December 02, 2007

Bill Ellis Razor

There's been a fair amount of chatter on the shaving forums lately about razor-making sensation William Ellis, so I thought I'd show off my own Ellis razor:

Ellis_Oosik_7:8_1.jpg

This was Bill Ellis's first razor.  Stainless steel, hardened to about 65RC.  The scales are made from oosik, which is the penile bone from a walrus.  Filework on the spine and shank, and a french point.

Here's a close-up of the spine.
Ellis_Oosik_7:8_3.jpg

And yes, it shaves as well as it looks.

Posted by: mparker762 at 04:06 PM
Post contains 81 words, total size 1 kb.

November 24, 2007

Elfen Lied

It's cold and raining here, so this was a good weekend to stay inside and watch anime - the series of choice today was Elfen Lied. This was my third time to watch it, and it's still impressive. My first time was in Japanese with english subtitles, and I've since watched the dubbed version twice with my wife (who hates moderately dislikes subtitles). She loves this series, BTW.

The OP theme "Lilium" is extremely haunting, and is one of those things you wind up humming to yourself at odd moments. The Klimt-inspired paintings that accompany the song don't hurt either.
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It's basically a version of the frankenstein tale, except that (a) the monster is an attractive and occasionally-nude young woman with mysterious powers, and (b) she truly is murderous and insane. To make sure the audience is absolutely clear on this point the first episode starts out with a 10-minute-long bloodbath as the monster chops her way out of prison.
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Then she gets shot in the head at the last moment during her escape and loses her memories, and the story takes a 180-degree turn as our newly-autistic, non-potty-trained nubile young Frankenstein starts life anew, with some significant complications along the way.
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It's a short series (only 13 episodes plus an OVA that takes place in the middle episode 10), but tells a rollercoaster of a story with some really heartwrenching moments along the way (and lots of blood and body parts on occasion). Many of the main characters are psychologically damaged in one way or another, and this series tells many of their tales through some disturbing flashbacks. Some of these are very disturbing - child molestation, animal cruelty, etc. But amidst the horror these characters find a measure of healing over the course of the series.

The OP "Lilium" theme is actually a plot element - it's a tune from a music box that pops up occasionally, and the Monster Lucy occasionally hums the tune during her killing sprees.

Oh, and the other major departure from the Frankenstein tale? Elfen Lied is also a surprisingly touching love story.

Posted by: mparker762 at 03:42 PM
Post contains 352 words, total size 5 kb.

November 23, 2007

The Place Promised in our Early Days

I bought this movie many months (maybe a year or more) ago, and just now got around to watching it.

Wow. This thing was incredible. Subtle at first, then bringing out the sledgehammers at the very end. And visually stunning. I haven't been this impressed by a anime movie since Laputa, and I'm about ten minutes away from ordering everything else that director Makoto Shinkai has ever done.

It's a deceptive film - I notice that Chris Beveridge mentions having a hard time describing it - because it isn't really what it looks like on the surface. It starts out as a slice-of-life film in what appears to be some future post-war period, then turns into an alternate-universe SciFi technothriller, then a war movie complete with resistance movements, fleet actions, and bloody air combat. But lurking around the edges all the while is the real focus of the film - a love story between three friends who are driven apart by the more overt plot elements.

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Did I mention that it looks incredibly good for a non-HD movie? Slap it up on the big-screen if you've got one - this movie deserves it.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:18 AM
Post contains 200 words, total size 4 kb.

November 22, 2007

Robert Williams Day

Rooney small style 1 brush
Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet shaving soap
Illinois #127 strop
Pinaud Clubman aftershave

and this lovely thing ...
RW_Hammered_Shank.jpg
... a hand-forged Robert Williams razor.  I got him to leave the forging marks on the shank and spine just because it's so cool looking.  There's a thumb notch, jimping on the top and bottom of the shank, and jimping on the tail, and the spine is diamond-shaped.  The scales are buffalo horn, tapered near the pivot for extra comfort.  The swayback spine and blade are a feature found on some vintage razors that I find makes for a more comfortable shave.  The blade is foggy because it's cold outside (natural lighting cuts down on the glare problem), and I didn't bother letting the blade cool down to ambient temperature before I snapped the shot.

Posted by: mparker762 at 01:36 PM
Post contains 139 words, total size 1 kb.

November 21, 2007

Squeeze Cocker

I just got back from the store with a new toy - the Heckler & Koch P7M8.  I've been wanting one for nearly two decades, and since H&K claims the last batch that came across the pond are the last ones they'll ever make, really, seriously this time, cross-their-heart-and-hope-to-die, I figured I'd better get one while the getting was good.

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They're an extremely odd firearm because of their unique manual of arms, and as a result they've never been terribly popular, and hence are hideously overpriced.  But they are a very thoughtfully designed pistol that just happens to have solved the various design problems (accuracy, reliability, speed, and safety) completely differently than anybody else.  H&K was famous for that sort of clean-sheet design for decades before they decided "thinking different" wasn't as lucrative as "thinking the same but still charging too much for it".  I guess you could say H&K is the Apple of the gun world.  Anyway, this pistol is the last remnant of the old H&K philosophy that they sell, at least until inventories finally deplete.

They're nicknamed "squeeze cockers" because of the funny lever sticking out of the front of the grip below the trigger.  This lever cocks the striker, so once it's cocked then you can pull the trigger to fire.  If you release pressure on the lever then the pistol will instantly decock; so the lever doubles as the safety.  Since it takes about 18lbs of force to pull the lever into firing position and the pistol won't fire until you do, it's impossible for it to accidentally go off unless (1) you're squeezing the %#@& out of it and (2) you've pulled the trigger.

If you're using proper shooting form then all this happens automagically - you get into shooting position and the gun will be in shooting condition without having to think about it.  But it is a bit more tricky if you're just trying to cap it gangsta style - there are stories of cops lives being saved by this feature when a perp grabbed the cop's gun while being wrestled down and then couldn't figure out how to make it work.

Posted by: mparker762 at 02:14 PM
Post contains 362 words, total size 2 kb.

November 19, 2007

May I Suggest This Might Be a Satisfactory Solution?


to the skynet problem (via Stephen Den Beste): a CZ-550 Safari in one of several elephant-stopping caliber.


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One mistake the movies made repeatedly is assuming a shotgun can damage hardened steel (or even more exotic) alloys.  My CZ-550 chambered for the venerable .375 Holland & Holland.  Modern tungsten-cored bullets readily available and are reasonably priced.  Even the medium-bore .375 will penetrate over 3 feet of bone with ease, yet the recoil is comparable to the 12 gauge shotguns so prominently featured in the movies.

Posted by: mparker762 at 10:38 PM
Post contains 93 words, total size 1 kb.

November 11, 2007

Duckbilled Platypuma


Every now and then these show up on ebay.  Puma scales and the Puma name on the shank...
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And the Bresnick name and ducks on the back.
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These oddball razors are one reason that straight razor fans suspect that Puma was the OEM for the Dubl Duck razors.  The question is how they came to have the stampings for both companies...  One theory is that the entry of the US into WWI left Puma with a bunch of Dubl Duck blades that they finished as Pumas.  Dubl Duck razors tend to have slightly longer blades than standard, and all of these puma-ducks have very close-fitting scales - on mine the blade barely clears the end wedge, and on some of them the tip of the blade actually clips the wedge.

Posted by: mparker762 at 11:28 PM
Post contains 132 words, total size 1 kb.

November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Marines!

Today's shave was a tribute to the Corps, on their birthday.

Rooney small style 1 brush
Truefitt & Hill Luxury Shaving Soap
Illinois #127 strop
Clauss USMC razor
Harris Face milk

The Corps seems to have made two major straight razor purchases, both from Clauss and both of the same type of razor.  One batch had the USMC etched on the blade, and used plain carbon steel.  The second batch had the USMC stamped on the reverse side of the shank, and seems to have used chrome-plated carbon steel.  I believe the unchromed batch probably dated to the Spanish-American war, and the chrome-plated batch to WW1 (the marines having learned the value of rustproofing in the extended Philippine campaigns).  I have two USMC razors, one from each production run.

This morning's razor is from the earlier Spanish-American war production run.  It's pitted and ugly, but still shaves great.
Old_Clauss_USMC.JPG

My other USMC razor is below the fold:
more...

Posted by: mparker762 at 09:15 PM | Comments (7)
Post contains 159 words, total size 1 kb.

Thoughts on this fall season anime


Moyashimon is delightfully different, and highly recommended, especially if you've been hankering to brew your own sake.

Minami-ke is a must-see, especially if you liked Ichigo Mashimaro.  Chiaki is almost-but-not-quite an older Miu, and the interaction between the sisters is a lot of fun.  The upside-down mouths are disconcerting, as are the huge thighs, but it's still a major win.

Goshuushu-sama Ninomiya-kun is a fanservice vehicle with incipient pretensions to a plot.  I'm nervous that a plot may spoil the show, but remain hopeful that the fanservice will pull it through.   With that many succubi and incubi running around there's gotta be some major sparks coming up.

Bamboo Blade is good, and brings back memories of fencing class in high school.  The dull-as-dishwater Miya-Miya has developed some interesting personality quirks - turns out she's been putting on an act the whole time, and the other characters that have joined the team are adding some fun dynamics.

Sketchbook ~ Full Color~ is a slow and easygoing slice-of-life show that I love.  The characters are weird (hand-puppets?) but genuine and a delight to watch.

I'm still hanging on to Myself;Yourself, ef ~A tale of Memories~, and Kimikiss Pure Rouge though I notice that I'm falling behind, which is a bad sign.

Shugo Chara, Blue Drop, Clannad, Prism Ark etc have all completely dropped off the radar.  Dreck, all of them.  Mokke doesn't seem to be dreck, but it's extremely slow and not really worth the trouble.

Mostly an awful season, all in all.

Posted by: mparker762 at 01:09 AM
Post contains 257 words, total size 2 kb.

Moyashimon 3, or Lecture on Fermentation, in which a new character is introduced.

and she's a blonde! (in Japan?)

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She doesn't normally run around with cotton in her nose, but this is a special occasion - this is what she's carrying:
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Ick.  They cut it into sushi, and the walrus-looking professor happily exclaims it to be 6x nastier than Kiviak (the birds-fermented-in-a-dead-seal dish from episode 1).

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The girl's name is Oikawa Hazuki, and she's settling in the third freshman of the group.  She's reasonably cute, and seems nice, and has a major bacteria phobia that will probably turn out to complement Sawaki's bacteria-spotting power in some future episode.  She carries as much antibacterial sprays and swabs on her person as the Grenadier girl carries ammo.

In the background of this scene, btw, Hasegawa-san is showing off her, umm, peculiar skills...
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Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Bad memories of an undergraduate dorm room:
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To which the bacteriaphobe reacts predictably:
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and proceeds to clean it all up.  Chicks love vacuum cleaners.

There's a surprising amount of didactic material in this series, but this episode is especially heavy handed with it - nearly half the material is a lecture on traditional and commercial sake fermentation techniques.  Educational stuff for sure, and as a former biochemistry major and erstwhile homebrewer I found it fascinating, but I'm not sure how this sort of stuff will go over with the usual otaku set.  Though it does give us an opportunity to see Hasegawa-san in an apron.
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Not to fear - she's wearing a riding coat, leather miniskirt, and brown leather spiked-heel riding
 boots under that apron.

tra la.

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:48 AM
Post contains 274 words, total size 3 kb.

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