Here we are:

And where we have been:

One data point to add to the galaxy thereof: at today’s science forum at Massey College, among the people sitting at the front the ones wearing masks along with me included the college’s chair of science and an Order of Canada-winning astrophysicist.

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Sometime around late elementary school or early high school I got my first razor as a gift: a Gillette Mach 3 using cartridge blades. I used those more or less exclusively until I began using Harry’s catridge razors in Ottawa or maybe early in my Toronto time around 2012. One lesson I did learn in the UK and used subsequently is that shave oil (like King of Shaves) works better with just a few drops than covering your whole face in foam — plus you can always see what you are doing and thus avoid acne.

About a week ago, something set me off reading reviews and watching videos about safety razors: a style that used double-edged (DE) razor blades, dates back to the early 1900s, and was popularized by WWI. I think it might have been annoyance about how, if I don’t shave for a few days, cartridge razors get instantly clogged up betweeen the blades.

I ordered a Merkur 38C, made in Germany, from the House of Knives in BC because I was worried that the same product from Amazon was likely to be counterfeit. I got 10 Merkur blades, 100 Astra blades, plus two shaving creams (Harry’s and Creamo) and a shaving soap (Proraso).

I got the soap and a basic boar brush a day before the razor, so I tried it with my catridge razor. There is no question that warming your face with hot water and then applying shaving soap with a brush feels excellent on its own, and makes shaving with whatever tool closer, better-feeling, and safer.

With the safety razor, shaving with both cream and foam was surprisingly painless and easy after what all the videos prepared me for. I found no trouble identifying the right angle to let the weight of the razor do the pulling, and I don’t think I came close to cutting myself in any trial. The results are also noticeably noticeably closer: one day after a safety razor shave it feels about as close as one minute after a careful cartridge razor shave with oil.

I still need to obtain or make a sharps bin or ‘blade bank,’ but, despite reading about how many DE safety razor users change blades every time, I have been finding them more than good enough for at least 3-4 shaves.

In the last few years, I have mostly fallen back to shaving every 2-4 days and semi-periodically growing a beard for a week or two. In part I think that’s because of the not-so-satisfying experience of those cartridge blades. The last time I bought a set of Harry’s blades, it was $40 for 16 blades in May 2021. During the first 1-3 uses, they have an effortlessly sharp and clean feeling which feels like how shaving ought to work. However, in less than a week I can feel them starting to pull rather than cut hairs, and leaving behind most of the hairs they cross on each path. Anything but the brand-new-blade feeling isn’t the best shaving experience, and even those three sharp shaves feel a little frustrating because they mean I just threw a blade cartridge away and because I know the new one won’t last long.

I know part of it is just new toy enthusiasm, but since getting the Merkur I have felt a bit disappointed that only one shave a day is required — and would have to be foregone for several days to get long stubble for a DE blade versus cartridge comparison. I’ll report back if I do manage to slash my face open, or if this new toolset becomes entrenched as my long-term default.

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Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: kaleidescopic images of merging and overlapping optical illusions, as perceived by someone with vertigo having an LSD overdose and viewing the room through a fisheye lens or curved mirror

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Imagination

2022-09-21

in Art, Geek stuff

Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “The images inside John Milton’s head when he imagined Satan’s revolt against god and downfall into hell”

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inflamed

2022-09-20

in Art, Geek stuff

Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “dark oil painting entitled: ‘I will burn you with my laser eyes'”

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Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “writing a human reader will understand”

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Dr. Gonzo

2022-09-18

in Art, Geek stuff

Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “phd student in year 10, in the style of Wassily Kandinsky”

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Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “the fall of Icarus drawn in crayon”

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Mastery

2022-09-16

in Art, Geek stuff

Created with DiffusionBee, a GUI for Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “watercolor painting: the Master of Seduction”

Prompt: “watercolor painting: the male Master of Seduction”

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I know I will feel differently when teaching and research deadlines start to overlap and the stress compounds, but the experience of the last few days makes me think I had so little energy lately because I had too little to do. There is something very different between having a solitary (but supervised) project where you are always meant to be getting as much done as possible and the social need to be present when expected by others, teach, answer questions, grade, and so on. Even non-academic obligations like recording a recent podcast have cost me standard hours of sleep but added rather than subtracted energy.

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