ENTRY 0018, December 29, 2005

It has been over a year since I have updated this blog.  I decided that I could not let 2005 pass without udating this thing.  Why has it taken so long?  There is no single answer.  Here are a few possibilities:

1. I have been unbelievably busy with my Graduate studies.  My thesis, titled "Enhancing Evolution Education Through the Teaching of Critical Thinking and Inquiry Skills" has been taking up a lot of my time.

2. I have been unbelievably busy with school stuff.  We have a new principal, and she has made quite a few changes.  This has taken some adaptation on my part, as well as a larger investment of time.

3. I have been unbelievably busy with home improvements.  I am finishing projects that I began years ago, plus beginning others.

4. I have been using the time that I would have used for writing blogs surfing the web, particularly to www.somethingawful.com

5. I was like many other bloggers, and just sorta left it.  It seems that most blogs out there have not been updated in months.  I don't remember the statistics exactly, but only a very small percentage of blogs are updated bi-weekly or more often.  More than half have not been touched in six months or more...

Personally, I think it is a combination of all of these.  I'm willing to bet that Sheila will say that #4 is the correct answer.  She's probably right...

So, today is Sheila's 39th birthday.  She had no plans in particular, but had chosen to play the day by ear.  Her mom decided to take us to dinner the night before, and we had a grand time.  But today, no plans.  Well, we got up she had her plans.  Tattoos.  We have had the ideas for our latest tattoos for a couple of years now, and the time was right.  We went to see Johnny Hammer at Empire Tattoo (this is a link to their website.  It's still new, so it's kinda lame.)

Here we see Sheila's shoulder, pristine and ready for the tattoo.
sheilas shoulder

Here is the pattern.  Sheila has selected a Tudor Rose, overlaid with a Union Jack.
The pattern

Johhny begins to apply the ink to skin, using a cluster of five needles.

Here is the tattoo, about 75% completed.

And the final rose.  The Union Jack will be added at a later date.

Then it was my turn.  I have been a fan of space exploration, movies and science fiction.  I decided to combine all three in my latest tattoo, which comes from
Georges Melies' film "Voyage Dans La Lune" which was shot in 1902.  It is based on Jules Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon.  The image came from the poster that advertised this 12-minute masterpiece.  I adapted the image three or so years ago, and have been messing with it ever since.  I am happy with the image.  Will it look as good when it is on my skin?

Since this was going on my chest, I had to remove the shirt which covers my pasty-white flesh.

I sit with the pattern in place, waiting as Johnny sets up his equipment.

Johnny begins the process of inking.  He explained to me that this area of the body would be more sensitive than the entire calf that I got in early 2004.  He did not lie.
(You can't tell, but my jaw is really clenched.  Hard.)

A close-up of Johnny working.
pointy needles going into skin!

A brief break so I can relax and Johnny can change his gloves.
getting there...

And a bit later, finished with the big lines.
mostly done

At this point, both Sheila and I think that the picture is great. But Johnny tells me that he needs to do the shading.  The difference is astounding.
Still a bit irritiated
It's hard to see, but the image has some great shading.  The red comes from irritated tissue, and will block the wonderful, subtle shading work for a week or so. 

I admire Johnny's work.

Then Johnny covers the tattoo with plastic wrap and I get dressed. 

For people who have never had a tattoo, I must recommend one.  It is an amazing experience.  Does it hurt?  Yes.  A lot.  However, people often do not understand why we would subject ourselves to this.  To understand their mindset, you must understand that most people equate pain with suffering.  This is not true.  When you get a tattoo, volutarily submitting yourself to getting poked with a needle thousands of times, you understand that there is pain, but not suffering.  It can become almost euphoric in a way.  I guess it is all the endorphins that start flowing.

Next, I'm going to start getting tattoos of the signatures of scientists I admire...

Anyway, what's new? (Or, more precisely, what has happened since I last updated this blog, just over a year ago?)

-Bush is still a lying moron.  The evidence is coming in that he lied far beyond what we ever suspected.

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

-Just after Christmas last year a 9.0 earthquake struck the Indian Ocean.  This, in and of itself caused little damage.  However, since the quake was below the sea floor and was really powerful, it set up a massive tsunami.  This wave washed over entire islands, wiping out towns and villages from Indonesia to Africa.  All told, more than a quarter of a million people were killed. As I write this, there are still 30,000 people missing.  It is presumed that most of them were washed out to sea.  We may never know.

-Terrorists hit London in July, while we were onboard an oceanliner, heading from Helsingborg, Sweden to Southampton.  (Click here for more details of that trip.)  It was a dark day.  53 people died, many on tube lines we regularly take when we are in London.  However, as one World War II vet observed "These terrorists attacked us with four bombs.  They were trying to scare us?  Hitler dropped hundreds of bombs on us every night during the Blitz.  If that didn't frighten us, why would their pitiful attempt?" That is the British Spirit.

-The quote I put just above I got from an old gentleman I talked to at the 60th anniversary celebration for the end of WWII in London.  Amazing celebration, and just days after the attacks.  250,000 people gathered together to honor those who served in the war.

-Hurricane Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast, killing lots of people and doing BILLIONS of dollars in damage.  FEMA, the government agency designed to help out in such circumstances, seemed to have no plan of attack, and failed to react for days.  They made a bad situation FAR, FAR worse.  When confronting the boss of FEMA, Resident Bush was quoted as saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!"  Brown resigned in disgrace days later, when the extent of his incompetense was revealed.

-Arnold, the Governator of KALEEFORNEEYAA set up a special election.  He ran on a platform of being friendly and trying to unite everybody.  Then he sets up this election where he attempts to pass several draconian new measures.  One thing he wanted to do was muzzle the unions.  It seems that unions tend to spend political money to fight big business, who are also spending political money.  He wanted to make it a requirement that the union had to get permission from each member before spending any money on politics.  No such restriction on business...  He also wanted to take control of the budget.  If a "budget emergency" were declared, the governor would have the ability to make any cuts to any program he chose, to relieve the emergency.  That would give him carte blanche to cut billions from the education budget, as he wanted to do, with no oversight or recourse by anybody.  Of course, he could only do this of a "budget emergency" were declared.  And who declares a budget emergency?  The governor, of course.

- Gas prices spiked at nearly $3.00 a gallon here in SoCal.  They are now down to just over $2.00.  I nevre thought I would be happy to see gas prices hit $2.00 a gallon...
Of course this spike in prices hit everybody hard.   The oil companies explained that they were passing on the increased costs of crude oil.  But Exxon/Mobil posted $9 Billion in new profits for one quarter.  Hmmm.

-It turns out the Resident has admitted to ordering wiretaps without warrants.  Apparently the courts might have said "no" to some of them so they decided not to ask.  It will be really interesting for him when a bunch of suspected terrorists get released because the evidence used to hold them was illegally gathered.  Explain to me how Mr. Bush is protecting our freedom?

It is now 4 in the morning , and I have to go to bed.

Well, I gotta run.

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