Sunday, June 27, 2010


This weekend hosted the sixth annual Alamo City Tattoo Show, where I spent the majority of my weekend.  It had more than eighty booths, some of which where merchandise and supplies, but most were of out of town tattoo artists.  Most of those were from Texas. My original goal for attending this event was to review portfolios and interview local artists to get some work done sometime in the future.  I drug Courtney, Andrea, Brittany, and Amanda to attend with me.  And with them supplying second opinions and support, I surpassed my original goal and got inked.

I had a unique request for the concept of my tattoo.  At least, it seemed unique to me.  I wanted a visible secret, something that you wouldn't notice unless you looked for it.  I already had the design picked out too: a dual Celtic trinity knot.  In the pagan Celtic mythology, the trinity knot was a kind of homage to the female deity.  It represented the three stages a woman goes through in her life: the virgin, the mother, and the crone.  After the Christian invasion of the area, the trinity know was adopted by the Church as another symbol of the Holy Trinity.

The artist who finally did my piece was Erica Long from Majestic Tattoos in Pasadena, Texas.  She was able to match an ink color to my skin tone.  When it heals, you'll only be able to see my tattoo if you're looking for it.   This is my first tattoo, and I'm not gonna lie, it hurt, as evidenced by the expressiveness of my face during the process.  It only took thirty minutes or so to complete the piece, as much time as it took to set up.

Andrea was inspired by the design I chose and got the same for her, again in her skin tone color.  She said getting it on her wrist was more painful than either of her other tattoos.  But it didn't hurt near as much as Courtney's, whose stretched down her side from rib cage to hip bone and took five hours to do.  Her tree piece is beautiful and she showed so much strength in the process of getting it.

There was a lot of skin showing at the convention center this weekend.  Male, female; tall, short; skinny, not-so-skinny.  The fabulous thing about the popularization of tattooing in recent years:  appreciation of the human body in all its forms, acceptance of individuality, and a higher prevalence of healthy self image.  The Miss Tattoo contestants had pin-up hair and makeup styles which, to me, juxtaposed classic beauty themes with the more modern expressions.   Though the large woman walking around in a thong to display her leg and butt tattoos was a little too much for me, I appreciate the obvious display of her comfort in her own skin. 

After a couple of long days out in Live Oak, I count the time well spent.  I wonder though, if anyone else noticed that they forgot to print the hand stamps in mirror image. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

May Book Review Mash-Up

Okay, so I'm still catching up on blogging. Sorry for such a hiatus!

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison.  This is the newest of the Rachel Morgan series where Rachel is targeted by several groups who have determined her unique background is a threat to the status quo.  Really, Jenks is the star of this book.  He's my favorite in the series, though I identify a lot with Rachel.  I think this is starting so solidify my favorite genre to read as paranormal romance.   Again, Harrison kept me riveted until the end and I'm looking forward to the next iteration of the series.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell Hamilton. The Anita Blake series has been pretty popular over the last few years, so I decided to try it.  I gave it a good shot, but I'm still really tired of vampires.  Anita Blake is reanimator by trade, meaning she raises people from the dead as zombies, to let them complete the unfinished business left when they died.  But when a bachelorette party forces her to work for vampires she has to investigate a series of vampire murders in order to save her friend.  Hamilton focuses on the fear aspect of the vampire phenomenon, preferring disassociation from them rather than joining them.  Hamilton did a good job with the mystery and investigation, something that I'm never good at.  I never figure it out until all the cards are shown at the end. I enjoyed this particular book, but I probably won't read the rest of the series.

The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson. I found Pettersson in the Unbound anthology I reviewed a couple posts ago. It is so unique that the characters are zodiac based comic book heroes.  This was the first book of the series that follows Joanna Archer as she discovers her part in this world.  Pettersson creates a very strong female main character who I totally identified with.  She also delves into the strength in beauty itself, particularly in Barbie-type women that hit on some prejudices I know I have had in the past.  It was a very well done book and I plan on reading more in the series.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  This is the sequel to Hunger Games where Katniss has to deal with the political and emotional fallout from her victory in the Hunger Games.  I didn't get into this book as much as I did the first one. It was much slower, spanning a lot more time than the original.  It really felt like it was a lot of prep work and drama to set up the next book where the revolution really will take place.  I didn't really care as much about the characters or the drama.  I might read the next one just to find out what happens but I'm not on the edge of my seat for it like I was after the Hunger Games.

Female Body Breakthrough by Rachel Cosgrove.  This I actually picked up at my sister's suggestion.  It's actually by the wife of the guy who wrote the workouts for New Rules of Lifting for Women.  There were two unique things about Cosgrove's plan.  The first was actually planning your workouts around your menstruation cycle so that you don't attempt to do your hardest workouts during the week you feel the worst.  She recommended to use a PMS week as the week to change your routine, but not expect to peak at all that week.  The other was the most vague nutrition plan I've ever seen in a fitness/health book.  It only really offered the now-standard advice: lots of water, no processed food, and a lot of fruits and vegetables.  It has no numbers based planning of metabolic rates, how much you burn in a workout, etc.  I've done three workouts on this plan so far, lining it up with when my company kicks off its internal weight loss challenge.  Here's wishing me luck!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Orlando Trip Recap

Okay, I know this is several weeks belated, but I had a blast in Orlando and wanted to share some pics.  There are more on Facebook, but these are just a few to go along with my favorite memories of the trip.

Universal Studios is definitely a more adult oriented place. Walking around the park with a cold beer is definitely encouraged.  The height requirements on most of the rides means that almost everything is geared toward older kids.  I did a lot of meandering on this trip since I had a lot of days to spend at the parks.  You could definitely do the circuit on these parks in two days based on the crowds when I went.  Take the time to enjoy being an adult at Universal Studios, then go be a kid at Disney.

A huge shout out goes to Mark J. who served as my local tour guide and drinking buddy for the duration of my trip.  I had a blast running around the town with you, Mark!  Another shout out goes to the best bar, Finnegan's, and the best bartender, Dan.  

Best food was definitely Mythos in Islands of Adventure. I got the Risotto of the Day and it was amazing.  It was Spinach and Oxtail Risotto with Beef Medallions and Asparagus.  It was really amazing.  So flavorful and hearty.  I wanted to eat it all, but I just couldn't get any more inside of me.

My favorite area of either park was Seuss Landing.  I absolutely loved the Cat in the Hat ride, which is very Winnie-the-Poo-esque for Disney fans.  My sister and I have an inside joke about being Thing 1 and Thing 2, so that was probably a huge factor on why I liked it so much. 

The best ride by far was Simpson's.  It replaced Back to the Future, which gave me a headache the first time around.  It was a fun ride, even though I'm usually not a fan of the 3D with moving cars.  I remember getting a wicked headache from my head slamming against the side of the Back to the Future car when I rode it last.  I laughed so hard in this one.  It's one that doesn't get old when you ride it over and over because there are little things you pick up on each time.  I rode it three times.  Honorable mention on best ride goes to Men In Black.  I'm sure if I got a score more than 50,000 it'd be higher up on my favorite list.

The best roller coaster was Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket.  You get to pick the music that plays during the ride. I picked Kanye West's "Stronger" and it definitely added to the experience.  I didn't get a chance to ride it and compare to other songs.  The coaster itself was really cool, but the pick-your-own-soundtrack was definitely ingenious.   Honorable mention for best coaster goes to The Mummy, a dark air-conditioned roller coaster, similar to Space Mountain.  Very well done.

I missed the opening of the Harry Potter area by a month and only saw the teasers of the tops of buildings from afar.  I was able to get to see the map of what will be where and it looks like it will be a lot of fun for Harry Potter fans.   But since the employees have since been let into the area, it should be okay to share the map with all of you!