Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Sleeper Has Awakened

I’m just going to echo the entry I wrote for BME here:

Over five years since tattooing a small part of my eye blue in the very first set of eye tattoo procedures — the day that opened Pandora’s Box and launched perhaps the riskiest but most exciting body mod procedure to date — Howie ( has done the next and perhaps final stage of my eye tattoos. As you may know, my blue eyes are at least in part inspired by the Eyes of Ibad that the Fremen of Arrakis (ie. Dune) get due to their constant exposure to the powerful drug melange. Normally when Howie does an eye tattoo, the wearer is looking for a solid color — although there are obvious exceptions like Pauly Unstoppable’s unbelievable “cosmic eyes” which involve complex gradients. In my eyes we went with the “less is more” theory, using the fact that ink injected in the eye spreads dramatically to create a hazy, cloudy effect that looks different from every angle, mostly quite subtle, but almost blue-black in a few deeply saturated spots. The eye is both subtle and extreme, in an effect that’s completely alien, yet maintains its humanity and is almost even normal — I’ve noticed in public that people seem unsure what they’re seeing, whether it’s natural, or a trick of the light, or something induced.

The effect will probably continue to change somewhat over the next several months. These pictures in this entry were taken on day three, about 48 hours after the procedure, and at that point all swelling and irritation was already long gone — in fact it was gone 12 hours later, or when I woke up the next morning. I believe this is in part Howie’s experience, and in part how light we went with the procedure. I truly believe that with eye tattoos, it’s important to err on the side of going light — you can always add more in a few months (or in five years) if you went light, but if you go heavy, well, you’re going to have to live with it.

Remember, if you are interested in eye tattoos, these are a high-risk procedure that should only be attempted by those with significant experience and training. Please begin by reading BME’s Eye Tattoo FAQ.

Citrine Rock Head Zombie

While sending out the most recent orders, I got an idea in my head after seeing what loose stones I had lying around, and made a new zombie ring that is one of my most ambitious to date… It’s a size 11 1/2 based on my second zombie ring design, the largest of the bunch, which gives me quite a bit of room to play. I drilled out the eyes and enlarged them to accept a pair of red 8mm CZ gemstones, and re-carved lots of new and improved detail into the face. But what I really like about this ring is that I carved out the exposed skull detail, which is normally just metal, and set a tumbled citrine into the head, so that it’s got a stone skull. I’m really happy with how it turned out. In addition, the ring is finished in a mix of my normal black oxide and brass plating over top of the tin/bismuth base metal. This ring wasn’t made for anyone in particular. It can be sized up but not down. Feel free to make me an offer. It’s two and a half hours of work by the way, plus materials, so I’ll consider any non-insulting offer (although I really haven’t decided whether I want to sell it). Edit: This ring is sold!

Other than that my health is continuing to decline, although I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning. My apnea and heart stopping is escalating as far as I can tell and there are many nights (and days) where I wonder if it’s my last. It’s hard to describe what it’s like, because it’s not as if I’m gasping for air, as there’s no desire to breathe. Can you even imagine what it’s like not to breathe but not to want to? I don’t think it’s even possible to hold your breathe and disconnect yourself from the need for oxygen (or need to expel CO2 if we’re being technical about it). It’s not something one is supposed to experience. It’s even stranger when my heart stops. It pauses for a few seconds, and during that period there’s no fear or pair or sense that anything is wrong… If I’m not paying attention I don’t even notice it. If I am, it’s mostly just strange. The heart stops for a few seconds, and then quietly starts again, very lightly and then over four or five beats back to a normal strong heartbeat. No one has any explanation for me.

Anyway, zoom in and see my latest work. I’ve got a few special stones that I need to do something with, so I may create a few more special pieces like this. As painful as it is to do the work, I find it rewarding, and a nice break… Especially since Facebook’s messaging system is effectively broken for me, so I can’t properly research stories for ModBlog.

So many comics, so little time…

There’s an amazing amount of talent in comics these days — some really great new series. One of my favorites that I really want to recommend is Vertigo’s Punk Rock Jesus (available both in print and for download), about the life of a cloned reincarnation of Jesus, created for a reality show, and eventually having a punk rock rebellion when he clues in to the truth of the world. They’re on issue four of the initial story run of six, and it’s gotten better every issue. Love it. Other superb new series include The Massive (asking what might the life of a Sea Shepherd-like eco-activist organization be like after a pole-shift-apocalypse?), Mind The Gap (afterlife/out-of-body musings), Saucer County (a prominent politician is abducted and starts investigating UFOs — also in the alien theme there’s Resident Alien which just wrapped up its initial run, about a crime-solving alien posing as a small town doctor), Rachel Rising (another incredible comic by Echo‘s Terry Moore about witches and im/mortality), MIND MGMT (CIA mind-control type comic), Think Tank (pro-science comic about a DARPA-type weapons researcher rebelling against his masters), Dancer (a James Bond type comic that just wrapped up), A Fine And Private Place (this just started — an amazing ghost and afterlife story), Revival (a brilliant and perhaps supernatural, perhaps alien, take on the zombie comic), Stitched (a very creepy horror military-themed comic), Crossed (both Badlands and the online Wish You Were Here are amazing variations on the post-apocalyptic zombie/pandemic theme, much darker and more perverse than any other series in the theme), Ferals (a good werewolf series — and if you like that there’s also the X-files like Bad Medicine about a medical team that investigates such things), The Strain (Guillermo Del Toro’s horror/vampire/pandemic comic), The Manhattan Projects (a gonzo-hilarious sci-fi retelling of post-WWII secret science), Harbinger (a remake of the classic Valient series about superpowers — my favorite supernatural universes next to Invincible), Superbia (a four-comic series, wrapped up, very funny secret-life drama of what it’s “really” like to be a superhero — good for fans of The Boys), Near Death (about a hitman who after a near-death experience decides to start saving lives instead), Harvest (about a down-on-his luck doctor who gets roped into underground organ transplants), Dan the Unharmable (hilariously dark series that just wrapped its initial story run, about a indestructable dirtbag PI), Supercrooks (a four-part wrapped-up heist story, very fun, focussed completely on anti-heroes), Smoke and Mirrors (about a magician from our world that finds himself in a world where magic is real and commonplace), Grim Leaper (a wonderful four-part wrapped-up love story about a couple who find each other even though they keep dying and jumping into new about-to-die bodies), Complex (a weird comic that reminds me of The Prisoner), Saga (an incredible sci-fi love story)… I’m also continuing to enjoy Kirkland’s two main offerings, The Walking Dead and Invincible (his superhero comic, which is just incredible — in many ways I actually prefer it to TWD), as well as Sweet Tooth and a few other pre-2012 series… And I’m dying for the next installment of Locke&Key as well… I could go on and on… I haven’t even mentioned all the amazing one-offs…

ohne herzschlag und ohne atmung, dann ist man nichts

Every few minutes I notice — and I know it happens more than I notice — that I’m not breathing. Sometimes I don’t notice until the impulse kicks back in and my body takes a big automatic gasp of air, and sometimes there is no impulse… what an odd feeling it is not needing to breathe. I mean, you know that you have to breathe intellectually, but when the biological imperative is gone, when you no unstoppable needful lust for more air, it’s a very strange thing. You really feel removed from who you are physically, like a ghost — if it wasn’t for the constant pain trapping me in my body I’d almost believe I already was dead when this happens. It’s even stranger when my heart stops as well, which the sensors claim happens briefly about once an hour, but I only notice it every day or two. But with no heartbeat and no breath, I really feel like nothing, like I don’t exist, I could almost pull away from all of it.

But it scares me too because even thought it doesn’t hurt, I know it’s damaging me, especially while I sleep. I can see myself making more mistakes when I write, having more trouble composing my words, making sense. I don’t have any fear of death — I’m completely at terms with that at this point and while I wish I could live longer because there is so much more I would like to do and see, I can’t really complain about the life I’ve had. But what I do have a lot of fear of is having to live some terrible half death because of constantly starving my brain of oxygen. I’m waking up every day now with a terrible headache that sometimes lasts the entire day, constant ringing in my ears and a sort of seeing and thinking stars that’s spread all about my mind. I know that just by worrying about it I’m going to imagine it, so maybe I shouldn’t even think about it, but I’m convinced that I’m losing mental capacity… But when you lose bits of your mind it’s not like losing a finger — you don’t even know what you lost because it changes the nature of your being, and you just have this vague sense of dread that something has gotten worse but you can’t be sure you’re just being paranoid.

I watched a documentary about Edith Piaf while writing this. I hadn’t realized that she was a cutter. I suppose it’s not surprising given the troubled passion captured in her music that it would leak out in other ways as well. The footage of her performing with Theo Sarapo near the end of her life is quite wonderfully joyeux though. Him only 27 at the her end at 47, but unavoidably, every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.

I didn’t do much today except lie in a dark room because I couldn’t think straight from the pain, but while I was up and about I also amused myself today by writing an entry on ModBlog about how resurrection suspensions look like alien abductions (you can click the picture for the entry but it doesn’t add much to what I’m saying here)… But that got me reminding myself of the wonderful mythology of “Project SERPO“, the story of an exchange program that took place between Earth and Zeta Reticuli for 13 years starting in the mid 1960s. I’ve read a fun graphic novel adaptation of it, which is actually how I was first introduced to it, but it wasn’t until I started reading more about it that I realized how seriously some people in the UFO scene took it. I really wish it was real, but I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to believe it. Nonetheless, I enjoy the myth a great deal. I’m about half-way through listening to a Coast to Coast show about it that was aired not long into when the “leak” began. If you’re curious and have some time to kill, you can listen to it here.

If I had more time on my hands, I have to admit that it would be terrific fun to create UFO hoaxes. It’s a wonderful medium that combines performance art, media criticism, and story telling. I suppose things like the John Titor time traveler hoax is another good example of this type of art.

Mixed Feelings about the term “Plainskin”

People sometimes lose respect for me when I use the word “plainskin” (I noticed has even made it Urbandictionary with the spelling ‘plain-skin‘ and ‘plain skin‘). Even though it can be used in a simply descriptive way without implying anything else — there are contexts where it could be completely innocent — it often does carry a derogatory tone and that’s its origin. Words run away from their creators of course, and just because I may have been the first to use it doesn’t mean I get to police its meaning… but if we can pretend for a minute, I want to say that to me, plainskin doesn’t just refer to people devoid of body art — it means a person who holds bigoted views about body art and body play.

This was brought to mind when one of the many Facebook blogs that mostly post scantily clad pictures of pretty girls with tattoos for people to ogle — as if people read these blogs for the tattoos any more than people buy the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue because they have an interest in bathing suit design — posted this picture of a play piercing session. They didn’t just repost the picture either. They downloaded it from popular Brazilian modification blog Frrkguys’s coverage of the 2010 King of Tattoo Convention in Japan, and cropped off the credit to Asami of EXTREME Body Piercing, replacing it with their own logo. So they’re perfectly happy to take the image and make money with it, but instead of posting it with a credit to the creator or even some information about play piercing, they posted it with nothing but the shallow observation, “Ouch.”

Of course this has always been a problem on the internet — a good percentage of the pictures that make up the blogs that post freak-out pictures of body mods and body play for people to ridicule as the blog-owners collect the advertising revenues were originally posted by BME members — but it’s of epidemic proportion today. And major social networks like Facebook and Tumblr do what they can to protect and encourage it because it’s a very easy way for them to build the traffic they need. But I mention it here not to talk about these politics, but to talk about the term “plainskin”. I want to give you a collection of the comments that were posted on the blog that posted this image from the first couple hours it was online:

Jesus fuck … — What the fuck? :O — :s too extreme — Why the f*#k would someone want to do that to themselves? — Why ? Get piercings fine get Tattoos fine :) This does not promote our trade or our love for body art :( — She needs a life. — she needs HELP — Someone needs some professional help :/ — Wow, human pin cushion, yuck! — i think she has issues — Did anyone notice the scarification she has? She gets off on the pain. *shudders* — That ain’t right… — SOME PEOPLE ARE REALY SICK !!! — Yucko… — ewe — Git the fuck outta here! — No, just no….. — stupid people.. :\ oh jesus… — Tattoos I can understand, pain is only temporary, however needles like that has got to hurt constantly, and is nuts — weirdo…

When I talk about “plainskins”, it’s people with these sorts of ignorant attitudes that I’m talking about. I guess in some ways it’s a poorly chosen word, because it really isn’t about their skin… Really, they’re “plainbrains” not “plainskins”. But the word came from being sick and tired of being hit, and trying to find something appropriate to hit back with… Something to make “us” the normal ones, and them the ones deserving of derision. Sometimes I think it’s funny — the word works great in a sentence — but more often I think that two wrongs don’t make a right. I mean, it’s not wrong to call a bigot a bigot. But you have to be careful you don’t choose terms that stereotype as badly as that which you’re experiencing.

It’s hard writing a memoir without doing a lot of second-guessing!