This book is an excerpt from “Bk.: A Not-so Novel”. Coming in ’23.
This book will scare you. This book will give you bad dreams. I wish I could say it’s just a story. I wish I could start “Once upon a time…”
This is an H-bomb. If one of these was dropped on you it would blow up your whole town. Not just you and your house, not just your block or neighborhood but your whole town. It would kill all your family and it would kill all your friends.
You say you have a friend in the country and that friend won’t die.
Not right away. But the bomb spreads a poison dust as far as the wind blows.
Your country friend would breathe the poison and drink it in water. She will hurt and be sick before she dies. She might wish she lived in a town so it wouldn’t take so long to die.
This is what it looks like when an H-bomb blows up. If you are 20 miles away and see this, your eyes will melt. The town is smashed and catches fire.
The bombs come in rockets that fall out of the sky. Right now in Russia there is a rocket pointed to your town.
Some Russians are waiting to launch it.
At night while you’re asleep and all day while you are at school or playing these Russians are waiting to kill you.
If they launched right now your town would blow up in half an hour. If your family got in a car and tried to drive away you would be blown up in a traffic jam of frightened people. You can’t drive far enough in half an hour to get away from the explosion.
Don’t worry, though. There are American rockets aimed at Russian cities. Right now Americans are waiting for a signal to launch our rockets to kill Russian families.
Does this make you feel safer?
Let’s pretend the war is over. All the Russian and American rockets flew through space and most landed on the people they were supposed to kill.
You and I were lucky. You were exploded into small pieces and I was burned to death in the fire in my basement.
Let’s pretend we’re ghosts and float over to Russia to see if we won.
It looks like other countries got bombed.
This is the face of Brian Doyle lying in a refugee camp near Dover in the United Kingdom. He lived in a little town near a big English city.
His skin got burned on his arms and the back of his neck.
He can still see because he was looking the other way when the bomb blew up. He breathed too much poison dust, though.
We’ll see a lot more like him.
We cross over the English Channel to France. Everywhere we see ashes and smashed houses, burnt trees, dead animals and people.
This is the worst war ever and it only took 3 hours to happen.
This little baby is Bridgette Poulenc.
She has vomited on the first day because of poison from the H-bomb.
Her mother carried her out into the country and died.
No one hears her crying.
We float on to Germany.
There are some tents with lots of people around them. It is a hospital camp.
Most of the doctors were killed in the war. The doctors who can still walk try to help, but each of them has hundreds of burnt, broken, and poisoned patients.
The doctors work very hard but they can only help those who aren’t hurt very badly.
They are sad because they know most of their patients will die.
This is Dr. Kirstin Baum taking care of some of the sickest patients on their pallets.
She hasn’t slept in two days.
She works harder because she feels sick from the bomb poison. She knows she will soon be too weak to help anybody.
Then she knows she will die.
It smells bad now. There are too many dead and not enough people to bury them all.
Wild dogs and cats get fat and then sick from the poison they ate in the bodies.
Not many of the dead are wearing soldier’s uniforms. Didn’t you think wars were for soldiers to die in?
In World War I most of those killed were soldiers.
In World War II half the killed were civilians, not soldiers.
In Your War, World War III, almost all those killed won’t be soldiers, but ordinary people.
This is progress.
Many of the smartest people in the world spend their lives inventing weapons that can kill more and more people. We pay them with our taxes.
What would the world be like if those smart people were paid to invent things to help us–new medicines, new energy sources, new ways to grow food?
You say, “I’m too sad. I don’t want to look any more.”
But we must go to Russia for this book to end.
[Illustration of Sasha goes here.]
Here is a boy called Sasha, about your age. He was too near the bomb that came from America. He spent 2 days trapped in a basement until he dug a hole outside.
In about 2 weeks he will begin to bleed inside his body and blood will appear under his skin.
But now he feels better and for 2 weeks he will feel well, although important changes are occurring inside his body.
Sasha liked to play soccer. He wanted to be an astronaut someday. He liked chocolate bars best of anything and his favorite toy was his bike.
While he was in his basement digging out, Sasha listened to his dad cry for one whole day before he died.
His mom never came to the basement. She ran off to find Misha, his little sister, when the war sirens started to howl.
Sasha is looking for them both, his mother and his sister.
He is so hungry he eats leaves and dead birds, which lie on the ground everywhere.
Sasha can’t see us because we’re ghosts. We see him and we smell the bad smell from all the dead people.
His hair begins to fall out in patches and he gets tired and fevery. In the third week his mouth begins to hurt, his throat burns, and he has diarrhea. He is very skinny.
At night Sasha hides to sleep. The people who didn’t die seem angry and crazy when he meets them.
Sasha dreams of his father crying.
During the day we watch him hunt for his mom and sister.
We never see him smile.
Sometimes he throws up and lies down for a while. Sometimes he seems dizzy. The bomb poison is in him.
Ulcers grow around his mouth and then they spread to his stomach.
In the 4th week he will die.
When this book is over ask your parents what they’re doing to make sure you don’t die this way.
I’m sure they are very busy people.
ChipWits is a classic robot-programming game that was an award-winning bestseller in the 80’s.
In 2008 MacLife magazine named ChipWits the 8th-best Apple/Mac games of all time.
More enthusiastic reviews.
ChipWits by Doug Sharp and Mike Johnston
Excerpts from reviews:
“ChipWits is a program that every Mac user should have.” Byte Product of the Month review
“If you have only one entertainment/educational program in the disk cabinet next to your Macintosh, ChipWits should be it.” Icon Review magazine review
“A fantastic program that is as educational as it is entertaining… Hands-on trial and error environment combined with attractive screens and animation create a world where playing and learning become (as they should be) one and the same.” 5-star INFO64 review
“We described ChipWits as a ‘revolutionary’ game package, and we think that when you see it you will agree. However, it’s more than just a game, it’s ‘edutainment’ at its best. In our opinion, the program is so innovative that it overleaps other education and game packages in the same manner that Filevision brought new concepts to the ‘data base jungle’. We predict without hesitation that ChipWits will become a cult favorite among Macintosh users and their children of whatever age.” The extensive and egoboosting MACazine review
“… so much fun you won’t even realize you’ve been educated until you leave the environment. Young or old will delight in this educational treat.” The MACazine Best of ’85 Award blurb
“IBOL is nearly perfect introduction to programming for nonprogrammers.” MacUser 5-mouse review
“ChipWits from BrainPower is the best, certainly most enjoyable, introduction to programming concepts that we’ve seen. Its icon based language is wonderfully innovative, and the program’s design is both refreshing and highly educational.” MacUser’s Editor’s Choice 1985 Award
“ChipWits is delightful and delightfully easy to use… I found ChipWits to be highly educational as well as highly entertaining… I also found ChipWits to be very challenging and even addictive on the more difficult play levels…. It’s an excellent program that teaches by osmosis…” Commodore Power/Play review
“Not too many reviews come with a guarantee, but this one guarantees that if you like programming, you’ll love ChipWits.” MacWorld review
ChipWits is being revived and updated. The current build is playable.
CW is being coded on the Unity Platform.
Contact Doug Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org
1973-9 Taught Special Ed and 5th grade
Taught myself how to program by bringing school Apple II’s home on weekends.
88-92: Epilepsy disables me and ends my game career.
92-7: Worked as a coder and manager in Microsoft Research’s Virtual Worlds Group. Sexy tech, awesome coworkers–geeks, artists, musicians.
97-2003: Epilepsy Disables me and causes brain damage
2002: Spent 6 glorious, painful weeks at the sci-fi writing workshop Clarion West
2004-2012:To heal I moved to a remote lakeside Wisconsin cabin where Janet Brissom visited me.
2012: Moved to Vashon Island, an enchanted isle in Puget Sound.
2013-14: Finished Channel Zilch and Hel’s Bet.
Here’s An article about why it took me 21 years to write Channel Zilch.
Currently working on a Middle-Grade (age 10-16) sci-fi book called Castle Rising–Medieval Kids vs. Alien Pirates. I hope to finish by the end of the year.
Mommy, what’s a Boogafoo?
In 1974 while I attended St. Olaf’s Paracollege, my best friend Larry Heyl ran the Moog Studio. He taught me how to plug patch cords and fiddle knobs to wring squawks out of the Moog Modular Synthesizer. I was earning a hand-rolled degree in Creative Studies so I added Torturing the Moog 101 to my curriculum.
Veluria Ponsonby’s Epiphany
Wherein two horrible dogs perform behavioral experiments on an innocent fellow.
Moog Modular Synthesizer like the one in the St. Olaf Moog Studio
To me the Moog was a machine for making weird noises so I pushed it into uncharted territories of sonic strangeness. I didn’t emulate any musician but indulged in pure sonic experimentation. I taped a handful of tracks and called my album “Babie’s[sic] First Words” Twenty years later my daughter renamed it “Boogafoo Music”, which stuck.
Doug Sharp in ’74
I carried around this 2nd-gen tape for years before digitizing it, no charge for the tape hiss
We kept track of our Moog patchcord setups with this worksheet
St. Olaf Moog Studio Gear:
- 1 x 901 oscillator bank with 3 oscillators
- 2 x 921 oscillators
- 1 x 905 reverb
- 1 x 903A noise generator
- 1 x 904 filter
- 3 x 902 voltage controlled amplifiers
- 3 x 911 envelope generators
- 1 x 951 keyboard
- 3 x 901 oscillator banks, 1 with 3, 1 with 4, and 1 with 5 oscillators
- 2 x 4:1 mixer
- 4 x 2:1 mixer
3 x stereo tape machines (Revox A77, Tandberg 6021X, Ampex 601)
PTSD is a monster. PTSD is a cage. PTSD distorts my self. It keeps me away from people I love. It keeps me from doing things that I love.
My PTSD is sometimes a blunt instrument to my psyche, brutally knocking me down when pain hits my limit. Usually my PTSD subtly handicaps me, chains me in ways that I can’t fathom nor address, much less battle or finesse.
Because I live in the midst of constant trauma, my trauma isn’t in the past–it’s in the past, present, and future. PTSD that develops “in response to prolonged, repeated experience of interpersonal trauma in a context in which the individual has little or no chance of escape” is called Complex PTSD (See Wikipedia article), sometimes called DESNOS or Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified.
The primary trigger my CPS agony is animated conversations with bright, creative people. The trauma is interpersonal because the pain is caused by conversing. The person I talk to doesn’t (usually) mean to traumatize me, but the reptilian complex of my brain classifies the trauma as an interpersonal attack.
Links to Chapters:
I sliced up some of the longer chapters to make smaller chapters so numbering jumps around:
“That dot? It should be bigger.”
“It’s big. So far away it’s small.”
“I know that.” She squints, sighting along her arm. “Like I cover up that big volcano with my thumb.”
“I know that.”
“You got it–far makes the volcano small. But Home is a zillion mountains big and a zillion clicks away.”
Giggle. “I can cover it with my eyelash.” Giggle. “It makes my eyelash sparkle. Try it.”
I squint and rotate my head minutely. An old man’s blur. “Sounds wonderful. All I see is a blur. My eyes aren’t young.”
She considers that and moves on.
“When can I go to the Party?”
“To The Party at the Earth place. Where our cousins are.”
To the right of the evening star a brighter dot blooms and burns… out.
“A spark! Is that for the party?”
“Bigger than a spark, sweet. It’s a rocket ship slowing down. That’s what I brought you out to see.”
“About a day.”
“Is it robots?”
“It’s our long-lost cousins. When they get here we’ll have a family reunion to remember.”
“Best party ever.”
I am honored that John Scalzi has published my article about Channel Zilch on his blog.
Some books take longer to write than others.Channel Zilch took longer to write than most. But to be fair, author Doug Sharp has a very good reason for that. Here he is to explain.
It only took me 21 years to finish Channel Zilch.
Channel Zilch is the story of ex-astronaut Mick Oolfson and geek goddess Heloise (Hel) Chin. NASA canned Mick for stunt-flying a space shuttle; his one desire is to return to space. Hel is a testosterone-surfing evolutionary roboticist, cortical multitasker, and aspiring midwife to the technological Singularity. The first book in the Hel’s Bet series, Channel Zilch begins with the theft of a space shuttle. And that’s the easy part.
Here’s the deal:
In 1992 I needed a new computer game project. I was droolingly bored cranking out lucrative contract code. My game career was dead. I was determined to resurrect it.
In the mid-80’s…
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Snow is thin on the ground. I hiked to the Tamarack Bog today to see if the Pitcher Plants were poking through.
Here’s a Pitcher Plant with frozen water inside it.
I spent an hour paddling in the chill dusk wind. My poor little camera did its best, but the sunset was waaaay more intense than this photo.
Myrna Mae Berg camped on Ogre Island the weekend before she returned to her teaching job. She’s got a kayak so I happily canoed her supplies to the island.
I paddled over at dusk and we ate s’mores and laughed.
I don’t usually see pictures of myself from afar so it’s fun to see Myrna’s pictures of me during her Ogre weekend.
Myrna Mae Berg took great care of me that past few weeks. My health has been scraping bottom and my friend and aide Brook has been busy on a big carpentry project.
Here she is making spaghetti for me.
Myrna delivered food and laundry, cleaned my cabin, and fixed big pots of yummy food that keeps me fed for a week.
She walked the dogs for me and found out what a willful being Mika can be. Mika wanted to get in the canoe and Myrna tried to talk her out of it. Haha. When Mika makes up her mind you have to follow her or be firm.
I’m glad Myrna loves my lake and woods and was able to spend some quiet time. Next week she comes to camp on Ogre Island.
Thanks, Myrna. You’re a great friend!
Lily pads are tiny ecosystems of leaf-eating bugs and leaf-eating-bug-eaters. Heavy rain sweeps them clean.
Summer is tough on my Central Pain Syndrome. I spend a lot of time in my canoe, just drifting.
Winter 2008-9 Slideshow
When I was healthy I maintained huge perennial flower gardens. Gardening was one of my favorite arts and pass-times. I liked an unruly garden, not geometric.
I haven’t planted or weeded these lakeside steps.
I’ve walked up and down them thousands of times and sometimes I stop and appreciate how beautiful they are. Living in the wild and being too sick to garden I appreciate natural compositions.
Tony visited The Pad last week and made this delicious and gorgeous salad out of food he brought and vegetables I’d roasted (green beans and fennel heart). It was a salad to contemplate as you ate it.
When I have visitors my brain shorts out and I can’t handle any task more complex than obeying the Law of Gravity. Stimulating conversation is my brain’s Kryptonite and Tony – philosopher and instigator of mad adventures – tends to be fun to talk to, which sets my brainium to spitting sparks.
Tony has known me for many decades, since we were teacher’s aides working with Special Ed kids at Katherine Curren School in Hopkins, MN in 1976. He knows my brainrot well. When Tony visits he pampers me by doing all the tasks that I’m too glitched to handle – cooking, cleaning, prepping for a hike.
I named a leading character in The King of Chicago after Tony. To win the game you usually had to rub out Tony Santucci, the leader of the Chicago Southside Gang. (Cool gangster by Rob Landeros.)
Here is Tony in all his glory:
I was having a lousy health day and this review put a big goofy smile on my face.
Some Martel Lake sunsets looks like thin slices of backlit agate. The pictured sunset happened 7 years ago. I remember it well.
This is my biggest haul of blueberries – a scant handful. Furry critters eat 99.lotsa9’s% of them. Can’t complain since blueberries are just a treat for me and critters depend on them for food. I’m still picking a few here and there in shady places.
“My” Loons aren’t nesting this year. I’ll miss watching the chicks learn the skills of Loonhood. The lake is 2′ higher than last year and the nesting site they’ve used the past 2 years is submerged. Hope they find a new site next year.
I don’t play canoe tag with my Loons because I like that they are wilder than a lot of Boundary Waters Loons. Since I’m the only one who boats on Martel Lake I can keep them at a distance so they are not afraid of me but still avoid me. When I’ve got dogs in the canoe the Loons give their warning cries more often.
Sad there won’t be chicks this summer but I’m glad I got my Loons back after last summer’s BP spill dumped oil into their winter hangout.
I wore my Myrna Birthday Art Haircut for a week and then attacked my head with shears and clippers. Much easier to find ticks with short hair ;^)
I’ve been worried about “my” Loons because some Loons winter in the Gulf, which was oily from the BP spill. So when I heard a Loon cry from Martel Lake two days ago I was ecstatic and when I heard an answering Loon cry from Miller Camp Lake I stopped worrying – the local population is safe.
Yesterday I paddled out to Loon-watch and found the pair in the marshy bay where they’ve nested the past few years. Martel is about 2 feet higher than last year and their islet nesting spot is underwater, so I bet they return to their old nesting spot on the shore of a big island.
I stay far away from the Loons while they nest, so this photo is the best my little cam could do.
I love watching the Loons raise their young. The call of the Loon is the soul of summer at The Pad.
via itsu jitsu