Prayer is better than an autoclave

As you know, I’m not particularly afraid to call out religion. I see pictures like this getting forwarded on social networks all the time and being held up as beautiful or otherwise positive — this is interesting to me because if this was a photo of a Western tattoo artist, they’d be decried as the worst sort of scratcher. Luckily religion protects against bloodborne pathogens, right? I wonder if the tools are even sterilized between “devotees”… If Jews can pass herpes from circumcision, I don’t see why Buddhists can’t pass hepatitis…


There is no excuse for this. Thailand is not stoneage cave. Being a Buddhist monk — even one willing to get rich tattooing movie stars — does not excuse this sort of callous endangering of customers.

Can you ever be “too clean”?

At what point is addressing sterile field control overkill? I mean, on one hand it’s never a bad thing per se, but in a cost-competitive world, lines have to be drawn somewhere or you’ll lose money providing protections that are redundant. Should one always strive to be better? Or does one reach a level of risk mitigation where no reasonable improvement is left to be had, and it’s better to move on to other areas?

I’m really blown away (in a good way) by the level of concern Ronaldo “Piercer Snoopy” Sampaio of Sao Paulo, Brazil ( pays to even “basic” procedures like navel piercings, wearing full surgical gowns and a mask in addition to the industry standard gloves. We all accept that gloves are needed. This is not so much to avoid skin-on-skin contact between the piercer and their client, but because changing gloves is the easiest way to control cross-contamination. Oversimplifying the matter, the primary purpose of gloves is to provide a barrier between clients (even though they’re rarely in the room at the same time), to stop transmission of blood-borne diseases from one client to the next. Gowns, hair nets, and masks on the other hand primarily provide a barrier between the piercer and client. In addition to these protections, in some cases this studio does the procedure through a “window” in a surgical drape. In addition to creating psychological clarity by isolating the procedure from the rest of the environment, this minimizes the risk of pulling any bacteria from the surface of the client’s skin into the wound.

On one hand, all of these protections reduce the chance of infection and related complications as well as projecting an air of professionalism. But on the other hand, humans have been piercing each other with dirty sticks in caves for perhaps the last hundred thousand years. What do you think? Where do you draw the line for acceptable minimum standards? What do you expect of a top-notch shop? Is there a level where you begin questioning the allocation of resources? Do different procedures have different rules? No matter where you think the line should be drawn, I hope you agree it’s wonderful that people are working at such a high standard to even allow such questions to be asked!


Help is out there

The following photo was submitted anonymously with the title “Sexual Assault Survivor”.  It’s a simple tattoo, but it also speaks volumes about the strength this person has to be able to share with the world that they are a survivor.

If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault, please get in touch with one of the many organizations out there.  There are people out there that are willing to help.  With yesterday being a day of action to stop bullying, it is good to remember that men, women, and children can all become victims of sexual assault.  Now I’m not making a direct comparison between the two, but in both cases, there are people out there that do care, and want to help.

For more information, please contact your local support organizations, or visit for a list of international support numbers.

Event FAQs!

BMEfest FAQ!

Do I have to buy a ticket to BMEfest?

No, the gathering in High Park this year is free. ModProm II – the formal dinner/party to follow is not, you must have purchased a ticket to ModProm II.

What time does BMEfest start/wrap-up?

BMEfest will begin in High Park at 10:00am and will wrap-up by 3:00pm.

Where is BMEfest?

BMEfest is located in High Park, Toronto, Canada. Take the TTC Subway to High Park Station and walk across Bloor Street to enter the park. For those of you driving, High Park is located between Bloor Street & The Queensway, just west of Keele Street. The main entrance is located at Bloor & High Park Avenue.

(Click here for a map of the park (PDF). The party will be located in Picnic Area #8, which is located between the Grenadier Café and the sports fields.)

When you enter the park follow either the West Road or Colbourne Lodge Road until you reach the Grenadier Restaurant (there is some parking at the restaurant), and then walk behind the restaurant over “Hawk Hill” until you reach the picnic area. Alternatively you can follow the West Road into the park and cut through the sports fields (there is a path that follows them around) straight through until you reach the picnic area.

Will there be parking available?

There is parking in the park, however you should arrive early if you’re driving because parking will be in high demand for Canada Day.

How do I get a BMEfest Event Shirt?

Because of the park permit rules we’re not allowed to have any type of open-air market set up. But if you want a BMEfest event shirt, speak to Ryan at the event. He may just have a few in his car!

Will there be suspensions at BMEfest?

NO! For two reasons:

1: It gives the Toronto Parks & Recreation a reason to come and hassle us.

2: Attaching anything (including a person) to a tree is a violation of the permit we have been issued and could result in both personal fines for the event organizer and termination of the event.

What should I bring?

Bring: Sunblock, water & food (we will be providing some refreshments), money for snacks & other sundries. It’s a picnic – prepare for that: Blankets, et cetera..

Will there be alcohol at the event?

Alcohol is NOT permitted in the park. If you feel the need to drink there is a restaurant nearby. As per the conditions of the permit, obnoxious alcohol consumption will result in the termination of the event by park authorities.

What if I’m too shy to play the Scene Points Game?

The “Scene Points Game” is designed to be a humourous social experiment only, a way to meet people, NOT a hazing ritual. Everyone is encouraged to play. There are some great prizes and you might just make a new friend or two!

ModProm FAQ!

Where is ModProm?

ModProm will be held at the Academy of Spherical Arts, located at 1 Snooker Street, Toronto (also known as Hanna Avenue). The closest major intersection is King & Dufferin. Click here for a map & directions.

What do I get with my ticket?

The t-shirt you’ve already received, dinner, entertainment, a drink ticket (check out the customized Martini list!)

Will there be Coat Check?


Will tips be expected for Coat Check/Bartender/Servers?

It is always nice to tip those who help you out.

When is ModProm?

Doors open at 7pm, Dinner will be served at 7:30. Entertainment & Billiards Tournament begins at 8pm. Things will wrap up at 2am.

What if I didn’t buy a ticket in advance?

There will be no entry for those without tickets, and no tickets can be bought at the door.

Is there parking at the Academy?

There are two parking lots nearby, and a Green P lot just around the corner.

How many people will be at ModProm?

Over 100 of your closest IAM friends!

When will E-tickets be sent out?

We are still working on the logistics of the E-tickets, but don’t fret, if you’ve bought a ticket your name will be on a paid list.

If someone bought your ticket for you, pease try to arrive with that person..

If there are other circumstances, or for some other reason you have other concerns – bring a printout of your BMEshop order & confirmation.

I have special dietary requirements (vegan/vegetarian/heavy meat eater), have I been considered?

Yes, you can find the full menu here – Please advise the chef at each food station of any requirements and/or allergies and they will do their best to accommodate you.

Will there be someone taking photos at ModProm?

YesLane Jensen will be taking photos.

I can’t go to ModProm this year/ I didn’t buy my ticket – what can I do instead?

Shakespeare in the Park (PDF) is happening that night in High Park, or check out or for other event listings in the city.

Toronto – Walk-in Clinics

Should anyone fall ill, require the morning after pill or be unable to stem the bleeding during the BMEfest weekend here’s a list of walk-in clinics that can help..

Bay Wellesley Medical Services & Walk-In Clinic.

984 Bay (north of Wellesley Street, across the street from the Sutton Place Hotel).
Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Phone: 416-929-1900

The Doctor’s Office.

595 Bay (at Edward Street).
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 416 -598 -1703

Health First.

345 Bloor Street East (at Sherbourne Street, in the Greenwin Mall).
Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Phone: 416-515-0590

And of course there’s The Hassle Free Clinic for all your morning after needs.

If you do not have an Ontario Health Card or travelling medical insurance you will have to pay for your visit, usually about $50 plus whatever medication they prescribe.

Finally, we recommend you telephone a clinic in advance to ensure the clinic will be open and a doctor will be available when you plan to arrive.