Shaving: comparing the Gillette Contour (Plus) with the Gillette Mach 3

For shaving I have always used the same “system” since I started shaving over 20 years ago, the Gillette Contour. Recently there’s been a dearth in blades, especially the regular, cheaper Contour ones, so it was time to upgrade. After consulting the internets to see which system people liked, and asking the lady behind the counter which blades people actually buy I settled on the Gillette Mach 3.

When I got I home I decided to see if there was a difference between the two, so I shaved the left side of my face with the old system, and the right side with the new system. As you can see from the before and after photos, the results are pretty much the same. To the touch, the side shaved with the Contour blades is slightly smoother, but barely noticeable.

The difference while shaving was pronounced though. I usually use shaving foam, but decided to go without for the test. The Contour shave was considerably more painful than the Mach 3 shave. It’s what you’re used to of course. I had shaved without foam before, and having had nothing to compare it with, I never considered it horribly painful. It’s only when contrasted with the Mach 3 that the Contour stood out in the pain department.

Before, about three days worth of growth:


(Right side, my left, was shaved with the Contour Plus. Left side, my right, was shaved with the Mach 3. Note that the Contour Plus comes with a lubricating strip—it’s what the plus stands for.)


Season’s greetings


Have a happy monkey and an inspirational 2009!


The rather expensive Christmas cards I bought this year came with an atrociously bad bunch of envelopes, some of them greasy on the inside (I kid you not), others refusing to stay closed. I decided to use a roll of gold sticky tape I have lying around for occasions like this, but could not find it. Rummaging through my shoebox of office supplies I did find these fellows though. And the odd thing is I cannot remember when I used any of them for the last time.


How to make rounded corners with The GIMP

“Tell me once more,” she said, “how to make rounded corners. You’ve shown me before, but I forgot.”

So here goes.

Input is a picture (photograph, drawing), output is the same image but with rounded corners against a transparent background. The transparent background makes it easy to position the image against any backdrop. If you don’t need that, just skip the bits where I talk about transparency.

Where I say “image menu” I refer to the menu that since around GIMP 2.0 was shown by default at the top of the image windows. Since GIMP 2.6, this menu has become GIMP’s sole menu. (Before 2.0 you had a toolbox menu, and between 2.0 and 2.4 you had both.)

Step 1. Start The GIMP.

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Werewolf? Wehr-wolf? Werwolf?

Taking, then, the actual existence of werwolves to be an established fact, it is, of course, just as impossible to state their origin as it is to state the origin of any other extraordinary form of creation. Every religious creed, every Occult sect, advances its own respective views—and has a perfect right to do so, as long as it advances them as views and not dogmatisms.

I, for my part, bearing in mind that everything appertaining to the creation of man and the universe is a profound mystery, cannot see the object on the part of religionists and scientists in being arbitrary with regard to a subject which any child of ten will apprehend to be one whereon it is futile to do other than theorize. My own theory, or rather one of my own theories, is that the property of transmutation, i.e., the power of assuming any animal guise, was one of the many properties—including second sight, the property of becoming invisible at will, of divining the presence of water, metals, the advent of death, and of projecting the etherical body—which were bestowed on man at the time of his creation; and that although mankind in general is no longer possessed of them, a few of these properties are still, in a lesser degree, to be found among those of us who are termed psychic.

From Werwolves by Elliott O’Donnell (1912).

Barbara Tozier also produced the fictional Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds.

Trees and the Nieuwe Meer

Yesterday I walked around the Nieuwe Meer, the body of water that used to connect the Schinkel river which flows through the west of Amsterdam towards the IJ with the Haarlemmermeer, a large inland lake that has been turned into a polder with mainly farms and a large airport.

You could tell the days are getting shorter quickly. I left my house at 1430, and soon I was taking only blurry photos because almost all of the light had gone.

Trees casting shadows on the Sandberg Institute (the neighbour of the Rietveld Academie):


The shore of the Nieuwe Meer:


Walking through the Amsterdamse Bos in a direction opposite from the one I usually take, I came across these shiny stems:


Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen / Makkers staakt uw wild geraas

(Traditional song sung by children the weeks before Sinterklaas visits their homes and brings them presents. If you look closely you see black dots in the branches: jackdaws.)


Ik ben NIET een BMW-dealer

The headline says in Dutch: “I am NOT a BMW dealer.”

“But Branko!” you will cry surprised, “you are the essential Universal Man, if you would want to sell Beemers, I am sure you could!” Ah, I am not so sure if I could, but that’s beside the point. I don’t want to sell BMWs in Amsterdam, and I do not sell BMWs in Amsterdam, so how come, if you search Google for “BMW Amsterdam,” does it show me and my initials at the top of the page?

As a result I have been getting a lot of phone calls lately from people wanting to buy BMWs off me. Sorry, BMW-buying people! Follow the other links.

The lesson I’ve learned today is that being the top search result in Google helps (if you want to be the top search result, that is).


I know little more about mushrooms than that they make good photographic subjects: they sit still (most of the time), and they contrast well with their surroundings.

Today my brother, his girlfriend and I went to Baarn in Utrecht to traipse around both the current and former park of Groeneveld Castle. More photos below the fold.

[photo of Castle Groeneveld]

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Apologies for the late approval

My apologies for being so late with approving comments. I’ve been very busy lately (still am).

From and to work

I am doing a job for a customer in Zuid-Oost, which takes me along routes I’ve never been before.

This bridge though is right around the corner, and I have crossed it myself many times:


Sun set:


Subway station: