Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Tattoo

After spending 20 straight hours doing my own and a friend's project (for $, of course) for my Advanced Computer Design class and ending a hellacious finals week where I slept 16 hours in seven days, I finally mustered up the courage to get a tattoo on my wrist that's been on my mind for about two months (check out about 6 pm in November the "From the Desk of Josh Stevens" thingy from the feature in by Alex at Studio 28 Tattoo in Manhattan... Great reputation and they did perfectly precise work for me.  It's the text "MONSTR."  Despite my sleepless nights, it wasn't inspired by an energy drink, I promise lol...

One thing I've loved my whole life is the process of burly, ferocious actions.  In my teens, my favorite activity of all-time was rollerblading.  Though my best friend at the time, Mike Ladrigan and I, each chipped in to buy a camcorder to tape ourselves and friends skating, a lot of the tapes of the footage is in no-man's land somewhere.  There is a DVD copy of a video we made with our friends for school somewhere in my mom's possession in Cincinnati, but I'm not sure where...  So the visual record of all this is sparse. 

Growing up, the activity of rollerblading instilled in me values that I still try to live up to and abide by today.  There were so many times when I would try a trick over and over and get hurt and still keep trying it.  The most famous example is, when I was in 8th grade and basically "scorpian-ed" my body face-first on the sidewalk pavement on my 7th attempt to spin out of a grind down a rail on Miami Ave. in Madeira.  As is said in Latin, "Multis sanguis fluit" (much blood flows) and my friends called an ambulance.  The best part of the whole video (yes, this is all in video-form somewhere on the planet) is me, bloody napkin adhered to my face, standing there, messy hair flecked with cement dust, arguing with the paramedics I didn't want to take an ambulance because "it'll cost a lot of money."

Anyway, what happened is they finally hauled me away on a stretcher with a neck brace (totally overkill, in my humble opinion) and admitted me to the E.R.  My lips swelled up like a cartoon character and I was eating by taking a rubber baby spoon my mom had from my toddler days and wiping mashed potatoes on the inside of my cheek for the weekend.  Come Monday though, there I was at school with a big scrape on my face, wiggly front tooth and swollen lips, looking pretty brutal.  Three weeks later, when I was all healed up, I went back to the same rail and did the same trick but alley-opp (backwards).  That mentality and persistence is something I've always admired in others and tried to live up to.

One of my favorite skaters was (and I guess still is) Jaren Grob, whose nickname is "The Monster."  I actually got to see him skate in Cincinnati in person and wanted to talk to him but was too shy of a person at the time.  Here's his bio from the Action Sports World Tour website:

Jaren's "Shock and Awe" skating style earned him the nickname "The Monster" early in his career...  Jaren holds nothing back when he skates. Thrilling audiences with death defying gaps and lofty spin tricks. he is the only skater ever to win two consecutive X Games gold medals in a men's street event. 

Here's some highs of his skating:

And a brutal low (fast forward to 1:37)  The absolute best part is @ 5:20:

I've always loved tapping into that dark, ultra-aggressive, monster-like energy within myself.  While I love to run, my favorite runs are the ones where I'm totally dead-tired after and finish so fast the balls of my feet feel hot from such a hard final kick.  I look forward to my speed sessions the most for this exact same reason and have been known to envision myself as a predator chasing down his prey in the last 400 meters of a mile repeat.

I think it's kind of interesting since I'm such an otherwise chill, relaxed guy, but everyone has multiple facets to who they are.  I just need to be careful in expressing this energy in destructive ways... but I certainly don't want to stifle it because I consider myself blessed to have it.

Being so busy with school that I hadn't been able to run in 3+ weeks, I couldn't resist doing the same thing the last part of the semester (i.e. loading myself up with so many commitments, I slept such an unreasonably small amount)

There's a like a certain spirit that goes along with the term "Monster" that I really resonate with and always have.  This music video is basically everything that gets my juices flowing, with the track being produced by none other than one of my favorite producers Swizz Beatz, who's regularly plugged himself since '98 when he was doing DMX's tracks, as "Swizz Beatz the Monster."

So that about explains the actual word and it's meaning, but the reason there's a star is because I really want to be a star in everything that I do.  I don't mean famous... I mean a star, like a high achiever. 

Though the design seems simple, there was a lot of thought and contemplation that went into it, from the exact type of font (all caps or all lowercase or capitalized "M" only, sans serif vs. serif, then Trajan vs. Big Caslon) and the exact star size, color (or lack of) and shape which I decided on a white with black outlined, 2:5 ratio 5-point star with only the top peak above the rest of the text.

And the location of my right wrist was intentional as well, as I am right handed and want to constantly remind myself of it.  There's a little bit of a Travis-Barker reason as well for it there.  

According to Barker, there is a simple explanation as to his decision to cover his body with tattoos. He said that he purposely had tattoos etched all over his body so that he could not live a normal life with a normal job and thus play music all his life.  

I don't want to cover my body with tattoos to the same degree as him, mostly because I personally prefer the look of a more clean body, but damn... that do-or-die mentality is exactly what all the people I was just talking in this whole post have.

Not intentional but amusing that it's on my once-broken, zombie-looking wrist.

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