Hey Saturday, How You Doin’?

Phew! I’m covered in a variety of inks from printing t-shirts all night. I’ve been taking breaks between making mock ups of tshirts,  fixing old artwork so that it can be printed again and printing the t-shirts themselves.  It’s just been one thing after another but I’m having fun. The only thing I am longing for right now would be a heated workshop!

If you hadn’t noticed, here are even more designs added to the shop since the last time Rob posted about it. Can you believe it? No.. Didn’t think so! I was going to add them all here but I figured I’ll just put the link right HERE and you can go and look at the 100+ designs that I’ve added in the last week.

Now here is the fun part. I’m losing my second wind and I’m definitely going to crash but I wanted to give myself a little joy before I go to bed (that does not sound like how I meant it to sound..) and the easiest way to do that is to GIVE AWAY FREE STUFF! Yep, that’s right!

I’m going to put together 5 “surprise packages” for BMEshop orders that come in today. This is how it’s going to work. There will be a “surprise pack” for the first orders placed on the shop for the following amounts:

  1. $20
  2. $50
  3. $75
  4. $100
  5. $200

Make sense to you? It seems pretty clear to me but I”m the one that thought it up. Say two people placed orders on the shop. One was for $21.00 and the other was for $25.00. The first of those two orders, since they’re both over $20, would be the one that got the “surprise pack”. If we had people place orders for $25, $78, $90, $100 and $200, the person who placed their order first between the $78 and $90 dollar order would win the spot for the $75 order while the second person would get the prize for the $50 dollar or since technically they’re above $50 but they weren’t the first person to place the order for the $75 spot. Did that clear things up or is it even more confusing now? Either way, get shopping over on BMEshop and I’ll make it worth your while. The “surprise packs” will definitely NOT disappoint. Did I mention that they will be relative to the number that you win do the higher the dollar amount that you win for, the better the surprise!

I love giving stuff away! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Always Use Lube

Always Use Lube

Piercers do it with their gloves on.

Piercers do it with their gloves on.

Barbell Rides: The first one is always free.

Barbell Rides: The first one is always free.

BMEShop Contest! BMEShop Discount Code! BME New Year’s Eve Party!

The year is almost over and the BMEshop is going to have its final sale of the year.  So from now until midnight on New Year’s Eve the code holiday20off will get you 20% off your entire purchase.  But that’s not all!

Rachel was sending out some orders yesterday and discovered that the BMEShop is close to sending out its 5000th shipment.   So here’s the contest:  If your order shipping number is #5000, then you’ll win a $100 gift certificate for the shop.  Keep in mind that this only applies to orders being shipped out.  The system tracks individual orders coming in, as well as going out, and we’re only looking at the shipping number.  This means you can’t just make order after order to bump up your order number before actually making a purchase, we’re only counting completed orders.

So with the 20% off discount, and the chance to win $100 gift certificate, now is the perfect time to do some shopping for yourself.

Also, don’t forget about the BME New Year’s Eve Party!!!  Head on over to the event page and sign up so we know how much food to pick up!

Hooray for Gisella Pumpkinhead

So while I was carving my pumpkin the other night, I was thinking to myself, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a BME/Modification related pumpkin.  So I’m throwing the gauntlet down, I want to see the best of the best when it comes to pumpkin carving.  There are lots of talented people out there, so lets see what you can do to make a modified pumpkin (bonus points if you include a BME logo).  Once you’ve carved your pumpkin, simply upload it to the BME Culture gallery.  Myself and Jen (she doesn’t know this yet) will go over all the entries and the winner(s) will be featured next week.  So get out there and start carving!  Oh, and here’s a little inspiration in the form of Miss Gisella_Rose.

The BMEShop is having a sale right now!


Just use the code 30offbme when you check out!

Challenge Accepted!

The gang over at Hooklife have thrown down the gauntlet to suspension teams around the world.  Today they announced a guerrilla suspension challenge.  Here’s some of the details:

We are challenging the suspension community to dream up, create, produce and photograph the most amazing Guerrilla Suspension.  Before anyone goes crazy we need to make one thing very clear.  Hook Life, suspension.org and our affiliates DO NOT condone any illegal or dangerous activities! Now with that said here’s how it will work.

Please submit ONE photo.  You can submit as many different entries as you like, but please only one per suspension/location.  By submitting a photo you are giving suspension.org and Hook Life permission to use the photo on this site and possibly on other sites to promote this competition.

Photos will be judged and scored accordingly:

  • 20% – Location – Based on visual appeal, complexity and higher public visibility
  • 20% – Suspension – More complex suspensions gain higher marks
  • 20% – Photography – Image quality and getting the perfect shot is part of the challenge
  • 40% – Creativity – Overall score based on judges opinions
  • Safety – Unsafe rigging and/or dangerous suspension practices will have points deducted

Grand Prize – A one of a kind “trophy” rig designed and donated by Skin Mechanics Steelworks.  The grand prize will be awarded at the 2012 Dallas Suscon.
Other Prizes – As the competition progresses we may adding more prizes.  Companies/Individuals interesting in donating prizes please contact Hook Life.


  • Allen Falkner – Administrator of suspension.org
  • Misty “Southtownbaby” Forsberg – Head Writer for Hook Life
  • Mark “nakedlens.org” Kaplan – Official Dallas Suscon Photographer
  • Stewart “S2B” Stephens – Certified Entertainment Production Rigger
  • Erik “Lizardman” Sprague – International Performer

Submissions will be accepted until December 31st, 2011.  After that date the judges top picks will be posted.  Good luck everyone.  We are looking forward to seeing your entries.

The full details as well as the contest entry form can be found at this link.

Now remember, only entries submitted to HookLife will be counted.  That said, knowing some of the fantastic suspension teams that are out there, there are going to be more than one photo of each suspension.  BME is inviting those teams that participate to submit any additional photos to the suspension galleries.  I’m going to be keeping my eye out for these submissions over the next couple of months, and I’m hoping to feature as many as possible.  So if you plan on entering the challenge, remember to send your extra photos to BME, and send me an e-mail with the story behind them (don’t e-mail me your photos).

While we’re on the subject of suspension, here’s my counterpart at HookLife, Misty, doing a tandem 6pt resurrection, 4pt rebirth suspension.  Misty is the one on top.

The BME World Tour Winners are..

This has been a really hard month for me. First I get crazy in the middle of the night in a hotel in Austin. I haven’t slept in days, I’m alone, it’s 30 degrees out, I’m starving and I’m out of change for the vending machines. I started to think about how I haven’t been traveling at all over the past year. I’ve noted that falling in love has this affect on me. I stop being the person that’s only home one weekend out of the month because I’m at conventions, BBQ’s, suspension events, learning/teaching conferences and I focus on being home so that I can be a supportive, attentive and caring partner at home.

I was suddenly back on the road and realizing how much I miss it and how BME suffers when I can’t be out on the road. I decided though after a lot of thought that my passport is full because I’ve traveled around the globe but that for one reason or another all of my travels were alone. The last time I went on any kind of extended trip was in 2008 when I went to the Oslo Suscon, then to BMXnet and finally to a tattoo convention in England (which I ended bailing out on!). That was 3 weeks in Europe SOLO. I submitted around 1000 photos from that trip alone and had a great time meeting people in person.

Now I’m doing it a little differently and I’m extending the amount of time that I’ll be on the road and bringing 4 people with me. I’m sure that you want to know who they are but you HAVE to understand how difficult the selection process was. First it started out with watching hundreds of videos, browsing portolios, reading blogs and writing samples and with Jen‘s help, I narrowed it down to 17 finalists. Everyone has so much to offer and all of the finalists are multi-talented. While some people shine at one particular talent more than others, they are still fully capable of doing everything else that will be required on the road.

The hardest part about choosing the 4 winners is that there are some people who aren’t getting chosen that have been helping out a ton behind the scenes. When they volunteered to help out, I told them it wouldn’t be scoring them any extra points and I had to go with my gut. The other thing that was really hard is that one of my closest friends applied for the video. Thad is an awesome photographer and a great friend but ultimately I feel like I would lean on him too much during this tour. Plus he’d let me get away with being like “I’m too tired to cope today” and I can’t have that.

Click through to find out who won!

In no particular order, the four interns that will be accompanying me on this tour are Chez, Richard, Darah and Megan.

This was a very hard decision and I have my reasons as well as where I just needed to “go with my gut”. If you are a contestant and you want more feedback on why I didn’t pick you, feel free to contact me. I wish I could have brought everyone or I could split it up into two teams so that I could bring more people but I simply can’t due to the costs involved.

Thank you go everyone who applied and for all of the hard work that everyone put in. It means a lot to me and I appreciate your support as always.

Don’t forget the sale on BMEshop is still going on until Midnight! Use the coupon code “worldtour” (without the quotes!) to get 30% off of nearly everything!

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 tinychat.com with a bunch of people from iam.bmezine.com.

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whi3M5xAru8.

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!

BME Finalists Round Two

I feel like a teacher handing out extra credit assignments but I need help to pick the winners for the BME World Tour. I’ve just narrowed it down to 10 finalists who will all need to complete an assignment.  If you want to know who the finalists have been narrowed down to, you’ll have to watch the video!

More information on the assignement after the jump!

The assignment really isn’t “extra credit” because if you don’t do it, you’ll be automatically disqualified from the contest. Since I know that everyone is working, I’m going to give this round of finalists until Thursday at Midnight PST to turn in their assignments. They will then be posted on the following Friday for votes by Modblog readers!

Send the following to [email protected].

Since we will be taking photos, writing blog posts and posting videos of our travels, I want the 10 finalists that I have selected to do the same. We will be posting these on a daily basis but since I know that everyone has other full time jobs on their plate, I am giving you until Thursday to turn this in. You’ll need to be able to do this on a daily basis when we’re on the tour.

Make a video, take some photos and write up a blog post about your day. You can do whatever you’d like with it. If you’re a student in school, just make a video about your day. If you’ve got time and you want to pretend we’re out on the road and you want to go interview a shop, do that. Are you going to a concert or some touristy spot during the week? Take photos and videos and write a post about that. There is a ton of flexibility. It doesn’t necessarily need to be “modification based” since the tour will include a lot of BME related stuff but also a lot of stuff about the people that we meet and the tour interns themselves.

Remember to have fun with it. This is your chance to show me what you’ll be able to come up with while we’re out on the road.

You’ve also got a lot of options for how you can record the video. Use your point and shoot camera, a flip cam, an ipod, an iphone, your laptop, or a real video camera! You’ve got tons of options, just remember to get everything in to me by Thursday or you’ll get disqualified!

Thanks again to all of the applicants. I’m sorry that I couldn’t take everyone but I felt it was best to try to narrow it down to my top 10 favorites so that I didn’t waste everyone’s time by making them do the assignment if it wasn’t likely that they’d get picked. My top 10 definitely changed after the last post and I’m glad that I put the finalist up and got to see how people carried themselves under criticism since BME is has a very large and vocal audience. You have to be able to take the good compliments with the bad comments.

To the finalists who did not make it on to this round, all of you are incredibly talented and there are several of you that I would like to offer opportunities to write on Modblog and as well as for BME. I’ll be contacting you as soon as things quiet down!

Thanks again to everyone who applied!

The real FINALISTS are..

First, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent in applications throughout February for theBME World Tour Intern Contest. I appreciate the effort that all of the applicants put into their videos and for taking the time to help me get to know each and every one of them as best as I could through their videos! Some were really fun to watch and others were a bit painful!

With Jen’s help, I’ve compiled a list of the finalists. I’d like you to watch their videos and then vote at the bottom of the videos. Vote for your FAVORITE 4 applicants! You’re only allowed to vote once. This will help me to figure out who the readers of BME want to see out there on the road with me. The winners of the poll won’t automatically be the winners of the contest but it will definitely help to show who the BME community wants as well as who can get the most people over to BME and voting for them!

I have been working on the logistics and may possibly end up choosing two teams to go out with me because it’s been too hard to narrow down just to four interns! These are the cream of the crop. They’ve either got great talents as writers, photographers or video editors or they just have some supremely awesome quality about them that came through in their applications or video. I really wish I could take them all! Help me to narrow it down because lord knows I can’t fit 18 of us in one suitcase!

Voting closes March 1st at 12:01am PST. I’m hoping to announce the winners on March 1st so we’ve only got a couple days to get those votes in! This will get reposted daily until then!











Ari Oh








Now that you’ve watched the videos, VOTE for your favorite 4 applicants. Pick the 4 people you’d want to see out on the road together! Help them get out there by casting your vote! Remember, voting closes March 1st at 12:01am PST so get your friends voting for you!

And the winner is…

Yeaaaaaaaah! MissMeg knows how to make me laugh. I’m still trying to catch up on watching all of the video applications. We haven’t even been able to post them all because there are just too many but I’m very very excited and I think this tour is going to be awesome, thanks to all of you!


Rachel asked me to post some more audition videos while she’s busy recuperating.  I don’t know when she plans to announce the winners or how she plans on notifying them so we’ll all just have to be patient a bit longer.  I’ve only been back in town a few hours and have tons to do and it’s shaping up to be a busy week (in my spare time, in addition to working for BME, I’m a full time graduate student and substitute teacher)!  So with no further ado and in no order, rhyme nor reason, here are some videos!

BME Internship Audition Video by Ari Oh from Ari Oh on Vimeo.

More after the jump!

My BME World Tour Video Interview! from Stewart Donaldson on Vimeo.

Once again, this is just a small sample of the many videos we’ve received!  A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time!  We sincerely appreciate your efforts.