521 Saturdays

One of my favorite internet people, Merlin Mann, had an episode on his Back To Work podcast program where he talked about the idea that you only get so many Saturdays in your life. Saturdays being the days that we usually use to do fun stuff, hobbies, cleaning, things that aren't work. I liked this idea a lot and it got stewing around in my head. Eventually I came up with the idea to visualize this concept of a limited number of Saturdays. To keep the visualization manageable I thought about tracking the number of Saturdays in 10 years. 10 years from now my wife and I be in just past our mid-forties and my kids will either be in college or just out (theoretically). Other than that, who knows?

So as a concrete project, I came up with storing 10 years worth of Saturdays as marbles in a jar. Every Saturday you move a marble into a different jar. I used WolframAlpha to figure out how many Saturdays there are in the next 10 years (taking into account the vagaries of the calendar) and came up with 521. I found somebody selling 500 marbles on ebay for a good price (Which seems to only be possible on ebay. Bulk marbles sites are weirdly expensive.) and filled out the rest of them at the dollar store. I had my kids count the marbles and remove the broken ones, then put them all in a container so I could figure out the size of the glass jar I'd need. I estimated the volume of the container, then went to Michaels and found basically the perfect jars which you can see in the picture.

One week down.

One week down.

I really like the way this turned out with the cool square jars. I'm looking forward to seeing the one jar fill up. I think it'll help us be mindful of time passing and remind us to make good use of our Saturdays.

I'd love for this idea to appeal to somebody else so I can see how they do it. If you make something like this, please let me know! Thanks for reading.

Update: I made an Instructable for how to build your own version of my project. It's basically the same as this post but now it's also my first Instructable. :)

Making a pen

I've been getting into wood turning thanks to my wife's interest in it. I've made a couple of pens and a pencil that turned out pretty well. Some friends asked for a video on the process so I finally made one of my most recent pen.

I'm also starting to sell the pens and mechanical pencils I make. If you'd like one, contact me at the Contact link at the top of the page. Right now the price is $10 but that will probably go up soon. The pens write really well and the pencils use standard leads so you can use your favorite.