October 12, 2007

New anime season - Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun

Guy (named Shungo) takes on brown bears bare-handed for "training", but gets tied up by schoolgirls so they can torment him by showing him their pantsu, because if there's one thing a healthy young Japanese boy can't stand, it's pantsu:

So let's see... Govt chopper drops off cute girl (Mayu) at school who is nearly mauled by a horde of schoolboys, our intrepid hero rescues her and takes her to his house, and makes her supper... and ogles her admittedly ogle-worthy sweater-puppets.

Hmm, apparently he's only repulsed by pantsu when it's topped by seifuku.

The girl with the camera is his sister Ryoko.  Apparently she's some sort of commando.  And judging by the reliability with which she manages to turn up (with camera) whenever there's a particularly compromising situation, she's also quite the devoted perv.

Oh yeah, the pink-haired girl Mayu with the batarangs in her hair is a Succubus.  With a fear of men.  His sister Ryoko and Mayu's brother Mikihiro (who is of course an incubus) arrange for her to move in, put the two of them in the same bed, etc, in order to help her work through her awkward psychosis.  There's the minor matter that he's having increasing difficulty resisting doing naughty and improper things to her, and that that too much contact between them can kill him, but his adoring sister seems to think these are minor matters.  I'm really curious to find out just what sort of relationship Ryoko and Mikihiro have - they seem quite friendly, and clearly this scheme wasn't cooked up over an internet chat room.

Posted by: mparker762 at 10:45 PM
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New anime season - Clannad

After 2 episodes I think I'm gonna pass.  The character designs are too similar to Kanon (though much more annoying for some reason) and the story, such as there is, just doesn't grab me.



Posted by: mparker762 at 10:28 PM
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October 04, 2007

Craving Blueberry Yogurt

mmmm yogurt yogurt yogurt yogurt yogurt ....


You finished with that yet?....


Posted by: mparker762 at 08:12 PM
Post contains 15 words, total size 1 kb.

October 03, 2007

...to the shores of Tripoli

Rooney small style 1 brush
Truefitt & Hill Luxury Shaving Soap
6/8 Clauss USMC razor
Illinois #127 strop
Pinaud Clubman aftershave

These razors show up surprisingly often on ebay, much more often than razors from the other service branches.  So far, all of the USMC razors I've seen have been made by Clauss and are of a common model and size, but they seem to be from two major production runs.  I've got one from each batch - the earlier version is plain carbon steel and my example is heavily tarnished and has clearly seen some hard use.  The later version is chrome-plated carbon steel and mine looks to be mint.  I'm guessing the unplated one was made  for the Spanish-American war and the chrome plated one is early 20th century, probably WWI production.  Both the salt air from shipboard life and the humidity in the Philippines would have been hard on an unprotected razor, and explains why the notoriously thrifty Corps would have sprung for the expense of chrome plating on their second batch.

These razors are stoutly built and surprisingly heavy for their size (about 30% heavier than similar razors in my collection).  It wouldn't surprise me if the Marines had included some combat ability in the specifications.


Posted by: mparker762 at 10:44 AM
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October 02, 2007

Straight Razor Maintenance

Honing the straight razor is probably the biggest challenge faced by the beginning straight razor shaver.  Even brand-new razors from respected manufacturers like Dovo or Thiers-Issard aren't really sharp enough for a comfortable shave and must be honed before use.

There are really two basic phases in razor honing.  The first phase (and probably the hardest) is simply getting the razor shaving-sharp in the first place.  The second phase keeping it that way.

The first problem can be solved by buying the razor from a company like Classic Shaving that offers a professional honing service, or by sending the razor out to a skilled razor honer.  Doing it yourself is certainly possible but requires a great deal of practice and some potentially expensive equipment.

If you are trying to use a straight razor for your daily shaver the most important problem is keeping the razor sharp.  The first prerequisite is stropping the razor before each shave.  Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, stropping does *not* sharpen the razor.  It simply cleans the edge of any corrosion that may have developed overnight (and there will have been some, at the microscopic level) and helps straighten it out similar to the way a chef uses a knife steel.  Stropping will help extend the life of the edge but eventually the edge will deteriorate and will need honing to recover its shaving ability.  How long a razor can go between honings depends on a variety of factors such as the wiriness of your beard, the quality of your stropping technique, and the corrosiveness of the environment (humidity kills razors).  Some people also have naturally acidic or salty skin that also tends to reduce the life of the edge.

There are two main flavors of strop in common use in the US: the traditional hanging strop (usually hung from a carriage bolt or the doorknob), and a paddle strop which is basically a board covered in leather with a handle attached.  There is a third type called a loom strop that is sometimes found in Europe.  This is a paddle-type strop with a stretcher mechanism inside a loop of leather, and it combines the small size of the paddle strop with the stropping "feel" of a hanging strop.

As the razor's edge degrades over a few weeks (or months) of shaving it will eventually start pulling at your whiskers a bit, and if this cannot be cured by additional stropping then it is time to refresh the edge by removing some metal.  One of the most easily mastered method of doing this is the abrasive strop.  This simply requires the user to repeat his well-practiced stropping motion, and the abrasives embedded in the strop will return the razor to shaving form in only a few laps.  Some experienced straight razor shavers prefer to refresh their razor on the same water hones that were used to put on the initial edge.  And around the turn of the century most barbers used small specialized ceramic hones that have come to be known as "barber hones"; though these are no longer being made they are readily available on ebay.  However, barber hones and water hones are more difficult to master than the abrasive strop, and are best left until a new shaver has gotten a little more experience, if only to avoid unnecessary learning curves early on.

Both paddle strops and hanging strop may be embedded with abrasives and used to sharpen a razor.  Paddle strops are probably the most commonly used form of abrasive strop today, but according to my father (who lived with his grandparents for many years during and after WWII), my great-grandfather never used a stone on his razor.  He kept it sharp all those years using only his hanging strop which apparently had some sort of abrasive on the linen side.  I have both types myself, and find that they both work well, though the abrasive hanging strops seem to be more aggressive.

One place where I think the abrasive hanging strops really have no peer is sharpening the big Sheffield choppers.  These razors tend to be huge and heavy and have equally huge bevels, and fine-grit stones are simply too slow to put a really sharp edge on the razor in a reasonable amount of time.  But the hanging strops have 15 inches or so of stroke instead of the 6 or 7 inches on a hone or abrasive paddle, so they get the job done much more quickly.  Even the biggest Sheffield razor can be refreshed with only a few dozen strokes on an abrasive hanging strop.

My favorite abrasives on these strops are 1.8 micron boron carbide and 0.5 micron chromium oxide.  I also have a hanging strop with one side treated with Flexcut Gold, whis is a coarse fast-cutting abrasive that is used for rough work on the big Sheffields as well as sharpening our chef's knives and my pocketknives.

Photos below...

Posted by: mparker762 at 12:25 PM
Post contains 1269 words, total size 9 kb.

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