Wedding ring microdermals, the new trend? Get lost!

There’s been a bit of buzz lately from some less than reputable news sites reporting on what they consider a new, hip trend, surface anchors being installed on fingers in place of wedding rings. While Modblog readers and BME fans are certainly not going to be unfamiliar with the erroneous concept of piercing fingers and hands as we near an anniversary of Shannon’s own attempts at his hand web piercings, the body piercing industry as a majority has largely changed face on what we now refer to commonly as “long term temporary” piercings.

I was approached by Refinery29 in order to comment on the subject, and after seeing the final article printed to seem almost positive towards the idea, I feel like the whole story should be told. (And, you know, I already wrote the whole thing).

Here is the original interview in its entirety:

R29: I know pain threshold is a very subjective experience, but on a scale of 1-10, how much would a micro-dermal piercing like this hurt?

TV: When it comes to microdermals – or surface anchors as we more commonly refer to them these days – the sensation for the client receiving the piercing is a bit unlike a traditional piercing. The way I describe the feeling to my clients is to explain that they will feel a piercing-like pinch while the initial pocket is made with a needle, and then more of a pushing-like pressure as the jewelry is inserted.

Pain levels will of course vary from person to person, though surface anchors are usually on the lower end of the pain scale for most of my clients – even those without much or any prior experience in being pierced. Fingers may tend to be a bit more sensitive.

RT: What would the recovery and healing process be like?

TV: Recovery time with most piercings is very minimal. The first few hours to first week or so will contain some light soreness, swelling, mild redness and minimal bleeding around the piercing site as the body’s inflammatory system activates and begins the first stages of the healing process. From there, things will calm down and relax steadily throughout the rest of the healing period.

According to the Association of Professional Piercers, Surface Anchors tend to take between 3-4 months to fully heal. During that time and as the body begins healing the damaged tissue, the piercing will begin to discharge a light amount of what we commonly refer to as fluid that will become “crusties” – or medically, serous exudate. This discharge is a very normal part of the healing process of any piercing at all and appears as a mostly clear, thin, watery plasma that will dry around the piercing site and form light scabbing. It should be gently removed with a very minimal aftercare regimen during healing.


RT: Is it normal for a piercing to continue to bleed like in most of those photos?

TV: While any piercing may bleed a bit immediately during the piercing itself or for a very short while afterwards, extended bleeding is not something we see often with microdermals at all. In very simple terms, in body piercing we are essentially making a hole through the body and then immediately “plugging” it. In many occasions, microdermal piercings will be completed by placing a band-aid over the piercing site itself, though this is usually less to prevent any bleeding and more to prevent any accidental catching or snagging that may affect the piercing after being freshly done.

RT: How close are these finger piercings/anchors to the bone?

TV: Not at all! A microdermal piercing when properly placed will sit in the dermis, the layer of tissue directly beneath the outer surface layer of the skin – the epidermis. They are routinely placed less than a 1/4” beneath the outer surface of the skin, and on places such as fingers – often only about half that.

RT: How do the anchors of a dermal piercing work differently than another?

TV: Surface anchors are unique from other piercings in that they are a single-point piercing, meaning that they have only one point of entrance and exit for the entire piece of jewelry. Onlookers will often ask with curiosity (or sometimes pure bewilderment): “Does that go all the way through?!”.

Instead of a piercing completely made through an ear, or a fold of tissue in say a navel, microdermal piercings are performed by creating a pocket within the top two layers of skin and placing the jewelry snugly and securely within the dermis.

RT: What are possible side effects for a piercing like this?

TV: The biggest and most important side effect to note is that microdermals have a limited lifespan. In my professional experience, clients tend to average around 2-6 years with the piercings before issues arise or they chose to take them out for other reasons – such as lifestyle changes, job requirements, or a change of aesthetic. I have seen surface anchors last upwards of 10+ years and also ones that have to be removed after less than 6 months.

The common term among professionals used to describe the longevity of a microdermal is “Long-term temporary”. When the first modern microdermals were introduced widely in 2006 by Pat Pruitt of Custom Steel, they were referred to as “Borderline Permanent” as their longevity had yet to be tested. Earlier prototypes showed mixed results but most resulted in inevitable failure.


Secondary to rejection, the largest risk factor when it comes to any piercing on the hands is infection. Think about all of the things your hands touch on a regular basis, and now imagine all of those getting in an open wound over 4 months! If we take a look at simple medical studies on wound healing, lacerations on the hand tend to have almost double the infection rate versus those on other parts of the body. While infection rates across the board are already pretty low, especially in the case of traditional piercings, we certainly do not want to encourage higher risk placements and increase those possibilities.

Source: (5% average infection rate for hand lacerations)
Source: (2.5% average infection rate for other lacerations)

Lastly, scaring. As scaring will differ from person to person, it is very difficult for us as professionals to estimate how the piercing site may scar once it has been removed down the line. Some people are left with lightly noticeable scaring, some people may be more prone to keloid-type scars, and some may be simply left with just a subtle little dimple as you’ll see below.

RT: What does the rejection of a piercing actually look like? What should someone look out for?

TV: I actually have a great photo example to share for this question, showing a healed microdermal bottom left, one beginning its journey towards rejection in the top left, one nearly completely rejected on the top right, and a scar from one that has already been fully removed on the bottom right. When this client came into the studio a few months ago, we removed all of the rest of the ones in this photo. These were not performed by me.:


Surface anchors in different stages of rejection or removal.

Surface anchors in different stages of rejection or removal.

In microdermals, early issues with the piercing can be identified by a notable amount of swelling, irritation, excessive redness or soreness, and the jewelry no longer remaining “flat” against the surface of the skin. At this stage, I would recommend returning to your piercer to have them see if the problems may be able to be resolved on their own before furthering. In the later stages, rejection may appear as the jewelry having tilted to one side or another, irritated tissue building up along the base of the jewelry, or entirely with parts of it protruding from the skin as pictured. By this point, it is a better idea to have the piercing removed by a professional rather than continue to let it work its way out on its own.

RT: Would you recommend clients getting this kind of piercing? Do a lot request it?

TV: Despite a few recent articles, requests for microdermal and surface anchor piercings have actually drastically decreased in recent years as more and more clients and more and more professional piercers are becoming aware of their impermanence, high likelihood of rejection and migration, and potential scarring after the piercing has been removed.

I find that the majority of people getting such piercings these days, especially on outer extremities such as wrists, hands, and fingers are those who were not offered a proper explanation of what to expect during healing or after removal. These days, I remove far more microdermals than I insert.

When it comes to extremities, such as hands, fingers, toes and the like, I do not recommend having them done – and nor do the vast majority of my colleagues. These areas are drastically more prone to infection, irritation, accidental catching, snagging, and almost all potential negatives that could happen to a piercing. Even the simple act of placing a hand into a pocket or down a sleeve when putting on a T-Shirt can turn into a complete ordeal as the piercing snags on clothing. Their longevity is dramatically reduced, and though you may see an increase or a large amount of photos of them being done – they are nearly always photos taken when the piercings were still brand new.


RT: Where might there be a better placement on the hand?

TV: Truthfully, there is not really a “better” placement for any piercing on a hand. Over the few decades, some of the best professional body piercers in the world experimented with a myriad of placements for piercings located on the hands and fingers. In short, they nearly all failed with the exception of some very small and unique cases of sheer luck.

In summary, if you understand the risks, the likelihood that they will not be permanent adornments, and are okay with potential scarring once they have been removed – they can be a very fun, temporary addition to many different parts of the body. It is important to consult with a reputable piercer with much experience in this area beforehand who can explain all of these factors to you along with providing you a safe recommendation on placement options that will provide as much longevity as possible. Outliers will however always be a factor. Finger microdermals may potentially last a decade under the right circumstances and with enough luck – and many readers may know people who have successful microdermal piercings for extended amounts of time that may make them believe the success rate is much higher – but it’s important to remember that not everyone who jumps off of the Golden Gate bridge dies.

If you’re looking for a cute way to show off your love, sticking with traditional finger jewelry tends to work much, much better – and I would hope that your marriage or partnership lasts longer than the average microdermal or surface anchor on a finger. 🙂


And that my friends, is why pop culture should just continue to report on pop culture.



We’re on the lookout for new ask.BME Staff!

UPDATE:  Thanks for all the submissions we’ve managed to fill all the empty spots.  Keep an eye on ModBlog for a post introducing you to them.

It’s that time again! We’re looking for additional ask.BME staff to help answer questions on BME!

If you’ve got what it takes to be a part of BME ask team, then please copy and past the questions below and send them to [email protected]! We have some rules and guidelines on how to answer questions on ask.BME but I want to see how you’d answer them on your own without any guidance from us. Don’t worry about answering them all, just answer the questions that match up with your experience and skill set. Be honest about the questions that you don’t know the right answer to and remember, everyone has different answers and there is always more than one correct answer to a question! So fill out the answers to the questions and send them in! P.S. Spelling errors are from the submittors of the questions, not BME! For authenticity we’re leaving them as is!

1. Hey,

I got my tongue pierced 4 days ago and I am very concerned with it getting infected, namely thrush because of the fact that I accidentally ate some food that has food in it that is made from dairy. Well for the past few days I’ve noticed that the back of my tongue from just behind the piercing on back is a yellowish color and I was wondering if this was normal? I have also noticed for the past couple of days that I have a sort of metallic taste in my mouth I was also wondering if this was normal? Then lastly, I was wondering if, instead of using the mouthwash that i’m currently using to rinse my mouth after every time I eat, is it okay to use the sea salt mixture in it’s place? Would using the sea salt mixture cut down on the possibility of getting an infection, like thrush, better than mouthwash? Sorry for all of the questions, i’m really anal about knowing everything that I can about what’s best for my piercings when they are healing.

2. so i recently just got a new tattoo to cover up some ugly ass tribal i had on my leg since i was 16… its a huge sobirety piece on my leg. now my question to you all is why does my tattoo look like the color has faded after some of the scabs have naturaly fallen off? also i have been using tattoo goo and applying 2-3 times per day.. even where i have heavy shading it looks like the color is fading or is that due to the fact the top layer of skin is starting to flake off?

My boyfriend was tattooed 4 days ago and has been chugging along with his aftercare as one does. I was applying ointment to it last night (a cream that tattooists in France always recommend, and that I and my boyfriend have used ourselves on previous tattoos without any problems whatsoever) when I noticed some small, blister-like bumps on parts of his tattoo.

They are more pronounced on the small spots of blue that he has in his tattoo but I also noticed a few of these little blisters on a shaded black area so I don’t think it’s a question of how much pressure was used while tattooing. They range from small circular spots of about 1-2mm in diameter to small smear-shaped raised, dry areas of about 6-8mm in length. There is not an over abundance of them but they seem to be more concentrated (although sparsely) around the inner forearm. There is also a slight redness and raised skin on other shaded areas of the tattoo. However there is no globalized redness or burning/itching.

He does have a tendency to swell up during the tattooing and up to a day after, but from what he tells me he hasn’t ever seen any of these small, raised, blister like patches on any of his other tattoos (he has both coloured and plain black ones).

I have a feeling you will tell me this is an allergy of some sort and to contact the tattoo artist, which I plan on doing, but I just wanted your opinion on this subject and how to possibly treat it. Should he really be panicking about it or is it something easily taken care of and should he seek a doctor’s opinion? Also how badly could it possibly affect the tattoo?

Thank you for any response you can give to put his mind at rest, or push to take action.

3. I just had my septum pierced and the piercer put in a circular barbell. Friends are telling me I should have had a retainer put in first while it heals. Is this true? I wouldn’t be concerned except it seems like the piercing is moving closer and closer to the bottom of the septum due to gravity, away from the cartilage area. Thanks.

4.  This is not my first tattoo, I have quite a few but I’ve never had any that have done this. I’ve gone to the same artist for most of my tattoos , I follow the after care procedures, but none of my other tattoos have had this happen, So it’s 7 days old and it has peeled for the most part but underneath the layer that has peeled it is a very shiny and wrinkly skin. It looks as if it’s possibly going to peel a second time. Like I’ve said before that’s never happened before. Is it silver skin/ milk skin? Will it go away? The tattoo is on my inner bicep, does that make a difference in how it heals?

5. I want to get the back of my neck pierced but i’m really worried about wasting money if it rejects, a friend of mine said dermal anchor’s are better and have less chance of rejecting?

Je veux obtenir l’arrière de mon cou percé, mais je suis vraiment inquiet pour gaspiller de l’argent si elle rejette, un de mes amis dit ancrage dermiques sont mieux et ont moins de chance de rejeter?

6. I have had my ear lobes stretched to 1/2 inch for about two year now. I recently got the urge to step up. In the past I have used silicone plugs to dead stretch my ears. I know the whole taper and non-porous jewelry way is preferred, but I was trying to go cheap and it works. I bought some 5/8″ plugs because I was trying to go too big too quick, completely kipping 9/16″. My ears got swollen and were very sensitive. After a few days, I decided to take them out and give my ears a rest. The swelling has almost completely gone down, except for in the fistula. It has been 3 days with no jewelry what so ever and my ears feel about 75% back to normal. I tried sticking a half inch taper through while in the shower but it makes around half way before pain. I am worried that irritating my piercings, coupled with the lack of jewelry, has reduced their size drastically. It is still a little swollen so I don’t know the full severity yet, but right now it look like 2g would be the biggest jewelry I could fit. Is it possible to get back to at least the 1/2″ inch I was at without having to work my way up? They were like that for 2 years, could 2 days have set me back that far?

7. Okay so I got my monroe pierced 5 days ago. It’s looking pretty good except that it’s still red around it. I do not think it’s infected because there is no puss coming out of it or anything and the inside looks totally fine. I emailed my piercer and he said this is totally normal. But, I’m getting paranoid! Almost every person I see says “That’s infected!” I’m really getting tired of hearing it. I know that they pierce with a long piece of jewelry and I do get it caught on my gums sometimes. Will the redness go away once I can switch to a shorter post and don’t get it caught on my gums anymore? I’m doing my SSS 2 times a day. Help please!

8. I’m wondering if you can recommend a reputable scarification artist in Australia. I’m based in Melbourne but I’m willing to travel if I need to. So far my searching hasn’t returned a whole lot.

Also, what method would work best if I’m looking to have subtle flat scars rather than raised keloiding? Is it more a matter of how you personally tend to heal rather than the method used that determines what the healed result is like?

9. Would love to ask if anyone know what category does this tattoo fall in. Tried searching on the web for a long time but couldn’t get it. Got this picture from one of someone and he told me his customer brought him that so no one knows what style/kind this tattoo falls in what category. very much appreciate if anyone out there knows because i really love it and would love to know more then ink it on me !THANKS GUYY!


10.  I got an apadravya and frenum long time ago, but recently found out me and my wife are to be expecting a little one. We were just wanting to double check if sex with the apadravya will be ok and not cause any problems with the pregnancy? We’ve tried searching but really couldn’t find a definite answer about this particular circumstance with apadravya + pregnancy. Thank you for any help.

11. I got my navel piercing when I was 15 years old, and I am now almost 25. It has never once been infected, but every once in a while over the years, it gets sore/red/painful for a week or so. In the past couple years I’ve put on about 20 pounds, and the irritation comes more frequently. SO frequently, that I took it out, and let it “heal” a couple months ago.

A few days ago it started the sore/red/painful thing again without even having a ring in it. I figured it was best to put the jewelry back in rather than have it seal in the infection, if that’s what it is. I have sensitive skin, so I only buy surgical steel rings, so that’s definitely not it. I even bought an actual circular ring instead of a barbel so it wouldn’t be too tight.

ANYWAY, I just don’t really know what is wrong.. is it my weight gain? Could it be something else? I just don’t know why it would be doing this after months of not having a ring in. HELP?!

12. Hi guys,

I had both of my ears pierced at 14g in August. They healed up with no problems or infections, and near the end of October, I stretched them to a 12g (my piercer did it for me, and they bled a little bit when he stretched them). Now around a little over a month ago, one of my tunnels was pulled out while I was sleeping, causing it to bleed a bit, but I cleaned it thoroughly then put it back in. After a few days or so, a small bump appeared on the back of my left ear near the piercing (not directly on the piercing, but its very close). At first I assumed it was a pimple because it was small and soft to touch. But after a week or so, it only shrunk a tiny bit. I had my piercer check it out, and he said that it was a “keloid”, and I simply had to rub it/massage it daily with soap on my fingers to help break down the “bacteria/gunk” inside so it could properly heal. Since I started doing that (around 3 or so weeks ago), it has gone down a bit, but is still there. I have also been using saline wound wash, as recommended by another piercer I know.

Now while I’m sure it’s just something I need to be patient with, I decided to ask on here because you guys are the professionals! I apologize if this can’t be analyzed properly without a picture, but I was just hoping you might have some advice towards a more effective solution for my situation.

Thanks much!

13. Just a quick question about tongue piercing. I have had a tongue piercing before but had to remove it and it healed up. I have being thinking about getting 2 new tongue piercings either venom’s or just two in the middle. Is it best to have them both done at the same time or separate?

14. I’m looking into getting a small skin removal piece done seeing how it’s going to be my first, and I was looking on many sites about chemical irritant aftercare, I seen that Toasted Sesame oil is a very good one to use, I got a bottle of 100% sesame oil one accident and wondered if it would do the same? Or better yet if you could suggest more of a variety of chemical irritants? Thank you!

Looking forward to the answers! ^_^

15. Hi, I’m really wanting to get my sub dermal clavicles done, I’m not sure where to do this because I know that they’re pretty rate piercings.can anyone recommend a place or places in Texas where I could get mine done? it can be anywhere on the state, if not in the state, somewhere in the same general area would be good, I want them badly and I’m getting pretty desperate to find somewhere, can anyone help?

16. I’m really interested in doing a saline injection temporary breast enlargement. do you know of any professionals who do this in the southern California area?

17. I had both of my nipples pierced almost 8 years ago and never had a problem with them until about a year ago. The left one kept getting a bump towards the right side of the piercing. After some tlc, it would go away, but a few weeks later it would be back. Roughly 3 months ago, I noticed the spot where the bump had been actually left a tiny hole I could see the jewelry through. Well, it healed and wasn’t causing me any pain until yesterday I noticed the skin on that side had ripped up into where the hole was. Is this a type of rejection? If so, why so long? I took the jewelry out when I noticed this and it appears everything is closing up fine and there’s no pain. Would it be recommended to have the piercing re-done once everything is completely healed up?

18. Hi, I got my nipple pierced about 5 days ago and due to the swelling one ball is digging into my nipple. So much so that you can see where some skin has rubbed off due to the pressure and it has started to scab. I went to the piercer and asked if he would put a longer bar in and he said that that was normal, and that with any tongue or nipple piercing indentation is going to occur and to just wait for the swelling to go down.

My question is should I go to a different piercer and get their opinion on it, or should i just wait and hope that one day i dont wake up to the ball having dug its way into the piercing?

19. Hey everyone, I’ve got a question regarding the pain I’ve been feeling with my tongue piercing.. I find it understandable to have sensitivity issues with a new piercing, but I’ve had my tongue pierced for a couple years now and don’t know what the cause of my discomfort is. Occasionally, I get a stinging pain on the bottom of my tongue, directly around the exit hole of my tongue piercing around the barbell. Right now I have the pain for a couple days and it is a little more uncomfortable than usual but tolerable-no where else but just the bottom of my tongue directly around the barbell itself. There’s no swelling or signs of infection, but when the piercing moves around in my mouth or I just move my tongue I get a stinging pain. This started happening well after the piercing healed up too. Any idea what might be causing this and what it could be?

20. I’ve had my tongue pierced for seven years, but I’ve heard they do close up very quickly even if they’ve been pierced for a long time. I’m having surgery later in the year, and will most likely have to take out all of my piercings for it. I’m worried it will close up. I also probably won’t be able to put it back in myself for awhile, because the surgery is on my chest, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to raise my arms high enough to do it. My fiancee is too squeamish to do it, and I don’t know if a nurse at the hospital would do it. Am I doomed to have to have it re-pierced after my surgery is healed, or is there a chance it would go back in after having it out for a week or so? Thank you!

Turn the other cheek

1 point ass suspension.  I don’t think anything else needs to be said.

I love how The Sinner Team mounts a camera right to the rigging.

Update:  Here’s the video..

BMEShop Year End Sale!  Coupon Code: holiday20off

40% off Diablo Ogranics Jewelry!! Coupon Code: 40offdiablo

5000th Order Shipped Out Receives $100 Gift Certificate!

BME NYE Party!  RSVP here!!

Wrapping it up for the year

It’s been a while since we’ve done them, but the BME Year-End Awards are coming up!  Now, because we didn’t do them last year, we’ll be doing the 2010** awards this month as well.  Now if you don’t know what the awards are, they’re how we recognize the top contributors to BME.  We look at 3 categories, photos, videos, and experiences*.  The top 10 in each category win fabulous prizes!

Now in the past, with the way the system worked is that we’d cut off submissions for the year end awards some time in December.  This year, with all the changes to the site, we can now take submissions up until midnight on December 31st.  So that means if you’re one of the top contributors come New Year’s Day, you’ll be getting a gift certificate to the BMEShop.  In past years we’ve given away t-shirts, but this time we thought it would be nice if the winners got to choose what they received.  Here’s how the prizes break down.  The top 10 contributors in each category will each win the following:

  • 1st place: $1000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250
  • 4th place: $100
  • 5th place: $50
  • 6th place: $40
  • 7th place: $30
  • 8th place: $30
  • 9th place: $30
  • 10th place: $20

If you do the math we’re giving away over six thousand dollars in prizes this year!

So what does this mean to you?  Well you’ve still got a few weeks to send in your submissions, so before the end of December upload your photos, videos and experiences* to BME.  Who knows, if you’ve submitted enough to be in the top ten, you’ll be getting a prize!  If you’ve been sitting on a bunch of photos that you haven’t uploaded yet, now is the time!

Now, all that said, we know there were some problems with the t-shirts in 2009 (I’m looking at you Angela).  If you were a winner of a 2009 year end award, and did not receive your shirt, send an e-mail to [email protected] with your shipping address, phone number, and shirt size (mens sm-2xl or womens s-xl), and we’ll send them out.

On top of all of this, the BME New Year’s Eve party is coming up!  We’re only a few days away from bonfires, suspensions, and all kinds of shenanigans!  Check the event listing for all the details!  BMEHQ is located right near King’s Dominion in Virginia, just outside of Richmond.

*Top 10 consists of the top 10 BME members who have submitted more than 1 experience.
**2010 prizes will be announced at a later date.

BMEShop Year End Sale!  Coupon Code: holiday20off

40% off Diablo Ogranics Jewelry!! Coupon Code: 40offdiablo

5000th Order Shipped Out Receives $100 Gift Certificate!

BMEtv – Kaleidoscope Tattoo

One of our first stops in Australia was Kaleidoscope Tattoo down in Bondi Beach. We spoke with tattooers Luciano Lima, Freddy, Stevie Edge, Cory Ohrman and their piercer Brady Hardin. If you’re ever lucky enough to be checking out the beautiful beaches of Sydney, Australia, there is no doubt you’ll be making a stop to see the world famous Bondi Beach. Don’t forget to visit Kaleidoscope Tattoo while you’re there!


Keep reading to check out the video!

Note: Please let us know if you’re experiencing any issues with the videos. Due to the unreliable nature of the integrated video player in wordpress, we will be putting the videos behind the break. We already know that the auto play doesn’t work properly. Despite having it disabled, in some browsers it still starts playing which causes a big problem if you have more than one video on a page! This is the primary reason we are putting the videos themselves behind the break.

If you have any issues playing the videos, please let us know in the comments. Please include your OS,  browser type/version and anything that you think will help us to determine what the issue is. Please make sure to be more specific than comments like “it doesn’t work”.

Subtitles: If anyone would like to volunteer to transcribe the videos so that we can add subtitles for our hearing impaired members, please send me an email and let me know. I would love to be able to include those. Thank you!

Tattoo Hollywood Opening Party & Bob Roberts’s Book Release!

Tattoo Hollywood & Known Gallery are proud to present new works by BOB ROBERTS and BERT KRAK | LADIES WELCOME and the release of Bob Roberts’s first book ever titled “In A World of Compromise…I Don’t”


About the book release:
Tattoo Hollywood Opening Party & Book Release: Thursday, August 19th, 2010 | 8-11pm
We will be selling 100 signed copies at $300.00 plus tax
Pre-order at: [email protected]


Opening reception: Saturday, July 31st, 2010 | 8-11pm
Tattoo Hollywood Opening Party & Book Release: Thursday, August 19th, 2010 | 8-11pm
Show runs: July 31st – August 19th, 2010

Known Gallery
441 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

About the artists:

Bob Roberts
The man, the myth, the legend: Bob Roberts. Few people have had the impact on tattooing that Bob Roberts has. His sheer artistic genius is sublime, and his biography reads the same way. For over thirty years he has been part of the vanguard of talented tattoo artists who, unbeknownst to them at the time, have pushed tattooing from a craft to an art form.

The list of artists Bob has worked alongside reads like a star-studded who’s who of the tattoo artist hall of fame, of which Bob would no doubt be a member if such a thing existed. He apprenticed with Colonel Todd and Bob Shaw at the infamous Pike and then worked alongside Cliff Raven, Greg Irons, Paul Rogers, Jack Rudy and Don Ed Hardy. His own shop, Spotlight Tattoo, continues to house a roster of talented artists bent on following in Bob’s footsteps.

Bob’s creative genius is not limited to tattooing and painting, he is also an accomplished musician. His musical career reads much the same as his tattoo resume. Bob has played with Ruben and the Jets, Hot Tuna, The Offs, New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, to name a few. His life has been “rock and roll” as well; Frisco, New York, LA, Europe, Japan, Bob has done the world tour. He’s also ridden across most of the United States on a Harley, and he’s “ridden it like he stole it.” That is how Bob lives his life, and his artwork reflects it.

But the thing that stands out the most to me about Bob is his persona. Ungovernable, fiercely independent, Bob does not compromise…. He does it HIS way. And thankfully for us, Bob Roberts has forever changed tattooing for the better.

-Takahiro “Taki” Kitamura
State of Grace
June 2010

Bert Krak

Loyal husband, father of four, expert tattooer, fine artist , business man, genius. Was born July 12th,1977 in Hollywood, FL. Met his wife in 95. Had his first son in 96. Started tattooing and painting around the year 2000. Currently owns and operates Top Shelf Tattooing in Queens, NY and Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn, NY. Specializes in electric walk up style laser proof tattooing that look like they were drawn and applied by a man.

One Hour Tattoo – Ran Maclurkin

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to get tattooed again but the day we were leaving Melbourne, I had to let Trevor finish what he had left of the background on my right calf. I wasn’t sure if he was going to have time for a second session so I had made an appointment later that same day with Ran Maclurkin of The Piercing Urge. The tour team and I had spent the day prior to the tattoo interviewing Ran, Matt and Pete for the tour videos and interviews that we’re doing. As I had explained before, I’m getting a series of skull tattoos to fill up the front and sides of my thighs while I’m out on the road. I really liked Ran‘s “Abstract Noir” style of tattooing and wanted to get a piece from him. He’d already tattooed Chez‘s thigh the day before. I decided to ask Ran if he’d do me the honor of being the second in my series of “One Hour Tattoo” video and he said yes!

Check out the video and I hope you enjoy it!


Due to weird inconsistencies with the “Auto-Play”, I’ve moved the video to behind the jump. Click the image to go to the post to watch the video or click more.

The next installment of the “One Hour Tattoo” will be from Josh Roelink at TatuDharma in Sydney! No, I didn’t make these out of order, I’m heading back to Sydney for a couple days before we head off from the land of kangaroos and awesome.

One Hour Tattoo – Rhys Gordon

As someone who spends most of their time behind a computer, I don’t get a chance very often to meet tattooers from various ends of the earth. I’ve decided to get a series of tattoos that I’m calling the “One Hour Tattoo” and I hope to make time lapse videos of all of them. The first tattoo I’ve had done is by Rhys Gordon at InnerVision Tattoo in Sydney, Australia. He drew the skull and cross bones while we were chatting for his interview, which we some how managed not to do! He came out a couple days later to visit with us while we were working in Melbourne and I interviewed him there. I’ll wait to tell you more about Rhys when we post his interview for BMEtv.

rhysDue to weird inconsistencies with the “Auto-Play”, I’ve moved the video to behind the jump. Click the image to go to the post to watch the video or click more.

Hope you enjoy the video! Don’t forget that you can make your own videos and upload them to the new video sections on

Where in the world is BME?

Where’s BME? Where are the posts? Are you guys okay? Have you frittered away the budget in strip clubs across the world? Those are the sorts of questions I’ve been getting. While I’d love to be on the perfect schedule of making at least one video a day, it’s going to take us a couple weeks to get to that point. Now bear with me while I try to get you caught up to where we are in the world tour. First I want to take a moment and thank and Industrial Strength for being our main BME world tour sponsors. They’re making this trip possible and I, as well as the rest of the crew, appreciate it!

I snapped some quick photos of our group. From Left to Right are Darah, Chez, Richard and Megan.

Darah WraineChez StockRichard KennedyMegan Dejmal

I have exactly 34 minutes of battery life on the flight between Sydney and Melbourne and I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish this post in that time. It simply isn’t possible to recount what we’ve done over such a short time. I’ll do my best to give you an over view and hopefully make you feel like you’re here with us. Some of you came out and showed us around town and for that I couldn’t be more grateful!

In order to get everyone up to speed without creating a massive tl;dr, I’ll try not to go over what Chez has already posted but it’s easy enough to say that the trip started off on a lame first step. We had one thing after another present itself, from drama to suitcases that wouldn’t zip shut, lost laptops to delayed flights, emptied pre-payed phones and more than I will waste any more time writing about. If it wasn’t complicated, it wouldn’t be fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world on a silver platter.

Click through to read more of the story and what we’ve been up to since we arrived in the country of kangaroos!

After spending about two and a half days getting to know one another, we left Los Angeles on Wednesday April 7th, arriving in Sydney on Friday April 9th. We mastered time travel and now we’re a day ahead of most of the readers out there. As Chez mentioned, Nano was a great host and was fresh faced at 7am to meet us at the airport. We ate breakfast together in what has quickly become a tour tradition, got sorted out at our hostel and then headed out for a walk. We had one day to catch our breath before Chez took on the monstrous task of organizing our schedule for the week.

Breakfast in Australia

L to R: Chez, Richard, Megan, Rachel and Darah

As you remember, we took suggestions from readers and went to almost every shop that was suggested to us that we were able to make time for. Due to having hosted the amazing Trevor McStay back in the states, I was lucky to have a great source for info on the Australian tattoo/piercing/body modification scene. Trevor sent us an email with contact information for Rhys Gordon and a suggestion that I ask him to show me around town. I also want to give a quick shout out to Timothy and thank him for the massive list of contact information that he sent us after his trip to the Sydney tattoo convention.

I made plans to have dinner with Rhys on Friday night but canceled after sitting down on my bed in the hostel and passing out around 7pm. The next day was much better after waking up shortly after 6am. I didn’t realize until later that I’d actually woken up around 2am local time on the flight here and that we’d put in a pretty long day just getting organized.

On Saturday we stopped over at Josh Roelink‘s TatuDarhma to check out the shop and what we’d need to do lighting/interview wise. We were expecting that to take a while but honestly after walking into the space and seeing floor to ceiling warehouse style windows, beautiful natural lighting and art everywhere, we knew we were off to a great start. TatuDharma set the tone for what the rest of our stay in Sydney would bring. One beautiful shop after the next as well as a population of tattooers, piercers and clients who were warm and welcoming.

Rhys showed up shortly after and picked us all up in his ’66 Dodge Coronet and we piled in. The team has gotten used to tight quarters in the back of one car after the next. We headed off towards Inner Vision Tattoo to meet the locals over there but not before dropping BME’s tour crew off at The Illustrated Man to chat with the Tony Cohen and Heather Gee (link to the first article). I met Cliffe Clayton, the owner, as well as several tattooers and guest artist Marcus Kuhn. From that point on I knew this was going to be an awesome trip.

66 Dodge Coronet

After a whirlwind trip around Sydney on a perfectly guided tour, I met up with the Prince of Bondi, Dane, and his awesome Staffy dog named Indie. She’s apparently one of the most photographed dogs in Australia and after meeting her, I can definitely understand why. The people watching from the patio of The Flying Squirrel Tapas Parlour was spectacular, not to mention meeting Miss Australia, who happens to be a regular.

After a few hours in the sun, getting to know Rhys and his local group of friends, I headed back to meet up with my own crew where we had dinner with Nano and HotBrad.

Sunday started off with a rushed morning after I cooked breakfast for the five of us. We took a cab to hang out with Rhys as he took us to Bondi Beach. It’s justifiably one of Australia’s most famous beaches and I’m sure that you can understand why. One thing they don’t put in the brochures about Australia is the lack of a proper ozone layer. We slathered on the sunscreen and laid out on our towels, soaking in the sun, splashing in the waves and generally getting to know each other better.

The crew at Bondi BeachBondi BeachRhys Gordon and Rachel
L-R: The crew at Bondi Beach, the beach itself and Rhys Gordon and Rachel

Our first interview of the trip belonged to Josh Roelink and took place in his studio TatuDharma. It was hard to peel off our bathing suits and dive in to “interview mode” but we were able to do it once the sun stroke wore off. Josh, having just had his first baby only 6 short weeks ago, was kind enough to come in on his day off so that we’d be able to speak with him. Josh is known around the world and has traveled doing guest spots and conventions. It was amazing to talk to each other and realize how many people that we both know. We exchanged stories about tattooing legends as well as conventions that we’ve both worked at, shops we’ve been to, being a new parent and so much more. While Josh and I got to know each other, Darah and Richard interviewed Alex and Megan shot photos of the whole thing.

After we finished up at TatuDharma, we split ways and I headed down to Inner Vision to get to know the staff over there. There is something to be said about walking into a tattoo shop in a country that you’ve never been to before. No matter where you are, there are comforting smells and sounds that will always make you feel like home. At Inner Vision I was made to feel incredibly welcome. I also tried to download as much email as I possibly could! The only downside to our trip so far has been one technical problem after the next. As I sit here writing (at our hostel in Melbourne) I’m unable to connect to the internet. When you’re trying to write for an online magazine, that can be a problem!

Marcus Kuhn, Rachel Larratt and Rhys GordonL-R: Marcus Kuhn, Rachel and Rhys Gordon

We made plans to go to Sydney’s tourist restaurant known as “360” which is at the top of the Sydney Tower. If you haven’t guessed already, it is one of those spinning restaurants which can make you very nauseous. Darah elected to sit that dinner out and I don’t blame her one bit. As Marcus was here, he decided to indulge in a little tourism and joined us. We have hours of video with him, going through his impressions and stories of his tattoo related travels. As someone who has seen the inside of Rikers Island several times to having tattooed with legends from all around the world, it was amazing to be fortunate enough to hear stories and meet someone with as much history and experience as he has. I look forward to getting a chance to interview him in the future.

Rhys Gordon, Rachel and Marcus KuhnL-R: Rhys Gordon, Rachel and Marcus Kuhn.

Rhys, Marcus, Chez, Richard, Megan and I basically closed down the restaurant. Marcus wanted to see “King’s Cross”, which is Sydney’s “Red Light District”. He spent an hour or so trying to solicit hookers to take their photo with him for $10 dollars but none of them would. Shortly after that we made our way into one of the fine establishments in the King’s Cross. I can’t remember what the name was but after negotiating down the entrance fee, we all had a bunch of “dancing bucks” and proceeded to have some fun. Unfortunately you can’t take photos in a strip club but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try!

Elevator ride down from the 360!

L-R: Megan, Chez, Rhys Gordon, Richard, Rachel and Marcus

Marcus and Rhys tried to work the “birthday” angle, which as we were 3 girls and 3 guys, seemed to go over pretty well. At one point a stripper approached me and pulled off my top! As there wasn’t a single exotic dancer with a tattoo, I find it hard to believe that she confused me for one of the dancers! We were smart enough to cash in a set amount of money for the pre-purchased fake bills so that we didn’t blow our entire budget on strippers. It can happen when you’re in a new city and having a great time.

Pile in the back!

L-R: Marcus, Chez, Megan and Richard (PS. We’ve gotten very used to squeezing way too many people into one tiny car after the next!)

The next morning saw most of the crew sleeping in. I’m not sure if it was exhaustion from all the excitement, the many many rounds of drinks, jet lag or a combination of both but I let everyone sleep in as I still woke up around 7am. I went down and cooked breakfast for all of us again and we began to organize our day.

We tried to utilize public transportation but that wasn’t working as well as we’d hoped but we got ourselves to Kaleidoscope Tattoo in Bondi. Our main attraction there, aside from the owner Luciano, was Stevie Edge. Stevie has been on BME/IAM since at least 2001. He met his girlfriend via IAM some 8 years ago and she’s moved here from the USA. I always love meeting people who have met their significant others through BME because it shows that not only are we able to document a love affair with body modification but that we can also facilitate members of our community with finding love itself.

I’m not sure how many tattooers we ended up interviewing at Kaleidoscope but we also grabbed a quick interview with Kaleidoscope’s piercer, Brady. I stepped out throughout the day to buy massive amounts of candy and gorge myself silly. We all had a good laugh at my expense as my belly finally decided to object to the influx of sugar coated goodness. We wrapped up at Kaleidoscope and headed back to the hostel to decompress.

On Tuesday, the crew made their way to Industrial Strength Australia and met with Rob, the piercer there. I spent the day online working on my day to day work that I have to do for BME to keep things running smoothly. I was bummed that I didn’t get to make it back over there but I had work to do!

Throughout the week and time spent with Marcus, he continually brought up “Mr. Shuffles”, the miracle elephant newborn at the Taronga Zoo. We decided to switch our day off and make our way to the zoo on Wednesday. While waiting for the crew to catch up, Marcus and I met Pauly Shore by the ferry. It was a very bizarre meeting but a fun one at that. All work and no play makes the tour a dull one so we had a great time checking out the animals. By the end of the day we were beat.

Pauly Shore, Rachel and Marcus KuhnSydney Opera HouseMr. Shuffles

L-R: Pauly Shore, Rachel and Marcus. The Sydney Opera House. Mr. Shuffles!

On Thursday, it was time to meet with Polymorph and work the interviewing magic that we’ve been developing at a sure and steady pace. While the crew spent the morning over there, I was at Inner Vision. I got the first of what I hope are many new tattoos while on this tour. Rhys drew up a skull and tattooed me for a few hours. I have almost all of the time lapse done. It took 2 hours but I’ve got the footage down to 8 minutes. I need to refine it a bit more so that it’s only about 5 minutes. I didn’t end up having enough time to interview Rhys but he was gracious enough to interview the other tattooers who wouldn’t be returning from Japan until after we were already departed.

Rhys GordonSkull tattoo by Rhys GordonRachel

L-R: Rhys Gordon. Rachel’s new skull tattoo by Rhys. Rachel getting tattooed.

The next morning we left from Sydney to fly to Melbourne, which is when I started writing this post. Work, sun and jet lag caught up with Richard, Darah and Chez who caught some sleep on the plane. Meanwhile Megan and I got some work done.

Sleepy headsBed Head!

We grabbed our luggage and headed to get a “maxi taxi” to the Lord’s Lodge, where the crew is currently staying. I’m staying with Trevor and his family as I’ve hosted Trevor at my place in LA. Trevor not only opened up his home to me but also helped give us the keys to the city by calling around to the local shops and helping us set up interviews.

On Saturday I got the majority of the background on my right leg from knee to shin colored in. I’ll be getting one more sitting done to finish the back of my calf before we head out to Darwin for the weekend. That meant that we spent Saturday at Dynamic Tattoo and interviewed Trevor again as well as his daughter Tarlyn. Tarlyn started tattooing at the ripe old age of 12 and I hope that some day we can interview her again as she becomes a second generation tattooer. While we were there we also interviewed Matty and Rob who I would say that they are lucky enough to work with Trevor but because they do work at Dynamic, it just shows that they have incredible talent to be able to work with a great Australian tattooer and can pull their own weight.


While I was getting tattooed, the crew headed off to Third Eye Tattoo and I believe they interviewed somewhere around 8 or 9 tattooers. I stayed behind so that I could endure a couple of grueling hours of tattooing and then have dinner with Josh Roelink who was in town for a wedding. We had a great dinner with everyone from Dynamic and exchanged body art and tattoo related travel stories. By the time it was 10pm, I was ready to head home. Luckily so was everyone else.

I woke up Sunday morning and logged online to realize that it was that time. I had turned 30 years old! As I came out of the guest bedroom I started receiving the first of many “Happy Birthday!” wishes. It was a great way to start the day. Rhys had decided to fly in from Sydney to hang out and he arrived shortly after we’d all gotten ready to start the day. I headed out from the suburbs with Rhys to meet up with the crew. They had Sunday off which was hopefully a good break for them. Rhys and I tried to head over to the beach and Luna Park but I wasn’t up for walking as my calf was pretty swollen. We ended up coming back out to Trevor’s house and relaxing. We spent a few hours looking through various books, tracings, artwork drawn by tattooers from around the world that grace Trevor’s home and generally having a pretty chill day. Once a couple other people showed up, we headed out for a birthday dinner.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

When a McStay fills your glass, you can’t say no. I believe they were trying to get me inebriated but after one drink I’d had enough! What can I say? I’m a light weight! The McStay’s surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake and they all sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I think that it was one of the best birthdays that I can remember having.

Happy Birthday!

As I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t had time to interview Rhys so I decided to mix things up a bit and interview him while we drove from the ‘burbs back into the city. We talked about tattooing, traveling, learning more about your career and developing as an artist and what it truly means to live by the motto of “be kind to tattooing and it will be kind to you”.

Where have we gone?

Rhys dropped me off at Chapel Tattoo where I met up with the rest of the crew and we got started on our day. We interviewed Dave McAleese, Dez (the shop manager) and were supposed to interview Shane Gallager but we had to reschedule that for tomorrow.

I’ve tried to get caught up on recapping our trip so far but it hasn’t been easy. Trying to find the time has been one thing as well as just being able to get online. I hope this isn’t too disjointed as it was written on an airplane, on the patio of a hostel while french reggae is blasting and hippies are playing some form of dodgeball that looks both hilarious and painful and finally the last page or so written from the McStay’s porch.

The first 11 days on the road have been amazing. I’ve never felt so welcomed and met so many bright and talented individuals in such a short amount of time. The few IAM members that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting have been hospitable and caring as well as just great people. It reminds me why I love what I do and why I hope to continue doing it until the end of my days.

As I finish wrapping up this post, I’m happy to say that we’ve overcome our Final Cut Pro hurdle (apparently our camera won’t work with FCP 6!) and we should finally be able to move on and start editing video. The last technical hurdle we have is getting the lost but recovered laptop out to us here in Australia without having to pay $400 in ridiculous fedex charges so that Megan can start editing photos. We had to spend close to that to ship back our lighting kits because after they set themselves on fire, we decided that we didn’t want to drag the now useless but probably repairable gear around the rest of the world with us. Nothing says professional like turning on the lights and having a giant ball of smoke rise up in the middle of a busy tattoo studio!

I hope that you guys enjoyed the photos and feel like you’ve been caught up on what’s going on in the world of the BME tour. Thank you again to our sponsors and Industrial Strength. Without them, we would have already spent all our money on strippers and booze! An additional extra special thank you goes out to Nano, HotBrad, Rhys Gordon, Marcus Kuhn and Trevor and Deb McStay. These six people have made the beginning of the tour as stress free as possible. From opening up their hearts and their homes as well as showing us around town, I can’t thank them all enough. We’ve already met hundreds of people in the past 11 days and I can’t wait to meet even more. Remember, we’re totally into having BBQ’s or meet ups if anyone wants to organize one locally!

I’m off to bed now that it’s almost 3am my time and I have to be up in 6 hours but I wanted to finish this post and get it online while I still had a halfway decent internet connection!

A day in the life of

If you managed to miss the world tour, the first round of finalists or the final round of finalists, then consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to read the thousands of words that have been written about the project. In short, I decided to have a contest to select 4-5 people to tour the world researching, writing, photographing and making videos of body modification around the world. I got it narrowed down to the last 10 folks and I needed help to decide who would take the final positions. I asked people to make videos our of “a day in their life”. The assignment was to make a video, write a blog post and take some photographs to recreate what we’ll be doing on the trip.

As you know, I posted about the final 10 the other day when I had decided it was too hard to make my choice without giving the potential team members one final assignment. Ferg and I had been chatting about how to get around Australia when he suggested the train ride out to Perth, which I would love to do. His worry was that it would take two days of our valuable time and I told him 2 days over the course of 3 months wouldn’t be a big deal for an amazing train ride. Have I mentioned I love trains? It suddenly dawned on him that the trip was actually 3 months and not 6 weeks like he’d thought. He emailed me a few days later to withdraw from the competition. I’m sad to see him go but I know that he has an amazing tour of his own (not to mention what he’s been doing for years!) so I know he won’t be missing out. People have asked that I consider adding someone else in to take his place but I don’t want to do that because it only makes my own decisions that much harder.

Here are the assignments from the final 9. In some cases the finalists included their photos in the video and in others they’re separate. Both are okay but they’re all in this post grouped by the finalists. This post is automatically scheduled to go up at Midnight Friday morning on the 5th so if you see a finalists name and a blank space, then they didn’t get their submission to me on time and they’ve been officially disqualified.

Hopefully this helps me to narrow it down to the final four (or five if I can’t make up my mind, everyone is superb!). Cast your vote at the end for your FAVORITE application. Base your thoughts on everything you’ve seen so far and pick your favorite finalist. I’m only allowing one vote this time around. Good luck to everyone! The winners will be announced around Midnight Friday night. Don’t forget to help support the tour by using the coupon code worldtour and getting 30% off on almost everything in BMEshop!

P.S. Sorry for the weird formatting with the photos in some of the posts below. That’s entirely my fault and I’m not sure why wordpress kept eating up and barfing out the changes that I made to photos to try to fix the layout.

Click through to check out their videos and blog entries!

Finalist: Nae

Is my day nearly as exhilarating as what will be happening daily on the BME World Tour? Probably not, but it comes darn near close. Sit down for a bit and let me tell you about a typical Sunday in my life.

At 8:15am, the slight glow of Michigan’s cloud-covered sun attempted to light up my room and managed to successfully wrestle me out of bed. I groaned a bit as I dragged myself away from the loving arms of my stuffed animals, Otter and Gloomy Bear, but I was excited for my morning shower. Showers are really exciting to me. First of all, it’s naked time, and everyone loves naked time. Secondly, it’s the time that I give myself to plan out my day and to think through the upcoming events and people I’ll be running into- all while lathering myself up with my Lavender Dr. Bronners’ to make a fresh and clean Nae! Drying off and getting dressed are much less exciting to me because, well, I have to do them. I don’t necessarily have to shower every day, but I do have to be dry afterwards (or else it will happen naturally) and because I live in the frozen tundra of Michigan, I have to get dressed in generally multiple layers. Yes, picking out my clothing is fun, but there are better, more exciting things to do; showering, for example.

Anyway, by 8:40am I was all dressed and prepped for the day (I really don’t take much time or maintenance) and ready to go out to the real world! I headed out of my room and went to go check on the computing sites in my building. As an RCSC (Residential Computing Systems Consultant), it is my duty to maintain, protect, and defend both of the computing facilities within the residence hall that I have been trusted with… and to fill the printers when they need paper. The paper is really the important part; I think they just give me the other responsibilities to feel special (and boy, does it work!). Thankfully, it is spring break right now at the lovely University of Michigan and that means there are no students around – aside from yours truly – and that means that no one is printing and therefore no printers need to be filled.

Once I secured the computing sites, I ran up to my room to throw my laptop in my backpack and grab my things for the day. I then began my adventure to the art school! After frolicking down five flights of stairs, I left the mighty Bursley Hall and journeyed through the University of Michigan’s north campus forest till I found myself at the doors to the School of Art and Architecture building. It was an exciting walk! Spring is near which has been bringing out the squirrels and melting the snow away. I stopped in my studio to drop some sheet metal off (argentium silver, if anyone cares), then swung by the metal studio to see if anyone was around. Of course, no one was there because it’s spring break and I’m pretty much the only one left in this town.

I was starting to get hungry, so I grabbed my friend to go with me to one of my favorite Ann Arbor restaurants, Seva. We both had scrambled tofu with home fries, soy sausage, and toast – it was delicious! The server was fast and friendly, the food was amazing and yummy, and overall it was a great experience! Unfortunately, I had to be at work by 11:30am, so we left Seva and headed off to the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.

Not many people call the Shapiro Library by its full name; most just call it the UGLi. The acronym ‘UGLi’ stands for ‘undergraduate library’ and while yes, it is the main library for undergrads, it is anything but ugly. The curved glass on the front of the building allows for tons of light to shine in on students and to help reduce the ‘trapped in a cave’ feeling that many students studying in a library get after a while and the interior has been remodeled to create a warm and friendly environment. Unfortunately… I don’t have the privilege of working in the warm, sunny parts of the building. No, as a Campus Computing Sites Rover, we get shafted with a basement office with no natural light and the light outside of our office turns off after fifteen minutes if no one walks by. It’s okay though – I’m a ball of sunshine and I light up the room just fine! After providing my beaming light to my coworkers, I left to start my shift.
All I had to do in my four-hour shift was to visit the computing sites in the Michigan Union and the UGLi. Because all of the students are gone for spring break, not only was everything working properly, but nothing was broken! It was amazing! I came back to our dark, lonely office after completing my shift and sat around waiting to get an urgent page from someone on campus asking for me to be that person who could come rescue them from the depths of computer-hell…. but no one called… so I played around on with a bunch of people from

Upon completion of my roving shift, I headed on over to Angell Hall to work four more hours consulting in the Angell Hall Computing Lab, affectionately called the Fishbowl by staff and students alike. Because of spring break, the Fishbowl was excruciatingly slow and in my entire four hours in the Fishbowl I only spoke to two users. One user told me she didn’t need my help because the last time she needed assistance my coworker had helped her and she’d rather get his help this time for the sake of continuity. However, the other user asked me for some help with a long document she was writing, which helped end my boredom. Luckily for me, the internet is really cool and all of the downtime at work provided me tons of time to explore it!
After my consulting shift, I went back to the UGLi and did the exact same roving shift I had earlier in the day. Needless to say, more computer fun times were had. My coworker, Lou, was also done with his shift earlier and asked if I wanted to watch something online. It was around 11pm at this point, and our shift ended at 11:30, so he suggested watching a random episode of a TV show. We both sat at a computer, pulled up my Netflix account, and searched for something that was 30 minutes. Lou had this great idea of watching ‘Happy Tree Friends’. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this show, or if you’ve ever had the misfortune of watching it, but let me tell you that this is one messed up show. I sat in horror, unable to look away from the horrifically cute animated characters being mercilessly slaughtered one after the next for 22 entire minutes. Needless to say, I was very excited when I looked at the clock and saw 11:29pm. I packed up my things, put on my coat, and clocked out at 11:30.

After an exhilarating bus ride home, I walked into my room, sat down my backpack, set up my computer, and got to work on a project for my internship. I’m currently working on mapping out links in Adobe Flash to help organize course scheduling for architecture majors. My day has been long and exciting, and I am going to keep on going till I can’t keep my eyes open!

jewelry toys jewelry

Finalist: Darah.

Daily Treasures BME from Darah Wraine on Vimeo.

8:30 a.m.
Driving home this morning, the sun like a shotgun blast to my eyes. But it is warm, finally, winter nothing but a dirty, tired memory. There is a cup of free coffee sitting in the cup holder, Guns & Roses crooning through my speakers and me with my subsequent enjoyment of singing along, singing alone. I am behind a school bus at a stop sign, been following it for blocks now. Suddenly, I am not alone. I notice a gaggle of judgmental adolescent eyes peering at me from the rear windows. I felt thirteen again, being scrutinized and shamed by my peers for simple pleasures; singing while in a car? God forbid I should ever admit to sticking my finger in my ear to better understand earwax or remaining giddy after I’ve plucked an eyelash to examine the sturdy follicle.

I feigned an exaggerated yawn and quit singing just as the song reached my favorite part. Bastards. One part of me wanted to blow them kisses just to see their excited, petulant reactions. Another darker, more honest part of me wanted to follow them into the parking lot and cough exuberantly when they exited the bus. Hey, I may not have swine flu, but that doesn’t mean I can’t amuse myself with the social paranoia that epidemics inspire.

10:44 a.m.
Two hours later and I am in the car again, my destination outlined by labor vehicles and piles of wood, brick, cement. I am curious about the new addition to the local hospital that has recently become something of a landmark in this town, eager to invite a series of workers over to discuss my questions about their jobs. When they approach me, I smell the scent of blue-collar work on their skin; construction workers, truck drivers, machine operators. Men who reshape this Earth with their hands. Tugging, digging, building, destroying. I would be lying if I said that such rough-edged potential did not excite me.

There are various orange-shirted men milling about behind the gates, building new offices, lobbies, nurses’ quarters, areas of emergency and care. I hear a constant discordant symphony of vehicles scraping and turning over new earth only to cover it moments later with cement. I hear the hard smack of hammers and wood planks, I watch my coffee ripple in its glass when the vibrations reach maximum level. These constructs stretch upward, not outward, and the sky is being eaten away in square chunks.

1:25 p.m.
The energy I felt from my early morning triple-decker coffee has subsided. Nap time, to dream of warmer weather and, if my brain is feeling really generous, Hugh Jackman.

3:42 p.m.
Wake-up! Groggy, but loving the sunlight pouring in through the bedroom window. I stretch my limbs like a cat and curl into the brightest, warmest spot on the bed. Purr.

6:30 p.m.
Grocery shopping, a necessary evil. I want to dive bomb into the fruit displays and grab handfuls of cherries, grapes, plums, avocados. I pass by the vegetables and inhale the intoxicating smell of wet earth. Turnips look delicious tonight. Strange, as I usually dislike them. Note to self: take more vitamins.

8:00 p.m.
Video game marathon! Gears of War is a never ending love story for me, a challenge I rise to with plenty of curse words and high-fives to my fellow teammates. And it never fails to make me ravenously hungry. Grilled cheese sandwich time!

10:30 p.m.
Lemon yerba mate tea and a few chapters of a recently checked-out library book. My current before-bed novel is Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood. I’m reading almost feverishly before I glance at the clock and realize that midnight is fast-approaching. So difficult to put this story away! Oh, you addictive imaginary antagonist! I will see you again, tomorrow. Same time, same place.

Finalist: Thaddeus

I decided to highlight one of my favorite days of the road trip rather than trying to fill you all in on two weeks of adventure in one post.

We are in New Orleans. Actually we arrived last night and went out and had some drinks with friends but we were exhausted so nothing amazing came from it. We were lucky to get a hotel in the French Quarter, because almost everything was booked due to some sporting events. I have been to New Orleans before but my friend Mason had not so we decided to head out and explore the French Quarter.

I was looking for the place I first had absinthe, but we ended up at Jackson Square to look at the street artists. The cathedral in the picture is Saint Louis Cathedral, it is one of the oldest continually operating catholic cathedrals in the United States. The not so pleasant weather we were having really helps the ominous feel. At this point I realize I should have brought my wider angle lens for the day.


Hunger was starting to set in so we grabbed some OJ and water from a smoke shop and asked the owner where we could get some good food near here. She said we had to eat at the Royal Street Deli about 2 blocks away.


We wandered over there but as soon as we sat down we heard horns, cheering, and clapping. A parade was coming down the street. New Orleans will have a party for any reason at all and this parade was in celebration of this lady’s birthday. She was turning 80 and it looked like all of her friends came out to celebrate. I hope when I am that old I can still have a great time.

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After they came by we finally got down to ordering some food. We were starving at this point. The lady that recommended the restaraunt to us said we had to have a shrimp po boy, and that’s exactly what I ordered.


Amazing is the only way to describe it. The french bread was perfect, soft yet crusty at the same time. Now that we finally had some great food, we were ready to go on our next adventure. There was one last surprise though, our amazing waitress Michelle had some Otter pops for our desert.


I don’t know how we got to this idea but we decided that a airboat tour of the bayou country would be something interesting. With some quick iphone googling we found a place called Jean Lafitte’s Swamp Tours, which was about 30 minutes outside of New Orleans.

The weather is getting even worse but we had to experience an airboat ride through the swamp. We finally arrive and we are greeted with an albino alligator and a giant standing stuffed gator inside their welcome center.

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After we filled out all the necessary paperwork we are taken out back and shown our trusty boat. Hearing this V8 start up was killer. The motors didn’t really have any muffling and they were super loud.

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Soon we were introduced to Captain Lou. His family grew up on these swamps and was very familiar with getting around in the bayou. Jokingly we asked, “Why are alligators so ornery?” Without missing a beat he said, “It’s their medulla oblongata.” I guess Captain Lou has seen Waterboy too.


We were off on our airboat adventure. If you have never ridden in one, I can tell you they are fast. It is a weird sensation, it doesn’t feel like a boat going through the water but more of a skimming over the surface feeling. You really cant use anything else to get around due to the shallow water and all the grass. Your prop would just get stuck.


After seeing some wildlife, Captain Lou said it was time to find some gators. He said it might be difficult due to the colder weather because the alligators like to hibernate. It didn’t take us long to find one. He would toss a marshmallow towards the gator and the vibrations from it hitting the water would draw them closer. After they would get curious, the Captain would make this weird barking sound to interest them even more.

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Before we knew it there was a gator right next to the boat.


Unfortunately we couldn’t stay that long. We were informed that there was a tornado warning and we should probably head back in. Captain Lou didn’t seem very unnerved by it, so neither did I.

After we got back to shore we were asking about some interesting roads to take towards Memphis, luckily the guys at Jean Lafites gave us a unique route to take. They said we had to stop at a place called Middendorf’s. Everyone that worked at Jean Lafitte’s agreed that this is the only place to get friend catfish in Louisiana. That was a good enough reason for us to go.


The drive there was like nothing I have experienced before. All the roads were these highways elevated above the swamp. There would be small islands but almost the entire highway was above water. If your car broke down you would just have to wait for someone to rescue you. The weather really turned on us and it started pouring but we eventually got to our destination.

Everyone here was incredibly nice. We even met the owner. She could tell we were not locals and brought us some of her homemade banana pudding to thank us for driving all the way out here to eat. Southern hospitality is not dead. Everything was cooked perfectly and delicious. I highly recommend making the drive out here if you are near New Orleans.

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After stuffing our faces it was time to turn North and head toward Memphis. We jumped in the car, turned on some Elvis and headed off into the night.

Finalist: Ed

When I got word that I was in the top ten finalists, my heart skipped another beat. Closer and closer to a trip around the world. I could feel my passport tugging on my sleeve, “can we go!? can we go!? please please please!”, but I calmly explained to my anthropomorphized government document that the decision was not up to me. I still had one more assignment to prove I was worthy of such a trip: a blog entry, video, and photos of a day in my life. Luckily the next day had potential to be interesting enough to share with the Internet.

My day started with my fiancée, Heather, waking me up early with the video camera rolling. It was one of those cherished beautiful San Francisco days where the sun was shining and it was actually warm. In between my half-awake grunts, she said goodbye as she was off to hike around Alamere Falls with friends. Shortly after she departed, I crawled out of bed and made myself a gourmet breakfast of Lucky Charms and soy milk. A quick shower and shave and I grudgingly sat down in front of the computer to do some work. The curse of working for yourself is that every day is a possible workday. Luckily addressing my emails and other chores only took about 2 hours this time and I was soon out the door.

Down the three flights of stairs with a laptop, camera, and flip video and tow; I jumped into my car and trekked across the Bay Bridge to Oakland. I was headed to NIMBY, an industrial art space in south Oakland, to work on one of Interpretive Arson’s fire art pieces, 2pir.

For those not familiar with it, 2pir is “a blisteringly interactive large-scale fire toy”. It consists of two circles: an inner circle fitted with motion sensors and an outer circle comprised of 16 large flame effects. When a participant waves their hands, feet, or any other body part over the motion sensor it triggers a large column of flame. While on the inner platform, many people perform their best sorcerer imitation, summoning fire with their hands, while others choose to dance and twirl around, flames following their movement. The beauty of the piece is that the performance is different everytime.

2pir was designed and built by Interpretive Arson, a Bay Area fire art group that I’m a member of. It was originally built in 2006 and has since undergone several upgrades. This year it’s time for another one of those upgrades as the ignition system was no longer up to our standards for reliability. In addition, several components needed to be upgraded in preparation for our second international run in Denmark later this year at Smukfest.

The previous day we had spent some time finalizing a design for new flame effects and built a single prototype for testing. We wanted to make sure one new flame effect worked successfully before building the other 15. Today it was time to actually test this prototype and see how well it performed.

Fire against the sky

We dragged the prototype outside, hooked all the plumbing up to a tank of propane, plugged in the electronics and hit the switch. The resounding sound of combustion echoed off the walls of the warehouse. Success! But it wasn’t perfect. Ignition wasn’t 100% reliable and we wanted the best shape of fire we could get. After a period of tweaking, adjusting, and experimenting we were mostly happy with what we had. We made a quick run to Home Depot to grab a few materials and then stopped off for some burritos to refuel ourselves.

Back at NIMBY, the sun had set and the darkness of the seemingly deserted industrial section of Oakland was just asking for some noise and light. We fired the flame effect back up and enjoyed lighting up the yard and bouncing the percussive sounds of explosive propane combustion off the walls. After a bit of fun it was back to work: grinding, cutting, drilling, and welding the frames for the new effects.

Tom grinds

Finalist: Megan

I was considering not going to pull/suspension last Saturday night.

I was left with one lens, and I could always use more sleep. Sure, it would be good to show support for some really great friends but I also could have a very successful night with a bottle of booze and some Lifetime Movie Network.

After weighing the pros and cons of each, possibly interesting photographs won out over an early morning hangover.

I arrived at Freaks on 39th and was pleased that the book should not be judged by it’s cover (it looked like a tiny shack with water-stained wooden shingles). The epic selection of jewelry was tastefully displayed in wooden, almost steam punk looking, shadowboxes and the photography wasn’t half bad either.

The piercers (Eric Wolff, and Chelsea-apprentice) were super chill and attentive to all of the kids doing the pull and suspension, and they also let me set up as much lighting equipment as I wanted so long as it didn’t get in the way or cause a safety hazard.

After a lot of waiting the girls (Amanda and Trista) were finally hooked up, and I halfway expected it to be some sort of epic battle to see who could pull the hooks out of each other’s backs first (my terrifying, competitive nature?), but in fact, it was one of the most serene experiences…I had ever…experienced? Miss Meg compared it to something like good sex, and if I had ever had good sex before, I’m sure I would agree. The soothing music, gentle swaying, and dim lighting was one of the sweetest things I had seen in a long time.

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I found the suspensions to be a different story. they seemed to be much more a test of will. Cary went first and after a few tentative steps down the ladder and a bit of adjusting he started swinging and Adrian (the other kid suspending) made sure to give him a few good shoves.

The birthday boy decided to go last, and after much heart-wrenching pain felt like the slow combustion he felt in his chest probably wasn’t a smart thing to ignore. He had to stop before fully suspending. But you made for a great model, kid.

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All in all, for me, the entire night made me feel like the world’s biggest pussy.

Finalist: Kaelah Bee.

You know it’s going to be a great day when you wake up to a barking dog and killer sore throat, and then you realize you slept for 12 hours. It all started yesterday… the sore throat really came out of nowhere. It was not a welcomed visitor, however. Like most people, I really do not enjoy being sick. It hinders my plans for the day; No one likes that. I braved through it and headed to Portfolio class anyway. I didn’t really have too much to show but I was able to get a bit of feedback on a CD design from my classmates nonetheless. After class, Mike picked me up from school and we headed to Goodlettsville so I could have some sleeve work done by my artist, Jason. Fairly uneventful for the most part, but the sickness started to really sink in. We paid a visti to what could be classified as the most ghetto mall in the world before we headed home. By the time we reached Franklin, Mike was feeling lightheaded and dizzy. We were both in pitiful condition. A hot bubblebath to try and soothe it all and then we settled onto the big sectional sofa in our room and watched Wristcutters: A Love Story. I took some Nyquil and I managed to sleep a solid half-day.

I woke up at 10am today to prepare for what was going to be a solid day of getting stuff done. I managed to slink on a dress and head out the door to class. I had to get to school early for a Student Government meeting (Yeah, I’m one of those girls) and go over the budget for the Spring Cocktail. By 1pm it was off to Print Design 2 where the 7 of us (Yes, I really said 7… My school is tiny!) brainstormed over creative headlines for a high-profile real estate brochure we’re having to create. Mike decided to be a sweetheart and drive me all the way to the Sweet CeCe’s in Belle Meade (20 minutes away) because they had Pomegranate Raspberry Sorbet and it’s my favorite. We literally live less than a quarter-mile from Sweet CeCe’s in Franklin; Sadly they only had Orange Sorbet! Yuck! It was a fun adventure trying to find it, but I won’t lie… the rest of the night got juicier.

Upon arriving home, I was greeted by the fact that my slime-ball exboyfriend had listed the Macbook computer he stole from me onto Craigslist. He lives in California now and it’s been this ridiculous battle for months. I’ve contacted an attorney and I’ve tried waiting it out… Nothing works. I let him know (very firmly) that I found out about him trying to sell it and he should prepare for a fun little legal battle. I gave him until 5pm CST tomorrow to send a tracking number for the computer to me or I’d get to work. It’s so frustrating when people try to take advantage of you, ya know? I’ve been trying to avoid any kind of legal mumbo-jumbo-hullabaloo but now I’m just ready to give him what he deserves. Ugh!

Mike is playing Grand Theft Auto while I write my little blog. I just finished up the video to go along with this thing. It’s all music and video (Nothing of me talking) because I’m quite the sick one still. I can barely speak, and when I do, it’s not pretty. I sound like an octogenarian who has smoked since she was 12. Not to mention I can’t smell a darn thing (This could be good though… Mike just scolded Georgia for what is most likely her “signature scent”… if you know what I mean…ha) I wish something more exciting could have happened for you all to read about… It was really just a regular ol’ Wednesday though. Tomorrow will most likely be more of the same. Portfolio class and then hopefully more sleeve work. I’ve always got rambles at my blog though… Feel free to visit and see that I’m not a totally illiterate being. XO Kaelah

Finalist: Chez

Wow. The last few days have been pretty hectic! We arrived into NYC on Monday for a partial day off. We were booted off the bus immediately upon arrival so the drivers could head to a hotel in Secaucus that had parking for all the buses and trucks. I picked up my room key and headed to my room. The room was super cute but the bathroom was really weird… The toilet was so high that I couldn’t touch the ground!


Once settled and showered, I headed out for a meander. There was still snow on the ground!


I headed towards St Marks to hit up S’mac and get my standard nosh, the all-american with slab bacon!


After lunch, I wandered around St Marks for a bit and laughed at all the tattoo shops that sold bongs. This was my favorite, buy one get one! I just wonder, is that for the bongs or for the tattoos? SKETCH!


I did a little shopping, wandered down broadway and finally was so exhausted that I grabbed a cab and headed back up to midtown.


I spent the rest of the day danger napping and eventually went to bed around 11. We had our gig at Madison Square Garden that day and it was nuts. When working at the garden, you work with 3 different unions to get your work done. For all the PA and FOH work, you get IBEW. For all the work on the stage or monitor requirements, you work with IATSE Local 1. For truck loading, you get teamsters. It’s very convoluted and can be dramatic. If you piss of the unions, they will make your life a living hell. Fortunately, the show went off great and all of my union hands were great to work with.


And in the fine words of Jay Z, we were “on to the next one”… Washington DC! The most important aspect of my day:


For more insight into what my day is like on a show day, feel free to check out my audition tape at

Everything was filmed with my fuji finepix and I apologize about the crappy audio in the first minute of the video. The mic on the camera leaves a little something to be desired! All photos from this blog post were taken on my iphone, nothing has been retouched! Hopefully that shows you that I can frame a photo, and with the proper equipment, I could probably get some pretty awesome photos too!

Finalist: Richard


For this assignment, I wanted to emulate a possible excursion to a tattoo and piercing establishment for an interview. Visiting a shop in my own backyard would be a good place to start.

In my first video for the BME World Tour audition process, I briefly introduced a body piercer named Kati Vaughn during the final montage. We had planned a short interview when I visited, but time constraints prevented it from happening. Well, in this second video I got the chance to sit down my friend, Kati Vaughn.

Currently, Miss Vaughn is piercing out of Sacred Tattoo and Pure Body Arts. In the interview, she explains her beginnings at Body Piercing By Bink in Tallahassee, Florida and how she ended up in New York City. Kati and I met in Tallahassee through mutual friends in the local roller derby league. We quickly formed a strong friendship through a mutual love of leather jackets, bourbon, and body modification. She is an upstanding professional, an inspiration, and my piercer. I’m proud to introduce her in the video below.

The most exciting part of today will be visiting Sacred Tattoo. Its a 3000 square foot studio right off the main drag of Canal St. in Chinatown. Before going, I gained permission to film to shop for the purposes of constructing a short profile section in the video. Thankfully, they were very cool about it. Took a train over the East River and arrived in the late afternoon. Business was slow at the time, so it gave me the chance to conduct the interview without interruption. Plus, I was not in anyone’s way.

Filming wrapped within an hour or so. By that point, customers had started to trickle into the shop needing various work done. I made sure to thank everyone at the shop before leaving. Hopped on the train back home and contemplated the work in the days ahead. Bartending, editing, and paying this months bills will consume my time until Thursday’s deadline. Looking forward to seeing what the other contestants create. This has been a spirited competition. I consider myself very lucky to be apart of it.
Alright, alright… enough rambling. Time to get to work. Good luck, everyone!


Finalist: RobW.

Today started like any other. Well, except for the camera pointed at my head, I’ve only had that happen a couple of times. I was really exhausted, and climbing out of bed took way too much effort. I had stayed awake until around 5am last night learning how to work with Adobe Premiere. I’m still not an expert in it, but I definitely think I’ve learned enough to make it through the editing process later tonight.

After finally rising from my slumber and crawling to the shower, I was able to get my breakfast bagel in the toaster and really start my day off. The first few hours passed like they normally do, read the news while eating, then buckle down and begin to write. The past few weeks I’ve been so focused on becoming an intern for BME that my writing has fallen to the wayside. Not to say that I haven’t been writing, I just haven’t been working on the projects I have started. Currently I’m working on several stories, juggling them daily to determine where my focus will be for the day. They’re all various forms of fiction, but as the ideas flow in one tale, I’m struck with an idea for another. The way I write is very stream of consciousness oriented. I’m still in the early stages of these projects, as I’m not sure which one I really want to finish first. I know that once I make that decision the rest will have to wait their turns. Like I mentioned, the BME world tour has been on my mind so much, I haven’t really been able to sit down and focus on my fiction. Instead I dedicate at least an hour daily to some form of writing. What is produced is strictly for me as I use it as a reflective exercise. I talk about what’s happening in my life, what’s on my mind, heck I even talk about the news I just read. Whatever it is, I put it down. So today’s writing was mostly about last night, and my trials and tribulations learning a new piece of software.

I received a phone call from a close friend letting me know that he was available to help me out for my video today. He rushed over as I started editing in the morning clips I had shot. When Trevor arrived, we quickly got to work talking about the plan for the day, how I wanted things to look, etc. After sorting out the video equipment, and giving Trevor a refresher course on how to take the lens cap off, we sat down to have a quick chat to catch up with each other. I told Trevor about the internship, and how excited I am to be a finalist. Now Trevor and I have been friends for about ten years, and in that time we may not have been close all the time, but when chips were down, we knew we could count on each other. I knew that he wasn’t working steady at present, but he had just filmed a commercial (he’s an actor), and had gotten himself a new job close to home. The big news came when he revealed that he was interviewing out of town tomorrow to work at a radio station in Woodstock, Ontario. As long as I’ve known him, he’s always wanted to work in broadcasting. To have the opportunity to finally achieve a dream is something we’d all be lucky to have. So we talked about places for him to live once he got the job.
Checking the time we realized we were burning daylight, so we headed out to begin our day of filming. The first stop, the mall! I know, it’s not very exciting, but it did provide some interesting events. I knew that I needed to pick up a few items; little did I know I would only have the chance to actually get one thing on my list. After filming for a while we were approached by mall security asking why we were walking around with a camcorder. It turns out that one of the stores we went into thought we were taking footage to use against the store or the mall. We were politely asked to leave the mall, and the security guard was kind enough to show us our way out.

Now Trevor had never actually been to the mall, nor had he been to the area around it. So I took the opportunity to take him to a park near where I grew up. To describe the area as a park is a bit of a misnomer. Along the western edge of Toronto runs the Etobicoke creek. This runs from north of the city, all the way down to lake Ontario. The park that we went to is the northern tip of a series of parks connected by a path that follows the creek. This time of year it isn’t much to look at, but when spring and summer arrive, the park is constantly filled with families spending a day walking the wooded trails. I don’t get to come over to this area as much as I used to, as I’m now living in another area of Etobicoke, so it was a treat to be able to wander my old stomping grounds. Growing up so close to a park meant in every season there was something to do. Tobogganing in the winter, baseball in the spring and summer, and biking the trails in the fall. It’s a serene experience no matter what time of year you visit. Although today, because of the sun, the ground had started to melt and wandering off the paved trail put you as risk of losing a shoe to the mud.

After spending some time in the park, we headed back to my place to quickly change discs in the camcorder, grab a bite to eat, and hit the road up to the tattoo studio. While we were in the park my artist, Matt Ellis, called to let me know that he had a cancellation and I could come in early. Seizing the opportunity, Trevor and I ate quickly and hopped in the cars, only to find that the highway was backed up from an accident on the other side of the city. Luckily the accident had been cleared, so we only were in stop and go traffic for an hour. In Toronto gridlock, that’s a lucky break. Needless to say all hopes of getting to Matt early were dashed and we ended up being late.

Thankfully Matt understood, and we quickly got started. Today was a day I had been looking forward to for a while. The C’thulhu themed sleeve that Matt has been doing has been coming along great, but there was a huge section without color: the deep-sea diver. So I sprawled out on the bench, Matt fired up the gun, and Trevor flipped the camera on. Now Trevor had never seen a tattoo being done on someone before so Matt and I got to answer a lot of questions. The obvious, “does that hurt” came up, but we ended up getting into a really good discussion of techniques and styles. Of course I didn’t realize at the time, but Matt was doing something to my arm that I can only describe as incredible. I’ve never seen anything with the color palette and shading that he was able to accomplish with the diver. Unfortunately the discussion had to be cut short as Trevor’s band was rehearsing soon and he needed to get going. We said our goodbyes and Matt got right back to work. Thankfully there was no ditch work to be done today, so I breathed a sigh of relief.

At one point we took a quick 2 minute break to stretch and I grabbed the camcorder to talk for a little bit about the experience. Little did I know that the disc was full, and the spare discs were in my car a few blocks down the street. Not wanting to break the rhythm of the session, we got back to work and finished up the 5 hour session. Following the session Matt and I had a quick talk about the internship and when it would be taking place, so we put off the final appointment until after the tour ends, as we both agreed going on the road with flaking skin might cause some problems.

The drive home was uneventful, except for the burning hatred of cab drivers that was reignited as I drove through the downtown core. Getting home, I unwrapped the gooey mess that was my arm, grabbed a quick snack, and sat down to write this out.
So that was my day. It was an atypical day, but it was definitely an enjoyable one, and I’m lucky to have a video copy to remember the experiences. I’m getting tired and I still have a lot of editing to finish up before I finally submit my final assignment for the contest to Rachel, so I’ll wrap this up. As I mention in the video, I am extremely grateful for all the support I’ve been given over the past few weeks towards the competition. I just hope now I’ll be given the opportunity to show everyone I was worth their support.

Here’s a small gallery of some of the pictures I took today: Click Here.

Place your vote for your favorite finalist. You can only pick one finalist to vote for this time!