I'm sorry I didn't post more this month. I have no excuse, but it's clear that a lack of begging for sponsors leads directly to a lack of donations. Many thanks to those who did take time out from their pre-holiday madness to post here on a regular basis and keep the site alive for the past thirty days, and thanks as always to our generous donors.

My beard of shame

I am ashamed. I never forgot about this site - I checked it every day. I just couldn't be bothered to post.

Normally, at the end of the month, I donate money to myself because - hey - nobody else does. This year though I feel I don't deserve it.

So, I'm splitting the donation up between the people who have more posts than I.

Jeff: 28

Adam: 19 (Assuming he'll post a day 30 pic)

Jeffrey: 18

Me: 17

So, Jeff Adam and Jeffrey each posted more than I did, in a roughly 3:2:2 ratio. I was going to donate $300 so to make it easy I'll up it to $350 and give you each $5 per post, rounded up to the next 10 posts. (I hate math more than I like money, apparently, and hate breast cancer more than both of those things).

So Jeff, I'm donating $150 on your behalf, and Adam and Jeffrey are each getting $100.

It's the final beard-down!

Missed more posts than ever this year. A bit ashamed of it, but my cup runneth over this year in the month of beardvember. I did however get a good bit of support again from friends and family to help fight some cancer. I will look forwards to another strong year next year. Happy bearding fellas.

Late night in a dark room beard.only way to get a good shot...go negative.

And so it ends, another year of beard growing. We grew some beards, we raised some cash, we made what difference we could. Thank you all for this year and the 5 previous...keep growing strong.

It was -0.4 degrees when I went cross country skiing this afternoon.

Maybe a little ice will not only spur some beard growth but some donations as well...

A "fictional" beard.

I've consumed a lot of fiction lately. Also some non-fiction (that Steve Jobs biography is massive). I've come to a point where I am simultaneously consuming multiple forms of fiction at the same time. Digital books via the Kindle app on my iPad/iPhone, digital comics via the Comixology app on the iPad, dead tree books, and audiobooks via my Audible subscription that gets me a new book every month (plus the New York Times audio edition).

I find that my preferences tend to vary widely depending on my current mood. Lately, I've been all about the audiobooks. I've, meanwhile, supplemented with comics (mostly out of a need to keep reading and deleting so I don't fill my iPad), and I've even been reading dead tree books again after avoiding them for over a year (a parent of a student bought my classroom the Hunger Games trilogy so I'm trying to read them before I put them on the self for the kids to mangle). But I've only really been eager for the audiobooks in the last few weeks. Before that I was really into the dead tree book.

I'm trying to sort out why my mood moves. I think part of it has to do with what's convenient. Digital is more handy than dead tree. Like cameras, the best book you have is the one you have with you when you need it. I also have my phone with me, and often my iPad, carrying a novel is cumbersome. But then why, a few weeks ago was I all about the dead tree book? And why am I less engaged by comics right now and Kindle books even less?

Engagement. It's all about engagement. I was engaged in the Hunger Games book. All my students have read it and I wanted to see how it compared to the movie, which I'd already read. It's the least handy reading method I have, but it hooked my interest. Kindle books that I have available just aren't grabbing me and I haven't felt compelled to seek them out despite them being the easiest to read.

Audiobooks, however...I get one a month which causes me to be selective, I can zoom through them in 2-3 days, and I can listen while on a walk, washing dishes, driving the car, and at the gym. Engagement and convenience all in one.

What engages you? What books should I be seeking out and in which format?

And what's more, what's it going to take to make breast cancer a fiction? I know where to start...that little "$$" symbol up there where you can sponsor my beard.

Hey...it's a "Full" Beard. :-)

Today I realize I am full.

The first, and most obvious fullness I have is of the stomach variety. Today is Thanksgiving here in the USofA and I ate a good meal at a local restaurant...that's right, I didn't cook. I have the unfortunate situation wherein I don't get to dine with family anymore. We live 19 hours away and it's just not worth the effort of making the drive for the short number of days that we have off...especially since we're headed that direction in less than month anyway. And yet, I'm full of Thankfulness as well. Thankful for all the things in my life that make it all work.

I've also come to a realization that when it comes to GRE prep...I'm pretty full there too. There are a handful of math concepts that I still don't get/remember, but I've picked up more and more. I'm still going to work on it every night if just to stay in practice, but I'm less worried about it now. I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I also find that I'm losing some ground in verbal (these questions tend to be things you either know or don't...you can't increase your vocabulary quickly and easily with short term studying, it's years of experiencing life and being a reader that'll do that. And I'm scoring higher in the math these days than I am on the verbal. So that's good...well, good for my overall, now I guess I'm a little worried about my verbal, since that's a score they'll actually be looking at.

Lastly, I'm full of appreciation for all those who have sponsored beards around here so far this year. There's still a few more days to sponsor and I'm fearful without some key participants we may not meet our goal this year, but what we're doing it great and the efforts of all here is something to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for?

I suggest some conditioner every time you shower. It helps with the itch(I have none), plus it helps by making it a little softer to the touch.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Zoom in on the beard to make it seem bigger.

Thanksgiving break started today. I was very productive but also managed to spend hours on the non-GRE studying apps on my iPad while also listen to audiobooks for nearly 5 hours and watching the kids...an active day AND a relaxing one...how'd that happen?

I haven't shaved in a few days. My neck nor my head that is.

How is it that I didn't have time to shave the last couple of days? What was so urgent that I couldn't take the time to shave? It takes 5-8 minutes to shave(not my beard of course), yet I have not. If I let it go much further I'll have to get the hair clippers out...

An eye full of beard.

I'm continuing to focus all my free time on studying for the GRE after taking the weekend off. I'm seeing improvement. I started at about 50% overall I'm now at about 62% and I feel like I know the mistakes I'm making on almost all of the questions I get wrong...except polynomials and quadratic equations.

Couple weeks left.

You know where I want see more improvement? Sponsorships. I can cure breast cancer alone folks.

I got as far as the "Y" in Yoga today.

Seems like it was just yesterday that I shaved my beard off to start this month off.

Revolutionary Beard

I've spent the last few weeks teaching 7th grade students about the French Revolution. We talk about all sorts of things well beyond the actual events of the revolution itself. We examine major themes as to the role of class divisions, the wealth gap, and the ideas of the Enlightenment and the impact all these things had towards bringing about one of the messiest and most influential revolutions in human history.

During the weeks of study we get to look at how folks at the top of the wealth ladder received special privileges, paid less in taxes, had more access to better luxuries, and were exempt to some duties because of the benefits of their birth.

We also talked about how during the pre-revolutionary period 2% of the population controlled about 40% of the land...an equivalent of wealth in the era.

And speaking of the Enlightenment, Charles de Secondant the Baron de Montesquieu gave us the idea of three branches of government with separation of powers...but he also said that the whole system would fall apart when the legislative branch was more corrupt than the executive branch.

It occurs to me that one could argue that our privileged class is every bit as privileged as theirs, if not more so, based on wealth...which is statistically largely based on birth. 1% of America currently controls 60% of the wealth...a wider wealth gap that pre-revolutionary France. And based on opinion polls Congress is way more messed up than the Presidency according the most Americans.

So why are we worse off by comparison than pre-revolutionary France but we don't revolt? I suspect is has a lot to do with the fact that the poor in France were starving to death, uneducated, with no hope of bettering their situation. In the US today there's little risk of starvation, education is freely available (although not all people take equal advantage of the opportunity) and there is at least an illusion of hope of bettering your situation. Plus I think the quality of life scale has moved dramatically.

You know what has been revolutionary? The gains we've made in fighting breast cancer. Want to know the best way to do that? Sponsor this beard.

A thinner beard, perhaps?

I often have my doubts. Am I fit to take on the roles with which I aspire? I often wonder, but then know that I certainly won't be fit if I didn't work to achieve those aspirations.

Amongst other things, I aspire to become a PhD student and then Doctor Greiner. But I also aspire to be a good father and husband...it is primarily towards those goals that I spent the weekend not studying for my GRE. I have a few days off coming this week, I hope to make up for it.

I also aspire to make the world healthier, primarily though my own physical fitness. In the last 5ish weeks I've lost 16 pounds...I don't know if the pictures show it off well. I'm quite happy with this and still have a few more weeks before the weight loss challenge I'm in the midst of is over.

Another way I aspire to making the world healthier? Winning HoNoToGroABeMo. Why? Because I'd like to beat the heck out of this breast cancer thing.

The good news is, with Cmar and Jeffrey not in the game this year with their big last minute pushes...maybe I have a shot at this. The bad news is, those last minute pushes always brought it a good amount of cash that goes to an extremely worthy cause...so if you're out there, donors who used to give to Cmar and Jeffrey...I will humbly accept any and all donations in their stead.

It's the fit thing to do.

Gaming Beard

I missed another one...that's two in 6 years. I suck. It's game day and we're waiting for one more player to show up so here I am, posting while I grovel about having missed out on yesterday's post. I guess this is a sign of the year.

Can I be forgiven? Will I, of all days, today be approached with a trip in the Tardis wherein I can go back to post yesterday? It could happen...

Just keep bearding.

In an effort to gain a laugh or two and earn some sponsorship, I'll tell a joke I've been using around the office (not mine but can't recall where I heard it) to some effect, earning groans, as well as repeat jokes. It's almost an anti-joke. But here it goes:

Joke teller: Hey, did you hear that actress got stabbed? Reese ....(wait for appropriate reply as if you are searching for a last name)

Other person: Witherspoon?

Joke Teller: No. Witha knife.

Other person groans but appreciates the setup enough to repeat to others with similar effect. Please feel free to use this as desired, but please sponsor my beard for the lol, or the groan, or the eye roll.

Focused beard.

Today there's a lot of distractions in my world. My son got to sleep 30 minutes late because he was distracted with...you know, playing.

My wife was distracted from the big project she's been killing herself over by the frustration associated with the fact that she wasn't going to get enough done to turn it in early and get feedback to make sure she gets the grade she needs.

And I'm being all sorts of distracted while I've been focusing on studying for the GRE that I'm taking in a few weeks. I studied while also supervising a Science Olympiad team. I studied while my wife got out her frustrations by watching TV in the room next to where I studied. I studied despite the fact that I haven't solved a quadratic equation in over 15 years and all this slope stuff...ugh.

You know who else is not being distracted? Breast cancer researchers...but they need your help, and so does my beard...I'll let you do the math...and I'm pretty sure it's math you can handle.