Dealing with the modified – 2nd in a series

justin Body Modification, Ravings, Stupidity 3 Comments

no touchingI’m hoping my first little discussion helped you, my casual plainskinâ„¢ reader. For you, the modified reader, I hope these little missives provide a little bit of gentle agreeable head-nodding and perhaps even a few whispered “you tell ’em, brother’s.”

Like I said, these tiny bits of cultural gold aren’t in any particular order.  Like most revelations, these just come to me when I’m attempting to do other productive activities: activities I must immediately stop so I can share my wealth of opinionated dogma with you.

OK, now for the hard knowledge. My dearest plainskinsâ„¢, whatever you do, do not touch the modified without prior permission.  Sure, this sounds silly, but you wouldn’t even believe how often this happens. I’ve seen it happen with not just tattoos (generally the majority), but also scarification and even piercings.

I know that humans are generally trained to be visual animals from the time of early childhood, but, at the same time, most people tend to also have a firm sense of personal space. It seems that adding a modification to the mix throws the standard social norms right out the window.

From my personal experience, “touchers” generally begin by asking you about your mod and then, in the middle of explanation, reach out and initiate the touch. I know I often invoke the “oooh, shiny” feeling in people, but let’s get serious here. Our ancestors didn’t spend thousands and thousands of years figuring out that bright colors were a huge warning sign for dangerous animals, plants, polyester pantsuits, etcetera to just be tricked by a bit of subdermal pigments and/or inorganic materials or keloided skin. When you think about it that way, “touchers” are devolved.

The easiest solution would be to just eradicate “touchers.” I know this seems a little harsh, but we are an overpopulated planet anyway. In cases where that is not possible, I nominate the following solution:

If the “toucher” is female and over the age of 18 (wildly important), grab yourself a handful of boob.

If the “toucher” is male and also over the age of 18, grab his junk.

Both are drastic measures, and, in both cases, some serious judgement needs to be undertaken before the “grab” move is initiated. This move is intended to cause discomfort; not to act as a come-on.

If the “grab” cannot be used, a nice follow-up to an unwanted touch might be: “If you’d pardon me, I was on my way to picking up the salve for my aggressive chronic herpes.”

This will, guaranteed, get a reaction.

Silly plainskinsâ„¢.

Let the bodies hit the ground

justin footie, monkey, Ravings, soccer, Stupidity Leave a Comment

walkerAging sucks.  That’s not saying anything that people don’t already know. I myself am in my mid-30s and I still get carded buying smokes on a regular basis.  Hell, one of the reasons I really like going to my regular drinking holes is that I don’t get that suspicious stare when I order a drink.

Like I said, I’m not old.  At least, my mind isn’t old. My body, on the other hand, has different ideas.

I’m put together funny. Yeah, I know that sentence alone sets me up to a bevy of grand insults (most of which I’d laugh my ass off at), but it’s an undeniable fact. Almost all of my joints have way more give than they should. This can be exploited in good and bad ways (if you haven’t seen my “elbow trick,” you are missing a show of shock, wonder and potential revulsion) depending on how I apply myself.

Recently, that application has been recreational soccer. “What,” you say to yourself, “that wussy Euro-sport?” Yes, that wussy Euro-sport. My hatred of soccer haters will definitely be addressed in another posting.  Either way, I play soccer on a lovely little co-ed team and get a fair amount of exercise while I’m at it (before negating that exercise after the game at the bar drinking beer). In the course of the two and a half years I’ve been playing with this group of people, I’ve noticed that I cannot play without two knee braces if I intend to walk in the three days immediately following a match. In the past eight months, if I have a lot of cross-field passes, my right ankle feels like it wants to fall off the next day, and I won’t even go into how bad my hips hurt if I’ve got to move across the field quickly when I play defense.

I still play pretty decently, so I keep it up.  This week, however, I think I finally discovered the limits. This week, I took one hell of a header right into the ground, and by header, I don’t mean I hit the ball with my head, my face hit the ground well before my body. To quote the wise sage Yogi Bear, “It’s alright, I landed on my head.” Unfortunately, the rest of my body followed my head (like it does). Not smart enough to throw my hands out to catch myself, I landed with my hand pinned between my chest and the ground: injuring both hand and ribs. Apparently I also slid cartoon-style with my legs swung up behind me. Two days later and that’s not doing any favors for my neck. Squeezle (who doesn’t attend my games due to the violence of amateur sports and the potential for amphibian sightings), to say the least, was not pleased: she’s been waiting for me to seriously injure myself from the first day I walked out on the pitch.

This wasn’t unexpected.  I’ve broken a few toes over the past several seasons, but that’s close to the most serious injury I’ve obtained during a match, and I almost always have broken toes (another piece of evidence that I’m put together funny: I have scary-long monkey toes). Several of my friends have jacked up knees, ankles, etc. from this league, so it was probably only a matter of time before my clumsy self got taken out with something serious.

Now for the worst part about all of this: I suck at standing on the sideline not being able to play. When I last had a broken big toe, I hurt it worse by being on the sidelines “ghost playing.” I know, right? That kind of crap qualifies me to be picked up by the short bus to go to work, but it happened. At this point, I’m guessing I’ll be sidelined again this next week (if squeezle has anything to say about it), and I’ll probably aggravate something worse by fidgeting around “encouraging” my teammates.

Add on this situation the fact that continued injuries are pretty much inevitable as I get older, and it’s almost downright depressing. Then again, I’ve got good meds for that, and I do like to drink away my sorrows, so bring it on.  As soon as I can I’ll be right back on that pitch to get ready for the next round of hurt.

I’m smart like that.

You always knew Velma was the badass of the group

justin Awesomeness, Cartoons, Popular Culture, Television Leave a Comment

velmaIt’s undeniable. Any Scooby-head worth their salt always knew to look out for Velma. Now, Travis Pitts (who does some freakin’ amazing designs) and Threadless put out what could be one of the best Scooby-related articles of clothing yet. This Velma could probably even give Buffy, Wichita and even Eden Sinclair a run for their money. This shirt deserves to be in your wardrobe. It has that “yeah, I might spend my nights glued to the Boomerang channel, but dollars to dead-guys you’ll be running to me when the zombpocolypse starts” vibe to it.

You always had to figure that Freddy, Daphne and Shaggy were nothing more than dead weight. Right Scoob?

found at Threadless

Random shits

justin Ravings, Stupidity Leave a Comment

Things pop into my head. I know that happens to just about everyone, but I tend to vocalize the odd things that pop into my head. It is both an endearing and annoying quality about me. Squeezle has learned to just occasionally tell me to give it a rest and that will provide her with at least thirty minutes of respite from me.

Honestly, it’s not my fault. It’s like there is a leak in my subconscious that bleeds over onto my speech center. I’d often like to edit what comes out, but I’m usually so zoned (my natural state) that it just rolls out when I’m not paying attention.

Here’s a few of the tidbits that are bouncing around inside my head right now:

For several years, I have been pluralizing my cursing (e.g. shits, fucks, etc.). I believe it started as a subtle way to make fun of a French Canadian, but I can’t be sure. The habit has stuck even though it takes quite an effort to remember to do so.

In the privacy of my own home, I make up lots of rhyming little songs and sing them whilst often dancing around like a crack monkey. Almost all of these songs rhyme into the word “poo” at some point (a fact that annoys squeezle more than usual).

I seriously wonder about the origin of mundane things that all of us take for granted.  Things like standard doorknob heights, the legitimacy of speedometers and the use origin of seriously nasty tasting things.

I think about how awesome it would be to just hover a few feet off of the ground, but, at the same time, I worry about what forces could be used to do that.

Since watching the Dark Crystal in the early 80’s, I’ve wanted a detachable eye like Aughra. Later, in the early 90’s, John S. Hall made me realize that I really didn’t want a detachable penis. I think about both of these things often.

There, that’s a few things rattling around inside my head at the moment. You probably could care less about any of these things that seem to occupy my time, but, then again, you did get to the bottom of this posting. What’s that say about you?

Dealing with the modified – 1st in a series

justin Body Modification, Ravings, Tattoo

As a relatively heavily tattooed individual, there are a few things that I have grown accustomed to when faced with the inquisitive and/or the repulsed. To that end, I wanted to write a series of postings to perhaps help plainskinsâ„¢ better understand the modified. While the series is numbered, there really is no rhyme or reason to their order.

First and foremost among the questions I get as a tattooed individual is the ubiquitous: “How much did that cost?” I refer to that doozy as “the question,” and can see it coming almost a mile away. For some reason I always get mildly pissed off about “the question”; almost as pissed off as the concept of people value-shopping tattoo artists (it happens way more than you can imagine and that is a discussion for another time). “The question” is offensive. I liken it to asking: “How much did it cost to smooth the lump out in your baby’s head?” or “How much did those new tits cost?”

Here is an easy guide for plainskinsâ„¢ to help them gauge how much a tattoo costs if it’s killing them that much.

  1. Approach the tattooed individual with a pleasant demeanor. Whatever you do, do not approach with “that face.”

  3. Before anything, compliment the work. The modified like to have their ego stroked. Additionally, close to 40% have probably had a little bit of regret about getting the piece done. They’d never admit to that, but it’s true.

  5. Ask how long it took. The tattooed generally have two approaches to the time they spend under the needle: fear and conquest, and it’s very easy to tell the two apart. Fear is signified by the generic, “It took X hours and I thought I was going to die.” response. Conquest is often signified by, “The artist only went X hours in the first sitting, but I was ready for more.”  Unless you really want to be dragged in, acknowledge the response and move on to the next step.

  7. Ask who did the work. This is the most telling part of being able to tell how much a tattoo might cost. More than likely, you’ll already have this information since most people who are proud of their work will offer that forth the second you express any interest in them. If they mention the artist’s name in a manner that implies that you should know them and you are unfamiliar with the name, assume the rate is around $200 per hour. If you do recognize the name from television, movies, video games, porn, etc., automatically assume that the rate is around $600 per hour. If the person being questioned just sort of mumbles it out, generally assume around $100 per hour.

  9. Take your newly discovered information and multiply the two pieces together: rate x length of time. I would automatically subtract 10% from the length of time because most people are whiny and tend to embellish how long they had to get jabbed at.

And that should do it! If you must know how much a person’s tattoo cost them, that’s the way you can ask it without directly asking it. It should also be assumed that the artist was tipped a fair amount (not tipping your artist can lead to dry socket and other disgusting things).

OK, now for the big kicker: my above guide is totally moot. Artists rates are variable all over the board. Rates change if the artist is working on a friend of theirs, a friend of the shop’s, the artist is having a good day, the artist is having a bad day, the recipient is a nice person, or if the recipient is a douchebag. What I’m trying to say is that it’s not an exact science. If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, do your homework. Look at different artists, ask intelligent questions and figure out who is right for you: don’t go on cost alone. Remember, unless you are willing to shell out some serious cash and experience some serious pain from laser removal, or get really liberal with that veggie peeler, that tattoo will be there for the remainder of your natural life (and then some).

I hope that helped.

Jawa Garden Gnome?!?!?!

justin Star Wars, Stupidity Leave a Comment

jawa garden gnome

You have got to be kidding me! I’m not sure if I should weep for joy at the fact that I can have creepy little Jawas all over my nonexistent garden, or be pissed off at the blatant disregard for standard continuity that this polystone monstrosity represents.


Pardon my geekout, but no damn Jawa would be caught dead watering a garden. Not only are Jawa’s native to water-deficient Tatooine, but Jawa’s also see wasting water as totally abhorrent.


That being said, I’m ordering as many of these as my Dart Vader Mastercard will hold.  Hell, I might even sneak them into the gardens of friends, family and neighbors just to spice up their day. I wonder how long it will be before there is an LED mod to light up their eyes. I’ve got no problem with taking the Dremel to this little bastard’s face.


OK, so maybe I have a problem

justin Comic Books, Ravings 1 Comment

When I was around twelve years old, my friends and I would hop on our bikes (a remarkably heavy yellow Schwinn hand-me-down in my case) and ride down to the grungy old used book/comic book store that was a tiny gas station in a previous life. Thanks to a massive loss of brain cells in the past 20+ years, I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the place, but I do remember some rather unsavory goings on there after I found a “more proper” shop while in high school.

Back in those days, I read two, maybe three, titles a month. This was the mid-to-late 80’s and the big companies (pretty much just Marvel and DC in those days) had yet to figure out the monstrosity that is the multi-issue/multi-title crossover, so I wasn’t forced to buy twenty-five books a week just to follow a single storyline. At that point in my life, Marvel was king and DC was pretty much the devil to me. How the hell was DC supposed to survive without mutants?!?!?!

As I grew a little older, and got exposed to the broader range of what is out there, I got really turned on to the plethora of indie companies and titles there are out there.  Mind you, I grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico:  there wasn’t a whole lot of anything streaming into town during that period, so finding indie books was an effort. Sure, I was snatching up a whole mess of stuff that, on retrospect, wasn’t all that great, but there was honest-to-god curse words and straight-up nudity in these books.  They just weren’t going to do that in an X-book!

Going into my college years, I really had to consider how comics were going to affect my life.  To say that  I’m anal about my comics is really an understatement. Don’t screw with my comics: don’t touch them when they aren’t bagged, and freakin’ ask before you go pawing through a box. That’s the opposite of college: especially in a tiny three-person dorm room like the one I had my Freshman year.

I honestly thought about getting out of the comic racket entirely. I had no car, so getting out to where the shops were in Waco, Texas wasn’t reliable, I had no space (as mentioned before), and, most importantly, I didn’t have any money. Contrary to logic, I stuck with it.  Even during the period of the horribly disgusting hologram card cover and polybagged foil exclusives, I stuck with it. By the time I finished undergrad, it was beginning to show that I had a developing problem.

Owning one or two long boxes of comics isn’t such a big deal.  They honestly don’t take up that much space and can, generally, be ignored in most rooms. Three is the lynch-point. When you have three long boxes, you have a substantial number of comics. When I moved to Dallas after graduate school, I had four long boxes. I was still a poor student, so I really couldn’t splurge on all the stories I was dying to follow. Public access to the internet was just taking off like crazy, but there still wasn’t an accessible way to find digitized comics.

I settled into Dallas, found an excellent shop, and visited it around once a month or whenever the owner called me to say I had a stack of books that I needed to come buy. I was only buying nine or ten titles a month at that point, so waiting a month wasn’t terribly hard. Additionally, a lot of those were indie books that were basically self-published and horribly calendar agnostic. Boy oh boy did I not see what was coming.

My descent into my current “condition” can almost be diagrammed. At the end of 1998 I got a job in Downtown Dallas with no  Downtown parking but a free train pass. My drive to the train station took me past Keith’s Comics old cramped location on Mockingbird. The little gnome that lives in my skull woke up one day and said, “Hey, dummy! It’s a helluva lot easier to go here every week than to wait a month and go to that far place.”

As is often the case, that damn obnoxious gnome was right. I started going to Keith’s, had a nice paycheck that allowed me some discretionary spending on books I wasn’t reading previously, and I was reading my books more often.

The spiral started from there. Just about every week I’d be adding titles left and right. Here an indie, there a Dark Horse or Vertigo title. What? Is that another vampire-related book coming out?  Oooh, I’ll definitely take that one.  Five long boxes (sloth-like reading right after my move to Dallas necessitated only one extra cardboard coffin) quickly turned into six and then seven.

Here we are eleven years later and I’m out of control. I swear it is much easier for Keith and Co. to just give me the tiny list of books I’m not buying in a given week rather than list out what I am slated to purchase. It has gotten so bad recently that I leave the shop each week with a cardboard box rather than a nice little plastic grocery bag. My long boxes number well into the double digits these days, and there really is no slowdown in sight.

One of my very few saving graces is that I actually do read everything I buy. I don’t really see the point of buying comics if you aren’t going to read them. Hell, that’s the type of crap that almost tanked the entire industry back in the mid-90’s. The bad side of that is that if I don’t stay immaculately vigilant in my readings, things get out of control very quickly.  As of this writing, I have a stack of unread books that is, no hyperbole, two and a half feet tall. A stack like that is daunting, but it’s my Sisyphean task. If I don’t keep reading, that stack will quickly reach three and four feet tall. That would just make me even more neurotic than I already am. It’s not like I can stop buying the things.

Did I mention I have a problem?

Is this thing on?

justin Introductions Leave a Comment

I often threaten to go into longer-form writings than my usual foray into Twitter and the reviews I write on Yelp.

I’ve played with mp3 blogs and a mess of other custom solutions that really did nothing for me other than piss me off enough to stop writing. We’ll see how long this amuses me.