My name is Mike Clark, but you can call me Mike, or anything else you want. Just don't call me late to dinner.
I was born in Los Angeles, California, but I've never lived there! A nice place to visit, of course.
I've lived in many places, including other parts of California, Toronto (Canada), Cheltenham (England), Düsseldorf (Germany), and courtesy of the United States Army I was stationed at Forts Knox, Polk, Lewis and Gordon, and US Army Europe (USAEUR). But most of my life has been spent living in the very salubrious climate of western Washington state, since 1985. It is more salubrious because it actually rains here! Some think it rains a bit too much, but I definitely enjoy drinkable water falling from the skies, as opposed to living in a dustbowl. Of late, however, (that would be since 2017) I have been spending a lot of time in my wife's "green and pleasant land" of England.
For information about those from whom I inherited my excellent chromosomes, please see My Family Genealogy page! My ancestry is a bit of a mixed bag -- like many other Americans.
I am 9/16th German, 1/4th English, 1/8th French and 1/16th American Indian. This is calculated based on the nationality of all my great great grandparents. I recently had my DNA analyzed by Ancestry.com, and the results seem to diverge a bit from that, but not radically.
I grew up mainly in southern California until 1967 when my father's employment took us far afield to Toronto, Canada and then to Cheltenham, England. The schools I attended include the following:
- Lakewood, California
- Horace Mann Elementary School in Lakewood California - Kindergarten through 3rd grade - with brief stints in a couple of other schools in Buena Park and possibly Norwalk, California. Horace Mann is now known as Craig Williams Elementary School
- Garden Grove, California
- Ernest O. Lawrence Elementary School - 4th Grade
- Bixby-Enders Elementary School - 5th and 6th Grades - This school was originally two elementary schools collocated on the same campus (for some reason unknown to me), but it is now one school, John Enders Elementary School.
- Alamitos Intermediate School - 7th Grade
- Chapman Intermediate School - 8th Grade - This school no longer exists, as such. Its campus is now occupied by the Chapman Hettinga Education Center, which is an adult education facility.
- Pacifica High School - 9th Grade
- Rexdale, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto)
- North Albion Collegiate Institute - 10th Grade
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
- Cheltenham Grammar School - 6th Form (11th and 12th Grades)
I completed my secondary education in England, and took the examinations to qualify for certifications in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from the Oxford and Cambridge School Examinations Board. I was offered a place to study Chemistry at Aston University in Birmingham, England. But I decided not to act upon the offer. Instead, I returned to the United States to prepare to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Upon completing my missionary service, I took a few classes at Cypress Community College in Cypress, California in 1974/75, while I was awaiting admission to study chemistry at Brigham Young University. I registered at BYU in September 1975. I was married by this time, and economic considerations required me to withdraw before the end of my first semester, and I joined the US Army.
Upon my discharge from the US Army in 1983, my family and I moved to Washington state, and in 1985 I began studying for an Associate Degree in Computer Programming at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSPC). After being awarded this degree in 1987 and taking employment as a computer programmer for the Washington state government, I continued my studies by enrolling in a Math/Science transfer program at SPSCC, and was awarded a second Associates Degree in 1989. That was the end of my formal education, although I did continue with occasional training classes in my professional field.
I returned to the US from England in June or July 1971 in order to prepare myself financially to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In or around March 1972 I submitted an application for missionary service, and was subsequently called to serve for two years in Germany, in what was then called the Central German Mission, later renamed the Germany Düsseldorf Mission. I entered the Language Training Mission in Provo, Utah, in order to study German for two months by immersion, and was then sent to Germany. During the 22 months I spent in Germany I served in four cities: Mülheim-an-der-Ruhr; Wuppertal; Düsseldorf; and Duisburg.
One interesting coincidence that occurred while I served in Mülheim was that I happened to ring the doorbell of the Egmar and Irmgard Wunderlich family, who lived in that city. I spoke briefly with Egmar, but he expressed no interest in our message. It later happened that I met Irmgard's sister Waltraut in the US, and married her! When Waltraut and I later visited the Wunderlichs while I was serving in the US Army in Germany, I remembered their door as one I had visited, and Egmar said he remembered my attempt to interest him in speaking with us! Small world, indeed! Their door was distinctive: due to Egmar's years-long work in Egypt as a civil engineer, their house doorbell button featured a greeting in Arabic letters. This was of course unusual, and made the door memorable.
I'm a computer programmer by profession, although I retired in 2016. I still occasionally develop software, however, both from need and for the fun of it.
My skillset can be found in my StackOverflow CV page
Hobbies & Interests
I am a Ham radio operator.
- Callsign: WA7MC
- License class: Amateur Extra.
- I have been a Volunteer Examiner with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
Since moving to the UK I am largely inactive as a Ham, unfortunately.
I enjoy playing the online game World of Warships. In the USA my screen name is Glacis, and in the UK it is Glacis_UK. "Glacis" comes from my initial foray with World of Tanks. A "glacis" or "glacis plate" is the sloped armor at the front of a tank. It is also the term used in fortifications in general for the area of sloping ground in front of a citadel. As an example, in the city of Ulm, Germany, there is a park in front of the Wilhelmsburg citadel which faces the Danube River (and Bavaria), and it is called "Glacis Park".
Reading has always been a favorite pastime. I am primarily interested in
- Science Fiction
- Science, including
- Military History
I am trying to turn my interest in writing into a profession for my retirement years -- that ought to be interesting. I currently have two or three science fiction novels "in" me. One of them lends itself to a trilogy or more. Besides science fiction I also have a non-fiction book planned, in the religion genre.
Actually, I have already published two books, both family memoirs, through my publishing company, Prospect Avenue Books. Yesterday's Sandhills is my sister-in-law Rita's memoir of World War II, and The Bones of My People is my mother-in-law's story of her experiences as a forced laborer in the Soviet Union after World War II. Although I gave the author credit to my mother-in-law, Gertrud Baltutt, the book was ghost-written by me working with a transcript of her telling her story -- and with a lot of help from my late wife, Waltraut.
Science & Technology
- Space - I enjoy keeping up with space exploration
I am a US Army veteran, serving way back in the distant past, from 1975 to 1983. For details of my service see my military service
I'm a member of the American Legion, the American Radio Relay League, and the National Rifle Association. I've also joined the British Legion!
Politically I am a libertarian-leaning Republican. I used to be a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, but since practically the only thing that party has ever done is to elect Democrats, I don't carry the card any longer, and I vote for the best Republican in a given race. Although I have very rarely voted for excellent Democrats, since they don't seem to have any of that type any longer, that hasn't happened in a LONG time.
I've been a bit more politically-active than most people, and have run for public office twice. The first time I stood for election was to be on the City Council of my home city, Olympia. I lost, 43% to 57%. The second time was for Washington state's Senate, and I lost badly, with about 5% of the vote. I have to explain that I ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in a district which would elect a yellow dog, as long as that dog was running as a Democrat. My Republican Party opponent only got 15% of the vote, so you can see what I was up against.
Although I've lost both contested elections I've run for, I have "won" office as a Republican Party precinct committee officer (PCO). This means that I have been a member of the Republican Party Central Committee in my county. Oh, and yes, when Mitt Romney ran for President of the US, I was a Romney delegate to the Republican Party state nominating convention. That was fun! I am not so keen on Romney's subsequent exploits in the US Senate.
I doubt I'm going to do anything more in politics, however. Except vote. And spout off my opinions! And I've recently acquired a significant interest in British politics. I'm definitely a Brexiteer!
For the last quarter of 2015 I was a widower, and on into the first quarter of 2016. My wife Waltraut passed away due to cancer on 21 September 2015. We had just passed our 35th wedding anniversary when it happened. I want everyone to know about her: Waltraut Clark.
We were both each other's second spouse, and our children consist of 12: hers, mine and ours And while her children before we married each other are technically my stepchildren, I don't generally like the "step" part of it, and consider them mine, too. Since my sweetie was a bit older than I and had her first child at a bit younger age than I did, my oldest (step) son is old enough to be a younger brother to me! But I love it, because that means that his five children are my adult grandchildren! It's a generation-bender, but I get the biggest kick out of it! My oldest grandson, Monte, has a doctorate in mathematics from Purdue University, and recently he and his wife had a daughter! One of Monte's younger brothers is likewise a mathematician.
Around Christmastime of 2015, against all expectation, I came to be acquainted with a very wonderful woman who lives in the United Kingdom (England), and after a surprisingly rapid "falling" in love, she came to the United States and in March 2016 we were married! Her name is Wendy.
I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes referred to incorrectly as the Mormon Church, and I've been a member since 1966. I have a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind.
I served as a full-time missionary for the Church from 1972-1974 in Germany. As a result, I speak German as my second language. Since my late wife Waltraut was born in Germany, this was convenient, since we had a common "secret" language we could speak with one another in a crowd. My present wife, Wendy, wants to learn German, so we should be able to have a second language between us eventually, too! One of Wendy's goals is to some time serve a mission for the LDS Church at its temple in Switzerland, and this is her reason for learning German.