Monday, November 26, 2012

Shranzi ~ Kickball on Steroids

Okay, so today it was a goofy bunch of aliens.  But man, were they fun.  Without a care in the world, all they wanted to do was play games.  They certainly weren’t shaken to come face to face with an alien visitor.  I have to admit, they take their games seriously.  I’m not just talking about coming up with clever and strategic games, but also plain having fun.  I got so caught up in the game I completely forgot to learn anything about them.
The game we played is called Shranzi.  The playing field consists of air currents above a lake.  Somehow, wind tunnels are created in the shape of a football field.  If any balls or players go out of bounds, they fall into the lake.  The wind effect of the field is crazy, like trying to run in a 5 foot deep swimming pool.   
The area of the field is about 120 yards long, broken up into eight sections roughly 15 yards long and maybe sixty yards wide.  When the game starts, each team places members into four rows (sections) of six for a total of 24 players evenly spread out on their side of the field. 
Players can only advance a row forward if they can kick a ball beyond two rows of opponents.  There is no passing to teammates but players can move around within their section to disguise who will actually kick a ball.  All six balls are in play at once, adding to the intensity of the game.  As players move up the field, there are fewer left back to defend. 
The balls are inflated like our kick balls or dodge balls.  If any of them go out of bounds play pauses until all six are back in action.  A score involves kicking a ball into the opponent’s tunnel (5 yards wide) that sucks the ball into and up a tube that pushes the ball back into mid field.  The first team to 127 wins.
As amazing of a game as it was, they said that it wasn’t even their best game.  They were tired of Gloretont, bvemont, and latpoj so we played this one for a change of pace.  Again, I didn’t learn much about them but it’s nice to know that I’m welcome back.
~ Clark

Monday, September 10, 2012

Starfish Questions

I met an interesting species today.  Think orange three-legged starfish crossed with overgrown worms and you’d have a picture that’s close to how they looked.  These aliens were each the size of a raccoon with the curiosity of a five-year old child.  I barely learned a thing about them.  I spent almost the entire three hours answering their questions.   I’m not complaining though.  They were super friendly and I actually learned quite a bit just from their questions.  It’s nice too to know that I’m welcome back without the fear of being somebody’s lunch.
Their questions started out simple enough.   As you might imagine, they wanted to know what these things on our face are for, what possible purpose could ears and noses serve.  How do our bodies transfer energy to each other, to the collective whole of our species?  They were baffled as to how we manage to allow things to seep into our skin with such small pores.  Then there was the one about why don’t we fly. 
Then the questions delved into our relations with each other on Earth and how our societies are organized.  I have to say though; they were much more interested in how we travel through the stars, what alliances we have with other planets and how we trade (products and energy) with other species.  Needless to say, they were disappointed to find out that these things only happen in our fiction.
Eventually, the questions ventured into a more philosophical nature such as do we know how life throughout the universe is connected to everything else.  What is the purpose to it all?  What role do we each play in the overall scheme of the universe and do we still fulfill that purpose if we don’t know what our role is meant to be?  How does trivpet (translation = karma?) transfer from our treatment of inanimate objects to how we treat each other?   
There were a lot more questions that followed those, but you get the idea.  Again, it was an interesting, albeit exhausting day.  As always though, it was well worth the trip.
~ Clark  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Swenns Again

                This week I decided to visit some friends of mine.  I’m sure you remember the Swenns, or as I call them, the Marshmallow people.  I still found it difficult to carry on a conversation in my head with telepathic people.  I feel like I have to shout in my head to be heard.  It gives me a headache after a while, and probably is no picnic for them either. 
                I learned a few new things about them today.  They have such control over their telekinetic powers that they even float in the air when they’re sleeping.  How cool is that?  There isn’t much of a need for a kitchen table when you can float everything you need in midair right in front of you or for a sofa when you don’t use it.  It wasn’t quite as easy for me as it is for them.  I felt like I was on the moon fumbling around trying to reach for things right in front of my face.   
                You know me; I’m always full of questions.  Unfortunately, they weren’t comfortable answering quite a few of them.  Interestingly enough, they answered my question on religion.  As best as I can explain it, they aren’t religious in the sense that we are on Earth but they are extremely spiritual, if that makes sense.  They don’t have any one deity or a group either.  I was informed that they worship (acknowledge?) the entire universe, or maybe it was everything that is.  I had trouble grasping their exact meaning.
                They also have some sports that they play.  Theses would be the equivalent of games like kickball and old Maid (evidently, no Texas Hold’em).  The games they play pretty much include everyone, so there aren’t any high-priced athletes or prima donnas.  Sadly, no fantasy football either.
My question about holidays was answered too.  They have them, but, as with everything else theirs are a little different.  The Swenns celebrate important dates to their species as opposed to specific people or religious dates.  For example, the day the first of their species was created and the day world peace was achieved are celebrated (in a fashion).  Don’t ask me what part of the year these days fall on or what a year is to them.  I was thoroughly lost by this point. 
I’ll let you know what else I learn on future trips.
                ~ Clark

Monday, June 11, 2012


This blog recently won its first award!  Thank you so much to CaptainSciFi for the Kreativ Blogger Award!  Now I have the privilege of awarding it to another blogger.  I would like to present the award to  for her poetry (GiGGLE-ITIS is one of my favorites).
According to the rules, I now need to provide seven facts about myself.  So here are seven of my favorite things:

Favorite Alien: The Tinkerer.  He’s my buddy.
Favorite Season: Fall on the Swenn’s planet.  Nothing beats the colors in Trabalm trees.
Favorite Status: Alive.
Favorite Beer: Frask Light Ale on Tr’zez’s world (I certainly hope that was beer).
Favorite Gender: Human Women.
Favorite Look: The new Straluk Spring line is attractive (if you don’t mind tentacles).
Favorite Football Team: The Vikings (of Earth’s Minnesota).
~ Clark

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blue Creatures

                I met the strangest species yesterday.  I use the term “met” loosely.  These creatures were little blue things that looked like a cross between a blue lizard and a dinosaur.  They were busy, busy, busy, doing something that involved burrowing in the ground, plowing fields or something.  I was fascinated by their odd appearance, organization, focus, teamwork, everything.  I wanted so badly to talk to them and learn everything I could from them.  Evidently, they only wanted to be left alone.  All I managed to do was annoy and aggravate them.  Some diplomat I turned out to be.    
But come on, there I was, a real-live alien, standing right in front of them.  Weren’t they curious?  Even just a little bit?  Where does he come from?  What is he like?  His people, culture, society, politics?  Do they have schools, art, technology, football?  Does he watch Gilligan’s Island?  Star Trek or Star Wars?  How can this species not be even the slightest curious about any aspect of another species?  Oh well, on to the next planet.
~ Clark

Monday, April 30, 2012


                I met the coolest species yesterday.  These guys floated off the ground using their minds!  They even picked me up and allowed me to float along with them.  It was a little unsettling to hear their voices in my head, but it was worth it.  I think all of them could hear my thoughts but they controlled themselves so that I could only hear one person.  Except for the little ones, I think.  Occasionally, I heard giggling in my head.   Anyway, they do everything with their minds.  Their homes, cities, everything floats in the air. 
                They call themselves Swenns.  I call them the Marshmallow people because they have big yellow square bodies with no face or arms or legs.  Diplomat that I am, questions kept popping into my head that I wanted to ask but didn’t.   I asked the usual questions about culture, society, and history and all that but what I really wanted to know was how can you eat or smell with no faces?  I thought those might be offensive to ask but how do you keep from having thoughts?  Seriously, how can you possibly keep from thinking about things?  I’m sure they heard every stray thought I had and are wondering what the heck baseball and pretty girls have to do with exploring.
                And then the harder you try not to have stupid thoughts, the quicker they jump into your head right?  It started with thoughts.  I just hope I don’t wet myself.  How can they possibly reproduce when they have bodies like big square Marshmallows?  Oh no, did I just think that out loud?  Soon, it was movie images.  The harder I tried to clear my mind, the more scenes from slasher movies and war movies popped into my head.  Some ambassador I turned out to be.  I can’t believe they invited me back.  Who knows, maybe they have a sense of humor.
                ~ Clark

Monday, April 16, 2012


                Exploring whole new worlds and experiencing new and different cultures can be challenging at times because, well, it is new and different.  I find that the real challenges though come out on the road, running path, whatever you want to call it.
                Everything hurts.  If I can think about it, it hurts.  Can I run another quarter mile, half mile, mile, another step?  One step becomes three and three steps become . . . I don’t know . . . a bunch.  And another bunch becomes another bunch.  That’s it, just dooon’t think about it.  One, two, one two, just keep going.  Soon, a landmark appears, a mile marker of sorts.  I realize I have gone another mile.  If I could do that mile, I can certainly do the next one and the one after that and . . .  Well, let’s not get carried away.  Just do this next bunch of steps.
                I fancy myself an accountant, an explorer, maybe even a bit of a writer, but I choose the title runner.  After all, why would I put myself through this if I didn’t love some aspect of it??
                ~ Clark

Monday, April 9, 2012

What Would You Do?

                In all of my travels to other worlds, none of the species encountered have seemed surprised to see me.  Many have been annoyed, but no one seems to be surprised.  I suppose these other worlds have greeted many travelers through the portal for some time now, whereas, since I only recently opened our portal we have not had the pleasure of embracing visitors through it as of yet.
                This begs the question, what would you do if an alien suddenly appeared in your back yard?  Now think about it.  What would you really do?  Would your answer change if it was big, green, and ugly?  What if it was only three feet tall with soft eyes?
                Would you run away, call the police or military or favorite palm reader; or approach it (with or without a frying pan in hand)?  If you approached the entity, would you attempt communication, ask it questions?  Would you dare to answer their questions?  Take a blood sample from it? 
I can only imagine so many options.  What are your ideas?  I’m curious to find out if a person’s answer would change depending on their upbringing, education, environment, career, religion . . . 
~ Clark

Monday, April 2, 2012

Forget Something?

                Typically, when I take a trip I have a tendency to forget my swimsuit or favorite toothpaste.  No problem, just find the nearest Wal-Mart for a cheap solution to the problem (I now own five swimsuits).  However, now that I have begun traveling between planets the dire gravity of misplacing any number of essentials rises to a new level.  With each new adventure I take the list of things I need to remember grows.  So far, my experiences have contributed to the following list of items I need/ wish for:
ü  Good running shoes (who knows what will be chasing me by the end of the day?)
ü  A flashlight and glow sticks (I never know how long the sun will be up on any planet)
ü  A compass (as if that would help)
ü  A map (ha!)
ü  My translator/ personal shield ~ I have to choose one at a time.   Not always an easy choice.
ü  Sweet snacks (peace offering?)
ü  My digital camera with pictures of Earth saved on it
ü  Ray gun (of course!)
ü  A lighter/ matches
ü  Pen & notepad
ü  Sunscreen (1000 proof)
ü  The universal manual on alien etiquette

It’s the last item that I really wish someone would give me.  How could anyone even imagine that you have to pat your tummy when complimenting a Fre-ank or lay on the ground to address a Spaorn Monk?  Live and learn, right?  I’ll keep you posted and try to add to this list from time to time.
~ Clark

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tr'zez Politics

Did you miss me?  When I get caught up in a good story, I become completely engrossed.  Not even the allure of strange new planets can distract me.  I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  Whew, did he ever do a masterful job crafting a story together.
                Anyway, it’s that time again, when it seems that all we hear about is politics.  I was able to spend some time on Tr’zez’s planet gaining insight into another political system.  I was somewhat surprised at what I found.  To know Tr’zez, one might guess that they would just kill each other until a winner emerged and then that was the leader.  On the contrary, they actually have a well-thought out system.
                The lovely Lanei explained it to me.  Each village has its own local leader.  Every mrgal, (year?) interested candidates pledge their intentions to become the village gslkl.  The eldest in the village asks each candidate a series of questions that has to do with the welfare of the village and how the said candidate would handle issues that could arise.  A board is formed containing the next eldest, the youngest person to have slain a vrgil beast, and a person determined to be the median person in age.  This board then judges the candidates according to their answers. 
                The village gslkl is chosen based on their intentions to look out for the welfare of the village.  Each board member chooses their favorite candidate.  If only one or two candidates are chosen, the winner is obvious.  If each board member chooses a different candidate, then the elder chooses the winner of the three remaining candidates.
                The village gslkl then rules for the mrgal with an authoritative hand.  If someone in the village were to disagree with a decision the gslkl makes during the mrgal, that individual can call for a meeting of the board.  To overrule the decision three of the four board members (the eldest becomes a member after the election) must rule in favor of the citizen to overturn it.
                I haven’t witnessed the process nor met the village gslkl myself yet, so I have no idea how well the process actually works in practice.  It certainly does sound civilized though for a village that includes Tr’zez. 
                ~ Clark

Monday, February 20, 2012


                You’re not going to believe who I talked to today.  Ants!  I’m not making this up.  Ants!  They’re a touch larger than our Earth version, but other than that, they’re just like ours.  On their planet though, they’re the dominant species.  At least, that’s what I was told. 
                Talking to their diplomat gave me feelings of guilt and selfishness.  Evidently, in their society every single thing they do is for the community.  No individual expression, no individual rights, or time for self, just community, community, community.  He couldn’t begin to fathom the things I told him about our societies on Earth.  He thought it was silly to have artists and musicians who express their individual inspirations and wasteful for so many of us to live in homes by ourselves and actually choose our own jobs according to what we like to do.  For a diplomat, he really looked down on me and our civilization, but that’s okay, I got to meet another species!
                I certainly couldn’t live his life, but I have to admit I was extremely impressed with what I could see of their handiwork.  They build magnificent cities that are breath-taking and completely symmetrical.  There’s no crime (or you get fed to the jreffs, which still serves society since you help keep the primary food source alive), poverty, war, hunger, none of the problems that we deal with so frequently.
                They’re so small they usually go unnoticed as they travel through the portal to other worlds.  The ants find it easy to hide from the indigenous species on the planet and watch, learn, and occasionally sneak a useful object away.  They constantly have to be on the lookout for little critters that want to make a meal of them but the ant people have shield technology also, so they’re usually safe.  Then they use the technology acquired over the years to protect themselves from large predators at home.
                Talking to them got me thinking.  Someone had to have gone to considerable effort to set up this whole portal system at one time.  Why?  Nearly every planet that I’ve been to, and that the ant people have been to, have intelligent life on them.  So, did the portal builders put these portals out there to allow various species to explore and meet each other?  Are we all supposed to move toward some common goal together?  Or perhaps it was a selfish move.  Maybe the builders just wanted a way to get around the universe themselves.  They thought it would be cool to have instantaneous travel.  Or it could be that they needed a trade route.  Or maybe they were trying to outrun some evil empire that was still traveling by spaceships at the time.
                The more answers I discover about the portal system and the universe, the more questions arise.  But again, that’s okay, I talked to ants!
                ~ Clark   

Monday, February 13, 2012


                I was hoping to report on what romance might be like for other species I’ve met on my travels by now.  However, I haven’t visited too many worlds yet and I haven’t witnessed any amorous relationships.  At least, not that I could tell.
                So instead, I’ll ask a question.  What kind of valentine are you?? 
                Do you look forward to the day in anticipation of the intimate time you’ll get to share with your special someone?  Or do you stress about finding the right gift(s) and providing the ideal date night for your valentine?  Do you think Valentine’s Day is overrated and it’s more important to treat him/her nicely every day than to emphasize a special day?  Or are you going out with the boys/girls to celebrate singledom and wish for a valentine?
                Well, don’t fret.  We all have valentines come into our lives at some point.  And don’t stress.  If you act from the heart you’ll do just fine.
                So, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day because everyone needs a little love in their heart.
                ~ Clark

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tinkerer Address

                Greetings!  If you have read the book, Upsetting the Tides, then you know who I am.  For the remainder of you, the people of the universe call me the Tinkerer.  My, ahem, “buddy”, Clark thought it would be entertaining to address you.
                Why are you Earthlings so obsessed with communication?  How do you accomplish to achieve anything in a day while conversing incessantly?  And another issue, could you move any quicker?  You people have no place to be?  I have witnessed groncers that have more ambition than your species.  Ah, forgive me, I digress.
                The purpose of my address is to caution you.  If your race truly believes to be prepared to explore the universe, proceed extremely carefully.  It is not an obstacle course to stumble through.  Space is a wondrous tapestry filled with unique phenomenon, some of which happen to involve inhabited planets.  Some of these civilizations are fragile ones that can be easily contaminated.  Others are far more advanced than yourselves and would quickly do you harm.
                That is all I have to confer.  If you desire more entertainment, you may wish to read one of Clark’s posts.  Certainly, he profoundly deliberates on his thoughts about many topics.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Do We War?

              Don’t get me wrong, I’m not speaking out against any particular war.  I’ve read my share of history and I can list any number of legitimate reasons for cultures to engage in war throughout time.  My question simply asks why it seems to be an inherent trait in humans and shared by species on other planets.  It’s easier for me to think of war in the abstract since I’ve recently observed it on other planets.   
Perhaps war is simply about survival, religion, economics, and/or greed.  I tend to think it represents a more basic instinct in humans (and others).  In many ways war seems to be just a football game on a grander scale without the death.
Does it have something to do with a need for the destruction of a city/culture/civilization/spirit to force a rebirth and revitalization of these to grow into something greater?  There are numerous examples of destroyed civilizations that were reborn to become stronger than ever or simply better than before in some fashion.
Do we need competition, a natural rival in our lives?  They exist everywhere.  Who can’t name their biggest high school rival?  When’s the last time someone from Minnesota said something nice about a Cheesehead?  How many people watch the Olympics hoping to see the US earn more medals than the Chinese and Russians?  Rivalries seem to come so naturally at every level.
Could it be that even societies have a need to feel superior to someone?  Everyone within a culture feels so much pride after kicking somebody else’s butt.
Maybe it has something to do with the need for distractions from the everyday problems that exist within each culture.  Problems are easy to forget when the dirty, rotten, blank de blanks are attacking.
Or maybe it has something to do with one of a million other possible reasons.  Something to think about.
~ Clark

Monday, January 16, 2012

Normal Life?

How am I supposed to live a normal life now?  It seems like most people have such busy daily routines that they have to focus wholly on their lives and little else.  Have you ever met someone at a social event only to realize that you see this person almost every day, you simply hadn’t noticed because they weren’t a part of your life?  Or how about the conference topic you had no knowledge of but discover is brought up almost daily in the news?  You hadn’t been paying attention until it was presented to you.  Well, now the entire universe has been presented to me. 
            I get to meet new species.  Let me say that again.  I get to meet new species.  Plural.  I get to visit planets that I can’t even find in the night sky.  I get to witness three moons in the twilight sky of an incomparable land that I couldn’t dream up with my best use of imagination.  How can normal life exist now?  Not only do I know that there is an entire universe out there, I’m exploring it.  How can I focus on inane numbers on a computer screen and cleaning house or going to the store when all I can think about are the millions of questions that come to me?  How can I sit still in the office when anxiety shakes my very foundation at the thought of going on another adventure after work?   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sentient Rocks

                I visited an interesting world the other day.  I spent quite a bit of time there searching for any signs of life.  I was just about to give up when I noticed some odd things.  The sand moved around but it wasn’t random, as a result of the wind.  It seemed more like it moved with purpose.  Then I noticed that some of the rocks were moving around as well.  I didn’t report this to David Englund for his book because I don’t quite know what to make of it or what exactly to report. 
                I tried using my translator to communicate with the rocks but nothing happened.  They didn’t react to my presence in any way, not even to avoid running into me.  For a bit of time, I sat on a boulder and took a ride.  Again, they didn’t seem to notice I was there but I suspect they were alive with thoughts of their own.  I don’t know what to make of this.  Can geographic forms be sentient?  Really?  There’s a portal there so there has to be something that was intelligent enough to open it.  Was there some other type of life form there originally?  Did they die off or did the rocks kill them off or is this what constitutes for life on that planet?
                This might sound like it was a boring trip to you, but it got me thinking.  From the time we’re children we see pictures of aliens and examples of them in so many movies.  But who really knows what extraterrestrials look like (besides the feds)?   There might be a million planets out there with intelligent life.  Who says that an alien life form has to have a head or even a body at all?  Back to my earlier question, could geographic forms be sentient?  How about gases (my dad might know a little about that)?  There might even be forms that we’ve never seen that could be sentient.    
                So many questions.  All I know is that I still have a lot to learn but I’ll keep giving you updates on what I find.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year

                I love each new year and what it brings.  I love the promise of things to come, the chance to start over, and the opportunity to correct mistakes.  And yet, I can’t help but get sentimental about losing another year to age.  What did I accomplish last year?  Why wasn’t it as much as I had planned?  Heck, where did it go?  It was 2011, the year that was going to change my life.  Then I blinked and it was Valentine’s Day.  I blinked again and it was Easter.  Spring came and then summer.  Oh, I love summer.  Then Labor Day approached and it reminded me that I hadn’t been to the lake or to as many baseball games as I had planned.  Then it was Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then I’m right back here thinking about how great 2011, er, 2012 is going to be.
                Why does it go by so fast?  Is it because there are so many things that we have to do each day?  Is it the vast number of goals I have set for myself, some of which go unaccomplished that keep me so occupied that time just flies?  Maybe it’s simple math.  When we’re children 365 days is a huge percentage of our life.  A year takes forever.  Now it’s just one of many so it seems to take so little time to go by.  Or does time just work that way?  It is what it is?
                I seem to always become a bit melancholy at this time of the year.  I’m not quite sure if it’s that I can’t help but think about how we’re all fragile, finite beings with a limited lifespan or if I just wish I could get that year back.  Another year is gone.  How long will the next one last?  The next five?  The next ten? 
I like these moments of reflection and introspection.  They humble me.  They energize me and make me realize that I have to be a better man, a better person, a better explorer, runner, accountant, friend, son, a better everything.  And I only have a year to do it all before I’m right back here evaluating my life again.  For me, this time of year is a wakeup call and I welcome it.  So I say this, I am going to make this year the most exciting year of my life.  Who is with me?