Monthly Archives: November 2002


OK, I'm powering this machine down shortly. I've got most of the essentials burned to disc (ie. up-to-the-minute updates of all my source code, plus the BME maintenance databases), so if something bad happens while fixing, the damage will be minimized.

While I was backing things up, I tried to write down what BME means to me; that is, why I do it. (Any time I'm facing investing a pile of money to do things for BME, I do this to remind myself why it's worth doing). Note that these are my feelings, and not “official reasons”, if there's a difference.

  • BME is the result of the reaction of my unhappiness with the world's corruption.
  • BME stands for “be me”.
  • BME represents an act of will, an attempt to recreate the world, or at least a small part of it into something normal and beautiful.
  • BME is an act of faith, a space created by the genuine belief in its principles.
  • BME is a statement of belief that something good can come from us.
  • BME is an attempt to make a world where we are ordinary, without questions.
  • BME is a place where you never have to justify the way you feel.
  • BME is something I believe in.
  • BME is a tool for improving life.
  • BME is a place to be accepted for who you are, and do the same with others.
  • BME is a place where no matter how fucked up the rest of the world gets, you're safe and with friends.

I'm not saying it means that to everyone, or even that it should mean that to everyone. I don't know. But that's what it means to me… Anyway, I guess I'm off to make a pile of everything I have to bring with me and then it's time to face the highway in a few hours.

Well that's not fun

My increasingly flaky computer crashed right after I'd finished writing a big entry. Not fun, and I'm too busy today to be able to re-write it… “But I won't cry for yesterday” so it's back to downloading tunes and programming. By day's end I will most definitely have completed the self-indexing portion of the forum search tool.

Other than that, I got a copy of the “Modern Tribalism” DVD, along with a press/promo pack, so I guess I should watch and review that today too. I slept in a bit today (till ten or so), so I'm feeling a bit off. I really don't like sleeping in, because I do most of my work in the morning, and if at the end of the day I can't say “I did something good today — I made things a little better,” I feel like crap…


Marty and Jay just left to head back out west. We managed to do some more damage to the truck I think — it turns out that when you smash into five foot high dirt embankments and run over trees you can puncture the rad. Who'd a thunk it. Easy fix though, no big deal.

I realized as well I haven't posted any shots that really show the size of the new BME and PsyberCity offices… So below are two in-construction pictures. Soon that'll be full of computers, cars, and other fun stuff.

Polls away, top fiver

Everyone's doing it, so I'm doing a slightly modified version of saram's poll. I've also seen it on destrss, LexTalonis, and rebekah's pages. The only change I made is making each category five items. Some of the questions imply “grand” answers; I've tried to give a range when possible.

Five Figures That Shaped History

  1. Jesus
  2. Werner von Braun (ie. space travel, satellite technology, etc.)
  3. Abraham Lincoln (his changes to the American nation are directly responsible for both its social problems, and every major world war afterwards)
  4. Paddy Roy Bates (Pirate radio broadcaster who helped set the way for commercial radio, and the man who has singlehandedly kept the small country movement alive)
  5. Matisse (Don't underestimate the impact that movements like Fauvism had)

Five Truly Inspirational Movies

  1. Altered States
  2. The Mosquito Coast
  3. The Last Temptation of Christ
  4. Gattaca
  5. Birdy

Five Inventions Modern Society Couldn't Exist Without

  1. Psychedelic Drugs (many early computer scientists give experimental drug use much of the credit for the radical chain of inventions that brought us to where we are now)
  2. Non-representational democracy
  3. Telecommunications technology
  4. Store and retrieve media systems
  5. Vegan Philosophy (vegan living is the only way we can support billions of people on this planet at a high standard of living)

Five Ground Breaking Musical Artists

  1. Peter Gabriel
  2. Mike Patton
  3. Leon Theremin
  4. David Bowie
  5. Brian Eno

Five Devastating Events

  1. The destruction of Aborigine culture (Which caused the loss of 30,000 years of coherent history, a history dating back at least 25,000 years earlier than any other culture. This is in my opinion one of the most profound losses we've ever faced as a race.)
  2. The Mahabharata war (In which not only a similar amount of history was lost, but in which a level of science similar to our own 20th century science was lost, and the human race was set back 5,000 years)
  3. The burning of the Mayan Libraries by Bishop De Landa (In which almost all history and science of South America, including records of the destruction of previous cultures, was lost)
  4. The asteroid strike of 8000 BC (At which point we moved from being an advanced society back into pre-history)
  5. The invention and popularization of monotheism

Five Books Everyone Should Read

  1. The Good Life (by Scott Nearing, the definitive “back-to-the-land” book)
  2. The Real Lincoln (the most history-shattering book an American can read, and impeccably well documented and researched)
  3. Stupid White Men (radikal thinking made easy)
  4. The Food Revolution (hard numbers making a case for responsible eating, without any moralizing)
  5. The Bible (it defines the dominant culture of the planet)

"Medicine: An Earful at the Mall"

A large number of people have sent me the following link: Medicine: An Earful at the Mall, the latest iteration of the ear piercing gun story. It started as a “ear piercing guns lead to problems, get pierced at a studio” story, with doctor back-up, and now somehow the powers have flipped it to being a “pro-gun, anti-needle” story. Anyway, here's the letter I wrote them:

My name is Shannon Larratt and I am the publisher of, the world's largest resource and information source on body modification, and the only site that actively catalogs all modifications as well as their risks. I have published four books on the subject and have appeared in on TLC, The Discovery Channel, and many other shows as an expert in the field.

I recently read your article "Medicine: An Earful at the Mall" (online at, and while I am glad that the risks of mall piercing are being pointed out, I feel that it's important to mention a number of rather glaring errors. I am concerned that a number of these errors are literally opposite to medical knowledge on the subject and that some of the advice you are giving, while well meaning, may well be endangering your readers.

You say, "doctors advise against using disinfectant, since the studs are sterilized before shipping." In a perfect world that might be true, but, as you pointed out, and as the recent cases in Oregon illustrate, stores like Claire's use young employees who have neither the training nor the equipment to ensure that the items that come in contact with your blood are not contaminated. In an age of hepatitis, AIDS, and other deadly blood-borne diseases, I think it is very irresponsible to imply that one can safely patronize anything but a fully equipped piercing studio for such services.

You then go on to quote "Nicole Maye" of Claire's Accessories. First, I think it's deceptive to call her a "piercer". Body piercers that work in piercing studios receive extensive training, and in most parts of the US, are licensed by state health boards ensuring that they have only hard cleanable surfaces, a well maintained and regularly tested autoclave, and so on. As you point out in the article, mall kiosks and stores such as Claire's do not have the facilities to properly guarantee the safety of their clients, nor have their employees received adequate training in the field.

This inexperience and lack of knowledge is reflected in Maye's statement that piercings performed with a needle are more likely to lead to infection. To put it simply, this is a lie. As the doctors you quote pointed out, piercing guns violently rip and tear through the ear, rather than creating a clean and quick-healing cut like a needle does. In addition, a needled piercing, done in the context of a piercing studio, uses only items which are either disposable or fresh out of autoclaved packaging.

Given the choice of being pierced by an experienced piercer with clean surgical gear that's freshly out of an autoclave (the same device a hospital uses to sterilize its tools), or some kid ramming ear studs that haven't been sterilized since before they were shipped through me with a spring loaded gun, I think the choice is obvious.

If you or other writers have any follow-up questions I would be glad to assist.

Shannon Larratt

If you want to write a letter of you're own, you're welcome to rewrite any of the above for your own purposes. Seth also has an excellent letter on his page that he sent them about it.

PS. I always feel like a goof doing self-horn-tooting, but I figure it makes them more likely to take it seriously.