1/31/2010 Ami's birthday eve

Ami had her birthday party today. Ginger, Mr Rick, and Mrs Alice came up and we had hot dogs, chili, cake, and ice cream. I took a picture of Ami and Ginger and I think it turned out really well.

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We were at the LWW Scrapbookers meeting today and I saw this candle holder and thought it'd made a neat shot.

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I saw a shot of an Arduino on the Make: Online blog that I thought was interesting so I tried to sort of duplicate it. I think I got pretty close.


Here is the scourge of our bird feeders. I wouldn't mind them eating out there so much if they didn't destroy everything they can. We had one of those bird feeders that has springs on it and it slides down to cover the food holes when a squirrel gets on there. They broke the springs in a fit of "if I can't have it, nobody can!" They wreck most wooden feeders as well by chewing huge chunks out of them. I even used some of the "hot meats" bird food that's supposed to burn their little mouths but they would just eat it then go to the bird bath and drink. I'm thinking of giving up and putting out a squirrel feeder.

That, or get a much more accurate pellet gun.


We went to Target and Sam's tonight and I took pictures with MY PHONE THAT WILL FINALLY BE REPLACED SOON! I'll make a post about that when it happens.

Ken, as Luke Perry, as Val Kilmer, as Edward Cullen.

Knight, unicorn, dragon, knight....cowboy?

I laugh at these every time we go on the pet food aisle in Target.

You can read about Ami's hair dryer story here. Well, the new dryer is now dead, but on the bright side, we think we found one just like her favorite one! She even did a layout about it. She had to try it out then and there.

We trudged on to Sam's. These milk jugs are just weird.


I finally got some shots of our finches. They're getting less skittish of me so I was able to get a little closer than usual. The squirrels had been by to clean us out so one feeder was empty and they were on the way to emptying the other one.

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I did some more macro shots today.

Some moss in the front yard. I love the shapes and colors.

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I saw this broken acorn and thought it made a nice statement.
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1/14/2010 Bonus macro shots

I went back out and took a few macro shots that I thought turned out well enough to share.

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You know how sometimes you have an idea in mind for a picture you'd like to take? You get yourself ready, start looking for the perfect shot, and it's not there. You walk around looking for it getting frustrated. You give up, and then you find yourself an even better shot.

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I caught this woodpecker drinking from a knothole in our front yard. I tried to get some more pictures but it was playing with me. It would stick its head out from around a tree, jump back behind the tree, sing out, and look out again from the other side.


Here's the book I'm reading. I've been reading through the whole series and I love it.

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Black Kitty sat down on her tuffet to tell me that it was her feeding time. She looked so serious. It was hard to get this shot because she gets really antsy around feeding time. Feeding time is 6:00 and she gets started around 5:30 letting me know it's almost time.

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1/21/2010 SotD

Today's picture is a little late. We had quite a night with the open board meeting.

Here's my Shave of the Day.

Cyril R Salter Almond shave cream, Crabtree and Evelyn Best Badger Brush, Gillette Fat Boy, Feather blade, Classic Brand alum block, and SheaMoisture Shave's Tea Tree Oil Herbal Bump Preventer aftershave.

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Hey, a blog post NOT about shaving! Here's a picture of Sleepy in an IKEA basket. Cats love squares and cubes like boxes and baskets. I don't know why.

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I'm going to expose a secret on this here blog today. We're going to IKEA next month and I have a secret. I LOVE IKEA. I love to shop there and I love the food in the cafeteria. Ami and Ginger talk about it more, but I love it too. We always make it an all day affair and we try to get other people to go and addict them, too.

Bonus picture of Sleepy in the window because she's adorable.

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Even more on shaving

Here is a list of shaving related resources that will get you going.

Badger and Blade. The forums here are more safety razor oriented but they also cover straight razors. They have a great reviews section that I always check before buying something.

Straight Razor Place. THE place for straight razor info. Run by Lynn Abrams whom many people credit with the resurgence of straight razor shaving in the past several years.

I don't get any money if you buy from these places. I'm just a customer and had good experiences with them and their products.

Straight Razor Designs. A great shop to get gear, run by Don Addleman and Lynn Abrams. I got my Dovo Special from them and was very pleased with the experience. They have a wide range of products and a huge selection of pre-sharpened (aka honed the right way) straight razors.

Classic Shaving. I got several things from here and was pleased with the experience. Some stuff you can get nowhere else.

Mama Bear's Soaps and Gift Shop. I haven't bought directly from here but friends have and loved it. I got some of the Earl Grey shave soap from a friend and was very pleased with it.

The Well Shaved Gentleman. This is where I got my strop for my straight razor. All hand made and the quality is top notch. They even have vegan friendly strops.

More on shaving

Here are some videos from Mantic59 who basically taught me how to wet shave over the internet. He's made a lot of these videos and they are the gold standard for wet shaving info on the internet as far as I'm concerned.


I got some pictures of my shaving implements today. I've been wet shaving for about 3 years and I haven't looked back. I was tired of getting major irritation and not getting a good shave from a multi-bladed razor and canned shaving cream. I was shaving in the shower, trying different razors, and none of it helped. I found out about wet shaving and gave it a try. It turned shaving from a chore into a hobby.

Here's my shaving stuff I use on a regular basis.

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1 Feather razor blades. They're the sharpest blades around (as far as I know) and aren't for beginners. If you know how to keep from using pressure on the razor you'll do fine with them.

2 Dovo Special straight razor. One of the most affordable "starter" straight razors. I got it from Straight Razor Designs pre-sharpened. I'm still not great at shaving with a straight.

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3 Alum block. It's great for stopping a cut from bleeding but stings like crazy. Man up and you'll get used to it! I use it as part of my aftershave which I'll talk about later in this post.

4 SheaMoisture Shave's Tea Tree Oil Herbal Bump Preventer. It's a great aftershave with witch hazel, tea tree oil, shea butter and assorted vitamins. It only stings a little but it tones your skin very well, moisturizes a bit, and heals any irritation you might have quickly. Plus Ami loves the smell. It's my go-to aftershave in warm weather.

5 Nivea for Men Sensitive Skin Aftershave Balm. This is what I use in cold weather to moisturize after I shave. I like it a lot and it would be my favorite aftershave if it only moisturized a little less.

6 Ciril R Salter Shaving Cream in Almond. This is my favorite shaving cream of all time. I just swirl my brush a few times and build a lot of lather with it. It has a good amount of cushion between my face and the razor and provides good lubrication. The smell is good while you're shaving but doesn't stay with you, but that's why you wear cologne and aftershave right?

7 Merkur Heavy Duty Safety Razor. This was my first safety razor and it's still probably my favorite. It's got a heft to it and has a very good feel in your hand. The weight is good because you want the weight of the razor doing the work. USE NO PRESSURE!

8 Gillette Slim Adjustable. This is a very good shaving razor even if it's a little beaten up. I picked it up at the Byron Antiques Mall for $10. It cleaned up pretty well but had discoloration spots all over it where the brass underneath shows through. That's right, these razors are made of solid brass. What are the razors Gillette makes today made of? Mostly plastic and it shows. They're disposable and that's not good for the environment. There are lots of people still using safety and straight razors that are over a century old.

9 Gillette Fat Boy. This was my first "used" razor. I say "used" because it was still in the package when I bought it even though it was made in the first quarter of 1960. It was $5 at Smiley's flea market. For a while these were going for $80 each on eBay. I don't know what they're going for now.

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10 Pinaud Clubman Aftershave lotion. This is a good aftershave. It's alcohol based so it gives you a good sting but it really does well in moisturizing and toning. It heals razor burn very well, too. It's good for warm weather and making you smell like an old man. Not that that's a bad thing.

11 Crabtree and Evelyn Best Badger Brush. I can't find them on their web site so they might not sell them anymore but they have been one of the best starter brushes out there for shaving. They are well made by Edwin Jagger in England and hold up very well. Badger hair is the best material for holding soap or cream and water together to get a great lather.

To shave I take my brush and soak it in hot water with my shaving bowl (a large coffee cup from Kohl's) in the sink while I'm in the shower. While in the shower I make sure to run hot water over my beard to soften it up. When I get out I don't dry my face letting the water stay on there and keep it moisturized. I drain the water and shake my brush out most of the way then swirl it in my shaving cream a few times. I then swirl it in my shaving bowl adding a little hot water to get a rich lather. The bowl is still warm from being in the hot water but I fill the sink back up a little bit and let the bowl sit in the water to keep the lather warm.

I brush the shaving cream on my face in a circular pattern while pushing the brush into my face gently. That gets a lot of lather on my face and makes the hair stand up and get good and lubricated. I then take my razor and in short, choppy strokes with the grain of my beard. I then lather back up and do another pass across the grain. I lather up again and do another across the grain pass from the other direction. Finally, I go against the grain. The object isn't to get it all in one pass, it's stubble reduction.

I get a very close, comfortable, shave like this. I haven't had an ingrown hair since I started and very rarely get razor burn anymore.

Hopefully I've inspired someone else to try this out. Be warned though, it's addicting!


We went to the Neighborhood Watch meeting tonight. We have a great community and a great head of Neighborhood Watch, Cara Barnes. We also have a great security company, Aim Security. We're working hard together to keep crime out of our neighborhood.

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I opened the back door for the girls today and Black Kitty and Bea were entertained by a piece of pine straw.

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Something in the yard caught their attention. I love the backs of their little heads.

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It rained pretty much all day today so we spent the day around the house. We should have some good weather this week and next weekend so maybe I can go out and get some interesting pictures to post here.

I decided to show Black Kitty's love for boxes today.

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The news of the day is I got my Windows 7 upgrade! I backed everything up and did a clean install from the upgrade disks which is OK as long as you have a Windows install on the drive you're blowing away to install Windows 7 on. So far I like it. It's faster than Vista and the tweaks to the UI are pretty snazzy.

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Not all my pictures have to be with our DSLR now do they?

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We got our car back today and it looks great! They even detailed the car for us!

On the way back we saw people selling meat out of the back of a truck. Hey, they take EBT!

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We capped the day off with a beautiful sunset.

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Tonight I went and got a haircut.

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We went to Zaxby's and got some fried pickles. They weren't very good.

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And I took a picture of myself in the mirror.

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We've got an opossum out in the cat house. We tried talking to him and I poked him with a large stick but he is having none of it. I even pried him off of the floor and all he did was bite the stick and hiss. We are at an impasse.


Hey, what are you doing over there?

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Gonna shoot somethin'.

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Wait! Wait! Hold up! Wouldn't it be better to look at what you're gonna shoot?

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If you don't start lookin' where you're shootin' I'm going to throw this at you and smack you up side the head!

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If you're not going to look where you're shooting I'm going over here.

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Hold up! Why is my helmet attached to the bazooka?

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Even with the tripod this thing is gonna crack my ribs when I shoot it like this.

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Hello? Why, yes, I do have a Star Trek phaser with a silencer. Sorry, I can't figure out how to take it off speaker phone.

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As you can tell by what I post, we don't get out too much. Ami made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

From Photo 365