California–Day 5 (High Voltage Tattoo!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

After such an exhausting day at Universal Studios, the next day was pretty low-key. However, my sweetie REALLY wanted to go to High Voltage Tattoo, the tattoo shop from the hip TV show L.A. Ink, with Kat Von D. We were introduced to her tattooing style in Miami Ink, when she was part of that tattoo team. Then, when she left to open her own tattoo shop, we watched that as well. If you don’t know anything about her or her tattoos, she is AMAZING. Her forte is portraits which look so real it’s crazy. Anyways, Kimm has been thinking about getting another tattoo for a while, and thought, “hey, why not try to get one while I’m in LA.” She knew that she wouldn’t be able to get one from Kat because she is wicked expensive (probably around $1000) but she was willing to spend a little extra to at least get one done by some “unknown” in her shop.

After looking up information online, we found out that the show was apparently taping during the day since the shop was only open from 9pm to 12am. Kimm called (“phone first”) to make sure that they could complete tattoos in that time period and they said yes, although it was a first come, first serve basis and it was best to be there early so as to ensure a spot. So we decided to try to get there for 8:45 pm. Frank was again gracious enough to offer to drive us there. We got there right at 8:45 pm and there were already people waiting in line. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long.

As soon as the doors opened, we went right to the desk and Kimm put in her “order.” They said that the tattoo (Team Canada for hockey–don’t worry, if you don’t know what this looks like, you’ll see shortly) would cost $400 (gulp!). But we were there…it was cool. Right away we determined that this was NOT the same shop that was used for the TV show. It looked completely different. Turns out there was a back to the shop that was used for taping. But, as I said, it was still cool. Thankfully my camera was completely charged this time and so I just went to town taking pictures.

Outside the shop

Kat Von D (front), and the rest of her tattoo team/cast on L.A. Ink (photo from inside shop)

Chandelier hanging above the reception desk when you first walk in

Posters of Kat on the wall…

Inside the shop, to the left…it’s PINK!

The back of the store…I sat in one of those chairs watching the tattoo process (the red curtain to the right is where it leads to the second shop, the one used on the TV show)

The right side of the store, toward the back is where Kimm’s tattoo was done

Row of skateboards above the door…

Kimm, pre-tattoo…look at that smile…in case you can’t tell, she’s excited!

The guy who did Kimm’s tattoo was named Khoi. He was a very down-to-earth, nice guy. Very friendly. Very intense in his work. Answered all of my questions. Took a picture with Kimm after the tattoo was done. All in all it took about an hour. I was able to watch the whole thing up close, without feeling any of the pain. Kimm said it wasn’t too bad–just a burning sensation.

Here’s the outline of the tattoo–looks pretty good under Taz (now you can see the Team Canada Hockey logo–basically a hockey player in the middle of a maple leaf, the traditional emblem of Canada, with the team colors of Team Canada–black and red–by the way, Team Canada plays internationally and in the Olympics–in case you hadn’t noticed my sweetie LOVES hockey and Canada!)

The tattoo has begun! This is the back of Khoi’s head…don’t worry you’ll see what he looks like later…

The tattoo continues…

The final tattoo!

So here is Khoi from the front; Kimm’s tattoo is all wrapped up

One last view…

After it was done, turns out the tattoo was only $350–a deal! We called for a taxi to take us back to Frank’s. That was another experience in itself. After 20 minutes of waiting, still no cab. So finally, Khoi, the tattoo artist said, “you just need to hail down a taxi, or else you’ll be standing here all night.” He in fact tried to hail one down for us, but they kept driving past. Finally I stuck my arm out, and a cab pulled over…25 feet past us. We hopped in and found out that the reason the cab had pulled up so far was because the tattoo place was right on the border of two competing cab areas and the cab driver could get arrested for stopping in an area that was not his section. He said he was arrested once for that the first year he drove a cab, was fined heavily, and has never made that mistake again. So by pulling up to his area, he was safe–and we got to go home. Of course, it did cost us $26 (isn’t that absolutely CRAZY!!–and we kind of knew how to get back to Frank’s house–I can only IMAGINE how much it would have been if we were completely clueless!)

P.S. Forgot to mention, but Frank made awesome sandwiches for dinner that night–Pesto, Tomato, and Mozzarella Panini–oh they were sooooo good. I am salivating now just thinking of them. Good thing I should be able to make them since they came from Barefoot Contessa At Home, a cookbook that I own!

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 9:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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California–Day 4 (Universal Studios!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kimm and I decided to also fit in some “touristy” things while we were out in California, and Universal Studios was where we both wanted to go.  We spent Sunday night looking up the various entertainment and rides at the park and were both excited to spend the day there on Monday.  When we awoke on Monday, while Kimm was getting ready, I spent a little time practicing the newly learned lesson of “filling the frame” by photographing some of the gorgeous flowers in Frank’s beautifully landscaped front yard–I call this selection, California Flowers.

Frank was kind enough to offer to drive us to the subway drop off point where we hopped onto the subway for only $1.25 (which really seemed to be the honor system since no one ever asked to see our tickets and we never had to put them into any kind of slot…strange…).  After a short ride, we arrived and had to walk only a short while to the tram area where we were shuttled up to Universal Studios.

I can say this now, since the trip is now over, and I have fully recovered.  I DO NOT CARE FOR THEME PARKS.  I didn’t think I felt this way prior to going to Universal Studios.  I was fully prepared to have an excellent time and enjoy myself thoroughly.  And I did have a good time.  But I admit, being in a closed in space, with LOTS of people, most of them KIDS and TEENAGERS, is not that fun.  There were several times while we were waiting in line when I was fuming with anger because kids where shouting or pushing.  Plus there is all the waiting in line.  I have decided that I have better things to do with my time besides waiting in line.  Of course there were people who purchased the “Front of the Line” passes (for a lot more money–if I could have afforded it, I would have done it as well!).  And the walking–we both had what we term “Big E” feet by the time we arrived home that night (The Big E is an approximately 2 week long fair that is held yearly in New England–we always go for a full day, we always walk all day, and we ALWAYS have sore feet the next day!).  Not to mention the big one–the expense.  Our tickets to simply get into the park were $64 each.  Then you have to add on the money you spend on food (not cheap) and any souvenirs that you may want, not to mention simply some water when you get hot, and it can get EXTREMELY expensive.  I honestly don’t know how families afford to go!  But that’s enough of my rant.  While I was there, I did have fun.  The only BAD thing that happened all day was the fact that my camera battery died midway through the day!  But, don’t despair, I do have some pictures.

When we first walked in, there was this statue that everyone was crowded around, and taking pictures of.  I couldn’t figure out why it was so interesting–I mean, it’s a statue.  But then all of a sudden, there was a movement, and one part of the statue moved and changed positions!  It was a live human being, dressed in clothing similar to the other people in the statue, but he must have had on special studio makeup.  I was simply amazed…mostly because it was a HOT day and he was not even sweating!  I know I could not have done that job!

Which of these people in the statue is “real”? (Hint: It’s the one leaning against the pole in the foreground!)

One of the first shows we saw was called Waterworld–it was a stunt show based on the movie (which I’ve never seen so had nothing to compare it to)–just picture the end of the world in sight because there is no dry land anywhere, until one of the “good guy” characters finds dry land to everyones relief, but then of course the “bad guys” want to get there first and try to kill off the “good guys”–include lots of fire, diving into the water, shooting, and ski jets, and you get the picture.

Where all the action took place (isn’t that water beautiful looking?)

We went into the House of Horror.  It was okay–we were expecting a ride of some sort, but instead it was a walk through house.  I was scared a few times by cleverly placed actors who jumped out at you, but for the most part it was simply looking at what was supposed to be scary things (for example, skulls, tombs, a room full of characters from scary movies).  Combined with the group of 10 screaming teenagers behind us, who kept running into us, it wasn’t our favorite entertainment of the day.

Shrek was better.  It was a 4-D movie–the fourth dimension included seats moving to simulate movement on the screen, water being squirted out at you to simulate being splashed with a puddle, or even more disgusting, spit from a sneeze!, and air pumped past your feet to simulate spiders!  We were both laughing after coming out of that show.

Of course we did the Studio Tour, a tram tour of Hollywood’s most famous behind-the-scenes movie studios.  It was extremely interesting, but also difficult to take pictures from a moving tram–they didn’t really stop much to take pictures.  It took Kimm a while to get the hang of it, but we got a few!

Does this boat look familiar? Da, na, na, na, da, na, na, na (with haunting music = JAWS!)

A glimpse of Whoville, from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, The Movie (with Jim Carrey)

The most famous motel of all time, from Psycho

Although we did almost everything at the park (with the exception of the Simpson’s Ride–because the line was always 45 minutes long, and the Jurassic Park ride–because you got SOAKED coming down a large water shoot at the end, and Curious George–because it was for young children), the ride I think we both most enjoyed was Revenge of the Mummy.  Even though it was based on a movie that we had never seen, it was great because it was a roller coaster that first went forward, then backward–it was dark, it was scary, it was FUN!!!  If I could do it over again, I would go on this ride AT LEAST five more times!

This guy (and others like him) were milling about outside the ride…Kimm wanted a picture with one of them–they were about 7-8 feet tall (on stilts obviously), but of course after this picture is when the camera battery died…

After we had our fill of Universal Studios, we headed back out to CityWalk, an outdoor plaza with shopping, dining, and outdoor music.  We walked around a bit, but our feet were so sore, we headed back to the subway (and it took us 45 minutes to get back to the spot Frank would pick us up–much longer than the ride in), and finally arrived home after 9pm.  I think we were both glad to see our bed that night.

It was a good experience, and I’m glad I went, but I’m certain I will not go again!

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 6:18 pm  Leave a Comment