Saturday, June 30


this is it.
...the last day.
see ya around, june, it's been pretty sweaty, and surprising, 
but all the goodness and badness of month number six is all over and done with tonight.
yeah, man. 
another twelfth of this year, down the hatch, 
but there's another big deal is right around the corner.
july is cool and all, with vacation and sunshine and fireworks and all,
but are you aware that more than all of that, that rules is rules?
and july starts on a sunday, dudes.
WORD. if you know, you know.
and if you don't? 
you're gonna find out in under 24 hours.
i knew that i needed somethin'., not like how ordinary people say they need a drink after a long day 
of successfully soberly navigating the hazards of personal and professional labor.
i mean, c'mon. 
that doesn't fix anything, y'dumdum.
what i mean is, i wanted to reward myself for enduring the burden of a busy day,
fraught with foreign language barriers, common english debacles, traffic, gossip,
and a querulous kind of hunger...
i swear that easing back on desserts has been the hardest thing, neighbors.
there used to be three or four kinds of cookies and cakes 
on hand at any given time at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
now, there's like, one at a time.
i mean, i'm eating better, feeling better, hopefully even looking a bit better-
it's all part of that P.M.A. all day, bro.
and i think it's working.
but, back to the main thread of the narrative-
i needed somethin'.
and what i needed was my favorite reward, dudes.
even when it's hotter than the hottest, and the air is heavy with megatons of moisture,
that's no excuse not to bring the hottness and the fire to bear on the suppertime menu.
what's the bets thing there is?
check the teleport:
that's right, friends.
 even when i'm already sweaty af and suffocating in the swelter, 
i'll still turn the oven up to 485 luscious fahrenheit degrees.
if i gotta go out, i'm going out doing what i love,
and that's making expert vegan pizza for my face,
that's no joke.
the only downside?
that crust was golden, but the grey in the day washed out every picture i took.
maybe you're not seeing what i saw, but i'll bet you're bright enough to fill in the blanks.
no sauce on this fat-crust hand-tosser, either-
there's shredded spinach, and a heavy layer of daiya chee'- minced-up, naturally, 
for maxxximum meltability, because like i already said: rules is rules.
that's right.
now, while the oven was heating up, 
and really blistering the whole entire kitchen with ferociously furious fuego,
i had some 1/4" sweet potato slices arranged on parchment on a baking tray,
softening in the rising temperature, with a gentle kiss of olive oil on 'em.
i dunno how long they were in there, 
or what the increasing temperature averaged out to or anything.
but i do know what gently browned sweet potatoes look like, 
and i pulled 'em out when they looked like that.
ok, that's a start, but that's not it.
no way.
too much is the right amount.
and that's a fact.
so, i had to have caramelized onions.
i mean, really, now, what kind of a homemade pizza  is worth a sh!t without 'em? 
i'm just sayin', they may not be for EVERY pie,
but they surely are on the list for MOST of them.
sweet baby bell pepper rings? in yellow??
i did that.
and halved baby grape tomatoes, too.
AND fire roasted tomato flakes around the olive-oiled edges, bruh.
that's how it happens, with little details and exxxtras all activating 
that level-eleven-style on your one-to-ten rating system.
believe that.
anything else?
well, yeah, man.
there's the fried garlic sprankle upgrade in F*ing full effect.
that's very necessary.
and that ho'sauce-activated smoky tempeh crOmble jauns 
was where the true victory was won.
that's 1/3 block of tempeh, sliced into 1/2" shrapnel,
sauteed in a hot pan in a slurry of SAUCINESS!
1 cup water;
1 T tamari;
3 T ho'sauce;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes;
3 shakes of liquid smoke;
1 tsp agave'
1 tsp olive oil;
1 tsp smoked paprika;
1/4 tsp ground mustard seed.
y'just bubble that away until the liquid is absorbed/evaporated, 
and the whole thing batch browns up enough to look like some grilled meatishness.
maybe not. but you know what i mean, don'tcha?
THAT'S how pizza happens at my house.
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is where the magic happens,
and it's pretty mutha-effing sorcerously sexxxy when it's ready.
i like it a whole bunch, 
and after a day where i dealt with all those different styles and challenges,
i gotta say,
i felt like more of a real champ whilst chowing down on that entire pizza pie.
oh, you really wanna know about the dough?
ok. i thought you had that on lock by now, but, here y'go:
1 cup bread flour;
1 cup semolina flour;
2 T olive oil;
1 T fast-actin' yeast;
2 tsp sea salt;
3/4 cup warm water...
in a stand mixer, preferably, let it beat itself up on the dough hook for like, 
ten minutes, on one of those lower speeds, 
until it's all smoooooth and gluten stranded.
then let it rise.....and when it's doubled in size, stretch it out, by hand,
and lay it out on an oiled, seasoned steel tray-
y'gotta bake it on a stone, too. 
that's key....
so, june is done, today.
and the even bigger action starts tomorrow.
july might just be the one.
we'll see.
i've got high hopes, but also, zero expectations.
that's the thing, folks:
i'm grateful for the time i have bee given,
and i don't take that sh!t for granted.
making minutes matter more, 
and moving forward in time and space,
across the expansive, expensive spans of spirit and memory 
that comprise the secret universal plan,
without compromise is the promise i keep every day.
it's ALL really happening,
and that's the whole point.
i say that a lot?
man, that's because i F*ing mean it;
never quiet, never soft..... 

Friday, June 29


if i was smarter, i'd have made something with strawberries.
ah, yesterday, man.
if i had had more insight into what the eff was going on,
i'd have made a more site-specific situationally-appropriate somethin'
to go along with the wild werewolfen silver circle in the sky.
it was a very full F*ing moon, and in june, that's called the strawberry moon.
so strawberry pie or some sh!t would've been the power move...
get it?
except, i was deep in the throes of lunar lunacy,
and wholly immersed in the blue light of those stone-satellite laserbeams
reflected through the cloudcover right into my freshly-shorn and terminally terrible head.
if i was a berserker barbarian bandit king, this would've been the night that i started
throwing powderkegs into the fire as casually as if they were ex-girlfirends' sweaters.
what i mean is: i can feel it pulsing like quicksilver thunderclaps
in time with my heartbeat, but i assumed it was exhaustion,
and not ley-line luminescence from the firmament's night-light beacon.
i couldn't see the sky for all the clouds.
ANYway, i didn't make any strawberry anything-
but i did still make somethin'.
i mean, c'mon.
i didn't have any treats over at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and that's not allowed.
so i made a cake.
check it out:

ALL THE sprankles!!
it's just a cake, man,
but it's never just a cake, is it?
it's a celebration of effort,
a fulfillment of expectation,
a product of intent.
and also, it's so damned delicious.
the cake recipe?
it's pretty much the same one.
preheat your oven to 350℉
grease a 9" springform pan.
in a medium metal mixing bowl (or less sexxxy ceramic jaun, or whatever) cream:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
>1 cup organic sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla.
thoroughly combine all that, and stir in:
2/3 cup non-dairy yogurt.
mix well, and add:
1 cup non-dairy milk.
stir that up, so that you've got a sloppy sweet soup,
and finally fold in:
2 1/2 cups flour;
1 tsp ea bakey powder and soda.
spoon the batter into the pan, (duh) and bake it for 35-40 minutes,
or until the center is done, and a tester comes away clean.
that's great. cool it on a wire rack after letting it sit for a bit, etc etc etc....
the frosting is the superstar here, however-
2 cups powdered sugar;
4 T vegan butts;
1 T ground raw cacao butter;
2 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk.
whipped into a wild frenzy, and aerated to eleven,
before being lathered across the top of the completely-cooled cake.
THAT'S some not-so-secret new hottness, man.
and of course, those summery super-rainbow nonpareil spranks.
it may not be strawberry themed, but it sure as heck doesn't suck.
i love cake, a LOT.
my dudes, ian and dylan, do too.
they tuned up more than half of it,
and i was grateful for their help, appreciation and participation.
that's F*ing teamwork, neighbors, and that's good stuff.
you'd think for all the bestial anthropomorphism of werewolfen warrior poetry,
i'd have less of a mangy appearance in my day-to-day life.
...but you'd be wrong.
my hair is getting shorter as it gets sparser.
i think that's the eventual inevitable decline of youth at work.
i don't like it, but i'm done fighting it.
there are no erosion management techniques that stop the war of attrition
i've waged for the last five years.
it's not at the shaved-head stage yet, but it's NOT good.
i'm gonna have to get a whole lot funnier, or at least, broaden my sense of humor,
to compensate for the skyrocketing decline in adequate good-looks i'm reppin'.
is that shallow? insecure? irrelevant?
man, i dunno...
but i have a mirror, and an opinion, so maybe just let me complain for a little minute.
thank you.
so, today is another day.
full of magic, strife, and skill,
iron and fire,
blood and lightning,
love and rhetoric,
silver and light,
ghosts and darkness....
that's pretty cool, isn't it?
and every day is just like that, too.
that's the best part:
it's ALL really happening.
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, June 28


the whole day was grey.
the whole flippin' day.
grey, overcast under blankets of clouds,
and hot.
hot and grey and smothering.
that's lame, dudes.
and complaining about the weather is pointless, yet, somehow,
it seemed appropriate for the situation.
fugue, fog, and 'fustication were the prime movers of the day.
and that suited me fine, for the most part.
while i rolled in and out of my semi-conscious sleep-deprived haze,
i kept casting out and about across a future i can't predict,
and fortunes i can't foresee,
with hard styles and heartbreaks i can't forestall,
and returning to the same actually-solvable dilemma every time-
what's for dinner?
and i know that if i can just figure that out,
the rest will all start to fill in around the solid foundation of sustenance and stability.
i count on it.
i live by it.
and while that's weirder than casting bones and reading signs,
i still get to have dinner whe i'm done,
so who's to say my way is any worse, right?
the day was grey,
and the solution was to go to an even darker place,
and go there all by myself.
black rice ramen, neighbors.
that's the darkness.

here's the important part:
real life ramen broth takes FORevERRR...
and i don't have forever just for a bowl of soup.
homemade tastes better, for sure.
and my broth was homemade, but i used a little spoonful of bouillion to do it.
you can hate me if you want,
but i had some phenomenally expert soup already, so maybe hear me out first,
and pass judgement later?
i had a cup and a half of hot water,
and 2 tablespoons of tamari AND rice vinegar added in.
a teaspoon of better'n'bouillon base,
and a heavy shake of both Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, too/.
i added craxxx of black pepper, and sriracha flakes,
three cloves of sliced garlic, and 1/2 knob, skin-on and organic, of sliced ginger, too.
pretty simple.
a glug of sesame oil added bigger, better body to it,
and a FAT handful of baby spinach turned it all the way up.
and i brought it to a hard boil first,
and turned down to a simmer while everything else got prepared.
i don;t want bad soup.
i don't want overcooked broccoli.
i don't want slimy mushrooms.
i have standards, kids.
baby bellas, seared in sesame oil, until brown and firm,
shallot sauteed in the same oil,
and broccoli, tossed in, with a splash of water, lidded,
and steamed util the greens were more vibrant, and the florets fell apart at first bite.
seriously, i see people listing times for vegetable cooking.
just F*ing look at 'em, man.
be present, pay attention, check in on 'em from time to time.
that's called active participation, man.
also, i don't know how long i was doing anything for, and i may be justifying that.
who knows?
really, though, i boiled the ramen in a separate pot, because i don't mind doing dishes,
and rinsed it before adding it to the broth.
y'like the pea shoots and the purple carrots in there?
me too!!
and the cilantro and sesame sossamons really sprankled it to eleven.
exxxxtras are exxxcellent.......that's a thing.
that's pretty straightforward, huh?
exhausted delirium will do that to you.
i blacked out after a clammy, cloudy dog walk,
and woke up alarmed, not knowing where the heck i even was.
...and when i climbed into bed?
i was overwhelmed instantly by comfort.
i hadn't slept in the big fluffy fresh-to-death bed in forever.
...and it was SO nice.
the cocoon of covering blankets, the sound of rain on the metal roof,
the smell of happiness....
if a bowl of ramen sent me into soporific senselessness that hard,
i may just have to have another 'nother bowl tonight!
today, we're underwater,
but i feel like i'm floating on air.
i slept. a lot.
i woke up ready for anything.
today is the day,
just like every day, but maybe a little bit more than normal.
and while the skies are crying onto us in buckets,
my eyes are wide open, but, not tooooo wide open.
i guess i have one of THOSE faces.
not good, but, also, not benign.
the honey-cinnamon-maple syrup sweetness of their color
doesn't do sh!t to mitigate the crazy-glare they get whenever i get excited.
and i'm super excited, so that's just how we're lookin';
never quiet, never soft.....


man, it's thursday already.
i didn't even tell you about taco tuesday,
and now i've got a whole other 'nother day of doings to discuss on TOP of that.
i got one or two winks tuesday night.
that's less than the twenty i usually get,
and half as much as the forty winks u'all seem to think you need.
so, last night, after operating all day at an even greater deficit
of recuperative and regenerative sleep than usual,
i fell asleep so flippin' hard and i have absolutely NO recollection
of when i actually landed in slumberland-
in fact, the last thing i remember was turning on the guest-room lights.
...and then i guess it was a bright bright bright light's out KO for y'boi.
on the ones,
i rarely get a long, restful span of sleep....
but i crushed almost seven hours of rechargeable relaxation,
which i'm going to have to assume was very necessary, since the autonomic autopilot
override my normal self-destruct programming.
however, i'm wide awake,
it's a drenched, doused, and deluge-diluted delusional morning,
and i'd like to tell you more about all the radical vegan boomfire foodstuff fiestas i've been
feasting on before i fell asleep.
no tortillas.
i don't know if it actually counts, but it feels like it's a thing,
and i also ate it with my actual face, eventually, and that was pretty tight.
take a lil peek at what i'm talking about:

all the feelings i can feel are all packed right in there.
two bowls?
dylan was over for dinner, man.
i like to share meals with the kid.
he's always down to get into some good-A* grub.
and that's the mark of a good friend by my measurements, for sure.
quick pickled mixed vegetables were ON the menu.
slightly sweet, sorta sour, semi-salty, somewhat spicy-
that's the MOVE, neighbors.
i've told you twenty times how to make 'em,
but i'm 21 savage today, so, here it is again:
1 carrot,peeled, and sliced on a bias (don't make ugly food, dudes);
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin;
1 large radish, sliced;
1/4 red onion, chopped;
jalapeno rings, >1/4" thick.
toss all of that in a little pot,
barely cover the contents with apple cider vinegar,
and add a pinch of salt AND one of sugar-
then boil the whole batch until the peppers turn olive.
that's how you know it's ready.
let it all cool, and then get busy with that big business.
you'll be glad you did, because that lil bowlful of burliness is expert af.
rainbow fiesta guacamole?
everybody has their own version of the perfect guac.
i respect that.
y'all haven't had any that has all the power and glory until you've had mine,
but, still, you're trying and that counts for something.
here's how to win over the whole world with the raw splendor of avocados and vegetables
in just a few easy steps:
3 avocados (save the pits);
1/4 poblano pepper, diced;
1 each, mini sweet baby red, yellow, and orange bell peppers;
1/4 minced red onion;
2 cloves crushed garlic (or more if you think you're ready for that much flavor);
one punch form the bunch of cilantro, chopped;
2 T scallion greens, minced;
1/2 jalapeno, diced;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
black pepper, pink salt, lemon AND lime juice by the BIG squeeze apiece.
yes yes yes.
heck yes.
when you mash those avo-F*ING-cados into all that exxtra hottness,
something magical happens.
like, something that you are gonna wanna eat all of before you even make the rest of the stuff.
in fact,
forget about all the other stuff.
just have chips and guac.
it's a lot, and it's enough, and it's worth it.
y'gotta go hard, or you're gonna have to go away.
rules is rules.
what else is poppin' in these bowls?
check it:

pico de gallo!!
jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice.
simple? kinda.
TILTY as F*? so much!
there's sweet potato hash, too.
that's a tablespoon of onion, and two tablespoons of bell pepper,
and another tablespoon of hot chili, a dash of crushed cilantro stems,
and a quarter of a sweet potato cubed up into lil baby squares,
a glug of olive oil, a few shakes of GPOP,
and a whole helluva lotta ho'sauce.
what's the process?
saute it until it's soft, and don;t let that ho' burn to the bottom.
that's literally the whole of it.
and it tastes like you actually tried hard,
so that's a greater reward than the investment, man.
cauliflower is dope.
black beans? also dope.
sweet corn? eh. it's ok.
but, when you put all three together?
and then add chipotle, smoked paprika, GPOP, oregano, basil, and cilantro,
douse it all in lime, and over it so it steams a little??
that's the big action, and the big action is always invited.
real talk.
whole foods and good spices are all you need.
with a scoople of lime-laced long-grain rice, and letttuce and peppers and pea shoots,
and a little ribbon of purple cabbage all contributing to a perfect bite, together.
i like that.
i'm a truth-teller.
i confess i had about four bites at dinner.
i had other things and more pressing matters on my mind.
i dominated all of it, and all the remainders in the pan,.
at 3am, like a starving stormswept insatiable savage.
that's real.
also, it was still delicious.
also, i knew i was in BIG trouble, because  3am is bad news
when your dog doesn't care if you slept at all,
when he's all fired up by 5am no matter what.
i find myself in situations where the world is in flux,
but the requirements are constant.
that calls for the creative navigation of time.
in turn, my body decided to undermine my best-laid plans,
and pass the F* out last night as hard as it ever has.
nothing like approaching the day handicapped by forced-leisure.
here we are, however- and here we go again;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, June 27


holy sh!t.
holy sh!t.
holy sh!t.
...from out of nowhere, man.
that's where the new hottness shows up from,
after having been hiding out and keeping a low profile.
that's real.
and when you're out in the world,
getting surprised and discovering new things about old friends
and new skins for old ceremonies;
feeling comfortably uncomfortable and absolutely at-home in new experiences?
well, then i guess there's a verdict being passed down.
wait for it-
you're a competent and capable, adaptable and adept real-life grown-up person.
that's pretty neat, huh?
like, where'd that come from?
i think it's cool.
ok. that's all a little bit vague-
what new hottness?
which old friends?
what's up with the really-real world?
maaaan, mind your business-
we're discussing principles here, not specifics...
here's the thing:
the secret universal plan is open to interpretation,
but the choices that shape our actions are forged in the furnaces of time and space.
that's not metaphysics, bro-
it's willful warrior poetics mashed up with determinism's darkest corners.
it's all really happening, and it's all working towards something.
that's the whole point.
what about the food?
well, on monday i got seriously activated, and went delving into the depths
of italiano activation...i really did, and it really worked,
and i'm really psyched about it.
it started with some fancy weirdie mohawk elbow pasta jauns,
and then the SAUCE came through and turned it up to eleven with the quickness.
that's no joke.

now, here's where it got sexxxy-
dry-fried slab-cut baby bella mushrooms,
and par-boiled fried potato wedges, with that olive oily crisssspiness, neighbors.
it goes like this:
mushrooms and salt and a hot pan, five minutes per side,
and a drizz' of olive oil to get 'em just that much more expert.
you take your halved and sliced potatoes, red-skin-on,
and boil 'em until they're fork-tender in salty water.
drain 'em, rinse 'em, and sizzle 'em up in that same pan,
sans 'shrooms, until those muhfuhhhhs be LOOKIN'.
y'feel me?
and they lookin' af, look:

and the sauce? the sauce was legendary.
1/2 sweet onion, in chunks;
3 cloves sliced garlic;
1/2 green bell pepper;
2 tsp olive oil.
saute all that until it's softened slightly,
and add in:
1 cup halved baby tomatoes;
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes, in the juice.
simmer five minutes, and drip in 1 T red wine vinegar;
add 1/2 tsp GPOP;
oregano, basil, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and a punch of nootch.
next, add 1 cup of vegetable broth,
and let all that bubbly away, until it thickens slightly,
and gets that telltale orange-tint to all the juicy juice.
did i add a punch or two of baby kale?
what do you think i am?
some kind of an A*-hole?
no way.
kale is good for you.
dirt-leaf thickness, and wholesome whatever-whatevers, for your face.
potatoes and pasta and peppers and portobellas?
yes, and yes, and yes, and also yes.
if you aren't ready to get thiqqq, you ain't ready for molto mondays at my house, man.
real talk.
truth tellers can never stop.
it's a blessing and it's a curse.
most folks appreciate when we tell it like it is,
until we tell them about how it is.
and don't think it's easy.
nothing any good ever is.
you have the kind of honesty that makes people flinch, because you don't?
it's not a popularity contest winning talent,
but it is the virtue that victors value.
so, what do we do?
we do the thing, man.
catching surprises and apprising the situation,
interpreting and translating and telling the true stories that unfold from there;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, June 26


fudge brownies are good.
but, to make 'em, you need a F*ing ton of sugar.
or maybe not, if you're into avocados and black beans in your cake.
that ain't me, though.
i like more cake in my cake, and avocado on my salad and sh!t.
the thing is, i knew i was gonna have a FAT day.
i knew it because i woke up,
and the first thought i had was how to get MORE cacao into my mouth in the morning.
the answer, after a big scoople in my antioxidant smoothie,
was to also ,make something sweet and rich and brown.
here's what happened:

they're fluffy, spongy, springy, and super-elite.
that's real.
here's how it happened:
>1 cup organic sugar;
1 stick vegan butter (8T);
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
2/ cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt;
1/3 cup raw cacao powder.
whipped into a muddy froth, all together,
and activated with:
1 cup non-dairy milk.
whipped again, so all the wet stuff was in one wild stormswept savage sea
of chocolaty moosh.
then it just gets better, with;
2 1/2 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
aerated all the way with that whisk on your trusty, upstanding stand-up mixer.
you could do it by hand, but it'll just suck twice if you try it.
baked, in a greased brownie pan, spread evenly, at 350℉,  for 35 minutes,
you've got something ridiculous on your hands.
honestly, why is it so expert?
it's just cake, presumably, y'know?
except it's not.
it's better. a LOT'll see.
that ganachey drippy, drizzly, decadent chocolate SAUCE, tho.
that's a mishap that went right.
oh, it wasn't what i wanted, but it was dope ayway.
yep. that's what happens sometimes when you don't measure anything.
i think i'm doing something cool, but i'm really grossly under/overestimating
the skill-to-attention ratio, and getting it wrong.
it happens.
i wanted mousse. i got sauce.
too much is the right amount, right?
for sure. just, be sure it's the right ingredient, first.
womp womp.
overly wet melted chocolate isn't good for anybody.
it worked, and it's tasty af, and it held all the goodness on top.
that's all great news.
but, whipped mousse would've been better, and what i intended.
just sayin'.
toasted coconut, medium flake unsweetened sexxxiness.
as sprankles.
that's the right answer.
and again, don't get that bendy, limp easter baskety grass-type doo-doo strand stuff.
that's what poor people do; and besides, it's practically poison, so avoid it.
the cakiness of the crumb, tho.
that's the future of brownie time.
they're rich, but they're light, but they're solid, but they're fluffy.
that's tight, bro.
for realsies.
there's more to life than treats, it seems.
as meditative and methodical, and pleasingly procedural,
and productively practical as it is,
i think i just provide the means to undermine my own feelings.
no, really.
do you have any idea how hard it is to NOT eat ALL the brownies?
sure, maybe some folks can have just A brownie.
and very proud we are of all of them....
but, i want every brownie.
mine all mine all mine all mine.
you know i've got that P.M.A., and through the power of positivity,
i often actually do resist most of those temptations.
and you must also know i've been on that appropriate reaction activation,
since lunar new year, which was a little minute ago by now,
so when i do slip up, i avoid falling right off the edge
and into the deep end of shark-gluttonous treats infested dark waters.
that's helpful.
but, one brownie is all it takes, man.
ok, three, maybe four. i don't remember, exactly.
i sorta blacked out after the first one.
that's a F*ing problem.
or, worse, saying NO to lunch pizza.
because i never say no to lunch pizza.
here's the issue-
i don't wanna look worse, but there's very little time available to exercise MORE.
i also don't wanna miss out on these expert vegan treats i make,
but there's very little restraint once the seal  is cracked even just a little.
that's just it-
how will i know if what i'm making is turbo-amazing if i don't try it?
but, then how can i just try it a little bit, without gorging myself on all of it,
especially once i taste how reliably amazing each individual element is when combined??
i know the answers,
i just don't have the answers;
never quiet, never soft.....


pad sriracha, bro.
that's some hot fire.
and when it's time to drop a batch of hot noods-
y'better believe me and my regionally-non-specific
asian-inspired rice ribbons are up to the task.
word up.
the sauce is the most important element.
in this case, it was just a ton of all the spiciness all at once.
check the teleport:

that's a big ol' plate of hot fire and high heat, homie.
real talk,
i even had those runny-nose jauns in full-effect.
which is how you know how good it is, obviously.
lettuce and cucumber and sprouts do their part to garnish it up,
but really,
it's the crisp coconut fried tofu,
those grilled zucchini discs, and the cilantro sprankles
that activate the exxxtra-credit expertism to eleven.
do you know what i mean?
really? ...hmmm, maybe it's your first day here. ok. that's cool.
what i mean is:
the noodles are awesome on their own,
with just the superstar sauce stirred-up and swished in.
but when you add those little fancy pieces to make it better?
well, then it's BETTER, and that's better.
a scoop of coocnut oil is basically the best thing that happens to a pan, man.
and when you throw some exxxtra-firm tofu down on a sizzling skillet,
and let it brown up nicey-nice?
it doesn't stick, it just gets more rad.
and MORE is what i aim for, every day.
i did same thing, in way less time, and with two less flips, for those zukes.
seriously, if you overcook those green monsters, they turn to mush,
and that sucks the hardest ever, because squishy zukes are definitively GROSS.
real talk. give me some grill marks or somethin',
but make sure you miss me with that splortchy 'cchini.
rice noodles are great.
i like that they start out translucent.
why? because that looks like crystal magic, man.
and if you can transform crystal magic into wet white whips with only water?
you're a F*ing wizard.
...and i am that.
besides, they always soak up all the SAUCE!
(here's the bad news- i made these spicy noods to send to myself a week ago,
so the sauce recipe that follows is wholly fabricated out of my imagination)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1/4 tsp cayenne;
1/4 tsp sriracha chili flakes;
2 T sriracha sauce;
1 T tamatri;
1 T rice vinegar;
2 T mae ploy sauce;
2 tsp chili-garlic paste;
1 tsp ground coriander seed;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1/2" skin-on organic ginger, minced;
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper.
that's how you make it, probably.
that's how i'd make it today, anyway, so that's how you make it from now on.
poured over noods, tossed in with stir-fried stuff?
you know what's up.
and what's in the stir fry?
looks like there's brussels, for sure, and grilled cabbage, and purple cabbage,
and carrots-
i can see all those things, so i can say for certain i ate those things.
peppers? i think that's a pepper. it's a pepper. add a pepper. or don't.
what do i care if you use peppers or not?
you ever made a noodle dish before?
just do that, again.
jeez. ANYway, it was very spicy. and i liked it. i'm a little fuzzy on the rest....
i was getting ready to head to connecticut, and that takes up mos of my attention every time.
and i've been back for a few days,
and i've been working every bit as much as before i left.
two days 'off', doing more things, in more places, was NOT relaxing.
nope. not even one teentsy-tiny little bit.
but, being back in my haunted hermit hole, i'm reminded of one thing-
it's a ransacked and ramshackle structure-
sure, it's a big monster manor,
but with a little perspective, i can see clearly that my reclusive ways have done me a disservice.
i live in one of those murdery houses where there's just weird sh!t everywhere,
and the vacuum cleaner is more decorative than functional.
a day away and i can't even loo at the pace the same.
time to add janitorial services back into my repertoire.
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, June 25


i like busy days of tattoos.
i like great conversations with smart people.
i like pizza at lunchtime (for reals)...
and in the evening, after work,
i like a big ol' bowl of burly vegan goodness.
i had ALL of that yesterday!
...and that meant yesterday was pretty flippin' rad, y'know?
i've been on a kick lately, where i have all the big action,
and all the best flavors,
and all the stuff i can stuff into a bowl, all at once, for supper.
because too much is the right amount,
and wholeheartedly harnessing the whole food hottness is super-F*ing good for you.
s'good for me, and good news for my old, busted body, too.
a rainbowl of colorful crunchy stuff has never led me astray
on the path to physical and mental well-being.
that's no joke.
check the teleport:

allllllll the things, all for me.
if i'm home alone (which i usually am) i'm gong hard on the multifaceted freshness
of temperature, color, texture, and depth, duders.
i want what i want, and i'm prepared to do what i have to in order to have it.
that's a thing.
barbecue tofu? i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
spicy cauliflower? obvi, i'm no chump.
fried tomatoes? sure. why not?
grilled sweet potato? apparently, it's a superfood, neighbors.
quinoa? i'm eating it, but it still feels like smaller and worse rice to me.
the cauliflower, the sweet potato, and the tomatoes all used one pan
in short successive spurts of sizzlin' and searing.
a lil pat of raw coconut oil helped those potatoes brown up on the griddle,
before the cauliflower and the shallots took center stage, doused in ho'sauce,
and dressed for success in a spoonful of tamari and a splash of water...
honestly, high heat, liquid, and a touch of seasonin', and regular-A* cauliflower gets
expert in a hurry.
the tomatoes hung out until they softened and blistered a bit-
i didn't know i liked those so much, but i think from here on out,
i'm gonna absolutely have to have 'em.
that's three pieces of the puzzle, all cooked quick, in one place-
(i added 'em all on top of that dumb triple-kernel quinoa,
in the pot, with the lid on, to stay hot while i kept cookin'.)
the tofu was fried up in more coconut oil, separately,
and when it got golden-brown and crispy as heck on three sides?
i hit it with the custom SAUCE
and caramelized it onto all those sticks of soybean sexxxiness.
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1/2 tsp cumin;
1 tsp smoked paprika;
1 tsp hot paprika;
1/2 tsp cayenne;
1 tsp sugar;
1/2 tsp ground mustard seed;
1/4 tsp black pepper;
1/2 tsp turmeric;
dash liquid smoke;
splash of tamari;
splash of white vinegar;
bbq sauces are so subjective. you could pretty much add almost anything,
and it'll still count, as long as it's slightly tangy, sweet, and smoky-
i didn't even use any tomato base at all, and it was still a delight.
at least, i was delighted. or delit. or maybe it was lit? i dunno.
i can only report to you that i really liked that sh!t.
that's the truth.
and there's ALSO all that vegetable matter matterhorning it's way to the tippity topmost
tier of crawnchy apex excellence for my face!
lettuce and cabbage and sprouts and cukes and carrots and peppers,
AND cilantro sprankles??!?
man, y'all thought i was kidding?
what am i?
an A*-hole?
no way.
i'm a powerbowler,
and i'm eating allllllll the vitamins in a giant heap of healthiness.
true stories, told truly.
that's kind of what i do.
the one who knows all the words.
it's like the sagas, guys.
epic paeans to the power and glory of worthy warrior poets-
those scalding skald stanzas of real-life documentarianism.
those battle beastly bars on bars of bard-blasted sonnet sorcery.
words, on top of words, followed by words....
that's a narrative,
and it's all always really happening.
that's the whole point.
i love word eaters, but i hate hate hate having to eat my own words.
but, in practical applications, i'm naturally inclined towards bitter medicine.
no, really.
i nourish and nurture with syllables and sustenance,
a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, complete and complex carbohydrates,
convoluted but coherent sentences,
food and words are what i trade in-
the rest is just my job,
the real work, the real purpose,
the really realness of What Is is feeding minds and bodies
with words and with food.
we all have out things.
those are mine;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, June 24


i didn't even make real pie crust.
it turns out that in the rain, in the morning, in a haze,
i'm just making sh!t up-
doin' things we don't even care about-
out here eatin', bakin', y'know, doing mornin' stuff...
why is that a thing?
because rules is rules, and i had dinner plans,
which meant i HAD to make somethin' beforehand,
so that i produced a valuable bit of creativity for the day before the day even really began.
i do that, neighbors.
it's a thing.
check the teleport:

summery strawberry galette goodness, guys.
that's what's up.
rustic crust? i got you.
black-bottom big-booty chocolate activation? i GOT you.
fresh, fat, juicy strawberries? man, i GOT you.
i had the oven roarin' at 405 luscious fahrenheit degrees.
four oh five. tha's right. five exxxtra, just because.
i made that dough up quick-fast and in a hurry,
and it was great.
i wasn't surprised, but i was pleased, if you feel me.
there were maybe almost 2 cups of flour. i didn't measure it.
and a scoop of powdered sugar- no idea how much.
and the last sprinklin' of raw sugar- again, it was just a little shake.
a big scoop of vegan butter- it might've been half a cup? i honestly dunno.
a little salt, a splash of vanilla, and a whole lotta choppin' with a pastry cutter.
lastly, i poured in two glugs of non-dairy milk.
is that a recipe? barely. is that what happened? actually.
i'll say this- i wish i did document it better,
because it was the crunchiest, crispiest, and most expert one i've had in a minute.
the filling? oh. right. how do we get what's inside it?....
it's a handful of mini chocolate chips, and a pile of sliced starwberries, man.
it's fine.
and simple. and fresh.
and delicious.
i baked it for thirty minutes, and ate it in under two.
that's the right call, y'all.
after all. too much is the right amount.
one galette, for my face, please and thank you...
it's been a bust summer, and it's only been like, three days.
i had dinner with some friends last night (it was pizza),
and we laughed and talked and did people-stuff, like people do.
i had almost forgotten what that's like.
it was good, guys.
being a regular person for a night was a nice diversion from my normal regimented routine.
i'll be back on the grind again today, though-
to be sure, working less feels worse........and i'm not trying to feel worse.
not one bit.
what i want is some big fun, but, in a controlled environment.
that's what AMPERSAND TATTOO is for me.
a concentrated self-contained hottness exxxplosion, all for me,
and you, should you choose to be there, too.
all i really count on is that i'll be at the spot, with all i've got,
and i'm ready, and willing, to interact in that intimate environment
as an artfully articulate ambassador of real-life documentarianism.
conversation is inclusive, and no purchase is necessary.....
irregular person stuff is even better, man;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, June 23

three of a kind

so, this was a thing:

holy sh!t.
what a wild whirlwind mini minute away from the woodsly goodness!
and harvest graduated the F* outta that high school jaun, neighbors.
there were waaaaaaay more speeches than i remembered,
and most of them took waaaay longer than anybody could possibly care about.
every person welcomed the students, families, faculty, and staff-
and hour and half in, i got you, bro, we've been welcomed, a lot.
but, damn, if i wasn't proud as heck:

hours of extra driving? suicide dog trying to get us killed?
traffic out the A*-hole in every direction? 90℉+ temperatures?

worth it.
candid spycam shots of us taking a selfie?
was i a teary-eyed turd for most of the time?
you bet i was! ....obvi.
strong people with strong feelings- that's a family tradition-
but, i've got powerfully overwhelming emotions bursting out of my heart
whenever i'm with my children.
and both of them made it super expert for their dear old dad.
for real.


they're better kids than i would've imagined i could produce.

they're better people than i've ever been, and i work on that sh!t daily.
too much is the right amount,
and they're overpowerfully awesome in all the best ways.
i cold go on, but i'm already a day behind schedule for my ordinary life in these mountains.
it goes by too quickly.
there's a reason everybody says that;
i'm grateful as F* for what i've been given-
and i'm thrilled to the gills that these girls are mine!
never quiet, never soft.....


it's just a F*ing salad, man:

i mean, really, it's mostly just wet leaves.
yeah, it was crunchy;
yeah, that tofu was crispy;
yeah, those seeds were glazed with agave and black pepper;
yeah, man, salad is good af.
yeah, man, white balsamic vinegar is some tasty stuff;
salad doesn't have to be a bummer, bro-
even though it's a raked up pile of leafy greenery,
it's still really effin' delicious.
y'feel me?
now, let's not lose too much time over it.
appreciate that salad is NOT for A*-holes,
and move forward from there.
my salad days are long past,
by my salad days are still in full swing;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, June 21


y'wanna take a guess as to how much i like driving to connecticut?
i've got five hours in the car with crabtree, before the main event,
back in my original homeland,
down in the southernmost center of the nutmeg state...
what's the main event?
high school graduation.
should be big fun.
speeches? love 'em.
crowds of moms? my favorite.
high school? so tight.
yeah, neighbors, i guess you could say that it's about to be lit af.
but only if you don't have ANY idea what the F* that means.
harvest is about to be super-legit and all-the-way-officially done!
a graduate.
a completionist.
a flippin' lightning-striking valkyrie vixen, with all the fixin's.
that's rad.
she's rad.
and today is the day.
i'm proud of my kid.
like, beaming, bragging, beside-myself-with-respect-and-admiration, 
psyched, pumped, and amped for this big day.
she's been a great daughter, a good person, and a nice kid the whole time,
and she didn't just finish the thing- she crushed it.
so, today is her day, and i'll be there to show support and bear witness
to the fruitful culmination of all these years of learning and growing.
i'm excited for that.
...and i'm excited for SUMMER, too.
that's right now.
the brightest longest-illumination in a twenty four hour period this year,
and where will i be?
in a car, mostly; 
or in the stands, cheering;
or sitting down somewhere, nearly the entire time.
it's a brand new season, and i'm wondering what it's going to bring to bear on me and mine.
so, today is the day in a couple of ways.
in fact, it's so action-packed and fun-filled,
i'm gonna go ahead and just stop myself right now,
and get ready for the big-time explosions of expertism  
that're sure to be poppin' off all damned day long.
it's all really happening-
the ley lines are converging,
the rotation is at it's peak,
the place to be is where i'm headed,
and i'm bursting at the seams in anticipation.
this. is. it.
really real life, unfolding across time and space.
the first next big step,
the first day of the new season,
the best time to be with my favorites and most-bestest ones.
i'm grateful for the time i have been given.
i've caught a couple-two/three glimpses of the alternatives,
and i think i'll stay the course and see this path through to the end;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, June 20


fresh cilantro would've been nice, man.
i'm sayin'.
without it, stuffs still tight, but it's just not as tight.
yeah...that's a thing.
and yesterday was tuesday, so i mean, rules is rules,
and mexican magic kinda needs cilantro.
the grocery store doesn't give a sh!t about what my dinner tastes like....
even without the freshest freshness,
i still managed to make something pretty F*ing fresh-
behold, via teleport:
i zipzapped my homeboy todd, and his lovely wifey, which was awesome.
feeling flush with a victorious day of tattooing under my belt,
i went home and activated a heap of hottness, mounded in mountains
of massive bean bombardment.
that's real.
tempeh? it's soybeans, bruh.
plus black beans, AND refritas picante??
too much is the right amount, neighbors.
no question.
that tempeh is expert.
the recipe, if you can even call it that, is too easy-
tempeh taco crOmbles!
in a lil pot, 
you've gotta combine 1 block of temepeh, chopped up all fine and nice,
sauteed with olive oil and  cloves of garlic, and 2 T onion,
just to soften those jauns, before the burly bath in broth begins.
1 cup veggie broth, plus 1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
and 1 T nootch;
and smoked, hot, AND regular red paprikas;
a few shakes of oregano, and dried cilantro bummer) and coriader seed,
which is the same but not the same at all, and a healthy blast of cumin,
and a few glugs of ho'sauce, 
and time enough on medium heat for all the liquid to soak all the way in....
that's when you transfer the whole thing to a pan.
why a pan?
so you can sizzle that stuff with jalapeno, and sweet baby bell pepper, 
fresh onion, and poblano pepper, too.
how much of each? asmuch as you'd like. it's just tacos, bro. eyeball it, guesstimate, 
broad strokes and emotional swaths of ingredients are good for you.
no joke.
get it all good and toasty, and spoon it all over your soft flour tacos.
look, you can use soft corn tortillas, too.
just miss me with those bummersville crispies, kiddo.
hard shells are NOT invited.
i don't dig on 'em, not once, not ever.
nootch-boosted oil-free fat-free refritas?
i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
blarpity brown blops of pinto paste are ON the list, for sure.
i have to add red onion, jalapeno, nootch (obvi), GPOP, poblano pepper, 
and ho'sauce by the spoonful.
regular-A* beans are good, but have you ever had mine?
the're better. and better is as better does, so do better, and be better, 
and don't settle for lazy beans.
it seems so simple, 
but nobody is out here repping that level-eleven refried scene like me.
i used to span time with a woman who adamantly insisted 
that i didn't need to add a huge pat of vegan butter to the pot.
turns out, that IS correct. i can't tell a difference, duders.
all those years of fattening up my face were for nuthin'.
i leaned something, man. that still happens every day.
just not in time to make somebody feel appreciated and listened to.
then again, i could just tell her she was onto something...
c'mon- that's even less likely than me ever adding butterish to the pot again.
and black beans, and lettuce, and carrot, and red onion sprankles,
and purple flippin' cabbage, all doing their part to make my taco time the best time.
that's pretty cool.
limes? F* yeah. limes are awesome.
also, limes are seedless, so no pips appear in your floury flaps.
i appreciate that.
and that salsa?
yo, on the ones, that fire roasted business is the TRUTH.
i've been working on my recipe,
and without those fresh leaves,
this was one was an honest success, but SO light in the A*.
it needed the bright bright brightness of that cilantro spike.
next time, man. there's always a tuesday, every week.
oh, sh!!!!!!!!!!,
AND AVO-F*ING-CADO, friends.
i almost forgot about it; 
what an A*-hole i'd have been, then, huh?
lucky for us, i remembered.
avocado makes you cooler, and taller, and more attractive.
i'm positive that's accurate.
try it for yourself.
i think i'm onto something.
i'm going to connecticut.
that's real.
for the first time in two months, i'm taking a couple days.
will i be driving for 25% of it?
of course.
that's how it goes.
tomorrow, my eldest child, harvest, is graduating high school.
let me repeat that.
my kid. is graduating, from high school. tomorrow.
as in: already.
as in: headed off on her own in the fall.
as in:
i'm so old, i might need a new hip.
as in: i'm so very proud of the person she's become.
as in: this is it.
more on that as it unfolds.
a trip back home is always an action-packed whirlwind,
and this one will be no different....
except, i'm also adding crabtree to the mix.
just to keep things interesting.
read as: three thousand percent more stresssful.
big fun, proud moments, good food, long drives, hard styles,
and all the rest of it, without rest, without stopping, without question-
it's ALL really happening,
and that's all there ever is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, June 19


i know i don't need cake to eat in the morning.
like, i understand that cake isn't gonna fix anything,
an it certainly isn't going to improve my appearance,
nor will it strengthen my tenuous grasp on maintaining a semi-human shape...
but, i mean, c'mon dudes-
have you HAD cake?
it's pretty F*ing amazing.
so amazing, in fact, that even with the knowledge and understanding
that cake is NOT the answer,
i still baked up a thick, rich, robust chocolate chip cake anyway.
i don't care, man; sometimes you've just gotta have a little tiny big fat slice.
that's a thing.
also, in the interest of seeming somewhat capable of marginal restraint,
i made it a single layer, so there's less cake; 
even though that's still waaaay more than NO cake, it's somethin'.
after all, when you're trying to get right, 
anything more than none is a LOT,
which is good news, really,
because too much is the right amount.
check the teleport:
i am gonna believe that's a thing, anyway.
this one was, to quote my buddy, dylan: an instant classic.
that's tight.
that's coconut frosting melting around the rim- 
more of a testament to how flippin' hot and humid it was up here in the woodsly goodness
than to my inability to let a cake fully cool before icing.
bro, you KNOW i let my sh!t reach room temperature first.
don't think i'm rushing just because i feel rushed.
remember that.
the frosting notwithstanding, 
i also expertly activated that ganache with real life raw cacao and raw cacao butter, too.
no skimping out over here.
and really, it was molto easy-
3 T cacao, 2 T cacao butter; 2 T soymilk; 3 T powdered sugar; 1 tsp vanilla.
and a whole lotta whisking over low heat in a little pan.
ganache has panache, buddy, 
and when appropriately drizzled, it turns up the sex appeal to eleven.
ugly food is NOT invited, no matter what.
and the crumb? the actual cakey cakeness? the thiqqq fresh loudness?
yes, neighbors, it was very rewarding, all by itself.
you want a recipe?
ok. you can have it:
preheat your oven to 350℉
lightly grease a 9" springform pan, or equivalent.
in a medium mixing bowl, smash and combine:
3/4 cup demerara sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
8 T vegan butter;
1/2 tsp salt.
stir in:
2/3 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt, and mix well.
sift together:
2 T organic non-GMO cornstarch into 2 1/2 cups flour;
1 1/2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
2/3 cup mini-baby dark chocolate chips;
stir gently, and pour in:
1 cup non-dairy milk.
whisk it until completely uniform, and spoon that shiiiii into the pan.
bake that golden goodness for 40 minutes, and get excited, kid.
it's gonna be so great, if you do it right.
and you're gonna do it right....
so, do it right, and make me proud, 
and make yourself some cake!
am i working today?
you know it!
i'm flying solo at AMPERSAND TATTOO, doing what i do best- 
zipzappin' some old friends,
and making the moves that muster up the magic.
it should be a good time.
and y'know what else is going on?
taco tuesday.
i skipped it last week, but i think i'm back on track 
and on the attack for tonight's big action....
there's not a lot of dynamism occurring these days,
so i s'pose it's up to me to really invigorate the routine with
all the extra intensity i can muster up.
it might be more of the same, it just doesn't have to be the same ol' same;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, June 18


father's day came and went-
how was it?
well, i worked all day, just like every day,
and i tattooed a delightful 18 year old birthday girl
with a whole bunch of great big flowers.
yep. a full forearm of drawn-on freestyle roses.
i hung out with her and her mom, and we all had a good time.
...and that was the highlight.
i wasn't surprised, guys.
i live miles and hours away from all of my family,
and while i care for my dog like he's a realllly stupid little kid-
he's still a dog.
not a kid.
so, i wasn't exactly basking in the parental bliss of dadliness.
i was wrestling a wild and terrible terrier terrorist, and that's cool, too.
it all unfolds the way it's supposed to, man.
being alone isn't the worst thing.
thinking about death and loss and getting bummed out isn't the worst thing.
effing up the spices on some hot-fire stir-fry might be the worst thing,
but i didn't DO that,
because i'm expert AF up in this Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen, bro.
that's no joke.
with or without phone calls from kids, or a dad to buy a tie for,
i still do what i do;
and what i do is create something of substance to nourish myself
during the spans of time i cross with just crabtree to keep me company.
he ate the carrot butts, i ate everything else,
and then we went for another 'nother walk in town,
where he peed on EVERYthing, and i got eaten alive by biting black flies.
i went asia-type barbecued tofu for my meal,
and hooked it up with half a head of spicy sriracha lime stir-fried cauliflower, too.
check the teleport:

i dunno what the heck i thought i was doing, but i ended up doing something awesome.
like, even the avocado was fully-activated and fresh-to-death.
that's black pepper and sriracha flakes and pink salt sprankles on top.
expert, right?
and that cauliflower?
c'mon, kids,
y'can't just sit around out here wasting time.
that's not cool.
i had all the florets chopped evenly,
with 2 T red onion;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1 julienned carrot;
2 T lime juice;
2 T sriracha;
a ton of HOT paprika, a few crushed red pepper flakes,
a shake or three of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder,
and 1/4 cup of hot water,
all sizzlin' and simmering and bubbling away in a very hot pan with a lid on.
that softened everything up, before i added the purple cabbage,
and a lil bit of exxtra bbq sauce.
oh, well, i didn't exactly use all of it on the tofu i haven't told you anything about yet,
so i drizz'd it all over top, and let it turn the flavor up even higher-
like, off the charts, all the way to eleven, instantly.
ASIA-type sesame ginger peanut jauns are where it's AT.
and here's what's in it:
4 tsp sesame oil;
1 T rice vinegar;
2 T tamari;
1 T ho'sauce;
2 tsp smoked paprika;
1 T agave;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
1/2 tsp ground dried mustard;
2 cloves crushed fresh garlic;
1 T black and white sesame sossamon seeds;
1/2" skin-on organic ginger, minced...
black pepper, of course, and ground coriander,
and mixed chili flakes to keep it fuego x 1k.
spicy is good for you, and if your nose isn't running, you did it wrong.
i had half a block of regular firm tofu sizzlin' on all sides
in sesame oil in my ceramic saute pan on superhigh heat,
gettin' crispy on the edges, with a handful of dried chinese chilis.
so HOT.
i added an off-handful of dry-roasted unsalted peanuts to the mix,
and poured most of that sauce on all of it-
which caramelized and fried and soaked in and did all the things you'd want sauce to do.
and the doo-doo was on point at the utmost in deliciousness...
here's the thing, though-
underneath all that sexxxy tofu wonderment?
grilled cabbage, bruh.
that's how you make it WORK.
no kidding.
a quarter of a head of green cabbage, blackened on two sides in a lil dollop of oil,
and spread across the bottom of that 'fu, for a fundamental foundation of dopeness.
add some red onion sprankles, and all of a sudden,
you're a superhero of suppertime celebrations.
...that's a good thing.
i prefer food.
ohhh, to what?
i prefer food to most things, actually.
have you ever even had food?
you have???
then you must know what i'm talking about.
food is the best.
and since i'm in charge of making it,
it's always what i want it to be.
i really like that.
a direct interface between desire and satisfaction.
what else would i even opt for?
maybe MORE time, i guess, to exercise and eat and exercise and eat again-
i do NOT look like i'm a fitness person,
but only because i'm a fat person on the inside,
staying busy, staying awake, and staying active in order to activate MORE food,
MORE often,
with fewer circumferential side-effects.
that's a thing.
i prefer food, man.
that's the truth;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, June 17


is there, like, a barbecue or a sports thing i'm supposed to do today or something?
i'm just gonna go to work, like i always do-
but, i mean, today is the day...
y'know, the one where we all presumably get excited about dads.
i dunno, though, man.
father's day has always seemed like the consolation prize holiday.
mother's day has flowers and brunch and cards and calls and get-togethers,
but for the father's?
on the ones,
nobody really even wears ties anymore, like the cliché from my childhood;
so i actually have NO idea what even happens.
i might get a text from my kids, maybe? we'll see.
i did get a card already, so technically they have discharged their duty,
and are off the hook for any further niceties.
i will say, with certainty, that i won't be calling my old man today-
he's not exactly accepting phone calls in his current state.
honestly, i don't think this is my day, neighbors.
i'm reminded of a particularly low point in my personal history:
it was six years ago.
i was verrrry busy falling apart at the seams-
all the plans and preparations i'd made for a bright and shiny happy future
all took a huge sh!t right on my face,
and i was getting divorced, for the second time,
and feeling like an especially huge failure;
so, for father's day,
i drove the five hours to connecticut to see my children,
and maybe feel a little baby bit better for their presence.
afterwards, i took a ride with my own father into the city.
i don't remember what he said,
but i imagine that after a fashion, and in his own weird way,
he was trying to bond and be encouraging....
until his infinite nature took over.
we were driving up to a yellow light,
at an intersection where two police cruisers were idling,
and for whatever reason
(i can only assume he was making an effort to be cool in front of his art-nerd son)
he looked right at me, actually said OUT LOUD:
F* the PO-lice,
and ran the light, which, by then was alarmingly red.
i want you to imagine the resignation and complete lack of shock i felt
when those cruisers hit their lights and pulled us over less than a block later.
lemme just add a little exxxtra zest to the story-
the car we were driving was registered to me, but had been in his possession for years.
that's a whole other 'nother story.
in any other circumstance, with any other passenger,
i wouldn't have cared that he definitely had drugs in the car,
because i would've been several states away-
and yet, here we were, in "my"car,
pulled over for blatantly flaunting traffic law for absolutely no reason at all....
neat, right?
so, all we had to do now was play it cool, be respectful,
maybe turn on a little charm,
try to use a little father's day leverage to play on some sympathies...
y'know, things a normal person would do-
and here's what actually happened:
hang out of the driver's side window, and start yelling obscenities at the officers.
i know what you're thinking-
that's not real.
well, guys, i promise you, that's exactly what happened.
and if you're imagining that that approach probably won them over right away?
sadly, your optimism is misplaced.
i think it was the term 'feminazi pigs' that might've thrown them off.
oh! did i not yet mention that there were two female officers?
women AND law enforcement?
my dad's two favorite kinds of folks to show the utmost respect to?
on the opposite side of the car, i winced at his exchange,
whilst doing my best to answer the questions i was being asked.
...and don't think i didn't mention that i was NOT enjoying my father's day,
and that i was very sorry for the old man's behavior.
the response?
'oh word, right...well, happy father's day to any of ya'll that's a father....'
honest to goodness, he yelled: the light was yellow!!! out of the window
before they ever mentioned why they had (obviously) pulled us over.
he got a ticket. we drove home.
i was relieved. he was enraged.
and he even said to me, 'you DO know that light was yellow, right?'
i was IN the car the whole entire time,
and he was rewriting the narrative to the only eyewitness!
right then, i saw the truth, wrapped in that lie:
the lie was the new truth, because it HAD to be.
accountability was too much to bear for him-
because he had been trying SO hard to be the person he wanted me to see him as;
not realizing, of course, that i didn't need a cartoon villain to confide in.
i saw my dad as he really was in that moment-
embarrassed and humbled, worried and wrathful, furious and helpless,
all at once.
it was awful, but it humanized him more than anything else.
the horrifying hurricane howitzer of my youth
was suddenly transformed into just a man.
he may have been pretty bad at being my dad,
but only because he was so much worse at showing vulnerability.
and in trying to be cool in front of his kid, and failing completely,
he ended up becoming something better:
i understood him, i pitied him, i hated him, and my heart broke for him.
the thing is:
that moment made me better at being a dad to my own kids.
i mean it.
instead of trying to impress them, or trying to be a caricature of fun-time dad-time,
i do my best to do what needs doing,
and to be the most expert version of myself-
honest, approachable, accountable, and invested.
essentially, being a real-life person available to my real-life people.
y'know, doing the opposite of what i grew up with.
i gotta hand it to the ol' man-
he was THE BEST example of what not to do i've ever heard of.
and it makes me miss him so much,
because sometimes, i can't actually predict what he'd have done,
so i may be making major mistakes from now on.
i'm kidding.
but not about missing him, though.

     dear the universe,
          you sure do know how to create a memory.
               ...thanks for this one.
                              your pal,

so, today is the day, again;
another 'nother home-alonely father's day,
and all i have to do to win is obey the rules of the road,
and tell the F*ing truth.
i think i'm onto something here;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, June 16


it's saturday!
that might mean something to you,
but every day is my monday,
so every day is no more or less exciting than the next.
there's no working for the weekend for me, man.
there's just another day doing all the things that need doing. 
there's no difference between monday #1 and monday #7-
except that everybody wants to get tattooed on two of the days we're open 
so much more so than on all the others, 
and traffic outside the studio is a jam twice a day 
at lunchtime and dinnertime all summertime long.
yup. mondays 6 and 7 are really really busy,
and monday prime is pretty low-key,
but as for me, personally, over all? 
it's all the same-
all work, no play, every day....and eat all the food at every meal every single day-
i try to make the most of the time i'm spanning,
and the space i'm occupying.
today is the day, 
just like every day, neighbors- and pursuing a bigger, better, more expert version
of myself is what i'm doing with it. 
there's really not a moment to waste.
last night, 
instead of celebrating the weekend (because wtf is a weekend) 
i celebrated being the hungriest one in the woodsly goodness.
and when you're celebrating the presence of a monstrous appetite, 
the only way to party is with a massive mountain of food.
here's the thing-
i could've been a big fat sloppy mess,
but instead i was a champion of plant-based whole food hottness-
honestly, i needed something fresh, clean, new, and nourishing-
and i needed a LOT of it,
AND i wanted it to be anything other than italian food.
don't get me wrong, it was a delicious span of time up until now-
but i wanted less dough and more dopeness.
so, i went POKÈ!
a bowlful of freshie-freshness, 
to fill up and fuel the furious, ferocious furnace deep inside my F*ing soul, bro.
check the teleport:
this was a good monday #5 dinner, for sure.
i mean, c'mon.
would you just look at it:
that's a LOT of food, dudes.
and no jokes, i took down 100% of it,
and then some.(it wouldn't all fit in one bowl...shoutouts to seconds, b)
and the all-star lineup?
tight and TILTY af, man:
tricolor quinoa! 
and i don't even really like quinoa!
but it did the job, and gave me all the good stuff, and plant-based protein, 
and blah blah blah, plus, it kept the whole flippin' thing gluten-free, which was cool, too.
purple and green cabbage shreds!
jalapeno rings for kick and punch and slaps to your palate.
crawnchy zesty radishes, to give it some bite.
cucumbers, because of nutrients, i guess?
yellow-hearted purple carrot, for off the charts toothsome fiber activation.
mixed leaf lettuce, to look cool, really.
sprouts for nutrient-dense roughage.
tomato for color.
red onion which was, frankly, a F*ing bummer- soooo sharp....
luckily(?) it's not as if i had a makeout party to attend, 
as it would have been ruined by the onion assault that lingered 
long after the thrill of pokè had passed.
because, i mean, for really-real, avocado makes you more awesome, and that's a fact.
toasted two-tone sesame seed sprankles? yep.
and scallion sprankles, too? ...obvi.
too much is the right amount.
which is also why there's THREE more magical additions to the bowl, buddy.
olive-oil grilled sweet potato wedges
every side got given the gift of a bit of a browning, and the soft, succulent,
sweetness was welcomed with an open mouth and sharp teeth. is that how welcoming works? i hope so.
smoky, spicy chick peas!
that's a cup of chickies, and a spoonful of coriander, a dash of ground dry mustard,
black pepper, olive oil, GPOP, and a scoople of smoked hot paprika,
all tossed together with a pinch of cilantro, 
and cooked on high heat just until they start to pop a little.
they're sorta meaty, really flavor-packed, and they're roundish,
which switches up the textures so you're getting MORE awesomeness in every bite.
seriously, what kind of an A*-hole wouldn't like that?
and that teriyaki tofu is essential!
exxxtra-firm tofu, sizzled up on all sides with a spoonful of toasted sesame oil-
then drenched in a glaze of our own invention-
ok. it's actually pretty much all the stuff you'd expect-
2 T wheat-free tamari;
2 T rice vinegar;
1 T ho'sauce;
2 cloves crushed garlic;
1 T agave;
2 T lime juice;
1 tsp toasted sesame oil;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
black pepper, sriracha flakes, to taste.
there's nothing like an essentially guiltless cauldron of food,
no matter how much you eat, it's still super good for you in every way,
so there's no upper limit to how much you should munch up.
and if there's a ton of it, i'll eat a ton of it-
i'm like that,
and i like that, 
because i need to eat allllllll the sexxxy vegan food.
i do.
it's the brightest spot in my day.
...followed immediately by a short trip into town, 
so that crabtree and i can socialize, at arms' length, 
with the visitors and denizens of this mountain vale.
we walk a lot.
or, more accurately, i walk, and he gets dragged, or whatever.
but you get the idea.
we're out and about, doing our thing, and peeing on stuff.
that's how we unwind after work and dinner.
every day is the same.
i don't hate it, but there needs to be something new.
not for the novelty, but by necessity.
if there's no change, there's no evolution, only refinement.
and i need to GROW outwards, not just improve inwardly.
maybe today is the day that happens?
i told you, every day is the day,
and today is one one 'em;
never quiet, never soft.....