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Sorry, the internet is dead today.

Evil

So a bunch of folks whose industries were built on piracy decided that they'd made it big enough it was time to make sure no one else could ever pirate anything.

They decided to try and cripple the internet with a great big off-switch for any website that they or anyone with a bee in their bonnet didn't like.

Probably won't be pretty, that.

Yell at some senators. Politely.

The many lives of steel.

Spooky eye
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Today I received this.

By sheer dumb luck I'd just recently seen another eBay listing for two razors which had been refurbished and sent to the front during WWI. The British army ran a program asking people to donate their old razors. The donated razors were cleaned up, rescaled and stamped before being sent off to the troops.

The thing is, the serial numbers stamped on those razors are very different: 3IF 789 or NA 289. I've seen nothing like the marking on this handle. The 77944 is clearly stamped from a die, and the numbers are lined up in such a way that suggests the brand had them all together rather than doing them one at a time. Then it has RPA burned in, almost certainly by hand. Someone's initials? I don't know.

What I am pretty sure of is that this razor has lived multiple lives. As near as I can tell it was manufactured sometime in the 1850's. That's a long way from WWI.

This will clean up beautifully. The translucent horn scales, when they're fully restored, look like frozen honey.

This makes my 4th historically interesting razor.

Fixing up some ivory (not a euphemism).

Now it detects war crimes!

Evil

"Microsoft is pushing for more core experiences on the Kinect, and they're getting a little help on that front from Blacklight: Tango Down developer Zombie Studios. Publisher 505 Games announced Blackwater, a first-person shooter based on the controversial private military contractor. The group is now called Xe Services. The game is scheduled for release this fall."

Story here.

Wow, a company with such bad publicity might have to try sneakier ways of changing public perception...  I wonder if the game comes with a simulated shipping container to use on snitches?

Everybody must get cut.

Here's blood in yer eye
It was a bit of a rollercoaster weekend. There was family drama, good stuff for friends and excellent progress on this whole straight razor thing I've got going.

I'm a one note band at the moment, so I'm going to talk about the razors.

Campbell MFG Co, raw

Over the weekend I successfully took an old hardware store razor from rusty detritus to gleaming tool. The official test of sharpness is if the razor can cut a single hair pushed down by nothing more than the force of the hair's weight. This razor isn't quite there yet -- I've got much learning to do before I can hone that well -- but it is definitely sharp enough to quite comfortably shave with. Which I've done, twice now.

Campbell MFG Co-honed

Today was the real test. Would it be sharp enough after the first shave?

Yes. Yes it was.

I got a very comfortable shave (despite a failed experiment with jojoba oil in my shaving foam).

And then I cut my hand washing the thing.

I present here for your delectation, the sequence and contents of my thoughts.
  1. Ouch.
  2. Oh man, I hope I didn't damage the edge.
  3. That's a lot of blood.
  4. It isn't sharp enough yet, because that stung a little.

After about five minutes of compression it'd stopped bleeding enough to get a nice cyanoacrylate bandage on. It doesn't feel like anything.

Ker-slice!

The Sweeniest Todd around.

Forklift
Universally Approved

My newest (and last for a good while) straight razor.

It's a Wade & Butcher true wedge (meaning the blade isn't hollowed as a concession to those pansies who don't want to precariously hold fourteen pounds of steel above their vulnerable thorax). Those aren't the original scales (handle). I'd guess they were replaced about 80 years ago based on the wear and the quality of the brass pins. The blade itself was made probably a hundred years before that. It was manufactured during the reign of King George IV, 1820-1830. If you go to the Flickr page and look at the high res version you can see the crown and GR stamp on the tang.

It'll be fully usable after some work, mostly to hone out a couple of small nicks in the edge. Probably incurred when severing some landmass or other during a 'tectonic event'.

Lookie what I found!

Forklift
The Hackett - Before

The Hackett - During

The Hackett - After clean & 1st polish

This is my first pass at cleaning it up.

I wish I could have better preserved the darkening of the blade etching. I'll have to look into methods of doing that. Maybe some combination of wax and acid?

Once I get it good and clean, I'll get a proper water stone and teach myself how to hone. Good thing I've got two blades, huh?

It was made somewhere between 1906 and 1912. I'm guessing the scales (handle) are celluloid. Yes, I know what that means and yes I'll be even more careful than I'd normally be with a blade sharp enough to cut hair with no more force than the stiffness of the cuticle.

Edited to add.

This thing is actually sharp enough to shave. Not a real comfortable shave, mind you, but a shave all the same.

A friendly little demonic notice.

Writing
The tale can now be told. My second short story sale is in Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed.

Full TOC:

CHERUB – Adam-Troy Castro
THE DEVIL – Guy de Maupassant
THE BOOK – Margaret Irwin
THE MONKEY’S PAW – W.W. Jacobs
THE HOUND – H.P. Lovecraft
THE BLACK CAT – Edgar Allan Poe
THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER – Stephen Vincent Benet
NELLTHU – Anthony Boucher
THE HOWLING MAN – Charles Beaumont
THE EXORCIST (excerpt) – William Peter Blatty
HELL – Richard Christian Matheson
VISITATION – David J. Schow
BEST FRIENDS – Robert R. McCammon
INTO WHOSE HANDS – Karl Edward Wagner
PILGRIMS TO THE CATHEDRAL – Mark Arnold
THE BESPELLED – Kim Harrison
NON QUIS, SED QUID – Maggie Stiefvater
DEMON GIRL – Athena Villaverde
HE WAITS – K.H. Koehler
HAPPY HOUR – Laura Lee Bahr
STAYING THE NIGHT – Amelia Beamer
DAISIES AND DEMONS – Mercedes M. Yardley
AND LOVE SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION – Livia Llewellyn
MOM – Bentley Little
20TH LEVEL CHAOTIC EVIL ROGUE SEEKS WHOLE WIDE WORLD TO CONQUER – Weston Ochse
CONSUELA HATES A VACUUM – Cody Goodfellow
OUR BLOOD IN ITS BLIND CIRCUIT – J. David Osborne
EMPTY CHURCH – James Steele
ANGELOLOGY (excerpt) –Danielle Trussoni
THE CODA OF SOLOMON – Nick Mamatas
THE LAW OF RESONANCE – Zak Jarvis
STUPID FUCKING REASON TO SELL YOUR SOUL – Carlton Mellick III
HALT AND CATCH FIRE – Violet LeVoit
SCARS IN PROGRESS – Brian Hodge
THE UNICORN HUNTER – Alethea Kontis
OTHER PEOPLE – Neil Gaiman

One of these days I might even manage to get a story revised and sent to someone other than John Skipp...

Shaving and Shows, Blood and Music

Here's blood in yer eye

My experiment in straight-razor shaving continues, and I now feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. Time to buy a better razor and a real brush + soap. The trick, it seems, is mostly to go slowly and with very little pressure. Having a patch of beard that grows in as a swirl, however, means some of it is a bit tricky to knock down.

Quasi-relatedly, over the weekend kirizal, caprine, corvus_corvax and I went to the Park Gallery to see a free show. I went on the strength of its description as 'End-Timey music'.

I got some video of the evening.


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