DFN Happy Hour No. 2: Mental PPE

Coming up Friday at 5:30 pm PDT members Barb Noren (BarbMakesThings), Tod Kurt (todbot) and I (Carlyn Maw, carlynorama) will be streaming again. Last week we did Day of The Week Signs. This week we thought about Mental PPE.

https://www.twitch.tv/deepfriedneurons (UPDATE: Archived Video | Links in DFN No. 3)

If you make a project based on any of the DFN themes, let us know!

If clothes qualify, we’ve been making equipment to protect ourselves during the process of our labor for around around 170,000 years. However the phrase “Personal Protective Equipment” and its three letter acronym PPE probably only date back to the 1970s and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Relatively common knowledge around the DIY crowd, the OSHA jargon has taken a centerstage in common vernacular now because of the devastating shortages of PPE for medical and essential workers due to COVID-19. The CRASH Space community has stepped up to help where we can.

Everyone’s COVID-19 situation differs. It’s effecting everyone differently. Not all the hazards have been physical. We wanted to spend some time this week thinking about what kind of PPE we could make to protect our minds.


We’ve all been wearing masks, which help protect folks, but make conversing way harder. So I created a mask with velcro, so you can change out what mood or thought you’d like the world to know before interacting with you.
Also, part of my way of dealing with stress is ridiculousness, so.


The internet is my work environment. I wanted to make a filter that would keep the not-the-most-useful-right-now information particles out of my way while I was on my computer doing work. I have this reflex sometimes when I’m anxious to go seek out information that confirms that anxious world view. Brains do this to us. They like to maintain a status-quo. So I made a “shields” script that would let me swap in a hosts file that blocks news and social media sites, really anything that sets off anxiety or even just triggers that “people are nuts” feeling. Neither of those help me be productive.

To help keep me away from seeking cheap-packet-hits, I’m also going to need to give those mental cycles jonesing for input something to do. I made a ready for work tray with items that have sensory appeal. All of the items also have a memory, a person or a feeling of accomplishment associated with them too. They’ll keep me tied to my body and the world.

On the left a text file showing the contents of a hosts file, on the right a tray with a mug of tea on a mug rug, sweet peas in a vase, a timer and an mp3 player.
Carlyn’s host file filter and ready-to-work items


Tod needed a blocker for his phone so he went with a svelte paper cover that emphasizes that he really means it!


I make things that do stuff. The best, though, is teaching others to do the same. Founder of @crashspacela Alum of @ITP_NYU

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