Monday, April 30

BYE BYE!

i made a cake.
try not to be too surprised.
i know,
i make a lot of cake.
i like cake, man; what more can i say?
oh, right- i could say a whole bunch about the taste, texture, consistency,
fluffiness, moistness, sweetness, and overall enjoyability of the thing.
well,
it's a fluffer-upper, and it's not dry at all.
it's got a hint of flaky coconut inside, which is great.
there's shaved chocolate and cocoa in the mix, which gives it a complex,
but gentle chocolate flavor.
the frosting?
that's hella expert peanut butter wizardry, and it's realllllllly good.
and then,
because rules is rules,
there's mini-baby tiny chocolate chips,
and ground cacao nib sprankles.
yeah!
a spice grinder is your friend.
if you've got one, you can mill all the things-
coffee, grains, actual spices, coconut, and those lil nibs, too.
mmmmmm.
check the teleport:
NOW THAT'S A CAKE, BABY!
yup.
it is.
just in time to say adios to the messy month of april.
ugh.
here's the details, just in case you're feeling motivated:
-
*
CHOCOLATISH CAKE!!
-
preheat your oven to 365℉
-
in your stand mixer, with the appropriate paddle in place,
mix:
1 cup brown sugar;
1 stick (8 T) softened vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 cup applesauce;
4 T cocoa;
2 T grated baker's chocolate.
combine totally, then pour in:
1 cup non-dairy milk.
whisk well, then sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 1/2 T non-GMO organic cornstarch;
1 tsp baking soda;
2 tsp baking powder;
4 T medium-flake unsweetened coconut.
-get that good and fluffed up,
and add it to a greased 9" springform (of course) ,
and bake for ~40 min.
or, until the top cracks and a tester comes away clean.
kaPOW!
just like that a whole cake is in effect, in a snap, neighbors!
-
let it cool completely, flip it over to the flat side, and frost it up.
-
*
PB FROSTY!
-
1/2 stick (4 T) vegan butter;
~2 cups powdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
2 T peanut butter;
1/4+ cup s'milk.
whisked in your superior stand mixer until super fluffy.
C'MON!
that's crazy easy.
y'might need more milk, just add it 1 tsp at a time, so you don't get beige buttmud instead
of buttery fluffs.
you got it.
-
cake is the cure for what ails me.
except, the side effect is a blarpity gut that won't go away.

***********
i'll say this about april-
it sure was eventful.
i mean, there was sandwich week.
that's always a big deal around here.
we saw sylvan esso, and that was neat.
i was on my own for a week, with nearly no contact,
and coincidentally, i was laid out with laryngitis, which was torturous, 
but not the reason for the silence on the other end of the line.
i had a couple of substantial arguments, in which none of what i said was heeded.
i saw the effing mountain goats
and ate waaay too much good bread and even better chinese food in burlington, vt.
during an unprecedented two days off in a row for the first time this year!
...and then, in an unsurprising turn of events, i was all out on my own,
with nearly no conversation, nor consideration, for a whole other 'nother week;
and this time around, i think it took root.
yep.
i'm once again the solo sojourner for truth-telling 
residing and biding time in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress .
uh-huh.
i'm not just saying bye bye to april,
i'm also giving a parade-wave to partnerships,
and a wistful salute to predictable outcomes.
and in between all of that,
i was baking cakes; 
and taking long walks with the dog;
working all the days;
writing all the words;
drawing, painting, cooking, exercising; 
and thinking long and hard about what it means to pursue my best self
with a Positive Mental Attitude in the face of rainy days and cold lonely nights.
now that's a busy month!!
it's all really happening,
and my eyes are open, blooshot, for sure, sand quinting for all the full-moonlight,
but i'm looking at What Is, and where i'm headed,
and i have to say:
i'm glad there's cake, man.
it's be a real hard style without those sweet slices;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, April 29

NOOODISM!

it's really all about that good light, guys.
uh-huh.
it's so much harder to get excited about supper when it's dark outside in the early afternoon.
that's no joke.
but,
when it's almost the merry merry month of may,
and the evenings are remaining bright and retaining warmth until well after dinner,
and that golden goodness is streaming in while the stove has steaming panfuls
of powerfully spiced sexxxiness sizzling atop those burly burners?
well,
that's when dinnertime is exactly the right time and place to be at.
i'm serious.
good light makes great meals.
i know, you don't eat the light; and we don't ever eat light portions either-
it's just that when it looks good, it tastes better.
that's real.
last night, after a super-bummer day of doo-doo butter, i caught the glow, yo.
yup,
the streaming beams of honey-hued hottness,
as the sun started to set, slowly,
beyond the mountains that embrace the woodsly goodness,
were flooding the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress with warmth and well-being.
if you can't cook better in those circumstances, you may as well just order take-away, man.
real talk.
conditions for creativity were at a high point, and i pointed myself directly at the stovetop.
mmmmm.
dudes- noods- check it:

NOODS!
F* yeah!
this dish is a multi-parter in one spot.
a big bowl of festival-style tiers of taste, texture, color, and consistency.
it's got:
rice noodles.
stir-fried mixed veggies.
crunchy raw veggies.
sesame-seared sweet potato.
spicy. smoky, sweet cilantro-garlic chickpeas.
AVO-F*ING-CADO.
and a whole sh!tload of sprankles.
word up.
i was psyched, and i'm gonna tell you all about it-
so,
it started with the potatoes.
yup.
-
*
SWEETIE PO'PO'S!
-
sesame oil, heated in a hot pan, and eight spears of skin-on sweet potato
(cut from 1/2 a potato, quartered, then halved);
sizzled until brown on side one, then flipped, and sizzled away another 'nother few minutes,
before adding 1 sliced carrot to the side of the pan,
and 1/4 cup red cabbage ribbons to the other side of the pan-
that's three sections in one pan, with three vegetables sauteeing.
smart usage of space? i think so.
add 2 T water and let it steam the potatoes, before adding in the ingredients for the stir-fry.
what?
yeah, man, we're one-panning this lil baby bihhhhhh.
-
*
STIRFRIES!
-
one smaller crown of chopped broccoli;
half a small cauliflower;
3 sweet mini bell peppers, halved;
2 huge handfuls baby kale;
half a sweet onion roughly chopped;
one bunch of scallion bottoms;
all of that, covered with a lid, for a few minutes just to ge it wet and hot,
before blasting it with some expert ho'sauce activation.
yuuuuuuuuuup.
NObody wants unspicy noods, dudes.
c'mon.
don't be dumb.
-
*
SRIRACHA-GARLIC-GINGER-LIME SAUCE!!
-
that's 2 T rice vinegar;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
1 T tamari;
2 T sriracha;
1 T green dragon sriracha-ish cilantro ho'sauce;
1 pinky-tip-sized skin-on organic ginger nib, minced;
2 big cloves of garlic, sliced;
1 T agave;
1/2 tsp ground mustard seed;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
2 T lime juice;
1/2 lime zest;
black pepper;
1/4 tsp dried ginger;
^^^^^THAT'S THE TRUTH, BRO!^^^
really.
that on those veggies, with the potatoes still getting fried underneath,
covered and steamed for  >5 minutes??
suddenly, you're expert af, and TILTY like a sauce wizard, too.
-
the sweets are saucy, but sesame-seared, and soft.
that shredded cabbage is rich and righteous.
the carrots are melty in your mouth, but firm as heck to the touch.
and the veg is al dente, but still saturated in perfection.
...and don't you even dare front on how the kale wilts jusssst right.
damn. i done did it, dooo-dudes.
-
served over those thin rice noodles?
dope.
and garnished with cucumber, and purple cabbage ribbons,
aand purple carrot wedges, aaand pea shoots?
YUP.
that'd be a level-eleven victory anywhere, right?
but,
we didn't stop anywhere near there....we kept going and going.
(i say we, i mean me, but it's the same idea, dear.)
AVO-F*ING-CADO?!
yesssssssssss.
that's how you get a party started, kids.
and those chickpeas?!?!
yo, on the ones-
i did something exxxtra tight with those.
-
*
SPICY CHICKS PEE!
-
1/2 can, drained rinsed chickpeas,
pan-fried in 2 tsp coconut oil;
with:
2 cloves of crushed garlic;
1 tsp smoked paprika;
1 tsp hot paprika;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
black pepper;
2 tsp nootch;
4 tsp mae ploy sweet chili sauce;
let that thicken up for a minute or two,
turn off the heat, and add:
1 T minced cilantro;
2 tsp minced scallion greens.
kaBOOOOOOOOM!
-
simple? sorta.
delicious? definitely.
the flavor was off the hinges, holmes.
that's for sure.
who'd have guessed that all these things would all go together like voltron,
the constructicons, or the megazord?
right?
right!
i should've known, huh?
too much is the right amount.
OBviously.
so, what else?
sprankles, y'goof!
rules is rules.
...we got scallion, we got cilantro, we even got jalapeno rings,
and over all of that, we got that good-good-
two-tone toasted sesame sossamons, man.
everything you need to be a F*ing food sorcerer, all in one spot.
two pans, one pot, one bowl, two chopsticks.
champion-style fatness, plus perfect lighting.
that's a saturday night WIN.
***********
it's a full moon, you goons.
i've got tension tingling across my skin.
i've got follicles standing on end.
you'd almost think i was electrified, the way the supercharged lunar spotlight
is heightening my howling hard styles.
what?
oh.
science says full moons ain't no thang.
and in this instance, science can eat a weird butt.
i can feel it.
pulsing and coursing, like blood.
the bass-boosted rhythmic drumbeat of a fully-stoked hot fire blast furnace,
smelting and forging some sort of ironclad wolfman from the inside outwards.
...yikes.
the skies are hidden under a heavy grey blanket right now.
the light is veiled. the grey is everywhere. the night is over, for now.
but, up above us?
that berserker barbarian battle-beastly beaming blue ball of light is still shining.
reflecting, rather, and refracting,
and ricocheting those silver bullets of moon magic right down onto us.
it's all really happening.
a real bloody sunday;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, April 28

ROCKBLOXXX!

nothing is as good as rock bloxxx.
that's real.
yeah,
they're cookies.
yeah,
they're F*ing delicious.
yeah,
they're full of allllll the flavors.
and yeah,
there's a lot of them.
too much is the right amount, man.
look at this:

ROCK BLOXXX!
c'mon now-
get with it or get lost.
they're always the best part, and whenever i make 'em
i automatically overindulge like a big fat hungry hippopotamus.
that's true.
every style is an exxxplosion of activated excellence,
and i've never been bummed out by my outstanding contribution to
the wider world of cookies.
now,
this version right here?
it's peanut butter/peanut/chocolate chip/coconut/oatmeal.
also,
it's flippin' expert.
also also,
there's almost nothing else to really even say-
except,
if you can't hang out with the signature preeminent Folk Life & Liberty Fortress treat,
then you are very likely an A*-hole.
oh,
and maybe the recipe:
-
*
PBCHOCOCOCOATPEANUT JAUNS!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, cream up:
1 stick (8T) softened vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 cup brown sugar.
once thoroughly blended, add:
1/2 cup natural peanut butter;
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts.
combine completely, then add:
2 cups flour;
1 tsp ea. baking powder and soda;
1/3 cup fresh-ground unsweetened dried coconut;
1/2 cup fresh-ground oat flour;
1/2 cup chocolate chips.
stir, squeeze, knead, and ball up a whole bunch of little blops,
and flatten 'em with a fork like how you're s'posed to when they're peanut buttery.
yeah!
rules is rules.
i made 45 cookies.
so, that was pretty cool.
baked for 13 minutes, and allowed to cool on a rack.
guys,
that's it.
y'either are on board with the bloxxx,
or you're not.
and if you're not?
well then we're done here;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 27

CIRCULAR!

pizza.
that's all.
what else do you even need?
i mean it.
pizza is F*ing great.
when times are troublesome, pizza soothes.
when events are hectic, pizza calms.
when people let you down, pizza lifts you back up again.
pizza is my friend when i'm friendless,
and it always loves me back just as hard as i love it.
how many people can you say fit that description?
right?
so, pizza is the TRUTH, and truth tellers can never stop.
check the teleport:

ROUND!?!?!
yeah, dudes.
i didn't forget about round pizza.
i've been elbows deep in that siciliano grandma jaun for a bit,
but i'll never abandon the circle.
how could i?
the human experience is composed of echoing emanations ovelapping
in concentric smoke and ghost rings of spirit and memory, neighbors-
that's circles begetting circles, summoning circles from summoning circles,
and spinning right 'round with centrifugal revolutions of radiating roundness.
i'm sayin': round pizza is still expert, and i'm into it.
i decided to go straightforward, at least, for me, and take it easy on the toppings.
easy, but not lame, because i'm not about to be a lil baby bihhh,
and just have a plain chee' slice like i'm an amateur.
ha.
crushed tomatoes, baby spinach,
daiya mozzarella chee', minced for a major meltability upgrade,
caramelized sweet onion, baby grape tomatoes,
and fried garlic sprankles because rules is rules
and that's the signature move here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen.
word.
also, there's a little added exxxtra activation over the surface,
in the form of Garlic Powder Onion Powder and nutritional yeast.
what? yes.
GPOP and nootch to take it to eleven-eleven like armistice day.
the dough?
tight and TILTY- quick-fast and in-a-hurry, i whipped up a small batch of from-scratch
turbo-elite high-risin' high-gluten goodness.
mmhmmm.
here's the single small pizza recipe:
-
*
DOUGHBOI!
-
bloom 1 tsp bread machine yeast in 2/3 cup warm water w/ 1 T agave,
let activate for ten minutes.
-
in your stand-up comedian *ahem* mixer,
with the dough hook attached,
combine:
3/4 cup bread flour;
3/4 cup a.p. flour;
1 tsp salt;
1 pkg fast-action yeast;
4 T olive oil.
add the wet to the dry, and knead on medium-low for ten minutes.
let it rise while your oven is preheating to 480℉,
and stretch it out nicey-nice when you're ready to assemble.
how long do you bake one of these for?
well, i don't know.
probably until it looks done, obvi.
the bottom needs to be brown. that's important.
if you've got a baking stone, i hope it just permanently lives in your oven,
because wtf else is it's purpose?
right on.
-
pizza is my number one comfort food.
no joke.
no question.
no doubt about it.
i'll pick pizza over everything.
the round one is dope.
the square one is dope.
the deep dish?
ehhhh.
SIKE.
it's dope!
pizza is what i need when what i want out of life is a little lacking.
and it always delivers, even though i don't eff with delivery.
that's real.
***********
plants!
i need MORE plants.
i need herbs and i need veggies and i need flowers and i need foliage.
i need plants.
indoor plants.
outdoor plants.
plants for the fortress.
plants for the studio.
plants to create a healthy environment.
plants for a healthy atmosphere.
plants for ambiance.
plants for aesthetics.
plants for life, bro.
yup.
you got plants?
bring me a piece of that!
i'll give you a slice of cake and a thank you.
MORE plants are what's poppin' as of right now.
i want to fill all the empty spaces with blossoms and blooms, buds and bulbs-
there you have it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, April 26

CAKED OUT

i'm certainly not reinventing anything.
nope.
i'm just making some cake.
uh-huh.
once a week, just because it's good, i'm baking cake.
this time, it's a chocolate chip one,
and i have to say it- it's pretty flippin' good.
mmhmm.
look:

CAKE!
one big sugary layer of chocolate and vanilla,
frosted and dusted and decorated early in the a.m.
just so i could bring a freshly baked from-scratch pro-bono treat
to the homies in the homey hall of AMPERSAND TATTOO.
i don't know if other tattoo studios have baked goods on hand.
i don't go to other tattoo studios, so i may not ever find out-
however,
i appreciate my clients, and i appreciate the folks who span time there with them.
i do.
and so they get a little cake as a thank you.
is that what the best tattooer in the area would do?
i'm willing to wager it's NOT.
why?
because popularity contests have nothing to do with talent.
awwwwwwww.
but if we were having a cake bake off?
well then, come over here and have a bite, b.
because this radical vegan conscientious and cruelty-free gold medalist
tastes even F*ing better than the one with the eggs and the milk.
that's no joke.
single layer cakes, man.
they're for wednesdays and thursdays,
without any of the marie antoinette hang-ups that layered-cake pretensions can
create on less-than-special occasions, causing chronic  loss-of-headedness....
don't get me wrong-
i love a good berfday cake.
i like the idea of wedding cakes, kinda, but not really.
stacks of cake are fantastic when the situation calls for it,
but when there's no situation to celebrate, one layer of cake is an appropriate use
of savvy bakery flair.
trust me.
one layer of cake on an ordinary day is better than four layers on a berfday.
why? because berfday cake is mandatory.
whereas surprise cake is an unanticipated delight.
those are just one old man's thoughts on the matter.
ANYway,
i made it, i ate some, nate and dylan ate some, and we all agreed it was expert.
here's what went on, in case you're compelled to create some yourself:
-
*
CHOCOCHIPCAKE!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉ convection-style
(if your oven is a million years old, and doesn't do the wind-spin within?
get a new oven. take this sh!t seriously, man. it's not fun and games... jeez.)
-
grease a 9" springform quick-release pan.
-
in a medium mixing bowl, using a pastry cutter, cream:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla;
>1 cup organic sugar.
stir in:
5 oz vanilla non-dairy yogurt.
mix well,
and sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1/2 cup + dark chocolate chips (i used big and little ones from 2 opened bags);
1 cup non dairy milk.
stir briskly to combine, and spread the thick batter into that pan, man.
bake it for 35ish minutes, or until the center is firm and a tester comes away clean.
the edges will get a lil bit crisp.
...you want that. a tiny buttery crust, right at the end, if you eat it from the tip outwards,
will reward you with MORE frosting AND exxxtra texture if you're into that sort of thing.
mmmmmmm.
-
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, and 4 t vegan butts, and 1/4 cup+ s'milk, and 1 tsp vanilla
that's the frosting base.
i also added 1 square of shaved baking chocolate into whatever was left over,
after spreading a healthy layer over the top of the cooled cake.
uh huh.
and that was whipped up into those infused swirls of super sexxxiness all over it.
yep.
don't eat ugly food, and you won't be as ugly of a person.
that's a thing.
...and i need all the help i can get, so believe me when i say i'm not trying to eat ugly.
shaved chocolate bar sprankles?
maaaaaaaaaan, c'mon.
rules is rules,
and you know i would not simply leave you hangin'.
how could i?
i'm not that guy, neighbors.
i'm a cake-bakey sweetheart, aren't i?
yep.
that's me.
***********
without the bitter, the sweet is not as sweet.
however,
even after all the sugar in that cake, i'm not at all much for sweetness these days.
i'm still sort of feeling unsavory;
and although, i'm not exactly bitter, just a bit salty,
i'm not sure where the contrast between extremes delineates.
y'know?
like, where the eff is the sweet hiding out?
i brought cake, dudes.
that should help, no?
i have this overwhelmingly welcome feeling when i'm at work.
i have the shabby-chic rusted rustic comfort of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
i have some semblance of affection and attention with crabtree the terrible terrier.
i eat very well every single freaking day,
i say what i mean, i do what i say, i know what i want.
i am free to do as i please, and it pleases me to do what i'm doing.
i am fortunate af for all those powerful points of interest.
so, what's the problem?
heck, the presence of this much cake should have me clicking my heels in the air,
let alone the liberty that years of hard work and sacrifice have allotted me.
is it leisure that eludes me, or the illusion of leisure that repels me?
both, probably.
y'all ever listen to de la soul?
the grind date is an album that still affects my mindset fourteen years later.
they told it, and i understood it:
'some times you can't come back- like momma said:
if you need five cents, don't ask for 3, ask for 10, that's for sure'
if i don't have twice as much, and i can't enjoy anything even halfway.
too much is the right amount,
but not if it leaves you with less.
that's just not how it works.
that sounds more like 'laugh now, cry later',
and only poor people get that tattooed on them.
-
i'm not rich and i hate that, so i plan my work, and i work my plan.
also, i still live like i don't have a lot of money-
(aside from my diet, where i am an emperor amongst kings).
why?
because sometimes you can't come back-
and while i understand that there's no guarantee of a tomorrow,
you WILL still starve to death in winter if you waste the summer .
that's word.
we only get the time we get,
which means we should make the most of these moments-
but remember,
these days it's an awful lot more difficult  to go out viking
whenever we run out of what we need.
so, how do we make the most?
for me, on a personal level, it's obvious:
find a purpose, work with purpose;
try your hardest at whatever you do, then try even harder.
pay attention, plot a course, do the math (cause-and effect, it's ALL math);
learn everything, and know as much as your brain can hold...
information, experience, time, and effort.
that's worthy warrior poetry,
that's the value of an individual,
that's a testament to their importance-
and there's no better time than all-the-F*ing-time
to instate all that active participation into every day.
...
anybody still reading?
ha.
oh well;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 25

TACO TIME!

ugh.
y'ever lose your appetite?
me too.
and i can't help but wonder: what the eff is that about?!
except, i know what it's about-
yup.
whenever the rarity of a little bit of emotionalism bubbling to the surface occurs,
i get all kinds of worked up,
and my fight-or-fight reaction (y'all can keep the l, i'm not taking it) kicks in,
so my bellyhole turns off in anticipation of the royal rumble on the horizon.
uh-huh.
my head knows what's up, but my dumb feelings behave disobediently,
and assume they are entitled to a vote on practical matters,
and that has never been helpful even one time.
i mean, if ever there's a choice between head and heart,
but you're inclined to make the right choice,
then there's not really any choice- the head wins. every time.
why? ...because math doesn't lie.
duh.
which did nothing to stop my appetite from disappearing.
so, it's all fine and good to squash your foolish sentiments,
but,
like nicaragua right now,
you might find yourself flopping a few mortars down
on the indigenous disenfranchised dissenters,
just to retain a rigid hold on the infrastructure.
and it's hard to get hungry in the midst of a battle.
which brings me to the point-
rules is rules,
and taco tuesday is for sure a thing, bro.
that's a sort of intrinsic insistence for extrinsic principles.
...
even when i'm not hungry, i'm not about to slack off,
and let go of the reins on my purpose-driven process.
so,
i got the job done.
i also got the glamour shot,
and i maintained my daily creation regimen.
rules IS rules, even in the face of deflated motivation.
uh-huh.
it's not in my infinite nature to allow my feels to furlough my focus.
no way.
so,
i did what i DO, which is to say:  i done did it.
teleport:

TEMPEH TACO CROMBLES, YO!!!
and, just to show i'm slightly capable of compromise.
i toasted the soft flour tortillas until they got crisp.
wooooo!!!
limes are always invited,
and you KNOW i can't go without those AVO-F*ING-CADOS.
word up.
tomatoes, purple cabbage, cilantro, pea shoots,
and scallions rounded out the fixin' portion,
but the real hero was that tempeh.
mmmhmmmm.
i made it exceptionally taco-esque, and SPICY, too.
-
*
TEMPEH CRUMBZ!
-
in small hot saucepot, with a tablespoon of oil, saute:
1/2 small white onion;
1 minced jalapeno;
1 clove crushed garlic;
GPOP, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, cilantro leaf,
black pepper, pink salt, and cayenne....all to taste;
when that starts to smell incredible, add:
1/2 block shredded tempeh.
sizzle that up until it browns slightly, then pour in:
1 cup crushed tomatoes;
1 T tamari;
1/4 cup water.
bubble all that on medium-low until it's thickened,
and then activate the taco express, neighbors!
-
quick and easy, but still sexxxy. i can live with that.
i just wish i felt more like eating them.
seriously,
i had just one of 'em and was totally all set.
i know, i KNOW, that's total bullsh!t.
they tasted like i should've eaten eight and a half of them,
but my guts just weren't into it.
i got emotions, buddy.
and no matter how hard i try to kill 'em,
they're like weeds with deep roots.
they keep sprouting up and getting in the way of what i'm cultivating.
bummer.
***********
is it gonna rain today?
maybe.
is that good news?
if you're a plant, maybe.
for me and my little dog,
that's a dreary mudslide of a walk through the neighborhood.
but that's what we're gonna do,
because that's what has to get done.
he hates it, but he's worse without it.
i hate it, but i hate a wily, wiry, wound up warbeast more
than i hate walking wetly in the woods.
it's all conditional.
if you want the bigger and the better,
sometimes you've gotta give up the little easy-easies up front.
i could skip the walk.
i could've skipped the F*ing tacos, too.
but the long term cost of that kind of temporary shortsighted indulgence adds up.
and it adds up to a negative with the quickness.
the if/then cause and effect can't be subverted or circumnavigated.
real talk.
math doesn't lie, man;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, April 24

DISTRACTION

i love sandwiches.
and sandwiches love me right back.
in fact, they love me back right.
that's real.
homemade bread, of course, is the first and most important ingredient-
because if the bread ain't right, ain't nothin' gonna be right.
that's a fact.
good bread makes better people,
and also the best sandwiches.
i used my new dough, and it did whaat it was designed to-
which is to say:
it brought the lightning-striking viking victual victory to the table.
expert!
and then i just went ahead and got sexxxy with it.
check the teleport:
SWEET, SMOKY TEMPEH!
grilled leeks!!
shaved carrot ribbons!
arugula, pea shoots, purple cabbage, and cucumber!!
hummus!!
neighbors,
this one did the trick, and only took a little tiny bit of time, too.
*i made the bread in the morning.
but, i'm just sayin'- look at how luscious it is, though:
C'MON!
the bread recipe is here.
the rest is pretty much self explanatory.
that tempeh, though-
half a block, sliced thinnish, and halved diagonally,
hydrated in a bath of 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 
with smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, GPOP
agave, liquid smoke, tamari and vegan worcestershire sauce...
bubbled on medium heat until the liquid was gone, 
and activated in the same pan with some olive oil 
just until the edges caramelized a little baby bit.
mmmmmmm.
you can't eff with that much flavor.
unfortunately, i seem to have lost my appetite.
...that's no joke.
i had half and saved the rest.
what?!
yeah. i know.
something IS wrong.
but, i'll figure it out and resume our regularly scheduled shark-gluttony, for sure.
don't stop moving, don't stop eating, and most of all, don't stop.
or, full stop, drop, shut 'em down, and open up shop?
i have no idea anymore.
***********
man,
have you ever been preoccupied with something,
and looked forward to a busy day of distractions,
to give your brain a chance to catch a breath before blasting back into 
the pressing and/or distressing situation you've found yourself in?
yeah?
whew. i though it was just me-
but,
have you noticed that the welcome respite almost never works?
dudes-
i had last-minute appointment cancellations yesterday,
and the pizza parlor was closed,
and nate was off somewhere deep in the throes of some kind of love story-
so i was alone in the building, and alone with my thoughts.
and that had me thinking, and lonely, and i'll tell you what-
Positive Mental Attitude adjustment is HARD in those circumstances.
why? because i revert to systematic logical mathematics, and math doesn't lie-
so it's math that makes the final call.
and when the factors involved don't add up, we've got to try another order of operations.
i'm serious.
what do you do when it's subtraction leaves you with a more positive result?
you probably just minus-sign the sh!t out of whatever is negatively affecting the results.
but that's the opposite of everything i ordinarily espouse-
too much is the right amount, and the object is MORE, right?
right.
so, what if LESSENING is the way to get it??
damn, dudes- that's weird, going negative to be positive.
but math doesn't lie.
-
how far can travel in the wrong direction before you have to turn around?
depends on if you're traversing a sphere or not, i suppose, right?
and is it really the wrong way if you end up in a better place 
than where you initially intended to go?
what about if you get where you want, and it's not what you need?
or, if it's exactly what you need, but nothing at all like what you're gonna accept?
the variables are numerous,
and the outcomes are kaleidoscopic,
and almost all seem catastrophic, at least if we stay the course we're currently on.
the only thing i DO know without question is this-
something has to change, 
and by something, i think i really mean something else.
it's all really happening,
the food, the fury, the forlorn and forsaken Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
if it's got to all be different, 
let the secret universal plans plot the route of greatest development,
and if that's the path of greatest resistance,
i hope i'm up to the challenge;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, April 23

PIZZA PARTIES

ain't no party like a Folk Life & Liberty Fortress expert vegan pizza party,
because those jauns go way up and off the charts.
uh-huh.
these pizzas around here always go to eleven,
but more importantly, the outlying limits are pushed farther with every pie.
today's eleven-level loveliness is even bigger and better than last time.
y'know why?
because we act in accordance with our own rational self-interests
to expand, expound upon, and extend our very best selves every F*ing day.
and by we,
i only really mean me, but in the royal sense.
it's warrior poetry,
and it does require living in a very harsh introspective and critical environment
pretty much all the time.
yeah.
nobody stays by faking reality in any manner whatever.
that's the truth.
rules is rules, neighbors,
and that goes for making pizza all the way to the pursuit of happiness-
which are often the very same thing.
mostly due to the presence of purpose and the determined dedication
to doing the damnedest to just be dope,
instead of F*ing right off.
mmhmm.
that's deeper than the deep dish, and it's sort of a deep dis, duders.
so,
instead of perseverating on that point,
it was time to concoct a radical fluffy deep-style sexxxy bread dough,
and get it properly topped to the maxxx with alllll the hottness.
WORD UP.
that's how i celebrated earth day.
i mean, i sort of acknowledged it all day;
but the pizza party only started after i tattzapped some black-and-grey naturescapes
on a couple of burly fellas from waaaay up north, though.
oh!
and we had visitors at AMPERSAND TATTOO, too-
yeah!
i love that i have an environment where everybody is welcome,
unless and/or until they show that they're an A*-hole.
in a very non-A*-hole display of attentive attendance,
my very good friends ian and chantal came through,
and they brought their ancient canine companion along for the experience.
our good buddy dylan was there, too, of course,
and he came by to keep me company afterwards, which was awful nice.
and the least i could do was provide half a grandma square
as a genteel gesture of gratitude and generosity.
ok.
so, would you like to SEE it?
yeah?
cool:

MAMA MIA!!!
that's how you do it right, guys.
LOOK at that puffed-up thickness!!
and the chee' is OOZIN'!
and those 'ronis are smoky and spicy and delicious,
just like the tamari-glazed brussies, broski.
daaaaaaaaaaaamn,
y'boi is about that pizza life.
y'want that dough recipe again?
here you go:
-
*
DEEPNESS!!
-
preheat your oven to 480℉, convection-style,
with a baking stone in place......tight.
-
in your stand mixer, with the hook attached, knead up:
1 1/2 cups bread flour;
1 1/2 cups a.p. flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
1 pkg fast-actin' yeast;
5 T olive oil;
1+ cups warm water with 2 tsp bread machine yeast-
beat it up for ten minutes,
and rest it, covered for fifteen or so more....
in an oiled half-sheet pan, stretch it out,
and make sure you get the corners extra-pointy.
(dylan was in charge of that)
-
d'y'all eff with curly parsley?
i do. for real, it's great.
...and how about arugula and radicchio??
man, y'gotta get with 'em-
that's how we DO it around here.
also,
you know we repped the fried garlic sprankles, too.
they're mandatory.
in fact, everything expert was in effect, kids.
that's the right way to finish off a long day.
***********
nobody leaves with the title, man.
that's for sure.
the thing is, as events draw to a close,
they don't have to be bad.
sometimes, it's just time to assess and hopefully reassess,
tally up the figures, and make the accountable choice to call it a day-
there needn't be any hard feelings;
although,
i suppose they're easier to deal with if anger or indignation override the sad parts.
i don't really know.
i'm very interested in the transition between on and off,
or, more accurately, between invested and departed.
the change is probably subtle at first,
until the saturation point is reached.
i almost never notice until it's well past the point of total collapse.
i'd like to think that that's because i'm giving everything i do my all, always,
but who knows, it could be that i'm not giving enough.
seriously,
too much is the right amount, right?
it turns out, i may not be the champ i imagined.
...and it looks like saying goodnight might actually be the same as saying goodbye,
so saying neither could be the only way to stave off that last lap;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, April 22

EARTH DAY!

do y'all even care about the earth?
you do?
well, i've got some good news for you then-
today is the day.
uh-huh.
earth day.
pick up some roadside garbage, or plant some flowers, or do whatever it is you do
when it's a whole day dedicated to the big blue marble we dwell on the surface of.
hmm?
man, i dunno what you're s'posed to do,
i just know it's earth day.
not for nothin', but when you're a vegan, every single day is earth day.
yeah!
oh, yeah, that IS a pretty pretentious and maybe even obnoxious claim-
but it's also quantifiably true.
so, earth it up, earthlings.
meanwhile,
i got myself into some planet-sized trouble with some treats.
what?
neighbors, when i make certain things, in quantity,
i can just tell right away that there's gonna be problems.
yeah, i said problems-
like, i'm gonna shark-glutton out and feeding-frenzy my face,
and devour MORE than one man should consume all day long....
damn.
dudes,
i made some new cookies, and they were so flippin' expert,
i HAD to keep eating them.
ok, i didn't HAVE to; ...you're right.
but, i still found myself munching them right up with alarming frequency-
wanna see what was causing all the problems?
yeah?
ok.
check the teleport:

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP BLOXXX!!
wooooooooooo!!!!!
guys,
i used raw cacao- y'know- the fancy stuff, and it really did a thing.
mmmmmm.
two dozen, plus two.
individual hunks of hottness, ready and willing to get chomped into oblivion.
here's how it got started:
-
*
DUBBACHOCORAZZLERS!
-
preheat your oven to 375℉
-
in a medium mixing bowl, using a pastry cutter, combine:
3/4 cup raw sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 sick (8 T) vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt;
3 heaping tablespoons cacao.
mix well, and stir in:
3 big spoonfuls non-dairy yogurt.
-
into that muddy black mess, sift:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp ea. baking soda and powder;
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips;
1 pkg ( 1.2 oz) freeze dried raspberries;
2 T agave/maple syrup...
mix it up, gently, and form golf-ball sized blops,
hand-flattening slightly whilst arranging them evenly spaced on two baking trays.
bake 'em up for 13 minutes.
now, you've got sexxxy double choco berry bombs-
crunchy on the surface, and succulent inside, ready for icing.
mhmm.
y'gotta ice 'em, man.
too much is the right amount,
and if you're about to dive into too much of a good thing,
which is to say- exxxactly the correct level of good thingy-ness,
why wouldn't you want icing on top?
right?
F* yes.
crushed dried raspberries and powdered sugar and vanilla and s'milk.
that's all.
and a few dried berry dusties over that-
rules is rules, and sprankles are very necessary, friends.
yep.
***********
i'm no fun,
but i'm no fool.
and i make investments of my time, and my money,
so i can make the most of both.
i'm not sayin' i'm a financial planner,
but i AM saying i make financial plans,
because if the way you spend your time doesn't positively affect your money,
and the way you spend your money doesn't positively affect the way you spend your time?
well,
then you're misspending both.
...and it costs a lot of either to replace the other...
then again, what do i know?
for starters, i know a grand don't come for free,
and i know that currency is mutable depending on the market.
i'm in the market for competent, capable, coherent communication at the moment,
and it's worth more than a moment of my time to find it.
i'm looking for that long-term high-interest yield, man;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, April 21

NA-NA-NA-NAAN!!

indian food from scratch?
i don't usually take requests, but when i do- it's because i want the same thing.
ha.
does that even count?
i dunno.
but i DO know that homemade indian food is pretty flippin' expert.
no jokes.
and i made some serious new hottness for my face.
...yeah, i did.
check it:

BOOOOOOOMFIIIIIRE!!!
hahaha.
that's IT.
the rice has lime zest and juice in it.
that made it pretty F*ing special.
there's a fairly fiery onion chutney, too.
mmhmmm.
that's
3 T chopped onion;
1/4 tsp ea. hot paprika, cayenne, and black pepper;
1 tsp sriracha;
1/2 tsp olive oil;
1 T minced chili;
and a dash of pink salt.
spicy. sweet. and just what a bite of rice and bread needs to go to eleven.
spreaking of-
good bread makes better people,
and that's a fact even when it's quick bread, bruh.
real talk.
and that bread right there was exceptional in it's fluffy firmness.
i don't eff around with bread. it's too important to me.
here's how i did what i did when i did it, tho, for the record:
-
*
ILL NA'NAAN
-
in a smaller mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup flour;
dash of salt;
2 T vegan butter;
1/4 cup coconut yogurt;
1 T baking powder.
knead knead knead it up, and rest it, covered for ten minutes.
roll out four fat floppy circles, and pan fry 'em for a minute on each side-
i activated a little exxxtra, and melted a pat of butter in the same pan, post-fry,
and wiped each one into it for a lil baby bit of added buttery love.
that was a great idea if i do say so, and i do day so,
which helped keep 'em exxxtra-tasty when wrapped in foil until supper was ready.
smart.
*
guys,
the potato scene around here was unusually adorable.
yup.
mini itty-bitty pebble-sized potatoes, in a tricolor rainbow of skin-on new newness?
yes!
s'kyoooot!!
check the teleport:

WOW!
spicy, but not too spicy;
hearty, but not heavy;
thick af, but not overly starchy.
we doo-doo the nicey-nice, neighbors, and it pays off on the plate.
-
*
ALOO MATAR!
-
boil up two cups of mini potatoes, drain, rinse,
and pan-fry in a tablespoon of vegan butter.
set aside for now, and start up the gravy!
-
in a hot pan with 1 T vegan butter melted, saute:
1/4 finely minced sweet onion;
2 large cloves crushed garlic;
1 inch chunk of organic skin-on ginger, macerated;
add:
1/2 tsp cumin;
1/2 tsp mustard seed;
1/2 tsp ground coriander;
33 craxxx fresh black pepper;
1/2 tsp turmeric;
1/2 tsp hot paprika;
GPOP, cardamon, dried cilantro, to taste.
add a handful of whole baby grape tomatoes,
and sizzle up to release all the aromatic awesome of those spices.
next,
pour in 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes,
and simmer fifteen minutes on medium-low.
add minced jalapeno, cilantro, fresh crushed garlic, and a cup of frozen peas-
bring back up to a bubblin' temperature, add the potatoes, and let it marinate together
until you're ready to munch up.
TIGHT!
the tomatoes will burst with flavor.
the potatoes will melt in your mouth.
the sauce will leave a lasting positive impression on your psyche.
and the heat will stimulate you in ways you never dreamed of.
...and the peas will please you with protein and green.
i don't actually know if that last one is real, but i hope so.
*
...and then,
even after the cucumbers, and the coconut yogurt,
and the bread, and the lime-kissed rice all delivered all sorts of sexxxiness to the table-
the real heat came through with that cauliflower!
F* yes it did.
and there's a heckuva lotta spinach, and a bit o' crawnchy veg in it, too!
teleport:

...WOW...
so hot!
-
*
GOBI SAAG!!
-
in a medium sauce pot,
heat 1 T vegan butter, and saute:
1/2 diced sweet onion;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2 chunk fresh skin-on organic ginger;
into that, toss and toast:
1/2 tsp ea. cumin, coriander seed, mustard seed, dried ginger, black pepper,
GPOP, & red pepper flakes;
add 1/4 tsp black pepper and cinnamon;
cayenne? yeah. turmeric? a whole LOT of that, for sure,.
and then right over all of that, add:
half a head of chopped cauliflower florets,
half a slivered jalapeno pepper,
and a couple tablespoons of water, and a lid....
-
it's steamy dream that you've just entered into, man.
no jokes.
when the cauli is softened, and yellow form the spice,
toss in two huge mitt-fisted handfuls of baby spinach,
and let it wilt right down to a wet heap.
stir it all to mix it up,
and toss in some jalapeno rings and fresh chopped tomato!!!
FUEGO, yo.
no jokes.
*
we terrorized a TON of tastiness.
we tuned up a mountain of rice.
we munched an acre of naan.
we swallowed a popeye'd parcel of spinach.
basically,
we over-ate and underrated our unadulterated plates of pure delicious expertism,
until we were stuffed past the possibility of romance.
awwwwww...
that's kinda how we get intimate these days-
wallowing in a trough of gluttonous goodness until we're incapacitated.
oooof.
***********
weekends for the next few months are sorta zero percent big fun.
damn.
in fact,
they're probably the least enjoyable span of tattoo time i have.
why?
because it's almost all out-of-staters,
taking up whole swaths of day-long doo-doo buttery vacation tattoos,
and eliminating the possibility of any lovely locals,
or even a couple of wonderful walk-up ideas for y'boi.
uh-huh.
well in advance, i've got saturday and sunday double-headers hovering over my head.
dudes, i KNOW-
i'm lucky to have the work.
i'm humbled by the patience these people display in making far-reaching appointments.
and being busy is better than being dead in the water.
now,
if only more of these folks were into the hot fire and lightning that i create myself,
and less all about the internet image searches,
we'd be cooking with the right spices.
more succulent sexxxiness please.
more weird ideas, please.
more skulls and flowers, please.
-
being grateful doesn't mean i can't aspire to greater things.
settling for good enough is never enough.
after all, that's what AMPERSAND TATTOO is all about-
BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER, MORE;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, April 20

GALETTE IT BE!

the good dough is the key.
if you've got it,
then whatever you add to it is gonna be good, too.
that's real.
the good dough is where it starts.
and it's crucial to refrigerate it for a rest period.
that's no joke.
after a brutal bashing, a little cold and a lot of relaxation do wonders,.
and you'll end up with something exxxtra-special if you do as you're instructed.
ummmm, i'm serious, man.
i had blueberries,
i had coconut,
and i had chocolate,
so i did my thing, and let each ingredient sing it's own song,
and together they all harmonized and made some sorcerous symphonics for my face.
mmmm.
check the teleport:

C'MON!!
that's all you need, neighbors.
good dough,
full of good stuff,
a few sweet sprankles,
and a mouth to munch it all up with.
expert.
the filling was easy as heck-
a fat handful of unsweetened medium flake coconut on the bottom,
with a handful of chocolate chips, tossed in there.
a cup of juicy, frozen bloobs over that,
and two full squares of baking chocolate, microplaned into sprankles,
shaved all over the whole effing thing.
that's how you do it.
what did i bake it at? four hundo, bro.
yup.
twenty-two minutes at four hundred luscious fahrenheit degree.
why?
because that's what you DO.
it's not negotiable, either, because rules is rules.
ANYway,
the good dough is where it's at.
here's how you too can do it to it:
-
*
GOOD DOUGH!
-
in your food processor,
combine:
2 1/3 cup flour;
3-4 T raw sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
3 T vegan creamchee';
10 T vegan butter (very cold);
2-4 T non-dairy s'milk (ice cold).
pulse the whole thing until it clumps up a bit,
and sticks together solidly when pinched.
really, that's it.
wrap it in plastic or whatever, and refrigerate it at least one hour.
congrats.
that's good dough, right there.
roll it, cut it, bake it in a pie; all of that.
it's yours to do with as you will.
tight.
***********
maaaaaaaan,
i've got a hard style headed my way.
uh-huh.
whenever you've had some good times,
the pricetag is steep.
and i just had a great time,
so i shudder slightly at the storm of sh!t-salad that HAS to be headed my way.
rules is rules,
and you just don't get the goods without it costing something.
so, i'm walking into work with my eyes open,
and my fists raised,
and my teeth clenched,
for a furious flurry of comeuppance.
the bill has come due,
and the piper needs paying,
so i'll be at AMPERSAND TATTOO for the foreseeable future,
ready to field all your worst ideas and make the our reality.
y'know what?
it was worth it;
never quiet, never soft.....

BLOOBZ!

blueberry muffins are great.
seriously,
they're in the top tier of muffins, and generally, they're the gold or silver choice,
in a hotly contested race alongside chocolate chip,
and corn, and occasionally raisin bran.
hold on- i'm not sure about the actual ranked standings,
so don't get at me with your personal preferences...i don't care at all.
i'm saying: blueberry jauns are tight af.
and almost everybody likes 'em, and only terrible turdbiters hate 'em.
okay?
okay.
y'know what makes bloobs even beter, tho?
right angles!
ha.
it's true.
blueberry muffin blocks are the best.
i think there's more of everything in there,
and that always improves things, in my opinion.
uh-huh.
too much is the right amount,
so a bigger, burlier block of bloobs is obviously superior, man.
check the teleport:

BLOCKS!!!
see what i mean?
these fluffers have enough lemon to make it's presence felt,
and that streusel topping definitely turns up the texture AND the flavor
to eleven.
i don't always lose my mind over a muffin,
but when i do, it's usually a bloober, buddy.
yup.
and these guys are the TRUTH in breakfast form.
of course, they still taste equally expert in the afternoon and at night.
ha.
you're probably gonna need to fire up a batch of these soon, friends.
i'm not kidding.
and if you don't have a squares pan, i'd get one,
but if i wasn't gonna get one, i'd still use this recipe for regular muffins,
but i'd know i wasn't reaching my full potential...
just sayin'.
ANYway,
here's how to make it happen:
-
*
BLOOBLOXXX!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉
-
grease your squares-tin, or muffin pan
-
in a medium mixing bowl, using a pastry cutter, cream together:
3/4 cup demerara sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
8 T (1 sick) vegan butter-
stir in:
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt;
zest of one lemon-
next, add:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1 tsp ea baking powder and soda;
1 cup non-dairy milk, plus the juice of that lemon, man.
after a cursory stir, fold in:
1 cup+ bloobs!!! duh.
add that evenly to every square/round hole,
until it's all gone.
this makes 12 fat bloxxx, or 18-24 muffzies, depending on your tins.
-
next, you'll need some heavy duty streusel.
muffins need streusel.
that's no joke.
here's a rough guideline to great crOmbles, kiddo:
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
1 cup rolled oats;
1 tsp vanilla;
3 T vegan butts;
4 T flour.
y'just chop-chop-chop-chop-chop it up,
and it gets all stuck together and good.
( i always usethe muffin batter bowl, for extra moisty sticky batter add-ons)
again, evenly administer that stuff all over all the tops,
and kaBOOM.
you're a muffin wizard of the first order.
nice.
bake 'em for 30 minutes or so, or until a taster comes away clean
from the center of the center-most one.
legit, that's all there is to it.
how dope?
SO dope.
they're spongy, and springy, and fruity, and juicy, and streuselly, and fan-F*ing-tastic.
on the ones,
these guys made our day.
***********
burlington vermont is full of diapery do-gooders and waterbaby hippies,
and very few vegan nerdarios, since supporting farmers is sort of the vermont way,
and most of the farmers make milk and cheese.....
LAME.
but,
it's also home to great coffee, and THE BEST chinese food *ahem* cuisine,
in new england,
so sometimes, you have to go there, to get what you need,
even if you've gotta brave all the social justice surtaxpayers,
and the way more awful dirty beggar homeless skuzzbums on the streets.
yikes.
so much privilege. and so much dirt-bum hobo stink, side by side.
luckily,
a single pebble doesn't let the dirties in, and generally, at restaurants,
nobody from other tables talks to you,
so we were IN it to WIN it,
and we did just that-
guys,
too much IS the right amount,
and we had it ALL.
from the wasabi peanut medley to the last painful mouthfuls
of shark-gluttonous glutinous wheat meat, we did it like warriors!
mmmhmmm.
i'm talking about sichuan cukes, steamed buns, scallion pancakes, red oil dumplin's,
dry-fried string beans, mock eel shiitake bbq, double-garlic broccoli,
salt and pepper tofu, and buddhist beef seitan exxxplosions,
all for our F*ing fat faces, friends!!!
kaS'PLOSIONS of turbo-hottness happened at 5pm sharp,
in a limited seating, special event, sharpshootin' side-table experience.
uh-huh.
they only had four tables available, and we got in and got busy,
and got FAT AF with the quickness.
....all before going to see the mountain goats play a billion songs,
and a double encore.
yuuuuuuuuuup.
too much is the right amount, and john darnielle knows it, too.
holy smokes, that was awesome.
i may not have done a damned cool thing for seven months,
but i s'pose i was saving up for this much hot fire in one spot over 24 hours-
great coffee at muddy waters,
even better dinner at a single pebble,
incredible bread at the red hen bakery coming and going,
remarkably satisfying brekkie at penny cluse,
and vegan scoops at the ben & jerry's factory, bro.
with a mountain goats concert in between?
how do you eff with that?
....with an elvio's sicilian square for supper, OBVI!
too much is the right amount!!!
if you're gonna go for it, go for broke, bruh.
eleven is the level, and one-to-ten is for losers.
shoutouts to dylan for showing up, and hanging out through most of that with us.
when you have new hampshire buddies bringing the heat in burlington,
it's better than if you're all alone, probably.
so we all spanned time together, and it was good.
big BIG shoutouts to our favorite fella, nate for hangin' tough with crabtree, too.
lucky for all of us that those two get along great.
uncle tron, and lil crimbo crinkler, and that's IT.
i may not have a fun and exciting life,
but for forty eight hours, i really really did.
i'm grateful for the gap in between grind and grindier times.
i may be back to business as usual today,
but i'm lucky to have spanned space with all good things.
i'll gladly pay what it costs to have enjoyed those moments;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, April 18

OBEY THE DAY!

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

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

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

COLD/WARM

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

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

Tuesday, April 17

MORE COFFEE!

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

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

Monday, April 16

MARKING

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 15

KINDNESS!

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