White tattoos

Update: Due to the lack of information and pictures on this subject, I created a group on Flickr where people can share their white tattoo pics. If you’ve got a white tattoo of your own, go add yours: http://www.flickr.com/groups/whiteinktattoos/

I think white tattoo ink is interesting. It’s a new color in a new medium, usually used for hilights, but I think for those who want a tattoo but don’t want to go the generic tribal/kanji route this offers new possibilities. Not much info about it out there, but here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • The good, safe kind is made of titanium oxide, which is harder than steel, which tends to wear out the tattoo needles it’s used with. This means there’s a possibility of the result not being entirely white, but slightly grayish.
  • Also, it goes UNDER your skin, so your own skin pigment will tint it somewhat. For “white” (pinkish) skin, it’s likely to go a bit cream-colored. A better bet is to place it where your skin is whitest already and doesn’t have much contact with the sun, like inside your forearm.
  • It’s hard to put on evenly over large areas.
  • People have said it looks like a scar or a brand when healed, albeit a potentially very intricate one. Sometimes it stays kind of raised (after more than one application) and sometimes it goes flat.
  • In photos at least it looks like it gives a “powdery” effect, like chalk paint on top of your skin.

All of the above are problems if you want something that screams “tattoo!”. But if you have been investigating tattoos in general, and just let the stuff be what it is, you might turn its weaknesses into strengths and come up with something truly unique. Here are the only examples I found, of which there are few and far between as of yet:

Sources I can identify: Friendster, ModBlog (NSFW).

Flower thing by Julie’s Tattoo Studio.

Snowflake by Timppa from Other Side Tattoo in Lahti, Finland.


January 5, 2007 at 10:43 am 12 comments

Women’s gadgets(not pink things)

After noting several posts on Gizmodo wondering about what gadgets will appeal to women, it occurred to me that there are, in fact, gadgets for women–but they might not be quite what you’d expect. Over the years, I’ve come across a group of products that women talk about among themselves and use, but aren’t advertised anywhere. So as a public service, I’m listing them here:

The menstrual cup: A bunch of companies sell this alternative to tampons. Among them: Keeper (natural rubber), Diva cup, Mooncup, and Lunette (silicone). (Plug: Lunette is made in Finland!) You only have to buy one at a time, and one will last you years. Aside from the financial benefit, this also means you don’t have to lug around a box of tampons everywhere you go, which can be annoying on camping trips in particular. I’ve even used one of these camping out in the African savannah among a bunch of men who definitely did not want to find pad and tampon residue around the campsite–it was weird enough for them to have a woman present to begin with. It works like this: You fold it up and stick it in like a tampon. It lasts about as long, sometimes longer. Every now and then you empty it–some bathrooms have sinks, and if they don’t, just wipe it clean with paper and off you go. If you can’t stand the idea of coming into contact with your own bodily fluids, however, this is not for you.

The P-Mate: By a Canadian company called Female Freedom, this lightly waxed recycled paper funnel allows women to pee standing up. Why would they want to? You’ve obviously never agonized with a full bladder in the woods, facing the prospect of either undoing fifteen layers of clothing and baring your ass to -25ÂșC , or presenting it as a all-you-can-eat buffet to clouds of eager bloodsuckers. Not to mention standing in the endless lines to the Port-a-Potty while men dash past to have a quick pee in the urinal around the back. So. If this is penis envy, so be it. The plastic version of this is sold by TravelMate.
UPDATE: I was reading a book called The Pirate Queen by Barbara Sjoholm(too personal-narrative for my taste, was hoping for more historical info) and randomly stumbled across a story about a Sami woman called Buks-Beret, who would go out fishing with the men, and had with her a “tissehornet” or hollowed out reindeer horn for peeing over the side of the boat on longer trips. So this is nothing new…

A TENS machine: Speaking of Technology Marching On, I can personally vouch for the use of a TENS machine during childbirth. It sends electrical pulses (which feel a lot like intense pins and needles) to your skin via electrodes stuck to your lower back during labor, which confuse the pain messages sent to your brain, which makes it easier to handle the pain overall.

Plus, if you get a model like the one I had, the Elle Tens, you get lots of buttons to fiddle with to regulate the kind of pulses it sends out, their rhythms and intensity, which for me at least gave an added sense of control, which helped immensely.

A friend of mine who knows a bit about neurology claims there is solid science to back up the claim that it works–I’d say that it could have been a placebo effect, something to have faith in and hang on to, but in the end that worked pretty damn well. And considering that if it doesn’t work, you can switch it off and immediately try something else with no ill effects, I’d say it’s a win-win deal. Other than the cost, of course. Available for rent and purchase from the UK here.

The Feeldoe: Designed for women, by a female engineer, although enterprising men may find uses for it as well. No harness needed if your PC muscles are strong enough. Happy sensation potential for both partners. This swiss army knife of dildoes comes in three sizes, with vibe and without, and has gotten rave reviews.

The Epi-No: Apparently this device helps you train for childbirth. In their words:

German medical innovation is reducing the risk of tearing and episiotomy (‘stitches’) in…women wanting a natural vaginal birth.

That sounds like a good idea to me, don’t know if it works or not, but it seems at the very least unlikely to do harm. I’ve had some friends sneer, Women have been birthing babies for millennia without anything like this.

Maybe so, although the epi-no is apparently based on an African custom of using gourds to gently stretch the perineum just before birth, and also I find the argument of “We’ve always managed without” to be rather silly: “Humans have lived for millennia without the internet/central heating/toilet paper, so there’s no need to use those things now.” There may not be a need, but these things certainly make life a bit more comfortable. Why should birth be any different? In fact, episiotomy itself is a rather new invention, and a rather unpleasant one at that, yet many women don’t give that a second thought.

Have been looking for horror stories related to this device, accusations of fraud, danger, etc, and have found none. I’ve found various references to it on midwives’ blogs and the like, though. At worst, people have said it doesn’t help/is a waste of money. At best, women have reported greater confidence going into childbirth and maybe an easier delivery. What can I say? Technology marches on. Available in the UK here.

If you know of products you think should be added to this list, let me know, I’ll add them to the post.

January 5, 2007 at 9:39 am 2 comments

The Bible Digest

I’ve been reading David Plotz’ Blogging the Bible series on Slate. He’s a Jewish guy reading the Bible from cover to cover for the first time, writing down his own synopsis with comments, analysis, and personal associations. Fascinating stuff, and lots of details that I missed when I was a kid reading the kiddie versions. For example, those of us who grew up explicitly Christian or Jewish (or watched Charleton Heston in the Ten Commandments) all learned that Pharaoh gets punished with plagues and deaths of all firstborns in Egypt, etc, for refusing to let the Israelites go. What I didn’t know was this:


November 19, 2006 at 1:00 pm 8 comments

Linguistic contexts

My English vocabulary is melting away. The more Finnish I speak, the more clunky I can hear my English becoming–partially because I have learned to dumb it down in order to have clearer conversations with non-English speakers, and partially because my brain is replacing language associations with different environments with new ones. I was in a meeting yesterday and got all confused as my associations clashed–it was a meeting(like the Finnish business meetings I’ve been having), but it was a student-activist group atmosphere(English academia). So what came out of my mouth was a stuttering mix of half Finnish, half English, as I “vuorotellen” (see?!? I know there’s an English word there) forgot first the right words in one language, then the right words in the next. Also it’s been a slight survival strategy here to switch into English when I talk to people in official settings so they don’t think I’m “simple”, since my Finnish is basically accentless now but my eloquence is distinctly lacking.

I learned three languages simultaneously as a kid. I must have kept them separate by relating them to distinctly separate contexts–now as an adult I’m going to have to be a bit mindful of that, since living with Emma means I’ve been able to get lazy and switch languages whenever the other language seems to have a better word. Tsk tsk.

But what’s more important, being able to communicate in a beautifully specific way with a small group of people, or being able to communicate in a general, understandable way with everyone else? I mean, if you could only choose one?

November 18, 2006 at 8:45 am 4 comments

The Gay Marriage FAQ

Was reading this post and was surprised by the arguments against gay marriage–so many misconceptions. Attempt to clarify follows after the link.


November 10, 2006 at 1:10 am 10 comments

UpTrucks arrived!

Got the medium flex longboard UpTrucks. Probably should have gotten the soft flex–I’m not heavy enough to get them to move much. As for speed wobble, a bigger, more skilled friend of mine tried them out down a hill and said that speed wobble happens anyway. I’m starting to think it’s a head thing–I’ve read many posts on forums about how when you just relax, speed wobble goes away. I could imagine this is because you stop microcompensating for little changes (as you freak out about the speed) and stop making the problem worse.

On a side note, the more I play with skateboards, the more I’m falling in love with my kickboard again. In a city made purely of flat asphalt with no cracks or cobblestones and wide lanes, a longboard would be fantastic, dreamy transportation. Unfortunately Helsinki sidewalks are full of two inch wide drainage channels, cobblestones, and unpredictable little old ladies. (It’s funny how riding a small-wheeled thing makes you remap your city in terms of terrain) You constantly have to be on and off the board, and having that handle makes a huge difference.

Now of course I’m dreaming of a carving kickboard. I know K2 made some interesting other versions of what I’ve got, with two tiny wheels in the front and bigger ones in the back(seen them on eBay) but not with a super-squishy deck. Loaded bamboo board with a handle? Anyone?

October 28, 2006 at 10:15 am 3 comments

Charge your EU cell in the US without an adapter

cell chargeOne less thing to lug around! My father came up with this on his last trip to the US, with his Nokia. Beautifully simple.

Remember though that it only works with chargers that can take 110 volts. (it will say so on the charger) Otherwise your fancy bit of electronics will pop, melt and die before you can unplug it.
DISCLAIMER: Not a hack for idiots. Don’t touch the metal bits while it’s plugged in. Watch out for arcing, especially if it’s a crappy non-grounded outlet. Little kids are curious, gleefully suicidal at a certain age, and have teeny tiny fingers. If you try this and get hurt or hurt someone else, it’s your own damn fault.

October 5, 2006 at 9:47 am 1 comment

Trucks enter the Plastic Age

The first thing I was struck by when getting on my little skateboard project board (see previous post) was this “clicky” feeling I was getting from the trucks when turning. I had a closer look and noticed it’s the kingpin clicking back and forth just a little when the bushing squishes. My machinist/jeweler background leaves me unimpressed by this much play in what are supposed to be pretty good trucks. The engineering of this part requires, it, though. Of course I started looking to see if this part had been updated, since this was the same construction I had seen used since the 80’s. Sure enough, I found a very promising new development:

Uptrucks: “one-piece elastrometric trucks”. In other words, the whole thing is the bushing, sort-of. They’re lighter, no speed wobble, no kingpin, better dampening, and they’ve built-in something else I was thinking about, ie a wheel-bite stop. If the truck is about to bend too far, it stops it before the wheel hits the deck. Not rocket science, but hey. Think I’ll get a pair if I can and play around with them. They’re not too expensive, either.

Seismic Trucks look interesting too, but they seem like a good new modification of an old idea, not an old idea turned on its head. When presented with a choice, I tend to always like the new weird idea better than the new old idea. Wonder what else is out there…

tb_carver5.jpgWell. There’s always this:

BMW’s $500 Street Carver, with trucks made from the BMW 5 Series running gear. Needless to say, they’re not made anymore. But it would be fascinating to get to play with one for a day…

September 24, 2006 at 11:53 pm 2 comments

How I will kill myself next summer

KickboardNote: This post has, bizarrely, gotten a lot of search engine hits from terms like “gay and want to kill myself”. To those of you who found this post that way: Hang on for a second! Email me through the Contact form above if you want to tell me what’s going on–I’ll respond.

I used to have no balance whatsoever as a kid. Suddenly, as an adult, I’ve learned some, probably from using my K2 “kick two” kickboard for a while (can’t give you a link, K2 has sold them to Micro or something, and the Micro site seems to only have the old version; if you’re lucky you can find one on eBay). The kickboard is great and I adore it, but I’m fascinated by the idea that I could do without that pole, that I’ve somehow mastered something sports-like. So now I’m looking at boards. Freaky boards. Because I won’t be doing tricks, but I want a compact way to move around on sidewalks. Bikes are out because my reaction time is so slow I’ll be flat under a truck in a week. Here are some likely candidates:

Stowboard: Looks like fun because you can fold it up, or use it as a mini hand-truck for heavy luggage. Unfortunately, it apparently weighs a decent amount all by itself. Still, tempting for its compactness, and surprisingly, “a smooth ride” according to one review.

fish.jpgLoadedBoards: Squishy, bouncy ride, interesting shapes and wheel formations. Very pretty and well-engineered. You can choose from different stiffnesses to find the right one for your bodyweight. One of them is half Flowboard, half “fish”. However, they are long, and I hate to lug something big around that’s supposed to make transportation easier. I should be able to carry it in one hand, or even better, attached to a backpack? Apparently the Fish model would suit city transportation best. Wheels are not covered by the deck, though, which means nasty catching on foot while kicking could result.

Waveboard: I think this is pretty wishful thinking for me. This thing’s only got two wheels, and they move independently of each other. You sort of wiggle/ski/surf around to move, and apparently it’s quite a workout. Death awaits. In style.

ArborpocketArbor Bamboo Pocket Rocket: Longboard features, pocket-sized. Might be fantastic, might be like trying to skate with a bar of soap attached to one foot. Physics does limit my quest for compactness–if the thing is TOO small, it might be too little to balance on. Very pretty though…can’t really pull off the whole skull-and-monster graphics until I can move on these things without looking like I’m constipated.

I’ve also started experimenting with building my own, using longboard wheels and trucks on a short board. At the moment, it’s got 80mm wheels, Randall trucks, and 1/2″ risers, which makes for a very high deck, but wheel bite is a problem. The deck is as wide as the trucks + the wheels, but quite short (28.5″ x 10.0″). I’m tempted to get rid of the risers, maybe get lower trucks, and make cut-outs in the deck for the wheels. Maybe “wheel covers” hammered out of copper to prevent my foot from hitting the wheels through the cut-outs. I’m sure that sounds insane, but this is my jeweler’s backround coming in. I’ve got the workshop and the tools, so why not? More after the link.

September 23, 2006 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Genocide, your office, and your teenager

It all comes down to the same thing. Stupidity and lack of autonomy increases as groups of people gather together. We all know this. It’s called peer pressure, mob mentality, if-your-friends-all-jumped-off-a cliff-would-you (you would), and many other things.

What I’m proposing is a solution: Active, regular preemptive thought.


September 4, 2006 at 10:36 am 10 comments

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A collection of potential future projects, to dig deeper into when I find the time.

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