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Make your own spore syringes from spore prints!

Spore prints are a great way of keeping genetics safe and sound (swabs are great too but spore prints are easy to store), and every spore vendor uses these to make heaps of syringes. As usual there are fifteen thousand ways of doing things, but this is how I like to do it. The important thing to note here is that I have to make sure everything is super cleanly done, as I’m producing hundreds of syringes at a time and I can’t risk anything at that level (imagine the fun of refunding all of that), so the way I do things involves spending lots of money on a big-ass flow hood, pressure cookers, scientific equipment etc.

You, on the other hand, might just be turning a spore print or two into a buttload of your own spore syringes. It’s a super economical way of doing things, and obviously if you’re just doing your own, you can go a bit lighter on the aseptic procedures if you like. It’s probably fine, most of the time, and if I was just knocking out a few for myself at home I would very likely cut a few corners – mycology should be accessible to all, and much like the amazing Uncle Ben tek, there are various slightly hacky methods of making spore syringes that will be likely good enough to get you up and running with a minimum of expense.

I sell some of my spore prints – they’re the same ones I use to make my syringes with! They are insanely good value if you are prepared to put a bit of work in yourself, and they travel very easily to countries with uptight customs agents.

Anyway, here’s what I do:

Get some distilled water from wherever your favourite shop is. I need this because it’s got nothing else in it (they basically evaporate the water to collect it), which means there’s less chance of the spores trying to germinate and zero chance of any shit being in the water. You could take a chance and use tap water if you’re doing it at home!

Fancypants water
Fancy water for fancy lads

Place your science beaker (yeah I know it’s got a proper name but ain’t nobody got time for that) in your pressure cooker (on a trivet so it’s not touching the bottom), throw your magnetic stirrer into the beaker, and top up with lovely distilled water. The science beaker is made of Borosilicate glass, which means heat won’t fuck it up. Water in the beaker, water also in the pressure cooker. Some of this water will evaporate so add a bit more than you think you need.

Heat up your pressure cooker, and once your weight is rocking about like a motherfucker set your timer for 25 minutes. Due to the wonders of science, the water’s boiling point is now 120 Celsius, so this 25 minute blast will kill anything that might be lurking on your equipment or in your water. Once you’ve cooked stuff for the 25 minutes, turn off the heat and allow your water to cool down. This takes ages but that’s life. I tend to do mine in the evening and leave them for the next morning, as this means I can spend valuable time sleeping, which is ace. I fucking love sleeping.

Turn your flowhood on, wait 20 minutes. Put all your stuff that you are going to use in front of your flowhood – alcohol spray, alcohol wipes, spore prints, sterile scalpel (I use disposable ones, but you could easily just get an all metal one and pop it into the PC when you’re cooking your water), magnetic stirrer plate, sterile syringes, sterile luer locks (they’re the little end caps for the syringes). Clean your hands and arms thoroughly with the alcohol wipes or spray, and then I usually put gloves on and clean them too. Wipe your surfaces! Wipe everything! Overkill is your friend here.

It's the band Overkill
“Hello, we’re your new dads”

Now open your PC in front of your lovely flowhood, and, making sure you keep everything within the airflow, place your beaker full of water on top of your magnetic stirrer. Now comes the fun bit!

Use your sterile scalpel to scrape your spore prints into your water. It’s up to you how many you use, but you’ll get multiple syringes per print, easily. Turn your magnetic stirrer on, and watch the radical little spore cyclone turn your water a shade of purple. Once you’re happy that you’ve got nice bit of spore broth going on, turn the speed on your stirrer down a bit. Don’t turn it off – if it’s just gently circulating you’ll have better distribution of your spores for the next bit.

Open a sterile syringe, and suck up some of your solution. Then open up one of your luer locks, and cap your syringe. Bingo bango, you have now made a spore syringe. You are a god amongst men.

Dennis Reynolds being a Golden God
“If you say another word I swear to god I will dice you into a million little pieces. And, put those pieces in a box. A glass box, that I’ll display.”

Like I said, if you’re doing this at home you don’t have to go to these lengths. You can take a few risks! There’s a great video by Philly Golden Teacher over on YouTube that’ll guide you through it, but you basically just need some water, a syringe, a shot glass, and a pressure cooker. You can’t really get away from needing a pressure cooker in this game – it’s a really worthwhile investment though if you want to get into mycology in a big way.

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Random News Updates

Probably gonna do a podcast

Me and Chris were chatting some drunken shit the other night (I can’t guarantee his drunkenness but I was pretty pissed) and figured we might do some kind of a podcast, or at least try and do one and see if we think it’s worth half a damn, and if people are interested or not. Being a spore vendor is a really weird niche job with loads of odd elements to it, and I’m pretty sure that Chris’ job as a mycology goods supplier is equally weird, so we’re gonna give it a go. I suppose best case it’ll be a moderately entertaining chat about stuff, and worst case it’ll be godawful and you’ll never get to hear it so it’s win/win for you really. If you’ve got any questions you desperately want answering and they’re ones that I can actually legally answer, then drop me a message on my Insta page and I’ll have a crack at it!

You would not be surprised to hear that trying to find a picture of an old-school BBC DJ who isn’t a nonce is really hard

New stuff coming soon

Yes yes y’all, I’ve had some supply line interruptions thanks to Customs (it seems that no-one on earth is safe from the idiocy of customs officers), so I’ve run quite low on a few of the slower-selling varieties. However, because it’s important to have contingency plans, I’ve got plenty of other stuff ready to go. So, coming soon enough – Jedi Mind Fuck and Z-Strain will be joining the list, and maybe Mazapatec. How soon? Who knows, I need to get the writing bits sorted on the website, and get some product shots done so everything looks right. Maybe a couple of weeks, maybe a bit longer?

Time to inspect the ol’ prison wallet

Product Earth!

There’s a cool UK Cannabis expo called Product Earth, but they seem cool with the mycology world too. I was hoping to be able to attend this year, but I can’t because of a few other commitments. However, I’m gonna throw Chris and his team a shitload of my spores to sell, and they’ve got a nice big stall there – so if you are there and you’ve got a burning desire to get into the world of microscopic shenanigans, it’s gonna be nice and easy for you to get some cool spores. I will probably do a small run or two of some stuff I don’t have much of as a limited edition expo special (and tonnes of the usual stuff), so there will be the opportunity to score some hella rare mushroom spores!

Anyway, that’s all the red hot news I’ve got for now. Stay safe, keep your microscope loaded at all times, and remember: never trust a Tory.

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Starting up a Spore Business in the UK

I’ve been asked a few times now by other people “should I start up a spore business” and uhhh, yeah, probably go for it? Maybe? Depends how much you like working I guess! Here’s my take on it, in handy readable form.

Please bear in mind that by most sensible metrics I could be described as a ‘fucking idiot’ so don’t take this as the Ten Commandments of your Life Coach, alright? It’s just words about my experience so far.

The best life coach and psychedelic priest, Jeremy Usborne
“You’ve been thinking thoughts your whole life. Look where that got you”

I think there’s loads of room left in the UK market for people to start their own spore businesses, whether that’s magic mushroom spores or gourmet LC’s. There really aren’t any “big” companies hoovering everything up, most of the businesses seem to be one/two person operations, so everything is quite small-scale. It’s very easy to get a whole load of spores, some decent kit, start up a little business and scale it up month by month. Personally, if I did it again I would do it (mostly) the same way:

First, get your products sorted, and test them. With a microscope. If everything is looking shipshape, then setup a cheap website using Big Cartel. Like I said elsewhere, it’s probably the most cost-effective way of setting up a quick and decent-looking storefront. Customers absolutely love the security they get by using a credit card or PayPal, and this combined with a nice-looking theme will get you sales.

Second, and very important, choose Stripe instead of PayPal as your payment processor (or use both if you must, but be prepared to take your money out of PayPal daily, which also pretty much guarantees they will cotton on to what you are doing quicker). Both of them are gonna pull your accounts as soon as they realise you’re slinging spores, but Stripe will continue paying out what they owe you whereas PayPal will lock your funds for six months. You’ll probably have a couple of months before this happens, which is enough time to get some money coming in, and for customers to realise that you’re legit. You absolutely do not want whatever cash you’ve got to operate with locked up in PayPal jail at this point. I had to spend most of my rent money on my Royal Mail bill at one point due to PayPal and my missus was not very happy about this.

Angry girlfriend who is a monkey
“You’ve spent the rent money on fucking what?!

Third! Once your payment options on Big Cartel are locked out, you’re gonna have to switch to a different website, one that lets you take whatever payment options you want. So hopefully you’ve spent every spare hour doing this in the background in your first couple of months, and then you can instantly change over. This is the hard bit, I guess. Assuming you’re starting off with “zero money”, like me, you are going to have to learn quickly. Fiverr is great for getting people to do the trickier bits for small sums of money (the quality can vary hugely so make sure you spend some time checking the vendor out), but unless you’ve got deep pockets you are going to be doing a lot of it yourself.

Fourth! Now can you can muck around with your site to your heart’s desire. Feel free to try adding other card payment processors, but to be honest they’re all gonna lock your funds at some point so I think it’s a bit sketchy if you like “actually having functional cashflow”. You will probably have to bite the bullet, like the rest of us, and just take payment by bank transfer and cryptocurrency. On the plus side, crypto is taxed completely stupidly in the UK (it’s a capital gains thing) so even though you’ll have to declare it, you won’t be paying a lot of tax on it. On the downside it’s less hilarious when your little pot of moon money halves in value overnight. It’s like gambling I guess.

At this point, if you wanna go mad and start making grow kits, substrate, monotubs and whatever, fill your boots. I have no idea how other people find the time for this as I am the busiest motherfucker just selling Cubensis spores, but maybe you’re more efficient than me. There are loads of guides out there on how to do this sort of thing properly. Once again, make sure you test your products – the last thing you want is to have to give a shitload of refunds (and getting lots of bad reviews) a month down the line because you made a mistake in your processes.

A picture from one of the best films ever made: Demolition Man
My boggle is that actually I think Denis Leary’s guy was the bad guy in this film, he was a dick

The only major boggle here for me is that you will find is that if you didn’t sell Cubensis spores, you would be able to take card payments and have a Shopify website and all of that normal, non-grey-area stuff, so at the end of the day would you not be better just focusing on those bits instead? It’s a difficult question, and one that I see lots of vendors all taking completely different approaches to. I think if I were doing that I’d split the businesses into two separate entities, much like another cool space-based vendor – that was a really smart move.

Like I’ve said, I think there is plenty of space left in the UK for other people to start up mycology businesses (less so in America but that’s another story), so if anyone else wants to have a crack at it, and is happy to put in quite frankly insane amounts of work (do you like days off? Uhhhhh unlucky, chief), then it’s not a bad gamble.

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IT’S A FUCKIN’ FAQ

So yeah, let’s keep this train a-rolling. Didn’t have any better ideas so thought I’d do a bit of an FAQ based on – guess what – the questions I am frequently asked. So, with no further ado, feast your saucy little eyes on the hottest FAQ this side of my OnlyFans.

Are you actually Chris from Mycopunks?

Fuck yeah, always have been mate.

Holy fuck really?

Naaaaah. Probably not. I do have these rare disassociative moments where I’m not even sure who I am or if I’m some kind of Tyler Durden-esque figment of my own psychosis but most of the time I reckon we’re separate dudes.

I’ve actually known Chris for quite a few years now, back before all the spore/substrate shenanigans, because we both used to do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Chris pretends he’s gonna go back one day whereas I don’t think I can be arsed with it anymore). BJJ is simultaneously one of the most useful bits of combat sport, and also the most absolutely homoerotic. It’s ace watching all these macho dudes trying to pretend to be tough whilst huffing the gas out of each other’s crotches and dripping sweat into each other’s mouths. My favourite position in it was called North/South and basically it’s where you sit on a guy’s face. Not even joking. I’m about sixteen stone too so it wasn’t a good time for anyone involved. Top quality shit right there.

Sex moves or grappling position? You decide (it’s both) Image Credit: Digitsu

Anyway, Chris popped down to the club I was training at and after strangling the living piss out of him, I found we had a lot in common (both being similar-aged pasty-looking beardy white dudes with a penchant for weirdness). I thought he was a good egg and many years later we’re still mates. Fun Fact: there were four people who helped me out a lot in getting this business started and he’s one of them.

Why just Psilocybe Cubensis spores?

Basically, because of availability. It’s easy to get loads of ‘genetic material’ for the various Cubensis phenotypes, and they sell very quickly due to the ease of use. Much, much harder to get enough of the other types of active spores, and they kind of really only appeal to the more hardcore mycologist so the supply/demand issue continues!

Why are you so handsome?

Genetics innit, and a strict dietary regime of beer, saturated animal fats, and cigarettes (yeah I know, I’m trying to quit).

Me IRL

Can I be your friend?

You can all be my friends. I’m nice like that. I would buy each and every one of you a Vienetta of your choosing.

What made you think of the charity donations?

Well, this is a contentious issue so allow me a bit of a soap-box moment: It doesn’t seem fair to me that because of a few lucky choices I don’t have to worry about keeping food in my children’s bellies any more. Now, the government should look after those that need looking after, that’s their role. It isn’t fucking cool or good and the fact there are so many fucking foodbanks in this country should be enough to make people start setting fire to stuff (and yet the Tories still manage to maintain power). I decided that as soon as my business started turning a profit, I’d start taking a slice off so that hungry people could be less hungry, and thus that’s what I did and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I want my business to be a force for good in the world, and this is one of the ways that it can be that, and it’s probably going to be very much needed moving forward due to the coming price-of-living increases that are gonna make a whole lot more people unable to buy food. Now, really, it shouldn’t be you or I that have to do this because our Government should be caring for those that are in need, but hey, Tories innit. Just have a look at what these fucking vultures think about it all.

Why do you bring up anti-Tory stuff? Surely that puts off customers?

Yeah, good, I don’t want their money. Fuck off Tories, go away. Shoo. Dickheads.

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Wow it’s a blog by OTC about Psilocybe Cubensis stuff!

Check it out yeah boyee

My friend Matt drew me this, man has talents!

Spores are ace to look at and stuff

So, uh, hello. You’ve probably seen my writing in such places as “my Facebook page“, “my Instagram page” or “this website“. I like writing ridiculous words about things, and so I thought I might as well fire some of that into some blog posts. Probably one a week or something, who knows, likely some behind-the-scenes stuff? I expect I’m just going to write a load of old nonsense bollocks but who knows, some of it might be Solid Fucking Gold so you’ll have to look at all of it on the off chance you miss anything life-changing, eh?

Just to get this out there nice and early – I like psychedelics, and I like the ol’ magic mushrooms (whatever variety you can find, I am a fan). They are rad. I think they’re a great mental health tool when used correctly, and also they’re fun. However, and this is very fuckin’ important, I absolutely do not and can not condone or help or be okay with anyone trying to grow any of those from the spores I sell. My personal views are my own, but I run my business according to what the law is, not what I wish it was. So basically don’t go taking any of this as an invitation to message me daft incriminating stuff because even if you’re my mum I’m gonna block you, you filthy criminal – and once more, for those right at the back, my products ain’t for growing.

Anyway!

Running a magic mushroom spore business in the UK is really weird. It’s basically in this mad grey area, where you can sell magic mushroom spores, and they’re very popular and 100% legal, as long as you don’t grow the fuckers, but also lots of people and organisations get kinda weird about it. Due to these spores being illegal in like three states in America (California, Georgia, and Idaho if you’re interested), the major banks that underwrite all the payment processors just say “nah bruv” as it’s easier for them to not have to navigate that complexity for the small amount of money involved (on their scale, obvs). This makes it a real twat-ache, especially when you’re starting off and you haven’t got a lot of “social proof”. People get a bit twitchy around bank transfers sometimes, and much prefer the safety of PayPal or a charge-backable credit card, especially if you haven’t got loads of reviews, which can make it hard to get going. I’ve now got tonnes of really good reviews both here and on Reddit which is great, people seem to like what I’m doing and that makes me happy.

Oh monkeyman, how did you begin your quest?

I started off on Reddit, where I’d previously bought a load of spores myself. It was a little bit easier back then, as there were some very big subreddits that you could advertise on – they were mainly US-based, but that just meant that there were hardly any other UK vendors on there, so it wasn’t too hard to get a few sales. Some cool dudes that I’d met online started up r/EuSporeHub as a way to try to have a little base on Reddit that was more focused on this end of the world, so I signed up to that first and then American subreddits and started firing out spores. I realised quite quickly that if I was having to chat to every single customer to make a sale, I wouldn’t be able to cope and it would become quickly unmanageable.

Reddit has since gotten a bit harder to advertise on, as most subreddits now won’t let you even mention active spores at all, not even for microscopy. Reddit moderators have now gotten a bit sketched-out by it all. It’s fair enough really. I don’t give much of a fuck about platforms banning things, on one hand it’s not exactly fair, but on the other it’s their platform and they can decide what they want on there or not.

Picture of a baby orangutan that doesn't do magic mushrooms
My baby did not look this because I am not an actual Orangutan it is merely a theme I am running with

I had a look around for a cheap website solution – we’d just had a baby here at Orangutan Manor so money was a huge issue, and we were probably a couple of weeks off needing to visit a foodbank. Every quid I put into the business was a gamble with a potentially huge downside. I had to build up a piece at a time, starting off as cheaply as possible. I checked out Big Cartel (it’s like a tenner a month and it’s great), used a simple theme, bought a domain, and away I went. The only problem (I would probably still be using Big Cartel otherwise) was that they lock your payment options to Stripe or PayPal, and I already knew they would suspend my accounts and hold my money as soon as they knew I was slinging spores (that fun ol’ grey area shit again).

And inevitably that happened! Stripe were pretty good about it (not like PayPal), and just said “you can have your money but we won’t take any more payments for you” and actually told me that they had no moral judgement on my business, but also that their banks wouldn’t allow it, so it was a no-go. However, I had been a crafty old Orangutan, and like I say, I knew that getting my payment options stopped was inevitable. I’d been working every single night and most weekends, and had taught myself how to do a bit of website magic, and built this site as my “SHIT HAS HIT THE FAN” resort. I had it waiting all along, and as soon as my Big Cartel site wasn’t able to take payments, I just switched over to this one. I figured if I did it that way, I wouldn’t have weeks of downtime while I tried to learn how to make the fuckin’ CSS do what I needed it to. It was pretty knackering to be fair but here we are, it worked out alright in the end.

That’s about it for now, if anyone’s got any ideas of things you wanna see me write, feel free to message me on Insta which is definitely the best way of getting hold of me at the moment.

Cheers now! OTC