The longest blog post ever.09/01/06

Ever since I made that blog about cooking that big egg, people have been e-mailing me about the half inch of tattoo you can see in some of the pictures. Usually, they ask "Are those your tattoos?" or "Post pictures of your tattoos on your blog, I want to see them." The answers to those questions are YES, they are my tattoos, and NO, I am not posting detailed pictures of them on the internet. I am not trying to be snotty, it is just that I have been spending hours in pain to get something totally bizarre and custom, and I don't want someone to find a picture and get something similar. But I will tell you a little about it, since it is a pretty interesting thing to think about, and I have also been getting A WHOLE LOT of Ask Natalie questions from people who want to know about getting their own tattoos.

First off, I am going to post a disclaimer and say that, unless you are at least 90% certain that you are not going to have to get an office job, I would not recommend getting sleeves. I know, shit happens and you might wind up having to go work in the admissions departent at DeVry, but you can wear a sweater in that case. I am just suggesting that you might not want to spend your life in a sweater, and you should think a lot about your tattoo decisions. That said, I am gonna tell you a little bit about me getting my sleeve, since I didn't really know what I was getting into until I was well into it, and I think it might make a good public service.

The tattoo I am getting starts at my wrist bone, and is going to probably end up near my shoulder/collarbone. There is only going to be a tiny bit of untattooed skin here and there. I started getting it done in February. It is now nearly September, and I am almost done with my lower arm. I go once or twice a month. This is taking longer than going to college. I had no idea. I thought I would breeze in and lay there all day for a couple days, and then bounce.

Unfortunately, this shit hurts. None of my other tattoos bothered me, but shit. I never really thought about how much getting your wrist bone or the soft part inside your elbow, or the real boney parts of your arm would hurt. I puss out every time, and end up having to quit after about 2 hours, which is most of the reason for this taking so long. I am also perpetually covered in scabs. As soon as the scabs are gone, I go get some more scabs. I have no idea when I am going to be done. My guess is another 6 months or something stupid like that. So, if you are thinking about a large tattoo, be willing to make the time committment. You might have to make a LOT of appointments.

BUT, I totally love my sleeve so far, it looks awesome. I am gonna be the fucked up looking grandma at the nursing home. My kids are gonna get made fun of because of it, and people who ask about it are going to wish they hadn't.

In closing, when it comes to tattoos, here is my advice:
1. Don't try to get a cheap tattoo. Cheap tattoos look terrible.
2. Don't get some little tattoo in the middle of a vast expanse of flesh. It will look a lot better now and later on if you get something bigger. Your alien head smoking a doobie will still look like an alien head smoking a doobie, instead of like a multicolored pork chop.
3. Don't get a tattoo of some band logo or some current fad. Trust me on this one, cause the sleeve I am getting right now is a cover-up of a not-so-awesome tattoo I got when I was 18 or something. Seriously, dude. Alkaline Trio is NOT AWESOME, and definitely NOT AWESOME ENOUGH to advertise for the rest of your life, and SUPER NOT AWESOME ENOUGH to get that same tattoo that all the kids are seeming to get these days. You will not like it in three years. (And, no, the tattoo I got covered up was NOT an Alkaline Trio tattoo, I am just using that as an example, since I have seen 14,000 of them.)
4. Don't get a tattoo if you don't have the powers of self-knowledge to know what kind of stuff YOU like. Get something unique that showcases things you like to think about or people or things that mean something to you. It's cool if you like the Revend Horton Heat or whatever, but do you really feel strongly about cranked-out swallows and cherry bomb flaming dice thing? It can't be that profound, otherwise everyone else who has that tattoo would have already been inspired to start their own political party, and their presidential candidate would have been some naked lady in a martini glass with stars for nipples.
5. Don't take Advil or anything before you go... Apparently it will make things sloppier (ie. plasma-drippier) when you are getting the work done. Also, I hear that topical numbing creams are basically the worst idea ever, cause they don't last that long. Your chosen area will start to hurt in the middle of the tattoo, all at once. That would blow pretty hard, it is better to at least get used to the feeling of it and let it build up.
6. Don't get tattooed by a guy if you think he's a dick. You are gonna have to be sitting with him for awhile, nobody likes hanging out with dicks.
7. Try not to pick it, and put a lot of lotion on it all the time after the scabs all fall off. I like using Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion after my scabs fall off.

There you go, that is all I am going to say on the subject, no more tattoo question e-mails, please.

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Also, I would like to take this chance to talk a little about the copyright notice on my site, and things of that nature. A lot of times people will write me and be concerned that I am going to sue them for posting a picture of mine on their myspace. That's not really my style, so much. The notice is just there as fair warning to anyone who thinks that my artwork is here as a free clip-art repository, where anyone can come and take whatever they like and claim credit for it and/or make money from it.

I am not going to go after the little dude. I am the little dude, too- I just try to make my living off my art, and nobody helps me do that except my fans. I don't care if my fans use my image as an avatar, or comments on blogs or myspace. I love that shit, it is like you guys advertising for me, and that is totally awesome. What I don't love is people who try to take my art and claim it as their own, or try to make money off it. I made a little Dungeons and Dragons-esque chart to sort it out for you:



So, essentially, as long as you are on the green or yellow side of the chart, you should be cool... If you are in the orange area, it's just inconsiderate and irritating, and I probably will let it slide unless you are trying to pretend to be me, or you try to pass my blogs or drawings as your own. If you are in the red area, I would recommend you stop immediately, because I will find out eventually (my awesome fans have a way of watching my back), and I protect my interests to the full extent of my ability. That is what the copyright warning is about. I am not doing this to make other people money, so if other people are making money off me without my permission, I am going to come and make sure I get my money. I just thought I would clear a lot of this stuff up, since I have been getting a lot of e-mails from you guys, and I have had to call my lawyer a lot in the past couple weeks.

Along the same lines, if you see someone selling Natalie Dee merchandise, and you let me know via e-mail or myspace or whatever, and it is not authorized, I will reward you handsomely (AKA large box of free shirts and stuff) if you were the first person to write me about it. You guys got my back, and I will repay you for it every time I am able to bring down a dishonest business that is trying to make money off the work I do all day long.

And one last thing along these lines before I hit you with Ask Natalie-- check out the new archives when you get a chance! We have it all reprogammed to make it super easy to mail drawings to your friends, and we have all the code made up for you so you can copy and past images into myspace profiles and all kinds of stuff. Cause, like I said, I make drawings for people to read and laught at and pass around to their friends, so now it is a little easier for you to do that.

NEW ARCHIVES

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ASK NATALIE, THE BEAUTY/FASHION QUESTION EDITION

Q: I really want a pair of boots for the fall and winter, so I went shoe shopping and tried a couple pairs on. Unfortunately, I apparently have gargantuan calves, 'cause I couldn't get any of them on! I'm not a huge overweight lady -- I wear a size 12, so clearly I could stand to lose a pound or 20, but size 12 is supposedly the American average. Where can I get boots that will fit my little feet and thick calves?


A: You don't have gargantuan calves, they just make those boots narrow in the top because they are shitty bastards. Fortunately, you can find a pair you like, that fits your foot part, and if it is a little tight in the top, you can take it to a shoe repair place. They will be able to stretch the top a little for you. I am pretty sure this only works with leather boots, though. I checked some places locally for you out of curiosity, and it seems like something that is pretty cheap to have done, too. (There is a guy near my house who will stretch the tops of your leather boots for you for $5.95.) Or, you can buy a shoe stretcher. I'm not sure how much one of those would cost.

People seem really afraid to have slight alterations done to their clothing. It is usually pretty inexpensive. It is the difference between buying an 80 dollar pair of jeans with draggy hems or an 80 dollar pair of jeans plus 8 dollars in alterations for jeans that are a total perfect length and will look a lot better on you and last longer cause they won't be dragging in the dirt. A lot of problems with clothes can be fixed by visiting a friendly local business that specializes in fixing that very problem. Walmart wants you to think that clothes are supposed to fall apart, be thrown away, and then rebought, but it is more cost effective to make sure the things you buy fit well and are well cared for, and fixed or altered if needed. Sorry if I just went off on a tangent, I am just excited to let you know you can get whatever high leather boots you want, regardless of how fat some fashion designer thinks your calves are.

Q: There is an older lady whose office is next to mine. She is great, very nice and makes me laugh. The problem is, she wears the worst perfume in the world and applies it liberally. What should I do about this?

A: I think that in an office enviroment, heavy perfume usage is mega-frowned upon. A lot of companies are actually enacting rules about it in their employee handbooks and stuff. If I were you, I would just mention it to someone in HR, who would be able to explain it to her in a way that makes sense in regards to her perfume usage and the company (people with allergies, sensitivities, etc), instead of her having to hear from her friend that she is stinky.

Q: My feet are sweaty and that really bothers me. Actually, it really is
a non-issue when I get to wear socks and such, but I work at one of those fancy schmancy places that requires ladies to wear lady shoes and nice pants so we can fax things in style.

How can I make my feet sweat less? Is there some sort of potion I can put on them or perhaps a magic thing-y for my shoes? For now it just really bums me out.


A: They make foot antiperspirant, and you can use regular armpit antiperspirant on them, too. Also, they have little socks that just cover the bottoms and a little bit of the toe and sides of your feet, so you can't see the socks when you are wearing, say, a pair of ballet flats or loafers or something. Another option is adopting the opaque tights look, which I find rather fetching. Nice colored tights, with a nice high Denier number are as good as socks.

Q: I'm a guy who has really clogged pores on his nose. My nose is pretty big, and while not many other people notice it, I do. It probably leads to the occasional nose zit and the like, but I'm pretty good about it all. I scrub my face in the shower every day, hard and with antibacterial soap. I've tried 10 different kinds of astringents after showering and before bed. I've even tried those nose strip things. And yet I still get these massive cloggings that, when I squeeze, all the trapped gunk comes out. It's like lots of little zits, but they're not--they're my pores.

Do you have any ideas on how I can maybe get this to stop? Some kind of cheap pore-cleansing solution perhaps? I'm just really tired of squeezing my schnozz every day; it's big enough where it gets to hurt.


A: Okeedoke. It seems like a lot of guys (namely my husband) like to scrub their faces really hard with Dial or some other antibacterial soap. I don't really think that's a good idea. It is too drying. Then, you follow it up with astringent, which is also drying. If your face is dry, it will get flakey. A lot of clogged pores are just clogged with dead skin cells. Do you see where I am going with this? Add to all that the fact that astringent is used to CLOSE UP your pores, you are just helping all that stuff get compressed in there.

Those pore strips don't work that well, either. They just seem to pull out 4 or 5 big clogs, and leave the other 6 million little ones. Not worth the price.

If it's not zitty acne, in which case you should just get some Proactiv or something, use a gritty exfoliant face wash (I think they actually make this for dudes now, and sell it at the drugstore. Neutrogena or Nivea or someone makes it) to get all the dead skin cells off. Then use some type of pore-clearing lotion. They are usually just some kind of face moisturizer with salicylic acid or some other type thing in it. I use this stuff, they don't have the market cornered on this kind of moisturizer, so don't feel like you have to pay a lot. I just thought I would show you in case my explanation of what to look for didn't make any sense. A lot of other companies make they same type of stuff, and you can probably get it at Walgreens or whatever. It might not solve your problem 100%, because nobody has perfect pores, but it will probably help out enough. You gotta give it time to work, too. Most changes in skincare routines won't show results for at least a couple weeks.

Q: I have dyed my hair about 3 times in the time span of a week. It's starting to get brittle and my friend swears it is going to all fall out. Do you have any good conditioner recommendations? Or maybe I just should stop dying my hair. What do you think, conditioner-wise?

A: First off, changing the color of your hair several times in a week is not a fashion decision. It is an attention-seeking behavior. You are addicted to people being like "Oh! You changed your hair! You're so crazy!" Dying your hair over and over again, without giving your hair any time to recuperate in between dye jobs, is the worst idea ever. It will fall out. If it hasn't fallen out already, it probably feels like bubblegum when it is wet (I'm right, aren't I?) That stretchiness when it is wet is going to make your hair get weaker and weaker and start breaking all over the place, which is just as bad as having it fall out.

What you are gonna need to do to salvage your hair is to cut off as much as you are willing to part with, and start conditioning the hell out of it. Don't shampoo it more than a couple times a week, but still shower and use conditioner in your hair anyway. Use hot oil treatments, then condition it, then deep condition it, then use leave in conditioner when you style it. I suggest you look up TERAX, and get whatever deep conditioners they have. I used to have black hair for about 10 years, now I have platinum blonde hair, and it's been this color for about 8 months, and its no worse for the wear because I was super careful every step of the way. You can do whatever weird thing you want with your hair, but plan out your look so you can execute it in such a way that does not make you look wrecked, and don't have frequent, drastic, high-process color changes be part of your signature.
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