And Stuff Episode 11: Getting Really Mad At The Nail

June 28, 2016

This time Cameron and Walker talk about saws, meditation, Youtube, and some other things.


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On the Breadboard

May 30, 2016

Maybe this will be a recurring series. It should be possible if I’m actually Making Things.

Bazz Fuss

Information about the Bazz Fuss can be found here.

A few years ago I tried out the Bazz Fuss and was very disappointed. Being careful with transistor and resistor choice seems to be much more crucial than People on the Internet imply.

I actually fried one transistor by using a variable resistor that was allowed to vary down to zero. Was quite amusing to turn it down, then up again, only to find the tone was drastically different. Somewhere in the middle of this process I made an instagram video. Bazz Fuss fried video.

The “best” version I created consisted of a clean boost followed by a standard BF with high gain, then a tone stack, then a BF with lower gain and emitter degeneration added. This allowed bizarre octave-up effects with tone high and big muff-esque tones when low.

Double Bazz Fuss with Tone video.

Chance that I’m develop this further? It *was* pretty high before I built the next Thing. Now, slightly less.

Harmonic Percolator

The Interfax Harmonic Percolator is an legendary (or at least notorious) fuzzbox mostly associated nowadays with the music of Steve Albini. Albini has several youtube videos on the subject. There’s some info here.

Tried out a Harmonic Jerkulator, an all silicon Percolator clone developed by Tim Escobedo. Details available here. It sounds amazing. It doesn’t sound Albini, but neither do “faithful” clones or any other variant I’ve heard, so whatever. Sounds like a germanium fuzz-face to me except despite being boomier it never gets muddy enough to where you can’t hear all the notes.


Chance that I’ll develop further? 100% chance I’ll youtube it, 50% I’ll box it up, 20% I’ll try and market it.


The Ruby amplifier, from

Built this LM386-based 0.25W amplifier. It sounds suspiciously good. Even when plugged into my upcycled computer subwoofer. I’m definitely gonna box this up. This is an extremely high-margin Thing if it were ever to be Etsy’d.

100% chance it’ll get boxed up. I’ve never sold on Etsy before so … if I ever decide to this’ll probably be the first thing I do.


Anyway, those are the three ideas I’ve been monkeying around with over the past week.

And Stuff Episode 010: Dewey Decimal Overdrive

May 23, 2016

This time we talk about Plover and get sidetracked a lot.


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still alive by jonathan coulton

new orleans maker faire

i like to make stuff



brace and bit)

cam’s youtube channel

vertical falling


cracked on seinfeld

dewey decimal system



Minor Update

April 29, 2016

[not for public consuption]

meditation is hard to do

it’s even harder to write about. Usually Intry and write about how hard it is.

That hasn’t been going so well, but today I promised to post a bit about guitar effect tone stacks. So maybe that’ll happen today.

I’m back on klonopin after missing some work. Finals is next wrek. I may, sort of, graduate, if the klonopin and ativan and viibryd and nuvigil and caffeine/theanine/tyrosine/ALA/folate/synephrine/beta-alanine/D3/B12/B6/inositol do what they’re supposed to.


By “sort of” I mean “pass all the classess. I didn’t apply for graduation just in case I don’t. So if I do, next semester I can take nothing and then graduate.

What is the point of thinking good thoughts?

April 3, 2016


Having a hard time because I’m thinking about what happened today when I was in meditation. I’m starting to understand the purpose of some of the “fluff”, if you will, in a few of the styles you see in Zen.

There are a few concepts I feel like I have to go into. They are new to me so I’m probably getting them wrong.

First, I’ve started thinking about time as divided into meditation and “post-meditation”. If you are not currently meditating, then you are obviously in the post-meditation state. (Unless, of course, you have never meditated). 

The purpose of meditation was to prepare you for right now. But did it? What should happen so that next time you meditate it will better prepare you for your next post-meditation?

This kind of brings me to mettā.

I have had a hard time incorporating “thoughts of goodwill towards others” into my practice because it feels more like something to include in a prayer. Who is responsible for putting this goodwill into place if your thoughts aren’t aimed at something with power? Compared to teaching myself to be more aware of my own body and mind, thinking happy thoughts about people seems like a waste of time and effort.

But the concept of thinking about your life as alternating periods of  meditation and post-meditation draws an arrow through time between positive thoughts in the meditation phase with positive action later on. Without understanding everyday life as post-meditative, there’s no arrow–no connection. Without a connection this gap in time makes me feel powerless and stupid during meditation, and I guess this is what makes some people choose to either not bother, or to pray (or otherwise delegate) instead.

Brains are terrible with short term memory–this is why we try to enact systems we can trust to make sure things get done. I’m talking about calendars and lists. (This is the way David Allen describes things in the GTD book. I’m starting to get why he mentions Zen in passing in the prologue.) So is meditation practice the system we can entrust our goodwill into, because otherwise our terrible brains will simply forget to be kind?

I know that this is wishy-washy. (It’s getting kind of dangerously close to total bullshit woo like “the secret”.) My point in posting this is to communicate that I’m finally starting to at least be capable of brainstorming about the subject of mettā at all.

This post is too long, so I’ll stop here and write about further concepts I’ve been starting to think about later. Including what I hope to gain from koan study, why I’m spending a single second doing anything besides koan study, and what actually inspired this post, which is a set of guided meditations for anapanasati, or “breathing mindfulness” which included a bit of mettā.

(I wonder what thoughts of goodwill my cats have for all the beings in the universe. Do cats understand the idea of even having mettā towards mice?)

March 27, 2016


How do I stop the sound of that distant temple bell?

For all of the hard but actually easy answers, the most useless I’ve found by now is “the bell is actually me”.

Because then I thought, if it’s me, why isn’t it actually my cats? And how can I stop the ringing of that distant temple bell when I can’t even get my cat to stop shredding paper at 4AM?

Or maybe there is a preliminary answer, and it’s that if I’m the bell and the cats are the bell then I have about as much discipline as they do.

[How can this post possibly have a title.?]

[I am trying to do something along the lines of koan study. IDK if this is a “real” koan that would actually be assigned by a Rinzai teacher, it was from some “how to meditate” website of questionable autenticity. But despite it being much simpler and shorter than any koan I’ve heard it’s still presented me with a struggle, I guess.]

My current zen meditation teacher:


And Stuff Episode 009: This Podcast Was Enhanced in Adobe Photoshop Essentials

February 22, 2016

This time Cameron and Walker talk about cotton and a little about music and some other stuff.

Listen to And Stuff 009: This Podcast Was Enhanced in Adobe Photoshop Essentials on Overcast.


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And Stuff Episode 008: Fast Paste Environment

January 7, 2016

This time we talk about … stuff?

Listen to And Stuff E08: Fast Paste Environment on Overcast.


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And Stuff Podcast: Episode 007 — California Pt. 2

November 6, 2015

This time Cam and Walker talk more about water in California.


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Show Notes:

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Bionic 51

Butter Dance

Yak Butter

And Stuff on Twitter

Email And Stuff


California water sources



Abu Dhabi



Air Well

Air Wells in Ethiopia

Biosand Filter

Berkey Filters

Rainwater Collection

Asphalt Shingles

Tin roof rain

Grey Water

Clean progressively dirtier laundry


Composting Toilet

German Toilets

Japanese Toilets

Squat Toilet


Humanure Handbook

Danish Oil

Boss DS-1

Op Amp Buffer

Knife Safety

Printing in Linux

“Do An Easier Version of it”

October 25, 2015

is something that I try to convince myself to do when I’m having a hard time getting the things I want done accomplished at all. It’s not quite the same, but sort of the same, as breaking up a large task into smaller task, or in GTD-speak, it’s not quite the same as recognizing that some tasks are actionable but some are actually projects that contain their own actions. Whatever.

The idea is that I’ve taken a goal or project or plan and I’ve decided to do it, so I’ve inserted it into my system, broken it up into actionable items, etc. but for some reason I’m still not doing it.

One thing I want to be doing is daily meditation. I tried out Headspace and found it useful but difficult. Once the free part ran out I didn’t feel like paying for it because even the easiest level was kind of difficult. But what I noticed is that while ten minutes of meditation is obviously more useful than five minutes, I’m more likely to actually convince myself to do it if it’s five minutes.

For about a month now I’ve had “five minutes meditation” in Omnifocus as a daily repeating task and I think I’ve checked it off, instead of leaving it for the next day, a total of twice. So I thought about how much more likely I was to do five minute than ten minutes, and I thought about how the meditative practice in the way I’m seeking to actually practice it is really about reminding yourself to be more aware of all things by having a special time just to focus on that awareness. So, you know, thirty seconds of this kind of meditation per day is actually still going to be providing a benefit.

In practice I’ve found that I can give myself a 100% guarantee that if I tell myself “you should meditate for 60 seconds”, then I will actually do it. I’ve decided to think that this is a lot more valuable than a 90% guarantee that I’ll do it for any other space of time.

And the part that makes me not want to do it is that it’s difficult. I can keep my mind from wandering for a minute easily. I cannot easily keep my mind from wandering for two minutes. The frustration of attempting to meditate every day and “catching myself” failing is what convinces someone with my personality that it’s not worth doing at all.

So Do An Easier Version Of It.

Everyone I’ve read has suggested to me that starting for shorter times is the way to go about this, but their ideas of “short” times are usually ten minutes. I don’t want to do a slightly easier version of it, I want to do a version of it so easy that I will succeed almost accidentally.

This post wasn’t supposed to be about meditation, it was supposed to be about Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, of which “do an easier version of it” could be one. I was thinking about taking OS and trying to apply it to productivity. But I’m not going to rewrite this post because “posting a hastily-written unedited post” is my easier version of “post a post”.

I’m using an app called Due to time my meditations. I started at one minute, and I’ve been adding one second every day. One minute is so easy I can’t fail. One second added per day is so easy I can’t not laugh. I won’t be up to the ten-minute-long Headspace-sized sessions for over two years from now, which is hilarious, but I don’t care, and I can already feel how good it is for me to tell myself to do something and then actually get to watch myself do it.

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