ENTRY 0011, April 9, 2004

For the 3 or 4 of you who actively look up my blog,
sorry for the delay in this submission.  I had a massive load of work toward the midpoint of March.  In addition to the normal end-of-trimester panicky students turning in masses of make-up work and calculation of grades, I had my own classes.  Normally a Grad Student in a position such as mine would take 4 units.  That's one big class or two little ones.  I took 10 units.  That's 2 big and 1 little.  Needless to say I just about went nuts.  In the last two weeks of the quarter I had four different papers that needed final revision and submission.  It was not pleasant around here. I was insanely busy and pulling out my already-thinning hair. Sheila was rather patient with all my "Sorry, I gotta do this damn schoolwork" remarks. 

It took me weeks to recover my sanity.  I am now almost normal.

I am also winding down my spring break.  When you are an undergrad, spring break is the time for drunken misbehavior (Well, more than on a normal weekend at school.)  Now that I'm a grown-up, spring break is the time for recreational home repairs.  This week was spent preparing the kitchen floor for new flooring.  What we had was some form of Lee-Press-On-Tile over the original 1950's linoleum.  My task was to remove the press-on tiles.  Amazingly it took days to accomplish this.  Some of the tiles were rather tenacious.  Now that they are gone, the next step is to prepare the substrate for tiling.  We have selected some beautiful Italian tiles to cover the floor.  It will be a bit of a job, but will probably not involve as much cursing as removing the Lee-Press-On-Tiles did.  Once it is done, we will have a gorgeous kitchen floor.  Until then, we have really old, heavily gouged linoleum. 

If ever Sheila's and my spring breaks ever line up, we are out of here!  London, Paris, somewhere.  While that may be fun, Spring break is one of the few times I actually get stuff done around here.  So maybe it's a good thing that we don't have aligning spring breaks.

I did indulge myself in one thing this break.  I got my tattoo worked on.

About a year ago Sheila and I got tattoos #3.  Hers was a claddagh, an Irish symbol for love, happiness and hospitality.  Here it is, as it appeared about 2 hours after the procedure:
Sheila's claddagh tattoo
It was still a bit fresh, doing the whole blood-oozing thing and all. 

At the same time I got this:

Walt's moonliner tattoo

In any event, I never wanted just a plain rocket sitting on my calf.  It needed to be somewhere.  So I decided that I was going to put it somwhere in space.  Eventually I decided on Chesley Bonnestell's "Saturn as viewed from Titan":

Bonnestell's painting

So I went back to Johhny Hammer, the guy who has done most of our tattoo work.  I gave him the picture, a white-line version of the picture and my calf.

Here's Johhny, applying the design:
Johnny working

I spent two hours kneeling in a barber chair, holding very still as a series of seven extraordinarily sharp needles entered my skin 60 times per second.  Rough calculations lead me to this conclusion:  Johnny actually spent about 2/3 of the time applying needles to skin.  That means about 80 minutes spent in actual tattooing.  That means about 4,800 seconds.  At 60 hz, the needles hit me 288,000 times.  However, Johnny did the VAST majority of this using a 7 needle unit.  That translates into just over 2,000,000 punctures on my delicate calf.  At times the pain was amazing.  Other times it was pretty much just a dull sensation, like getting a whole bunch of static shocks on a very dry winter day.

Here is stage one:
Stage one of tattoo
He's done the basic black outline and shading of all the bits.  The reddish parts are not ink, but irritated tissue and blood.

Finally, after two million punctures, the image was finished!
The final version

The rocket has a subtle bit of grey shading.  You can't tell, due to the tissue damage.  I will post another picture when it heals up. 

I am pleased.

So, between getting stuck with needles and scraping up the floor, it was a successful spring break. Even if there were not enough boobies to interest MTV.

Anyway, what's new?

-Bush is still a lying moron.

-Much more information is coming out that seems to indicate that Bush really didn't care about Al Qaeda too much.  Not until September 11th, anyway.

-We have lost a WHOLE BUNCH of soldiers in Iraq this week.  Apparently, there are some people that still hate us over there, despite what the president might wish.

-We still have two working rovers on Mars.  That is Too Cool For Words.

-Kerry is the heir apparent.  Perhaps in November we can elect somebody competent.  Of course, independent election observers state that we are no more ready for the 2004 election than we were for the 2000 elelction.  Meaning that Bush can steal this election, too.

-The FCC has suddenly become puritanical.  To the point where Howard Stern has been dropped by Clear Channel.  So, saying naughty words and sexual innuendo is verboten, but spouting lies and filth like Hannity or O'Reilly is perfectly okay.  We need a truth-in-punditry law.

-I'm taking a class on teaching geology in the classroom.  It's pretty cool, but a lot of it is redundant.  I am getting some good ideas, though.

Well, I gotta run.

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