Shaving: Pt. 4 – the final chapter?

Several years ago, Mike made the comment that since our dad had a beard, the instruction on shaving when we were younger was slightly lacking. He wanted me to write something about it. We ended up writing a few posts on it: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

It was a somewhat timely discussion as I had grown tired of shaving with the Mach 3 and switched over to an old Sensor Excel. As I chronicled in part 1 and part 3, the blades became hard to get and I had to move to the disposable version.

Shortly thereafter, Mike got me a double bladed safety razor with a assortment of blades. During the government shutdown of 2019, I taught myself to shave with it (very few cuts!), and settled on which blades I like. I’m here to report that while it does take a tiny bit longer to shave with one of these, and I still need to keep the disposables around for when I travel, the double bladed safety razor is far superior for me than standard cartridge razors.

For what it’s worth, the blades I decided to keep around the house are Gillette Platinums, Bic Chrome Platinums, and Feather Hi-Stainless. The Feathers are the most expensive, but can be a bit harsh if you aren’t careful. The Gillette blades might be a tiny bit nicer than the Bic’s, but I alternate between the two without really noticing any difference. I have to be a bit more careful with the Feathers.

I toss a blade after 6 shaves, 3 uses per side. I shave every other day, so a blade lasts 12 days. I could easily go longer as I notice no specific degradation after 6 uses. The Feather blades were $25 (including shipping) for 100 blades. The Gillettes were $16/100 and the Bics were $14/100. They really are cheap. ebay is where I purchased them all.

Lastly, I like the basic pre-shave cream and soap that Mike got me, the Proraso. I’ve tried the green and the white, and they are both nice. The alum block irritated my skin, so I stopped using it.

At some point, I’ll buy 1000 blades or so, and be set for the rest of my life.

Utility Boxes

I spent about an hour over the weekend trying to figure out the correct terminology for what I now believe to be referred to as a “utility box”. Power box, phone box, or electric box — utility box does cover all those bases. As kids we called it the “green box”, and there was one at the end of the street I grew up on where we’d meet, sit, and hang out.

This is not a utility box you could hang out on, but it is in somewhat dense growth of foliage.

Utility Box in Bush

Out of the Abyss

It was October, 2015. We started playing Out of the Abyss in our weekly D&D game. On April 5th, 2020, we finally finished it. Granted, we took a 13 month hiatus at the midpoint of the campaign where I traded off DM duties and we played a variety of other games including The Sprawl, Pete’s home brew, and possibly something Mike ran. Nevertheless, we played Out of the Abyss over the course of four and a half years and about 75-80 sessions, from cover to cover.

I didn’t do the greatest job DMing it, nor was I quite up to the task of running such a sandboxy campaign properly. I liked the story; it was very ambitious. I do wish more was explicitly revealed to the characters through the written adventure, as I did not fully portray the extent of corruption and madness that had pervaded the Underdark. Nevertheless, it was relatively enjoyable and reasonable well written .1

There were quite a few memorable moments, but the top one for me was probably the spider drop.

Onwards and upwards. Mike is going to run the Goodman Games rewrite of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks next. After that, who knows. Pete or Brian might want to run something short2, and then I’m planning on running Descent into Avernus.

  1. I will say I did not understand the ordering of the final few chapters. Menzoberranzan was a chapter too early in my opinion, and frankly could have been cut out completely. It’s way to rich of a setting for a chapter to do it proper justice, and by the time it shows up in the adventure, it’s time to fight demon lords, not mess around with Underdark city intrigue. 

  2. Pete should do some edition of Gamma World

Towson gathering – 2019

Mike and Krissy had been planning a trip to Maryland for some time, and my mom, Al, and I all decided to coordinate so we could see each other. Brian and Buff were gracious enough to host Al and myself for a few days. We also got a chance to see aunts and uncles. Food was great:

  • Rise Biscuits and Chicken
  • Hot Pot
  • Salad for a night off
  • Cookout
  • A big crab cake

We also played a variety of games:

  • Micro Mages
  • Conan (briefly)
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Devil’s Level

All in all, a good trip. We should do this more often.

link to flickr album

Click on the picture to see the flickr album.

July 4th, 2019

July 4th was a bit abbreviated this year, and Mike and Krissy couldn’t make it. Regardless, it was good to see everyone. Here are a few of the pictures I took. Sorry Buff, I couldn’t resist the one picture. So it goes.

Click on the picture to go to the flickr album.


I recently bought a copy of PICO-8. It is a virtual game console that you can play on your computer, a raspberry pi, or even in your browser. It’s only $15. All of the games for it are free and written by regular people. For the most part, they are pretty simple and short. I’ve enjoyed the ones I played. Little Dragon Adventure was short and fun. All carts are downloadable from the PICO-8 interface. The cart format is cleverly some type of PNG picture, and most (if not all) can be played in a browser window as well1, so you can try it out if you want without spending any money.

I also picked up an 8BitDo SN30 pro controller. It’s a bluetooh/USB controller designed to look like an old Super NES controller, but with dual analog sticks and some extra buttons, more or less like more modern game controllers. It works with a bunch of different systems, including the Nintendo Switch. They have cheaper models too if you are looking for something less expensive. I recommend it if you want a controller.

This is the world’s lamest review, but if you are looking for a little bit of entertainment without spending too much money, I recommend PICO-8. The controller is a nice add on too if you have use for such a thing.


I just found Delunky for PICO-8. Brian, I think you should give this a spin.

  1. With a gamepad too!