Thursday, January 31


man, another snow day took it's toll.
the ice dams on my roof have blocked up the flow of the floe,
and there's water coming INside the kitchen.
that's not good, guys.
so, when it gets a little light out, i'll be climbing on the roof with melty stuff and a hammer,
and chopping and chipping away at the 'bergs on the eaves.
remedying this less-than-ideal happening.
big fun.
shoveling is tiresome, but it's what happens when you live in the woodsly goodness.
i'll be shoveling my way to the back of the house,
before i start climbing up onto tables, ladders, and chairs, to access the obstruction on my roof.
there's lots of work to do.
everywhere, and always.
i get a little overwhelmed (just a little tiny baby bit) by how much sh!t
perpetually needs to get done around here.
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress is a heck of a place to live,
and it doesn't need much-
but what it needs, it desperately needs, and demands immediate action to repair.
i love a big old busted manse, neighbors.
and i'm sure happy to wake up here every day.
the thing is-
i don't wanna dig a path and smash ice all morning.
i mean, i'm gonna;
but i'd rather be baking something delicious
than hanging off of something dangerous.
real talk.
i made myself some manly morning glory for breakfast.
it helped with the ennui of winter, for sure.
check the teleport:

i need good food to get myself activated for the day, duders.
that's no joke.
and these fat stacks on stacks were just what i needed to make the magic happen.
shoveling was easier.
dog walks were warmer.
tattoos were smoother.
everything was more expert thanks to a bellyful of hearty oaten panniecakes!
the recipe for these jauns has been written and rewritten a LOT on this blog
over the last ten or more years.
i'll skip it this time if that's alright with you?
i had exxxtra-darrrrrk real new hampshire maple syrup on 'em.
rules is rules, fools.
y'can't expect me to eat 'em dry.
and you seriously can't expect me to use brown corn syrup like some kind of an A*-hole.
i mean,
don't be dumb.
...and that's a scoople of a la mode coconut ice cream up on there, too.
i want alllll the good stuff at once.
that's non-dairy coconut whippy cream on the side.
AND powdery sugar sprankles.
too much is the right amount.
that's all that i ever want, kids.
MORE, and MORE, and then a lil baby bit MORE.
my pancakes always have oats in 'em,
and they for sure have unsweetened coconut,
and you know they gotta have vanilla in there, too.
i want fancy sweet cakes, not boring beige bummers.
that's a fact.
and if i can, i'm gonna make 'em shapes.
i like a form-poured batter scene, friends.
i use all the copper cookie cutter guides to make sure my jacks are exxxtra-pretty.
on the ones,
if i'm gonna get super-powered by pancakes, they should charge up my eyes first.
then my mouth, followed by my whole skeleton body, bruh.
and just like *that* january is done.
i feel like it flew by at a breakneck pace.
i hear folks around me talking about how looooooooong this month seemed,
but i didn't get that at all.
it's already over.
too fast.
too soon.
and now, we're headed into a polar vortex of blisteringly biting blood-freezing cold,
and also B.H.M.,
and also valentine's day is right around the corner,
and i haven't made ANY hearts yet!
february is right here, at the entryway, waiting like a vampire to be invited in.
and like a vampire, it pretty much sucks.
the bright spots will have to shine through,
and the warmth of home will have to save the day,
because it's cold outside, and that's no joke.
winter is in F*ing full effect,
and the slightly longer lightness of each day is counteracted by the plummeting temperatures
that threaten to snap off my ears and sear my nostrils shut.
it's all really happening, and none of it is easy,
but i s'pose that's the way it's s'posed to be,
or else, why the eff would it ever even be like that?
this is What Is, and that's all there is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....


massive mayan  magic?
i got that.
check it:

that's just some of one of two big chest panels started at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
the first pass through, laying in all the basic greyscale blocks-
next time, there'll be more contrast, and we'll cover those letters,
and add a whole bunch more stars and planets to the sky.
it's a lot of work to begin big pieces like this-
it takes a few sittings to pull it all together,
and in the meantime, that calls for a lot of trust form your client.
luckily, anthony has been getting tattooed by me for some time,
and we already understand each other.
so, MORE of this is coming soon...
the other side is underway already, too.
we hammered away at a whole mess of skin all afternoon.
i'm psyched.
and how about some purple dragon scissors?
check the teleport:

making fun tattoos for 2019 is what we're on about, man.
that's what's up.
another 'nother repeat client found her way to the studio for a little pre-berfday hottness.
that's right.
sam knows about dogs, and she's about that life so HARD!
i feel lucky to have the opportunity to do this stuff on these folks.
as time passes, i truly appreciate the overlaps and intersections of our life and time.
we're sharing space and we're making moments, together.
i think that's great-
strangers becoming something better,
and exchanging value for value.
that's somethin';
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, January 30


i should've know that my sauce count was dangerously low.
our buddy dylan popped in to the studio suggesting
that we split a just-sauce sicilian from next door,
and i said: no.
i know! that's craaaazy, right?
well, hold on now-
i've been feeling like a big bloated lazy heap of trash lately,
so i skipped those couple of thick slices.
i figured a little willpower in the moment would save me the self-loathing later.
... but i regretted it not long after while i sniffed all that aromatic sauce
wafting through the drafty walls.
only the delirium of a critically-inadequate red sauce count could account for such
a large lapse in judgement on my part.
i know better, and next time, i'll do better....
as the snow started to fall, and my appetite started to grow,
i headed back home to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress test kitchen laboratory,
and fired up some homemade mama mia marinara magic for my face!
homemade tastes better, bro.
that's real.
and from-scratch pasta AND sauce is molto expert all day long.
check the teleport:

that's AMORÉ!
i was making pasta while talking to my daughter harvest about college.
and i was warm, and the snow was falling outside,
and everything was fitting together just right.
i LOVE it when that happens.
how fresh does that pasta look, though?
the sauce was tight.
the looooong ribbons of semolina sexxxiness were perfect.
the basil was as fresh as it gets.
those exxxtra tomatoes?
well, c'mon- MORE tomato hottness is a good thing, y'feel me?
and there's even some flat-leaf italian parsley sprankles,
and a few crushed red pepper flakes for good measure.
too much is the right amount.
don't settle for less.
the pasta is simplicity itself-
1 cup semolina flour;
2 tsp sea salt;
1/2 cup ap flour;
2 T olive oil;
3/4 cup warm water.
^that's it.
kneaded and kneaded and kneaded some more-
i used my stand mixer, because it's my favorite kitchen thing ever.
covered and rested for 11 minutes,
then rolled thin af on a well-floured surface,
and gently floured s'more,
rolled into a cylinder, and sliced into 1/2" coils.
next they get unrolled and allowed to dry for 11 minutes,
then boiled in salllllty water until they float, which takes no time at all.
^ like i said: simple. .....but so DOPE.
and the sauce was a flippin' exxxplosion of excellence, as always-
in a high speed blender, pulverize:
1/4 sweet onion;
1/2 large carrot;
1/2 cup baby grape tomatoes;
2 cloves garlic.
add that and 1 T olive oil to a small saucepot,
and saute on high hea until the onion turns translucent.
1 tsp ea GPOP;
2 T nootch;
1/2 tsp oregano, thyme, sage;
pink salt, lots of black pepper.
stir well, and cook another two or three minutes,
then add:
2 tsp tamari;
2 tsp balsamic vinegar;
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes;
1 cup warm water-
bring to a boil, and turn down to medium-low,
simmering while you make all that pasta up above.
a good sauce can transform a whole day.
or night.
and since it was gonna be a snow day after dark,
i already knew that ANYthing could happen.
so i opted to channel some sorcery into the sauce and let dinner supercharge my soul.
it worked, and the sauce count is back at 100%.
lucky me.
that basil turns it UP to eleven.
i want all the exxxtras, all the time, or else, what the eff are we even doing??
it's just pasta, but it's NEVER just pasta.
it's an experience, and i want these experiences to be positive;
which is why i go hard on the homemade jauns.
if i'm gonna eat it, i want to fill and fulfill all sorts of needs.
good sauce, good noodles, good times, and a good night.
i was asleep as soon as i sat down.
that's probably not great, but it's what happened.
i go to bed late, but i fall asleep somewhere else early.
that's my move.
i was up, out, and about, shoveling a pee path for crabtree at 1 am.
he is a snugglebaby when it's cold, but he's also a whiny lil bihhhh at the same time.
it's endearing and infuriating simultaneously.
but, he's got nobody me, and that's about as good as it gets for the guy,
which isn't great news for him.
i'm shoveling for him, but i'm shoving him just as often.
we're making our time together as good as it can be,
but i think it needs to be better, and so do he and i.
that's the news, and that's all there is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....


bad habits are hard to break.
it's true.
i was taking a whole bunch of photos of tattoos,
and then i got sick and distracted by all the bummery feelings my head was full of,
so i started slippin' and slackin' while i was snifflin' and shiverin'-
now, all of a sudden, i've gotta retrain myself to remember to capture what i'm up to.
tattooing and art making and all of that.
there's NO time to waste,
and there's no good reason not to document what's going on.
it's a bad habit, letting most of what i do walk right out the door.
i would like to record more of this road to twenty years as i walk it.
my friend julio from connecticut started an art swap.
postal labels, reminiscent of my long ago graffiti days,
with a lil sumthin'-sumthin' drawn on 'em.
he's got a spot down there called TATTOOLIOS TATTOO EMPORIUM
where he's doing his thing most days-
i've got AMPERSAND TATTOO poppin' way up here in the woods.
he helped me out a whole bunch when i was a young one,
starting out as a know-nothin' know-it-all tattoo turd back in the day,
he was patient and tolerant and kind to y'boi when i probably barely deserved it.
so, two decades later, i have the good feelings towards him, for sure.
i got my label, and his is on it's way.
i had to squeeze it in between tattoos and everything else,
but it's done, and it's mailed, and i'mma give y'all a sneak peek-

sketched up with marky-markers, sharpies and prismacolors and microns.
for an art trade, dudes.
i like that.
...i drew up another 'nother mr. punch, too, 
with the red-version venetian carnival mask on.
i don't like it, so it doesn't get photographed.
i'll try again sooner than later, and remedy the situation
with a more thoroughly-thought-out and well-executed second attempt.
that's the cool thing about non-tattoo art-
you can do it again.
that's a good thing.
tattoos don't give a sh!t if you'll get better next time.
there's today, and that's it.
i appreciate both.
the gradual progress of paper art,
the immediate demands of ink and needles-
they're very different, which is good.
i mean, versatility has never let me down.
i've got big black and grey tattoos to do this morning,
i've got tight, long-lined color tattoos in the afternoon.
in between, if there's time, i'll be drawing up the new stickers for the studio.
it's all really happening, and there's not a moment to lose;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, January 29


full-fat coconut milk, FTW.
i made some heavy curry hottness for my face,
and i went after it with reckless abandon-
check the teleport:

even the grains were exxxtra-exxxtra, y'heard?
tri-color quinoa, millet and buckwheat, all burly an' that.
and the coconut milky fuego?
it was expert in all the right ways for days.
potato, celery, onion, carrot, sweet orange and yellow peppers,
jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and little red tomatoes, all sauteed in coconut oil,
plus toasted cumin, smoked paprika, toasted turmeric,
shredded skin-on organic ginger,
two cloves of crushed garlic; GPOP, crushed coriander seed, black pepper, and pink salt.
that's a LOT, but it isn't even everything. nope. not at all, y'all.
y'got toasted cashews-
the broth is more specific than the veggies-
add as much of everything veggie as you like, but make sure the broth consists of:
one can of that full-fat coconut milk;
2 T tamari;
2 T rice wine vinegar;
1 lime's juice;
2 T sriracha;
3 T oelek chili paste;
and two cups of warm water-
that's the stuff.
how do you know when a pot of hot curry is done?
the boiled-up roots are all soft.
that's the key-
the y'gotta add MORE cilantro,
and fresh basil,
and jalapenos,
and scallions,
and spinach by the handful,
and get it all ready!!
then garnish it with even MORE of all of that.
too much is the right amount.
i love it.
spicy, rich, filling, hearty, warm......
everything you need to offset a -1℉ night.
i wasn't sure what to make, and then i remembered i had that coconut milk.
sometimes, one ingredient calls out, and then it calls the shots.
i ate a LOT of this tasty business,
and then i conked out hard and fast.
i guess my little brain is racing around in my skull at about a billion miles per hour,
and it tires me out pretty damned quickly.
i never used to feel OLD.
now, if i feel anything at all, it's the passage of time.
that's a hard style, neighbors, but it's the truth.
time ticks past at an alarming rate,
and soon enough, i'll have a whole new world opening up in front of me.
ready or not, it doesn't matter.
it's all really happening and that's all there is to it;
never quiet, never soft.....


i made a potato pancake so big it was more of a potato cake,
with less pan showing, and MORE potato in every direction.
i saw something online about a fancy hashbrown,
so, i disregarded whatever i saw, and went out on my own path to potato bliss.
that's the truth.
check the teleport:

early a.m. potato magic?
i doo-doo that golden spudly studly sh!t, son.
the whole bottom of the plate is potato!
that's rad.
i peeled 3 red potatoes,
and grated them, with one peeled white carrot,
and some thinnnnnnly shredded sweet onion, and salted it ALL up,
and let it drain out as much excess moisture as i could extract.
i squeezed it and i squeezed it and i squeezed it all some more.
and then,
when i couldn't squeeze it any more, i took a big fat pat of vegan butter,
and a 6" non-stick pan on high heat,
and a lil baby bit of cracked black pepper,
and i packed the potato all up in there to get good'n toasty.
like, i let it sit and goldenize itself for a while.
then i flipped it with a shmear of vegan butter, and did the same on the other side.

CRISSSSSSSP on the crust, soffffffft and supple and luscious within.
that's how you make a expert hashbrown go to eleven.
and when you top it off with supreme scrambo?!
c'mon, dude-
that's what's UP.
exxxtra-firm tofu, always-
and baby grape tomatoes, and red onion, and spinach-
plus GPOP, and nootch, and smoked paprika, and turmeric,
with pink slat and black pepper, too.
it all got activated with cilantro leaves and scallion sprankles!
AND radishes and lettuces and pea shoots, to boot!
too much is the right amount.
that's a thing.
is that all?
OBviously you can see there's one more thing-
that's ALLLLL the power of radical vegan nutrient exxxplosions for your face,
all at once in the same place at the same time.
if you can't hang out with a megadose of buttery golden potato boomfire,
and a heap of scramborghini goodness, too?
you might be an A*-hole.
so that's how i make moves in the morning.
i've been a bit behind on my culinary creativity.
it's hard, kids.
feeling tired, feeling sore, feeling sick,
and still wanting to climb into some serious kitchen sh!t-
sometimes it just is not the free-flowing fountain of fresh-to-deathness i strive for.
sometimes it's a struggle to steam some broccoli and call it a day.
real life isn't all gourmet home cookin'.
it's a lot of thinking about the future, cringing over the past,
and recovering from the present-
the overlaps are broad, and the echoes are loud-
it's all really happening, and some of it isn't sexxxy like those hashbrowns.
just sayin';
never quiet, never soft.....


the rumors of way more snow have taken hold,
and everybody up here in the woodsly goodness is getting ready
for a barrage of flakes that'll bury us all under another 'nother blanket
of wintry white woe and worry.
it snows up here, often and a lot.
that's part of the charm of the place, i guess.
i mean, i've been living up here for some time,
shoveling my way out of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress
whenever it gets packed and pressed full of snow.
there might've been a year of two where we didn't get smashed under storm after storm-
and during those winters, the local retail weirdies all panicked about
the 'snow traffic' generated by the ski mountains.
i'll tell you something- new englanders LOVE complaining.
if it snows, it's too much snow.
if it doesn't we're all gonna starve.
if it's cold, it's too damned cold,
and if it's hot, it's too damned hot.
nobody likes where they are, and nobody goes anywhere else.
maybe they've got something good goin' on?
maybe they're scared of the great big bad world full of opportunities to grow?
maybe they're ugly?
man, i don't know.
i chose to live here, and i'm still feeling happy about it.
then again,
it's easy to live anywhere if you've got a space you feel is your own -
i've got my old busted haunted house, which i F*ing love.
i've got my career, and my very own place for it, at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
and i've got a working oven.
it may not sound like much to you, but that's a whole world of expertism to me.
i'm where i'm s'posed to be, doing what i'm s'posed to.
it's all really happening, and that's the whole point.
the people in my life who overlap and interlock with my northern life
are all important, too.
that's the catch.
nobody loves it here like i do, but i belong here.
that's the kind of heartbreak that aches all day long... and then all night, after that.
everything i need is here, everyone i want is forever anywhere else.
well, that's not exactly uplifting, but you know what IS??
i baked up some specialty lemon cookies ( 'wow, these are very lemony', or so i heard)
and they tasted bright and light and totally like it wasn't subzero degrees outside.
check the teleport:

yeah. i wanna share my time and my passions with breezy,
and that often means leaving the wheat out.
no big deal.
they're still very good,
and they're also the lightest and the crOmbliest little cookies i've made in an age.
y'wanna bake up some cirtrusy sunshine circles for your face?
preheat your oven to 375℉
in a medium-sozed mixin' bowl, cream together:
1 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 stick ( 8 T ) vegan butter;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp lemon extract;
1/2 lemon zest.
mash well, then add:
3 T unsweetened plain coconut yogurt;
1 cup bob's gf all purpose baking blend;
1 cup mama's gf almond flour blend;
3 T tapioca;
1/4 cup unsweetened fine coconut flakes;
1 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1/4 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk.
combine thoroughly, and shape into golfball-sized blops
 (i got 2 1/2 dozen)
and bake on non-stick trays for 12 minutes.
let 'em cool for 5, then gently remove them to a rack to cool completely.
you know i iced 'em.
i had to.
rules is rules, and plain cookies aren't invited.
lemon juice, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and a drop of vanilla make for an easy
molto-italiano-style icy sugar toppin'.
and i also added yellow sugar sprankles.
too much is the right amount, man.
MORE little sunshines is clearly the choice for uplifting the days during blizzard season.
we've got MORE snow coming.
even after we've all admitted that we are powerless over the weather, time and again,
still, nature wins,
and drives her fickle point home with a blast of arctic berserker fury again.
i don't like shoveling.
that doesn't mean i don't have to do it.
winter in the woodsly goodness is NOT for diapery waterbabies.
it's for the stout and stalwart warrior poets of the forests and mountains.
i remind myself over and over, that of all the places i've been,
this is where i belong the most,
and sometimes that means i'm cold af and moving mountains of snow;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, January 26


i feel a baby bit better than i have,
and that's good news after a fraught and fettered week
of festering respiratory ragnarok.....
oh man, was it a tough bunch of days of hard styles and long nights and tough times.
and also, it was the sweatiest i've probably ever been in my life.
i've been colder,
i've felt worse,
i've definitely been a bigger baby about being less sick,
but i think i'm growing up, man.
these days, when i get good and sick?
i just *be* sick,
and still take this dumb dog for a walk, on ice, in the windy subfreezing hills;
and i go to work and iron-grip the machine and hold on while i shiver and sweat;
and i do all the other non-essential, but SO essential (to me) things that i always do-
just way less effectively and with no trace of joy or comfort,
until my body is done battling whatever invisible virus wants to kill me.
and the very minute i felt a baby bit better?
you'd best believe y'boi started some dough in the a.m. for a pizza pie in the p.m.
if you couldn't taste food for a week, and then you could,
what would be the first taste you'd wanna reawaken to?
me, it's obvious..... right?
that's my thing.
so check the teleport:

fire-roasted crushed tomatoes;
sweet baby grape smashed tomatoes;
baby spinach;
red onion;
orange sweet peppers;
roasted cauliflower;
sauteed mushrooms;
daiya mozzarella- it's MINCED before it goes on, bro.
and fried garlic sprankles.
those last two ingredients?
rules is rules, and those are ON the must-do list, forever.
if you're using daiya and you don't mince it first, you are effing up the most.
that's just a fact.
and if you're at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and i don't have a little oil-cured cup of fried garlic chunks?
call the cops, because i've been replaced by an imposter,
and there's no way he's up to anything good.....
that should be obvious to anyone who has had my pizza.
he's leaving off the essential activator.
and i would never disrespect the human race like that.
the oven was roaring at 480℉ with that complex convection managing the air's direction.
the dough was wettish, and stretchy, and olive oiled all over the place. was simple, too. flour water salt yeast.
the oil was added post-proof.
honestly, i will never get tired of talking about pizza,
but i feel like maybe y'all are not as excited to read about it.
so, here's a different story-
for the last year and a half, i've been operating AMPERSAND TATTOO.
and it's the best decision i  ever decided, hands down.
i was woefully unfulfilled and unduly aggravated in my previous place of employment.
i was rightfully unimpressed with the out-of-work antics and ethics,
not to mention work-ethic or lack thereof of my at-work cohorts.
it was a bad scene, and it went on for a loooooong time.
it's cool, neighbors.
without the bitter the sweet is never as sweet.
and it got better, and sweeter, and more exciting and more rewarding, too.
all it took was all the hard work and time and money i could muster.
here's the thing-
i'm coming up on another anniversary of woodsly goodsly livin'.
and i still want to be here.
and i really like working at the studio,
and i am seriously feelin' the year of the fun tattoos.
....even when they aren't fun!
that's the secret, i think-
even when it's the bummeriest bammer on the dummiest dingdong,
i'm inside on a winter day, keeping warm, getting paid to draw a bad picture.
that's expert af.
i'm trying to keep it fun all year.
so far, all month has been a blast.
can i do it a dozen more times?
one month = one success??
i'm into it.
it's all really happening, and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....


a little czech fortress for your face:

looks like a church, huh?
it do be like that sometimes;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, January 25


i took yesterday off to try an die apparently.
what happens when it's warm and rainy, on top of a whole state covered in snow?
everything suddenly sucks the most.
the rain was the loudest thing ever all day and night.
the snow turned to the heaviest ice and the slipperiest sh!t,
and that gave way to flooded roads everywhere.
btw, i live on a curvy hill, so leaving was the worst idea i could've entertained.
so, obviously, i went down south to do family stuff.
i mean, why not try to tempt all the fates in all the ways?
oh, i finally used a real person-thermometer, and guess what?
i totally had a fever!!
still sick.
on top of all the other obstacles on the course,
my coughing, head-crashing chest pounding bummer
only made taking a day off even MORE expert.
i'll tell you what, though-
rules is rules, and the rules say it is turbo-lame to show up without treats.
so, dying from sickness, flood, traffic collision,
or general exhaustion notwithstanding,
when you get to your destination,
you'd better have a cupcake or somethin'.
and i did.
check it:

i made 'em gluten-free for my sweet honey baby.
i want her to be able to enjoy what i make.
she couldn't taste them either, because mama has the sickness, too!
i'm not even going to include the recipe, because honestly i don't know what's in 'em.
at 5:30 a.m. i was NOT coughing, but i was baking the F* outta these guys,
after scambling around in a no-sleep stupor, tossing sh!t into a bowl.
i ate a few.
i enjoyed every bite.
i swirled the frosting to make 'em pretty-pretty, for the kiddies.
i mean, c'mon-
i like to cute it up for the cuties.
they're cute.
and when we hang out, eatin' cupcakes?
we're ALL cute.
and i like that a whole bunch.
i'm not exaggerating when i say i don;t know what's in those cakes, either.
i used three kinds of flour blends, but they're all in big bags on the counter,
and i don't know which ones i used.
they DO have unsweetened plain coconut yogurt,
and vanilla unsweetened coconut-almond blend milk in 'em,
which definitely adds somethin' good to the mix.
also, i used that same tasty s'milk in the frostin', and it's good as heck.
so, i did that, and they came out good, but this one is a sacrifice to the recipe gods.
we drove across another half of the state to do some important stuff.
it was less icy, but soooo rainy.
and then i drifted home in a dangerously asleep state.
i'm safe and sound, but i haaaaaate feeling drowsy like that.
it's freezing again.
the six inches of solid ice in my driveway feels dangerous.
...and slippery.
crabtree and i both ate sh!t first thing this morning.
oh, and it's windy.
that makes everything SO much better, always.
if you know about the worst,
then you know that it has abso-LUTE-ly got to be the wind.
oh yeah.
my favorite part?
when i shivered in through the door, all bedraggled and frazzled,
and one of the kids said:
"......oh, it's *just* albie.
i thought the surprise was gonna be toys or something good."
womp womp.
don't worry, she apparently also doesn't like cupcakes.
so, i'm not totally offended: clearly it's not me, it's her.
but take note-
don't tell your kids there'll a surprise, if it's just gonna be me.
nobody is pleasantly surprised when i appear.
and be warned: cupcakes might fail too.
...also, and i'm saying this for the record-
the next time somebody says the holidays aren't about toys?
i'll be thinking about how every day is about toys.
kids know it.
i know it.
you know it too.
hopefully i can lament about it while i eat a disregarded cupcake,
and possibly cough my lungs out through my neck;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, January 24


i had no idea i'd been avoiding tacos all year.
not on purpose, mind you-
i just wasn't over here gettin' wild with 'em at all.
these are the first ones i've made all month,
and on a wednesday, no less!
check it:

soft flour tortillas, because rules is rules,
and hard tacos just aren't my thing at all y'all.
i assure you those aren't just heaps of hottness.
there's a taco that'll emerge in the end.
i like a soft flap of overfillable pliability.
that's no joke.
overfull is the key element to a great taco, in my opinion.
i'm sayin'- too much is the right amount, man.
MORE taco stuff is a good thing.
and the best news?
they had SO much flavor i could actually taste them, sorta.
that's a big deal.
there's baked cauliflower, with a curry-style batter!
there's sweet potato, and refried beans, and leafy greens,
and crawnchy radishes, and homemade fire-roasted tomato salsa,
and scallion sprankles to pretty 'em up.

as tacos go, these were super easy to eat fast.
beans and sweets and roasty cauli all go down smooth, neighbors.
the sweet potatoes were just sizzled in a lil coconut oil.
the refrieds had red onion, Garlic Powder Onion Powder and nootch stirred in there
with 'em to activate a richer fuller better flavor.
the veggies were literally just veggies, which is exxxactly what they needed to be,
but that cauliflower was f'really-realsies F*ing expert.
preheat your oven to 375
line a baking tray with parchment paper
chop 2 cups of cauliflower florets into 11/2"chunks
in a small bowl, combine:
1/2 cup chick pea flour;
1/2 tsp ea. GPOP;
1 tsp oregano;
1/2 tsp cumin;
1/2 tsp toasted turmeric;
1/2 tsp sweet paprika;
1/2 tsp hot paprika;
22 craxxx of coarse black pepper;
generous pinch of pink salt;
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed;
1/2 tsp dry thyme;
1 T cornstarch;
1/3ish cup warm water, to make it a muddy consistency
that'll stick to every last inch of those florets.
coat 'em, arrange 'em so they don't touch, and roast 'em until they look dry,
and soft, and golden brown.
i drizzled them all with a little olive oil, and gave another it five minutes after that.
crispy outsides, soft insides, and big flavor through and through.
that's massive taste, kids.
and it powered through my sickly, weak, grey skull,
and blossomed a bit of beauty in every bite.
hooray for that.
the salsa was terrific.
i made it earlier in the day, and it married together like a symphony of awesomeness,
and it really turned up the flavor profile to eleven.
i like that.
the recipe for it is here.
it's dope.
it's a flooding ice-storm situation outside.
that's a surprise.
i haven't been checking the weather, or anything, so i had no idea.
that's the thing about when i'm sick.
all i do is be upset all effing day,
and i don't wanna know nothin' about current events.
i just wanna stop being sick.
i've got things to do,
and i've got places to be,
and i'm trying to do a lot,
not sit down, lay down, feel down, and end up down and out.
it's just not my thing.
i dunno how much ice slaloming i'm doing first thing today.
enough to get crabtree and i a bit of fresh air,
so my upper respiratory rasping wreckage can freeze and crack and otherwise hurt.
tacos, though.
am i right?
the rest may be rubbish,
but those tacos are pure fire for your face;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, January 23


legit, i can't smell or taste anything.
i baked a cake,
to keep a bit warmer, if only by a few degrees while the absent oil in my furnace
maybe replenished itself or something....
waking up colder and sweatier that ever was no fun,
but the triple threat of the plow guy showing up 3 days past the storm,
at the exxxact same time as the fuel man's exxxpensive special delivery,
all within the seven foot width of the trench that passes for my road these days?
there was a lot going on, and i was late for work.
luckily, my friend dylan was helpful in the well-below freezing temperatures,
and jumped my dead-A* battery, so i could move my car.
that was cool.
and later,
he even brought the rig to a mechanic to murder the bolt that held up all forward progress.
so my car starts now.
my furnace is on.
the driveway is only 15% less sh!tty,
and the appointment i was late for no-showed.
awesome, right?
well, i also don't know if this cake is delicious.

it's beautiful, in my opinion, but the flavor is still an actual mystery to me.
i had three slices, just in case.
i mean- rules is rules, y'know?
that's coconut activated vanilla brown sugar cake,
with heavy chocolate frosting,
and that white magic on top is a blast of coconut sprankles.
single layer, 10", rich, moist, firm, sweet, tight and bright.
also, possibly yummy.
i'll give you the recipe- i'll imagine it's great since everything in it is.
preheat your oven to 350℉
grease a big 10" round  pan
in your stand mixer, which i assume you have, with the whisk on it,
cream up:
1 stick vegan butter;
1/2 cup sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1/2 cup light brown sugar;
1/4 cup powdered sugar;
1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt;
2 tsp vanilla.
mix well, then sift in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
1/4 cup medium flake unsweetened coconut;
1/4 cup tapioca flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk.
whisk it up on high until molto fluffy,
spread it evenly into your pan, and bake it for 35-ish minutes.
test the center if it doesn't have cracks.
nobody likes raw cake, and nobody likes overbaked cake either.
you know what to do from there right?
let it cool, so the frosting doesn't melt.
that's right.
frosting a warm cake is for A*-holes.
i learned that especially hard last year when i cut half my finger halfway off.
yup. racing against melting frosting is for suckers,
and slicing warm cake is no pro move, either.
live and learn, bro.
you get it.
the frosting?
in your stand mixer, with the whisk doing it things, whip:
1 stick of softened vegan butter;
2 T vegan creamchee';
1/3 cup cocoa;
3 cup powdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1.3 cup non-dairy milk.
whip, whip, whip, whip it real goooooooood,
and you're ready to rock.
i like starry blops and glops and swirls and sh!t.
i do.
too much is the right amount.
i'll add whorls and peaks, and then hit it with sprankles.
i don't want ugly cake,
especially since i'm exxxclusively eating with my eyes for now.
make it yourself, and lemme know if i'm onto something, will you?
i'm going to go on a coughing jag, then sneeze and drip and suffer for a bit.
today is the day just like everyday,
only it seems slightly less cold, but a little bit worse for wear,
and there's weather that i seem to literally and figuratively be under ;
never quiet, never soft.....


i did three adorable moons on two adorable girls yesterday,
and wouldn't you know it?
not only was i in no condition to be at work,
but i apparently also forgot how to take a photograph while i was at it.

...such a cute moon,
with the deepest surface scratch into pinterest times, and a little bit of drawing magic,
combines with a wiped-off stencil freehand activation!
i got six bad pictures,
and just that one tolerable one, but only of one of 'em.
that's tough,
but we had a good time together, and i feel pretty effin' lucky that my clients
are as cool as they act when they're at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
all the real ones know what's up,
and just watch me slowly decompose on the bone, with gloves on....
i mean,
nobody ever suggests a reschedule when they see me.
and i look rough these days.
no sleep and no rest and no moisture remaining in my body,
because all of it is pouring out of my nose while i breathe out of my dang mouth...
it's not sexxxy.
but that's 0% why anybody comes to see me, anyway.
personally, i think it's because the candle blend at the studio smells so good.
that's gotta be it.
the thing is- i'm pretty freakin' sick, and i need it to stop.
coughing makes tattoos take longer.
coughing makes days seem longer.
coughing makes my temples hurt like there are steel rods banging mountain bells,
and my skull is the bell, neighbors, obvi.
people get sick, and people be sick, and self-care is apparently some sort of important thing,
but empty pockets is never ever gonna be the thing that makes me feel better,
and sitting still has never been what's cured me.
i'm more of a bully-the-germs-into-behaving-type,
and while it takes just that much longer every year, it still works.
i'm guessing that today will be more of the same-
shivering alone at work in between tattoos, huddled up by the heater,
willing myself to be better at everything.
it's all really happening, like it or not, ready or not, this is it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, January 22


i blasted my brain off with tom yum soup again.
my client suggested i overspice the germs in my body, to cure what ails me.
it didn't work.
and, i couldn't taste it, either.
so, mostly i just had stinging lips and a runny nose.
i had all the curative goodness in there too-
exxxtra ginger, exxxxtra garlic, all the chilis,
but all i could do was sniffle and wonder if it was delicious.
here's a look, tell me what you think about it:

pretty, right?
i don't wanna eat ugly food, dudes, even if i'm even uglier than usual.
that's no joke.
i added all the sprankles and greenery,
just to make it look like it was superfancy medicine for my mouth.
there's half a jalapeno in there, and half on top.
there's dry-fried halves of mushrooms,
crisssspy coconut oil-fried tofu.
and then a heck of a lotta broth with veggies,
and some rice noods, too.
i have the recipe here.
sorry for the repeat, neighbors.
i'm trying to cure myself, y'know?
i didn't even have dinner last night.
that's real.
i hadn't slept not one wink the night before, so i was all ruined and exhausted.
i had a glass of water, a cuppa tea, and all the zzz's.
i dunno how much i slept, but i went down hard, and i stayed down.
i woke up drenched in sweat from some wild fever dreams, too.
my burning brain was certainly unlocking some weird anxieties,
and they were not welcome in my bed, buddy.
no way.
tonight i'll for sure need some supper,
but i'm still not psyched about food yet.
maybe by the dark-times i'll have some idea.
if not, it's gonna be one heck of a hungry night all over again.
cake, perhaps?
that might fix somethin'.
i could hang out with that;
never quiet, never soft.....


y'ever been so sick your whole body is in a charlie horse?
y'ever get a fever so high your whole bed, and all your clothes,
are literally sopping with sweat?
y'ever huddle in front of a space heater to try to keep the chills at bay
just long enough to hold a tattoo machine and do some straight lines?
man, you haven't lived until your uncontrollable cough tries to eff up every
available second of a tattoo.
what if your car battery was dead af, and the bolt was rusted on,
and you mostly just be'd cold outside in ferociously dangerous cold snappin'
icy bastard weather, before heading in to do a three separate tattoos?
pretty neat.
let me summarize:
it's been a bad few days, and this long weekend felt like it took
about a hundred years' worth of life off my span, man.
guess what?!
martin luther king dreamt up an exxxtra day off for the fuel delivery man.
great news for him,
but did that mean that i also ran out of fuel oil early this morning?
of course i did!
what's more impressive than permanently being frozen to the core,
soaked through to the socks, and sick as a muhhfuhh'n dawg????
STILL rockin' it all day at AMPERSAND TATTOO!
i have an unhealthy drive to work MORE always.
it's true.
so, i choked on my own throat,
and i shook and i ached and i did all the sick things and all the tattoos, too.
i wish i could stay home today, but i have appointments to do-
and besides, the studio has heat, so that's a plus.
i tattooed all repeat clients,
so i felt more comfortable being so uncomfortable around them.
and i did one bigger one, which included an add-on, a rework,
and a bunch of feehand skulls and flowers.
check it out:



that's a lotta lines, man.
i think it looks cool.
she does too.
pretty good for a dude half-dead and frozen to the core, right?
no matter how effed up i am,
i'm SO effed up in my own head that i HAVE to work.
i'm not saying that's good, but it's the truth.
i'll be at AMPERSAND TATTOO again today,
sh-sh-sh-shakin' like eddie money,
and makin' money,
in anticipation of the exxxtra-charge to fix the clogged furnace i'm sure has resulted
from the dregs of the tank getting sucked in.
i don't know how all y'all responsible adults out there do it.
i get sick, and i get completely sideswiped for days and days.
it's all really happening,
coming together and falling apart, at the same time;
never quiet, never soft.....


shoutouts to more second-generation clients!
shoutouts to matchy tattz!
shoutouts to skulls and flowers!!
sometimes you get an exxxtra-good day,
with good clients who want cool stuff.
now, there's one catch:
i drew this matchy tatt from somebody else's good idea.
and i freehanded some of it,
and i tried to make it as much my own as you can in those situations.
and then i did the whole tattoo over again.
matchies, man.
check it:

this is the son's first tattoo, so i'm pretty happy i had the trust of his parents.
and then momma and i have been working on all the tattoos for a while,
so this was just another 'nother one:

same same but different, y'know?
yeah you do.
i'm over here, at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
doing what i do for whole families.
we got it like that;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, January 20


if you like it, it usually means you know what's up.
if you don't, it usually means you're an A*-hole.
just sayin'.
for the record, i LOVE it, and i might still be an A*-hole, 
so there's no guarantee of anything here.
however, if you're gonna make it, y'gotta make it nicey-nice,
and that means doing it right.
and i do it riiiiiiight.
that's no joke.
you gotta prep it properly, in order to get the full effect.
i know what to do, and i doo-doo that freaky sh!t.
...guys, snow day supper means melanzane magic-time around here.
and when breezy is keeping me company,
that means gluten-free fried eggplant is ON the menu.
what do we eat on saturdays in the snow?
we eat pizza, bro.
c'mon, what are you? dumb? stop it, and check the teleport:
that's how you make yourself feel great!!
(she had gf pasta, and homemade sauce with hers) 
sorry, but gf pizza crust isn't my forté, yet.
look again:
that's what's poppin' around the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress, friends.
thinly-sliced skin-on graffiti eggplant, salted and set up,
rinsed, dried, and dredged in:
1 cup non-dairy milk, whisked up with:
1 tsp chia seeds;
1 T chia-flaxmeal;
1 T nootch.
that makes the sticky-stickiness that affixes itself to each circle.
that's eggless eggplant, and that's expert.
and then you dredge those dunked discs into a dry mix-
the herb-crusty gluten-free excellence really turns it up a notch or two.
3 T garbanzo bean flour;
1 T cornstarch;
1 cup crushed gf brown rice krispies;
1 tsp oregano;
1 tsp dried basil;
1 T nootch;
1 tsp ea GPOP;
1/2 tsp thyme;
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes;
pink salt and black pepper.
shallow-fried in a big ol' pan of vegetable oil until both sides are crissssspy.
neighbors, a good eggplant is gonna keep everything running smoothly on the pizza train.
i mean it.
the eggplant is spotlit on center stage, doing 75% of the heavy lifting.
really, then, as long as your crust is tight af, 
you're golden even with just those two things;
and everything else you're gonna hepa on there is just exxxtra awesome.
real talk.
i have fire-roasted crushed tomatoes for the sauce.
that's over a bed of mandatorily minced daiya mozz'.
then there's a bog bunch of baby spinach, and slivered red onion-
over that, i have blops of my own homemade from-scratch vega tapioca-tofu mozzarella
it's SO melty and stretchy and perfect.
that recipe is right here.
then fried garlic sprankles.
i mean, you already know- rules is rules.
and that eggplant features heavily on top.
but, that's not allllllllll, y'all.
too much is the right amount,
so there's also miyoko cashew-based mozzarella grated over all of that!!!
the oven was roaring at 480℉, convection style, and the stones were hot as heck.
honestly, it all went super-smoothly, 
even though i was literally on the verge of actually exploding.
no. not like a temper tantrum, like an actual stick of dynamite.
i didn't, and i survived to tell the tale, 
and i activated the pizza up to eleven 
with a parsley garnish sprankle blast, instead. 
honestly, i think the dough really complimented that egplant.
it was the simplest i've made in a minute, but holy crap, it was the best, too.
you must have a stand mixer by now?
then stop reading, and go get one.
now, in your brand new stand mixer, with the dough hook attached, knead:
2 cups +2 T ap flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 pkg regular yeast;
1 tsp bread machine yeast;
> 1 cup warm water,
all together for 11 minutes.
cover it, and refrigerate it for a slow bulk/proof all day.
i make mine in the a.m., and fire up the oven when i get home about 12 hours later.
it's wet, but that's good.
oh, okay-
just one more look:
that's a lot of eggplant, but that's the right answer, always.
dylan recently showed me a wet-hands trick that works great for stretching dough
on my oiled, seasoned, old-timey stainless baking sheet.
i use that before i transfer it directly to the stones for the last little minute.
there's nothing fancy at all about this dough,
but it tastes mutha-F*ing imperial, man.
all together, all the things had my mind calmer, my soul satiated,
and all but my restless legs and my coughing larynx relaxed.
man, i was in heaven, and i had my lady with me, and i was warm,
and of course, i had to ruin it by getting all heavy-lidded and dumb,
and falling a little bit asleep right away.
even when i'm expert, i find a way to be lame.
damn, it's tough being a weird old person.
my sweet, sassy, sophisticated, succulent, truculent tasty baby-mama,
better known to the populace of new hampshire as breezy
is truly somethin' special.
...and that's just the truth.
the thing is:
i'm a finely-calibrated, delicately-balanced piece of work.
y'ever heard an old-timer call somebody a real piece of work
it doesn't actually usually mean something good.
while i was AT work being a piece of work yesterday,
she brought me a coffee during an snow day afternoon visit,
and it activated alllllllll the free radicals, agent provocateurs, and radical activists
in every one of my body's cells, and they organized a jailbreak of energized
berserker barbarianism that had me twitching an itching and generally vibrating
at about a billion times the normal rate of interactive participation with the outside world.
here's the thing-
i really care deeply about this woman.
i was doubly anxious about being anxious, 
especially as i'd just been shown kindness and consideration.
and also it's even more of a bummer because the coffee was F*ing excellent.
but the consequences were powerful which all told, made it a very very bad idea.
...the remainder of the evening was the equivalent 
to eating the brown acid at woodstock.
therefore, here's the new rule:
NO caffeine of any kind (that includes decaf) after 2 pm.
no matter what.
there i was, eating eggplant with my competent, capable, and communicative partner,
and my whole body was humming with pent up hyper-awareness of everything
in the past present and future.
crazy, right?
i know.
all i did was have a warm, invigorating beverage, 
and just like *that* my mind transcended space and time, 
and i was adrift in a sea of invisible stress and overstimulation.
that's no bueno, bro.
especially when we'd been buried to our eyebrows in bliss up until then.
it's just that she's got somethin'.
that very specific, but indescribable somethin'. 
i dunno if it's pheromones, or energy-aura-sh!t,
or both, or neither, or some other other 'nother secret superpower stuff,
but i'm caught in some sort of spell.
spellbound, they call that, right? makes sense.
it doesn't even matter what we're doing.
if she's near me, i feel better.
what the F* even is that?
who is made out of passive-effect medicine for mediating maniac-attackin' madmen??
i guess breezy is. 
she gives me a whole bunch of feels.
i just think it's worth mentioning that i get all welled-up with sentiment and stuff.
it's all really happening,
the positive power of that lady creates a connection that feels bigger than anything ordinary.
then again, that's what being special IS, huh?
there you have it;
never quiet, never soft.....


moths are the coolest.
i've been saying it forever, and i still mean it-
they're out here doing all the same sh!t as butterflies,
without all the grandstanding and showboating.
they do what needs doing, in the dark, out of sight, whilst dodging hungry bats an' that.
plus, they mostly look like tree bark.
how humble and unassuming is that?!
well, not ALL of 'em are dusty-lookin' wood-imitators, though.
some of 'em are pretty wild, really.
like the strawberry-banana-magical pink and yellow elephant hawkmoth.
that's super-elite, and it looks less like a moth,
and more like an alien battle-kite,
which i have to give credit for- that's expert.
i got to tattoo one on a old friend this saturday.
wait for black and grey.
that's some kind of a hard pants kick, isn't it?
even when they're exotic, it doesn't much matter in the woodsly goodness.
rules is rules
and they're not about to get a chance to start big-timin' around here, man.
check it out:
stay ugly, stay dope.
better moths and better people know what's up.
it was still a whole heck of a lotta fun, seeing folks who've been gone a minute,
and catching up on old times and new directions.
i'm grateful every time i have the opportunity to add some fresh art onto somebody 
who has the olden times poked in 'em from back in the day.
it's a really good feeling.
i'm tattooing second generation folks all the time,
so it's nice to still put it down on the originals, too.
MORE tattoos, always, at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
tattooing is destined to be fun and stay fun this year.
get ready, because that's all we have for you:
good times and better art;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, January 19


i don't usually mess with marble cakey stuff.
i like it, i just don't ordinarily do it.
so, i done did it.
and if i'm being honest?
it was almost expert.
like, soooo close.
there was just one thing missing,
and i bet i can remedy it next time, for sure.
that's the thing-
i can always improve on everything, so i'm never all the way satisfied-
y'all would be a little dissatisfied with these, too.
i'll tell you what went wrong and how to make it right;
but first, check the teleport:

gluten-free chocolate and vanilla burly bars.
...they look good, for sure.
they needed a scoople of coconut ice cream, though, or the dry-guy texture
was detrimental to full-sized enjoyment.
awwwww, man.
the chocolate drizzles helped a little,
but there just wasn't enough moisture IN the crumb.
i blame myself,
since i didn't use a recipe, and i didn't use nearly enough different flours.
damn me for a fool, y'know?
whats the number one rule about gluten-free baking?
too much is the right amount.
for really real.
i was over here doing it wrong.
i won't make the same mistake twice.
i'll give you the recipe, and i'll note where i've amended the mix to make it better.
preheat your oven to 375℉
grease a 9" x 12" brownie pan
in a medium saucepot, over medium-low heat, melt:
1 stick ( 8 T) vegan butter;
1 1/4 cups sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup unsweetened flake coconut;
1 cup + 3 T non-dairy milk.
into that warm wet pot, add:
1 cup bob's gf baking blend;
1/2 cup mama's gf almond blend *i didn't do this, and i should've*;
1/2 cup bob's 1:1 gf ap rice flour;
3 T tapioca flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1/4 cup non-dairy yogurt * again, it needed this to hold more moisture in*;
stir it well, and spoon 2/3 into the greased pan.
add 3 T cocoa to the remainder, and blop it on top in an irregular pattern,
then gently drag a knife or spatula through both batters, to pull one into the other.
do NOT overdo it, or it'll just be a dark beige bummer.
you want distinct stripes of each.
that's key.
bake the tray for 30ish minutes,
and let it cool completely before turning it out onto a wire rack with paper underneath it,
to catch all the drips and drops of chocolate from the added awesomeness.
i used raw cacao butter, raw cacao, vanilla, powdered sugar,
and non-dairy milk to make my drizz'.
i could've just melted choco-chips like a smarty, but i was determined to make it harder,
and not as good, i guess.
i sure showed myself how to complicate everything at once.
the ganache was good,
but those brownies were D R Y.
i see now what needed to happen, and i'll try again, and make it better,
and doo-doo that sh!t right before too long.
i gotta.
i totally hate not being a huge success.
besides, rules is rules,
and we don't end on a failure, man.
it's a snow day weekend.
that's weirdly exciting.
we thought this would be a banner weeked of big action at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
instead, it's bound to be a brutal blizzard.
i guess even when you imagine you're gonna be great,
in reality nature wins and she's just letting you have what's left over.
i'll take what i can, and shovel the rest off of my walkway.
it's wintertime in the woodsly goodness, and that means that weather wants to ruin
everybody's good time.
that's fine.
a little ( or a LOT ) of snow is just what happens in the north.
there are worse things-
like my dangerous driveway,
or the even more dangerous one at the studio,
or the falling snow off of my roof-
but, all of that is outside, and i plan on being cozy in a sweater somewhere indoors,
at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress, or next to the heater at the shop,
but no matter what, i'm gonna enjoy it.
it's happening whether we're happy about it or not,
so pouting only makes it worse.
besides, ANYthing can happen,
and there's something sort of exciting about that no matter what;
never quiet, never soft.....


so, i draw the same sh!t allll the time.
here's the thing-
i like the stuff i draw, and i really do feel like there's always room
for even MORE reimagining of the subject matter.
that's no joke.
so, i might make a million more darumas,
and another 'nother couple dozen mr. punch-back hunchbacks.
the stuff i like is the stuff i'm gonna draw,
from right now right up until somebody starts paying me to draw what they like.
i mean, it's my time, and i'm putting it where i want.
and lately, after or in-between appointments,
that's been to sit at the back drawing table at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and make MORE art for the place.
seriously, it's a makey, arty, crafty, eclectic eccentric electric space,
and the more supercharged illustrations on the walls,
the more all of the pieces interlink and activate a pervasive persuasive creative aura.
that's a thing.
i'm not making massive murals, i'm making small art.
finished in short time,
in small spaces,
to make every inch of the place more expert.
check the teleport:

the DARUMA of the hot fire and lightning!
that's a 2" x 3" frame, neighbors.
it's not big, it's tiny.
but, i like that hair is wild as hell, and that he's got both eyes filled in.
if y'all don't eff with daruma, y'all are just plain ol' effin' up.
and then, because on snow days, ANYthing can happen,
i went backwards in time a bit,
and used the paper-cutout technique i love a LOT to make a mad mr. punch.
check it:

his head is separate from the rest.
i wasn't sure of what i was making until it was done.
then, i was psyched to see his swazzy weiner-chin and crazy eyes.
you can never have too many hunchbacked bushwhackin' jesters.
i had a little bit of time between my appointments.
it happens, and i don't mind it when it does.
there's always something to make, or read, or eat-
and you can't do that with bloody gloves on, or you're butt-nasty.
that ain't me, man, and it's not how we do it at the studio.
i'm just some guy who loves to cook food, draw pictures,
and make art wherever i find myself.
making the most of the minutes in front of me isn't easy, but it's necessary.
the official position of AMPERSAND TATTOO for 2019?
make tattooing fun again.
i didn't become a tattooer to be stressed out and sad all the time-
i could've sat in a cubicle, or worked on a road crew,
or done countless other bummery jobs....
but i was made to do tattoos. i'm built for it, i'm designed to live this life,
and a sore hand here or there,
or a slow month in the shoulder season of the woodsly goodness
isn't what's gonna derail the juggernaut of a wild ride i'm on,
and i'm destined to see it through to the finish line.
twenty ears of this sh!t, and i'm not about to poop out now.
it's all really happening, and it's what i DO.
making art, making moves, making the magic happen;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, January 18


red pears!!!
blackberry jammie-jam!!!
that's a trio that'll turn heads,
and empower tastebuds with flavorful energy,
and activate your senses with sexxiness.
the pastry crust game at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress has long been a
bastion of big action and flaky freshness.
as usual, i lived up to my own expectations, which were high,
and delivered a crust so crisssp i was forced to eat it all.
that's right.
mandatory mass-consumption.
shark-gluttonous feeding frenzy fury from the first bite.
just look at it:

that's why!
two layers of red skin-on ripe pears, (like, two pears, sliced into discs)
with blackberry jam on the bottom, middle and top.
and pecans ready to roast...
and a soft dusting of cinnamon to turn it up!
after twenty minutes at 400℉, i hit it with a snowy show of powdered sugar,
and pout it back in for a few MORE minutes, to really catch that crispiness.
neighbors, the crust was incredible-
the pears all softened and stuck together with the candied jam,
and it all became one soft smooth filling, with that pecan activation
pumping up the volume and the glory to eleven.
heck yes.
and the crust?
man, it was exxxactly what i needed.
in your food processor, pulse together:
8 T (1 stick vegan butter);
3 T vegan creamchee';
1 2/3 cups flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
3 T sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
2-4 T non-dairy milk, added between pulses,
until the whole mixture combines to a crumbly sticks-together-when-pressed dough.
y'gotta wrap and rest it, too.
that's a thing.
at least one hour in the fridge, overnight is better.
really, if you think you might want pastry tomorrow, today's the day to make the dough.
planing ahead is hard when you never know what's to eat,
but if you've got the dough, you know it's gonna be baked and buttery and flaky,
and that's a start, for sure.
i like braids, and i like little decorations, and i looooooove fruit and jam together,
so really, this was gonna be a hit with me no matter what.
the fact that it looked so pretty was a bonus.
(i'd still have eaten it if it was only mostly beautiful)
that's real.
making a morning somethin' is always the best way to get my day flowing.
i don't always bake a treat, but when i do,
i know that my day is already awesome,
so whatever else happens is just exxxtra-dope.
some people need more,
most people do less,
but i've got a sweet spot centered around my oven.
and my oven needs replacing!!!!!
no joke.
i think that ten years of heavy abuse has taken it's toll.
i said that last year, and it hasn't fixed itself.
i need a stove.
the whole point of what's really happening here at the house is that it's gonna be delicious.
otherwise, what the F* am i even doing?
stove shopping is in my future, it seems.
i've got dude tats all day.
that's cool.
it's friday,
there's a big snowstorm coming at us,
and i could use some straight-ahead dude-zappers to pad my pockets
in the face of weather-related cancellations.
only pickuptrucktards come out to get patriotic tattoos in the snow.
what says freedom more than rear-wheel drivin' down a cliffsided ice mountain
to get a pack of smokes and a sick tat of a deer outline with a flag inside it?
ummm, yeah.
i don't know what it is about the north country,
and the high-hills people who populate it-
but the ones who love america the most?
mainly by virtue of having seen the least of it,
and none of anywhere else?
they LOVE driving trucks in the snow.
i'll be at work, ready to drop 13 stars on whoever needs 'em, don't get me wrong.
but here's the thing-
why is it so uniformly all the samesies who need that stuff?
military tattoos aside, because most of those are cooler, anyway,
the unincorporated beer-fire 2A workboot militias of the mountains are NOT
the embodiment of america spirit i personally would choose to represent us at the job fair,
man, i'm not sayin'....i'm just sayin'.
we've got your america tattoos on every snow day from now until canada invades,
so don't think we aren't gonna be open,
because rules is rules, and tattoos don't stop for weather;
never quiet, never soft.....


a couple of pens,
a couple of marky markers,
a couple of tiny frames....
that's all you need, neighbors-
all that, a few minutes, and an idea.
then you're really ready to make a bit of small art.
small art.
it's not elaborate, it's not super-refined, or very fine-
no matter how tight the pen tips may be.
when the day takes you off in a direction you don't expect?
...make some small art!
it's like a warm-up for february.
february always needs a lot of art.
that's a thing.
so, in advance, a bit of makin' is in order.
check it:

a dirty bird!

a skullworm?!

a moosebear!!!!
y'all don't know my life.
i'm out here at AMPERSAND TATTOO making the minutes matter more, man.
these are all only a couple of inches.
tight spaces, tiny places, and mini frames are what we have room for in-between
all the bigger art hanging all along the white wall of the studio.
it's pretty flippin' cool.
you might wanna come see;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, January 16


is stir-fry lame?
too easy?
it's quick, and that's the truth,.
but is it not fancy enough?
too simplistic? 
i don't think so at all,
but then again,
the way i do it, it's a giant exxxtravaganza of good flavors for everyone.
hot, tangy, spicy, sweet- all the good things.
and i'll eve only eff with a color palette that coordinates.
i'm like that, and i like that-
check it out:
i had coconut oil and sesame seeds toasting up those fat chunks of tofu.
that's tasty, toasty fried 'fu fury for your face.
i had a skillet with superheated sesame oil searing allllll the veggies.
a bed of shredded cabbage, topped with celery, red onion, 
purple carrot, a LOT of garlic,
a spoonful of fresh skin-on organic ginger slivers,
minced cilantro stems,
and a whole bunch of diced up broccolini stalks and florets.
that's all the good stuff.
while that sizzled and sauteed,
i whipped up a SAUCE.
y'gotta have some-
i'm sayin', neighbors-
without sauce, your sh!t is bound to be b!tchsappy and weak.
and that's never invited to my dinner table.
1 T tamari;
1 T rice vinegar;
2 T mae ploy;
1 T sriracha;
2 tsp lime juice;
6 shredded big basil leaves;
black pepper;
1 tsp crushed cilantro leaves-
that's the good good stuff.
now, i confess, i used thiccc udon noods.
i had 'em, i wanted 'em, i'm NOT sorry for it-
but if i'd needed to go gluten-free, i could've, 
and maybe should've, used rice noodles instead.
no worries, tho-
i had a half a cup of hot water, a bag of ready-to-go fatties,
a scoop of that sauce, and a hard squeeze of exxxtra sriracha, too.
too much is the right amount, man.
believe it.
i added all the rest of the sauce to the veggies, lidded it, 
and gave it a lil bitty baby minute to activate.
the water was absorbed into the udons,
and the udons got added to the veggies, and all of it made it's way to my plate-
where pea shoots, AND scallions, AND cilantro, AND jalapeno, AND limes
all turned it up to eleven.
and then i got hella expert 
and slid half an AVO-F*ING-CADO all up on there too.
y'all ain't ready.
that's molto molto  massively magnificent.
real talk.
all that flavor had my nose a little runny!
that's a sure sign that it's good af.
i wasn't even gonna have dinner.
seriously, i overdid it allllll effing day.
i started off by making sure i had a burly BIG brekkie,
then i got surprised, and i had half an all-sauce-only sicilian pizza with dylan.
i dipped out of work a half an hour early, went to the grocery store,
and then i came home ready to relax,
but after only ten minutes, i had three burners going on the stove,
and buried my face in alll the noods.
it's a compulsion, it seems.
i slept like a boulder afterwards, and rested more than i've had in an age.
maybe MORE food is the right answer?
i'll do it again today, and find out;
never quiet, never soft.....