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Shaving: Part 2 – How to Half-Shave

Ritual, art, membership to a cabal of manly-men-boxing-fools in a brew pub — these have never been associations I’ve had with shaving. As Tim has already indicated, our dad gave us a pretty abridged shaving tutorial. Along with scant demonstration, he may have mentioned, “Try not to kill yourself.” Whether he did or did not impart this final kernel of wisdom, there was no follow-up lesson or even a check-in to see if we had garroted ourselves.

As a result, for pretty much all of my shaving-life, I have half-shaved at best. My father’s lack of teaching surely contributed to this, but so did the milieu of the ’90s. In the social circles I traveled then, there was no stigma associated with whatever you decided to do with your facial hair. By the end of the ’90s and the early ’00s, I was shaving maybe once a week. Eventually I found a decent beard trimmer and with it, my shaving became more erratic. Sometimes I had a beard, sometimes I had a shadow, sometimes I was clean shaven, sometimes I had an experimental look, but most of the time I had some amount of hair on my face. This was largely because in those instances when I was clean shaven, I would never continue to do so beyond a couple days because I’d either forget to keep up with it or I got razor rash.

Still, I do razor shave on occasion, and when I do, for nearly two decades it has been with a Mach3. As Tim has also duly noted, the Mach3 is really the bane of shaving. After it materialized in 1998, the facial hair horizon was forever leveled. It is as if no other razor had ever existed since or after. With it, razor cartridges were to forever be things that existed behind locked glass, and the only thing better than three blades was more blades.

Razor, Stand, and Brush
Merkur 34C Heavy Duty Classic Double Edge Safety Razor, Stand, and Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
About a year and a half ago, I decided to razor shave; accordingly I dug out my Mach3. Problematically, I had no idea which blades were old, new, or rusted. Because I don’t razor shave that often, this frequently happens to me, and when it does I inevitably just go out and buy all new blades. This time, however, out of spite for the Mach3, I decided to explore other options. This eventually led me to buying a safety razor. While this does potentially mark me as a hipster, after reading up on them, I decided that I shaved infrequently enough to invest in something as arcane as it was asinine.

Continue reading Shaving: Part 2 – How to Half-Shave

Colossal

Colossal (2016) stomps a Godzilla flick into a giant-radioactive-lizard-sized black comedy about addiction. The premise: when party-hard Gloria, played by Anne Hathaway, gets tanked, she unwittingly summons a mega-monster that has a tendency to lay waste to the world-away city of Seoul, South Korea, around that sobering hangover-time of 8:05 AM. Through some inebriated sleuthing that involves genitalia-indicating dances, Gloria is eventually able to put this all together.

Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, directed by Nacho Vigalondo
Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, directed by Nacho Vigalondo

Nacho Vigalondo’s directorial proceedings teeter at the edge of the pop-baroque precipice, but Colossal never falls off. The movie offers enough twists and turns to remain entertaining and distract its audience from thinking too deeply about Gloria’s flight from New York City and her own cheap beer and boozey monsters to a picturesque small town that conveniently boasts an empty family mansion or… summer home. Sorting out details like these should matter, but in an era when most nights are nostalgic for mixtapes and wind up clinging to the cineplex-bar set by Gaurdians of the Galaxy 2, who the fuck is counting; Colossal’s hangovers are palatable.

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Sorcerer, StarSoldier, and More

My cousin was doing a little Spring cleaning, and in an effort to make some room, he sent these goodies my way. I’m hoping over the summer I get a chance to breathe again and am able to dig a little deeper into them; in the meantime, however, they sure are neat to look at. The map and pieces for Sorcerer: The Game of Magical Conflict alone are incredible. And let’s be honest, you can’t really go wrong with Death Race 2000 on Blu-ray.

Sorcerer, StarSoldier, comics, and more
Sorcerer, StarSoldier, comics, and more

Continue reading Sorcerer, StarSoldier, and More

Good Sounding Music

Who knows if I’ll ever get around to doing those twelve 2017 movie reviews… I did see Phantasm in the theatre; it may have been on Blu-ray, which was disenchanting to say the least. Thusly, I’m currently down on the notion of the theatre, so in lieu of cinema I wanted to talk about music. I hopped on Amazon music this evening and downloaded MP3s of a couple albums that I’d bought in physical formats. One album was Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence. I really liked her Honeymoon, but dear lord… the songs on Ultraviolence aren’t bad, but the production on the album actually hurts my ears. It doesn’t matter if I’m listening to it on CD or MP3; it sounds dreadful.

Conversely, David Bowie – my fu**ing god – I picked up two albums recently, Blackstar and Hunky Dory. The production on both is impecable. I know the former was on everyone’s best of list, but bear in mind this is coming from a respectful fan, not an avid fan (my wife is an avid fan; there’s a difference); Blackstar is like listening to the album Radiohead has been trying to record (A Moon Shaped Pool is pretty good, but it’s no Blackstar). However, where Blackstar sounds amazing, it is Hunky Dory that floors me; the album is 45 years old. Sure, it might not be Boston by Boston, but to my ears the production sounds fantastic. Point is that if you are looking to invest in some great sounding music, I can’t recommend the Bowie albums enough.

P.S. Bowie should have also done more novelty songs. This song is on neither album, just YT it.

Rogue One: The character in the baseboard heating unit.

The character, the one I liked most – and no, not one from Rogue One – but instead from the Peanuts Colorform Star Snoopy set, had slid down, too far, far too far, into the abyss of the baseboard heating unit. Swallowed and unable to be retrieved, it was – simply – gone.

There in the hall crouching on the runner rug, I can still see myself, and yet, I cannot recall who the character was. If my child fingers were pointless and dull in their rescue attempts, the character’s identity has also slipped through time and my memory’s grasp.

I certainly could not have understood the legal circumstances surrounding Star Snoopy, a product that drew on the popularity of the 1977 release of George Lucas’s Star Wars, but was not affiliated with the franchise. Snoopy & Co. had never quite managed to get around to licensing the rights to use the Star Wars name from Lucasfilm, Ltd. Even if they had, to my 2- or 3-year old mind, it was of little consequence. Star Snoopy’s starships, characters dressed like they might be at home in a galaxy far far away, and Snoopy himself brandishing a lightsaber-like sword existed in the same cosmos as any toy that was officially licensed, such as my Jawa sandcrwaler playset made by Kenner, which back in the late ‘70s, was not unlike Colorforms; it was also largely made of cardboard.

Star Snoopy Adventure Set by Colorforms
Star Snoopy Adventure Set by Colorforms

Distinctions like these would become clearer by the time I had outgrown my Boba Fett Underoos. For instance, I would graduate from the star-camp of the Cantina theme to Meco’s LP of galactic funk and their disco-spin on John Williams Star Wars score.  I had read all the Timothy Zahn books and even the Brian Daley ones. By my late teens I was, in short, more than a passing fan.  

Continue reading Rogue One: The character in the baseboard heating unit.

Twelve Movie Reviews for the Year in the New

In the oncoming glare of 2017’s swift approach, it is hard to believe that this blog is still going. It’s not updated as frequently as it used to be, but it is here, alive and well.

In part, the lack of posts are due to the fact that when Tim and I set up Protozoic, it was meant to be a clearing house for post-Chook projects. As the years passed, the smorgasbord video heyday became harder to do because the gang got dispersed all over the U.S. Additionally, my avocation of filmmaking slowly became my vocation. The things I’m involved in now seem to drag on for years – scripts, films, ideas, etc. This summer I am planning on shooting a short film with some colleagues here, and one day – who knows – there might even be an H.P. Thomcraft III, a Delmarva Dawn. After all, the Russians had a compound on the Eastern Shore. Times sure are weird.

Until those limbo projects materialize, I thought I’d set myself another goal of seeing 12 films in the cinema this coming year and then post about them here. Admittedly, that is not the most lofty and soaring of goals, but I don’t get to the theatre that much; I never have. Most of my watching has always been confined to home-viewership.

We have two very good theaters here in Olympia, WA. The first is the Capitol Theater, run by the Olympia Film Society, which shows international and independent films, movie retrospectives and rereleases, and hosts an assortment of other events. Over this past holiday I caught Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984), arguably the best Christmas movie ever committed to celluloid. In January they are screening Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm (1979) in 4K, which will be incredible, and could prove to be the best thing J.J. Abrams has touched in recent memory. The other theater is the Century Olympia run by Cinemark, which would otherwise be an unassuming multiplex in a mall if for the fact it didn’t have electric reclining seats.

See you in the new year.

Games and Cards

My cousin sent me some pretty cool stuff in the mail. I wish I had some more time to dig into the games. Chitin I, Warpwar, and Starship Troopers: Man vs Monster all look great! I’ll probably have to wait until Christmas vacation to immerse myself fully. Note, there’s some Steranko cards in there as well.

Starship Troopers: Man vs Monster, Warpwar,  Chitin I, and Steranko  Cards
Starship Troopers: Man vs Monster, Warpwar, Chitin I, and Steranko Cards