Monthly Archives: August 2004

Name dropping

Just got back from the convention… First I met (among others) Anders Sandberg (who I interviewed I think back in 1997 or so for BME), and then we watched a talk by Steve Mann (who I last saw at the IdeaCity convention) and chatted with him a little afterwards. While heading out I finally got to meet Simon Smith and a number of others who I'm forgetting at this moment but will try and recall for the actual article. Finally we also got to meet Stelarc who will be giving a talk tomorrow night… Very nice guy! In any case, it looks like it's going to be a great event (although it's going to shoot my workload even higher for the next week, ack, thank you to Rachel who's feeding me to keep me ticking). Thanks also to Phil for helping shoot the convention. I was also very surprised with how many people seemed to know who I was. Maybe I'm recognizable or something?

If you are in the Toronto area, I strongly recommend you come and check out Stelarc tomorrow night. His presentation is at 8 PM at the JRR McLeod Auditorium, located in the Medical Sciences building at 1 King's Court Circle (basically at University and College) at U of T. You can get tickets at the door (so just come at 7:30 or so). He's doing involuntary movement demonstrations and more, and the title of the talk is “ALTERNATE ANATOMICAL ARCHITECTURES: Empty, Involuntary, and Avatar Bodies”. Tickets are $12.50.

Well, duh.


The undisputed king
photo: hypermike

Note to people who don't read between the lines very well: the below entry does not mean you should burn down your neighbor's house. Odds are your neighbor is a slave as well, and you know what, there's an endless line of slaves, so killing slaves really won't bother the slaveowners. They don't care. Come on — Washington DC has literally half of its black male population under 35 in prison. Something is way out of balance.

If you want to destroy the slaveowners, here's a start:

  • Read international news and educate yourself as to how people around the world look at different problems we all face. If you can afford to, travel. Learn to think for yourself, but based on as much real information as possible. Don't assume that what someone else is telling you is true until you've verified that they're a consistent source of good information (and even then, check periodically that they haven't slipped).
  • Buy local produce. Go to a farmer's market, or buy your groceries from a farm co-op. They'll cost less, be far healthier, and you'll be putting money into your local economy, not into the hands of factory farming.
  • Cut down your meat intake (if you can't eliminate it entirely). Meat production puts a huge strain on the environment, and requires a “pyramid economy” internationally to sustain. This fuels big business while hurting farmers.
  • Support independent stores rather than chains. This keeps money flowing locally, rather than siphoning it off to central locations where it stagnates in the coffers of the ruling class.
  • Recycle, donate your old clothes, and help your neighbors when they're in trouble. This keeps money strong, the economy vibrant, keeps people working, and off of welfare. Energy conservation and all that goes with it keeps both the economy and the environment fresh.
  • Learn every skill you can. Learn to cook. Learn to swim. Take Judo. Learn to weld. Learn to shoot and safely handle firearms. Take first aid and CPR courses. By making yourself less reliant on others, you empower yourself, and your family and community.

I could go on and on, but I assume the trend of what I'm saying is obvious. (That is, make yourself as strong as independent as you can, and stop putting money in their pockets whenever you can. If you have to pay someone else for something, try and pay someone inside your community that's in the same income bracket as you are.)

From: "Eric Haskell" <>
Subject: How Stupid!!!
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 10:09:50 -0400

Are you guys retarded? It sure seems that way

A day may come that calls for truck bombs, but that day hasn't come yet and I hope it doesn't.

Aut suavitate aut vi!


I did this brief newspaper interview earlier today. I'm archiving it here for my own uses. If you see quotes from it over the next week, please let me know. You never know where the wires take stories, as some people discovered recently! Well, my narcissism is satiated for today.

I'm short on time so I've linked to some articles I wrote in the past. You're welcome to use them as answers if they're relevant.

At 8/3/2004 07:35 PM, you wrote:
1. What was your first modification? How old were you? Why did you do it?

I was doing temporary piercings on myself at about age ten and started tattooing and piercing myself when I was fifteen or sixteen. I don't know why I did it, I “just had to”. To put it into context, I was living on a farm two hours from the closest large city, and this was a decade before piercings and tattoos would become public enough to be commonplace in the media. When I started, I had no idea that there were many other people doing this, and certainly wasn't expecting it to become as popular as it is now. I suppose a lot of other people found themselves with the same innate drives, and you'll find that most people seriously involved in body modifications have analogous stories to my own. It's really quite a common story.

2. What further modifications have you done? How old are you now?

I've had a lot of things that I haven't kept as I went through an experimental phase (mostly a lot of different piercings and implants), but at this point I have a split tongue, a subincision, heavy tattooing including my face, and 2″ stretched earlobe piercings. I am thirty years old.

3. Is modification primarily something young people do?

Absolutely not. Right now there are definitely more young people doing it, but that's a very recent shift. Traditionally body modification has not been a “youth trend”, and it certainly still penetrates all demographics. Most of our original members on the site were over 35.

4. Does modification have a spiritual or religious aspect for you?

It does for me, yes, but not for everyone. A few relevant stories about me on this vein are:

5. Modification is sometimes considered part of the tribal/pagan scene. Your comments?

It certainly is, but I don't really want to put words in other people's mouths… That said, body modification was an important part of the social structure of many tribal cultures, denoting family history, caste rank, age and achievements, and so on. Modern neo-tribal Westerners often emulate some of that, although it's in a very different context. I wrote an article on the subject about a year ago:

As far as pagan involvement in body modification, I don't think there's anything that would attach neo-pagans to body modification any more than modern Christians (ie. body modification is a great way to commemorate and solidify ANYTHING that's important to you)… which I've written a little about here:

6. Modification is sometimes considered part of the S/M scene. Your comments?

Absolutely, there are three main aspects. First, body modification is a part of SM fashion for those that see it in that way; it's a part of the look. But it's more than that. It's also a functional accessory — piercings and other modifications both make traditional sex play feel better (in short, by allowing more nerves to receive stimulation), and often allow for new forms of play as well. Finally, the act of receiving modifications, both permanent ones and temporary play (CBT and so on), involves intense physical sensations that many people find highly erotic. This is very normal and healthy in my opinion.

7. How large is the modification community?

BME receives about 20 million hits daily. The body modification community is immense, and far far larger than most people imagine. Most people only see the young people with piercings on their face, but what they don't realize is there are legions of modified people hiding intensely modified bodies underneath their business suits. Most of the more heavily modified individuals I know are well off professionals in positions of power who keep their modifications to themselves when in public.

8. Many Americans are frightened of the modification scene. Are they simply old-fashioned?

I don't know if “old fashioned” is the right word because body modification is nothing new. It's more visible these days because of the media attention, which has also popularized it especially among youth, but it's definitely not something new. It's just more out of the closet. Body modification is a healthy and a positive thing in most people's lives — there's nothing in it for people to be afraid of. To be perfectly honest, the only “bad” thing about body modification is that it can make prejudiced plainskins restrict access to jobs, education, and so on because of their fears.

9. What does “the body” mean to you?

My body houses me and is the only tool I have to experience what this world has to offer. I'd be a fool not to manipulate it in ways that allow me as many experiences as possible.

Hope that helped,


Pride of America

I really like driving my Vette. It may be just a falling apart sled of a chassis with 700 HP of 4 MPG American power strapped to it, but I really, really do like driving it. The whole car shakes to the tune of your driving, and having headers connected to the 3″ wide sidepipes sounds amazing. I don't know what import people are thinking with their exhausts that just make the car sound like a lawnmower. If you're going to advertise your package, it really should be down to your knees.

Anyway, Jimmy Olsen and I are headed down to check out Steve Mann's talk at TransVision. The theme is The Right to Self-Modify (totally relevant to BME of course), and tomorrow is Alternate Anatomical Architectures by Stelarc. Check it out if you're in Toronto, and if not, watch for coverage in BME/News!

Welcome to Jersey

We just got back from checking out the daVinci spaceship this morning. I've got to admit it's really incredibly guerrilla looking, and reminded me more of a backyard Monster Garage type project than a space program (it's basically a big carbon fibre coffin). The “unveiling” itself wasn't really much of an unveiling; it seemed to be an unfinished inner shell (covered in Internet Casino stickers, since that's who's funding the Ocotber 2nd launch) without any of the working parts visible. A scale mockup of the outer shell hung at the museum across the street.

Me with the world's second ever private spaceship. The mockup hanginng at the aerospace museum.

While we were up there we stopped in at the museum as well, located in the old De Havilland hanger. Here's a few quick photos (it's a very very small museum):

Rachel with a jet kitplane. Me with a full size model of an Avro Arrow. I think this is an Osprey kit plane (or something very similar). An earlier Canadian fighter jet.

Seeing just how big the revolutionary Avro Arrow was in person was what surprised me most (excluding the earlier shock of seeing what we crazy Canucks have decided to shoot into space that is). I really hope the daVinci project is as revolutionary as the Avro Arrow was, but I fear that it will share only the same unfortunate end. PS. Dunno what the title of this entry means?