This week, IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died one day after being struck in the helmet by a piece of debris. He was coming around turn 1 at Pocono Raceway after race leader Sage Karam lost control of his car and slammed into the outside wall. A large piece of Karam’s car broke off and tumbled down the track, bouncing and flipping over. Its final bounce put it into the path of Wilson’s car and he drove right into it. The debris caromed off of Wilson’s head with such force that it flew up into the air at twice the height of the catch fence on the outside of the track. It was a violent collision, the equivalent weight of two or three bowling balls bouncing off of Wilson’s helmet at a speed approaching 200 miles per hour (until data is released, it’s hard to tell as cars were slowing in response to Karam’s accident). Wilson lost consciousness immediately and never regained it. Continue reading “Redefining Unacceptable Risk”
What’s the point of having a website if you can’t use it to sell your shit? With that in mind, I hereby announce that my second book, The Blasted Lands, is now available in the Kindle store for $3.99 in the U.S., and adjusted in other markets.
The Blasted Lands is a follow-up to last year’s Impact Winter, a sci-fi novel where the earth has been enshrouded in ejecta from a meteorite impact in northern Canada. This latest novel is a standalone tale, not a direct sequel to the first, but it does take place in the same area of central Pennsylvania, and features some of the same characters.
In writing this book and the one before, I did my best to imagine what would happen to the land and the people after a significant impact. What would the seismic effects be? How much damage would the air blast do? And what about the most lasting effect; the dust flung into the stratosphere, blocking out all light from the sun for an extended period? There are no good answers as to what would befall civilization were an event like this to take place.
In this novel, some time has passed since the impact, and dusky light has managed to penetrate the shroud, giving the land an eerie countenance. Edward Gray and his small group have weathered the worst of the collapse of society and government, and are now, like other survivors, preparing for the time when the sun will shine once more. They have claimed a small farm in rural Pennsylvania and have set about readying house and field. But, a land with no laws can snatch away plans and dreams without warning. Edward and his people learn that lesson, much to their hardship.
Check it out.
Many of the Loyal Seven will have picked up on this already, but I live in New York City. I’ve been here for about fifteen and a half years. Before that, I had spent my entire life living in Northeast Ohio. That’s two different places, both with bitchy winters. Continue reading “Of Snowstorms and Subways”
Anyone remember last year when I wrote that my decreased summer output was because I was writing a book? That was true. I don’t have any similar excuse for the desert that Missile Test has become this summer, but I do have good news. The book I wrote, Impact Winter, has failed to find any representation from an agent in the publishing business. How is that good news? Well, the publishing world’s loss is your gain. I grew tired of waiting for good news, so I banged out a 4th draft and posted the book on Amazon.
What is Impact Winter?
An impact winter is what happens to the climate of the earth following a major comet or asteroid impact. The impact occurs with such energy that massive amounts of ejecta are created. Fine particulate matter, i.e., dust, is flung high up into the atmosphere and it can take many years for it to fall back to earth. The dust enshrouds the planet, impeding light from the sun and lowering global temperatures. In the worst cases, all light from the sun is blocked, and photosynthesis halts, disrupting global food chains. Continue reading “Impact Winter”
Ten years ago today, Missile Test began as a short little blurb on my personal site lamenting the fact that every day New Yorkers like myself were playing a ‘grim lottery,’ whereby we placed our personal safety in the hands of fate. It hadn’t yet been three years since the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were raging, and every person in this city knew it was impossible to guarantee the safety of its citizens. Everywhere a person looked, there were opportunities for mischief. Continue reading “Well, That Was a Fast Decade”
It’s been almost two months since my last post, and in that time, shitty movies have gone unwatched, and political scandals have gone without rant here on Missile Test. So what have I been up to? I’m writing a book. This means I’ve had to sacrifice basically all of the time I used to dedicate to Missile Test and also to Daily Exhaust. I still have a full time job, and I’ve found that after about 1,000 words of book and 8 hours of work, I’m gassed. The good news is, my routine is pretty well set, and I’m chugging along toward my goal, the only distractions being my own failings. I’ll get some more posts up here soon. But, my Loyal Seven readers, don’t expect a busy summer.
Neil Armstrong is a personal hero of mine. Not because he was the first American to set foot on the moon, but because he was the first person to do so. He was the first person to set foot on any natural celestial body outside of the earth. That accomplishment is not a national accomplishment. It is an historic accomplishment. He didn’t do it alone. Thousands of people, thousands of hard workers and great minds made the Apollo missions possible. While it was an American effort (with German assist), in direct competition with the Soviet Union, the payoff could be celebrated by all — something Armstrong understood and stated in his immortal words upon hopping off the lander. Continue reading “Neil Armstrong”
The NCAA came down hard on the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky conviction and the Freeh Report. The punishments include loss of scholarships, a four-year postseason ban, five years of probation, the vacating of 14 seasons worth of wins, and a $60 million fine. It was harsh, but could have gone further. The university avoided the dreaded death penalty, the dismantling of the program itself, for one or multiple seasons. There will be football in Happy Valley this year. It just won’t be very competitive. Continue reading “Reprieve”
I come from a family of journalists. My mother is an editor, has been at the Akron Beacon Journal in one capacity or another for 40 years, and has taught journalism at Kent State University. Before he died, my father also worked at the Beacon, also taught journalism at Kent, and spent the last 20 years of his life editing on the foreign/national desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer. My great-grandmother was a longtime reporter for both the Beacon and The Independent in Massillon, Ohio. Needless to say, I respect and appreciate the newspaper business. This respect leads me to support the business even in its decline. Continue reading “New York Times? We Need to Talk.”
A parking space is a commodity in this city. So much so that monthly rates for spaces in garages in Manhattan can cost a person more than renting an apartment in most of the country. For example, after some quick poking around in the tubes, I found rates on the Upper East Side that ranged from $430 a month to $1200. That’s $1200 a month...for a parking space. In my neighborhood, as in all of the neighborhoods of the outer boroughs I checked, the rates are far cheaper. Another couple minutes of looking and I found a garage for rent a couple blocks from my apartment for $200 a month. Take that, Manhattan. Continue reading “In the City: Parking Adventures”