New Year's Day was always a favorite holiday but the past few years it's taken on even more significance. Three years ago, on January 1, 2015, this experiment in getting guys to do a Rule began. A much smaller group of us huddled up, got our gear shined up, did test lathers for the week ahead of time and generally got set to get serious about shaving. Three years later many of us are still here and a whole lot of new faces have shown up and joined our merry band of shavers. What a three years it's been. 2017 proved to be a pivotal year in some ways for this group. We grew in numbers and we definitely grew in total messages. As of right now, as I type this, we have posted over 35,000 times this year. And there's still a full day to go. More importantly than numbers, though, is the sense of community that has really developed. I've seen people share their grief, their comfort, their joys, their frustrations and much of their lives with each other. We have a regular Friday picture of one of our member's sons that we all can't wait to see. And the humor we throw around? You'd think we were brothers at times the way we go at it. Of course, any group that can have its own major uprising and rebellion over imaginary cookies (no, they're real, I'm just saying) is a group that I want to be a part of for a long time. To all of the Charter members still here, THANK YOU for your dedication to this group. To those who have wandered in and haven't left – THANK YOU for adding yourselves to this group. To the brand new members who still aren't sure what the heck is going on (you mean they really shave with popsicle sticks...and that's the safest stunt?!?!?!) THANK YOU for your fresh perspective and for allowing us all to share. From Cartel HQ West on the banks of the mighty Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, a huge THANK YOU to you all and here's to our fourth year being even better than the third! Well, that’s my introduction for the month. So, let’s get down to the usual business. Wondering what the heck a 30 Day Rule or Focus is? Well, let’s let the one, the only, the legendary and mystical @Bama Samurai remind us. Please rise and remove your hats and hold your favorite razor aloft in tribute. We’ll pause for a moment of revered silence. The 30 Day Rule (designed to build solid technique or learn new technique) 1 brush, 1 soap, 1 brand of blades, 1 razor, 30 Days. The rule is really that simple. It seems boring, but this is probably the most straightforward way to learn for a brand new shaver. This is the exercise that really allowed me to clearly see the interplay between the four elements. It is highly recommended for newly converted shavers and more experienced shavers who have a problem that defies resolution. This exercise eliminates variables and will likely solve any problem you may have, with a strict scientific approach.Any thing that strays from these simple guidelines is not a rule, but rather a focus (not that there's anything wrong with that!) The 30 Day Focus (more flexible, for exploring and comparing) This is a less rigorous exercise, designed for exploration and comparison of gear and technique. This is the most common exercise on the thread. Generally the elements are rotated one by one to allow clear observation. Examples of focus areas include brush types, blades, soaps, razor variants, or technique foci as a standalone. These are the suggested guidelines, and serve as a starting point for the discussion each month. The theme for January is SHAVETTES!! And, by request, we're also declaring JEEVES JANUARY! If you want to shave along to either or both themes we welcome that. If you choose to do your own thing, we welcome that too. It's your shave – ENJOY IT as you work on technique and knowledge to make all your shaves fantastic. We believe that if you've ever sought a great shave, you have something to offer. And if you're searching for great shaves, we will definitely try to help. If you are new to TSD, I believe you've landed in a great place. Everyone here participating would love to answer your questions and help you get the most from your shaving. We are very glad you're here! So, if you're new, stop in for a cookie and meet the crew. If this is old hat, welcome back, and let's rock another month out! Rules are the same people. 1. New Members always welcome. Start anytime. 2. Old Members always welcome. (Don’t like being considered “old”? Too bad, I know your birthdate.) 3. Respect everyone 4. Follow the rules of the forum 5. All razor types and styles welcome 6. Criticize Russian blades, especially Voskhod, at your own peril. The Cartel is listening. And we have spies everywhere. They’re usually passed out drunk, but we get lucky occasionally. 7. Wondering what all the fuss over cookies is about? They're cookies. That's why we like them Let's have some great shaves people! Welcome to the THIRD ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!!!!!!! Group hug people!