Monday, September 11


on opening day of the new hotness,
we had all sorts of big plans for ourselves.
that included kettle corn and tattoos and hangs at the warm and super-inviting space,
after hours,
for me and my good friend and co-worker, nate.
we had secretly spicy soup,
and that derailed every damned thing.
turns out,
AMPERSAND TATTOO is no match for a fire-spicy overripe italian fury pepper.
who knew?
not me, or i'd have maybe gone easy on the little F*er,
and saved the evening before it caught me in the throat and tried to kill me.
that's no joke.
i sliced that flavorful finger of ferocity into rings, some olive greenish,
some lime greenish, and some orange.
that's where i effed up, neighbors-
a hunk of seeded orange doom got caught in the back of my throat,
and burned it's way up, and down,
and back up, and then down, again and again,
until i was a drippy-nosed teary-eyed idiot.
oh, yeah.
i obviously had MORE,.
rules is rules, y'thick lump-
y'stay until the thing is done.
and besides, too much is the right amount.
...that's right.
it looked innocuous enough:

but it had that low-end afterburn creepin' in the cut.
the thing is-
it only took a little minute to make, which was good news for hungry heads.
the bumfire boomfire only got more intense as the soup steeped in between bowlfuls.
you want to make soup?
you don't need a recipe for that!
give a bunch of vegetable a bath.
that's soup.
you want THIS soup.
do this:
in a medium (2 quart) pot,
saute 1/2 diced yellow onion;
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and chopped;
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced, and quartered;
1 hotfire secret-doom longish italian hot pepper finger, cut into thick rings;
1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced;
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes;
1/2 cup black beans;
-add 3 T hot sauce;
1 T soy sauce;
oregano, cumin, ground coriander seed, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne;
2 T nootch;
11 craxx of fresh black pepper;
1 T chipotle pepper sauce;
and 2 cups vegetable broth.
simmer that all the way up, for like, twenty minutes.
then, all you've left to do is serve it up with fresh cilantro leaf,
scallion sprankles,
and a BIG ol' crumbled handful of very salty tortilla chips.
the chip factor is huge here.
these jauns were hippie-style with chia and flax in there, too-
.......and they were expert AF.
you like soup, don'tcha?
me too.
it's no homemade kettle corn,
but it served as punctuation on a pretty serious day of dopeness.
i can't tell you how grateful i feel.
for the people who helped make this possible,
especially auntie patti and uncle dennis who encouraged and assisted at every step;
and my graphix team, matt riorden and michael holmes, who came through in the clutch uncounted times;
my secret santa, and the world's most comfortable transgender tattooer,
shawn hebrank, who has surpassed his teachers on so many levels;
and my handiest manliest man, ben colbath,
who brought the whole shootin' match together in just a few broad strokes,
and he made it look easy while he did it;
and a shoutout to scott winters for the new sink;
and another shoutout to your boy lincoln graves at modock millworks
for handcrafting THE sexxxiest desk in the history of tattooing;
let's not forget thatcher and austin and carlos reppin' the tight new banner;
and my berfday twin kerri for dropping off the  freshest flowers,
and having the coldest iced coffee in town;
and crabtree, for being just about the most difficult and delightful dynamo of perpetual motion that a man could ask for in a four-legged best friend.
the milky boi is a good dude to have around when times are tough....
lastly, but not least by any means,
the homie, the friend, the supportive co-conspirator,
nate perley, a.k.a the white billy joel,
and by extension, his incredibly accommodating mom and stepfather,
for really bringing the patience and the encouragement to the darkest days
in between closing and opening, from one place to another.
that's the core of the hands-on interactive participation portion of the place.
but, let's not forget the support staff behind the scenes,
providing all of the emotional anchoring as timelines and budgets disintegrated
and derailed all over the effing place-
my own blood family certainly kept me lifted up,
and the push from my closest friends to create something of my very own
was felt on a daily basis.
all of y'all could've stood back, in the cut, creepin' and lurkin',
but you didn't, and i know that i'd saved the whole area
from being basted in berserker barbarian belligerence
on more than ten separate occasions.
even the meltdowns go to eleven without help from my people.
these folks are a whole lot like an extended family of extra cousins and brothers,
and mothers and fathers.
and while my own efforts to subsidize this enormous avocado of a studio
were at the battering ram's end of the juggernaut,
everybody else is really who we'll thank for AMPERSAND TATTOO existing.
if you see the space as a manifestation of something worth a sh!t,
and i hope you do,
then believe me,
all my micromanagerial obsessive natural inclinations
would've been worth F*-all without them.
damn, guys,
i might be getting a little choked up just thinking about it...
i am grateful for the time i have been given,
and i hope to keep the spirit and memory of gratitude and generosity alive and well
within the guacamole walls of this new Fortress of freshness.
this is it, and it's a lot;
never quiet, never soft.....

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