Monthly Archives: February 2004

Interview

I just did this interview for a UK Men's magazine… Archiving the unedited version here for my own records. I don't know if/when/where it's being published or what it's being combined with.


1) How many different types of modification do you have about your person? What are they, where are they, in what order did you have them done, how much did you pay for them and who does them for you?

I've had probably about a hundred piercings, many of them stretched, numerous implants, heavy tattooing, and surgical modifications as well. On the whole they progressed together in a gradual process over about the last 15 years. Almost all of my modifications were performed by (professional) friends so I have not spent as much as one might assume. However, the dollar value on my past and current modifications and jewelry is easily in excess of $50,000. But realistically I have spent less than $10,000 of “real” money on myself.

2) Let's start with the ear! What possessed you to have a stretched piercing like that in your lobe? Describe (in as much detail as you care to give) the process of physically having it done, how much it hurt, how long it took, etc etc. Also, can you remember how old were you when you had it done? Do you think it's the most painful modification you've ever had done – if not, which one was?

Here's a link to the complete story of my stretched ears: http://www.bmezine.com/pierce/01-ear/A20118/eartheda.html

3) How stretchy IS the lobe, and have you measured the size of the actual aperture? We've seen in the picture that you can get a hand through there, but what else can & have you squeezed through? What do you normally keep in there, or does it just dangle down limply?

I actually took out my lobe jewelry about a year ago when I moved to the country. I was spending a lot of time outside and it was winter, so I figured that would be easiest. They shrunk up a lot. Now that I'm back in the city (warmer), I'll likely restretch them which will probably take me about a year to complete.

So right now I wear no jewelry at all (in any of my piercings), and yes, they just “dangle down limply”. My ears hang low, as the song goes.

4) What did your friends – but in particular your family – say when you had such a dramatic modification made? And, on a similar point, have you yourself ever regretted having it done?

My father said, “if you're going to be a sociopath, you really shouldn't advertise the fact,” which is probably good advice — if I was a sociopath. My mother was less forgiving and I'm sure it's a large part of the reason I have no contact with her. It's very difficult for some people to accept — not because they have a problem with the act per se, but because to them it represents a corruption in the rigid social structures they use to define a person's value.

Body modification is like an “idiot filter”. That is, if someone is so immature and closed-minded that they're going to be rude about your piercings, they're probably not someone you want as a friend in any case. Better to find out in advance than a year later.

5) How does it make YOU feel to have this particular piece of body artistry? (In other words, what do you get out of it on a physical / spiritual / visual / emotional / sexual level?) When walking down the high street or in the supermarket, do you ever get reactions from members of the public? What kind of reactions?

If you want to know more about my own somewhat abstract and esoteric views on body modification, my experience with forehead tattooing (which also links to my experience on forehead flesh hook play) is here: http://www.bmezine.com/tattoo/A30314/tatdoest.html

As to reactions from the public, if I'm getting them, I don't notice them any more… I almost feel like people can't even see my forehead tattoos. The few people that ask me about them don't usually even realize they're tattoos (in part since it's done exclusively in white ink).

6) How closely entwined with sexuality are these body modifications? Quite a lot, or perhaps not at all? In other words, in your case, is it done for a sexual kink, or for more artistic, aesthetic reasons?

I'm of the belief that there's very little that humans do that isn't ultimately sexual in nature. After all, we are just containers for our genes, which desperately “want” to be copied.

Body modification is both internal and external in nature. On an external level it's about communication with the other — that is, a channel for interfacing with and communicating with the universe outside ourselves. On an internal level it's about communication with the self — that is, a channel for interfacing with and communicating with the universe inside ourselves.

If a person is sexual in nature, they will use this medium to communicate a sexual message. Others use it to communicate other things.

7) Have you ever had any unpleasant side effects from any of your modifications, eg infections, rejections, searing pain? Have you ever had to seek 911 help?! How long did the ear lobe thing take to heal?

Sure, I've had things not go right from time to time, but really nothing that I'd class as worse than putting on clothes that don't match nicely. I did once seek medical followup after a serious procedure when I was much younger, but the doctor sort of chuckled and said (my paraphrase), “Look, that's really weird, and I'm kind of freaked out right now, but it's not badly done and you haven't lost much blood. Go home — you're just having a panic attack!”

That said, while I've never had a serious problem personally, these activities are not risk free, and from time to time very serious complications do arise from even mundane procedures. That's why BME has dedicated so much time (and resources) to projects like BME/Risks (now folded into the BME Encyclopedia) which are free resources to distribute information on the subject so people can operate as safely as possible.

8) What sort of modifications / body arts have your pals got?

The sort they like. I know people with every form of body modification out there… Every person gets the ones that call to them I hope.

9) Presumably you would argue that your modifications are a matter of personal choice and are artistic. But what would you say to someone who claimed that they were a sign of deviancy, or even mental illness?

Implying body modification is a symptom of illness is a fairly ignorant thing to say given the mountain of evidence making it extremely clear that it's normally quite healthy and positive. Anyone who sees a crazy person acting out from time to time and co-opting body modification into something unhealthy, and then draws the conclusion that there's a link between body modification and illness is, to put it simply, fundamentally stupid. It would be like arguing that only drunks drive cars after seeing a few drunk drivers get in car accidents.

10) One of the most interesting aspects of the whole modification scene which I've come across during my research is that of voluntary amputation. To be specific, the act of deliberately removing any part of the body, from a toe to a whole leg. What are your feelings about this? Is this something you would ever consider for yourself? For what reasons? Or have you already done it?

Well, first you should remember that voluntary amputation is extremely rare. Second, you should remember that voluntary amputation people usually don't escalate. That is, they start with an amputation in mind, do it, and then never explore the subject again. It's much less common for a person to get more and more amputations.

Many of the people I know involved in amputation have had their lives dramatically improved, thanks to scratching that one itch. Even if I personally had a problem with amputation (which I don't), I'd still be happy to see anyone improving the quality of their life, and I recognize it would be fundamentally wrong for me to object.

I personally don't have any particular “draw” to amputation, but I find the idea of a phantom limb fascinating on a “curiosity” level. What does it feel like to run your hand across fabric with one of your fingers missing? I'm told you can still “feel” the fabric, even though the nerves are not there any more. I think any curious person would want to know what that feels like… the question is whether it's worth a finger or not!

11) Do you think there are more people sporting modifications these days? Do you think it's seen as becoming more 'acceptable' to the public at large, and even of entering the mainstream? Do you think that part of the fun of such modifications is that they are by necessity anti-mainstream, and that if everybody started having them they would lose some of their allure?

I think that there are a lot of people sporting modifications these days because modifications are healthy and make people feel good about themselves. It's that simple.

The fact that they're more acceptable these days is a good thing. Anyone who thinks it makes body modification “less cool” was never actually interested in body modification in the first place — they were interested in rebellion. And they're not the same thing.

12) What are your plans for future modifications?

I'll get the modifications that I'm supposed to get. For me, body modification isn't a process of “building” — it's more of a process of “birthing”. My job is to guide my life to make sure I encounter the right series of events to transform myself into the ideal version of myself. Modifications are an important part of that.

13) How far is TOO far? Or is there no such thing?

I think this is a little misleading, in that it suggests that there's some kind of objective “border” that is unhealthy to cross. How far is too far in fitness? It's taken body building a long time to gain acceptance in Western culture — we spent a long time debating how far is too far. Surgeons in the past decades arguing over whether breast implants were unethical (and some continue to).

I like the modern standard we seem to be settling on though — if it makes you happy and it's not hurting anyone else, go for it. So from my point of view, it's only too far if it's no longer making the person happy.

14) I need to know a little bit more about you yourself, so these are the 'nosey' questions I'm afraid, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask them… So can you give me your age, your city and state, your occupation, and your marital status?

I'm thirty years old, I currently live in Toronto, Canada, and am married with a daughter. Professionally at this point I am a telecommunications programmer specializing in community and media production.

Thanks for the good advice

Below are various pieces advice people have given me for additions to the Risks portion of the BME Encyclopedia

CBT, testicles - this will cause blood clot severity and will in a lot of cases kill you. your testicles cannot with stand such accapuncture. dont do it. this is a trick for jackass or dirty sanchez.

Subincision - You'll look like a cunt because you've sliced a big chunk off your cock. You'll die and deserve it, it's not like a nose piercing you know.

Chipped teeth - who cares? If your stupid enough to NOT get it changed, then you deserve chipped teeth. If thats the only reason preventing you from getting it done (worried or parents payed money for teeth [braces ect.]) ignore it.

Tongue splitting - The person has some kinda of defect in the gray matter of his brain. Possibly a low amount of chromozones. It could also be a low amount of attention from their father when they was a child and they need some real attention now and they feel that "Tongue Splitting" will help them obtain some attention that they lacked in their younger years from their father.

Tongue splitting - They become faggots and will go to hell. Guys will come to like other guys. Girls will become full on dikes. Homofaggotus.

Tongue piercing - if you get your tounge pierced there is a very low risk of this happening! if u ignore all the "risks" u will love it---those so called "risks" are just things that parents made up to scare there kids aray from tounge piercings

Tongue piercing - send me some imagens, to sick my rebel little girlsend me some imagens, to sick my rebel little girl

Play piercing - i don't think that u should be able to do that.I think u can get hurt very badly if it was done to a person who has never even seen it or done it before.I think people who do it should be put in jail . Don't think people should be able to buy needles if they don't work in tattoo shops. And it should be against the law.!!!!!!.

Bisection - It is very very, very risky. You can bleed to death when you do this. It is not something exactly smart at all. If you don't value your life, I say take the 10% chance and go for it.

Bisection - Nobody would (or should) ever talk to you again after you have your cock head split in half.

Genital beading - Risk is the meaning of dangering. Risk is the meaning of dangering. Risk is the meaning of dangering. Risk is the meaning of dangering.

Burnt Penis - when u light ur penis it will burn and be very pain ful for the person whos had it done. its is strongly advised thaat you do not do this as it might leave you with errection problems and soreness down below and repeated infections and sting like hell when u go 4a pee

Fingernail Mods - i dont know exactly what this mod means, but i saw the picture when opening this page to see what it was and it was disgusting. i said to myself, Oh my God, which is why i name the risk OMG- "Oh My God" what is wrong with the minds of some people? risk chance is 95 because 95% of the people who would see this and realize it was purposely done would say "OMG" and maybe a few more choice phrases.

Seriously, finding good help for these projects is not easy!

Uvatiarru

Good news, finally! I got my editing box back today (along with ten minutes of much needed edit/capture advice), and as you can see below, I have successfully captured both digital (left — thank you Gus) and analog (right — thank you Jason) audio and video… So now the process begins for real… Bringing back memories of the all consuming compulsion the scrapbook became!

I've said it before, but in many ways this is the largest single project I've ever tackled — which is quite scary. In terms of complexity it dwarfs both IAM's software engine, and Infinix (an IVR/VoiceBBS compiler I wrote in the early 1990s), and financially it dwarfs all the ModCons added up, including peripheral costs. Ack! Lucky I enjoy doing it…

I probably will end up pushing the release back (possible way back), but the pre-screening (link above) is still on — I'm really looking forward to being able to share the footage, even if it's only a series of vignettes (rather than the complete assembly) and get some feedback from people in the wild.

Like tears in rain



BME Swirl Shirts In Stock
(CLICK THE PICTURE)

You know what the coolest thing about the internet is? It really is the “nobody knows you're a dog” theory. I don't mean that in the “hidden” sense, but more in the “irrelevant” sense. If a dog is smart enough to use the internet, then they're not hiding that they're a dog — they're making irrelevant the fact that they're a dog.

One of the things that makes me really happy about IAM is seeing people talk across generations… Seeing an advanced science or politics (or whatever) topic being debated between a fourteen year old and a forty year old, with the younger debater having sometimes a stronger grasp and a sharper mind for the subject is really inspiring. Open access to knowledge and discussion is probably the internet's greatest side-effect — because it allows people to progress at their own maximum potential if they have the drive, rather than the potential of their parents and teachers.


One of the reasons that I like the Internet, and blogging especially, is for memory. It's extremely difficult for me to insert most things into my long term memory, and I don't remember most of my day to day life (although what I do remember I remember fairly clearly, although I usually can't place it in time). One of the ways I remember is by repetition (so software is easy to remember), and I find that by writing down my thoughts it reinforces them and helps record them.

At some point I'd like to build a memory augmentation device that's integrated into IAM… So I could download my IAM page and using a hiptop computer and eye-interface it would do the following:

  • Analyze what I'm saying (speech recognition) and scan my diary (and other databases) for related information.
  • Try and figure out who I'm talking to (face recognition, etc.) and scan for related information.
  • Analyze what I'm saying and display relevant google and google news information.

And so on. It's not a very difficult project, it's just a matter of someone taking the time to do it. Variations on it have been proposed endlessly…

Let me tell you the worst thing about repetition being the trigger to memorization: If I'm out, and something beautiful and unique happens to me, if I'm not recording it with a camera or other device, it's absolutely heartbreaking to know that a few hours later that moment will be lost. And what's even more heartbreaking is that because I've had that experience over and over (the sadness in the realization that the experience is transient), I can remember thinking how sad I am to forget with crystal clarity.

"Transforming America"

The next eight (is that right? or is it nine?) months will go a long way to determining whether America collapses as a nation or not. Now, when I say “collapse” I'm not talking about descent into anarchy. I'm talking about America becoming as meaningless a nation as Britain (Britain of course is still very powerful as a nation, but it's nothing in comparison to where it was in the past).

I've been obsessively reading the history of the collapse of Britain, as it applies to the corporation. Look at the business relations that existed between British companies and Germany, Chile, and other “out-sourcing” countries at the turn of the 19th century and you see a lot of scary parallels to modern day America…

I really think to turn around Americans have to wake up and do something brave, something they haven't done in over 200 years, and that's yell out WE CAN SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WE DON'T LIKE IT AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!

Personally I think the only candidate offering this is Kucinich. I know he seems like a crazy long shot, but that's what America needs to survive. Put in Kerry and you've just got more of the same and this ship keeps sinking. Everyone knows this — they're just afraid to say it, and that's how the Bush-Kerry alliance will be beat America. Yeah, beat America. I've said this before and I'll say it again: Bush and Kerry do not represent Americans. They represent that tiny ultra-wealthy percentage (about 4% of Americans) that donate to the campaigns, and the corporations that donate the remaining three hundred million dollars to the campaign.

Don't take my word for it.

Don't take anyone's word for it.

Educate yourself. Research the politicians platforms, and, just like researching a scarification artist, look for healed photos. That is, do they do what they say? Bush has done the opposite. Most politicians do… Kucinich on the other hand has shown he's willing to axe his own career to do what he said he'd do.

CLICK HERE (4.5 meg) for an MP3 file of a Kucinich speech so you can get a better idea of what he's about, and here's his site if you'd like to check it out…

But please, don't vote how I tell you. Kucinich is my ideal candidate and I believe in his vision for America — but you may not. Educate yourself about the issues, it is your duty to do so. An American who doesn't vote is fundamentally betraying what it is to be American, in my opinion as a foreign devil that is.

And whatever you do, don't fool yourself into thinking “we just need to defeat Bush”. If the neo-cons really succeed in putting in Kerry as the “Democratic” candidate, they've manipulated the system so severely that you're basically choosing between Bush and Bush's old drinking buddy from Yale, Kerry, who have mutually sworn oaths of allegience to that supercede the nation. If Kerry wins, then Americans can finally say with certainty that they really do no longer live in a democracy.