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Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby…

While in Philadelphia, I stopped by the Academy of Natural Sciences, to check out their Hall of Dinosaurs, and I lucked out!

Josh and a triceratops skull fossil in Philadelphia.

Not only did they have this excellent triceratops skull (it’s as big as me!), but in the fossil prep lab off to the side of the Hall, museum staff were working on cleaning and assembling triceratops fossils!

More photos (click to enlarge):

Fossil Lab in the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.Diagram of the fossil sections being worked on.Triceratops jaw fossil, among others.

Pieces of a triceratops fossil at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.Tools for cleaning fossils at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.Triceratops figurine at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

I spoke with the nice paleontologist lady in the fossil lab for a while (you can see her arms working on a cast of a big fossil in the first thumbnail photo, above), and she encouraged me to volunteer to help out with the fossil prep. When I told her I lived in a different city, she said some of their volunteers only come in once a month… don’t tempt me!

I wonder if the Museum of Natural History has a similar gig…

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Not for the faint of heart.

Greetings from beautiful Philadelphia, PA! My wife is here on business, and I am her escort for the weekend. I wish I felt better… Yesterday, in my head-cold-induced stupor, I accidentally deleted the draft of my long and extremely interesting story about the process of getting this tattoo.

I’m working on the rewrite, but in the meantime, you’ll have to be content with these gruesome photos of peeling tattooed flesh, taken yesterday (day 5?) soon after I woke up (more after the break):

Peeling Triceratops tattoo

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Looks like we made it…

Ink Nerd enters the blogosphere. Thanks for the link, Will… No such thing as bad press, right?

Tricera-tattoo Status: besides being totally awesome, it’s still swollen, sore, and a little red around the edges, but I haven’t started scabbing, peeling, oozing, or any of that stuff. It feels a lot like a bad sunburn, including the hot-to-the-touch thing. I’m keeping it moist with Aquaphor, per doctor’s orders. Also starting to get a little stubble where the manscaping was done..

Next: The making of Herbie the Love Ornithischian


Holy Triceratops Tattoo!

Triceratops skull tattoo, by Mike Bellamy at Red Rocket Tattoo, NYC

If you hadn’t figured it out, that’s me! More photos, details, etc., coming soon…


The design consultation

Triceratops skeleton, by Louis Psihoyos, from Getty ImagesI promised I would post this next, but I got excited about dinosaur tattoos on the web, so this had to wait.

The consultation was really great; Mike and I really seemed to be on the same page in regards to most aspects of the tattoo design, such as overall style, size and placement on my arm, angle of the triceratops skull, etc.

Flower from Paleobotany of Angiosperm OriginsI brought in a bunch of reference material, too, including this photo of a triceratops fossil skeleton from Getty Images (photograph by Louie Psihoyos), and a bunch of photos of exotic-looking flowers like this one from a research website about the Paleobotany of Angiosperm Origins.

A full recap of the consultation in gory detail after the jump…

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So close!

Deinonychus, from Carl Zimmer’s Science Tattoo EmporiumOnly 3 days left! I can’t wait until Monday, when I’m going in to get a big tattoo of a triceratops skull with some flowers around it! I haven’t even seen the design that Mike Bellamy at Red Rocket Tattoo (NYC) has prepared, but I’m sure it will be awesome.

Ignition… Liftoff!

Red Rocket Tattoo featured in Tattoo MagazineWell, I finally got the courage up to go into an actual tattoo shop, as opposed to just lurking around shops’ websites and artists’ TattooNOW profiles. After work on Friday, I stopped in at Red Rocket Tattoo, which I chose not only because it’s highly acclaimed and very convenient, but because every one of the portfolios on their website is full of great-looking work.

After a somewhat awkward initial exchange with the person (artist Betty Rose) who greeted me (“I’d like to make, uh, an appointment or whatever for a, um, consultation, or however it works? I don’t know how it works…”), I settled into looking through the resident artists’ portfolios, while surreptitiously observing the staff and clientele…

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The next tattoo (part 1, revisited)

Ok, after a brief (on the cosmic scale) hiatus from blogging and tattoo mania, I’m back on the scene. This is all happening fast, but I think that A) I know what I want, and B) I know where to get it! (I wanna destroy the passerby…)

I decided that the dozens of layers of symbolism that I originally had in mind didn’t really make for a cool-looking tattoo. I also decided that to get back in the game, I should find a highly recommended local shop and go from there, rather than searching the globe for the artist that would really “get” me.

Triceratops, from modblog.bmezine.comMy current plan is to get a tattoo of a dinosaur skull on my right upper arm, with paleobotanical stuff surrounding it (y’know, big ferns, scary flowers, maybe a crazy pinecone-lookin’ thing in there for good measure) for color. I haven’t decided between triceratops (childhood fave) and styracosaurus (bad-ass horns), or if I want the skull in profile, three-quarters view, or head-on (I think I’d rather have a bare skull than a fleshed-out dino head, because who knows what they looked like with skin ‘n’ junk?). I’m hoping the tattoo artist will be able to help out with those decisions; I’d be happy with any of the options. Cub scout’s honor (never made it to Boy Scout), I swear I came up with this before I saw this righteous tattoo.

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The next tattoo (part 1).

Can I really call myself a “tattoo enthusiast” when I only have one tattoo (although sometimes when people ask I tell them I have four), and it’s been more than 5 years since I got it? I think so—I’ve been planning my next tattoo ever since (there’s also the incessant poring over magazines and websites, the indulging in obnoxious reality TV shows—and related gossip, the ogling of inked-up strangers, and the talking-the-ears-off of anyone who will listen to me ramble on about tattoos).

But now I’m realizing that this tattoo I’ve been planning will be a big, elaborate piece (O.K., not that big. Half-sleeve, maybe?) with dozens of layers of symbolism that will require not only the saving of many ducats, but much researching of tattooists, attempting to get an appointment with one of them, traveling to his or her shop, etc. A drawn-out process (haw!) to be sure.

I’m still planning the masterpiece, but honestly, I don’t think I can wait that long! So I’m going to start small, just to get a taste… Stay tuned.