Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Picture of The Captain

An old friend sent The Captain a facebook message recently with the message, "What's this?" He opened it, and it took him a few moments to figure out what it was. He saw himself in the picture, but didn't recognize himself. Eventually it clicked though: that was, in fact, The Captain- just a vintage version of himself. He had to take his mental picture of himself, subtract a few pounds, a few wrinkles, and a lot of gray hair to reconcile that image with the image of the cocky, young Captain smirking back at him.

At the time, The Captain was a member of a group called DeMolay- which, for those of you who don't know, is like a junior version of the Masons. The girls were in their version of DeMolay, which was called Rainbow. So where did The Captain fit into this? The Captain was about to become the "Rainbow Beau." I know, that's silly. It even seemed silly then. But whatever, it was a chance to hang out with girls.

You might think from looking at this picture that The Captain was a little bit cocky, a little bit stuck on himself back in those days. But you would be wrong. The Captain was a lot cocky, a lot stuck on himself back in those days. He can't even tell you how much so. But he doesn't need to- you can tell just by looking at that smirk.

Those were good times for The Captain though, happy times.

Oddly enough, the old friend that sent this picture to The Captain was actually an old girlfriend. It was never official- he never asked her, "Will you go with me?" But they spent a lot of time together and had a lot of fun. It seems safe to say girlfriend, he thinks. The Captain has many, many fond memories of her. He'll never forget those long, lush, blonde curls, sitting next to her in German class, or that one night at The Cliff.

Also, he doesn't know if he ever told her so, but he thought (and still thinks) that she was quite possibly the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He can't even tell you how beautiful he thought she was- there just aren't words...

So, old (girl)friend, if you're reading this, know that The Captain thanks you for the picture. And know that he often thinks fondly of you and of the times you and he had together. Thank you for those times.

Friday, December 10, 2010

And speaking of tattoos, I think I am going to ink over my USMC tattoo

What is it going to take to let gay and lesbian people serve openly in the military? We all know they're in there already, so why do we continue to insist they stay in the closet? I really don't understand why it's even an issue anymore. Are we really that puritanical and homophobic? It really pisses me off.

The military's command staff says, "Repealing the 'Don't Ask-Don't Tell' law will have a deletirious effect on our troops' combat readiness."


Oh, Im sorry, was I not emphatic enough? Shall I say it again? No, I think I was clear. Well, just in case:

That is the same bullshit logic they used when they didn't want to integrate African-American troops. It's the same bullshit logic they used when they didn't want to integrate women. And guess what? In both cases it was BULLSHIT. African-Americans and women were integrated and the military is better for it. And if they would give up this homophobic facade the military would be better for it as well.

Not all sailors, soldiers, and airmen are homophobic, I know that. Certainly some are gay or lesbian, and certainly many are straight but have no problem with gays and lesbians serving alongside them. But to those who are, I ask you, what the fuck are you so afraid of? Perhaphs it's time for another little FAQ.

Q. Are you afraid they will hit on you?
A. Don't flatter yourself. If you're that homophobic, they probably are not interested in you. And if they do, deal with it the same way you would deal with a straight person that you weren't interested in hitting on you. No big deal.

Q. Are you afraid they will have a deleterious effect on your combat readiness?
A. Don't be. I'm sure there are plenty of very tough gay military people and plenty of not-so-tough straight military people. I really don't see how one's sexual orientation affects their fitness/toughness. Need proof? Come to Portland, I know drag queens who could kick your GI-Joe-wannabe ass.

Q. Are you saying homosexuality is immoral? (Bonus points if that's based on a religious belief!)
A. Didn't you swear to uphold and defend the constitution? The one that guarantees freedom of religion? Separation of church and state? I think you did. Believe what you want, but you have no right to force it on your fellow servicepeople.

Q. Are you secretly afraid that maybe you'll find out something about yourself that you just don't want to know? Are you afraid that maybe you'll be a little bit curious?
A. That's something you need to work out on your own.

And now, back to the tattoo....

I have the letters USMC tattooed in great big letters on my right forearm. It pains me to say it, but it's lately been more a source of embarassment than pride. And yesterday, when I read that 60% of marines polled said that they were morally opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military, I felt ashamed to have been a marine. I want to cover that ink up so that people don't think that I too am a BACKWARDS, IGNORANT, HOMOPHOBIC ASSHOLE.

Sorry, but that's how I feel.

To the marines who aren't homophobic: I'm sorry if I offended you.

To the marines who are gay and lesbian: I support you. I'm sorry you have to deal with this bullshit.

To the marines who are homophobic: I'm NOT sorry if offended you. I hope I did. You need to handle your shit, let this go, and get over yourselves.

Captain's orders.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts on Tattoos

Tattoos have been coming up a lot in my conversations lately. I guess it could be in part because I live in the most tattooed city in America (that's probably not literally true, but sometimes it seems that way). Maybe it's because people are curious. I assume so since I get tons of questions about mine- Did it hurt? How long did it take? How much did it cost? Are you going to get more? Why did you choose that for a tattoo. I honestly don't mind the questions, though I know some of my inked friends find it overly-personal. My feeling is that if you're going to wear art on your body, you should expect to be asked about it. When I wear a concert t-shirt, people ask me about the show; when I wear my Surly t-shirt, people ask me if I have a Surly (yes, I have two, thanks). I don't see why it should be different with ink. But that's just me.

I also get asked about the locations. I have four tattoos, three of which are on my forearms. I can't believe how often people ask me, "Why didn't you get them higher up where they'd be easier to hide?" I find that funny, but I usually try to humor them and answer. The reason is that I don't want to hide them. I want them where people can see them. They're art, not some dirty little secret. I really like my tattoos and each of them says something about me, so why would I want to hide them?

As I'm sure you're aware by now, I really like my tattoos. I enjoy having them and have no regrets about them. Still, I never encourage or discourage anyone from getting tattoos. I tell you this because often people who don't have tats will ask me if I think they should get one. And the answer is, "I don't know." I only know my experience, which is that I love my tats. But that's me. Here are some things I do tell people though:

  • Don't get something trendy
  • You will have it for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, so make sure it's something that will still be meaningful to you in 50 years. Or at least not embarassing
  • They cost a lot, so make sure you can afford it (i.e., don't shirk other responsibilities to pay for it)
  • On that note, tattoos are not something to go cheap on
  • Don't get it impulsively
  • Go to a reputable shop
  • Get an appointment if you have to. And be patient. It won't kill you to wait a week or two for something you're going to have for the rest of your life

Those are just my thoughts and things I like to tell people. I know some people who have gotten inked spontaneously and love the tat still; others who don't. I know some people who won't do it if they have to make an appointment. Again, these are just my thoughts. But it's my blog, so...

As for the questions I get, here's an FAQ.

Q. Does it hurt?
A. Depends on where you get it and your tolerance for pain. In my case, not too bad, but mine are on fleshy parts of my body and I have a high tolerance for pain -or so my dominatrix tells me (joke, people...).

Q. How much does it cost?
A. Depends on the shop and the artist. Seems like in Portland $80-120 per hour is pretty standard. Some might be more. Celebrity artists cost more- you ain't gettin' inked by Kat von D for $120. Don't go cheap. You're dealing with an artist, not getting your car washed. And TIP! Which leads to...

Q. Should I tip the artist?
A. Yes. How much, I don't know what the standard is. I tend to tip about the same as in a restaurant- %20 or in that neighborhood. (Note: if anyone is more knowledgable on this, please do tell.)

Q. Why did you get them somewhere where everyone can see them and they are hard to hide?
A. Because I want everyone to see them and I don't want to hide them.

Q. Do you ever regret getting them?
A. No, absolutely not.

Q. Why did you get a Black Flag tattoo?
A. Because Black Flag is the greatest fucking band ever. EVER.

Q. Are you going to get more?
A. Yes.

I have more thoughts on this, and I will add to the FAQ soon, but right now it's time to go meet my friends for drinks. So we'll talk more later.

Sunrise over Little Tohama, from Ingraham Flats, 2007