Archive for June, 2007

Wet Shaving

June 22, 2007

Like men everywhere I have been shaving daily, however I always get irritation on my neck. I shave after taking my morning shower which I have noticed few people do. We have communal shower trailers and most people shave before they shower, but I digress. So, what do I need to do to get a better shave?

I read an article on wet shaving over at The Simple Dollar and decided to look some more into it. Well after some research it seems I doing everything right; one one exception I am using modern shaving. These days when people shave they use either a electronic or a manual shave. I think most will agree that electronic is faster and manual is closer. However, is it a good shave?

Seems, that today’s razor’s are designed to get their “close shave” by raising the hair then cutting the hair. Which results in the hair then being cut below the skin = ingrown hair and irritation. Also, the the razor cartridges and cheap throw aways that are made today are not very sharp, most tear hair more then they cut it. It turns out that the average hair on a man’s face is harder then the edge of most razor’s.

The price for razor blades cartridges are expensive. The price for an eight pack of cartridges costs around $1.25 a razor blade vs $0.20 cents for a good safety razor. They also do not last very long maybe 1-2 shaves, before they are dull. The costs when you add them up over the course of one year are quite large. The entire industry is built on replacements.

The simple answer is the return to a straight blade razor, which you can hone yourself. You can get them new or buy old ones.. its possible you can shave daily with the same blade that someone used during the Civil War. However, in my currently surrounding the work and equipment involved with keeping a razor sharp would not work.

So, we go the middle road the older but still common DE (dual edge) razor’s that many people’s grandfathers and father’s used. Picture the old movies with the guy using a cup, and mixing soap with a badger hair brush before shaving. You still have to replace razor blades, but you can buy much higher quality razor blades in bulk then anything you will find hanging in plastic in the store. The razor’s themselves are metal and will last as long as you plan to take care of them. There is more of a learning curve involved. You cannot speed shave unless you plan to cut your face open. Modern shaving is based on the idea that you can do it quickly and its impossible to cause hard other then maybe a small nick. You could not even kill yourself if you wanted to try with a modern shaving razor. I am not saying go grab a plastic deposit-able and try to cut yourself, but the razor by design prevents you from going deep.

Current razor blades are not very sharp, you have to pull them across your face to tear the hair, modern gel’s are there to soften the hair so you do not cause as much irritation to the skin and make it less painful for the user. Classic wet shaving involves hot water and a good lather which raises and softens the hair, then a sharp blade that cuts the hair with no pressure from the shaver what so ever.

I am still doing research but plan to buy a razor and conduct some experiments myself.

Got started with Vanguard

June 15, 2007

Opened up an account with them today and put in my initial $3000 for the Vanguard 500 Index Fund.  I will setup an allotment to put around $250 in it each month and just let it build. I avoided the fee’s by signing up to recieve all my documents electronicaly.  I am about to start the process of moving my Roth IRA from USAA to Vanguard.  I love USAA (not everyone is eligible) but the expenses are lower at Vanguard and they have allocation adjusting funds, like the Target Retirement 2045 Fund.  I will still keep my checking, credit cards and insurance at USAA.  Their service is amazing, and one of the few companies who win awards for it. I like finance, but I do not want to do research daily. I would rather add money in over time and collect it later in life with the asset allocation already done.

I am not a financial guru, just explaining what I am doing with my money.

I am realized that as I started to make more money I was also increasing my lifestyle. Lifestyle inflation is not a bad thing, it should increase as you get older and make more. The problem is that too many people live outside their means and while you have nice houses and cars, they are in debt so bad they are taking payday loans out to buy food. *boggle*

Its getting warm

June 10, 2007

I love Storck Toffifee’s! I do not know what about those hazelnut bundles of joy does it but; I finished a 24 piece box in two days. I have always loved the Risen candies but stopped eating them as part of my movement to be more healthy. Anything made of chocolate over here has melted time and time again. If you open a chocolate candy of any form chances are its no longer in the correct shape and its marked by pitting and white bubbles. All the cocoa butter melts and soaks into the wrapper or box the chocolates are in; so the chocolate is no longer smooth, falls apart and reminds me of baker’s chocolate.

Ran out of my loose Under-Armor shirts; or to be honest I forgot to turn them into the cleaners so having to wear the regular t-shirts. I forgot how much I hate these things. I feel like crap at the end of the day due to all the sweating. Not to mention the seams on the tshirts when wet irritate my underarms. I am going to try getting some bodyglide I read about in a magazine; as soon as I can find a place that will ship APO.

I started a four week T-bill ladder; I will see how well the auctions go on the idea of cycling $1000 dollars every 28 days.

I withdrew my funds from Prosper; I had shifted the funds over (which took almost a week) just to move them back. I kept looking at the people who were asking for loans and as much as I would not mind helping someone; the amount of time involved in searching though all the loans to fund someone I would give a loan to killed that idea.

I am digging more into Vanguard funds for general investment now that I have figured out my retirement portion of savings.

I had mentioned previously that they were offering a $20,000 bonuses; that idea was moved back to the discussion board and will see what the end product is. I would not mind the option of guarantee graduate school if they gave us the opportunity to go to certain schools and get any master’s degree we wanted. I had planned to take the GRE when I got back to the states so that I could drop a packet for ACS (Advanced Civil Schooling).  ACS kind of limits you by money to where you can go to school; and you have to get the degree within 18 months. They may raise the money option to $50,000 after it was noticed that $20,000 is only four months pay and people do not need more money. Most officers have savings and leave days saved up; the problem is getting a chance to use it.  Earlier in the year they made a policy that stated that for each month you were extended you were given one day of administrate leave. The amount of days increased after so many months but the max was 3 days per month if I remember correctly. We already get 30 days of paid leave yearly which I dearly love; however most of us rarely get a chance to use them and are always in the use or lose situation of having to either take leave or lose the days due to job commitments. Normally, units take block leave which is a window based around operations in garrison, before a deployment or a holiday where everyone takes leaves for so many days that month. Its a benefit but not exactly one that makes you go “wow” when you consider that any NCO or Officer can give and does a Soldier a day off at any point as a reward. When I was a in Korea, my platoon Sergeant did formation each morning and gave one Soldier the day off based on his inspection.

I started filling out one of those personity profiles on eHarmony, a co-worker was telling me about how he met his wife on there. They are one of those “success” stories. He said it was innocent fun and harmless but does cost some money. After I looked at the site, which seems to have the end goal of marriage. I am more into relationship idea with marriage down the road based on relationship(s) ( at least I hope this is not the same as entering a room full of desperate women). I have almost finished the profile will see how I match up vs the world and what all the fees are. On the bright side most of the females who use the site; seem to be professional educated women according to him but you still get a few scary ones too.

Quick Update 3 JUN 07

June 3, 2007

Looks like I am on track with my Roth IRA and 401(k)/TSP. I really wish the military got matching contributions from the government like civilian employees get. It looks like I am on-track to try to max my 401(k) with my $45k, tax except limit since I am deployed.

Now, that I have my retirement portion basically started; I need to start looking at just regular investments. I am doing more research into those now; more to follow.

Decided to put only $250 into both the Kiva and Prosper experiments instead of $500. So far I have funded ten $25 dollar loans. I can see myself putting maybe $500 more into my “revolving charity”. I do have some concerns with the micro-loan system since it seems some people end up using them much like a pay-day loan (without the high interest); the system may lead to dependence. I need to do some more research.

As for Prosper, I have been waiting almost a week for the transfer from my bank to Prosper to finish. My bank shows it is complete, Prosper does not. Prosper seems to be based on having to reinvest whatever interest you earn each month back into Prosper to really see any interest gained.  The model favors Prosper (they do run it), next the borrower and lastly the loan-owner. Majority of loan-owners seem to be broke into two groups the “lets help people” or “lets be loan-sharks”. The thing that strikes me is that the majority of people you see listed on Prosper are people you would never loan money to in person. The majority of the borrowers make no logical sense, “Help us be debt free by Christmas” for example. The loan from Prosper is a three year loanLoan=Debt.

Today was my ice cream day (once a week) I ate a big scoop of chocolate that I swear tasted better because I do not eat it daily.

I also started to brush my teeth after every meal. Yes, I know we are all supposed to do this but like flossing daily, how many people actually do it? I brushed my teeth twice a day back in the states, now I have a toothbrush w/ paste in my desk and brush after I eat. I use mouthwash after breakfast daily in additional to brushing. I will admit I have not gotten into the habit of flossing yet but I plan to. Reason for the discourse on dental habits is that I do not want to go though all the dental work following the last two times I was overseas. When I returned from Korea I had about seven dental appointments to fix various major and minor issues (mostly cavities), following my return from Iraq, I was sitting in the dental chair for about ten procedures. I no longer have any concerns about dentists; provided you find a good one I was lucky in that regard. I will again have to see the dentist when I return but this time I am hoping for less visits.