All entries for Monday 08 November 2004

November 08, 2004

Membership withdraw from the world of beards

Follow-up to The all encompassing world of beards from Shak's blog

It happened…I finally grew sick of it. I have officially left the world of bearded people. I am now relatively clean shaven. Do not dismay, my experiment with the beard yielded fruitful results.

During my time with a beard I have come to realise there are two distinct stages where high will power and a disregard for self appearance or delusion is needed. I am not saying that only two stages exist I am sure there are many more challenges to an everyday beard wearer than I was able to fully appriciate and for this reason I will leave some web addresses at the end of this article to help any beard growers in need or advice on how to combat isolation from co-workers and colleages…you are not alone : ) Also there are websites out there to educate people on different styles. But alas I digress….the stages:

First, over-stubble. I first encountered this as a young lad, the rate at which hair on my face grew made a pubescent jump I wasn't ready for….the result of this left me in the neither world between stubble and beard. The point at which you can no longer convince yourself you like a typical rough and ready 80's film stereotype (see indiana jones raider's of the lost arc and many bruce willis films). Most men shrek and run to the bathroom razor in hand at this time and come out as shaven as a new baby…If you can withstand this stage and keep going, if you can stand the "forgotten your razor?" comments and if you can stand the itchy face, I know, nay I promise you will have a beard…..provided growth permits.

The second stage was previously unknown to me and was the downfall of my dear friend…beard. I call this stage scruffy-hobo-beard. If you follow the path or the purist beard grower and dont use a trimmer you will meet this stage soon. I suffer from a beard condition many do…patchy growth. scruffy-hobo-beard looks very bad on people of my disposition. It is where not all the hair on the face is the same length. From far away I looked rugged and many but up close I looked like a flee infested mungrel! Very few men in the world can pull this off and my hat goes off to you boys. I salut you.

Now on to the removal technique….I decided I may not enter this world for a long time and I want to sample as many beard styles as possible, if only for a short time. Some styles I wanted to do but the nature of my facial hair prevented me from carrying them out, amoung these were the handlebarmoustache and "the frenchman". The Frenchman was the one worn by Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot (if you were wondering). I devised a method in which to try as many of them as I could. The technique follows…

  1. First the beard trimmer was used to neaten the beard (beard trimmer was very very good, in fact if I were to keep a beard for a long period of time I would definately trim….it feels great). This was "the neat beard"
  2. Second I shaved the majority of the hair on the cheeks leaving a line of hair along the jaw line connecting the sideburns and the middle box, this is referred to in popular beard circles as "the chin strap" or more colloquially the "Craig David"
  3. Next The connecting line was severed and the side burns neatend to leave me with a box around my mouth commonly known as a "George Michael". This did not look good on me as there is little hair density on the sides of the mouth. This is a bad thing as it made me unable to have a handle bar moustache.
  4. The Goatee part of the box and the handlebars were removed to leave me with a fine and ratty moustache.
  5. The penultimate stage was to removed the extremes of the moustache to leave me with a "Hitler"
  6. Finally clean shaven, I felt empowered, released and reduced all at the same time.

I know I have missed out on many wonderous facial hair types but some had to be sacrificed to let the others live if only for a short time. If you think I missed any significant ones let me know.

I would also like to take a moment to say a little bit about the comments on the previous blog. The comments made about beards were light hearted and I apologuise if they were offensive to anyone. I am open to both sides of the argument. I have noticed mainly women have told me beards are a bad idea whereas men encourage them. This seemed curious to me. I accept they can look hideous and at times mine did, but its still good clean homegrown fun.

If you are thinking about growing a beard or are in the process of doing so and need some advice how to deal with mocking co-workers or a nagging family see the support website I have provided:

beardcommunity.com - to help with your everyday beard problems
some beard ideas
there are many more websites to offer ideas just type "beards" into google, its really that simple.

Gentle men I close with a comment of encouragement. If you are entering the phase of over-stubble and you reach for the razor but hesistate unable to decide, shave/grow. I urge you…do both for a face is never as smooth as it is after you removed a fully fledged beard.

P.S. photos were taken however I dont feel comfortable enought to release them to the world. Lets just say the chin strap looked the '"baddest" but I wouldn't go out with it.


My Teenage Turtles Rant

First off…don't misinterpret this. I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja/Hero Turtles. The point of this rant is to marvel at the sheer random nature of the world in which they live that captured the heart of millions…

Let me explain. Picture the scene. Your a children's TV show writer, its 3am the boss wants a new pitch in the morning or you're out on your ear. You've already had 7 espressos and enough m&ms and crisps to fill two medium sized industrial oil drums, if you dont keep this job you have to move back with your mother….what do you do?

You invent a group of ninjas that fight crime…ok…fair enough. Its cool, kids like ninjas and teaching them to fight (or at least oppose) crime is a good idea. The boss will like that. But is it a bit old hat? I know I'll make them turtles! success. Hang on turtles are small and incapable of fighting street villians. I know I'll make them mutants…..and…and…..they primary food will be pizza. Kids love pizza!

So far its something I can see the logical steps to. This is where the writer/writers come into a league of their own…They need an enemy, who can we choose??? So he decides to calm it down with a human opponent. And then cover him in knives. Enter Shredder! Now it starts to get more weird. The turtles need training, we could get a giant mutant rat in that used to be a human martial arts expert. But then we need an all powerful evil guy bound to never enter the heor's realm (unless its a feature length episode of movie) like the emporer in star wars (he never does the dirty work until the end). Easily done we get something that could resemble a human brain with a face. But how will it move around? We put it in the belly of a semi naked robotic drone and give him two little joysticks to cover the whole range of the robots movement.

A thing I always noticed about the turtles was that they all had very deadly weapons swords, nunchuka (apologies for the poor spelling) fork things and a stick. They never killed anyone. They would always; poke them with the stick, knock them unconscious with the nunchuka, pin them to the wall with the forks or use the swords to chop a rope that was holding bags of sand in the air above the henchmen.

And finally lets make them live in a converted sewer. Later they would introduce a vigilante character that uses sports equipment to fight crime. It is truely a work of genius, I will never totally know how the creative minds behind this brilliant children's TV show came realise this dream.

P.S. bit of trivia they were originally called "ninja" turtles but that was later changed to "hero" as they didn't want kids imitating it and throwing flying stars at each other.


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