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How to make a still air box

How to make a still air box

“What’s a still air box, Mr. Orangutan?”, seems to be a common question amongst people who are a bit newer to the scene. A still air box (commonly referred to as a SAB because that’s how acronyms work) is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s a box. With holes in for your arms. It helps to keep the air inside from moving so much. That’s it. There’s no magic here. For the love of God don’t go paying £50 for one of these with the holes pre-cut from any online supplier. I’m a big fan of mycology being something that can be done cheaply, because I believe it’s supposed to be for everyone, and this is part of that toolkit.

There’s no reason not to have a SAB if you’re getting into mycology – they’re cheap, you can use the box for other stuff when you’re not doing mycology, and it’ll up your success rates by roughly fifteen billion percent. Realistically, this is the minimum standard of equipment required. A flow hood would be better but is also about fifty times the cost, a cleanroom like in an electronics factory would be super cool but is about five thousand times the cost; for about £10/£20 and maybe half an hour of your time, you can make your life a lot easier.

To save you a bit of time reading this, you could just have a look on YouTube, where there are a “hole” (ho ho ho) lot of videos that’ll talk you through it.

It's a still air box!
Here is a picture of a box with holes in just in case you were struggling to visualise it

How does a still air box work, man?

It works because it’s a box, my dude. Thanks to the laws of reality, dust, yeast, trich spores, and all the other shit that float about your house (and everybody’s house) can’t get through solid objects, like… bear with me here… a box.

You’ll want to use a see-through plastic box, because unless you’re either Neo or Superman, you aren’t gonna be able to see through anything else. Get your box. Buy a really big one because you’ll want as much space as possible inside to start preparing your microscopy slides. Stick it upside down on your table so that the lid is on the bottom. Boom, that’s your working area.

Now comes the bit that some people will try to justify charging you £50 for: Cut two holes in the box. Why two holes? Because presumably you have two arms. If you have one arm, cut one hole. If for some fuck-unknown reason you’ve got three arms, probably cut three holes. If you’ve got three nipples, then whoa, rad, but it won’t affect how many holes you need to cut.

A nice lady from Mars
See you at the party, Richter

How do I cut these holes?

It’s actually a good question. There’s loads of ways. If you are a fancy person who likes fancy things, you can heat up an empty metal cylinder of your choosing (think cake tin, empty catering-sized tin of beans, whatever), and then melt that through your plastic. Please don’t burn yourself because that would suck.

If you’re the kind of human that has loads of tools kicking about, get a holesaw bit for your manly-as-fuck drill, and cut a hole (or a series of holes) through your box. Top tip here that I’ve stolen from a comment on one of Mycopunks’ videos – run the drill backwards and the plastic won’t get all fucked up and snarly.

Failing all of this, you can do what I did, and mark a circle with a pen, then stab at the box wildly before using a pair of scissors to cut out the middle of a hole. You could probably also use a hot scalpel. Doing it this way might leave some rough edges and your box won’t look as nice, but it’ll still function in exactly the same way, so don’t sweat it. You can sand it down a bit, if you like.

The holes are still be a chance for contaminants to get in, so try and keep them to a size that’s comfortable for you to work with, but not any bigger than that. You wanna be able to get your arms in without scraping all your skin cells all over your work though so don’t go too small.

Basically, it ain’t hard. If you’re successfully able to use a knife and fork on a daily basis, you can make a SAB.

Qui-Gon Jinn melting through a door
Qui-Gon Jinn Trying to prevent midichlorians from ruining everything. He failed.

Underlying principles of your SAB

Literally, the way this works is “it stops shit floating onto your work”. You can’t see the various contaminants in your environment, but there will be millions of them, all trying to take up space on your microscopy slides.

Don’t, whatever you do, try and fix gloves to your box, as if it’s some kind of glove box. Because your plastic box isn’t completely airtight and running at a negative pressure like a glove box would be, if you attach rubber gloves to it you are essentially just making yourself a nice set of Trich Bellows. Every time you pull your hands in and out, you’ll be forcibly pulling air in through any gaps in your box (like the lid), hugely increasing your chances of contamination. It’ll look fancy, sure, but it’s fucking mental.

You’re aiming for still air! You’ve cut your two hand holes, and that’s where your hands go. This way, you’re not interrupting or agitating the air inside, any drafts throughout your room can’t move the air inside much, and nothing can float down and land on your stuff. Perfecto! The air is relatively still!

This isn’t going to be 100% clean, because you’ve gone and cut two holes in it (hence me saying if you’ve got one arm, cut one hole), but it will absolutely improve your success rates by a ridiculous degree.

Jesse Pinkman coulda handled it probably

Using your SAB

It’s mycology time! Shut all the doors and windows in your room, and wait ten or fifteen minutes. Read a book or something, I dunno. You’re trying to let any airborne contaminants in your room settle, so be patient, it’ll pay off. Put your box upside down on your table. Open it. Spray it/wipe it with 70% alcohol. Put all your stuff on top of the lid, then put the box on top. Brilliant!

Now wipe your arms down, put on gloves if you must, grab your syringe, and get to work preparing slides for your microscope.

Bear in mind that you’ve probably now got a lot of alcohol fumes inside this box, so don’t, for the love of god, go using a lighter in there until those fumes are gone otherwise you’ve not only made a SAB, you’re essentially making a hilarious video for YouTube that will go on a highlight reel called “Amazing Mycology Fails”. Flames and alcohol don’t mix.

Hope this all helps, enjoy your new craft project, don’t vote Tory.

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Being a small business owner in the magic spores industry

Supporting small businesses is cool and good!

So before I started this up, I had no real idea how things would progress. It was a bit of a leap into the unknown, in terms of how busy it would be, and now look at me! I’m a small business owner in a very weird niche!

That comes with it’s own set of complications – having to do most things yourself does get a bit knackering. You get to be an accountant, website designer, social media manager, SEO optimiser, customer service provider, tea boy and about a million other things before you even finish a day’s work – unless you’re starting off with loads of cash (and I certainly wasn’t) then these are jobs you’ve gotta do yourself! Most of the time I really enjoy it – it gives me an outlet for my bizarre creative side, and also means I can throw money to charity on a regular basis and that’s something I find pretty fulfilling. Plus I’m helping people to get their hands on good quality microscopy supplies, and that is also something that’s important to me.

Anyway, I was sat down last night, doing some administrative busywork, and every order that came in left me smiling. None of them were massive orders or anything, but each one was nice. I remembered all those posts I’d seen on social media about how “when you buy from a small business, you’re making a real person smile” – I’d always thought that was probably a load of waffle, but it’s true! It absolutely balances out the hard parts (you wanna try putting labels on thousands of bags when you’ve got the attention span of a Jack Russell), and every order is genuinely really appreciated. I’m not a big faceless company, I’m one dude working as hard as he can to provide for his family, and you’re a part of that. You’re putting food in my kid’s bellies, and helping out the foodbank, so cheers, dudes! Stay awesome.

Keepin’ the baby Orangutans in Tequila

Dall-E Mini

There’s this new cool bit of AI I’ve been playing about with, called Dall-E Mini – basically, you just give the AI over at this website a prompt and it’ll draw you nine pictures of whatever you’ve asked for. Sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s a bit off, but guaranteed, every single time, it’s utter nightmare fuel. It’s the kind of thing you remember after a particularly unsettling dream. I absolutely love it! Have a go on it and see what you can knock up – here’s some of my favourites, the captions are the prompts I used.

Bruce WIllis Smiling and Eating a Sausage
“Bruce Willis smiling and eating a sausage”
Boris Johnson staring out from the inside of a tent with blood around his mouth
“Boris Johnson staring out from the inside of a tent with blood around his mouth”
Adam Sandler juggling with human skulls
“Adam Sandler juggling with human skulls”

Is it art? Fuck yeah it’s art! Anyway, have a lovely week, all the best, don’t vote Tory!

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God Shave The Queen

It’s the goddamn Jubilee

Bonjour! It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Literally the only real meaningful thing for me in all of this is that the Post Office is shut for a couple of days, so anything ordered from Tuesday the 31st of May after 5pm won’t be posted on Thursday or Friday as everything is closed, and all orders will be going out on Saturday the 4th of June. I’ll still be packing up all the orders, obviously, and probably using some of the time off the day job to fire out a load more spore syringes (likely Mazapatecs as I’m a bit low on those).

I’m not really a fan of the Royal Family to be honest, as I’m sure you would probably have guessed from my general vibe. I don’t really get what they’re for. They supposedly bring in a decent number of tourists who spend money (although even that is debatable), but then so does Alton Towers.

Personally, I just don’t fuckin’ get it, I guess. The country’s struggling, poor people are more fucked than ever, kids are going hungry, and you get wonderful moments like the picture below where some insanely rich product of inbreeding tells everyone that times are hard whilst parading the obscene levels of opulence that are utterly normalised to him.

Prince Charles, being rich
How many school dinners does just one of those goofy golden lions on the wall buy, Charles?

Mystic Meg time

I reckon that once the Queen finally sheds her human form and goes back to her home planet, the whole thing will come crashing down anyway mainly due to general apathy. People seem to quite like the Queen, but Charles? Fuckin’ Andrew?! I don’t know many people who give the first fuck about these chaps. William seemingly has all the personality and charisma of the half-empty, cigarette-butt-filled can of Carling you find the day after a teenager’s party, as opposed to his much cooler half-brother, Harry, who has had the good sense to distance himself from his nonce-enabling family and fuck off to America with his kids and wife. Even he was spotted back in the day wearing a Nazi uniform to a party though so he’s probably still not quite right in the head.

It’d be kinda cool if they’d actually, ya know, do something about the fact so many of “their subjects” have it so breathtakingly hard right now, but I suppose it’s probably funnier for them to watch it all from afar. If it turned out David Icke was right and they were all actually Lizard People, I wouldn’t actually be that surprised.

The Queen looking pretty gammy
The most challenging wank

The bit I find really weird

They could help. It’s “their” country. They’ve got the money, they’ve got influence. Instead they sit there and watch. Get in the bin.

Anyway, I’m going to have a BBQ and some cold ciders in the next few days, and hope that whatever you’re doing it’s nice and you enjoy it. All the best, don’t vote Tory.

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Be good to each other

Things are likely going to get a bit tougher

So those of you that have been following me for a while will have noticed a few things I’ve mentioned. One, I grew up in poverty for the most of my childhood (and hell, a large part of my adult life), and Two, I’m not a fan of the Tories. It affects people, growing up that poor, and we are gonna be sadly seeing a whole lot more of that social issue.

Today’s blog post is gonna address a bit of that. If you don’t like what I’m saying, or you disagree with it, or think I’m a dick, then cool! Start a blog and call me an idiot or something, have fun.

We’re in a bit of a “perfect storm” of shit at the moment in the UK, caused by a Government that explicitly doesn’t give a fuck about poor people. I grant you, COVID, Brexit and now the horrific war in Ukraine are going to cause these problems to get worse, but if our Government were inclined to manage the situation in any meaningful way then I think things would be working out better. I’m also going to add here that Brexit was a fucking stupid decision because, y’know, Brexit was a fucking stupid decision.

Things are going to get tough. It doesn’t take an Orangutan-themed spore shuffler to tell you that though, does it? Things are going to get tough for a lot of people out there, and there are going to be a lot of difficult childhoods. Most of these issues are going to affect the poorest amongst us the most, and they’re also going to push a lot of other people that might’ve just been keeping their heads above water into poverty. Even Martin Lewis is saying that there’s no further wiggle room for people to get their bills down, and that the Government needs to meaningfully intervene, and they just fucking don’t because it doesn’t affect them.

Government doing nothing
How do they keep getting voted in

Housing!

Where I live in Cornwall, there’s already a huge housing crisis caused by Airbnbs not being regulated in any way (so it’s much easier for a landlord to earn far more with far less regulation than it would be if they rented their property out to people that actually wanted to live there). People who are being evicted are unable to find anywhere sensibly priced to rent due to this shortage, and there is no social housing because surprise surprise it hasn’t been built in sufficient numbers to meet demand since the big Tory selloff in the 80’s. In Cornwall, these people are being told they will have to relocate to temporary accommodation in Wales, causing families where the mum and dad aren’t together to have to make the rough decision as to where their kids end up staying. This is clearly a fucking awful state of affairs on it’s own. Rents are expensive everywhere thanks to this housing market fuckery, and unless you’ve got a family member willing to throw you £30k+ (or you still live at home and can save heavily), then you’re in a lose/lose situation.

Food!

Our Glorious Overlords said that Brexit would lead to cheaper food but yeah once again that was just a really blatant lie like the magical NHS money. Food prices are going up at a crazy rate, and this has a lot of knock on effects. Schools are reportedly having to reduce what they’re providing for kids due to soaring bills, and again, this is going to affect the poor kids the most, because that might be the only hot meal they get all day. Foodbank use is likely to hit another record high, kids are already going hungry, parents are already skipping meals, and this is going to stretch those resources even further. My local MP (and I pray every day he wakes up with a suspicious cough that rapidly gets worse) has suggested that people just need to start buying own-brand foods! Yes I’m sure they haven’t thought of that, George, you fucking husk, they’ve all been eating Waitrose caviar three meals a day up to this point, maybe they can cut down to Prosecco in their packed lunches rather than Champagne to save a quid or two.

If you are hungry, please try and get in touch with the services that let you access your local foodbank, and if you can’t do that, then consider the viewpoint that it’s not morally wrong to steal from supermarkets. Supermarkets such as Tesco pay their staff so little that they have to have their wages subsidised by Working Tax Credits, which means your taxes have gone into supporting Tesco make record profits (there are a suspicious amount of record profits getting made by these big companies when they don’t seem to be able to afford to pay their staff). A friend of mine who is struggling financially has started scanning a lot of food items through as Onions on the ol’ self checkouts. Your morality is your own, but I don’t see the issue there. Obviously don’t go shoplifting from little places, only fucking huge billion-pound profit businesses.

If it’s good enough for Dunston it’s good enough for me

Fuel!

Whooooo motherfucker have you seen those gas and electric bills? People are now supposedly shutting their own electric off and living without it because even if you cut your usage right down, there’s still a standing charge to pay. Fire Stations are having to warn people not to just start burning things in their houses if they don’t have a fireplace. I swear to fucking God that if you tried to write a story like this even five years ago it would seem far-fetched. Petrol/Diesel bills are through the roof. Again, this is going to push a lot of people into inescapable poverty. Obviously, fuel companies are… hang the fuck on? Posting record profits?! Honestly, we’re being taken for a fucking ride here. A very expensive ride.

Molotov Cocktail
Could always give them back a little bit of fuel

All of that and the mental health services are fucked!

So this would likely be a time when people would need to be reaching out for various support services, but in completely normal news for this version of reality, the Tories have gutted funding for that kind of thing, so people who are struggling are going to be finding it hard to reach any kind of meaningful help. Fun fact! I used to volunteer for the Samaritans for a short period maybe a decade ago, and we had lots of people ringing us as their GPs were referring them to our free service because there literally wasn’t anything else they could do. There were so few paid services for them to turn to that they had to lean on a free service staffed by volunteers. What a country!

What can I do?

Great question. What can you do? I dunno. This is kinda the “good news” part of this post though, because there’s a million ways you can make people’s lives a bit better. Anything you do that helps take the edge off someone else’s bad day is you succeeding as a decent human.

The first, most obvious, but hardest, is money. If you’re in a spot where you can throw a few quid to your local foodbank, do it. Pick up a few extra tins of something in your local shop and donate it. Fuck, even do that thing people have advocated online where you just don’t scan the shit you’re gonna donate to the foodbank, and then drop it into the foodbank collection trolley (it’s not technically shoplifting as it’s not leaving the store with you).

If you can’t afford to do that (and I expect this is the case for a lot of people), see if you can volunteer somewhere that’s doing some good in your local community. There’s lots of options out there, and they’ll all help to smooth out the shittiest bits of another human’s existence. Samaritans? Sure. Foodbank? Yup. Community Orchards? Yes mate. Anything and everything.

Ain’t got the time for volunteering? Again, I get it. Could well be that you’re having to work multiple jobs just to keep your own lights on and food on the table and if that’s the case then cool. You can’t pour from an empty glass – you need to make sure you’re okay first, and there’s no shame in that.

I’m fully expecting to be bumping into people who are quite frankly losing their shit in the coming years, and so personally I’m going to try and cut everyone a lot more slack, and try and be a bit more understanding.

Seems like a good way to live

If there’s one takeaway from reading this let it be this part!

Whoever you are, know that you’re valued by someone. If you’re struggling, please try and reach out to Shelter, or the Samaritans, or Man Down, or a mate, or family, or anyone. There might be some means of making your struggle a little lighter that you haven’t noticed, and maybe they can help get you in touch with the right people. I’ve had some help from Shelter and Samaritans myself in the past, and in both cases it helped enough.

If you’re in a good spot personally, and you’re able to help others a bit, even a tiny bit, then do it, in whatever form that takes. There are a lot of people who are going to need support, and you could be a part of making someone’s life a little more bearable. Also don’t vote Tory.

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What does “MSS Syringe” actually mean and other popular questions!

I see loads of questions getting bandied around on Reddit, and sometimes the answers are are ace, but other times there are new guys answering new guys and the answers are bizarre, so let’s have a go at cleaning some of it up, for shits and giggles.

What does MSS mean?

Okey-dokey, in at the top with a big one. All the syringes I sell are what’s called MSS, which stands for “Multi Spore Syringe”. I’ve seen some people on Reddit getting confused by this terminology. What it means is this: the syringe has spores in. It’s that simple. It doesn’t mean that they’re spores from different phenotypes, it just means that there are multiple spores in there. This is your basic “I am making spore syringes from spore prints” kinda deal.

Some people seem to have assumed that it means it’s like a mix of various different spore prints – this isn’t the case. That would also be a really strange thing to do (I can’t think of a single plus point to it) but if you wanna mess about at home and do something like that for the fun of it, fill your boots, there’s weirder ways to kill time.

MSS is a bit of a genetic lottery – because there are millions of spores, even in a very clear-looking syringe (Psilocybe Cubensis spores are about 8.5 micrometres long, which means each one is .0085 of a millimetre), there are a lot of genetic combinations available. This is why in countries where’s it’s legal to cultivate mushrooms, people will use MSS to get something started, and will then select out fruits with the desired traits, clone them using agar, refine the mycelium using agar, transfer to liquid culture, and then grow from there.

Some goofy dude's logo
It’s nothing to do with these fuckers either

What’s a Liquid Culture syringe?

So here’s another type of syringe! It basically contains live mycelium, so isn’t a Multi Spore Syringe as there is only one genetic line in there that began with two spores getting their fuck on. It can even be made from actual mushrooms – if you were to cut a bit out of a mushroom and put it onto/into a medium it likes, it’ll revert back to a mycelial stage (mushrooms are fucking amazingly interesting). So a liquid culture syringe doesn’t have spores in, just mycelium. This is the Rad Shit if you live in a country where cultivation is legal as you can more easily isolate what you’ll get as an end product, and it’ll shave a few weeks off your project time.

Sadly, in the UK it’s illegal, as the mycelieum will contain trace amounts of Psilocybin, so I don’t (and wouldn’t ever) sell it. Looks fuckin’ cool under a microscope though, vaguely jizzy. I guess it depends on whether you think looking at that sort of thing is your cup of tea!

KICKIN RAD
KICKIN RAD

Can you get some swabs in stock?

Yeah, probably. I’m working on it, basically. The issue I have is one of scale – I need large quantities in order to make it worth putting items on the site, as (and I’m eternally grateful for this) I sell a lot of products per week. There seems to be enough demand for this sort of thing though, so I will get round to it when I’m able!

This is where mushrooms come from, I heard it off my mate Gary in the pub

Oh hey man I hear you went to watch Tool in Manchester, was it good?

Yeah it was fuckin’ rad man. Had multiple moments where I was just completely lost in the music and the light show, and it’s only when the lights changed that I realised that I’d gotten sucked in. Very cool. Decent setlist, quite a bit from the new album, Fear Inoculum, but they got one of my favourites in there with “Hooker With A Penis” which it turns out is just incredible live. The support band was Brass Against, who were also good. It’s the first time Tool have toured over here in sixteen years, so y’know, it was a thing that had to be done. Such a tight band, I was absolutely blown away. Got Nine Inch Nails in June too so that’ll be awesome too!

This is DadRock now apparently, but I’m cool with that
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Bank Holiday Blogposting

Bank Holiday Posting stuff

So obviously I’m writing this a little late. Mostly these days I use my Instagram page to put any important info up, so if you haven’t already, pop over there and give me a follow!

Post Office was shut on the 15th April for Good Friday, and again today (Monday 18th). What this means is all the spore orders that came in on Friday got posted Saturday, and everything from 5ish on Friday is being packed up in a bit and posted first thing Tuesday 19th. Not much of a delay, and not one I have any control over, but there we are!

Ladies getting a bit drunk
Standard bank holiday carnage. I am too old for this shit now haha

Spore Syringe availability

Whatever is on the site is what I’ve currently got, and it does change sometimes! I recently had a customer asking me when the APE Reverts were coming back, and I was happy to be able to tell him it’d be a few days. After making the syringes, they have to go through a bit of a microscopic testing process to make sure that there have been no errors on my behalf. I’ve got a lot of different varieties, so sometimes life gets in the way and I get a bit backed up on this. Recently I’ve been a bit poorly (all the fun symptoms of Covid, none of the positive tests that would get me any time off work), so some evenings I’ve just been having to lie on the couch, moan, and drink Lemsips (they’re vile but my brain thinks it’s decent medicine). If there’s ever anything that is out of stock it’s always worth dropping me a message, as I should be able to let you know a rough ETA for restock. These are only rough estimates, as sometimes things beyond my control happen, but I’m happy to let you know when I think the items you want will be back in. Spore Prints are a perfect example of this – I’ve got fucking loads of them, but not much time to cut them down into individual prints, so I sometimes wait until people ask and then cut a whole batch up at once.

Orangutan sawing a branch
Workin’ hard for a living

Cool stuff that’s coming up

Well it’s cool for me anyway! Going away for a few days at the start of May to watch Tool in Manchester, so I’ve recruited a glamorous assistant who’s gonna handle the packing up and posting for me when I’m not here (they’re a mate who’s just happy to lend a hand). I’m still a very small business, so most of the time it’ll still only be me, but I’ve now got the option of a bit of help if the shit hits the fan. This means that from this point on, there won’t need to be any times when I can’t post due to having a little holiday or anything, and also means if for whatever reason I get sick the business can still roll on regardless! Got some bigger plans for the next few years too which are quite exciting but I’m not gonna bang on about them yet just in case they don’t come off.

Tool tour listing
Never thought I’d have the chance to see these dudes, can’t wait!

Bloody Peacemaker innit bruv

Have you seen Peacemaker yet? It’s all about what John Cena’s character does after the events of Suicide Squad 2, and fuck me it’s good. Really funny, has a decent bit of heart to it, great action sequences, and John Cena is amazingly watchable. I was able to watch it via Now TV, and it gets the completely made-up Orangutan Seal of Approval. I’m not the biggest DC film fan, I mean, yeah, I watch them but I’m pretty ambivalent about them (although I thought Suicide Squad 2 was great), so I think it’s probably more that I like James Gunn’s writing and directorial influence. The man knows how to make films about weird superheroes in a funny way, that feels genuine. Anyway, watch Peacemaker, don’t vote Tory.

Peacemaker pulling a weird face
Me when I’m foraging in October
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Where are Magic Mushroom spores legal?

It’s pretty simple!

So those of you that follow my social media will have seen that I am now able to post to Ireland again! Yay! Now, spores have always been legal in Ireland (like most places in the world), but for some bizarre reason (most likely Brexit related), their local postal carrier, An Post, decided just before Christmas 2021 that Royal Mail’s electronic customs information was incorrect. I got in contact with Royal Mail who told me that no, it was all fine, and it was a problem on An Post’s side. This meant that pretty much all of my packages to Ireland got sent back (and not just mine, most eBay sellers too), which obviously cost me a whole lot of money in refunds, and I had to stop sending to Ireland. I am now giving it another shot following some discussions with customers who assure me all the eBay packages are coming through fine now, so yeah, it’s a good day!

But: legality! Currently, as far as I am aware, the only places you can’t have magic mushroom spores are three states in America (California, Georgia, and Idaho), and, bizarrely, Norway. This has always struck me as kinda weird in California’s case, because they seem to be quite relaxed and left-leaning on a lot of issues (or as much as America can be, anyway). As a fun side-effect of those three American states not liking spores, the banks class spore vending as super high risk, which is why spore vendors can’t take card payments.

The spores are completely legal everywhere else though, because in most countries it’s the Psilocybin that’s illegal, and it’s only when someone attempts cultivation and tries to germinate the spores that Psilocybin begins to be produced. Basically, this means that you can collect all the magic mushroom spores you like, and it’s not gonna cause you any problems at all!

Team America: World Police
Fuck Yeah

Customs Shenanigans

In my experience so far, (and to be fair, I send a lot of packages abroad every week) your local customs agents really don’t give a shit, in a good way. They’re on the lookout for anything illegal or incorrectly declared, that’s their job. Thankfully for you (unless you live in Norway, California, Idaho or Georgia), Psilocybe Cubensis spores are legal, so there’s nothing there that they care about. I personally import a large amount of spores from various countries, these are inspected at different stages of the customs process, and no-one cares. I suspect unless they’re into mycology themselves (and it’s still quite a niche hobby after all), they likely don’t know what the product actually is – they’re only human, and it’s not like they would have an encyclopedic knowledge of every single item everyone in their country imports.

Officer Doofy
How I picture customs officers

The Future

What do I reckon will happen in the future? I think my best guess would be this: it’s a great time to collect all these spores and keep them in your library. Can’t do anything else with them now, obviously. However, I’m confident that in the future there may well be a relaxation on the laws surrounding the cultivation of magic mushrooms. There’s a reasonable amount evidence out there supporting the therapeutic benefits of a bit of Psilocybin, and there’s a growing surge of popularity around mushrooms to the point where even fanny-candle vendor Gwyneth Paltrow is banging on about them.

Seems plausible then that it’ll probably end up like the Cannabis market, with most places relaxing prohibition, and very possibly the industry getting co-opted by rich old Tory fucks. That would still be cooler than it is now – I’ve said multiple times that I think the cultivation of magic mushrooms should be legal, especially for personal use. Sadly that isn’t the case at the moment, so that’s why we just collect them and wait for a better future!

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It’s time for a bit of Q and A!

I get a lot of questions sent to me via my Insta, which is probably the best way to get hold of me. My phone’s often in my hand (I am a filthy millenial), and although I do check emails quite frequently my inbox moves pretty quickly. This is mainly due to the amount of “your order is being processed/sent” – basically, the people using Insta to get in touch are doing the right thing if they want a speedier answer. With that said, there are loads of questions I just can’t (and won’t) answer, so I’ll try and explain why here, as well!

“Can I talk to you about growing magic mushrooms?”

Fuck no! Nope. Big ol’ nope! Magic mushroom spores (like the ones I sell) currently occupy a nice little grey area, much like cannabis seeds, where they’re totally legal to own and legal to do whatever you like with as long as you don’t grow the fuckers. And when I say grow, I mean any kind of cultivation attempt, so this includes Agar work too. Do not ask me about any of this kind of stuff or send me any pictures of anything like this.

Do I think this is a morally correct law? No. It’s a dumb law, made by some old-fashioned dudes, and it flies in the face of all available research. However, being morally correct doesn’t mean you can just do whatever you like. I can do some good in the world by providing spore syringes for people to have a look at under the microscope, and that’s what I want to do, so I’ve gotta play by the rules no matter how dumb I think those rules are.

There’s a definite distinction here – yes, personally I think growing magic mushrooms is cool and good, but I won’t sell anyone spores to break the law with or I’d be part of your evil nature crimes. I do genuinely have to block people when they talk about illegal shit, because I’m running a legal business, and I don’t want to jeopardise that in any way.

It's the Hamburglar doing crimes
Goddamn criminals

“Can I buy your spore syringes to sell in my shop?”

Yes, you can. I am more than happy to talk about wholesale pricing depending on how you want to do it. The amount of discount depends on a few things! Obviously you’d have to buy quite a few at once (100+), and I can either supply them like I do for my customers, all stickered up and in the bag with a needle and an alcohol wipe, or I can supply them completely unlabeled just as the syringe, and you can add your own branding to it all. For bigger orders, I’ll need a bit of lead time which will usually be around a month (I’m pretty busy just keeping my own stuff in stock).

Like I’ve said in a previous blog post, I think there’s loads of room left in the UK market for people to make a few quid, so if you wanna have a crack at it yourself, you should!

“Can I pay you with PayPal/Western Union Transfer?”

Nope! If you check out the Payment Methods page, you’ll see the available ways to pay! PayPal are a bunch of fucks for about a million reasons, so fuck that, and I don’t live in a city, so it’s just not manageable to regularly be heading out to receive money via Western Union. You really should try Wise, as it’s a fast and cheap way to send money, or if you’re in the UK/USA then Cash App is pretty cool. I’ve got a referral code for Cash App over on the Payment Methods page, so we’ll both get a free fiver if you sign up. It’s like having a free beer!

“Surely you grow magic mushrooms yourself to get the spores?”

No, of course not, like I’ve said that would be illegal. A little-known phenomenon is that due to the vastly reduced growth rates of one of Britain’s endangered species, Woods Porn (killed off by the Internet, sadly), something else has filled that evolutionary niche, and that’s spore prints! If you go down to your local nature zone, have a good look in the holes in the trees and under the bushes. Instead of finding curiously stiff pages of Razzle featuring ladies with all their bits on display (like you would’ve done in the eighties), you’ll find top quality dense spore prints. Nature works in such wonderful ways.

Basically the trees eat benches and then lay spore prints. It’s the circle of life.

“How long will my order take to arrive?”

This varies, loads. Sadly Royal Mail will not change their descriptions on their website of the delivery aims – they’re still claiming First Class is 24 hours, and yeah, sometimes it is, but just as often as not it’ll take a couple a days.

This is more of an issue with International orders – again, Royal Mail claim delivery in around five days, but it can take a lot longer due to items having to go through customs. Basically Covid has made things a lot slower, as there are a lot of stages where staff sickness can have a significant knock-on effect. Your item has to go to my local post office, to a sorting office, to the airport, to UK customs, then it gets a ride on the airplane, then customs on your end, then to a sorting office, then to your local sorting office, then to your post worker – and at any stage of this, a few people being ill or having to socially distance can create a backlog. In terms of the product, it’s still fine, as it can be stored at ambient temperatures for six months or so quite happily.

As always, I’d recommend tracked shipping on anything international – it costs a little more, but it’s insured in the case of loss, and you’ll be able to see what stage of the shipping process your package is at!

“When is the podcast coming?”

Just as soon as we work out if we can say anything interesting enough to take up your time! We’ve got all the gear now, so hopefully this weekend we’re gonna have a little test run and see if it’s worth half a damn. If we’re not both cringing massively at the sounds of our own voices, then we’ll upload it somewhere!

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What about that good ol’ Elden Ring, huh?

So yeah, I like to play some video games when the chance arises. Time was, I could happily manage a huge session lost to the latest release, but since starting my own business and becoming a dad, the “me time” ratio has dropped off quite sharply. Most of the time once I’m done with the spores and I’ve had some dinner, I’m fucking done for the day.

But! I’ve always been a sucker for anything with that unmistakable Dark Souls flavour (I missed out on Demon’s Souls due to not owning a PS3 at the time and I didn’t fancy trying to get a PS5 just to play the remake), so Elden Ring was something I was looking forward to. Previously to this, my favourite Souls game was Bloodborne, because it was this weird Lovecraftian nightmare that got progressively more weird as you went through it. Very existential. It affected me that much that I actually had genuine nightmares about it, which is my mark of something great – “fucked me up? Yeah man I’ll have some of that”. Apparently George RR Martin who pretends he’s still writing Game of Thrones did some of the writing on this, but I’ll be honest, you wouldn’t be able to tell. It’s just normal Souls stuff. Bad things have happened, they’re still happening, you are a different kind of human to all the others around, and you have to go and kill things, a lot, until everything still goes to shit. That’s not a spoiler incidentally, that’s what all of the games are about.

Starscourge Radahn, massive bastard
This guy is giving me a massive headache right now

Elden Ring is fucking amazing. It’s got all the other From Software stuff that I like (if anyone else is a fan, there’s even an enemy that’s just like Sif), with an open-world setting, and get this: the open-world stuff somehow isn’t shit. Mind blown. I’m sick to the tits of Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed and all the other tedious busywork simulators, because my life already involves me trying to source millions of tiny little collectibles for my spore prints, so there’s no way I want to be doing that in my precious off-time.

I guess what I like about this sort of game (much like a decent psychedelic trip, if I’m honest), is that for the most part of it, I simply do not have a fucking clue what’s going on. I’m just trying to get by. And then at some point all becomes clearer, I start to understand some of the mechanics, my character is a bit more powerful, and I can start enjoying it rather than being all tense. I’d never thought about it in any meaningful sense before this, but I guess these things live in a similar position in my brain. I like being confused, and then I like figuring things out. Makes me feel smart, I guess. Early game, I opened a random treasure chest, which then teleported me to a horrible cave full of weird bastard crustacean dudes that fucked me up, and when I escaped that, I was in some super dangerous mushroom landscape, which made me laugh because now I’m in this industry, I just seem to find mushroom related stuff everywhere. You can even get mushroom armour! The mycelium is calling…

Mushroom armour in Elden Ring
Sick grow, bro

I think on the whole, I preferred Bloodborne’s aesthetic, because rolling through a horrible Victorian-style hellworld with a massive cleaver and a shotgun was a fuckin’ laugh, but on the whole Elden Ring is a better game. I’m some kind of magic using dude with a set of Freddy Krueger claws and it’s cool. Also there’s a horse and you feed the horse raisins. What’s not to like about that?

The Souls games get a lot of shit for being too hard (they’re not that hard, honestly) but Elden Ring isn’t anywhere near as hard as any of the other games of it’s ilk (I’m lookin’ at you, Sekiro), because if you find a particular bit too tough and you’ve started trying to bite through your controller, you can just go somewhere else until you’re either more skilled (not me) or have levelled up far more than you need to (probably me). Or you can just cheese the fuck out of things (100% me, if I can snipe them with arrows from a room that’s too small for them to get into then I am fucking gonna). There’s no judgement here buddy, you play the Souls games how you need to. What I’m saying is that You Should Buy Elden Ring. Buy it. Also don’t vote Tory.

Cheers for now, have a good one! OTC

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Trying to stay calm in a world that’s quite frankly fucking mental

Crikey. Things have gone a bit weird lately, eh? I’ve not had the best of mental health throughout the whole Covid thing. I am a bit of a worrier sometimes, and also I could probably take slightly better care of myself, so Covid had me shitting it a bit. Whatever your take on it is, great, more power to ya, but I banged those vaccines in my arm the second I could. Fill me full of it. If someone had come up to me in a nightclub back in the day with some free stuff in a syringe I’d have had one in each arm so it seemed like a no-brainer to me. I know some of the psychedelic crowd aren’t into this and hey! Whatever. You do you. We can all get along.

And then just as it seems like that might be getting a bit more manageable, Putin decides to add to my brainworm collection, start killing loads of innocent civilians, and moves us a little bit closer to the kind of war that the Fallout games begin with. Now, I quite like the Fallout games, but that’s because it’s got a nice mix of 1950’s Americana in there; that might sound fun, but picture where we’d be: a mash-up of all the worse bits of that crossed with Tory Britain. Gigantic radioactive dickheads sanctioning everyone. I’m alright, thanks.

Steve Brule calling someone a dingus
Goddamn dingus

I am now Not Young, I was born in the early 80’s, and I used to read shitloads when I was a kid. So obviously I had the vague vibe of “oh man maybe one day some dickhead is gonna push a button and I am going to melt” as a constant bit of background information in my little brain. I too have seen When the Wind Blows as a child (it was a bit unsettling). In the past 20 years, I haven’t really thought about it, but here we are again, except this time I’ve got a couple of youngsters to look after now, and I’d quite like it if they got to be old people one day.

I’d genuinely thought that the world had moved past the idea of Nuclear bombs being an option, and it’s kinda shit that all of that stuff seems to be back on the table. Like my dad used to say to me when I was young, “Putin you fucking stupid bastard, leave your sister alone and stop being a twat” (strange coincidence that he used to call me Putin I suppose).

I’m not a dude that gets particularly anxious on the regular, but yeah, it’s been a long couple of years, if I’m honest, and I’m certainly drinking and smoking too much as a bit of a crappy coping strategy. I’m checking the fuckin’ news way too many times a day too, and I’m not finding it very helpful, I’m just fucking compelled to. Doomscroll till the break of dawn, baby.

Man toots like it’s going out of fashion

But! Here’s what I’m doing, anyway. I’m trying to remind myself that this is yet another situation that I have no control over, and very little real information on. There’s so much about this situation that I will never know, so I’m trying to worry less about it. I’ve also got zero input on whether things escalate or not (obviously me and the current Government aren’t really on speaking terms anymore, haha), so there’s little point me worrying about it. Everything could get better, who knows. I hope so anyway.

Bit of heavy one really, eh? I hope you and yours are safe, warm, and fed, and continue to be.

Anyway, next time it’s back to irreverent bullshit hopefully. Been playing a lot of Elden Ring, that’s got mushrooms and magic in, so it’s probably on-topic enough! Seriously Elden Ring is really good.