2013 Beard Shaving and Beard Quest Update

dyers.org beard logoThe 10th annual (seems impossible) beard shaving pics have been posted Beard Shaving 2013. The story completely sucks.

No, really. It does.

It’s the equivalent of those time tracking sheets that your boss makes you fill out where you end up putting everything down in a single category named “Work-related, misc” just to get through it. I mean he already knows what you’re working on for chrissakes. He’s the person who told you that he needed to see every other line in that spreadsheet reformatted in bold, comic-sans in the first place. I mean screw the two weeks it took you to locate, compile, and analyze that treasure trove of obscure data as long as you spend an equal amount of your time getting intimate with comic goddamned sans.

Not that I’ve had a boss in while. Thus, my proficiency in bearding.

The Quest For Every Beard Type

Three new styles were added to The Quest for Every Beard Type this year, bringing the total number of beards completed to 42 out of 44. I could probably get the whole thing done in the next two weeks, but why rush it? If I procrastinate long enough, someone will suggest a style that I haven’t done yet, and the quest lives on for another year.

I’m running out of road here, so if you see anything missing, I’ll see if I can incorporate it. Otherwise, this quest will soon be complete and I’ll have to shave down and get a boss.

And no one wants to see that.

As always, happy bearding!

2012 Beard Shaving and Beard Quest Update

dyers.org beard logoI know how late I am. I know. But I just woke up. Last year’s pics and story have finally been posted at Beard Shaving 2012. After 9 years, it’s not really a story anymore. It’s the web equivalent of grunting at you from my recliner during Matlock commercial breaks.

The Quest For Every Beard Type

Three new styles were added to The Quest for Every Beard Type this year, bringing the total number of beards completed to 39 out of 43.

What? wasn’t it 42 beard styles last year?

Yea, okay, I added a style. I was going for a Napoleon III Imperial in 2012 and failed to check my own notes before photographing it. Only months later did I realize that it was incorrect. Because the mustache on it was too good to let slide, “English Mustache with Goatee” was added to the list. Napoleon III still taunts me from the horizon. Maybe this year.

As always, happy bearding!

Dyers.org Turns 10 (That’s 60 In Web Years!)

jon dyer polaroid eyeOn January 10, 2002, Dyers.org started with a simple Hello World. Since then, the site has landed my face on television, in a couple of newspapers, in an iPhone app, and all over the web. In web years, Dyers.org is wearing a white belt, white shoes, and should be packing up its polyester pants to drive the Caddy down to Florida.

How Long Ago Is 10 Years In the WebSphere?

Dyers.org started up on MindSpring account when the fastest connection a geek could hope for was 1.5 megabit DSL. It ran on the Blogger platform before Blogger was eaten by Google. It predates American Idol, The Bachelor, and even the G4 Network. Back then, we were all talking about this new iPod thing that came out a couple of months before, which cost an unbelievable $399 for 5Gb of storage. We all thought we should’ve invented it, and we might’ve if we weren’t so busy playing Grand Theft Auto III day and night on our PS2s. Owners of the brand new Xbox console might’ve had a better chance if they weren’t so wrapped up with Halo.

Tweeting was 4 years away, and Tumblr and StumbleUpon were counting their anniversaries in months. No one was using LinkedIn, MySpace, or even Friendster because they hadn’t been thought of. Hell, Mark Zuckerberg was still a couple of years away from coming up with the Harvard-only web app he called “TheFacebook.”

Without vast virtual social networks in which to envelop themselves, nerds either sat home watching The X-Files and drooling about the possible release of Warcraft III, or they started blogs and blathered on and on about nothing.

And I stood there with a bunch of other nerds (wearing onions on our belts, which was the style at the time) and said, “people want to know what we eat for breakfast. We know they do.” Those other nerds became successful pro-bloggers, or hit the delete key when they realized that blogging was for teenage girls.

Despite being the wrong gender and age, I had an astounding 30 readers that I felt compelled to entertain. I kept blogging. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

What followed were years of meandering introspective blather, a couple of years of earnest pro-blogging, and 3 years of Life of Riley posts about what it’s like to quit your job and end up a stay at home dad.

And there were beards. Lots and lots of beards.

And by publishing every time I thought, “If I publish this, I’m going to look really stupid,” the original 30 expanded into a horde of really unique and interesting people. And although I don’t give you much of a reason to visit anymore, what with all the tweeting, and the texting, and the Facebooking, I know you’re still out there somewhere and I hope you’re doing well.

A Few Things I’ve Learned In A Decade Of Blogging

  • The web loves lists.
  • If Mother Theresa had a blog, someone out there would send her hate mail. You’re not Mother Theresa. You’ll get worse.
  • You can say 2+2=4 and someone is going to call you a conspiracy theorist who has been bought by the mainstream media.
  • Most of what you hope will do well won’t, and you will shake your head at what succeeds.
  • Proper tagging and promotion can more than make up for bad writing and lack of content.
  • Over time, blogging will turn you into a writer with no time to actually write.
  • Beware of bloggers who blog about blogging. There is a good chance that they are salesmen selling sales seminars.
  • Deadlines are more important than perfection because writing is never done perfect.
  • Write short, scannable text.
  • The web is fickle.
  • Give before you ask.
  • There are secret cabals of savvy folks out there who cross promote articles for each other to drive traffic. They sometimes work.
  • Blogging means that you will never be able to tell a story without someone cutting you off and saying that they read it already.
  • People you’ve never met will feel like they know you, but most of the time you’ll wonder if anyone’s really out there.
  • Stats can be exciting, but they really don’t matter.
  • You need to promote your posts, but promoting your own posts rarely works.
  • Your blog can get you in the paper and on TV. But, then what?
  • You can have your face circle the web for years and no one will recognize you on the street.
  • Whatever you publish in anger will be embarrassing in a couple of years.
  • You can be a big beard freak at the top of Google stats and there will be people will still want to hire you.
  • If your blog is not a labor of love, you’re going to have a hard time defining its success.

Going Forward

Now that the site is in its golden years, it’s sluggish and lazy, sleeping in a recliner covered in Cheetos. It occasionally snores itself awake long enough to drop something funny or facial hair related before drifting off again…which reminds me of a funny story about your Aunt Bernie. Or was it Phyl? No, no. That’s right, it was your Uncle Bob’s cousin, Linda. The one with the limp.

Hey, did you ever get that finger looked at when you went to the doctor’s last time? Because I got this stuff down at the drugstore that works wonders on… What? Oh, right.

Anyway.

Bob’s cousin Linda, you’re going to love this, falls into…Oh, jeepers Christmas, now I’m late for bingo. Listen, just stay here and I’ll tell the story when I get back. There’s shortbread in the cupboard, and tea in the…hey, can you program a VCR? The clock on there keeps flash…what do you mean “what’s a VCR?” The thing you tape Matlock with. What’s taping? Oh, for cry eye. Listen, I gotta go. I don’t have time to explain what VCRs, VAX clusters, or a 56k modem are. Huh? My pants? why they’re right on my…aw fudge.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

-Jon

MaBeGroMo 2011 Basic Period Over

beard logoOnce again the MaBeGroMo basic period has come and gone. For those of you that made it:

Congratulations!

By this point, your beard has not only shored up that weak chin of yours, but it has probably become your most trusted adviser. Well, consult him now, because a decision is at hand: Do you take a picture of your new macho look and head back to the civilized world, or do you look at the horizon toward the “MaBeGroMo Champion” title?

The extended MaBeGroMo challenge closes on February 14th. Not only will your protected jowls thank you when Old Man Winter throws piles of snow at you over the next few months, but you’ll also earn the title of “MaBeGroMo Champion”. And in this economy, anything that can add an extra line to your resume and keep you from wearing a ski mask can’t be all that bad.

If this is the end of the line for you, thanks for joining in and we’ll see you next winter. If you’re continuing on, we’ll send a search party out for you in six weeks.

Good luck everyone. Thanks for participating, and happy bearding.

More information about beards can be found on my beard page.

2011 Beard Shaving and Beard Quest Update

dyers.org beard logoWhat started as a small story to amuse #1GF! and my coworkers, has grown into The Quest for Every Beard Type. And it’s been going on for eight years now.

Eight years.

Well, the gents and I have started in on MaBeGroMo, so the 2011 beard reaping is done for another year. This year’s pics and story are posted in Beard Shaving 2011.

The Quest For Every Beard Type

Three new styles were added to The Quest for Every Beard Type this year, bringing the total number of beards completed to 36 out of 42. And if beards were money, you would’ve earned a tidy 7% profit with no initial investment. You can thank me later.

As always, happy bearding!

Baby Talk: Sweetie Mo

My two year old stands in front of the kitchen cabinet holding the door open. She is known for making up names, and sounds as if she’s calling to someone…

#1Baby: Sweetiemo!

Me: What, honey?

#1Baby: Sweeeeetie Mo!

Me: [stop lunch prep, kill background thought process, start the advanced 2YO deciphering services.] What?

#1Baby: Sweeeeetie Mohhhhhhh!

Me: Sweetie Mo?

#1Baby: YEA!

Me: Honey, who is Sweetie Mo?

#1Baby: Sweeeeetie Mohhhhhhh Shaaaaaaaan!

Me: And this is why your mother shuts off the radio when she gets home.

Baby Talk: Not Quite A Request For NPR

#1GF! and now twenty month old #1Baby were in the kitchen. I had yet to get out of bed, so the radio wasn’t blasting out it’s steady stream of classic rock. #1Baby broke the silence.

#1Baby: Want to hear the news.

#1GF!: [raising an eyebrow] You want to hear the news?

#1Baby: Hear him. Hear the news.

#1GF!: [walking over to radio] You want to hear the news?

#1Baby: Hear him.

#1GF!: The news. On the radio.

#1Baby:The Nuuuuuge.

#1GF!: You want to hear The Nuge?

#1Baby: Hear him. Now.

#1GF!: I’m going to have a talk with your father when he gets up.

Beardophrenia: My First Short Film

Two years ago, I wanted to do something more than the typical compilation of beard shaving pictures that I put out every year, so I sat down with Notepad and a camera phone to work out some ideas for a short film. Within a couple of hours, I had a script, twelve clips of camera phone video, and a sense that I didn’t have the talent to finish the remaining five minutes of film before I hit retirement age.

I called in a favor from Mike over at Burning Snowman, who took an exercise in talking to myself and turned it into a short film, which is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Man, I hate this part…

May I present to you: Beardophrenia: The Beard Film.

MaBeGroMo 2011 Champion Award

Mabegromo Champion coin 2011The 5th annual MaBeGroMo basic period may have ended on January 1st, but the few of you that stuck it out until February 14th, are now set to receive the MaBeGroMo Champion Award. If you are still proudly wearing your beard, you have now earned an entry-level award for excellence in bearding.

And, well, um, due to budget constraints, this post is doubling as your award this year.

Whether you pawn your award or continue on, just make sure you get some good pictures before the razor once again grazes your skin.

We’ll see you next year. Until then, happy bearding.

2010 Beard Shaving and Quest Update

dyers.org beard logoBefore I had the The Quest for Every Beard Type, all my annual beard shaving pictures were posted into a loose, and often odd, story to amuse #1GF! and my co-workers.

With a mere three weeks left to go in the year, the seventh annual picture set has been posted. This year, the Mountain Man makes his annual trek into the city to take on Nu-Metal, the art world, and an internet-stealing wizard.

Check out Beard Shaving 2010 for the full story if you like your beards peppered with strange.

The Quest For Every Beard Type

Eleven styles were attempted and six were added to The Quest for Every Beard Type this year, bringing the total number of beards completed to 33 out of 42. The 2010 Handlebar picture replaced the 2007 picture, and the Fu Manchu, Mega Tusk, and star beard were just too odd to include.

MaBeGroMo 2010 Starts Today!

dyers.org beard logoStow those razors, gents, for it’s time once again for the annual trek into beardedness.

The fifth annual MaBeGroMo starts today.

Thirty days of no-shave earns you a “participant” title, and those completing the full 75 day extended challenge may rightfully claim the title of “MaBeGroMo Champion.”

Original Rules as handed down in 2005

Rule 1: At some point between now and December 1, you take a “before” picture of yourself and put your razor away.
Rule 2: At some point after December 31, you take an “after” picture of yourself, and decide whether to reunite with your razor or renew your short-term contract with your newly found friend. You may then claim the title of “MaBeGroMo Member.”
Rule 3: If you make it to February 14, you have beaten the extended challenge and can rightfully claim the title of “MaBeGroMo Champion.”
Rule 4: If you make it past February 14, step out of the Home Depot, put down the deer carcass, and shower well before signing up for several internet “dating” services. This is just a suggestion.

I’m regularly asked for clarification about MaBeGroMo rules, so here is a quick FAQ.

MaBeGroMo Mini FAQ

How is MaBeGroMo pronounced?
Let’s start with how it is not pronounced. It is not:

  • Mushy guano,
  • Macaran-o,
  • Magic bolo,
  • Meaty Groin-o,
  • Rabies, oh no,
  • Merry snow ho,
  • Nasty grope-o,
  • Mister Roboto,
  • Majordomo,
  • Sonny Bono,
  • Mako shark-o,
  • Marco Polo,
  • Mangy Rambo
  • Roll a Rollo
  • Han shot Greedo,
  • Matlock Groan-o,
  • Mecha Godzill-o,
  • Bo’s Bolero,
  • Mario Cuomo,
  • Meet Dave Grohl-o,
  • Mail order bride-o,
  • Moby Grape-o,
  • No pain in this dojo,
  • Mug me, grandma, or
  • “That damned beard month thing.”

Officially MaBeGroMo is pronounced “Mah-bee-grow-moe.” “Maybe Grow Moe” is also in use, and while not incorrect, it is not the preferred pronunciation.

Should the participant’s last shave occur on November 30 or December 1?
This has been one of the most frequently requested clarifications over the years even though a “last shave” requirement never appears in the original rules. Whether you’re arriving in from Movember, November Beard Club, or just want head start, MaBeGroMo has never had a day zero shave requirement. Head starts are not only within the rules, but encouraged.

How strict is the no shaving policy? Can I trim and shave as necessary?
Unfortunately, The MaBeGroMo Council of Elders no longer has the resources to enforce rules like it did in the golden age of beards, so responsibility for interpretation is left to the participant. For the first-time beardventurer, trimming and shaving are not recommended. Without the knowledge of how an individual’s beard grows, trimming and shaving can end up hindering more than helping. The council recommends that new beardventurers let their beards transpire naturally for at least thirty (30) days. On January 1st, you can do what you want with it. For seasoned bearders, you know what you’re doing, so do what you need to.

Is neck shaving allowed?
Because it’s understandable that a bearded face and a clean neck are somewhat more acceptable in the business world than a wild hobo beard, the neck has become an acceptable shave zone for all participants, if desired. For first time growers, the council recommends against neck shaving until the end of the MaBeGroMo basic period because a novice bearder has a distinct lack of knowledge regarding how their beards grow. New beardventurers who must shave their necks should take care not to shave too close to the jawline while the neck is stretched upward. Doing so will leave the participant with a beard that stops before the jawline, making them look like beard N00bs.

Face shaving is frowned upon, but I have this one stray hair on the top of my cheek. Can I cut that?
Rebellious hairs exist. Excise them as necessary.

What charity does MaBeGroMo benefit?
Charity events like Movember are worthwhile causes, but MaBeGroMo an individual event, benefiting no one but the participant (and the people they lug, haul, lift, chop, and squash things for using their new-found beard power).

Can I just grow a goatee / mustache / sideburns?
Sorry, Evil Spock / Hipster / Elvis Impersonator. Only full beard attempts qualify.

I have a question that wasn’t answered.
For other beard related questions, be sure to check The Beard FAQ.

Good luck. Hopefully, I’ll see the new, badass version of you in thirty days.

Happy bearding.

Star Trek Redshirt: Pwn, Replace, Repeat

Ah, the red shirts: the pawns of the Star Trek Universe. When three main characters and “Ensign Larry” beam down to the planet, you know who’s going to take the poisonous spikes to the face from the native plant, or the shot the chest from an angry laser-toting robot. I happen to be wearing a red shirt this morning. I should probably plan to just stay indoors after I finish cleaning all the sharks out of the mega-nitroglycerin grinder in cargo bay two.

Oh, shoot. Hey, if you’re reading this, could you come down and open the air lock door? If I don’t get the grinder cleaned before the captain gets back, I’m a dead man. Oh, and could you bring down the air lock timer manual? The damned thing is counting backwards…

Pwning The Pawns Of The Star Trek Universe

The Cell Phone: Unsuccessful Short Story Entry #2

During your weekly housecleaning you find and unfamiliar cell phone in the cushions of your couch—but can’t recall having had any recent visitors. It rings.

That was the Writer’s Digest short story contest prompt that I tackled this month. I had to wait a full two weeks to experience the head shake that followed the manic clicks through the the semi-finalist list. Out of 670+ entries, I ended up in the bottom 666. It was statistically interesting, but not quite the professional validation I was looking for.

I read through all of the chosen entries to see what they had that I didn’t, and then spent a little time wondering if an electronic glitch had diverted my entry before it arrived, gleaming, in the Writer’s Digest inbox. That devolved into me staring out the window and contemplating what level of illegal it would be to naturally brine my computer. I eventually leaned back in my squeaky office chair, my fingers interlaced on my forehead as if trying to trap any remaining confidence from evaporating into the salty sea air.

I unlaced my fingers, scratched my hair more than I needed to, and went back to reread my contest entry. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. I wanted to rearrange and tighten up a lot of what I thought was already arranged and tight, but working on it further felt like searching for the perfect rebuttal while lying in bed alone.

Below is my submission. Comments, suggestions, and cleverly combined swear words are welcome.
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Video Mate: ’80s Video Dating At It’s Worst

Kids, imagine, if you will, a time when getting online consisted of dialing into a BBS with your 900 baud modem and leaving messages for the other dungeon masters. It was long before Facebook and YouTube, when meeting a potential mate meant hanging up your Cloak of Sarcasm and actually leaving the house.

Then along comes Video Mate. You break out your Beta max camera, make an audition tape that you think will make Chuck Woolery proud, and wait for the propositions to start rolling in. You have no idea that millions of people will see just how suave you are…a mere thirty years too late.
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Ear Way In Hay Ee Thay Uney May

While waiting for #1GF! to get out the door this morning, I was sitting on the bed and singing to the baby. “Ear way in hay ee thay uney may. Ear way in hay ee thay uney may.”

#1GF! snapped out of her morning routine for a second. “Wait. What are you singing?”

I shrugged and repeated. “Ear way in hay ee thay uney may.”

#1GF! shook her head. “What is it? Did you make it up?”

It wasn’t an invalid question. It’s not entirely uncommon for me to make up songs. “No, I’m singing ‘We’re in the Money’.”

“Oh my god.”

“It’s Pig Latin.”

“Oh. my. god. She knows a handful of words and you’re already branching out into Pig Latin? Is that a good idea?”

I shook my head. “It’s from this movie from 1933 called Gold Diggers. Ginger Rogers sings it.”

“So…you’re singing it in Pig Latin.”

“She did too.”

“No, she didn’t.”

“Oh, yes she did.”

“In 1933.” #1GF! dipped her chin. “Riiight.”

“Really. It’s an old-school, big-production dance number until the camera gets right up in her face and she starts singing in Pig Latin. I’m telling you. It’s really weird.”

#1GF! shook her head. “How do you find these things?”

I mistakenly thought it was an actual question. “Well, during a writing break yesterday, I was looking for a little history on Esquivel, and Wikipedia called him the ‘The Busby Berkley of Cocktail Music.’ So, I was like, ‘Who the hell is Busby Bixby,’ and—”

#1GF! patted my chest. “Okay. I have to go.”

“You’ll see. I’m going to find the video for you.”

She kissed me as if she were patting my head. “Love you, gotta run.”

“It’s real,” I muttered as she walked down the hall.
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Is That A Wunder Boner In Your Pocket…

Am I the only one who wishes this product had a jingle? Wuuuunder Boner.

Wunder Boner Commercial

If one Wunder Boner is never enough, then today is your lucky day because it looks as if the Wunder Boner patent (US Patent No. 6,095,913) is up for sale. For the right price, you could be producing Wunder Boners worldwide.

I’ll start working on the “Wunder Boner Wizard” T-shirt design while you check your savings account balance.

Barbara Moore – Nymphomaniac

Only seeing your grandma do pelvic thrusts can begin to describe the mammoth level of cringe that this song will drive into some deep part of your brain. Even if you don’t listen the whole way through, you’ll still find yourself unwittingly humming the chorus at random points throughout your day.

You have been warned.

Barbara Moore – Nymphomaniac

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The Ladybug: My Unsuccessful Short Story Entry

I recently entered a 750 word short story contest where the submission had to start with “I never would’ve purchased this house if I’d known that…” and end with “That’s why tomorrow I’m setting it on fire.”

The story was written in 45 minutes, edited over a few days, and submitted to Writer’s Digest with a strange (but misplaced) sense of confidence. The story failed to make the top five, but I figured I’d post it here before I lose the original text file.

Comments, edits, and miraculously combined swear words are welcome.
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The One Hit Wonder Playlist

Reclusive author, J.D. Salinger passed away in his New Hampshire home a couple of days ago at the age of 91. He was most famous as the author of The Catcher In The Rye, which has sold over 65 million copies since it was first published in 1951.

I put together a music playlist in Salinger’s honor.

One Hit Wonders Of The 60s, 70s, 80′s, 90′s, & Today

I compiled over 175 one-hit wonders spanning five decades from 60′s through the 2000′s. There are a few good, a few bad, and a few downright ugly songs on the list, but all of most of them will drag you kicking and screaming down memory lane. The list is by no means complete, and all the song titles are available below the player.

Enjoy!


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Dyers.org Turns Forty-Eight (In Web Years)

Robot Cupcake At a time when my feedreader is choking on the bones of abandoned blogs that are being voraciously devoured 140 characters at a time, my blog is turning eight years old. That’s a long time for something to exist on the web without a viable business model. I think I know how the dinosaurs felt.

I had to drop to a weekly posting schedule to make room for a book and new baby, but 548,083 unique visitors still managed to drop by here in 2009. Even though that was down from 1.3 million visitors in 2008, I still feel the same awe that I felt in early 2002 when there were twenty-nine people a day reading along: I still wonder who those other twenty-six people are.

So, Thank You (Yes, You)!

The blogsphere is now packed with leaner, funnier, and better marketed blogs than this one, so I want you to know that I appreciate you spending some of your time here sifting through the literary rubble for something amusing to pocket week after week. I really do. So even though I can’t pay you in money, when you die, on your deathbed, you’ll receive total consciousness. So you got that going for you…which is nice.

Whether your one of the site’s 400 subscribers or just someone who checks in once and a while, thanks for helping to make this another great year.

Gunga galunga…gunga — Gunga galunga.

-Jon Dyer