New Canvasses: Ink Master Returns

Ink Master, the best tattoo competition on TV returned last night for it’s third season. Spike brought sixteen tattoo artists to New York to see who was worthy of the title Ink Master. Once again the judges would be Oliver Peck, Chris NuñezDave Navarro, and the viewers at home. Tatu Baby got her second chance that way, her experiences last season hopefully giving her an edge on the others.

This time out, however, the human canvasses will also get to vote on the worst tattoo of the day, an important new wrinkle that will put a second contestant up for elimination each time.

Flash Challenge

The show opens with the contestants arriving at one of New York‘s correctional facilities. They are then told that in order to test their flexibility, they will all be tattooing in the prison, and that they would only be allowed a single needle. Prison Style tattooing, in other words. Making this the very first challenge the judges are clearly testing the fundamentals of a tattoo artists ability since mistakes will be glaringly obvious.


Ally Lee – Oliver thought her tattoo was too large, telling her that single-needle calls for smaller, more detailed work. Not a bad assessment.

Jackie Jennings – Another 10 year vet, her opening effort was a skull and crossbones that maximized the limitations of the single-needle, earning her praise from Chris.

Chris May – No single-pass outlines, but they didn’t tear him up either.

Jason Clay Dunn – Looking like he just got off the bus from Portland, he opens the show with a black rose that earned him praise from Chris due to the single-pass he did when he applied it . 

Jime Litwalk – With twenty years of experience, this New Skool pioneer is going to be one to watch. New Skool artists don’t tend to impress me, so I will reserve judgement. Still, his opening tattoo was top of the heap.

Frank McManus – This guy looks way too young to be competing for this title. His first tattoo looked rough, Oliver calling it overworked.

James Danger – A self-taught artist he somehow never learned that anytime a vehicle/flag/animal is tattooed onto a person, it is always depicted as advancing. Otherwise it looks like the tattoo is trying to escape from the person wearing it.

Josh Hibbard – With 10 years of experience he doesn’t really look like a tattoo artist, despite the ink crawling up out of his collar. His canvas wanted a Japanese demon umbrella. No, seriously, that’s what he asked for.

Demon Umbrella by Joshua Hibbard

Fuck the Japanese can make anything weird.

Kyle Dunbar – After twelve years he apparently learned his craft and for the past six years he has been delivering good tattoos. The one for this challenge would be one of the better ones on display.

ES – A 16 year veteran of the industry he prefers the Black and Gray style. Not surprisingly he seems comfortable with the single-needle and his hourglass/dagger tattoo is definitely one of the better ones.

Maddie LaBelle – She draws a hideously bad spider tattoo, apparently because when she heard “prison style” she thought they meant “shitty.”

Maddie LaBelle

I don’t know what this guy did to society, but Maddie LaBelle is sure making him pay for it.

Made Rich – Another artist who has never done single needle, the judges were not happy with the outlining for his playing cards with script tattoo.

Joey Hamilton – Photorealism is his strong suit, and he completely slams this challenge with an excellent skull.

Craig Foster – Another New Skool artist, he produced an inconsistently done cross that looked rather lackluster.

Mystical Mike – A very young artist he says he has never done a single needle tattoo. Maybe that explains why his tattoo was so boring and amateurish.

Tatu Baby – Back for a second chance at being Ink Master, she has no excuses if she ever finds herself on the bottom.

In the end the judges gave the win to Joey, giving him the power to assign canvasses at the first elimination.

Elimination Tattoo

Since flexibility is the first test, the judges set the artists to doing cover-ups. And the canvasses, in another surprise twist, were the same ones from the Flash Challenge. To keep himself from being accused of sabotaging anyone, Joey keeps the same pairings from earlier. Strangely no one wanted their Flash tattoos covered, although Mike came close with his canvas, Hiram, who was not even remotely pleased with his.

Tops and Bottoms

Jime  has to deal with a canvas that wants a dragon tattoo, something that no one has yet successfully pulled off at Ink Master. Maddie also decides to do a dragon as part of her cover-up.

Tops and Bottoms 

One of the weirdest moments in the history of the show comes during the critique when Mystical Mike tries to defend his tattoo by saying he only brought one machine with him. This floors both Chris and Oliver who cannot understand why anyone would go to a competition for $100,000 and only bring one tattoo machine.

Tatu Baby found herself in front of the judges with Mike, Maddie, and Frank. Not the sort of company you want to keep on this show, and I think it’s obvious that the latter trio won’t be around long.

Gypsy by Tatu Baby

Even with a fucked-up finger, this tattoo by Tatu Baby was still the best.

The other three were all varying degrees of crappy with the human canvasses voting for Maddie LaBelle.

Tattoo by Maddie LaBelle

She meant to make it shitty. Honestly.

The judges, however, were torn between Mike and Frank.

Babboon by Frank McManus

Frank McManus tried to defend this. He failed.

Lion by Mystical Mike

Looks nice at first blush, Then you get closer and start noticing all of the flaws.







Ultimately they decided that the baboon just had no redeeming qualities at all, and so they sent Frank on his way. This allows the other two to survive one more week, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Maddie or Mike get bounced next.

The Walking Stupid

As part of my daily ritual I always check the latest news reports on Wired, Ars Technica, and a couple other sites. Then I read anything that catches my eye, always looking for something to write about. This morning I found an article on Wired asking lawyers and psychologists to analyze “The Walking Dead.”

The Editorial Staff at Wired

I don’t watch that program for several reasons: I am not especially fond of the zombie genre, I wasn’t impressed with the pilot of the show, and apparently the only reason people watch it is so they can hate the characters. So I have politely ignored it for some time now, despite the fact that Wired never shuts up about it.

This morning’s article, however, truly takes the cake in the “We Need to Fill Some Space on the Homepage No Matter How Moronic the Article.” category. I would recommend you read it just so you can see how low the standards are for publication over at Wired.

I can understand the psychologists being interested in something like this because their job is to study the human mind and the way it reacts to it’s environment. Should a zombie apocalypse actually occur, it would be nice to have a couple people on hand who can identify the insane people among the survivors, and hopefully point them out quickly. Lawyers, on the other hand, exist solely to argue about shit. That is their gig, they like to argue with people. That makes them extremely expendable in a Zombie War since the dead don’t really have much to say.

The lawyers, on the other hand, are the ones who really piss me off. They actually ask Do the Undead Have Legal Responsibilities?  I’m not making that shit up, they actually asked that question. This is a sign of how low and vulgar the legal profession has become, they are such parasites that they can find the money even in the extinction of the human race. They didn’t ask this question because they want to conduct criminal trials, that would be beyond stupid. They want to conduct civil trials and sue the survivors for whatever they can get. There is no other explanation for the question “Do the undead have legal responsibilities?

I will concede the idea that survivors would be held legally accountable for crimes committed during the Zombie War, but those crimes would be restricted to rape for fairly obvious reasons. Are you going to charge someone with grand theft auto because they stole an ambulance to make an escape? Going to charge people with looting for stealing guns and ammunition to fight the war, or for stealing food to survive? Only 21st Century American lawyers would have the audacity to tell you to keep the law in mind during an Apocalypse.

The true disappointment, however, is a respected publication like treating this stupidity as if it made any sense at all, even as a thought experiment. There are no standards anymore…or maybe they are so low we just can’t see them.

Return of the Dragons: Game of Thrones Season 3

So, tonight HBO premiered the first episode of the most popular TV show on the Internet, Game of Thrones. Of course I made it a point to watch it, but in the weeks leading up to this night, I didn’t make it a point to rewatch seasons 1 and 2.

Yeah, I know…you don’t have to look at me like that, though.

Like most people, that is my normal routine. Right before the new season, binge-watch the previous seasons so I’m all caught up and back in the proper frame of mind. Unfortunately, I had no desire to do that this time, and I think I can trace the cause of this to season 2. Let’s be honest here, they really dropped the ball in season 2, in nearly every episode. If you don’t believe me, pick a random episode from season one, then do the same with season 2. Watch them consecutively, and then tell me you don’t see a marked change in quality.

Some of the problems were minor things, like replacing the actor who played The Mountain, Gregor Clegane. In season 1, you had Conan Stevens playing the role

Then in season 2 they replaced him with Ian Whyte.

Personally, I preferred Conan in the role, and now I enjoy it all the more because his name is Conan.

Then there was the dramatic rise in nudity in season 2. Don’t get me wrong, season 1 was plenty bawdy and there were certainly no scarcity of breasts, but it always made sense. In season 2 they tossed breasts at us in a desperate attempt to distract us from the diminished quality of the writing.’

A key example of that would be the clumsy way Littlefinger told Cersei, right in front of a contingent of her personal guards, that he knew her kids were incestuous bastards. His behavior was so clumsy and poorly written it was laughable.

The former Mayor of Baltimore deserves better.

Which, of course, brings us to the subject of Tywin Lannister, brought to life by the great Terence Stamp. We have been incessantly told he is a shrew, keen-minded man. Yet when a poorly disguised Arya Stark is brought before him, he immediately identifies her as a female and takes her into his service. After numerous conversations with her, he still seems unconcerned with who she really is, despite her many clues that she is high-born.

It must be difficult to run Ankh-Morpork and Casterly Rock at the same time.

Those were great conversations, because they are both skilled actors, but in the greater context of the program, they rang hollow. In fact, that is how I felt about a lot of season 2; it seemed less like the grand political drama of the first season and more like cheap melodrama.

Remember how it ended with Sam and the undead army? Cheap melodrama.

The Walking Dead: Palin Country

The first episode of the new season seemed like one of the better episodes from season 2, but I wasn’t fully impressed with it. I will watch it again tomorrow and update this entry when i decide one way or the other about it.