Wednesday, April 18


i didn't even give a single sh!t about taco tuesday-
...until i did.
i mean it.
sometimes, being adamant about ritual and routine can be a real drag,
right up until the results are on the table....
and then?
then you realize that it's all expert all over again,
and that's pretty tight, man.
here's the thing of it:
rules is rules.
right? so, like, what else was i really gonna do?
just accept that the late day heroic sicilian square with well-done crust
that dylan and i shared was gonna be enough?
i ashamedly admit i considered it for two seconds-
but, i reconsidered immediately,
and rose to the failing light's sunset time limit.
tacos, in a hurry, for your face!
check the teleport:

and that's no joke.
i had my tortillas toasty, but not crunchy.
that's the ticket to hottness, neighbors.
warm softies are the best ones,
and it's a defect of character to prefer the hard ones.
that's a matter of historical record,
and i stand by the statement.
i had some rice all fluffed and ready in fifteen minutes,
and i blasted out a batch of smoky chili chickpeas like it was my destiny.

in a hot pan, with a tablespoon of olive oil, saute:
1 cup diced red, orange, yellow sweet bell pepper,
one bunch of scallion bottoms (the white part),
and 1 can of drained and rinsed chick peas-
1/2 tsp cumin;
1  1/2 tsp smoked paprika;
1/2 tsp paprika;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
2 tsp lime juice;
cayenne, black pepper, salt, to taste.
legit, that's it.
easy? yes. delicious? definitely. filling? heck yeah!
i had so many crawnchy veggies, there was no way these were gonna be lame.
i mean it.
cukes, carrots, radishes, pea shoots,
sweet onion sprankles, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeno rings.
plus, lime and AVO-F*ING-CADO, bro.
that's how you do high speed low drag tacos.
didi i need four of 'em for just me?
did i want four of 'em for just me?
also, no.
did i eat all four in a matter of minutes anyway?
too much is the right amount,
and that's what you need, even if you doubt it while it's happening.
taco tuesday may not have been my first choice,
but it was the right one,
so in that sense, i guess i'm glad i made it.
MORE tacos is not a bad move to make.
baking bread.
baking treats.
making food.
making moves.
the only thing missing is making love.
i mean, all the other things i'm up to have to have love involved,
but, they're more like labors thereof.
i'm talking about LOVE, man.
like, when you look like an A*-hole looking at some other A*-hole
who just happens to mirror the same moonie heart eyes back atcha.
LOVE, dudes.
y'know about it?
i hear it makes you go crazy, and keeps you from being lazy,
in a constant quest to be your best,
so that you're indispensably desirable, subjectively,
and as an objective to be reached and retained.....
i'm making a lot of things every day-
and i luv-luv-love most all of it-
i'm lucky, and i know it;
i'm grateful and i try my hardest to show it;
i don't take any of it for granted, and i sure don't want to blow it;
here's to making MORE LOVE in the coming days.
intimate, excellent, decadent, devoted, dedicated, determined love-making.
the kind with the heart eyes, like i said.
the kind where you do embarrassing things and don't even give a dang.
the kind that makes old people see it and hold hands, man.
failing that, i guess i could always make another cake.
i do love cake;
never quiet, never soft.....


shoutouts to new england weather, dudes!
a glare ice storm in the morning,
and warm spring mudpuddles by afternoon.
and also, dirty.
and also, so wet.
but, with the sun out before sunset,
i'm led to believe that my tropical inclinations are what did the trick-
i have coconut cake on deck,
and that HAD to be what summoned the ghosts of warm weather out of hiding.
that's probably a thing, i think.
i'm gonna go right on ahead and figure that that's what's up.
i mean,
that's thick, but soft, and light, but rich,
and so moist you'd almost think i was pretending,
but i'm not.
check the teleport:

i love cake, and i make at least one a week.
on the real, a single layer of cake is enough to brighten most days,
lift the majority of spirits,
and activate a little bit of joy for all the girls and boys.
that's no joke.
and i'm the bringer of cakes to the woodsly goodness, guys.
i am.
and the frosting?
of course.
no, not the brown blops, bro.
those are chocolate, of course.
a little cocoa freak'um to freak it off for your face is always a good idea.
and i'm full of good ideas.
yeah, man- those ARE toasted coconut sprankles on top.
rules is rules after all,
and a lot of cakes only hit that level-eleven mark
with a few crinkles, crunkles, or crankles spread over the top.
now, do you want a recipe?
it's pretty much just the same one as the others, but i'll list it out for you anyway-
preheat the oven to 350℉
in your wonderful stand mixer, whip up:
1 stick (8 T) softened vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp coconut extract;
3/4 cup sugar.
into that moosh, whisk in 2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt-
mix well, then add:
2 cups flour;
1 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 cup fine flake coconut;
1 cup carton-style drinking coconut milk-
whisk until super fluffy,
and spread into a 9" greased cake tin-
you know y'boi steadily employs springforms- this was no exception.
bake it for 33-43 minutes, depending on how good your oven is,
and how golden your cake gets.
mine definitely took longer, but it was perfect, so that's cool.
allow it to gradually decrease in warmth,
and do NOT frost it when it's still got heat radiating-
room temps are the way to go, yo.
4 T vegan butts;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar;
3 T fine-ground unsweetened flake coconut;
1/2 tsp coconut extract;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk.
holy crapola, that's how you make expert coconut frosting!
i had that double-dark chocolate left over in the fridge,
and a little manhandling had it warm enough to spread i did just that.
all that remained was to sprank it real nice with those toasty jauns.
y'gotta sexxx it up, kids.
nobody should have to eat an unsexxxy cake.
that's a thing.
we eat with all our senses, and mine are indulgent af.
no lie.
i need it to be nice, or i'm not interested.
i guess i'm privileged in that sense.
i'm ok with that.
today is the day.
it's a big deal.
we're gonna get a fat F*ing faceful of the mountain goats.
uh huh.
john darnielle is gonna blast us with weirdo angst,
and bathe us in highly lyrical guitar music for smart people.
i can't wait.
this is a big deal.
storytelling is often an indelicate art, despite the need for nuance,
and this evening,
the brutality of bitter truths and acoustic guitars are going to drench us in
subtlety and ham-fisted hammering,
and i'm willing to wager one of us, and i'm not saying who,
will be way out of her element...
i guess only time will tell,
but i'm going into the day with a chest full of hope,
and marginally low expectations.
so here's to ultra-liberal college towns and clever words;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 17


y'all may already know this,
or you may not-
i am sensitive.
no....not fragile; sensitive.
like, the slightest little baby bit of stimulant,
and i'm positively off-the-charts with frantic frenetic kinetic force,
and i'm essentially vibrating in my boots even when standing still.
which means coffee is usually a pretty bad choice.
for realsies.
even a couple sips of a fully caffeinated cuppa,
and i'm GONE.
i already have naturally elevated levels of energy,
a big ol' backup battery of salty assaulting battery is charged to the limits
inside my chest,
and the power surge provided by coffee can send me up and out and over the top.
i used to eff with it pretty seriously,
and as a result, i think it modified my already abrasive tendencies into uncountably
inaccessible unaccountable berserker battle-beastly wrecking ball-breaking,
and NObody was pleased.
i made a choice to really rein in the foolish folly of full-brewed indulgence,
and save the occasional decaf,
i abstain in order to remain aware and conscientious about my actions.
i'm talking about coffee like reformed pirates referred to rum
way back in the days of crown-sanctioned privateering.
that's some sh!t, huh?
well, it's a true story.
i allow for a little bit of leeway when it comes to baked goods containing the essence
of that magical roasted bean, bro.
i know, that's a loophole in the rules, but,
i mean, i doo-doo that freaky sh!t, and i do SO love a tasty coffee treat.
which brings us to the second coffee'd baked greatness in a week.
word up.
check the teleport:

damn, neighbors-
these jauns have got the magic deep within, and all throughout 'em.
and then,
they also have coffee icing!
too much is the right amount, what can i say?
what did i do to create such tasty bits?
oh, don't woryy-
i'll tell you, straightaway:
preheat the oven to 375℉
in a medium mixing bowl, cream together:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 stic (8T) vegan butter;
1 1/2 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp coffee extract;
3 T instant coffee ( i used decaf, because i'm not suicidal).
thoroughly combine, and add:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce-
next, stir in:
2 1/3 cups a.p. flour;
1 tsp bakey pow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips;
1-2 MORE tablespoons instantaneous coffee dust...
knead it, roll it into balls (two and a half dozen's worth),
arrange and semi-flatten them on a couple of cookie sheets,
and bake them up for 13 minutes.
seriously, that's it.
you're the official lord of cookieville, just like that.
i'm just sayin',
you can make this move and still have time to eff off with whatever and
however you want.
the icing is 1/2 cup powdered sugar;
1/2 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp coffee extract;
and coffee, 1-2 T roughly, depending on how thick you like your drizzles.
on the ones, you can look hella pro with minimal actions,
and be the coffee-flavored hero of the day.
you can even use real coffee,
or ground up espresso beans, even, to make 'em legit.
i went easy, like i said, and nobody was worse off for it.
shoutouts to this mid april ICE STORM.
a.k.a. super bum-bum bummer city.
what does that even mean?
have you never had an ice storm, kid?
it means we have appointment cancellations,
we have power outages,
we have treacherous road conditions.
all of that is currently the reality of woodsly goodness.
and in the midst,
there's still a whole lotta hillside that needs climbing with crabtree,
and a ton of scraping off on most outdoor surfaces,.
who knows?
it might warm up and rid us of this slick glare bullsh!t,
or it could get even colder,
and make what's already melted into something even worse.
i'm ready for whatever comes next,
and i'm braced for impact should it careen, carom, or slide out
from under my bearings, and become untenable and unbearable.
new england is kind of an A-hole, man.
if you can't hang out with adaptability, you don't get it anyway.
without the bitter, the sweet's not as sweet.
a study in contrast is more remarkable than perpetual nicey-nicey always-samesies;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, April 16


i don't draw every tattoo onto skin freehand,
but i do draw a LOT of them that way...
i mean,
how else will they fit jusssst right?
i'm sayin',
when it's time for a flower, or some feathers or a flippin' tree?
or a skull???
y'boi over here is ON it.
in the last week, we had some typically weird new england weather,
and some typically unreliable new england clients,
which atypically freed up a couple of spaces on the schedule-
very last minute, but very empty spots....
what's the answer?
well, it's to tattoo, of course!
it'd been a WHILE since my cohort and co-conspirator natron was tattooed by me.
years, in fact.
so, when a doo-doo butt dropped off the schedule, he slid in with the clean drawers,
and let me do a pretty clean drawing in the pizza slice triangle of his forearm.
the pizza slice, man.
that's a thing. ...because of the shape, obvi.
i did a thing:

that's a flower daruma.
and that's two of my most favoritest things.
i can't take a picture without a muffin in it to save my life,
but i hope you get the idea here-
and here's the preliminary on-skin beginning:

the very next day, i spent five brutal hours drawing and blasting the bendy-bone
on our shop guy, dylan.
he sits great, and he's a certified rose gold weirdie,
so he gets cool tattoos, too.
check this stacked demon-morph savagery, all over and above and below his kneecapper:

y'all have any idea what a tough time it was for both of us?
and the roughest part?
it's TWICE normal size already, with bloaty stretchin' all over all of it in the photo.
that's real.
really, you just blast away and hope it heals saturated,
since it's swollen as a whole from the get-go when it's happening...
and again, the drawing:

marking the skin in lime, berry, and blurple is how it's done.
at AMPERSAND TATTOO, i'm basically at home;
and homestyle custom jauns are what's on the menu,
even when sometimes all y'all bring in are your bummery pinterest ideas.
i mean,
if we have the chance to turn up the flavor on some beige-A* google image searches,
don't we owe it to you and ourselves to do that?
after all, it's all a choice.
and if the options are turn up or turn off,
you already know where my volume knob goes, bros.
not every tattoo is a joyous experience,
but i'm grateful for all of them.
no jokes.
each and every day is an opportunity to learn something.
and to maybe hone a little somethin' else.
and maybe even to improve upon the existing bits, so that maybe someday,
ALL the tattoos will be a la prima drawn-on custom fuego,
it has to start somewhere, just like anhy-and-everything else.
it's all really happening, i was just pumped to have back to back days
of bad clients not showing up turning into good opportunities for creation;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, April 15


mocha buns.
mocha buns.
i made them for you.
i did.
i kneaded and rolled and filled and rolled and baked a whole bunch of them.
just for you.
i dunno where you were, or what was going on, 
but i hooked up a whole cast iron pan's worth,
pretty much to feed a bunch of folks i don't even know...
i had some, though, and they were incredible, so i guess sharing is caring, neighbors-
which is to say: i care a LOT.
y'wanna see what i came up with?
you do?
check the teleport:
thickly packed with that dark dark dark chocolate/coffee, 
a.k.a. magnificent mocha no-joke jumble in the centers.
AND a coffee icing drizzle on top.
too much is the right amount,
and MORE coffee was the right call to make.
the were super delicious, and that's the truth.
here's all you've got to do to make your very own:
preheat the oven to 375℉ convection-style
in a small saucepot, warm up:
1 cup + 3 T non dairy milk;
2 tsp vanilla;
4 T melted vegan butter;
once warm, add 2 tsp bread machine yeast, and let it bloom, about ten minutes.
in your ever-lovin' standup mixer, combine:
1 cup bread flour;
2 cups a.p. flour;
1 tsp salt;
1/4 cup demerara sugar;
1 pkg fast-action yeast.
add the wet and dry and knead 'em up for ten minutes or so.
let that soft shiny doughball rise for fifteen minutes,
and roll it into a big, fat rectangle on a floured surface.
in a mixing bowl, moosh up:
3 T instant coffee;
3 T cocoa;
2/3 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp coffee extract.
spread that over MOST of the dough rectangle, 
leaving one long-edge strip exposed about 1".
roll it, tightly, from the opposite end, 
so that the unsugared lip can be moistened for maxxximum adhesion,
and wrap the resultant log in plastic,
and refrigerate it for ten-fifteen minutes.
next up?
cutting it!
line a 10' cast iron pan with parchment.
cut the unwrapped log in half, then those halves in half,
then those quarters into thirds.
twelve spirals read for arrangement.
let '
em rise for another 'nother twenty or so minutes,
and bake those bad babies for 20-30 bubbly crusty goldenizing minutes
in that hot oven.
they should be puffy, and crusty, and oozing black tar hottness up from their cores.
when they've been allowed to cool,
mix yourself up some coffee icing, thiqqq-style.
i had some coffee on hand, and a little powdered sugar, and a pinch of vanilla.
and like always, i stirred all of it until it looked like i wanted it to.
i didn't measure, but i will make this statement:
add less liquid than you think you'll need.
you can add more if you've gotta, but wet icing is the worst, bro.
real talk.
also really real is the idea that providing tailored kindnesses counts for something.
or, at least, it should.
i'm not sayin', but i'm just sayin'-
constant provision becomes expectation,
the same is true of disappointment.
i'm a maker, and that's come to be a tacit accepted fact.
the underappreciation and complete lack of reciprocation that correlates
to the quantity any unnamed recipients receive is, too.
damn, dudes.
i make, i do, i try, and i give.
i wish that was enough, but the feeling of giving is only better than receiving
the first hundred times...
that hundred and first is a real tough one to choke down.
that's dark.
but the truth sure does sound like the truth, doesn't it?
well, fine, 
you just might be right-
maybe being good isn't as memorable as being nice,
even if it's measurably more worthy beyond the face-value. 
i believe that.
and so i try to be good, 
as in- empirically- 
with honest, earnest, truthful effort in all the places and spaces that i occupy,
and i'm pretty hard on myself, in a move to improve myself,
and i'd like to think that i pursue a very steep upward trajectory....
i try hard, work hard, pay close attention, know stuff, learn stuff, and make stuff.
every single day, i genuinely focus on a Positive Metal Attitude.
that doesn't mean i'm happy all the time.
jeez, i doubt that's even possible-
and if i met somebody who was like that, i'd be very suspicious.
i think we'd have to employ an Oblivious Mental Attitude to always be happy.
i'm just a man, doing the best i can.
being positive and being happy aren't the same thing.
in fact, it's been my personal experience that happiness is a very slow-moving state,
whereas positivity maintains that progress is a procedural, methodical process- 
i.e. happiness is like: i'm good. this is good. things are good.
positivity is like: this isn't that bad, and i bet we can make it better.
i'll be ok, even if i'm not right now.
what's broken can be fixed or replaced...
all that's great, but P.M.A. is sort of invisible,
while being nice is sometimes the ONLY thing you've got showing.
of course,
being nice has nothing to do with either happiness or positivity.
i'm sayin',
being nice is great, for sure-
but if you're no good, 
and/or you're prone to negativity at the deeper-than-superficial level
then platitudes and cloying catch-all clauses are kind of empty, 
or sorta dishonest-
now i know that niceties don't cost anything,
and i am absolutely not espousing point-blank rudeness, terseness, or hurtful hate
being hurled simply for the sake of itself-
i'm just saying that while i believe in gratitude and generosity, 
as well as kindness, compassion, and helpfulness,
i do NOT think that pretending to go along with the actions and ideas that 
act against the core of that P.M.A.'s rational best-self-interest is a good idea... 
nor is that an honest one, or a productive move to make.
get it?
saying yes when you mean no is a lie, man.
and that's a fact, even if it isn't nice.
there's a big world inside this small boring town,
but only if you have the mindset to see it.
maybe a solid night's sleep will help?
damned if i know, and damned if i'm likely to find out;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, April 14


busy busy.
busy business and big action,
all activated in a buzz and blur of movement,
as time slips past too fast to be counted or accounted for-
that's what's up.
holy smokes-
i've been deep into tattooing all week,
and deep into deep dish pizza, too.
i'm sayin', between the sicilian next door to AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and the sicilian exxxplosion happening at home,
it's been a pizza avalanche all the frickin' time-
at least, in between all day back-breakin' and hand-crampin' tattzapps.
real talk.
the week went by so fast, i can't recall most of it.
i do remember the pizzas, though.
that's no joke.
they're ALL expert.
i mean it.
just go ahead and check out this homemade hottness, via teleport:
spicy, sweet, and smoky seitan strips??!
yeah, buddy.
just when you thought that the brussels and onions couldn't get any better-
here we are with braised and seared juicy wheaten-meaten jauns for your face!
that's a cup of stripped seitan, from scratch (the recipe is on here, just look a lil harder)
in a half a cup of broth, with a tablespoon of tamari, three shakes of liquid smoke,
a tablespoon of agave, hot paprika, smoked paprika, ground mustard seed, and GPOP-
bubbled on low-low until it's all absorbed, 
then turned UP and activated with a glug of olive oil.
holy smokes.
if you haven't had this much boomfire fuego flavor in your mouth yet-
you'd better hold onto your head, because it might pop right off in ecstasy.
here are a few truths about pizza at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress:
the oven is always at 480℉ on convection.
there are two stacked pizza stones in there, too.
there are always fried garlic sprankles.
believe it.
too much is the right amount, friends.
that's why there's caramelized onions AND crispy thin-sliced potato discs
AND tamari-glazed fried brussies AND tomatoes
on top of crushed tomato sauce and minced daiya chee'.
rules is rules,
and unless you prefer blarpity sub-par chee' situations, mince your sh!t first.
it just plain works better.
and better is better, bro,
good crust relies on good dough,
and this new-new has treated me right for a whole week already.
i keep making it,
and it keeps making me happier and happier.
i trust in pizza, kids-
pizza keeps up it's end of the bargain.
that dough recipe is right here.
so fresh and so clean.
time keeps on tickin' past s'fast.
i keep on trying to keep up-
but i've got more work to do than hours in the day to do it-
and while most of my workload is self-imposed,
what else would i do?
i mean it-
the iron is HOT and it's time to strike.
turning away work, turning down treats, NOT eating pizza-
those are the sorts of things that dumb-dumbs do,
and we aren't with THAT? are we?
i don't think so....
so, it's full days and nights and weekends,
and it's all really happening,
and it's got to stay at eleven 
because less than that is an ever bigger time-consuming mess.
MORE tattoos,
MORE food,
MORE jokes and conversations,
MORE of  all of it, and who knows?
eventually my voice may even be able to pip above a squeak again.
i'm ready for all of it,
because that's all there ever is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 13


i've been tattooing pretty hard these days.
no, i'm not complaining.
not one little bit.
busy is good.
productivity and purpose are two of my most prized attributes.
and so, i've been ON it.
hard styles and fresh zips and long days are what's up-
when i'm finally not at work?
it's immediately time to make something super delicious happen
at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
real talk.
therefore, on thai thursday,
the name of the day has already determined dinner's subject matter,
and all we have to do is fill in the blanks in the storyline.
check out what we came up with:

i still had those FAT triangle noods, so i boiled up a batch exxxxtra-fast.
kayla was in charge of the tofu,
and she made sure it was shallow-pan-fried in coconut oil to prefection.
so crisp and so clean-
i tried a new technique,
and browned up some brussels and cabbage in coconut oil,
and it was so toasty, and so creamy, and so expert.
we all kept a constant stream of commentary about 'em.
so, there's crsipy tofu, and there's browned brussies and charred cabbage-
but what else was going on?
...there's a powerful SAUCE of course.
2 T sriracha;
3 T rice vinegar;
2 T tamari;
2 T chili garlic paste;
2 T mae ploy;
1 T lime juice;
2 T agave;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
1/2 tsp ground mustard powder;
1/2 tsp coriander seed powder;
sriracha flakes, hot paprika, cayenne; black pepper.
it's got alllllll the power, for sure.
but that's not it, either-
there's ALSO the stir-fry:
1/2 head cauliflower;
3 shishito peppers;
1 orange carrot;
1/2 red onion;
1/2 cup mini super-sweet tiny baby red peppers;
1 tsp minced skin-on organic fresh ginger;
1 clove crushed garlic;
that got 50% of the powersauce, and a few tablespoons of water,
and a lid, after sauteeing for a bit.
to soften everything jusssssst this side of raw.
how many minutes?
a few, bro. what do i look like? a stopwatch. you'll know when they look good.
add the brussies and cabbage back to it, and stir it all around.....
i pan fried those fat soft noods, post boil (which only takes like 4 minutes or something)
in the other other 50% of the powersauce,
and a tablespoon of sesame oil,
in the pan that still had the ghosts of crispy tofu coconut in it's aether.
that was a good idea.
i even added a couple tablespoons of water to 'em, to keep 'em supple while they sizzled.
i'm like that.
and the exxxtras?
c'mon, kid-
THAT'S where the main tenet of Folk Life shark-gluttony came into play.
too much IS the right amount-
and for those about to (albie) rock, we have:
purple carrot.
purple cabbage.
and, because rules is rules, a whole F*ing buttload of sprankles.
cilantro, mint, basil, and green onion.
all that cool hottness, plus all that hot coolness,
plus all those fat noodies,
and that powerbottom fire all over everything.
there's no time for faking the fuego, yo.
we'd only be cheating ourselves, and that's just not done around here.
it's friday the 13th.
the big jinx.
the unluckiest one.
well, that's lovely.
and as much as i'm super at superstition,
i'd like to go on record as saying that i'm ready for this one.
i am.
my fingers and my heart and my tees, and maybe even my eyes are crossed,
or dotted?
or dashing, or morse coded in blips and bleeps,
for a magical mystery of a day.
all day.
because numbers aren't important unless it's 11.
tattoos are on the schedule.
pizza is on the lunchboard.
real life is ready to unfold.
this is it.
and even on a day dedicated to misfortune,
i'm grateful for what's going on.
the worst of my worst is still better than the best of the rest,
and there's a whole helluva lot to be said for that-
like: thanks, secret universal plan!! i appreciate it!!
gratitude and generosity and professional appreciation and active participation-
these are the things that make today, and every day, the best day;
never quiet, never soft.....


i am forever questing after the perfect scone.
that's no joke.
and every time i make a batch,
i'm trying to do it just a bit differently,
with the memory of past scones as fresh in my mind as can be,
so that this batch will be even closer to the scone zenith than the last.
that's an awful lot of remembering, neighbors,
and a whole helluva lot of tinkering;
but, i mean, then again-
too much is the right amount.
and MORE involved processes should only improve my aged brain,
and my young scones, right?
heck yes!
so, here we are- in the SCONE ZONE.
check the blue-blurry-type teleport:

s'crusty, s'crispy, s'good!!
i did it differently, but it so happens i also did it correctly,
and these jauns have spirit, man.
look at how craggy and crusty they are!
...and the insides are soft.
that's expert.
it was a freeform sort of morning, and it worked out better than i'd hoped it would.
here's how it went down, dudes:
preheat the oven to 420℉
in a medium mixing bowl, add all together:
2 cups flour;
1/4 cup tapioca;
1/2 cup weird reduced fat coconut flakes;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp bakey pow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
5 T vegan butter;
4 T vegan creamchee-
cut all that up into itty-bits, so the fats are indistinguishable,
and then stir in:
3 T vegan sour cream;
2/3 cup non-dairy milk;
2/3 cup wild mini maine bloobs;
1 1/2 tsp vanilla-
have you ever sconed before?
man, relax-
it's easy.
y'just press, and fold, and turn the dough.
to clarify, that's a smoosh, a bendover, and a 90° rotation,
repeated over and over and over,
until the dough is totally unified and firm.
once i had that ready,
i made a 1" high rectangle,
divided it in half once lengthwise,
and cut eight side-triangles out of each long strip.
that's sweet sixteen right-angled spearheads,
pressed down just a bit (they rise up and will fall over if they aren't lowered to begin with)
and arranged in evenly-spaced rows-
they get baked for twenty minutes,
and they come out piping hot and ready to GO.
that's the sexxxiness for breakfast, buddy.
they didn't even need icing or sugar on top or anything-
straight-up powerbombs prepared tyo prepare you for a big day, any day, all day, always.
my voice is a raspy tom waits with emphysema sounding growl,
but it's audible at least.
i'll take it for now,
but as soon as it's all-the-way-back,
you'd best believe there's gonna be the loudest loudness that ever louded
being lauded and launched like a loudspeaker of pumped-up volume
all the way to eleven, so hard and so much that we'll all be surprised
if i don't lose my voice all over again.
will it be worth it?
don't be dumb, friends-
i'm sayin',
is there ever really any such thing as enough?
not in warrior poetry, with or without perpetual motion.
that's the truth.
i'm talking, and coughing, and raspiily rasping, and gasping for air in between-
it's ALL  really happening, and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 12


whatever, man.
a lot of my problems can be solved with cookies.
that's real.
i mean,
on the ones,
it's very hard to stay mad, sad, tired, or hungry
if you're munching up on the right combination of ingredients.
i know you know, because we relate to each other, right?
so, we're on the same page already when it comes to mood-improvement
through the use of baked goods....
it's necessary, neighbors.
and i do what's necessary because i'm that kind of adult.
cookies make you more grown up?
man, they might.
these molto-mature-tasting jauns certainly had me ready to tackle
voiceless, mirthless, uncomfortably sinusy suckery,
and the very first bite had me feeling sucker-free for hours!!!
check the teleport:

boom. BOOM. BOOM!
that's a one-two-three knockout, broski.
well, the rhino is NOT there because of extinction awareness-
it's there because of the rhinovirus trying to dissolve my throat, exxxplode my ears,
and forever muffle my larynx...
but, like, yeah, don't kill real rhinos though, you A*-holes, OBVI.
ok. so i mad cookies for the bazillionth time.
anybody surprised?
look, buddy- i'll stop making them when they stop cheering me up.
these ones have all-new chocolate chips (they're good)
and weird low-fat flaked unsweetened coconut (it's weird, but it tastes the same)
and all the slow rolled oats, too.
y'wanna know how to maybe make a batch from-scratch at your house?
well, wanna or not, here's what you'd do if you did:
preheat the oven to 375℉
in a medium mixing bowl, cream together:
1 cup dark brown sugar;
8T (1 stick) earth balance vegan butts;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
add 1/2 cup unsweetned applesauce and stir well-
next, toss in:
1 1/4 cups rolled oats;
1 cup a.p. flour;
1 cup weird coconut (health food spots usually have this stuff, if not, use the regular jauns)
1 tsp bakey pow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 T maple syrup;
1/2 cup mini dark dairy-free chocolate chips.
smoosh it all together, separate it into small balls, and pre-flatten 'em just a bit-
space 'em evenly on a couple of cookie sheets, and bake the whole batch for 13 minutes.
just like that, you've got a couple dozen expert vegan joy bombs for your face.
today is another one of those days, dudes.
y'know- the ones where i go to work.
...just like every day.
i have a whole lot of stuff going on-
and after yesterday, when i tattooed my dude nate,
as a show of appreciation for all he does for AMPERSAND TATTOO,
i'm flushed with feelings of creativity-
so let's hope our other other buddy, dylan, is ready to get what's coming.
only time will tell,
and who knows, maybe i'll even post pictures of what we all get into-
it could happen, if what unfolds next is any good;
never (actually still) quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 11


taco tuesday is a good time.
taco tuesday all alone is a little bit less of a good time,
but, i mean,
there's tacos, and salsa, and quick mixed pickles,
so it's not like it's a bad time....
anyway, taco tuesday, man.
for me, and me alone, yet, it's still a multiple pan, multi-layered affair-
what did you think i was gonna do?
chump out and be a pouty little diaperbaby
just because i still can't talk above a whisper,
and it's still freezing outside,
and i was still home all alone?
c'mon, bro.
you should know better by now-
no matter what:
too much is the right amount.
word up.
i did what i DO, dudes-
check the teleport:

solamente soft flour, kids.
i know what i like, and it sure-as-sh!t ain't crunchy corn crap crumblers.
rules is rules-
and that applies to the quick pickles, the salsa,
AND the tortillas.
i rep fancy tacos, almost as hard as i rep Folk Life & Liberty;
and the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is a hotbed for both...obvi.
i had half a block of tempeh, cubed up, and hydrated in half a cup of broth,
with smoked paprika, hot paprika, cayenne, cumin, coriander,
soy sauce, black pepper, and agave-
that's how you get sweet and spicy glazed hottness.
for realsies, if you simmer all that until the liquid is absorbed,
and add a glug of olive oil, it's caramelized on the surface and soft in the center.
i also activated the cauliflower with a whole mess of rainbow peppers-
red, orange, yellow, green, and hot peppers, and scallion bottoms,
sizzled and steamed in ho'sauce, oil, and a splash of water,
plus oregano, cilantro, and black pepper.
like, five minutes unlidded in a pan, and five minutes covered-
that's it.
i wish i was more involved in the big action last night-
but i had crabtree running around, and my throat was throbbing,
but i was determined to get the good light before it got dark...
oh, my big, bright, bright, bright lightbulb burnt out.
so, i gotta get dinner done before dark, or my documentation will be
badly-lit and blurry until the next one gets delivered.
-lightbulb problems-
that's the big woe of the next few days, guys.
taco tuesday is great.
dressing up your little toasted circles with color and texture and flavor is a good thing.
nobody wants UNfancy tacos.
unless they're simpletons or suckers.
and that's not us, is it?
no way, neighbors.
we're involved and invested even in the most distracted moments.
that's because everything we do deserves to be expert.
i had all the ingredients in place,
i had limited time,
i had no ability to sing along or speak my mind,
so i did all of it in silence,
with a few literal bells and whistles to distract the dog.
my voice has a little bit of a croak, a little louder than a whisper,
and that's encouraging.
who knows?
maybe all the loud, fresh, hardness will return by tonight.
in other news, at the earliest of hours,
right at the cusp of late night's crossover into tomorrow,
kayla surprised me from a deep and fitful slumber-
standing over me like a murderer while i leapt to a defensive position.
of course, i couldn't even shout in alarm,
so she laughed while my heart exxxploded inside my ribcage.
pretty sweet.
so, i'm back on track, and we're back together, and it's all really happening,
and all of that is just what i need;
(almost) never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 10


what's the best way to move forward without too much sorrow,
sadness, depression, and despair,
once sandwich week has finally officially ended?
there is only ever one answer,
and it always the right one:
F* yes.
nothing overcomes bummers like a slice of hot, fresh, and tasty pizza.
...and THIS one right here?!
glorious. heavenly. expert. TILTY af.
check the teleport:

c'mon, man.
this is IT.
a full grandma pan of the deepest dopest doughski-mo on the block.
and it's got ALL the flavor.
it starts with the crust-
and it spreads throughout every fiber of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
real talk.
this kind of healing magic is like druids and shamans and wizards and sh!t.
i feel better, kinda.
(i have laryngitis, and it is a literal waking nightmare, because normally i talk a LOT)
so, the dough, though-
turn your oven ON (with a striptease, perhaps) preheating it to 485℉
in your stand-up mixer, with a dough hook doing it's duty, mix:
1 1/3 cups bread four (high protein, high rise);
1 cup a.p. flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
1 pkg fast actin' yeast;
3+ T softened vegan butter;
let that mix up a bit,
and add:
1+ cup warm water, bloomed with 2 tsp bread machine yeast and 1 tsp agave,
sat for 11 minutes for maxxximum activation-
knead it all on that hook, on lowish medium speed, for ten more minutes,
until it's a shiny, cohesive, sexxxy ball of beauty, and let it rise while the oven keeps heating.
after twenty or so minutes, you can stretch it out in an oiled grandma pan, man.
that's the stuff.
it's cool, it can keep rising until you and your oven are ready.
now while my oven was preheating, i roasted the heck out of
some baby-sized red potatoes- quartered and olive oiled-
until they were well-browned and crisp.
potatoes on pizza is what smart people do, dudes.
try it, you'll feel smarter i promise.
i caramelized half a large sweet onion, too.
i don't eff with pizza sans onions.
i just don't.
so, the order of ops was like this:
crushed tomatoes, ripped baby kale, carmies, minced daiya mozzarella.
that's the base, and it's DOPE.
next, halved grape tomatoes and roasty toasty potatoes, evenly spaced.
and after that?
well, after THAT the new hottness took form.
word up.
3 bias-cut homemade red lentil seitan sausages,
simmered in smoked paprika, hot paprika, black pepper, half a cup of water,.
and a few glugs of olive oil had the whole house poppin' with power, people.
that's for realsies.
the exxxtra liquid had 'em juicy, the exxxtra spice had 'em spicy and smoky,
and the fact that they're from-scratch had me and my buddy dylan,
a fellow pizza enthusiast,
freakin' out over all the flavor exxxplosions we were being bombarded with.
on the ones,
these jauns were extraordinary.
and that wasn't even IT, neighbors.
after all, rules is rules-
and you KNOW i gotta have fried garlic sprankles on there.
that's my signature move.
this big bad mama baked up with a FAT crust, and thicccness in every direction,
it was fluffy like italian bread, but still firm enough to withstand the sag test.
y'feel me?
heck yes.
we freaked it off with a lil bit of italian snobbery, and tossed some arugula on there.
too much is the right amount, and MORE stuff means better pizza.
true story.
pizza is my favorite,
and it pulled me up from my sandwich withdrawals quick, fast, and in a hurry.
what's better than pizza?
i'll wait.....
and that's coming from someone who effs with pizza on the regular.
no voice?
no bueno.
fever? pretty neat.
a little change of season spring head cold never hurt anybody, did it?
i'll be thrilled to breath these germs into the confines of AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and share them with any and all of y'all who feel like sniffling for a bit.
me without the ability to converse is like gluten-free pizza-
it still counts, but barely, and it kind of F*ing sucks.
this is my day, kids,
and i'm SO sure that traipsing along in the still freezing temperatures of the morning
will do wonders to heal me, too.
crabtree doesn't listen anyway,
but try to get a stubborn shark-bullet to give a single sh!t
when all you've got are sharp whistles and waving arms.
it's all really happening.
i guess i should maybe think about all the worth-a-sh!t things i wish i was saying
and maybe use more of those, instead of filling in all the quiet spaces in the studio
with an everlasting sonic syllable assault.
i s'pose we'll see once the ol' voicebox is back in action;
never quiet, (except today) never soft.....