Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wet Shaving! Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the shave!

I am now a shave snob.

It started out innocently enough. Sam Sanchez told me how much he is enjoying his shaving and I was intrigued. I told Katie that it sounded cool and she went ahead and bought me a kit from The Art of Shaving. It comes with Pre-Shave Oil, a Shave Brush, Shaving Cream, and Post-Shave Balm.

This was step number 1 for me.

I started using the brush and oil and everything and I loved it. I read a bunch of stuff online about wetshaving. I even watched a lot of tutorial videos about how to lather and shave properly. This led to step 2.

Buying an old-school classic double-edge razor. This is the baby. A Merkur 38c. Also known as the Merkur Barberpole. It is a beautiful, satisfyingly heavy piece of metal that feels solid and works great! I love it.

Replacement blades can cost as little as 12 cents each. That is a far cry from the $3.50-$4.00 each for a Mach 3 or Fusion cartridge. But even better than that, these blades work even better. Let me explain. The Gillette and Schick cartridge blades work on the yank-and-cut principle. The first blades are supposed to pull the hair so that it can be cut lower down. But this can be really painful. A good sharp single blade on a properly prepared face just glides down with wonderful little cutting noises. You can hear each hair being cut.

This sort of led to step number 3 where I bought some great glycerin shave soap ($3.50 per cake, and lasts forever) , and some "Kiss My Face" shave cream ($5.99 at our local store). I whip up a good batch of lather with the soap as taught in the tutorials above and then I throw in a little shave cream for extra goodness. A couple of shave passes with this stuff and a good blade and my face is as smooth as the hindquarters of an infant. (Baby Bottom Smooth, or BBS) Also, my skin loves it. No more bumpy painful neck spots. I have to be a little bit more careful around the mole on my upper lip but that is typical.

If you are interested in learning more about wet shaving, watch some of the tutorial videos I linked to above. Here are some other sites to visit and read:

Here is a good post about how to shave like your grandpa

Believe it or not, now I look forward to shaving every morning. I even shave on Saturdays when I wouldn't have previously done so. I love it!

PR in Fiesta Mission 10K

On April 19th, I ran the Fiesta Mission 10k race and I set a new Personal Record (PR) of 41:46! That is an average pace of 6:43 per mile. The time was fast enough to get third place in my age group of 30-34. Below is a picture our neighbor took of me getting my prizes: a sombrero and a medal. Very nice. The secret for this race was my choice of music, Wicked soundtrack! Oh yeah! "The Wizard and I", "What is this feeling? (Loathing)", "Popular". But the very best was the last mile accompanied by "Defying Gravity". I rocked that last mile in 6:04. It was outstanding!

On a separate note, I have signed up for the St. George Marathon lottery. If I get in, the race will be October 4th. If I don't get in, then I'll probably sign up for the Top of Utah Marathon that ends in Logan. It is a few weeks earlier, at the end of September.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Misc. Holidays

This is Ella performing on stage during her first dance recital. She is in full makeup and everything. She did a great job.

On Christmas Eve we went to Sea World with some friends. We had our picture taken with Scuba Santa. It would be pretty cool to do a little Scuba work on the side at Sea World. The divers clean the tanks, feed the fish and participate in the diver shows.

On New Year's Eve we drove down to the beach on North Padre Island. We stayed at a nice, and not too expensive, hotel on the beach. Here, Ella is learning, from the master, how to look for the best shells. Ella is still in the Grab-Anything-Calcified stage of beachcombing. She is learning though.

On New Year's Day, (welcome to 2008!) we went to the Texas State Acquarium in Corpus Christi. They have a really great dolphin tank where you can go down below and watch them swim by the giant glass window. Very cool.
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San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park

San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park is fantastic! I'm sure the regular San Diego Zoo is amazing as well, but this is the Wild Animal Park; totally different. They have a lot of land to let the animals roam. We were there not too long after the raging wildfires in the Fall of 2007. As we approached the Park, we saw lots of burnt acres of land and the Park was severely threatened by the fires. Thanks to the brave firefighters, it was saved.

They have an outstanding African Elephant program going. We saw4 calves roaming around and whacking each other with their trunks. They are so cute to watch. We sat on the overlook and watched them while we ate our sack lunches. You can always tell when animals in captivity are happy because they reproduce. These pachyderms are ecstatic!

They have a really neat philosophy regarding the placement of animal habitats in their big open areas. The put natural predators within sight and smell of their natural prey. This helps the animals to continue their natural hunting and self-protection instincts. The gazelles, gnus, and water buffalo tend to rest in groups where each animal faces a different direction to keep an eye out for predators. Plus, it gives the cheetahs and lions something to dream about.

This poor guy is literally the last man on earth. He is the last male of his species in the world. To add insult to injury, he isn't very lucky with the ladies. He seems to have a self-confidence problem. Bummer.

I just thought that this was a nice shot of this bird in flight. I don't remember what species it is but it looks pretty good.

Anyway, next time you go to San Diego be sure to spend a half-day at the Wild Animal Park.
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California Adventure

This picture of Ella with Lightning McQueen and Mater goes out to all the cousins who love Cars. I know Oscar is a big fan.

The pillbug bumper cars are hillarious. First of all, they go v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. You don't so much bump into someone as ooze into them. Second, the cars chatter at you in that silly, hard-to-comprehend way the characters do on the A Bug's Life. That's why Katie's hand is raised like that. She was telling me about the chatter.
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Disney Experience

Disney is really good at presenting a complete experience. Take Jedi Training, for example. The volunteer younglings get to suit up in a robe and practice a whole series of lightsaber moves with Mace Windu and the other Jedi Masters. Then, in a dramatic reveal, Darth Vader and Darth Maul enter the theatre accompanied by stormtroopers. Vader attempts to woo the younglings to the dark side, but is unsuccessful as they repell him with their recently learned saber skills. It is very well done and the trash talking from Vader and the humorous commentary from Mace are excellent.

Of course, Katie couldn't resist a little visit to the Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer's Island to get a little attention from Captain Jack Sparrow.

Our first day in the park, we went straight to the Finding Nemo Submarine ride. We were in Bruce's first catch of the day (first submarine). It was a good thing too, because the line got totally out of control. The second day we decided to hit Autopia first, and what a good idea that was. As we were exiting Autopia, there were two cast members handing out the special "Year of a Million Dreams, Dream Fastpass". This pass, worn around the neck had one tab for each ride in the park that offered a fast pass. What a great deal that was! It gave us a goal for the day as we tried to use as many as we could, within reason, of course. After a while, we started getting too woozy to go on the pukie rides. But it was fun!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Goofy's Kitchen

Last time we went to Disneyland we ate lunch at Ariel's Grotto. Big Mistake. It took time out of our Disney day, it was really crowded, the service was poor, the food was mediocre. The visits from the wide variety of Princesses was the only redeeming quality. This time we listened to Matt & Shan's recommendation and ate at Goofy's Kitchen the night before going into the park. This worked out really well.

First of all it is a buffet so you don't have to worry about slow service. The food was not too bad either. Not stellar, but decent. Best of all, it added to, not subtracted from, our Disney experience. We weren't going to be in the park that day anyway so we could really enjoy it.

Now. Best. Recommendation. Ever. Go Early. We showed up a few minutes before they opened and were some of the first people in there. This gave us a lot of time with the first few characters there. We had them all to ourselves for a good half hour. Here are some of our favorites from the night:

Bert from Mary Poppins was excellent. He spent a great deal of time with Ella, drawing pictures, singing "It's a Jolly 'Oliday", etc. They talked about what a good job Dick Van Dyke did portraying him in the movie.

Jane was also excellent. You can't see it in the picture but her bussle was about the size of a Volkswagen.

And of course Snow White was everywhere on this trip, since it was her anniversary in 2007.
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Climbing (Cinder) Ella

This one is for Grandpa Gary.
While in California we attended "The Enchanted Experience" put on at Disney's newly remodeled El Capitan Theatre, which sits just across the street from the famous Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre (Oscar's). The film was great and the after-party was excellent as well. Disney knows how to entertain.

Anyway, at one point Ella hit the climbing wall. You climb up one side and slide down the other. She did it many times. In her Cinderella costume no less. Look at that form. Stay on your feet. Don't hug the rock. Keep your head up and eyes looking for the next hold. Great job!
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The Office :: On Location

Before we went to California in December 2007, I Google'd the filming location of "The Office". You can find it right here on Saticoy St. in Van Nuys, CA. So, of course we had to go visit. First off, is the main entrance. The warehouse entrance is around to the right side.

Just down the street you will find this lovely sign for Dunder Mifflin and Vance Refreigeration.

Here we are outside the gate.

And this is Katie and I trying to do our best Pam & Jim impersonations. I think hers is better than mine. I overdid it a bit.
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