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Soap Forum Member Spotlight TheVez2 #5

In our 5th installment of the Soap Forum Member Spotlight we are highlighting a long time member for the last 7+ years from Missouri, you might find him handling spiders or snakes it is none other than @TheVez2.


1. Name, job field, age/generation: My name is KJ Vezino. It’s not Italian, it’s pronounced Vez-in-oh or Veh-zin-oh. So, most folks call me KJ but some call me Vez and others call me Spider or Spider-man (one guy calls me snake)…. I’ll answer to any of those, LOL. Spider-Man was my call sign in the Air Force (Given to me because I keep tarantulas, and always had one on my desk). I retired from the AF after 15 years of service. While on active duty I was a ICBM Combat Crew Commander for the first 5 years (yes I had my hands on the keys to launch nuclear weapons), and was and Engineer for the remainder of my career doing various jobs across the Air Force, mostly having to do with Nuclear Bombers like the B-2. Now as a civilian, I am a government contractor working for Northrop Grumman. I still work on the B-2, and when I say “on” I mean that quite literally. Part of my job entails visually inspecting the jet for material defects which would impact the Low Observability or Stealth of the platform. This involves walking and crawling around on top of the jet. I’m 41 and am a Gillette date code W-2. This puts me coming in at the tail end of Generation X.

2. What’s the meaning behind your username?:
Back in the early 90’s (maybe late 80’s) when I was setting up my first email account (on AOL), I decided to make my username TheVez2. This because my Dad’s nickname was Vez, which he was called while he was in the Navy. I figured if he was The Vez, then I should be TheVez2! I’ve used this as my username on just about every forum I’ve joined. Except for some reason, when I signed up for a Gmail account, TheVez2 was already taken…… how can that be?!?!?!

3. When did you join B&B and why did you join us?:
I joined the Forum in May 2010. I was a long time Mach 3 user, and always pushed them as far as they would go (usually 2-3 months, sometimes more). After a while, I started getting really bad razor burn and bumps on my neck. Even switching to a fresh blade didn’t help. I used canned Edge Gel and did no sort of pre or post shave. I initially started looking online to see if there was something I could apply to my neck to ease the razor burn (thinking that some sort of aftershave product was all I needed). Within a couple of searches I quickly discovered the article on “The Art of Manliness” about shaving like your Grandpa. Everything they said about using a DE, soap, and having good pre and post routines made a lot of sense to me and I was intrigued. They had a link to B&B on their site and I quickly jumped down the Rabbit Hole. I think it was just a matter of a week or two before I found my first vintage razors (a Blue Tip and a Slim) at an antique store. Now here I am, over 7 years and 16,000 posts later, still loving the Forum!

4. Talk to us about your acquisition disorders:
Initially it was RAD. I needed to try all of the most common types of Gillettes to find “The One” for me. (It’s a FatBoy, by the way.) After I was pretty well versed in the different types of DE razors that existed, I expanded to the world of the SE focusing on Ever-Ready and GEM razors, and then finally expanding into Schick Injectors. I’m still a razor nut, and will collect anything and everything. I haven’t counted recently, but probably have 200-300 razors.

My second AD was Soap! SSAD is wicked. When I joined B&B, it was pretty easy. There were just a handful of artisans out there and most of the discussion was about commercial brands. Then a couple years later lots of artisans started popping up, many trying to recreate the simplistic recipe of MdC. This is where is started to get bad, as you just wanted to try them all to see if anyone got it right. After that, things got nutz! Someone started handing out the magic formula for making shave soap and it seems like everyone was doing it. It became too daunting to keep up and that’s when I gave up the chase.

My love for aftershaves had started to grow as my hunt for Soaps peaked, so it wasn’t long before my ASAD kicked into high gear. My paternal Grandmother had a collection of Avon aftershave bottles in her bathroom, and my memory of those started my down the path of Avon. And shortly after that I learned that my Grandfather was very involved in the R&D and production of the decanters for Amway’s aftershave. On top of that my maternal Grandmother sold Avon, and had given me my first ever aftershave in high school (Avon Sea Zone). All of these factors led me to having a deep seeded relationship with aftershave. I don’t have any heirloom or hand me down razors, brushes, mugs or anything like that. But I have a couple heirloom (prototype) Amway pieces and lots of memories of the decanters so ASAD has been the one disorder that has stuck around.

5. Favorite soap and why?:
I break this into two categories. First of all, soap performance. For me, the best soap is Mystic Water. For me, it’s easy to lather, has great slickness, and the best post shave feel that I’ve felt from any soap. I’ve tried a few of the newer “best soaps” out there, and while the lather building and creaminess is out of this world, the slickness and post shave aren’t up to what I get form Mystic Water. And for me, slickness trumps all other factors. (Part of the reason I love Williams so much). My favorite Mystic Water scent is Lily of the Valley.

My second category of favorites for soaps is scent. My all-time favorite scent of any product is Fairway from Saint Charles Shave. And I’m pretty proud of the fact that I had something to do with its return. You see, way back when, I took a sample of a Fairway puck out of a pass box. I was mesmerized, this scent just hit all of my buttons. It’s an earthy grassy scent and was described as the smell of a fresh cut lawn. Nailed it! After Sue passed away, I contacted Wendy at SCS about making more of the soap. Wendy told me she’d love to, but could not find the recipe for it. I started doing some digging around B&B and found one reference to a soap that Sue had made called Shamrock, which she later renamed Fairway. I told Wendy about this, and she did have a recipe for Shamrock!!! She whipped up a quick aftershave sample with the scent for me to test and it was a perfect match! Now I have Fairway soap, aftershave, balm, and cologne. It’s the best!

6. How do you lather?:
I started off lathering in a mug/bowl/scuttle. ThenI learned all about the wonders of face lathering, and have been a dedicated face latherer ever since. Lately, for some strange reason I can’t explain, I’ve been bowl lathering again. It has taught me that I get a better lather from some soaps in a bowl, but other soaps on the face. Weird.

7. Tallow vs. Veg vs. Glycerin:
Is there a difference? Soap is soap. There are good soaps and bad soaps in every category. What types of fats are used doesn’t matter as long as the rest of the recipe is solid.

8. 3017 or variety? If Variety have you ever used up a soap?
Variety all the way! I use a different soap, nearly every day. Unless I’m testing or evaluating something. The only time I have ever done a 3017 is for the Annual Williams 3017. And even that, which normally takes me between 1 and 2 months to finish a puck, is very hard to maintain. I get very, very bored with my shaves using the same soap every day.

9. Did B&B introduce you to anything else? Like Nib, photography, etc.?:
I dabble in the other forums. I discover pipes in the Brown Leaf, but don’t smoke very often. I learned to appreciate fountain pens in the nib, but just haven’t got to the point where I can use one daily. I like straight razors and started building up the tools to hone my own, but I just don’t have the time for it (I prefer shavettes, for the simplicity of it). I found a great new way to make coffee in the Café, and love my Baratza grinder and French press. And probably most importantly, I discovered my love for Gin in The Speakeasy.

10. Favorite sub forum on B&B not named Soap?:
While I spend a fair amount of time in the soaps forum, I do spend most of my time in the Aftershaves forum. That’s the one AD that gripped ahold of my core and won’t let go.

11. Tell us a story:
Well, my mother told me that, at a young age, I had been bitten by a spider and had an allergic reaction. So, pretty much from that day forward I was deathly afraid of spiders and would freak out if I ever got too close to one, or ran into a web. Years later (in college), I stumbled across a tarantula in the wild in Arizona. It was about 10 feet from me and walked straight across my path. Since it was some distance away, I knew I was in no danger, so I wasn’t afraid, and instead was quit intrigued by it. That event had a profound impact on my life. I eventually came to the conclusion that my fear of spiders was completely irrational, and decided to use the experience with the tarantula as a stepping board, to learn more about them and conquer my fear.

My research yielded some interesting results. First of all, spider bites are rare. Most bites that are blamed on spiders are actually from something else. Secondly, it is nearly impossible for someone to be allergic to spider venom. The peptide structure of the venom is such that it doesn't interact with our blood the same way that something like bee venom does. Lastly, the more I learned about them, and the more I realized how misunderstood they are, the more I began to like them.

My research into all the different species of tarantulas resulted in a great desire to own one. After about a year into the research I finally got one. That was about 16 years ago. I've had up to about 100 tarantulas in my collection before, but I'm down from that now. Spiders and other arachnids, and more specifically tarantulas, are my main hobby outside of wet shaving.

I have since helped other folks overcome their irrational fears or spiders and other things like snakes. It is a very easy fear to overcome, if you are willing to take the first step to do it.

12. Soap or Cream?:
Soap, Soap, SOAP! I dabble in creams, and use them from time to time. In fact I just received a box from Bulgaria full of creams that we can’t get over here. I’m excited to test those out. But I have to say for the most part, creams leave a film on my brushes. And, there’s just something about using a soap that evokes feelings of stepping back in time, when things were simpler. Swirling a brush on top of a puck of soap is somewhat meditative. I just don’t get the same nostalgic feeling from squirting cream from a tube or scooping some out form a tub. That, and there seems to be a lot more scent options in soaps.

Thank you KJ for taking the time to answer the questions and letting B&B get to know you a little bit better.

If you would like to be spotlighted in the Soap Forum please head over to this thread for the details:
Member Spotlights
Awesome profile and a great member. Thanks, KJ, for letting us know a bit more about you.

My grandfather had a tarantula. I remember as a wee lad how it tickled when it walked on my bare arms. I have never been afraid of spiders and I agree with you that they are scapegoated a lot!
Met KJ for lunch once while he was passing through town, good man. He was beyond generous to give me a vintage Avon aftershave bottle named... can you read it? :thumbup:


Ad Astra

The Instigator
An excellent profile of an excellent member!

I still think of KJ as The Aftershave Guy, although I followed him, like the Pied Piper, with that Williams Challenge last year ... Brrrr. What a long winter it was.

Great spotlight. I’ll add that KJ was one of the first most influential interactions I had here on B&B. I won a PIF from him which included some great vintage Williams (getting me started down the vintage road) and some Avon samples.
Thanks Everyone. This was fun to do.

I was wondering why all the women were screaming. It's.....THE VEZ!!!
Wait.... where was this???

My grandfather had a tarantula. I remember as a wee lad how it tickled when it walked on my bare arms.
Wow, he must have been one of the first people to keep a tarantula. I like reading care books from the early days of the hobby to see how far the hobby has progressed.

Met KJ for lunch once while he was passing through town, good man. He was beyond generous to give me a vintage Avon aftershave bottle named...
It was only fitting for you to have that piece. That was a great little meet-up. Wish we could do it again.

Nice job, KJ. :thumbsup:
Very nice!! Good to get to know you better.
Great read!
Thanks Guys!

I still think of KJ as The Aftershave Guy, although I followed him, like the Pied Piper, with that Williams Challenge last year ... Brrrr. What a long winter it was.
That's the only time I'll do a 3017. After the first week, I'm like, why did I start this???? Next time I'll have to double my loading efforts, so it doesn't last so long.....

I’ll add that KJ was one of the first most influential interactions I had here on B&B. I won a PIF from him which included some great vintage Williams (getting me started down the vintage road) and some Avon samples.
Always happy to share. I was very fortunate when I first joined, winning a few PIFs and being the Grand Prize Winner of the Summer Sizzler Membership Drive. I took the idea of Paying it Forward to heart and have tried to pass on that spirit whenever I can. I'm planning something big, PIF-wise, for next year!

Thanks for stepping into the spotlight long enough for us to get to know you a little better.
Keep an eye out soon in the Aftershave forum, for another Spotlight, if you want to learn a little more about me!
Thanks again everyone for taking the time to read this. I know a lot of people prefer anonymity online, but 've always been an open book, and happy to share. Of course, when you're part of such a great community such as B&B, it's easier to do.
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