Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

We all know what Klingons are, how they act, and what they believe, etc.  Klingon warriors are loud, proud, strong, honorable, and a force to be reckoned with.  They party like there's no tomorrow, imbibing Bloodwine in large quantities and if rubbed the wrong way will go into battle at a drop of a hat.

Yet, not all Klingons are that way.  I minority of Klingons are more reserved, introspective and relatively quiet in comparison to their boistrous cousins.  These individuals tend to stick out like a sore thumb in a crowd whereever Klingons gather.  They can usually be found drinking raktajino, Terran milk shakes or prune juice, or other non-alcoholic honorable beverage of choice when they are seen in Quark's bar, the Enterprise's Ten Forward lounge, or any other such eatery in the Galaxy.

So, what gives?  Why are there Klingons whose instincts and urges do not involve getting into your face and making their presence known ?  And, why are these individuals treated differently by their peers?

The answer to the second question above is simple--diversity!  The Klingons as a species are a diverse people where each individual has his/her place in society.  And, there is some blurring of the line as military quotas and economic resession have caused some of the "quiet ones" to don military uniform and take a shipboard position in an effort to prevent personal financial collapse.

The answer to the third question above is a little more complicated.  With military prowess, brute strength and battle heavily emphasized in Klingon society, those who are more reserved are not as appreciated as perhaps they should be.  "Quiet ones" cannot boast of their honorable deeds on the battlefield, unless they have been forced by economic needs to join the military.  Yet, the Empire has a need for historians to record events and stories for posterity, musicians, singers, and actors to compose and perform Klingon operas and other theatrical plays.  Scientists to create the latest technologies, upgrade and improve existing systems, and the like.

While many follow the principles of the warrior, the "quiet ones" take to heart such proverbs as: "Brute strength is not the most important asset in a fight;" and "Real power is in the heart."  Every Klingon warrior knows that intelligence and judgment play key roles in any confrontation he/she may encounter.  The warrior with a battle plan, who executes it well, is the one who will be singing of his victory at the next Klingon Karaoke night at the local pub after the fight.  Likewise the art of persuasion and/or the ability to exert one's influence overothers is not overlooked within the Empire.  By being able to use logic to sway others to your cause, your way of thinking,  or enter into a debate on the topic of the day withknowledge is just as important as combat skills.  After all, not all battles take place in space, or on the battlefield.  Some take place in Courts of law, the High Council Chambers, educational facilities, and even the local pub and other public places.

It is true that these creative intellectuals are unsusal and do not come across as your average Klingon, but the Empire would not be able to function without them.  The peaceful pursuits are not above any warrior.  there are many venerated warriors and combat veterans who were also closet poets, composers, tailors, chefs and scientists.  So if you feel the calling of one of these unusual endeavors that takes you away from weapons and combat tugging at you when you are between missions, bear in mind that you are not alone.  Every warrior needs some down time to recharge his/her batteries, and there is nothing written in stone that says you can't pursue a hobby, go hunting, or enjoy a sport during that down time.

So, if you feel an idea coming on--follow it proudly!  Who knows where it may lead you, or what new contribution to the Empire you will create?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recruiting Tips:

Recruiting Tips:


So, you are interested in starting a fan club chapter, and you could use some help. The question is where are you going to start?

    The best advice is START SMALL. Do you have any friends who enjoy Star Trek? If so, invite them over. Rent, or show, one of the movies, or put in several TV episodes. Just plan an activity of some kind centered on Star Trek. Like books? Then hold a round-table discussion of the Star Trek novels and start your own "book club." You can throw a Star Trek themed party, have a barbecue, pot luck, pool party, volleyball game, picnic, camp out, etc. and use it as an excuse to get together and talk Star Trek.

    Use your circle of friends to start holding regular events and get-togethers involving Star Trek. Let them know you are interested in starting a Star Trek club, or club chapter. Turn your regular gatherings into meetings. Set some club goals for you to achieve. Ask your friends to spread the news and ask them to invite others who may be interested to join you.

    One of the best advertising methods is word of mouth. Yes, it will put pressure on you to keep things going, trying to keep everyone enthused, interested, and looking forward to your next gathering. Is there any area or regional science fiction conventions? Then plan a road trip and go enjoy the weekend. As you begin to widen your circle, you will need better organization. Ask some of your friends to join an organized international fan club, Klingon Assault Group (KAG), Starfleet Command (SFC), etc. Delegate tasks to your friends, seek their help, and form a team. Can someone help you find a bigger place to meet? Can someone help you get a list serve started; call people who don't have internet access, or design a webpage, etc.? Can someone help you get a blog started, a face book group, or help you keep track of memberships, recruiting materials, etc.? The biggest secret to recruiting is to 1) locate potential members, 2) involve them in a local group, and 3) in joining a Star Trek group.

    To find other Star Trek fans in a wider circle of your community: spend a little money to make up and copy, or print, some informational fliers about your affiliated club, (KAG/SFC, etc.) and your local unit (ship/outpost). Put the fliers up in areas where people congregate (grocery stores, Laundromats, library, etc.), or on the freebie table at an area convention. Check out the local library, school, and area colleges. See if there is any science fiction clubs, or discussion groups. Ask if you could sit in on their gatherings, and put in a shameless plug for your group.

    If you don't mind looking silly, or if your "inner child" is alive and well, and still likes dressing for Halloween then don a costume. Nothing draws more attention to you at a convention than a costume, especially a good one! Turn your club into a more positive alternative to street gangs, and introduce high school/college students to Star Trek.

    If you, and/or members of your group, are seeking the limelight, one way to get publicity (assuming you have gathered a group of 3-5 members) is to do public service, or charity work. Find something news worthy, like a parade, answering phones for a telethon, etc. that can help you exhibit your club to the community. You could contribute to your local library by reviewing science fiction novels, then donating the novel to the library so others can read it too. How about offering to review books so space exploration, the future, classic science fiction authors (like Jules Verne), etc.? Make it a regular thing or make a display on special occasion (the anniversary of the first moon landing?) denoting books, articles, movies, etc. relating to space, Star Trek, and science fiction. After all, many of the greatest NASA and rocket scientists were inspired into their fields by the pages of a science fiction novel! A possible display title: "Are you ready for the future in space?" (or something similar). You can also help out with schools' science fairs, set up a similar display in the school library, or visit the school in costume the week of Halloween (remember to set it up with the principal first!) and go from class to class giving a talk on Trick or treat safety tips.

    Remember, 1) start small, but think BIG, 2) use word of mouth, the internet, etc. to your advantage, 3) let the community know about you, and 4) contribute to your community's knowledge of science fiction, technology, and/or the future.

    The only limits you have are those you impose on yourself. Be creative! Be daring! Try anything! If it doesn't work, at least you know what NOT to do again. However, there is one warning that must be imparted here—please make sure that whatever you do is LEGAL, MORAL, POSITIVE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY (not obscene), and if possible "non-fattening."

    Time, technology, and history are on your side. After all, as we know, "reality is just a crutch for those people who can't handle science fiction."


Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Good Day to Dine!

"It IS a Good Day to DINE!"

    This concept was started by Commander Khar'Ton sutai-Koltar as a fun event and possible recruiting tool, which involves eating and dining, back in 1998.

    For those wishing to engage in this idea, here are a few suggestions and tips.

    First, scout out your local area for eating establishments and restaurants that take reservations. It doesn't have to be a real fancy place, or even gourmet. Call them up. Ask to talk to the manager or maitre'de (politely!) and ask them if they would like to be invaded by local Klingons. You may have to ask them if they even know what Star Trek is. If they seem willing to be invaded, or even better, LOVE the idea . . . then pick a date and plan to invade the place in style (!!!).

    All of the members in your group must go in FULL UNIFORM (aka in costume), and the more people from your group you can get to participate, the better. The more uniformed Klingons amongst the mundane, the more of an impact it makes. If one of the mundane diners comes up and asks if there is a Star Trek/Science Fiction convention in town, tell them with just the right pauses and emphasis: "No, today is a Good Day to DINE!"

    As for the recruiting aspect of the idea, make sure that one or more warriors among you has some Klingon business cards, brochures, applications that you can give to people for contact information. If a few brave people strike up a conversation about your group, the Klingon Assault Group, and/or Trek fandom in general, you will be ready to give them more information when asked for it.

     Also, don't forget to compliment the waiter, cooks, and staff—ESPECIALLY if it was truly excellent service. Another good idea—bring a certificate that says something like: "This eating establishment has survived a Klingon invasion!"—or—"This establishment has served the Klingon Empire Honorably!" Have blank spots where ALL of your Klingons, or 6-7 of your highest ranking members, can sign it. (Note: These certificates could also be partially printed in Klingon for added effect.) Also, a Polaroid photo might help the effect, and be a good reminder for the restaurant staff.

    Some good reasons to have a "Good Day to Dine" are crew members' birthdays, Star Trek movie premieres, the next Days of Honor celebration, the anniversary of Star Trek's first airing date, a young warrior's Rite of Inclusion celebration, Rites of Ascension, the anniversary of a significant Klingon/group victory, etc. If you do it as a birthday dinner, try to sing Happy Birthday in Klingon. (There are several versions of this song in Klingon fandom.) Also, again bring cameras to record the event for your chapter's scrapbook, or for later recruiting opportunities.

    What's presented here is the general idea. You may individualize this idea to fit your local needs and desires, and the city you play in.

    Good Hunting and a Good Day to Dine!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recruiting Table Tips

Recruiting Tables: Do's and Don'ts

In order for fan club groups to grow in the number of members, many turn to the tried and true stand-by—The Recruiting table. Set up at a science fiction convention a well dressed table can attract mew members to your chapter. However, a plain and boring table can be a put-off, attracting no one. Regardless of the situation, the charity you are raising money for, or club funds to spend, all recruiting table can succeed. Here are a few basic tips to help you achieve your goal.

Before-hand preparations are very important. Recruiting opportunities are won, or lost by the preparation made for the event. Essential to your efforts is making sure you have enough recruiting flyers, business cards, and other paperwork. If you don't use or can't afford recruiting flyers (or run out), a handy item to have is plain old pen and paper. You can jot down a name, an address, or email address and tell people you'll send them "more information." Once the event is over, don't forget to follow through.

Of course, the best advertisement for your group is people--preferably in uniform. If your group is small, don't be afraid to ask for help from other KAG chapters. We are all sister ships of one another, with the responsibility to help out as we can. Another good idea is to scout out the convention area during set up. No Klingon fights on unfamiliar ground. Many times other KAG chapters have been promised a prime location only to find that they have been moved to the worst spot possible. To avoid such disappointments, a quick check of the area during the set up phase is important. It is easier to negotiate a better place for your recruiting table before the convention opens, than to try to move things around after opening ceremonies.

It is not necessary to build a recruiting table from scratch. Any large table will do. Keep in mind that table space is always limited. Don't clutter your table with every Klingon model under the sun. A few well chosen items can decorate your table nicely. Too much clutter can hinder your ability to get to recruiting materials quickly, loosing you the opportunity to gain a new member. If you take care to organize the recruiting table in a stylish and effective manner your recruiting campaign will have a better chance to succeed. Don't let your people put their "stuff" (food, drinks, etc.) on the table. By keeping the table clean, you show a pride in your group and you prevent someone from knocking over a drink and ruining all the recruiting materials. A well organized and clean table shows potential members that you have organization, style, and most importantly, pride in your chapter. Your recruiting table is your "storefront" that you will use to draw business.

Of course, the leadership you show at the event will make a difference in the end results. Even if you are outnumbered by the members of another chapter, or club, your leadership skills can take a bad situation and turn it into an advantage, or at the very least minimizing the impact. Whether your ship/outpost is manned by friends, relatives, and trusted comrades, you must maintain a sense of order. You do not have to "rule with an iron hand," but you do have to keep your crewmates focused on the goal.

Now, we are all guilty of goofing off and having fun at events, but not paying attention to the people around your table, or those passing by, you lose chances of gaining potential members. A few simple things need to be done to keep your crew focused.

Don't allow any of your people in front of the recruiting table, not only will they be blocking potential members from getting to your information, but they could scare off some of the younger fans. Since the table is restricted in size, make sure your crewmates stand behind the table to ease access. If a crew member does stand in front of the table for a lengthy period of time, gently remind him/her that he/she is blocking the table.

It is also important to keep your crew members from standing around and looking bored ("Break it up. You look like a cadet review." –Admiral Kirk; "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"). Rather than letting the whole crew mans the table (unless you are a small group just starting out), keep a few members around the table and trade people out. Send the rest out with flyers; allow them to mix it up with the crowd. By rotating jobs, you give crew members a chance to sit down, get a bite to eat, trips to the bathroom, and chances to roam around and enjoy the convention.

Also, don't hog all the fun. Trust your crew. It shows that leadership abounds on your ship. If a crew member makes a mistake, correct him/her quietly in private and offer suggestions on how he/she can improve his/her approach, or informational knowledge. Teach your crew, don't put them down or make them feel inferior. No one likes to feel, or hear themselves called, stupid in public.

Upon occasion, you may decide to recruit with another chapter, organization, of club. Interacting with various clubs is important. However, don't allow rivalries to get out of hand. Keep an eye on what's going on. Too often one chapter will get distracted and lose chances at recruiting. Against non-Klingon chapters this is not too damaging. However, losing sight of your goals when jointly recruiting with another Klingon club can prove to be costly. Keep in mind that you need to be aware of your surrounding and opportunities as they present themselves to you , and take advantage of both, to the best of your abilities.

Keep your people happy. Make sure everyone has an occasional break and that those sitting at the recruiting table are not abandoned. You don't have to make a hard-core schedule. Just make sure you don't let the whole crew walk off for lunch and strand one lonely member at the table!

There are also things you can do to spice up your recruiting efforts to grab people's attention. Here are a few ideas and "tricks" that could help.

Is there a video game or arcade nearby? You could have one crew member play it, with a few buddies to loudly cheer him/her on! After all, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd!

Be entertaining! Don't stand there like you're guarding a garbage scow. People can be naturally intimidated by Klingons in uniform (costume) to begin with. If you act unapproachable, people will skirt by you as quickly as they can. Laugh, joke, smile, and make merry. Look like you're enjoying your own personal party. If you don't frighten away the crowd, you might just recruit a couple of new people without even knowing it.

Also keep in mind, that most non-Trek fans are usually very nice. Some will be interested in only talking about your uniform construction and such. Others, however, may be rude, perceiving you as a fanatic nut head. Always watch out for those who are looking to make a point with their "knowledge" of Trek, or other stupid reasons to elicit a smart remark/confrontation. Use their wise-cracks to your advantage. Be adaptable to the situation, and the people, around you.

Don't be rude or abrasive. You can turn their verbal jabs into a display of wits, and of your ship's tolerance, humor and sense of fun. Remember that even the code of chivalry comes from a warrior culture. Don't provoke or escalate the person's verbal attack. Instead, find a way to turn it from something negative into something positive.

The tips and ideas presented here are just the tip of the iceberg. Creativity, innovation, and adaptability are the keys to improve the atmosphere for recruiting. There are many ways to recruit. Don't limit yourself to just the recruiting table. Just about any convention panel, appearance, of event can be a recruiting opportunity. Be flexible and don't be afraid to think outside the box. Experiment and explore. If an idea fails, at least you know what NOT to do next time. Information is power. Pass on the ideas that work, and help out others. After all, Klingons just LOVE power!


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Klingon Days of Honor

The celebration of the Day of Honor is an annual Klingon observance during which warriors, both male and female, test their physical endurance and honor by surviving a ritual ordeal.  The tradition includes eating from the heart of a sanctified targ, and drinking mot'loch from a Grail of Kahless.  The warrior must then proclaim his or her battles from the  past year before enduring a series of personal tests, which can include the Ritual of Twenty Painsticks, combat with a bat'leth master, or to traverse the Sulfur Lagoons of Gorath.

Regional differences exist, based on planetary topographical features, and clan traditions.  When away from home, and unable to use a holographic simulation of the celebration, then the warrior marks the passing of the holiday in his or her own personal way.

Begun in November 1997 by the Klingon Assault Group's Commander Khar'Ton, the concept of the fan Days of Honor was designed to be adopted by any Klingon-based fan, or fan group, regardless of club affiliation, to participate on the same weekend through a uniformed (aka costumed) activity of their own choosing which best reflects that individual's, or group's, preferences , and which also reflects Klingon honor.

Since the first appearance of the Klingon race on Star Trek took place in the Original Series' episode, "Errand of Mercy", which first aired on March 23, 1967; the fan Days of Honor has been set to occur over the weekend nearest to, or including, the date of March 23.

Those Klingon fans and groups wishing to celebrate should plan VERY PUBLIC-ORIENTED events, preferably ones that attract the attention of the local press and/or media outlets.  It should be something positive that makes Star Trek fans in general look good and also impresses the average person, or closet Trekker.  Of course, the event must be something honorable, or which involves the concept of honor.   Klingon fans participating in this celebration must be in uniform/costume.  Costumed "Aliens" representing "other" science fiction cultures can be invited to join in the fun and are welcome to participate.

The holiday was designed to also celebrate the honor of a Klingon's adversaries.  According to the Star Trek novels, the holiday was started by Captain Kirk and Commander Kor, after working together to defeat a common foe.

Possible events include Blood Feuds (Blood Donation Drives vs. other Trek-style fan club groups), a canned food drive for a local food bank, a charity event that benefits a shelter for abused women and children (Homeless people, etc.), cleaning up a section of highway or other public space, clothing drives to benefit a local charity (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.), discussing and/or teaching the Klingon Language at a school or library, a Jail and Bail to benefit a charity or community group, a John M. Ford Trust benefit, reading to kids at a library or school, sponsoring an animal at a zoo, a toy collection for children in need, or visiting patients at a local hospital.  The list of possible events is as limitless as your imagination.

Monday, February 28, 2011


This is the first blog for the ship.  The Raptor's Heart is a fan club unit of the Klingon Assault Group (KAG).  We launched on January 9, 2011, during the early hours of the Jan. 9th/10th snowstorm that hit the Sioux City to Omaha corridor.  Our first event was the first annual Omaha Costume Day held at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha.  Although participation was light due to the lack of advertisment.  Still it was a decent beginning to a new event in the Omaha Sci-Fi community.  Our next meeting is scheduled for March 5th in Omaha at Scooter's on 13th and Howard at 2 pm.  April will be our busy month with 3 convention appearances planned!  Work on the ship's banner design and logo continues.  The crew has a lot of ideas, we just need to narrow down the field. Due to time restrains, I'll keep this first entry short.  I hope to have more to report soon.