Monthly Archives: January 2005

Update schedule

Sorry the BME update is taking longer than expected. Here's what's happening over the next few days… Tomorrow I start doing image updates, beginning with sections of BME/HARD and BME/extreme (have to keep the paying members happy!) — the new software lets me stagger updates like that. Experiences will get injected at some point this week as well, and you'll be seeing a new article going up every couple of days until all the intern articles are up (all have been received now).

I <3 Mexico

Thanks everyone for your patience, I think I've only got two or three angry messages so far which is better than expected. Maybe the world is getting more mellow.


First let me share a letter that I got from Tobie Kerridge from BioJewelry (thanks to Badur for the tip). I wasn't sure if it was “real” or not. It seems to be real and he's looking for a couple in the UK to take part, and has permitted me to share this letter here. Click the picture first though and read the promo website so you understand what the project is — in short, they extract some of your bone tissue, grow it in a matrix, and make human bone wedding rings with your own cells and DNA — if that strikes you as romantic, read on:

This is a UK based project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

We are actively looking for donors, preferably a couple. Here in the UK we can only get viable cells by scraping the cavity made after a wisdom tooth extraction. This is because the biopsy (the usual route in a clinical context, a section of bone is taken from the femur) requires a general anaesthetic. This type of operation is not ethical within the scope of our project, we will not get medical approval.

There are probably other possibilities in other countries, but we would prefer a UK couple; the rings come out of a co-design process (it's important that the couple are happy with their rings) and a series of consultations. Also we are trying to richly document the project with video and photography of the couples, the operation, the cell growth the design process etc. All this needs to take place in the UK really, we have a limited travel budget!

There is also an obligation to our funder to present this project in a responsible way. This is considered a "risky" project, for reasons you can imagine, so I was a little concerned to see the site in many blogs and news sites over the last couple of days. Having said that, we need to find a couple, or be forced to use some anonymous banked cells - and this changes the project hugely.

Our task then, is getting the right message across (not having the aims of the project reduced to sensationalist "weird art wastes public money" type thing) and attracting people who are genuinely interested in the process; we want to hear about motives, and understand why someone would want to do this.

best wishes,

It's a very cool project that I imagine would be rewarding to take part in if you like the basic concept.

A lot of the TV here, especially movies is in English with Spanish subtitles. I can barely understand spoken Spanish, but I can stumble through the written version surprsingly well, probably in part due to speaking French and German (and reading Latin) as well. It's fascinating to see just how much the context is changed, and how much is left out… I wonder if the original script writers are aware of the subtle changes that happen; for example, this one struck me last night:

Original (spoken): "Stop being such a pussy!"

Spanish subtitles: "Do not behave like a queer."

Rachel and I kind of looked at each other when we saw that with kind of a “did you see what I saw” look, but I guess it's not really that strange — and really, I'm not sure that it's “less offensive” to insult women than homosexuals. Ah, political correctness, gotta love it.

I assume most of you have seen this nutty story, but a woman in Spokane has been trying to divorce her convicted abusive husband for the last two years for beating her (which he does not contest; more). The woman is trying to move on with her life, and is pregnant with the child of another man. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine has stepped in and blocked the divorce, saying that it would be in the child's best interest if they stayed married — can't have him being born a bastard and all, plus a “child needs his father”. Yeah, because forcing a kid (and wife) to stay with an abuser — that isn't even their parent and doesn't want them — is just brilliant family planning.

Of course, some Catholic groups in the US have also said that they'd like to start expelling kids from school whose parents are gay (more). I'm beginning to think that religion should have an IQ requirement. I much prefer stupid atheists to stupid <insert religion here> followers. That said, smart but religious people tend to be absolutely fascinating folks.

Anyway, I'm not sure what my online status is right now (I'm still logging in through the hotel), but we're being told that it's going to be max 24 hours before our DSL line is functional. However, I've created all the memberships, coupons and so on and sent them out from the hotel connection so if you're one of the 1,033 people with pictures in this update, a reward should be in your inbox now (and wow was it tedious creating that many members — it's not a process I have good automation on yet).

BMEfest 2005 location scouting

Rachel and I have been scouting potential locations for BMEfest 2005 (which will probably be at the end of June, although I won't be specific until it's confirmed). My current and still rather uninformed “first choice” (although there are many choices available) is the beach you see below. It's small enough that we could rent the whole thing, but still amazing. Flights down here are in the $300 range from much of North America, and of course the cost of staying here is a fraction of Toronto.

Before anyone up north starts complaining about the location being too far away, first, I'll repeat that I strongly believe that with the exception of people driving, this BMEfest will cost less and be extremely rewarding. But second, and equally importantly, I'd like to point out that it's not as if the many Mexican members spent the last five years whining about Toronto — or Tweed — being too far away!

In any case, I figure by making the location something that people have to put some extra effort into (you'll have to get your passport ready), it rules out the people who really don't care very much about the event and are only coming if it's close… I want BMEfest to be for the people who really care about BME, and the more people who come that have that mindset, the more wonderful it is. I also think that when people leave Mexico, they'll be leaving as different people, having seen something that changes them for the better. And I don't just mean the tripod suspension on the beach.

Let me tempt you with some more photos — I took a break for about two hours to go to the beach (I've got more work than time, as always, so I traded a beach trip for a meal). This is about half an hour down the road from La Paz I'd say (the beach above is about fifteen minutes). And, yes, it's the same shirt I had on yesterday, although I am wearing pants. Sue me, I'm in Mexico.

I know it's a little bit tourista to be taking travel photos with cacti on the Baja, but like I said, I'm from Canada and until I saw them in Arizona, I had about as much expectation that I'd meet a thirty foot high cactus as I did of meeting a unicorn. They don't even look real to me.

Charity starts with Money and Murder

You know, I'm trying to reduce my stress levels, but I just can't stop myself from reading the news. It's a sickness. I'm truly disturbed by the new US plan to give terror suspects permanent life sentences. To be clear, the majority of these are people who have so little evidence against them that even a military tribunal isn't an option — many have no more “evidence” against them than an accusation from a neighbor. Hello Salem, Afghanistan.

Wow. Putting people in prison for the rest of their lives because you're “not sure” if they're criminals or not. Definitely not the place I would have expected America would become if you'd asked me ten years ago… but I guess it really is true that 9-11 changed everything (aka “the terrorists have already won”).

With a million American armed forces members having served in Iraq, and millions more doing private contracting, as the combat continues to get bloodier and bloodier, we have to start wondering what's going to happen over this next year. Pakistan is openly selling nuclear weapons technology to unstable nations, and Iran is within a year of full nuclear self-sufficiency (able to produce nuclear fuel for both power and weaponry); 2005 may be the year that the concept of the superpower nation becomes irrelevant. Sure, the US and China are desperately building space weapons to keep up, but it's too late.

I hope that's a good thing.

The world would be much nicer if instead of building weapons we just build toys:

Other than that, Bush has pledged $350 million to the tsunami relief, and as I write this, has so far raised almost $12 million from individuals donating $50 or less. will get about a half million dollars as the “house cut” for letting the Red Cross use their fully automated system — you may note that in their small print they clearly state: “…the Amazon Honor System was not designed for charitable use or the solicitation of funds for charities.”. That said, with the CEO of the Red Cross collecting well over a million dollars in salary yearly (plus benefits and bonuses), the whole charity game is a goddamn scam anyway most of the time.

I've said it before and I'm saying it again — I think it's wonderful that people have such a drive to help, but it's also sad to see the money being spent in a way that isn't going to help very much in the long run and isn't going to solve any of the fundamental problems in this world.

Well, the night's email just finished downloading so I'm off to work.

A sheltered ocean bay

Had lunch today in a thatch roof hut on the beach. It was a bit expensive I suppose, but when that “overpriced” $10 meal gives two people each a full course and appetizers, you can't really complain, can you? I had some trouble ordering vegan because it wasn't a vegetarian place, but I'm getting better at it… Qué plato tiene sin carne o queso? Yo no como carne, pollo, huevos, pescado, leche, o queso.

“You only want vegetables?”

Si, solo como vegetales, cereales y granos.

Things took a long time to get to us; about twenty minutes in I was beginning to think we were being snubbed for my tattoos or unusual requests, but as it turns out I think it was just a slow kitchen afternoon. The meal was good, and on the way out, one of the waiters asked to check out my sleeve — he seemed really happy to meet another tattooed person. He had a tattoo on his back, but it was a “secret” since no one he knew liked tattoos.

We took a short walk down the beach; that photo was on one of the piers on the main strip. Oh, and we got our house keys today as well, it's in a nice quiet neighborhood and is probably about a quarter bigger than our Toronto apartment at under half the price. Out Internet connection won't be running until Monday, but as soon as it's up I should be able to start updating BME again.

I also got a very nice follow-up letter from LisaKay who I quoted a few entries back (with an initial not-so-nice letter). Perhaps some of you wrote her letters that were helpful. Not that I agree with it entirely, but I feel it's only fair to her to post this follow-up letter:

Happy New Years to all of you who wrote to me.

Thanks for your replies. I didn't mean anyone any ill will. I was just expressing myself after all. Isn't that what you and the site purport? Freedom of self expression? Maybe my views are different than yours. No big deal. I was just expressing my thoughts in writing. No big whoop.

My thoughts and views aren't as tiny as you may think. I'm an artist with a college degree, and I get paid for it. I'm also a parent and an auntie who is troubled by the fact that I see too many kids these days think that turning themselves into human pin cushions and billboards is cool. That is what I find sad, the fact that they are trying to find their way, and drift into your area. When a kid is all of 14-16 he/she isn't ready to make these permanent decisions.

I took umbrage at the fact that your site lets you 'peek' and then you have to pay. That's a good biz model, but when your biz is directed at kids, which it truly is. There in lies the rub.

I'm not lobbying anyone in congress or anything. You have an internet website. You Go girl! I'm all for you having your first amendment rights, I exercise mine as well as my second... I do it responsibly.

I find the fact that the irony is so lost on you guys. Why is it that the supposed most tolerant open minded people become so un-hinged by my little opinion. If you are so tolerant of self expression why couldn't you just embrace mine? Maybe I should get a tattoo of ? on my ass and send in a photo?

Oh, c'mon these are jokes. Lighten up. Happy New Year!!!

Thanks for reading,

Very very few of BME's paying members — to the best of my knowledge, none, at least not without their parent's permission — are “kids” (I'm not including IAM of course). But the truth of the matter is that much of the support one finds on BME is needed as badly by young people as by older people.

The vast majority of people who have that “inherent” modification drive (where it's as compulsive and unmalleable as sexual orientation; that is, not a choice) come out at least to themselves at about puberty (which makes me believe it's linked to sexual behavior). Not when they turn eighteen or twenty one, as nice as that might be… I think that's the hardest thing for plainskins to understand about us — that it's not a choice, that it's quite literally who we are. Sure, we can hide it, but it's still there burning away inside us, and living in the wrong body is torture.

I realize that many tattooed and pierced people reading this may strongly disagree with my take on this, but please understand that these days body modification is very fashionable so it's reaching demographics other than just the “no choice” crowd… But it's that “no choice” crowd that is the heart and soul of body modification, and has been for the last thirty thousand years.

I'm starting to ramble, but there was a wonderful eulogy written in one of the later PFIQs. Maybe someone can send me the exact quote so I can add it later, but to paraphrase, “from when I was eight years old and felt my cock getting hard when I put on my brother's motorcycle jacket, I knew leather wasn't a choice for me — it was who I was”. Some “I want real freedom” folks may find it distasteful, but I really believe that far more behavior than we acknowledge is hardwired rather than learned.

Update, c/o scrunnel:

It was for Peter Shaun Morrison (March 24, 1951 – September 9, 1994) and appeared in PFIQ #43 (approx.March, 1995). Your memory is fairly accurate.

The exact quote is:

“Being gay was never an option for me,” he would say in 1988, in his candidacy speech to Mr. International Leather. “It was what I was. Crawling into my brother's motorcycle jacket for the first time and feeling my dick get hard, I knew that leather wasn't an option either. It was what I was.” He was first runner-up that year.

For bibliographical purposes the piece is signed jointly by Ken Dubois and Jim Ward.

Anyway, let me give you another letter from my “funmail” bag.

From: Harnoor
Subject: Mastitis

when i got my nipple pierced,i began to feel dizzy. like that wasnt enough, i also let someone play with it during sex. i went to the doctor and he said ur pregnant and if you dont get rid of it u will die

Uh…. thanks.