Gas station without pumps

2018 October 30

One year later

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:57
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Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while will remember that last year I had my whole head shaved for the St. Baldrick’s cancer-research fund-raiser.  They are doing the fundraiser again this year (on Nov 7), though I’m not participating this time.

I did not get my hair cut nor trim my beard for a full year (I did trim my mustache to keep it out of my mouth and shave my cheeks).  Here is what a year’s hair growth looks like:

A full year’s growth of hair.

Since getting this picture taken, I’ve gotten a haircut, but I’m still trying to decide what length to keep my beard. It can grow a bit longer without getting too scraggly, but not a lot longer. My wife is fine with it being anywhere from about 6-months’ to 18-months’ growth, as long as it remains neat.

So loyal readers, how much should I trim my beard?

2018 March 29

Regrowth: a return to normal

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:04
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As those who’ve been reading my blog for the past five months know, in October I had my head shaved as part of a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research, including my beard and my eyebrows.  (I believe that it is still possible to donate at

Since then, I’ve had a photograph taken about every two weeks, to record the regrowth of my beard and head hair, and my gradual return to a normal (for me) appearance.

Before getting shaved, this is what I looked like.

This is what I looked like right after the shaving, wearing the silly medal they gave me for the most funds raised at UCSC for St. Baldrick’s.

After 2 weeks there was some grey stubble on my chin and shorter brown stubble on top of my head.

After 4 weeks the grey beard began to look like an unsuccessful attempt at growing a beard, rather than just stubble.

After 6 weeks, the beard looked deliberate, but the hair on top of my head still looked like it had just been shorn off.

At nine weeks the beard looked more or less normal, though about as short as I’ve ever trimmed it. The pattern of white and dark hair in the beard stands in strong contrast to the uniformly dark hair on top of my head.

At eleven weeks, I dyed the beard to make the color contrast less, shaved my cheeks, and trimmed my mustache.

At thirteen weeks the beard looked ok, if a little scruffy and the head hair was starting to come back, though the “reverse Mohawk” stripe from front to back where they had shaved closer was still visible.

At fifteen weeks the beard dye was fading out (I use a dye that gradually washes out).

At seventeen weeks I had re-dyed the beard to match my head hair.

At 20 weeks the beard was pretty much back to normal (though still substantially shorter than what I started with), and the head hair was getting close to where I have it cut to at the beginning of a summer.

At twenty two weeks after the shaving, I re-dyed my beard yet again, in anticipation of the start of a new quarter. I expect to dye the beard about every 8–12 weeks, to keep it more or less coordinated with the hair on top of my head, instead of the white with darker stripes that can be seen in weeks 4–9.

2017 October 25


Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:10
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In Shaving my head, I announced that I would be having my head shaved, but not my beard.

In Shaving my head (and maybe my beard), I offered to let my beard be shaved if the donations came up to $1000.

In Shaving my head, beard, and eyebrows, I announced that my head, beard, and eyebrows would be shaved, and that the next (and last) stretch goal would be shaving my chest hair.  That goal was not reached, so my chest hair is intact.

Here are some photos: before, during, and after the shaving:

This is what I looked like yesterday, before being shaved.

This is what I looked like after being shaved, wearing the silly medal they gave me for raising the most money at the UCSC event.

Just after I’ve been shaved. (photo by Kishwar Shafin)

Another shot of me being shaved (photo by Kishwar Shafin)

Being shaved. (Photo by Kishwar Shafin)

I was a little surprised by how much stubble they left me—it will save me a week on growing the beard back.  In the meantime, my wife has to put up with living with a stranger.

The pictures of me just after being shaved look to me more like my older brother than like me (he is naturally somewhat bald and stays clean-shaven).

I had to adjust the straps on my bicycle helmet before cycling home this evening—the helmet was a size or two too large without the hair and beard as padding.

On the walk home from dinner this evening, I noticed that I had the shadow of a stranger—I wonder who has my shadow.

With $2386 donated from 70 donors, the average donation was just over $30—it makes me feel a bit like Bernie, with lots of small donors!

Although the shaving event is over, you can still contribute to the campaign, either to express amusement at how I look, or (more importantly) to fund research into pediatric cancer, which does not get the research attention that adult cancers get from the government and major foundations.

The link for donating again:

With late donations, the total by 31 Oct 2017 was $2661 donated.  Thanks, everyone!

2017 October 24

Shaving my head, beard, and eyebrows.

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:39
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In Shaving my head, I announced that I would be having my head shaved tomorrow, but not my beard.

In Shaving my head (and maybe my beard), I offered to let my beard be shaved if the donations came up to $1000.  When that goal was reached one of my colleagues asked how much for my eyebrows, and I suggested hitting $2000.

Well that goal has been reached also, and one of my students asked what they could get for $3000.  I said that they could shave my chest hair if we hit $3000 by 1:00pm tomorrow (Wednesday 25 Oct 2017), but that is as far as I’m going.


The link for donating again:


Shaving my head (and maybe my beard)

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:06
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In Shaving my head, I announced that I would be having my head shaved tomorrow, but not my beard.

On Wednesday 25 October 2017, I’m going to get my head shaved (just the top, not my beard) as part of St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for pediatric cancer.  I missed the head shaving last year, as I was at the iGEM Jamboree in Boston, or I would have done it then.

The head-shaving event is being organized locally by the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative at UCSC.  Cancer genomics has become a major research topic at UCSC, and pediatric cancers are a particular focus, so this fund raiser has particular significance for UCSC.  Last year they raised $29,488 with 28 shavees.  I don’t expect to raise anywhere close to $1000, personally, because I’m not willing to badger my friends and family to make donations, but I hope that a few people will be willing to contribute token amounts.

If you feel like giving to a good cause (or just want to see a picture of me with no hair on top, to be posted after the event), you can donate at

Last night, I got permission from my wife to have my beard shaved, but only if $1000 is raised by 1pm Pacific time, Wed 2017 Sept 25. (I’m scheduled to be shaved at 1:15).  Because I’d only raised $60 so far, I figured my beard was safe, but some of my colleagues have decided they want to see my chin, so an extra $400 was raised this morning.  There is a chance now that I’ll be beardless after tomorrow (something I haven’t done for about 25 years—the last time I did it, for a Halloween costume, my wife threatened to divorce me if I shaved it again, which is why I needed her permission for the $1000 offer).

More recently, I’ve colored my beard for St. Patrick’s Day, but not removed it.

The link for donating again:

Update: we hit the $1000.  Someone asked how much for the eyebrows—if we hit $2000, I’ll let the eyebrows go also.

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