Monday, January 31, 2011

Moustache Blog

Somebody I (sort of) know from a different online community has just started up a blog to photographically chronicle his new moustache-growing quest. It gives me warm fuzzies inside to see another face allowing itself to sprout hair, even if it's in a more limited capacity than I personally prefer. Good luck on your new endeavor, my moustachioed compadre!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bronson

I just saw the movie "Bronson" earlier today, which, if you don't know, is loosely based on the life of the notoriously violent British criminal who took the "fighting name" Charles Bronson. It may have just been my state of mind at the time, but this film really had an impact on me. I have met people who call whatever movie they recently saw and enjoyed a "favorite", but I am typically very hesitant to apply that label. However, I find myself feeling quite strongly that Bronson is going to move into a permanent spot on my short list of favorite movies. It seems to find a very effective midway point between Fight Club and A Clockwork Orange, so if you watched and enjoyed those movies, I'd suggest you take a look at Bronson as well. Tom Hardy, in the title role, is fantastic and does everything you would hope for in such a film. It's got lots of violence, language, and some nudity so it's definitely not something I'd recommend to anybody with delicate sensibilities. For me personally, though, it was awesome.

Side note to tie it in with facial hair: throughout the film the title character maintains an excellent moustache. The real man has now grown quite an impressive beard as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mad Beard Science

The mad scientist character is as familiar a stereotype as there is in the world of fiction. Movies, television shows, and comic books feature mad scientists all the time. But while watching yet another mad scientist try to destroy yet another city today, I was struck by a realization which had never occurred to me before. Have you ever noticed that, while intellect and scientific insight is often associated with bearded figures like Charles Darwin, mad scientists never seem to have beards? My newly formed theory is that when a man of science is deprived of the ability to thoughtfully stroke his beard while he ponders the results of his experiments, the psychological strain becomes too great for him and he is driven mad as a result. The lesson is clear. If you are a male scientist and you wish to remain sane, play it safe: grow a beard.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Social Experiment

I've decided to use my Facebook profile to conduct a little social experiment. I have seen different major movements take place that urge people to use something as their profile image (like a favorite childhood cartoon, or a celebrity the think they look like) and often many people will get on board. I've decided to try starting my own little wave which I'm calling "unbeautiful" where you are supposed to produce an extremely unattractive picture of yourself and post it as your profile image. I'm not telling anybody that I was the original post. Instead I made one of those "copy this status" posts so it will look like I'm just going along with something that is already there. I'm actually curious on 2 fronts:

1: is it really that easy to start a movement of some kind?
2: if it is that easy, will people really set aside their vanity long enough to participate in such a project?

Of course if nothing happens, I won't know which of those 2 reasons is behind the failure to launch. If it DOES get rolling, though, it will tell me that the answer to both questions is "yes". Right now all it needs is some time, then we'll see what kind of results I get.

Kvelertak

Ok, for anybody who happened to follow me over here from my short-lived metal blog (which I doubt anybody did, but you never know) I have a new band for you: Kvelertak. They are a Norwegian six-piece who released their self-titled debut last year. If you haven't heard of them and you are into metal, I'd suggest you check them out when you get the chance.

WARNING: they play a punkish black'n'roll, a style which I know has gotten a lot of sour reactions in recent years. This band, though, feels like they've got it figured out and are actually doing it right. So take that as you will, and if you're interested in hearing probably the best hybrid in that vein to come out yet, give Kvelertak a shot.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reasons to Grow a Beard

I have heard it said, mostly by women, that men grow beards to hide their insecurities and/or indulge some form of masculinity complex. I'll admit that, since they are super manly, there are certainly men who grow beards to look more masculine. I'll admit that I myself find that image to be a nice side-effect. However, I feel that such remarks about beard growth are generally negative and misleading (if a man was really insecure, growing a beard and thus subjecting himself to constant badgering is probably the last thing he'd want to do). I can't speak for everybody, but I know I have several reasons for growing a beard that have nothing to do with my security level or masculine image. I know in my first post on this blog I talked some about beards as the symbol of becoming a man and all that, but I've decided to list here 7 reasons, ranging from petty to meaningful, why I'm letting my beard grow. There are other reasons to grow a beard of course, but these are some of my personal motivations.

1: I like the way a beard feels on my face. It's comfortable once you get past the itching phase, and it's useful in all seasons. When it's cold out, a beard is like a home-grown scarf (it really does make you feel warmer). In the summer, splash some water in there and it's like walking around with a swamp cooler on your face. I know that sounds a little goofy, but it works better than you might think.

2: I prefer the way I look with facial hair. I have shaved my face clean at several points during my adult life, and I've always immediately regretted doing so, because I don't like the way I look clean-shaven. It's just the way my face is constructed, I feel like I look stupid when my face is devoid of hair. Note that this does not relate to masculine image. Rather, it's much like how some hairstyles look "right" on a person and others look "wrong".

3: I enjoy stroking my beard. It's an odd habit I picked up a little while back, but it's quite soothing to sit back and absently stroke one's beard while deep in contemplation, or even while just zoning out for a bit. And yes, I do in fact sit back in deep contemplation from time to time (though to be fair, I zone out a lot too).

4: It makes you stand out, so you're easier to recognize and remember. Quite often you'll run in to people you met a month ago, and they don't remember if you've ever met. Well, since beards are the exception rather than the norm, I've noticed that people will usually remember meeting a guy with a beard because the beard stands out in their memory. This is of course just my own theory, as I haven't done any research or anything to prove that I'm right, but sometimes in life we all go on our own little pet theories.

5: It makes me feel closer to nature. I love taking long meandering walks and admiring the natural world. I always feel like I'm more a part of that natural order when I have facial hair. Probably because if you just "go back to nature" you will inevitably end up with a beard. At least I do.

6: This one is an easy, obvious, fairly universal, and admittedly lazy reason. I don't like shaving. Pretty simple, really. It's uncomfortable and I don't like doing it, so why would I go through a process I dislike to arrive at an appearance I also dislike, when I can leave it alone and like the results better?

7: This is a more personal reason. My grandpa on my dad's side died when I was only two, so my Great Uncle Rod (my grandma's brother) essentially became my surrogate grandfather. He was a very rare and wonderful person, incredibly intelligent, remarkably patient, knowledgeable in the most fascinating and esoteric subjects, and generous to a fault. And the whole time I knew him he had a full beard at least 5 or 6 inches in length. He has sadly passed on now, but growing my own beard makes me feel closer to him and serves as a kind of homage in remembrance of a person who was a very special part of my life.

There, those are some of my reasons. On the other side of the coin, the only reasons I can think of NOT to grow a beard are:

Some people think I'd look better without it.
Some people think it's a mask for my insecurities.

Those are some pretty flimsy excuses for doing anything at all when you come right down to it. So yeah, I'm feeling like the beard is here to stay.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BTUSA 2011 Nationals

Well, the place and approximate time for the 2011 National Beard and Moustache Championships has just been announced. They will be held either September 24th or October 1st in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is pretty exciting news for me, because even though I have no plans of competing, I would very much like to attend. Since I'm in Ohio, this means the venue is in the next state over. Last year it was held in Oregon, and there were talks that it might be held there again this year, so obviously this new announcement greatly increases the chances that I will actually be able to go to the event. Hooray!

Metropolis

Well, my dvd of the new Metropolis restoration arrived yesterday. I'm really excited to watch it. I actually put it on last night, but it had been a very long day on very little sleep, so I just kept nodding off. I'll watch it tonight, though.

I'm in the midst of a bunch of mid-term exams, so right now that's about the only "exciting" thing I have to report.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stupid Attacks on Beards

As all you bearded men out there know, our faces are the subject of periodic attacks from individuals who have decided for one reason or another that we aren't capable of deciding for ourselves how we should look. Sometimes these are simply mild suggestions, while other times they are outright assaults. Subtle, aggressive, well-intentioned, or condescending; there are nearly infinite shapes and forms these statements will take. And sometimes, they can be flat out stupid. I've heard plenty of that last variety myself, as I'm sure any bearded man has. Most often they take the form of "it makes you look like _______". That blank can be filled with anything from Amish farmers to terrorists to hobos to the members of ZZ Top, as if donning facial hair suddenly makes you indistinguishable from someone or something you don't otherwise resemble in any way. It makes you want to say "Look, having a beard doesn't make me look like Osama Bin Laden any more than your blond hair makes you look like Pamela Anderson."

Well, out of this sea of stupid comments, occasionally a statement will emerge that is so incredibly bizarre or misguided that you can't help remembering it months or even years after it was uttered. I can recall two such remarks which have been directed at me, which I will quote here as close to accurately as I can:

1. "Beards have always seemed to me like pubic hair growing on your face."

2. "Growing a beard longer than your hair is unnatural."

So, let's start by talking about that first one. Talk about a no-holds-barred attack. Making such a comparison seems like a pretty desperate attempt to make somebody self-conscious, which leaves me wondering why anybody would be so deeply concerned about controlling the appearances of the people around them. Insecurity is my only guess. Insecurity of colossal proportions. Not to mention the fact that it's no better a comparison than saying the hair on your head is "like armpit hair growing on your scalp", or any other combination of hair from two different parts of the body, for that matter. It's not pubic hair, it's facial hair. As evidence of this, I submit the fact that my beard grows on my FACE exactly like it's supposed to. Additionally, I am a little troubled by the implication that this individual was somehow quite familiar with seeing pubic hair before they had encountered men with beards, given that it would be pretty much impossible to navigate childhood without seeing at least a handful of bearded men. I don't really want to explore that avenue any further, but suffice it to say that I feel deep concern for anybody who would make such a statement.

Now on to the latter remark, which I actually heard fairly recently when I told somebody that I planned on letting my beard grow rather long. Unnatural? How is it possible that allowing something that grows naturally to just grow could be called "unnatural"? Is the alternative of scraping it off with a razor every day somehow closer to what nature intended? If so, why do men naturally grow beards in the first place? Frankly, I think letting his beard grow is one of the most natural things any man can do, and I find attacking beards on the basis of "nature" to be pretty silly.

So anyway, take heart bearded men. Remember that you're not alone. And remember that yes, there are people who do realize how stupid the attacks leveled at your beard can be.

The Beards (band)

Have you ever found yourself sitting around growing your beard and thought "I could sure go for some awesome beard music right about now"? Well if that sounds like you, you'll probably like The Beards, a wonderfully talented group of bearded Australians whose songs are all about how everyone should grow a beard.

Just give a listen and tell me that isn't pure gold: If Your Dad Doesn't Have a Beard...

Bill Blobkin

A while back I was making a webcomic and releasing it on my private site, which I no longer have. Since that has lapsed, and I still have all the comics backed up on my computer, I decided to go ahead and re-post the full original run of all 83 Bill Blobkin comics in a Photobucket album, along with 5 alternates which I never published.

I realize that it's not like anybody was waiting with baited breath for this, but since I put them up anyway I figured I might as well mention it here.

Bill Blobkin

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hats

I don't know why exactly, but I have a thing for unusual hats. I seldom ever wear them, yet I distinctly enjoy owning the kind of hats that people just don't put on in this time and place. Case in point: today I bought a top hat. I may indeed find some limited use for it, but I mostly just bought it because, for quite some time now, I have wanted a top hat. Well, now I have one. Maybe some day I'll shave my moustache and go around acting like I'm Abe Lincoln. Yeah...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gender Gripe

Has anybody ever noticed that if a woman claims that men are stupid, nobody says a thing about it, but if a man claims that women are stupid he's attacked for being a sexist? Before anybody yells, I'm not saying that women are any less intelligent than men are. I think judging brainpower based on gender is extremely asinine. Additionally, there are plenty of men who unfortunately are genuinely sexist. What bothers me, though, is that the label of 'sexism' seems to have become a one-way street. There are many highly sexist women out there, and when I hear remarks about how women are superior or men don't have functioning brains, I want to know where the cries of "sexist" are. It gets on my nerves.

/rant

Crazy Old Beard

I was just watching Land of the Lost (the 1925 version) and I couldn't help but notice something. The professor who everyone thinks is crazy at the beginning but who turns out to be right about there being a lost plateau inhabited by dinosaurs, is the only guy in the movie with a significant beard. I think there's an important lesson to be learned here. People may mock us or call us names, but in the end we bearded men will stand triumphant, because we aren't the ones who are crazy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Public Domain is Awesome

I am, as some of my previous posts may have illustrated, rather fond of the silent film era. Well, while there are certainly a massive number of lost films and rough copies (which I think really adds some mystique to the whole thing) there is one undeniably wonderful aspect of looking for silent movies: they are almost all in the public domain now. So, without fear of encountering copyright issues, it is quite easy to find a great many silent classics online for free. There are even several Youtube channels dedicated to posting such movies at their full lengths. Truly wonderful indeed, and so today I think I will have a silent movie marathon, since last night I found The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920), Cabiria (1914), Häxan (1922), and a few others as well. This should be fun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lonely Beard

I found myself looking around a classroom of about 50-60 students earlier today and I noticed something which I found a little bit sad. I was the only person in the room with a beard. Now I'll grant you, the larger part of the class were female. Still, even if there were only 20 guys, in a college classroom I know most of them are old enough to have started growing facial hair. Yet there I sat, with not so much as a short moustache to keep my beard company in that whole room. Oh well, perhaps some day more of those young men will see the light and shed their superficial preconceptions about looks, casting their lot in with the bearded legion. Until that day, we wait.

I know this post sounds dramatic, but I just finished 3 hours of philosophy classes, so my head is somewhere other than else right now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Call of Cthulhu

I didn't start this blog to review movies, and I don't intend to make a habit of it. However, as this is my only active blog I fear readers will occasionally be subjected to random curve-balls. I know my blog centers on beards, but there is also a certain amount of "etc". This is one of those occasions where the "etc" applies.

I just finished watching the 2005 silent film adaptation of 'The Call of Cthulhu'. I must confess to some rather mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am a fan of both H. P. Lovecraft stories and of silent movies. Given when the story was written (1926) it seems like a good fit, and the storyline of the film is significantly more faithful to the source than I would typically expect from a new movie. On the other hand, this silent film wasn't made until the 21st century, so capturing that authenticity is a tricky proposition.

The filmmakers went out of their way to try capturing the silent movie feel, as opposed to just shooting in black and white. That was wonderful to see, and there were aspects of the artificial aging which worked beautifully. The graininess, lighting, make-up, and spotlight-style treatment of viewing documents were all quite good. The special effects were fairly appropriate, the title cards were perfect, and the music was both authentic feeling and well suited to the activity on-screen. The problem I had was that, while other aspects of the film were spot on, the camera work served quite frequently to break the illusion that I was watching an old silent movie. Several times I would find myself falling under the time-defying spell when suddenly a random pan or zoom or unconventional angle would snap me back to the reality that I was watching a low-budget independent film made only a few short years ago. That's not to say that I have any problem with independent films, or with unconventional camera work. What it is to say, though, is that when you are clearly attempting to recreate a particular style of filmmaking and are going to such lengths to maintain accuracy in so many areas, it seems a shame to allow one aspect of the production to so flagrantly violate the conventions of that style and compromise what you are trying to accomplish. In 1926 it would have been creative filmmaking, but in 2005, while attempting to recapture 1926, it is instead inaccurate and distracting. A complete illusion is, after all, rather a complex thing to create while being quite easy to destroy.

In the end, though, there was far more good than bad about this film, and I loved seeing a modern attempt to recreate the silent era with such thoroughness. I am quite fond of the material chosen and the faithfulness with which it was carried out. Were it not for the camera work I could easily have found myself totally engrossed, and as it was I'm still happy I watched it.

Recommended To: Fans of H.P. Lovecraft or weird horror in general, people who enjoy and pursue unconventional films, or movie buffs who would like to see an interesting modern attempt at authentic period-styled silent filmmaking.

Final Grade: B+

p.s. Still a little beard-related, since Cthulhu has the original awesome squid-beard.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2 Months

I deeply regret the removal of my previous beard, but my new growth is officially 2 months old today, so my beardliness is making a nice recovery. Yay!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Awaiting My Shirt

Well, I designed a logo for a t-shirt that I made and ordered for myself on Zazzle. No, I'm not mentioning it out of some misguided desire to start marketing custom shirts. Rather, I bring it up because it's one of the few things I've done in the past couple days (along with ordering the 2010 restoration of Metropolis). For the most part, this weekend has been very relaxed and basically inactive. I have, however, had a chance to listen to some newly acquired albums by The Devin Townsend Project, Amorphis, and Wino. Fortunately, I've been happy with all of them, so at the very least I've had quite a pleasant soundtrack to this rather unexciting weekend.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy 15th oh little sister of mine!

In other news, the 2010 restoration of Metropolis looks amazing: trailer

And that's about all I've got right now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bearduary and Other Links

Given the time of year, I feel like I should mention Bearduary. It's a little late for the traditional New Years Eve start, but as they say, "better late than never". I would also strongly recommend taking a look on the basis that the site includes some excellent thoughts on bearding and a large number of very good links for beard enthusiasts (though some of those links are quite old).

A couple other links you may find interesting are:
Carstache
BeardHead

Keep the Faith, Beardsmen!

For all you guys out there who aren't willing to let your facial hair grow for fear of universal rejection by the ladies, I have good news for you. It comes in the form of two little words that never occur to most of us to put together. You know what they are? "Beard fetish". That's right gentlemen, there is such a thing, and believe it or not there are women who admit to having one. Granted, it isn't something that has gotten a ton of attention, but then, most things that women find attractive in men have a strange way of staying mysterious. The point is, you can grow a beard and still have a shot to find the right girl. In fact, the right girl may already be out there, just waiting for that glorious facial fur of yours to come get her.

Just to prove I'm not making this up, here are a few links:
Here's one.
Here's another.
One more.

Friday

Well, it's Friday. My weekend has already started, so it's kind of more like Saturday for me. In any case, last night I had a blog assignment due in one of my classes, and after writing a big long chunk of text trying to 'paint a portrait of myself' I'm feeling slightly drained on the blogging front. So, I'm just going to say that I enjoyed my new album purchase (Tales From the Thousand Lakes by Amorphis) and that I made a mistake when I decided to try a different brand of dry cider.

See, I don't like the taste of beer*, for the most part, so I have taken to drinking Strongbow because, as a hard dry cider, it avoids the whole 'cheerleader beer' label while still having a flavor I prefer. Well, on my way home every day I pass a little wine and beer shop. Yesterday I knew I only had one Strongbow left in the fridge at home, so I popped in to buy some more. While I was there I decided that, instead of Strongbow, I'd try a different brand to see how I liked it. I wound up buying some stuff called Hornsby's, and I have to say I was not terribly pleased with the result. The flavor is, for lack of a better word, invasive. Rather than being subtle it has a very powerful, weirdly caramel-type taste, only more sour. I'm not a taster or critic or anything, so I have a hard time explaining my exact problem with the stuff, but what I can tell you for sure is that I don't intend to buy it again.

p.s. My little sister's birthday is tomorrow. That has nothing to do with anything, but I felt like mentioning it.

* In the time since this post, my views on the flavor of beer have changed dramatically.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top 10 Beards Summary

The top ten were:

1. ZZ Top
2. Santa Claus
3. Socrates
4. Merlin
5. Grizzly Adams
6. Zeus
7. Hans Langseth
8. Jack Passion
9. Fidel Castro
10. Charles Darwin

Linked to each name is a picture, in case any of these names are unfamiliar (as I suspect #7 and #8 will be for some of you). You may have to use these links instead of the ones in the individual posts, as some of those appear to be broken for some reason.

I said I would give an honorable mention and some further wrap-up, so here I go. Hopefully any problems you have with the list will be addressed here:

I left off figures from major contemporary religions (Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, etc). I felt that including said figures would start turning this into a religious issue and/or offend somebody, so in the interest of keeping things light and fun, I sidestepped that particular subject altogether. Likewise, I left out Odin as I didn't want to clutter the list with too many figures from ancient mythology and Zeus is better known. I realize that Zeus is also a religious figure, but I think the widespread worship of Zeus is historically distant enough at this point that it shouldn't bother anybody seeing him on here. I didn't add in Merlin clones (Gandalf, Dumbledore, every other elderly wizard in anything) to avoid redundancy. I think I alluded to this in the actual Merlin post as well. Finally, I excluded other famous/notorious beards either out of personal distaste or simply because they didn't make the cut. After all, there are only so many names (10) that can fit into a top 10 list, so at some point you just have to start making cuts. Several other names I felt worthy of consideration who didn't make it for one reason or another are: Osama Bin Laden, Sigmund Freud, Robert E. Lee, Rutherford B. Hayes, Hagrid, and Sarwan Singh.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!

Top 10 Beards #1

Here it is, the gold medal of beards. The most important, most impressive, most famous, and all-round greatest beard of all time:

#1 ZZ TOP
Yes, there are in fact two beards in ZZ Top. However, from a recognition standpoint, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill are an inseparable unit. Together, they are the face of big beards in the modern world. I once read that if there were such a thing as "Mount Beardmore", ZZ Top would have all 4 places. Any wearer of a long full beard can tell you from the comments and comparisons they receive on a daily basis that, to the public, no big beard is above ZZ Top.

And there you have it. My list of the Top 10 Beards of All Time. I'll put together a complete recap for those of you who like to see everything together in one tidy place. Thanks for following along!

Top 10 Beard #2

Thanks to a joint effort by my current schedule and good ol' MLK, I now have a four day weekend on my hands. WOOOOO! And what better way to kick off the celebration than cracking open my last bottle of Strongbow, cranking my new Amorphis album (bought Tales From the Thousand Lakes on my way home), and announcing the final two names on my countdown? And so I give you the runner-up for the Greatest Beard of All Time:

#2 SANTA CLAUS
He has many incarnations in many different places (personally I'm partial to the more dignified Father Christmas), but whether you know him as Kris Kringle, Noel, or good ol' St. Nick, the jolly bearded gift-giver is one of the most recognizable figures in the world. Likewise, he has one of the most recognized beards. Any bushy white beard will draw immediate comparisons to Santa, and to children almost any beard at all will do to make the connection. As the most beloved beard that (n)ever lived, Santa is the kind, jolly, giving face of beards the world over.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top 10 Beards #3

Now we reach the top 3. The winner of the bronze medal in my Top 10 Beards of All Time is:

#3 SOCRATES
Philosophers and deep thinkers need to have beards, everybody knows that. Well that goes right back to Socrates, who pioneered Western philosophy and did so with an awesome beard. From that point on the mold was set, and the entire Western world knew that philosophy and beards went hand in hand. Thank you Socrates, for being the father of thoughtful beard-stroking.


And now the two final names . . .












will wait until tomorrow.

Top 10 Beards #4

We're getting down to it now. None of these next names should come as a surprise to anybody.

#4 MERLIN
The "wizard beard" is one of the best-known stereotypes in the bearded world. Sure, Gandalf had one. Dumbledore had one too. Any decent wizard has to these days. But the roots go back to Merlin, the most famous wizard in the history of the world, the origin of the entire wizard look, and the wearer of one seriously magical beard.

Top 10 Beards #5

#5 GRIZZLY ADAMS
Few names are as closely associated with beardliness as Grizzly Adams. In fact, if a man just lets his beard grow, he will inevitably reach a certain length where his beard will be classified as looking like Grizzly Adams. Sure, this is typically not intended as a compliment, but for a name to be so closely tied to facial hair shows just how influential this beard really was. Besides, its surprising mix of coloration matches his wardrobe perfectly.

Top 10 Beards #6

Well today has been incredibly long. I've got some new CDs to review from the college radio station where I work, so now that I'm finally back home I guess I'll post the next few names in my countdown while listen to some of this stuff.

On with the show!

#6 ZEUS
It has been said many times in many places that beards convey authority. Perhaps no example is more convincing than Zeus. It's hard to be more powerful or manly than Zeus, and while his beard was not incredibly long and splendid, it encapsulated the very essence of his masculinity. Zeus truly stands as a pinnacle of the beard as a symbol of power.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 10 Beards # 7

Ok, since I can't seem to sleep right now I'll post one more tonight. In case you haven't noticed, a picture of each entry is linked to their name in their post. Also, once the list is finished I'll do a complete summary, honorable mention, additional thoughts, and link collection in a single post at the end.

But for now, let's move on to a truly amazing beard:

#7 HANS LANGSETH
Alongside Jack Passion, this is probably the most obscure entry here. However, while the general public may not know his name, a list of the greatest beards in history would not be complete without including the longest beard ever recorded. At the time of Langseth's death in 1927 his beard was 18 feet 6 inches long. Some accounts put it at 17 feet 6 inches, but this is due to a misunderstanding of sorts: after his death, his family cut off and donated his beard to the Smithsonian Institute, leaving about 1 foot of beard on his face for his funeral. Some measures of length conducted in the Smithsonian after that point failed to account for the extra foot they didn't have, thus the discrepancy. If Langseth were a better known figure, he would rightfully sit at the very top of this list.

Top 10 Beards #8

I think this will be my final post for the night, and tomorrow I'll carry on with the countdown, but first:

#8 JACK PASSION
The World Beard and Moustache Championships are held every two years and feature some of the most impressive beards in the world. Jack Passion, despite being far younger than most of the men he competes against, is the back-to-back defending champion in the full natural beard category. He is not as widely famous as many figures on this list, which is the only reason he doesn't place any higher than 8th. However, in the world of competitive beard enthusiasts, Jack Passion is King Kong.

Top 10 Beards #9

The list continues with a man who let his face be his flag... by covering it with a beard:

#9 FIDEL CASTRO
Amongst the scariest beard to ever live, Castro's thick ominous facial bush became the ultimate archetype for rebel leaders and military dictators everywhere. Additionally, as the leader of Cuba for five decades, he stands as by far the most famously bearded political figure of the twentieth century.

Top 10 Beards #10

I recently got to thinking about something: top 10 lists. They are totally irrelevant, biased, and useless. I love them. So, in the spirit of combining two things I love (beards and top 10 lists) I have decided to put together my own list of...

THE TOP TEN BEARDS OF ALL TIME!!!

This list will rank beards in terms of size, recognition, awesomeness, cultural importance, and "it" factor. So, with no further ado, here we go!

#10: CHARLES DARWIN
Smart guys like scientists and professors are supposed to have beards, right? Well Darwin sure helped out in that department. He was one of the most important figures in the history of science, and he was one of the beardliest, providing an excellent face to go with the theory that men of science need long white beards to stroke.

Some things + Bearding links

This post isn't about any one specific thing. Rather, it's just a grab-bag of assorted information:

1. I'm excited for March. My two best friends live in Oklahoma and Virginia, but we used to all live in Nevada and have a "Three Musketeers" type thing going. Due to the geographical distance now separating us, though, we haven't all been in the same place together for nearly 4 years. In March that's going to change, and currently plans are nearly complete for our impending reunion.

2. I just redesigned the blog's overall look. I doubt anybody has really seen it yet, so the original look doesn't matter now, but I would still like to make an alteration of some kind to work the original blog description into the new "logo".

3. The picture of me on my profile does not represent my current beard-state. Unfortunately I cut my beard off shortly after that photo was taken, and this new growth is less than 2 months old, so it will still take some time to get back to that level of beardliness (and I intend to keep going once I get there, this time).

4. I am looking toward a slightly distant goal in terms of my facial hair: I would like to have sufficient beard to compete in some category (probably freestyle) of the 2013 WBMC. That's the World Beard and Moustache Championships, for those of you who aren't up to speed on the world of competitive bearding. The event is held bi-annually, and since the upcoming 2011 championship in Trondheim, Norway is in a matter of months, there is obviously no way I'll be in "fighting shape" by then. So I'm setting my sights on the next event, and I'm hoping that by the time 2013 rolls around I'll be in a place where it's economically viable for me to make a trip to Europe to compete. Or that the event is in the USA that year. Either way works for me.

5. If you are somebody who found this blog purely by accident and you are interested in learning more about competitive bearding, bearding philosophy, or the bearded community in general I will include a few helpful links at the bottom of this post. There are also Youtube channels dedicated to bearding and various other places to look, but these should get you off to a good start.

6. Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

WBMC
Beard Team USA
Build a Beard
Beard Revue
Jack Passion

Dawn of the 'Moustache Trials'

Well, I'm now at that point. All you guys who have let your facial hair grow know exactly what point I mean. It's that point where your moustache hair is long enough to start getting into your food when you eat. Long enough to get wet whenever you take a drink. Long enough to start getting on your nerves. This is where the one great physical trial of growing facial hair sets in. Sure, there are social obstacles as well, but this phase of moustache length is the only period that you yourself find aggravating and objectionable without any outside opinions.

In my previous beard-growing periods I have continued to trim my upper lip while letting the rest grow, but this time I've resolved to see it through to the other end where it gets long enough to keep it pushed off to the sides. We'll have to see how this goes . . . the Moustache Trials have begun.

p.s. I don't know why the paragraph indentations in this entry keep disappearing when I hit 'publish'. It's annoying me, but I guess there's not much I can do about it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Imgur

I was just taking a look on Imgur.com and saw THIS little guide to beard trustworthiness. I don't totally agree with all their selections, but I thought it was interesting enough to take note of. Also, as a philosophy major growing a full beard, I couldn't help noticing that the "full beard" and "the philosopher" are their two most trustworthy beard types on the scale. Clearly this rating system has SOME merit.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 "word that pisses you off" prediction

   It seems that every year a few words, previously simple commoners in the realm of our societal diction, rise up and take on an almost supernatural level of popularity. These words typically stem from some trend amongst high school or college students, and spread like a virus across the internet, clogging virtually every discussion until their very utterance becomes a source of extreme irritation. Well, I've recently noticed the word "legit" being thrown around in such a way that I'm going to predict here and now that by the end of 2011, most of us will be sick to death of hearing it. Like "epic" and "random" before it, "legit" is becoming a trend which we shall soon come to associate with a particular class of teenagers who think they're being clever or original when all they're really doing is following along with the latest fad and annoying people in the process. That is my prediction, and come December we'll see if it's legit.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

To the ladies:

     Many social stigmas are rooted in poor understanding. Negative media portrayal and individual associations become unfair and inaccurate stereotypes which can plague their victims for years. One such victim of social discrimination is the wearer of the full beard. Particularly amongst women, men who grow beards are often looked down upon as hobos or slobs. In the interest of correcting this injustice, I would like to present here the case for the bearded man. I intend to highlight to all the women out there a number of reasons why a man with a large full beard often deserves a second look.
     First and foremost, a beard is the exception rather than the rule. You notice bearded men because they stand out from the crowd, rare individuals in a sea or conformity. Some people enjoy predictability, but if you find yourself bored with dating men who all seem the same, why not try something different? A beard is usually an external physical expression of deeper individuality and independence, so you will seldom find heavily bearded men who are boringly conventional.
     Of course, other physical expressions of individuality exist. Clothing and tattoos, for example, are both prominent ways for a man to show that he is different from the rest of the crowd. Something a beard expresses that clothes and tattoos do not, however, is commitment. Clothing easily varies from day to day, so what a man is wearing only tells you how he wants to present himself right now. Tattoos, due to their permanence, are more of a marker of where somebody was than where they are. A tattoo is often the result of a single impulsive decision, one with which its wearer may no longer feel any connection. In short: the man who got that tattoo may be very different than the man you now see wearing it. A beard, on the other hand, is an ongoing commitment. Each and every day when a man wakes up, he has to consciously make the choice not to shave his face. Anybody can throw on a leather jacket or a pair of sunglasses to change their look, but a man with a year's worth of beard growth has dedicated himself for an entire year to looking the way he does. A man with a really big beard has spent even longer than that. Seems like a pretty good indication that he's not afraid of commitment.
     That leads to another related topic, which is a willingness to work for what he wants. That's right ladies; contrary to popular belief a beard is not for the lazy. In fact, maintaining a beard requires significantly more effort than shaving. For one thing large beards require additional grooming. A beardless man doesn't need to shampoo and brush his face, nor does he need to regularly maintain his facial hair throughout the day to avoid tangles and knots. A bearded man does, though. He also has to contend with zippers, buttons, and all manner of other hazards which snag and catch and tear at his beard. Not to mention the droves of people who have pressured him time and again to cut his beard because they don't like it. And make no mistake on this last point, nearly every man with a full beard has been heckled by family, friends, coworkers, and various women who have all tried to get him to shave. In some cases employers will even have tried pressuring him into removing it, yet if the beard is still there it shows that he has stood firm.
     Pushing past this wall of detractors is almost certainly the single most trying aspect of growing a big beard, and it is also the most telling demonstration of that man's personality. By sticking to what he chooses to be and how he chooses to look in the face of all that opposition, the bearded man exhibits great confidence and determination. He is confident in what he wants and he is not easily discouraged by naysayers. It also shows a lot of patience on his part. Since a large beard takes a fairly long time to grow, it is safe to assume than any man with a really significant mane on his face has not only been willing to wait quite a long time for his facial hair to grow to such lengths, he has also been tolerating repeated opposition to his appearance the whole while.
     On the subject of his appearance, I think an important note should be made. I have never in my life heard a man say he was growing out a big long beard so he could get chicks. Many looks men employ are nothing but cheap ploys to get women to notice them. And if a man is willing to trick you to get your attention, he's probably willing to trick you in order to keep it. But with a man who shows you who he is instead of what he thinks you want to see, you have a much better idea of what you're getting. And that's exactly what a heavily bearded man is. He's a man who displays who he is for the whole world to see.
     So there you go, my case for why bearded men get a bad rap and deserve more of you ladies' attention. Of course no set of rules about human behavior is airtight, and there will be exceptions to any pattern. These are my own thoughts on the matter, though, and hopefully by sharing them I've given you a little something to think about as well.

Introduction and background

   For a while now I've had a variety of facial hair styles. My tendency to change my mind about what exact look I wanted has prevented me from ever growing a truly spectacular beard, but facial hair of some kind has been nearly constant. I just hate the way I look without it. In fact, I think I look downright stupid when I'm clean-shaven. It just seems right that men should have beards of one kind or another, and my specific interest in the beard has increased over time. I have, at various times for various reasons, cut off short to medium length full beards that I have grown. But starting this winter I resolved, once and for all, to let my face become the dense forest that nature intended. And what better way to kick off this new chapter in my life than to start up a blog? Well ok, there are plenty of better things I could do instead, but this is the one I picked, so that's that.
   While I'm on this "new chapter" subject, I should point out that my decision to let my beard grow is really just an external expression of a very real change in direction for me. A few years ago I left school in Nevada without getting a degree, and I eventually found myself working a soul-crushing job in a factory in northeastern Ohio. Well, long story short, when the auto industry collapsed I found myself unemployed, living in my parents' house, not in school, and gradually sinking into a pit of lethargy and depression. Eventually I got back on the horse, so to speak, and went back to school to get my life on track and try to make something of myself. And that's where I am today. These past few months have been almost like a rebirth for me, and despite the fact that I'm mid-way through my twenties, I kind of feel like it's only very recently that I've really made that transition into an actual adult. Thus, as the beard has historically served as a primary symbol of a boy's transition into manhood, it now feels appropriate that I should finally let mine grow freely.That's enough with the autobiographical musings for now, though. Welcome to my blog.