I got tattooed!

I did it! Click on play in the window below to see some of the pictures.

At 5pm of Monday March 9, 2009, I entered Aces Tattoo with Kelly. She already has a couple of tattoos, so she came with me for moral support, photographic documentation (which she did great, as you can see above), and to find out if I was going to endure the pain.

After a little bit of waiting and hanging out, I was called to the table by Jared. My hands started sweating as soon as I sat down. The first poke of the needle wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. A sharp, very localized pain, but nothing too great.
In less than a minute, the outline was done! I was excited, this wasn’t bad at all.

Then the coloring began, and the story changed. Kelly says my face went pale. And with reason. I was hurtin’. The worst part was at the top, over the eyes section. I also felt the most intense discomfort when he’d been doing a long streak, without stopping. Breaks were a welcome thing, although I didn’t say anything and tried to take it like a manly man. But I don’t think I fooled anyone.

Luckily, 40 minutes later, no tears had been shed, and the job was done! The owl was now in, on my left shoulder. It was wrapped up, and I was on my way out the door.

I’ve been babying the fresh tattoo with Aquaphor, and it’s healing up nicely. The colors are starting to come in, and I expect to have it fully healed and looking awesome in a couple of weeks. A picture will certainly come.

And another tattoo, sometime in the future, will definitely come as well.

McQueen yearbook, year 2000. The Prophecy.

Last weekend, Kelly showed me some of her yearbooks from her youth. We found the one for her senior year, at McQueen High School. The year that I was there too, as an exchange student.
As we opened it, the first thing we saw was my writing. On the top of the back of the cover. Basically, the “first” place where one could ever possibly write. And here’s what I wrote:

Yearbook message
Kelly!!! I love you woman! You are one of the first sexy women who talked to me! I feel sooo special 🙂 Have fun in college, don’t get naked and drunk at the same time (or you’ll get pregnant), but still have fun forever. You’ll hear more from me!!! (he he)

Whoa! As we finished reading it out loud, we looked at each other and laughed out loud. The words “you’ll hear more from me” echoing, and changing meanings as our history replayed in a flash: It all started with occasionally chatting on the internet, to seeing each other here and there… several months of no contact, and then starting again with chatting online more and more. From there, things translated into the real world, and we started hanging out more and more, falling in love slowly to recently end up becoming quite inseparable.

He he, indeed, Kelly. And I still think she’ll hear more from me.

The 2009 Great Ski Race

Yesterday was the Great Ski Race. The third time I’ve done it, too.

Before the race even started, I arrived at the finish line in Truckee at 7 in the morning. I made it just in time to take a shuttle bus to the start line, in Tahoe City. Along with a couple of dozen strangers, we sat in excitement as we traveled forth. I sat alone.

When we got to the start line, I picked up my bib (#850), put on my skis and went for a small warm-up and losening of the pre-race jitters.
img_0212 And then… about an hour to kill. So, I spent it walking around, checking out the people that came in. There are pros, who look serious, strong and fit… there are moms and dads, who tow their infant offspring in a sled trailer, high school kids, wacky old men and people in costumes – like the lady in the striped short dress who received many looks and compliments.
It’s really quite a show, and it puts you in a very jolly mood for the upcoming suffering that you’re about to bring upon yourself.

This year, only about 750 people registered. Last year, there were almost 1100. Recession? Fattening of America? I don’t know. I’m not complaining. It was nice to be able to fight only a few hundred people in the first mile as I tried to find my own pace somewhere in between them.

Anyway, here’s what it looked like at 9am, right before the start:

Start line

See those grey skies? Everyone kept looking up, wondering if it was going to snow or rain. Rumors were spreading that it had just been raining a few miles this way, or that way. The announcer gave out a warning about hypothermia, asking everyone to stay warm and hydrated. It was kind of concerning and frightening.

Well, no one cried wold in vain. It snowed. And then, it rained. Luckily, I had enough gear to stay warm, and only suffered from cold in the treacherous downhill sections.
However, I was wet. At first, from my own sweat as I went up, gaining 1200 feet. After that, from the snow and rain, as I tried to make it to the end.

The weather didn’t only affect the racers, but the race course itself. It was slushy, and therefore slow. My goal was to be faster than last year, but I didn’t even come close to that. I finished in 3 hours and 39 minutes, placing in at the 568th position. But I’m not disappointed with my performance. I did fairly well at overcoming not only the exhausting course, but the weather conditions. Just like last year, my triceps started cramping with about 5k to go, and right after I ran out of water in my camelback.

The finish line was a mess. The hill that leads to the finish line was overly slushy, and after a 30k long odyssey of leg-burning skiing, it’s quite difficult to gracefully glide down the steep hill of shame. But I crossed the line, and at least I didn’t end up like this guy. But I almost did.