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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.

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.

I love the writing of Rescue Me a lot and I also love baseball so it’s no surprise that I think the following monologue nails it on the head.

Anyway, baseball and life, one in the same. Everybody always says that life is too short. Bullshit. Life, unless you get cancer or hit by a bus or set on fire, takes forever. Just like baseball. It’s a series of long, mind-boggling boring stretches of time where absolutley nothing happens. So, you take a nap, and then, after a little while, when that crisp crack of the bat hittin’ the ball, so crisp you could almost smell that wood burning, jolts you awake and you open your eyes to see something so exciting and intricate, and possibly, very, very meaningful has just happened, but you missed it ’cause you were just so goddamn bored in the first place. Oh, you know, a couple of hot dogs, throw in some beers, the occasional blow job, and that’s that.

It is the end of Movember and I am thankful.  I’m thankful to the people that donated and thankful to be able to shave the ‘stache.  Going a whole month without trimming was hard. I don’t know how people with bushy mustaches do it. It was so annoying. I would wake up every single morning wanting to trim it. It was also ugly. No, seriously, I hated it and I’m sure I looked stupid to most people. In fact, it got to the point that when I’d see people I hadn’t seen in a while I’d have to explain why I had the ridiculous mustache so they would know it wasn’t a fashion decision and that I was growing it for the greater good. If you really want to torture yourself you can go back and look at the Movember set on my Flickr page. I did miss taking pictures a few of the days, but there are 22 of the 30 days in the set. I think if I do this again next year, I’ll try a different style, maybe just the old-fashioned used car salesman mustache.  We shall see.