Monthly Archives: January 2005

AOL hates BME?

AOL (and Yahoo as well as far as I can tell) have chosen to block almost all mail sent from BME to their subscribers. At first I thought it was related to sending from Mexico, but it appears to be an all-out block of all my mailservers (QOD replies even) as well as my personal mail from here — even if I log in to my server in California and send from there directly it's blocked. Here is the message that I get when I try and contact people on AOL. If you are on AOL and would like to receive things like your passwords for submissions, your IAM coupons, and so on, understand that AOL is actively blocking me from contacting you. Please complain to them directly as there's only so much I can do from here about it.

I have applied for their “bulk sender list” (and asked them to simply remove the block), but who knows how long that will take, although according to their TOS they will not permit the mail if they believe it is “vulgar” in nature, so who knows. I'll be surprised if they permit BME to contact AOL members.

My advice: cancel your account and be sure to explain to them why.

Now you understand a little more why I really don't care for the mainstream.

BME Writers – from 7 down to 3…

OK, first of all, I'm finally outing all the authors for the BME writer search (although they won't be on the articles until later today). They really all did a wonderful job, and any of them could have done good work for BME, but there's only so much work I can offer unfortunately so I have my tough call to make. It's possible that those who didn't make it will consider a position over at Modified Mind, an excellent sistersite to BME run by Crow — he's also looking for writers, so drop him a line if you're interested (although to avoid confusion, it's not a paid position over there).

Anyway, I'd live to begin with some commentary on the different articles so you can understand where my thinking is (don't worry, I won't be yelling “now get the hell out of my office” at the end) and how I'm making the decision. I'll go through them in the order they were posted.

# # #

Lord of the Blade was written by Volatile. For those of you who don't know Matt, he's already an experienced and talented writer, but up until now his work has been in the academic sphere more so than the “pop culture” writing that's required for BME, so when we went into this we knew he was going to have to stretch himself a little. I loved his introduction (and largely agreed with it), and I think he did a good job (as did Ryan) in detailing the procedure well enough for artists to learn from, but not so far as to make it a dangerous “how to” for amateurs. Good choice of pictures as well. It's a little dry I think, but for a first time I thought it was excellent, and very little editing was required on my end.

LuvPain99: Well, it was quite a year was written by serpents. I liked the subject matter and all the people involved, but I feel this was a little rough around the edges and didn't get in as deep as I'd have liked and some subjects that I'd hoped to see were skipped over — and I'm not sure that the picture decisions clearly illustrated the text. That said, Matt wrote me to let me know that part of that was his fault because things ended up getting pushed very late on his end. It took a little more editing than I'd have liked as well. To be honest, I'm not sure I could do a great short interview with Matt either — he's got such a rich and complex story that he needs a book! So that was taken into consideration as well.

Vegan Body Art was written by x k x. I liked it of course, and obviously the writer has a great grasp on vegan issues and I think introduced them well. However, I thought a little too much focus was on the vegan aspect and a little too little was on the interviews and the mod side of things — while things like vegan tattoo ink issues were raised in the introduction, they weren't mentioned in the interviews — I'd have hoped they'd have been more in depth, and maybe a little more tailored to each individual. I also was disappointed that the author didn't follow up some of the leads I'd provided on people with vegan tattoos who were no longer vegan, or even maybe interjected a meat-eater tattoo into the mix as a counterpoint.

The Salaryman's View: BME/Japan was, as many people guessed, written by bizarroboy. Initially I had chosen to not publish this, but Ferg insisted that I was underestimating the readers. As far as I can tell it's an accurate characterization of the salaryman's view of this growing scene in Japan, and far more of the hallucinatory passages hint at Dita's story than I think most readers guessed, although I believe that unless you already know her story that might not be appreciated. My take on this is piece is that it's uniquely and brilliantly written, but too abstract for most people to regularly be able to absorb, and it did not really give me an insight into the author's ability to write a traditional interview. Check out Ferg's page for great travel writing and pictures by the way.

Rites of Passage Suspension Family was written by Uberkitty, an absolutely top-rated experience author whose work is regularly featured. However, this was given to me at the last minute, and without any editing or images (not that I asked for images, so I sort of treated that as a “bonus” for the people who did), and I kind of feel like it was rushed and not really “complete”… While the core was solid, I think a lot was missed (such as Frank's page — info on RI SusCon 2005 — or even talking to some of the amazing women in ROP). I think in the end it did turn out wonderfully, but it took more work on my end to get it print-ready than I wanted. I thought it unfortunate that there was no introduction or commentary as well, and no follow-up with the interviewees. That said, combining three separate interviews to read as a single one is trickier than you'd think.

Mothers with Mods was written by typealice. It came in perfectly edited, so I didn't have to do much work there, although I had to do the pictures (but like I said, I didn't ask for that). I thought there were a few places that should have been explored in more depth, but what's most interesting to me about this article is that while IAM readers on the whole liked it (but weren't raving about it or anything), it was very popular with general BME readers, and the only article that I saw getting positive offsite reviews. It seems this author is able to talk to a different audience than I am, although they're not as “hard hitting” as I'd like. But I'm probably into hitting harder than most people like!

RTFM: Keith Alexander was “written” (it was an audio interview) by snackninja (pictures chosen by me again). I think this is a great interview, and Keith's glowing recommendation means a lot as well. However, there were a few glaring errors in it and a few style things that should have been edited out — it's a complete transcript of a phone interview, which also only gives me so much insight into the wrier's abilities since the two methods are somewhat different (that was Keith's decision though, not Jordan's). Good pre-interview research appeared to be done as well.

(The was actually one other author in the final set — a total of four men and four women, with two from the UK, three from Canada, and three from America — but they dropped out of the running unfortunately.)

# # #

So…

What's my decision?

As I said, I really believe all of these people could do a great job. The issues that I've raised above could all be easily corrected over the first few articles — it is as much internship as job after all. I really have to emphasize this — the critiques I've brought up are all correctable, and I have a great deal of respect for all of these people both as writers, as people (that was a lot of how I chose initial finalists), and of course for surviving what I'm sure must have been an incredibly stressful application period. They all deserve thanks and congratulations.

Now, I know this is going to irritate some people, but I have not yet made an absolutely final decision… but I have narrowed it down to three, of which I will probably hire two people. The job will start in March when I return from filimg in Africa (what?!? well, that's a story for another day, monster fans)

The “final three” are , and .   (highlight the text to see)

The final-final decision will be posted on Wednesday, if not sooner.

(Original forum unavailable, sorry)*

BME Update, Scar Wars

.

I've post posted a bit over a thousand new images to BME/extreme (and e2) and BME/HARD with lots of good stuff and a ton of bonus gallery updates. Thank you to all the contributors as always, and to Alice for being the cover model.

First let me introduce the next segment of this entry. I believe that sex is the purest form of communication. On top of that, I believe that sexual body modification is the purest form of art. That's where my thinking lies. I know not every agrees, but one of the things I'm learned over time is that most people don't “get” most things. It's one of the reasons people keep dying in wars.

Since this is one of those cock-strocking-pussy-rubbing-pervo updates, I figure it's a good time to quote a conversation I had about whether it's appropriate or not to include hardcore content in BME/News (this is regarding the Modified Escorts interview). To be clear, I've got no hard feelings against the person I was chatting with (although the great irony is that their username contains an obscenity — an actual you-can't-say-that-on-TV attempt to be vulgar — whereas of course sex is rarely that… not that you can show it on TV), but I hope this conversation helps clarify where my head is at on this issue. Anyway, my general philosophy is that if someone's got something they enjoy doing, and it's not hurting anyone else, BME is generally going to support them in that.

I simply find that the aspects of BME which involve adult content should be kept under the areas of BME designated for that content, such as the HARD and EXTREME galleries. I have no problem with the material being on the site, but the fact that it was on the front page sent me the wrong message. I merely found it a poor representation of BME as a whole, and I think that many IAM'ers would agree. My only objection is to the photos that went beyond nudity to actual sexual intercourse and oral sex, I think that, though this may be a valid topic, should be kept in the more “openly” adult sections of BME.

First I'll say (although I know this isn't a point that you've raised) that legally minors shouldn't be looking at the site at all except in those few countries that don't have aggressive porn laws (Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, most of the Scandinavian countries, and a couple Eastern European and South American nations).

Normally I'd not include sexual content of that type, but in this case I really felt it was right to illustrate Kayce's personality, she's really a full-on cliché'd “nympho” character I think… Whereas the other girls had very different personalities.

I suspect you're right that many people would prefer to keep it segregated, but I feel very strongly that BME should be a no-limits place in terms of this type of expression, and I feel that's in part what differentiates it from other sites and magazines.

These standards all change from year to year, time to time… I figure by just skipping standards altogether you can talk more honestly and in a way that serves history better.

I understand the minor aspect, but there are some adults that might be put off as well (small point). I understand your decision, I'm just saying it was unexpected and a little offputting. I'm not anti-porn, I just believe in the segregation of the site.

I'll be honest, I really don't care if people who are put off by that stop reading the articles — if fact, I hope it makes them stop reading BME — because I suspect these articles are beyond their ability to understand… If a person isn't open enough to be able to handle sexuality, they won't be able to handle the other subjects on the site either.

I hope that's clear enough: I have no intention of ever censoring the interviews on BME, both in terms of content and in terms of illustration. If you can't handle it, just skip over it, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm 100% cool with people disagreeing with my views on this — but the policy isn't changing. If something is a part of someone's life and it's relevant to their interview, I'm not about to censor it.

Now… I have some things to mention. First of all, SCAR WARS, the world's first gathering of top scarification artists and enthusiasts… it's from the mind that helped create ModCon, Shawn Porter. Check out his page for the first promo fundraiser shirt (this one drawn by Dave Gillstrap):

Very limited edition!!! Also, the following artists from around the world have so far joined the roster — Brian Decker (NYC), Ryan Ouellete (New Hampshire), Vampy (UK), Dave Gilstrap (San Diego), Sean Philips (Virginia), Monte Vogel (Nebraska), Jesse Villemaire (Ontario), Phish (Seattle), and Ron Garza (Texas). All are regular contributors to BME's scarification section so you may well already know their work. They will be doing both solo work and scar fusion projects.

If you want to go — it will be held in Philadelphia, PA most likely in April although the date may shift slightly — you need to do two things. First, you'll need to introduce yourself to Shawn and get your space reserved. Second (and you can do these things at the same time), you need to talk to your favorite practitioner (or more than one if you're wanting to do a fusion piece) about what you're getting and confirm an appointment. It is a private event so you will have to confirm in advance.

Please contact Shawn via IAM or ScarWars.net for more info.

Finally, one last thing to promote — The Lizardman is running another Q&A column, so he's got a questions forum up on his page. If you'd like to take part in that, shoot over their now and ask your question. Do him a favor though and check out the previous Q&As so the same questions don't get asked over and over. That means no asking him if he has Jesus in his heart.

Lame Carleton U interview (Ottawa)

I did this brief interview with a reporter for a paper in Ottawa, Canada (at Carleton University). I didn't really like the bias in their questions, and I don't really think the reporter particularly researched or thought about their questions, so I'm kind of in “hostile witness” mode, although I hope it reaches them on some level. I think I at least kept it as stuff that's useful for them to quote if they want. Anyway, as always, I'm archiving it here. If anyone reading this goes to that university, pick me up a copy of the paper if you see the interview please.

What can you tell me about stretching? What are the possible risks, setbacks, the appeal, dermal punching, etc?
    There are no risks unless the person acts like a dope and tries to push their body too hard. If they do that, they can tear or damage their piercing. As to setbacks, I'm not sure what you mean. As far as appeal, people do it because they like it; it's usually that simple. Dermal punching is a different procedure which involves the removal of tissue rather than stretching from a small hole or incision.
What gage can you stretch to before you have to worry about your ear not shrinking back?
    The instant you pierce your ear you've made a potentially permanent change. The elasticity of skin varies greatly from person to person. No one should assume there is a “lower limit” that they can treat as “temporary” because there is no such guarantee.
Are there any steps you can take if your ear won't shrink back?
    Anyone who is concerned about their ears not stretching back shouldn't stretch their ears. That's all there is to it. This isn't a costume party or a weekend-punk-weekday-prep lifestyle. These are relatively permanent changes to your physical form that may well stay with you for the rest of your life, whether you want them to or not. So it's not something people should do on a whim.
How many gage sizes is it safe to move up to at a time?
    Simple rule: if it hurts, you're going too fast (I'm not talking about a vague ache, I'm talking about pain). Doesn't mean that you can't go fast or push yourself and have your body survive over-stretching, but it's really not a bright idea. If a person cares about their body, it's essential that they learn to listen to it. Your body will tell you the right speed if you listen.
Where did this trend begin? Do you know it's origins?
    Some dude in a cave “invented” it 30,000+ years ago. It's not a trend; it's human nature. Only sick, sick people, deeply out of touch with their humanity don't have body modifications.
What do you find are the most popular piercings? The most unusual?
    Earlobe piercings are the most popular. Eyelid piercings, not so common.
What piercing carries the most risks? Why?
    Piercings are not particularly risky on the scale of things. There's no common piercing that's as dangerous as, say, driving a car, or eating a cheeseburger.
Is it true that some ear piercings, like the tragus, can cause hearing loss?
    Seriously, think about it. How would that even be possible unless the piercer slipped, fell, and rammed the needle deep into your ear canal through some freak accident? You're more likely to have a piano fall on you on the way home from the studio.
What are the most recent trends? What do you predict for the future?
    I don't pay attention to trends, because people who are just getting this stuff because of a trend and not real feelings are morons and I don't want anything to do with them. Eventually they will regret and resent their decisions. They won't be here in the future, and what's going to happen in the future is essentially the same thing that was happening to the dude in the cave. These things are eternal and timeless.
Why are surface piercings more likely to reject?
    The mechanical aspect of your flesh doesn't “want” to be pierced, so when it happens, it tries to find the easiest way to deal with the problem. With surface piercings it is often easier for your body to simply spit them out than to heal around them. By understanding that concept and how to manipulate it, you start to understand how your body is like music.
What happens during rejection?
    Ever seen a deep splinter get pushed out of your body? Pretty much the same thing.
In your opinion, why do you think some people get so many piercings?
    Because they like them.
What's the best way to treat infections?
    Most of the time when people think they have infections, it's not actually an infection. Real infections are quite rare.
What would you suggest as the best product to use to clean piercings?
    Water (or salt water) is the best thing you can use. Cleaning products often do more harm than good because they are designed to destroy, and wound healing products are designed for an entirely different type of “injury” than piercing so they often also do more harm than good.
How are Teflon implants done?
    In simple terms, a point of entry is created, the skin is elevated, the implant is inserted, and the point of entry is closed.
What is the attraction?
    I don't know, what's the attraction to wearing plaid? What's the attraction to blonds with big boobs? What's the attraction to hip hop? I have no idea, but some people seem to like those things, and others don't, and if it's making them happy without hurting anyone else, it's cool by me.
Where can the implants be done? Is there anywhere they can't go?
    Implants will put pressure on the tissue below them. That is the primary safety consideration in the placement of most implants. So for example, if you put a big implant on the tendons on the inside of your wrist, you're begging for problems. Put one on your forehead and you've got very little to worry about.
Can the Teflon get rejected?
    If it's done poorly (too shallow, or if too much damage is done to the tissue above it) or the implant is overly large and putting too much pressure on the skin above it, rejection is possible. However, rejection in implants is exceptionally rare.
What are the repercussions surrounding the implants?
    Over time implants can slowly erode the tissue below them, depending on the anatomy and materials involved. This can sometimes lead to complications down the road, although it is fairly rare, and can be greatly minimized with careful placement.

I doubt I'll be struck by lightning for this

Gotta love the end times… at least the news is vibrant.

Oh wait…

Vibrant means “full of life”, right?

One of the things that always impresses me about insurgency groups is just how sharp their media outlets and PR teams are — yes, they really do have “offices” and “advertising executives” — war is as much marketing as it is murder. The timing and messages of Osama's tapes to the West, the beheading videos, and so on all illustrate this very clearly. You may remember that a little while ago Bush said to the insurgents in Iraq, bring it on,” goading them to kill more young Americans — which they did. Well, now they've released a video goading back:

"George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?," asked the narrator before the video showed explosions around a U.S. military Humvee vehicle.

A masked guerrilla from an unknown group called the Islamic Jihad Army, eschewing past impassioned Arabic-language threats of holy war, told U.S. soldiers: "This is not your war, nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq."

"To the American soldiers we say you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you," he said.

"We also thank France, Germany and other states for their positions, which we need to say are considered wise and valid until now," said the narrator, who also urged economic warfare against Washington. "Stop using the U.S. dollar. Use the Euro or a basket of currencies,"

But it's all good, right? Sorry, not good, but Good. A capital letter makes all the difference.

So… what's the “Good reason” for America becoming yet another in a long, long line of fallen nations — do you really think the Greeks or the Romans thought their empires (which in relative terms were much larger and much more powerful than America) would fall? Do you really think the Aztecs or the Egyptians saw it coming until it was too late? Hubris is a bitch, especially when tainted by religion.

So far Bush has directly given $1.2 billion of government money (as in taxation profits) to church groups, and he promises to increase that and make it more accessible in the future. With that, and the other religious themes that have played out in this administration, consider these quotes, first from President Bush, and the second from his father, the former President Bush.

"I don't see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord."

- President George W Bush

"I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

- President George HW Bush

In regards to the latter quote, the Bush Campaign later officially followed up by saying “everything that the American Atheist does is bullshit” (for clarity, AA is a magazine). That's a literal quote, and no apology or retraction has ever been made.

Better get used to the foul objects. Start meditating.

As you probably know, this recent election in the Ukraine that's been so disputed only has so much to do with the people of the Ukraine — it's part of a much larger struggle where superpowers fight their battles in these international ghetto nations. Yushchenko, the American crook contender, who doesn't even hide that he's married to a CIA agent that refuses to immigrate to the Ukraine, was heavily funded not just by the US but by Israel as well (the other crook contender was funded by Russia). Well, that's all it took to solidify the largest arms deal in over a decade in a half between Russia and Syria, including a ton of SA-18 and Iskander E missiles. The Iskander just big enough to be able to deliver the new Iranian nukes to most of Israel — although it's not as devastating as Iran's Sunburn missiles.

Isn't it “just great” to hear that the US is considering strikes on Syria?

But, even still, Bush says he's happy with the course the US is on, especially in Iraq, even though the WMD search (which cost taxpayers a full billion dollars) has been officially called off with the conclusion that not only did Saddam not have WMDs, he had no plans to obtain them. Why? At this point a million Americans have been forced over to Iraq, tens of thousands of them coming back severely injured and thousands coming back in coffins — some committing suicide to avoid going back — Iraq is less stable with more insurgents, even Saddam wasn't as “evil” as America in the eyes of Iraqis, and America is becoming a “permanent counter-terrorist state, which uses torture, cross-border death squads and even collective punishments to defeat perceived enemies in Iraq and around the world.”

So… why is Bush happy about this?

Rewind.

Let's quote George Bush directly regarding why he invaded Iraq:

"God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."

- President George W Bush

Good going, “God”. Next time you have your humble servant Dubya invade a nation, at least give him a better excuse, because I'm pretty sure you also said something or other about lies making baby jesus cry. I could be wrong — after all, “Deuteronomy” is such a funny word I've probably got a prank version of the Bible.. but still, Chapter 5, verse 20 is somewhat convincing.

Under Bush's doomsday cult evangelical faith, in order to bring about the Rapture, the Jews need to rebuild the Temple Mount, at which point Jesus comes and takes all the Born Agains to heaven and kills everyone else. However, first they have to sacrifice a pure red heifer and burn it — evangelical US farming groups have been working hard to import them into the West Bank over the past decade. Unfortunately for the final step to take place, the Al Aqsa Mosque (which stands in the place of the Temple Mount) must first be destroyed — AKA the problem in the Middle East.

Has that dumb fuck never read Isaiah? You don't bring about the rapture; you wait for it. I suppose the world looks a little different when you're dying though.

Anyway, in more “great” news, Bush has chosen Michael “Mr. Patriot Act” Chertoff to head up the new Kneel Before Zod Department of Homeland Security. So you can kiss the free America you once believed in goodbye, although you will find a comparably free America in both Canada and Mexico if you're willing to relocate. Good (and again, that's “Good”, not “good”) to know that yet another nut that believes America is a Christian Nation is in such a position of extreme power.

Well, at least it means more lawnmower racing in Texas.

Oh yeah, and did you know that it's legal for schools in America to do mass strip-searches of minors if one of them is suspected of having taken a $10 bill?

I somewhat jokingly mentioned moving to Canada or Mexico above (of the two I recommend Mexico, mostly because its immigration policies are much more welcoming). If you're interested in that, do it soon, because America is rapidly becoming a walled-off nation where none can enter and none can leave, a la the largest eras of communist regimes. Yesterday an entire British Airways 747 was turned around mid-flight and returned to London because on the flight was a French man with the same last name (“Badji” — watch out Badur, you're next) as someone suspected of having ties with a suspected Moroccan terrorist group. The man is not under current investigation and has never been investigated for any terrorist act, and British Airways has said that there was never any risk.

Well, if you stay, at least there are lots of jobs in the child army of God, at least if you're young, expendable, and not particularly wealthy.

Amen.