Monday, July 31


adios, july.
you were swift, but severe.
the highs were unimpressive,
but the lows?
i'm referring not only to the forty-something degree mornings i've woken to this week,
i mean, that's some bullsh!t, for sure-
but also,
i'm speaking on the lapses, losses, lacking, longing, and lamentations, too.
july was kind of a drive-by dis and dysentery diarrhea dispersal from the darkest depths
and the dourest, sourest currency exchange in all creation.
for every good thing, there was an aggressively greater negative response.
here's the thing, tho-
we continue.
that's what we do.
i mean,
giving up has never ever ever ever been available as an option,
and therefore,
it's up to us to strap on our hipwaders, and slog through the sh!t-bog of tough times,
until we emerge, a little grosser, but nonetheless a lot stronger,
somewhere ahead of the horizon, as far away as that may seem at first.
it's about to be august, guys.
that's a great name, and a great month,
and not for nothin', we get to choose our own adventures.
i'm choosing to charge into the unknown headlong, headstrong, and head over heels,
with intention and attention and affection and infectious effective invention,
a full-force fresh-to-death interjection of introspection and intersectional expoeriences.
do you feel me or what?
i'm sayin'.
we're on a mother-F*ing ADVENTURE.
so, let's get adventurous, bro.
like, right now.
i effs with italian food a whole lot more often since marchentine's marzo italiano
made my mouth so happy with all that sauce.
last night,
i figured i deserved a monstrous mealtime heap of hottness,
so i went ahead and made that for myself.

hunter's feast, bro.
obvi, i can't hang out with hunting,
but i sure as heckfire ca hang out with homemade seitan,
breaded and seared up, over all that succulent savory sauce.
with those brown baby bellas!
like, salt, olive oil, heat, and sliced 'shrooms-
all kinds of big mommy umami in effect, right there, boy.
what else is in there?
all the goods, guys.
in a biggish saucepan, saute:
1/2 sweet onion, roughly chopped;
1 each sliced small red, orange, and yellow bell peppers;
1 large stalk celery, thinly bias-sliced;
1 cup halved grape tomatoes.
with olive oil, and blac pepper, get all that a-sizzlin',
toss in oregano, sage, thyme, basil, parsley, and rosemary.
hit it with a punch of nootch, a heavy-handed shake of GPOP,
and then zap it with a splash of red wine vinegar,
add one 14oz can sliced stewed tomatoes,
plus 3/4 canful of hot water,
and a scoop of better than bouillon vegetable soup base.
add the bella babes,
simmer all of that until starts to thicken up,
season accordingly with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
i also tossed in some fire roasted tomato flake sprankles,
but only because rules is rules, man.
y'gotta sprank it up exxxtta whenever you can.
more garden fresh oregano and parsley made it sexxxy,
but the seitan took it into the stratosphere of deliciousness-
cornstarch, flour, smoked paprika, chia seeds, GPOP, and garbanzo flour,
small scoops of everything, sifted and spread out
within which to dredge all that awesome seitan steakiness in.
it's sorta simple, once you get started.
oil, a hot pan, those herby-crusty cutlets.
what else do you even need?
probably some of that farro , really.
and that's just because if you've got it, y'gotta get it.
besides, it's super good.
boiling salty water and time are all you need to make it happen.
and if you've got a plan in place, it'll all be ready all at once.
with shredded radicchio and parsley,
and a slice of homemade white mountain white sourdough?
if you can't get down with that much hottness,
i don't think it's likely you're gonna get invited to dinner over here anytime soon.
a good dinner can make or break a day.
i mean,
i was busy busy busy AF all morning and afternoon.
i was jam packed and running late at work,
all for trying to activate that one extra walk-in squeeze on an long-absent client,
and when i got home i was lost as to what to make...
until i called crabtree a crappy cacciatore,
and in that instant, my pet's pet name had me in the kitchen getting expert right off.
i did NOT enjoy myself this month.
however, i took care of what needed taking care of,
and that's what being a F*ing responsible adult is.
it's not fun, but it isn't static.
there's dynamic doings of the least intrinsically delightful sort all unfolding
along the time-worn creases of spirit and memory.
it's ALL really happening, and i'm ready for an august explosion of awesomeness;
never quiet, never soft.....


they're scones.
the secret's out, dudes.
rectangle scones,
with less wet stuff,
and more fruity stuff.
a.k.a. breakfast bars.
i mean,
they look like they might NOT be scones,
but they're totally scones.
they taste amazing.
and they're super flaky, and fruity, and chocolaty.
and all of that is effing expert.

here's the thing, friends.
i'm busy.
really busy.
and all of the things i have to do have to get squeezed into the spaces between
my high-maintainence maniac of affectionately attention-seeking stormswept
raging, romping, far-roaming terribly terrific terrier,
and a whole unholy sh!t-ton of existing tattoo appointments,
and both of those  bookends actually take up most of the mutha-flippin' library so to speak.
so, when it's very early,
and i'm up and about,
i've got maybe an hour to do something for myself.
i could read.
i should read.
...and i would read,
IF i had the undivided focus and quiet-space inside my skull to start eating words.
i've not got time to indulge in the cerebral sustenance of books these days.
and that's a huge loss, which i genuinely feel from my nose to my toes....
that's the trade-off, kids.
i DO have the ability to multitask a whole mess of treats while i'm corresponding,
and researching, and hunting online for all the excellent exxtras and eccentricities
that'll turn up the super-fresh new new hottness
over at AMPERSAND TATTOO to eleven.
it's all the details that i obsess over and that eats up HUGE swaths and tracts of time.
fortunately i can stir and click in a roughly contemporaneous parallel.
but, you might just want to make some rectangle scones, huh?
i mean, breakfast bars.
i went for a rustic chunky seasonal sexxiness with these,
and it works well when it's all up inside your face.
munchably magnificent morning mealtime cereal-grain goodness is in full effect over here.
make it yourself:
preheat your even to 400℉.
in a medium mixing bowl,
1 stick (8T) earth balance butterish;
3 T vegan creamchee' (tofutti rules);
1/2 tsp salt;
2 1/4 cups flour;
1/2 cup oat bran;
1/4 cup wheat bran;
1/2 cup thick rolled oats;
2 tsp baking kapowder;
1 tsp baking soda;
4 T tapioca flour.
cut that all in together, until it's thoroughly chopped up and crumbly,
then, add:
1 1/2 cups pitted chopped juicy-A* cherries;
3/4 cup chocolate chips;
1/2 cup non-dairy milk;
2 tsp vanilla.
fold and flip and turn and fold and flip and so on, until you've got all the dry bits
integrated into one multi-tiered damascus doughball.
on a WELL floured surface, hand-flatten the whole thing down to about a 1" rectangle,
cut it lengthwise, and then make all those bars, broski.
hit the tops with oats and chocolate chips, if you're cool like that,
then freeze 'em for five-ten minutes,
before baking them for 22 more.
you WILL be psyched on these.
unless you're terrible,
and then,
you'll just still be terrible
and that's your right, buddy.
don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
stay terrible,
and we'll all be over here, away from you, being dope,
and eating scone bar breakfast jauns.
there're archetypal templates these days for standardized tattzap shack appearances.
you've got your irritating art-A*-hole nostalgic-victorian jauns;
and then there's the traditional-throwback-too-many-11 x 14"-framed-images-of-tattoo
-flash-only-other-tattooers-care-about no wall space left open style spot;
lots of fat guys work at these places, more often than not.
and also the anything-with-skulls-and-black-furniture-black-everything-
black-t-shirted overly loud metal shop.
those are just a few of the standard varieties.
and, i mean, all that's totally great...if that's what you're after.
you can easily get a hold of any of that,
and feel comfortable, which is actually cool,
because the space seems to dictate the clientele-
i want something else.
a workspace that encourages completely immersive performance.
that's no joke.
that full-body sensory surround sound high-def delicious dopeness
is all i'm even thinking about.
all the aspects of the interior are being considered.
and those devils and demons who drip their dweomer into the details
are all being summoned and conjured and called upon to keep the place
especially expert,
beyond what the casual client has sampled so far.
that's no joke, either-
the woodsly goodness is my domain,
and the wizardly museum called the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is my home,
but AMPERSAND will be my home away from home,
so you KNOW i've got to make it someplace i want to be.
it's all really happening,
and that's really good news.
too much is the right amount,
and that's all i've been amassing since i signed the lease;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, July 29


i'm on that taco gordo jaun, guys.
i want 'em exxxtra fat.
like, full AF.
like, they'd easily shatter some budget-A* crunchy sh!y-shell lames.
like, they're stretching the soft flour freshness to it's limit.
like, too much is the right amount.
y'feel me?
well, then check the teleport,
and get on board the loco gordo explosion, bro:

homemade seitan, on that spicy asada activation,
because that's my favorite taco filling, and i had all the ingredients to make it happen.
sauteed with onion, in piping hot oil,
so that the crispy edges have that caramelized magic conjured up
in true pure-being interconnectedness with the kitchen spirits an' that.
and i mean,
if you're truly gittin' it,
then you're using smoked paprika, oregano, cumin,
cayenne, GPOP, a dash of thyme, coriander seed,
and LOVE, son.
the love is what turns it up to eleven.
i'm serious.
take a closer look:

c'mon, neighbors.
that's lettuce AND purple cabbage!
that's chipotle-seared sweet corn,
with red pepper flakes AND fire-roasted tomato sprankles!
i had rice, for exxxtra-fattness.
and sweet yellow bell pepper pieces for crawnch.
and red onion bits for even MORE crawnch.
and tomatoes, because that's what you do when you do tacos, man,.
uh huh.
rules is rules.
but then,
i kicked into full expert mode,
and hit up those pepitas, fried with black pepper and agave!
my sprankle game is elite and sh!t. kids.
last, but not least, i had that cashew/lime sour 'cream' for drizzlin'.
that's soaked cashews and lime juice and salt and coriander.
just tossed together and processed until it was all kinds of creamy and delicious-
that's 1 cup soaked cashews;
4 tsp lime juice (1 1/2 limes);
1 dash of coriander;
a drop of water;
a crystal or two of salt;
and a giant smile on your face when you taste it.
tacos are dope, man.
that's a thing.
refritas are the BEST!!!
refried beans are on the list of awesome things, up near the tippity top.
and when they've got extra onion, and buttery earth balance,
and nootch to boost the creaminess,
and GPOP to elevate the flavor profile,
and ho'sauce to heat things up properly?
if you're not about THAT, you ain't about that guap,
and if it ain't about guap, i'm gone.
except, that's for serious.
i've run out of morning, again.
i guess that's sort of my new thing.
time to get ot and hike with this dog-beast,
and then go get hype at the OLD tattoo studio,
so i can go get even MORE hype at the new new super-hottness.
it's all unfurling into a bigger better future,
and it's all really happening.
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....


put a smile on my face ten miles wide!
cherry pie, duders.
for reals.
here's the thing, though-
i didn't even sample on small slivered slice!
i gave the whole dang thing to somebody.
that's right.
i have no idea if it even tasted any good.
that's the truth.
could've even been terrible. maybe-
a rotten gift to trick somebody with....
i'd be surprised if that was the case.
i mean,
it's got all the stuff you'd think you want:
sugar. vanilla. cherries. pastry.

i pitted all the dark juicy fresh cherries,
and i soaked them overnight in a vanilla-bean sugar bath,
so that they could marinate in their own excellence for a while.
with powdered sugar and organic non-GMO cornstarch,
just to keep the whole thing from totally dripping juice all over the damned place
(which it still tried it's hardest to do anyway).
guys, legit, it was just 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 4 T cornstarch, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste,
and 4 1/2 cups halved, pitted cherries.
refrigerated overnight, and activated in the early a.m.because that's when we bake around here.
y'all want the expert vegan pastry magic recipe again?
here it is:
in your mandatory magnificent food processor,
pulse together:
10 T vegan butter;
3-4 T vegan creamchee';
1/4 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
3 T raw sugar;
2 1/4 cups flour;
enough non-dairy milk to bind it, added 1 T at a time,
until it all clumps together when pressed.
you want it lumpy, for superior flakes,
not doughy, for crap-A* dense doo-doo.
be careful.
wrap and refrigerate it overnight, or for just an hour, if you;re impatient or whatever.
roll it shape it and bake it in a tin/.pan/whatever,
at 410℉, for twenty something minutes,
or until you're satisfied with the color of that buttery big action.
when you're making pies, make 'em pretty.
nobody likes ugly food, unless they're a little bit ugly on the inside.
i'm more of an ugly on the skin, but wet and red within, kind of guy.
sort of like this pie,
except it's lovely on the golden, sugar sprankled exterior,
and juicily red on the interior...
too much is the right amount.
except for working.
i'm working an awful awful lot.
like, it's awful,
and it's only likely to get even more so.
soon, it'll be a seven-day extravaganza, sunup and onward and upwards,
every week,
until my annexed Folk Life fiefdom is fresher than fresh,
and turning a tremendous profit.
where do i find the time?
that's easy.
i have nobody and nothing else to worry about around here,
so outside of making food, there's work and more work, and then some more work after that.
that's a hard style, huh?
well, don't worry, kids-
i've got my select and precious few friends who are present and participating,
and i've got crabtree.
shoutouts to my F*ing dog, bro.
he's my full-time boundlessly energetic burdensome buddy,
but he contributes very little in the way of help.
i s'pose i always have one of those around,
although they're usually more vocal, and vicious, and vindictive and venomous.
i guess it's shoutouts to girls allowed for a while either.
i'm on some steady nonstop grind-date makin',
and i've got jus enough time for dinner, or a pie,
before i'm back on my hard-headed heavy-duty pursuit of......
..not happiness, but mabe achievement, or something like it.
i'll take what i can. where i can, until i've gotten all that i want;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, July 28


when you bump into carlos,
you do right by the moment,
and tune up something expert for supper.
i bumped into carlos,
and, well, rules is rules,
so i did what you do,
and got some big action poppin' on our plates.
neighbors, i'll admit, my culinary brain is mildly derailed
by the distractions and demands of the new tattoo studio.
i've got so much still to do,
and so little time within which to do it.
here's the thing-
a man's still gotta eat, y'feel me?
i know.
and that means that when it's time to cook,
i can't just chump it up like a diapery doo-doo babybutt.
no way.
i've got to hold the line, and maintain the natural order.
after all, you either be dope, or you eff off-
and if i'm home already, where am i even going to go?
i'm going to go to work on some dinner, duder, that's where i'm headed.
word up.
happily for my homeboy and i,
i preemptively prepared a batch of from-scratch seitan earlier in the day,
and that carried us to victory as evening set in.
check the teleport:

daaaaaaaaaaaaamn, friends-
i had spice, i had squish, i had (accidental) crunch,
i had it sweetly savory,
and i had savory sweetness,
and i had company,
which was pretty good, too.
i also had sliced semolina sourdough on the side,
and if ever a single bread was simply made for dippin', it's this one.
no joke.
the last of the sauce, and a little more of that crusty bread,
had the end of the line tasting might effing fine.
homemade seitan.
the recipe is on this blog like 10x.
look for it, if you want.
i had the crusty breading scene activated,
with flour, organic non-gmo cornstarch, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, oregano,
GPOP, nootch, a pinch of sugar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper
all sifted into one dredgeable dusty dopeness,
and i fried each steaky slab in coocnut oil, alongside those poblano strips.
that was expert, buddy.
and it needed that next-level upgrade,
so i HAD to simmer up some spicy sauce for our faces, too-
in one smallish saucepan,
simmer, in 2 T olive oil:
4 T minced onion;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 cup chopped sweet grape tomatoes;
toss and toast up:
1 tsp cumin;
1/2 tsp powdered coriander seed;
1/4 tsp thyme;
1/2 tsp smoked paprika;
1/2 tsp hot paprika;
1/2 tsp ground mustard;
black pepper, pink salt, and a heavy zap of GPOP;
add 1 1/2 cups crushed tomato;
1/4 cup seitan broth (or veggie stock, or whatever)
and let that bubble away onlmediumish heat, until its thicker, and more aromatic,
and more magnificently spicy that you thought would ever be possible in fifteen minutes.
y'ever had coconut beans and rice?
i hope so.
because then you'll get why i had to have a whole second heaping helping of that hottness.
too much is the right amount,
and that goes double for coconut.
you know i know about what's really real in the realm of coco-loco.
you need some of this.
and here's how to have some of it-
in medium-sized pot, saute:
1/2 minced sweet onion;
2 chopped center-celery stalks;
2 coves sliced garlic;
1/2 cup unsweetened medium flake luxury coconut.
when the onion gets translucent,
1 can (12oz?) small red beans;
1 cup jasmine rice;
1 can full-fat coconut milk (GOYAAAAAA!!!!)
1/4 cup warm water.
1/2 tsp cayenne;
1 tsp ea. GPOP.
cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer,
and give it about fifteen, until all the juice if absorbed.
bros and sisters,
this sh!t is THE TRUTH.
with those scallion sprankles, too?
c'mon, now-
and when you zipzap it with the lime, your whole face will transform into something
new and improved for all the nutrients and vitamins and stuff
that are enriching your whole damned life with every freakin' bite.
...that's real, probably.
i get after it in this kitchen.
and quickly.
i want maxximum flavor, with minimal prep these days.
sure, i love to go all out on the big deluxxxe,
but all that luxurious intention is being diverted
to the bigger, better, louder, fresher, faster explosive
high-energy super-intense turbo-hot fire dopeness
that is/will be AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i've been waiting years for this.
and soon, it will all really be happening,
for you, and me, and everybody.
i'm grateful for the time i have been given,
and i s'pose the long wait, and the tough trails,
the trying tests of temerity and temper,
the humbling and crumbling crash of hubris,
and the constant press of surround-sound underappreciation,
have all led to now.
that's a pretty big deal, huh?
yeah, i guess it is;
never quiet, never soft.....


rice noodles?
spicy oelek chili sauce?
crawnchy veggies?
coconut-fried tofu?
toasty peanut sprankles?
check and mate, neighbors.
noods have been my go-to quick dinner staple lately.
i mean,
they're fast, they're filling and they're so fresh-
when you fire up the flames of spicy heat and garlic'd goodness,
all tossed until embossed with the sauce?
that's just good stuff.
and i like good stuff.
i'm working towards all the goods,
and in between, i'm getting expert on the spiciest noods, too.
that's real.
check the teleport:

ready in minutes.
i'm hungry, dudes, and it's a powerful hunger at that.
who has time to wait around when a savage stormswept raging gypsy appetite emerges?
not me.
by now, i think making noodles is pretty self-explanatory, right?
ok. good.
(aw, bro-there are usually instructions on the box/bag, anyway, man....jeez, )
the main thing to consider when effing around with asian-themed stir-fry-style hottness
is that the SAUCE is the driving force behind the entire flavor profile,
and a good sauce is great news for success on your plate.
all those crawnchy cukes and radishes, shoots, sprouts, and snappy peas are awesome-
but that's a crudite platter, not a glorious feast...
and sure jalapenos are nice,
and toasted roasted peanuts are, too-
carrots and cabbage are pretty neat.
heck, the onion, garlic, celery, broccoli sesame sizzle-up was on point-
and that juicy pineapple was ripe AF...
but without SAUCE, it all ain't nothin' but a bunch of sad salad sucker sh!t.
let's assume you know about basil and scallions and raw veg vs stir-try jauns.
so, instead, we're gonna focus on making sure that the unifying force that
activates and energizes all the components is hot and wet and really F*ing delicious.
2 T soy sauce;
3 T rice wine vinegar;
1 T sriracha;
1 T chili paste;
2 T agave;
1 clove crushed garlic;
1 tsp crushed red pepper;
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder;
cayenne, black pepper, coriander seed;
4 leaves torn fresh basil.
^ duuuuuudes, how simple is that?
i know, right?
and if you were feeling really crazy, you could even add 1 T lime juice,
and a tablespoon of crushed pineapple in there, too.
too much is the right amount, kids.
don't be afraid to overdo it.
as long as you don't burn it, i think you're likely to be pleasantly surprised by what
a steady-flossin' saucemeister you are.
that's no joke.
taking pictures of food with my phone.
i doo-doo that.
and the light has been just right.
and the placesettings have been pretty tight, too.
those nappy napkins and all the one-off plates and boards have turned my kitchen
into a tightly packed hoarder's paradise.
i've got too much stuff.
that's the right amount-
now, i just need MORE space to store it in between seasons and sessions and shoots.
almost every available non-cooking surface has stuff on it!
what happened?
i turned around, and somehow stuffed all the stuff into all the spots,
and now i'm feeling a bit trapped in the test kitchen....
i need MORE ROOM, or less cuttingboards.
guess which one i'm leanning towards.
meanwhile, i'm hovering over my phone,
with controlled breaths and steadyish hands,
trying to get the right shot, on the proper plate, with the best towels and whatever else,
arranged to accentuate the tasty treats i'm about to eat...
i don't want all the same ol' same ol' ol' same sh!t,
so i gotta get the new new, but it's adding up,
all those individual bits and bobs have become an impending avalanche of bibs and boards.
if that's ever how you find me,
crushed under a landslide of napkins?
just light the whole heap on fire, and walk away.
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, July 27


blueberries and buckwheat and coconut?!
hell yes.
little waffles are kind of winning me over lately.
i think it's probably our human genetic predisposition to care for tiny cuties
and itty-bitty babies that has me all caught up in small waffle magic.
it's not me, it's my DNA.
i like that i can eat six of them,
and they're not much more batter than a trio of regular-sized jauns.
that's a neat trick for my bellyhole.
it's MORE food, but it's also the same, duders.
i really like that.
and the flavor combination?
buckwheat is kind of nutty.
blueberries, straight outta maine, are always invited,
and coconut?
well, coconut is the male or break, bruh.
if you HATE coconut,
it's usually because you've been allowed to indulge
in unadventurous beige-and-grey meals for too damned long.
that's no joke.
coconut is expert. simple as that.
i'm not saying that poor person coconut is any good.
i never have liked that bottom-rung budget btchbaggery,
but that unsweetened unsulphured flaky business is 100% elite.
real talk.
when i'm making batter,
i have to have it.
and so i do.
check the day-off big B-type teleport:

real new hampshire maple syrup.
if you're reppin' the doo-doo sap that is that brown-corn crud?
you can't come over.
that's what grossies do, man.
stop that.
that fruit salad was the TRUTH.
tropical, but also, seasonal, and fully turnt an tilty with that lime zest sprankle game.
wordimus prime.
the weird canada-ham that i got is still brickishly pink, and frustratingly good,
i had some, i made some, and i ate some.
that's it.
the scrambo, as usual, was expert AF.
i love a good scrambulator,
and this one had just a touch of crispy on the edges.
GPOP, turmeric, smoked paprika, hemp hearts, salt, pepper, and nootch.
tha's what you put to it, if you wanna put the hottness in your mouth.
do that.
and those waffles?
i made eight, i ate six, and i loved every minute.
here's how it happened:
in a small mixing bowl,
3 T raw sugar;
2/3 cup flour;
1 1/2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1/3 cup buckwheat flour;
1/4 cup crushed luxurious coconut flakes;
3 T melted butts;
3 T vegan sour cream;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 cup low-bush small bloobs;
1/2 cup non-dairy milk.
^^^dope, right?
yeah, i know,
all that decadence is right there for the griddlin'.
and you KNOW i couldn't leave it at that-
too much is the right amount.
so there's that good-good syrup,
but then there's also vegan whipped cream,
AND toasted coconut sprankles!
i LOVE it when breakfast tries to kill you with quality and quantity.
i hope you make this stuff.
and if you don;t, i hope you're at least wishing i'd invite you over.
you just might get an invite,
unless you're a coconut despiser-
then, you can't come in.
rules is rules, buddy.
i'm two dinners behind on posting.
i apologize.
i've just been balls-deep and butt-nasty in some new tattoo studio shopping,
and it takes up an enormous chunk of my allotted time to be wakeful and productive.
it's all still really happening,
you just have to  wait an extra minute to hear about it;
never quiet, never soft.....


if you're getting eight or more hours of slumberland dreaminess,
i am very confused by you.
are you super successful?
i mean, that's just so much sleep.
y'all must have expert time management skills,
or incredible efficiency at all tasks, both assigned and voluntary.
i mean,
i'm up for about nineteen or twenty hours every damned day,
and i'm still feeling the press of time as each day breaks,
and it doesn't let up as each night falls.
meanwhile, somehow, you're cool with just crashing out and getting some rest?
that's weird.
i mean, if you're cool with it, be cool with it, i guess.
i can't hang out doing nothing for that long, though.
it's just not my style.
i'm on some other other sh!t-
combining all the good flavors,
and activating all the best textures,
to make something superior to each individual component-
that's real, neighbors.
like, for example,
let's just take a look at some new cookies.
circles of sugary floury flavorbombin', live and direct to your mutha-effin' face!

peanut butter!
chocolate chips!!!
c'mon, man,
that's what's good.
there's peanut buttery coocnut icing!
and, as we all know, rules is rules...
so yeah, those're rich people coconut sprankles on top!
you want the rundown?
you can have it-
preheat your oven to 375℉.
in a medium mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel, for aesthetic effect,
cream up:
1 cup coconut palm sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
8 T non-dairy butterish;
1/3 cup medium flake unsweetened coconut;
1 tsp coconut extract.
when that's all mixed and mashed,
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce; .
1/2 cup creamy organic natural peanut butter.
stir that in very well,
and add:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
1/4 cup coconut flour;
1/4 cup pulverized coconut flakes.
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (obvi the vegan ones, duh)
guys, that's it.
make golf balls, and flatten them,
and space them a few inches apart-
then bake 'em for 13 minutes,
and let them cool on a rack.
once they're ready,
ice 'em up, duder!
that's 1 tsp peanut butter;
1/2 cup powdered sugar;
1/4 tsp vanilla;
1/4 tsp coconut extract;
2-3T coconut milk.
how dope?
SO dope.
and the spranks?
too much is the right amount,
and i'd hate to understate the taste exxxplosions that'll happen
when you add that little somethin' somethin'.
i'm just sayin'.
why wouldn't you activate that hottness?
probably because you're sleeping, right?
cookies are so easy,
and so awesome,
and dangerously edible.
i had more than my fair share,
and i can see the consequences shaping up into some sort of blarp.
they're super effing good,
maybe share them with your friends so you don't turn into a sloppy mess.
or turn into a sloppy mess....
i'm not the boss of you, bro.
one work ends, and another begins.
i'm so nervous and excited and anxious and energized by the prospect
a living, breathing entity, composed entirely of creativity, positivity, and expertism.
and really,
what else do you need?
a tattoo, hopefully.
it won't last long, kids.
it's all really happening,
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, July 25


i mess around with that crushed red pepper.
and cherry peppers.
and jalapenos.
and black pepper.
and cayenne pepper.
i do.
i'm not a glutton for punishment,
but i am sort of a sucker for that spice.
and if i'm gonna make pasta,
and i'm gonna make sauce,
and there's gonna be sausages....
well, then you'd better believe i'm also gonna get expert on all that sh!t,
AND bring the heat while i'm at it.
real talk.
check the teleport:

5x 5x 5x 5x 5x the colors in that pasta, neighbors!
3x 3x 3x the hot peppers in that sauce, son!
and all of it heaped on top of itself,
because too much is the right amount.
that's no joke.
i did spend extra on some upgrade 'ronis, duders.
worth every last additional dime, too.
i'm sayin',
y'all might be on some previous-level tricolor jauns,
but i'm over here reppin' two full shades beyond that basic business.
how do they taste?
the same as every other one-
but they look especially delicious, and that's not a bad thing by any measurement.
the sauce, tho.
that's some serious boomfire for your bumbum.
here's what i did, from scratch, because WTF even is jar sauce?
in a medium sauce pan, heat 3 T olive oil, to saute:
1/2 minced sweet onion;
1 small yellow carrot, macerated;
after five minutes, add:
3 T shredded red bell pepper;
3 cloves crushed garlic;
1 T minced jalapeno;
1 T minced hot cherry pepper-
let all of that wilt and melt and mildly disintegrate,
and then toss in and toast up:
oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley; black pepper, GPOP,
fire-roasted pepper flakes, dried basil, and a shake of cayenne.
after a minute or two,
drizzle in 2 T white wine vinegar, to unsizzle the stuck-on scraps,
and pour in:
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes;
2/3 cup warm water;
4 tsp sugar;
let that rise up to a slow simmer,
and stir in:
3 T nutritional yeast;
4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
1/4 cup sliced grape tomatoes.
spicy! thick! hearty! fresh! tasty!
and homemade like a mutha.
that's what's up.
shoutouts to everybody out there keepin' it molto molto with those from-scratchables.
rules is rules,
and homemade tastes better.
believe it,..
homemade vegan sausages are kind of my thing.
i mean, whatever you add in is ok, because it'll never be grosser than the
penis-shaped butthole interiors, full of ground penises and buttholes
that constitute real sausages.
i mean, c'mon, that's just not cool, man.
i'll wager there's five or more recipes for 'em somewhere on this blog,
so i'll skip it right now if it's all the same-
suffice to say, my orifice-free tubes were damned tasty once they got tossed
and seared and browned up a bit with onion and spinach and a little pasta water.
add in fresh basil, and parsley sprankles,
and you've got yourself a rainbow partytime exxxplosion for your face,
and fairly quickly, at that.
don't be afraid to heat things up.
it's good for you.
like, metabolically, i mean.
if you're gonna be a waterbaby, and remain defenseless against the spice,
you might want to consider maybe growing a pair of adventure-globes,
and trying to improve yourself a little bit.
no pressure.
just sayin'.
let me just mention one thing-
for very nearly seven years, it's been a standing tradition
that whenever i'm in connecticut, the cones get caught at sweet claude's.
y'better believe that.
and although this time around,
the entire trip was tougher than tying shoelaces with oven mitts on,
the rules remained in effect,
and the tofutti vegan ice cream magic was mandatory for me and mine to activate.
check it:

coffee fudge.
rainbow sprankles.
my kids.
heck, even my ex-wife (the somewhat better one) was there.
there's never a good reason to skip out on a scoople of the stuff.
i'm serious.
going out for ice cream i one of the things that feels like summer.
and it feels like vacation any time of year.
and it feels as good as it tastes,
and it tastes really effin' good.
i may have had a hell of a week,
but i finished off my time in connecticut with the best possible available ending.
there's something about that cone-zone, bro.
you'll see-
go get yourself a scoop somewhere.
you won't regret it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, July 24


reverse batter might be my favorite thing for right now.
and of course,
i think by making a second version hot on the heels of the first,
i may have solidified some mandatory ingredients on the to-do list.
i mean,
rules is rules, fools,
and nobody can infringe on my decrees.
cake is dope.
and cake is comforting.
and as i've recently remarked,
as long as it's single-layered cake is for anytime you want it.
i needed to do something with my dumb hands,
so i made a smart cake.
check the teleport:

ganache on top?
that there's what you do to reverse batter cake, y'fakes.
and it's super moist and super good,
and i didn't freak it off with any moistening starches,
just the reversal of my previous technique.
who'd have guessed?
me, actually, but only just recently.
oh, and it's square.
i like that, too.
what's the order of operations?
it's like this:
preheat your oven to 365℉.
in your stand mixer, cream together:
1 cup organic sugar;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp powdered vanilla bean;
1 stick plant-based earth balance butter;
1/2 tsp salt.
when that's all melded into one substance, whisk in:
3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt;
and then add 1 cup non-dairy milk.
blend that together thoroughly,
and finish it off with:
2 1/2 cups sifted flour;
2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda.
whip it really well, and spread it out onto a greased and floured pan.
this jaun was right-angled, and it made one helluva cake-
although, it took about 40 minutes to do it.
worth it.
the ganache had coconut oil and coconut extract in it, too.
it needed a little something exxxtra, y'know?
which is why there's also a whole heckload of toasted medium flake
unsweetened extra-super-fancy rich-people-type coconut sprankles on top.
too much is the right amount, friends.
that's a thing.
go bake a cake, guys.
it's a good idea.
how hot was it when i made this?
the F*ing frosting melted as soon as it left the fridge.
that's pretty damned hot, huh?
maybe don't do that part,
unless you LIKE blarpity bops on top.
your call, kiddo.
i'm not the boss of you.
more work?
don't mind if i do.
tomorrow, i am taking some time to get sh!t done,
outside of work,
where i only have a week left, anyway.
what a weird feeling that is.
to leave my home away from home away from home
after such a long long war.
choosing to move outward, and onward, and upwards,
was a decision i made a loooong time ago,
but now that it can actually happen,
and IS really happening,
and what with the collateral calamities that've been unfolding on all sides,
i would just like to take this moment,
on this forum,
to say:
i hope i am worthy of the undertaking.
that's all.
it's not self-doubt, nor is it passive-aggressive self-aggrandizement.
it's a genuine hope, and a genuine goal.
i'm grateful for the time i've been given,
and i strive to be equal to the task at hand;
never quiet, never soft.....


i made a TERRIBLE dinner the other night.
i did.
i couldn't even eat it.
and this was before everything else took a huge sh!t on the floor, figuratively speaking.
it was awful.
i don't know where my mind was at,
but it sure as heck wasn't in this kitchen.
look at it:

what the eff is going on?
any idea?
it was a heaping hunk of nerd turds.
cajuny-battered fried baby bella mushrooms seemed like a win,
but it was zero percent victorious.
they were greasy, and clumpy,
and although the batter was molto tight, on the ones,
it did NOT go well with those mushers, which became muy muy mushy.
lettuce and peppers and pickles and sh!t did NOTHING to hook it up, either.
and the flatbread should've been called salty suck-flaps,
because i ruined that too.
the slaw was too soft, and that was a big letdown.
hey, it wasn't a complete loss, however-
the salad was good.
but, the again, it's like three things,
and two of them were just what they already are.
cukes and tomatoes are pretty tasty, and italian dressing does it's job admirably, as well.
the salad wasn't a failure, but it's also barely a salad, so there's that.
it sucked SO hard on all the balls that i was forced to admit i didn't dominate dinner.
not one little bit.
final grade: F+
was i still hungry?
of course.
what was left in the fridge?
wet leaves.
shoutouts to salad for saving the day!
check the teleport:

whatever, neighbors-
i effs with salad heavy in my 'hood.
and all the little add-ons take dumb leaves to eleven, y'heard?
word up.
and i don't always have the time for magnificence;
and also,
i don't always have the ingredients for tremendousness;
and also also,
i don't always have an idea of what to make-
and i fall back on salad, because i will forever and ever have all ten seconds
it takes to make that.
here's a couple more:

and :

i do that.
and i'm actually sorta surprised i don't do it more often.
i will confess to cooking very little last week.
my heart and my head just weren't in it to win it.
i did order a LOT of indian food,
and twice as much pizza.
that's a fight-back/recover combo.
sick to your stomach with guilt and grief and second-guesses and sadness?
kill it with fire,
and what's more fiery, up in the crackery whiteness of the white mountains
than a big ol' bowlful of HOT indian curry?
that's turbo-ethnic boomfire for your brown-powerful boy, duders.
real talk.
and then, when i was all beat up and broken down,
what is it that kept me going,
and made me feel just a little baby bit better every single time?
ummmmmm, PIZZA, obvi.
what are you?
an A*-hole?
don't be dumb.
it's back to back to back stacks on stacks of work and work and more work,
and while the big action coming my way,
with AMPERSAND TATTOO really shaping up to be something special,
i think i've got to throw myself into it, wholeheartedly with full force and wild abandon.
what's more,
i should probably start being a lot nicer to people.
it clearly makes a difference.
at the end, my sister was immeasurably well-liked.
y'ever go to your waitress's funeral, and cry your face off?
me neither.
there was an enormous turnout of folks who did just that.
that's crazy to me,
but i'm so impressed by it.
i mean it.
and, like, how many ex-boyfriends were at her wake?
a whole mess.
and every last one of them was crying an ocean of tears.
if your exes are all effed up that you're gone?
that's a testament to enduring spirit and memory, isn't it?
i doubt i'd have a single tear to shed if my ex finally fell down
into her flaming punishment in the afterlife.
no jokes, these people were all the way shook.
that's some seriously molto magical juju right there -
being nicer about being mean,
and being mean without being mean,
and meaning all the nice things, too.
the kid was onto something.
seems i have a lot to think about.
and thinking about it means thinking about my sister.
that's a good idea, across the board;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, July 23


that was awful.
grief, loss, mourning, and coping-
plus hours of added travel time in stop and go traffic,
in blistering hot weather,
in every state i drove across didn't help a damned thing.
guess who popped a tire?
it was me.
guess what specific tire had to be special ordered?
have you met me?
how else could it ever even have happened?
that was just a little extra sauce on top of a brutal bludgeon of a weekend.
damn. damn. DAMN.
and when i finally got home to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and unleashed my high-strung tornado terrier,
i quickly re-leashed him,
and we walked,
and walked,
and walked some more,
until both of us were bleary eyed and dizzy from the heat and the exertion.
you ever been to a wake for a local celebrity?
between my sister anna's ability to make friends EVERYwhere,
and my sister mary's successful business connections,
and my father's notoriety across all levels of the underworld,
and my mother's preposterously enormous extended family,
and her beloved work family,
there were a billion people shaking hands and touching me,
and two billion wet eyes looking to make sense of this all-consuming misery.
y'know what i do when i don't know what to do with myself?
i make something to eat.
that's right.
and when i have extra hours to consider what's for supper,
it isn't always a better plate for all that there is added consideration.
last night?
last night was something.
if you're gonna eat your feelings,
and you're the type to have a whole lotta strong feelings,
then really, the objective is clear:
too much is the right amount.
and a big plate of big flavors took a tiny bit of the edge off.....
.....although my body isn't ready to be delighted in any way right now,
and that diminished what i know deep down was some next-level dopeness.
check the teleport:

damn, dudes.
i came home and saw a bright flash of orange in the woods.
i suspected it was a special treat,
and upon closer inspection, i was rewarded for my suspicions.
backyard-harvested delicacies, bro.
chicken of the woods is the TRUTH.
real talk.
dunked in a soymilk/flax/chia blend,
and dredged in cornstarch/flour/GPOP/salt/pepper/paprika/
cayenne/oregano/ground mustard breading???
how can you beat that?
with jalapeno and scallion tossed right in the batter of some big boi-style
little manly cornbread waffles.
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal;
3 T vegan sour cream;
2 T demerara sugar;
1 1/2 tsp bakey powder;
1 tsp bakey soda;
2 T melted earth balance buttery goodness;
1/4 tsp salt;
11 cracks of black peppercorns;
2 T minced jalapeno;
1 T shredded scallion greens;
2/3 cup non-dairy milk;
^you could totally mix that up, and waffle it out.
i just know you can, and you totally should, too.

wilted baby spinach greens, in the same pan as the mushroom sizzlers?
with pickles and jalapenos, and parsley and scallion sprankles?
and how about those sexy purple cabbage confetti streamers?
no ugliness is invited to my dinnertable; y'heard, y'turds?
wordimus prime.
you know what that's missing?
and here's how you too can conjure up a whole mess of that big beige,
and activate all the excellence contained therein:
2 T plant-based butterish;
3 T flour;
(toasted together, on medium heat, until golden)
+ 2 T nutritional yeast;
2 tsp each Garlic Powder Onion Powder;
black pepper to taste;
1 1/2 cups broth;
^ dudes, that's all there is-
heat it up, stir it a lot, let it thicken,
and then lose your effing mind over how totally elite everything is with gravy on it.
that's no joke.
how could we improve on that?
i mean, honestly, if there was something to add,
what would it be?
OBviously, it's barbecue lentils, because that's what's ON the plate, neighbor.
1/4 cup onion;
1 1/4 cup lentils;
olive oil.
sizzle those together,
and add:
3-4 T organic ketchup;
1 T smoked paprika;
4 dashes of liquid smoke;
1 tsp oregano;
1 T red bell pepper, all mincey-minced nicey-nicely;
2 T pickle brine ( i used jalapeno in this instance);
GPOP, black pepper, parsley, and a touch of cayenne.
^^^DAS IT!!^^^
with raw red onion garnish?
c'mon, kid.
that's what's good.
it's back to my surreal real life today.
back to work,
and back to the front.
fighting the good fight, of which, no fight is really all that good,
but, sometimes, there are battles that need winning,
and if i can't work ON something,
then i've got to work THROUGH something.
there's no time to adequately feel what's happening.
it's not fair, but it is what's really happening;
never quiet, never soft.....


low bush blueberries grow in abundance in my backyard.
i have cultivated big bush big bloobers, too,
but they yield a measly handful at best every year.
that's on me-
they need more acid in their soil, and i've been incredibly lax
in my attentions to the grounds of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
as such, the lowly low-lows adjacent to the soil-embittering,
enriched ripeness of my heroically huge hemlock tree are flourishing instead.
and in turn, so am i.
a big bag of backyard bloobs had me wondering what to do with such a special treat.
and after a mere moment's hesitation, i knew the answer:
breakfast biscuits.
scones are in the zone, neighbors.
and my scone situation has only gotten more expert with time.
check out the two-bite wedges i worked up last week:

so much blue, they turned green.
that's when you know you've overdone it-
which is to say:
you've correctly done it.
that's right.
too much is the right amount,
and that goes double for smaller berries.
you wanna overdo your own?
you ca use store blueberries, too,
i won't judge you too harshly.
(just a little bit)
preheat your oven to 400℉.
in a mid-sized mixing bowl,
cut together:
3 T vegan creamchee';
1 stick plant-based butterish;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 1/2 cups flour;
3 T raw sugar;
1/3 cup tapioca flour;
1/2 lemon's zest.
when that's all one indistinguishable crumbly mass,
4 T vegan sourcream;
1/2 cup non-dairy milk;
1 cup wild harvest magic low-bush new hampshire Folk Life blueberries.
fold, and turn, and fold, and turn,
until the whole thing is one somewht sticky, layered block.
flour a surface nearby,
and press the whole of it into a flat get-wrecked rectangle,
about 1" high,
and slice it lengthwise down the middle.
cut yourself a whole bunch of wedges from either strip.
arrange them all, alternating tips and butts, on a baking sheet.
freeze them for at least five whole minutes,
and then bake those sweet bluegreen baby b!tches for about twenty minutes.
cool 'em, and then glaze 'em, broski.
lemon juice, lemon extract, vanilla, and powdered sugar are all you need.
eyeball it, too.
i believe in you.
lots of sugar, and just a little teentsy baby bit of everything else.
you'll get smarter is you do,
how awesome are they?
they're soft, and not too dry, and not too sweet,
which somehow makes them taste too damned dope-
and usually, that's what we need, nerds, y'know?
breakfast can be simple,
it can be superb.
when it's time to turn up my blue-ray blue-bae blueberry spectrum,
you know i will come loud and hard with that freshness,
directly for your face.
i'm catching up,
and when i'm there,
everything else is going to be okay;
never quiet, never soft.....


5x chocolate brownies.
that's how it is, now.
and i've been slacking, sort of, on keeping everything recorded for you.
sorry about that.
here's what they look like:

and here's how you make them:
preheat your oven to 360℉.
in a medium mixing bowl, cream together:
1 stick very soft plant-based butter;
1 cup sugar;
1/4 cup brown sugar;
2 tsp vanilla;
3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt;
1/2 cup cocoa (that's a lot!);
1/2 tsp salt.
when that is mixed well-enough to become a thoroughly sloppy wet mess,
add 1 cup of non dairy milk, and mix well.
it's reverse batter, buddy,
and it's realllllly damned good.
2 1/2 cups a.p. sifted flour;
2 tsp bakey powpow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 heaped cup of chocolate chips;
2/3 cup cacao nibs.
stir well,
and add to a greased and floured brownie pan.
bake for 33 minutes, or until the center just barely isn't jiggly anymore.
let them cool a little, but NOT to room temperature.
we want the next level of chocolate to work, too.
shave dark baker's deep dirty chocolate all over the tops.
and it'll melt jusssst enough to hold fast.
try it first, to make sure it doesn't just all-the-way dissolve, tho, obvi.
don't be dumb, duders.
and ganache!
y'gotta doo-doo that ganache, guys.
rules is rules.
and what's the use of exxxtra-chocolaty chocolate without even MORE chocolate?
that's 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted,
with 3 T non-dairy milk,
1 tsp vanilla;
3 T powdered sugar.
kaBOOM! instant hottness.
that's FIVE kinds of chocolate.
and these reverse bbattery b!tches are the bomb, bruh bruh.
for really real.
they're super soft and springy, and moist and rich and light, surprisingly.
so much so that they do go down the hatch pretty easily.
you might tune up ten in a row before you have time to register
that you've just given yourself diabetes.
be careful.
but, also, be ready, because once you do this,
brownies will be forever changed.
it's all really happening,
and i'd be more than happy to share them with you;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, July 21


fourteen years.
fifteen summers.
endless days.
countless hours.
and after all of it,
i'm all done.
that's correct.
i gave my notice at the only real job i've ever had.
the longest consecutive number of days i've spent performing a specific task,
in one location, is presently coming to it's conclusion.
i'm serious.
as of august first,
i no longer will be employed at white mountain tattoo.
you read that right.
it's been a literally incredible journey through the highs and lows of my career,
living and loving and hating and working (always working) in the woodsly goodness.
there are innumerable times that i thought for sure it was going to collapse in on itself,
and there were even more times where i steamrolled and rollercoastered and coasted iby,
spanning whole swaths of berserker barbarian battle-beastliness,
and motormouthing my way through day after day of summertime tourists, 
ski-bum winter wanderers,
mud-season rednecks,
mud-bowl amateur sportsmen,
early august camp counselors,
and out-of-state second-homo's (that's homeowner, abbrev'd)
and now,
that's all over.
fourteen years in one tattoo studio?
in tattooer years, that's three lifetimes' worth.
hell, i'm downright lucky.
after all this time;
thousands and thousands of tattoos;
sh!t, the entirety of my thirties, good, bad, and worse, elapsed under that roof.
these dudes took me in when i mistakenly thought i had enough juice in the industry to 
retreat to the high hills with no adverse effects-
and tolerated my highfalutin antics when i briefly returned to my former imagined glory
during the few years i traveled to atlanta in search of the magic i'd let out of my grasp.
that's something.
and that's what i'm choosing to remember.
we always get a choice, neighbors.
and i'm choosing to remember those kindnesses 
as the final curtain closes on our time together. 
that said,
the NEW new hottness is on it's way.
for too damned long, i've been waitin' in the cut,
steady grindin', and stackin';
planning and plotting and plodding along in a rut.
why am i leaving white mountain tattoo?
because my five year /eight year plan is finalllllllly coming together.
at long last,
i am pleased to proudly announce the creation of my own studio!
word up.
as i type, construction continues apace on the new space for spanning time,
and making art, 
and zappin' tattbombs,
and telling true stories,
and actively participating in each puzzling piece of the bigger picture.
it's ALL really happening,
and now, it has a name:
like, c'mon, now:
do you know what that is?
it's dope.
that's what it is.
the & symbol, 
the stylized 'et' from latin, 
the 'and per se and' of the alphabet,
the 27th letter of most classic typefaces,
the symbol for AND,
which is equivalent,
in my lexicon, to MORE.
there is no this OR that,
only this AND that,
because too much is the right amount.
as i prepare for this trip to connecticut today,
to say a final goodbye to my baby sister,
i'm humbled by this opportunity i have ahead of me.
maybe overwhelmed is a better word.
so much newer, bigger, better, ever-bigger BIG action is just beginning
as an ever bigger piece is gone for good.
it's difficult to focus on the future 
at a time when the past is present and holding you to account.
i'm far more mindful that the gifts i've been given are not to be taken lightly.
i'm staying gold knowing full well nothing gold can stay.
that's just what i do.
whenever and wherever there's a harder way, 
i'll find it
turn it up to eleven,
and make gold from straw.
rules is rules, after all.
i'd hoped for a bigger fancier reveal.
a grand debut.
but somehow,
this feels more fitting.
without the bitter the sweet's never ever as sweet.
and this good news, shared with you, is good for me.
i'm grateful for the times,
i'm fortunate to have been given this hand-forged Folk Life,
and i'm sure as hell not going to squander it-
today is the day.
the last one, the first one, the hardest one;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, July 19


how do you put grief into words?
i've always thought i had that down pat.
loss and i are old friends, after all.
today, however,
i'm not so sure there are words that can capture the scope of the loss i'm feeling.

my youngest sister, anna, is dead.

that one sentence states the facts.
but, it's not enough.
...because that just tells you how the story ends,
and doesn't do anything at all to tell you about how much she mattered to us.
it's easy to say you're sorry that something sad has happened.
and really, what else can someone on the outside ever actually say?
there's a kind of culpability in that apologetic offering-
'i'm sorry for your loss' is sort of the same thing
as volunteering the sentiment of being sorry for not losing.
me and mine just took a hard L,
and in an instant,
just like that,
everything has changed,
and nothing has changed,
and i'm seriously not sure which is worse.
do you understand?
i've got to do all the same sh!t i had to do yesterday,
and all those mundane chores and tasks and responsibilities remain.
a huge glitter-glued sparkly continent-sized piece of my life and times is missing.
it's not like we spoke every day.
it's not like we saw each other every time i went back home.
that's wasn't ever the point.
we didn't have to, because we each knew how the other felt.
we actually liked each other.
we laughed the hardest together.
we shared all the inside jokes at the family's expense.
we picked up right where we left off, every time, no matter how much time had passed.
we were connected, and we were friends and now she's gone.
that's the big motherF*er about death.
you can still have a whole lot of great things with a whole bunch of great people,
but you never get to have those things with that person ever again.
and i'll miss every last bit of it.
she was a good person.
she did a whole bunch of A*-hole things, and often-
it wouldn't be a true story if we left that out-
but she was a good person.
better than her brother and sister at the core of it all.
for all that she tagged along behind us, she led the way in that respect.
here's the thing-
from way back in the day, when my kid sister was just a little girl,
she was determined to be every bit as big as her siblings.
that meant she went after every moment twice as hard,
twice as loud, twice as fearlessly as the rest of us.
so much so that we all knew
(and that includes any friends who happened to be playing with us)
that as soon as anna got involved,
any ordinary games were about to get really real real fast.
we used to genuinely fear her level of absolute intensity. teasing her was dangerous because retribution was swift and brutal,
and then forgive and forgotten.
she was prepared to go farther than the rest of, and she routinely did.
her determination to be considered the same as us typecast her as a tough guy,
in reality,
she was more of a lover than a fighter.
and she loved as hard as she fought.
maybe harder.
in some ways, i think she thought of them as one and the same.
if she loved you, and she probably did, she loved you the best,
and if she hated you, damn, dude- you definitely deserved it...
she kept my mother on her toes, with midnight calls of danger close confrontation,
wherein she was guided to safety by our dear ol' ma.
it seemed like she was good for one of those a year, like a booster shot.
she was so much like our father in that-
hell, she made him feel needed, which was all he ever really needed.
and she really needed her mom to take care of her, which was hell on them both.
life is funny like that, only, nobody ever laughs at it, when it's all really happening.
she was a neat freak and a hot mess.
she was a workhorse who could sleep for days.
she was a fast-talking sh!t-talking right-up-to-your-face-and-dis-you girl.
she was a ghetto fabulous and a do-it-yourself crafty homemaker.
she never got her driver's license.
she was my father's favorite daughter, and his favorite son, and deservedly so.
she was thirty six years old and she died in her sleep.
that's some small comfort.
i remember her as a torpedo of a baby.
i remember her as the sweet second sister who endured being the second sister.
i remember her as my little tagalong, helping me shovel snow.
i remember her as a batsh!t teen terror.
i remember her as a beaming graduate from night-school.
i remember her working for me and saving my A* when i was unequal to the role of boss.
i remember her as a laugh-so-hard-we-cried co-conspirator on too many christmases.
i remember her as a dazed and crazed bride at her front-yard barbecue wedding.
i remember her cradled in my arms, crying and helpless, when her husband died.
i remember her as she was, light and dark, easy and hard.
anna was a good person.
she was a kind person.
she was my little sister.
she was my friend.
i am grateful for the time we were given,
and the life and love we shared;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, July 17


organic brown rice ramen??
what even is that?
.....about 600% more expensive than plain ol' dirty budget ramen, apparently.
it's not prohibitively expensive, unless you're for realsies on a top ramen budget,
but it's crazy inflated versus almost every other pasta out there.
if it's superfancy and unnecessary, then papa carocci simply has to have it.
rules is rules.
oh, btw, that's me,
papa c.
(also, it's the cucch, too, alphabetically)
it's complicated, but trust me, that's a thing.
ok, ok.
i found some fancy ramen.
that's cool.
what do we do when we gotta do what we gotta do?
we doo-doo that freaky sh!t, each and every time.
shoutouts to another 'nother elite NOODOO BOWL!!!

part pho, part thai, part sweet, part sour, part spicy boomfire.
that's a lot of parts,
but then again- too much is the right amount,
and sometimes, that's what we need.
it's got a lot of flavors and textures.
it's a sophisticated kind of spice.
i'm serious.
the broth has more than it's fair share of hot and sour and sweet,
and the veggies are complex for all their simplicity;
there's fresh ones, and sauteed ones, crunchy jauns, softies;
plus, those crispy AND hot boys, too.
check it-
half an onion, diced;
2 huge cloves of garlic, sliced;
veg oil, to saute them.
sizzle those for a few, to soften them,
and add:
1/2 cup thin red bell pepper strips, half length;
1 tsp red chili, minced;
1 tsp minced jalapeno;
when the garlic is just starting to color, pour in:
1 T chili-garlic paste;
1 T tamari;
3 T rice wine vinegar;
3 T mae ploye SAUCE;
1 T agave;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1/2 tsp ginger;
1/2 tsp ground mustard;
2 cups hot water;
2 T lime juice.
let all that bubble for ten minutes,
and add chopped cilantro and a cup of baby spinach for the victory!!
how good is it?
so good you'll slap your mama in the mouth!!
those big broccoli guapoli florets got seared in a dab of unrefined coconut oil,
then braised, along with a bunch of baby bok choy, in a soy/water 1:1 ratio dash.
a lid, some minutes, and a hot pan were all that was needed to make something magical.
and the mushrooms?
quartered fattie boombattie big baby bellas, brown on two out of three sides,
before swimming in that broth like little myconic otters...
from there,
it was all decoration-
baby spinach, pea shoots, red radishes, yellow carrots, fresh basil,
snap peas, jalapeno slices, cilantro and scallion sprankles...
plus a lime garnish to activate any latent hottness that might've still been asleep.
to that, i say:
wake the eff up and get ON this tasty jaun, neighbors.
i LOVE NOODS, dudes.
i'm totally like that.
so, when i'm not crushing noodles with my face,
i'm drawing.
and when i'm drawing, crabtree is whining.
or barking.
or generally destroying something of valuable,
along with my patience and my self-control.
i don't know what it is about the little A*-hole,
but he HATES when i have a pencil in my hand.
that's weird, right?
if i'm cooking, he's cool as a cucumber.
if i'm entertaining someone (rarely) he goes to sleep.
but, if i get out a paper and a pencil?
instant eff-holery.
it's making my latest adventure into kind of an ordeal,
why wouldn't it be?
if it was easy all the time, there'd be no accomplishments to it.
i'll get it all done,
and he'll get on my nerves,
and we'll go for a walk, and we'll get it all out of our system,
and then we'll get the job done...
it's got to happen,
and it all really is;
never quiet, never soft


ohhhhhh snap
it's been a wild weekend of work, work, and more work,
and late late nights and early early mornings,
and long dog walks and intense really real talks;
and big moves and small victories;
and fat tips from skinny people and no tips from big'uns...
it's ALL really happening.

that's a picture of some cookies,
because far too few of you actually like when there are too many words on here.
for realsies.
but, back to the world of the woodsly goodness-
the studio has been so super-mobbed that i barely have a minute to catch my breath.
tatts on tatts on tatts-
with more and more of 'em piling in every damned day.
that's a good thing, guys...
busy is better than slow,
and being harried and hurried and overworked
is better than spanning lazy days in a lootless movie-check-free space.
that's no joke.
here's the thing:
i've somehow got to be in two places at once,
and i still don't know how to subdivide myself into equal parts.
instead, i have rely on worthy warrior poets and active participants
for all the in-betweens and collaterals that i can't be present for.
i have good friends.
how weird is that?
and the best part?
because i'm such a limited edition elitist,
all the friends i have are all absolutely expert.
plus, when they say they'll be around, they ARE.
look, neighbors,
ANYbody can bobblehead around being nice to EVERYbody-
of course,
if you're like that, it doesn't really count, does it?
think about it, man-
that means everything awful is the same as everything amazing,
and that elevates turds, and dims the stars.
doing that might make you kind of an A*-hole with a smiley face.
oh, don't worry, duders, i'm NOT about that sh!t.
in fact,
i'm positively discriminatory when it comes to who's ON the list,
and who won't ever be considered for entry .
y'gotta be dope, or you're not invited.
so the fact that i have these few helpful, present, involved active participants
is just about the best news out there at this point in time.
yesterday, my friend dennis had a berfday.
and that's pretty cool, because he's pretty cool.
i'm pretty effin' lucky to have family members like him.
and when i say family, i mean it like: the manson family, obvi.
it's just that those closest to me matter more than ordinary average everyday regulars-
and that's how family is s'posed to work, isn't it?
i'm not exactly sure, honestly, but i think that's it.
i'm lucky, and i know it.
i'm so crushed underneath the slipping sands of the hourglass that i haven't found time
to do all the things i'd like to,
but i will.
and that means all the berfdays get a cake,
and all the candles get lit.
and all the dinner parties get thrown,
and the fires burn and the days unfold on dotted ley lines of spirit and memory
and all of that gets recorded for posterity and prosperity right here.
here's that cookie recipe.
preheat your oven to 375℉.
in a medium bowl, cream together with your trusty pastry cutter:
1/2 cup brown sugar;
1/2 cup raw sugar;
1 stick (8T) earth balance butterish;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 T lemon zest;
1 tsp lemon extract;
1 tsp vanilla.
^to that tasty mush, you'll need to sift in:
2 1/2 cups a.p. flour;
1 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 T lemon juice;
and maybe a little more lemon zest.
if it's tooo crumbly, add a little agave, or more lemon juice, a little at a time.
you don't want mud, you want putty, y'feel me?
knead that into a shiny smooth dough, and rest it, wrapped in plastic,
for at least an hour, or overnight, if you're good at planning.
i rolled and cut 'em out, and got more than four dozen 2 1/2" circles.
sure, they were like 1/4" thick, but they were 100% delicious.
baked for 11 minutes,
they're crisp AF, and snappier than your mean aunt.
you can eat 'em as is, and they're great.
i had a whole bunch of frosting in the fridge,
so i used all of that,
and added those powdery sugary sprankles, too.
after all, too much is the right amount.
why have just plain jauns when you can have that multiflavorful freshness for your face?
MORE deliciousness is clearly better.
that's what i'm sayin'!
so, today is full.
and tomorrow, too.
i gotta get while the gettin' is good,
before i gotta get the the eff out of there.
there's a time and place for everything,
and i think it's about to be albie rock o'clock;
never quiet, never soft.....