Monday, December 26, 2011

My Favorite Parts of Christmas

                My favorite parts of Christmas are seeing family, finding that special gift that I know will bring a smile to someone’s face, and how everyone is happy. 
                What are your favorite parts?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Have you ever liked a girl?

                I have liked this girl in the office for a long, long time.  You know how sometimes you meet a woman that probably isn’t gorgeous in everyone else’s mind but she has just those exact qualities that appeal to you?  Her smile, her voice, her conversationalist personality, everything about her melts your heart and you just want to talk to her for the rest of your life.  Has this ever happened to you?
 I just want to be close to her.  It’s supposed to be easy right?  Just go up to her and start a conversation.  Then you’ll find out in a hurry if she’s interested.  Except, my problem is that I’m really a pretty boring guy.  I am, after all, an accountant.  I know, I know, you can save all the jokes. 
                So anyway, I’m basically a boring guy with a boring life.  I know what you’re going to say.  If we aren’t meant to be together, so be it.  I should just go find someone who is boring like me and we can make each other happy right?  The thing is, if she only knew about my secret life, her entire perception of me would likely change.  If she could see what my life is really like, the one that allows me to set foot on fascinating planets and meet species that no other human has ever met, she and everyone else would see me in a completely different light.  She would have to.  Who wouldn’t want to talk to an inter-planetary traveler?  But it all has to remain a great, big secret.  What am I supposed to do, just give up?
                What is your love story?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Agent Johnson

                The Feds came to my house today!  There were two agents who said they were with the Environmental Protection Agency.  You and I both know what that really means.  Agents Johnson and Jackson, if that’s really their names, interviewed me.  Agents?  Really?  What are they, spooks or investigators?  Aren’t the people working for the EPA supposed to be scientists or lawyers?  Since when did they become investigators of extraterrestrial events?  What do you suppose they know?  What could they possibly know?  I covered up all the evidence of Tr’zez being in my back yard.  Well, I think I got it all. 
                I have to be super careful now.  I think they have highly technical equipment.  I bet they have been doing this for quite some time now and have gained technology from other species.  I have no idea if they captured it or traded for it but it makes a person wonder.  Think about it for a minute.  Has our government already made contact with extraterrestrials? 
What are the chances that out of all the stars in the sky, someone, someone has visited us from another star system?  Could the chances really be zero?  Really, do we think that there could be such an abundance of life on this one, single planet but zero on countless other planets out there?  Does that sound right to you?  Heck, I’ve met some of them.  Anyway, if the government has made contact, you know they would keep it secret because people just aren’t ready for something like this.  Besides, they’d want to maintain any advantage they could over other governments.
                You’ll have to forgive me, I get excited when I think about the possibilities.  What I wanted to tell you was that this Agent Johnson gave me a weird feeling.  I didn’t think about it when he was interviewing me because he put me on the defensive.  He looked at me like he knew something.  But later after they left I realized he had had some odd mannerisms.  I wish I had paid closer attention at the time.  Could he have been an alien himself?  Like that movie, could they be living and working among us, only they’re working for the government?  Hrrr, it gives me chills thinking about it.  No, no, that just can’t be true.
                Enough speculation, I need to go outside and make sure there’s no evidence of aliens in my back yard.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dark World

I had the worst day ever.   I went to this awful world.  It was night time when I arrived, which should have been my first clue.  And when I say it was night time, I mean it was pitch black out.  No stars visible, no light of any sort.  Anyway, there were these 30 foot black, bird creatures with creepy yellow eyes.    Imagine a world in which all you can see are yellow eyes flying around.  See what I mean, creepy.  I didn’t see or hear any other signs of life during the entire trip.  I did, however, see piles of bones when I first arrived.  You’d think that I would learn, wouldn’t you?  I should have just turned around and left.  No wonder Tr’zez hates that planet.
All these things wanted to do was eat, eat, eat.  Thank goodness I had my shield on.  Since they couldn’t make a meal out of me they threw me in a prison, a birdcage of all things.  They didn’t try giving me a name or anything so I figure I wasn’t what they had in mind for a pet.  I couldn’t tell how high up we were but it seemed pretty high at the time.  You know how even in black of night your eyes start to adjust after awhile?  Well, after mine did, I could make out some rocks close by but I couldn’t see very far.  It’s like we were on a steep cliff. 
              I listened to the ornery birds talk.  They didn’t realize that I could understand them so they talked freely.  Their voices dripped with, well, I guess hunger would be the best way to describe them.  The thing is, they hardly said an intelligent word aside from how hungry they were.  Although, there was a brief moment when they discussed one of their own having explored the portal system in ancient times.  So I’m right about thinking that explorers from various worlds have been using the portal system to travel, but other than that I haven’t learned too much about it.
              Eventually, the creatures fell asleep.  All of them!  They obviously felt content that I wasn’t going anywhere.  They weren’t the only ones.  I thought I was going to spend the rest of my days in a stinking birdcage.  I guess we all received a big surprise.  Ha!
              There really isn’t any action or climax to this week’s update.  I just wanted to vent about these nasty creatures I had to deal with.  The worst part of it all is that I have to go back there.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Misguided Love?

                I love my family.  I live in another state so I don’t see them as much as should or could but I love them.  And I know they love and support me regardless of what I do.  If they found out about my travels to other worlds, they would still support me even if they knew all of the details.  If I quit being an accountant and started serving drinks at the local bar they would still love and support me.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful thing.  I think we each need this sanity in our busy lives and we each, in turn, try to return the sentiment to our own family members.
                However, some of my travels have led me to cross paths with some nasty creatures on nasty planets.  That got me thinking.  Let’s just take here on Earth as an example.  Don’t murderers, rapists, and dictators have families too?  What does a dictator’s mom say when she sees her son?  “I love you dear.  You are such a powerful man.  Your genocide plan is ahead of schedule.  Your father would be so proud of you if he could see you today.” 
                Would this type of support be misguided, misplaced?  Would this be enough to give such a man the strength to continue with evil behavior that the rest of the world is telling him is wrong?  Or is it completely acceptable, even encouraged given our cultural norms?  Everyone wants their own personal support system but does everyone deserve to have one?
                What are your thoughts?  Any comments?


Monday, November 21, 2011


                I know I’m always going on and on about traveling to other worlds and meeting other species, but you wouldn’t believe this wonderful technological device that I uh, found on one of my trips in the portal system.  This alien device has several features to it.  There’s invisibility, a protective shield (so far, I’ve tested it with hammers and knives and nothing seems to penetrate it), a translation feature (how cool is that?  I can talk to aliens!), and some others.  I’ll let you read about my adventures with these other features in my official report to David Englund in his book, Upsetting the Tides.  Today I want to tell you about my favorite feature, flying.  Yes, this device actually allows me to fly!  It works both here and on other worlds.
  You might think it’s all fun and games, but, well, I guess I do too.  My point is, there are issues with trying to fly.  You have to deal with things like sudden down drafts, all sorts of types of birds, and my biggest fear, being seen by someone.  You would think it’s all wide open space up there once you get past the trees and power lines.  I learned the hard way that this isn’t quite the case.  Like the time when I went out flying at night and didn’t pay attention to where I was or which direction flights were coming into town from.  As you know, about once every two or three weeks, the wind patterns force flights to come in from the northwest.  Anyway, without trying, I drifted pretty high over the city and I almost got hit by a large plane coming into town.  I panicked and dove toward the ground to get out of the way, only that put me almost directly in its jet wash.  That turned out to be a miserable experience as I spiraled toward the ground for awhile.  Thankfully, I was able to recover into level flight again.  Needless to say, I won’t be making that mistake again and there’s really no reason to include that episode in the reports. 
It’s on other worlds that I can really cut loose.  But I have to be careful.  I’m learning that every planet doesn’t have the same gravity or wind patterns that we do here.  Sometimes it takes a little getting used to.  I have to tell you, most of the time it’s incredibly fun.  The phone device (I call it that because it opens up like a flip phone) enhances the entire experience of traveling to other worlds. 

The First Book Review!

The first book review is in on Amazon!  And I don't know this reviewer.  Clark will update his adventure with his usual Monday post later today.  ~ David

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Sliders with a Twist, November 18, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Upsetting the Tides (Kindle Edition)
An ordinary guy in the heartland of America finds a portal in his backyard. Putting aside his reservations, Clark Jackson walks through interconnecting passages to portals to other worlds. Upsetting the Tides is a story of exploration and adventure, and a man's dealing with the unintended consequences of his actions.

The narrative is quite different. Everything is told from the viewpoint of Clark the portal traveler, but a lot of scenes and actions are described through the protagonist's thoughts (denoted in italics). And the rest of the time he is involved in conversations with co-workers, aliens, etc. It takes a while to get used to this style of writing, but eventually it became second nature to me.

The story itself has an unexpected bit of action and deaths, and leads to an action by the main character that you could either support or oppose. In any event, Upsetting the Tides is an interesting story that will appeal to fans of the Sliders television show.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snake World

           I went to another new world today.  I wish there was a map of all these places.  This one was nasty.  I should have just turned around right away.  I didn’t report this planet in my report in Upsetting the Tides.  It wasn’t worth describing in the book, but I wanted to tell you about it because it disturbed me and I can’t stop thinking about it.
I couldn’t tell what color the sky was because there was a fog or mist everywhere.  I would have flown up for a better look, but as you know, I can only use one feature on the phone device at a time and I wasn’t turning off the shield on this trip.  It smelled terrible too.  At first, I thought it smelled like raw eggs but not quite.  Then, maybe sauerkraut.   Anyway, it smelled and it was difficult to see.  I kept my shield on the entire time.
                The only culture I came across was a group of snake-like creatures.  They must have been twenty feet long and a good two feet in diameter.  They were dark green and grayish with black spots on them.  Ugly and disgusting.  I hate snakes, so I really didn’t want to stick around to discover too much about those creatures.  If they had any cities, I didn’t see them with all the mist.  I followed them for a little while, hiding behind trees.  For one brief moment I saw the eyes on one of them.  There was a devious intelligence in there.
All I witnessed was a massacre.  There were a good ten to fifteen of them that herded a group of beasts into an ambush.  I wouldn’t want to go up against these horned, moose-like creatures but the snakes surrounded them and subdued them for dinner in no time.  They just might be the dominant species on that planet but I doubt they would consent to a conversation with me to discuss it.  In the middle of the slaughter I think one of the snakes looked up and saw me.  He just smiled and then went back to eating.  Smiled!  How does a snake smile anyway?  Uhhh.  That was my cue to high-tail it out of there. 
                I would have visited another world after that if I had thought to mark the portal entrance.  I walked back and forth and back and forth looking for the portal for over an hour.  It’s a miracle the snakes didn’t come after me.  I finally did find it and made my way home.  You can see why I left this episode out of my report.  I’ll just add that place to my do not return to list.   Maybe this was one of the places that Tr’zez visited and got beat up.  I’ll have to ask him about that.  

Monday, November 7, 2011


                I know I’ve told you how excited I am to meet aliens from other planets but so far it’s not such a great thing.  You should see this beast of an alien I met.  This guy is such a jerk!  His name is Tr’zez.  He’s a grouchy, rude, antagonistic bully.  If you can picture an eight foot, purple, hairy Neanderthal in your head, you’d be close to reality with this guy.  It’s all me, me, me with him.  No patience or compassion whatsoever.  I hate working for him but as you’ve read in my report to David J. Englund in his book, Upsetting the Tides, I need him.
                Tr’zez is much more experienced in the portal system than I am but he won’t share any information with me.  At least now we can tolerate each other.  Things didn’t start off so well, considering the first thing he did was try to kill me.
                The following didn’t quite make into my report, but I had some revenge of sorts with the guy.  Tr’zez sits around most of the time and ponders.  Yet, I can’t get a glimpse into his thoughts.  On the rare occasion he stands in front of me, it feels like he towers over me.  He’s very imposing with his bulging muscles.  I hate to say it, but he actually frightens me.  All I can see in his eyes is hate.  Intense hate.  I wonder what has happened to him to make him burn so.  His village is so peaceful.  No one else around him is like this.  Could something have happened in the portal system?  Should I be concerned for my own travels in the system?
                It seems like he’s just one bad day away from exploding.  I feel bad for him.  I don’t know what to do except maybe bring him some fiber.  He treats me with contempt even when I try to be nice to him.
  Anyway, I got him.  At least, for a little while.  I taught him how to play Tic Tac Toe and I won.  Now he has to call me sir every time I see him.  Man, is he furious.  He keeps demanding a rematch of my “feeble” game, but I think I want to milk this for awhile.  He also thinks we should enjoy a “real” contest like a challenge of Granun or Skluhah.  He tells me then we’ll find out who the real man is.  I hate to ask what those could possibly be.  I thought about teaching him a board game like Risk but he’d probably throw the board up in the air at the first hint of losing.  Man, I love making him call me sir.  He still scares me though.   

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Early Planet

              Hey, this is your buddy, Clark Jackson.  Look, I know you’re not going to believe this, but I made an incredible discovery the other day.  I found an invisible portal that allows me to visit other worlds.  Just imagine, other worlds!   I can explore worlds that no other person has ever, ever encountered or even seen pictures of.  I can meet alien species and learn about their cultures.  Maybe it doesn’t seem too exciting to you to meet real-live aliens, but it’s the most exciting thing I can think of.  I get to meet aliens!  All I have to do is survive my encounters and keep my secret hidden from the feds.  You know that if they found out they would take this opportunity away from me and use the portal for their own purposes.
                Just like with anything else, there seems to be some rules to the portal system.  The coolest thing is that when I’m in there time doesn’t pass on Earth.  I return at the same time on the clock as when I left.  So far, I’ve also learned that only one individual can go in there at a time.  Maybe it’s so armies can’t go through to conquer other worlds.  I can only guess. 
                Before I go on, I know you will be able to read my official reports when I file them with David Englund for his book, Upsetting the Tides.  But I can’t wait to talk about some of these things and I want to get them off my chest.  Especially some of the things that won’t exactly make it into the book, like today’s visit.
                Anyway, I want to tell you about this interesting planet I visited today.  It wasn’t all that different from Earth except everything was a little lighter in color and grew taller.  I think that last part was due to the fact that there’s less gravity on the planet.  I was able to run a mile (about) in under five minutes.  I’ve never been able to run that fast.  Oh yeah, the biggest thing was that there were three moons there.  They were close too.  Even though it was daytime, they were pretty bright.  Three moons!  How cool is that? 
                Still, the place was a little spooky.  I’m not a scientist, so I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something was off about the place.  Things looked like they do here but it felt odd.  It smelled like . . . kinda like sausages.  The area I was in looked like woods to me.  At least none of the plants or trees moved or did anything else freaky.  No one seemed to be around.  I could hear little critters on the ground near the portal but that was the only life I could find.  Something intelligent had to live there.  After all, something opened the portal from their side. 
Maybe I didn’t venture far enough away from the portal.  I suppose I could have stayed longer.  This is still all new to me and I want to remain cautious.  I hate to admit it, but as excited as I was I was also nervous.  And scared.  The reality of the situation dawned on me; I was walking on another planet.  No human has ever been here before.  What did I think I was doing?  I didn’t stay.
                I guess the thing to do is keep going to planets.  I’ll learn and get better at this.  I’m sure I’ll meet an actual alien soon and then I’ll tell you all about it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sample from the First Book.

For the first post I would like to provide a sample from the first book, Upsetting the Tides.  Future posts will be written by the main character, Clark Jackson, providing details of his adventures that never quite made it into the book(s).  Enjoy.  I hope you find this site fun and entertaining. 

This is the room.  Wait, this room is empty.  This can’t be the right one.  Let’s start over from my room and make sure … yes, this is the one alright.  I never would have guessed.  If I had just explored on my own, I would have passed this one by.  It’s completely empty.  It looks just like my room. Looking through the portal, I can see from here that this world has daylight.  Good.  That’s a good start.  Let’s do this.
Clark stepped through the portal and began walking north.  He didn’t trigger any of the features on his phone device yet.  He wanted to have it available for whichever feature might become needed most.  It remained in his hand at the ready as he walked. 
He only had to walk a quarter of a mile before he could see a village nearby.  Everything seemed normal enough.  Along the way there was grass, trees, and rocks just like on Earth.  He could see mountains in the distance and the sky was blue, perhaps just a touch darker than ours.  The gravity seemed the same or close to it.  Actually, pretty much everything seemed the same.
Hey, wait a minute.  These guys are cockroaches.  They’re four foot high cockroaches.  I don’t believe this.  On this world cockroaches became the dominate species?  They look like something out of a sci-fi movie.  These guys are walking around on two legs, waving around four arms.  So an ant tells me how to find a cockroach.  What an amazing universe.    
The funny thing is this village could easily be a village in some foreign country on Earth.  I wouldn’t have known the difference.  The buildings are kinda plain looking but they’re built out of concrete just like buildings I’ve seen in pictures.  If I didn’t know better, I would think I was in a European city sometime in the 1800’s.  They have stores and parks and even what looks like churches.
 I seem to be making the locals a little nervous.  It sounds like this Tinkerer might be famous.  I would think they get guests here often.  Maybe that’s why they allow me to walk through their village.  Here’s the place, just like he described.  I guess the thing to do would be to knock.
            “Um, hello.  My name is Clark.  I was told you could help me.”
            Whoa, this guy is fascinating.  He scurries back and forth between his work tables working on several projects at once.  Back and forth and over to that table and back again, this guy just doesn’t slow down.  What is he even working on anyway?  I don’t recognize any of this stuff.  I think I came to the right place. 
“Uh, you’re talking too fast.  I can’t understand you.”
            “I will try to slow down.  Is that better?”
            “Yes, thank you.”
“Well, don’t just stand there.  You must have had a reason for searching me out.  What do you need?  Quickly, I have many things to do today.”
            “I would like to trade with you if that is possible.  I need some help in the form of technology and I was told that you’re the man to see about that.”
            “Yes, yes, of course you were.  Many have heard of the Tinkerer.  But what do you need?  I don’t have all metcan.”
            “I would like to get one of those invisible shields that you know how to build and more importantly, I would like to be able to momentarily shut down a different one.”
            “That is easy.  Why do you want to shut down a shield?  Are you going to kill someone?  I will not be responsible for any such atrocity.”
            “Oh my, no, no, nothing like that.”
            “Do you want to destroy property, perhaps a city or something?  I have helped some civilizations develop.  I have bonded with these people and they are quite appreciative of my accomplishments.  I will not be a party to any destruction.”
            “No, nothing like that either.  I need to steal something.  It is very important.”
            “Hmmm, I’m not so sure I like that.  I don’t know that I can help you.”
            “I need to steal a device for someone else.  I have kinda backed myself into a corner.  I have to get this thing for a creature that is very strong and threatens to destroy my world.  He has already visited my world and caused great damage.  If I don’t do this deed for him, he claims he will do even worse.”
            “Uhmmm …”
“Let me tell you, these creatures I have to steal from are nasty creatures that simply eat everything that comes to their world.  You would not feel bad for their loss.  They are primitive, scary creatures with no signs of civilization as far as I can tell.  And it doesn’t seem like they even need this object that I have to take.  I don’t think they will miss it.”
            “Hmmm, I do have an awful need for metal.  I need a great quantity of metal.  Any kind, any shape, I just need metal to build my beautiful inventions.  If I did this thing for you, you would bring me metal?”
            “Yes, metal.  I will bring you a lot of metal.”