Speechless

This was an ad on the sidebar of my Facebook account this morning.  I’m speechless:

Honestly, I didn’t even read it.  It didn’t matter what it said.  I didn’t get past the picture…

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See Ya Around

Don’t worry, I’m not calling it quits on this blog by any means, but for the next few months, I wouldn’t suggest you expect to see much of me.

This class has turned out to be a significant amount of work.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that, and I’m not, really.  But it’s turned out to be even more work than I thought it would be.  I’ll be honest with you; I’m worried.  I don’t know if I’m going to make it to the end or not, but I’m sure as hell gonna do my best.  There are going to be tests every week and there’s a lot of reading to be done.  I made the mistake of not starting reading the book before the class started and even though the instructor didn’t have a syllabus for us until the second night of class, we were still responsible for the first three chapters of the book and had tests over them on Wednesday night.  Thank God I was on vacation this week or I never would have been able to finish the reading in time.

Anyway, there’s a lot of reading to do and I’ve got to fit it in around the rest of my life, [Insert panic stricken look on my face here] work 40 hours a week, regular trips to the gym, cooking and cleaning and eating and laundry and ironing and sleeping and spending time with Lil’B.  Oh and did I mention THE READING???

I’ll be around when I can.  I’ll try to post little tid-bits here and there, but since we all know, “little tid-bits” aren’t my specialty…

I’ll still be reading your blog posts  when I can, but I’m bound to fall behind on that too.  And I won’t be commenting as much (’cause it’s harder to do from my iPhone, which is where I’ll most likely be reading your blogs… from “the throne”.)

One way or the other, Class ends on December 15th.

So…  Yeah.  I’ll see ya around.

Let The Nudity Begin

That’s about as far as the TMI will get. I promise. Today, that ever elusive summer heat I’ve been whining about finally arrived. It arrived at about 2:00 in the afternoon just as I was about to try to take a nap and everyone else in the neighborhood decided that outside was better than inside! And loudly!

In case it’s not clear, THIS? is the temperature INSIDE my house!

You can hardly see the cat because he’s hiding in some shade. I’m pretty sure he’s jealous of how relatively hairless his frequently naked daddy is during these times!

See, in the Bay area it hardly ever gets this warm and nobody ever thought central air conditioning was necessary. I have fans all over, but when it get this hot indoors I have little recourse but to be mostly naked most of the time.

Let the nudity begin…

Catching Up

It has been much too long since I’ve written here.  Part of the reason I haven’t written is because I’m  not good at short and sweet, to-the-point posts and so what ought to be a quick few minutes to write, ends up being a couple of hours to write, edit, read, preview and re-read, and re-edit a crazy long-winded post, and I just keep putting it off which only serves to make them longer.

I’m going to try to be brief with this post, though I make no promises…

I’m not even sure if I had decided on this when I wrote my last post, but I am now on vacation not to return to work until Monday, August 30, 2010.  I put in my request to my manager for my vacation and he approved it and then sent me an e-mail telling me that he wanted me to be very involved in this month-long event in September that would require me to do all my planning and purchasing and compiling in half the time that everyone else has to get ready, all the while dealing with the group who is actually hosting the event but didn’t want to share any of their information.  It came down to the wire, but I believe I have everything ready now…  I hope.  If not, I’ll have two days when I get back to work to take care of it.  No pressure there.

I decided to take this vacation, really a stay-cation, because I have been exhausted for weeks, staying up too late, having to get up early in the morning, and upon learning of this event, staying much too late at work.  My life has gotten out of kilter and I desperately needed to right it again, and with my class start date looming, I really wanted to get a handle on things before hand.

I never made it to the gym all of last week, with the pressure I had to have my work in order before my vacation.  I was surprised to see how much I missed that.  I have to admit that while there was so much pressure and trepidation about the locker room when I first started going during the day, I now enjoy it and having a break from my work while I take care of myself.  Except for last week, I have been more consistent with going to the gym since I started the mid-day routine than ever before.  And I even enjoy taking a shower in the locker room there.  It’s a refresher in the middle of the work-day and it’s liberating to have gotten over my fears.  (Plus it saves on my water bill at home.)

On Friday, I did finally take a little break from the work craziness to have coffee with my friend John (John H).  Saturday was laundry day and Sunday I hung out with Lil’B.  It was still rather chilly and I had designs on going to the movies.  We haven’t yet seen Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  I’m a BIG kid and I love those kinds of movies so I’ve been looking forward to it since I saw the first previews.  When I arrived at Lil’B’s house I asked him what he wanted to do that day and he said, “Miniature Golf.”  Hmmm.  OK.

So we went to play miniature golf while I was dressed/prepared for a chilly movie theater.  Green “painters” pants (green pants with deliberately laid out paint spots on the front) and a black t-shirt.  The jean jacket got left in the car.  There was no sun screen.  One of these days I’ll learn to bring along the sun screen just in case.  The weather was actually quite nice where the mini-golf place was.

After I dropped Lil’B off, I went over to my friends John H and John M’s house.  I think it’s cute that they both are named John, but John H says they always know who is being addressed.  (I have to admit that I once had a passing crush on a guy named Kevin and thought it would’ve been funny if we’d ended up together.  Then again, I was also engaged to a girl named Kerri and she thought it was “too sweet” that we would be Kevin and Kerri.  She meant “too sweet” in a bad way.)  The John’s and I had a wonderful dinner of Baked Ziti and Sourdough bread with an incredible blueberry and cherry tart that “John threw together while I was in the shower,” John H told me.  I left at about 10:30 and called it a night.

One of my objectives for this time off work is to get my body clock back on a decent schedule.  If I plan to continue to go to the gym during the work day and still work 8-ish hours, I’ve got to do better about getting to work “on time-ish”, especially on class days.  So I wasn’t too dismayed by having scheduled DirecTV to come and install new service at my house “between 8 and noon” on Monday.  Much to Mischa’s dismay, I pretty much went straight to bed when I got home and got up at 7:30 Monday morning.  Not early enough, but it was a start.  I won’t spend too much time harping on this, but DirecTV quite successfully managed to turn me from being a big fan/major proponent of their service to a stark hater who will tell everyone I ever meet (where the subject comes up) NEVER TO USE DIRECTV SERVICES, EVAR!!

Very quickly, I was a DirecTV customer for 5 years and canceled my service 6 months ago in favor of AT&T U-verse because of cost.  I don’t really love the AT&T product and will still maintain that the actual product offered by DirecTV is better, but I will never use them again.  Three years ago when I moved into my current home, the same day as my downstairs neighbors in this duplex moved in, I had the DirecTV service installed.  My installer had been here and at work for about an hour before another installer showed up to do the installation for my downstairs neighbors.  The two installers made the determination that they could provide both of us with service using only one satellite dish and splitting the signal between the two units.  This made everyone (most of all, our landlady) happy.  I explained this set-up to the operator when I placed the order to re-instate my service and he said it was great.

When the installer showed up here on Monday, at 11:55 he informed me that he could not do this but instead he had to install a second dish on the house.  I told him that was not an option and he said he couldn’t do what I was asking.  After speaking with the installer, and his supervisor, via telephone, and then a dispatcher in his office, I got conflicting answers about code regulations and DirecTV policy (the installation company is a third party) and various other, conflicting and contradictory reasons.  Finally I called DirecTV directly and after explaining my situation six times and being told that they needed to transfer me to “The right department” I finally got one very pleasant young lady who took the time to investigate properly.  After 52 minutes on the phone with DirecTV I was informed that they absolutely can do what I’m asking them to do, but that it’s at the discretion of the installation tech whether he will do it.  The best advice she could give me was that I should call the installer back and tell them this.  I was waiting for a call from a supervisor from that company anyway and when it hadn’t come in over 90 minutes (I told them I needed a call “right away” about what they planned to do because “my entire day is now on hold waiting for you”) I called them again.

I called the install company back and was disconnected right after they answered the phone.  I called again and the phone rang twice and then there was nothing but static and crackling on the line.  I called a third time and got an answer but the person sounded like he was across the room from the phone and the static and crackling were still there.  I explained that I was expecting a call from the supervisor and he insisted on knowing what it was about before sending my information on.  I explained the information I had gotten from DirecTV to him and then he seemed to disappear for a moment.  When he came back I couldn’t understand what he was saying and the best I could come up with was that he was e-mailing the supervisor this information.  After giving the operator an earful about how horrible their service is, how terrible their phone system is and how they’re making me question my decision to come back to DirecTV I told him that I expected the call from the supervisor within one hour.  If I did not hear from him within one our I was going to cancel my order.

When one hour ended, I called DirecTV back for one sole purpose.  I explained my entire situation, yet again, to “the right person” and I explained to her that I was just about finished.  I told her that I was calling to cancel my order, but before I did, I wanted to give them one last-ditch opportunity to try to save my business, because based on my own experiences, I was of the opinion that DirecTV has the best product on the market and I had once been a satisfied DirecTV customer.  She confirmed that everything I had been told was true but that it is up to the install company whether they would do it.  She said that she could not order them to do the install the way I wanted.  I made it very clear that if they didn’t I was going to cancel my order and she wasn’t going to budge.  Finally, I said, “OK, well then let me give you my order number so you can cancel my order.”  Without a flinch, or a hint of apology, she said, “Sure!” and put me on hold.  A few minutes later she came back, told me the order was canceled and asked if there was anything else she could do for me.  I said, “No!  I’m just really disappointed to find that you don’t care any more than that to keep your customers.”  Again, without an apology she said, “OK, have a nice day.”

I guess that wasn’t so brief, but you know me, once I get started…

The one bright point to that story is that while I was waiting for the installer and arguing with the people on the phone, I also made a huge dent in the mess that is my apartment.  I went through a bunch of papers and disposed of what I could, separating the rest to be filed away (which I still need to do).   I did a little bit of organizing and putting stuff away.  I really made a good start.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get started again since.

Tuesday, I got up with a plan.  I was out of bed by 6:45.  I spent the morning, taking care of some computer stuff I needed to do, while mentally planning my day.  I was going to leave home by 10:30 to go to the gym, spend 45 minutes doing cardio, take a shower (I wanted to compare the locker room and showers to the gym by my office) and then head toward my therapists office in Berkeley for our 2:00 appointment, getting lunch along the way.  I got a late start leaving for the gym.  I was all ready to go when…  My coffee kicked in.  There are few things I hate more than pooping at the gym so I was late heading out.  I got to the gym at about 12:20 and by the time I found a locker, and unpacked my gym bag, I really only had about 20 minutes for my cardio before I had to take my shower.  I went back into the locker room at about 1:05 and was dressed and leaving the gym by 1:30.

When I got into the car, I noticed I had a voice mail on my cell phone.  It was Deb, wondering where I was since I was 15 minutes late for our 1:00 appointment.  I called her back, but of course there was no way I was going to arrive before our hour was up.  I mentioned something to her about how I had it at 1:00 in my calendar, but in my mind it was “at our regular time of 2:00.”  She pointed out that 1:00 is our regular time, which, of course, it is…  Vacation brain fart!  One hundred dollars down the drain.

I headed to Berkeley anyway, because I had other plans for after our appointment.  After a quick stop off at Taco Bell, I went to the tattoo shop where I got my last piece done to look through their books for inspiration and to ask about piercing.  They don’t do piercing and I didn’t find any inspiration in their books, but they did refer me to another tattoo shop a mile up the street that does piercing, and with only a minimal amount of trepidation, and after many months (years) of consideration, I had this done:

Somebody needs a shave!

The upper one.  Obviously my lobe has been done for a while.  They said this will take 2-3 months to heal, but once it does, I’ll replace the stud with some sort of hoop.  The piercing itself really didn’t hurt, despite what I’d been told by some.  It was a little more tender after I left the shop, a kind of delayed reaction, but that didn’t really last all that long and then it was fine.  It’s a little ouchy while doing the cleaning routine, but for the most part I can’t even feel it, unless I bump it accidentally (doesn’t even hurt to lie on it at night.  Even the back of the post doesn’t poke into my head, which I thought it would.)

Today, I–  Well, I ended up sort of wasting the day.  I got up at 6:30 and putted around the house for a while, taking care of social networking stuff and doing my daily Fish Wrangler tournament.  I watched an episode of Glee and then I headed out around 10:00 for a…  personal grooming appointment… followed by a small amount of shopping and lunch.  Even less shopping than I had planned since I had the good sense to check the status of my checking account before I spent too much money.

So that gets us all caught up.  Sorry my vacation stories aren’t more exciting….

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and, somehow, soak my ear in salt water (part of the cleaning regimen.)  This should be entertaining!

Bundle of Joy

UPDATED: Now with 100% more historical accuracy (and fewer words.)

Everybody is abuzz this afternoon; excitement over Judge Vaughn Walker overturning Proposition 8.  When the news came down I thought, “I should probably blog about this.  But what would I say that would be original and interesting?”  The fact is, lots of people are going to have blogged about it.  I’m not really sure I have anything to say.

Here are my thoughts on the subject, in a nut shell:

  • I’m genuinely surprised.  It only makes sense, but I really didn’t think it would happen, not at this stage.
  • I don’t really understand what this means.  Could I run right out, this afternoon and get married if I had someone to marry?  Is there a date when it will become legal?
  • What’s the point?  Everyone knows that the Prop 8 folks are just going to appeal to the next level of courts.  AND, they asked for an injunction to prevent same-sex couples from getting married before the next round of trial is completed, “so they wouldn’t have to invalidate any marriages that take place in the interim.”  (Aren’t they sweet to think of our feelings.)  It’s not like this thing is even sort of settled.  I just can’t get excited about it; not yet.
  • Still doesn’t have a direct impact on my life.  I know, I’m a “bad gay” but I’m just not that invested in the outcome.  I have an opinion and I want to see same-sex marriage legalized for the sake of justice and equality, but it doesn’t affect me, today.

And that’s it.  That’s all I have to say on the matter, so I decided to write about something else instead.  I warn you, it’s long!

~~~~~

I was sort of saving this little tidbit for later but, in the next couple of weeks my sister, Erin, will give birth to her third baby and first boy; the first male grandchild in the clan.  What follows is either going to be as funny to you as it is to me, or you’ll find it really uninteresting.  If it’s the latter, I apologize.  Check back tomorrow for better stuff!

Erin was last pregnant six years ago when her second daughter, Regan, was about to be born.  Before she knew what she was having she chose a boy name and a girl name for the baby she was carrying.  I really liked the boy name she picked out and assumed that she was still going to use it now that she is having a boy baby.  At the end of an e-mail on an unrelated topic I asked her.

From:      Riggledo

To:            Erin

Speaking of the baby…  Is his name Rory Alec, or have you guys picked something else since you were pregnant with Regan?

From:      Erin

To:            Riggledo

Yes, the name is still the same, but after a little more intense research, the spelling has changed.  The proper spelling is Rauiri Alec.

From:      Riggledo

To:            Erin

You’ve become one of those mother’s who hates her child!  🙂  Why Rauiri?  That looks middle eastern to me.

From:      Erin

To:            Riggledo

That’s because it virtually is middle english.  We have been trying to keep it authentic.  I hate the way that everybody changes the spelling and/or meanings of words to fit their personal desires.  We have put effort into finding the authentic Irish or Celtic spellings.

Kind of like Ailis is Regan’s middle name.  You don’t see the “H” in there anywhere, but it is there in the pronunciation.

~~~~~

In the meantime, I tried to look up the meaning of this name my sister planned to saddle her child with for a lifetime.  Google, in its infinate, helpful wisdom, proposed a different spelling than my sister had listed.

It is important to understand, at this point, that my sister was diagnosed in elementary school with a learning disability with regard to spelling.  She’s very smart and excelled in all other areas of school, but she’s always been a bad speller which added to my confusion and disbelief that she’d choose such a strange way to spell such a simple name.

~~~~~

From:      Riggledo

To:            Erin

Wait!  Based on this, have YOU misspelled the name?  I can’t find results for your spelling.

From:      Erin

To:            Riggledo

You may be right.  I need to look back at my papers.

She never did get back to me on the spelling.

~~~~~

It’s difficult maintaining “Favorite Uncle” status when you live on the opposite side of the country.  This past Christmas, I put a lot of thought and time into selecting great gifts for my nieces, things I think they would really enjoy.  This past Christmas.  These gifts are currently sitting in a box on the floor in my living room, waiting to be wrapped, packaged up and shipped.  To be fair the item I bought for my older niece is oddly shaped and larger than every box I found for a very long time so packaging and shipping was proving difficult.  I found an appropriately sized box a month or so ago, and now I really have no excuse for not having shipped their stuff.

~~~~~

When I was a kid my mother taught me how to crochet.  I had an enormous ball of scrap yarn that I used to “make stuff” out of.  I’d crochet till the yarn was all used and then I’d rip it out and start something new.  One day, I decided that I was tired of making nothing and ripping it apart again and I bought a pattern book and some yarn and since then I’ve been crocheting blankets.  I’m not sure what else, truly useful, I could make by crocheting and I don’t know how to knit so I’m limited to blankets.

I’ve made blankets for my mother, several friends, my grandfather and of course myself.  I’ve also made blankets for every baby in my life and a few that aren’t (except my brother’s baby – but that’s another story.)  Both of my sister’s daughters got their baby blankets after their first birthdays.  I thought it might be nice if my nephew had his when he was born (we shall see if that happens,) so I needed to know if her due date had changed since last we discussed it.

~~~~~

From:          Riggledo

To:                Erin

Hey, Just wondering if you’re still due on 8/23?  I have a baby blanket finished (sort of) for your son whose name I don’t know how to spell.  I’m hoping to get it (and all the stuff I have for the girls) packaged up and sent off next week.  Just thought it’d be nice if the blanket actually arrived before he did as opposed to a year or so later like with the girls.  🙂

From:          Erin

To:                Riggledo

That would be nice.  Yes, the due date is still 8/23 although I think everybody is hoping for the week before that.  And really what is so hard about Ruari or Rauiri?

From:          Riggledo

To:                Erin

Well, for starters, which one is it?  I’ll get it eventually (after a few instances of seeing – and using – ONLY the correct spelling).

You need to realize though, that you, and he, are looking at a lifetime of confusion about how his name is supposed to be pronounced/spelled.  If you lived in Ireland it wouldn’t be so big a deal ’cause some people still spell it that way. But here, nobody knows that spelling and it will be an ongoing issue.

Despite how it might sound, I’m not telling you what to do… Or maybe I am… 🙂 But if it were me, I’d reconsider spelling it the more common way.

That being said, you still haven’t told me what the correct spelling is.  (Kinda proving my point.)  In the end, though, I will get behind whatever you decide. 🙂

From:          Erin

To:                Riggledo

We were settled on a spelling, but when I looked it up yesterday I found one that I think I like better because it seems more pure.  So now we are discussing it again.  I think ultimately it will end up being Ruari.  Primary point is that the proper way to pronounce it is with an “ahr” sound, not an “or” sound and we want to emphasize that.  People are lazy and pronounce Aaron as Erin all the time, but at least the spelling is there.  I understand what you are saying, but I am more interested in making it say what it is supposed to mean rather than just be comfortable for everybody else.  The name means Red King or Great King and rua is the Irish word for Red or Great.   (Given the reaction from both you and mom, I guess it’s a good thing we are not having a girl named Eibhlin (pronounced eve+linn or ave+linn) meaning pleasant, beautiful, radiant or in other places identified as a bringer of light. – We think it is a beautiful name, but sounds like you guys would have had a cow or maybe a heard of them.)

At any rate, you would think that people can’t mess up something as simple as David, but you wouldn’t believe how often we have to correct people and tell them his name is David, not Dave.  So I don’t see that there is ever an easy answer to spelling or naming convention and so I don’t really care.  I have dealt with being Lee my whole life, I am constantly telling people how to properly spell Caitlin, I already described the problems we are having with Dave vs. David, and most of the world wants to make Regan into Reagan, so what’s one more?  At least I am not making up names like some of the individuals we have known in our lifetime.

I know you will ultimately get on board with it, cause that is the kind of person you are.  Mom is irritating me about it a little bit.  But then what is new.

~~~~~

Now it’s important that I explain two things about the next one.  A)  My sister’s first name is Lee.  She was named, at my Paternal Grandmother’s adamant insistence, after a brother of hers that was killed in “the war”.  Erin has always hated being named Lee, because it’s the masculine spelling, and has, therefore, always gone by her middle name.

2)  My sister and her husband (primarily her learning disabled – in a lot more than just spelling – husband) home school my nieces.  I’m not sure that it’s going particularly well and I pray that they give up the idea and send the kids to school.  Erin, who I have already described as being very smart is a product of the public school system, but some how, suddenly public school is not acceptable for her children and they can’t afford to send a brood to private school.  Home School was supposed to be their solution, but I don’t think its a good one.

Anyway, we carry on.

~~~~~

From:          Riggledo

To:                Erin

Ouch.  My cheek hurts.  🙂  (From your smack down).

Actually, Ruari is not so bad.  I have seen Ruairi and Rauiri and maybe a few other things and those one’s concerned me.  Ruari is still likely to be mispronounced by people, like, say, school teachers (if he ever goes to a school.)  Ru-air-ee.  That’s what people will likely guess his name to be.  I have never heard it pronounced with the “ahr” sound (There was a character named Rory on this most recent season of Doctor Who and it was pronounced with the “or” sound) but if that’s what you’ve learned is “correct” and want to emphasize then I can understand why you’d go with Ruari.  (By the way, now that I’ve typed Ruari several times, it’s ingrained so you can’t change it now.)  🙂

I have to say that while you make the point that you went through life named Lee, you also hated it for at least half of your life.  For that reason alone, I would think you’d want to give your children something a little more “mainstream”.  Dave is a nickname for David and people have a bad habit of assuming it’s OK to use nicknames (I get called Kev sometimes.  I don’t like it but I’ve gotten over being mad about it), but that’s not the same as “bastardizing” the proper name.  I find it interesting that you have to correct people about spelling Caitlin’s name, because I would never have thought of spelling it any other way.  Granted the first time I was aware of her name was on the Ultrasound picture mom sent me that had her name written on it (and I was surprised you were giving her Leigh for a middle name – I know what you hated was having the masculine spelling, but still.)  Maybe it’s just my Irish genes that made Caitlin my assumption, but I would have to be corrected if people spelled it any other way.

Regan’s name I guess I can understand.  Now that she’s (gasp) six years old, I guess I’m used to her name.  When I read your e-mail this morning at home on my BlackBerry, I read “Reagan” and thought Reh-gan as in the president’s name and thought, “That’s a totally different name”, but just now as I was going to type “That’s a totally different name” I realized that Ronny’s name was spelled Regan, so I guess I understand that confusion.  To be honest, I didn’t like that name at all when I first heard it and I secretly hoped you’d change your mind before she was born.  But it’s grown on me and now that I know her and she’s had that name for (gasp) six years I like it and can’t imagine her with any other.

[Ronald Reagan was not spelled like my nieces name and my original argument stands (though it won’t be presented to my sister.]

I didn’t have any idea there was any other way to spell Rory so I was surprised when you told me that it had changed, and like I said, I saw the spelling with the extra i and didn’t care for that.  Rauri is just fine with me.  You have my seal of approval.  I know how important that is to you.  🙂

I’d like to tell you that you’re wrong about “Eihblin”, but…  Yeah, that would be a tough one.  (Keep that in mind when you get pregnant again.)  🙂

Mom?  Irritating?  What on earth do you mean?  What did she say?

~~~~~

Erin sent me the following e-mail conversation:

From:          Mom

To:                Erin

Kevin just told me you’re planning some “off-the-wall” (That’s a quote!) spelling of Rory.  Says he can’t even remember what it is, it’s so far off the mark.  What in the world is he talking about?

I’d like to put my oar in, though, and remind you that it can really be a drag to be saddled with a name you have to explain to everyone for the rest of your life.  Why not just Rory, plain and simple?  Just wondering. . . . .

From:          Erin

To:                Mom

I am still somewhat undecided.  (David likes the name and is not terribly concerned about the spelling.)  Every time I look it up I find different spellings.  According to the sources I am most comfortable with, the proper spelling is either Rauiri or Ruari – meaning Red King or Great King.  (Kevin came up with a different one from some source he searched – Ruairi.)  It is in keeping with our spelling of Caitlin being the original Irish/Gaelic spelling.  Besides, he is home schooled, so who will he have to explain it to until college?  And yes, I remember what a drag it is to have to tell people about your name when you meet someone new, or on the first day of school, or when you go to the dr/dentist, etc.  Been there done that all my life.  😎

And of course Alec, actually English, means Defender of the People.  If I wanted to be truly Irish I believe the equivalent is Alastair.  But we like Alec.

From:         Mom

To:               Erin

Or Rory Alec. “Caitlin” is in keeping with standardized American usage.  Ruari or Ruairi isn’t.  Home schooled or not, he’ll have to spell it out (for those who think to ask) all his life.  Most people won’t ask.  They’ll just spell it wrong.  I say simplify his life by not going there.  That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it! Too late for you, but not for your son!

Yes, I know you’ve dealt with it all your life.  That’s what I meant when I said I was “reminding” you – not “telling” you!

~~~~~

From:       Riggledo

To:             Erin

Date:         Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Subject:   Fw:  Re:  Re:  Baby Name

Wow!  Hung me out to dry, didn’t she!  🙂

From:          Erin

To:                Riggledo

At least you can count on her for something.

From:          Riggledo

To:                Erin

Looking forward to this visit are you?  🙂

For what it’s worth, I apologize.  I’m realizing that at the end of the day, this is entirely your thing and I can imagine it must be frustrating feeling like you everybody else thinks they’re entitled to an opinion or input.  This is not, after all, a committee decision.

Also, I suppose I MIGHT have said, “off the wall” (although that conversation took place a couple of weeks ago – not “just” on 8/2 – so she might be misremembering) but I definitely didn’t say “off the mark.”  🙂

Maybe that’s splitting hairs, but to me “off the mark” is much worse and more offensive  Just sayin’!

From:          Erin

To:                Riggledo

you are right, the only committee that counts here is David & Erin.  But I understand the concern and I don’t mind it being expressed, just harped on.  Furthermore, the slap on your cheek would probably not have been as rough had Mom not been there first.

And while I would have preferred Original to Off the wall, I agree that off the mark is worse.  However, I was a sufficiently aggravated by that point in the email and I didn’t even notice the change until you just pointed it out.  Thanks!!! (just kidding)

So in the end you are forgiven.

Inked

It’s just come to my attention, that while I’ve talked about my tattoos in the past and that people have asked me about them before, I’ve never actually posted pictures of them (except for the panther, as relates to my roadrash from May.)

So with that in mind, and given that I’ve not thought of anything else particularly interesting, I give you the not terribly interesting story of my tattoos:

Several years ago now, my friend Michelle and I were at Six Flags Marine World (it’s now known as Discovery Kingdom) for an o’dark thirty live broadcast of my favorite morning radio show in celebration of the fourth of July.  Up to this point I had alway held on to my steadfast belief indoctrination that tattoos were evil and only heathens and ingrates have them.  I never had any use for them, and I didn’t see the point in getting temporary ones that represent the same evilness that permanent tattoos represent, and that are just going to wash off anyway.  Michelle on the other hand, had gotten temporary tattoos a few times, just for fun.

I don’t know what changed this time around but when we walked past the airbrushed tattoo cart in the park, I looked at the offerings with Michelle, rather than standing back and giving her a condescending stare.

After a minute, I decided to go for it and got a fairly generic  black panther tattoo painted on the back of my left calf.  When it was over and we walked away, Michelle looked at it and said, “That’s cool.  It would be cool if it were real.”  I laughed at her and scoffed at the idea.

But I looked at it several times while it was still in tact and the more I looked at it the more I liked it and didn’t want it to fade away.  I started looking at designs wondering if I could ever really do that to myself, thinking this was never really going to go anywhere.  But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it and the more I could imagine it being real.  A friend of Michelle’s told her of a place in Vallejo, California where she had gone and gotten a tattoo.  Her tattoo was, apparently, very good and wasn’t terribly expensive.  Two important factors in my mind.

We checked the place out and at first I was a little put off.  It’s a rundown shop with every wall covered with tattoo “splash sheets” (go figure, what did I expect to find?)  There were some really raunchy, horrible tattoos on the walls, but I realized that’s to be expected and I just looked the other way.  After a couple of visits and conversations with the owner, I decided to bite the bullet.  He set me up with a young, but talented artist he said was his best guy.  One Saturday afternoon five years ago, I went to the shop, nervous as heck and shaking a bit, but determined to see it through, and I left with this on the outside of my left calf:

I have to admit that it was an incredible experience.  It wasn’t nearly as painful as I imagined it would be.  Don’t get me wrong, it hurts, but it’s not like you expect and when it’s over, like so many things, you don’t really remember the pain so much, and you’ve got something to show for it.

I also found the experience to be strangely erotic.  If I was honest, and I usually am, I became quite aroused during the process.  I was totally hooked.

K told me that people would ask me, “what’s the significance?” and I needed to have an answer.  She turned out to be right.  At my Grandfather’s 90th Surprise Birthday party a few weeks later, my cousin asked me what it meant and I told her it didn’t really mean anything, I just liked it and wanted to get it.  She said, “Panther’s can be like, a sign of power.  Just tell people that.”

So, um…  It’s a sign of power…  Yeah, that’s it.  A sign of power.  Go with that.

As I said, I was hooked, and about 18 months later, I went back to the same shop, to the same artist with an idea.  It was Saturday afternoon.  He asked me when I was thinking of getting it and when I told him I wasn’t sure, he told me that Friday was his last day because he was moving away.  In retrospect, I might have waited if I’d thought about it.  When it healed it needed to be touched up and he wasn’t around to do it, but I liked his work and I wanted the ink so that Friday after work, I went back and I left with this on the inside of my right arm, just below the bend in my elbow:

Recently, my doctor asked me to do a fasting blood test and as the phlebotomist was sitting there taking my blood she studied the tattoo.  To be fair to her, she was sitting to my right and I was facing to the side.  She saw my tattoo from the left side of this picture.  She complimented me on the tattoo, said the colors were pretty and then said, “It’s a turkey?”  Um….

A good two years past before I got another.  I was jonesing for a long time and even after I knew what I was going to get I didn’t know where to go.  Permanent ink on your body is not something you want to let just anybody do.  You want someone who does good work and it’s usually good to have the recommendation of someone who’s already been.

Finally, I found a place not far from my office with a guy who had done some good work for someone I knew.  I bit the bullet again and went in.

This time, Michelle’s sister Monique wanted to come and watch.  She claims she wants a tattoo, but she’s scared.  She thinks the pain is going to be unbearable.  I told her to come along so she could watch the process and see how I do.  I sat calmly under the needle and waited while he applied the ink.  I winced a couple of times, but not because the application hurt so much.  It did hurt, but not terribly.  The guy who did my third (but not final) tattoo was clearly hard of hearing, from head banging or spending so much time with a tattoo gun in his hand, I do not know.  He tended to shout and more than a few times his loud voice, mere inches from my ear, hurt my ears far more than the needles hurt my skin.

He was kind enough to touch up the black parts of the second tattoo while he was working on me and when the session was over, I had this on the back of my neck:

No comments about my shaved Ogre-head!

And for those of you conservative, or mom-ly types, rest assured, the placement of this tattoo is such that when I wear a collared shirt you can barely see it.  When I wear a collared shirt with a tie you can’t see it at all.

Now the problem is, it’s been two and a half years since I got that tattoo and I’m jonesing for another one.  But I have no idea what I want.  I want something with lots of vibrant color in it, but that’s about as much as I’ve figured out.  So that’s where we stand; itchin’ and clueless.  But I’ll think of something…

I’m thinking in terms of getting something to commemorate losing 100 lbs or hitting a weight/physique I’m happy with.  I’m also thinking of getting something to represent my new life once I’ve finished school and change careers, but since I’m not sure what that’s going to entail or when it’s going to happen, I have not yet decided what I would get.

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!