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Honey-Do Project: Oversized Ruler Growth Chart
WHAT: Fun, Personal, Random, Useful Stuff   |   WHEN: April 6, 2012
My wife, like a multitude of others, is unofficially a Pinterestaholic.  And the only reason it's "unofficial" is because Dr. Phil hasn't yet come out and explicitly said there is such a thing.  It's only a matter of time, though.

Perhaps I should actually thank Pinterest.  It got my to do what nothing else has for a month and a half now... a blog post.  My blog thanks you, Pinterest.  And it thanks my wife, too.  She wanted a way to measure and document our kid(s) height(s) in a way that we can take with us whenever we leave this house. [For those reading between the lines and wondering what "kid(s)" means, number 2 is not on the way yet... just planning ahead.]

So, after a quick search of Pinterest, my wife found several examples of oversized rulers as growth charts.  And then came the honey-do look in her eyes, and that's where I enter the scene stage right.  After a quick assessment of skill-level required to do our own ruler, I was confident - even with my, ahem, underwhelming handy-man skills, - that this is something I could do.  And for extra credit, we wanted to Pottery Barn-ize our version by sprucing up the numbers a bit.  Easy peasy... instead of painting them on, we just went out and bought some decent looking brushed metal finish house numbers.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I did have a little issue when sanding the 2nd coat of polyurethane where it fogged over a bit.  Still not sure why, but it wasn't terrible and it was hard to notice unless you got it in just the right light.  It does kinda bug me that something like that happens at almost the very end after all the work I put in on it, but I'd rather just try to ignore my perferctionist tendencies than start over and have to tape off those God-forsaken tick marks again.

Anyway, here it is in it's final (for now) resting place in the kitchen.  And keep on reading below if you're interested in the process and wanna make your own.  

Trust me.... if I can do this, surely you or any other 4th grade shop student can.  The biggest thing you need is patience.  If you're like me, I love instant gratification on projects like this, and I have a tendency to wanna rush the waiting/curing times a bit and move on to the next step.  Patience, grasshopper.

Anyway, this is what I started with... a pre-cut 6' trim/molding board from Home Depot.  I had planned on having to find buy a larger piece of wood, cut it down, and sand it before I could do anything else, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this score.

The next step was to lightly sand the edges of the board to soften them up a bit since they were pretty sharp when I bought the piece of wood. 

After sanding, I wiped down the board to get rid of the dust from sanding and then applied a coat of stain.  I used the "Jacobean Bean" color because I wanted something darker and a little more sophisticated.

The next stage was the worst part of the whole process.  I tried to think of every shortcut I could think of to make quick work of the tick marks, but in the end I knew I wouldn't be happy if they didn't look good.  I'm sure there's probably an easier way to do them, and if you know of one, I'm not sure I even want you to tell me because I don't wanna be annoyed by how much time I might've been able to save.  I used a ruler and a pencil to mark off tick marks at every inch and then drew each tick mark on the board with pencil. Then I used painter's tape and masked off the edge of the board exposing only the areas I wanted to paint. I'm not gonna lie... total beat-down.  I wish the NCAA men's championship game woulda been a little more exciting to distract me from the monotony of taping.

Next up, painting!  I chose an oil-based glossy black paint to make sure I got a durable finish that would stand out enough against the dark stain color. I put on 2 coats, and let dry overnight.

After letting the paint dry, I removed the tape (tons more fun than putting it on), and brushed on the first thin coat of polyurethane for a protective sealant.  I let it dry for about 4 hours, and then lightly sanded the board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rouch texture of the polyurethane and then wiped the board with a damp cloth to remove the dust.  Everything looked great at that point.  I wanted to put one more light coat on for a little extra protection against anything the kiddos might try and do to it, and this is where things got a little hairy.  I used the same exact process to apply the 2nd coat of polyurethane as I did the first one, but this time when I sanded the second coat and wiped it down, I got some fogging over parts of the board. Boooooo.  

At this point I had 3 choices.  1) Dial down my anal perfectionist inner voice and let it ride as is.  2) Try to fix the fogging with some kind of ad-hoc, cross-my-fingers-and-hope-this-doesn't-ruin-everything rework process. 3) Start over.  Option 2 got eliminated pretty quickly after talking with a couple people about how I could and most-likely could not easily fix it.  Option 3?  Pffft... Not gonna happen.  I'd rather light my hair on fire and then throw gasoline on it before having to do all those tick marks again.  Sooo... option 1 it was.  And rather than call the slight fogging in a couple places defects, I'm calling them character.  Besides, they really are hardly noticeable once you get them the board outta the sunlight.

The last step was to attach the brushed nickel house numbers to the board and hang it.  The numbers were self adhesive, so... bonus!  I marked the board 3/4" from the opposite edge of the tick marks for my baseline for each of the numbers to make sure they lined up.

And voila!  Here's a closer shot of the final product after hanging it in the kitchen.

I think each year where going to put a small image of each kiddo on the board at the location designating their height for that year.  And I'm also marking my height on the board this year when I turn 40... so I can see if I've started shrinking yet.


No Paternity Test Required
WHAT: Fun, Personal, Random   |   WHEN: July 29, 2011
So my mom's been saying for weeks now how much Saige looks like I did as a little one.  In fact, she joked that Saige looks more like me than well, me, at her age. I mean, I don't have any newborn images of me, but from what I remembered of the few baby images I'd last seen of me years ago, I knew there were some similarities. I needed proof, though, so I asked my mom if she had any she could bring over so I could see for myself.

So, without further delay, here's yours truly 38 years go. Thanks, Olan, for this masterpiece. BTW, judging by the amount of photos my mom brought over from Olan Mills, they musta known us like Cheers knows Norm.  I know a lotta folks make fun of Olan Mills for his cookie-cutter franchises delivering, ummm, stellar images with craptastic props, non-sensical backgrounds and the incomparable "look-away" poses, but that guy musta laughed all the way to the bank.  He's the Ray Kroc of photography.

... and here's little Saige in a quick image we took tonight for comparison.  Holy crud, it's freakin' mini-me.

I'm just hoping her high school senior yearbook photo doesn't look like mine.  Actually, I'm really just hopin' her eyebrows - unlike mine - thin out over time.  Otherwise, I smell a wax job in her future... unless we decide to make her wait until after she graduates just to keep the boys away. Kidding. Just kidding... sort of.

And to finish out this post, here's a few more beauties from the Olan Mills factory with a little color commentary mixed in.

Speaking of color, for this first one, who was the jerk that started this terrible trend of colorizing images like this to make the subject look like they were destined to be a freakish circus attraction?

I can assure you this is the only time I ever sat this awkwardly close to my brother's crotch.  Apparently the clown suit I'm wearing made it okay, though.

Nope. Still not looking at the camera.  I can only guess that Olan Mills had a company policy to fire any employees that photographed subjects looking anywhere near the camera.

Ahh, yes... the signature Olan Mills double-exposure. This musta been their go-to, cash-cow image because let's face it, what parent wouldn't want an image of their kids' heads floating on a black backdrop while seemingly gazing into their future... which unfortunately included plaid pants.

Joker pants aside, this could be a Revlon Shampoo magazine ad image.  I mean, look at that silky smooth, shiny flowing hair. You can't pull off those pants without great hair.

Wearing a leisure suit with a turtle neck leaning on a faux fence in a faux field... everybody did this in the 70's.  BTW, you'd think the photographer mighta pointed out to the parent(s) that their kids hair looked like, oh I dunno, a mole hill was growing on top of their head before they took the photo.  Not like they coulda missed it. 

We musta been the smartest kids in school with all those books in our obviously-real library.  

We are clearly outdoors in this photo. Clearly.  And I'm starting to realize I had the same haircut for the first 10 years of my life. I imagine my parents rolling me into the local mall barber shop and saying, "Give him the Davy Jones do."

Okay, let's deal with the elephant in the room in this next photo and get it outta the way.  Yes, the tear in the photo is in an awkward shape and location.

Hey, back in the library... in a tan corduroy suit.  Oh well, at least I'm not in a red corduroy suit because that would be ridicu... oh... never mind.


Comparing Apples & Oranges
WHAT: Fun, Random   |   WHEN: March 22, 2011
"It's apples and oranges... you can't compare them."  We've all made the analogy. I personally am frequaently guilty of making this false statement.  Clearly you can, as the infographic below demonstrates. I've now been learned. 

From now on, I've updated my personal inventory of cliché phrases to modify this analogy to say, "You can't compare apples and, oh, I dunno... rectal thermometers." And until I see an inforgraphic to prove otherwise, I'm sticking to it.

Apples to Oranges.

Infographic by


iPad + Velcro = Awesomeness
WHAT: Fun   |   WHEN: May 31, 2010

Some things just go together... like peanut butter & jelly, Abbott & Costello, Lindsay Lohan & disaster... and now the iPad & Velcro.

iPad + Velcro from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Karen for sending this little bit of awesomeness my way.


1st Person Tetris - Warning: May Cause Disorientation
WHAT: Fun   |   WHEN: January 14, 2010
For a little naueseating fun, check out First Person Tetris. For an utterly humiliating experience, make sure to try it in "night mode", too.


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