Year of the Beard

I’ve grown facial hair for a long time. I’ve had big civil war style muttonchops, giant goatees, mustaches of various successes, hipster hawks and soul patches. No matter what though the beard always reappears. For some time I’d wondered how long I could grow a beard without any trimming in a single year. Then in November of 2011 a situation came up and the only way I knew how to respond to it was to shave my head and beard. Sort of an Old Testament putting on of sackcloth and ashes response. After that passed over I found myself with the unique opportunity to give myself a beard for my birthday…a BEARDTHDAY if you will. So on December 9th 2011 I made sure I was clean shaven when I went to bed so that I’d have my first birthday present when I woke up. It was time to see just what I could grow unhindered. Over the course of the year I made sure to stop each Friday wherever I was to snap a shot. It was pretty cool to look back at each Friday and see just where I’d visited over the course of a year. Chicago, Colorado, Kentucky, Utah, Kansas, Washington, the Oregon Trail, helping friends move, out on my property, at work in our data centers, driving in my car, out at the movies, visiting my parents or just at home in my apartment. It was an especially rewarding experience because during month four I entered and won my very first beard contest here in Springfield. Later I found out that the best and most unexpected purchase of the year ended up being a pair of five dollar sunglasses. They instantly transformed me into a seriously cooler looking dude as soon as I’d put them on. I could have picked up an instrument and stepped out on stage with ZZ-Top and no one would have been the wiser. My beard’s starting to grow in a few white sprigs too which I really dig. I’m not sure I’ll be able to look back and pick out a more transformative year…and not just for my face. What a year; it was not good, but it was good to have been.

Birthday to Beardthday 150pixel images

The Dark Horse won at Queen City Beard and Mustache Championship

I beard…a lot, but tonight I received the shock and joy of a beardtime(lifetime) when I won first place in the Queen City Beard and Mustache championship in the ‘full beard’ category. I really can’t believe it still because there were so many other incredible beards up in that category. There was a guy with a kilt and a massive Braveheart beard, a guy with a beard down to his belt line, a Dos XX guy too and dozens more with just straight up incredible beards. When I saw how many other entries there were in my field with much more impressive beards I wrote off the remote possibility that I’d even place and just hoped to have some fun. My Mom & Dad & my sister Cassie even came out to support and root me on. So I’d like to say thank you to all the other guys who entered, it was an honor to be among such great beards. Thank you to the judges for your kind ratings. Thanks to my family and friends for your support of my bearding. And thank you Lord for blessing me with this great beard.

Sometimes I go opposite

No shave November this year took a slightly different course for me. To some degree I wear this hairy visage as a testament that I stand out from the crowd so I suppose it is only fitting that while the world turns one way that I should turn another. The beard is gone. Impressive as it was this time and even though I’m normally nearly a spokesperson for beardedness it is a fitting change at this moment for more reasons then I care to delve into. However much like Frosty returns each Christmas, my beard will surely return in its full glory even if only for a time.

Sweet Pea the menacing behemoth, the car of all cars and I spent Saturday out on the farm burning brush in the rain. She was a bit nervous when I popped that first road flare, but in no time and just a few more flares, she could see that her old man had things under control. The crackle of the fire along with the hiss of the rain soon rose from the pyre. My neighbors must have wondered to see such a sight as a man standing in the rain tending his fire. Brisk the wind blew, but hot the fire burned and so went my day. Sweet Pea’s looking forward to the day when she can spend these kind of days indoors and out of the elements that is for certain, but no complaining no sputtering just faithfully whirring and puttering in the background.

I went to see Matisyahu the other night at the Gilloiz and was sweetly rewarded by an absolutely great show of which I captured a little bit for you here. It’s shaky at first, but I promise it settles out quickly.

Download video: MP4 | Ogg

I also came across some photos that my mom had and much to my surprise and chagrin I was apparently a hipster back in the 8th grade. Who knew I was so ahead of the trend.

I have some other great pictures, but that is enough of the nostalgia for now.