One thing new that I did in 2016 was to start shaving with a safety razor. It is an enjoyable experience but it is a skill which requires patience and thoughtful practice. The main thing to learn is how to shave with very light pressure. One of the things that helped me was to think of shaving off the cream and not pressing down to shave the whiskers.
At any rate, here are my top razor blades that I have enjoyed using this year:
- SuperMax Super Platinum. I love these blades. They are very smooth and sharp enough to get the job done.
- Lord Platinum. Just a bit sharper than no. 1 but very good.
- Laser Platinum Triple Coated. Very smooth and maybe a bit less sharp Supermax.
- Personna Red. Quite sharp and somewhat smooth.
- Feather. The sharpest blade out there. They feel dangerous just holding the razor in your hand. Don’t use this as a beginner but if you need something really sharp, this is it.
This video by Aquarium Co-op has a good discussion of substrates for planted tanks. One which he mentions is Eco-Complete by Caribsea. This looks like a good possible choice for the 55 gallon tank I am considering setting up next year.
It has been years since I’ve seen Jon Anderson performing with some version of Yes or otherwise. The same with Jean Luc Ponty. Both artists are incredible musicians who inspired me in the ’70’s when I was young and determined to learn music.
First off, Jean Luc sounded incredible. The tone of his violin was so powerful and the sound so full yet not too loud or grating in any way. He used three instruments but stayed mostly with his beautiful blue 5 string Barcus Berry acoustic/electric. Perhaps the most beautiful song was the tribute to Oscar Romero which is played solo with echo effects. I’ve heard recordings of the tune many times but seeing and hearing it live was incredibly moving. Everyone in the audience stood and clapped and yelled for several minutes afterwards. What an outstanding improviser and artist Jean Luc is. I hope I can see him perform again some time soon.
It was also nice to see and hear Jon again. His voice sounded great in a live setting. He did seem just a bit tired at the very end but I thought his sound was still good and his tone was very close to what it was when he was younger and singing with Yes. Jon seems to emit lots of joy. I think in the past I felt more of a sense of mystery from him but now it’s all joy and happiness. I wonder if this is related to his 2nd wife? She was there off stage singing and conducting with every tune. It is clear that she and Jon are connected in a very intimate way. Jon also talked a little throughout the show and clearly made a connection with the audience who all seemed to love and respect his work greatly (myself included).
The rest of the musicians also displayed fantastic virtuosity. In particular the bass player who played a 6 string bass did an outstanding introduction to the classic Yes tune, Roundabout. Jamie Glaser, the guitarist, played a number of different guitars and mandolin. His solos were good but I thought he was at his best in a supporting role doubling or harmonizing with Jean Luc’s lines.
All of the songs on the first APB recording were covered I think. They also played the song, New Beginning from Jon’s solo recording, Survival and Other Stories. A couple of songs from Jean Luc’s past albums were played without vocals and one featured a drum solo.
I look forward to hearing more from this group and they are supposedly going to record more with several songs already composed.