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Doug Essinger-Hileman
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Well, well, it seems that there is a biological predisposition favoring the use of the smell of sandalwood in skincare products. Hmmm . . . .
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

Am I dreaming or has Google completely removed the ability to mute posts in one's G+ Home stream? That option doesn't show any more on my one account, but does show on my other.
Lucas Appelmann's profile photoJohn Skeats's profile photoDoug Essinger-Hileman's profile photo
Thanks, +John Skeats. I will remember that.
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Over the weekend, I found a new piece of shaving gear!

With the new puck of Stirling soap open, I wanted a bowl in which to build the later. (I'm using my Old Spice mug to hold the puck of soap.) For the long term, I have my eye on a "proper" latering bowl, perhaps an apothecary's mug or a handthrown pottery mug or scuttle. But right now, disposable income is very scarce, even non-existent at times.

Fortunately, necessity is the mother of invention, and the necessity was that if I wanted a new mug, I would need to improvise. A stop at the local Pier 1 Imports proved to be all that was needed. They had a mocha mug on sale for $2.50.

I haven't used it yet, but it seems like it will do the trick. My fore- and middle-fingers fit nicely in the handle, and that little "knob" at the top of the handle is a perfect thumb rest. The shape seems conducive to building a lather, too. And the decoration isn't too bad.

And who knows, it might even become a permanent fixture. (Probably not, though, as the decoration isn't exciting.)
Cory McIntyre's profile photoDoug Essinger-Hileman's profile photo
Dear lord man! Why would I try and reform you!? If you don't drink it, there's more for me! :P
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My heart is always warmed by the strength of the camaraderie I find in any particular fellowship. I come here today to tell you that it is alive and well in this Fellowship of Pen and Ink.

A week ago, I posted about receiving my new Metropolitans and my initial impressions. Those included my disappointment that the combination of the Met and Diamine's Raw Sienna didn't lay down any lines of ink on my Life notebook paper. I wondered aloud if I would have problems with the Private Reserve Copper Burst I intended to buy as one of my everyday inks (for use in my garden journal, which is a Life notebook).

+Georgayne Adams was kind enough to offer to send me a sample of Copper Burst. They arrived in the mail yesterday (and I would have posted this thanks yesterday, except for the power outages a line of thunderstorms caused; we were fortunate that our outage didn't last long, for there are still thousands without power tonight, some not expecting power back until Sunday or Monday!) and I am glad I was sitting down when I opened the package.

Georgayne didn't send the single sample, she sent five samples: the PR Copper Burst, Diamine's Ancient Copper, two from J Herbin -- Cafe de Iles and Terra de Feu, and Private Reserve's Chocolate. And these weren't samples the size one gets from any of the vendors I know -- these are twice (or a bit more) those sizes. I'm not knocking the purchased samples -- they are wonderful; I am extolling Georgeayne's generosity.

I already have the Copper Burst and Ancient Copper loaded, and I can confirm that the combination of Met and PR Copper Burst lays down lines of ink in fine fashion.

Thank you, Georgeayne.
Georgayne Adams's profile photoTeresa Coffey's profile photoWilliam F. Trier's profile photoDoug Essinger-Hileman's profile photo
that is wonderful. 
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Stirling "Naked & Smooth" shaving puck

Oh my, I am so glad that my wife is not a member of this community!! You see, I have intercoursed with Stirling's "Naked & Smooth" shaving soap and experienced moments of joyful spasms and a blissful epiphany.

The difference between the lather I got on this first day with the Stirling puck puts to shame the best lather I ever got from the locally-produced puck I've been using. (And I'm not sure that I got the best lather possible from the Stirling.)

With the local soap, I was able to whip it into soft peaks that had a slight slickness in its touch. It seemed to fill the brush, giving me a nice handful of thick lather when I squeegeed the brush through my hand. But the lather was always a bit airy, bubbly, on even the best days. It quickly broke down into a mass of bubbles within a thin matrix of lather. And brushing it on was always a problem. Once on my face, it slid from one spot to another with each pass of the brush, leaving thicker and thinner coverage.

It didn't seem to matter how wet or dry I built the lather. Too wet and the lather would collapse as it was applied for the first pass. Drier was better, giving the lather more longevity, but never changing its character. Comparing it to the Stirling soap, perhaps the most telling sign is that I could shave one quadrant (one side of my face or neck) without having to rinse the razor more than twice (and often only once).

With the Stirling soap, I knew I was approaching heaven the moment I began to load the brush. I had watched several video reviews of Stirling soaps, so I loaded a very dry brush. The brush was loaded to its gills (if shaving brushes have gills!) in short order. Building the lather also went quickly, though it didn't blossom into its fullness until I quickly dipped the very tips of the brush into the water, loaded a bit more lather from the puck and added three or four drops (literally) of water to my lather bowl.

When I brushed this lather onto my face, it stayed where I put it, with successive swirls of the brush filling in the few empty spots, even on the third pass. It was thick enough that I needed to rinse the razor three or four times in each quadrant.

The end result is that I have a shave smoother and closer today (the fifth shave using this blade) than yesterday, though there were a two or three weepers. And there was very little irritation, unlike yesterday when the irritation was enough to suggest I change the blade.

I'm still new to using the finer supplies of wet shaving, so I cannot offer a comparison of Stirling's soap with other fine soaps. But I can tell you that I cannot imagine that it isn't in the upper echelon of soaps.
Troy Mayfield's profile photoRick Weber's profile photo
I have a puck of the Stirling Spice waiting in the wings after I finish my current Tiki.  My experience with Stirling mimics yours - load it like you hate it, then water it and shazam, great protective and smooth lather.  I burned through a puck of Barbershop with about 85% face lathering and by the end it was absolutely dialed in.
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

Bake Ovens  - 
The adventure has begun.

I've mentioned that I have been dreaming of building a clay oven in my side yard. I've suddenly got several tons of soil suitable for building the oven. Unfortunately, this came to me because of the misfortune of a neighbor.

The house at the bottom of the hill of the farm has an old springhouse connected to it. Several months ago, the terra cotta drain line which channeled the springhouse overflow out to a drainfield collapsed and clogged. My pile of clay comes from where they dug up the old line and replaced it, filling in a goodly portion of the pit with drain stones.

Recently I ran a quick soil composition test with two samples. The results are about 25% clay, 36% sand and 39% silt. According to several sources I've checked, a soil with 15-25% clay works well for making cob.

Now it is time to begin more serious design work.
Dan Warren's profile photoAde Stevens's profile photoPhilippe Le Toquin's profile photoChristina Moodie's profile photo
Congrats on your dirt find. I plan on doing one of these once we get someplace permanent. Please post progress pics as it moves along.
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Have him in circles
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

(Desktop) I Have A Question...  - 
Yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.

With apologies to James Taylor, I received this word about the choice to mute posts in my Home Stream. But only on this account. On my other account, that ability still existed. Yesterday afternoon, I learned that this was a problem known to Google and effecting a small number of users; I was also told that Google was working on it.

As of this morning, the problem remains. Does anyone have any word on when it might be fixed?
John Elstone's profile photoDoug Essinger-Hileman's profile photo
+Doug Essinger-Hileman only that they are investigating.
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

Discuss Recent Updates  - 
Am I dreaming or has Google completely removed the ability to mute posts in one's Home stream?

(edited to make clear I am talking about one's Home stream)
Nils Nilsson's profile photoDoug Essinger-Hileman's profile photo
Thanks, +Nils Nilsson. It is not so much that you misunderstood, but that I didn't give complete details.

If this is a change made by Google, I will be quite distressed. My workflow is to go through the posts and mute those I don't want to continue to "follow." That keeps my Home stream as uncluttered as possible.

With Google now cutting off one's Home stream (I have not figured out the algorithmic logic, if there is any), having a longer stream means that posts I no longer care about continue to show while posts I want to continue to follow drop off the bottom.

Perhaps since the mute feature hasn't disappeared from my other account, this is just a glitch.
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

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Aren't some things obvious?
Chuck Curley's profile photoPhilippe Le Toquin's profile photom fierst's profile photoMarie Bialek's profile photo
Must be the instructions translated from the Chinese label.
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I'm still loving the Stirling "Naked & Smooth" soap after a second shave. However, it has caused me to change plans.

I have just finished shaving with the first of the Wilkinson Sword blades, which is the fifth of six blades I intended to try (Voskhod was the last). But the shaves are some much better with the Stirling that I don't think I am going to get a fair review by comparing the Voskhod, which I'll only use with the Sterling, with the other blades; with the exception of the Wilkinson, I only shaved with those blades and the old soap.

So I am going to break off the test here and start Round 2 with the Voskhod and the Stirling soap. The other three blades that "passed" Round 1 -- Persona Israeli Red, Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge and the Wilkinson Sword -- will move on to the second Round also. The Derby and Astra missed the cut (pun intended).

I'm looking to add a few -- likely two, perhaps three -- blades to second round testing. Anyone want to offer suggestions for blades worth comparing directly with these four?
Randall Cox's profile photoRick Weber's profile photo
Personna Lab Blue and any of the Rapira blades. 
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Doug Essinger-Hileman

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Last night Sandy and I spent a pleasurable evening watching the first of five episodes of an adaptation of Orson Welles' play "Five Kings" by Revolution Shakespeare (a Philadelphia company) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

One of the glories of this production is that it is free. Beginning in February, the Museum implemented a policy where admission on Wednesday nights beginning at 5pm (and extending until closing) was "Pay As You Wish." One can pay as little as nothing or as much as one wants. Once in the museum, the cost to watch the performances are free.

It seems that Welles was fascinated by Falstaff from an early age. As a student at the Todd School for Boys in Indiana, Welles tried to stage an epic compilation of three of Shakespeare's plays, titling it "The Winter of Our Discontent." School officials forced him to cut material (presumably to shorten the play).

In 1939 Welles wrote and partially staged a compilation of five of Shakespeare's plays titled "Five Kings." Put succinctly, this endeavor was a disaster. But it led to Welles movie of 1960, "Chimes at Midnight," which received a mostly favorable reception and won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival that year.

[This history comes from Wikipedia, where you can read more about Welles, his fascination with Falstaff and these productions:]

Revolution Shakespeare has taken the original play, "Five Kings," and adapted it into five separate episodes, much in the fashion of television mini-series. The series is being performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with each episode in a different gallery, with each scene performed proximate to a specific piece of artwork.

[A press release about the series can be found at An archived news report on the original play, from a 1939 edition of "The Harvard Crimson," can be read at]

Last night's Episode One was in the Museum's first floor Rotunda. It covered Prince Hal's carousing with Falstaff and company, the estrangement from his father, King Henry IV, and the troubles this brought to the king, and the reconciliation between King and Prince.

The performance was "in the round," with the audience seated in the center of the Rotunda and the performance along the outside walls. The opening scene features the narrator looking at two paintings, van Gogh's "Sunflowers" -- his repetition of the third version of "Sunflowers" he painted while in Arles -- and "Le Bon Bock" by Eduard Manet.

"Sunflowers" is likely the most famous painting in this gallery. It's use seemed a pro forma tip of the hat to the painting's status, though it was paired with a line about not being such a good work that drew a deserved laugh from the audience.

Manet's "Le Bon Bock," however, captured the image of the actor who played Falstaff -- and Falstaff himself as written by Shakespeare -- nicely. Most of the action between Hal, Falstaff and company occurred next to this painting.

The remainder of the scenes were those dominated by King Henry IV. Unfortunately, I didn't notice any of the paintings in that place, nor did they seem to be highlighted by the production itself. I'll have to take a look at them on my next trip to the museum.

Sandy and I will definitely be attending next Wednesday's episode.
Brenda Eich's profile photoWilco Roos's profile photoSolonge Gary's profile photo
Some times the best times the are the most simple acts in life
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With this SOTD, a new regimen begins. I have exhausted the locally-produced puck of shave soap and am about ready to open the puck of Stirling Naked & Smooth for its first use. I am going to drop it into my Old Spice mug and use the small white bowl to build the lather. (I hope to get a "real" shaving bowl one day, but this will do until then, I hope.)

The rest of the gear is what I've been using throughout my blade tests: vintage Ever Ready C40, war-era ball-end tech. The blade is a Wilkinson Sword, on its fifth day. (Yesterday was a bit scratchy, but it was also the end of the previous puck of shave soap, so I didn't have a great lather.)

I'll post a report on results soon.
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Have him in circles
422 people
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