Thanks for the welcome and encouragement, gentlemen. You're pushing me even closer than when I wrote all that. At least you're not telling me it's a one-way trip where I would mess up my current endurance/tolerance for the Braun if I needed to come back to it.
And I have a reply from Mantic himself, whom I didn't realize was a "reformed" electric shaver? That seems like a good sign.
Items sitting in my West Coast Shaving shopping cart (away from that computer right now) if memory serves:
Merkur 34C (big hands, though...maybe I need the longer version?)
one of the larger blade assortment packs...of course, I'll start with the Feathers (just kidding)
Simpson Colonel X2L Best Badger Shaving Brush (I'm probably pushing it buying one at this $64 price point, but I guess I want something better than the most basic while still sane enough to avoid a true premium one)
Proraso Pre & Post Cream, Menthol & Eucalyptus
Proraso Shaving Cream, Sandalwood
Thayer's Witch Hazel (one of the alcohol-free ones)
Ogallala Bay Rum Shaving Soap
Col Conk Shaving Soap, Lime
an after shave that escapes me now
okay, I made those last two up
I figured I would try cream and soap for the sake of comparing them. I already bought a big espresso mug for lather use. Even picked up a Wiliams Mug Shaving Soap at the grocery because the scent was familiar to me and it was so cheap.
That's a great kit. I started with a Simpson and a 34C too. You won't be sorry.