Finally got confirmation for my account, so here goes.
I recently pulled out the mug and brush and decided to give it one more go 'round. It's the cheapy Burma Shave brush with an old cake of Williams or Colgate soap. I can't rememebr which since it's 6+ years old. I'm doing the hybrid thing now. I lather with the soap and brush, then shave with a Gillete Fusion. Blasphemy I know, but with my budget and a costco bulk pack of Fusion refills, I'm still deciding if a Merkur HD is in the cards for me. I do have an order for a bowl of Tabac on the way after finding a deal on amazon. My next goal is to splurge for a new brush. These forums have been a wealth of knowledge as have the Mantic youtube videos. Thanks for all the insights into a formerly dull task.