Monthly Archives: June 2001


“There are two kinds of people in the world… Tattoo artists and losers who wish they were tattoo artists.”

Just got this today — the premier issue of a tattoo trade journal. I've never seen anything like it… Features include a wild project machine and reader's machines (which reminds me an awful lot of custom car magazines!), an interview with Seth Ciferri on tattooing and machine building and his website, a how to article on cutting springs, a shop space feature on the prevention of cross-contamination in tattooing, articles on the evolution of the tattoo machine and the history of needlemaking, tons of technical questions answered, and even fun stuff like a coloring contest and an autoclave cookbook.

A couple of excerpts:

Q: What's the difference between carbon steel needles and stainless steel needles? I've also been hearing about carbon plated needles — what are they?

A: The quality, or usability of a needle for tattooing cannot be judge solely by what the needle is made of. Certainly, stainless steel needles are the only needles that should be used for tattooing — but not all stainless steel needles are foing to work well for tattooing. The profile and diameter of the needle will determine whether or not a needle will work well for tattooing. Carbon steel is a softer metal than stainless steel and consequently easier to grind. So, a less expensive material that's eaier to manufacture ends up a lass expensive product. But not one that should be used for tattooing. Carbon steel has a tendancy to rust very quickly — and would be exposed to liquids during the tattooing process. Carbon plated needles are generally nickel or chrome plating over a carbon steel needle — not some kind of carbon plating on a needle. Very inexpensive, very low quality. No plated needle should ever be used to tattoo. The process of tattooing causes some wear on the needles. As the plating starts to wear, it chips and separates from the needles. Stainelss steel is a more expensive product, and very difficult to grind, especially at the diameters and to the tolerances required to make a good needle for tattooing. Its high cost would be its only drawback. If you're trying to save money, don't save it on needles, it's only a few cents and will ultimately affect your work.

The Green Monster
The planning stages of building the world's fastest tattoo machine.

The most important measurement that can be made on a machine is the speed that it runs at. Machine speed determines if a machine will work as a liner or shader. Most tattooers have no idea what speed their machines run at. Some are using a liner for a shader, and some are trying to outline with a machine that should be a shader. They could easily fix this, if they could measure and control the speed of their machines. Speeds of 100 to 120 Hz are common for shaders, and speeds as high as 150 Hz are used for liners. The Green Monster will break the 300 Hz barrier. We're not building this machine just to go fast. By making it run at maximum speed, we will learn what the limitations of each part of the machine are. Once we know that, we can figure out how to overcome these limitations, and engineer a better running machine…

Anyway, Machinegun Magazine is published by Eikon and in theory has a website at The website does not appear to be up and running as I write this. As far as getting the magazine, I'm told that this issue is basically all spoken for and has been mailed out to current Eikon customers — contact them for more information. At a minimum it will encourage them to continue with a second issue.

PS. Any typos in the above excerpts are mine.


If I ever shoot a movie, I'm definitely going to include the U of T library in some of the shots… I know that Toronto City Hall has been on Star Trek, but this building is much cooler — and much weirder…

Time enough?

The hour and a half between 3:30 AM and 5:00 AM are perhaps the kindest minutes a city has to offer. It's a little after 5 AM now and I just got back from a short walkabout. Down on Pier Six is a 24-hour second cup… On the drive there I was passed a police car which immediately did a u-turn and then tailed me for about five minutes before giving up the chase. It's too bad, because I'd prepared myself to yell at him for pulling me over without provocation.

The only other patron at the coffee shop was a passed out and rather filth-encrusted hobo — if I'd arrived an hour earlier the place would have been teeming with Asian club kids. The attendant seemed half mad with boredom. He sang to himself and babbled incomprehensibly as he got me a jumbo mocca and an expresso bar (a concoction of white chocolate and coffee beans sure to wire even the most hardened coffee drinker). I left immediately and walked down the pier. It's chilly; probably about 50 degrees (10 celcius), and I even though I walked nearly naked the cold was refreshing.

I listened to the water against the boats — beastly floating restaurants gaudy with Christmas lights in every window, enough to reveal their sprawling low class dining chambers but not enough to transform them into anything beautiful. A gull broke the spell of the waves as it launched itself from the mooring line of the Empress of Canada, and I listened to a pair of birds in their early morning chatter. Soon the concrete turned to wood and I reached the end of the pier where I sat on a bench overlooking Lake Ontario. I watched some ducks feeding under an immense hollow spherical sculpture — I suspect it may have been some sort of giant sundial. Flowing through the sculpture was a terraced waterful — within this I became mesmerised by a field of undulating seaweed which strangely seemed to prefer the shallow pumping water to the solice of the lake. For a moment I watched the sun begin to rise over the Toronto Islands, but it was too brief a moment before I had walked back through a well tended and empty park and found myself again inside a graveyard of silent glass towers…

Well, I have work to do now. No rest for the wicked, right?


Eureka! Scientists break speed of light

OK, I'm sure you know my obsession with all things speed-of-light related… They've slowed it, stopped it, and now managed to make it run 300 times faster. If you're not up to reading the article, here are some implications:

  • Faster than light / Instantaneous communication over huge distances — potentially allowing us to communicate with beings in distant starsystems.
  • Further proof that subatomic particles can exist in more than one place at a time, and that there is little distinction between space and time.
  • Suggests that causality (that a cause must come before an effect), along with several other basic concepts of physics, may be flawed notions.
  • Further evidence that time travel, at least on some basic level (such as sending bits of information through time), is plausible.

If you thought the world did some big changing in the 20th century, you ain't seen nothing yet. These next hundred years are going to be insane…


Well, they're all packed. It took longer than expected, but I'm kind of wired and fucked up feeling tonight, so that turned out for the best. They ship tomorrow. Those of you that I know here in the city, drop me an IM and either I'll drop them off to you or you can come and grab them.

Cities mailed to include (in no particular order): Fukuoka, Mississauga, Belo Horizonte, Toronto, Tel-Aviv, Coventry, Tweed, Lombard, Chicago, Florianpolis, Melvindale, Pickering, Santa Cruz, Kamloops, Brighton, Austin, Quakenbrck, Portland, Lakewood, Hollywood, Salt Rock, Phoenix, Rossville, Philadelphia, Glen Burnie, Minneapolis, Moscow, Ellenburg, Johnson City, New Albany, San Diego, and Cape Charles.

Yeah, I know they look like they were packed by a 13-year old girl, what with all the stamps and glittery stickers, but hey, isn't it more fun to get a package that looks like that?

Well, like I said I'm feeling a bit funny so I think I'm going to go down to the lake and sit on the pier for a while, drink some drugs, contemplate the water, and then come back and work until the sun rises.