June 25, 2007

Traditional Shaving — One Year Later, Part One

Posted in wet shaving at 2:03 pm by berzerkeleyan

Too Many Creams

It’s been about a year since I discovered what a n00b I was when it came to shaving. My odyssey started when I ran out of my (at the time) beloved shaving cream. Being new to Portland, I went online to find a local store that sold it. That’s when I first caught a glimpse of how little I knew. With my first Google search, I found large communities devoted to the lost art of single blade shaving (BTW, it’s only lost in the Western World; the rest can’t afford multi-blade cartridge razors, and still use double-edge single blades to shave). Discussion forums, whose only purpose is to serve as a clearinghouse for questions related to the whiskers on one’s face, exist. Don’t believe me? Go here, here, here, and here; an outstanding blog is here. These forums are everything that’s good about the internet. The members are incredibly friendly, supportive, and generous. And the moderators (by and large) do an excellent job of not letting threads devolve into digressions and personal attacks. Through these sites I learned more than I ever thought I wanted to know about shaving, and somehow managed not to kill myself swiping a sharp object across my throat.

With all the recommendations made on these sites, I was compelled to try just about every shaving product sold on the Interweb. So far, I’ve accumulated a total of 47 soaps and shaving creams. Here they are, in no particular order, with their country of origin added:

Shaving Creams:

  • Speick (Germany)
  • Derby Menthol (Turkey)
  • Omega (Italy)
  • Kruidvat (Netherlands)
  • Ingram (UK)
  • L’Occitane CADE (France)
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Sweet Almond Oil (UK)
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Avocado (UK)
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Eton College (UK)
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Rose (UK)
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Mr. Taylor (UK)
  • Geo F. Trumper Coconut (UK)
  • Geo F. Trumper Violet (UK)
  • Musgo Real (Portugal)
  • Tom’s of Maine Mint (USA)
  • Tom’s of Maine Calendula (USA)
  • Kiss My Face Lavender & Shea (USA)
  • Weleda (Germany)
  • St. Charles Shave Savory Rose (USA)
  • St. Charles Shave Oakmoss Lavendula (USA)
  • St. Charles Shave B&B Bay Rum With a Twist (USA)
  • Truefitt & Hill 1805 (UK)
  • Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort (UK)
  • The Body Shop (UK)
  • Nancy Boy Signature (San Francisco — arguably part of the USA)
  • Charles Tyrwhitt Lemon & Cedar (UK)
  • D.R. Harris Lavender (UK)
  • eShave Floral (USA)
  • Olivia’s Bay Rum (Germany)
  • Em’s Bay Rum (USA)
  • Em’s Woodstock (USA)
  • Em’s Balancing (USA)
  • Em’s Skindicinal (USA)

Shaving Soaps:

  • Mitchell’s Wool Fat (UK)
  • The Gentlemen’s Quarter Desert Ironwood (USA)
  • Arko (Turkey)
  • De Vergulde Hand (Netherlands)
  • Kruidvat (Netherlands)
  • Mama Bear’s Dragon’s Blood (USA)
  • Mama Bear’s Joe’s Trade Wind (USA)
  • Mama Bear’s Rosemary Mint (USA)
  • Tabac (Germany)
  • Erasmic (UK)
  • Provence Sante (France)
  • Proraso (Italy)
  • QED Wild Rose (USA)
  • L’Occitane CADE (France)

This may seem excessive (okay, it is excessive) but a lot of the established shavegeeks out there put me to shame. Having so much soapy goodness around has been great. I never get bored using the same scent every day, preparing them for use adds a Zen-like quality to the morning, and my face feels better after shaving than it ever has. About the only negative is it’ll take me close to 20 years to finish everything I have. Most creams have expiration dates of 2-3 years, and I’m sure most of the soaps will lose their scent at the same rate. Therefore, at some point I’ll either have to throw a bunch out and restock, or open up a barber shop.

Which ones are my favorites? The list constantly changes, but as of today they would be:

  1. Tabac SS
  2. Musgo Real SC
  3. Ingram SC
  4. Erasmic SS
  5. Omega SC
  6. Nancy Boy SC
  7. Em’s Balancing SC
  8. Speick SC
  9. The Gentlemen’s Quarter Desert Ironwood SS
  10. The Body Shop SC

Even if you do nothing other than incorporate one of the above into your shaving routine, your face will thank you. They beat any of the canned gooped most of you use.

Next time, I’ll list the ridiculous number of Single, Double Edge, and Straight razors I’ve collected over the past year.

June 24, 2007

Music Rotation — 18 Jun

Posted in music at 7:50 pm by berzerkeleyan

For the week:

Khonnor “Handwriting” (2004)genre: Lo-Fi Indie Fuzz. Seventeen year old misfit proves to me once and for all that I have no talent.
The Lovetones “Meditations” (2005)genre: neo-60’s Pop. I can’t remember how I stumbled onto this outfit. But this is a very solid album. If you’re a fan of The Byrds, post-Help! Beatles, The La’s, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, you’ll like this.
Luis Miguel “Romance” (1991)genre: Sappy Spanish Love Ballads. These are the songs my mom and, in turn I, grew up hearing. Good stuff.
Spandau Ballet “True” (1983)genre: New Romantic.
Serena-Maneesh “Serena-Maneesh” (2006)genre: Shoegazer.
Dave Matthews Band “Crash” (1996)genre: Frat Boy Seduction Music.
Iron Maiden “Piece Of Mind” (1983)genre: Metal.
Joan As Police Woman “Real Life” (2006)genre: Modern Torch Song.

June 18, 2007

Music Rotation — 11 Jun

Posted in music at 7:21 pm by berzerkeleyan

Last week:

Razorlight “Razorlight” (2006) — this has been in heavy rotation lately. Fun and uncomplicated.
The Black Crowes “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” (1992)
Coldplay “X&Y” (2005)
The Feeling “Twelve Stops and Home” (2007)
Delays “You See Colours” (2006)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “B.R.M.C.” (2000)
Ecos De Borinquen “J√≠baro Hasta El Hueso: Mountain Music of Puerto Rico” (2003)
The Vines “Highly Evolved” (2002)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Baby 81” (2007) — at first listen, I’m not crazy about this one, not like the first three. But I’ll have to devote more time to it before I make a final conclusion.
Turin Brakes “JackInABox” (2005)
The Veils “Nux Vomica” (2006) — they’re coming to Portland next week. I’m really scared I might miss the show due to a business trip. Cr@p.
U2 “October” (1981)The Fridge and I agree: U2’s early albums have held up well over the years. Crack one open and you’ll see.
Stereophonics “Language Sex Violence Other” (2005)

June 10, 2007

Music Rotation — 4 Jun

Posted in music at 6:32 pm by berzerkeleyan

This week:

Keane “Under The Iron Sea” (2006)
Gomez “How We Operate” (2006) — Gomez tried to hit the Coldplay Emoschlock mainstream with a couple of singles from this album. But their quirkiness is still evident on many a track. An excellent album, and probably the one that draws more fans to this fine band.
Even Johansen “Quiet & Still” (2000) — the debut album by the man now known as Magnet. It’s not as polished as his last two, but you can begin to hear the genesis of his unique sound.
Engineers “Engineers” (2005)
The Black Angels “Passover” (2006)
The Open “Statues” (2006) — I’ll put this squarely in between The Dears and Zero 7, and not nearly as cool as either. At first listen, all I could muster was a polite yawn.
Brian Wilson “Smile” (2004)

June 6, 2007

Kermit’s Hit a Rough Patch

Posted in humor, music, youtube at 2:12 pm by berzerkeleyan

My friend Fridge posted this on his blog. I haven’t laughed this hard since…well, since yesterday. But watch it. It’s so good, I had to post it myself.

For more, visit sadkermit.


June 3, 2007

Music Rotation — 28 May

Posted in music at 4:51 pm by berzerkeleyan

For the week:

Gomez “How We Operate” (2006)
Interpol “Antics” (2004)
Razorlight “Razorlight” (2006)
Elbow “Leaders Of The Free World” (2005)
The Tears “Here Come The Tears” (2005)
Oasis “Don’t Believe The Truth” (2005)
My Morning Jacket “Z” (2005)
Tahiti 80 “Fosbury” (2006)
Pet Shop Boys “Fundamental” (2006) — for once, a Pet Shop Boys album that’s not an improvement over the previous one. It’s still quite good, however, and may really grow on me over time.
Pet Shop Boys “Behaviour” (1990)
Rufus Wainwright “Release The Stars” (2007)
Shed Seven “Going For Gold” (1999)