Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fighting the Face

Movember (Moustache/No Shave November) came and went with nary an uncut facial follicle. My facial hair was not planted in any pattern that encourages growing any type of beard. In the last few weeks, though, several areas have revolted by becoming badger-hair stiff and refusing to be cut down to the skin. Even after using a new blade, patches of sandpaper rough bristle jut out from my face.

None of the patches are so long they are immediately obvious to anyone who does not pay as much attention to my face as I do. Nevertheless, I see them and they annoy me.

Perhaps the most annoying part of the rebellious hairs is their color. My facial hair is red and white! The hair on my head is a light brown. Seeing how my dad looks with his beautiful white hair, I have longed for years for my hair to go gray with very little luck. Why then does the hair that is so sporadically placed that I cannot grow it out with any kind of aesthetic benefit do exactly what I want the rest of the hair on my head to do?

As far as the red goes, I confess, I was born a ginger and shades of auburn are visible in the hair on my head in the right light. Otherwise, the only proof of red-headedness is in the beard and other hair that very few a few not many only some people get to see.

Since I started college in the mid-80’s I have preferred using a razor with a blade over an electric razor. My face always felt rough after shaving with the electric razor. Now that I am getting the same effect in patches with the blade, I have considered trying the electric razor again. At least I would be uniformly rough.

This facial hair challenge is just the kind of thing that gets to me. I’ve been shaving over 30 years. I know how to do it. When everything is done correctly and the results are not as expected proves to be a circumstance I find most frustrating. Those unknown variables that change outcomes unexpectedly may provide spice and adventure to life, but I have plenty of that. The universe can leave my facial hair alone.

Monday, December 09, 2013


For the last few years I have faithfully participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) in November by pledging to post [and posting] every day of the month. Since the event started being managed by a for-profit organization some things have improved (daily writing prompt for when you get stuck) and some things haven’t - there’s a NaBloPoMo every month. I only participate in November because that is the month in which the event originated.

Unlike past years when I had the writing prompt planned for each day of the month and jumped into participation enthusiastically, I registered online and began posting each day without any fanfare. I passed the halfway point in the month and all the way to the 26th. The end was in sight and despite not having a daily plan for the posts, I reached the point that I knew I would complete another month.

And then Thanksgiving, holiday company, and the coughing crud that has been making the rounds hit at the same time. I fell asleep typing the post for November 27 ( working title: Earned Exhaustion) and missed the midnight deadline for having a post on that date.

I began beating myself up immediately on waking up and realizing I had missed the deadline. I went into the exercise not fully committed to it, but failing to complete it was tragedy. The emotional self-flagellation continued for over a week when in a moment of clarity, I thought, “why am I upset about this? I write this blog for fun. Putting this kind of pressure took every bit of fun out of it.

I have continued posting since 2005 because of the fun. I expect to participate in NaBloPoMo in future years. Now that I have learned my lesson I will go into it for the challenge, but I will no longer beat myself up over a voluntary challenge. Most of all, I look forward to continued fun as I work on the blog.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Beware (Celebrate) the Underdog

From the beginning, this year’s football season disappointed me. I simply could not find a team or player I wanted to root for. The good Baptist in me kept telling me to get on the Baylor bandwagon and they impressed me in the games I watched - but given Baylor’s history, caution dominated. The thrilling end to the Alabama/Auburn game Thanksgiving weekend gave me some hope that the conference championship games would redeem the season.

The season’s final weekend left me smiling.

Two things that can be said for underdogs is that they are still dogs and they have fight.

In the conferences that have a championship game, both teams competing are there for a reason. Some conferences have disparity between the divisions, but teams rise to the top because they have demonstrated the greatest skill over the season.  That does not go away when they face a team perceived to be stronger. Almost universally, the underdog proved they deserved to be in the game.

And dang my dominating caution. After the earlier Oklahoma / Oklahoma State game eliminated the possibility of a tie for conference champion, I watched what turned into the Big 12 championship game with some Longhorn faithful. Despite our alma mater falling in the game, we all agreed that Baylor deserved the win - and Baylor as a program deserved it after the decades of mediocrity at best.

The competitiveness of the games reenergized what was becoming a lagging interest in sports. The underdogs, several times victorious, returned the excitement to sport. If the projections for the bowl games hold true, then bowl season promises to be as competitive as this weekend. The beginning did not meet my expectations, but if it ends the way the last weeks have been, then I will be happy - thanks to the underdogs.