Wednesday, April 1, 2015

consuming to invest 12


CONSUMING TO INVEST 12

Shaving Brush

Despite what you might envision, a return to big fluffy beards after the Apocalypse is NOT a great idea.  Too much facial hair is hard on the eyes of others, is uncivilized and a very poor tactical choice when hand to hand combat is possible.  And trimmed beards look too much like a woman’s nether region, so don’t be surprised if unsympathetic taunts of “twat face” are hurled your way ( not to mention that unforgettable line in that Burt Reynolds film ).  Having a-mostly- shaved face is far better than sporting a beard ( yes, or course some guys can pull it off dashingly.  Some guys can also take a motor bike up to a hundred miles an hour.  That doesn’t mean you can emulate them ).  You can argue as to what hair removal device is best, and there is more than one way to skin that cat, but really there is no substitute for a shaving brush.  Spray foam from a can is an abomination and transferring soap lather from palm to face is unsatisfying.  A brush is a tool that defies common sense and delivers an exponential return. 

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Back in the 80’s, while we were still battling the Evil Empire ( before they gave way to the Evil Colombians and then the Axis Of Evil-let’s face it, we surely must be some righteous mother humpers ), I found myself in my second tour in the Army in the nastiest butt crack on Earth.  Not Korea, which is a great place, but Camp Casey, home of the Second Infantry Division.  Take an unusually incompetent officer corpse ( competent officer is an oxymoron ), give them all small dingus’s and an inferiority complex when they compared themselves to Marines ( Army enlisted have no such neurosis- they were smart enough to stay out of the Jarheads  ), and there you have our glorious leaders in occupied South Korea.  To include our immediate supervisors who should have been more detached from the ground pounding infantry.  Since they didn’t have regulation issued Marine sticks to shove up their asses, they improvised their own and clearly didn’t do a very good job.  They were miserable and you know the direction a pile of feces travels.  Okay, having set the picture for you, here we were in January in Korea out in the field for over a month.  We ain’t getting crap for sleep, meals are three MRE’s a day most of the week since the mess hall guys are usually occupied elsewhere, there are no latrines even though it doesn’t matter much since we are eating MRE’s, we get to play Marine at all hours with simulated attacks and MOPP drills for chemical attacks and I’m the skinniest guy in the place so they stick me with the M-60.  I could go on and on.  So, this isn’t enough screwing with us?  Oh, no!  We wouldn’t be enough of a GI Friggin Joe if we didn’t shave with cold water, outside, in friggin January in Korea.  You ever try to lather soap in cold water?  The only saving grace was our youth and relatively light beards.

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Now, here I am in Elko Nevada, which is only different than Korea in winter marginally ( at least in Korea, after winter is over you can really grow the heck out of crops- South, anyway ).  And a time or ninety I find myself needing to shave in the winter without heat.  I have hot water, but it stays hot long enough to wet your face and about one or two strokes into the shave.  Then it is ice cold-and I still need to re-lather ( another layer of soap reduces the pain cold shaving ).  Or, if I use the water first to wash my face and hair, it is cold before it makes it to shaving.  So, here is my point.  Canned shaving cream is the worst for cold shaving.  Don’t buy it unless a buxomly future wife is selling it, and even then throw it away rather than use it.  Lathering soap and applying by hand makes for too thin of an application, and is painful with a cold shave.  A shaving brush makes much more of a thick lather that is the least painful to cold shave with.

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Now, I can hear the caterwauling already, and I don’t want to hear it.  Yes, Virginia, you will in the future be cold shaving, away from your fancy natural gas fired water heater.  Even if you have wood heat, there might be times such as when you avoid detection from smoke, that you can’t get much more than lukewarm solar heater water.  Or when you are in the field.  There is a reason the military has you shave, besides sanitation.  Staying squared away is a definite moral boost ( I didn’t mind shaving as much as I minded the sadistic introduction of primitive conditions.  Here we are, driving around, noisy as hell at camp, and the excuse for not running the heater is “infrared detectors”- we ain’t so stealthy a heater is going to give us away ).  Letting yourself go, in camp or in the field, is just the first step in letting your guard down and letting discipline slip.  You are going to need that just to make it through the day.  Without medical personnel or antibiotics, you need to discipline yourself to religiously observe sanitation and other good habits ( observe the lack of sanitation in every public washroom as few use water, let alone soap, after exiting the stalls in men’s rooms.  Americans are a brutally foul lot ).  Shaving might seem unnecessary, but the discipline is not.

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So, there you go.  You are saving money by NOT buying cans of shaving cream.  Granted, it will take some time to pay off that $10 brush ( I know, right?  Like there is crushed gold in the bristles ).  But like a lot of other practices, saving pennies are more a benefit than a reason.  As for your soap, don’t you dare buy the purpose made round cakes that go in those shaving mugs.  Just save your soap scraps ( I find at about 20%, a bar of soap is no longer lathering up-so in it goes to the soap scrap bin ).  You can do one of two things.  Wet the few larger pieces, press down at the bottom of the mug and let dry.  They should stay in place reasonable well.  Or, if you don’t want to be bothered all that often, take many scraps and place in a small container ( I like the disposable aluminum mini-cake container, about the size of fist ) and put that in a pot of boiling water.  You can’t apply heat directly, so you’ve created a double boiler.  It won’t melt, but it will get soft enough to take the whole globe and press into the mug creating a soap scrap cake that pretty much stays together ( as per a minion, don‘t forget another great use for scraps- put them in a sock, wet, then rub on your skin bathing.  A combo of soap and a washcloth, it uses up all your scraps without waste ). 

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10 comments:

  1. I am one of those rare few that can rock a beard. BUT it requires at least 50% the upkeep as a clean shave. You have to trim a beard with a trimmer or scissors and possibly even use a shaver to shape it for the first few months. I can NOT rock the clean shaven look- I end up looking like a pimply monkeys butt due to ingrown hairs and other skin conditions. So I keep a minimal beard going that lets me get away with the least maintenance and the best appearance. But I totally agree, straight razor, and hot soap lather applied with a brush is the best for keeping the bare areas neatly bare- and the though the foam and fancy 5 blade disposables seem quicker and neater the results two days or more later is far worse.

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    1. I get the pimply monkey ass if I DO grow a beard

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  2. I recall not long ago that the sportsman's guide had a 4 pack of the brushes for around $15.

    The badger hair brushes are the best because they hold the moisture better than the boar hair or the synthetics. But of course they cost the most.

    Actually James, the shaving soap is formulated to lather up more than the standard soap, so it really is a better choice. I've never used it, but I've heard that one soap cake lasts for a very long time.

    Wayne

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  3. Whats with the hot water? I shave with cold water-no problems!

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    Replies
    1. Hot water is much nicer when your surrounding temps are way down.

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  4. Mmm....

    There you go again, stepping all over your crank.

    First: " my second tour... "

    JFC! You don't learn very fast, do you boy?

    Then.......PLEASE don't go telling us how hard you had it out in the field! You were ONLY one of those pussy M.P.s If you were 11B or C then you could whine a little.

    Finally.....It' the "END OF THE FU***** WORLD DUDE!" and here you are worrying about your cute little shaving brush. Maybe we should start calling you Ken and we will read about all your other little doomsday ACCESSORIES!

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    Replies
    1. Go wiki "military police" and read up on regimental level duties. Not too different from 11 bang-bangs other than we didn't have the proper tools against heavy weapons.

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    2. If you believe THAT, you are only fooling your self.

      Let's talk about the SECOND tour part.

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    3. I know the level of training in the Army. Crap quality, and you are thrown to the wolves. Those that survive are then truly trained. So, yes, I believe the training levels were similar.

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