Something you may not know about me

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A couple of years ago I was with a friend in a mall and ran across this place called The Art of Shaving.


They were selling OLD School shaving implements. I was quite taken with the Nickel razor and brush set in the upper left of the photo.


I bought the set and the soap and several other products.


I get all this home and found that I really enjoyed shaving with a brush. Surprisingly it doesn’t take any more time than shaving with the stuff out of the can.


In the last year… I became increasingly interested in going REALLY old school! So that led to the purchase of my first straight razor.


The first time I shaved with a straight razor I was shaking pretty badly toward the end but I could see the potential. Theory and reality are Ummmm not exactly in alignment and I had the cuts to prove it!


You guys out there know, most of the time we shower, dry off, and shave without bothering to dress between one thing and another. So I’m half way through my first shave (drawing blood in a couple of places) when it dawns on me “If I drop this razor… I’m gonna really hurt myself”. If ever there was an incentive to really think about what you’re doing that was it! Talk about FOCUS!

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My first razor is a Dovo (German make). It’s got a personality all it’s own and gives a good shave.  I didn’t even think about the possibility of different razors having different characteristics when I started down this particular rabbit hole.


From the various reading I’d done on the subject of straight razors. I’d learned that you probably wanted more than one razor. The reasoning behind this is you want to be able to switch off and let the blade rest.


If you choose not to have a few razors then you’re going to be sharpening the one you own a lot more frequently depending on your beard and other factors.  


Those other factors hit me bright and early one Sunday morning. I was happily shaving with my Dovo when I caught the edge of the blade on the faucet of the sink. I was rinsing the blade and got too close to the faucet taking a chunk out of the blade. %&*^$$&&!!!! 


I called around and found out that sharpening the blade could repair the damage but that there were darn few people that had the skills to sharpen a straight razor. 


Additionally, these guys are BUSY! in recent years theres been a bit of a renaissance in straight razor shaving. Which has led to a bunch of guys just like me. 


Guys who are trying to rediscover for whatever reason the lost art of straight razors and who have absolutely no clue about how to put an edge on a knife… much less the finer edge required on a razor.


I turned to the internet and stumbled across a place in Palm Springs that was pretty much full service. I went to their web site and while I was arranging for the repair of my razor, I took a look at their “new razor” store. BIG Mistake!

 

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…My next razor acquisition was a French blade made by Theirs-Issard. It’s a completely different feel against your throat. It’s light and agile and flickable. 


This a a beautiful razor. It’s got some detail work along the spine that sets it apart from many of the other razors I’ve looked at. 


OK at this point I’m hopelessly hooked.  I’m shaving with the straight razors on the weekends. Kind of as a nice ritual for myself. Long shower, quiet time and a slow meticulous shave. (Slow at this point because I’m still learning and don’t want to “Sweeney Todd” myself!). 


My Dovo came back a week or two later and is good as new. Now I had a razor for Saturday and Sunday and I’m happy.


What I find though is that I’m beginning to PREFER the straight razors over the standard safety razor. And I’m putting off shaving for days just so I can enjoy the weekend shave.


I hear that the place in Palm Springs has opened a retail store, prior to this they were mail order only. So I make a point of going to Palm Springs for a day and I visit the store. MISTAKE!!!!! (Well not really…)


I needed some supplies. I’d been using items from The Art of Shavings line. Occasionally, I’d picked up things from the Anthony mens line.


I walked into the store and was a very happy man. The store has soaps in all varieties and flavors. They’ve collected a bunch of different manufacturers products together and provide samples. It was great and they also had my downfall… A case full of razors.

 

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…. The next razor I bought,  is an American blade made by Hart Steel. This puppy has a completely different feel from the first two razors. This is a slightly larger blade and it’s got a point on it that the two European designs don’t have.

 


It’s a great shave too. But you really have to be mindful of the point… I dang near did a Van Gogh on myself the second time I shaved with this bad boy. We’ve since learned to respect each other and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


At this point… I’m shaving more often with the Straight razors than with the safety razor. I’m no longer reserving the straight razor experience for just the weekend. I’m getting experience and nicking myself far less often than I did in the beginning. 


There’s a Zen like quality to using these blades and I enjoy that they enforce a quietness and focus that you don’t get with the safety razors or electrics. You really have to be present in the here and now while you’re shaving with one of these.


If you’ve ever considered going old school, I say take the plunge! 


I’ll grant you that the start up is pricy. But the overall cost drops significantly once you get set up.


Let me bore you with a couple more points.


This is as green as you can get! 


You don’t throw anything away, the soaps are usually all natural and organic. 


The shaving oil is all organic and often comes in glass bottles.

 

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The razors are resharpened not disposed of.

With proper care and handling the razors also can be handed down because they’re built to last.

As a side benefit to all of this… I’ve gotten to a point where I want to know how to sharpen my own razors rather than sending them out to professionals. 

Learning to sharpen my razors will also mean that I’ll be able to sharpen the kitchen knives and many other things that have an edge. So in future, I won’t be replacing knives as much.

OH and to my Family….

If I mysteriously die in a Sweeney Todd type accident. If the cut is on my right, I was murdered. If the cut is on my left it’s a accident! I am notoriously hard on the left side of my throat, I haven’t a clue about why… but if i’m gonna cut myself it’s always on the left!

 






Arrogant medical “Professionals?”

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I recently was in a doctors office reading the paperwork that doctors offices have you fill out when you’re either a new patient or you’re seeing the doctor for the first time in a calendar year.
There was an innocuous line that read “Emergency Contact” I thought oh that makes sense… then I noticed some fine print at the bottom of this “Emergency Contact” section of the form. The fine print said “We may contact this person if you fail to pay your bill, or we are unable to contact you and they will be held financially responsible if you are unable to provide payment for services rendered.”
WHAT?!?!?!?
So I left the contact blank. I’d rather end up alone and unconscious in a hospital somewhere than risk some BS accounting mistake (and they’ve happened to me) exposing my friends, or family to a collection agent.
The little front desk girl told me I had to fill out that box. I told her no. She told me that I couldn’t see the doctor if I didn’t fill it out. I told her fine and She’d be hearing from the American Medical Association,  the newspapers, ACLU, and my Attorney and if she really wanted to push the issue. Yes yes I realize that none of those people would give a rats you know what about it. The obvious solution was to find another physician but I was in a mood… So what? She let me pass and guided me into an exam room… I suppose it helped that there was a waiting room full of patients and she really didn’t need the conflict.
So now I’m in an exam room and this nurse? Administrative person? comes in and takes my BP and starts asking me questions of any medications that I’m taking. Apparently she had some difficulty with one of the meds and in heavily accented English asks me something that sounded like “Jawotuwtpil” my translation system strained, couldn’t find a match and I said, “what? “
Now she’s exasperated and she says something like “ifutakcloruhavatakwtpil!”
In my head this is going on. Translation running….. Parsing….. possible meanings in this context based on drug interaction ….
“If you’re taking potassium you have to take a water pill” further, “water pill” in this instance is the term for diuretic and if often used by people that are uneducated (ie your grandmother) and/or can’t say the word diuretic.
To which I say no I’m not taking a diuretic except for the light dose contained in one of the other medications listed there on the paper that I filled out 10 minutes ago.
Then she calls me a liar because I must be taking something else.
Ok now I’m really getting annoyed. I tell her that my GP is down the hall in the same building on the same floor and she can go have a chat with him if she would like to alter my prescriptions. Then I asked her “And you’re Doctor who????” She snaps that she doesn’t have time to go talk to my doctor down the hall and storms out.
An hour and a half later….
I get up off the little exam table having become throughly bored and by this time fairly pissed off. I’m looking up the number to the insurance company and dialing it as I open the exam room door and walk smack into the Doctor that I was supposed to see. I tell him that we’re done, I don’t have time to have 3 hours of my day shot to hell because he’s too busy to keep his appointment schedule.
Then it occurs to me that the office staff may have been playing games and since I’m here and he’s here we should discuss what I was there to discuss anyway.
So we have a nice discussion and he seems competent and he recommends that I have another diagnostic screening that will answer the questions definitively. Then he orders the staff to set up the screening and they all snap to work.
He and I will be having a conversation about his staff the first visit.

I absolutely hate the medical profession

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To my relatives that are in the medical profession…. Well I don’t hate you …. But you should read on anyway.
Without getting too deep into why I’m seeing doctors suffice it to say that I’ve seen more doctors and their arrogant staff in the past month than I’ve seen in my entire life.
For those of you that may be reading this and worrying, I’m not sick, and have nothing more terminal than life itself… I’ve had some anomalous test results which have prompted more tests which prompt more doctors consults. etc. etc. etc.
First and foremost
Doctors are still practicing… They don’t know everything, they are in fact human. The only difference between you and your Doctor is the choice of education / profession. What you’re paying for when you see a doctor is their education, diagnostic skill, and experience but that does not in fact mean that they will always be right.
I personally have a problem with the Nurse Practitioners doing a preliminary exam and then going and telling the doctor what they saw… Shouldn’t the doctor be observing that with his or her own eyes? That’s actually one very quick way for a doctor to lose me as a patient.
If I’m with a doctor I expect the doctor to be with me. I also have this odd little expectation that we will work together to provide me with the best care possible. I tell the doctor completely and honestly what ever is going on and they access their knowledge-base and narrow the possible conditions to a few. The next step is for the doctor to ask additional questions whose answers narrow the conditions even further until a single causal effect is all that’s left. Then a remedy is prescribed and I move on with my day and life.
That’s what I’m paying for…
The problem is that many practices are so busy, and the doctors are so distracted and the insurance companies so very liability oriented that as a patient you become very quickly dehumanized. You’re just another body, who either has insurance or doesn’t, has filled out the correct paperwork or hasn’t, is on time for their appointment or isn’t, and on and on.
I found myself thinking that I might actually be better off with a diagnostic computer…
“Please swipe your insurance card.”
“Please enter the booth and disrobe”
“Scanning in progress remain still, breath normally”
“You will feel a sharp pinprick pain in your right arm as blood is drawn”
BUZZZ WHIRRR CLICK
“3 out of 5 databases concur you have a common cold”
“your prescription will appear in the slot to your left.”
“You may now put your clothing back on and exit the booth don’t forget your prescription.”
The sad part is…. That’s the way a lot of the physicians offices make the patient feel without the computers.

But Dad!!! I want to play.

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This is the 80 pound goofball that I almost lost last year to heartworm.
He’s about 95% his old self but does seem to tire a little easier than he used to.
Heartworm had never been much of a problem here so the vet completely discounted the symptoms and then misdiagnosed the problem for about 3 months.
Sundance dang near died
Over Thanksgiving I had him at a friends house. They have a huge fenced yard and Sunny got to run around all day. It brought a tear to my eye to see him running again full tilt boogie.
He’s been bugging me to go play in the snow with him so perhaps I’ll take a break later today and wrestle him in the drifts.