#374: The Peeling

shallow focus photo of man in black crew neck t shirt

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

My tattoo is starting to peel, which makes it incredibly itchy and makes me want to itch it badly. Unfortunately, I cannot touch it or else I risk ruining the tattoo and its coloration, which I’m not about to do. I don’t want to waste what was an amazing job done by an amazing artist, and I feel like I’d really be throwing it all down the drain by itching it. So I resist the urge and work without it.

Along where the tattoo artist shaved before he started drilling into my skin, hair follicles can be seen and are starting to build up there and around that spot. I can see buds of hair starting to form, and I have no idea yet what I’m going to do about that, because I’m a hairy person and I can’t tell if I want the hair to grow back on that spot. I mean, it’d be weird to just have a part of my body that doesn’t have hair at all, and it’d also be weird to just shave around the tattoo. There’s really no way of fixing it without it looking weird in some way or another, and I think that’s due to just my terrible genetics more than anything else.

When tattoos start to peel, the right thing is just to ignore them. Unfortunately, they apparently peel and look this way for a long time, so it’s difficult to ignore them for that long. I prefer pretending it doesn’t exist, but then again the tattoo is still there, it still itches, and it still looks fantastic. When I was taking a shower the other day, I saw the tattoo so clearly on my arm and I couldn’t get over the fact that I actually got it. I love having it around me now.

#370: The Fan Art

person holding black ipad

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

There are certain rules that we all must follow while posting fan art, whether it’s on social media or elsewhere, and I like to make sure that I’m following the rules no matter what I’m doing, even if they’re not written anywhere. More often than not, there are implied, social rules and norms that people have to adhere to or else they risk being ostracized. Fan art posting is hugely relevant to this.

If you’re in a fandom or community that has fan art of any kind, you’ve likely encountered reposters, the kinds of people who have clout solely because of the fan art that they repost over and over. It’s a way of gaining popularity, and it’s pretty dumb because the art is never truly theirs. It’s only theirs by virtue of the fact that they’re the ones posting it, but ownership doesn’t work that way. Claiming ownership over something you didn’t make is scummy and rude and obnoxious in all the worst kinds of ways. People shouldn’t be posting art that isn’t theirs in the first place, and fan art ought to be respected the same way as fan fiction, wherein you wouldn’t go around posting another person’s story pretending that you wrote it. It’s a social taboo to do so.

I guess the reason I made this post is because it’s become a trend in fandom recently, and it’s annoyed me to see it continue. I really want to make sure that communities don’t operate in a way that’s unfair to the content creators, or that discourages content creators from continuing their work. They are, ultimately, the drivers of the community and they make it all work. Without them, we’re all just a bunch of people talking about the game but not doing anything about it. It’s not the same.

#369: The Tattoo Experience

woman covering her face with right hand

Photo by Johan De Jager on Pexels.com

Getting a tattoo was a fun experience. I’ll be discussing the details here, and keeping them for posterity. Overall, it was memorable in a way I’ll likely never forget, and the people I met there gave me a lot of fun stories to share with my friends for days to come. I’ll probably keep those stories to myself, though, as some of them are a bit inappropriate. Alex, who reads this blog, knows what I’m talking about, because I’ve already told her about some of them, and she’s also been to the same shop before.

So, I went to a shop in Norwalk, where I was serviced by an artist named Kyle, the same one who worked on Alex’s Makoto/Persona tattoo. Kyle was great, struck up conversation with me throughout the process, and managed everything well. He came up with two sketches for me to look at and I chose the more traditional looking one, rather than the one where it looked more sketched and abstract. I initially went in looking for an abstract design, but the cracked stone look appealed to me a lot more after talking about it with him. He convinced me of the right path, ultimately, because I absolutely love the design now and how it came out. He made it stick out really well.

While I was getting it done, the process was really smooth, and it took about two and a half hours overall. I watched some speedruns on the computer and checked my phone occasionally while it was getting done. My hand fell asleep and I felt like my legs would never leave that chair in the same spot. It didn’t hurt very much, possibly because my arms are chubby and I’m used to the pain. It’s apparently a good spot for a first tattoo.

#368: The First Tattoo

man wearing brown vest

Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

By the time this post goes up, I’ll have gotten my first tattoo. To say I’m not a little bit nervous about it is putting it lightly, but I’m eager to see how it goes and excited to have the final product on my body soon.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know I’ve played World of Warcraft on and off for the past 10-12 years. It’s been a consistent fixture of my life, something even Alex knows a lot about by virtue of our conversations about it and from watching me play.

Inside the world of this game, there are two major superpowers that are in a military deadlock with each other: the Horde and the Alliance. Each faction has its own set of races (orcs, trolls, tauren versus humans, elves, dwarves) that are exclusive to the faction.

One of my favorite raids in the history of the game, Siege of Orgrimmar, takes place in the Horde’s main capital city. No matter what era of the game I’m playing, I’m usually maining a character on the Horde side regardless.

My original main was a Blood Elf Mage, and then I race-changed to an Undead. I played that character throughout Burning Crusade all the way until Battle for Azeroth. I still have him at max level, even though mage isn’t that fun to me any more.

Horde is also a place where I met a bunch of lifelong, lasting friends. It’s where I first joined a guild, it’s where I first started raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, and it’s where I still reside even all these years later. I feel an attachment to this faction even though it might seem a bit silly. It’s personal to me, like anything else. It represents a special type of connection between friends.

#359: The Artist

abstract wallpaper

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

I sometimes have the urge to teach myself something new, to branch out and learn something and expand my skillset. I like the idea of watching YouTube tutorials on how to draw and using that as inspiration to get into drawing, even though drawing has never been something I’ve been good at. I still stick with stick figures and rudimentary shapes. In fact, I’m so bad at drawing that I used to sit out of pictionary with my friends because I was worried my drawings would be incomprehensible because of their weirdness. Things have changed since then, and I’ve gained a bit more confidence in my round-about ways of drawing things, but I still sometimes get the urge to learn more.

I think it’s because I saw the wonderful progress made by one of my friends on Twitter, who started by drawing a basic idea of Kirby and then it evolved into drawing whatever he wanted. I want the freedom to be able to create the visions I have in my head, and I want to actualize those visions. It’s frustrating to have these images bouncing around in your head and then have nothing to do with them. It’s like they exist only for you to enjoy.

I recently commissioned some art from a friend, though, which was a lot of fun and got a ton of likes on Twitter. It was really cool and I’m grateful for their participation in it, but I’d like to be able to have an idea for a character without having to collaborate with another person to create it, you know? It’d be nice to have that ability myself.

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t know where this journey will take me, or if I’m even going on this journey at all. Who knows, honestly.

Paint

Distant humming, mechanical whirring,
a slight rumble and shake to the room;
The air is on, and I can feel it graze through
the hairs sticking up from my skin;
Computer screens, half awake, half asleep,
a beachside oasis wallpaper repeated
on every other monitor,
jutting rocks, a cavern of sand,
and it’s 1:46pm, to be exact;
Two more hours to go, until I am free to leave
and let my mind roam mindlessly elsewhere
and at another time;

Remember school?
Remember what it was like when they finally
turned on the AC, and the entire building
shifted
in place?
Remember how it felt when walking into a room,
a room you knew before, but now with
added comfort and luxury?
A room that once made you sweat until your
pits could drain enough water to fill a bucket?
A room that once made you cry tears of
complete exhaustion, from bullying or
heat or whatever else existed outside the mind?

Yeah, that’s it.

Paint a picture without photos

#111: The Dance

pexels-photo-270837

Today I’m going to discuss dancing, the process of dancing, and what it’s like to dance. Today (the day I’m writing this, not the day it’s published) is the day of the junior high, upper school dance at work. When I was a kid, school dances were huge events featuring fundraisers, raffles, food, drink, loud music, and lots of forced and uncomfortable socialization. That’s what being in school as a kid is mostly like, actually.

Being a bit of a class clown myself, I loved to draw attention to myself as a kid, knowing that it would be mostly positive because I was young and full of energy. People would applaud me for being brave and outgoing, when in reality, I did it because I liked to please people (and still do, ultimately). I danced at weddings all over the place, taking over the dance floor with terrible, god awful renditions of the cha cha slide and cotton-eyed Joe. This is who I was, and it almost feels weird to look back on that self, knowing who I would become in the years to come.

When I was much younger, in junior high school, I liked to dance at home to the songs I liked. Not frequently, but occasionally. I remember learning how to dance from Dance Dance Revolution, actually, because the game taught me that just moving your legs back and forth a lot can bear resemblance to a dance if you try hard enough. And I was initially pretty good at that game series, especially the Mario-themed one for the Gamecube. I was also a fan of Rock Band and other rhythm-based games, but unfortunately I never really succeeded in becoming a musical artist. Being a teenager is all about trying new things over and over, hoping that something sticks, but very few things did. Especially not dancing, now that I’m much older than then!

#109: Heavyweight

audio-mixer-buttons-close-up-159206

(Sorry to break the naming convention of having a definite article before a general word as my blog title; it had to be done!)

On the way to work, I’ll sometimes put on a podcast instead of music. I prefer music nowadays because my commute is shorter than it used to be (17 minutes versus 40 minutes is a noticeable difference) and music tends to get me more consistently in the mood I’m looking for within that short amount of time. But when I do think about listening to a podcast, it’s usually MBMBaM or TAZ, or a third option, which I’m going to discuss in this blog.

The podcast is called Heavyweight, and while it’s not syndicated weekly or biweekly like the other podcasts are, it still provides consistently thought-provoking and intriguing media. It’s one of those pieces of art where, after listening to it, you can’t help but think about it constantly afterwards; it consumes you, just as you consume it. It envelops your mind and forces you to reckon with the ideas its creator is positing throughout the episode. In one episode, the creator and his friend try to get an old record back from multi-platinum recording artist Moby, and fail in the process. But they still meet with him, talk with him, and discuss life together in one of the most beautiful episodes of a podcast I’ve ever listened to. They discuss the futility of holding onto the past so intensely, like holding onto a lost record. The creator’s friend, however, attaches a lot of sentiment and symbolism to this record, as it represents the friendship they no longer have. It’s a miraculous story, and I would highly recommend checking it out. I believe it’s episode two.

It also introduced me to a song, “Sun in an Empty Room” by The Weakerthans, which I was listening to in the car before writing this post. It’s amazing sometimes how art helps you discover more art.

Yet Again

You see,
it isn’t easy
coming back from the
edge and surviving

Living to
tell more tales, to
die another day,
to give it all
another
shot

Yet again, those
thoughts return
like bees to
their hives,
ears ringing and
eyes bulging

Yet again, like
residual hatred,
like time itself
it can be delayed
but always finds
its way back
home

Coloring in School

Picking up pencils,
colored pencils,
crayons and pens,
put them in with
the right colors,
please

Quick!

Coloring
is a very soothing
activity,
isn’t it?

Worry about the
territories later,
just the states now,
just color between
the lines
and
finish the rest
for homework,
or during study skills
on
Wednesday
morning,
when
we’ll be finishing
the rest of
the movie