Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Everything keeps coming back to that. Even in my day dreams, I imagine myself being lost at see. I know its my own mind making sense of what I cant understand. Doesn't make it any more fair to me.
I should admit I did something stupid. I acted out on an urge. Thought, "hey Scott, why aren't you doing what you do right now?" So I did it. For years I'd wanted to get back to doing what I felt like. And when the mood would strike me; I act out in the most honest and endearing ways. I've wanted to be able to express that part of my life again for the past several years. I am a giver. Through and through. So, I turned around and sent a big playful order of flowers to the girl I met the other night. I called my florist, dreamt up a solution, and had the flowers arranged in a big toy pick up truck. Then it spent a few days without any answer. I kind of knew, deep down, if there wasn't an immediate good reaction, then lukewarm to bad was my best case scenario. So on the third day I get a nice, polite response. She was very surprised, enjoyed it, and was planning on moving away. Buzzkill.
I sit and realize though, that it isn't necessarily about this. The buzzkill is me carving off that piece of my pysche. Why do that shit? Everyone else would compliment me... telling me how bold it was... or how crazy it was that I could do that. It really never crossed my mind. Honestly, I've been looking for an outlet for that for a while. Get back to being me in some way. I held on to one girl for so many years, because I hated the idea of never having anyone to do that with... so I'd send her flowers, or do stupid shit. Here I am a few years later, realizing how frustrated I am, because there isnt anything I can do. So I try it again. Nothing. Like hooking up a jumper cable to a wrecked car.... it just doesnt go anywhere.
I have a hard time with that when i'm tired and should be sleeping. Im back on the shitty 15 hour day rotations, fresh off of 4 hours of sleep... and here my mind wanders about this kind of crap now. It probably isn't fair.
I sit and feel a slight twinge of guilt, thinking back about it. This is the kind of shit I've wanted to do for years. And, I should have been doing it. There was someone I should have done this sort of thing with, and I didn't do it because I felt like she and I werent ready for it. I should have done it. Here i am tossing away 100 bucks of dead flowers to a girl I'd known for 15 minutes; but I didn't send them to someone I'd known for years and cared about for too long to tell her. In a way I was right not to. She'd have been upset. I hate that feeling too. Knowing that whatever decisions I keep making, I can't ever seem to justify later on. But it never was that I didn't want to send them to the other girl. I did. I cancelled two orders at the last minute at different times. She doesn't know that. There are so many things I've wanted to do; but couldn't. I had to get to a place where I could do that again.
I say that, because I've been a giving person most of my life. I've been a very giving lover all of my life. The very first, fake, girlfriend I ever had... way back in kindergarten... started it. During the big Fun Night, I had a heart necklace engraved for her... I think it cost me 4 or 5 tickets... a lot of paper money for a kindergarten kid! Poor Debbie B! She never knew what hit her! That started 20 some years of madness I guess. But as a 30 something adult, I know the true value in what i do, when I give things. I give a piece of myself. it isn't just a toy, or flowers, or jewelry; it is a piece of me I give to them, to share. And as corny as that sounds, its hard to imagine some strange girl understanding me doing that. No wonder she didn't know what to say for 3 days. So why didn't I give to the girl that WAS deserving of it? I dunno. I wasn't ready to do that again. I wasn't ready to give up whatever was left of myself after what had happened, and what I had done to myself over the years.
In short, I have terrible luck with women. I alone, could give a new house and a car to a homeless woman, and still not get a date. I have always had that knack for being too much. People don't understand me. People don't want to. They always want whats simple, whats pretty, whats slightly less than accessible to them. I always stand there, waiting. I'm not pretty. In fact, I'm down right ugly. I'm extremely complex. And I'm always available. None of that seems good to anyone nowadays. But they always overlook, or wait too long to realize what i am good for. I care too much. I am loyal. I am a healer. I share. I give so much in experiences that its not a simple thing to approach. It scares people. It scares people because i don't go for the easy things either. I look inside people. I really try to put my effort into people that deserve it and me. When that rejection comes, its very difficult to take. Other peers thing its tough getting shut down by the blonde russian model at the bar... I laugh at her and dump the drink on her! Its the ones I stay up late with talking about things, sharing life with that I get attached to, that I really want to be with, that kill me in the end. Those are the ones that deserve the most from me, that is the hardest to give up on my end. If it were simple, it would be easier. Like flowers. Like those I'd send wrapped in a kids toy. Its a way to play with my heart and hers. Its all a metaphor I suppose.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
We get up each day in this world and do what we do. How often do we sit and think, what is it I really want out of this day, in this world? When does that coincide with what we end up doing by the end of our day? Total it up. By the end of all of our days, what have we made? Lots of things for other people; little for ourselves. The idea that the future can change based on our actions today is probably true. Fate, has its place in the grand scheme of order... but not to this extent. I'd like to think that fate, or the things we lie destined to be doomed to; are that outlier... that five-percent we cant ever explain at the end of our lives. I'd like to say that I survived a heart attack because I forced myself to do it... I willed my heart to keep beating. Because i did. Instead, I lose sight of the fate that dropped me on a steel table that night in the first place. How do you end up dying of a heart attack at thirty? That part you cant explain. But you make of it what you will. I lived. Now, I wander around asking why I lived through it.
If there is no fate, then there really isnt any purpose. Fate has to have some pointed stick in this game. Somewhere in our lives, we all feel it jab us and move us along.
Did you ever hear the one about the snake that tried to cross the railroad tracks?
Well one day this snake thought there might be something better on the other side. So he slithers on up, pokes his head around, and waits. Eventually he gets the courage up to wrangle it over the hot tracks and he picks his way around the rocks and ties. Just as he gets to the other side, a train comes by in a furry, and runs him down, and it chops off the last inch or so of his tail! The snake winces in pain. He flips around, darting back and forth in dismay. After a moment, he turns around, and starts over the track to look around for the tip, hoping he could put himself back together. Before he realizes it, a second train comes by and lops him off right below the jaw. The moral of the story is, you can only lose your head when it comes to chasing a piece of tail.
I smiled when he finished telling it. Quick, to the point, solid punch line... makes a great little metaphor for all of us at times.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
About 15 minutes before the store closed, a customer comes back with a rented truck to return... being favorable to the people upfront, I go out to check it in and take care of it, rather than pull them across the store while they are busy settling drawers. As I walk up to the doors, I'm met by an attractive brunette with long hair in a blue shirt. She smiles at me. I ask who had the truck, and she walks over to meet me.
She insists immediately, that she might have left a cell phone charger in our truck. I laugh. "Its ok," I have to go walk and look at it anyhow. She, curiously, comes with me. I start making small talk as we walk across the parking lot. She immediately cuts in, "I didn't even know you guys had trucks to rent, it was so cool!" I laugh. We have lots of moments like this in the new store. She continues, "I needed it to move my bed... like my mattress and everything. I pretty much moved everything I own today all by myself!" We stopped at the truck as she said that. I look at her, realize shes probably my age, and definitely pretty attractive. "High five lady!" I say. She smiles, and protests.... "No... no its not good. I ... I kind of walked out on my fiancé today and just decided I'm through with it and him... so I moved out." I didn't know what to say.
She started explaining some of the situation as I fumbled inside to find her cell phone charger. It was a weird situation for her. Her fiancé wasn't good to her, she felt like she had settled too long. They were living in a house he owned, but couldn't afford, that was sold to him by his mother as part of a divorce settlement with his father. The house was in need of lots of repair, and he had somehow convinced her to move in, pay the mortgage and help pay to fix the place up. Again, I didn't quite know what to say, as I handed the charger to her. She stopped long enough to smile at me. She looked worried. I radioed in the mileage of the truck and that it was damage free. She crossed her arms and stood there, looking at me or past me.
So I started talking. I told her about me. I told her not to feel bad for that guy. At one point that was me in a way. I'd been walked out on, and even if it took me along time to deal with it, I was better for it. She dropped her story and demanded to know more about me. We kept at it walking back to the store. She kept looking up at me in my eyes, asking me why that girl broke up with me, or why she couldn't love me. i gave her the honest answer, I don't know why. I really never will, and it didn't really matter much to me anymore after all these years. I held the door open as she walked in to sign paperwork.
My mind was kind of running in circles. No one had ever come out of nowhere and started talking to me like that... especially someone like her in her position. I thought she was making it up, but I believed her at the same time. I didn't make sense to meet someone like this, at 10 o'clock at night on a Thursday. I watched her as she filled out a form, with a blonde friend of hers at the counter. I felt itchy. I felt compelled to do something. My life has been about doing things different lately. Its been about getting away from my comfort zone, to find whats real and what matters in my life to me. I pulled out my business card, and shakily started writing my phone number on it. I knew how awful of an idea this was. But I found myself doing it.
Almost instinctively she turned around, swished her hair, and makes a bee-line for me again. She puts her hands on the back of her hips, with her elbows pointed out, as she stands in front of me. I kind of blurt it out. "I uh... I... this is not me.... I really don't do this kind of shit... but.... this is my number.... why don't you call me sometime, I'd really like to talk to you some more," and I handed her my card. She kind of rolls her eyes and smiles and takes it, and puts it in her pocket and gives me a nod to follow her back outside. I just follow, blindly after her.
We lean against the bollards outside and keep talking about everything. She tells me that shes lived around here her whole life and know doesn't know what to do, I laugh and tell her the same thing, that except for college, I've been here too. She seems excited that I was an Iowa alum. She smiles, wrinkles up her nose, and says "oh my god, a Hawkeye, how cool!" I didn't want to tell her its practically a diploma mill any more. She says school was tough for her... nursing school. She tells me shes a nurse in Davenport, at East Rusholme. I know thats a hospital. I ask her what unit, but I was never prepared for her answer. She says the cardiac unit. Shes a nurse in the cardio ICU, where I had my heart attack two years ago. I tell her that, without thinking. She immediately seems worried or taken back. That I was too young for that. I worry if I crossed a line with my honesty. She wants more information... we talk. Its amazing. She knows my doctors... she knows how I was treated... she understands so many things about my heart that i don't. Amazing is the only word I could use.
Somehow we change the subject and keep talking about other things. She tells me her ex fiancé would tell her she has too lofty of goals and dreams for herself. I want her to tell me. "Well, I want to go to India..." I cut her off, "I want to go to Everest... on the Tibet side." We just stare at each other. After a moment, I tell her its a spiritual thing, that I wear my beads every day to remind myself of it.... She asks if I'm Catholic, and I take them off my wrist and hand them to her. Once she sees the seated Buddha on the beads, and the sanskrit characters, she smiles at me like shes going to cry. I don't know what else to say to her. I tell her the truth. Goals are so important to me. She nods, and crosses her arms, having moved closer to me, she looks up at me. I feel compelled to share it. I reach in my back pocket and pull out my notecard. "I even write down little goals for myself and carry them around," as i show it to her. After that, she never broke eye contact with me, and stands maybe 8 inches from me.
Before anything else could happen, someone kicks open the door, and stomps outside. I had been watched for a few minutes I suppose. She walks past me, never looking at me, and demands the mileage and information on the truck, while facing the girl, whom I still dont know. I stop and tell my coworker the mileage from memory, that the truck is fine, and dangle the key over her head [shes rather short]. I get a glare at me indirectly, as she forces paper work over to the girl to sign. My coworker then hurriedly snatches it up, stares at me, and huffs rapidly walking into the store, where she locks the door. The brunette gives me a wry smile, "shes... pleasant!," and laughs. I smile and laugh too, trying to make a half assed defense up, to which the brunette looks at me and says, "is there something with you and her.. I can see that" I shake my head no. Of course there is a story there. I feel like I need to lie though.
Her blonde friend then walks out the automatic door suddenly before we could talk. "Ok! Were all done for today!" The brunette turns and says, "hey this is like my new friend here.." To which I'm smiled at and given a thoughtful "thats cool!" remark. No one questions it. So the three of us start walking back out to the parking lot. I remind myself, I still have to drive the truck back in the locked yard, its not to keep hounding her. They make small talk about having moved everything, and how its been a long day. Her friend says, "well its not over, I still have a whole car full of shit to deal with!" Everyone kind of smiles. I realize, we are at their car. I stop. I don't want this to end. It has to.
As they unlock the car, the brunette smiles at me pulling her hair out of her face from the wind. She looks at me, straight in the eyes from the other side of the car and says, "Maybe I'll see you India.." I feel dejected. It is ending. I reply to her, "You know? I'd like that.... call me, we can see if we can get the same flight together." She nods, smiles, and laughs. She looks at me one more time, before she shuts the car door, and they drive away. And I am left standing in the parking lot at the store truck by myself.
I think to myself, in the past few days I fucked it up. I think, at other times, I did the exact right thing. I'll never know. Maybe not.
I never got her name. I never got her number. And somehow, I let her walk out of my life, just as quickly as she walked into it. I felt like I knew her more than I did, and that there was something more to her than just passing in the night. I feel like I should have gotten a text message seconds after the drove away. I kept looking at my phone for an hour. Nothing. Three days later... nothing. I'm sad.
But I remind myself, this poor girl just up and dumped out her life that night. She walked out on a fiancé, a place to live, and someone she [at one time] cared about. And I sit, jealous, that a stranger, whom never told me her name, isn't calling me immediately to get started with me.... all because i felt a connection. Who knows what she feels now. I swore I saw all the signs. Yet, my phone wont ring. I can't make it. I can't call her. I can't see her. I don't even know her name. Thats why i think I fucked it up.
Then I realize she has her own things to deal with, likely none of that is a fat guy, with a heart attack, working at a lumber yard, hitting on her the night she dumps her fiancé. Which, this is really all she knows right now. I can't blame her. I can't blame me either. Shes intelligent, shes got goals, shes a dreamer, she works hard, shes interested in me, and she understands my heart on several levels. I can't blame me for trying that. So thats why I think I did the right thing. I gave her my card. If she wants me; between my iphone and the store line / email, there is no other place I'd ever be reached at in my life. Thats up to her.
For all I know, that card went through the washer... ended up in the trash... or in the bottom of a box. I'll never know for sure. Maybe I will. Just maybe. It sure would make a great story, for a guy that has alot of them. It sure was a memorable way to start off with a girl who I can't name.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
|Things of our dreams. An Image I made some years ago.|
I had two very vivid dreams last night... That is not out of the ordinary for me... but they were different than usual... I woke up after the first one about 4 am... it was about me making one of my goals, the second one was about making something mine.
I was on the mountain, standing there looking at all the flags going up and down the cliffs, in bright reds, whites and blues. Its an unfamiliar, foreboding place. I was surrounded by strange people, speaking languages I can’t recognize. I could see how dark the edges of the rocks were all around me, and i could see it go on up above me, past the clouds. I felt like I was nowhere. I was at Everest, at base camp on the Tibet / China side. I can recognize it from pictures and documentaries, but in all the earth, this is its peak... this is the hardest thing... while I felt that I have come farther than I ever expected, I felt that l will never climb that mountain. I stood at its foot and stared deeply into it. Nothing I've ever felt in my waking life, felt like that... to stare into the abyss, to look upon it with favor, not disdain. To be there with strangers and yet all alone before the summit of the highest point of the world. The wind whipped so hard around me I couldn't hear anything but it and the banners snapping up the hills. It was so surreal. Even the smell of it was distinct. I felt cold. I felt weak. I felt like my heart was giving out. But I was there. I remember that I walked to the edge of some bluff and looked out over nothing almost as far as I could see, and practically fell down on both knees before it. Lost in thought, watching the flags and banners... the prayer cloths in the wind... the smoke going sideways from small fires... small little makeshift houses and buildings among the rocks and grass. It was just open, nothing. It was beautiful. It was beautiful because there was nothing, but there before me was the most majestic crag on this earth. There was nothing stopping me from it except myself. Somewhere a few minutes into being kneeled before it, is when I woke up.
A little miffed about waking up from that, I slowly drifted back to sleep. I stopped to look at my phone, and noted it was 3:50am.
It became a little less typical of me to have a dream about everyday life. I've definitely suffered from deja vu throughout my life. I see small little pictures of things that I’ve come to realize weeks or months later are unfolding right before me. As I grow older, I am experiencing longer bouts of it, but with less frequency. As a kid, I saw a silver door knob, at a crooked angle: a month later in gym glass I fell, ramming my head into the wall, and sitting up I looked up to see that door knob. Other times I have seen road signs with sunsets behind them, or people walking and talking around me; all to find it all come true. This time, it was a normal feeling.
I'm laying lengthwise on a brown leather couch [that I don't own], in a place that I don’t recognize [ie I don't own], but its clearly mine. My art is on the wall facing me. The walls are painted in colors I’d choose. Everything about this place feels comfortable to me. Its warm there. There is some sun light coming from behind me. And I feel that I belong. I hear a voice, softly, but don’t understand the words. I look down to realize I have someone laying in my lap covered in a blanket and she's staring up at me into my eyes. I look at her and see she's biting her bottom lip. She looks timid, but happy, and like she just woke up suddenly and was surprised to see me. About as surprised as I was to see her like that. The only thing I remember was reaching down, grabbing her with my left hand and squeezing her right where her but meets the back of her leg, as she rolls over. I begin brushing her hair out of her face with my right hand as she keeps looking at me with her big eyes. I keep my hand on the right side of her face, as I feel her rush in to kiss me. I see her eyes close as our noses and foreheads touch and I kiss her. It feels like the most romantic thing I have ever done in my life, and I feel her tears with my right hand, even though I know she is completely happy. That's when I wake up. I don't have romantic dreams. I just don't. And so much of what was in this makes me wonder why I had it. I wonder if that's a dream, or that's something that's going to come true.
Today, as I'm talking to my lawyer, I get an email with pictures of the inside of this condo I'm looking at buying sent from my realtor. When I saw the layout, I realized where I've seen it. Change the couch, change the pictures, change the paint... its that place. After I left the office, I sat at lunch, looking through my email today, finding myself staring at the pictures. I wanted to cry. Because there is so much in that dream I want to make real.
What do we do with our dreams?
Can you recycle dreams? Can you save them? How do we even remember them… most times they fade so fast from us as we wake, we never can hold on to them. When we are taken places we’ve never been and end up there in our dreams, how do remember that later in life if we get there? How do we ever convince someone else what our dreams are, and how you know things from dreams? How do we transform our dreams into our memories? That’s the secret to life. How do you make that real, when you see it, when you feel it, when you know it, and its right there and you can do it… even when you cant, you dreams take you there.
"There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time. "
Sunday, March 17, 2013
there are so many things i have left to do in my life, and a short time to do any of it. it has been about my heart though. its the most troublesome thing for me to fix. doctors deal with it. my rinpoche tinkers at it. i dont know know what im even doing with it. But we all agree ill die from it. I will dies from it because i dont listen to my heart. thats a physical health thing. thats a gut check thing about living the right way. That's about about love too. its about me needing to get past so many of the things ive written about over the years, or eluded to at least. i cant be alone anymore in this world. now that i know what im heading to, i need someone more than ever in my life. the next five years are going to be the most challenging and change riddled of my life. that much is clear; i need some stability. i need someone to tell me when im right and when im wrong. and its not too much to ask to have someone to kiss or cry with, is it? It comes down to so many experiences that will happen, I'm selfish to not want someone to share this with. Especially the one person that stepped up and said she loved me. Even if i didn't believe it then, I need to now.
just as much as the tv was a overshoot... maybe thats what im looking at with this too. maybe it was a bridge too far. i always said, i knew id die alone because there probably wasn't ever anyone out there to love me. i love people. I've deeply loved several women. not a one has ever said she loved me. 30 years on this earth and it hadn't happened. I've handed out rings. Ive bought gifts. ive been there to give away some of them to other men. Nothing. Then someone said it. And I was confused and not ready for it. Here I am now asking myself why I wasn't ready then. its a big step to get what i want. that tv was a big step. i could have just picked up a junky 20" tube tv from craigslist for 20 bucks. i wanted something for me. it cracked and fell apart before it was mine. i guess thats a metaphor for something else in my life related to love, right now. maybe it had cracks in it before i could find a way to make it mine, and maybe the cracks were mine showing through.
it makes me sad to think that some of my goals, that I'm so happily crossing off... have to get whited out and put back on the page. i want to see a list of things getting done. i want to see change and progress in my life that tells me all the struggle is making a difference. in the end, its pushing people away from me i wanted to keep. people struggle seeing eye to eye with me. and even i don't understand myself some days anymore. in that respect, i have to go back and put a lot of me back on the page, on a layer of white out. its hard seeing the lines in the ripples of our own self reflection. but its necessary. and its the only way out of all this for me.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Life is full of change. Lately, I’ve done nothing but second guess myself at every turn. Seemingly, I can’t do anything right. I can’t make my boss understand that, I can’t let myself relax, I can’t seem to tell people how I care about them, and even my doctors are telling me I can’t seem to get it together. Its so exhausting to seem like a failure at every level, all at the same time.
Today I took a quick step off to the side to fix one problem. All while I’m listening to Ziggy Stardust bemoaning “five years, its all we’ve got,” I realize I have to make changes. As much as I want to talk about and fix the other things first… especially my relationship with Someone else, I know this is probably the most important thing I need to do. The cardiologist was quite unhappy with my “progress.” It has to change.
I took my most recent stress test in mid December, following a nasty run of shit at work… way too much overtime and stress… during an already stressful holiday time of year, where I’m not eating right, I’m exhausted, and I had a huge personal falling out with Someone very important to me. No kidding Doc, I look like shit! I feel like shit. But I don’t feel like I’m going to have another heart attack. He isn’t so certain about the future. We talked about the heredity, my awful genetics, my age, my previous condition, my arrhythmia, my stress, my exhaustion, and my diet. There wasn’t a lot of positives in that conversation for me to hear.
In a way, I needed to hear it all of it. I heard it all before. But I was never really ready to listen to it. Here I am, absorbing it like a sponge today. So much changed in so little time, within myself, I needed to hear it again. On one hand, I needed to hear how lucky I’ve been so far. But I needed to hear what I need to put work into going forward. My body isn’t going to keep up with what I do to it for the next thirty-years, If its like the last thirty. That’s the message. That’s the inside, high and tight pitch at my helmet.
So, we talked about who to see, and what to do. So today, I walked in, prepaid a year of gym membership, and called in a consult with a recommended trainer from my cardiologist. Larry and I sat down and talked briefly, while he got some of my medical charts faxed in. He thinks its doable. He said, that once he heard me talk about what I need in my life, he said he’s convinced I could do about anything. That’s excellent news. That’s something that takes a few wrinkles out of your soul, after feeling like its been crumpled up and stomped on the last few months.
Larry wants to get me in and run me through a bunch of shit to see what I’m really like. He told me the medical stress test results aren’t what he reads for progress or improvement. I got to start somewhere. He agrees it shouldn’t take much refresher for me. Having worked out extensively for baseball, rehabbing leg injuries, and the whole ROTC time frame, he thinks its going to come back to me pretty quick. He told me that the long term motivation is what most people lose. I told him my three motivating things for my life right now. He didn’t know what to say!
I have to look at making myself stronger and better from the inside out. I told him that I have to understand me and live with me the rest of my life. The longer I live, the better I will get at that.
I told him I’m scared of dying thinking I left too much behind that I could have accomplished. I worry that I’m wasting time in my life, instead of valuing it. The things I want I need to start working for, to see all the effort will tell me I worked hard enough to earn what I get in the end.
Lastly, I told him I’m motivated by one other person. She means enough to me that I have to make some changes in my life. Even if its hard, or it scares us, we need to realize that we really effect and mean that much to each other. Its important for me to let that happen, and be there for that change for both of us.
Larry thinks I’ve got solid motivation. Now he wants to see my sweat.
So I joined the gym. I prepaid the year and for Larry. But it’s a commitment to all of those things and myself. Its time that something else had to change for me.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I just had the most religious experience of my life, in a ditch for the last hour and a half….
And I mean that.
Many of you know that I’m in a bit of a crisis of my life lately. I’ve probably talked too much at length about it. But its a lot of things coming to me at once. Today, I just thought I’d roll past a farm house for sale on the way home. Its Iowa, its winter, it isn’t out of the ordinary. So I didn’t think much of snow and blowing conditions.
As I went down a back sand/gravel road, the wind swept up; it game me an instant white out of everything, and I was tobogganing down into a ditch cut about 3 feet below the road surface. It was that quick. Somehow, I didn’t roll. I was upright. And that was miracle. Without the snow plowed into the ditch, I should have rolled over my front right corner and flipped it. But I was fine. But I had snow packed up to the windshield. What do I do? I get angry. I punched the steering wheel. I shut the engine off, and tried to open the door. No good. There is so much snow drifting and blowing, I cant open it. I start climbing across the passenger seat to get out and look at it.
As I’m standing there, knee deep in the drifts, I see several problems. First. The road falls off to nothing in about 3 inches. I will have to climb maybe 20” height straight up with no running start to get on the road. The fenders didn’t even line up with the level of the road. That’s a problem. Second. There is so much snow, I could see the shape of the undercarriage of the jeep like a long snow fort where I had plowed through it. As I climbed to the front, I had snow packed into the grill, so far under the differential I was high spotted, and just wet grassy mud under that. Third. There isn’t anything out here.
Of course I start swearing. I go with anger. That didn’t move any snow. So I go to the tailgate and dig out the e tool, and toss the rubber floor matts out the windows, and start digging. I spent 10 minutes to clean the drivers side front axle out. I noticed there is so much snow and grass packed together, that’s what kept my wheels straight going down in the ditch. Another 10 minutes to clean the passenger side and I realize Ill have a lot more digging to do to clear it if I intend on driving forward…. Ill end up trying to plow 3 feet of packed drift who knows how far. I keep digging to the back and decide to try it.
At first when I get it, I cant start the jeep. I panic a bit. I realize I left it in gear. I start it back up, and start to work. After 10 minutes, I was able to get the Grey Ghost to gain some traction and move about 15 feet forward, and angle to the road when I stopped. I got out to realize I’m plowing snow, and I’m shredding mud and grass everywhere. I take a few minutes to air down the tires… I let the pressure drop 20 pounds of pressure out of each wheel. I know my odds are going up of breaking a bead and losing a tire at that point if I catch something hard. But I’m getting desperate. I’d driven Big Red out of worse. I should be able to get out.
So I go back to work digging. I stopped to call my Mom, and let her know where I am at. Then I called the first 5 tow truck places on Google. No ones coming for me. I look around, after I put my phone down, and realize how lost I am. I’m stuck. I have my ruck, I’ve got food and water. I’ve got my sleeping bag that I never took out from Chicago in January, and I even have my pistol. Its amazing to think how prepared I actually was to be there. Yet, I still wouldn’t get calm to do the right things. If the jeep blew up. I would have been in better shape, than just driving it back on to the road.
I jumped out in the ditch and blowing snow and dug some more. I kept going until my legs were too cold to take it. I started it up, and rocked away. She wasn’t going anywhere this time. I kept sliding laterally, and I couldn’t get going forward or backwards at all… I knew I was right against the edge of the roadway that sat about even with the hood. I got out to look around… without any trees or brush, I couldn’t make a ladder for it either. I burnt a hole in a floor mat, when I walked around again to look at options. This time I was stuck. Its too deep. Its too much to get it up without any recovery point, and I’m only 2 feet from the road.
That’s when the metaphor hit me. Right there in the blowing snow. I am so fucking close to being on the road. I’m so close to staying on it, that I can get blown off without me keeping to the path. Everything in my life is that way right now. Its me. Its work. Its living. Its dealing with death. Its telling someone I love her, for the first time in years. But that’s where I’m at. Just at the edge of the road, and its so hard to climb up and out.
I sat down and shut the door. In an hour and change, no one had some by. No cars. Back behind me is a barn about 500 yards out. I started thinking about packing out and hiking it. I was frustrated. Just like my life, I’m looking for answers or hints. I stopped and reached up to my dash and took my beads and thought it through for a minute.
My beads are not rosary. They are not Muslim cleric. They aren’t even my Lakota prayer set. They were sent to me by my Rinpoche. Lately, I carry them with me a lot. They sit right on top of my dash as I drive. But as soon as I took them, and I thought about it. I calmed down. I was open to it. I let go of my anger. Then I saw headlights in the mirror.
I want to say that car was coming anyhow. I want to say, I had hours to work and find a way out. Or I could have just given up and walked. I was prepared for it all. But I am not prepared to sit and wonder. All the things I’ve done wrong, happen then. When I dropped my anger, when I accepted my place at that moment, I realized how close I was to being on the path. I realize that if I was open to it, love will be there. I have denied that too long. If I was open to it, I could find my way out, but if I fought it and kept digging I will sink farther. If I was prepared I would be safe regardless, If I failed to follow my plans I would still be stuck. It was only when I stopped to accept it, would I get the true answer.
In a matter of moments, someone about my age in a pick up truck drove up, and with out asking jumped down to the ditch asking me how I intended to get out. I told him to give me tug. He laughed and started digging for some tow straps. How does all this work out? When I trust I to. When I let go of it and trust, it will be made so. We went to work digging and fastening the strap to the passenger side front axle. And I just put it in gear. When the slack was pulled, it took a slight pull and I was rolling forward and up… I started to get excited, and it hung up. I felt my jeep pulling to the left; turning perpendicular to the road, and I just knew to take the chance to downshift, throw it right and hammer on. I could have rolled it again. I should have. The whole damn thing should have been upside down at this point. But she rolled right up over the edge and onto the road. It took the man by complete surprise as he jumped out waving. I got out calmly to look at things. Nothings broke. Nothings damaged. The trim is scraped up a bit. I have grass and snow packed mud on everything. But she’s all right on the road.
As we pulled apart the two strap and unshackled it from his hitch, I asked him frantically for his name or his number. I handed him 80ish dollars from my wallet… its all I had. He wouldn’t take it. He wouldn’t take my business card. He wouldn’t even tell me his name. Then he looked at me, shook my hand, and said, “just pay it forward in your life to someone else some day.” That’s how I realized how close I am to being on the path. With that he waived at me, and said “try to keep it on the road,” and he drove off.
I sat there in the road stunned for a few minutes. Its so important to have these moments. I stopped and took my beads and thought about all of that again in the middle of the road, and drove the way home with them on my hand. I still don’t know any more answers to my questions, but I have a lot more faith in getting onto the road and staying on it, after today.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
So I did some rudimentary updates to the blog format. It has been long overdue. I don't care to look when I last modified this [but Google does keep track of that crap, I've noticed!] but we can agree its been quite some time. I had to cut half the links out; most of these people never really consented to it in the first place, and the rest are dead ends. Its definitely time to move on and do some cleaning.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Secondly, my second [pun] blog, BuyMeABurrito.blogspot.com , has been getting some key time as well. This is all about eating. Foodies better come rolling in! It was out of necessity of trying to find a descent burrito in all my travels. Sure, I can name several in Texas, Mexico and California… even some I frequent in the Quad City area that local for me, but this blog is purely about answering the question; Where can I Buy Me A Burrito?!?! Expect about a half dozen entries by mid summer. My goal is to start ripping off an entry a month [if I can travel that much!], always love feedback. Besides, its about food that’s fucking amazing.
Third, I was a special attraction [read: circus clown] on a semi active podcast about World of Warcraft, the Grand Old Podcast. I had been the featured artist from which the show had been pulling artwork for their web notes of the episodes. I was drug on to be me for a little while, tell some stories [most of which ended up being edited out, thankfully] and talk about my art. Turns out some people on the internet find me interesting… like a car wreck. So I can announce we are formulating a semi regular sit down. We are aiming for once a month, maybe more. Pretty much me getting turned loose on hot microphones for a few hours. It’s a good experience, and I’m excited to be a part of it!
Fourth, I am going through all of my noted technology upgrades so I can really put more focus into my art. Photography is something I really enjoy and would love to set my life and livelihood around. Those of you that know me, know I’m not interested in doing weddings and newborns; but expose on life and landscape is just fine. My hard art [read fuzzy images] have gotten some listening and murmurings from some art directors and museum directors, so I need to listen to that. At some point I have to jump if its anything near me to grasp… hoping the next few months that can happen.
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Well my grocery list of problems is quickly shortened after a full day of research in Windows 8.
At the moment my concerns are:
- transferring iTunes library and iphone/ipad backups
- transferring photo catalog and Lightroom databases
- review of missing plug ins for Lightroom and Mozilla
- last sweep of old XP installation for programs to reaquire
The good news is; I would say I’ve already met about 80% of my computing needs as is. I could always start over with my Lightroom catalog [although I’d rather not!], and the photos are backed up and can be sucked backwards from the NAS unit as well… but iTunes is my biggest hurdle.
From what I’ve read, iTunes is a pain in the ass to move if you have manually edited your music library and save data. That means me. Its also a royal pain in the ass because it’s a closed vault system, with everything encrypted in one large cluster-fuck file format [save data]. So if there are any expert migrators with iTunes success, I’m all ears.
So far though; I'm pleased with the progress. The power consumption of the new hardware is incredibly low for the features I have. It reboots from the suspend state in seconds… which is jaw dropping compared to XP or even Vista. And the cold boot process is probably around 30 seconds—of which about 8 seconds sits and waits for the bios to load and pass before rolling into Windows.
My core I5 at 3.4ghz is humming along, 16gb of ram doesn’t seem taxed in the least [although I am going to double it shortly!] and I have a second 2tb disk waiting to get dropped in the bays. Once I decide what the fate of the old beige box will be, there are two more 2tb drives to migrate into blackie black box. At this point, I’m considering keeping the XP install as it is, and adding a Linux install on the beige box. If I go that route, I will be adding in a kvm to the mix to alternate. At this stage the worst piece of hardware in there is the on-board graphics. I hadn’t planned on doing a lot of gaming anymore, and I know nothing about the changes in GPUs' and slots for that… Plus, it seems to render all the environment without issue, and crunches photo data without complaint. Cross my fingers; this is working out well.
A lot of my initial frustration with the OS has to do with the complete redesign. But the widgets are really growing on me. If the availability was a bit wider; or if I learned how to code what I wanted; it would be great! The biggest disappointment has been Google of all people… they still deny the existence of Windows 8 widgets so it seems. Actually per a short interview, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57558839-93/google-no-immediate-plans-for-google-apps-on-windows-8/ The G unit feels there isn’t demand for any of their services that aren’t satisfied by cloud computing needs. I disagree. I really feel this would benefit from a quick, light weight Chrome window to run at the start screen, as well as a Google Drive process start screen. Lets be honest, both of their major competitors in the cloud drive market are here with apps of their own [Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive], and with Microsoft populating the experience in email and calendar, two more key area’s I prefer Google services, I really feel this is an oversight on Google’s part. From the horse’s mouth:
"Our goal is to be able to offer our users a seamless app experience across all platforms and want to make our products available to as many people as possible," the representative said. "We're always evaluating different platforms, but have no detailed plans to share at this time."
Google Apps include Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, as well as Gmail and Calendar. [-- From Cnet article by Casey Newton.]
Not knowing what the licensing has to be for using the apps/widget process in Win8, I would still expect that the cloud sourced options of Google Docs would buy up a shitload of market share… as Microsoft still charges for Office 365 product line, and even it doesn’t have a descent app/widget. Google could be king, steamrolling Microsoft at their own game, on their own platform.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Its been a while since ive posted anything… so it should stand to merit, that while im here, there better be a good damn reason.
Ive migrated to windows 8.
Let that simmer.
This is the first new OS install Ive done since 2004ish. Yikes. While I have refreshed that install of Windows XP several times, and my laptop runs Vista [still, for now…], I haven’t even updated my linux format in years…. this has been a big jump. After stupidly deciding to build my own machine, I also erred again by opting for Windows 8. It’s a complete mistake to think you can acquire, assemble, and out price any PC manufacturer in the modern age. With comparable parts, and without a copy of Windows, I was sitting just over 200 bucks over the off the shelf edition by Asus. By the time I add a license, I’m approaching 300 dollars. Again, I like doing things… I like assembling… I like tinkering…. but I hate wasting money. So by the time Windows 8 rolls around…. eessh… I feel at a big loss.
I decided on it, rather than Windows 7; simply because of the age of the product. Think about it: in its own environment, I could probably make Windows 98 work for what I do. But when you start coupling services, protocols, and software demands on it; you move several steps forward. I had been running Windows XP for years…. YEARS. It was time to move on. If I was going to bite the bullet, why spend as much on technology that’s already 3 years behind the curve… so I went Win8. Thinking that future proofing myself was the best case scenario; and recalling that when I first installed Project: Whistler, in college [what became NT, what begot Win XP], I was on bleeding edge then as well. If 8 serves me half as well, I’ve done my job with it. Cross fingers..
Its been an upside down experience to say the least for the last 24 hours. But im writing from a native blogging app; which should help me get back on the road to posting… stay tuned.
Nothing about Windows 8, on face value, has much of anything to do with previous versions of the platform. I'm finding that the root functionality does exist, but its been buried. The new slick operation of widgets, [they call Apps], to run from the Start [button] screen, are a clusterfuck of confusion for the newcomer. But a day later, I’m genuinely beginning to appreciate them.
also follow my twitter stream… tagged #win8 for my exploits!
I finally dropped some music into the stock player…. and seriously… who forgot the volume control????
I like my Black Sabbath loud, and I love it Dio… But a loud Ozzy, with no means other than rip out my line jack… not so good. Oversight? I think so. Put in a fucking volume slider in the app. Don’t make me flip through 18 metro tiles to change it in software!
Friday, July 27, 2012
Its not every day, in every city, a former cop/ former mayor gets to plead guilty for theft. Not only theft, but while working for a pawn shop in the downtown area.... Not only for a pawnshop, but falsifying records for fake pawns, then pocketing about 10k in cash. Yeah. Thats a Quad Cities kind of day. Keep it classy out there folks.
Hello Quad Cities!!!!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Earlier this week Canon officially announced its newest eye-porn, bank drainer; the EOS-M. This is M for mis-nomer, M for more money, and M is for moniker.
From what I experience, people seem to think removable lenses yield better results [image quality]. Secondly people want smaller, lighter products that are less to man handle. I get that too. I get tired of dragging 40 pounds of gear with me at times. Lastly we all want sexy. So camera manufacturers must make it sexy. So what do we do? If we're the camera industry we find a way to marry the two ideas, and give you neither of what you want, but make it look drop dead sexy. Enter the mirrorless, and Canon M platform.
I'm a Canon-ite. I openly admit this. I love their gear. Its not what I learned on, but I've made the switch for many reasons; and one of which is the availability of glass. Canon of course makes great glass for their own systems. The difference is the availability of OTHER manufacturers glass. Huh? Competition. Back in the dark [room] ages, lenses were not interchangeable, and were unique mounts mainly because of the intricacy of making a system operable. Focal lengths to the image plane had to very widely with the unending sizes of film available; as well as the ridiculously small apertures people were shooting through. Add in the 35mm film cell standard, and 40 years of mechanical intervention, and we start to see some realy thought and technology invested into the platforms. Competition isn't far off now, is it? So all the other manufacturers learned image quality was half film/recording state, and half [or more] optics getting that light to the image recording plane. So while making your own lens was nice, it became a revenue stream. And where there's money, there is people willing to make money. So some manufacturers decided to start working their products fit onto other manufacturers products; or simply quit the camera business and focus on the optics portion of the game [remember, we'd standardized to 35mm film by this point, and the film companies we not pressed to re-invent the film until the needs existed], so as glass quality went up, so did the demands on film. Rangefinder style cameras had to go away nearly over night once they met the might 35mm slr platforms that started gaining popularity in the late 1960's. Especially by the time of the calculated program metering 1970s and 80s hit, glass was king. Now the camera did much of the work of evaluating exposure, and to do it correctly it had run the light through the glass you were using to make the evaluations. Sounds great, who gives a fuck?
That pushed out those precious rangefinders. Rangefinder camera systems did not use the light coming through the lens to make calculations; and if they did [read late 1970s, and modern digital Leica platforms] you still weren't able to see what the lens saw. All of the field of view was approximated. Slr's used a flipping mirror action that routed light to your eye to see what the lens saw, then flipped to let light pass through to the film / recording plane. All of that wonder and splendor added a mechanical contraption that is prone to failure and excessive mechanics. Keep in mind, if its not light tight, pictures are ruined, image evaluation is faulty [at best], and you get a frustrating day of not taking pictures. For what they were worth, rangefinders were still mechanically simpler [even if drastically difficult to reassemble yourself], with fewer failures, in a smaller package, and gave slightly sub par, but similar performance to slr's. But to improve on their photographic value, few manufacturers spent time developing glass for the rangefinders, and moved into the revenue stream of making new slrs. Those that did remain, come with cumbersome bayonet and screw threads to detach lenses from the body, and were very limited in angle and aperture. Slr's took all the development, all the cookies, and your piggy bank.
Come to the modern era. Now that film is gone, why does it matter if the same light is brought through the lens to your eye? For several years we have had great success with live-view systems, where the light hitting the sensor is displayed on the digital screen on the back. I use it frequently for critical focus and metering myself. Why is that damned mirror still there? The industry first tried removing it about 8 years ago with the micro 4/3rds platform. Which took a smaller sensor, a smaller overall physical product, and added industry standard mounts so anyone could make glass for any platform. Lens makers could make lenses. Camera makers could make cameras. Digital sensor engineers could work their magic. For companies like Nikon, and Canon, this was a no go. Wheres the piggy bank at when you don't sell your own lens? Its in someone else's pocket now. But just like 40 years ago, people still desire a simple alternative to take better pictures, with limited means of adaptability.
Whats killing the micro 4/3rds platform is the lack of big names. Canon and Nikon. So they sit and wait. Now we are the present. With Nikon running out its own platform last year, Canon plays catch up this year with its own. This new toy starts out with a proprietary lens mount. Why? Because consumers want that! Bullshit. I don't. Nikon and Canon want that. People want to get better image quality than a cellphone and point and shoot; so we'll brand this new toy with the EOS moniker. Why? Because we will steal the sensor from the slr line, thats why! So now people have the quality of the slr, but how do we make it smaller? We gut the mirror. So now we have our sexy M moniker, mirrorless. We've made half the battle up at this point.
To get the money M in there, we can just shrink the mount by 5 millimeters, and make it electronically different. Poof. Since no one else can make glass, we make money. So its about money. Isn't it? Noooo this is cheaper! Its simple. Its small. How can it cost more? Well with a lens it will set you back 900 bucks. You can buy the same slr they ripped this image sensor from, that weights about 1.5 times as much, and is an inch thicker, with available and varied glass, for half of that price. Its about money. The EOS M:oney model is born.
Notice, I haven't even touched it. I don't care to. I love my rangefinders. I love my slr's But I love them for two different reasons. I don't want a complicated lens system and changing bag for my rangefinder. I want a streamlined, analog, approach that isn't always laser precise. I want my slr for a bag of options, for ways to solve challenging lighting, with precision. I don't want the peanut butter in my ice cream. Canon is betting I don't. Its a complete mis-nomer to have a small, lightweight system; that necessitates a bag full of glass to get anything done. Besides which, to gain the complexity of control over the image sensor overly complicates the experience for someone that wants to make quick photos. But its selling you the idea that this is better than a point and shoot [minus that its MORE encumbering and expensive], and looks like its equal to an slr [it isn't] in performance. Quite the misnomer. Then the loyal Canon buyer either gets to play with a limited amount of expensive lenses [2 as of right now] that are of questionable quality [definitely not up to the L glass standard!], or buy a stupid mount adapter that will affect your image quality. $hit.
People are floored that I'm mad about a new Canon product. Its just so pointless. Its a category that doesn't really make sense, but will make some money for Canon. But it runs the risk of alienating consumers [by the complexity and price tag for essentially a point and shoot], and limiting the creativity by limiting the lenses available. Make a damned micro 4/3rds mount instead. Show off your optical resolve that way. Make consumers flock to you to buy your glass, instead of giving them a reason to go somewhere else. The only reason you have with the M platform: no one else makes any!
Thursday, May 03, 2012
I think that I'm rapidly approaching burnout stage. They have me working hard for many hours doing far too many things for far too little money. I miss seeing the sun. Miss having days off really good call friends or even read my email. Anymore you Indian to sit down and eat dinner while the sun is or have two hours to do laundry is a luxury I don't have. And it's all so very depressing to consider what I become to make a company more than what it was six weeks ago. I'm trying hard to be impartial; but the addition of the store the size and magnitude built and staffed doesn't go unnoticed. It's been on the front page of both newspapers several times. Television advertising is hard to miss at normal levels; but now during grand opening its unbearable. But people are excited to come give their money away. And uncle John is more than happy to take it. Accountable people that you need to stand there and take it, are the truest hard things to come by. Working 70 and 80 hour weeks indefinitely; it's not a good existence. And forget the money crap. From working all these hours the money doesn't justify my feet killing me. Or the fact that I'm practically a zombie.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Since so many people have been asking me, through the typical quiet channels, I thought I might give a bit of an update on my adventures in wet shaving. More importantly are my long form thoughts on the mechanical aspects.
What makes it wet? New-comers like me may opine that it’s the blood. That makes it sound like torture to most people. Its half true. Its not called wet shaving because of that, but in the beginning there has been a fair amount of bleeding! Its wet because you need to use water and lather much more frequently than most disposable blades require, and nearly no electric razor on the market requires it [or functions correctly if you do use it!]. So already the key is quality and quantity of lather. Coming from a disposable system mindset, gel based bullshit was ubiquitous for this purpose. Getting past the garbage aerosol scent and reddi-whip appearance of Barbasol products, and graduating to the generic gels, gave the best results. In fact, my favorite non gel form, made at one time Edge as a cream in an apothecary type tube, would have been my only trial in wet shaving… the rest of it is awful. The gel products create a low friction point [good], but extremely thin and viscous. Why? Because they clog the 5 blade razors too quickly [bad]. I need to lower the point of friction, but not to nothing. Some of that friction is important, I’ve found.
Friction in multi blade throw-away’s comes from two places: poor lubrication across multiple blades and cutting surfaces, and poor technique. Both of those points, on a quality edge wet shaving system will gouge seams in your face like the ones on your jeans! Since I’m relying on only one edged surface to cut with, the ability of the shaving creams or lathers must not run or flush too quickly from the surface; and since its only one edge, clogging between blades isn’t of any concern. Granted, this razor will clog as well, but it takes considerably more material [wider blades, and more space available in the razor head], and you are constantly flushing the head of the razor with water to clear away the build up of lather from the non cutting surfaces. As a down side [of sorts], I’m using considerably more lather than I had with a 5-blade throw-away. A tall can of Fusion Gel lasted me MONTHS [six maybe?] with daily use. That’s ridiculous, and I realize that. However using more of the gel product didn’t make a difference in performance: the gel product was still thin, would still clog very quickly in the cartridge, and it didn’t change my poor habits. And with the advent of built in lubrication strips [note to reader: if dissipating friction was not an issue, why are manufacturers putting these on the cartridges? Because their gel products clog the cartridge, in the attempt to continually atomize the particles to lubricate the growing number of cutting surfaces. So they include lubrication that does not leave residue to clog, but that still acts as a friction modifier to the gel system]. In short, the fewer the cutting surfaces, the less you need to worry about keeping each lubricated to relieve friction problems.
A bit more about the blades is important before I get to technique. The cutting edge is honed to exacting specifications by these manufacturers, and ideally, the edge cuts as clean of a pass on one face as another. So why doesn’t work like that? Piss poor technique, and product engineering. As the material the edge is made out of is thinned, and its composition is changed, the quality of the blade will change with it. Softer material dulls quickly [rather, the edge folds and rolls or degrades against stronger materials], but harder / denser materials have less flexibility inherently. Manufacturers must strike a balance to keep flexibility [to move with the round contours of the human face, and to stay some what forgiving when necessary], yet keep the edge honed to cut cleanly.
Adding multiple blades became the fad, and it introduced thinner, flexible blades of softer material. Why? First and foremost, to sell more cartridges… No shit. As the edge dulls, you need to replace it, since it no longer cuts the hairs. Seems simple, but people glaze past this point. Part and parcel, adding multiple blades in a cartridge raised the price. Now its about money, on recurring bases, balancing how quickly the edge dulls, multiplied by the price point of each sold cartridge unit, divided by the likelihood of the consumer to purchase replacement cartridges on a frequent recurrence. But it also gives you the impression the blades weren’t flexible before; and in fact as a cartridge, they are less flexible now. In the same idea as doubling up 2x4s to strengthen a wall, creating five layers of redundancy spanning a distance will always yield less flexibility than spanning the same distance with one substrate. Each of the extra blades keeps you from bending and flexing, increasing rigidity. The notion of rigidity is engineered into the cartridge because of the poor technique of the user! [I promise I’m coming to that point!]
So I’m using a single cutting edge, that is more flexible than its “modern” counterpart, that needs different lubrication demands [that are actually in my favor], how the hell am I cutting myself more often? Its that poor technique. [bingo]
Using the multi-blade disposables we fight friction with minimalist layers of lubrication [to keep from clogging the blades], on cartridges that are firm and moderately inflexible by comparison sake. However, we introduce friction to combat its by product. You push harder to over come the softer edges that dull faster on the multi blades, to get the same quality shave as the edge disintegrates. Secondly you make fewer passes over skin because you have made the same pass 3 to 5 times with each cartridge movement. The idea of a once and done solution. That doesn’t work with a single blade. As my blade flexes better, it will bend and skip over spots on my skin that are not completely flat [read: everywhere]. What I’m seeing in my bleeding pattern are many, small dabs of blood. When I shaved and erred with cartridge razors I had deep cuts that bled and were wide. Its clear that the force I was using on the cartridge systems made the cuts; and it’s the blade bouncing causing smaller pricks with the single edge. My technique then became the issue, as I realized this.
I have always trusted in the cartridge razors’ motto: once and done. Making one pass, or two if really necessary, is all it needed to get the job done. With a single edge, I do need to make two or three passes. But more importantly, I need to relube and lather up each time…. something I rarely did with cartridges. Secondly, friction is important, but it doesn’t come from pressure. Using hand pressure flattens the skin around [and in between blades] of a cartridge system. On a single edge you will cut yourself deeply. With a multi blade cartridge you are minimizing the pressure by distributing it across multiple points. You don’t always cut yourself because it’s the same idea as the old circus bed of nails trick… however as the skin changes angles and is no longer flat, that’s when you bite hard… with excessive pressure behind a dulled edge, you do immense damage in the little vertical wrinkle under the nose and above the lip! With the single edge, I need some friction to know I’m gaining traction and working with the skin, pulling it taunt under the blade; this pops the hairs up and keeps from ballooning skin up in front of the cutting edge.
All of this takes time and forethought. But as of 2 months into it, I will say, I have a much closer shave, that I can get two days out of with a single edge system, compared to the cartridge razors. Secondly I can factor in the pricing as such:
Cartridge Razor Typical Expenditures:
1 - 2cartridge each week: 3.75 each
1 razor handle: 9.00 [good for a year or so]
1 can saving gel : 3.00
in 60 days totals: 57.00
Straight Razor Blade Typical Expenditures:
1 blade each week: .30 each [in 50pk quantity]
1 stypic pencil: 1.97 [good for years?]
1 cake shaving crème: 1.99 [good for 6 months]
1 shaving brush: 20.00 [good for years]
1 razor handle: 25.00 [good for decades]
in 60 days totals: 51.36
Also note… that while I do have to purchase and use more items, they are cheaper, and they do last considerably longer in the wet shaving system. In a years time, I should be somewhere in the 30% to 50% price equivalency of cartridge shaving. It does add up. But I have learned that much so far.