Posted by: smortimer | 2010/03/09

More Shaving

Today I had my first shave with a double edged safety razor. My order had arrived and was waiting for me when I got home from work last night. I had purchased a Merkur 23c safety razor, a 60 blade sampler pack of razor blades, a puck of Mitchell’s Wool Fat shaving soap and a bottle of Pinaud Clubman’s Bay Rum After Shave splash.
This morning I finally got to have an old school shave. I have already been working on my lathering technique and I feel pretty good there. The difference between the mostly plastic gillette fusion and the solid metal 23c is night and day. Just holding it brings the feeling of real manly activities. The difference much like comparing cheap plastic kitchen knife you might order from a late night infomercial and a solid full tang chef’s knife.
I took my time, made sure I had a really good lather, prepped my face with a hot cloth and had a decent 3 pass shave. Now I am obviously a rookie here and I will need a lot of practice. I did not cut myself even though I did not get the closest shave I have ever had. I will however keep at it and I believe that before too long I will be getting that Baby bottom smooth (or BBS as it is called) shave that so many of the DE or straight razor enthusiasts speak so highly about!

Posted by: smortimer | 2010/03/08

Wet Shaving

For years I have hated shaving. I did it only when I had to. Two or three times a week at max, and on days where I might have a job interview, when I met my future in laws and on my wedding day. Shaving left my face irritated and itchy. I tried all the sensitive shaving creams and gels you could find in a can. Nivea, Neutrogena, Gilette you name it and I have most likely tried it. I bought the newest and the best multibladed razors, five blades obviously must better than 3 right? Right?
Back in 1999 I got a shaving brush and a tub of shaving cream from the Body Shop, and it made shaving much less terrible. I still had a lot to learn though, there is a technique to creating lather with a brush. And I had no idea what it was. I wet the brush, smushed it into the tub of cream and got it good and coated in the thick soapy paste. Then I smeared it all over my face getting a really heavy layer of cream all over my face. It made for a very comfortable shave, I could even go over some areas twice with how slippery my face ended up. And shaving was not so bad for a while. The problem was that the body shop cream wasn’t really cheap and lathering like this I was going through a tub really really fast.
So I only picked it up once in a while or I received some as a gift on my birthday or maybe at Christmas. So I pretty much went back to the irritation and itchiness.
A few months ago I found I finally learned the proper way to use a shaving soap or cream. I now have an entire shaving ritual, using hot water, hot face cloth, my brush, a bowl and some good shaving soap. I enjoy shaving. I get smoother, closer shaves and I can shave two days in a row. In fact skipping a day actually makes me miss it.
I have gone ahead and ordered a Merkur 23c safety razor and some double edged razor blades. I will no longer have to pay Gilette $2+ per cartridge, instead I can pay $0.25 per blade and know that I am not putting little plastic cartridges into a land fill.
I finally understand what after shave is actually for. And I enjoy starting my day off with a comfortable, close shave!

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/07/13

Learning the Ins and Outs of Blogging

I have been trying to learn more about the art of professional blogging.  SEO, and Sitemaps, and so on and so on.  It’s enough to make your head spin.  I have found some plugins and have tried to activate them.  With more or less success.

What I have learned is that blogging can be alot more complicated than I thought.  I have learned some things, and I am confused about others.  But I am puttering along.

Another thing I have figured out doing this is that I am much better able to concentrate and learn things in the morning.  When I work on this blog in the mornings before work I have much more success with writing.  Doing it at night after work and I am not as good at writing or learning.  I really am a morning person I guess.

I will have to keep plugging away at it and soon I will be blogging expert.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/07/07

Getting back on the horse

Ok so it’s been a really long time since I have posted anything meaningful.  I have been a little busy, but mostly I have just seemed to be stuck in a rut.  So coming home from work today I was determined to do something to try and get motivated again.

I started looking at some web tutorials on using Dreamweaver as well as just some basic web site design stuff.  Then I got out my Palm TX and started adding reminders for things.  A friend suggested to me that I should have semi-random reminders prompting me to be always thinking/doing something productive.  So I have made some basic pop ups on my Palm for general am I doing something useful, as well as specific reminders for posts on this site, on TGK and some other personal development type things.  I will see how these work out for me and add/modify them.

I think it’s working, I am feeling better now than I was all day.  I am feeling a little motivated, actually have had an idea or two!

I need to be more active in keeping myself focussed and working on things.  I guess I have a very reactive personality, I very easily slip into a state where all I do is react to things.  The longer I go this way the harder it is for me to get back into my groove again.  Since I am actively recognizing this now, I can hopefully use my reminders to stop the slide from happening again.

What are some of your tricks for staying on track?  Leave a comment and maybe we can all help each other out.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/06/23

Writers Block

I think I have it. I have sat down to write several times over the past week or two and every time I just can’t get anything down. I have a few things to post too, Father’s day, my experimenting with roasting coffee and some bar-b-q ideas I have. Well hopefully this won’t last.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/06/16


So here I am at home,  just finished roasting coffee in my new hot air popper and my wife comes into the house and tells me we have a hornets nest above out garage.  It’s about the size of a softball, and it’s right out in the open, so it’s gotta be pretty new.  I called a pest control company and now some guy will be here tomorrow morning and it’ll cost us $110.  I feel like a big chicken for not getting rid of it myself.  But these are some big friggen ugly hornets!

The coffee looks and smells great btw.  I will grind and brew some up tomorrow morning.  I will be posting the whole incident on TGK for tomorrow.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/06/08

Weekend summary

Wal-Mart has let me down.  I am looking for a hot air popper and I went up to the huge Wal-Mart near me and they don’t sell any.  I need one to roast my green coffee beans.  A counter top roaster will run me at least $110, but a hot air popper can’t be more than $35 or so.  And from what I have read they work really well.

I picked up some green Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee beans from the Green Beanery last week, and I have been dying to roast them.  I have roasted beans in the oven once before,but it is hardly an exact science, not too mention it heats the entire house up.  And I am pretty sure our oven uses an awful lot more electricity than a counter top hot air popper.  So I am on the hunt for a hot air popper!

We have some sprouts in our garden too.  Some of the cucumbers and lettuce we planted have sprouted.  I thought it would be at least another week before we saw anything.  We have a fairly small garden, it’s only 8’x4′ and we have some daikon, Korean hot peppers, some beefsteak tomatoe plants, and then a bunch of seeds.  We planted cucumbers, two kinds of lettuce, yellow zucchini, basil and chives.  So I am looking forward to harvest time!

This weekend was a little weird, my wife had to work on both days.  I went to my mom’s to help paint on Saturday and then yesterday I ended up with the whole house to myself for a few hours.  It was weird, I used to relish those types of days.  I’d sit around the house in my pjs, watch tv, play xbox or just surf the net.  But yesterday I was feeling kind of restless and bored.  I went to look for the popper and then I didn’t really know what to do with myself.

I guess I am less willing to waste time these days.  Though I still wouldn’t say I was terribly productive yesterday.  I am in transition!  Yeah that’s it.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/06/03

Still Learning

Last night I played around with TGK a fair bit.  I have installed and activated the stats plugin to track visits to the site, I have applied for and been approved for google adsense, and I have dl’ed and installed an adsense plugin.  I have activated some ads on the page now, but I am not sure I like the way it looks right now.  I will keep tinkering, in the meantime if anyone knows anything about adsense I would appreciate any tips you might have for me.  🙂

I will continue on with learning about wordpress and website design, and now I can add google adsense and various other plugins that I have found.  I like learning, I think along with cooking things it is when I am most enjoying life.  Well also when playing with my daughter, but really that is a learning process too.  She can recite the part from Aladdin now where Aladdin invites Jasmine for a magic carpet ride.  And she can be either part.  “how’d you do that?”  “it’s a magic carpet” “it’s lovely.”  . . .  I guess I can recite most of it now too!

I met with my entrepreneur friend again last night, we went to Burger Shoppe, I reviewed it on TGK.  We talked about staying focused, different ways to keep to our list of goals.  This is something I have struggled with, as I am sure many of you have as well.  My friend uses reminders on his PDA/cell phone, randomly throughout the day to ask himself whether or not he is “doing something productive”.  This little reminder stops him in whatever he is doing at the time and forces him to ask  “Is what I am doing right now, going to help me in acheiving my goals”.  So simple and really quite brilliant.  How many of us do not carry some kind of electronic device with a calendar/task list on it?  Pretty any of the cell phones these days have them, you don’t need the so called “Smart phones” to do it.  Just set a reminder to go off every hour or so, whatever works for you, with the text: are you being productive.  I am going to try it!

I still have the problem of carrying around too much stuff.  This was also one of the things we talked about last night.  I have my work Blackberry and of course a Blackberry would be perfect for setting up my reminders.  I am hesitant about using the work device for personal things though.  Both because technically we are not supposed to, and also because if and when I leave this job I will lose the BB, and so all the things I have put into it.  I have my personal notebook, that I use for blogging and working on the website, when I am on call (like last month) I also have to carry around my work notebook.  I have a Palm TX, an iPod and sometimes my PSP.  Plus various chargers.  One quick win seems to be leave the chargers at home.  I just need to be better at charging things regularly.

I have some things to think about and work on, like always.  Do you have any productivity tips you can share?

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/06/02

June 27th

On June 27th I will be holding the inaugural Toronto Culinary Society meeting.  We will meet to share recipes and food ideas, sample and learn about wines, scotch and other fine spirits.  There may be theme meetings, like maybe a Tapas night.  Everyone will have the chance to pick out and prepare recipes of their choice, or follow a plan as we take turns organizing gatherings.

Things will change as we see what we like and what we don’t.  We may rotate the location, taking turns hosting, and who knows if we get big enough we may locate and rent a space to use.

This is a new thing and nothing is yet set in stone.  I am opening it up to people who want to participate.  The only requirement at this point is a love for food and drink, and since for now at least it is in Toronto, it is probably best if you were a resident here.  🙂  You can leave a comment here, or send me an email if you would like, you should be able to find it in my WordPress profile.

I welcome ideas and suggestions, even if you cannot participate.  If you cannot make it on June 27th but are interested please let me know.

I will also be setting up a page for this on The Guy’s Kitchen, so you can always check out how we are doing there.

Posted by: smortimer | 2009/05/28

Beginnings of an idea

I think I have an idea, well the start of one anyways. I saw an episode of A Cook’s Tour a couple of years ago.  Tony is somewhere in Spain I think, and he is invited to a gathering of Spanish men for a session of their “Culinary Society”.  Apparently these guys get together regularly to cook and drink, and I guess get away from their wives. 🙂 Now I am not condoning the need for escapism, but the idea of having a regular meeting where everyone cooks and shares something and plenty of fine wine and spirits are consumed is amazing. So I am going to try this out. Anyone else interested? Leave a comment and let’s see if we can make this happen in June and hopefully an ongoing thing.

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