This Day in Blogging History: Switching to a straight razor; Weird recycled electronics; Burning Man never gets old


About a year and a half ago I made the switch from the disposable triple-blade cartridges to a full classic setup: Edwyn Jagger safety razor, Astra blades (made by Gillette in their St Petersburg factory), upper-end shaving brush and Proraso soap.

Having very sensitive skin, from being able to shave every third or fourth day, I can now do it every second day. It takes longer and I do cut myself, but without the chronic irritation I used to suffer from, so by the time I apply the aftershave (Nivea works fine for me), the cuts are already closed and I feel like a million bucks.

Next up, Merkur blades from Germany, then once I’ve mastered those, maybe I’ll go for the holy grail: Feather blades from Japan, or as one Amazon user described them, the Hattori Hanzo of shaving blades.

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About a month after the time the article came out I was in germany and I forgot to bring a comb on the trip, so we went to something called a DM mart (which was like a Walgreens if it cleaned itself up) and I got a Wilkinson plastic DE kit (ironically cheaper than the comb). A few months later I got a razer sampler pack, which seems like I’ve only have used about 15% of the blades, and I find I prefer the medium sharp blades as the super sharps leave me with spot bleeding and rawness. Also I use Arko stick soap, but it seems to be a love it or hate it with most people.

I use a double-edged safety razor of questionable provenance but it’s a butterfly mechanism, which appeals to my need to clean the bejeebus out of it every use. Derby blades. Got 100 of them for less than 10 USD and at the rate I use 'em, I won’t need any more for probably a good 4-5 years (year and a half on this pack so far). I forget the name of the soap, but it’s the kind you can find in big box stores. I bleed as the gods intended … on double-ply toilet paper.

While I enjoy the close shave, I mostly got into it because buying a new handle every time a store stopped stocking refills for the old ones got nearly as expensive as buying new cartridges. Basically, I felt like a chump all around. But I wasn’t prepared to use a straight razor. I had visions of missing appendages resulting from stropping.

That said, something in the general realm of double-edged or straight or what have you is certainly worth a try for anyone who has something in need of shaving. Not that expensive to try out and if you keep at it, the savings are substantial.

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You guys, you needn’t be nicking yourselves when DE shaving. Sounds like “insufficient prep” - you need to ensure your beard hair is sufficiently softened - use a hot towel and wash your beard with pre-shave soap. Try visiting /r/wicked_edge, the friendliest corner of Reddit.

I rarely ever cut myself while shaving. Probably why I don’t use more than a bit of two-ply. Hot showers don’t hurt. On the other hand, particular areas are a pain in the ass and lend themselves to bleeding. Areas that don’t tend to be helped much by pre-shave because they’re just that finicky.

part of it is making sure you never move the blade side to side. that takes some practice…

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I only use a straight razor when I’m at Burning Man.

Have someone else shave your ass to prevent pains.


The wire recorder reminded me of Norman Corwin - the radio playwright - talk about your new media - and his One World Tour. He was given a wire recorder, a small staff and sent on an around the world peace tour in 1946, while the world was cleaning up the rubble of World War II. Needless to say, the glitches and problems with the wire recorder dominated the earlier parts of the story. It was a huge, heavy, awkward, blaky beast, but for someone used to live radio it was magic.

If you ever want to experience some of that old, new media magic, grab a volume of his plays e.g. 13 by Corwin. I got a copy in the 1960s and was inspired to make my own “plays” and “shows” with a cheap Panasonic recorder. When you only have sound to work with, you really think about sound. I’m surprised no one has made a radio app that makes it easy to use things like sound “perspective”, if only to narrate video better. (Of course, on cell phones the audio is worse than the video.)

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