Saturday, April 20

FLOWER POWER

MORE flowers?
yup:

c'mon.
drawn-on lines on top of lines on top of lines-
yeah,
i'm tryin' to use up all the ink in a pair of marky-markers every time i draw.
and when the only guidelines are:
flowers. make them cool?
y'boi is ready to work those petals and stamens and whatnots, neighbors.
f'real.
i'm about to stuff my face with all the cookies, too.
why?
no.
not because i have the munchies, bro.
don't be dumb.
i'm on some other other sh!t.
that drug-free straight up X'd up expertism.
but, i enjoy stress eating and expanding my midsection in a vicious cycle of self-loathing
and self-medication.
food by my medicine, man.
and a spoonful of sugar helps it go down-
especially when there's chocolate-style chips accompanying each oaten dose of delights.
ha.
i do those tattoos.
i do that baking thang.
i am waitin' for this lil baby bop.
i do NOT get intoxicated or lifted or lit or whatever else-
i'm purely and truly what you see-
a mangy monkeyman;
a grievous sugriva;
an open-handed hanuman,
a calamitous clyde a la bustin' loose-
a zealous dr. zaius.....
you get the idea.
but i won't be devil-stickin' and hacky-sackin' today to the tune of some of that
sh!t-salad grateful deadly sonic suckholery.
sorry,
but i've only got tats and treats for y'all today;
never quiet, never soft.....

FOURTWENTY!

bro,
if you out there in those streets smoking weed?
lame.
but, i guess if that's your thing, y'all should go do that.
but as for me?
y'boi is out here in this woodsly goodness 100% NOT doing that.
word up.
...it just ain't me.
so, when I'M reppin' four-twenty it's not about marijuana.
nor is it about that buttnasty megalomaniac, adolf hitler.
it's his berfday today, and that's for sure weak sauce, too.
i might drink a little kombucha-
i'll definitely bake some right-handed cookies.
with dark chocolate chips, but no CBD, hemp-derived or otherwise.
i'm not euphoric.
i'm not elated.
it's rainy.
it's it's foggy.
and it's warm, which is pretty tight.
so, for me?
four twenty is maybe all about blackbirds, and possibly baking a pie.
y'know? like the rhyme?
yeah.
i did make gluten-free piecrusty dough, for eastery hottness.
i am making cookies, gluten-free and otherwise, as well.
it's rude to attend a party empty-handed, even if it's just for jesus's second berfday-
rules is rules.
and don't call it a comeback.
especially since he's been gone ever since...
*
i did a two big ol' black and grey flower tattoos yesterday.
here's one:

ROSES AND NARCISSUS AND ASTER!

oh my!
as usual, they're marky markered-on,
and as form fittin' as i could manage-
AMPERSAND TATTOO is where it happens.
soo many lines, and all the flowers that ever bloomed.
that's what we've got.
it's four twenty in the rain,
and i've got a big ol' fiery phoenix to draw on today.
unless this baby,
this slowpoke, take-forever, in-no-dang-hurry-at-all baby decides today is the day.
the name game is on again.
the back and forth of popular names is a real struggle.
there are about a hundred people i tattoo with sons named jackson,
and i've tattooed about a thousand kaylas in the last five years.
i'm very aware of the risks of naming a kid what seems unique but is really not.
we're gonna go simple, old, classic, and charming.
why?
because i'm all out of suggestions,
and mama has some top picks that i happen to like, too.
this is gonna be a good baby,
and a good time,
and if she ever shows up,
we'll all rejoice and give voice to how psyched we are.
i am a patient boy-
i wait i wait i wait i wait;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 19

LAST SUPPER?

thai thursday!
ha!
i made it all nicey-nice, and still it did me dirty.
hmm?
yeah.
the pineapple ate my mouth off,
the lime burn what was left of it,
and the spice lingered in the trashed ashes of my face.
yikes!
and i made more than i could eat!
aww, man- too much IS the right amount,
but this was even more than that, and it fought me with each and every bite.
dang.
look:

mmmhmmmm.
these noodles were supposed to make me feel better-
(i'm a little teeny tiny bit sick....little kids are good for providing that)
instead, i dissolved my whole head, and still stayed stuffed up.
awesome.
*
y'got coconut-oil fried golden tofu.
that's exxxtra-crisp exxxtra-firm 'fu, ready to rock your socks off.
if you cook 'em right, they'll never stick,
and you can tell when they're read to flip by the golden-brown skin that shows up
if you look closely at the side in contact with the hot surface.
i'm always using high heat, btw. coconut oil can handle it, the tofu appreciates it,
and your tastebuds will relish the righteous sealed-in flavor of these crissssssspy bois.
*
there's rice noods.
obvi.
i used the fat ones, but not those FAT ones, y'know?
i wish i had the FATTIES, but i had to make do with the fat ones instead.
you get it.
the chao fun jauns weren't in my pantry, so the flat and longs had to suffice-
i actually pan-fried them with some of the sauce after boiling and rinsing them.
i can't say that it was the best idea i ever had, but it was certainly not the worst.
so, there's that to consider.
*
the stir-fried veg?
well, to be honest man- that was a complicated affair:
starting with two slender wedges of cabbage, seared up and sizzled,
and half a carrot, a stalk of celery, 1 1/2 cups of mutlicolored grape tomatoes,
and a clove of sliced garlic-
all of that cooked for a few minutes, just sizzlin'-
then i added a scoop of coconut oil,
and a cup of mixed peppers- uh-huh slices of hot and sweet just tossed in.
i had pepper pieces, and i used 'em.
plus, half a sweet onion, in slivers,
and a head of chopped broccoli,
plus a huge handful of spinach,
and a punch of snap peas...
plus, minced cilantro stems, and a whole lotta torn basil.
yuuuuup.
alll the things that i thought i'd need.
and also, that SAUCE.
uh-huh.
it's all good to saute veggies, but without the saucy steam activation?
you're basically just effin' around.
*
THAT SPICY SAUCE:
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1 1/2" skin-on organic ginger root, exxxtra-finely minced;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed;
2 tsp chili-garlic paste;
2 T tamari;
2 T seasoned rice vinegar;
1 T agave;
2 tsp lime juice;
2 tsp sriracha;
a shake of black pepper;
a pinch of crushed basil;
2 tsp of crushed pineapple;
2 T water.
^^^^^^
have i ever made the exact same sauce?
nope.
but his one was still pretty flippin' elite.
if only the added fresh cut pineapple, and it's bromelain barbarian brutality
hadn't done me a mischief, i might've enjoyed it more.
instead, i had a literal face melting experience.
and on the ones,
the spiciness wasn't intense, at all,
until the dual-devastation of pineapple-lime did me in.
damn.
and that left me with scallion, basil, and cilantro sprankles all
almost totally unenjoyable.
bummmmmmmer.
*
is good friday a good baby day?
it might be.
breezy has another 'nother appointment today, to see just where the heck
this little baby thinks she's gonna be staying this weekend.
like, inside or outside the box.
i like today.
it's good.
it says so right in the name.
and it's a full moon.
which is some wild werewolfen warrior poetry in motion.
if ever you were to have a mixed-magic mountain-and-lake love explosion,
i'd say that today could very well be THE day.
and just like every day,
we won't find out until later on if this little lady is at all interested in arriving
and thriving in the warm embrace of SO many welcoming arms.
i have this bullsh!t cold to sniffle about.
i have NO appetite to speak of.
i have tattoos that may or may not get worked on today,
depending on the level of cooperation that this kid complies with.
it's ALL really happening, ready or not.
the decisions we've made have led us here-
and me and mine are all doing what we can to create a position of positivity
for the acres of kids, and the adults who overlap and intersect and form
the fractal of family for me and you and them and everybody we know.
is today the day?
i'll let you know tomorrow;
never quiet, never soft.....

JAGUAR

a jag-yoo-arr.
a jag-warr.
a catman, man.
that's what i did yesterday.
and i made it extra complicated.
mmhmm.
i had four separate spotted cat deity reference pictures to work from,
and i mixed them all together in a too-many-lines forearm zapper.
check it:
yeah!
i'm into it.
we're working on a large project, 
and each of these pieces gets a little baby bit more intricate with the lines and designs.
i like that.
if you need some, come get some, because i have some.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is just such a good place to get creative, neighbors.
f'real.
i feel it when i walk in, and i let it flow all dang day long.
i'm not comfortable in every environment, 
but i'm definitely nestled right at home in my expert avocado-colored den of dopeness.
that's where it all really happens, 
and that's where i've been drawing daruma and triceratops for our future freshness.
yup.
this is it, and that's that;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 18

RED BIRD

i did a bird.

see?
it's pretty.
every tattoo isn't a great big giant one-
but a bunch of the little ones are cool.
is this picture blurry?
man, i can't even tell.
am i blind?
i might be.
but NOT when i'm tattooing.
so relax, and come get a pretty tattoo.
or a great big giant one.
whatever.
that's what we're there for;
never quiet, never soft.....

WORDIMUS PRIME!

more letters?
yeah.
it's addictive.
it's numbingly obsessively tough to get 'em right.
i'm no typographer.
and i'm no graphic designer.
but i made a square:
word up.
get it?
word up.
word.....up.
yep.
we're getting there.
slowly but surely, we're moving towards nicey-nice stuff for 
AMPERSAND TATTOO's merch parade.
we're not ready, yet-
but y'all'd better get ready;
never quiet, never soft.....

ESSENTIAL!!

and you know i got into some dough last night.
hmm?
yep.
that's right.
y'boi whipped up another 'nother expert rendition of a fancy pizza.
uh-huh.
that pee eye zee zee ayy was poppin' off from the jump-
big luscious doughy dopeness,
hearty, heavy-duty manly marinara,
mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and basil all interacting with some of that 
so delicious dairy-free mozzarella chee'- MINCED, obvi; 
because that's how you do it right, dumdum- so do it right, like a smartie boi.
yeah!
dudes,
check the herb-activated gourmet sh!t right here:
WORD!
when it comes to pizza, the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is the spot that's hot.
i mean, do you SEE that crust?
neighbors,
it was righteous!
-
*
HERB DOUGH!
-
in your stand up mixer with that heavy dough-hooker hittin', 
mix:
1 cup warm water;
2 T maple syrup;
1 pkg fast actin' yeast;
2 T fire-roasted tomato flakes.
-
give that 5 minutes, then add:
1 cup king arthur all-purpose flour;
1 cup + 2 T bread flour;
2 T olive oil;
1 1/2 tsp pink salt;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
2 T nootch;
cracked black pepper.
knead it up and keep in mind that it's a wet dough initially-
but after 11 minutes, it'll get good and gluteny 
and strand-bonded and smooth af.
man, it's good stuff.
covered and risen up all sorts of puffy and nice...
i always stretch it out with some olive oil on my super-seasoned steel tray,
which i will forever bake on my toasty stone at 485 convection fahrenheit degrees...
y'know?
did i add nootch and GPOP and fiery tomato sprankles?
duh.
c'mon.
before i freaked it off with that marinara manliness.
AND did i get it activated with fried garlic sprankles??
rules is rules...
the onions were caramelized.
the mushrooms were slimelessly dry-fried.
the tomatoes were juicy.
all that is just great.
really.
truly.
pizza makes me feel better.
and when you leaf it up with that fresh basil???
F* yes!
i ate it all, y'all.
too much is the right amount.
and i went hard on the shark-gluttony.
just eat more pizza.
that's the moral of the story.
*
it's thai thursday.
so i'mma need to get busy with some spicy noods, dudes.
for sure.
meanwhile, i've got mayan/aztec tattoos to do,
i've got a little baby girl who still hasn't even made any overtures towards 
her big debut outside of the box,
and i've got this damned dumb dog to walk.
btw,
he's F*ing fired.
his deaf A* slept through some loud bangin' against the Fortress last night.
no. i mean it.
i thought i had some personal space invaders trying to get IN here-
i heard the bang-bangin' around the house-
and crabtree just snorrrrrrrred.
meanwhile i jumped up and grabbed a pistol,
and immediately ran towards the noise.
jeez.
am i an A*-hole?
maybe.
also, it was a BEAR.
like, the animal.
i would never ever shoot a bear.
also, 
i only had that lil 9mm on me, which is inadequate for that in any event.
hahaha.
yep.
i got those vegan gunz, boi.
but, they're for defending the woodsly goodness and my beautiful family
from human invaders who probably aren't vegan.
really, i'm saving more animals by taking those dudes out.
ha.
c'mon.
that's not real.
but crabby is absolutely 100% comfort eagle,
and 0% guardian of the north.
so,
don't worry about getting bitten by that bummer bull terrier;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 17

DOUBLE DOPENESS!!

yoooo!!
taco tuesday.
and also,
FALAFELS!!!
yeah!
that's what the eff is going on, neighbors!
how excited can i be about creating and activating two top fives at the same time?
ummm, probably all the way to eleven.
for sure.
check it:

C'MON!!
soft flour tortillas!
rules is rules.
and then, parsley, cilantro, and lettuce, for that salad section.
that's good, guys.
roughage makes 'em smoother.
there's chopped orange and red sweeeeet baby tomatoes, to pretty it up.
pickles?
duh.
that's what's good, forever, on falafels, man.
and pickled jalapenos?
F* yes.
salty, tangy, spice is s'nice.
red onion is tight. and sharp. and really the best raw onion for this sort of thing.
white onion is traditional taco topping, but i don't really mess with that so much.
so red ones are what's poppin'.
i had verrry juicy lemon wedges.
i really like that.
and those pepperoncinis?
word the eff up.
three kinds of pickled jauns for that magic number hottness in every dang bite.
yeah!!!
-
i had tahini paste, thinned up with lemon and a little warm water, GPOP,
sumac, and plenty of black pepper.
creamy dreaminess in a sauce is where the wild things are.
hmmmm?
um, yeah.
that's sumac dust, and two-tone sesame seed sprankles on top.
SO many toppings for a little foldover flap of taco and falafel together.
too much is the right amount.
check it:

DOOOOOOPE.
and just look at those crispy falafel nugs, bruh.
so ferociously flavorful and feisty and amazingly awesome in my mouth.
what's in the nugs?
i thought you'd never ask.
-
*
FALAFZ!
-
in your food processor, mash together:
1/4 cup seared onion;
2 cloves browned garlic cloves;
1 T scallion greens;
2 T fresh parsley;
1 T fresh cilantro;
1/4 cup chick pea flour;
1 1/4 cup drained chick peas;
1 T lemon juice;
2 tsp olive oil;
cumin, ground coriander seed, GPOP, thyme, to taste...
and pink salt, black pepper.
coarsely chopped into a chunky paste, and formed up into little flattened nuggets,
and shallow fried in a sloppy glug or two of vegetable oil to get 'em crissssp on both sides.
damn.
that's expert af.
-
how many does this make? well, how many do you want? and how big?
i had a total of 16 chunky balls, y'all, and i loved each and every one.
that's the truth.
falafel and taco and tahini and all that vegetation.
what else do you even need?
love, probably.
i think that's probably a big help.
*
where is this baby?
she is NOT coming out.
we're coming in hot to a full moon,
and i can feel all my werewolfen warrior poetry preppin' in my blood,
and breezy has that howlin' hottness in her, too-
soooooo what the heck is going on with this little bitty ball of fire in her belly?
is she trying to be a good friday baby?
an easter bunny baby?
a last suppery bumper baby?
a passover blastover?
a rainshower splash?
man, we just don't know-
but we're coming into the full term, and we're coming to terms with the notion
that maybe she just lives in there forever....
it's like a dorm room for daughters, and mama is not havin' it-
so, i know she isn't reading this blog.
nobody is, really, but still:
BABY! WE'RE READY TO SEE YOU!
GETCHYO' A* OUTTA THERE,
AND COME SEE US!!!
ha.
that's not a joke.
*
nothin' is easy.
i know it, you know it,
and we don't need to explore it-
but these hard styles are very tiring and that daily dose of difficulty
really isn't making anybody feel more awake.
i can't imagine carrying a kicking little karate baby in me
while that all really happens.
my lightning-striking viking valkyrie vixen, with her flame-haired face
and her strong heart and powerful, intense emotions,
is doing just that.
so shoutouts to her for being more badass than i am;
and really, let's hope this teeny tiny baby girl is appreciative,
and maybe is sorta kind on her way from inside to outside.
the height of good manners is to know when to leave,
and the mark of true pro is to arrive right on cue;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 16

WORDS!

i swept three times yesterday a AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and all three times,
somebody came in and tracked some crumbly, gritty, wet, mudbutt shoe-scuzz
onto the dang floor.
we STILL will let you leave your shoes on,
because i don't want anything to do with those crusty nubbins,
or your grey-bottom socks.
no thanks.
the thing is-
after i swept, i started writing words.
in fact, i wrote 'em on some scrap paper,
then i wrote 'em again, and again, slowly but surely making something
that i actually like.
that's right.
i drew words. i wrote 'em too, but like they were drawings.
and i did it more than once.
i'm not used to that, neighbors.
but, it's necessary.
it's time to open up the merchandising side of AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i mean, i've certainly given it enough of a buffer, bruh
anyway,
i just wrote the same 15 letters, stacked up, to look cool and say somethin':

pretty cool, huh?
i like it.
and really, it's just 10 letters, with several repeats, but you get the idea.
what's the point?
i'm not sure yet,
but i know that we'll be seeing this again in other projects
and now that the base level handstyle is done-
now we've gotta make even MORE.
too much is the right amount.
so get ready, or not, but there's new art coming.
i even started some triceratops, too.
yeah.
and not for nothin', but wipe your feet;
never quiet, never soft.....

RAVIOLI!

YOOOOOOOO!!!!!
hahahaha.
you ever had ravioli?
man, c'mon-
i don't mean those weak store bought jauns.
i don't mean those bummery frozen one, or those canned crapblasters.
no.
i mean, have you ever made the dough, and rolled it, and filled it,
and crimped it, and boiled it, and covered it all in custom sexxxy sauce?
no?
damn, dudes, y'all are effin' UP.
homemade from-scratch raviolis are where it's at.
they're better than almost all the pasta formats out here in these streets.
that's no joke.
i made some. ...and they made my night.
f'real.
check the teleport:

YEAH!
homemade just tastes better, bruh.
i had that majestic sauce from my ziti festival,
that recipe is here.
and then i added another 'nother 1/2 tsp GPOP and a big ol' bunch of torn fresh basil
to the remainder of that sauce, and then i added 15oz of crushed tomatoes-
yeah, i eff around with those tuttarosso jauns-
and a little baby bit of warm water to help it out.
ha!
oooooooooh!!!!
you haven't had anything this good.
...unless you've had some with y'boi over here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
dudes-
dry fried baby bella mjushrooms-
a little salty, a lotta umami thickness,and zero slime.
that's how you do it.
blackened orange sweet baby tomatoes?
you had better frickin' believe it.
those exxxtra bits on top are how you turn up the full-flavored fresh-to-death dopeness.
don't get me wrong- these were amazing all on their own,
but the stuff that freaks it off is how you turn it up to eleven.
fresh basil? WU-TANG!!!
when you've got three things that aren't even the thing that's already the best thing?

c'mon.
hell yeah.
but, what's IN the ravs???
we got onion, caramelized.
we got crushed garlic, browned.
we got shredded baby spinach, wilted.
we got that daiya mozzarella, MINCED. ...don't F* that up.
plus pink salt and GPOP and nootch.
how much of each?
i have NO idea.
like,
who can even measure spinach?
it reduces to like a spoonful when you have a wheelbarrowful.
so, who knows?
uh-huh.
so, i mean, that's not helpful.
sorry.
-
and the dough?
mmm.
i went too hard on the semolina at first,
and had to hit it with some king arthur all-purpz to help it out.
i had 3 T olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 cup of semolina, and 1/4 cup regular flour.
i freaked it off with 2/3 cup warm water.
and i kneaded the holy heck out of it in a stand-upright mixer, for 11 minutes.
then i rested it for ten more, just 'cuz.
my favorite part?
rolling the dough thin, and cutting little circles out.
i'm serious-
filling and crimping and all of that is very soothing...
i moisten the edges to seal the two circles, top and bottom,
around that dollop of deliciousness, before i fork those edges up.
-
look, man.
sometimes when you make some expert food often enough to get into a groove,
it's difficult to list all the steps again and again.
here's what i DO know-
homemade does tastes like the TRUTH.
and truth-tellers can never, and should never stop.
***********
don't sell yourself short.
you can do it.
make some pasta from scratch.
you'll see.
it's a whole other 'nother level of hottness.
make something from scratch.
heck, just make something.
it's good for you;
never quiet, never soft.....

TAX TOAST!

i wrote that tax check.
yeah.
that's what happens when you own a business-
sometimes, you gotta write that check.
and i did.
what'd i do to make myself feel better?
i had some avocado toast.
yeah.
sourdough bread helps almost any expense go down smoother,
and smooth avocado helps the rest go easy, too.
mmmm.
check it:

THREE SLICES!
crusty golden goodness, freshly baked, tightly toasted,
and activated from wildly-fermented from-scratch woodsly goodsly culture.
really, avocado is pretty F*ing expert all on it's own.
and when you got it spread over that tasty toast, it's even better.
so if you hit it with an upgrade, and add all that exxxtra stuff?
it just turns the hottness way up, to eleven.
for real.
i got two-tone sesame seed sprankles,
and fresh cracked black pepper and pink salt.
i got sliced tomatoes, mini cukes, and thin radish, for that crawnchy-crawnch,
and a bit of spiciness.
that's great stuff.
of course, that couldn't be all there was to it-
too much is the right amount.
so there's also microgreens, and some lettuce and pea shoots hangin' out.
and then we got that sweet and savory boomfire, bruh.
uh-huh.
sunflower seeds, toasted in a drop of exxxtra-virg' olive oil,
with a spoonful of fresh-tapped real new hamsphire maple syrup,
with a few kernels of crackin' black pepper...
neighbors-
there's cilantro, too.
damn that's tight.
tax toast is the only way to feel better about relinquishing those muh-fuhh'n movie chexxx.

see?
that helps.
F* yes!!
i need MORE of all of that.
so i made MORE of all of that.
what's the secret?
that toast, probably.
good bread makes better people.
***********
i wrote a check or two.
and then i went back to work.
rules is rules,
and movie checks don't come for free.
...do more work.
that's the big idea.
you don't get rich working, but it dos feel pretty freaking good to do what you do best.
for me, there's a few things that i can get into that make me feel very positive-
working on art in any form,
working on food for any meal,
and making that sweet thang do what it do.
sorry to allude to that lovely lovin', but those're my top three.
they don't all always happen in the same day,
and sometimes, y'gotta account for that debit accounting, too.
however,
i know what's happening, and all of it means something.
it's important;
never quiet, never soft.....