It's almost time for my high-noon gunfight

I'm ordering the video editing box today (tomorrow)… nothing too exciting, but it will be built around Avid Xpress Pro so it'll be pretty slick. I'm probably going to couple it with a terabyte or two of drive space; I think a firewire enclosure might be the cheapest and most versatile way to do so — way cheaper than a NAS and more modular than SCSI I figure (although I may get a small NAS for BME work in the short-term future).

I've been getting weird pseudo-spam lately from people wanting to advertise on BME. Now, that's no shocker given that BME is one of the most popular sites on the entire Internet (shocking, isn't it?), but one of the odd side-effects is that any phrase on BME gets artificially bumped way up in the Google rankings — so it turns out that as I write this, BME is Google's fourth highest result for rate my rack!

In a less amusing piece of spam a lot of people have been complaining to me about being contacted by a “modeling agency” (who wants to charge people $75 or something to sign up) offering to fly them out to get a pile of “temporary” tattoos and piercings and do shoots with them — these folks are harvesting the personals as far as I can tell (which happened last time as well) — so if you have your email address listed there (rather than keeping it locked to BME/HARD only for example) you may have gotten the emails. I'm assuming the reasons for not working for this company are obvious, but who knows… maybe it's a good money maker. If they actually sign a contract stating that those tattoos will disappear in six months, you can probably sue them for a fortune — even if they fade dramatically, there should be some residual scarring and discoloration.

Other than that, I'm getting some really wonderful feedback on the articles that Monty, Cora, and I put together. One person did write me to say they were worried I'd just told cutters it was “cool”, but I hope it's alright if I share some of the other responses. Thank you to the people who had the strength to share them:

"When I entered BME the first time I was a little kid who did cut himself and was trying to find something or someone similar to him. Now I'm getting my degree in cultural anthropology and semiotics and im a tattooer — between then and now I've been in therapy (panic attacks), and one day my psychiatrist told exactly what you wrote in your column: your cutting thing was just your own therapy; now getting into the bodmod world and doing it professionally is your way to mark your growth. I knew it before but hearing it is somewhat different."

"Your article on SI was beautiful, to put it lightly. I am a self cutter of over 25 years, and no-one has ever so eloquently put into words the ideas I could never seem to get out of my head and onto paper. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts (and the thoughts of others as well) with such a large community. I hope it is one thing people do stop to read before heading in to other pieces of BME."

"Cutting helps me cope with my life. I have depression — I know that — it makes me feel happy and in control. I choose to cut, and while I am able to choose something that makes me happy I will continue. Thank you for allowing me to send in my cutting pictures for my gallery -- believe it or not but BME has helped me more than any anti-depressive pill I've ever been prescribed."

Someone else asked me whether I agreed that extreme body modifications were a sign of mental illness (believing that I'd implied that cutting was a sign of mental illness I guess — which I do not in fact believe). I'd like to include my reply here:

First, I think it's a mistake to believe that "extreme" modifications are more likely to be indicative of a problem than "normal" modifications — and self-injury is just a very "undiluted" form of transformative body ritual.

But I think what's very important to understand is that people who are injuring "as therapy" don't injure themselves because there's something sick in them — as I see it, they do these things in response to something sick in the world... they're using ritual injury to protect themselves from the sickness outside.

Anyway, I've got to prep an image update, an experience update, and another column in the next 48 hours or so, so I'll probably not be around too much as it's work work work till I leave for Amsterdam. Oh, and I'll be shutting off parts of the IAM server (nothing essential) while I'm gone which should mean less work for CT keeping things alive.

Finally — something I've forgotten to mention about the new experience engine… It allows pictures. Now when you're submitting an experience you can also upload a picture of the mod which will become integrated into the experience without having to find somewhere to host the image.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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