Shave of The Day

Edwin Jagger DE with Astra Platinum Blade
Escali Badger Hair Brush
Dapper Dragon Shaving Soap in Strawberry Lemonade
LadySea Creations Shaving Scuttle
Clubman Pinaud Aftershave

IMAG1298

As some of you know, I’ve stopped shaving with expensive multi-blade cartridges, going back to the way I was taught by my grandfather and the way I shaved until my early 20s, using a double-edged safety razor. I don’t often do these “Shave of the Day” things because once I find a razor, blades, shaving soap, and aftershave I like, I tend to stick with them, but I’ve been trying a lot of different products lately, so I thought I’d post a review of some of the new things I’m trying from time to time.

The Jagger DE is a loaner from a friend, but I’m thinking I want to buy this one. I liked the control of the shorter handle and heavier weight over my lighter long-handled workhouse Lord L6. The Astra is my usual blade, though I’m always willing to experiment.

What really made this shave was the Dapper Dragon Strawberry Lemonade, which is a seasonal, but I’m sure still available at their Etsy store. It whipped up super easy with great foam (I just traded up from a boar brush to a badger brush and the difference in how well and quickly soaps whip is significant). The shaving soap smelled delicious and left my skin feeling a nice tingle. The razor went over it smooth and easy and I only needed two passes to get a good close shave instead of the traditional three. I highly recommend this shaving soap.

On a personal note, I like using the scuttle instead of just a bowl because it keeps everything warm, which I find makes the shave more pleasant, and the LadySea Scuttle is just a lovely piece.

Finished off with the Clubman Pinaud because this is pretty much the aftershave my grandfather used and if it works for me, why switch?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2014 – 8:52 pm | Comments (1)

Review of “Haxan” by Kenneth Mark Hoover

“We go where we’re sent. We have names and we stand against that which must be faced.” So says the primary protagonist, United States Marshal John T. Marwood.

Marshal Marwood is sent, or called, to the New Mexico frontier town of Haxan, and he’s already faced with a murder to solve right from the start. This murder-mystery provides the over-arching plot, but while solving the murder, Marwood must also deal with a town that needs some cleaning up, a budding range war, a Navajo war party, and multiple other matters. Sometimes he uses applied violence, sometimes smarts and words. John Marwood is not a one-trick pony, but a well-conceived character, tough, honorable, flawed, willing to do things the hard way, aware of his own strengths and weaknesses, willing to die for the right things, this is Marwood.

Author Kenneth Mark Hoover has created a novel that is part murder-mystery noir, part unblinking, non-romanticized western novel, and a little bit dark fantasy. But don’t think Haxan is all darkness and grit: There are genuinely amusing (but not laugh out loud funny) bits of dialogue and scenes; there are moments of compassion, friendship, love, and honor. Yes, this a hard novel, but it was a hard time and Hoover’s prose and plotting pulls you along like an express train on a long flat straightaway.

I highly recommend this novel, especially if you are a fan of westerns, dark fantasy, and detective-noir.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2014 – 2:50 pm | Comments (0)

Ghosts of the Places We Live Update #18

I’m still working on my novel. MNFringe slowed me down. Also, I’ve been a little on the stuck side heading into the 1999 section. What I need is a day or two where I can focus on the novel to the exclusion of all else. Maybe I can work this out sometime in September.

I think maybe I’m too tired from Fringe to think clearly right now.
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Ghosts Of the Places We Live

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2014 – 3:51 pm | Comments (0)

“Invisible People:” 5 Performances As Part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival and Speculations Reading at DreamHaven Books

This is everyone’s reminder that the Minnesota Fringe Festival production I am taking part in, “Invisible People,” opens this Thursday, July 31st with 5 performances at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage -711 West Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405. Tickets are $12 and you need a Fringe Festival button, available at the venue for $4

Showtimes are:
Thursday, 7/31 @ 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/2 @ 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/9 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Description:
Invisibility tops the superpower list . . . but what is lost when we’re not seen? From a writer fearing his own erasure to a young man attempting to hide his transgender self in a monastery, it’s two true stories by two Minnesota-based writers in one can’t-see show.

Their stories—which are quite different, on the surface—are intertwined in one unified performance.

Michael Merriam fears that his loss of sight will make him invisible to those around him. “It all started with the fliers,” he says, describing the people passing out fliers advertising shows, political candidates, or grass-roots causes that begin to scurry past him when they see his cane.

Christy Marie Kent tries to become invisible by entering a monastery, thinking that hiding from women will cure her from wanting to become a woman. When this fails, she gives in and transitions to womanhood. “My physical transformation begins with this, hormone pills created from the estrogen-rich urine of pregnant mares. On the bright side, the sweet candy coating almost disguises the taste of horse pee.”

Explore with them the depths of the human spirit. Discover the ability to make the best possible lives for themselves—for ourselves.

Isn’t this what we all want?

http://www.fringefestival.org/2014/show/?id=2786

But wait, there’s more! I am also taking part in The Speculations Reading Series this Saturday, August 2nd at DramHaven Books, 2301 38th St E, Minneapolis. Each Speculations Reading runs from 6:30-7:45p.m., including a post-reading reception with free soda pop and cookies.

I will be reading from my newest novel Dark Waters, and probably something in support of my short store collection Whispers in Space. We will have books for sale, things to give away, and a drawing for a door prize!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2014 – 8:18 pm | Comments (0)

“Invisible People”

This is everyone’s reminder that the Minnesota Fringe Festival production I am taking part in opens this Thursday, July 31st with 5 performances at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage -711 West Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405. Tickets are $12 and you need a Fringe Festival button, available at the venue for $4

Showtimes are:
Thursday, 7/31 @ 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/2 @ 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/9 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Invisibility tops the superpower list . . . but what is lost when we’re not seen? From a writer fearing his own erasure to a young man attempting to hide his transgender self in a monastery, it’s two true stories by two Minnesota-based writers in one can’t-see show.

Their stories—which are quite different, on the surface—are intertwined in one unified performance.

Michael Merriam fears that his loss of sight will make him invisible to those around him. “It all started with the fliers,” he says, describing the people passing out fliers advertising shows, political candidates, or grass-roots causes that begin to scurry past him when they see his cane.

Christy Marie Kent tries to become invisible by entering a monastery, thinking that hiding from women will cure her from wanting to become a woman. When this fails, she gives in and transitions to womanhood. “My physical transformation begins with this, hormone pills created from the estrogen-rich urine of pregnant mares. On the bright side, the sweet candy coating almost disguises the taste of horse pee.”

Explore with them the depths of the human spirit. Discover the ability to make the best possible lives for themselves—for ourselves.

Isn’t this what we all want?

http://www.fringefestival.org/2014/show/?id=2786

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2014 – 8:06 pm | Comments (0)

Driving Blind: Car Stories

I’ve been putting together my part of the “Invisible People” fringe show and thinking about my blindness and how it impacts my life.

Sometimes people will ask me if miss driving. My knee-jerk response is “Yes,” but what I really miss is the independence, which is what they are really asking me about anyway. But the driving? Well…

It occurs to me that I could write a one-man storytelling show about Michael and his complicated and frankly unsafe relationship with cars as a younger man. Seriously.

Don’t believe me? I’ll post little quick snippets on Facebook and Twitter, just teasers, with the hashtag #carstories over the next couple of days.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 11, 2014 – 7:05 pm | Comments (0)

Post 4th Street Fantasy Convention Report

So 4th Street Fantasy Con. That’s a thing that happened this past weekend.

I had a really good convention, in general. I didn’t make it to all the panels (panel fatigue hit late on Saturday), but the ones I attended were special. I am sad that I missed the “Advice From New Writers” panel on Sunday morning. I had been on that same panel some years ago and was keen to hear what today’s new writers had to say, but we were out late Saturday, and sleep was thing that we needed, desperately needed. I think my two favorite panels where “The Influence of Anxiety” and “The Revision Process” (which was our “But That’s A Different Panel” winner).

As a panelist, I wasn’t at my best this year. I was too slow witted and had trouble sometimes following the various lines of high-level, rapid fire conversation. I attribute part of this to being low level sick all weekend (allergies and migraines) and my meds slowing me down, but I admit that sometimes 4th Street Panels and audience members leave me in the dust with their academic gymnastics and brilliant, deep questions and thoughts. I felt like I handled myself better during the after-panel and dinner discussions, where I had more time to marshal my thoughts and give them coherent form.

I was talking about this with a couple of other writers on Saturday night and we came to the conclusion that there needs to be a panel that is something like “Imposter Syndrome: 4th Street Edition” next year. 4th Street always makes me feel like I’m playing way out of my league and weight-class, but at the same time I always feel like I leave the convention with my game and abilities lifted and improved just a little.

That aside, it was a wonderful convention and gave me a change to reconnect with folks I only see at this convention. One of my favorite things about 4th Street is the ongoing conversation and the chance to have that conversation with friends old and new very June. I look forward to being part of the 4th Street Fantasy Conversation for many years to come.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2014 – 4:31 pm | Comments Off

DreamHaven Reading

I will be reading at DreamHaven Books and Comics -2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406 – on August 2nd from 6:30 to 7:45.

I will be at DreamHaven Books and Comics to read from my new novel, “Dark Waters” and from my short story collection “Whispers in Space.” I will most likely bring a tray of brownies and cookies to share around.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2014 – 8:12 pm | Comments Off

4th Street Fantasy Convention

4th Street Fantasy Convention is fast approaching. As in it is happening on June 20th through June 22nd. Given that, it seems a good time to stop and post my schedule.

Saturday, June 21, 2014
9:30 AM – Originality and Micro-genre
Readers who are versed in a sub-genre and its conventions can find what outsiders see as minor variations on a theme to be significant and original differences. How does this relate to the frequently expressed desire among critics for originality and ambition, and how is the perception of originality informed by the breadth/focus of readers’ experiences?

Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear (m), Caroline Stevermer, Michael Merriam, Christopher K Davis

Saturday, June 21, 2014
2:00 PM – History as Trade Secret
Fantasy has a long tradition of borrowing (and outright stealing) the best bits from history and remixing them to taste. Sometimes historicity is just an aesthetic gloss, but in others it serves as the foundation for rich, detailed, and complex works. What makes us admire an author bending history to their ends, and which excesses snap our suspension of disbelief?

Tim Cooper (m), Alec Austin, Ann Chatham, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2014 – 6:23 am | Comments Off

Ghosts of the Places We Live Update #17

Another not very good week for working on the novel. I need to figure out some kind of writing schedule, but my personal life seems to be in such a constant state of changing gears that I can’t find stability in the chaos to work. I’m too tired after work. Weekends are always packed. My two days off seem to evaporate in housework and daily minutia.

It’s starting to drive me a little nuts. I get a little nuts when I’m not writing. Maybe more than a little nuts.

Went to the Pratt Community Ice Cream Social last Friday. I did not climb the Witch’s Tower water tower, instead hanging out in the park while the rest of my crew climbed up to the observation deck. I found myself having interesting conversation with charming strangers who would come and share the picnic table I was at. Saturday we the first production meeting for the Minnesota Fringe Festival show I’m going to be in this year. We are rolling along, and I expect we shall have a read-through of our stories pretty soon.

1. 1700 words written.
2. Went back and added to a couple of scenes in the 1979 section.
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Ghosts Of the Places We Live

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 – 6:10 am | Comments Off