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Committee of Camels designs the perfect ostrich logo

Where Do People Come From?

Where do people come from?

Our children are always interested in where they come from. We do our best to explain. We show them baby pictures and old scrapbooks. This leads to more questions. So we speak of parents, then of parent’s parents, and so on. Eventually our children ask the question that we’ve all asked. The question that, aware of it or not, always lingers in our mind. It is perhaps the first question ever asked.

Committee of Camels designs the perfect ostrich logo

Where Do People Come From?

We have an answer, my wife and I. It’s not universally accepted, and try as we might, we have located no “hard” evidence of its truth or exact origin. But we believe in this answer. For the answer is a story that speaks in the quiet of the still darkness that is the Truth.
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Serial Fun Office Fiction Riley Justice by Don Clark-episode 2 logo

Riley Justice and the Conference Room of Terror!

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-episode 2

Riley Justice and the Conference Room of Terror!

Where Riley Justice Attempts to Foil a Sinister Plot to Lull the Office Into a Sleep Coma!

 

Led by the Junior Vice President of Data Organization and Repository Analysis Quantification. This Brobdingnagian Bore plans to lull everyone in the Fifth Floor Annex Auxiliary Conference Room B into a dull-induced sleep in a bid to take control of the File Management and Storage Box Acquisition Committee.

 

Now we join Riley Justice in Fifth Floor Annex Auxiliary Conference Room B where the bi-weekly File Management and Storage Box Acquisition Committee meeting is already in progress:

There was a bassey (but not that cool bass) noise droning from the front of the room. The JrVP; the place where joy is killed, like light being sucked into a black hole. ‘Why does this committee even exist? Here’s an idea about your dumb boxes – no one cares!’Riley wrote this down on paper:
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not quite real vintage illustration of duck and flowers

Lame Duck Day

Today is Lame Duck Day.  While the day doesn’t celebrate the animal, there is a real lame duck (distant bird relative of the snipe).  We dug through Great-Grandpa’s library and came up with this sketchbook page highlighting the Lame Duck in the wild.  It’s like total proof.

not quite real vintage illustration of duck and flowers

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

Happy-Bugnalow-robot-movie-production-wooden-toys

Toy Robot Movie Production Troubles

It’s been well established that toys come to life under certain circumstances (ie: when placed in magic cupboard, or when the kids leave the room); our toys are no exception. Our animal toys are mostly content to graze around the living room or nap under the shade of the couch. The fairies buzz around the potted plants. The cars usually zoom around, always underfoot. But the robots? Oh boy those robots.

The robots are restless and always working on something. Of late they have taken up movie-making. They built their own equipment and took over a corner of the garage for production. They fooled around with physical props and sets, but couldn’t get the look they were going for. So up went a green-screen for later CG work. Everything was going well . .

toy robot movie production

I made it clear the movie was their project, and I also made it clear they could only have the garage for the weekend. I thought this was plainly stated in the contract. Whoever wrote the thing and whichever bot signed it were two different beings. I brought this to their attention (again) late Saturday evening. Wow! Drama!

Lot’s of yelling squeaks and bloobs and bips (I struggle to understand them when they talk fast). I caught every third or fourth word – lot’s of blame and name calling. But to their credit they worked out their differences, and then worked through the night. They finished up garage photography the next day and my wife and I were able to move the car back in.

The robots finished their movie. It had a limited release in all the art-house theaters (poster below). It’s a big hit as far as small movies go. Robot Lords from Cosmic Space is due for home theater release later this year; certain to be a cult classic.

Pick up your own robots and make your own movie today!

Vintage Looking Sci-Fi Movie Poseter With Robots

Happy-Bungalow-boy-floating-away-with-balloons

Boy Holds Too Many Balloons, Floats Into Sky

toy posed reenactment of child floating into air holding balloons

5 cents each or 15 / 50 cents. “I’ll take sixty please.”

The balloon barker was a large fellow. He could hold two hundred balloons and not budge an inch, but the Attleson’s boy? The Attleson’s boys was thin as a bean stalk. He handed over his money, took those balloons in his two hands, and ZIP! Off he went into the air.

It was a steady breeze that day so he made it a good two miles before he thought to let go of a balloon or two.  He loosed a few more and finally landed in John Southwick’s sorghum field. If you can believe that.

If you can believe it.  Our grandmother believes it.  She swears by this story, says it happened when she was a kid herself.  Though she lost the newspaper clipping, and wavers on being at the scene or simply hearing about it second hand.

Still, it’s a FUN story, One of our favorites, and we’ve recreated it here in toy story-telling form.

Want to act out your own adventures with toys?  Well, click here to purchase some.

toys pose for fanciful story of boy flying into air

sky high doodle

Balloons for Sale

5 cents each or 15 / 50 cents.  “I’ll take sixty please.”

The balloon barker was a large fellow.  He could hold two hundred balloons and not budge an inch, but the Attleson’s boy?  The Attleson’s boys was thin as a bean stalk.  He handed over his money, took those balloons in his two hands, and ZIP!  Off he went into the air.

He made it two miles that day before he came down.  If you can believe that.

miniature balloon stand

Balloon Flights of the Fantastic

Of course you’ve heard of the Attleson’s boy who bought all the balloons at the circus and took straight up in the air.  It was a steady breeze that day so he made it a good two miles before he thought to let go of a balloon or two.  He loosed a few more and finally landed in John Southwick’s sorghum field.

Of course everyone knows this tale.

But outside on that same circus midway was a big hot-air balloon.  Meant to take people up into the air.  It was on a tether, so the thing would float up in the air a few hundred feet to give the people a look around.  Then it would come right back down in the same place it took off.

Except one time it didn’t come back down.  It’s tether broke and off the balloon and it’s passengers sailed on.  Past the Southwick’s farm.  Past just about everything it turned out.

It went straight off the map if you believe it.

Happy-Bungalow-balloon-taking-off-from-circus-570

Pa and the Dragon

The full title:

“Pa Never Thought Much of the Sinkhole Until the Dragon Came out of It”

wood + geode + dragon

(scroll to the send for more yapping)

Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt008-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt001-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt006-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt009-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt007-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt005-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt004-570 Happy-Bungalow-Pa-Sinkhole-Dragon-wood-sculpture-art-storytelling-art-artisan-alt010-570

More about this piece:

Pa stands outside the barn eying the infant dragon crawling from her egg.  Another figure watches the scene from the porch.

I sell at a weekly farmer’s market along with some guys selling rocks, minerals, and gems.  I picked up some pieces of quartz and some geodes.  What to do with them?  I started off with the quartz and channeling Renaissance Festivals past I thought of wizards and dragons.  So I start doodling castles and imaginary lands, but I wasn’t feeling it.

I liked the dragon idea though.  Then poof –  a farm hits me.  A dragon crawling out of a sinkhole!  I put down the pencil and start digging around the shop.  The top board is a piece of maple I had been saving for a furniture piece (a table), but I thought it made a great sinkhole.  A piece of oak made the perfect subterranean earth.

Originally the geode was to be the mouth of a cave, but the scale of the buildings and the process said the geode served better as an egg.  Pa thought the egg just another hunk of rock and earth.  The sinkhole a convenient dump.  Now though.  Now he doesn’t know what to make of it.

The geode is from an Indiana creek.  The top board is maple with natural knot hole.  The lower board is oak.  The other woods are a mix of poplar, walnut, hickory, cedar, oak (again), maple (again), walnut, and cherry.  While not built to scale, the buildings are roughly an eighth of an inch to a foot.

The Three Little Pigs and The Wolf

Continuing on the story-book theme.  We’ve revised the Three Little Pigs story.  I was able to use some of my architecture knowledge (you know, those two college degrees, professional licensures, and a decade of experience that is little used day to day in the shop.  eek – but they still make me pay back the loans.)

frontis-s

Once upon a time there was a Sow with three little Pigs.  Anxious to make their way in the world, they struck out to seek their fortune.  For leagues they walked together until their path split into three.  Unable to agree on which branch to take, the three pigs shook hands and parted ways.

The first pig met a man with a bundle of straw.  “A ha!,” said the pig.  The pig was familiar natural construction techniques, but certainly no expert [ominous foreshadowing].

The pig said to the man, “Please sir, may I have some of that straw to build a house.”  After some haggling, bartering, and animated debate the two settled on a fair price and with great piles of straw, the pig set about to build his house.

As house construction goes, the little pig’s hut went up quickly and he set about tidying the interior and planning his next act of independence.

Presently came along a Wolf, and knocked at the door, and said, “Little Pig, little Pig, let me come in.”

To which the Pig answered, “What seems to be the issue?”

“Your house won’t serve you well in a storm.  Straw holds up terribly to high winds.  A storm will huff and puff and blow your house down!”

“But straw is a natural material, economical to purchase, and fun to build with.”

“You should consider rebuilding your house – mix the straw with mud for a much sturdier home.”

“Phaw!  Build another house wolf?  For I’ve just built the house you see before you.  Good day to you!”

Shrugging his shoulders, the wolf departed.  The pig set about preparing carrot stew for dinner.

And sure enough the next evening, along came a tremendous storm.  The winds huffed, and puffed, and then blew the straw clean away, leaving the little pig out in the open, cold, and soaking wet.

The following morning, miserable and without a possession, the little pig left to find his brother.  Dejected, the young pig walked for miles until he found his older brother where the tale of the straw house was told.

“Don’t worry little brother.  I helped a man clear his field of fallen trees. Trees felled by that very storm that brought down your house.  As compensation the man let me cart away all the wood I would need to build a house.  With your help we can build a home in double time that no storm can knock down.”

So the two pigs worked at their saws and hammers, stopping only to eat a bit and sleep at night, and built a solid cabin.  So hungry were they that in the middle of the cabin they built a great fire from wood scraps on which they would cook a feast.  (those two were quite hungry following their hard labors)

Then along came the Wolf and said, “Little Pigs, little Pigs, let me come in.”

“No, no, by the hair of our chinny chin chin for we are terribly hungry wolf.”

“That is precisely the problem.  Your fire is too large and should be on a hearth next to a stone chimney.”

“Oh wolf, we are too tired and too hungry for that.  We will build a chimney tomorrow.”

“This is foolish Pigs, your fire is large.  It will huff and puff and burn your house down.”

“We are too hungry Wolf!  Please bother another!”

Oh boy.  [second verse, similar to the first]

Certain enough, the Wolf was right.  The fire was too big.  It did huff, then puff, and finally it burned the two Pigs house down.  Luckily the two brothers were able to scamper free of the blaze and save themselves.  With all their tools burned in the fire, the two Pigs went off to find their oldest brother.

For an hour and a day the two pigs walked until they found their brother.  To their great relief the third pig was building a house of brick.  The youngest brothers told their stories and immediately their oldest brother produced a pencil and paper.  “We must carefully think about the construction of this house.”  And working together the three brothers made a number of changes.

A week later when the house was complete the Wolf came by.  “Little pigs, little pigs let me in.”

To their older brother, “Oh by the hair of our chinny chin chins.  This is the chap we were telling you about.”  Then to the wolf, “Certainly wolf, come in.”  The door was opened and the Wolf came in.

“Pigs, this is a fine house.  Bricks.  Heavy shutters over the windows.  A proper chimney and clean flue.  I believe this will do.  I’d say anything could huff and puff, but never would this house be taken down.”

“We’re glad you approve wolf, for we worked hard together to build a solid home. Would you care to stay for dinner?  We’ve made turnip soup, sweet potato hash, and baked apples.”

The four ate up their supper and lived happy ever after.