A while back I completed my Doctorate, and as a reward to self I had decided to get a tattoo. I spent a long time thinking about the meaning behind a design, and even longer finding a tattooist who would be competent at doing it for me.


That’s my mock-up, above. It’s a mashup of a few images I have found on the ‘web. The basic idea is full-sleeve, with the ship on my upper arm and the kraken on my lower-arm, with tentacles wrapped everywhere. As I flex my arm, the kraken is fighting the ship.

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That’s not my body, too bad. But I’ve overlaid a version of the tattoo over it to give some idea about the size and layout. Pretty big, and for someone who is deathly afraid of needles it will be an interesting challenge.  I’m told it is many hours’ work.

Well, over a year ago I plonked down a deposit. I’m still waiting. That doesn’t bode well for the tattoist’s reliability, but nonetheless I do like his work – a lot – and I now have an appointment set for 24th this month.  Now that’s happened twice before (that is, an appointment date was set). But this time it’s pretty much all or nothing for me, as I’m going to abandon all hope if it doesn’t go ahead.

I have a lot of meaning in my design…

First, there’s a quote from Sir Isaac newton – famous scientist from a few hundred years back going something like…

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
so, the ship itself – it represents “The Beagle” as used by Charles Darwin on his voyages where he came to his theory of evolution. visited Hobart in the early 19th century…
The flag flying on the mast is the “pirate fish” flag – it’s a well-known atheist symbol (of Flying Spaghetti Monster fame).
The ship is effectively the ship of knowledge and it’s sailing on the great ocean of TRUTH, as per the Newton quote. And the kraken represents the great unknown
The basic meaning is that no matter how well you think you know how things are, how you are confident of your fate, there is always the great unknown (kraken) bearing down on you. And the moral/story is this…
1) be thankful for what you have; you never know what’s coming for you, and
 2) never give up
so that’s the basic meaning
The reason for the tattoo is a reward to myself for sticking with my studies and achieving a goal. It’s also a strong statement of my atheism and belief in science and knowledge as being important.

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