put a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle, fold it in half,
tuck and crimp the ends in a little pasta hug,
and let 'em rest for a few minutes before dropping them in a pot of very salty boiling water,
just until they float.
BOOM!!
TORTELLONI, HOMIE!
-
and that filling?
experté.
-
*
FILLIN'
-
combine a cup of shredded baby spinach,
a bunch of shredded basil, a clove of crushed garlic,
and a tablespoon of minced shallot in olive oil, and saute it all up nicey-nice,
until the spinach is wilted down, and the shallot and garlic are softened.
add a spoonful of nutritional yeast,
and half a cup of homemade cashew-garlic (th)underchee',
mixing well as hell, for a perfectly balanced blend of interior goodsliness.
-
so, so, SO good.
and that's torties, all set and ready.
*
the sopa was hella tight, too.
obvi.
that's one minced shallot, two fat cloves of crushed garlic, GPOP,
and black pepper,
sauteed in oil until lightly browned,
with two cups vegetable broth and half a cup of crushed tomato,
simmered until all the little brown bits are semi-see-through.
the tomato and the shalot work unison to create maximum viscosity,
and that gently-gelled consistency is gonna coat those little pasta pockets and
turn the whole thing right up to the maxxx.
real talk-
the soup and the torties are a tag team, and solo,
they'd only be awesome, not epic.
...however,
it didn't stop there.
no way.
too much is the right amount.
look:

ALL THE sprankles!!!
YEAH!!
charred shallot rings!
fried garlic slices!
blackened tomatoes!!
fresh parsley!
fried chick peas!
dudes,
y'start with shallot, prepared and removed;
y'add oil and garlic, fry and remove;
y'blacken up the tomatoes, pull 'em off,
and toss in the chick peas.
it's a sequence of smart moves,
and all of them impart MORE flavor to each ingredient.
and then they all go on top to take it to eleven.
WORD!
...watch MY feet, guys.
i'm steppin' correct, one in front of the other,
marching in time to a bass-boosted heartbeat drumbeat
that sounds off in exxxplosive percussive thunderclaps,
with reproach and repercussions for all the ne'er-dids and ne'er-wills.
there's only these moments,
and i won't waste them watching-
i'll celebrate them with DOING.
***********
pee emm ayy.
that P.M.A.
a Positive Mental Attitude.
intentional optimism in the face of a harsh, unforgiving, ugly reality.
is that foolish?
...i don't think so.
and why not?
because there's always something to do.
and if something can be done,
and it is beneficial to forward progress and growth
as a competent, capable, communicative, considerate catalyst
for fortune's good favor?
y'gotta do it, don'tcha?
well, i think so.
so i'm doing what i can to focus all the fury at circumstances i can't direct,
and to slingshot all the forlorn faltering into surgical-striking viking lightning,
to lash out with controlled chaos, and set the trajectory upwards, onwards,
and off the charts,
to new heights,
and bigger pictures,
with clearer goals,
and live-and-direct-activated active participation.
it's all really happening, friends.
there's no time to waste on lost causes, lost souls, and lost minutes-
we've got moves to make,
and expanding spaces to occupy with our hands, and our hearts.
i mean,
we don't get these moments back,
so there's no use standing still.
onward we go, worthy warrior poets one and all-
surefooted as F*;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, May 14

BUNZ, HUN!

i made some breakfast rolls.
like,
cinnamon ones,
but with barely any cinnamon,
and a bunch of creamchee' and strawberries instead.
uh-huh.
cinna-MOM buns, with berry bits.
look:

CRUSTY AND SOFT AND SWEET AND STICKY!!!
mmmmmm.
guys,
my momma was down in connecticut,
but that wasn't gonna keep me away from some special treats in absentia.
and they're good.
like, really good.
soft in the middle, thick and firm and buttery,
and the filling was a bubbly, oozy, fruity exxxplosion of excellence.
the cast iron is key, because it gives 'em even expert heat.
the parchment paper keeps it clean.
the icing takes 'em to eleven.
here's how it's done:
-
*
STRAWBUNZIES!!
-
line a 10" cast iron pan with parchment paper.
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a small saucepot, gently warm up:
1 cup soymilk;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 stick (4 T) vegan butter.
when that's all melty, add 1 tsp bread machine yeast,
stir and allow to bloom for ten minutes.
-
in your trusty stand mixer, with the dough hook in place, combine:
3 cups flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
4 T brown sugar;
4 T unrefined sugar;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
a lil dashy-dash of cinnamon and ginger.
-
add the wet to the dry, and knead it up until it's a smooth, round ball of dough.
cover it, and let it rise for ten,
while you make the filling-
-
1/2 cup brown sugar;
2 T vegan butts;
2 T vegan creamchee';
1/2 tsp vanilla;
2 T seedless strawberry jam;
smooshed into a pasty, tasty, spreadable batch of blops!
-
on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a big fat rectangle,
longer than it's wide, and spread the filling evenly from edge to edge to edge,
but leave the last short edge unspread with sauce for about an inch,
so you can seal the deal with a little liquid once you roll it up.
next,
hit it with a handful of freeze-dried strawberries,
manually mashed and liberally dosed across the gooey interior goodness.
roll it, cut the roll in half, cut those in half, and cut those into thirds,
and arrange them like you see 'em in the picture-
give the whole thing a ha;f an hour to swell up,
and then bake 'em all for thirty minutes.
what you get is a gooey, chewy, batch of big action battle-mamas from the future.
huh?
man, i dunno-
they defy conventional labeling.
and the drizzles on top?
yeah.
that's what makes it so dope:
half a cup of powdered sugar, a spoonful of vegan creamchee',
a couple teaspoons' worth of pulverized powdery dried strawberry dust,
a dash of vanilla, and a splash of s'milk, stirred, scoopled into a bag,
and spread in big pink spouts of sugary sexxxiness.
THAT'S WHAT'S UP!!
***********
we got ourselves a very cloudy morning here in the woodsly goodness.
and yet,
i'm seeing things molto clearly.
i've got bread in the oven.
i've got groceries to go and get when it's done baking.
i've got this damned dirty dog to drag through the trails and trees right afterwards.
and then, i've got work to do at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
it's not a glamorous life, neighbors.
it might actually even be the exact opposite.
for all the unconventional events i engage in,
they're repeated over and over and over and over.
it's not exactly a time-loop,
but it's a timespan that wavers only slightly, like an arrow or a bullet-
i'm moving forward, but without a lot of roving, ranging, or wriggling away from
the path i've plotted.
no evasive maneuvers, nor any conflict avoidance.
i do what i do, and i  do the best i can, with improvements noticeable
only really noticeable over long stretches time-
i think that's how real life works?
building momentum, accumulating small victories,
and cashing in when you reach the target....
um.
nope.
...wait.
that's skee-ball.
my mistake.
my life is a skee-ball machine.
well,
that's discouraging;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, May 13

MAMA!

CALL YOUR MOM.
TAKE HER TO BRUNCH.
SEND A CARD.
GET FLOWERS.
DO SOMETHIN'.
dudes,
it's a whole day dedicated to moms.
so, if she's still around, do a nicey-nice thing.
and if she's not around anymore, do a nicey-nice thing as a tribute.
moms are important, and don't you forget it.
me? i called my ma at 5 a.m.
we laughed and cried about my sisters and my father.
was i and/or am i a good son? ...damned if i know.
but i also wished warmth and gratitude to my childrens' ma,
because like i said- moms are important.
*
alright.
that's enough of that.
now let's get to the really real heart of the matter...
-
guys,
i needed it,
even though i'd already had it twice in the preceding 24 hours.
mmhmmm.
that's real.
because you can't ever have enough,
and too much is for sure the right amount,
and anyway,
there's no such thing as saying NO to pizza.
huh?
well, OBVI, i'm talking about pizza.
c'mon.
my good buddies, nate and dylan and i tuned up a trio of large
and in charge jauns at the flatbread company in town on friday night;
and then we all had a sicilian square saturday interlude,
hot and fresh from elvio's, next door at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and i closed  out the circadian cycle with an enormous solo explosivo deluxxxe
at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
uh-huh.
i don't give any F*s, dudes.
i'm coping with the trials of loss of life and love like a big, fat,
shark-gluttonous juggernaut of spirit and memory,
and Positive Mental Attitude adjustment.
what?!
yes, i'm serious.
i choose pizza, conversation, creativity, exercise, and determination, man.
i'm making dough when i'm not at work making dough,
and i'm investing time and energy into MY personal perfection of pizza pie,
as well as contributing to the overall economic awesomeness
of the larger pizza pie community in my area.
and if you can't hang out with that,
or you don't want more pizza all the time?
well, then you're probably an A*-hole.
check the teleport:

RADICAL HOMEMADE HOTTNESS FOR YOUR F*ING FACE!
when things are bad, pizza makes 'em better.
when times are good, pizza makes 'em great.
anytime, and every time, pizza is what you need, if you're feeling needy.
almost as good as genuine interconnected forward progression
towards your better'n best self;
definitely way more rad than curt, cursory overlaps
with rowdy, clouded, unwoke broke folks.
pizza is the TRUTH, kids.
and this one is the freakin' GOSPEL according to rock.
the dough?
incredible.
the toppings?
remarkable.
the big picture?
illuminating.
your oven should have a baking stone in it by now.
also,
you should have your sh!t cranked up to 485-500℉.
your dough needs kneading and rising and all the necessary treament,
as per the instructions included in prior posts,
like THIS one.
-
now,
while the oven was preheating,
i roasted those slices of sweet potato, on parchment, on a tray,
with pink salt, GPOP, and olive oil, until they started to brown a bit.
mmmmmm.
sweets are expert af on a pie, neighbors.
-
but, i began by stretching and hand-tossing that custom foccaciaesque dough,
and laying out a few handfuls of baby spinach, and a lil bit of chiffonaded radicchio, too.
fancy.
daiya mozzarella, minced for maxxxed-out meltability over that,
and then those slightly-cooled sweets.
-
here's where the sexxxy-sexxxinesss got involved-
pan-grilled brussels sprouts, quartered and sizzled up,
and softened just enough to be easily devoured.
SO GOOD.
and then a lotta red onion.
yeah!
vertical long-sliced slivers of that oh-my-goodness onion zing are always invited.
fried garlic sprankles?
c'mon. ...what are you?
dumb?!
rules is rules up in here, buddy.
definitely went  heavy on the garlic.
-
and then,
because i want ALL the fresh-to-death delights in every bite:
smoky spicy chick peas!!!
using the fried garlic oil pan, with all that infused flavor,
i seared up 8 oz of chick peas, with hot paprika, smoked paprika, and GPOP.
daaaaaaaaaaaaamn!
what else?
radicchio ribbon sprankles, for the WIN!
wooooooooooo!!!
-
now, i'm not that smart.
and worse, i'm not very cool.
heck, i'm even kinda busted in most of the ways you can be...
but,
if pizza was wealth, then i'd be the richest one on earth, y'heard?
i've got miles of styles of pizza, and it's a flippin' good thing-
because i've got hectare-sized holes in my soul these days,
and it's gonna take a LOT more of these remedies to repair what's missing.
on the ones, i've been buying extra flour in preparation of some serious healing.
ha!
***********
i'll just come right out and say it:
drinking alcohol is whack.
and if that's your thing? you're whack.
if that's how you loosen up? you're out of touch with yourself.
if that's what you need to do to have fun? you're boring, and that's sad.
if alcohol, and it's effects, are integral to who you are?
i feel badly for you,
and i feel even worse for me because we are NOT gonna make a lasting connection.
it's no big deal- you'll certainly be accepted by the rest of the world,
and all it's maximized escapist distractions, detraction, detours, and derailments.
anyway,
maybe i'm whack.
maybe it shouldn't matter to me if people want to hurt themselves in the name of happiness.
mostly, it doesn't, save for those few people i find myself invested in.
and then, before i know it- we're out of sync, and i'm out of step,
and i'm home alone.
while i'm keeping pace with the pursuit of something bigger than myself,
the result is that it keeps narrowing my focus,
which is hopefully not closing my mind,
but is definitely shrinking my world.
i think this is how black holes form, right?
everything, reduced in size, increased in density, and magnified in intensity.
the main difference is that the collapsing stars attract whole systems and devour them,
so much so that all light is absorbed, and at the point of entry, time is infinite.
as for me?
i'm repelling all lightness, reflecting all existing systems (of thought, anyway)
and it sure feels like time is fleeting.
who'd have thought that hating poison would be so polarizing?
as for me, i've still got the straight edge,
and even if 100% of my friends have partners who are NOT that,
i can't in good conscience consciously accept with open eyes and an open heart
the choice to be a less competent, capable, reliable, relatable version of oneself,
and then pretend that we're still on the same path.
it all boils right back down to the prime directive:
just be dope, or F* right off.
and that's every time, all the time-
even when it's the weekend;
even when something hard is happening;
even when something good is happening;
even if you're nervous;
even if you're anxious;
even when it all seems hopeless.
because it's only hopeless if you give up.
and giving up is not dope;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, May 12

CLARITY!

my friend meryl had a berfday yesterday.
she's on the opposite side of america, 
and usually on the opposite side of our arguments, too.
portland left relative to my proximity to portland right-
she's been my friend for sixteen or seventeen years.
that's a decent span of time by any collection of calendars-
so,
even though she's nowhere nearby,
i still made her (and me) a cake.
yup.
there's always time for cake,
and there doesn't ever really even need to be a reason 
beyond the fact that cake is expert,
and experts love cake.
chocolate cake is especially good,
so i specially delivered one into the universe straight from the oven to my mouth.
FYI- i'm celebrating berfy days with or without you.
check the teleport:
MMMMMMMM.
simple, but still so rich and rewarding.
how dense a bomber was this big brown block?
pretty flippin' heavy-duty, dudes.
i went exxxtra on the cocoa,
because i read that it helps with information retention,
and i'm trying to hold onto the spirit and memory of this rough week.
if we forget, we repeat, and i'm all set with all of that. 
thanks anyway, but no thanks.
ANYway,
even though it's thiqqqqq af, i'll still hand over the recipe:
-
*
CHOCOBOMBARDIER!
-
preheat the oven to 350℉ (convection if you're blessed with the option)
-
grease a 9" springform pan, as usual.
-
in your remarkably righteous upright stand mixer,
cream together:
1 stick vegan butter (8T);
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
1+ cup organic sugar;
2/3 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt-
whisk well, and gently add in:
~1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups flour;
3 T agave;
1 cup non-dairy milk;
1 tsp ea bakey kapowder and bakey soda.
whip it into as light and fluffy a batter as you can, 
and spoon it over and spread it evenly into that greasy pan, man.
i gave it thirty seven minutes in the oven,
but you do what you think is best-
i don't know anything about what you're working with, 
so test the center, and see if it's ready first. 
-
cool it completely,
then frost it up with some specialty jauns.
-
*
-
2 cups powdered sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
4 T vegan butts;
3 T vegan creamchee';
s'milk added 1 T at a time, until it's fluffy as heck.
easy easy easy easy!
-
then what?
then you do the thing that you do if you're smart,
and cool,
and ready to experience cake the way it should be:
you freak it off with some sprankles.
yuuuuuuuuuup.
tha's how you know you're doing it right, man.
the better the spranks, the better you'll feel.
i had those iridescent magic dots at hand,
and they turned it up to eleven, no question. 
and the i ate a F*ing lot of cake.
i did.
*
consideration, kindness, attention, consistency, and thoughtfulness.
^^^ dudes! ^^^^^
i had a short but impact-heavy chat with a good friend and trusted confidant,
he asserted that my expectations of others are NOT unrealistic.
and also that those qualities are really at the center of any relationship.
it's nice to get a professionally-informed third-party opinion sometimes.
i mean, objectivity is HARD, 
and emotional investments make it even harder.
it's a great relief to know that while i may or may not be an A*-hole,
i'm probably not an A*-hole for valuing those traits, at least. 
***********
i keep bumping into people i barely know,
but that i feel inexplicable, but genuine, affection for.
it's true.
nothing romantic, even though they're all women.
just a surprising sense of warmth and an honest connection.
it's a little weird, four separate folks, four separate times in one week, 
but it's not unwelcome.
i guess i'm just comforted by the idea that there are those kinds of women
out there being casually competent and capable and communicative-
sure, i met them in the tattoo studio, so the circumstances weren't exactly serendipitous-
but, 
they keep coming back, and that says something encouraging-
huh?
...well, yeah.
but, while it's likely they just appreciate good tattoos,
i appreciate good people, 
which makes me even more motivated to make good tattoos.
and if thosee good people happen to contribute to the dialogue 
and add to the overall narrative of AMPERSAND TATTOO,
then it's a win-win, really, 
and i'm pretty psyched that during what has otherwise been a bummer week 
the secret universal vanilla skyline blueprint plotted a course
for overlapping instances of interpersonal prowess, progress, and process
at a purely platonic, and genuinely respectful level, for me and my clients/friends.
i'm sure that's normal for other guys and dolls,
but it's a novel rarity for me.
so,
shoutouts to effortlessly excellent ladies,
and to unforced interpersonal active participation.
i appreciate all of it,
and i'm glad to know that y'all exist;
never quiet, never soft.....