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The Big Idea: Doug Sharp

I am honored that John Scalzi has published my article about Channel Zilch on his blog.

Whatever

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.

DOUG SHARP:

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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Pitcher Plant in Snow

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.


Clouds on Fire


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.


Ogre Island Cargo Canoe for Myrna’s Camping Trip

IMG_5754, originally uploaded by myrna mae.

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.

She took lots of great pictures.

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.


Thank You, Myrna!


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!


Raindrops on Lily Pads


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.


Watching slideshows of Winter on a Sweaty Summer Day


Fun pic from a colder, hairier time. Travis and Mika love to pose for pictures with me, don’t they?

 Winter 2008-9 Slideshow


Steps down to my dock



2011-08-02 Summer Daze 045, originally uploaded by DougDroogSharp.

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.


Wilderness Survival at The Pad with Tony Santucci

My old teaching buddy Tony Santucci is a philosopher/nutritionist/living-piece-of-performance-art. He’s boss of the Woman and Infant Children racket in Mpls. When Tonio visits The Pad he brings cubic cubits of yummy nutritious food – mangoes and pecans and coffee beans and designer root beer and muffins, stuff like that.

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:

Tony is even brimfuller with personality in real life.


First Review of Boogafoo!

I’m elated and humbled. Just read the first real review (by someone I don’t know ;^) of my 1974 Moog album Boogafoo Music. Reviewer Kurt Semm gave Boogafoo 9.4/10 in his blog Recent Music Heroes!

I was having a lousy health day and this review put a big goofy smile on my face.

Posing in my customary Halloween costume: "Your Worst Nightmare"