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Tattoo No. 8

Posted on November 8th, 2017

Dave!It's going on a year since my last tattoo. Granted, it was a good one... the biggest I've had done yet... but I'm getting antsy for some new ink.

Problem is I don't know what I want. And I'm not sure where I want it.

This is where I'm at now...

XXX

My right arm... my Buddhist arm... still has a couple more pieces to go on my forearm, but I'm feeling a little off-balance so I'll probably wait. My left arm... my pop culture arm... has only two pieces. I know I want icons on my inner-upper arm (Batman symbol, Red Sox symbol, Apple symbol, Buckaroo Banzai logo, etc.) and something pirate-themed on my lower outer-upper arm (Bad Monkey fighting a giant octopus keeps popping in my head). If I keep with my arms, it will probably be one of those two things.

I don't think I want anything on my chest or back. At least not right now.

My lower legs are always an option, though I'm not sure what I'd want to do there. I've thought maybe there could be something comic book related or Invader Zim related or, most likely travel related... but it's tough to think of how I might present it in a way that will work with what I've started with.

Oh well. I've got time. I don't like traveling in the winter, so it will probably be Spring before I get back to my artist in San Francisco.

At which time I'll probably just get "LEGEND" tattooed on my forehead.

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Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om

Posted on November 18th, 2016

Dave!I love tattoos. LOVE them.

Had I started getting tattoos earlier in life, my arms would already be covered and I'd be starting in on my back and (probably) my legs. We have no choice as to what genetics are going to deal us in the card game of life, but being able to permanently make visual changes with tattooing is a wonderful freedom I'm fully onboard with.

Today I got my seventh, thanks to the unparalleled line-work talent of Michael Dematty at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco. My right arm tattoos are all Buddhism-inspired designs I've drawn up, but I have yet to get an actual Buddha. The problem being that my arm is too skinny to get a classic "Buddha on Lotus with Om" design that will look how I want it to look.

So I took a cue from the culinary world and deconstructed it into separate pieces... which ended up fitting the space perfectly and turned out exactly as I had hoped. Which I knew it would, because that's what you get when you hire somebody as talented as Michael Dematty to ink your work...

Dave Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om Tattoo.

As with all my tattoos, I drew them up in DaveToon black-and-white style. The "om" enlightenment at the top was written in Tamil (one of the oldest languages on earth) so it would look different from the om in my more traditional "om mani padme hum" tattoo that's already on my inner arm...

Dave Deconstructed Buddha on Lotus with Om Tattoo.

Annnnnnd... guess it's time to start thinking about my next tattoo...

   

NOLA 2

Posted on October 10th, 2014

Dave!A typical day in New Orleans.

If there is such a thing here.

Starting the day out right with beignets at Cafe Du Monde...

Cafe Du Monde

A walk through the French Market... Halloween-style...

The French Market New Orleans

The French Market New Orleans

The power of voodoo! Who do? You do!

Madame Laveau's Voodoo Shop

Paying respect to the local Saints...

Light a Candle for St. Brees!

One of the many cats of New Orlean's many shops...

Shopcat!

It's the new drink here!

Ginger Mint: The NEW Drink of New Orleans!

Incredible Mac & Cheese at St. Lawrence... home of divine food!

Mac & Cheese New Orleans!

Tattoo No. Six. It's been my motto for decades. Of all the quotes I've ever heard, who knew it would be a line from Buckaroo Banzai that would end up defining my life? Thanks to Electric Ladyland Tattoo for the ultimate New Orleans souvenir.

Electric Ladyland Tattoo.

Tattooing No matter where you go... there you are.

No matter where you go... there you are.

I love it. But still wonder if I should have gone with my second choice...

Pirate Love

After another dinner at Coop's, it was time to wander Bourbon Street for an evening of debauchery, drunkenness, fist-fights, and famous acts of love (not by any of us, of course... so far as you know)...

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

And... it's 1:45am. Since the bars close in 15 minutes, I guess I'll just call it a night.

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Packed

Posted on April 21st, 2014

Dave!Wake.

Work.

Presentation.

Fortune Cookies.

Lunch.

Tattoo...

Om Mani Padme Hum

Drinks.

Airport.

Good Bye.

Boarding.

Flight.

Warm Cookies...

Om Mani Padme Hum

Land.

Layover.

Flight.

Lawn Sprinklers.

Drive.

Home...

Om Mani Padme Hum

End.

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Ink

Posted on January 24th, 2014

Dave!IT'S TATTOO DAY!

Originally I planned to fly back home today. But the layover for the connecting flight was awful, so I decided to leave tomorrow instead. This meant having to add an extra day to my hotel stay at "The Handlery Hotel" (instead of the Parc 55 Wyndham where I usually stay). When I called, they wanted $160 which was surprisingly high for a Friday night... especially for a 3-star property. Usually downtown San Francisco hotel rates plummet over the weekend when there are no business travelers to gouge on pricing.

A quick check at the 4-star Wyndham (which had availability this time), and I could get a much nicer room for $120.

Which meant The Handlery was basically saying "WE WILL PAY YOU $40 TO WALK TWO BLOCKS!"

And so I took them up on that generous (but very stupid) offer.

Anyway...

Time to get more ink work on my forearm band...

Four Noble Truths Tattoo

Beautiful line-work courtesy of Michael DeMatty at Black & Blue Tattoo...

For Noble Truths Tattoo

I started with the Roman numerals.

Then added a Dharmachakra, the spokes of which represent The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

Now I've surrounded the Dharmachakra with symbology representing The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. You start in the upper-right where there's the acknowledgement that suffering exists, move to the bottom-right which ties our suffering to our desires and craving, move to the bottom-left which is the need for cessation of suffering causation, then move to the upper-left which leads us back to The Noble Eightfold Path and a quest for enlightenment and freedom from suffering.

Which is just a long-winded way of saying that the tattoo is a reminder for me to stay on The Right Path.

And so... three parts down, three to go...

Forearm Band Tattoo Map

And now I suppose I should pack my suitcase so I don't have to do it at 4:00am tomorrow. Blargh.

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Healing

Posted on September 3rd, 2013

Dave!This morning when I awoke my new tattoo was all jacked up.

Well, let me rephrase that... the skin which was killed as a result of needles shoving ink into my arm was all jacked up. It was starting to peel away like a sunburn, which I'm told is supposed to itch like a mother-trucker but, for whatever reason, doesn't itch me. But nothing works like it usually does when I get tattoos, so I shouldn't be surprised. For me, tattoos are not the least bit painful. There is barely any blood or seepage. I never get scabs. Cleaning it doesn't sting. Putting ointment or lotion on it doesn't burn. And they never itch as they heal.

Just lucky I guess.

The worst part for me is having to wait for all the dead skin to drop off, when what I really want to do is take a piece of steel wool and strip it off. But picking the skin off prematurely may cause you to lose pigment, and we don't want that.

I'll just have to stare at it being all smeary and gross for a few days.

And so I will.

Except now I am going to stare at the televsion so I can watch the latest episode of The Daily Show now that Jon Stewart is back. Everything else will just have to wait...

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Dharmacakra

Posted on August 29th, 2013

Dave!I left home at 3:30am. Flew out of my local airport at 6:00am. Was scheduled to fly out of Seattle at 9:55am, but ended up delayed, so I arrived into San Francisco three hours late. This blew both a meeting and an important errand I had lined up, so my day was not off to a great start.

But after meeting up with Jester & friends for drinks and a fantastic falafel dinner, things started looking up.

It was tattoo time!

I promised myself that with each new trip to the Bay Area, I'd visit my tattoo artist, the ridiculously talented Michael DeMatty of Black & Blue Tattoo, to add a piece to the forearm band that I started back in February.

Part Two (of Six) completed!

Dhamacakra Tattoo

This is the all-important centerpiece that all the other pieces will revolve around...

Forearm Band Map

The circle-design is my personal interpretation of the Buddhist symbol known as the "Dharmacakra."

Or "Dharma Wheel."

There's a great deal of meaning behind it, but the most relevant part to me is the eight spokes of the wheel that represent the "Noble Eightfold Path"... one of the primary concepts from the teachings of the Buddha. They are eight ideals that Buddhists follow so as to eliminate suffering. I don't consider myself to be an actual Buddhist, but applying the Noble Eightfold Path to my life where I can has led me to becoming a much happier, healthy person. If you're interested in finding out what the Noble Eightfold Path is all about, Wikipedia has a decent introduction.

And so now I have a constant reminder of the road I strive to walk in life.

And it's cool because it kinda looks like the cockpit window of a TIE Fighter from Star Wars...

TIE Fighter by JR Bassett
Beautiful TIE Fighter model by JR Bassett!

Different schools of Buddhism have different thoughts on tattoos. Some Buddhists believe that tattoos are a form of attachment that should be avoided. I personally feel that the impermanence of our bodies makes tattoos no more an attachment than fingernails, eyeballs, or the arm my tattoo has been written upon. It's entirely possible that my arm could be lost in a tragic boating accident tomorrow, which means it's kind of silly to think that having a tattoo on it will somehow make it impervious to change or detatchment. But to each their own, I suppose.

I'm just thrilled to have yet another bit of ink on me.

Now I just need to figure out when I can squeeze another trip to San Francisco into my travel schedule.

   

MCMLXVI

Posted on February 13th, 2013

Dave!Back in June when I got my first tattoo, it was the culmination of 26 years of planning. I kept delaying, thinking that maybe I'd change my mind... or decide I want something different... or otherwise regret my decision. But the ink I wanted never changed, so I finally found the perfect tattoo artist and decided to just go for it.

Turns out my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner.

I loved my new ink, and was content that I'd finally gotten the tattoo bug out of my system.

I was wrong, of course, and knew almost immediately there was no way I was going to wait another 26 years to get another. I did decide I'd wait at least a year so I could come to fully appreciate my first tattoo though. It seemed only fair.

I managed to make it eight months...

Tattoo One

Tattoo Two

My original plan was to do something fairly elaborate and interesting on my opposite upper-arm. But five months of working on ideas didn't produce anything that grabbed me.

So instead I decided to go with a tattoo band around my forearm that I could complete in stages.

A lot of ideas went through my head for the first piece, but ultimately I decided on my birthday. In Buddhism, your birth is a highly important day for a number of reasons. Mostly because it's a celebration of the day that you were given the ultimate gift... the gift of life... but it also symbolizes other high concepts like suffering (by your mother during your birth) and sacrifice (by your parents to care for you)... along with love, light, hope, and dozens of other aspects of the human condition. And since my birth-year looks very cool in Roman numerals, that was what I decided on.

And now every time I see my new tattoo, I'll be reminded of everything my birthday represents, and that the best way to honor all that is to live my life to its fullest.

I love it, of course.

One piece down, five more to go...

Forearm Band Map

   
UPDATE AUGUST, 2013: Part two has been added.

   

Still

Posted on June 15th, 2012

Dave!One week later and still lovin' it.

My morning routine is five minutes longer now...

Lil' Dave in the Mirror

Lil' Dave in the Mirror with Toothbrush

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Brushing Teeth

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Sees Tattoo

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Looks at Tattoo

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Looks at Tattoo

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Looks at Tattoo

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Looks at Tattoo

Lil' Dave in the Mirror Looks at Tattoo

   

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Skull

Posted on June 9th, 2012

Dave!ZOMG! WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHAT WAS I THINKING? I CAN'T BELIEVE I MADE SUCH A TERRIBLE MISTAKE!

How could I have forgotten to pack my lucky boxer shorts?

This will be a tragedy that haunts me for the rest of my life. If my plane goes down on the flight home Monday, at least now you'll know why.

And now for some questions/comments that have popped up since getting a tattoo yesterday...

   
• Why not Bad Monkey? Six year ago when I was joking about getting a tattoo, I thought it would be funny...

Davetoo

But the only serious option I ever considered was the skull and crossbones. Bad Monkey would make for a cool tattoo, and maybe one day that will happen. But first it's got to be what I've been wanting for 26 years. In any event, I think Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey would approve...

Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey Pirates!

   
• Where'd you get that design? I drew it. Which is kind of odd, because I was pretty dead-set against designing my own tattoo for the longest time. But Michael encouraged me to send in my ideas, and eventually he kind of led me to where I needed to be. Ultimately, it kind of makes sense, so I'm glad things ended up that way. But it was not an easy process. I drew dozens of different versions before I had answers to the questions that were keeping me up at night... Bones behind or bones under? Eyepatch or no eyepatch? Cheek bones or no cheek bones?

Dave Skull Designs

No eyepatch. Yes to cheekbones. Bones under so it would fit better on my skinny arm. In the end it couldn't have been any other way.

   
•It's bigger than I thought! I get that a lot, thanks. OH... YOU MEAN THE TATTOO! Yeah, at first I had pictured something around 2-inches tall. But Michael said that I should take a look at something bigger, so I made cutouts at my hotel that morning and played around with how the sizing would look. I quickly found out that he was absolutely right... the bigger I made it, the better I liked it. This was the opposite of how I thought it would work on my bony arm, but it felt right. Eventually I printed out four different sizes of big and let Michael pick which he felt was the best fit. It turned out so badass awesome that now I can't imagine I ever considered it having it inked so tiny.

   
• Did it hurt? No. Not even a little bit. I was the first person to think that I'd be sobbing uncontrollably and screaming like a little girl, but it never happened (at least not during the tattooing). The outlining felt like somebody was dragging a needle across my skin, scratching it. The filling-in felt like somebody was dragging a popsicle stick across my skin. It didn't hurt at all. I was told that eventually it would feel like I had a bad sunburn, but that never happened. Then I was told it would sting in the shower when water hit it, but that never happened either. If it weren't for being able to look down and see it, I wouldn't know that I had it done. I chalk it up to my mutant healing factor, because this is apparently not typical.

   
• Weren't you nervous? No. And I wasn't excited either. The whole time it felt like this was something that had already happened and I was just reliving the moment. I can't explain it any better than that, but it was a bit surreal how unaffected I was over getting something permanently marked on my body. I guess I knew it was meant to be all along.

   
• How long did it take? One hour, forty-five minutes after we decided where it should be placed and got the stencil applied.

   
• Will you get another tattoo? It's strange... after wanting this so badly for 26 years, I thought that finally getting my skull & bones would get it out of my system and I wouldn't think about tattoos anymore. But now that I have it, all I can do it think about how I would like to add something to it and expand the design down my arm just a bit... or try something different somewhere else. Maybe the feeling will pass but, as of right now, I can't imagine not getting another piece of ink.

   
Annnnnd... it's time to get out and enjoy the incredible weather going on here in the Bay Area...

   

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