Monday, January 12, 2009


After work on Monday, and again on Thursday, I walked up and down the stairs in the building for a half hour. On Wednesday I skipped out a little early and went and donated blood at the blood center. Traffic was worse than I was expecting, and my blood pressure was almost at their maximum for donating. After I finished, I went and had dinner at Chuy's. Jimmy called while I was there and invited me over, but I was pretty tired and just went home and crashed on the couch.
The pollen count was particularly high on Friday, and it really bothered me at work. It didn't hit right away, but by 10 it was pretty clear that it was particularly bad. My officemate was also suffering, so the office was all sniffling and nose blowing all day. I skipped out a little early and went over to Palmer for the tattoo convention. I've been going to it for a few years now, checking out the art and largely for excellent people watching. I've had the idea to get a tattoo of my Fat Boy for quite a while now and at the convention last year I found a guy whose work I really liked (Mike Bernstein). I had thoughts on going to his shop in the Dallas area to get it done, but never did. I knew he was going to be at the convention again this year, so I went on the Fat Boy (on the off chance he wanted to see it for real) with the photo I wanted done. I got fairly nervous/anxious once I got to the convention, but I found the guy, and he wasn't working yet, and when he said he could do it, I just said "alright, let's do it," or something to that effect at least. It took him about a half hour to draw the outline, tracing over a photocopy of my photo. He didn't give me an estimate of how long it would take him, so I kind of lurked around until it was clear it was going to take him a while. I got a load of cash, since most artists, particularly at a convention, don't take credit cards. I used the one set up inside the convention space, and then when I went to my bike to get my shorts to change in to I saw an ATM I could have used without any fees that would have saved about $10. I changed and then wandered around checking out the other artists. I was getting hungry so I got a couple not-quite-as-terrible-as-feared tacos and a soda. Mike finished the outline about 6, and then started getting set up to actually do the tattoo. Somewhat disconcertingly, he hadn't come completely prepared and had to go and get some supplies from other artists or vendors. Also not entirely reassuringly, he said "this should be fun." He applied the stencil to my left calf, looked at it for a while, said it looks a little weird because of the shape of my calf, then borrowed a hand mirror to make sure I was okay with it. Finally ready, I got up on the table, he got me positioned how he wanted me, and went to work. It certainly wasn't the most pleasant feeling, but it didn't hurt that bad, it was more like it was really irritating. It got worse once he was done with the outline and started filling in the black areas. As it went on, it got a little worse just because the area was more tender. He was putting pressure on my ankle to get my leg in the position he wanted, which caused pain but distracted from the tattoo area. Most of the time I was distracting myself from it, reading the paper and then playing with my phone, just checking on the progress now and then. I'm no tattoo expert, and I didn't ask him and wasn't paying that close of attention, but I think he did the whole thing with a single needle. I didn't really talk with Mike much, but every once in a while someone would come and chat with him, and a couple people asked me about the bike, and they were pretty impressed by how much I've ridden it. There were also a number of good looking women walking around to distract me. He filled in the outline from darkest to lightest, starting with the fenders and gas tank, then the frame, then the engine and transmission and finally the wheels. Toward the end, getting close to 9:30, he was in a bit of a rush trying to get finished before the "tattoo of the day" competition. The final bit was to add white highlights (using borrowed white ink) which was fairly unpleasant after already being worked over for 3 hours. Tattoo (my picture) He wanted me to enter the contest because he thought that since the judges were all friends of his, he had a chance of winning. I didn't wind up winning, but afterward one of the judges said it was a three-way tie including myself until someone gave the winner, an aboriginal type design on the throat, an extra half point. Mike took a few pictures, wrapped me up, gave me some care tips, then I payed him and headed out. I stopped at Uncle Billy's and had some food and a couple beers on my way home. My allergies hadn't been bothering me since getting to the convention, but once I got on the road to go home about 11, they walloped me. Snot was running out of my nose, and my eyes were so teared up I could barely see. I stopped at the drug store to get the recommended ointment for the tattoo and also decided to pick up the generic version of Zyrtec. Since it was all locked up, I went for the "real stuff" with pseudoephedrine, which I had to show my license and sign for. I'm not certain how effective it was, but it certainly didn't leave me asymptomatic, and I didn't get a great night's sleep. When I put on the ointment, some of the white ink bled out, and it has continued doing so when reapplying.
I decided to see The Wrestler on Saturday. I wanted to ride my bicycle, but was a bit hesitant with it being on the cold and windy outside, as well as my calf being a bit sore. I thought I'd tough it out and left the house on the bicycle at 9:30. I didn't get to the end of the block before I decided it was too cold and windy, and turned around and went home. I drove downtown about 10 for the 11 o'clock showing. I thought it was a really great movie, I really liked it. I took a nap after I got home and did almost nothing the rest of the day. I didn't do much of anything worthwhile Sunday morning, then at noon I got on the bicycle and rode to the Veloway, stopping for lunch at Which Wich. I did two laps, taking a little break in between, then headed home. I vegetated, watched the Steelers, Annie Hall, and the end of the Golden Globes, then went to bed. I had a terrible night's sleep, waking up every couple of hours because I couldn't breathe.

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