Beard Oil and Balm

I have had a beard for about 15 yrs now, generally I look like cross between a Brian Blessed and Hagrid, I would totally be at home in a cave.

Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)

Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)

Since I started to want to tame it a little, I was told I needed to use oils and balms to bring it in, along the lines of deep conditioning, and styling products. I have always washed my beard fully and conditioned with hair products not not with specialist products.

The Hipster Pound

I were a little dubious, given the recent raise of hipsters and trendy beard growers, I were thinking the beard oils and balms are more about tapping into the hipster pound, which is reminiscent of the 90s trying to tap into the “pink pound” and the “yuppy pound”, one soared and one flopped.

My mind has been slightly changed, and heading toward a full u-turn, but not necessarily for the reasons most would expect.

I change my aftershave scents a few times a year, from spring-summer-autumn-winter I move from green-y, ocean-y, to fruity, citrus-y, to wood-y, forest-y, to spicy, warm scents. For example in Summer is Clinique Happy for Men and in Winter Viktor and Rolf’s Spicebomb Extreme.

Khal Drogo

Khal Drogo

Enhancing Aftershave Scents

I have now found I can match my aftershaves up to beard oils, and balms; More so I can enhance my aftershaves, for example Tom Fords Tobacco Vanille, I think is missing something, so a little Munro’s Bourbon Beard Oil, and a Melt&Smelts Cocoa and Benzoin balm and it really is quite magical. This can be applied to Paco Rabanne Invictus which needs a more woody smell to help with the syrupy smell, so add Cedarwood, Bergamot and Grapefruit beard oil, along with a Sandalwood Tache Wax and works amazingly well.

I would say you can add to your fav scent, or even enhance your favourite scent. I also don’t see why you couldn’t do this if you only have a Tache, Mutton Chops, or even have a stubble, I would even bet you could do your eyebrows, your skin still needs moisturising either way.

Aside from that, my beard is definitely softer and its slowly taking shape with a little topiary skills, less Hagrid and a little more towards Seneca (Hunger Games), well not quite, but Khal Drogo coming up.

Back Up and Contingency Plans

There have been a few stories in the media recently about various companies back up plans being entirely inadequate, the biggest being Marco Marsala. One such company is within the Domain Circle which is HEG which own various companies including Heart, Domain Monster and the company at the centre of the back up fiasco 123-reg. What these companies have in common is that they are some how “I.T. Professionals” in charge of YOUR websites and domains and should know better.

Back Up Failure

Borrowed from BrassBolts

This is a perfect example of why I invested quite heavily in my home back up processes, and I used to be a “hosting company” which used to be a Reseller of services by a company called DonHost way way way back. Back then with a 64kb ISDN Line, I used to download nightly back ups of all client sites, and when the back ups started taking over 12 hours, I moved to bi-nightly downloads and so on.

This were in addition to the hosting companies daily, weekly making around 31 days worth of back ups (7 days, and 4 weeklys = 11) and the weekly “off site” back up to a non accessible hosting account with another company which had its own back ups too.

Non-Accessible Back Up

This non-accessible back up, is technically against lots of hosting companies T&C these days but it weren’t back then. Many hosts include a clause that you can only use a certain percentage of your storage for “storage” that is files not linked publicly by a web page hosted within the account.

This is to limit peoples illegal file sharing, but affects legal use too.

I think this a croc, if I pay for storage, I don’t expect the company to tell me, I can’t keep legal items in there. Obviously illegal stuff and things which breach rules is one thing, but to say I can’t store private files and then want to double the charge to allow me to store private files is a croc, but that’s another issue.

Synology NAS Units

Anyway fast forward 15 or so years, and now I use Synology NAS Units with Hitachi Touro External Hard Drives which perform nightly, weekly functions for local back ups. Many Synology units have a USB port which can be mounted and included in back up scripts, I have a rugged USB Waterproof Pen in there with important files on. The USB drive is stored around 8ft away in a cupboard.

Once I can get fibre (NOT cable, I don’t trust Virgin after the Virgin Media cView issues), I will start to use cold storage like Amazons Glacier or similar, but stuck on ADSL the upload speed limits me, but with fibre there is no excuse not to use a service like this.

Not ideal or business purposes but Google Drive is 1tb for £60 per year, and Google Photos allow unlimited free hi resolution image storage. These should be used for non sensitive data, always worth using.

Hitachi Reliability

In addition to my own storage, I want to touch on hardware Hitachi, I were around when IBM Death Stars (which went on to become Hitachi Deskstars) were literally melting and vaporising themselves, but now Hitachi Reliability is Legendary. I make a point of buying the same drive from multiple sources or on various different days so they are the same drive but different batches. I were also a little irked when Western Digital took over Hitachi, I feared WD would take over Hitachi’s tech but seems WD bought Hitachi for the technology to improve their own.

When you are building your storage needs and requirements, you should research the brands you use. I am a fan of  2tb Samsung F4 Drives, and Hitachi Deskstar’s. I try to replace critical drives every 2 yrs, but I have some Samsung F4s in my media units which have 50,000+ hours of 24/7 running, and some Hitachi’s in similar conditions and they have 0 faults, and clean profiles.

Given how much effort I put in both my person and my business it astounds me that companies 10 to 1000s of times bigger than I were can make sure reckless actions.

Bottom line is, learn from their mistakes and take steps, losing everything is horrible!

Jaded Photographer

I used to shoot loads of photographs, I loved or rather still do love it but when it became work, I really got jaded with it all.  Its a very bitchy game with lots of “new” people entering all the time who are trying to snipe and undercut everyone else. Not to mention the night after night editing, cropping, digitally re-mastering images it gets tiring,

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Town Hall

Over the years I have seen so many things I’d love to shoot myself; with my own twist. There are a few idea’s I have loved but thought about going in a different direction than the original artist did.

Thinking back over the last 12 months, almost every photo I have taken has been at events, exhibitions or shows, if you don’t include pics of my doggies. Not a single shoot for my own enjoyment, and I wonder why I’m jaded by it.

I think its time I arranged some shoots, which are fun and strike my interests a little more.

Manchester Town Hall

The photo of Manchester Town Hall to the right were a some what rush job, taken in the middle of the night. I wish I had a wider lens, I miss my 16-35mm at times like that. I remember having to make the choice of head on which made the figure look flat or move to the side and get some skew and distortion but get more depth. I miss that so much.

Nutritional Macros

It seems so peculiar posting my health stuff and everything else in one place. I need to move my photos over to here as well but its awkward knowing what to move or just start from fresh.

I’m working on changing my daily calorie (kcal not just cal) intake as I’m changing my work out routine. Its so much harder than I thought. Normally I keep it around 30/30/40 on proteins side, but wanting to up ones total calorie content for increased expenditure produced insane results.

MyFitnessPal Short Falls

I enrolled the MyFitnessPal app to try and help, but it has its quirks…

  1. Doesn’t count calories of strength exercises.
  2. Doesn’t by default track water/liquid (but can be added per day)
  3. Can’t sync with built-in phone pedometers.
  4. Can’t adjust food, like where I order breaded chicken (only high protein option at the time) and remove the coating.
  5. Bundles fibre as a carb, but not a biggie.
  6. Doesn’t allow custom weights for lots of things.

Saying that on balance its a good guide and tracker. Point 6 above, if you can do basic maths you can enter 0.5 and 0.25 into the portion to artificially create a custom weight of food.

Bad Habits

The app has revealed a few bad habits. The biggest being portion control, especially down to the size of my bowl. Breakfast when I have ready oats, I didn’t realise just how carb heavy it were. Another example is the bit of dark chocolate I have mid work out , often isn’t being taken mid work out, its being taken once home, and not only gym days.

Its made me more aware of time keeping, I really wish the app would keep track of the times things were eaten or drank. The reminders help a little.

Its also shown my protein intake is about 75-100 grams short, while carbs are 100-120g over. I’m not sure if the figures are accurate and some days I have to mentally adjust for the removal of coatings, not having sauces, etc.

Anyway, Moving to 25/30/45(protein high) is proving impossible without going over on one of the other macros unless I make everything from scratch which isn’t possible, I need to find a way to buy off the shelf and stick within margins.

On a side note, water and cardio are evil.

Cardio Exercise is Evil

I usually do strength and strongman type lifting, anything ridiculously heavy. I’m not in league of competition but then I’ve not used “extra help” from a needle but still some of the heaviest lifts in the gym are mine.

I’ve recently been working on increasing my cardiovascular health after a bout of basal pneumonia last year where I very nearly died. Long story short, my GP called paramedics after I thought I had man flu, spent half a day in A&E resuscitation (which is scary), and around 10 days in hospital and about 4-5 weeks after out of the gym. My lungs, breathing and en energy have not been the same since.

I recently had a iDXA (a type of DEXA Scan) Body Composition Scan done at Derbyshire University and it showed about 10-15% of my right lung is dark and cloudy, but about 40% of my left lungs dark and cloudy. Given its not a specific lung exam, I can’t take too much from this, but it matches up with my respiratory rate (the number of breaths you take per minute) increasing along with my resting pulse and the force of my breathing inout. It all seems to fit up, but I’m not an expert and I’m piecing things together rather tenuously.

I started the programme about 5 weeks ago, and about 4 weeks ago I changed my strength programme too, and it were a mistake…

Every time I change my routine or programme I get a little run down, so introducing an hour of lung stressing cardiovascular exercise with a new program has hit me with CNS Fatigue often called Over Training Syndrome.

CNS Fatigue – Over Training Syndrome

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy.
  • General aches and pains in muscles.
  • Sore Joints.
  • Reduced Performance in training.
  • Neck Stiffness and Aches.
  • Decreased Immunity (bring on the colds, and sore throats).
  • Moodiness, Irritability and Feeling Down.
  • Increased Incidence of Injuries.

I have about half of that and caught a damned cold, so a few days of rest for me.