Monthly Archives: January 2005

These crazy AIM complaints…

I guess because a certain percentage of AOL users can't tell the difference between “IAM complaints” and AIM complaints”, I'm continually being sent AOL's tech support messages (that's been the conclusion as to their source). Here are three more from the last few days:

User: Ten10x5NYCTOP

He harrased me in a chat room and made nasty rude comments. He also continued to send me IM threatening to report me.

User: CLonChRomEsHoeZ

CLonChRomEsHoeZ [2:35 A.M.]: i wanna get sucked off by u or fuck u

* This unsolicited IM was recieved my my minor sun, who is 13 years old from a person in a M4M chat room !!! It is of pure discust and violation of the terms and I demand he be suspended for being a preditor to minor children immediately ! If this person contacts my son again I shall refer this to my attorney.

User: PSYCON508

PSYCON508 [10:35 AM]: I HATE GOD
PSYCON508 [10:35 AM]: I AM SAD
Butterflys728 [10:35 AM]: ok
Butterflys728 [10:35 AM]: what do you want me to do about it?
Butterflys728 [10:35 AM]: no thanks
Butterflys728 [10:35 AM]: i love god
Butterflys728 [10:35 AM]: i love myself
Butterflys728 [10:36 AM]: congratulations
Butterflys728 [10:36 AM]: if you think you are scaring me you are not
Butterflys728 [10:36 AM]: and stop iming me
Butterflys728 [10:36 AM]: you bother me
Butterflys728 [10:37 AM]: go to a psychologist and tell them you have multiple personalities he will understand
Butterflys728 [10:37 AM]: i am giong to report you to TOS and send this conversation
Butterflys728 [10:37 AM]: would you like to add anything
PSYCON508 [10:38 AM]: U ARE HARassing me
Butterflys728 [10:38 AM]: good try...have a good day
PSYCON508 [10:38 AM]: i love god
PSYCON508 [10:38 AM]: bye have a swell day

Sometimes I forget why I hang out in insular little communities like IAM rather than the "real world". These exposures to the mainstream of humanity serve to remind me. Anyway, expect another interview later today (this time written by me), and tomorrow a new Lizardman column, as well as an image update some time today unveiling a new section of BME...

Another interview with meeeee!

I just did a little interview mostly on stereotypes; I'm posting it here for archival purposes… I'll tell you, the prevalence and attention to every “pointless” detail that's resulted from the blog phenomena is going to make it easy for the senior citizens of the future to write their memoirs… assuming the robots don't do it for us, after exterminating the lot of us. Anyway, it's a little repetative of things I've said in past interviews, but I guess that's to be expected.

Tell me a little about your modification history and how you started BME.

I first started to feel the “drive” to change myself probably around puberty (I believe that modification urges, at least for people where “it’s not a choice”, are sexual in nature). At the time I was living in rural Canada, and while my father was tattooed, I certainly wasn’t exposed to it other than through books — you know, the old National Geographic story, which is very common to modified people who are about my age. At that time tattoo studios and piercing studios didn’t exist on any large scale yet.

Anyway, I started by doing piercings on myself that were hidden, just with stuff I could find or make. I think my first “public” changes were piercing my ears — back then it was strange for a guy to have both ears pierced, so I got the occasional hick calling me “ma’am” (I had long hair as well), but it didn’t really bother me. Not long afterward I started stretching my ears as well, doing branding, and tattooing myself using both hand-poking and machines of my own design.

By the early 1990s I was living in Toronto and piercing studios were just starting to open. I was very lucky to walk into Stainless Studios, got a job almost immediately making jewelry, and it just sort of exploded from there. That studio was a very dynamic environment where a lot of development work went on. I think if I hadn’t had the dumb luck of meeting and befriending Tom Brazda (and later Jon Cobb as well) things would have turned out very differently — both of them are two of the core influences not just in my life but in modern piercing internationally.

At about the same time the Internet was taking off. I’d gotten online primarily to take part in USENET’s rec.arts.bodyart and in late 1994 fired up a personal website. At first it was just photos of myself and articles about my experiences, as well as some pictures from Tom’s portfolio, but I included a note along the lines of “if you’d like me to post your pictures or stories, send them to me”… and then it snowballed and the rest is history.

How do you think the media portrays modified people?

The media portrays modified people in the same way that they portray everyone — in whatever way they feel will get them the most viewers and keep them watching through the commercials. Advertising dollars are the beginning and end of what drives television programming, and thus TV tends to be a reflection of whatever the current mob mentality is. It’s going through a cycle of presenting it as totally sick, then “cool freak chic”, then passé. I’d say we’re in that mainstream phase somewhere between the last two these days, although there are some particularly small minded personalities that will never leave the “totally sick” stage no matter what.

What do you think is the most common stereotype of modified people in the media?

That modified people are criminals, degenerates, losers, and otherwise unable to amount to anything. I’m somewhat surprised that one has even lasted it’s so false. It’s not as if it’s 1894 and we’re all a bunch of sailors or something.

What’s the most absurd stereotype of modified people that you’ve witnessed?

On the whole I think it’s absurd to present any stereotype of modified people. Body modification hits an incredibly broad demographic. It’s like saying “what’s the most absurd stereotype of Americans you’ve witnessed” (ever seen Killing Zoe? — “I’m an American! American! I’m just here exchanging dollars. If it wasn’t for my country you’d all be speaking German!”)… it’s simply not fair to present any stereotype in a demographic group that covers so many different types of people.

Do you think there should be an effort by modified people to change these negative stereotypes?

Only through our actions. Ranting about it doesn’t get you anywhere, because it doesn’t offer any proof. Be modified and be successful (however you define that).

Why do you think these stereotypes have developed?

Some stereotypes exist because there is a statistical truth to them — “Kenyans can run faster than Inuit” would be good example. I don’t really have a problem with those, as long as people understand that the stereotype only applies to the group but not the individual. The stereotypes you’re asking me about here though are different because they’re based on misconceptions and shallow understanding. Their source is many people not being able to empathize with anything past the end of their nose.

How is BME working to end these stereotypes?

While BME is a pretty cutting edge and “far out” publication that straddles what’s even legal to document in nearly every nation in this world, I’ve worked very hard — as have many, many people who feel similarly — to present this material responsibly and with insight that helps people with an open mind understand what we’re all about, and that our drives to do the things we do are every bit as valid and positive as the things that drive them.

Anything else you want to say regarding stereotypes of modified people?

Statistically inaccurate stereotypes reflect far worse on the people who hold those stereotypes than on the people who are being stereotyped. I consider them an idiot detector.

More La Paz area photos (BCS)

Above is panorama (big file if you click it) of the beach I was at today; as you can see it was low tide so I was able to walk very far into the bay with Nefarious, the whole time surrounded by schools of balloonfish, mullets, and green jacks (although I'm not really a fish guy, so I might have the last two wrong) — and watching to avoid stepping on the anemones. To introduce this diary entry I'd like to share the following excerpt from a letter I got from an old friend:

"One of my most moving experiences happened while on vacation in Hawaii. I went to this remote beach that was more for locals and not only were the little 8 year old children like dolphins in the water, clearly in their element, but there was this new mother and grandmother out in the water, pushing a long-board between them. I couldn't tell what on earth they were doing, until I realized they were pushing a new born baby back and forth between them. It was one of those gorgeous moments of realization, and it was there that I decided I would rather have my own child cut their feet on coral and not concrete."

On the right are some more pictures that I took today. Top left you can see a bay that's normally full to about a five to seven foot depth (guessing) that's almost entirely drained at low tide. I think the guy down there is collecting mussels or crabs or something along those lines. In the photo below that is the La Paz marina.

It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but the trimaran in the foreground is actually resting on its keel and partially out of the water (oops, bad parking job!). Below that is one of the many curva peligrosa hazards on the somewhat mountainous drive — take a look at the guardrail and you'll see that someone must have had a rather terrifying moment!

Top right is a balloonfish, and below that is I assume a burrowing anemone, although I suppose I could be wrong and it might be some kind of fanworm. I'm rusty! This is my first time living on the Pacific Ocean in twenty five years. Bottom right are various fishing boats anchored in one of the many sheltered bays (not that I think the water here ever gets particularly rough).

Oh, and anyone reading this that wants to use any of these Mexico Baja photos I'm posting, be my guest. I'd appreciate a linkback to zentastic or my iam page if you do, but it's not required or anything. They're public domain as far as I'm concerned — it's bad enough that we humans claim “ownership” of the land, let alone trying to claim ownership of photos of it!

Decisions — Flying — Shirts

It seems like the more feedback I get the harder this decision is getting! It's really interesting to see how the different bubbles that people live in create different popularity spikes, most obviously the rather large difference in opinion between the general public and the insular IAM crowd.

[Via Mefi]   Holy ninja hell is this amazing cool (more). I admit that if I ever got into it, you'd have flashbacks of the Dead Like Me episode where the dopey guy gets killed doing it. That's how I move around when I'm dreaming, but I suspect that's more a comment on my intensely fantasy-driven character rather than actual physical skill bubbling under the surface… my brother on the other hand… I don't know if I should tell him about this sport because then I'd have to spend the rest of my life worrying!


Other than that, the two latest shirts have been added to BMEshop (the Kilean in the Jungle shirt was hard to get a good photo of, it's a really subtle shirt). A few people have asked when things like the Hegar Sounds are going to be back in stock. Ryan's going to be unveilling a new shop soon with a totally new engine behind it, and a lot of those things will be timed for that I'm told — the bigger Dittel sets are in stock right now though, although being a larger set they're a little more expensive.

Oh, yeah, and this CIA torture jet story is just kind of creepy, although not that unexpected.

Experiences and a lot of rambling…


I've just posted an immense experience update with 464 new stories included. I've still got as many as a couple hundred pending in the various buffers which I'll try and get added last night. Thanks to the review team and the authors, and I'll also mention that I've had a chance to post the first edition of the 2005 leaderboards.

Thanks to all the writers, Derek for being on the cover (not on IAM yet, I think), and of course to the hard-working review team. For the first experience update of 2005, the following people (these are the top fifteen) did the most approved reviewing, in order: lozizgonnabefamous (417), Don (413), rebekah (269), deadly pale (221), BlueStar (195), Uberkitty (172), elise (170), ta2lu (158), der_narr (157), Cerra (140), .caitlin. (133), cuthalcoven (127), seahorse girl (89), Jemma.m (78), and psychonautje (72).

Who's that I spotted over at the Adult Entertainment Awards (photo: HCG)? No, not just Testa (more), but Joey Strange. A little birdie tells me that you might be able to expect a line of modified porn from him soon. Yeah, laugh it up all you want but porn is and always has been the future. There is no better indicator of what technology and culture will bring us next.

Anyway, moving from future to past, via slashdot I was looking at Google's “20 year USENET timeline” that they released back in December to celebrate their archive, and it got me thinking about BME's age. As a point of trivia, did you know that BME is older than…

…both Yahoo! and the Lycos search engine
…the Taliban
…the World Trade Organization
…the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Google (by far)

A lot happens in a decade I suppose — it's amazing how quickly things become “the way they've always been” and you forget how recent they really are. I suppose it's a comment on our fast changing end-times world… What really got to me is realizing that BME, now in its eleventh year, actually has readers that were born after BME was founded. How crazy is that?

It also got me thinking about the time just before BME started, when the Canadian military was embroiled in a scandal very similar to things the US are facing right now — sexual abuse, torture, and joy-killing of Somalis, the whole time hamming it up for the cameras capturing souvenir photos of our most elite soldiers posing with the corpses. Now, the real story is a lot more complicated than history has recorded; certainly the gossip inside the military is that the orders came from high in the command structure, and the Airborne were encouraged to go out “hunting niggers”, fully sanctioned by the UN, to keep the locals in fear. Others suggest they went insane from experimental vaccines.

Private Kyle Brown poses with the nearly lifeless
and soon to die body of sixteen year old Shidane Arone.

His last words before he died were “Canada, Canada.”

How history loves to repeat itself.

(And how Canadians like to forget that when they criticize America).

“Great” (in the most sarcastic possible way) to hear that America's newest plan to “solve” the war on terror is to send in El Salvador-style 'death squads' to both start killing insurgents and to train a new “on our side” al Qaeda type force. Yeah, that worked just great in Afghanistan when we created al Qaeda to fight communist insurgents. Goddamn, the plan is so unbelievably stupid that I have to wonder if there's some immense plot that I'm missing. It's just really hard to wrap my head around the possibility that this level of incompetence can rise to that level of power!

Anyway, with Europe having almost entirely cut ties with America, even close Bush Republican allies are starting to rumble about pulling out of Iraq, and constant “accidentalkilling of civilians isn't helping one bit — unless that is you're al Qaeda looking for a few good jihadists.

Back in America on the other hand, kids keep getting stupider, with over twelve percent of boys dropping out of school and over twenty percent being labeled as mentally disabled. Maybe that's why Bush is pushing to build a child army using mentally handicapped kids? You know, when twenty percent of your population is officially on the short bus, there's a big fucking problem somewhere. I'm sorry if that comment seems in bad taste, I know it is, but wow… it doesn't even seem real. At least I can still buy me a .50 cal rifle capable of taking down an elephant from a mile and a half. It really is an awesome gun:

That's me with my favorite gun nut (his gun — it's actually the one that's being whined about in the article). Honestly folks, it's not a Barrett .50 that you've got to worry about. It's the dude with the $50 sawed off shotgun in his jacket that walks into a shopping mall and just starts killing… not the guy with the fancy $9,500 rifle with the overpriced ammo. You know how many killings have been done with registered Class-III weapons in the United States? One. And that was a cop killing his wife.

If you're a terrorist with $10,000 to spend, I assure you that a used car filled with explosives is a much better purchase.

Those of you who read The Atlantic have already seen this article, but Ten Years Later (mirror) is worth the read. I think it's important for me to put it into context by reminding you that it's written not by a dedicated fiction writer, but by Richard Clarke, the national coordinator for security and counterterrorism under both Clinton and Dubya. So whether you like his politics or not, the fact is that he's at least in theory in the position to know what's a plausible scenario and what's not. A few quotes:

State troopers at the exit ramp to the city ignored the van. On Tropicana Avenue the man stopped briefly to let his partner out with an exchange of nods and a whispered statement: "God is great." The woman blended seamlessly into the flow of people walking into the Florentine casino, looking like one of the millions of annual visitors to Las Vegas from the Pacific Rim. She seemed a little heavy for her frame, and the jacket she wore seemed a little out of place in the heat, but the doormen, as security videos later showed, didn't even give her a second look. She had been there many times before.

The woman never hesitated. She walked to the roulette table, fifty feet from the front door, and pushed a detonator, blowing herself up. The explosion instantly killed thirty-eight people who were standing and sitting at nearby tables. The nails and ball bearings that flew out of the woman's vest and belt wounded more than a hundred others, even though slot machines absorbed many of the miniature missiles. Eighteen of the hundreds of elderly gamblers in the casino suffered heart attacks that proved fatal when they could not be treated fast enough amid the rubble.

Just seconds later the man drove his van into the lobby of the Lion's Grand and detonated his cargo. This bomb was designed to wreak tremendous damage that would remain in the consciousness of the American people for years to come.

Four men, disguised as private mall-security officers and armed with TEC-9 submachine guns, street-sweeper 12-gauge shotguns, and dynamite, entered the mall at two points and began executing shoppers at will.

It had not been hard for the terrorists to buy all their guns legally, in six different states across the Midwest. A year earlier Congress had failed to reauthorize the assault-weapons ban. Attorney General John Ashcroft had announced a proposal, on July 6, 2001, to have the FBI destroy records of weapons sales and background checks the day after the gun dealer had the sale approved. This meant that if a gun buyer subsequently turned up on the new Integrated Watch List, or was discovered by law-enforcement officials to be a felon or a suspected terrorist, when government authorities tried to investigate the sale, the record of the purchase would already be on the way to the shredder.

The panic and confusion brought on by the terrorists' opening volleys led many shoppers to run away from one pair of murderers and into the path of the other, leading to more carnage. Two off-duty police officers were cited for bravery after they took down one pair of terrorists with their personal weapons, before the local SWAT team could get to the scene. Meanwhile, one of the other terrorists used his cell phone to remotely detonate the rental van he had driven to the mall; this resulted in even more chaos in the parking garages. Once the SWAT team arrived, it made short work of the two remaining terrorists. By the time the smoke had cleared, more than 300 people were dead and 400 lay wounded. In the confusion of the firefight the SWAT team had killed six mall guards and wounded two police officers.

In reading the various blogs and forums commenting on this article, an underlying theme seems to be “what's the point”, and writing it off as just meaningless fear mongering. But do a thought experiment with me for a moment. If you had a team of people who were willing to die for your cause, and, say, $100,000 (and terrorists have a lot more money than that), how much damage could you do to America? How lethally could you strike, and what would the effects be? What if instead of just a single attack, you kept striking, and striking and striking? How could you be stopped? What would the end effect be?

I wish I could blabber more about other stuff that happened before BME that's relevant to the above, but even though it was over ten years ago, Canada doesn't have a statute of limitations so unlike you lucky law-breakers in the US, I have to keep my mouth shut. But while you're thinking along these lines, start looking around — anywhere you go, try and figure out how to destroy it, just as a mental exercise. Where are the cameras? How do their security systems and personnel work? Where are the weak points? Very quickly you'll come to realize that while it's easy to make security arrangements that can thwart the casual attacker, a dedicated enemy — especially one willing to lay down their own life — simply can not be safeguarded against.

The point is that we have to figure out how to not get into these fights in the first place. Escalating them is a lose-lose game. In a free society, insurgents who are willing to die can rarely be stopped. So the choice is either discard the idea of a free society (which appears to be the current course America is on), or take a very hard look at the causes of the dispute and address them.

Cause and effect, folks. It's not as simple as the poster says, but it's not a whole hell of a lot more complicated either. All life is interconnected. When one group lives to excess, other groups go short. And sometimes people get pissy about that and start killing their rich neighbors.

Anyway, I've got some spam to read. I'm looking to “impress my girl with a huge cumshot” (admit it women readers, that's what you really want for your romantic anniversary present), and I hear SPUR-M is the product for me, since I'm looking for that 500% increase in volume. Seriously, do people really get those messages and say, “yeah, that's what my life is missing… honey, get the credit card!” — spam, unlike pornography, is not a glimpse at the future. It's a glimpse at the stupidest, most gullible and desperate parts of the present.

PS. Speaking of things that happened around when BME was getting started, I think I remember this current event from a Simpsons episode, circa 1994? Sideshow Bob Roberts anyone?