Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Safety Razors

May 16th, 2011 Comments off

A couple of months ago, I dropped a bit over one hundred dollars for a Goodfella razor handle bundled with a hundred derby blades. Partly this was driven by my compulsion to buy more New Zealand made products, but most because I was fed up with paying $25 for eight small pieces of non-recyclable metal and plastic.

While I would like to consider myself hardcore enough to shave with a straight razor, the reality is that one morning, I’ll be a little too under-caffeinated, and then I’ll get to test out my theories about the lack of an after life. Safety razors are, well, safer.

But are they any good?


The members of Badger & Blade would have you believe that shaving with a double edged safety razor will leave you with the face of an appropriately masculine angel. Unfortunately, this is not true. My experience has been that shaving with the razor pictured is better than with the Mach 3 & King of Shave cartridges razors that was I previously using – once you get the hang of it. Use of the safety razor requires patience and attention to detail, such as details of the direction each whisker grows in, and the exact angle of the head against ones skin. I seriously considered reworking my morning routine, just so that I would have caffeine before attempting to shave, as a moments lack of attention with a “safety” razor can lead to a lack of cohesion in ones face.

On the upside, as long as you aren’t doing anything too stupid, when you do slice yourself, it’s usually a small nick, rather than a gaping multi-front opening that could plausibly need stitches. I have at one point, when using a multi blade cartridge razor, opened a gash that did not stop bleeding for an hour. That date did not go well. Suffice to say, I did not get to see that particular woman again. Whereas, despite making the incredibly stupid decision to try out a safety razor for the first time – and thus screw it up rather badly – a bare half hour before meeting someone for dinner earlier this year, I did not bleed all over the table cloth – though a high collar was required to maintain some sense of decorum.

One of the niggling issues I’ve long had with cartridge shaving is that I was prevented from shaving daily. Attempts to shave more often than every two or three days would lead to an ugly looking rash, which looked worse than being unshaven. Some weeks, I would have to specifically plan on which days I would be clean shaven. This could be a problem if I had say, a date on Tuesday, and an important meeting with a client on Wednesday. I have not yet had this problem with the safety razor. This, and the fact that the blades are less than one tenth the price (thirty cents) of the cartridges ($3.12) are the best reasons to switch.

Later – otherwise known as, when I get around to it – I’ll discuss my impressions of the Goodfella razor handle itself.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Stars & Music

May 9th, 2011 Comments off

More Video. Watch this, if you need to chill out some. Recommend playing full screen with the lights off.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Originally found on the Daily Grail.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,


May 8th, 2011 1 comment

I have been massively busy at work recently, hence the total lack of updates for April. I have half a dozen posts in unreadable draft form, but in the mean time – you should watch this video. It’s awesome. Language is probably not work safe if you don’t have headphones.

Buying New Zealand made: Shirts and Shorts

March 21st, 2011 Comments off

My year of buying only New Zealand made clothes is almost at end. I made this commitment on the 5th of April, 2010. As it wore on, I became worse and worse at blogging my purchases, because I ended up going back to the same stores over and over again, and frankly, there’s only so many things you can say about a pair of suit pants. However, I did notably find a pair of organic denim shorts ($120) at Duncan & Prudence this summer, and  couple of custom printed tshirts ($60) print at the same. The shorts are excellent, and properly fit my quintessentially kiwi ass. The tshirts softened after a couple of washes and routinely garner comments wherever I go, because nobody else has anything like them. Since I’m rubbish at photography, the picture below was hacked together from D&P’s online tshirt builder. The actual shirt on the right has the pohutukawa in bright blue.


Surprisingly Good Salad

March 9th, 2011 2 comments

A surprisingly good salad, brought to you by my lack of fresh tomatoes.

  • Cucumber, diced
  • Feta, crushed
  • Coriander, fresh from my window sill
  • Olives, black
  • Sweet Thai chilli sauce,

Don’t be shy with the quantity of coriander or chilli sauce.

Categories: Food Tags: , , , ,

Buying New Zealand made in the Bathroom, and Man Soap

February 22nd, 2011 3 comments

Over the past nine months, I’ve started looking a lot closer at where my purchases come from, particularly the items I buy on a regular basis, such as food. Some items, such as coffee, are clearly not, and never will be grown here – and that’s fine, but other items, such as garlic (China), grapes (United States), oranges (Australia, California), and tomatoes (Spain) are commercially produced here. Apart from the economic issues, I simply can’t justify supporting the thousands of air miles required for me to enjoy grapes in the middle of winter because I’m a bit impatient.

The bathroom is a little trickier.The following is a list of what I use, it’s country of origin, and roughly how much I pay at my local New World supermarket.

  • Soap – Knights Castile, Australia – $4 per 4x100g pack
  • Toothbrush – Colgate Value Pack, China – $3 per twin pack
  • Toothpaste – Colgate Triple Action, Australia- $4 per 220g
  • Razor – Schick, China  – $8 per eight pack
  • Shaving Cream – Primal Earth Aloe Hydrate, New Zealand (hah!) – $9 / 175ml
  • Deoderant – Brut roll on, Australia – $4/50ml
  • Hair gel – V05 hair putty, Australia – $9/130g

Clearly, there’s some room for improvement here. I’ve been eyeing up the shaving gear at Goodfella’s to take care of my shaving needs, if for no other reason that replacing single-use non-recyclable gear appeals to my environmental and financial sensibilities. I’ll report back once I’ve ordered a set and used it for a bit, and in all fairness, a quick bit of googling shows a variety of deodorants, for which I mainly need to locate a store for somewhere in Wellington.

Toothpaste is a bit of a problem. The evidence suggests quite strongly that fluoride based toothpaste fluoride is effective in both preventing and treating cavities. I credit this fact, along with my regular night and morning brushings as to why I still have no fillings at twenty eight. Until I can get New Zealand made fluoride toothpaste, I’ll stick to my Australian made Colgate.

Which brings me to soap.

The manufacture of soap in this country appears to be mainly the concern of middle aged woman with too much time on their hands. When browsing the various websites of soap manufacturers, phrases like, “hand crafted”, “gift baskets” and “beautifully scented” far too often.

I can’t get behind that. No self respecting straight man is going to lather himself in soap smelling of honey and strawberries. I’m not opposed to the idea, but the few of these that I’ve got up close with are overpowering, and distinctly feminine. Furthermore, this insistence on ‘hand crafted’ means they are all incredibly expensive, which isn’t helped by the high cost of the ingredients. Far too many of the soaps are made with expensive bases like olive oil (imported), palm oil (imported), coconut oil (imported), and sandalwood (imported).

However. There is a solution. Arguably, the best soap is made from tallow. Tallow is rendered beef or mutton fat. The New Zealand dairy industry has such an excess of beef fat, that it sells it in bulk for around 70 cents per kilo. I think there’s a market opportunity here. Fonterra already sells yoghurt, ice cream, and iced coffee under their Mammoth Supply Co brand. I propose that they create a related product line with the following slogan;

Mammoth Man Soap: Made from Cows

I’d buy it. I suspect more than a few other men would also, especially if they knew it was made from cows.

Update: 1-March-2011: In my under-caffeinated and sleep deprived state, I said that the study in Nature magazine proved that fluoride toothpaste did nothing, which was completely the opposite of what I meant to say. I’ve corrected this.

Update: 6-March-2011: I have purchased a Goodfella razor. First attempts did not go well. Using a good shaving cream is a must with these, otherwise, bad things happen.

Buying New Zealand made: Cactus WK Shorts

January 17th, 2011 Comments off

Bivouac continues to get a good run out of me. The blazing heat this summer reminded me of the dearth of shorts in my wardrobe, and so about six weeks ago, I procured a pair of Cactus WK Work ShortsCactus WK Shorts for the not particularly cheap price of $139. On the upside, if I ever discover the urge to go hiking a decade from now, I’ll probably be taking these, because they won’t have worn out.

What the picture on the right doesn’t completely convey is that before they’ve been washed a few times, they stand up like that all by themselves. On first wearing, the fabric is more reminiscent of the material used to make tents, because these beasties aren’t regular twill cotton, but rather, are made from 14 oz canvas.

The care instructions tell me not to hand wash the first few times, and to “…always use a mild soap rather than the traditional NZ industrial grade laundry powder…” which I should have paid attention to, as my pair has now developed a few light character creases where they folded in the washing machine.

The construction is a fairly generic five pocket pant design, similar to a pair of cut-off jeans, with a generous fob pocket that will easily take a set of keys or a medium sized smart phone. They are quite comfy once softened up, though I would have appreciated a crotch that was perhaps an inch lower. My only real complaint is that they pick up stains with disturbing ease which do not simply brush off like such accidents would on a pair of polyester shorts – and there’s no room for weight gain, because there’s no way these will stretch. Ever.

New Year Resolutions – 2011

January 1st, 2011 2 comments

Another year has rolled over. I spent a large chunk of the new years party staring into space thinking about where I’ve been, and what I’m going to do.

2010 didn’t entirely go as planned. But, rather than dwelling on what I didn’t do, and what went wrong, I’m going to look at what I want to achieve. Here’s my list for 2011.

  • Develop and/or contribute to an Android app.
  • Develop and/or contribute to an application in Linux.
  • Go and see at least two of the following; Plays, live bands, classical concerts*.
  • Invest in some shares (finally). (18/08/2011)
  • Pay off my student loan. (20/01/2011)
  • Write at least 20,000 words of fiction.
  • Get back down to 80 kg.
  • Blog more.

Travel isn’t on there, because it’s time & money consuming. I can do that when I’m older. The time to build things is when I’m ‘young’.

* This is what I’m going to do for my birthday.

Categories: Life Tags: ,


December 14th, 2010 Comments off

Charlie Stross has an interesting post on corporations as alien invaders. It roughly summarizes some of the views I’ve had sloshing around my head for the last while, in particular the points regarding the secondary effects of short term accounting regulations on corporations, and the potential immortality of said entities.

Not that I have any kind of plausible solution.

Spicy Harissa Tapenade from The Village Press

October 26th, 2010 Comments off

Harissa Tapenade, from The Village PressI bought a jar of Harissa Tapenade from Moore Wilson. It  is incredibly delicious. Though slightly pricey at around $10 a jar, not much is needed. There’s a distinct tang of  coriander and fish sauce, offset by limes, chilli’s and paprika . It reminds me of a jar of African curry that an old family friend made for me years ago.

I can confirm that it’s excellent with cold roast pork, and hot roasted potatoes.

(Yes, it’s made in New Zealand.)

Categories: Food, Life Tags: