November 2007 Archives

Amazing Drummer

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Found this on YouTube... This guy is unreal - stick around for the end of the video - he juggles sticks while keeping an awesome beat.

And here's a link to the video, for John's benefit - he can't view YouTube from work.

The Holy Scuttle

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I said I wasn't going to buy a scuttle, but I couldn't resist. Building lather in a coffee mug just isn't much fun, and the lather doesn't stay real warm, so I gave-in and bought a scuttle.

This one happens to be a beautiful, Moss Scuttle, and is handmade by Sara Bonnyman of Nova Scotia. I couldn't believe how fast she was able to ship it, considering it came from the far left coast. It arrived today, and I just had to try it out.

Here it is:


It's actually quite an impressive piece of pottery. It has a bowl, that's surrounded by another larger bowl. You fill both bowls with hot water and soak your brush inside the smaller bowl (the center one). This heats the brush and heats the bowl. I'll probably let it soak while I'm taking a shower - that way it'll be good and warmed when I'm ready to shave.

Then, you pour out the water and fill the outer bowl with hot water again. The hot water in the outer bowl will keep the lather that you're about to build nice and warm. With the outer bowl full of hot water, you dab a little shaving cream or soap on your brush, and build lather as normal. And then you get to enjoy your shave! Easy as 1-2-3.

More pictures:


Filling the outer bowl with warm water.


A little dab will do 'ya (that's enough shaving cream for 2-full shaves).


Ready for shaving!

I'll actually use it tomorrow... I can't wait to try it out. I took the temperature of the shaving lather after this test run, and it was a toasty 100F. Nice!

Gobble v.2007

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful day, with lots of turkey and the fixin's. The Packers won, so that's something to be thankful for (as is my banner Fantasy Football year). I'm also thankful for my family, friends, and awesome job.

So, enough of the chitchat. On to the photos of the feast:

Riley inspects the turkey and offers to test it; she's vertically challenged, so she lost the job.


The bird - all 20-lbs of it, brined, browned, roasted, and delicious.


Dressing - sausage, sage, apple, walnut, and yummy.


Taters (Yukon Gold, garlic, buttermilk, pepper, parmesan cheese) + gravy (Amy said it was the best ever)


Corn (ick) and wheat rolls (not homemade - I was too lazy)


The feast.


It should be mentioned that no meal takes place without an adventure at our house. There's always some sort of mischeviousness going on, usually with the dogs as they position for some handouts (usually from me). Well, Thanksgiving is no exception. It all started when Amy thought it might be funny to get a picture of Riley looking up at my food from across the table. Riley had other plans, and she put them into action as soon as I got up to take the photo.


After helping herself to a little piece of turkey from my plate, she went back to check on the rest of the turkey - perhaps there was a way to get at the turkey from the other side of the counter:


Big doesn't beg real badly - he's pretty laid back about the whole thing. He'll guilt you into giving him something after he stares at you with those pitiful eyes. To look at him, you'd think he never had a chance to eat.


Squid is a little more forward with her approach. She gets right in your face (and sometimes right onto your plate), and makes sure that you're aware of her hunger.



We finished eating, and then let the clean-up crew come in and take care of the leftovers. Here they are helping themselves to some turkey.



Full, and with the kitchen completely cleaned (the dishwasher is running right now), everyone headed off for their favorite napping spots. Kramer likes the top of the DVR - I guess it's warm. He's not real thrilled with me sticking the camera in his face...


And everyone else:


I'm in love.

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Brush shaving with The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shave Cream.

It's unreal - it shaves extremely close, with zero discomfort, and it smells so good that I'd happily bathe in the stuff. I'm still working on the techniques for building my lather - that's an artform all to itself, but so far I can't argue with the results. A dime-sized drop of the shave cream makes enough lather for 3-4 shaves, so I'm wasting it a bit right now, but that's ok - I love the smell of it so much that I'm happy to leave the extra sit around while I finish showering.

Here's the prep work:


And here's the lather - what you see on the brush is more than enough for 2 full shaves.


Combined with the Nancy Boy moisturizer, things have never been better in the 'ole mug department... well, I suppose that's not entirely true - my mug is still pretty hideous, but it's never felt better. Smooth, never dry, and never irratated. Absolutely glorious stuff.

In other news, we've got the turkey brining for tomorrow's big meal. We'll have turkey, apple/sausage/sage/walnut stuffing, garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes, corn, and wheat rolls. We forgot to get anything for dessert, but I suspect we'll be full enough after the meal.

Finally, John Janzen sent me another link to a story about his dive on the Carl Bradley. This story is really well written, and it has a video if you'd like to check that out. Here's a link to the Star Tribune Article and the video footage from the dive.

The Trifecta

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More shaving geek stuff, plus a few other tidbits.

My "The Art of Shaving" products arrived today! I'm so excited - this is the stuff that I've been dying to try, and it finally arrived. I didn't shave today because I wanted to really give a shot tomorrow, so I won't hardly be able to wait until morning to try it out. I think I'll run tomorrow in the morning, then take a shower and test out the new stuff.

I am addicted to the Nancy Boy moisturizers. The daytime moisturizer works wonders - no more dry, flaky skin, and it lasts all day long. My old stuff (Neutrogena, Paula's Choice, and lately Sharps) all left my skin dry and flaky after about an hour. This new stuff works wonders. The night time moisturizer is equally amazing, and they both have a slight cucumber scent - nothing overwhelming, and they don't smell like the Doctor's office (like the others did).

Here's the new stuff:


That's a badger hair brush, which is used to apply the cream - you use the brush to work the cream into a lather, which you build in a "Scuttle." I don't have a Scuttle, so I'll use a small bowl or coffee cup.

I can't wait!

In other news, the house almost burned down last night. We went to Joplin to do some shopping, and when we got back, Amy noticed the master bathroom lights weren't working. I checked the circuit breaker, and all was ok - it wasn't tripped. We then noticed that the outlets in the bedroom weren't working, so I checked the fuse panel again - nothing.

Sensing something was wrong, I removed the front panel on our circuit breaker box, and discovered two wires that were burned to a crisp. I used my volt meter to figure out which circuits they belonged to, killed the breakers, and removed the wires. I was freaked out - they could've easily burned down the house. The whole thing gave me nightmares - really odd ones that weren't related to a fire or anything like that. I didn't sleep much last night... we got the dogs leashes out, the cat carrier, locked everyone in the bedroom, and put all of the fire extinguishers in a spot where we could get to them quickly.

We called an electrician this morning, and he spent 2 hours going over all of the wiring, and tracing the Romex runs from the fuse panel to the various rooms. Everything looked ok, but he did find two problems- one of our GFI outlets wasn't wired properly and had a loose wire in it (great work to our builder), and he found that all of the neutral and ground lugs in our circuit breaker panel were loose. He thought that the loose lugs might have increased resistance, which could've caused the charred wires.

He left the front panel off, and told us to keep an eye on the wires. If they get warm, we're supposed to call him and he'll come out immediately.

Here's a picture of the panel - you can barely see the charring on the wires (we cut the burns off and restripped the wires).


And here's a close-up of one of the burned wires. It should be white.


So, that was a major scare. I can't imagine what I'd do if the house burned down and we weren't home. I've ordered a monitoring device that "listens" for any fire alarm chirps, and if it detects one, it calls me. It's money well spent ($500-ish) if it means that the dogs and cats would be better protected when we're not home.

And finally, my friend, John Janzen, was featured in a newspaper article. He's been working to restore a bell from a shipwreck in Lake Superior, and his hard work has paid off. They successfully recovered the bell - from about 380 feet below the surface. That's amazing!

He was kind enough to send me video footage of the dive, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I'd love to edit a portion of it and share it online, provided he doesn't mind. Here's a link to the article about the recovery and restoration. Hope that you'll enjoy it.

That's all for now... only 12 hours until shaving time! :-)

Nancy Boy

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The Nancy Boy products came today. Talk about fast shipping - I couldn't believe they were already here.


Not pictured is the shaving cream, the facial mask, or the laundry detergent. Their detergent was highly rated for being septic friendly, free of any animal products and/or testing, and for its cleaning ability. It apparently out-cleaned both Tide and Cheer in a head-to-head test. It smells pretty good - sort of lemony.

In more manly news, we installed new tires on the Tahoe today - the old ones were nearly worn out (3/32 of tread left, and one tire had a screw stuck in it). I'll be doing my annual tune-up on it in preparation for our roadtrip back home... probably'll do that next weekend.

We also had the carpets cleaned this week, and our new kitchen runner rugs came in (whoops, that's not real macho; I just switched over to my blog from one of the shaving blogs).

I think we might have a few people over tomorrow night for a movie, provided I can leave work at a decent hour. Our new generator is being connected tomorrow, and I have to be at work from about 1pm until ?? while the electricians finalize things.

Kramer is sitting on my lap right now, purring. I'm contemplating going for a run, but I may do that in the morning instead. I'm up to 40 minutes at a crack, or about 4 miles. My goal is to hit 10k (6.4 miles). Once I reach that, I'll probably stop trying to get more distance in. I figure an hour's worth of running 4 times a week should be enough.

That's all for now.

What's next?

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I guess I really am bored.

How else could I explain my latest interest in.... are you ready for it? Shaving and skin care products. Ugh. For those that may be wondering, the answer is "yes" - I'm still 100% interested in girls. For some odd reason, a few weeks ago, while shaving one morning, I thought to myself, "There has to be a better way to shave. Shaving really stinks, and I hate it."


So, I fired-up my trusty computer, and lowe-and-behold, I found dozens of discussion boards about shaving products. Everything from old-fashioned shaving soaps and single-edged razors to $250 badger brushes and $63 shaving creams.

I've not quite gone off to the $250 badger brush deep end, but I have bought some new products to try. So far, I've tried Sharps Kid Glove products and Zirh products. I've got some others on the way (Art of Shaving, Baxter of California, and Nancy Boy), but so far, I've noticed a few things:

The Sharps Kid Glove Shave Gel is too good at protecting your face from razor burn and nicks. You apply a pea-sized drop of the stuff, work it in, and start shaving. It goes on clear, so that's a bit odd, but even more odd is that it's nearly impossible to shave with the stuff. If you're no good or are extremely reckless with a blade, give this stuff a try.

I don't care for the Sharps aftershave balm. It doesn't moisturize real well, and it leaves my skin really dry. I talked with Bret (my friend from Atlanta), and he likes the stuff, so I'm going to box it up and send it to him.

The Zirh stuff is heavy. Wouldn't have been my first choice, but I'd read some good reviews about it, so I gave it a try. Thankfully, I bought it from our local Sephora store, which has a very liberal return policy, so I'll be taking it back to them. I say it's "heavy" because it lingers with you all day - I can still feel the moisturizer on my face, some 14 hours after I applied it. I suppose that's good, but it feels like it's "coating" more than "working."

Now I can hardly wait to get my Nancy Boy (I know, I know - but trust me, I like girls!) stuff - it's supposed to be top notch, as is the Art of Shaving stuff. Baxter gets good reviews as well... What if I like them all? What ever will I do?

I don't think I'll go back to my Edge gel... And, I might take-up straightblade shaving... the guys over at seem to prefer it over the multi-blade razors. Can you believe I've been reading about shaving techniques all night? Suddenly wax testing seems rather mundane and normal.

And sorry for not making any blog entries lately. Work has been insanely busy - our generator arrived this week; I'm in the middle of rewriting our Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans; I'm working on our annual IS risk assessment; and, we just got the go ahead to restructure our entire data center (switching (ironically) to blade servers). All of this on top of our imaging system conversion project and a new loan origination system install. I love being busy, though - it sure beats the alternative.