Being of a Forewarning Thrice Given

Below is a sample story from All of It Volume 1 (purchase the physical volume here)

John just woke up. It’s lighter outside than it should be when he wakes up, which mean it’s late, which means he’ll be late. For work. Oh brother. He squints, confused. No alarm? Did he turn it off in his unconscious sleep? He checks it. No. The alarm switch was set one click past radio. Off – Buzzer – Radio – Silent.

“Silent?” What good is that?

He didn’t even know his alarm clock had a silent mode. Had he read the instruction manual it would have advised him:

Silent is handy if you need to get up early, but don’t really want to, so when you arrive late to the work, you have an excuse. Say, for example, to the boss, “I set my alarm, don’t know what happened Boss. Oh, and the dog ate my report too.”

John sat there a moment, soaking in the gravity of the situation. Now he couldn’t lay in bed and think about how much he just wanted to go back to sleep and not go to work. There wasn’t any time for fooling around. No room in the schedule for delay. No dilly dallying. John had to get up, that’s all there was to it.

All right Okay.


John’s standing now, but remains tired. He looks back at the clock which confirms he’s still running late. He needs to make up some time. Can’t fool around, must be quick. He grabs his pants standing up and puts on the first leg, his right. It slides right in, like he’s been doing it all his life.

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The Triumph Over Fear

Below is a sample story from All of It Volume 1 (purchase the physical volume here)

“They have a thirteenth floor at the hospital?” Apparently. This didn’t leave me with the best feeling, and I wasn’t even going to the thirteenth floor, I just saw it as an option in the elevator. Seems spooky. Who wants to have an operation on the thirteenth floor? Paging Dr. Bad Luck for his 2:15 botched surgery.

No thanks.

But I wasn’t going to the thirteenth floor. I was going to the fifth floor. In the elevator I chose Five and found my way to an open seat in the waiting room. I had lots of time to think, but I didn’t want to think about my friend, so I spent a good deal of time thinking about thirteen.

And from there?

From thirteen, I went on a ways. Winding up so far away from thirteen that I had to trace back my thought steps to see how I had arrived there. A strange destination, but turns out, it all fit. It all made as much sense as it could. Turns out, having a thirteenth floor in a building is a good thing, especially in a hospital.

When you think about things from the optimistic viewpoint, you want your hospital to have a thirteenth floor.

And let’s add in some black cats for that matter. And feel free to walk under a ladder or break a mirror too. Someone sends you a chain letter? Toss it out – don’t they know how expensive a stamp is these days?! Go ahead and spill all the salt you want – it’s about the cheapest thing you can buy in the store. Open your umbrella inside too – no sense in getting soaked while you fiddle with it outside.

The point of this being – all this bad luck stuff isn’t real. Made up superstitions. Irrational socially-accepted phobias. They aren’t real. They help you as much as they hurt you – not a bit.

So of course there’s a thirteenth floor at the hospital. Because hospitals are a place of science. It isn’t superstition or hoodoo that’s going to save people’s lives. It’s centuries millennia of learning and experiments and rational thought and everything else that shows the best of what people are capable of. It’s all the good that humanity has done to learn and pass on the knowledge of how to the triumph over the . . . well, the unknown.

Triumph over fear.

You set up your floors the way hotels do and go from 12 straight to 14? Okay, then what’s next? We roll some chicken bones in the sand, get some old lady to take a look at them and tell us what will happen? And if it’s bad news, do we consult the tea leaves? Hunt for a four leaf clover, touch a chimney sweep, or change the orientation of our horseshoes?

No thanks.

Of course after I’ve said all this, everywhere I look in the hospital there’s religious stuff. The place was named after a saint, so I guess it fits. It’s just a bit strange, in the place that didn’t give a second thought to the thirteenth floor, to have all that religious stuff. Not that I care, it just seems funny. And in that waiting room – waiting – you need all the humor you can get.

I’m not saying religion is made up or isn’t real, but still, you can’t prove god. The whole thing is based on faith. And while faith isn’t superstition, it’s much closer to that than science. No tests, no evidence – just belief – that’s the whole point of it. Faith, that is.

So what do the doctors think of walking by all these artifacts of faith? Do they hope for help? Pray for it? Or, are they confident they can perform their surgery alone, without the aid of unseen forces?

What happened with my friend?

Did the surgeon know they couldn’t do it – that they couldn’t save the life of the stranger on the table? Did some doctor who rides to the thirteenth floor ask for other worldly help?

Or did they keep fighting to the end – relying on decades of experience and education, all built on millennia of knowledge and reason, only still to come up short?

Because science can’t save everything.

Prayers, it seems, can’t either.

Now I can only hope my friend still exists somewhere in an un-seeable, un-provable place.

Read another sample here, or purchase the entire physical volume here.

Hand carving the head

The Making of a Wood Optimus Prime

How do you recreate in wood an iconic childhood toy? With a little bit of wood, some sandpaper, great attention to how close your fingers are to a sawblade, and time. Lots of time.

Cutting small pieces of wood on the bandsaw
It’s a nervous chore to cut such tiny pieces without cutting off pieces of yourself! Please do not attempt yourself.
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Handmade Wood Optimus Prime Toy (it transforms!)

wood toy Optimus Prime made by Don Clark and Happy Bungalow

Being a child of the 80s, I’m a big fan of the Transformers. As a young parent I still had a number of my original toys as my kids got into the series. It is one of my dearest memories; watching the cartoon with my kids as they played with those same toys.

I’ve made wood toy cars and wood toy robots, but not both at the same time. The cars could be stood up on end and be made into a “robot”, and the robots could be rearranged to make a “vehicle.” But I never got around to making a transforming robot vehicle.


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Handmade A Tale of Production Part 1: That Old Magical Cabinet by Don Clark

Handmade: A Tale of Production – Part 1



Part One: That Old Magical Cabinet


by Don Clark


We open on the weary toymaker, Henry. He makes loads of old timey wood toys inside the coolest little workshop that was formerly the cutest little barn. It’s not a barn barn. More like an outbuilding that sheep (or something) lived in.You wouldn’t know that now though. Henry re-outfitted the building decades ago. He heats it in the winter with a pot-bellied stove fueled by shop wood scraps. Handy. Henry had the shortest commute he knew of – about fifty feet. He and his wife lived in an old farmhouse. Their kids were grown

His shop it a cozy little place filled with sunlight, toys, and tools. Some of the tools he’s inherited, but most were picked up at yard sales and the like. He has a professional interest to be sure, but, good grief, he has more rusted hand planes than he’ll ever find the time to restore. Let alone, need. In addition to his power saws, he has four or five dozen handsaws. Maybe six? And let’s be honest here; you can make do when one or two. Henry has a half dozen hand-drills. Like he needs any more help adding to his arthritis.

On top of all this, he’s not even sure what some of the tools are.

That doesn’t matter though. Henry’s chief interest is the tool’s owners and their stories.

Take that saw over there. Some old fella used that saw for thirty years before he was just too old. Then he spent a decade first cupping his ear and saying “WHAT?,” before relenting to the inevitable and just nodding when someone spoke to him.

Then he passed, where his tools, rusted from an untended decade in the garage, were sold at an estate sale. His children and grandchildren holding back tears as they swapped old stories. But the tools don’t look like much, they mostly went unsold. Henry can’t bear to think of those tools being shuttled off for scrap.

He bought all the unsold tools. Henry had to keep those tools in use.

Because he can’t bear to think of his old tools suffering a scrap-yard fate.

This is our toymaker. Making toys for the young folks, some of which have grown up to buy his toys for their young folks. Read more

The Horrors of Home Repair

The Horrors of Home Repair!

In recognition of the abnormal, weird, disturbing, and just plain scary, we present:


Terrifying Tales from the Attic!

Nefarious Noises from the Cellar!

Shocking Stories of Crossed Wires!

The Horrors of Home Repair!

– or –

How to get your ‘new‘ old home at a scary cheap price!

The Horrors of Home Repair

The sunlight is waning; the leaves are falling. The chill in the air tingles your skin. The moon rises. You think you’re safe inside your own home when you hear the growling noise vibrating through the walls.Now! You must stop and ask yourself this: Do you want the noise to be a reanimated poltergeist intent on doing ill to your home and family.


A fault in the mechanical system that will lead to a series of repairs, lost weekends, and countless buckets of spilled cash?

We will help you answer such a question as we now enter the home of Mr and Ms Levitt. John and Susan. They have two lovely young children and are whispering about a third.

Eight years ago, when Mr and Ms Levitt were newlyweds, they thought they knew what they were getting themselves into when they purchased a one-hundred-and-something year old house. A long-past-its-prime Victorian that had suffered through decades of half-hearted repairs, misguided renovations, and plain old neglect.

Now, Ms and Mr Levitt bought the house intent on a proper renovation, and, of course, they knew the unexpected would occur.

They were more right than they knew. Read more

Riley Justice and the Corporate Team Building Exercise in Deception

The Daring Adventures of Riley Justice!

Riley Justice, the hard-working (or is it hardly working) accounts-receivable cog helping to keep the corporate machine grinding on, while occasionally foiling Corporate Raider’s sinister plots.

Serial Fun Office Fiction Riley Justice by Don Clark

Riley Justice and the Corporate Team Building Exercise in Deception

Where Riley Justice Thinks Outside the Box to Strategically Move to the Rear of Department Restructurement


Accounts Receivable is an efficient and ruthless machine. Invoices are processed and dispatched within hours of completion of contract. Payment is expected statim vel propter aliud. Statim vel propter aliud is a Latin turn of phrase crafted especially for Accounts Receivable. It’s meaning is ambiguous; it’s intent is menacing. Payment is expected upon receipt.

Past-due notices are sent the following day.

Accounts Receivable is an efficient and ruthless machine, but still, there is room for improvement. Thus was formed the once-yearly Planning Exercise in Creative Thinking. PEcT for short. They’re always held off-site at some corporate creative outside the box blue sky center. There’s grass, fresh air, comfortable furniture, and loads of snacks and drinks.

And you can wear shorts. Read more

Inside the Small Maker DIY Mom and Pop Struggling Business by Happy Bungalow

Good Grief

Good Grief

In 2016, once a month [or so], Happy Bungalow will be pulling back the curtain on the wood shop to show what life is really like owning a small / family / crafty / handmade / diy / maker / struggling / mom&pop business (further referred to as SFCHDMSMP business).

Inside the Small Maker DIY Mom and Pop Struggling Business by Happy Bungalow

I have been struggling to write this article for months.  My life and family’s life was turned upside down this year.  Ultimately it was a good thing, but oh man was it a HARD year.  So hard that everything suffered, including my business.  I won’t go into the details because apparently I can’t get it all straight and on paper.

However, I’m not sure if I’ll continue this whole behind the scenes business.  I really want to, but I’m struggling to make it interesting and honest.  Especially this previously mentioned article.  It’s a mental weight I’m going to put aside now.  I’ll focus on writing the fun and silly articles.

I want to say this though – for the small business, the one-man shop, and honestly any living person: Read more

The Hare Hair Stylist - A Silly Pun-Filled Story by Don Clark-Happy Bungalow

The Hare Hair Stylist

The Hare Hair Stylist

The Hare Hair Stylist - A Silly Pun-Filled Story by Don Clark-Happy Bungalow

It used to be that journalists had just one job. For instance, a fashion reporter, style reporter, or the offbeat / quirky news specialist. Never was one person called upon to do all four jobs. But times are tough; People just aren’t reading magazines like they used to. Unfortunately many people lost their jobs. Most eventually found new jobs; some even started up their own companies.

But for those left with a job, their blessings were mixed. Yes, they still had a job, but now it had become jobs. Plural. So fashion / style / offbeat beat came to be handled by one person.

Melanie McKay was such a person. This is the time she found herself on the niche interview of her life.
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Inside the Small Maker DIY Mom and Pop Struggling Business by Happy Bungalow

Selling at Craft Shows is Easy

Selling at Craft Shows is Easy

Earning Money at it is a Bit Harder

Doing it Without Breaking a Sweat May Be Impossible


In 2016, once a month, Happy Bungalow will be pulling back the curtain on the wood shop to show what life is really like owning a small / family / crafty / handmade / diy / maker / struggling / mom&pop business (further referred to as SFCHDMSMP business).


Inside the Small Maker DIY Mom and Pop Struggling Business by Happy Bungalow



Craft shows span the spectrum from the elementary school fundraiser to the High Brow Art Faire. From the 2 hour church bazaar to the hip pop-up shop in the old hat factory. From the corporate office employee-only “farmers market” to the Crafty / Craftin’ / Handmade / Rebel / Outlaw / Misc. Profanity / Etc. Indie Art Show.

In more than four years of business I haven’t set up toy shop at every type of show, but I’ve done most of them. I’ve been out in the baking sun, in back hallways where the scant crowd didn’t even know I was there, out in the cold spring day that unexpectedly turned rain-storm, and at those beautiful shows where people are almost throwing money at me.
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