Frankly, once in a great while I'm just off my game, and this must have been one of those days. If my profession were airline pilot, this would have been the day to take a train. Normally I have a cup or two of coffee before shaving, but today I pretty much stumbled from bed directly to the bathroom sink. This was likely my first mistake.
To start, I don't think I wet my brush or beard adequately; I probably shook out too much water from the brush prior to lathering. The resulting layer on my face and neck was a touch too pasty, and I didn't do anything about it -- like dip the bristles in water and lather some more (duh) as I normally would. I just used it as is, and although I got a close shave, the lather and freshly-cut stubble were a bit difficult to rinse from the razor.
Because of the rinsing difficulty, I had to open the doors to the razor bay to clean the razor as I shaved. Then at one point when my strokes were feeling particularly scraping rather than cutting, I checked the blade-tightening mechanism and, sure enough, it wasn't quite snug. So there was further evidence of cockpit error. After securing the blade, the subsequent strokes were noticeably smoother.
For this shave, my strokes were entirely oblique and pretty exclusively against grain on my neck and below the jaw line. Above the jaw line, my strokes were still oblique but a combination of cross and against grain, with a few with-the-grain strokes when touching up.
Finally, near the end of my shave, I carelessly nicked myself under my nose, which required a touch of styptic pencil.
So I deviated from my recent minimalist ritual and used the alum block after the shave and then rinsed with cool water.
In summary, a close but forgettable shave. Looking forward to tomorrow, I'll be using the slant razor -- again performing a one-pass minimalist shave, which I hope will have a more pleasing outcome. And after this unrewarding shave this morning, I'm going to use the Gillette again soon on a day when I'm fully awake -- still to evaluate whether this instrument is stored in the bathroom cabinet for regular use, or in the bedroom closet.