Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've been wanting to blog about tattoos for a while now, but I haven't found the proper inspiration until lately.

Inspiration number one comes from the good ol' Times-Call, Longmont's fine newspaper. Last week their headline story was about a fund raiser put on for the Shriners hospitals. It was basically a tattoo beauty pageant where local folks proudly put their ink on display. Despite the fact that this was all for a really good cause, there were those crazy conservatives who responded in the TC-Line with comments about how shameful it was for the Shriners to accept money from people with tattoos. I had to laugh.

The second source of inspiration came from the Mile High Music Festival this weekend where about 50% of attendees sported tattoos. There were a few times during the day when I thought I was at a Matthew McConaughey convention because many of the men seemed to have lost their shirts. One guy in particular was a sight to see: he had no shirt, a Jesus fish necklace, was smoking weed and had a unicorn tattoo on his back. My dad and I figured he wasn't sober when he got the tattoo. Or maybe he lost a bet.

As a sociologist I'm fascinated by tattoos and society's attitude toward them. It's so funny to hear the disapproval of Longmonter's versus the acceptance of the crowd at the music festival.

With that said, I'll go ahead and explain my tattoos. During my senior year of high school I read a book about cultures around the world and was intrigued by some articles about tattoos. I decided that I wanted a tattoo. I didn't get one immediately for two reasons: I was only 17 and there's no way my parents would have consented to the ink, plus I wanted to get a tattoo that was a meaningful rite of passage. At the time I had no good ideas. I didn't want to rush into the decision since it would permanent. It wasn't until three years later that I felt ready to get one. I decided on Pablo Picasso's Dove of Peace sketch. I can't explain what it is about this image that impacts me so greatly, but all I can say is that it calms my soul every time I look at it. I have a poster of the sketch which I hung in my dorm room and looked at frequently to center myself amidst the chaos that was college.

My best friend Kristin was ready to get her second one so we set up an appointment and got inked. We chose an artist in Denver who is a friend of her family and is very talented. I was pretty nervous about the situation but my nerves were calmed by the tattoo artist as he talked about his hatred for James Dobson (somewhere in there he mentioned that he wanted to chop off Dobson's head and poop down his neck. Kristin and I found this hilarious).

I chose to get the dove tattooed on the back of my calf for a few reasons. First, I figured it was a pretty fatty part of my body which would hurt less than other parts. Second, I wanted it in a spot which could be easily covered for situations when tattoos might not be appreciated (such as job interviews), but easily displayed when so desired. Years later I'm very glad that I chose that spot because it allows for the good ol' element of surprise. I love it when I meet people and become acquainted with them before they see my tattoos. Because they don't see them right away, they don't immediately stamp me with a stereotype and judge my character before getting to know me. My favorite example of this is a co-worker of mine who didn't realize I had tattoos until after several months of working together at the library. She's a mother with grown kids and leans a bit on the conservative side. Once she saw my tattoo, she said "I didn't know you have a tattoo! I thought only sailors and inmates got those". I'm not sure whether or not this changed her perception of me, but at least she got the chance to get to know me first.

I got my second tattoo 13 months after my first. I waited considerably less time to get this one, but I had known for years that I wanted it. I decided to get the word "Selah" on my wrist. This is a word that has a very deep meaning to me, which I'll explain in another post very soon (my typing endurance is wearing out tonight). While my first tattoo was the result of planning way in advance, I decided to get this tattoo about three days before I got it. I woke up one morning and did my usual centering prayer to start the day when I had the crazy realization that I had finally shaken off the anger and bitterness I had towards the situation at my church involving our former youth pastor. This was huge since I had been carrying it around for four years. I had assumed that it would come with much talking and reflection with others who had experienced the same heartache, but actually it came about through reflection in solitude. I was 1500 miles away from the mess, surrounded by people who had no idea what the situation was and somehow I managed to be at peace with it all. I had to mark this breakthrough and decided to get another tattoo.

My co-manager, Graham, had gotten a tattoo a few weeks before from a local artist and he gave me the name of the shop. I didn't even make an appointment, instead I just drove up to Picayune, plopped down the money and got permanently inked. I thought it would be appropriate to go alone because it was significant that this revelation came about through solitude. This time, the artist didn't spout out his opinion about some religious figure, in fact I think the only time he talked was when he asked me which freckle I wanted to match the color to. Other than that, there was a girl getting a fingerstache and a guy getting a gigantic eagle on his back.

I frequently get asked if I plan to get more tattoos. I don't know the answer. I've got an idea for what I'd like to get next, but I only plan on getting inked when I have moments of revelation in my life. I'm not the type to just go out and get a tattoo because I think it looks cool (remember the guy with the unicorn on his back?). And I certainly don't plan on getting full sleeves or anything like that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Weekend in Pictures

I managed to document my weekend with the camera. Here are the results:

The grand finale for the weekend was when I got pulled over on the way home from the music festival for having a headlight out. The hilarious part about this is that I was bragging to Kristin and Matt not even 24 hours earlier that I had never been pulled over even though I should have for speeding many times. I've had a busted headlight for almost a year now which would be pretty simple to fix, but I thought I would test the system to see if I'd ever get pulled over (which I realize is stupid and somewhat dangerous, but I don't drive at night much anyway). I guess I jinxed myself the night before:) I didn't take a picture because I didn't want to give the officer another reason to be suspicious of me besides the fact that I smelled like pot thanks to the festival.

So there you have it, a fabulous weekend.

UPDATE: Click on the thought bubble at the bottom left corner of the slide show to view the captions I wrote for each pic. Things will make more sense that way:)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Office (library style)

A friend/co-worker and I have been coming up with a cast of characters from our library who bare striking resemblances to characters on NBC's The Office. I highly recommend that you try this, especially if you are a fan of the show.

Here is what we've come up with so far. I'll leave out their real names in order to protect their identities. There aren't too many people who exactly match the personalities of the TV characters, so I'll explain our choices.

Micheal Scott- We've given this role to a female shelver, not so much because of her awesomeness at being a supervisor, but mainly because she does little to no work on a daily basis. I'm not really sure how she passes the time, but I rarely see her shelving any books. I think she mostly browses the stacks to find books she wants to read.

Dwight Schrute- This great honor goes to a member of the Technical Services crew (our computer folks). She is quite possibly the most serious person I've ever met. We've never seen her smile or laugh.

Kelly Kapoor- Played by another female shelver. She is similar to Kelly in the sense that she has hit on just about every male employee at the library and sometimes patrons as well.

Creed Bratton- Played by a male shelver who only works 4 hours a week. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is their appearances. They could be twins.

Kevin Malone- We've cast one of the male shelvers for this role because their mannerisms are frighteningly identical.

Pam Beesly- Played by one of the female librarians. She's very attractive and is often the victim of inappropriate comments from patrons.

Meredith Palmer- Played by one of the female shelvers who is here for the summer between college semesters. She often shows up to work hungover.

Andy Bernard- Played by one of the female shelvers who was likely a teacher's pet all the way through school. She often has random outbursts of anger over very minuscule issues.

Angela Martin- This is the only character that is an exact match. Angela is played by a female shelver/circulation staffer/children's librarian. She is the most uptight person I've ever met and always monitors how much food/beverage we take during staff meetings. Some of you may know her as "__ The Butthole"

Darryl Philbin- Played by a member of the custodian staff. Pretty much because she doesn't take shit from anyone.

We're still working on the list because the rest of the characters are too challenging to match up. We're discussing Jim Halpert, Stanley Hudson, Jan Levenson, Toby Flenderson, Ryan Howard, Phillis Lapin and Oscar Martinez. I'll let you know if we come up with good matches.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slacker Blogger

I know I've slacking on this blog, but it isn't really my fault since our internet has been out. Yesterday I called AT&T and spent 53 minutes on hold only to discover that I'm an idiot once I talked to the nice woman in India. Turns out I just had to push a button on the modem and all was well again.

I have so much I want to blog about, but don't have time right now to go into depth, so I'll just cover the highlights of what I've been up to the past few weeks.

We had a garage sale to get rid of all our worthless crap and managed to get rid of it all. It helps when you price EVERYTHING at 25 cents.

4th of July was kind of really boring. I went to the golf course to watch fireworks with my folks. It was the first fireworks show I've seen while sober since I turned 21 which was really unfortunate since amateurs ran the show and did a pretty poor job.

I had a near death experience involving some tables. The church has a closet that stores a boatload of tables in it and it was organized rather poorly after an event last week. While I really appreciate the folks wanting to put everything away and save me some work, they didn't put the tables back in properly which means the doors wouldn't shut. So I got the awesome task of taking all the tables out and putting them back in in a decently and orderly fashion (such is the Presbyterian way). In the process I tried to balance one table up while rolling another in next to it which was a stupid idea. Somehow I got pinned in between the two and saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought about calling for help, but instead used my superhuman strength to save myself. You can figure out how the story ends since you're reading this post days after the event.

I've been helping out with the summer reading program at the library and get to listen to kids tell about the books they've been reading. I love this part of my job.

Our bridesmaid dresses arrived which caused a bit of an emotional breakdown until I remembered what I wrote in my last post. I shook it off and remembered that bridesmaids are supposed to look hideous. It's in some law book somewhere.

I read a book called You Don't Have to be Wrong for me to be Right by Brad Hirschfield. Amazing. Pretty much changed my life. More to come on that later.

I captured a bat today. He was sleeping on the stairs going up to the 2nd floor of our church and while I felt bad having to disturb him, I thought it was better to let him go outside. So I stragically took a shoe box and trapped him underneath. Then I slid the lid underneath and slowly walked outside. I peeped inside just to look at him and was immediately awed by his cuteness. He had a slight resemblance to Don Johnson so I named him after the hot 80's icon. For those of you not from Longmont, you probably don't know about the hysterics that arise anytime a resident here finds a bat indoors. They are immediately frightened out of their wits and call animal control because obviously all bats are rabid and extremely dangerous. Let this be a lesson to you that not all bats are harmful, and some can even be cute, like little Don.