From the Archives: Doing well in school and speaking a foreign language

Two older posts about academia for this holiday weekend

Since it’s the start of a new school year and Labor Day Weekend, I thought I’d take a cue from Jocelyn Eikenburg in Speaking of China and pull out some stuff from the ole archives.

Public Service Announcement
I had a specific way to take notes in college, which I think helped me out greatly. It might help you. This is what I did.


How to learn a foreign language as an adult
Learning a foreign language as an adult is different than how you do it as a child. Here’s how I try to do it – with advice my wrassln coach gave me.

Workmen fixing an escalator in a metro station in Washington DC


Back to the usual nuthin on Wednesday.

Location: my very clean apartment room
Mood: impatient
Music: Du fric en masse que tu caches dans tes gants
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Wetshaving with a double-edge razor – Part 2

My experiences wet shaving with a safety razor
Using a shave brush to lather up the face

My first time using a double edged safety razor was not a good experience.

Me: I have to warn you that I look like a murder victim.
Her: What do you…OH MY GOD, what happened to your neck and face?!!

It was bad. Really, really bad. My neck was covered in blood and everything hurt. A lot.

If you decide to use a double-edge razor, you will absolutely cut yourself the first time you shave. You will blame the blade and then blame me. Do not. Freindly advice from suggests watching videos online that show you how to wet shave properly like this one and this one.

The main thing I’ve learned is that holding the razor is very different than with a traditional cartridge razor, and that means holding it at a 30 degree angle or less to your face – the pic below is more like 10 degrees but that works for me. I start at 0 degrees and angle it towards my face slightly. Then I take short strokes no more than an inch or so, clean the blade, and do it again.

At first, it took forever. Now it just takes a little longer than regular shaving.

If I use canned shaving cream that learned of from BeardBro – which I keep around for a pinch – it takes even less although you still have to wait a minute or so for your beard to soften with water anyway so I find that I end up using my shaving mug more and more.

Plus it’s part of the fun.

Should mention that I cut myself the second time I shaved as well but by the third time, I had zero cuts and now shave regularly with no cuts at all.

Thus ends the entries about my shaving.  This entry has also reminded me that I need to write the follow-up entry to: 10 Tips on how to write a good Match, OK Cupid, or POF dating profile: Part 1- Men, which will be for women from a man’s perspective. I’ll do that soon since I’ve got the time.

Interspersed with all of this will be my usual nonsense.

How to hold a traditional double-edged razor for wet shaving

In the meanwhile, found out last week that I was nominated last week as a “Furthered 40” legal educator on Lawline.

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. More surprising is that I actually have a shot at winning.

Don’t know what the prize is but, dammit, I want it for it may be food or food related.

Location: getting dressed to see a doc about my leg
Mood: slightly depressed
Music: The wound is so fresh you can taste the blood
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Wetshaving with a double-edge safety razor – Part 1

6 Reasons you should start using a traditional double-edged safety razor

Traditional double-edged razor, shaving mug, shaving brush, and standRecently started wet shaving with an old style double-edge safety razor and I’ve gone from hating – absolutely hating – shaving to loving it.

Here are six reasons why you should consider it:

1. It’s fun

Shaving is a chore. I mentioned to my buddy John – who’s also Asian – that one of the perks of being Asian, generally, is that you don’t have to shave a lot. Unless you’re a member of my family or his. At which point, it’s a lot like that Simpsons episode where Homer shaves only to instantly get a 5 o’clock shadow.

I can shave on Monday and have a full beard by Wednesday, I can sport all the beard styles 2017, I know you are jealous.

When you start wet shaving with a safety razor, you realize that it’s a skill you have to learn again. And there are these rituals before and after that make it interesting.

2. You get to get cool new stuff

The safety razor’s a heavy piece of metal that feels solid in the hand. It’s not some piece of exuded poly-anything. Even the double-edged razor I have, which is less than $6, is a machine made of steel and chrome.

Now granted, the only thing you really need is the double-edged safety razor itself and blades but it’s also a good excuse to get some cool – male – things for the bathroom, like a shaving brush and shaving mug, but more on that later.

All this brings us to:

3. It’s insanely inexpensive

So, take a look at your razor. How much do you spend for each blade? I’m guessing it’s like $1.50 to $3 per blade.

Again, what’s for sale? Does anyone really need two, three, SIX blades? That’s just stupid – read Number 5 below. Here, you can get 200 blades for $12.93 – or $0.064 each. Figure you get about four shaves from each, that means each shave is about $0.016.

Unless you have a super thick beard, at which point you’ll need the far more expensive Feather Blades, at a whopping $0.08 a shave.

As an IP lawyer, my guess is that once the patent for the double-edged razor went away, the razor companies needed to convince you that the old way wasn’t working and that two-blades were better.

After a while, three. Then four. I’m waiting for the 16-blade razor to come out.

4. It’s better for the environment

My double-edged razor is 100% metal. I can give it to my great-grand kids – if you wanted to, you could buy an vintage one on Etsy or ebay. And it’s also 100% recyclable. As are the blades.

And if you decide to get the shaving mug and brush as well, you don’t even have shaving cans to throw away. I can also give my shaving mug to my great-grand kids, providing my clumsiness doesn’t destroy it first.

When I’m done with my razor, it goes into the recycling bin with zero plastic.

5. It’s better for your skin

If you watch the commercials of the razor companies, they say the multiple blades lift up – aka pull – your hair (ouch!) and cut it so that the hair falls below the skin.

Hair below skin equals ingrown hairs (ouch X2!). That’s the last thing you want. Women get to use the best epilator equipment to prevent this, we just need to be skillful.

Research has proven this out that two blades are actually worse for your skin than just one blade. And six blades are just a marketing excuse no different than the Stella Artois marketing itself as “reassuringly expensive” here in the US, when it’s called “wife beater” in Europe.

Once you get used to shaving with a double-edged safety razor, there’s no going back.

6. Not everyone does it – so you should do it

It’s like knowing how to tie a bow tie, wearing a suit with working buttonholes sleeves, fencing, or cooking.

It’s not like you’re the guy that carries around an iguana so that people say, “Oh, he’s that nutjob with the iguana.” It’s something small and subtle that becomes part of who you are, slightly different than the rest; a skill that no one can take away from you.

It’s not something you need to know to be a man, but it’s something that makes it fun to be one. Note also that it makes a unique gift for a man.

A raditional double-edged razor for wet shaving

Here’s what it’ll cost you if you decide to start wet shaving:

That’s pretty much it to start. It comes with a cheap blade and you can see if it’s for you. If not, toss it into the recycling bin, chalk one up to: “Dammit, I listened to some idiot blogger online,” and call it a day.

If you decide you like it, here’s some more stuff you might wanna consider (I’m an Amazon Associate, btw but that’s not why I put up these links):

Ladies, this Christmas, if you have no idea what to get your fella, get him the above. Like I said, it’s a unique gift and something that will look nice around the house.

Because men like sharp, rugged stuff made outta metal. While you’re at it, toss out that Stella Artois in his fridge and get him a bottle of single-barrel aged rum.

If you’re not totally bored by this post by now, here’s the second part of this post. Blame my injury for all this posting…

Shaving Mug and Brush with whipped foam

A Great Online Dating ProfileIf you liked this entry, I just wrote a quick little book in April 2014 on how to write A Great Online Dating Profile with 30 tips to get noticed and get more responses – it’s just $0.99 at Amazon,, and the Apple Store, as well as most other online retailer:

I also wrote a book about first dates with information I just haven’t seen in other books that I learned from three solid years of dating in NYC.

A Great First Date, early 2014It’s just $2.99 at at Amazon,, and the Apple Store.

Location: still home with a bum leg
Mood: pensive
Music: slashed in the face, you’ve been left there to bleed
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15 Things Every Man Should Know

Things a guy needs to know to be a man

Me: Do we have any crazy glue?
Her: I think so, why?
Me: Sliced open my finger.
Her: Do you need stitches?!
Me: That’s what the crazy glue’s for.

My boss recently commented that, cause I don’t watch or play any sports, I’m missing something in the manhood realm. Thought that was pretty funny. Cause I got my own lista of what a man should know/be able to do and sports’s nowhere in it. Suppose we all do.

Here’s mine in no particular order – a man has to be able to:

  1. Cook something.
    • At least one thing very well without consulting a recipe. For me it’s chili – it can be any type of food but you gotta know it well.
  2. Tell a story well
    • Can pretty much assure you, it’s the difference between a good night or a great night. Basic rule: if it adds nuthin to the story, leave it out. Eg, if you mention that he’s wearing a white paisley belt, it’d better be crucial to the story. You have to be funny and engaging enough so that a girlie touches you on your shoulder or arm three times in a row. BTW, if that happens, you must kiss her. Unless you’re married or otherwise involved, at which point you smile and politely leave.
  3. Throw a punch and take a punch
    • I like the good old fashioned cross, but that’s just me. You gotta know how to throw it, pull it back, and throw it again. As for taking it, try not to do it often. Ducking’s a good secondary skill to possess. As a corollary, if you’re defending your pride and have a mortgage, a wife, or a kid, walk away. If you’re defending the cause of your mortgage, your wife, or your kid, keep moving forward.
  4. Do 50 push-ups
    • If you can’t, you’re an old man. The thing is, most fellas don’t have to be old men for a while.
  5. Know that what people think of him is none of his business
  6. Be loyal
  7. Know how to keep a secret
    • This is important. If you’re known as a guy that can be discreet, you will make more money and have more respect than the guy that can’t. Plain and simple.
  8. Use the right tools for the job
    • Traditional: Hammer, screwdriver, wrench (monkey, adjustable, and combo), etc.
    • Modern: Google operators, Ping, POP/IMAP, etc.
  9. Quote something that actually means something to him
  10. Have some female friends and not try to bang them.
  11. Know that his parents did they best they could
    • Or didn’t, whatever, you’re a man, let it go. They were probably kids when they had you and had no idea what they were doing.
    • Extra credit if you realize you were no prize either.
  12. Know when to use F__ and when not to use it
    • It’s like salt, a little goes a long way and too mucha it ruins a lotta hard work.
  13. Give and take a compliment
    • For the former: The occasional and honest Nice XXX with a quick nod works wonders.
    • For the latter: Yeah? Thanks, is appropriate for just about everything.
  14. Control the fear
    • It’s always there. If you’re not afraid, you’re nuts, stupid, or grossly underestimating the gravity of a given situation. Unclench your fists, breathe in deeply through your nose, out through the mouth – imagine you’re filling up your lungs from the bottom up, like a glass of water. Then think. Quickly.
  15. Stop bleeding
    • Minor wounds – pressure, hydrogen peroxide, crazy glue or bandages with lotsa changes.
    • Major wounds – pressure, call a professional, more pressure
    • Also, studies have shown, saying positive things to a gravely injured person increases their chance of survival. No, don’t have a quote, wish I did.

There are more things one should know how to do but aren’t specific to men, maybe people in general. That’s for some other time.

A Great Online Dating ProfileIf you liked this entry, I recently wrote an April 2014 book on how to write  A Great Online Dating Profile with 30 tips to get noticed and get more responses – it’s just $0.99 at Amazon,, and the Apple Store, as well as most other online retailers:

I also wrote a book about first dates with information I just haven’t seen in other books that I learned from three solid years of dating in NYC.

A Great First Date, early 2014It’s just $2.99 at at Amazon,, and the Apple Store.

Location: surrounded by papers (they’re going to kill me)
Mood: good, except I need to fix my car, I’m DIY so The Car Starter is for me.
Music: sweet woman and my two grown up sons
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