Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Shave a Life

I’ve been going old-fashioned these past few months.

More to the point, I’ve been shaving with an old-fashioned safety razor. Or as some people would put it, an old-fashioned ‘Grandpa’ shaver.

'Old-fashioned' doesn't always mean no fashion.

Meet the Edwin Jagger Faux Ebony Safety Razor. Quite a mouthful, I know. But here’s a short primer on safety razors – they were introduced in the early 20th century by none other than King Camp Gillette. Yes, THAT Gillette. Prior to the invention of safety razors, men had to use straight razors – the very same razors that professional barbers are still using. While such razors were unbeatable for the closeness of the shave (which is why your friendly neighbourhood barber still uses them), they were pretty scary in the hands of an amateur.

So came along King Camp Gillette and his safety razors. Gillette’s new-fangled (for the time) safety razors didn’t take off until WWI broke out and he had the contract to supply thousands of American GIs with safety razors. When the war ended, the GIs were allowed to keep their razors – and they took their new shaving habits along with them.

Then you guys know what happened – we got twin bladed razors (Gillette Sensor), three bladed razors (Gillette Mach 3), four blades (Schick Quattro), five blades (Gillette Fusion). At the rate we’re going, we’re going to see 100-bladed razors by the time we all have grandchildren.

And one thing that every mother’s son who has to shave will agree upon – the cost of blades is just getting too much. A set of four blade heads for the Gillette Fusion Proglide Pro costs $30…. and lasts for, like, four weeks for me. Six weeks if I really pushed it.

In the end I started reading up on alternatives, and ended up on the Art of Manliness website. Or more specifically, the article on How to Shave Like Your Grandpa.

And yes, one thing led to another, and I ended up buying one of these old-fashioned shavers on Carousell. I got it from a guy who just couldn’t get the hang of it and sold it off to me with a whole bunch of free blades. The off-the-shelf price of the Edwin Jagger was $75. The guy offloaded it to me (with enough blades to last for six months) for just $45.

Then I went out to buy a pure badger brush (another $50), and some Body Shop shaving cream ($20).

And a really cheap metal bowl from NTUC Fairprice, but who's counting?

So the total damage was..... $120. But I'll go into that later.

The verdict?

Shave quality: Surprisingly quite good. I can’t tell any real difference between the closeness of the shave when I’m using either the Edwin Jagger or my expensive Gillette Fusion Proglide Power.
Ease of use: I won’t deny it. There’s a bit of a learning curve. In fact I cut my face in a few places the first time I was using the Edwin Jagger. The thing is, you’re not supposed to press the shaver into your face. The weight of the shaver itself gives enough pressure to cut the facial hairs properly.

But once you get the hang of it…. Wow.

And yes, the brush makes a LOT of difference. It forces up the hairs, making it easier for the blade to slice them. It also has a mild exfoliating effect, which helps clear up your face.

Aftereffects: Apart from cutting myself the first time I used it, I hardly ever damaged my face again. If anything, I feel a lot less sting and rawness on my face after using the Edwin Jagger. It must be due to the face that I’m using just one blade instead of five.

Cost: This is where you’ll see the greatest benefits. Previously I spent something like $30/month on new blades while I was using the Gillette Proglide Power. With the Edwin Jagger, $1/ month is sufficient.  So even after the initial sunk costs of $120, I get to make my money back within four months. Which really isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things.

And before you say it, new blades for the Edwin Jagger aren’t too hard to find. Your friendly neighbourhood Econ minimart should have safety razor blades for sale. Examples include Gillette’s Nacet and 7 o’Clock lines. Yeah, I know, the irony…..
If you’re still not convinced, then may I refer you to the following Youtube video made by the brilliant people at the Art of Manliness:

P.S.: I am in no way linked to The Art of Manliness. I just think it's a really cool site for men.
Read More

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Welcome to the Web of Fudge

Hi everyone,

I've been thinking.

I've been thinking about thinking.

I've been thinking about thinking about think-..... oh wait, I'll stop myself right there.

The Web of Fudge has been my personal blog started in March 2004, in the last days of my National Service Full-time liability. After my final ATEC mission in Thailand, I found myself having a fair amount of time on my hands, and I decided that writing a blog would probably be a pretty neat thing to do.

The years passed. 

I got out of the army.
I entered university. 
I got a girlfriend. 
I got my B.Eng (Hons). 
I married my girlfriend. 
I got my PhD. 
I started work. 

Somewhere along the way, The Web of Fudge became more and more neglected. Eventually I gave up on it altogether, seeing it as not much more than a fool's errand.

I did try to revive it over the past couple of years. The key word here is 'tried'. Somehow I just couldn't find the energy, time, or passion to write as much as I used to. 

And boy, did I used to write. I used to write about all sorts of things. 

I wrote about my two cents' worth on current issues. Social, economic, you name it, I wrote it.
I wrote about my life. What I did. What I had to eat. What I experienced.

I never really did reach the dizzying heights of Mr Brown or Kenny Sia. But I like to think that I had my own little dedicated fanbase. Even if that said fanbase consisted mainly of family or friends.

After some thought (hence that seemingly disjointed string of sentences at the beginning of this post), I decided that it's about time that I got back to my roots. It's time I got back to writing posts and putting them on this blog.

It won't be the same as before. Nothing ever will be. I'm 32 now. This will be a far cry from when I was 21 or 22 years old, with less money in my pocket but with fewer responsibilities on my shoulders.

I was once just Fudge.

Now I'm still Fudge, with full adult responsibilities. I have a full-time job, and it's not much of a stretch to say that 'hubby' and 'dad' are both major responsibilities in themselves.

But no one said that I can't try. 

Read More