Saturday, August 17


i do alllllll the money-tatts.
the ones that've been posted on the first page of an internet image search on all browsers.
the ones that you see the best fifteen examples of,
and assume that only fifteen strangers across the globe have the same tattoo as you.
the ones that pay alllll the bills around these parts.
i do those.
i don't ONLY do those.
but i do-doo a whole holy helluva lotta'vem.
and that's fine, honestly.
AMPERSAND TATTOO is an inclusive spot.
the other day a dude came in, got tattooed by nate,
then walked over to the giant wall of original art and said:
i want that one.
so i also tattooed him with a freehand version of a skull and crossbones.

i like that a LOT.
that's only the third time that's ever happened in two years of operations.
do more of that.
it will make you more appreciated, neighbors.
trust me.
making our own original art is about a billion times more rewarding
than making money off of another 'nother redo of a pinterest tatt.
most folks can't imagine how those tow things are any different,
and that's why they only get bam-bam bum-bum butterbombs
instead of wild-style tatty daddy dopeness.
either one is gonna help keep the lights on,
the main difference is how much of a toll it takes on my eternal soul
as the samesies day in and day out chip away at everything
that ever even made me want to do tattoos in the first place.
oh, is that too much insight into the day-to-day doldrums of a DÜDI BOI SUMMER?
tell me about it, bruh.
i live it.
i still would rather do ordinary tattoos all day than do roofing for an hour ever.
i'd still rather do mediocre biker tattz than shovel asphalt even once.
i'd for sure prefer to do a day of infinity symbols with words and birds
than treat myself to a casual friday applebee's lunch break.
i AM grateful for the time i have been given,
don't  misunderstand me.
but i'm also a little bit greedy and desperate for something just a hair better.
if you aren't trying to improve your circumstance, you might be F*ing up.
i'm not sayin'.....i'm just sayin';
never quiet, never soft.....


i've lived in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress for ten mutha-F*ing years already.

holy sh!t, i had totally forgotten that i closed on
and moved into
and began the journey of warrior poetry
and stagnated home improvement
and self-discovery
all a full blown decade a ago.
like, ten years and two+ weeks, actually.
time flies past so fast i genuinely feel like i'm still just thirty-three and hopeful,
instead of old, busted, broken, broke.....and dope.
that's the thing-
this may be a haunted house;
it may be dilapidated and outdated and dark and dirty...
but so am i.
it needs a ton of work to even be considered functional.
does that sound like anybody you know?
it's weird looking and full of surprises and problems
and loaded with whole corridors
of largely unexplored interesting recessed treasures and tragedies.
and it's been ten freaking years.
in a row.
and i forgot.
that says something about how busy this summer has been.
i'm just swept away in a whirlwind of regular-A* money tatts,
and the race to stockpile a few bucks for the looooong winter.
the gettin' stops gettin' good in a few weeks,
and that's when the budget gets tighter,
and the days feel shorter,
and the dark gets deeper,
and all the best parts about sweaters and apples kick in at the expense
of light and warmth and profits.
and here i am, ten years into living in this largely unrepaired old manly manor,
in the cool shade of these looming and dangerous trees,
thinking about what comes next.
it probably isn't gonna be here forever.
that's sad, sorta,
but nothing ever really stays the same anyway.
things change,
circumstances arise,
life keeps going,
and it all continues to really happen,
even when it moves so slowly you can't see the progress;
never quiet, never soft.....


i made a F*ing expert pizza.
i did.
and by the time my tired oven was hot enough to fire it up,
the light was limited and the pictures were rubbish-
and that's disappointing.

why's it purple?
because bad light makes bad photos.
it didn't get better:

and indoors, it was orange.
and y'know what's even worse?
i have a summer cold, and i couldn't even taste it.
bummertime, neighbors.
for sure.
it's time for bed when the pee eye zee zee ayy can't boost your mood
or heal your ills.
it was probably amazing,
but i ruined it with bad timing and worn-out weary headcoldin' ailments.
i'd rather sleep forever than not enjoy pizza.
that's word;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, August 14


crispy garam crusted curry tofu,
with sriracha mayo,
and mixed leaves with pea shoots for texture;
and lemon scallion tomatoes,
and red onion,
and radishes for crunch,
and cucumber because it's expert.
check it:

you KNOW that the naan is homemade, neighbors.
i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
how else am i supposed to have a DÜDI BOI SUMMER??!
there's even cilantro on there.
i love it, man.
i'm not sorry about it, but i do think it sucks if you're one of those people
with defective tastebuds who can't hang out with deliciousness like that.
the exxxtra-firm tofu was fried in exxxtra-hot raw coconut oil,
but first, it was double dredged in the mixxx.
the mixxx is how you make it good, guys.
that's a 50/50 blend of non-GMO organic cornstarch and chickpea flour,
plus your own preferential proportions of:
toasted cumin.
ground coriander.
pink salt.
black pepper;
dried mustard.
lemon zest.
if you can put things in a bowl and stir them, you can make this.
the tofu was dunked in that stuff as a batch of slabs,
then double dunked, for added flavor.
i mean, i'm not about to have weak mixxx, man.
and besides, too much is the right amount.
that's a fact.
what about that soft, supple, sexxxy ill na-naan?
well, i've covered that before.
here is the recipe.
if you're a wrapper you;re gonna wanna make that all the time,
the yeast version is superior,
although in a pinch i've made a baking soda/kapowder and that's good too.
scallion lemon tomatoes is exactly what it sounds like-
sliced tomatoes, minced up scallions, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
i wish i had remembered to add avocado to these.
i literally had it right out on the counter, so i wouldn't forget.
and then i did.
i guess i was psyched about the sriracha mayo scene?
i added a little nootch, and a drop or five of lemon to the combo,
plus a tiny shake of cardamom, just because.
it was fancier, and i like it unnecessarily superfancy if possible.
i made a dinner.
i dunno what day this happened, actually, if i'm being honest.
i've been a little out of sorts lately.
but yesterday i had a sort of impromptu family get together out
and truthfully, for being something i think ordinary people just do and don;t think about?
it felt sooo cool...
usually, after work, i go home, and nate goes home,
and we don't talk or hang out,
and it's just over.
the day, i mean.
but yesterday,
i had the little kids, and their mom and dad, and even dylan all representing,
after a full studio hang out with tattoos and great friends and good talks and good times
and better art for better people poppin' off all damned day.
i had an overloaded enormous sicilan pizza
and people watched from the other side of the glass.
normally, i see 'em, but like at the zoo, y'know?
i'm IN the studio while they ooze around outside.
and after that?
dudes, i went swimming!
in a pool and everything.
and then i saw people literally just hanging out at night being social at a hotel
honestly i had no idea that was even a thing...
it's almost like i forgot that there's always stuff happening in this vacation destination
all the damned time,
and i've been absent because i assumed it was always just drinking at bars because
i have a house i'd rather be at,
and so i  just stay home and go to bed, usually.
it was different,
it was good,
it felt like i was part of a thing,
and that made the day a lot better;
never quiet, never soft.....


holy sh!t!
chantal and ian have been married for EIGHT years. a row, dudes.
and on their actual anniversary,
they brought their bouncing baby boy to AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and we all spanned time together like a batch of big action busy business
moms and dads.
they've got a six week old handsome homeboy baby of their own,
and breezy and everybody, including lilli, were also at the spot,
so all the bodies got to do a little meet and greet and see all the little bitties.
here's the thing-
their son is ALBEE.
so there were two of us in the house.
was i freaking out about the good lookin lovely babies?
was i freaking out about my friends and their firstborn and his expert name?
did i take a picture with each of them?
check the teleport:

that's what's up.
everybody is psyched.
i really really like these guys.
in fact, i always have from the start.
i consider myself damned lucky to know 'em.
but, wait.
how about this one:

so much beard, so much manliness, so much big round unimpressed baby in my arms.
she's got a personal style for miles, man,
when the anniversary mom and dad headed home,
we went swimming, and afterwards...
lilli continued her tradition of looking totally indifferent.

i'm into it.
i guess that's just how we do things in the woodsly goodness.
we take it easy, sorta.
i don't, at all.
but WE do as a collective.
majority rules and rules is rules.
i had a wild day.
i had a good day.
i saw a lot of people i really like,
i spanned time,
and occupied space with a group of folks who all matter immeasurably.
today is sure to be looooooooong,
and hopefully, there can be a winning tradition of professional appreciation
and active participation established that will endure for years to come.
i have a LOT of feelings, and i'm not even hungry,
so who knows what'll happen if i don't bury them down deep under a pancake or somethin';
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, August 13


tofu scramble?
homeboy fries?
sourdough toast?
am i havin' that big breakfast stuff or am i having a bad time?
i'm having both!!
check it out:

BREAKFAST is sometimes what i want.
i normally just have a smoothie and a cup of black tea.
but every so often i need to eat all my feelings before i start my day.
i had half an avocado, too.
vegan butter and raspberry jam,
those tomatoes are juicy as heck and they really tie the meal together.
the roasty toasty red skin-on potatoes are expert and perfect.
i mean, c'mon, neighbors-
do you even like potatoes?
they're dope.
turmeric, smoked paprika, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, pink salt,
and a drip or two of olive oil...
in a four hundred degree oven on parchment on a baking tray.
i'm sayin'- don't you even really get rad in the morning?
potatoes are what's good during a DÜDI BOI SUMMER!
that scrambo, tho.
half a block of exxxtra-firm tofu,
plus two tablespoons of minced red onion,
and a big shake of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder,
a lil smoked paprika, a little turmeric, a blast of nootch,
pink salt, black pepper, and baby spinach.
guys, scrambled tofu is molto excellent, and it's probably even kinda good for you, too.
i love it.
i like being very full before work.
two slices of toast?
that's right.
homemade sourdough is amazing.
with buttery goodness and jammie jammin' and that crust!!!!
good bread makes better people,
and toast is like upgraded bread.
that's fresh.
it's just eating, but early.
my whole life is just getting heavier and heavier,
and instead of getting stronger, i'm only being more tired.
is that how it's supposed to be?
because that's how it is;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, August 12


a fat rectangle of white pizza?
i mean,
why not, right?
after tattooing like a machine made out of tiredness
and drawn-on black-and-grayish lines and blobs of blurred needlepoint plotpoints,
what can i even accomplish besides pizza and sleep.
is that depression?
nah man, i think it's just late summer wear and tear.
but, regardless of what it is that crushes my culinary creativity,
i've got so little imagination left after a weeklong yatty boi tatshack zap session
that i can make pizza
or i can make myself go to bed without dinner,
but i can't make much else of myself and/or for myself.
at least my oven works, neighbors.
check it:

smoky chick peas,
red onions,
daiya mozzarella,
olive oil,
fried garlic,
and some small-leaf rogue thai basil.
that's expert, especially for being non-conventional.
the dough was really somethin' new.
preheat your oven to just 400 easy fahrenheit degrees.
in your stand up mixer, with the hook attached, knead up:
2 cups king arthur flour;
2/3 cup warm water with 2 pkgs regular-action yeast, and 1 tsp agave;
2 tsp sea salt;
3 T vegan butter;
1 T fire-roasted tomato sprankles;
1 T dried shallots;
1/2 tsp coarse cracked black pepper.
knead it up for 11 minutes-
oil it a bit, and let it rise, before stretching into a 9" x 11" vegan buttered pan,
where it can rise with all the stuff right on top.
that's so easy, it's lazy, almost.
how long'd i bake it for?
probably half an hour....and that was nice-nice too.
waiting for food sucks.
but waiting for pizza you made from scratch?
that's not so bad, tho.
because there's pizza at the end of the tunnel.
i used coconut oil on a whole 15 oz can of drained chick peas-
with a heavy shake of GPOP,
and real paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, basil, and black pepper...
otherwise, all the stuff was just raw stuff.
and it was also all delicious.
garden fresh rosemary, and thai basil??
man, that was pretty tight.
more tattoos all day today and tomorrow?
collecting wood in the woodsly goodness while i walk?
wondering wtf is wrong with me that i STILL don't have new stickers??
i'm just old and tired.
is that cool?
maybe... i hope so;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, August 11


i've written an erased five versions of an explanation already.
so, here's the sixth-
i am worn out.
and i'm so furious about it.
i am tired, sad, spent, used up and beat down, 
and my creativity is pretty low.
i work too much and enjoy it way too little.
but i feel like i'll have plenty of time to be creative and not have as much work,
which means i won't have to work as much in just a few weeks-
the end of summer shoulder season, bruh.
it comes quick, and it sucks hard.
umm, that's what she said?
as long as i can endure another three weeks of hard styles and sour feelings 
and phone pics of somebody else's good ideas, i'll have time for something else.
and y'know what really eats sh!t about being all kinds of exhausted?
i'm really just eatin' pizza, neighbors.
most good days are just a baby bit better with pizza,
and the bad days?
well, on the bad ones i NEED those jauns as a form of antidepressant dopeness.
that's the truth.
if it wasn't for pizza, no matter how repetitive it may be for everyone else to see,
i'd be in even bigger even more dire straits.
so, here's the big action:
i was thinking of my little buddy cohen
and the way he says 'veggie pizza'.
it's english, but he has a very regionally ambiguous accent when he says it.
i imagine this is what he's talking about.
the dough is from scratch,
the tempeh bacon is homemade,
the toppings are copious,
and those fire-roasted tomato sprankles are expert on the edges.
daiya mozzarella, minced over crushed tomatoes.
homemade cashew chee' over that.
caramelized onions.
braised broccoli.
green pepper.
rainbow sweet baby bell pepper.
chunky fried garlic spranks.
pan seared baby bella mushrooms.
and that spicy tempeh bacon, too.
the dough was better than usual:
dough-hookin' on your stand-upright mixer will be essential,
but combine:
1 cup king arthur bread flour;
1/4 tsp wheat gluten;
1 cup king arthur flour;
1/2 tsp sugar;
2 tsp sea salt;
1 pkg fast-rise yeast;
2 T olive oil;
3 T unsweetened plain non-dairy yogurt;
2/3 cup warm water.
beat it up until it forms a shiny ball, it may take a minute, but be patient.
oil it and let it rise while the oven heats up to 480℉, convection-style.
i always stretch my dough on a seasoned steel pan, with exxxtra-oil.
this time, i also freaked it off with those tomato bits.
that was nice.
and what about that tempeh bacon?
you want it.
i know it's veggie pizza, but a little exxxtra flavorfulness is always invited.
that's 11 thin slices of tempeh (think <1 div="">
in a pan with 1/2 cup water;
2 T tamari;
1/4 tsp ea. GPOP;
2 shakes liquid smoke;
1/2 tsp smoked hot paprika;
1 T agave;
1 tsp olive oil-
simmer that until all the liquid absorbs/evaporates.
that's when you flip 'em once, then give 'em another 'nother minute,
and you're freakin' done, dude.
the recipe for the cashew mozz' is here.
you're welcome.
there's not much else to say, man.
there's still so much august left to get through.
and i'm gonna.
there's nothin' for it, it can't be helped, it's just What Is.
true life tattman livin' is not to be taken lightly;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, August 10


i've done eighteen tattoos on fourteen clients in the last three days.
i just want to stuff my face with some heavy business,
and use it like one of those weighted blankets to hold me down.

that's right? five of 'em. right into my big dumb bald head.
limes, bro.
if you don't have 'em, your whole scene is bullsh!t.
that's a fact.
i got those toasty flour flaps, like always.
i've got scallions and cilantro and red onion sprankled on there.
tangy, crawnchy, crisp radishes?
F* yeah.
you got those spicy florets?
i got those spicy florets:
in a lil pot, over high heat, saute:
1/4 head chopped cauliflower;
1/2 tsp coconut oil;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1/2 tsp smoked paprika;
1/2 tsp oregano;
1/2 tsp guajillo pepper;
black pepper, pink salt;
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder;
2 tsp ho'sauce;
1 T water-
lidded and steamed up and goooooooood.
how about coconut oil fried thin-sliced sweet potato wedges?
that's the ticket.
here's the thing, man-
i just put a bunch of things i like into my mouth.
i wish there was more of a method to it.
refried beans with GPOP and nootch and a tablespoonful of onion and olive oil
and more of that ho'sauce just because.
^^ see?
it's not a recipe. it's just stuff mixed together.

these are overfilled, obvi.
they're loaded up to the point of overflow, and they spilled everywhere.
the pico de gallo?
lime, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, pink salt, black pepper,
and orange, red, and brown tomatoes-
three different tomatoes?
that's how it is around here- too much is the right amount.
one epic expert heap of hot vegetables.
that's what you get.
that's what i got.
that's all there is.
i went home, i made food, i walked this dumb dog, and i fell asleep in a heap.
it doesn't get better.
i'm not actually saying it was any GOOD,
i'm just saying it also doesn't improve;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, August 9


ohhhh MAN.
have you ever had a day that was 100% A*-hole?
i mean, have you ever felt like the universe was bored,
and for the first time ever, you caught the notice of the infinite,
but not for any exemplary performance that merited notice,
rather the secret universal blueprint of all life just wanted
to single you out to pick a fight with?
that's cool.
well after overestimating my importance to the endless expanse of time and space,
i went home discouraged and did what i do best.
i buried all my bad vibes under an acre of excellent edible expertism.
good food is good medicine for your soul, neighbors,
and my soul needed a megadose of dopeness
to kick-start some kind of self-preservation instinct.
what's the specific treatment plan?
oh, word?
and as if that wasn't good enough, i put it on a PIZZA.
now we're talkin'.
check the teleport:

that's where we bring that DÜDI BOI SUMMER to bear, bruh!
the sauce is custom,
the crust is custom,
the grange is custom....yeah, it's vegan ranch,
but ranch is precisely why the midwest sucks balls, bro,
so we're home on the range and at work in the grange.
that's semantics, but i'm like that.
can you tell it's dope?
look closer:

the crust is good:
1 1/2 cups king arthur bread flour;
1/4 tsp wheat gluten;
1 pkg fast-rise yeast;
1/2 tsp sugar;
2 T olive oil;
3/4 cup warm water,
all kneaded with a dough hook in my upright stand mixer for 11 minutes,
olive oiled, covered and allowed to rise while my oven preheated to 480ish°F.
i oiled a pan, and hand tossed that circle, sorta thickly at the edges, and let it rise again.
and while the oven was preheating, i used the increasing temps to roast the cauliflower.

that's half a head of that tight, white brain, chopped into small pieces,
and arranged on parchment to brown up and soften a bit
after a coating of my proprietary elite treatment was applied.
what's that?
it's a shake each of  GPOP, cayenne, black pepper, and hot paprika;
1 T chick pea flour;
1 T ho'sauce;
1 tsp tamari;
and 25% of my custom BUFFY BOI SAUUUUUCE.
you NEED that recipe, for sure-
melt 2 T vegan butter, and add to:
2 T vegan mayo;
3 T texas ho'sauce;
1 T sriracha;
1/4 tsp ea Garlic Powder Onion Powder;
1 tsp smoked hot paprika;
1 tsp paprika;
2 tsp nootch;
that's that hottie hot hotness, dudes.
and it's really effin' good.
spread whatever is left after coating up your 'flowers on to the dough, obviously.
then add a double-dose of mincey daiya mozz' and cheddar chee'.
the two-tone blend is key here- smooth and sharp and excellent,
as well as minced first for superior meltability-
rules is rules after all.
did i do what i do and add fried garlic sprankles?
you know it, kiddo.
the universe may want to break me, but i'm not about to let that affect my pizzas.
no way......not once, not ever.
there's wedges of thin sliced red onion.
we got jalapeno rings all up on there, too,
plus the roasty caulibuffs all in place as well.
that's a spicy jaun just like that.
but, when it came on out of the oven, after getting risen up on a steel tray,
and finished directly on the hot stones, we turned it up to eleven and beyond.
that's right.
too much is the right amount.
and we aren't here to be a bunch of bummers when it's pizza time.
so there's cilantro AND scallion sprankles for prettying it up,
and a drizzle of that smoooooooooth grange to activate a whole other level of lusciousness.
the new-new grange arrangement is hella expert, buddy:
combine 2 T vegan mayo;
1/4 cup vegan sour creme;
2 crushed cloves of fresh garlic;
1 tsp dried parsley;
a couple heavy shakes of cracked black pepper;
1 shake of cayenne;
1/2 tsp dried dill leaves;
1/2 tsp cider vinegar;
1/2 tsp pickle brine;
1 tsp lemon juice-
stir it up exxxtra good, and let that sit while you're baking all this stuff.
pipe it up and out onto this pizza pie,
and then just relax for a second,
and marvel at the masterpiece you've managed to make,
whilst flying directly into the storm of inescapable limitless atmospheric universality.
at least the pizza is amazing.
i overheated my insides with hot, spicy, sharp and tangy pizza,
and all it did was combine with all the hard feelings i harbored all damned day-
and that led to some very wild and untamed dreams.
i really savored the creation of this hot and fiery pizza pie,
i just should've thought ahead a little more about
the combination of spirit and memory and ho'sauce and jalapenos.
i gave myself a beatin',
after i got beat up all day by circumstance and situations.
if that's what's really happening, i guess i just got what's coming to me;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, August 8


i thought i would have a luscious bowl of comforting soup.
guess what, though-
i used too many red lentil quinoa gluten free noodles.
that's supposed to be soup, but those starchy too-firm F*ers
dominated the whole damned thing.
i overnoodled, dudes.
like a jam band concert, yfeel me?
not enjoyable.
the veggies were great.
i had onion, garlic, carrot, celery, hot pepper, crushed red pepper, 
rainbow bell pepper, brussies, parsley, sage, basil, tomatoes, and spinach,
plus tomato paste, tamari, umami mushroom powder,
GPOP, vegan broth, and broccoli, too.
a little salt, a little black pepper, and a 
really, if you make a mess of veggie soup, you should probably just like
in a cave and suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency.
it's just a big bath of plants, man.
however, if you add too much high-protein pasta?
well, now your soup isn't so soupy anymore, is it?
i effed up, man.
it tasted great.
it looked halfway terrible.
the pasta was a bummer.
and i went to bed right afterwards.
that's what was going on for the few hours i was awake at home.
rain pouring down,
light fading fast,
sore eyes,
sore body, 
sore feelings,
and a new haircut that really reflects just how badly age and stress have eroded my hairline.
good looks and bad looks,
good food and bad presentation,
hot fire and high humidity...
it's all really happening,
and it isn't much, and it isn't great,
but maybe that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....