December 2007 Archives

More shaving geekery

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Been a busy week in the shaving department. I initiated a trade with a guy from one of the shaving forums - I've been wanting to try some Truefitt & Hill products, and he wanted to try some Proraso, so we traded products. I wasn't a fan of the Proraso - it was too menthol-like, and it seemed to burn a lot.

So, I sent him my stuff, he sent me his. I was pleasantly surprised when the Truefitt & Hill arrived - he had used it one single time (the same amount that I had used the Proraso), so the jar was nearly 100% full.

I also purchased a new badger hair brush from Crabtree & Evelyn, and a jar of Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream, in sandalwood fragrance. So far, I think I like the Truefitt & Hill the best. It has the best scent and seems to give the best shave. The new brush is amazing - it's much better than the starter brush that I received from Art of Shaving.

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That's all of the new products... the creams and new brush - the brush is hanging from my handy new stand... I built it from a coat hanger. :-)


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And there's a comparison of the brushes. Believe it or not, the smaller C&E brush is much better. It's easier to manage, builds a better lather, holds more water, and feels better. I believe the badger hair is of a better quality than the AoS brush.

That's all for now... Big Boy is doing good today, so that's good!

Poor Stinkman

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We came home from Wisconsin on Wednesday night, and were greeted by the smell of poop in the house. One of the dogs had diarrhea, we just didn't know who. So, we walked all of the dogs, and everything looked and seemed fine. By some odd stroke of luck, we noticed that Big Boy had a large lump on the inside of his left rear ankle. It looked painful, so we decided to schedule a vet visit for him as soon as possible.

Amy was able to get him in to the Vet on Thursday afternoon (the next day), and while Big Boy was at the Vet's office, he pooped uncontrollably, and started to vomit. The Vet gave him some anti-nausea medicines and some antibiotics for the lump.

As soon as Big returned home, we noticed that he didn't seem quite right. He wasn't interested in eating, he was dry heaving, and he just moped around. After a few hours, he started to cough bloody saliva, and refused to sit or lay down - he just stood around, panting and looking miserable.

We tried to get him to calm down; we tried relaxing him, massaging him, and so on. He'd lay down, but you could tell he wasn't comfortable. I massaged his paws, which were really tense. Amy tried to sleep next to him for a while, but he wasn't able to go to sleep.

So, finally at around midnight, we took him to the emergency vet clinic in Springdale, where they did some x-rays and preliminary exam work. We were concerned that he might be bloating - we had a foster dog that bloated on us and it was horrible, so we wanted to make certain Big wasn't suffering the same fate.

The good news was that he wasn't bloating, but the Vet at the emergency clinic said Big was, "Amazingly unremarkable" - meaning that there wasn't a clear issue to attempt to fix or contend with. So, they gave him some more medicine for his nausea and they sent us home. We were supposed to watch him throughout the night and get him to our normal Vet in the morning. Several hundred dollars lighter, we left the Vet and drove home.

Big did well throughout the night - he actually rested a bit, and we got to sleep a little. Amy took him to our Vet immediately this morning, and they kept him all day. They ran a gamut of tests, and everything turned up negative. No issues that they could "work on." So, that's frustrating. The 'ole Stinkman is obviously not feeling well, but we don't know what's really wrong with him. He is old... and stinky... but there's no real cure for either of those ailments.

So, I guess we wait for him to start feeling better. I also can't say enough good things about our Vet - he cut us one heck of a deal for Big's day long visit and tests. He's an absolute saint, and we need to do something friendly/nice for him and the clinic.

As you can well imagine, Nurse Regis is currently tending to Big Boy. As I was trying to take pictures of Big, I felt something nipping gently at my arm - as if to say, "Why don't you leave him alone?" Here's what the picture looks like when I zoom out a bit:

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There's Nurse Regis, tending to his patient and keeping me at a safe distance. He's such a good boy - I've never seen any dog care so much about the well being of others - no matter who it is. He takes care of sick kittens, sick people, and now the Stinkman.

So, keep Big in your thoughts. We're glad that his illness isn't anything "remarkable," but at his age, anything can happen.

And finally, as I was turning to walk into the office - I noticed Riley was lying on top of Amy... I just thought this was a funny picture - Amy's napping (we slept about 2 hours last night), and Riley is "holding down" the blanket I guess.

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Brrrrrr....

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We're in Wisconsin for the holidays, and the weather isn't doing us any favors. Today's high was 18F; yesterday it was around 10F. Nice and chilly, that's for sure.

We've just had a good Christmas Eve day at my parent's house; the relatives are all here and we're eating a little mid-afternoon dessert. Not like we really need to eat anything... I think I've consumed about 8,000 calories per day so far, all without much exercise.

Riley is curled up in a ball, on a chair in the living room. She's pretty tired from all of the excitement, but it's good for her - it'll hopefully tire her out a little, and she might actually sleep a little tonight.

We're still planning to head back home on Wednesday, weather permitting. There's supposed to be a big snow/rain storm coming through on Wednesday, so we might have to play things by ear.

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Hope you all enjoy your holidays!

John's interview with MPR

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John sent me a .mp3 (audio) copy of his recent interview with Minnesota Public Radio, and I decided to edit some of the video footage he previously sent to me to help tell the story along with his interview.

I took the various pieces of video from a DVD and news story and cobbled them together... It's pretty rough editing - I took one pass at it with Final Cut Pro, and I only spent about 45 minutes editing it. If I was to "do it right," I would've spent time logging the video clips and determining which pieces would be best to use for each segment of the interview.

In this rough cut, I just took bits and pieces of the various videos and clipped them together... nothing fancy. It is nice to have something to edit in FCP, though... so, I may spend some more time working on it and making the video flow a little more smoothly.

You can check it out by downloading it from my site here. It's about 66MB in size, so it's quite large. It may take a few minutes to download, depending upon your connection speed. I'd ask that you "enjoy it" but it's edited so horribly, I don't think that's possible to do... :-)


In other news, Amy is sick with the flu (has been since Saturday), so she's not been feeling well, although she does look and sound better today. She actually stayed home from work - I think this is the first day she's missed in 5+ years.

I don't know about the rest of you, but Christmas sure did sneak up on me. And, I can't get motivated to buy any presents... I have no good ideas for anyone, so please don't be disappointed with our mediocre gifts. It just doesn't seem possible that Christmas is one week from today. Where does the time go?!

202 days and counting...

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I was a bit of a slug this weekend - didn't really do much of anything, didn't eat very well, and certainly didn't exercise enough. I ran a total of about 45 minutes and I ate McDonalds (ick), Pizza, more Pizza, and Mexican food. Oh, and I also had about 10 sugar cookies. Not exactly stellar diet and nutrition practices.

And to make matters worse, I think I had some of those cookies and some of that pizza while watching the Iron Man Triathlon on TV. There I was, sitting curled up on the couch, stuffing my fat face with pizza while my fat gut protruded obscenely from my shorts and t-shirt, a Diet Rite (oh the irony) in my right hand, 4 dogs begging for pizza, while I watched hundreds of people work their butts off at the Iron Man.

Guilt got the best of me, and I slid my fat body onto the floor to stretch for a bit, but I never did go out and run. I swore I'd wake up early, hit the treadmill, and run for a good hour. But, Sunday morning came along, and I think I mustered the willpower to peel myself out of the rack at around 10:00am. And then I had some more cookies.

After about 4-5 cookies and a few doughnuts (forgot about those until just now), I forced myself to go for a run, but it only lasted about 15 minutes. For some reason, I was sapped. No energy at all. So, after my shower, I went online and started reading about Triathlons.

Iron Man Triathlons are insane. They're a 2.4-mile swim, a 105-mile bike ride, and a 26-mile run. I'm not going to kid myself and say I could do that. I did swim across Rock Lake when I was in High School, and that was about 2-miles, but wow. Combine that with 130+ miles of biking and running? I think not.

Instead, I'm going to do a "Sprint" Triathlon. There's one in Fayetteville, in June of 2008. It consists of a 1000-yard swim (.58 miles), a 26-mile bike ride, and a 4-mile run. I've got the running part just about down. I can go at least 45-minutes on most days. Now I need to add-in the biking and the swimming.

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And I've got exactly 202 days to do so. I've found some good websites that have training schedules - most suggest a 20-week preparation for a first "sprint," and I've got about 28 weeks. With Christmas, that extra time will work out well. I'll focus on the running until about the first of the year, and then I'll start biking and running. The swimming will be the last part that I add-in, and I'll probably do that some time in early March. That'll give me 3 full months to work on all three parts before the actual event.

I'm excited. I talked to some friends at work, and I think I've got at least one person that'll do it with me. I came home tonight and ran for a solid 40-minutes, without any problems. I seem to run so much better when I have something to think about. I hate just plodding along listening to audio books or music - I get bored. But when I can think about something, or plan for an event, the time flies by.

I'll update the blog from time-to-time with Triathlon info. Hopefully it'll be news of progression and accomplishment. :-)