Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Lotion Update

A couple weeks ago I did an article on skin care & choosing a decent lotion. At the time, Gold Bond for Men (or more properly Gold Bond Ultimate Men's Essentials Lotion & Cream) hadn't hit the store shelves yet so it didn't get included in the article. Now you have another quality choice for your skin care. They claim it absorbs into your skin in 15 seconds & won't clog pores so you don't feel greasy, which is symptomatic of Gold Bond lotions. I haven't tried it out personally but I trust the brand. Like GI Joe used to say, now you know and knowing is half the battle.

I'm glad you're using lotion now. Your hands used to be so rough.

Who's got your back? I do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The trouble with hair is... grows back. Or, in some cases, it doesn't, at least not where you want it to.

We've already covered my thoughts on haircuts, but what about when you're losing your hair?

I myself had to come to grips with the fact that while my hair would grow rapidly, it simply wasn't growing in all the places it used to. I was, in fact, going bald at the crown and my hairline wasn't just receding it was in full-fledged retreat. This was just before I turned 40, and in addition to that milestone birthday and its associated stresses both real & imagined, I had a serious decision to make concerning my hair.

No sane rational man does a comb-over. It looks ridiculous. No one takes you seriously with a comb-over, not even Donald Trump.

This comb-over defies explanation
 Even worse is a rug. Most toupees or hair pieces look like someone sat a dead rat on your head.

I couldn't face the notion of just going bald down the middle and having a ring of hair around the sides & back. That simply wasn't for me. Might work for Terry Bradshaw or Hulk Hogan, but not me.

Nope, I decided that once the receding hairline was about to meet the expanding bald spot it was time to take it all off and shave it bald. It's not an easy decision to make. But, you have to remember, you're probably already so bald it won't be a drastic change or if you don't like it, the hair you still have will grow back. Now, if you aren't suffering any hair loss it's a little bit bigger decision I suppose, but again, it'll grow back.

Not every head shape is right for rockin' the bald look. Some heads are dented, misshapen, pointed, etc. Mine is pretty evenly round, not completely unlike Charlie Brown I suppose. I lucked out & have a good head shape for it. Also, I find that it usually works better if you also have some sort of beard or goatee as a counterbalance. Note, I said counterbalance as opposed to compensation. Some guys grow facial hair to make up for going bald, and that's not cool. Going bald? OWN IT.

Besides, a scientific study has said that men with shaved heads look more dominant. And as an added bonus, no gray hair! My hair is naturally going silver up the sides but since I shave it a couple times a week, I look at least ten years younger than I am.

Tip: If you decide to rock the bald, remember that you no longer have hair to block the sun and to use sunscreen or wear a hat out in the sun, at least till your scalp adjusts. A sunburn on your scalp is a cast-iron bitch. Been there, done that.

I recommend using a set of trimmers without the guard attached to shave your head as close as possible before you break out the razor.  Be patient and don't rush, because scalp cuts bleed easily and take awhile to stop. Plus, you don't want your melon looking like it was attacked by a rogue cheesegrater.

I suppose next we need to tackle my handy shaving tips for both the face and the scalp, including razor selection and choosing the right shave goo. Stay tuned for our next episode!

Who's got your back? I do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It's a Gear Bag, not a Man Purse.

Face it, sometimes you end up needing to carry extra shit with you but it's a nuisance to have full pockets loaded with necessities. Or, sometimes you wish you had something with you, or at least in proximity, but it's just not feasible or practical to carry it with you on your person.

Sometimes you simply have no pockets. Take the Scottish kilt, for example; they have no pockets traditionally and thus the Scots came up with the sporran. The sporran was eventually bastardized in the 80s to become the Fanny Pack. Fanny packs were never cool. Ever.

Stylin' and profilin'. Rockin' the kilt and a tasteful sporran to hold a few items.

How many layers of wrong do we see?
 The only acceptable use for a fanny pack these days is if you're jogging in a dodgy area and want to coneal-carry your handgun.

We'll make an exception for concealed carry.

I'm guilty of having once been the guy with too much stuff in his pockets. I'd have the wallet, pocket change, a couple pens, a small bottle of contact lens drops, a travel tube of Advil and Zantac, maybe a tube of Carmex, possibly a pocket knife. I even occasionally had a notepad or a small sleeve of business cards.

I travel about 50 miles each way to work and I wear contacts. Sometimes you just want to have either a spare set of contacts for an emergency or a pair of glasses to switch into and when you're an hour away from home that ain't an easy feat. What if you want to bring along an e-reader (I have a Kindle) or an iPad or an iPad Mini?

This is how the Man Bag came about. Some derisively call it a Man Purse or Murse. There's an even worse term which I'll get to in a minute. I've seen them called Satchel, Courier Bag, Messenger Bag, and the lamest of the lame, The European Carry-All. The Man Bag keeps all your necessities and/or extras handy, without the lost hiker look of carrying a backpack, without the first day of school look of carrying an LL Bean bookbag knapsack, and without the Gulf War look of carrying an old ALICE pack. I had an LL Bean pack even into college. but it was the University of Maine and it was socially acceptable to have Bean gear. My buddy Chris, a former Marine, carried all his gear in an ALICE pack without the frame.
Unless you live in Maine, this screams I'm still in high school.

After work I'm climbing K2. You wanna come?

An ALICE pack, like I had in the Army, without frame. ALICE is short for All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. Gotta love all them military acronyms.
The frame stiffened the pack, like a civilian hiking pack, and gave you kidney pads, necessary on road marches but not for commuting. You're not the Unabomber.

I finally decided (with nudging from Mrs. Wingman) enough was enough, that I needed to carry less stuff on my person, especially if it was stuff I wasn't necessarily going to need immediately in the course of my normal duty day, because I was like one step away from needing a Batman utility belt. So last Christmas Mrs. Wingman got me my Man Bag. I don't actually carry it on my person all day; it gets tossed in the car at the start of the day, goes into work with me and gets placed in the locker room, and then comes home with me later. It's got my stuff if I need it, but not hanging on my side all day. Some of you, I'm sure, commute via train or subway or bus instead of car, and hoof it on foot to the office from the nearest stop. A man bag is perfect for carrying your necessities without looking like a doofus or a poof. Some guys, despite alleged machismo, royally screw up the Man Bag concept.

Who the hell still tight-rolls their pants? WTF is with those shoes? And does your mom know you stole her purse?

Man Bag Fail. That's a frikkin' Louis Vuitton purse.

Basketball hero Steve Nash failing HUGE with a purse, a pastel salmon sweater, and a bow tie. Pink can be cool if done right, and the tie can be cool if done right but not with a pink sweater that highlights how skinny you are. Mr. Rogers looks positively butch in comparison.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, sporting an ugly purse.

This is an acceptable man bag application. Not sissy, not huge, not flashy.

I guess a part of me had always wanted a bag for my spare gear. In the Army a lot of guys hooked
themselves up with the old olive-drab canvas map bags that the less politically correct and homophobic called Fag Bags. Many would customize them by sewing on one of their name tapes from their fatigues and sewing on the patches from units they'd served in. That raised the Macho Factor a lot. I got myself a bag but never got around to sewing my stuff on before I got out of the Army, and the bag got lost later on. Long story...
Prime example of a map bag, minus the musty canvas stink of Army gear.

Fast forward several years.

I personally have a Scout bag from Australian company STM. I wanted a moderately priced bag that resembled the military map bag and this one fit the bill perfectly. It has a padded internal compartment perfect for an iPad or e-reader, and it will hold my pistol in a pinch. I plan on adding my patches to it. Right now it's got a few pens, a notepad, my MP3 player and headphones, a pair of glasses, a contact lens case, pocket knife, eye drops, Carmex, and some Advil. That means my pants pockets contain my wallet, one pen, and a couple coins. Much simpler. The bag was only 30 bucks when we got it but it seems the price is higher now.

If you only have a few small items to carry without looking all purse-like, you might opt for the Rothco Venturer. It looks like a small camera case and is bargain priced.

Rothco Venturer

If you need a bigger bag to carry a laptop plus your pistol, the Dillon Conceal Carry Tote might work for you.It's a steal at $45.

Stylish and functional

If you have a few extra bucks and need a rugged, sizable pack with a multitude of uses, (and if I needed a different bag from what I currently have) it looks like you can't go wrong with the Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack. It's customizable in 16 color combinations, can be carried on the shoulder or the hip, and holds a variety of gear. A little more expensive at $99, but worth it.

Why do I suggest a subtle military-look bag? Because a prissy bag may not stand up to the rigors of daily use, and if you should find yourself in a dodgy area or situation where nefarious chaps up to no good could be looking for a crime of opportunity, a flashy expensive-looking leather bag says "MUG ME AND STEAL MY SHIT". And the bigger the bag the more attention it attracts and it may have lots of booty inside. A more rugged bag can hold up better if some douchebag tries to yank it off your shoulder. If it rains on you, leather can get ruined.

This begs to be stolen. If you have $300 bucks to blow on a man bag, you MUST have cool stuff in there.

While the guy on the left is climbing Kilimanjaro the guy on the right has stuff to steal, barely hanging on his shoulder from a thin strap.

One last bag before I go. The German company Koffski has a clever bag that looks and fits like a shoulder holster for a handgun. Keeps your stuff real handy. Find out more about it here, or at Koffski's website.
Who's got your back? I do.