Monthly Archives: November 2014

Today: Nov 30, 2014

Break was this week but unfortunately, that week of calmness and relaxation comes crashing down tomorrow morning when I have to hike back to campus for my morning class.

Monday, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday I got to actually spend some hours in the office. I spent my time fixing some bugs, rewriting tests and finally learning how to make a basic DSL with Ruby. Thursday was nice, filled with good food and wine, and lots of driving to get to all the sides of the family. Friday and Saturday were spent sipping whiskey and watching movies while working on more Ruby DSL stuff.  The more I work with Ruby the more I’m starting to love it more than I love Python… That being said my Python stuff has been suffering for Ruby recently. Maybe I should update some things and write some Python code for a change…

On an unrelated note, today I stood in front of a mirror. How exciting.

I stood there, neck and cheeks white with a thick lather of shaving cream. The sink was half full and the water had tendrils of steam coming off surface. Sitting on the counter to my left was a black mug with a round stub of a handle filled with a Sandlewood shaving cream lather; The light wood handle of my badger hair brush poking out over the brim. In my hand, a small metal shaft topped with a curved bar and head; A Merkur 34C. Clamped between them sat a SuperMax Stainless steel double edge blade, used three times.

My safety razor, or also commonly known as the double edge razor, is perhaps one of my most valuable possessions I have, and one of my most worthwhile investments. Not because its expensive or will be in the future, in fact it was one of the cheapest razors which fit the criteria I was looking for and is fairly common, but because it forces me to have time.

Before I bought this razor I had only ever shaved with an electric. It took a whole 5 minutes each morning; The downside was that it had to be charged once in a while. Even if I was in a hurry and needed to shave, sometimes I just couldn’t because I forgot to plug it in the night before. Its also big and bulky and I never found a good way to hold it even after a good 4 years with it.

Last summer however, something happened that would have an enormous impact on my life: A friend finally convinced me to take the plunge and buy a safety razor. I’d known about them for awhile and always admired the simplicity of them but never could get myself to buy one. But after hearing him talk about his and having him recommend a good list of needed/helpful materials and introduction videos I jumped ship on electrics and bought a good $150 worth of shaving material.

I ended up with: a Merkur 34C, two soaps, 50 blades consisting of 25 brands, a lather mug, a badger hair brush and a RazoRock alum block. I went with the 50 blade pack because it gave me two blades per brand. I figured that each blade could get about 3-5 shaves from what I had read, and as a result I could split the 50 blades up to 25 blades per soaps, since I also got two different soaps (so far this has been an awesome idea and really opened my eyes to the differences in both soaps and blades).

The first noticeable benefit is the shave. Its smooth, clean, close. It feels good to have the blade running across your skin. The second is that the soaps, if you have fragranced soaps that is, leave your face smelling amazing. Baby smooth shaves, or BBS’s as they’re commonly referred to within the safety and straight razor community are easy to get, and last all day: I tend to grow facial hair at an alarmingly fast rate and so commonly I’d find myself going over with my electric before a night function, but with the safety razor I get go a good two days between shaves.

But all of this isn’t way this what makes this razor an amazing investment. Its the time. As it turns out, safety razor shaving takes a fair deal of time compared to electrics. Its not something you can rush, or at least I can’t, without fear of razor burn or lots of nicks and cuts. A good clean and close shave of my whole face and neck takes upwards of 45 minutes. Sure you can go faster and sure I’m just taking my time, hell I can get the same shave in about 15 minutes if I really put my mind to it.

But its that time that makes this a great investment. I have to shave, I’m not one of those people that can grow a neck beard for 5 weeks at a time. Even if its winter time when I grow out a beard, I still have to shave it to clean up the edges and keep the beard defined. As a result, I now have to force myself to slow down and make time. I set aside 2 hours ever couple of nights to take a nice long hot shower followed immediately by shaving in the still steam filled room.

I get to think, I have to think to prevent myself from being bored. The shower helps relax me and has the added benefit of opening my pores and preparing my face for the shave. I have a ritual that I go through: I get the blade in my razor switched out if its an old blade, then I get in the shower and let hot water run down my face and neck. I shampoo once, apply conditioner to my beard, soap down my body then wash the soap and conditioner out. I get out and only dry off my feet, then wrap the towel around my waist and allow the rest of my body to air dry while I shave. I turn the sink faucet on to hot and let it run while I get my face cloth. I then use the hot water its now putting out to partially fill my mug which I place my brush into to soak up some moisture before making the lather. I then fill the sink basin about half full and place my face cloth in it to heat up. I also take the time to place the head of my razor into the water for a few seconds to get the metal to warm up a tad. I then proceed to open the lid on the cream that I choose, pour out the water from the mug and shake the excess water out of the brush.

Its a science; A measured, calculated and timed process that is repeatable and consistent across nights. Its so meticulously laid out and planned that I have an enormous amount of time to think. The actual shave requires me to be relaxed unless I want to risk cuts, something which the slow process and the shower help with. Between these two, I get to have a rare chance of being at peace for a short while, which for me is no easy task these days.

Its this piece of peace that the razor gives me that makes it so valuable to me, and I appreciate that.

Today: Nov 23, 2014

It is *REALLY* cold outside right now.

Also this weekend was slightly boring but a nice reprieve from the stress of a typical school weekend. Thank goodness its break for a week.

Man I really hope the weather doesn’t turn nasty between now and tomorrow morning when I leave for work. That would just suck. *note to self: buy winter tires for Subaru*

Today, Nov 21, 2014

I think I might try to get back into this whole blogging thing… Maybe…

We’ll see.

I find blogging interesting but for some reason I can’t ever hold myself accountable to be being regular with it. But really, it is interesting. Speaking your mind talking about some subject, maybe just writing down a string of random thoughts. Or maybe you take one thought and write about it in a bit more detail? I do this a lot with friends, but that is (to me) different from blogging. On a blog such as this, who is my audience? Some posts are technical, some are personal. Who am I speaking to when I type these words into this screen? What’s the point of even doing so? Is anyone going to read this? Will it change the world? Someones day? Maybe its just a thing for me. But then, why publish it publicly? Who knows.


Being an american, are you suppose to feel any different when you finally turn 21? Everyone around me acted like it was a big deal, but the way I see it, the only major difference is that now I can stock my own liquor cabinet rather than having to pay someone else to do so. I’ve been 21 for a week or two now and really… I don’t feel it. I don’t feel old. I don’t feel like I’ve been on this earth 21 years now.

I walk around campus and see all these people, who every year more and more are younger than me, and think “Why can’t I be older, like them?” I see myself as a young child running around in a foreign world, not a college student who only has another year before he graduates and gets turned loose on the Real World™. That being said, I do often think that, on the outside at least, I tend to be slightly more mature than most of my peers.


I woke up did my normal shower and eat breakfast routine then headed to campus. While walking I got stopped by the regular morning train, and today one of those train cars had some nice reassuring graffiti on the side of it that said “I’m Jacks wasted life…”

After having getting a small giggle from the graffiti, I went to my single class for Fridays, Digital Circuit design and theory or something like that, and ended up having a pop quiz. I feel kind of bad because half the class was gone because its the Friday before our week long Thanksgiving break. Some poor soul walked in with 5 minutes left in the class and the professor just said “You want to try? You have 5 minutes. If not, have a good weekend.”

Dang. Like, I know its partly the guys fault; who comes to class with only 5 minutes left in it? But still, I found it slightly harsh.

After that I did my normal 1.5 hour drive into work, during which time I passed the Batmobile. Only, it wasn’t your normal Batmobile because obviously Batman was trying to be incognito, as said Batmobile was disguised as a 2002 Ford Mustang…

Also there was this older lady on my way back home who was a decidedly giant dick. Seriously, she was a horrible driver and she should feel bad…

Nearly everyone I know says I shouldn’t take work home with me. Thinking about it now however, thats rather hard to do since I work remote most days of the week, since I normally can’t afford 3 hours of time for just driving to and from the office. But, as I sit here I’m taking a break from programming. However I wasn’t programming for work. Although, yes, I was working on a project which is helping me learn all the things about Rails, since work has for the most part changed from a Node.js to a Ruby on Rails gig for me. Does that mean that I’m still working in some capacity?

This tends to be a big problem for me. Mostly with programming stuff. I start learning about something in class or work on something at work or throw together something for a friend and suddenly I find myself completely engorged in the subject and learning as much as I can handle. Then after about a week of it, I tend to burn out on that branch and start researching and messing around with a new thing. Sometimes however it leads into a full-on project, transientbug got started this way. So did my RethinkDB Orm wrapper for Python (speaking of which, I should probably rewrite that and update the PyPi package… someday. Someday).

Currently I’m running through rails. I built a little thing to replace a spreadsheet that I have. The spreadsheet is basically just a review of shaving blades, each time I use one in my safety razor. The app was my first foray into Rails and the first major thing that I did with any Ruby code. I did it because I learned that I was going to be working more on Rails stuff for work since the Node.js stuff was moving towards the back burner. Since then I’ve taken a break from the Python world and have tried to stay fairly into the Ruby and Rails worlds.

I’ve also started a new Rails app. With the help of some RailsCasts videos and applying my knowledge from the Python web framework world I rolled my own authentication, added role base authorization and am now rolling a conversation thread system. It should, when finished, act a little like google hangouts or something where you have a many-to-many message platform and each person can enter and leave groups and have a “read up to message #” sort of thing. We’ll see how well it goes, since I just started working on it earlier tonight after getting back from work.

Those oreos I just ate were pretty good. I needed them. Needed, obviously.

I should go across the street to the liquor store one of these days and buy some cider and maybe some vanilla porters…

Dang… 1017 Words in just a short while… WELP. Thats been today.

One of these days

Every time I open this blog, I always tell myself I’ll write a new blog post or something. Then I’ll write one, and say something like “Oh yeah, I haven’t updated this for a year…”

Welp. Looks like this is another round of that.

On an unrelated note, one of these days I’ll post a how to on a rails topic that I struggled with a while back: I wanted to only have application and the controller specific js and style sheets included on each page load, and I didn’t want to use turbolinks (I’m sorry, but no, I just won’t right now). It’s pretty easy but it does need a few steps to get things working properly so I might as well do a write up.

Maybe some day I’ll actually have interesting content on here too…