Monthly Archives: July 2003

Interview time

This interview I just did may well be a real “deal with the devil”… It's for a trade journal for people who market to young people. That is, they want to know how they can use body modification to make money off of young people.

I'm always torn when dealing with people like this, because on one hand, encouraging them will go a lot farther to legalize body modifiation for young people than any government ever could — it's these corporations that run the country. But on the other hand, they will do their damndest to “take over” and commodify this industry as well, which could do even more damage than restrictive laws.

Anyway, here's the interview:

Y: What are three of the most popular piercings lately (navel, helix, etc.)?

According to my polling, the most popular current piercings are minor stretchings in earlobes, followed by ear cartilage piercings such as rooks, industrials, and so on. After that, septums, lip (labret) piercings, tongue piercings, and nipple piercings are all roughly the same. Navel piercing has dropped out of fashion, at least for the community that I deal with at BME.

Y: What piercing styles are becoming more popular and will be mainstream in the next year or so?

Excluding the ones I mentioned above, which will continue to grow in popularity, more people are experimenting with surface piercing — although unfortunately most people are performing these piercings poorly and they tend to scar and reject. Other than that, genital piercing, which is probably the most common form of piercing in adults, will continue to grow in popularity among younger and younger individuals.

Y: Do you find parents are becoming more supportive of their kids getting tattoos and piercings?

While a small percentage of family and friends of pierced and tattooed kids are becoming less supportive (probably a knee-jerk reaction to seeing just how many kids are modified these days), support and tolerance toward body modification from friends and family is being reported as swinging in an overwhelmingly positive direction. Unfortunately, many sectors of the job market are becoming more restrictive as is the education system.

Y: Recent trend reports are showing that girls are more prone to get a tattoo or piercing. Is this true?

Well, girls are more likely to exercise, care about the clothes they're wearing, and so on. I don't see it as being particularly surprising that girls are more likely to be drawn to body modification and my research confirms that as well. That said, the difference isn't massive (perhaps a 5% spread), but it's definitely there.

Y: What are the 3 most popular styles of tattoos lately (ie. tribal, Chinese characters, etc.)? What tattoo styles have become more popular recently amongst young people? What new styles should we watch for hitting the streets over the next year?

Well, “tribal” tattooing is probably the most popular single style, but that's a little misleading because the word “tribal” has come to encompass a massive range of styles — basically anything done with relatively design-oriented (versus representative) blackwork. As far as design motifs that are taking off with young people, anything to do with stars is very popular, as are “old school” designs, based on classic American sailor tattoos (as well as bright modern interpretations thereof).

Y: Is Tebori becoming popular?

No, and I don't see tebori and other styles of hand tattooing moving outside of the “tattoo collector” subculture. I don't think it has a general appeal at this point.

Y: What about regret? Do you find that a lot of people regret tattoos they got ten years ago or sooner?

According to my polling about 3% of people say they are unhappy with their tattoo decisions, with a very small number actually being extremely unhappy — the vast majority are pleased in the long run. That said, my polling also shows that about one in six people with tattoos has had a “cover up”, where an older tattoo is covered up by a new one. This isn't always indicative of regret; a lot of the time the regret is limited to “I wish I got a bigger tattoo!”

My advice to people on this subject is that they take their tattoo decisions just as seriously as they'd take other life-decisions such as marriage — either you're going to have to spend your life with this tattoo, or get an expensive surgical “divorce”.

Y: What about risk….Can you tell me a little bit about the risks involved with tattoos and piercings? Maybe the most common risks?

Assuming that one goes to a reputable studio that adheres to basic safety concerns, with tattoos, the biggest risk, and the only one that I'd describe as “common” is getting a bad tattoo. In the case of piercings, the risks are very minimal as well — the only piercings that I'd describe as at all risky are oral piercings since they can easily result in things like chipped teeth and gum erosion if jewelry isn't very carefully selected. I realize that there are those that bring up extreme infection risks, and even death, but to be perfectly honest, this is politicized fear-mongering — organized school sports, which we all accept as valid, are dramatically more risky than body modification ever could be.

I've of course ignored the societal risks such as some idiot picking a fight with you for your tattoo, but that's no more valid to bring up than it is to blame someone who was raped because “they were wearing a slutty dress and were begging for it.”

Y: Any good sites that I should direct people to (yours will already be there of course!)

I always send people to sites like — not because it's a body modification site, but because it encourages critical thinking… And a person who can think, and applies this ability to their life, will always be happy with their body modification decisions.

We'll see what effect it has I suppose.

Oh, and I got this hilarious letter-to-the-editor funmail this morning:

From: CreepingXDeath

truly just something to think about. having read what limited information i had access to (i cancelled/stopped my bme account long ago), for one so set on "free expression" and "open minded-ness", and ideals of these sorts, you sure seem to be clueless as to the condition of the world with your nazi-esque "anti war" statements, and absurdly strict rules for having an IAM page (one cannot truly express themself when they cannot be allowed to use their full range of feelings and emotions, regardless if YOU don't like their views). yes, i have interest in the site. some things appeal to me. i have mild amounts of tattoo work done. i have a few piercings/stretchings, etc etc. but it's honestly digusting how self-righteous and condescending you seem to act. it may be a facade, it may be a rouse, for as I know personally, real-life and internet are 2 completely different forums of human interaction. but for a person so "openly"... well... open, to the world, you are truly critical of the things you see. commenting on how "obese" a food court is or how this and that business runs a scam on you (whereas if you were truly intelligent, you would buy things from them to begin with) is one thing. DOING something about it is another. not to attack you personally, but it just seems your life views are somewhat off-center and for lack of a better term, hippie-ish. they're all about doing things for reasons that are fitting of the cause. i.e. stopping war cuz we bomb poor little kids (i know its not something you write, just an extreme facist idea i've heard before). things are fucked up in the world and complaining online about them isn't gonna do anything. just have fun with life. we're all gonna die one way. i'd rather die happy doing what i choose then to be nervous and distraught over the condition of housing in Cambodia. makes you think... don'cha think?

Remember, only a Nazi opposes war, and only extreme fascists oppose baby killing! And if you oppose people making racist rants in a private club, you're oppressing people — or worse yet, if you oppose homophobia, you might be a hippy. Heh… Well, I guess it illustrates the effects of the FOXNews culture pretty clearly (the notion of masking ignorance and apathy with some bizarroland definition of freedom).

7-27 has a nice ring to it

One of the things said in and by the Sept 11 commission was that Bush et al delayed the report's release until after the Iraq war for fear it would void it, since it revealed that the Saddam – al Qaeda link was false (more)… So now we know that both the WMD claims and the al Qaeda claims were false (and that the governments knew this prior to the war), leaving absolutely zero legal justification for the war.

So it looks like the Republicans may just lose this battle; so what's the military complex going to do to make its money? Why, launch a war that even the Democrats can love! Let's invade peacekeep Liberia (more)! Hold up…

Let's step back and take a look at all this:

If troops stay in Iraq – It will be at a minimum monstrously expensive for Americans, and it will last for a long time. In addition, local resentment increases the changes of terrorist attacks in the area and abroad, resulting in even more US taxpayer money spent.

If troops pull out of Iraq – Iraq will turn into such a mess that not only will the entire region be destabilized, but it could become a terrorist hotbed and breeding ground. The chances of major attacks on the US become greatly amplified, resulting in more money spent and more military actions.

So either way, the US population and the people of Iraq lose, and the military and megacorporations win.

If troops are sent to Liberia – Liberia is a mess, and a really horrible one at that. American troops, short of basically taking over the country, are not going to make a positive change. All that'll happen is US taxpayer money will be drained into the pockets of defense contractors, and at the end, the only result will be that Liberians, and perhaps the rest of Africa, will start to feel even more that America is the root of their problems, and then boom, you've got yet another giant group of people interested in launching terrorist strikes on the US.

It just all feels like a lose-lose situation when you're playing the war game — unless you are making money from the corporate aspect… Anyway, I'm going to go write the deathbot now. But don't worry — it only removes people who are already long since dead. More a carrion or scavenger bot that lives off dead bytes. It has no malicious nature at all.

Thanks for all the feedback on the article as well; I very much appreciate the response and will probably get it close to finished later today.

New glasses

I went to the mall today to get glasses — first time I've been there on a weekend in a long time. I forgot what a sad and pathetic place it is, and how truly disturbingly obese the food court is. Not so much “obese” in terms of the medical condition, or even some vulgar “let's make fat jokes” way, but “obese” in terms of the deep depression of a life of slavery to junk food. Just really sad…

Anyway, I got some new glasses. These aren't actually the pair I got (my “real” pair has much lighter frames) — they were, like most places, running a 2-4-1 sort of deal/scam, so these were my second set. The real ones will be done on Wednesday.

Yeah, I know they're not round. I've got to order those of the web… I'll do that some other time. While we were waiting we played mini-golf; it was really pretty fun — and the first time I've played in my life that I know of (Rachel trounced me). Of course, given that I can only clearly remember the last forty-five minutes, tops, that might not be entirely accurate.

Kidnap the senator

Just got back from the gym; really happy with how all that's going. I feel like not only am I getting in better shape and feeling better, but that I'm learning how to push myself harder, which I hope I'll be able to apply to all aspects of my life… I know it might seem like I work pretty hard, but in all honesty I'm quite sure I could put in a lot more work than I do — and more importantly, I need to.

I couldn't find my car keys, so I drove Rachel's Porsche… Mine has a short shifter, a solid clutch, puts about 40 more horsepower to the road, and has a much more race-tuned suspension, so the cars are quite different to drive — but hers has one killer stereo, and I think feels a little more Lexus (ie. quiet and smooth) at 200+.

Last weekend I'd dropped off a sealed and wrapped copy of the ModCon book for my trainer at the gym. The weird thing is that by the time it got to him it had been unwrapped and read… Both the receptionist and the newly hired general manager (the only people who handled it) swear up and down that it wasn't them. You'd think one of them would just say “yeah, it was me, I'm really sorry, I didn't even think that it would be a big deal…” and then it would be over; no big deal.

But the fact that one of them is lying about it makes it clear that they knew it was wrong. Not so much wrong to me, but an invasion of my trainer's privacy. The (homophobic) general manager made a bunch of noise to him along the lines of “well, given the content you can't really blame someone… that kind of stuff really shouldn't be in the club” and kind of tried to make my trainer feel bad about it — which is stupid of course — if he had a problem with it he should have come to me. And more importantly, the content was irrelevant given that it was sealed!


Anyway, I don't want this to seem like I'm down on the club at all — all the people I've met at the gym with the exception of an old German couple who slag people, thinking no one can understand them, have been absolutely wonderful to me. I've said this to a couple people, but an interesting observation has been that it seems the worse shape you're in, the nicer people at the gym are to you (presumably because they're happy to see you making positive changes in your life).

That reminds me — Kilean (for the girls) has reinstated his .

Anyway, I've got to do some more work on the July 30th image update, and do some work on the new column (basically explaining the real reasons piercing laws exist — social control — and explaining to people why it's important to resist them). I've also started formulating the next column, How body modification can help resist the coming human-robot apocalpyse.

PS. guess who!

Come on…

1. The new Mogwai album is awesome.

2. Some people need to put a little more effort into their submissions:

(Yes, that's actually what they sent in, not me taking a photo of my monitor. Here's a hint Einstein: if you have a digital camera, and you take a photo of a photo on your monitor, I'm gonna clue in that it's not your tattoo. Plus I'm going to clue in that your trepanation went horribly, horribly wrong…)