Saturday, November 4, 2017

Well, I'm Glad That's Over

It has been a long week.

Started out inauspiciously. To say the least. Up at 0300-ish in the wee hours of Monday morning (after a less than solid hour of sleep, yes, an hour, sixty minutes, tops) to deal with the flooding of the computer room. (A tale of woe related to you on Tuesday last.)

Repairs were done before lunch on Monday, somewhere betwixt dawn and the repairs being completed, all electrical power to the domicile vanished.  (The power came back in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, God be praised!) Bereft of heat and light I decided to skip shaving before work. The first time I've done that when I was not growing a beard. (Yes, yes, at one time I had a beard. Well twice actually, before the Air Force and after the Air Force.) Felt rather grubby I did, thankfully there was sufficient hot water to shower before departing Chez Sarge.

So that was...

What? You want to know more about the beard?

Sigh, okay.

The one I started before going into the Air Force was a short-lived affair. It was summer, the damned thing itched in the early stages of growing. So off it went. I learned that if you're going to grow a beard, do it in the fall.

Now after I retired from the Air Force I declared that I would not be shaving or getting any more hair cuts. Ever. The love of my life said...

"So, will you be sleeping in the shed?"

Indicating that I had not planned on such an eventuality she said that the hair cuts would continue, perhaps not as often as while on active duty, and to tell the truth, wasn't much left to cut anyway. She would withhold judgement on the beard. Let us see what it looks like, she said.

Well, it was fall, so there wasn't as much discomfort. I was starting to look rather rugged, a real mountain man kind of thing. Then one day I came home from work to be greeted by The Missus Herself, who presented me with a beard trimming kit.

"Uh, babe, the idea of growing a beard was so I wouldn't have to shave..."

"Yeah, that's not happening. You can keep the beard but it shall be neatly trimmed and presentable at all times."


"At all times."

Soon trimming the beard was an every other day sort of thing, almost as bad as having to shave every day, but not quite. Then one day, walking downtown after church, I spied myself in a plate glass window. I didn't look like a mountain man, more like one of these guys -

Shaved the beard off that very afternoon.

Did some wandering around in The Wayback Machine last night. I was wondering how far back the archives went for Neptunus Lex. Back to July of 2004 I discovered. Spent far too much time there. I miss that guy, a lot. Pretty dusty going through those archives...

Lex on In Flight Refueling.

A tip o' the hat to Murphy's Law for that opening photo. He wrote that post before I knew him. Glad to see that his standards have always been high. Thanks Murph.


  1. I had a beard during the Zumwalt era and I learned a couple of great life lessons.
    I can't grow a beard and it looked awful.
    Just 'cause everybody is doing something doesn't mean you should do it.
    Except for Navy Boot Camp, I have had a mustache since the middle of my teens. Mostly in the unrealized hope that it will eventually fill out and get bushy.

    I have never been driving along and turned to my wife and said, "I wish that gas station was going down the highway at sixty miles an hour so that we could get gas without stopping."
    I pretty near lost it reading In Flight Refueling when I got to, "I think I'm upside down".

    My hat is off to all those who aerial refuel.

    Another great post.

    1. Thanks John.

      I attempted a mustache while in the Air Force, damn pathetic Hitler-looking thing. Didn't last.

    2. I can't even watch air refueling without experiencing certain, "qualms." Hats off to those who know how.

  2. If you're sitting on the July 2004 page at WBM, look on the right side for the header "Archives" and the itty-bitty link with a that reads: Browse archives by date."
    If you click on that link, it will take you to two more links, one for 2003 & the other for 2004. Click on the 2003 link to grab a few older posts.

    All I can figure on that, is that Lex had created these archive files and when the WBM captured the first snapshot in July 2004, it also netted these archived files. ...dunno.

    1. Wow, thanks for that CC. It goes all the back to "HWAET!"

      Gonna be another dusty day methinks. (At the WBM, the comments live on, that was always one of the best parts of the Neptunus Lex experience.)

  3. "I didn't look like a mountain man, more like one of these guys -"

    Distinguished looking gentlemen, aren't they?

    1. I was a bit surprised some years ago to realize that being born in the early fifties meant that I was alive during the last few years of life of a couple of Civil War Veterans. (Not the 1850s!)

    2. Joe - Yes, a very distinguished lot, it's the elderly looking part which made me abandon my beard-growing activities.

    3. John - I remember that well. My great-grandfather actually fought in the war, he married and had kids very late in life. Sadly, he had passed before I was born.

    4. OldAFSarge - one of my great-grandfathers managed to survive Camp Douglas.

  4. I've had some experience with facial hair.
    That gives me an idea for a post (pocir).
    Besides, it's No Shave November.

    1. And so it is.

      (But I will be shaving, most days, not today.)

      You are the poster child for awesome mustaches, just thought I'd throw that out there.

  5. Speaking of Lex memories and dust: I was recently trying to tell a good friend about Lex and could not finish the story when I got close to March. I can talk about my parents' and family deaths without huge problems, but I just cannot get the words out about Lex. Why that is, I think, is that he was clearly special, as a writer, as a service member, and 'he could fly the jet'. At the same time he was also 'just a guy' with the same family and life problems and challenges and uncertainties that most of us can relate to.

    1. "...I just cannot get the words out about Lex."

      I understand completely. Every time I tell someone about Lex, I choke up and have to take a deep breath before I can continue, in a strained voice.


    2. I can't really talk to "outsiders" about Lex. Those who know, know, to those to whom it must be explained, they'll never really understand.

    3. Reading the "Lexicans" posts recently about his workup to the new job had my inner voice screaming "No Lex, don't do it!" It's hard to read those, knowing the heartache that's coming. I still get misty if I let myself dwell on it. Time for a Jameson I guess. For strength, yaknow.

    4. Yeah, same here. I know what's coming and I remember what it felt like back then.

      Not a happy time, not at all.

    5. Lex left us as he lived and any true epitaph must include his words about going out wrestling with snakes in a cockpit instead of living on and working in cubeville. I knew him in both venues and he was very much a man of his word. I think he would happily step up for Montrose' toast every time. There is very little upside to growing to be very old in our society. There is, in our generation, a subtle push. We are probably the last of the ones who once believed. What really is on the other side? Like Rikki Tikki Tavi, there are some who are willing to run to find out. Where do you suppose Lex would be?

    6. I still labor in cubeville, I understood and respected Lex's choice. Still miss him, but there it is, what are you gonna do?

      First I have heard of Montrose's toast, it's a good one.

      I thank you for that.

  6. My youngest was eight before he saw me clean shaven Haven't had a bears since.

  7. I tried to grow a mustache before I was married, apparently having visions of me looking like Tom Selleck. Day before the wedding, the soon-to-be Mrs. Andrew asked me if I was keeping the fuzz above my mouth, or was I going to wash it off. (She's nothing if not subtle...) I wanted to keep it so she allowed it with one provision, had to use that eyelash stuff to darken it up. So now all my wedding photos have me looking like a cheesy Cary Grant impersonator. After the pictures came in, off went the stash.

    After my separation from my last employer, I decided to enter my 'screw it' stage and just let the hair and beard grow. (It kinda helped it was the coldest winter in a while, and we don't believe in using electricity to heat a house. (Hey, it's Florida, don't you know. Ignore the ice and occasional snow flurries.)) Grew a right respectful 'dirty old man' beard (in my mind I had visions of 'Duck Dynasty', wife later pointed out more 'homeless dude.' (Again, nothing if not subtle.) and kept it until... SUMMER. Ahhhh, why is there a flea covered sloth-wolverine hybrid with a fever on my face. Get it off, GET IT OFF!!!!

    Now, in order to avoid an ailment that plagued me since my voice changed, I keep it mowed down to stubble. And I am probably transitioning to a full shaver soon.

    I can grow wonderful hair, on my eyebrows (looking like the mentats in that bad movie 'Dune.') and in my ears and nostrils, since the top of the head hairs have apparently decided to migrate. Bleh.

    Knowing the difference between what we think we look like and what we actually look like are one of the many benefits we males get from entering into marriage.

    1. "sloth-wolverine hybrid"

      Love it.

    2. My mustache changed into snow camouflage a long time before my hair changed colors and I decided to try the five minute color changing stuff.
      Nowhere in the directions did it say, "Under no circumstances should you forget how long you leave this chemical on your mustache because then it will also dye the skin that is under and around your mustache as well."
      Whatever you are imagining, it looked worse.
      Shortly afterwards I decided my mustache could be whatever color it wanted to be.

    3. Well, regarding the 'sloth-wolverine hybrid' thingy, by summertime, I swear the damned beard was moving by itself, slowly and painfully.

      After removal, my face peeled for two whole weeks. Discussion with doctor resulted in "You just have really greasy skin and must wash vigorously with soap twice a day at least on your face, or else you'll peel." Yeah, peel. Peel and shed like a Yeti with dandruff during an ash storm. I mean, dandruff on head, okay. Dandruff on face? Cruel, cruel joke on my ancestors' part. I swear, sometimes I think my great-grands and such bought their genes from the bargain basement of the 2nd hand Gene store.

      (And sweat? Yes, I can etch steel with my bare fingerprints. I am one of those persons who cannot ever commit a crime, as I will leave fingerprints, hair, blood (I swear I could cut myself if I was surrounded by jello) and other subtle indicators that "ANDREW WAS HERE" all over a crime scene. No. Really. Been questioned twice by cops due to them finding my prints at a crime scene, one being at a 7-11 I worked at, two months after I left it. Seriously.)

    4. John - My mustache and beard started going all ambush-camouflage pattern as well. Speckles and dots and streaks. I looked like a furry German tank.

      My hair color now is so confusing from a distance that a number of people at work started referring to me as "the blond guy." Nope, various shades of gray, brown, and the occasional blond strand from the days of my youth.

      Now I wear a hat, all the time, even indoors. Those who don't like it are invited to clear my AO most rikki-tik, as I get angered far too easily by the "I don't know how to mind my own business" crowd.

    5. Andrew - I am no stranger to oily skin and hair. Before the well went dry I always suspected that I was being followed around by oil executives, wishing to stake a claim on my hair and face.

      Brother, I feel your pain.

  8. Thanks for the post and the link. I could spend a lot of time going through those old posts of Lex's. Best, I think, to limit it to a few a day so as to get on with what needs to be done. As with all from those days, I miss him, his humor, style, and everything else he came with.

    Paul L. Quandt

  9. I have on my list to try and figure out roughly when it was I started to read Lex, as I made a wildly wrong statement of date while at the Lexicans gathering this past March that embarrasses me still. So this should prompt me a bit more to get that off the list.

    Had to loose all the facial hair for College, the Corps of Cadets frowning on such displays of individuality. Quickly grew it back upon commissioning, but then had to remove all but the mustache when Navy decided to mandate the ending of yet another tradition. After retirement the brown-to-grey ratio was already past the point of no return, so attempts to bring the beard back were short lived.


    1. I tried to remember when I first starting reading Lex, then it came to me that I was Googling the happenings in my son-in-law's squadron at the time, found an article which nailed it by this "Neptunus Lex" fellow. Needless to say, I was hooked.

      It was 24 July 2011, the post was "Big Victory." I was a relative late-comer to Lex.


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