Monthly Archives: January 2011

Wow he looks good

Much thanks to Mel for tipping me to this video from the aforementioned fashion show that stars Zombie (“Skullboy”). Zombie is a good looking guy to start with, so his dramatic “beautiful monster” morbid transformation is all the more powerful. I am so bubbling with excitement to see doors opening for him. I hope that his good luck continues because it’s great for all of us.

Anyway, I am off to the Science Centre, taking Nefarious and a friend of hers to see their mythological creatures exhibit. They’ll amuse each other so it shouldn’t be too hard for me. I spent the morning pounding nail guide holes — in theory there are 22,500 potential nails in this project, if not more, so it’s taking much longer than I’d blindly assumed.

All the money you made will never buy back your soul.

In relation to the previous post, which makes me so angry, let me perhaps illegally quote the entirety of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War, which I feel I can say with certainty very closely mirrors what I was saying there, minus the science fiction overtones which pervade my thinking. And of course you’re doing yourself a favor if you go find the song on YouTube (or whatever) and refresh your memory and get kicked in the gut if my link gets yanked.

Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

After I get Nefarious at school I’ve got to head up shopping and pick her up an SD card for a free camera I got the other day that’s become hers (nothing exciting, a nice 12MP Kodak EasyShare that came with my new printer, one of those new cheap multi-use HP inkjets that comes with that awesome wifi control panel that’s kind of a mini-iPad). While I’m there I’m going to pick up some… well, some something because I want to do one of those “object portraits” made of stuff mostly for fun.

I know I criticized the last few years of my artistic life for just doing trite meaningless crap, but it will be nice to take a break and do something light and enjoyable.

Other than that I’ve been working on upping my skull soap stock and I’m pretty pleased with how these molds turned out. I still have to make a cast of the latest skull candle design and post that as well, I’m just not sure if I have enough wax here right now. Those of you who I owe ModCon books to I’m going to put in some of these as thank you gifts and apologies for being a bit tardy with shipment on the second batch. This is caffenated soap by the way, which I’m told is good for your skin and wakes you up in the morning. Dunno if that’s bullshit or not.

I have a couple other secrets to blather but I will save those for another time when they’ve grown a bit more. So yeah, I’m outta here.

PS. Her dad had sensible advice.

Converting nightmares into dreams

Preface: Holy-camoly, I just noticed it’s 11AM, and I have things to do so I’m aborting this entry where it lies (and if you want an abortion horror story that I didn’t have time to blog about, read this nightmare fuel… the world can be a terrible place at times, and the theme of this entry is that we have the power to change that). No proof-reading whatsoever, sorry. Screw the possibility of reader comprehension. My blog is only for those that can read through the chaos of jumbled sentences, yeah elitism.

Unfortunately this news is probably “2012 Mayan apocalypse” hyperbole (and the article that reminded me is full of thatDiscovery has a disappointingly rational and skeptical fantasy-killing debunking), but I sure am aesthetically excited by the idea that Betelgeuse — a star which you may know better as a ghost in a striped suit the right shoulder of the easy to identify constellation of Orion — is going to go supernova in the next year or two (or more accurately, six hundred or so years ago, since it’s thought ot be about six hundred light years away). I think because Betelgeuse is a pulsating star it’s difficult to exactly determine its mass, but a number of qualified astronomers think it’s on the brink of imminent collapse, which would result in a (most likely harmless) supernova that would appear to us four times the size of the moon, bright enough to illuminate the night sky far better than the full moon, and to be visible during the day as a “second sun” for a few weeks. Wow I hope I get to see that.

Visually it would be one of the most amazing astronomical events to happen in human history, and I sure would feel privileged to be alive for it. The last thing I can think of on this magnitude was a comet that passed through the sky around 3,500 years ago. It filled up a significant percentage of the sky as its tail dragged through the sky, and possibly looked something like this:

Holy New Age Batman!

Now you understand why the erroneously labeled “sun” symbol of the Aten cult only has rays coming in one direction. Here are some Egyptian cult pictures, and you can find similar symbols from other religions birthed of the exact same moment in history all around the world (for example the Chinese Lao-Tien-Yeh glyph). Look familiar?

Some authors (most obviously see Graham Philip’s The End of Eden) have linked the appearance of this comet to the sudden formation around the world of monotheistic religious cults — comet cults suddenly taking over from the dominant pagan animist traditions — and stretching a little, also linking it to a warlike period not only because of the visual shock of god visiting in the sky, but because the tail of the comet may have scattered complex organic molecules into the environment that acted akin to dumping a few tons of psychoactive psychiatric drugs into the water system. Interesting theory. A bit far out (and if you like this line of thinking, read more about it on the previously mentioned author’s website on the subject), and again, easy to debunk, but I like it, and I hope I live to see something similarly amazing.

I’ll pass on the religious hysteria and war though, thanks.

That said, when I see what happens in United States politics, I am sickened. Really sickened. I was reading about the ruined dystopian city of Camden, NJ, in The Nation, and here’s a scary relevant quote from the article:

Camden is the poster child of postindustrial decay. It stands as a warning of what huge pockets of the United States could turn into as we cement into place a permanent underclass of the unemployed, slash state and federal services in a desperate bid to cut massive deficits, watch cities and states go bankrupt and struggle to adjust to a stark neofeudalism in which the working and middle classes are decimated.

Anyway, the reason I’m sickened is because I read about the Republicans (and even some Democrats) doing everything they can to repeal the pathetically minimal yet still revolutionary “Obamacare” program that does stuff like protects those born with pre-existing genetic conditions, or the lower middle class who can’t afford decent healthcare, but aren’t poor enough to get welfare. They’re willing to completely cripple government in the process of stopping something that even the cruelest and most will-to-power among us should recognize as something that a decent modern industrialized nation does for its citizens. Basic healthcare is almost universally seen as a human right these days. And the kicker is that if the Republicans actually manage to repeal or de-fund US healthcare, the end result is of course not that those people don’t get sick. They still get sick, and they still suffer, but their treatment is more costly and the costs are absorbed by society in the form of crime and bankrupcy and debt — that’s right, debt. Cutting this program could add a trillion dollars to the deficit over the next ten years. And where does that trillion dollars go? To the rich. That’s the game these monsters are playing.

Two futures. Which one spent its money on bombs?

The part that always gets me is Costa Rica, which scrapped its military sixty years ago, yet somehow has managed to avoid being conquered. Because guess what? That shit doesn’t happen here. I would like to see America (and Canada) completely eliminate its military. I mean come on, what fool actually believes that there is going to be a ground invasion of North America? What, is Russia going to roll ten thousand amphibious tanks across the Bering Strait? Give me a break. It’s not going to happen. The cost of invading America would be astronomical, to say nothing of the fact that crazy second American hillbillies have armed citizens to the teeth and if a bunch of Afghanistan cavemen can fend off the most advanced military on the planet, I’m pretty sure said hillbillies can do the same. There is absolutely zero need for the US to have a military. At best they are a make work project and a way to funnel mountains of money into the hands of rich defense contractors. Perhaps they protect some American interests internationally, but come on — the negative effects and astronomical cost of the “war for oil” in Iraq has not paid off. There’s no way that the money spent protecting those “interests” (which are only interests for the ultra-wealthy top 0.1% anyway) is an intelligent investment for middle America.

It makes me sick that no mainstream American politician would dare say something so heretical.

It makes me even sicker that instead they have the play the charade of pretending to pray to some imaginary sky god and keep the lie of religion enshrined in US culture, as these The-Emperor-Wears-No-Clothes liars use the name of God to justify Big Sin&tm;, sin that’s so enormous and evil that only something as ignorant as religion could justify it. Anyway, I digress and I annoy Caitlin with what she calls “angry typing”, which I do admit can get very loud and clackity.

If US military spending was not cut back, but, as I propose, ended entirely, then suddenly there are a trillion dollars a year in savings. Sure, you could just give that money back to the public if you want to, but I think it would make more sense to invest that money back in America. Let’s say there’s a trillion dollars more in the budget. Of course you could give everyone in America healthcare and be done with the stupid debate on how badly the rich can abuse the poor below them. And all those people that are now unemployed soldiers? Don’t treat them like Vietnam Vets and marginalize them into bitter hobos like America is oh-so-fond of doing to its retired heroes, but give them jobs and have a new wave of public works across America. Think of the bridges and community centers and high speed rail lines and swimming pools and visions of the future that could be built with that kind of money to dedicate to making America a true shining beacon on the hill. With that kind of money invested in itself, rather than burned and squandered on war, America could be the greatest nation on Earth.


Idiocracy: Comedy or Prophecy?

Or should I say “profase”…?

Aw what’s the point in even considering the written word?

Oh, education. Right now Texas (which somehow finds the money to drop $60 million on high school football stadiums, oh priority) is talking about cutting $5 billion (about $1,000 per child per year) from their education budget. As “Comedy” news watchers know, that includes increasing class sizes to sixty students and one teacher, a size that guarantees that no one is coming out of there with knowledge or any love of learning. Oh yeah, and also getting rid of the last year of high school, so kids aren’t even qualified for higher education. Where is this going to leave America in twenty years when it reaps the results of this generation that’s had ignorance forced upon them? It’s truly frightening. Of course, if even small cuts were made to the military, the education budget could be doubled, halving class sizes instead, and instead of getting rid of the last year of high school, instead doing what some other first-world nations do — making university free to students willing to learn.

Think what a different place America would be if every person bright enough to do so was able to earn their science doctorate, or become an engineer, or whatever, and that even those who don’t have the brains or interest to choose that path fall into a work environment with dollars and jobs to spare, where Americans work hard to create a bright dream of a future.

Speaking of settling Mars, which I have done in a few entries lately, the cost of a one way mission to Mars — that is, a mission that settles Mars — is, according to NASA about $10 billion dollars. It’s actually cheaper to settle Mars because the amount of fuel that one has to bring for a return mission outweighs the supplies required to live there for a lifetime. Since 2001, the US has spent well over a trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not a single penny of that needed to be spent. But look at those numbers. If only 1% — one fucking percent — of the cost of these pointless wars had been given to NASA, we could have settled Mars. What the fuck. If we actually invested in the future and gave all of that money to NASA then guess what? We’d have cities on Mars. We’d actually be colonizing another planet.

This isn’t some deep future theoretical sci-fi shit. This can happen. This is doable. We have the technology already. All we lack is the willpower to fund it. Humans could already be taking the first steps into colonizing our solar system and our galaxy. We can live the future. We can do it. All we need to do is take a realistic look at our desires for where we want our nations and our species to end up and choose our priorities accordingly. I mean, I’m not talking nonsense. Nothing I’m saying here should be hard to understand. Am I delusional that people really, when they actually think about it, can’t understand and at least partially sympathize with what I’m saying? Or is the political process so beholden to the will of the wealthy that the actual will of the people is irrelevant? It should not be that hard for America to choose a better future. At the end of World War II, America was the only industrial nation that hadn’t been bombed to shit, that had a functioning industrial base. Europe has spend the last fifty years rebuilding and getting back on its feet, but America has been in a position of unparalleled wealth and priveledge and advantage, and has nearly squandered it all on converting every human evil into cash for the wealthy. But it’s not too late. The dream is still there on the horizon I think.

Ahhh naw… what am I saying? War is so much more important.

Keep on investing in misery and giving a big fuck you to the dreams of humanity.

That’s my illustration for craziness. I made it late last night because I couldn’t sleep due to a cockroach crawling onto my foot at midnight, causing me to spend the next two hours vigilant and ready to crush the speedy bastard with a book. I never did get him and I’m pretty sure he’s hiding in my beard, having built a home there as I slept.

I need to get another radio show so I can yell this shit loudly at people, haha.

Zombie’s Moving Up In The World!

This morning I was browsing the news and skimming through the top news photos and came across an image from a Thierry Mugler men’s fashion show in Paris yesterday, and I think that like me, some of you will get a kick out of said photo from the show (credit: AP/Francis Mori):

As I’m sure many realized, that model is none other than “Skullboy”, Zombie, who I profiled with the help of BME reader Veronika back in 2008 (that link goes to original interview; assorted BME coverage here). Obviously neither I or BME can take credit for his success and climb to model-dom, but one of the things that I’ve always been proud of with BME is that it’s been a wonderful genesis point for so many people and cultural movements. Many people took their first public steps there, and without BME they might have had a very different launching point and path into the world. So I was quite happy to see this photo. What an interesting world, that a marginalized Quebecois street kid has been whisked off to become an international model. And I don’t think he’s there as a novelty act or freakshow either, which admittedly is a small positive step, but I think we’ve gone much farther, and are part of mainstream aesthetics — attitudes about beauty have evolved more positively than I ever could have imagined in 1994.

When I started BME, I felt very culturally disconnected and “preemptively outcast” from the world around me because of my instinctive interest in body modification, which in the eighties, when I started getting seriously started on transforming my public visage and identity by restructuring my body to match my own personal sense of beauty, was a real outsider and frowned-upon activity with primarily negative connotations. Part of the reason the website was called “BME” was not just as an acronym for “Body Modification Ezine”, but also as “Be Me”, because I had the concept that instead of me bowing to the outside world and “being them”, I was going to do everything I could to change the outside world and have them “be me”. As luck would have it, I wasn’t the only person who felt this way, and many other people joined my mission of transforming the world to match our fantasies, and I think looking at how different the world is now that we did a damn good job and especially those of us who were there from the start — all you piercers and body artists and enthusiasts struggling in the nineties to create what is now a mainstream industry — can give ourselves a big pat on the back for a job well done. How many people can say that they took part in changing this ill-fitting nightmare of a world we live in to match their warmest dreams? If you’re reading this blog then there’s a good chance that you were part of that fantasy and I hope that seeing that photo above helps remind you that we achieved the comfortable impossible.

Now, to move off onto something else, when I took that screen shot I still had open on the other half of my screen Daz Studio, the figure-centric 3D animation and modeling software that I mentioned recently had been very useful in doing posing for recent paintings. Last night I spent some time teaching Nefarious, who is not quite eight years old, to use it and she’s had lots of fun creating little pigs and other fantasy characters. So I wanted to again recommend this tool not just for artists but also for parents, especially because it’s a free download, which you can get here along with many free models and scenery as well. These dancing pigs are her first creation.

Today I’m going to try and move the trike project ahead a little more if I can find the strength. We’re starting to get the mechanical aspects much more solidified. Right now I’m using a pair of 400W hub motor, one on each rear wheel, that are controlled with a 40amp 48V dual motor controller with a reverse switch. Power comes from a pair of 10Ah LiFePO4 high discharge batteries that also has a 12v/5v adapter so I can attach various accessories (USB power, lighting, and so on). According to my dubious online calculations that means I’ll do a “blistering” quarter mile in a bit over thirty seconds at about 40 mph, perhaps 2/3 the speed of an old VW Beetle. Maybe I want more? I’m waffling right now on whether I want to continue with building it with a composite frame or if I want to go the easy route and build it on a metal tube frame. For a variety of reasons, but mostly simplicity, I am leaning toward the latter.

The 1985 store called, it wants its colour scheme back

Last night Caitlin and I were watching Black Swan but we only made it half way through because I wrecked the movie by making a ton of noise attempting to fix my printer. I have been feeling just awful, a real hope-shattering never-letting-up torturous horror, and wrote a letter to my doctor trying to explain what I’m going through and advocate my case for adequate treatment, but the printer kept refusing to load paper. Me trying to force it, trying to figure out how to front load and manually insert the paper over and over, canceling and restarting it until Caitlin walked out of the room in frustration. It was only ended when she returned to see me shaking the printer with a sense of futility over my head in the hope that I’d magically repair some trigger switch and she told me that the printer might work better if I removed the paintbrush. So with some sense of shame I pulled out the brush that I’d accidentally and unawarely dropped into its innards and my sad words were eagerly spit out by the now healed printer as Caitlin stomped up to the loft to go to bed.

I hold on to a sliver of hope that this new path of treatment could work because I can feel that there is some overall reduction in pain, but at the same time, because of the slow nature of the drug I’ve lost that up and down that in the past momentarily took the pain away. In a way the severity of pain is irrelevant when it never stops, when you never have a single second that isn’t dominated by agony. Even if that agony is reduced all it means is that it takes a little longer before it cracks past your threshold, and when the pain never ever ends, then you’re always past said threshold. It’s also difficult to hold on to faith in the process when it moves so slowly that by the time you get relief, the underlying disease has destroyed your muscles to the point where you can’t take advantage of whatever new lease on life you’ve been given. When you’re running out of time it’s hard to be patient.

Anyway, it’s been very hard to get anything done but I still am trying to force myself to enjoy life, and remember that as much as I have to deal with this particular curse, I’ve had so many other blessings — and continue to — that I have very little right to complain. I think I have the right to demand medical treatment for the pain and make the appropriate complaints to achieve that, but I don’t have a larger philosophical right to “oh poor me” complain about my life, and I really don’t believe that. I could die today and feel that my life has been a huge net positive. Not that I’m about to, don’t worry. That said, I really want to get over this hump so I can get more active because it’s been hard not being able to do all the things I want to. I did do a little bit of painting, with mixed results that I’m still debating. Much time will still need to be spent here but I wanted to share the current evolutionary point.

As a point of trivia, much of this painting has been done with a syringe. I asked the supermarket pharmacy what big syringes they had and they gave me a fat 30ml one that works nicely for sucking in paint and spitting it out again somewhat like cake icing. That said it contributes to the dated eighties feel that the colours give as well, so yeah, mixed results.

Oh, and I wanted, for any sci-fi fans reading this, to recommend a free download of the Pioneer One series on VODO. The idea behind the show is that a spaceship carrying a young man has crashed in Canada, and it appears to be an old Soviet ship. A note claims that the kid is the son of cosmonauts who have been living on Mars since before the fall of the USSR. To repeat what others have said, it’s “surprisingly well done” for an indie project. That sounds bad and it’s not meant to — I’ve really enjoyed it, and it’s the kind of science fiction that really gets your head spinning and thinking and I’ve been pouring over Wikipedia articles on Mars colonization and spidering out from there. I have always advocated and continue to advocate one way to Mars, “Mars To Stay” type projects. We shouldn’t be “exploring” Mars and then leaving. We should be colonizing it as pioneers. I would welcome the opportunity (and the reduced gravity).

Tangentially, I also got deep dreaming excited as I read about rogue planets, planets in deep space not part of any solar system. According to a Caltech prof with the right conditions an earth-sized planet could exist in deep space with a thick hydogen/helium atmosphere and enough warmth, even without being bathed in the UV radiation of a mother-star, to have liquid water and thus, I suppose, life. What a thing that is to dream about. I like thinking about life moving between worlds, and if I have faith in anything that moves into the minimal-evidence world, it’s in pamspermia. Anyway, I promised Caitlin that I would do some clean-up here today as I’ve been so non-functional lately that I’ve been neglecting my duties, so I will try and do that now.

I have told Nefarious that one day she may have the option to live on other worlds, other celestial bodies. I do hope that I live long enough to look up into the night sky and see the dark parts of the globe of the moon dotted with the lights of cities. It seems so magical to me, and I wonder if one day children will be born to whom this fantasy is the mundane. I hope that great change for a broader and exciting future continues to be the experience of every new generation.