IMG_1066It’s a weird thing to call and schedule the time in which you will say goodbye to your best friend forever. That’s what I did today. Over the past couple of months (starting shortly after the seizures) Penny’s health started to deteriorate. I first noticed it when she would attempt to jump on the bed and wouldn’t make it. Now, that’s not totally abnormal. She’s a small dog, but it was happening a lot more than normal.

The second time I noticed something was wrong was when she was standing on her back legs with her front paws on my legs and I was scratching down her sides. All of the sudden her left leg just collapsed and she fell down. Things seemed to pick up quickly from here. She continued to have more and more issues jumping on the bed and then even the (much lower) couch. I even bought pet stairs so she could still get in bed. She never used them.

pennyFor those of you that don’t know, this is Penny, my Boston Terrier. I’ve had Penny in my life for 7 years now. She is a sweet dog that gives nothing but love to anyone she meets. She has been the best dog that I could have asked for.

A couple of months ago Penny had a seizure. I was home at the time and was sitting on the couch. She was making a nest on a blanket on the floor. All of the sudden she started to spasm. Her back legs went stiff and she was trembling across the carpet. At first, I thought she did something to her leg while trying to make a nest. When I got down to the floor, I knew that wasn’t it. Her legs were going flailing uncontrollably and her eyes were glassy. I picked her up and started rubbing her belly to calm her (still not completely sure what was happening) and could feel her getting hot in my arms. Then she started panting. After a total of about 30 seconds, it was over. She came out of it right away. After a few more seconds of holding her, I put her down, and she went off running around the house like nothing happened. I called my sister to get some advice. Coincidently, just a few days before I overheard her talk about her dog having a seizure. She said that taking her to the vet probably wouldn’t do much good since by then all signs of the seizure would have passed. Who knows, she might not have one again. So, I decided on a wait and see approach. If she started having them regularly, I’d take her to the vet.

merkur safety razorApparently the new thing in men’s grooming isn’t so new afterall. Shaving with a one bladed safety razor is becoming stylish again. Why, do you ask? Well, simply put, it gives you a better shave. It turns out newer isn’t always better.

About a month ago I started searching for ways to beat my constant razor burn. I used a Gillette Fusion Proglide Turbo (and almost every Gillette razor before that) and would constantly get razor burns on different parts of my face. Google searches showed me a few articles about how using an old safety razor is the way to go. Even though it is only one blade and runs directly along your face (instead of being protected by plastic strips that modern razors use), it actually does provide a smoother shave that creates less irritation than modern razors. Not only that, but it delivers a closer shave because safety razors are not hindered by plastic strips to “protect” your face.

After doing the research, I decided to jump face first into the world of Old School Shaving. I ordered a Merkur 180 Long Handled Razor, as well as shaving soap, a shaving stand, a badger hair shaving brush, and a shaving mug. The first couple of shaves took some getting used to. When shaving with a safety razor, you do not use the same amount of pressure you use with a normal razor. Because I was used to applying quite a bit of pressure in order to get a close shave, I cut myself a few times. You also have to get the angle right. The reason it is called a safety razor is because the blade can only make contact with your skin at certain angles. Otherwise, you just get the metal of the razor gliding across your face. After the first couple of shaves, I was a pro.

Three weeks in and I still love shaving the old fashioned way. Not only does it provide a superior shave, but in the long run, it works out to be cheaper. After the initial cost of the supplies, blades and shaving soap are a fraction of the cost of razor cartridges and shaving cream. Sure, it takes about two or three minutes longer in the morning (you have to lather your own shaving soap), but it’s totally worth it. My face stays smoother longer, I get less irritation after shaving, and, well, it definitely feels more manly. This is how my grandpas used to shave. If it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

I’m going to participate in Movember again this year. If you don’t know what Movember is, it is an annual, month-long celebration of the mustache, highlighting men’s health issues – specifically prostate and testicular cancer. Starting November 1st participants start growing their ‘staches. Movember is all about changing the face of men’s health, hence the growing of a mustache. Last year I went with the classic Fu Manchu and on November 30th I ended up with what you see below (it’s horrible, I know).

This year I’m going to try for the handlebar. Because this is such a daunting task to do in a month I’ve decided not to shave completely on October 31st. It’s cheating a bit but I’d like to see if I can get a nice handlebar by November 30th. You will be able to watch my progress on Daily Booth, just like last year.

When the contest starts on November 1st, please think about donating.

For those who know me, I have a horrible memory. I constantly leave myself notes, make lists, and use calendars to help me remember what seems like every aspect of my life. I have a variety of tools to suit my needs. aNote on the iPhone is a great notetaker. Grocery Gadget helps remember what I need to buy. Delicious helps me remember links and Instapaper helps me with articles I want to read later. Email is a big factor as it’s quick and I’m constantly in my inbox. If something is really important an email to myself will do the trick. However, none of those things can compare to Google Calendar.

It’s not that I will completely forget something all together. Most of the time I do remember what it is I need to. My problem is that if I have something to do at a specific time, I’ll remember it several hours before, but when time comes I will either forget, remember when it’s too late, or remember just in time to piss me off for not remembering sooner. GCal helps combat those issues. I like GCal because it syncs with my iPhone and my iCal on my iMac and MacBook. It is a great tool with a simple interface. I love how you can have multiple calendars and can turn each one off with the click of a mouse. That doesn’t mean I haven’t found some things I dislike about it.

Earlier this morning I was creating an event to remember to drop off my rent check in the morning. Now, I already have ‘Pay Rent’ set up on every first of the month with a reminder going out, but the problem comes with the reminder. Paying rent is an all day event on my calendar, mostly because I never know when the exact time I can pay it will occur. Therefore, any reminder I set up will be prior to the day starting. Sending an email the day before is almost too much, but sending it 15 minutes before the event won’t work either. I’m not going to do anything about paying rent at 11:45 at night. This is where there needs to be a Google Labs feature that allows you to have ‘business hours.’ This would be an option to let you choose what hours that calendar uses for All Day events. For example, for my Work calendar, All Day is not 12am-11:59pm. Work is from 8am-5pm. That’s when work’s All Day events should stop. I’m really surprised this isn’t something built in or already available as an experimental Labs feature. I would also like more control over the time increments. Sure, you can type in any start and end time, but the dropdowns only go by the half hour. I would prefer the dropdowns to have an option to display time in 15 minute increments. Those caveats to GCal aside, it is a great tool. I really don’t know where I’d be without it, probably lost, walking aimlessly down the highway wearing duck slippers and a bathrobe. That reminds me, I should add ‘Buy duck slippers and a bathrobe’ to my calendar.