Nov 10, 2009

Off topic

I know this blog was intended to be mostly about shooting, preparedness, and the like, but sometimes there are things I just feel the need to share.

First of all: hunting! I've been out a bit lately, with no tags filled yet. I had a doe walk under my stand Friday afternoon (5 yards, max) and let her go at the landowner's prior request. Further discussion with him has lifted that moratorium. I still won't intentionally shoot buttons or very small deer, but does are good eatin'. I called in to work yesterday afternoon and went hunting. (55-60 degrees and partly sunny, in November, and you thought I'd be working? HA!) Picked my stand and settled in around 1:15. Over the following three and a half hours I saw six bucks, a large doe, and two yearlings. At least three of the bucks were definite "shooters" - a nice size 8-point, a big 6-point, and another big-bodied but didn't count points. None came in range of the bow (most hung up around 45-50 yards), but they'll be there come gun season.

I've finally gotten my tree stand, although in this case it's a misnomer. A tree-taj-mahal is more accurate. Hang-on with climbing sticks, it's a suspension-style seat, bit foot platform, foot rest, armrests, shooting rail, etc. I may add a canopy at some point but that's not a priority. Now I'm deciding where I'd like to put it. Part of me is thinking MrsZ's family farm has some good spots, but that's a two-hour drive (each way) and therefore won't see a whole lot of hunting from me this year. HuntingBuddy's place has some good options, but he has a number of stands in pretty good spots already. WestSideSpot has some good trees but is really a 35-acre field with the best option being longer shots from ground level. I still need to scope my muzzleloader for this place.

When a tag is filled, you'll hear it here first.


Other news. Economics of grooming! A long long time ago, in a galaxy fa... wait, wrong movie.

A long time ago, men were men and grew facial hair as a sign of strength and virility, and because there wasn't really any good way to get rid of it. Besides, how scary is a guy in a horned helmet without a beard?

Somewhere along the way, women got tired of fighting their way through remnants of food in order to get a kiss, and started insisting on smooth faces. (Later on, OSHA got in on the act and decided that firemen shouldn't have whiskers if they want to wear an air pack.)

For a long time, men shaved with a bit of soap, a brush, a straight razor, and a very steady hand. Nicks and oozers were common and shaving was a production. Over the course of the 1800s, various designs for less-dangerous razors were tried. In 1901, King Gillette created the first safety razor, with disposable blades. The razor (handle) could be sold for zero- or negative-profit, and the sale of blades over time would generate revenue and long-term profits. This became known as the "loss-leader" sales model.

For a very long time, the safety razor reigned. Not so risky as a straight razor, and clean shaves became the norm. In the 1960s and 1970s, cartridge razors appeared. No more sharp blades lying around loose, these were super-safe and promised lots of things... and then the number of blades started increasing. TracII. Sensor. Sensor Excel. Mach III. Mach III Power. Quattro. Fusion. These continued on the loss-leader model.

But there has been a quiet backlash against the loss-leaders. Nothing huge, because the cartridges are convenient. But the quality of shave is lacking something. I'd been debating trying a traditional safety razor for a while but hadn't been willing to cough up the money for a Merkur or Rooney or similar. I did some digging and found the Weishi RetroRazor. $27 and it came with a few different brands of blades so you could find one you liked. I'd been using a shaving brush and soap for a while already, since it gives a better shave (IMHO) than anything from a can or tube.

The razor arrived, and I did my first shave according to their directions. No bleeding, no burn, no bumps, and baby-butt-smooth. Oh man! I tried one of the other blade packs and didn't care for it as much (too close, razor burn!). Tried the third one and thus far it's a toss-up between the first (Personna Red) and the third (Dorco ST301). I'll get in a few more shaves with each one before I make a decision and order more blades. (A blade is good for 2-3 shaves for me. A Fusion catridge is good for 3-4 shaves.)

So how is this economical? Ignoring the comfort factor (priceless!), here's the hard numbers:

Weishi RetroRazor: $27.00
Gillette Fusion Power: $9.50 (Target)

Dorco blades: $12.00/100 blades = $12.00/200 shaves = $0.06/shave
Gillette Fusion blades: $13.50/4 cartridges = $13.50/12 shaves = $1.12/shave

I shave every other day or so. Less if I'm on vacation. One 100-pack of Dorcos costs less than a four-pack of Fusion cartridges and will last me more than a year, instead of about one month.

It's really a no-brainer, folks...

Shaving steps:
- shower (softens the hair)
- brush up some lather and apply against the grain (stands the whiskers up)
- shave! (add water as necessary)
- rinse, pat dry
- a splash of your aftershave of choice (I've been using witch hazel and it works wonderfully)
- rinse the razor under hot hot water and then a splash of rubbing alcohol (keeps the blade and mechanism cleaner)

Off you go!

Seriously, if you're considering it, try the RetroRazor. If you hate it, sell it to someone else or chuck it. You're out the price of two packages of cartridges. If you love it, then you can look at upgrading (which is my next step, maybe a Merkur long-handle). I just wish I hadn't taken so long to switch!

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