for tattooed people, and those who want to be

August 8, 2010
by infmom

Nickel allergies

Sorry it’s been such a while between posts–I am getting my book ready to be published and my brain can’t multitask Pennies Still Matterbetween manuscripts and anything else. 🙂

One of the most-frequently-read series of articles on this blog talks about nickel allergies.  Reader Stacey has just added an excellent and informative post to a previous message and I think everyone who is interested would find it well worth reading.  You can find the message and all its comments here.
Creative Commons License photo credit: icedtia.

July 7, 2010
by infmom

On designing your own tattoo

For those of us who don’t want to just walk into a tattoo studio, point to something on the wall and walk out with a design that’s been applied to hundreds of other people before us, finding or creating original designs can occupy quite some time.

It took me several months to work up my dragon tattoo.  It started out as a pencil drawing, which I then scanned into the computer to color in.  Once I printed it out, I realized I didn’t like it.  Back to the drawing board.  I wasn’t all that good with design software in those days (had a precursor to Photoshop Elements, the name of which escapes me at the moment) so getting the colors and the shadings right, once I had an outline that worked, took a long time.  Fortunately, Lantz at Zulu Tattoo was able to translate my design into on-skin reality with no trouble at all.  (The picture, snapped with a cheap digital camera, does not do the artwork justice.)

But what if you don’t want to create your own image, for whatever reason?  If you’re fortunate enough to know a good artist, you could commission him or her to do your design (and remember, any artist worthy of the name is also worth paying).  If you don’t know any artists, go to local art shows and craft fairs–you might spot someone whose work looks like just the kind of thing you want to turn into a tattoo.  If you’re going to have something inked that you purchased from an artist, get the artist’s permission first.  Some don’t want their work reproduced and their wishes should be respected.

But what if you don’t know any artists, don’t want to browse art fairs, and still want an original design?  Enter the world of tattoo-design software.  If you put “tattoo design software” into a Google or Bing search you’ll be amazed at how many sites turn up.  A lot of the software appears to be free, and the ones with a price aren’t ridiculously expensive.  I haven’t tried any of them out, but I’m sure the results are as variable as their creators.  Since there are so many free programs available, it’d be worth while to download and try several to see what kinds of results you get.

Have any of you tried any of these approaches to getting original ink?  What was your experience?

June 26, 2010
by infmom

Tattoo expansions

Today at the post office, I was in line behind a very large man whose upper arms were covered with black line tattoos.  Na varanda da praia..I didn’t think of them as sleeves, because they were kind of like Paul Teutul Sr’s conglomeration of assorted images.  At least I thought that was what they were, because the ink had faded so much that it was barely darker than his skin.

He noticed me looking at his arms and we struck up a conversation, as multicolored people often do.  It turns out he’d gotten most of the tats when he was in the Marines, years ago.  I made some comment about how he must have been out in the sun a lot because his ink had faded, and he laughed.

“No,” he said.  “Think about writing on a balloon with a marker and then blowing up the balloon.  That’s what happened to that ink.”

Now, that’s something I had never considered.  People talk often about tattoos sagging when we get old, but I don’t think I’ve ever had another conversation about ink getting faint when it’s stretched over time.  But that makes perfect sense when you think of the balloon analogy.

I know most of us don’t get, or not get, inked based on the possibility of stretching, sagging, or fading.  Have you had any of your ink get “modified” by your body with the passage of time?  What did you do about it?

photo credit: Felipe Katsumata

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June 24, 2010
by infmom

Catching my breath

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been really behind on my posts here, lately, but for once I actually have a good reason for that.

More than 20 years ago, I started writing a novel.  I got the basic structure of it worked out, and wrote a few chapters, and then set it aside for a while.  I came back to it now and again over the years, and at some point decided it needed at least one more character and a different plot, so I started adding all that in, and then I got busy, or lazy, or something, and set it aside again.  And there it sat, complete with its own floppy disk.  That’ll give you an idea of how long ago it was that I set it aside.

Last year, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time.  Lacking an original idea for a novel, I decided to write a sequel to that first, long-unfinished book.  And I managed to complete over 50,000 words in the allotted 30 days.  I was very proud of myself.  But then I realized I was really being an idiot, because if I could finish a complete story in what turned out to be less than a month, then I had no excuse for not finishing that book that had been gathering cobwebs for decades.

So I set my mind to it, and I finished it.  The story was so old that it contained lots of references to ancient electronic gadgets like VCRs and portable cassette players, all of which were hot stuff when I first started writing.  And I could see right away where I’d quit adding in the new character and plot line, because the quality of the novel went back to beginner level from one page to the next.  So I fixed all that and had what I considered the full first draft.

Now, that book is in the process of being revised and edited.  And the second one needed to be expanded to a better book length.  That’s what’s been occupying my writing time the past few months, so I’ve let my blog postings slide.  It’s not that I’m not still vitally interested in Multi.Colored or multicolored people!  It’s just that I can only do so much writing in a day before I start sounding like a gibbering idiot.  🙂

The first book goes to the printers and e-publishers in August.  I’ll post a note here and on my other blogs when I have more news.  Bear with me, I will have an actual tattoo related post by the end of the week.

June 8, 2010
by infmom

Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity

How many of you are old enough to remember what vintage TV show that title comes from?  🙂

I was reminded of it today when I went to see my doctor for one of my regular checkups.  Along with the usual discussions about my health, she asked me about my tattoos, which she’s seen many times before.  This time, however, she did something different.  She pulled up a screen on the computer, and typed in a description of each tattoo.

Why?  Because, she explained, someday that description might help someone to identify me.

I’d never considered that before.  And I think it’s a great idea.  If your doctor hasn’t included a description of your body art in your medical file, ask her or him to do it.  The one certain thing in life is uncertainty, and the more information we make available to others who might find us and not know who we are, the better.

Oh, and for you youngsters out there, that was the opening from “Ben Casey.”  I liked Dr. Kildare better, myself.  🙂

May 26, 2010
by infmom

The good, the bad, and the downright fugly

Judge Judy Sheindlin

Image via Wikipedia

OK, I have to confess that I am a Judge Judy aficionado.  There is just nothing more entertaining than watching her give some fool the talking-to that was decades overdue.  You can tell that a huge number of the people standing before her have NEVER been talked to like that, and that’s half the fun.

Yesterday, though, was unusual in that every case involved people with really bad tattoos.  I mean, of the do it yourself with soot and a guitar string variety (or these fools paid an artist to do the equivalent).  One even had blobs of black ink all over his face and admitted to “tattooing his friends.”  One would hope that the friends were dead drunk at the time and have very poor eyesight and no mirrors in their abodes.  Yuck.

And last night, one of the local TV stations did yet another installment in the sweeps-month tabloid-style interview with the exceedingly well-inked hottie that that idiot Jesse James was sleeping with.  Even she admits she doesn’t like all that ink any more, but there’s no real way to get rid of it now.  They haven’t done too many closeups of her tattoos, but the ones I could see were mediocre (and having blue ink on her face was not a beauty treatment).

Much as I appreciate body art, sometimes all I can do is ask “What were they thinking?”  Why would people want to deface themseves (pun intended) like that?  What message are they trying to convey other than “I don’t give a crap”?  I know we all firmly believe we’re not going to get any older (I’m not, but I still want to be Lwaxana Troi when I grow up) and our outlook on the world is never going to change, but truthfully, what kind of life are these young men going to have when they’re pushing 60 like I am and still have black blobs all over their arms, necks, and faces?  They didn’t look like they’d be able to earn enough money for laser removal.

Heck, when I was 16 all I wanted was a flower doodle on my left ankle, in green ink.  I drew it on my skin myself and wished I could get it put there permanently.  If I’d been able to get my wish (fat chance of that in an armpit Nebraska town in the mid 1960s) I suppose I would have managed to live with it in later years, but I would have been showing it off as “Here’s what I did when I was too young to know better.”

Have you ever encountered people who seriously mess up the whole concept of tattoos and body art?  Not just the gangsters, whose ugly tattoos are there for an actual reason, but people who’ve got junk on their skin they’ll never be able to fix?  Do you think those people give the rest of us with our tasteful tattoos a bad name?

May 20, 2010
by infmom

More on tattoos and chronic diseases

Long Beach, California at night

Image via Wikipedia

I got my calendars mixed up, and thought that the Diabetes Expo and the Ink & Iron tattoo show were both in Long Beach last weekend. (Ink & Iron’s next month.) I thought it’d be an interesting combination of venues, and people could go from one to the other without too much trouble (Diabetes Expo at the Convention Center, Ink & Iron on the Queen Mary).

People who have chronic diseases can’t be as carefree and casual about getting tattoos as perhaps they’d like to be.  While it might not be a case of “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” for everyone, certainly the process of invading your skin with foreign substances can stress some people’s bodies more than others.  Diabetics don’t heal as fast.  People with autoimmune disorders might be pushed into a flare-up.  People with allergies, especially nickel allergies, might have inflamed skin for years.  People with latex allergies should definitely make sure the artist is using some other kind of gloves.

I have three tattoos, and I’m a Type 2 diabetic.  I also have nickel allergy.  I got my first tattoo before I got my diabetes diagnosis, but I went to the tattoo parlor fully informed the second and third time.  Interestingly enough, I was never asked about health conditions by any of the artists who inked me.  In retrospect, I think I should have been.  I don’t think it would have changed anything, but (again in retrospect) I think it’s only right that the artist should know that much about the person he/she is working on. If I get another tattoo (still under consideration) I’ll tell the artist up front if he or she doesn’t ask.

And, of course, people with chronic medical conditions should absolutely do some research before getting body art or piercings.  The more we know ahead of time, the better we can be prepared for possible problems afterwards.  If I’d known there was a connection between tattoo ink and nickel allergy, I might have changed the colors of my designs (although as it turned out, I had no problem with the blue or green colors, only with the red which does not contain nickel).  Knowing that diabetics heal more slowly would not have stopped me from getting any of my tattoos, but knowing that I had diabetes did inspire me to make sure my blood sugar levels were well under control before I got inked.

Have you had to take your health into consideration before getting inked?  Have you been asked about health problems by your artist?  How did you handle the issue?

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May 5, 2010
by infmom

Email subscribers

First of all, thank you for subscribing! But could you all please make sure your email address is correct? And that you allow emails from the site to get through your spam filters? I’ve been getting bounced emails lately and I wouldn’t want you to think they hadn’t been sent in the first place.


May 1, 2010
by infmom

Queen Mary Tattoos!

Once again, the Ink-N-Iron Festival is coming to the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  As someone who’s attended and who’s gotten tattooed there, I heartily recommend it.  Just think what the Duchess of Windsor must be thinking.  🙂

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April 28, 2010
by infmom

Technological advances

Ordinarily I am way behind the times with technology but now I have an iPod Touch to play with. This is my first attempt at posting with the WordPress app. Do any of you have suggestions for good apps to try?