Monthly Archives: May 2006

Continuing to paint

So I've been experimenting with encaustic painting (paiting with wax) as you can see below. Not that there aren't exceptions, but most of the encaustic painting I've seen, well, really sucks, so I've been trying new techniques and new formulations of wax, as well as new methods of application including applying it dry and “painting” with a heat gun.

There's still 20-40 hours in this painting potentially… it's either going to be one of the best things I've ever done (so far) or one of the worst. Ha. But I have invented a completely new method of painting (not shown here, but once I prove my “invention” I'll post it) that I'll need a little more hardware for but should be able to produce something wild….

MAKE magazine mention

Thanks to Keebie for letting me know I'm mentioned in the new issue of Make Magazine (Issue #6). While obviously I (and the author of this piece, who had far more serious difficulties than I) know how problematic magnetic implants can be, I had no idea that Steve had a chance to issue a recall since the current ones are experiencing an almost universal rate of failure, let alone bring a new product line to eBay (maybe this means a nice slow product cycle, which is good).

Anyway, thanks to my friend Quinn for including me and deciding I'm the only person in the article so famous that I didn't need my URL next to my name, ha ha. Or maybe I should be annoyed? I don't know. Either way, if you're the geeky sort, check out Make, it's a fun magazine.

Oh, and no, that's not my cock's shadow in the first panorama in the entry before this one. As if I'm standing out there with my bits waving in the wind taking photos. You wish, pervos.

A bit good, a bit bad…

For those that follow the site, I just made some minor upgrades to UnderMars. You can click the picture below, taken at “Dreamland” in Falluja, July 4, 2003 (the US independence day for those of you who haven't seen the movie).

Other than that, I'm in the process of attempting a transition (under doctor's instructions and close monitoring) to Divalproex (500mg started last night). I have to admit that I feel really down and anxious right now. I don't know if that's because of the drug transition (since I'm “between meds”, it means I have only very low doses in my system, or if this is the wrong drug for me… I felt great on my previous concoction but both my doctors and my friends warned me of hyomania.

That said, I've been working so much and sleeping so little again that I may just be overworking and overstressing myself… So I have to take a long look at my life and seriously consider which projects I can stall or worst case, eliminate, for now, because I have to at least start getting sleep.

Oh, and those pictures above are panoramas (click them if you want) taken off my bedroom balcony with the V570 digital camera (recommended by Atom) for Jon so he could take fishing scene panoramas with ease. Anyway, back to work…

My days are too long and stressy!


Well, the first of our “scheduled” updates is posted… I think we'll try doing tattoos on Mondays, ritual, scarification, and culture on Tuesday, experiences on Wednesday, piercing on Thursday, and members stuff on Fridays… Video I'll probably try and make a weekend thing but I'm not sure yet. We're still playing a bit of catch up, so the updates will be slightly smaller than usual this week. Thanks to the brilliant Wayde (mentioned for his skull and crossbones thumb scar among other things on ModBlog — which was also updated today if you're a reader.)

Also, I hate to be whorish about this, but over the last week our billing system has been malfunctioning (and thus always failing and telling people their cards didn't work), so some of you may have been falsely expired or had your attempt to sign up fail during that period. If you've been planning on picking up a membership to the main site, especially with adding the NAS and having to pick up a couple more pieces for growth, now is a time I'd really appreciate the help. Click here for that. It is genuinely appreciated.

Anyway, other than that I am in the process of transitioning my anti-depressant (about 95% out of my system now) to a mood stabilizer (ramping up the dosage), and phasing out my anti-convulsant (I have tremors, physical tension, and stress seizures). Right now it's a hard period because all my dosages are


so low so it's easy for some of the old cloud to return, but I'm staying on top of it. Plus I really have been through some truly through-the-roof stress over the past while, so I think even a “normal” person would have some trouble. Other than that, I watched Big Fish (again) with Jon and Saira (and Michael for the second half). I really love that movie, I feel I can relate to the “That's all I do, Will, I tell stories.” argument, as someone who loves telling stories about my life that I think get more and more exciting as I grow older, but still grow from a quite bizarre reality.

They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops. And that's true. What they don't tell you, is that once time starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up.

Then I made Jon watch Armageddon (he's never seen it), but he eventually walked out on it with fifteen minutes left in the film. I'm just finishing up some stuff (I plan on sleeping in if I can, at least a little) and continuing the bad comet apocalypse movie trend with Deep Impact.

Um, and I was thinking about how nice the bathrooms are at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui (credit to Rachel for that one)… If and when I eventually build or reno a house, I'm going to create one hell of a bathroom! Well, I think I'm going to go post a couple kit cars and crash out.

Oh, and tomorrow I'm going to start experimenting with encaustic painting (which is painting with wax)… I'm doing some experiments including using unusual pigments and waxes, and playing with non-co-soluable paints to create “vein” running through a transluscent medium… It should be interesting because it'll either make the painting I'm working on amazing piece, or it'll make it a nightmare to fix (or both I imagine, ha). That and video work and some programming.

NYC Cab Stories

I have a lot of stories from NYC (which I will try and remember to post at a later date), but let me start with my cab stories… First, I was trying to get from near Central Park into Brooklyn (and I don't know the subway system at all) and I got in seven yellow caps — each refused me, making the fake claim they didn't know the location (I had very specific directions). One admitted that no yellow cab was going to drive there because there was easier faster money to be made staying on the island and I guess doing theatre runs from the hotels.

Anyway, during all this I chatted with the doormen in my broken Spanish (totally by accident — I actually wondered a moment afterwards whether I was being rude responding in Spanish, but since they were talking about me, the cabs, and so on I figured it was alright), and they grabbed me a big stretch limo to ride over in to apologize for not being able to source a cab. So that was cool, I felt like a movie star.

On the way back (about 2AM), I took a gypsy cab back with a really cool Argentinian driver. He couldn't really speak much English but I had a nice chat with him on the way back about Buenos Aires.

# # #

The next day after drinks/meeting with old friends, on the way back to the airport I caught a cab to JFK at the very last minute (I literally had to run through the airport and was the last one on the plane — thirty seconds later and I would have missed my flight). Anyway, the driver was a really cool young guy (maybe twenty-five) who moved here about three years ago from Nigeria. He's a US citizen, but his wife and three year old daughter are still back in Nigeria. We talked about how hard that must be for him, and I gave him some advice on how to get talk to her cheaply on the Internet, and luckily he only has to wait for about a month before they arrive (she's a nurse).

Anyway, he had large and pronounced Ondo-style facial scars (read more about them here on the Jehova's Witness Website and elsewhere) which is fairly unusual for a guy so young. I first told him the story of mine (done by Lukas Zpira). For those that haven't seen them, this is what mine looked like fresh (they're very subtle now, I don't think most people even see them unless I'm very cleanly shaved):

I don't think I've ever told the story of my facial scars publicly? As you know, I spent about three years as a very strict vegan, and while in Africa and Mexico started eating a little meat (fish only on the whole) and a little dairy. I didn't feel in the context of how much I ate I was doing anything wrong, but at the same time, it was tearing me up inside ethically and emotionally.

The design that Lukas cut on me are rivers of tears flowing both out of my eyes and out of my forehead tattoo (which symbolizes my belief that all life on this planet is a single interconnected being — which got the cabbie and I into a long talk on the history of Islam as he was a Muslim), with fish swimming through them toward the centre. I don't know, maybe it seems silly from an outsider's point of view, but for me personally it was very important in learning to live a new lifestyle again.

But back to my Nigerian friend (I wish I'd had the time to take a picture with him). After telling him my story (I don't like asking other people a personal question until I've opened up to them first if possible), I asked him about his facial scars, starting with what they meant. Here is the conversation roughly as I remember it, in short:

Shannon: Do you mind me asking what your facial scars mean?

Driver: They are my family markings, they show where I'm from and what tribe my family comes from.

Shannon: How old were you when you got them? Were you a baby?

Driver: No, I was older — four or five.

Shannon: Do you remember having them done?

Driver: Yes, very clearly.

Shannon: They're very pronounced for someone as young as you are. I thought they were not that common any more? Did you grow up in the country or the city? [Note: The trend was already very uncommon in urban environments at the time and there was perhaps even a backlash inside Nigeria toward it].

Driver: In the city. My father made the cuts very lightly, so you could hardly see them. I told him that I didn't feel like I was a part of the family, and I begged him to make the cuts bigger so they would be the same as him and my grandfather and everyone in my family. I felt without these scars I would not be a part of the family.

It was during rush hour, so we talked non-stop over the hour or so long ride. I really love talking to cabbies, they're almost always interesting people with good stories and insights.

Along those lines, I'll add (which I've said before) that when I was in the Antigua and the rest of the Islands, the most common questions I was asked by black kids on the island about my tattoos and ears were “what religion does that mean you are?” and “what tribe are you from?” — a nice change from the dumb-ass American/Canadian response of “didn't that hurt?”