logo for Serial Fun Office Fiction Riley Justice by Don Clark

The Daring Adventures of Riley Justice vol 1

Serial Fun Office Fiction Riley Justice logo


In the accounting department:

I glance up from my immaculate and trim desk; clean and organized, it is the desk where to-do lists go to die. I’m Riley Justice. Ruler of receivables.

The guy across the aisle squirrels his business cards away in a drawer because he’s embarrassed by his lack of a card holder. He should be. His cards sift among fast food wrappers, past-due invoices, and reams of printed off (but never read) emails.

My boss walks by, she asks him for a card. Bewildered, he paws through drawers, digging through years of clutter until he finds one stained, folded in half business card. His name a smear of corporate-ladder bottom-dwelling.

My boss takes the card, sighs, and walks on.

The next in line puts her cheap business cards on some soulless, mass-produced, uninspired holder. Some chipped plastic model she doesn’t have the pride to replace. Her desk is stacked with folders from last year’s completed projects.

My boss’s disappointment pulls at her face. She asks for a card then glances over her shoulder.

The card she receives is thin, small, and insignificant. It’s the card that belongs to no one going no where. “This is why the board has lost its leverage.”

My boss stops in front of my desk, head down, and almost whispers her request for my business card. Just then some smartly-tailored cadre of expensive-haircutted Captains of Corporate-Turnarounds stride confidently down the hall.

“Sure boss.” I pass up soulless, mass-produced, catalog uninspired card holders in favor of a handsomely handcrafted wood business card holder. Kudos to me my friend.

I remove a single card. It’s thick, but not so thick it intrudes into the obnoxious. The letters have that cool indent thing. It’s strong and powerful, the business card belonging to a person moving up in the world. I hand the card to my boss. “Why so glum chum?”

My boss shakes her head. “The Board of Directors are holed up in the conference room. We’ve lost our leverage. They, they’ve acquired a controlling interest. They, they want names. Efficiencies. Margins–”

Just then one of those smartly-tailored expensive-haircut jokers put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s have those names, and the profit and loss databases.”

“IT’S A HOSTILE TAKEOVER!” I scream. The rest of the haircuts rush my desk.

Swiftly I pick up the card holder. It’s solid wood, walnut. Nice. “This’ll do.” I shake the cards loose and wing the wood block at the on-rushers. “Take this you Corporate Raider Scum.” It hits one soundly on the side of his head, denting his old-man rich-guy quaff, bounces and soundly strikes a second raider in the part of his hair. “How do you like your haircuts now?” Panicked, the two rush to a mirror.

There’s only a handful of them now – no match for Riley Justice. Counter-punch. Parry. Thrust! I’m locked together with the last of them and in the struggle his face is loosed from its skull by my exacting grip.

But the face is only rubber. “It’s only a mask!”

And under the mask is some cigar stump chewing Edward G Robinson parody. “Now you listen here. We’re going to take over this company see. We’ve got a new board lined up here see. Myeah boys. Tell em. Boys?”

All the boys are gone, primping their hair and straitening their ties. “Looks like you’re all alone now.” I say.

“Yeah, well, I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you meddling accountants! Myeah.”


“Mmmm, yeah. Riley, I’m going to need that cover sheet– Hey! Wake up. Somebody wake this person up.”

I blink. The puddle of drooled slackedness is a small pond next to my keyboard. I lift my head, the impression of the keyboard tattling on my forehead. The monitor shows one-hundred and thirty-four pages of Js. “It was only a dream.”

“Yeah. I’m going to need you to come in on Saturday.”

Well, at least my desk is neat. And the card holder is real. If only those corporate-supplied business cards weren’t so cheap . . .
Now you can purchase the business card holder Riley Justice relies upon to thwart the Hordes of Corporate Raiders!

Certain to dent the comb-work of the most liberal applicator of hairspray. And when your department is quiet, this card holder is certain to impress your boss and make your coworkers jealous. Continue your climb up the corporate-ladder and purchase your all natural wood card holder today(Click here)

wood card holder with shield of approval

Homestead – Wooden Art

This is a companion piece to another wooden art piece I did:  “Pa Never Thought Much of the Sinkhole Until the Dragon Came Out of It”

This piece, Homestead, is loosely related, or not at all related.  Copper and wood are the materials used, and are some of our favorite materials to make wooden toys from as well.wood art - log cabin - racoons eye viewwood art - log cabin with copper trees  Wood art - log cabin and outbuilding wood art - log cabin homestead

Wood Hardware Finished with Fire

Before there were The Kids, the only residents in this Happy Bungalow were Liz and myself.  We were alone in a house in need of major renovation:


Let me tell you, fixer-uppers are a lot funner when you’re watching someone else do the work on television.  Though, no one at the Bungalow is shy about working hard, so out came the tools, and something like nine months later there’s this:


But before there were these:



the cabinets were devoid of hardware.  The kitchen renovation was done as frugally as possible.  Buying nice cabinet hardware would have cost more than the cabinets did.  But I figured if I could make the cabinets, I could make the hardware.  Originally I was going to make sand molds, melt aluminum cans in a cast-iron pots, and pour the molten metal into the molds.  Violla!  Rough-hewn, hand-crafted, custom-hardware.  (triple hyphenated-word threat)

Then I did a little aluminum research.  It melts at something like 1200 degrees.  I’m pretty sure my skin melts at a lower temperature.  Hmm.

So I ended up with this:

Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt001-300Which is the basic shape I had in mind for the aluminum hardware, just made from wood.  Though I did keep fire involved.  The dark color isn’t stain – it’s scorch marks.  With a torch, each knob was burned and quickly dunked into a water bath.

Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt004-570The color of each piece is different; sort of like a snowflake.  Love these knobs so much you need them in your house?  Head over to the Bungalow’s shop and pick some up today. Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt006-570

For Your Wall

A few new items alongside some Happy Bungalow classics.  State clocks made from super-smooth lumber and state maps made from plywood and repurposed hardware.For Your Wall - Clocks + Maps

New Cabinet Hardware

 I just finished up a custom set of cabinet hardware for a client.  All wood – the knobs are cherry with square walnut inlays and the pulls have walnut posts with cherry handles.Happy-Bungalow-custom-wood-cabinet-hardware-knob-pull-cherry-walnut-alt001-570t

Cutting Boards

Lots of new greatness coming out of the shop, including loads of cutting boards.

You Can Reuse that Calendar


Don’t throw that calendar away!  You’ll be able to use it some day.  I have.

An array of calendars

You’ll find me somewhere between thriftiness, sentimentality, and a search for purpose in any seemingly useless item.  I keep a lot of stuff, including cool calendars that I could cut out and frame.  And once you save one or two, you might as well save every one.

I never did frame any calendar pages, but it turns out you can reuse them.  Who knew?  There’s only 14 different types of years.  So, this 2012 leap year your old 1984 calendars can be hung back up on the wall.

Your collection doesn’t stretch back that far?  Don’t worry, neither does mine.  The trouble is the leap day, February 29th.  Rascals.  Work around the day by hanging up a 2006 calendar and use it for the first two months.  Then come March 1st, put up your 2007 calendars and use them through to New Year’s Eve.  Just don’t depend on these old calendars to tell you about daylight savings time, lunar cycles, or certain holidays that move around.

Next year you can break out your old 2002 calendars for all twelve months (you can only split calendars on leap years).  And save this year’s calendar for 2040.

Is there more information on the internet?  Of course there is.  Here’s a site dedictated to calendar reuse.

New Hardwood Clocks Are For Sale

You’ve read all the whole behind the scenes series about the hardwood clocks, now find them for sale in Happy Bungalow’s etsy shop.

Wood Clocks Process #3

In the previous post our wood clocks were dry-fitted and glued-up (read the post here).  You may remember some dried up glue that leaked out of the joints.  The glue was knocked away with a sander as were any wood segments that were higher than the others.  Despite the best efforts of the heavy took box, some of the pieces moved up oh so slightly.  Ideally I’d run the clocks through a planer (mine isn’t wide enough) or a wide belt sander (nobody has dropped one off at the shop).  So I sand them down with a 1/3 sheet sander.

Happy Bungalow Wood Clock Process 10 Wood Clocks Post Sanding

The next step is to trim up the clocks.  I lay out the circle with my drafting compass (in the upper right in the picture below) and lay out a circle as big as the smallest wood segment.  In short – I make the clock as big as I can.  I trim the circles on the bandsaw, sand the edges smooth on a stationary belt sander, and bring them back to the table.

You can see how much sanding dulls the look of the wood.  I plane all my wood in the shop (three giant knives spinning really fast and slicing away wood) – which leaves the wood ultra smooth.  Sanding also smooths the wood, but instead of slicing the wood, the sanding compresses the grain of the wood, so it doesn’t look as crisp.  But don’t worry, we’re going to fix that during the finishing.

Happy Bungalow Wood Clock Process 11 Wood Clocks Cut To Circles

There’s one last step before the finishing – cutting holes for the clock movement (the gizmo that turns the clock hands).  I start with drilling a small hole through the center on the front.  Then I drill a big hole in the back (I’m thinking the Bungalow’s resident hamster may find some use for them).

This part’s a little tricky – drill too far and the clock is ruined.  Drill not far enough, and well – just drill some more.  Fortunately my 3-1/8 inch drill bit isn’t very fast.  Notice the clamps in the picture.  The clock must be clamped to something secure as the large drill bit creates a lot of torque.

HappyB ungalow Wood Clock Process 12 Wood Clock Drilled For Clock Movement

Now the fun part – finishing.  I finish the clocks with pure tung oil – which penetrates the wood to protect it.  Pure tung oil is a legitimate natural finish.  The only thing in my tung oil?  Tung oil.  There’s no laundry list of additives and chemicals on the side of the jar.  The only thing I add is citrus solvent which thins the oil to aid penetration into the wood.

Citrus solvent?  It’s natural too – derived from oranges.  And it smells great – the whole shop smells like oranges.  The tung oil gives the wood a lot of pop and shows off the grain well.

Grain?  The upper left clock has alternating segments of walnut and cherry.  The lower clock has cherry, walnut, poplar, red oak, and hickory.  The strip clock has hickory, walnut, and cherry.

Happy Bungalow Wood Clock Process 13 Finished With Tung Oil

Read the fourth and final post here