Friday, February 15

XOXOXO

valentine's!!!

yeah!!
y'gotta make 'em all fancy.
that's a thing.
i told you the recipe yesterday.
make MORE,
and make 'em exxxtra pretty.
i was up and at 'em early, using my consternation, frustration, and exasperation
to conjure up a superheart-attackin' sensation to still the raging stormswept
savage white-water rapids of my beating heart.
heart cookies to make heart magic?
i do that.
-
flowers? ✔
...and not just any flowers- a 24 blaster, boi.
that's 2 dozen red rose hitters, neighbors.
that's pro-work.
one rose? t.w.p.p.d.
one dozen? bush-league amateur hour.
three dozen? that's a don't divorce me hail mary long shot, bro.
but two dozen is that 24 hitter.
it's the sweet spot.
chocolates? ✔
and not just the dark darkness, with and without fruits and whatnots-
but that special order heart-shaped box magic, kids.
speedy delivery and all that, with the assortment inside.
that's word.
candles? ✔
allll of 'em, all sultry and sexxxy and super-aromatic-
for that romantic ambience tha'll activate your olfactory reserves of good feels.
candy? ✔
not just chocolates, dudes.
y'gotta come through with the sweeties, for your sweetie.
that's how it's done.
somethin' nice? ✔
i added a few gluten-free sundries to the mix, to keep up with that attentive nurture-type jauns
that i'd like to perpetuate for the future an' that.
cards? ✔
F* yeah.
three cards.
that's a magic number, friends.
a fun and funny one.
a cute one, handmade like how you do when you're sweet and stuff.
...and a really real one, with the right words from your heart to theirs.
rules is rules,
and a one card valentine is bullsh!t.
too much is the right amount, and if you aren't going hard,
you should probably just be going away.
-
there was lace and doilies and things for the kids, too.
and restaurant pizza, and movies, and stories and tuck-ins and all the things
that unfold unexpectedly from a pop-over.
***********
i'm sentimental.
it's a weakness and it's a strength.
i also LOVE holidays, and that gets me all worked up.
i was wearing red from head to toe, like how you're supposed to,
and i was out here with stuffed animals and x's and o's and all that lovey-dovey stuff.
it's all really happening-
the happenstance avalanche of spirit and memory,
and we're all a part of it.
valentine's day is expert.
and we kept it that way;
never quiet, never soft.....

LOVE ATTACK!!

rules is rules,
and on valentine's day,
i always make a heart monster.
yup.
it's kind of a tradition- the creation of another 'nother skull-morphin'
vascular pumplestilstkin, with that look in it's eyes.
mmmhmmmm.
i have the same small bottles of pain,
and the same tired-A* brushes,
and a new piece of recyclable cardboard,
and that's when it get to work.
later and later each year, by the way.
that's possibly a good thing, though, right?
i'm sayin',
that means i'm busier and busier and there's less and less time
to sit down and draw and paint and think about weird teeth and wonky eyeballs.
i'm encouraged.
ANYway, here it is:

valentine's hearts are good for you.
and this guy is talking about love.
if you ain't lovin', you'd better start.
and if you're hatin'? cut it out.
here's different picture, with slightly different exposure.
i just can't seem to photograph anything worth a sh!t anymore.
eh.

but, that's a wet tongue, huh?
yep.
the better for big, fat, juicy lickery kisses, bruh.
the kisses better be the way i like my toast, y'heard?
...french.
yeah.
so,
there you have it.
the thing that happens in mid-february.
heart art.
one more in the books;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, February 14

HEARTS!

it's valentine's day.
that means treats.
cookies are great, and great cookies are even greater.
i make some pretty frickin' alright treats, and i'm looking to share.
that's what valentine's is about, right?
i mean, when you're little anyway, y'know?
everybody gets a little somethin'.
rules is rules.
i made a LOT of cookies for the big day.
here's the first batch:

HEARTS ON HEARTS AND HEARTS!
sugar cookies, bro.
that's what you want.
that's what i got.
and they're crisp-edged and soft-centered and powdery sugared sprankles.
plus, those little dollopy blops of icy sugary pink dots!
s'kyooooooot!
-
i love the notion of love,
i love the idea of romance,
and i am the biggest fan of the heart shape.
we all know what it means, and we all use it to express a whole range of positivity.
man, i'm with that.
you want a recipe?
i got a recipe.
here it is:
-
*
HEARTS!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, combine:
12 T of vegan butter;
1 cup sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp salt.
add in:
2 fat cups of flour;
1 tsp baking soda...
stir it all up, and start kneading-
add 4+ T non-dairy milk, and 1 T agave,
and make sure it's all doughy and soft and pliable-
wrap it up in plastic, and keep it in the fridge for half an hour-
roll it out, cut some shapes, and arrange 'em on a tray or two.
y'gotta freeze 'em for eight-ten minutes,
so they stay nice when you bake 'em for eight-ten minutes-
yeah.
they're good, guys.
-
and you can decorate 'em however you want, of course-
i went for uniformity and relative simplicity, and i'm a fan.

however,
i have a second round ready, and THOSE go to eleven.
but, you'll have to wait for tomorrow to see that.
in the meantime,
get some hearts,
give some hugs,
get a few kisses,
call your exes,
maybe have an O first to clear you head first, to prevent dialing,
and generally be nice.
*
it's romantic today.
or, it's not.
or, it might be.
i dunno.
i DO know that i've got chocolates and cards and flowers and all of that.
i said it already: rules is rules.
i do the things, even when they don't do a thing.
i wouldn't know what else to do anyway;
never quiet, never soft.....

ARTS.

i tried to take the new hottness,
and add it to the old approach to bobotronic art making.
i think it turned out okay:

COLLAGE PAINTING!
i doo-doo that.
yep.
5" x 5".
not huge, but big enough.
i also framed up this dragonman:

he's tiny.
and that's cool.
little lines are what i'm into.
i'm doing as much as i can fit into my workdays at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i can't stand doing anything else.
there's art in me-
i don't know if it's a backlog of words that need to come out,
or if it's just a bunch of small pictures,
but i know it's IN there, and i've gotta let it out.
it's happening, slowly, but surely,
and it helps a lot, so i'm glad for it;
never quiet, never soft.....

AMORÉ

homemade sauce is the star of the show.
always.
if you got a powerful sauce, everything else falls in place.
jar sauce is not invited, and that's a fact, because homemade tastes better,
and really,
if you make enough, you'll have sauce for days,
and for more meals, and it'll only get better and better.
check the teleport:

LINGUINE!
my pasta was al dente, because that's the right way to have it.
the wheatless meatless balls were perfect,
because i'm devoted to making gluten-free vegan alternatives to those dead bodies
some folks think are not horrifying to eat.
i make the nicey-nice stuff, because i care, man.
that's no joke.
and with fresh basil and arugula?
neighbors, c'mon.
that's love.
-
the meatless wheatless ball recipe is HERE.
-
the sauce however was created as follows:
in a 2 quart saucepot, with a tablespoon of olive oil, fry up:
2 cups baby grape tomatoes, allowed to blacken and burst;
next, toss in:
1/2 sweet onion, minced;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1 T nootch;
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
oregano, basil, sage, black pepper, pink salt.
soften the onion and gently brown the garlic,
and toss in 2 T tomato paste.
stir all that up, and cook the paste for a minute,
then deglaze the pan with 1 T tamari, and 1 T red wine vinegar.
add 1 cup pureed chunky fire roasted tomatoes,
and 1 T fire roasted tomato flakes.
stir it up,
and add 1.2 cup warm water-
simmer that pot of hottness for as long as you can, with a wooden spoon still IN it.
it'll bubble, it'll thicken,
it'll darken,
and it'll be molto molto expert.
that's true.
-
it's NOT the fanciest meal, but it's among the most satisfying, for sure.
i needed the comfort, and the heartiness of a massive plate of home cookin'.
and when i say home, i mean new haven,
and all that magical nostalgia that a hot pot of sauce conjures came with it.
-
arugula is fantastic. fresh, bright, and bitter.
...just like me.
ha!
and whenever i can add fresh basil to boost up the profile of my dinner?
i'm gonna.
it's too good not to,
and besides,
MORE sprankles is never a bad idea.
*
i'm not sure that i can catch up.
i am running behind on everything,
and i'm feeling the push and the press and stress of time ticking away.
i'm not wasting time,
but damn, dudes, i'm feeling wasted.
like, worn out and worn thin and worn down.....
yeah.
i need a day, or two, to regroup, but who the heck knows when that's gonna happen...
meanwhile,
today is the day,
the first and the last and the worst,
and the romantic day of st. valentine's, too.
...which also had it's own massacre, if my recollection serves.
that's feels about right;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, February 13

SPOTS!

the pizza slice.
yeah.
the triangular space between the top of your forearm and the inner forearm.
it's a weird place to fit tattoos when there aren't tattoos on the big panels already.
i mostly-freehanded a little 4" seahorse, yesterday,
and did all of it with a thin little needle.
yikes.
it's cool tho, huh?

i thought so.
what else?
how about the ditch!
ugh.
good luck getting a good picture without swelling.
the front of your elbow is a thin-skinned and delicate spot,
and tattoos there look great when they are healed.
but, in between getting it done and being healed,
it's usually all bumpy and red and rashy.
yeah.

see?
ouch.
the all-seeing eye, aye.
fun tattoos are what i'm into whenever possible.
that's the plan, man.
making tattooing fun again in 2019.
if you have good ideas, i want to tattoo 'em.
to be fair, i have bills to pay, so if you have regular, or semi-lame ideas,
and a pile of movie checks to spend, i want to tattoo those, too.
that's no joke.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is where ir happens,
and we hope to see y'all soon;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, February 12

FRENCH STYLE!

oatmeal sourdough from scratch.
that's already a F*ing triumph.
naturally-leavened fermented homemade baked burliness,
live and direct for the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
mmhmm.
good bread makes better people.
that's a fact.
also,
it makes waaaaayyyyyy better french toast.
that's right.
radical vegan french-style toast for breakfast means radical vegan hottness
is coursing through my veins all damned day.
and that's expert af.
f'real.
check the teleport:

MAPLE VANILLA STRAWBERRIES??!
wooooooooooord!
guys,
there's glug upon glug of real new hampshire maple syrup in EVERYthing.
mmhmm.
it's gotta be the real stuff- rules is rules.
and i put it EVERYwhere,
because too much is the right amount.
that's the truth.
three fat slices of thick oaty burliness,
soaked in the eggless exxxcellence of a custom cinnamon-nutmeg-maple syrupy sauce,
and sizzled up in coconut oil  for a few minutes on each side,
topped with a pat of vegan butter,
those strawbs,
powdered sugar sprankles,
AND cinnamon spranks just to turn it up a little louder.
if your french-style toast doesn't feel like a french-style kiss that goes to eleven,
i don't know what the eff you're even bothering for.
like, c'mon,
if you aren't gonna do it right, just have cereal you big baby.
*
i had one cup of sliced frozen strawberries,
a tablespoon of maple syrup,
a teaspoon of vanilla, warming up in a small pot.
that's that sexxxy sauce.
*
and the batter?
man, THAT'S the big action.
how's something like that happen?
like this:

SO MUCH HOTTNESS ON ONE PLATE!
and now, here's the way to do it at your house-
-

FRENCHY B!
-
in a shallow pan, whisk together:
1/2 cup almond/coconut-blend milk;
2 T maple syrup;
3 T chick pea flour;
1 T nootch;
1 T ground chia/flaxmeal;
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste...
^^ guys, it's super delicioso.
i soaked my slices in it until they were thoroughly saturated, and most of the s'milk
was absorbed.
i also used a HOT pan, with a full tablespoon of sizzlin' coconut oil,
and gave those slabs a few minutes on each side to get good and golden brown.
and the i plated 'em up with all that good stuff.
i even syruped the bottom of the plate,
to make sure the bottom slice got as much sweetness as the top one.
i've got a system for eatin' breakfast, neighbors.
***********
it's so bright out,
but it's no degrees outside.
the light is a trick, and the absence of heat is a rude truth.
the storm is coming, and it's ready to bury us alive, again.
i'm ready.
to shovel.
to hibernate.
to freeze.
whatever is headed our way, there's nothing for it but to endure it.
that is the only path in front of us, right?
nature wins, and she doesn't care about kindness or convenience.
cold and bright,
dark and stormy,
long nights, hard styles, tough times-
that's what's happening.
all of it, and somewhere underneath the surface
there's a bigger picture waiting to be pieced together;
never quiet, never soft.....

CRUMBLER!

gluten-free crOmbles?
F* yeah.
wheat is NOT invited to my morningtime bakery business,
when i think that the sweet lady in my life might miss out.
y'know?
i've got a celiac maniac in my life,
and i don't want to do my thing in ways she can't be included in.
awww.
it's true.
i have a compulsion to make my meals with effort and intention.
but there's no reason i have to include wheat in every single thing,
especially if that means that breezy can't try it.
i want to share the things i do.
that's real.
so, i made a thing.
and i know it's good because i've made it before.
yep.
an encore performance of a perfect grandma-style coffee cake.
check it out:

who needs gluten when you can have almost everything expert without it?
word up.
y'want the recipe?
i have it, and i'm happy to share it.
the link is right here!
boom.
that's the works.
and it works.
...so get to work.
***********
we got snow coming.
it's winter in new england, and that's what happens up here.
the woodsly goodness is prepped and eager to experience another 'nother foot of snowfall.
some people hate it, but they still stay here.
that's dumb.
some people love it, and flock here from less wintry places to do more wintry things.
that's cool, i guess?
i don't have to do that stuff, so i'm not gonna worry about it-
on the ones-
y'all ain't never gonna catch me out on any slopes,
but you might see me sledding with some kids,
or digging out a snow fort to hang out in...
that's more my speed, y'heard?
i don't mind snow.
neighbors...
come on now, y'can't have a snow day without it,
and snow days mean ANYthing can happen.
usually, it's turbulent, and a little trying, and somewhat temper-testing,
but, it's just really cold water, so maybe take it easy...
i'm just sayin'-
up here, it snows, bro.
love it or not, like it or not, ready or not,
that's the weather report, and that's all there is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....

TINY D!

do we need a two inch daruma?
i think so:

yep.
there's a spot up here that carried a ton of little matted frames.
you know i gotta get 'em, right?
...right.
like, i want allllll the small frames to hold allllll the small art.
i want to cover every inch of AMPERSAND TATTOO
in teeny-tiny little bits of embellishment and ornaments,
with quick-fast drawings, and bigger paintings,
and as many good luck duders as i can manage to make.
(which i think is gonna be a LOT)
there are times where i'm not tattooing,
but there are very few moments where i'm doing nothin'.
i have about fifteen projects in various states of completion,
and i've got a dozen more i'd like to start.
there are frames in assorted sizes stacked in the back,
and i even broke out the pink paints to get my valentine's heart underway.
every year, neighbors, i make a monster of a heart-
rules is rules.
and this year is no exception, even if i'm cutting it hella close....
that's becoming an increasingly regular part of the schedule.
running late and wondering where the time goes.
i honestly have no idea,
but i do know that there's always something happening.
i s'pose that's good, but i could use a whole day of doing nothing.
yeah.
that's not a thing
-
there will be more art.
there has to be. that's what the whole place is there for;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, February 10

ADIOS!

underneath this hard-styled heavy-handed pounded-in lotus,
there's a super not-very-good leopard shark:

we said bye bye to the bad, and welcomed in some new clothes for that old foot.
ted has known me for a long time,
and yesterday, we kept with tradition, and gave me one of his problems to solve.
i did what i could, and i savaged and brutalized his very bony fat-free footsie for a bit.
did i take a before picture?
of course not.
if he doesn't want the old bustedness, why would i need to remind the world
of what lurks beneath the surface?
ok.
y'got me.
i forgot.
i always do.
you'd think after nearly 20 years of this, i'd maybe once in a while remember
to document the process.
nope.
i don't do that, apparently.
we're moving forward like time, neighbors,
and what has passed will stay in the past,
and let's all cross our fingers that the new-new will last.
yeah.
wouldn't that be neat?
never quiet, never soft.....

B+!!

big B plus!!
yes.
that's back to back breakfast attack stacks, jack.
mmhmmmm.
i doo-doo that overdo-it-to-it-type freaky sh!t.
day two: waffles!
yeah!
now, i wanna say something right away:
too much is the right amount.
and that is why i have three different waffle makers!
yup.
and i went and squared up to these jauns with that right-angled iron activation.
check the teleport:

WOOOOOOOOOOORD!
what?
oh, well, yeah, that IS raspberry-blueberry compote on top.
AND real new hampshire maple syrup,
AND powdered sugary sprankles.
how else would i even get so fresh on a saturday morning, right?
right!
-
the compote is a snap:
1 cup of frozen raspberries;
1/2 cup frozen little wild bloobs;
1/4 tsp lemon zest;
1/2 tsp vanilla;
3 T powdered sugar;
1 T non-GMO organic cornstarch.
that all goes in a pot, and melts and thickens and generally be's awesome.
there you have it.
fruit fever is in full effect.
-
the waffles were pretty expert, too...
-
*
WAFFS!
-
in a medium mixin' bowl, combine:
1 cup flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
1/4 cup oat flour;
3 T fresh-ground unsweetened coconut flake;
2 T sugar;
1 T brown sugar;
1 tsp ea baking powder and soda;
2 T vegan sour cream;
3 T melted vegan butter;
2 T unsweetened plain coconut yogurt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 cup non-dairy milk.
stir it up, let it rest, heat up your waffle iron in the meantime,
and make alllll the waffles.
i got seven from this batch, and i ate them all like a greedy wild boar.
i don't even care a little teeny tiny itty bitty baby bit, either.
i want all the waffles, covered in all the stuffs,
and i'm gonna do that whenever i wanna.
that's no joke.
*
the potatoes were perfect.
they always are.
soft inside, crispy outside, oven roasted and pan fried with sweet onion,
and seasoned like a superstar with pink salt, black pepper, GPOP, and smoky paprika.
the art of homefried potatoes is all nuance.
y'gotta get the oven right, and be careful not to over-oil the spuds, too.
a little lube is good, and a lotta heat is nice, but there's a line between golden greatness
and brown bummers.
be wary.
and you'll need onions and vegan butter in a hot pan to finish 'em off,
so that they're coated and crisp, and all that herby flavorification completely adheres
to the exteriors, and turns those already excellent hunks of hottness up to eleven.
neighbors,
a good skin-on homeboyfry-up will definitely improve your whole life.
i mean it.
my whole day was megacharged with power from those potatoes.
that's a thing.
the scallion sprankles helped, i think.
obvi.
*
homemade tempeh bacon is a great way to make sure you're having a good time.
....and i always have a good time in the kitchen, kids-
the good news for all of us is that it's not too hard to do:
in a smaller pan, i arranged about nine 1/4"-thick strips of three grain tempeh
over a little glug of olive oil,
and added a tablespoon of tamari, a tablespoon of agave,
a dash and a half of liquid smoke, and a quarter cup of warm water,
plus a heavy shake of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, smoked paprika,
and a lotta black pepper, over high heat, to absorb all the liquid and soak it up,
and then finally caramelize the sugars and make those slabs into some succulent sexxxiness.
that's what i do, duders.
expert everything all the damned time.
that's how it goes, bros.
*
and of course, a half an AVO-F*ING-CADO.
mmmmhmmmm.
cracked black pepper and cilantro and happiness for my whole head and my heart.
that's how you make breakfast dope again, guys.
***********
it's sunday.
what am i gonna do about it?
probably go to the grocery store.
maybe think about a third day of big B.
definitely going to do a lotta tattooing at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
after all, rules is rules.
and in keeping with that:
i DID eat pizza yesterday at work.
it was national pizza day, or so i heard.
it's still windy, it's very cold, it's almost valentine's day,
and i'm wishing i had some fancy chocolates to call my own.
maybe every day IS like sunday-
and not because it's easy like the morning, either;
never quiet, never soft.....