Tattoo Show and Tell!

So my dear readers, you’ve heard a lot about my inked journey thus far, as short as my journey has been (7 months). You know all about my tattoos and the stories behind them (if not, check out the “My Tattoos” page!) so now I want to hear from you!

Pick a tattoo you have, share a pic and tell the story behind it. Why did you choose that particular image? What does it symbolize to you? If you do not have a tattoo but want one, share your concept and why you want said image tattooed on your body. If you do not have a tattoo and do not want one, briefly discuss a tattoo you saw on someone else that stood out to you and why it did.

Sound off everyone! I’m truly interested to hear your remarks.

(Note, this will be a recurring thing on my blog so if you have or want multiple you’ll get your chance to share more of yours!)

Advertisements

Judge Ye Not Outward Appearances

So I just looked in my Yahoo! news feed and I found this little gem in which a nurse is insulted for having rainbow hair and she shut down the person who insulted her in the best way possible. Please take the time to read the article then come back. 

Back? Alright then, all I have to say is you go girl! Way to stand up for yourself and shut down the haters. 

I think sometimes we get too caught up in outward appearances that we make terrible judgments about someone and forgo getting to know genuinely good people. 

As someone whose appearance is far from traditional, I have had plenty of such judgments tossed my way. Yes, I have multiple tattoos. I wear super short shorts even though the powers that be (who exactly?) say men aren’t really supposed to. I never go out of my way to cover my tattoos at work and I’ll even wear aforementioned shorts to work a lot of the time as half the time the branch manager is gone and I can get away with it (I’m an engineer so I don’t deal with the public at all). Hell, if I run out of canvas elsewhere I’m not opposed to shaving my head and putting tattoos on my cranium either. My hair is already thinning significantly anyway (and I’m not even 30 years old yet!). 

Whatever the case, the point I’m making is we should not judge someone just because their appearance is unconventional. We all have our own ways of expressing ourselves. You never know who you might fail to get to know and find a wonderful friend in if you make superficial judgments like that. 

Anyway, I just figured I’d write this as a reaction to that article. I thought the nurse handled it well and I commend her for it. I also hope you will take her message to heart. Sometimes we all need a reality check to put aside judgment. 

Black Cat, Blue Sea Award

​So, I was nominated by Anjali Soni for the Black Cat, Blue Sea Award. Thank you for thinking enough of me to nominate me!  Anjali has been instrumental in launching my blog and I am deeply grateful for her part in getting me on the map.

Let’s get started, shall we?

The rules are very much simple:

•Anybody nominated can nominate up to seven other bloggers.

•Anybody nominated answers three questions. The questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions. If any of the questions asked are offending or simply do not want to be answered, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award.

So here are Anjali’s questions:

1. What is the silliest funny memory from your childhood?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one honestly. Truth be told my childhood was pretty damn boring. I was a very shy, quiet child with not really any friends. However, one memory sticks out that’s kind of funny even though it was intended by the person as an insult and/or to make fun of me.

I have terrible allergies and post-nasal drip. It makes me have to clear my throat almost non-stop. Yeah, it’s gross but what can you do? Anyway, we were in quiet time at school and I had to clear my throat so I did (ah-ah-ah-ahem!) and the kid next to me replies with “shut-uh-uh-uh-up!” as though he were mocking me. Looking back on it it is pretty funny. Like what the hell am I supposed to do about it? Choke on my own mucus? I think not.

2. If you have a day to enjoy everything at Mall for free, at which section you’re most likely to be?

For free? Well I’m a major foodie so I’d probably be hitting up the restaurants mainly, but other than that probably the electronics department. As a guy, the clothes in the mall don’t really apply to me, unless they had a specialty/custom clothing store that could tailor to my tastes.

3. You wake up and you find that the world has turned into your favorite movie/novel fantasy. What would be it and why?

The wizarding world of Harry Potter, hands down. I am a huge fan. I’ve read all the books and watched all the movies. Having magical powers would be really nice, too. It would be so much easier to have a spell for everything rather than having to rely on expensive technology and skilled labor to do our day-to-day tasks.

My Questions:

1. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they of? If you do not but want one, what do you want and why? If you don’t have nor want tattoos, why not?

2. If you had three wishes, what would they be?

3. What is your favorite musical group and/or song?

Last but not least, I hereby nominate the following folks:

sailajaP14

Jhalli Patakha

Illuminatedliteration

Karuna

Nderi Sarah

Mishie1

The Well-Informed Namer

This was really fun, thanks!

Off-Topic Sunday: Religious Views

So starting this Sunday I’m going to start doing just personal entries about myself, my views or just any odd sort of randomness I feel like talking about. It can get hard thinking of nothing but tattoo topics (as many as there are out there) so I’ve decided to dedicate Sundays to “off topic” stuff. Today’s topic of discussion is religion, my personal views and how I came to them.

So for starters, what are my views? Well I mention them in passing on my “About Me” page, but I am an atheist. I do not believe in any god or any sort of invisible, transcendent force. I do not believe in prophets, heaven, hell, reincarnation or any sort of afterlife of any sort. I believe that this is the only life you get, and once you’re gone you’re gone.

On the other hand, I am a bit of a spiritual atheist. Though I don’t believe in any of these things in a literal sense, I believe them in a figurative sense. I interpret life after death to mean that your memory and legacy lives on far after you die, and what some religious texts describe as “the second death” or “samsara” is when your memory dies with the last person who knew of you and/or your accomplishments.

So where did I come to my conclusions? Well the answer is pretty straightforward: there is not one shred of statistical or scientific evidence that supports the existence of a deity. Not one. In science and statistics, the absence of an entity, correlation or whatever is assumed until there is sufficient evidence to reject what is called the “null hypothesis” (negative assumption) in favor of the alternative hypothesis (the positive assumption) Sure, a null hypothesis is little more than a default, but until there is ample evidence to reject it, I see no reason to believe in deities and have to live my life by their restrictive moral codes and ridiculous rules when I could be living it up. If it is one thing that’s common to most religions it’s that their adherents aren’t allowed to have any fun. If something is fun or pleasurable it’s somehow sinful.

What about issues of morality? Well, to put it simply morality has been scientifically shown to have roots in evolution and survival. The golden rule is essential to the survival of pretty much every species. Violations of it threaten our survival, hence we evolved with this sort of inherent sense of justice.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. That is my religious position. I’d mentioned some in passing to some people, but that is a more in-depth look at my inner core convictions. I hope it made at least some level of sense.

Is there any random bit of information you want to know about me? Feel free to ask! 

Reader Question: Vegan Tattoos?

So I had a reader send me a private message through the contact form and this is such a great question I felt like it was worthy of a response.

Question: I want a tattoo but I’m vegan. I’ve heard tattoo inks contain animal products. Are there any vegan inks? 

Answer: Great question, reader!

The short answer is that yes, some tattoo inks (and in fact probably most of them) have animal products in them as either pigment or carriers. This can in fact be an issue if you are a strict vegan. However, all is not lost!

There are indeed a number of inks on the market that are vegan. Most notable among the vegan inks is Eternal, which are plant-based acrylic inks. Eternal Ink is one of the most widely used tattoo inks in the world, so much it can be seen on tattoo reality shows and in the shops of many top-tier artists. Of my four current tattoos, three of them have been done with Eternal Ink.

There is, however, another reason to use vegan inks other than promoting animal welfare. Vegan inks have been shown to have a much lower rate of allergic reaction than animal-based pigments. Allergic reactions are rare regardless (and the most common offender is red ink) but there is something about animal-based inks that make the skin more likely to react to it.

Also, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t handle pain well, you’ll also be pleased to know that numbing products like Hush and Ink-Eeze are also vegan, so don’t worry about slapping some Hush gel on before or using Hush/Ink-Eeze spray during a session. They work well and are totally animal-friendly.

So, dear reader, what’s the bottom line? Simply call around and ask which ink(s) your local tattoo artists use. They should be willing to discuss it. As mentioned, Eternal Ink is a good starting place but there are others. You might have to do a little digging, but rest assured you can get that tattoo and stay true to your vegan principles.

Do you have a tattoo-related question? Leave a comment or shoot me a private message through the contact me form! 

In Light of Recent Events

Though a total deviation from the purpose and focus of my blog, I feel it is necessary to make some remarks about recent goings on in my country and even in my back yard (I only live about 150 miles from Dallas, Texas where 5 officers were slain by protestors).

First I need to say that yes, I realize that there are power-hungry, trigger-happy sons-of-bitches in practically every police department in this country. I get it. There are some people who just let the power of the badge go to their heads. You will not hear me argue against that. We are in desperate need of police reform in my country.

On the other hand, we need to keep things in perspective that the aforementioned individuals are a minority. A vast majority of police officers serve honorably and follow the rules so to speak. Most of them are good people doing a difficult and often thankless job.

As such, we really need to step back and take a look at ourselves as civilians. What do we think we are going to accomplish by shooting up police departments and taking the lives of those who serve honorably and play fair? What did these people ever do to deserve to get killed? I don’t get it. Inciting this kind of violence does absolutely nothing to improve race or civilian vs. police relations. It just doesn’t. It just reiterates the “us vs. them” mentality and if civilians think they will win a war against the militarized government they are seriously deluded.

These mass shootings going both directions hurt my heart, but if I were to be totally honest my initial gut reaction to these things is “why couldn’t it have been me?” I would gladly sacrifice my own life if it meant another got to continue living. I mean, let’s get real here: losing me would not be a big loss (if a loss at all). I’m just another individual who had his dreams crushed and has nothing really to look forward to. As such, if I died it wouldn’t really be tragic. It would just be what it is. However, some still have dreams they are holding onto or have the potential to have them realized, and to have their lives cut short is unfair.

Whatever the case, all I see on both sides of the aisle is a bunch of anger and hate. Hate never solved anything. Unfortunately, love doesn’t seem to solve many problems either (say what you will, it’s just a pipe dream). Neither does religion (which is just a crutch). I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope we find it soon, for I fear we have gone too far off the deep end for recovery.

I fear for future generations and these events just reinforce my decision to not have children. I could not in good conscience subject them to this chaos. I just don’t know what to say besides this.

Rant over.

Serious Topic: Tattoo Regret

“It’s my own design. It’s my own remorse.” – Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

This is not a pleasant topic with regards to tattoo talk, but it’s one of those things that’s just reality (so much this post might become a page at some point). Perhaps you got inked on a drunk dare? Was it a dare at all? Was it in a fit of rage that you tattooed “fuck (insert object of hatred)” on yourself or something else ridiculously offensive and inappropriate? Did you make the mistake of tattooing your significant other’s name on you (the worst possible thing to tattoo on yourself as far as I’m concerned), only to wind up separating? Whatever the case, there is only one person at fault for tattoo regret, and that is the person who got the tattoo. See the quote above. The artist doing the tattoo assumes no responsibility for your request to permanently mark your body.

A tattoo is a semi-permanent, life-altering decision. It should not be undertaken without serious thought and consideration. Some things that increase the risk of regret are getting “flash” tattoos (i.e. standard designs out of a book or a trendy design), getting a tattoo under the influence of substances or getting one purely to look cool or for shock value. These are all big mistakes (see my “Getting Your First Tattoo” page for tattoo dos and don’ts).

“All for freedom and for pleasure; nothing ever lasts forever.” – T4F, “Everybody.”

Alas, if you do have a tattoo you regret, rest assured all is not lost. You DO have options. The first obviously being tattoo removal, but this is not desirable in my opinion. One, it’s ridiculously expensive. Two it’s many times more painful than having the tattoo applied to begin with. Number three you’re liable to still see the scar tissue where the tattoo was (a tattoo is more or less a colored scar).  Last, there’s no guarantee it will even work or completely fade the tattoo. As such I do not recommend this option though I am throwing it out there.

The more desirable option in my opinion is a cover-up tattoo. That is, placing a new tattoo over an existing one to mask or hide the original tattoo. Cover-up tattoos tend to be on the expensive and painful side (as you will be tattooing over scar tissue, see above), but the result is much more desirable than removal as it will be more aesthetically pleasing. A good cover-up artist can work with just about anything and turn it into a tattoo you will be proud of.

Seeking out a good cover-up artist can be difficult and not all tattoo artists have the expertise required to do cover-ups. Those who do them generally specialize in them and don’t come cheap, but nothing good ever comes cheap. Your best bet is to call around and ask see some portfolios with before and after comparisons before you commission a cover-up.

I’m still on the fence as to whether or not to do a cover-up on my semicolon. It’s small so it would be fairly easy to cover-up, but at the same time it is symbolic to me in a way (despite being a “flash” tattoo). On the other hand it has some religious connotations as the founder of Project Semicolon injects a subtle hint of her religious faith into the movement, whereas I am an atheist. As such I’m torn. If I do cover it up with something it will be something with the same symbolism but a different symbol.

Sound off! Do you have a tattoo that you regret getting? Have you had a tattoo removed or covered up? Let’s start a healthy discussion.