The Church of the Heavenly Wood present the neverending Lessons of Wood
LESSON 29: the Holy Tattoo of Ed Wood

Wherein Reverend Steve Galindo discussed the origins and importance of the Woodian cross and shows off his brand new tattoo.

On March 4th, 2004, Reverend Steve Galindo went to Back Door Studios in Sacramento, California and got a tattoo of the holy Woodian Cross with a banner above and below it that says the words Ed Wood Saves. The following pictures are taken from that day.

Reverend Steve looking nervous and a bit frightened before entering the tattoo parlor.

GREETINGS, Woodites everywhere.

And to all you non-Woodites out there, a very special welcome indeed! At the moment that I sit down in front of my beaten up little laptop to write this 29th most holy Lesson of Wood, and I know that I say the same thing at the beginning of almost every Lesson of Wood lately but it honestly does feel like only a few days ago that I sat down to write lesson 1, it is a picture perfect spring day in the month of Esteban in Woodian Year 56. And I surely do mean "picture perfect" spring day. It feels like a Disney movie here - there's a song in the air and the birds are chirping and somewhere a prince is kissing someone awake and even the grumpiest white businessman locked in his sad, pathetic, cell phone, SUV, suit and tie, cubicle, depressing litle businessman life must want to skip and dance and run barefoot in a field of grass today because a perfect day like this makes everyone think that everything's going to be alright.

I'm sitting here in front of my old, decrepid computer sipping Snapple and watching my Space Ghost: Coast to Coast DVD with my baby daughter, Emerald. My wonderful girlfriend Natasha is busy working and since this is my day off then I'm here in the kitchen doing my best Mr. Mom routine and there's really no better day for it. Something about this day, a day like today, makes me happy that I am who I am, that I am a man who loves his girlfriend, who loves his daughter, who loves his religion and who loves his savior, Edward D. Wood Jr. I'm sure that there are other places where there are fires and storms and tornadoes and bloodshed happening but all I'm focused on is the wonderous sunlight beating down outside my window.

The only negative that I seem to know about right now is that my arm hurts like a sonofabitch. But we'll get to that later.

This is a lesson about the holy Woodian cross and its importance in Woodism and this is also a lesson all about my brand spankin' new tattoo. But first let's talk about the holy Woodian cross, a very important symbol that seems to have lost its importance over the years.

This is the history behind its creation.

I wish that it was a great origin story like something out of a comic book but unfortunatelt it isn't. I could lie and make up some deep, meaningful origin or I could lie and say that the idea for the cross came to me in a dream or something like that. But I guess that's what seperates Woodism from all those other, more popular, religions. This is a religion based on facts and reality, not on some lengthy and possibly false backstory.

Woodism is a real religion based on a real person. I would love to sit here and tell you that as long as you pray to Ed Wood every night and go to church and never cuss or sin that your entire life will be perfect but that's not reality. Our religion is based on Ed Wood, not Jesus Christ, and Ed Wood wasn't some mythical hero or some person whom we believe MAY have existed. He was a real man who lived and partied and vomited and smoked and sinned and lived his life to the fullest and he was never visited by angels and he was never spoken to by God.

Well, maybe when he was RE-E-E-EALLY drunk he may have THOUGHT that he had spoken to God, but that doesn't count at all.

So as much as I would love to tell you some large, grandious tale about the creation of the cross and make it sound like some sort of "Lord of the Rings" tale, I just can't. In some ways like our savior, the story of the origin of the cross has no shiny varnish and isn't sewn together in a gold-plated, leather-bound book and it isn't a true story that has been fictionalized over time. It is simply a story.

The Woodian cross is something I created way back in 1997. Seeing all these people wearing their religious crosses on their necks made me jealous and, truth be told, a bit pissed off after a while. There they are, flaunting their cross and their religion on their necks and their classrooms and their cars and their homes and, in essence, shoving their religion down the throats of all of us non-cross wearers.


So maybe out of a magical burst of creativity or maybe out of spite or maybe both, I decided to create a cross for Woodism, a cross that symbolized the struggle of Ed Wood and also the struggle of Ed's fans and followers. I wanted the cross to be a massive, epic symbol that would one day come to represent Woodism to all who see it and would strike fear and also hope in all who come to look upon it.

After about ten seconds of thinking about it, I decided to give up and just combine the Catholic cross with the letter "E" for Ed. And that was the well-meaning but ultimately not so exciting birth of the holy cross of Woodism.

Not too exciting, right? Yeah, I know it's not exciting. It's the thought that counts, is what I say, and I really had meant for it to be something really big and special and amazing but I just kind of said "fuck it" and combined the two and there you go, you get a cross.

But after a while I started seeing some symbolism in it. After a while I started seeing what it really stood for.

I guess, much like the life of Ed Wood and all of the world's greatest geniuses, I started to recognize the significance of it only after its passing.

You see, Ed Wood suffered and died for his art. He lived and breathed his films, motion pictures that no one understood and no one appreciated and no one paid to go see but despite the jeers and boos and the harsh criticism he still made his films, he still put his stories and his messages on film, knowing one day that his messages would one day be watched and appreciated. But it wasn't to be in his lifetime and he died poor, penniless, drunk, and unappreciated. But in the wake of his death the world awoke to Ed's films and his messages and his motion pictures.

With all that in mind, in a very realistic sense, Ed Wood died so that his motion pictures may live. He suffered for his films and therefore Ed Wood was truly a martyr for his art.

As such, the letter "E" represents Ed Wood and the Catholic cross on Ed's back represents Ed suffering as he lived so that his films could survive past him so that we, his loyal Woodites, could watch "Plan 9 from Outer Space" or "Glen or Glenda" and accept them as films made out of love and happiness despite their flaws just as we should learn to accept people despite their own flaws.

The cross is a simple, visual description of Ed walking through his life carring the same cross that Jesus carried because like Ed he suffered, died, and was buried so that we could watch his films and laugh and cry and understand who he was and what he stood for. The cross is Ed walking through life with a cross on his back so that we may live. So although it was just something sort of thrown together as a spur of the moment thing, it means something much more deep and iconic.

It stands as a reminder to us all that Ed suffered for us and now we live to spread his message to the world.

Plus, it looks fucking rad ass.

It does, doesn't it? Try and tell me that it DOESN'T look rad ass! I mean, if the Catholic cross and the Woodian cross were somehow magically brought to life and forced to fight to the death, the Woodian cross would win, hands down.

It just rocks more ass, I guess.

A comforting sign hung above the doorway into the tattoo parlor.

But lately, I don't know, I've come to think that the cross has come to mean nothing to no one and it saddenes me. In fact, lately I've come to think that this entire church has come to mean very little to anyone and it saddenes me.

That's the problem with having a religion on the internet like The Church of Ed Wood. We have over 3,000 legal followers worldwide but when you spread that thinly over the entire globe and something like over 30 different countries, well, that leaves very little literal people that are right in front of your face saying how much they appreciate your work and a few thousand personal e-mails saying how much your work is appreciated.

But those e-mails might make you feel nice and warm when you're staring at the glowing little monitor, but it pales in comparison to having someone walk right up to you and say "Hey, man, I really dig what you're doing!"

What I'm trying to say is, yeah I have over 3,000 followers worldwide but after spreading that worldwide that leaves a very small minority in my city, let alone my state, let alone my country.

I take some sort of small personal pride that I am worshipped like the Pope in certain villages in Italy.

I don't expect anyone else out there to understand. I mean, it's not like creating your own religion is any sort of NORMAL thing and I realize that but I created the world's first Ed Wood-based religion way back in 1996 and in internet terms that's a long ass time. That's a lifetime for web pages, especially an Ed Wood web page.

This is what happens all the time, every day, on the internet, much like the Lion King's "circle of life" ...

Sifl and Olly premieres on MTV in 1997 and suddenly there are all these "WE LOVE SIFL-N-OLLY" websites on the internet, all saying how they loved Sifl and Olly way before the OTHER Sifl and Olly web sites. So all the web sites are fighting and bickering, but then suddenly the next big thing comes along, in this case Tom Green, and suddenly you see all the Sifl and Olly web sites dissappear and all these Tom Green sites pop up.

Somehow, that can also stand as an analogy for existance, which I would explain if I were smarter.

So after Tim Burton created his biopic "Ed Wood" there were a lot of unworthy "WE LOVE ED WOOD" sites that had popped up, created by either people who honestly loved Ed Wood, people who were smitten of Johnny Depp, or uber-nerds who lusted after any and all things Tim Burton. And, unfortunately, the Church of Ed Wood was created at that time, which most people dismissed it as just another "WE LOVE ED WOOD" site and laughed as they walked away.

What they didn't realize is that I was aware of and loved everything about AND worshipped Edward D. Wood Jr. since 1988 when I saw "Plan 9 from Outer Space" for the first time. I have lived Ed Wood since I was in the sixth grade and my entire live I honestly believe has led up to this point in my life, becoming the leader of The Church of Ed Wood and spreading the message of Woodism to the entire world. Woodism is my life and I have spent so much time and effort and money on this church and this web page and this religion and these messages here.

I know that there are thousands of Woodites out there, not only all over America but also in Ireland and Italy and Germany and Canada and Mexico and England and Iceland and Norway. I know that Ed Wood's messages of love and happiness and acceptance and spreading all over the world and that I have a lot of followers and fellow Woodites. But I almost never see them. So it can be difficult for me, living here in Sacramento around a select group of about twenty Woodites.

It's easy for me to feel low, to feel down, to feel like no one feels the same way about Ed Wood and Woodism as I do.

So, I decided to something about it. I decided to rejuvinate my love for Ed and my love for Woodism. I decided to, once and for all, ultimately show everyone in the entire world how much Woodism means to me.

I decided to show everyone in this entire planet that NO this isn't one big joke and that YES this is serious and that YES I would easily give up my life so that this religion and its message of happiness and peace and universal acceptance could live on beyond my years.

I got a tattoo.

Reverend Steve sitting in the cold leather chair trying not to freak out as the tattoo starts.

First off, I would like to take a moment to thank some people who made this possible, first of which is the lovely and beautiful Woodian Angel Natasha Burkitt, whom I have been with for almost a year now. She is the first woman that I've ever been with who has thrown all caution to the wind and supported me one hundred percent in every part of who I am, inlcuding my church and my followers and my religion. Most of the women I've ever dated have walked along a fine line between uncaring and confusion but she has been there helping me and supporting me and even guiding me when I have lost my way.

In my mind, any woman who wants to watch "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and plan a vacation to the San Diego Comicon and then go out and buy tickets to a WWE pay-per-view event, THAT woman is a woman to try and keep next to your heart for the rest of your life and that is exactly what I intend to do.

I don't believe in angels and faires and all that fairy tale bullshit but Natasha is my angel, a Woodian angel sent from Ed as his way of saying "thanks" and I just throw back a shit-eating grin and smile right back at him.

So I want to thank Natasha for all that she's done for me, especially for being there for me as I went under the needle. I was scared out of my mind and I thought that there would be no way that I could ever stand the pain enough to get a tattoo but she put up the cash as an early Galindomas present and for that I knew that I HAD to get it and I really do thank her for that with all my heart.

I would also like to thank all the good people at Back Door Studios on Del Paso Boulevard in Sacramento, California for seeing a small, skinny Mexican guy with a really badly drawn picture on the back of his Uncle John Bathroom Reader Page-a-Day calendar and turning it into a wonderful, kick ass tattoo.

I was scared, freaked out, breathing heavily, but I sucked it in and tried to be a man and I took it rather well and the people at Back Door Studios have been in the business well past this century and are constant professionals, even to a wussy smart ass like myself. Since this was my first tat, they really knew how to calm me down and make me feel comfortable and for that I am eternally grateful.

Seriously, if you happen to be in Sacramento and you want to get a tattoo, then these guys are really worth checking out.

Reverend Steve going under the needle as his Woodian tattoo finally starts hurting like hell.

This tattoo is a symbol of strength and unity, not just for me but for all Woodites everywhere.

I won't regret it and I won't eventually get it removed. I want everyone to know that right now. This tattoo, this cross, this religion, this is what I live for, what I am here on this earth to preach and promote. I fully believe that Ed Wood will save the world. I created the world's first Ed Wood-based religion way back in 1996 ... but I was aware of and loved everything about AND worshipped Edward D. Wood Jr. since 1988 when I first saw "Plan 9 from Outer Space" late at night on TNT Monstervision. Ever since I first saw Criswell pop up and say "Greetings my friends ..." then I knew that Edward D. Wood Jr. was someone who would always have a place in my heart.

I don't want anyone to think for one split second that I will one day find Jesus and drop this whole Ed Wood thing. I don't want any single soul to think that this whole Woodism thing is just some big joke I created and that for every baptism that comes my way that I just laugh and giggle and make fun of the person who believes in Woodism.

This is not a joke and I will not give it up one day for Catholicism or Christianity and this tattoo should stand to show the world that I am in this for the long haul, for the rest of my natural born life, and that I will live and preach and promote and worship Edward D. Wood Jr. from now until the day that I die. This religion may seem silly to some but it is my life and my livelihood and I will die believing in its importance.

I love and worship Ed Wood and I am in this for the long haul come hell or high water. I will continue to be the leader of The Church of Ed Wood no matter what and by getting this tattoo I want to solidify not only my love for Ed but the seriousness of Woodism as a religion that will NOT go quietly into the night and will not be silenced and will NOT be simply dismissed as some big joke.

I've said this a million times before but every time I say it I mean it because it comes right from my heart ... I don't expect you to believe in Woodism. All I expect is that you respect the back that there ARE people out there that are like me that believe in Ed Wood and Woodism. And this tattoo shouldd show you all that I believe and that I will never stop believing in the healing, empowering power of Edward D. Wood Jr. and his heavenly films.

Reverend Steve Galindo in a ton of pain as his Woodian tattoo is almost done.

My parents screaming is what I've been hearing in the back of my head lately.

I've been hearing them a lot lately over things. It's strange how they move away and yet I still hear them every once and a while in the back of my mind saying that I need to shave because I look ugly or that I shouldn't wear that to work because I look like a bum. I love my parents and I will always love them and this is in no way me making fun of them. They just have spent a long amount of time getting under my skin about keeping up appearances whereas I've spent my entire life preaching and promoting being happy with being yourself.

Let me tell you this - it is incredibly hard for me to be the founder and leader of a renegade religion with thousands of followers worldwide where you teach and promote independance and pride and happiness in yourself when your mother is right behind you telling you how ugly you look and how your faccial hair makes you look like shit.

And don't think for one second that I'm joking.

So Natasha and I moved in together at the beginning of 2004.

If you work for a major bookstore chain then don't say shit about the both of us because we work together and work was where I first met her. For the longest time, our relationship was a scandalous thing that was whispered about in the breakroom with words of shock and dismay. For the longest time, too, certain managers took our sweet little relationship and blew it wa-a-a-a-ay out of proportion and there were meetings and e-mails about how to handle the Natasha and Steve "situation" and it was too much. It was just insaine. That was from summer of 2003 to about X-mas. It was a strange, herky-jerky "Three's Company" sort of thing, the running around and the silliness of trying to maintain a relationship with someone you want to spend the rest of your life with when manager Greg is breathing down your butthole.

But recently, thankfully, it finally seems as though, even though the two of us are very professional at work, almost everybody we work with knows that we're together and they seem to be cool with it. We've been together, as I said before, for almost a year now so the management, probably finally realizing that there ain't shit that they can do to stop our love for each other, have relaxed into a really comfortable "don't ask/don't tell" sort of position regarding the two of us.

But still, to be cool, don't say anything.

In the past, I've spent so much time in regret, sad and drunk and depressed. But here in Sacramento I have been reborn in happiness and in strength and in the joys of finally maturing and living with Natasha and her two year old daughter Emerald has enriched my life in ways that I did not know existed. She calls me da-da now, Emerald does. The other day she snuck into our bed to sleep with us and she put my arm around her. I woke up and she was just looking at me, touching my face, smiling. It was amazing. I almost cried. I've never been happier than I am being a father to Emerald and a boyfriend to Natasha. Life with her has been great.

I know that a million other people have said this a million other, more poetic ways, and honestly I always thought that they were full of shit but I guess they were right ... my life has never been better now that I an a father.

The my mother and father came to visit for a few days. And they just screwed up everything.

Steve Galindo looking at his tat in the mirror that night.

My parents, whom I love and will love until the day that I die, are classic balloon bursters. I love them, but they are.

First off, my father was too busy to see me.

That hurts like a bee sting, your father being too busy to see you. It's not like he was here for a day or a half a day. No, he was here for something like four days and he never could find one second to recognize my own existance.

My father was in Sacramento for all of four days and he couldn't be bothered to come and see the GOOD son but somehow he found time to spend a day or two with the other son, my brother Joe.

You get used to that. Sad but true.

When my mother and father left Sacramento and moved back to Phoenix, my father found time to pick up my older brother, dispose of his broken new bed, buy him a new bed, then take him out for some drinks but somehow he couldn't find time to say good-bye to his other son. It's something you get used to, unfortunately.

Hell, while they were here visiting my parents found time to go out drinking at the dirt bar with my brother and all his friends but he couldn't find time to come and see his good, kind, loving, sober son. That hurts.

I am actually glad that he didn't bother to say good-bye to me because he would have just made fun of my appearance and told me that I have to shave and cut my hair because I look like shit and that I can't expect Emerald to look at me as a father when I look like that and that the children who I read to during storytime at work won't want to hear a story from a guy that looks like a bum that just walked in from the street.

Like my mother did. Goddamn, if you would have heard my mother you would have just not believed your ears! Ok, first off, I look like shit. Secondly, I look like a bum, a dirty bum. Thanks, mom. And work, apparently, is going to fire me because I look like a dirty hippie with my facial hair and my long hair because they don't want people working with them that look like a bum that just walked off the street.

That is all she talked about, is negativity and anger and bullshit about how I looked. Forget the fact that on March 22nd, I'm going to be twenty-seven years old and I don't even live in the same STATE as my parents, let alone in the same house, and yet they just can't seem to stop yelling at me for how I look, as if my appearance is some sort of reflection on them.

I love my parents. I do. They are great and I love them with every bone in my body.

With that in mind, screw them. Screw my parents!

I love them, I do, but HELLO! I'M TWENTY-FUCKING-SEVEN YEARS OLD NOW! I'M LIVING ON MY OWN, OUT OF MY PARENT'S HOUSE! So what right do they have coming to visit me and telling me to shave because I look ugly? That's bull. And that enrages me to the point of no return!

I am sick and tired of being yelled at for the way I look by parents that can't even find the time to say that they love me or miss me or even say good-bye when they move to another state. How dare they comment on my appearance! How dare they tell me that I look like shit!

Hey, mom. Hey dad. Guess what? I got a tattoo.

The final results - Reverend Steve Galindo and his "Ed Wood Saves" tattoo.

The main problem with Woodism is that people constantly expect me to easily explain my religion in a small, easy-to-digest soundbyte. But that isn't possible.

It is impossible for me to explain my religion in an easy-to-swallow pill. It cannot be summarized by a cute, catchy soundbyte or easily explained in a list of ten things you should never do. Woodism is an emotion, a felling of confidence, a feeling of acceptance of your being, and a felling that if the whole wide world were to burst into flames tomorrow, a true Woodite would raise a glass and say "Well, at least I had a shitload of fun while it lasted!"

Ed Wood was an alcoholic transvestite filmmaker in the puritanical 1950s and '60s, a time when it was taboo to even say the word "pregnant" let alone walk down the street dressed in women's clothes. And yet, for all his faults, for all his sins, for all the mistakes in his films, Ed Wood was proud of who he was and didn not care about what others might say about how he looked on the outside because he was content with what was inside.

That is a hard lesson to learn. It's even harder when you have someone right next to you yelling that you are a freak and that you look like shit. But this is in essence the most important aspect of Woodism because it was the core of Ed's life.

And in that sense I urge anyone out there who loves Ed Wood and loved Woodism to get a Woodism tattoo. Showcase Woodism to the whole world. Show everyone that you believe in Ed Wood and his messages and his power to save people's lives. It is time for Woodism to come out of the shadows of the world and take the spotlight. It is time for Woodites to start yelling and screaming and fighting and breaking the laws and rules of society.

Ed Wood can't be stopped.