You can now include “wood” as another benefit of kale

Thin wood planks lined up on a green cutting mat.
Thin wood planks lined up on a green cutting mat.
Yes, it’s kalewood.

Kale. That green leafy “superfood” everyone raves about (or loathes, depending on who you talk with). Kale is jam-packed with more vitamins and minerals than any other comparable green. It’s the do-all veggie. From smoothies to chips, pasta to pizza, kale makes everything better (well, at least better for you). Is there anything kale can’t do?


A matter of believing is seeing

A toy train slightly out of focus in the foreground; in the background, a Christmas tree and presents.
A toy train slightly out of focus in the foreground; in the background, a Christmas tree and presents.
Image by the author

I have the fondest memory of an early Christmas; I couldn’t have been more than four. My not-much-older brother woke me up sometime after we went to bed. “Santa’s been here,” he whispered. “Quick, come, and look.”


An entirely from scratch creation — that works!

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All DIY — the chainsaw from the horror classic The Evil Dead!

The trusty weapon-of-choice for Ash Williams — hero of The Evil Dead was a Homelite XL12 chainsaw.

To many, it’s as recognizable as Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber.


Understanding often comes with a change in perspective

An upside down picture of a sunset reflecting in water. The elongated reflection and sun look like an exclamation point.
An upside down picture of a sunset reflecting in water. The elongated reflection and sun look like an exclamation point.
“You are here!” Image by the author.

The loftiest goal in physics research is to discover a unified theory of everything. This key to the universe, if found, could unlock untold potential. Unlimited energy and even time travel could be possible if we understood it.


Sometimes the excitement of not knowing is all that’s needed

A black and white photo looking down a curvy desert road with a rocky mountain peak in the distance.
A black and white photo looking down a curvy desert road with a rocky mountain peak in the distance.
What’s around the next curve? Adventure, that’s what.

As kids, all we want to do is overcome our limits. It’s programmed into us to learn. We ache to be able to ride a bike. Master swimming. Know how to read and write. Everything we do while young, including play, is all about learning. If things go well, this lust for knowledge continues our whole lives.


Find your thing, whatever it is. And if you lose that, find another.

Closeup of a young boy with brown hair, smiling as a monarch butterfly with outstretched wings rests on his cheek.
Closeup of a young boy with brown hair, smiling as a monarch butterfly with outstretched wings rests on his cheek.
Photo by the author.

A thought exercise: think about before you were born.


I love it when a plan comes together (says the protagonist, with a sly grin)

A bright red background with white stencil lettering “THE A-GAME (for makers).
A bright red background with white stencil lettering “THE A-GAME (for makers).
Image by the author.

Remember the now-classic 1980s TV series The A-Team? It was about a crew of ex-special forces guys who traveled about getting into adventures and saving the day through crazy schemes. Often the team appeared to luck out by each episode’s end, but truth-be-told, their success was all by design. The leader of this rag-tag group, John “Hannibal” Smith, was famous for saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” He invariably said it with a grin.


How facing my mistakes helped me find purpose again in creating.

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Photo by the author.

I always knew creating things was special. But I, like many, came to believe that creativity was a side-pursuit, not a profession. Be it lack of confidence, denial, or veering off course, I decided somewhere along the way that work was just that, work. And the fun things — for me, making and writing — were, at best, a hobby. Now in mid-career, I’ve taken the leap to put creating back where it belongs — front and center in my life. But getting there has been a challenge greater than I could have ever imagined.


An ideal tool makes creating all the better.

A small pair of green-handled needle-nose pliers and a pair of matching flush wire cutters, on a white background.
A small pair of green-handled needle-nose pliers and a pair of matching flush wire cutters, on a white background.
A pair of ideal tools. Photo by the author.

I’ve been on an organizing kick lately, getting The Lab (my shop) in order. It’s a small space, and optimizing it requires judicious selection of what to retain and what to discard. Tool choice is paramount — from hammers to chop saws, I put a lot of thought into what I buy, keep, and use. If something is going to take up space in the limited real estate of my life, it needs to be worth its three dimensions.


Sci-fi films often portray aliens as basically human-sized. This assumption might be reasonably accurate, given a loose interpretation of what human-sized means.

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A smuggler, a Wookie, and two Jedi meetup at the bar. Disney — Lucas Films Limited

The Mos Eisley cantina in the original Star Wars is my favorite scene in any film ever. Ever. I love it because here we first see how diverse this fictional universe actually is. All manner of creatures co-exist, and most seem relatively at ease around one another, despite their apparent differences. But as diverse as the beings of Star Wars are, they are all about the same size. Sure there are big ones, like eight-foot-tall Chewbacca the Wookie and small ones like the three-foot-tall Jawas. Generally, though, the sentient creatures in Star Wars are within the size extremes of humans…

J Robert Clark

Maker. Writer. Scientist. | jrobertclark.com | youtube.com/JRobertClark | jrobertclark.substack.com | FB, Instagram, Twitter @SciFiCreate

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