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Deliberate Practice and the 10000 Hour Rule

Posted by on December 10, 2010 in 10000 Hour Rule, Malcolm Gladwell |

Do you think you’ve got enough talent to be considered great? Well if you have 10 years to practice then you can be great at what ever you want. What we think of as talent is basically a myth. Researchers say it takes at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become great at something.

There’s no substitute for hard work. We’ve always heard, “Practice makes perfect.” But as my World Champion billiard teacher Harry Simms used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect play.” This concept of deliberate practice is the main difference of what makes a person “good” at something versus what it takes to make someone “Great.”

I want to be a world-class writer someday. I read this article and thought this would be interesting to write about.
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm

Another author who has the 10,000 Hour Rule outlined better than anyone is Malcolm Gladwell. His book Outliers explains this concept in detail if you’re interested.

But just know this, it’s not just the 10,000 Hour Rule that makes someone great.
Knowing what you want, and sticking to that idea, is just two of the traits that makes someone great. Remember, you can be anything you want to be. It just might take a few years longer than you would like.

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All Marketers Are Liars

Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Marketing, Seth Godin |

All marketers tell stories, not lies. Lies are too harsh of a word, but basically that’s what the stories are.

Seth Godin, a top marketing guru, explains how any organization, from Porsche to Pat Roberts, has framed a story that a slice of the world community buys into in order to sell their products. These organizations are not sitting behind a desk scheming on how to take over the world with insincere plots. These guys really believe in their product and their own story.

The VW Touareg costs $35,000 and according to Godin, is practically the same car as the Porsche Cayenne. Does it matter that the two cars are made in the same place and that the Porsche costs $45,000 more? Not to Porsche people.

People who buy into the Porsche story aren’t buying into the VW story. They don’t even want to hear about it. It doesn’t matter to them that the only true difference is a different ornament on the hood. The same is true for Toyota and Lexus people. They don’t want to be reminded that a Lexus is actually an overpriced Toyota.

How does a Riedel wine glass make your wine taste any better than a “regular” wine glass? The chemical make up of glass is exactly the same whether it’s a $2.00 glass or a $20.00 glass. But somehow we are led to believe that a Riedel glass is the best possible wine glass we can drink from. If you believe this, it’s because you buy into the story that Riedel has laid out—Wine tastes better from our glasses because we sculpt a glass around the character of the wine.
You wouldn’t be at fault for believing Riedel’s story. Even the industry’s top “expert” Robert Parker buys into the story.

“The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make.” (Quelle: Robert M. Parker, Jr. The Wine Advocate)

Remember, gurus are self-constructed. They yell their story as loud as they can, for as long as they can, and eventually people start believing what they say is true. Gurus are master story tellers—Parker and Godin included.

Everything in marketing is how you frame your story. Is it believable? If you’re a marketer, do you believe in your own story? Because if not, Godin believes that the public will see right through you. Maybe not right away, but once the public realizes they’ve been had, your company will wash right down the drain. So if you decide you have something you want to sell, make sure that you buy into your own B.S.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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How to Pick Up Chicks—The Machiavellian Way

Posted by on November 30, 2010 in How to pick up chicks, Machiavellian |

Guys if you haven’t been able to get a girl in a while then you are obviously going about it the wrong way; and by that, I mean, you’re probably telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. Although the Bible said, “The truth shall set you free,” that was a long time ago and doesn’t necessarily work in today’s world.

Remember you can be anything you want the first time someone meets you. It’s only after they’ve known you for a while that the truth comes out. So if you just want to have some fun for a night, or a possibly a weekend, try out one of these tricks to get you some. I guarantee you’ll be making the Oh-Face by the morning.

If you’re a lady reading this, just be aware there are guys out that are using better lines than, “Did it hurt when you fell? Because you look like a star that fell from heaven,” bullshit that some guys try to use.

There are Machiavellian guys out there who would love to use the, “Do you use Windex to wash your clothes? Because I can see myself in your pants,” line. But they know full-well they can’t get away with these corny lines anymore. And whether you know it or not, the more genuine they seem to be, the more likely these guys are just using a better line than you’re used to.

One of these stories I have actually used. And although it was stumbled onto accidentally, it was the inspiration that led me to think of these others later. I’m not good at writing riddles, so let me tell you my friend, if you read real close, you’ll find out which one it was at the end.

A. Go to Lowe’s or The Home Depot and find the best looking girl who works there. Yes, there are some hotties working at either one of these two stores somewhere in your town. Look around until you find at least a 6.5 on your 1-10 scale, you’ll know her when you see her. Besides, that you’re not trying to marry her, you’re trying to get laid.

Go up and tell her, “I’m looking for a hammer. See, I start volunteering for Habitat for Humanity tomorrow and I’m supposed to bring a hammer. I really don’t know much about building anything. Matter of fact I don’t know anything about building anything. But I feel I could learn, you know, to help someone who’s less fortunate than me?”

“I feel lucky just to have a roof over my head and I feel it’s my responsibility to lend a hand to those in need. Know what I mean?” And go from there. If you don’t have her escorting you to the hammer section in a little beeping blue or orange golf cart within 15 seconds of telling her this, there’s no hope for you and you can stop reading right now.

B. If you don’t think the hardware store is the best place to pick up a good looking girl, then how about a department store? Go into an upscale place like Nieman Marcus or Macy’s and go check out the men’s cologne area. Usually they will have at least one, if not several, really hot girls working there.

Tell the girl, “Hi. This is going to sound really weird, but I work at an Orphanage and one of my boys named Timmy had a small sample bottle of Armani cologne. Well, I guess one of the other kids got jealous and stole it from him, and Timmy started crying and carrying on. It was a real mess. I can’t afford to buy him a whole bottle, but do you think I could have a few samples?”

If that lady isn’t filling up a whole bag of cologne then she has abandonment issues and you don’t want her anyway. But if she takes the bait then it is your job to ask her out for some drinks. Believe me, a person who works in retail probably will be ready for a drink after work, especially during the holiday season.

C. You see women walking their dog’s everyday. The next time you see a little cutie walking her dog, try to position yourself so that she’ll have to walk right past you. Then you can say, “Oh what a good looking dog.” Then bend down and talk baby talk to it while rubbing both sides of the dog’s head right behind the ears. Then say, “Oh what a good looking doggy-woggy.” Don’t worry, the owner does this too and it won’t seem the least bit strange to them.

Then say, “You know when I use to volunteer at the Animal Shelter, I used to walk the dogs every other day. I had to give it up because the non-profit shelter couldn’t raise enough money to feed all the poor guys we’d get it. Everyone was so stretched for money when Katrina hit and everything. Then they just kept coming and coming and there wasn’t enough money for food. So we ended up having to give them to the Humane Society. Man I really miss being around dogs,” Then stare off into space like your lost for five seconds, then shake your head and say, “I’m sorry, kinda went off on a tangent there. What’s his name?”

First of all, if you don’t own a dog, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a dog owner what the name of their dog is before you ask for their name. Most of the time people don’t even get that far in the conversation where they want to know you’re name, but yet they don’t mind stopping you to ask what your dogs name is. Weird. Anyway, the second thing to remember is that dog owners always call their dogs by their sex—not “it”. For instance, “Her name is Daisy.” Or “He is a Bull Mastiff.” So if you can’t tell, ask.

Now that you’ve got the mindset of a dog owner, you then can start asking about her. She’ll already be on your side and you pose no threat. You were a volunteer at the animal shelter for God’s sake. What kind of dog lover wouldn’t love that? Only one whose dog has rabies, that’s who.

D. And for the final Chicker-Picker-Upper, we can’t forget about the single moms. What? There are some hot looking single moms. You want to look for moms who are walking around with a kid in one hand and no ring on the other.

Now this type of woman can be as protective of her kid as an 800 pound gorilla, but she’s also the type that puts out and the proof is usually sitting right next to her.
That is where you use your Machiavellian tricks against her. You make the kid the focus by saying, “Ahhh, what a cute little baby. You know I’ve been looking into adopting one myself. I’m taking a few parenting classes that the adoption people make you take. But I’m on the list for one from Korea. Did you know you don’t even have to be married these days to do it? Thank goodness for that. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it just so hard to find someone stable enough to be parent these days. Know what I mean?” And with that you should be having MILF for dinner.

But now I’ve come to the end of Machiavellian ways, and if you want a girl you better not behave. The answer to my riddle may be revealed, in the previous sentence, that I have spelled. And if you still need a hint, it’s the first letter that spells bent. And for the record, I really was working there.

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Jaya

Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Jaya |

Imagine the World’s smallest dwarf that’s in the Guinness Book of World’s Records, add an inch, and that’s how tall Jaya is. I know you shouldn’t make fun of people’s height, but I can’t help but to laugh when she’s on her tippy-toes trying to grab the car keys or a cell phone off the night stand that’s in our living room, and no matter what she does or how hard she tries, she just can’t get them. So she turns and looks at me with those big-brown eyes, tears welling up because some inconsiderate a-hole, meaning me, has tossed them up there haphazardly and they’re mere centimeters from her reach and now she’s looking at me for help. So I get up from my blue Lazy-Boy, make the journey of three steps, which would take her ten, and I push the items even further away.

She looks up at me in shock and disgust as I spin on my heals and walk back to the Lazy-boy. I then fling out the foot rest and I prop my legs up and get back to my newest episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Arrrggghhhhhh! she screams as her face turns beet-red and then she hobbles into the kitchen to get her stool. But once she get there she doesn’t actually move the stool, she just looks at it and seems to drift into thoughts of what she would do if she was bigger. She puts her finger on the top step and runs it back-and-forth as if she’s stroking the potential power of being tall.

Jaya often falls when she walks. She usually gets back up, but sometimes she sits there and seems to think about it, like, Maybe if I use these little arms to balance me…,but then a piece of dirt or food on the floor catches her attention and she looks to see if I see her grabbing at it, which of course I do, but I immediately turn my head away but still side-eye her as I see the look in her eye that says, Hey slob! You know I can’t vacuum this floor myself or I otherwise I would. Come on! But since she doesn’t actually say anything, I do nothing about the situation.

Sometimes Jaya smells like poop. What kind of person doesn’t notice that smell? I know it’s her little arms and lack of motor skills that doesn’t allow her to wipe her own ass, but I can’t help to ask, “Did you poop or something?” I already know the answer without her answering, so I go and turn on the bath water for her and take her to her changing table and even though I know what little treasure’s waiting for me, I can’t help but say, “Ewwwwww! Stinky-butt!” And as she’s laying there patiently waiting for me to fix this little problem, I can’t help but laugh when I take off her diaper and she chirps like a little song bird and says, “Hi! Hi Da-da! Hi-bye!”

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Life’s Soundtrack Machine

Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Life's Soundtrack Machine with Comments closed |

Soundtracks can make or break a movie. They can also make a scene scary or serene. Don’t you love when you’re watching a movie and an, “Oldie but goodie,” comes on? From My Girl to My Little Deuce Coupe, certain songs just make the moment. Don’t you wish you could, at any, moment flip on a song in your life that would perfectly describe the situation your in? Well now you can!

We here at Music For Life, an affiliate of Diet For Life, would like to introduce the:
LIFE’S SOUNDTRACK MACHINE!

The Life’s Soundtrack Machine—or LSM, is a portable machine that you can take with you to enhance the environment you’re in. This machine is similar to an iPod, but instead of loading the device with music, the LSM picks songs to match the situation or mood you’re in. And unlike the other devices where you listen to it by yourself, with a LSM everyone around you can hear the music too, so no situation is boring because you’ll always have music in your life.

Here are some everyday situations where a LSM can enhance your life:
Let’s say you’re walking down the street, you’re in a good mood. All of a sudden you hear—“I’M WALKIN’, YA SEEMS TO ME, I’M A TALKIN’, FEEL GOOD TO ME, I’M WALKIN…” or if you’re a Johnny Cash fan you’ll hear, “BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE, I WALK THE LINE…” With a LSM, you get to look cool and let everyone know you’re in a good mood at the same time.

With a LSM everyday chores can be more fun. When you’re at the grocery store and you’re looking around the cheese counter, the old commercial that you didn’t even remember pops on: “I HANKER’ FOR A HUNK OF, A SLAB, A SLICE OR CHUNK OF, I HANKER FOR A HUNK OF CHEEEESE!” You’ll think, “Wow! That’s kind of cool. I haven’t thought about that in years.”

Life’s Soundtrack Machine can also make conversations with your boring friends so much more bearable. Let’s say they’re over there droning on and on, and as your eyes begin to glaze over, all of a sudden you’ll both hear: “ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROOOWN AND THE SKY IS GRAAAY, CALIFORNIA DRREEAMIN’, ON SUCH A WINTER’S DAAAYY!” This lets them know they should either change the topic or shut-the-hell-up.

There are a few glitches we haven’t worked out yet. Some of these situations include things like being introduced to an attractive person of the opposite sex for the first time and 2 Live Crew’s, “LICK MY BOOTY, UP AND DOWN! LICK IT TILL YOUR TONGUE TURNS DOO DOO BROWN! DOO DOO BROWN! DOO DOO BROWN!” comes on. But don’t worry about that, we’re working on it. Our engineers have been making headway and this should only happen about every third time.

How about when your boss is yelling at you? Can imagine the look on his face when the song comes on? “TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT, I AIN’T WORKIN’ A HERE NO MORE.” Or if you don’t want to quit, how about, “ALL THE PEOPLE WHO DIED, DIED! ALL THE PEOPLE WHO DIED, DIED!”?

We’re really not trying to fix that one. We think the boss should know how you really feel, but we have thought of a good excuse. Just say, “Oops, I’m sorry that’s supposed to be Frank Sinatra’s, I did it my way!”

It is also advised that if you are having an affair with your sister or brother in-law, that the two of you not be in the same room at the same time or “SECRET LOOOVERS, YEAH, THAT’S WHAT WE ARE, TRYING HARD TO HIDE THE WAAAY WE FEEL” comes on.

We here at Music For Life feel that these small inconveniences do not outweigh the benefits of our product. Imagine the hours of fun and enjoyment you’ll have with this life enhancing product.

The Life’s Soundtrack Machine is available for three easy payments of $999.95. With all the hours of enjoyment you’ll have with LSM that breaks down to just pennies an hour. If you like, we can bill this to your credit card monthly over a three month period.

Customers may experience a little embarrassment with LSM at the beginning. Once you get over a few awkward moments, we are so sure that you’ll love LSM, that at this time we are not going to offer a money back guarantee. But don’t let that stop you from ordering because, WAIT THERE’S MORE!

If you call right now to order LSM you also get, TELL’EM WHAT YOU REALLY THINK! Tell’em What You Really Think is much like the Life’s Soundtrack Machine and functions much the same way.

Have you ever left a party and thought, Damn! I wish I would have had the courage to Jane how I felt about her? Or how about when you’ve had bad service at a store or restaurant and thought, Wow I wish I would have told that pushy sales person off? We’ll now you can without looking like the bad guy. You can always say, “Sorry it’s just my TWYRT” Or “Twirdy” as we like to say around here.

So pick up the phone and call now. Operators are standing by. With LSM and a Twirdy you’ll be the coolest kid on the block, and one who lets people know what’s really on his mind.

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Writer By Default

Posted by on November 6, 2010 in Why I write |

I became a writer by default. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life as far as a career was concerned. I liked a variety of topics and when an idea gets stuck in my head, I research it obsessively until I find out enough about it that decide that I don’t want to do it forever. Then after all that research, I write about it.

I was told by my grandpa that, “If you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That is when I figured out that I’ve always liked to write and that eventually I could get paid to write about topics that I wanted to obsess on and not be considered crazy.

How did I get to this point where I knew that writing’s what I wanted to do? Being a writer was the last career choice I had in my mind. In my mind, I was going to be an entrepreneur. The name alone, entrepreneur, it has a ring to it that makes me feel important; it makes me feel rich. The problem was I didn’t know what kind of business I wanted to own.

I was one of these guys who changed his mind about what business I’d like to own as many as three or four times a day. I definitely could have started the business (whatever business it was for the day), figured out ways to market it, and then go to all the conventions, and of course I already knew all the people in the industry, and by the end of the day I’d be making millions. Then I would sell the business and end up living it up down South somewhere next to the ocean. I would be kicking back drink Margaritas on the beach in a lazy beach chair, saying, “Honey isn’t this great?” Then my boss would snap me back into reality by yelling, “Doug! I need those dishes washed a faster! We have customers waiting on you!”

I knew I was just daydreaming, but I use to love to do that. I daydreamed so much that I often thought that it might not be so bad to be delusional and believe your own daydreams. Your reality is your perception.

I think in my head I’ve owned: a doggie day care center, an adult day care center, and been an airbrush artist who also owned a tattoo shop, even though I have no artistic ability.

In my head I’ve owned a gun shop, a hot air balloon ride place, and been an auctioneer who owned a high-end auto store that fixed up exotic cars.

I’ve sold salt water aquariums and fish accessories, been a bail bondsman, and definitely owned a pool hall and bar. Wait! Make that a pool hall/micro-brewery. That sounds better than just a bar.

In my head I’ve been a dog breeder and animal shelter—both at the same time. I’ve owned a ukulele and guitar shop, and cigar and wine shop; high end though, not just a little corner liquor store.

Sometimes I got more extravagant. I’ve been a plastic surgeon, a helicopter pilot, and a diamond importer. I’ve also owned motorcycle shops, not just one, but a whole chain of them; even though I’ve never even owned a motorcycle of my own.

Sometimes in my head I get more exotic. I’ve been a herbologist, yoga studying, martial arts master. I’ve also been a investigating, lie detecting, forensic psychologist, who, by the way, is also a lawyer who does international trade consulting on the side.

Finally, in my head, I’ve been a guy who by day was a limo driving, locksmith, who solved crimes and then at night, I played the piano at my own night club, when I wasn’t out mystery shopping.

In my head I’ve done it all, but then the boss would yell and wake me up out of my fantasy world and before you know it several years had passed by.

I wanted to do something career wise that could keep up with my interests. I wanted to be able to talk to different kinds of people and explore things that interest me. For me, writing helps me to be able to do this, even when I’m the only one reading my stories.

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Good Game

Posted by on October 27, 2010 in billiards, pool |

Pool tables were my babysitters growing up. I could walk into any bar in Lincoln County, MO with my dad day or night, and as long as they had a pool table, no one ever suggested that we leave regardless of what time it was.

“Doug Wallace, table six,” crackles over the loud speaker. I walk over and take my place next to the nine-foot brown Brunswick with green felt. The smell of smoke has been my cologne long before I started smoking at the age of thirteen. It hangs in the air like a thick fog in every place I want to be, well into my late 20’s.

A guy who looks to be a couple years older than me steps up to the table. He can’t be over eighteen but he nods at me chin first like I’m the punk kid. I hate when people do that, so I do it back to him. He extends his hand to shake mine and it’s moist and gross and I immediately wipe my hand off on my pants, showing him my disgust. I’m trying to get into his head without saying anything. He just doesn’t know it yet, but the game has already started.

“A good pool player is the sign of a wasted childhood,” or so the saying goes and I’ve wasted a lot of time in pool halls, bars and bowling alleys. He pulls a quarter out of his pocket and says, “Heads or tails?” as if there’s ever any other answer.
“Heads,” I say as the quarter catches the light from the table as it flips, looking like it’s signaling in Morse code, “Quit now,” it seems to say to the tall, wet-handed stranger as the coin lands heads-up on the table.

This particular pool hall has 39, nine-foot, Gold Crown Brunswick tables. There are lined up, one after another like Marines in formation. The guy grabs the eight solid balls and the yellow-striped 9-ball from the ball holder below. He places them in the rack with one ball in the front and the nine in the middle. With a Clack, clack, clack, from the rack, he forms a perfect diamond shape.

Wickie, wickie, wickie, the stick cries out as I rub its tip with chalk, blue dust showers the cigarette-burned carpet below.
“Good luck,” my opponent says.
“I don’t believe in luck,” I say back to him. I believe in making your own luck and it’s done by practicing, but I keep that to myself.

Ka-Blam!” The balls scream out as they are smashed with a sledge-hammer-like force.

One of the solid-colored balls fall in the corner pocket and sounds like a rock that’s been dropped in a deep pool of water. The remaining balls are scattered over the sea of green like boats in a storm.

“Nice break,” he says.

“Thanks,” I say bottom lip pursed, nodding my head. I’m not acknowledging him, I’m surveying my layout. The remaining spheres reflect the florescence spot light that hangs above. I take one last glance, nod once more and proceed to go to work.
“One in the corner,” I say even though we’re playing nine ball and in nine ball you don’t have to call it.
“Two in the side,” I say.
“You don’t have to call it,” he says.
“Just an old habit,” I say. Click, Click, Click, one by one they all disappear.
“Nine in the corner,” I say. Stroke, stroke, stroke—click. The ball rolls slowly to the corner. The familiar, thump follows.

I come out of my stance like a cat stretching and I walk over to shake my opponent’s hand, but before I can get to the other side of the table to shake his hand, he turns and walks away without saying a word. My sixteen year old brain thinks, eighteen is much too late to start playing pool.

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6

Tap Tattoo (aka Traditional Tattooing)

Posted by on October 26, 2010 in tap tattoo, tattoo |

I first saw my Grandpa’s tattoo when I was four or five years old. He took off his dress shirt after church and put on another one. But in those few seconds, I glimpsed the cowgirl leaning against a fence post and I wanted to see more.

For me tattoos were something forbidden, or at least something to hide, because grandpa’s was always hidden under his shirt and he never showed it off. When I asked my aunt about it she said he was embarrassed by it; which later I found out wasn’t true. But I know my love of tattoos started with my grandpa.

I moved to Hawaii when I was 10 years old. I don’t remember exactly how old I was the first time I saw a Samoan man standing on the beach with rows of tattoos arching like a rainbow out of his lava-lava—the traditional wrap-around-cloth that Samoan men wear. Again I felt that these tattoos were supposed to be hidden away. If he wasn’t at the beach I would have never seen these. I wanted to get a better look but I knew I couldn’t stare at them like I really wanted to, not without being punched in the face at least.

As I got older I learned that Samoan tattoos were called a pe’a and they cover a man from his waist to his knees. Samoans use the word tatau, which is where the English word tattoo comes from. This pe’a is very sacred in the Samoan culture. It can either be the mark of a man if it is finished or the mark of a coward if the man doesn’t finish the tattoo because of the pain. The pe’a is respected so much that men who don’t have them sit differently than men who do.

From the first time I saw that man on the beach I knew I wanted a tattoo like his. It didn’t have to be the traditional pe’a, but I wanted a design something like his and I wanted it done the traditional way—hand tapped.

Being Haole—or Caucasian, I knew getting a tattoo like this wouldn’t be an easy task. First of all you can’t just walk into a tattoo shop and get one done the traditional way. There are only a handful of artists who still do it the traditional way and most of them live scattered throughout the Pacific Islands. Secondly a Suluape—traditional tattooist, is not likely to tattoo a Caucasian unless they are married into a Polynesian family, and even then, it will be the Suluape’s call.

Most Polynesians have some sort of tattooing within their culture. It’s not exclusive to Samoans. The Maoris off New Zealand tattoo the face in intricate swirls. The Tahitians mostly tattooed people in high ranking societal status, although commoners could be tattooed as well, their tattoos were just not very big ones.

The Fijians, Hawaiians, and Tongans also tattooed. Their designs are similar to the Samoans, but not exactly the same. All the Polynesian tattoos have some similarities both in design and in technique; although in my opinion the Samoan designs are the most intricate.

Another similarity that Polynesian tattoos have with each other is that the art form was almost extinct thanks to the missionaries. The church had an effect on the entire Pacific Rim and when missionaries conquered the islands with their God, tattooing went out the window, along with the Islanders culture like traditional names and dances.

Fast forward 150 years. It’s 4:30 pm and I’m sitting in a tattoo shop called Soul Signature Tattoo in Honolulu directly across the pool hall I practically grew up in. I have a 4 o’clock appointment with a Tongan man named Suluape Aisea who’s running late. Island-time. Not just island-time, Tongan-time, which is about an hour-and-a-half later than island-time.

A big guy, as most Tongan men are, with long hair that’s tied up in a pony tail walks in the back door and introduces himself as Aisea. His arms and chest are tattooed in traditional Polynesian geometric designs and they run up his neck all the way to the bottom portion of his lower jaw. He informs me that it will be a while longer because we have to wait for the “stretchers” to get out of church.

Around 6:30 pm three giant men in black lava-lavas enter through the back door and I assume these are the guys I’m waiting on.

Tongans are some of the nicest people on the planet. They might be huge but their hearts are even bigger. They seem enthusiastic to tattoo me and they tell me that afterward we’re going to drink some kava—a root with mild hallucinogenic capabilities I’ve always heard, but it turns out, it just makes you numb and itchy.

I called my wife and told her to get down to the shop. She was still at the hotel getting a massage. We were supposed to have dinner with a friend but I knew that wasn’t going to work so I called and canceled with him. The tattoo artist had just started tapping away when my wife pulled up in a cab.

People ask me, “Does it hurt more getting it done the traditional way vs. a machine?” And my answer had been, “It’s a different kind of pain.” I didn’t mention that I gotten one tattoo done the traditional way on my leg before. The artist was from Tahiti and traveled all the way to St. Louis, MO to a shop to do ten tattoos in five days and then was flying back home. He basically charged me $500 an hour and left me with a series of seven upside down triangles that ran down my shin and an ankle-bracelet full of some more triangles. It was the tattoo I had wanted the most but I was not happy with it. I felt like I paid tourist prices and didn’t get the trip. My leg was incomplete and out of the ten or so tattoos I’ve received so far, it was the only tattoo artist that I didn’t tip.

This time things were much different. The pain I had spoken of earlier to friends was much more excruciating. Aisea was very heavy handed compared to my last traditional artist, but in these kinds of situations you’re not allowed to show pain. So I laid there and took it for an hour-and-a-half the first session. Then Aisea said, “Ok, you come back tomorrow and we’ll finish the rest. We drink some Kava now.” My wife and I then sat around on mats on the floor and drank Kava while 15-20 Tongan men sang in 4-part harmony and played the guitar and ukulele. It was a once in a life time experience that neither one of us will ever forget.

The next day when I was walking around with my wife I noticed two separate incidents where a couple of local guys were looking at my leg but they didn’t say anything. It was more of a confused look like, “What the…?” One of these incidents was in a McDonald’s bathroom and when the guy noticed it, he snapped his head around so fast to do a double take that I thought he was going to break his neck. He then went in the stall and I didn’t stick around to get his opinion whether or not he liked it.

The next day I came back to Aisea’s shop and sat through three more hours of pain. While he was tattooing me I asked Aisea if he ever caught flack for tattooing Hoales and he said, “All the time. You should see what some people say online.”
“Like what?” I said.

“Like how they already stole our culture so why you letting them have our tattoos? And you shouldn’t be doing that. Fuck those haole people,” he said.

I thought there might be some of that kind of bad feelings out there toward Caucasians getting these kind of tattoos but I wasn’t sure. Now the off-looks were confirmed.

“But I think we should share our culture,” Aisea said. “I mean if we don’t, the art will die. There’s only so many Polynesian people and a smaller amount of them want to get tattooed the traditional way. I don’t care what they think. And tomorrow you’ll be wearing shorts and you get to show yours off,” he said.

And that’s when I said, “Oh shit! At the fucking Polynesian Cultural Center!”

Aisea waved his hand around in victory as if he just won some small war. I thought there was a good chance that tomorrow I might start one, because the Polynesian Cultural Center is run by almost all Samoans. And this would be the place that I’d have to unveil my new tattoo with dozens, if not 100’s of Samoans present.

That night I had anxiety about showing off my tattoo. We had dinner with a few friends and they assured me that I was imagining everything, that there wouldn’t be a problem. One of my friends suggested I wear pants, not to cover it up so people didn’t see it, but because I was going to get burned from being out in the sun all day. The suggestion relieved my mind a bit, but later it made me feel like a pussy.

“If you’re man enough to get it, you’re man enough to wear it,” is what one of the Tongan guys had said the day before and that kept ringing in my head. I decided that I was going to wear shorts to the Polynesian Cultural Center and that I was just going to deal with whatever happens.

“Maybe they’ll think it’s cool,” my wife said. I highly doubted it.

The next day came and my wife and I laid down to take an hour nap before we headed out to the Polynesian Cultural Center. When the alarm went off, I said, “You ready to get up?”

She said, “I’m tired. We’ve been running around since we got here. I just want to sleep and hang out in Waikiki later.”

“It’s up to you,” I said.

“That’s what I want to do,” she said. I let it go at that and we slept for another hour or so and then had dinner in town.

We went to Maui the following day and for some reason I wasn’t as self-conscious of my tattoo there. I wore shorts for the next three days. On the second day my wife and I were sitting in a cabana on the beach and this haole guy and his Filipino girl- friend walked by and he said, “Are you local?”

It took me a second to answer him because people from Hawaii never ask you that, so I said, “I grew up on O’ahu.”

“Where did you get your tattoo?” he asked.

And as I explained the story, my wife said, “You gotta pretty nice one too,” and as I looked down I realized his calf was covered in a similar design as mine. It was done with a machine, but never-the-less it was there and I hadn’t even noticed it. After he left I realized that the anxiety I was feeling was made up in my head and that most people aren’t even looking down to notice a tattoo, and if they are, they probably don’t care.

When I got back to the mainland people regarded my new tattoo the way I expected them too, with, “Eww’s and Ahh’s, and How bad did that hurt,” and I suspect by the time I make it back to Hawaii, I will have completely forgot that I even have the tattoo. That is until I have some big Samoan staring at me in a McDonald’s bathroom and I’m explaining that, “It’s Tongan, not Samoan.”

(FYI-If you happened to stumble on this site and you want to see some pictures of my tap tattoo, just type in “tap tattoo” in the search bar on the right hand side of the screen and a few pictures should pop up.) Thanks for reading.

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Tap Tattoo

Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Uncategorized with Comments closed |

Traditional tap tattoo, with essay to follow.

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2

My First Marathon

Posted by on October 7, 2010 in Douglas Thomas Wallace, marathon |

I ran my first marathon on Sunday. It was one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do every since I can remember. After I crossed the finish line, one of the first things I said was, “That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve done in a long time.”

Running 26.2 miles hurts, especially when you’re 220 lbs and you’ve only trained for six months. I did training runs with the St. Louis Track Club. We ran 13, 16, 18—twice, 19, and 20 miles, so I had flirted with the “wall” a few times. Unfortunately for me, during the marathon my legs went numb at mile 16. I hit the wall at mile 17 and it lasted until mile 20. If it wasn’t for a speed walker who let me jog next to him for a couple of miles, I wouldn’t have made it.

When I finally got a half-a-mile away from the finish line, I saw a man with an IronMan tattoo on the back of his calf. He was helping pull a lady up a small hill. It was obvious he had run the marathon to help her along. As I got closer to them he turned and yelled, “Come on big-guy! I was wondering when you’d catch us. Finish strong! Finish Strong!” With that I took off running.

I ran as fast as I could at what seemed like a five-minute a mile pace, although it was probably closer to five miles per hour. The thought kept going through my head, I’m going to beat an IronMan. As I rounded the corner, one of the skinny-running-type volunteers yelled, “Oh now you want to run?!” I thought about flipping him off, but then he said, “Just joking. Run! Run!”

I finished with some of my family and friends at the finish line. A disappointing 7:02 flashed across the time clock. I later learned that my “chip-time” was 6:50:31, which means it took 11 minutes and 29 seconds to cross the start line after the starting gun had been fired.

After the race I swore I would never even consider running another marathon—ever! On Monday when people asked how I went, I told them, “Terrible. My time was an hour off from what I thought it would be. There were four miles of hills, which I walked. And I was passed by several speed-walkers.” But here’s the weird thing. By Wednesday I was relatively pain free. By Thursday when people asked if I would do it again, I said, “Only if my sister-in-law wants to do Chicago next year, then I might. Otherwise I’m only running half’s for now on.”

Today I’m talking to an IronMan coach—not that I’m doing an IronMan, I’m just finding out information—just in case.

If you have aspirations to run a marathon, then do it. But be advised—it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do and you’ll never want to do it again…not at least for three or four days.

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