Well, I just finished my first DE shave. I used a Pure Badger Brush, Col. Conk's Glycerin Amber Soap, and a Merkur 178. All I can say is... WOW! This was the greatest shave I have ever experienced. I did three passes, WTG, XTG, and ATG in that order, re-lathering in between each of course. The lather build up was great (started the lather directly on my face) with an excellent smell and feel. The improvement over the canned goop was incredible. I never realized just how awful that stuff really was (and to think I used to think the Gilette shave gel was the best you could get.) I went extremely slow with short strokes, making sure not to leave the blade idle against my face at any time, and partitioning my face into different sections. The results? The closest shave I have ever had in my life (cotton ball against the grain and only a little came off around the chin,) with no razor burn, and no cuts. I am posting this because I believe a lot of my success came from these forums, as well as Mantic59's videos on YouTube.
Thank you all for the helpful tips, and I hope with time I can contribute to someone's transition into this excellent system. THANKS AGAIN!!