Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm officially a Huffington Post Blogger!

Check it out.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Space Coast

One thing I will miss when the space shuttles are retired is traveling to the Space Coast for the launches. I've made a total of 6 trips to Brevard County in recent years (3 of them in 2011 alone) and I've gotten to know the area in a strange way-- by writing in the voice of a child who grew up there and knew the terrain like her own skin. Those of you who know the places where *I* grew up know how much I had to fake details like the palmetto trees in the back yard, unrelenting hot weather, lurking alligators, and the background rhythm of shuttle launches and returns.

Since writing the book, I've come across a lot of stuff I wish I'd been able to fit into the book, like the awesome memorabilia at so many restaurants. I've come up with a working theory: the worse the restaurant, the better the space memorabilia and vice versa. A shack that sells beer in cans and deep-fried marine life will be coated inside with signed crew photos, old blaze-orange NASA passes for long-ago launches, and random bits of NASA propaganda. A white tablecloth restaurant with a nice wine list will have nothing at all.

Also, there are beaches. (As gorgeous as this beach looks, it was covered in dead jellyfish, so... don't get too jealous).

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

One could assume that the possible presence of high winds, slow turns, and upgrades would be the reason the crawler travels at less than its full speed, travels rather at turtle speed, half a mile an hour, but since the sight of the open skyscraper and the rocket in nine-armed embrace clanking along the Cape Kennedy moors at a rate somewhat less than one foot a second is a sight no man has ever seen before he has seen it, it is indeed a moment in the symbolic pageantry of legend perhaps not unequal to that hour when Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane: perhaps the exquisite sense of caution in Rocco Petrone which is reflected in the speed of half a mile an hour, instead of the possible rush through at twice that rate is due to some secret pleasure taken in the magnified luxury of treating all the workers at the Space Center to the pleasure of watching their mighty moonship edge along the horizon from morning to dusk, or even more spectacularly at night, with lanterns in the rigging, like a ghost galleon of the Carribean! The beginning of the trip to the moon was as slow as the fall of the fullest flake of snow.
Norman Mailer, Of A Fire on the Moon

On May 31, 2011 I got to witness Atlantis rolling out to the launch pad along with the workers at the Space Center. It was, in fact, a magnified luxury to watch the mighty [moon]ship edge along spectacularly at night. (Norman Mailer, no one can write about space more bombastically than you.)

Look closely: there are people on the crawler.