Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label documentary. Show all posts

10.9.17

didn't even have to use my a.k.

pretty weird day today, but good all the same. as i've already been on about, a crew from Peacock Alley TV, in Canada, came to Birmingham to interview me for the second series of their Cheating Death programme - we managed to wrangle Bacchus bar, in town, as the interview location, which was amazing. it's this wonderful underground place that used to be some sort of wine cellar as far as i can tell, all painted up with mock Renaissance frescoes on the stairway down, ceiling murals of the night sky, replica Ancient Egyptian art and heiroglyphs in one section, pretty oil paintings in another. there's a suit of armour, there's a whole modelled Garden of Eden scene on a ledge near the ceiling as you come in (complete with snake slithering part-way over the edge), there's Grecian stone columns and carved wooden furniture and mock candle lighting and velvet curtains. it's amazingly over the top, & easily my favourite place to eat and/or drink in Birmingham. it was a bit last minute, but i was chuffed when i got the email saying we were going to be doing it there. i got up super early and managed to fake a decent complexion, attempt to control my hair and do some reasonably attractive paint (i also put glitter on my cheeks because fuck it.)

the actual interview was great - the host, Tim Caulfield, was genial & ridiculously easy to talk to, especially since it turns out he shares my preference for evidence-based healthcare and dislike of / disbelief in woo of any kind. great bloke. i'm looking forward to seeing him interact with Kevin Warwick when the episode gets out, although i have no idea when that is. we talked for about 45mins & managed to cover a lot of ground, mostly top-level stuff about biohacking in general - the philosophy of transhumanism, how biohacking fits into the greater h+ sphere, about the biohacking community and what the term means and what sort of things in general we do. he also asked a fair bit about me personally, what got me started, my own philosophical convictions & how those informed my experiments, what implants i have and what they do, all that sort of thing. the crew was absolutely lovely from start to finish too - they were so helpful in telling me what exactly they needed, bringing water and coffee, and tolerated a lot of dumb questions from yours truly about their extremely impressive camera equipment (they let me clap the clapperboard!) they even bought us lunch in the bar, so everyone ate there & then went back to my flat to film "b roll" for extra visuals that the audience will see over some of my talking.

i went a bit mental cleaning up the flat the night before, so thankfully it was crazily tidy and clean when they got there, and the crew managed to get the various bits of film from various angles they needed (stuff like me showing how an RFID reader plugged in to my laptop can detect the RFID chips in my hand, me typing nonsense and trying to look serious, showing them bandages and needles and whatnot, and also for some reason making tea.) the crew grappled their big heavy cases of equipment around the tiny little rooms pretty impressively, clipping cloths to the curtains and carefully angling furniture and standing on chairs and using my makeup mirror to get a cool shot where the camera was using the mirror to film me typing nonsense. they were all just really nice people, everyone was friendly and accommodating and they even tipped us. it was actually kind of fun and definitely a lot less stressful than i imagined it was going to be (although a big part of that was due to Paul, who is not only experienced with all the film-related stuff but also ridiculously, amazingly supportive.)

slight aside/apology: yes, Paul & i are together romantically, as a lot of you knew anyhow. sorry for having to hide that and leave questions about it unanswered, & i'm sorry if it got confusing over the last two years. we've been having to hide it whilst he was doing his Master's course because we were worried they wouldn't let him do the documentary as his dissertation otherwise; the course's ethics panel were already wavering over whether he could or not because of the self-surgery maybe encouraging other people to do the same, and the footage of it maybe being traumatic for people, and the grey legal area biohacking occupies, and it being against the rules for Paul to be "encouraging" someone he's filming to hurt themselves (and their kind of nebulous ideas of what exactly "harm" and "encouragement" mean) that we figured if we also threw in a big fat loss of objectivity for them, they'd nix it. so i had to scrub some blog posts of their ~endearments~ etc and try to stay out of his personal space when we were on campus, and Paul had to pretend to be an eligible bachelor (lul) / only ever talk about me in a professional, journalistic way (i am purely in this for the interesting documentary matter! we have in no way fallen in love! i have definitely not got any carnal knowledge of this person) etc etc but the thing being submitted now and with little chance of anyone from his faculty reading my blog anymore*, normal lovey-dovey service shall now recommence.


my love to those you love
L

*HI, RICHARD!

8.9.17

...and the fugly

some things have happened! some of them are good! some of them are shit though.


Paul has finally finally finished and submitted his documentary. it's been handed in to the course at the University of Birmingham & the tutors say it will be a few months before it's marked, so i won't be able to tell you what they think of it very soon. Paul is gonna upload it to his YouTube channel within a few weeks though so you lot will see it first (it says, as if its blog has any readers. HI GOOGLE SPIDER) i'll put the link to it up here & on twatter when i get one.

thankyou to everyone who contributed help to it, of any kind. Jenova Rain and Kevin Warwick were both lovely people, and there are so many other people who contributed or offered videos, interviews, etc etc - there was lots of extra material that Paul couldn't cram into the 25 minutes he was allowed for the film, so i will be putting up this stuff for you all on my own YouTube (once i fish it out from behind the sofa and dust it off, obviously.) there's full interviews that Paul did with Jenova and Kevin Warwick face to face, plus a long-distance one with Vicarious, and one with me although you should probably not watch that one because i could not have worse hair if i fucking tried, goddamn. i'll put these up as soon as i can.

less good: the Student Loans company called yesterday, asking for £4200. apparently this is the soonest they decided to tell me after i had to leave university the second time, which (can't remember if i wrote about it here or how much) was also because of the SLC - they wouldn't pay the tuition fee, which at that time was £9k per year, but they were cool with giving out some maintenance money. could i get family to pay the nine grand, they suggested? every year for a total of twenty-seven thousand fucking pounds out of pocket? i explained that even if we sold everything we collectively owned and one of my (valuable!) kidneys, we wouldn't be able to come up with that kind of money. oh, said the SLC. well, you'll have to fuck off out of that uni then. they did not at any time mention that this meant they'd be wanting that money back DIRECTLY - i figured i'd be paying it back as part of my regular student loans, i.e. when i'm earning enough to justify repaying it, and they were happy to let me think that for several years up until now when they suddenly decided not to.

didn't make any difference on the phone to them that i have zero income apart from benefits, and those go completely on food/electric/gas/internet/rent/travel/course tuition etc etc - perhaps you should go to a debt charity, said the SLC. i don't have any debt (apart from this one that i suddenly have...) so i'm not sure how the hell they'd be able to help. i tried to explain this & that no matter how you wrangle my finances, i can't afford to take anything out of that budget to pay these guys. welp, we need something, said the SLC. you've got until Monday to come up with something, we need you to ring back on the 11th and go through all your incomes and expenditures with us over the phone and decide how big a chunk of that we're gonna take.

i'm trying not to think about it until then. this weekend a film crew will be here - they want to interview me for a TV series about "cheating death", which has an episode about h+ (or it might be biohacking, i'm not sure). they're also interviewing Kevin Warwick, though not at the same time, so the finished episode will probably be quite interesting - it's going to be a BBC Worldwide thing, i'll put links up as i have them. i'm also waiting for an interview i gave up in London for a Turkish TV show to be published on their website. unfortunately i am not famous enough to actually get paid for this kind of stuff.

fuck, the future came and i didn't get my jetpack OR to be rich and famous. where's my goddamn jetpack?!

L

15.6.17

upcoming


i figured i should probably let you all know what i'm actually doing so you can poke me if i don't seem to be alive anymore. there's three things that have been on the back burner for way too long due to crappy health and crappy IRL stuff that i'm now working on as "resurrected projects":

- an implantable haptic compass (the 'Southpaw' project). an extremely kind person has helped me get enough together that i can now start looking around for hardware and a microprocessor - i know i've said this before but to that person, thankyou from the bottom of my shrivelled up little heart. you have helped so much & i would not be able to get any prototyping off the ground without you. to the engineer that commented re. what components might work best: thankyou also! that was really useful info & i will post a proper reply to you soon.

- proper instructions for how to manufacture / acquire / install nodes. i've had to hold back on this one because of some ethical problems brought up by two different people irl: the issue was more or less, is it right to give people these instructions when they don't have any experience with this sort of thing & may therefore do serious damage to themselves? i.e. if someone uses my instructions to try and install their own, fucks it up hardcore, loses a fingertip to sepsis and then blames the fuck out of me, is it actually my fault in a moral sort of sense? legally i am pretty sure it wouldn't be (but not completely sure, to be fair) but i have had to have a couple of long discussions about the whole thing (i also mentioned it to Kevin Warwick, whose take on it was pretty good advice.) in the end i decided it goes against my principles to withhold information deliberately, even if that info could possibly be dangerous. i believe we all have the right to use our bodies as we choose, even if that means we get hurt. i'm going to release the procedures with as much "safety information" as i can come up with - meaning i need to put in a lot more stuff about possible pain control, spotters, aftercare, what to do if it goes majorly wrong, etc etc.

- i'm also screwing around with this new XNT chip. nothing really new there but could get some videos up for you all or something. i'm not sure what apps exist for NFC devices - i've got a phone that's compatible but all i found so far is Dangerous NFC for protecting the tags and TagWriter for messin' with em. there's probably a lot more out there. it'd be nice to have something protecting my logins again, been a long time since i had that keyboard that required my tag to be present before it would let Windows log in.

- Paul's documentary is still chugging along as ever & will be available in late September this year. it ought to be pretty good i think; he's a damn good filmmaker.

i'll be at my parents' over the weekend coming up (Fri 16.6 to Mon 19.6) but will probably drag machine with me. have fun on Father's Day

cc

L

12.6.17

captain cyborg strikes again


really interesting day today. Paul and i met up with Prof. Kevin Warwick - yeah that Kevin Warwick, it was utterly bizarre that someone so important would be willing to come and talk to me for an hour in a Starbucks. but he was great - a really friendly, genuine bloke who pretty much seems allied to the biohacker community in that he's aiming for knowledge via self-experimentation just as we are (the difference being obviously that he's got access to facilities and surgeons and all that). he pointed out that while there's a lot of things he can do that one of us couldn't, there's also a lot of things we can do that he isn't permitted to - we're not bound by ethical committee approval, we're not going to get in potential trouble with professional associations for experimenting. because research scientists and biohackers each get different kinds of experiments done, we can learn from each other's results and share the information which will benefit future experiments on both fronts.

it was only a short chat but i was really pleased to be able to talk shop with someone genuinely interested in the biohacking world who can also give as much tips and information as i could (a lot more in fact). i would love to be able to share information, resources etc with the research world - even if that means not having very many resources to share that are material, i think biohackers could definitely share a lot of experiential information (what did not work as well as what did work was one thing KW mentioned as being useful, in that it lays a groundwork for someone who has access to good medical facilities to improve on the procedure). i would really love for there to be more of this sort of (even informal) info-sharing in the future. i think we could have a real effect on the research world, and vice versa.

on the documentary side of things, Paul travelled up to Reading University to do a filmed interview with Prof. Warwick a couple of days ago - he says he is disappointed about the slightly fuzzy sound quality but the actual interview content is great. we were sort of expecting KW to be on the "biohacking is a bad idea" side of things owing to some articles i remembered reading but this turned out to be wildly inaccurate. he did say he routinely gets misquoted, badly edited or misunderstood by various media sources (i remembered one newspaper thing in particular more or less telling readers that his Brain Gate project enabled him to communicate telepathically with his wife, so in all honesty i probably should have expected that) & assumed this was probably the reason i was horribly misinformed about his stance. so there will be a segment with Kevin Warwick in the documentary, plus some very kindly donated archival footage of his prior experiments - i've seen the interview already & thought it was pretty boss so hopefully you all do too when it eventually comes out. all in all it was really good getting to talk to him, i really appreciated it.

carpe corporem

L

2.6.17

healing time

everything seems to be more or less healed up now - only a little redness and dead skin left around the incision sites for the nodes, and of course the xNT site is just a little pink scar dot now, bruising's completely dissipated. here's how the node & chip sites are looking:



i'm still having a little bit of trouble typing because the node on the outermost finger is still giving a tiny amount of pain when i use it to strike a key but i can't really avoid that & i don't think it's doing any damage so it's pretty much good as far as i'm concerned. the other one is further along the path, with less redness & no pain, and its scar has already gone white. as before there were no concerns with infection & i'd happily recommend the piercer who did them, Jenova, if she hadn't sadly moved to Spain just recently. she should be practicing again at a later point from what i heard so if you're gonna be in Andalucia or can get there once she's all set up, go for it. seems like there's better chances of getting stuff done on the Continent than there is here in the UK, what with Trust & other places, but the scene seems to be expanding slowly. you've got a better chance of getting stuff done by piercers now than you did ten years ago by far.

i'd also really like to thank a particular person for a generous donation on the 22nd of May - thanks to this i will be able to start messing around with chips for the compass doohickey, once i poll a friend of mine on potential microprocessors. if anyone knows a microprocessor which is small and could potentially take input from a compass module or even better, has the capability onboard, that would be fukken sweet - otherwise, i'll grope around in the dark and eventually come up with one myself. it'd also be great if i could just plug the eight or sixteen different electrodes for output right on into the processor but i don't think that's actually going to be that easy. i'll figure something out.

documentary is on track - it will feature not only me, but also some other UK transhumanists - Paul is currently working on some interviews, and i know he's filmed others already - Jenova and various other individual biohackers, plus Vicarious is also collaborating with him. he's also working on getting H+ people from further afield to send in video interviews so there will be a bit more interesting content than just my views on stuff and films featuring my screechy little "this hurts" voice. you will have to put up with a fair bit of those though. the finished film will be available on Youtube and here in late September.

cc

L

22.5.17

upgrades

okay this is super late since it was very hard to type with fresh implantation wounds all over one hand but last Thursday night i had a couple of upgrades at Jenova Rain's studio in Leicester, for Paul's documentary project - got a couple of nodes put in so he would have something to compare to my own procedure, both in terms of the surgical procedure Jenova used vs. the one i've developed and in terms of the atmosphere of a professional piercing studio with legit equipment / supplies vs. ...well, my place and whatever shit i can get hold of. as you all know though the other major difference is that piercers are expensive as FUCK since they have to pay for their studio rent, huge expensive bits of equipment like autoclaves, a constant flow of sterilisation stuff, needles, jewellery, aftercare stuff etc etc etc so of course it took a big fat chunk out of the funds i had saved up. to be fair it was two nodes plus an XNT chip from Amaal that i got offered on the night and couldn't say no to, plus the train fare to and from Leicester and an Uber to the studio on the way which turned out to be fucking stupid because the place was ten minutes from the station and it was city centre rush hour so the fucking thing charged us about twenty quid for this tiny little journey.

the XNT is healed up, more or less, just a bit of extremely light bruising around the area where the chip settled and a tiny scab from the needle hole:


and the incisions for the magnetic nodes have also scabbed up. they're still just barely noticably redder than normal because of the internal damage done when creating a "pocket" inside the fingertip for the node to fit in (this is inevitable, more on the procedure differences in a sec) but there are no signs of any infection or any non-essential damage and they are now secure enough that they don't require a tight binding dressing and can just be protected with medical tape and a bit of gauze or melolin dressing. this is them an hour ago, taken at the same time as the chip:


of course there has been no sensation from them as of yet - it seems to take a week or so in a person who has never had any installed before, and about five days in someone who already has some. i think this is because if you already have some, your brain has already got some connections associated with receiving that sort of input, whereas if you didn't, it needs a bit extra time to make those in the first place. a couple of things have set them off magnetically which as i remembered before is super mondo uncomfortable with the internal wound still healing. the pain is gone completely, although it probably helped that i had heavy pain medication, so idk if that's typical or not. yesterday was fine too in that regard, it was mostly Friday and Saturday where it really hurt and Saturday wouldn't have been that bad if i hadn't fucked it up trying to type stuff.

re. the actual procedure i found that Jenova was using a 1.7mm diameter cannula needle - the ones i use are 5mm diameter and they're not cannula ones, meaning they are sharp on only one edge of the tip, rather than both (and obviously the ones i use are way bigger.) the actual incision she needed to make was just as wide as the one created by the needles i use, and she also needed to remove some tissue from the centre of the finger pad in order to make a big enough pocket for the node to fit in, which is something you don't need to do if you're using the great big ones as they just punch a big fuck off hole by themselves. because of this need to make a pocket, i think using the 5mm one is faster overall; Jenova's procedure is a lot more delicate, though, since i have to use a considerable amount of force behind the needle to make my incisions and she didn't need to do that at all. i think her way is a lot less likely to come up with complications like the needle potentially going all the way through the finger pad and out the other side or making a much deeper hole than was needed (i've never run into either one of these myself but they're possible i think.) i'm not sure which one would hurt less - sharper, smaller needles would hurt less with ordinary piercings, but the larger one is also probably faster and doesn't need any excision of flesh. as ever i said fuck a lot and felt awful - didn't white out though like i usually do with my own stuff. i am gonna guess they're probably about the same when you take it all into account, although Jenova's obviously a professional so it would be way safer to have someone like her do it if you can afford to pay for it.

overall, it was a perfectly fine experience, and pretty nice to have the luxury of someone else doing it for a change. Jen herself is a lovely person, it was really nice talking to her and another biohacker from France who showed up for a small meetup, and Paul did a full interview with both of them so you will get to hear from other people than just me in the finished film (also others too, he is not finished getting content / contributors). he got some good nasty footage of the installations too, & if the film people at UoB complain that it's too gory i'll get him to upload it to a Google drive or Megavideo or somewhere so you can all see it (would go youtube but it deleted both my older surgery videos last time i tried that so i'm not even gonna try this time. fuck youtube) pretty much the only bummer is that she's moving to Spain within the next week, so i can't make it a regular destination. would fucking love to go see once she gets set up in Spain. i also nicked half a tube of EMLA cream. result.

cc

L

18.4.17

lights camera hacktion


firstly i would like to thank anyone and everyone who donated to me recently, especially one person who i won't name for privacy reasons. thankyou. i now have funds enough to acquire the nodes and equipment i need to complete my array of 8, and i should also be able to get some anaesthetic provided i can find somewhere selling it (topical, there is little chance of my acquiring any injectable lidocaine - that said, if you know someone that sells it and ships to the UK, or you would be alright with me sending you money so you could buy some on my behalf and post it to me, i'd be much obliged.) i will let you lot know what goes down with buying it, using it etc: i've got to source certain things - i'm not sure where exactly sells the gauge of needle i need or what G size the 5mm width ones are, i need a new box of latex gloves and some other crap, and i need to buy nodes - i'm gonna go with Amaal's ready-made ones instead of making them this time round, since that's just easier and they have a nice gold coating for an extra layer of bioproofing that i wouldn't be able to add myself. this will all get filmed too so you'll be able to see whatever i do directly.

more importantly: documentary stuff. it's still in production (in case anyone thought it had died or whatever) - 20min long, looking at my stuff and the biohacking world in general, produced entirely by my friend Paul Turrell (a film Master's candidate at the University of Birmingham, you can find some of his work on YouTube. Voxis Productions is his one-man production company.) the teaser for the documentary is here. Paul has asked me to put out a call for any biohackers, grinders, transhumanists etc in the UK - he is looking for secondary contributors to the documentary. anyone with implants, or who has done any surgical work on themselves as part of experiments, or who is really interested in the philosophy of transhumanism - written blog articles or books, spoken in public about it, that sort of thing. for that last one you don't even need to have any modifications yourself, just if you can speak well about the philosophy and get the idea of it across well for laypeople you would be perfect. he would like to include short little interviews with this kind of person in the documentary. he says he is not sure whether he wants to travel to the contributors to film them, or bring them to him in Birmingham, or do Skype or whatever yet, but he'll think about it and i'll let you know when he's decided what would be best. i am guessing it will probably depend on how far away you are - he prefers to film things in person because the quality of webcam footage is apparently usually too shitty to use for film work and will look really bad. (but if you come to Birmingham, i will buy you a pint and you will get to hear a big pile of transhumanist ramblings.) anyone that contributes will get their name in the credits (and i think also when the viewer first sees you in the film), you won't be an anonymous soundbite unless you'd prefer to be.

if you're up for this sort of contribution, you can email me - lepht trioptimum.com or Paul - voxisproductions gmail.com. i'm just going to forward messages to him about this, so it's probably easier to send them to him directly, especially if you have questions about the film, contributing to it, etc etc. please don't be shy, the more of these little interviews the better. the only other contributor is me and i'm not exactly a fuckin movie star.

cc

L

12.4.16

documentary is up


it's up on the BBC3 iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/8ca601f1-2d4f-412a-8c94-ad0b3497ac4e

this is a BBC3 professionally filmed documentary rather than the semi-amateur one Paul is working on (that one will be done by the end of the next academic year, since it'll be his graduate thesis). this one is also free to watch for anyone and should work fine for anyone outside the country (i think, i never tried.) it's also on youtube, on BBC3's channel. Paul's documentary will be a lot longer and more in depth than this one, which isn't all that long, about five minutes i reckon. it won't take you long to get through. i did a lot of interview-type talking for this one in various different places, and upgraded my RFID chip on camera for them. the film crew were great and really decent people to work with, and have been all the way up to its release.

also some of you have been asking me about various gender and pronoun related things on twitter, which i can't explain in tiny little tweets, so i'll try to do that in another blog post. enjoy watching me forget how to talk properly whilst being filmed

L

28.2.16

research statement

gleetings ferrow humans

this is the research statement for Paul's documentary, slightly edited to remove personal information etc. it's on the blog Google Drive so you can freely spread the link around (anyone with the link can view it). a research statement is pretty much an outline document saying what we want to do with the documentary, what's in it, what Paul's intentions for it are, etc. it might be interesting to some of you.

here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxZXy_80YNwBamVnazNLM0lYNlU

cheers

L

31.1.16

chip upgrade


hey all. recently i upgraded my RFID chip to a writable version of the same basic protocol type (close-range passive and if i remember right it's still an EM4102 chip.) it's one of the ones from Dangerous Things (Amaal Graafstra's shop), which i'd happily recommend - he was able to arrange fast shipping, the chip arrived very well protected, etc. i also managed to source a newer, sleeker USB tag reader, although its range is awful compared to my old Phidgets one so i might just carry on using the old one. i even got hold of some topical benzocaine cream which is a first. that stuff was extremely useful & i might have to try it the next time i do any fingertip installations, since a lot of the difficulty with those comes from the pain and the toughness of the fascia in that area - having the area numbed might well mean i can go a bit slower, be a bit more precise with the depth of the needle puncture incision.

i did the chip installation at home, with my standard bleach-and-alcohol treatment for the table i was using and hibiscrub to sterilise the hand alongside sealed tools and glove for the other one. i figured out a long time ago that it's better to use a needle than a scalpel, so in the pix i'm gonna share here you'll see me making the incision with a 4mm sterile piercer's needle blade. i did also acquire two of the weird pre-loaded needle syringes a vet would use to install an animal's ID chip, but those turned out to be difficult to unload (you can't use an animal ID chip on a person cause they're specialised things that hold animal-specific information, can't be overwritten with any other info, and require a specialist reader and software what is very expensive.)

so here's some pix:

the needles and the reader. you can see some of the other gear in the background like the dressings etc.
the anaesthetic cream tubes i was using
preparing to do the incision. i don't have a static photo of when i actually put the bastard in unfortunately but there is video which will be released in one form or another later (see below).
this is the dressed wound; you can see the incision site by where the dot of blood is. i used a steristrip wound closure under there as well just to hold the site as closed as i could but it was pretty much overkill, it was a tiny hole that healed up exceptionally well.

the whole thing is very well healed now, had no healing problems whatsoever, changed dressing daily for a week and then it was pretty much done. the whole procedure was filmed too, by both Paul and some professionals, but i don't know what's happening with that footage so i can't release it to you yet or talk about what it's for. in all likelihood nothing will come of it and i can put Paul's video up here or on rutube for you after i get the go ahead, so watch this space or my twitter & i can let you know what goes down. i'm also currently working on something else, but no point posting about it until i know whether it's a viable experiment or not. if it fails spectacularly i'll post pix of that too just for the lulz.

carpe corporem

L