Well, Everything Takes Longer Than It Takes (see below)... but we are making decent headway behind the scenes. We've gone from the OH, WOW! phase to the HOW THE HELL DO WE DO THAT? phase, which can be a little daunting. But we soldier on!
Above are some early test renderings I have done to play with some of the overall look of the place. Now here's something interesting: everyone views this City-State differently. Some people would like it to be a collection of Greek buildings in a verdant valley. Some want it on a tropical isle. Some want a Rivendell-esque hidden valley surrounded by waterfalls, and some people even want a medieval village in the middle of a forest.
Well, the good news is, in time all of these -- and more -- will be possible. We can provide as many 'skins' to this experience as there is demand. Right now, though, the first iteration of Ejectia will probably be something like the sky city you see taking rough shape before you now. I could tell you this is because of some lofty philosophical underpinning, but the real truth is mountains and clouds are relatively easy on the render because they don't soak up memory like trees do, and these buildings are very complex. So if you like this look, that makes me happy because I do too and I've been working hard on it. But if you had something else in mind, please be patient. And by that I guess I mean please be more patient than you already are.
Moving on with the progress report: it looks like about time to get started on the main item we offer at Ejectia: those "expertise essays."
I mentioned in the prior entry that we would start with a proposal, in order to not commit you good people to a lot of work we may not be able to use right off the bat. I think it's time to start accepting submissions for those proposals.
This proposal should be very simple: one paragraph on what it is you hope to write about, and a second one on why you are qualified to do so. Remember, this is not a university research paper... your qualifications may be something as simple as you've been doing it for twenty years. We're not looking for credentials -- heck, college professors have those and some of them are prize idiots -- we're looking for experience. In Ejectia, real-world skill and the wisdom learned over time count for way, way more than a piece of paper.
So, if you have something you want to contribute, we really, really want to hear from you. Here's the standard disclaimer:
Your contribution of any material, whether in comments or otherwise, grants to William A. Whittle, Aurora Aerospace, Inc. and their affiliates, a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, sublicense, reproduce or incorporate into other material all or any portion of the material posted, for commercial or other use.
All that says is that we retain the right to use that material in any way we see fit. You of course are free to use your own material in any way you choose.
I have to tell you that with all the work we've been doing, this is the part that excites me the most. I've been waiting to look over proposals since I first got the idea in the shower, a few moons ago. If you have something to say -- and I know you do! -- you can send a two-paragraph proposal to Library [at] ejectia [dot] com. (Bloody spambots!)
Man, I cannot WAIT to see what you folks are going to come up with. Birdwatching, quantum physics, chocolate pie recipes -- it's just going to be cool.
** UPDATE: Wednesday, June 20th. **
This morning I received email notification that another 53 softcover books have just shipped. That still leaves several outstanding -- they have been shipping in dribbles of five or six at a time previously -- but this was a major run that should get most of the softcovers on the way. I should receive the 2nd proof of the hardcover late this week or early next; hardcover orders should be in the queue by next week, inshallah.
Thank you all for your continued generousity and patience. The kindness you have shown regarding these delays has been a great relief on an issue that has caused me great discomfort.
This is only the second time I have used this image. The first time was back in 2004. I had confidently stated in DETERRENCE that Osama had been killed at Tora Bora. Three days later, a video of him appeared discussing the Bush/Kerry election.
I put it up now because as of this writing about half of the softcover book orders have shipped. ALL of the softcover orders were entered within a 2-3 day period several weeks ago. Looking at the print invoices I can find no rhyme or reason as to why some shipped and others didn't, but all of them are in the print queue. There just doesn't seem to be a pattern at all. When I did this back in 2004, books were out the door within a day or two of the order being placed, and arrived 3-4 days after that. Looks like they've grown in the interim somewhat.
One of Murphy's Laws is Everything Takes Longer Than It Takes. I am particularly susceptible to this brand of mischief since I tend to be an untrammeled optimist about everything and therefore am perpetually behind schedule. The Hardcover had to go back for a second proof, and that is taking far longer than it did in the past.
Of all the things that stress me in life, nothing even approaches this feeling that I have let people down. If you are one of those who ordered the books for Father's Day, or have any other reason whatsoever for being unable to put up with the delay, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do whatever is in my power to make it up to you.
If you did pre-order a book and can continue to wait, please accept my thanks and deepest apologies for the delay.
Well, I had a busy week in the real-world job. We did a one-hour special at the Cannes Film Festival. Among the guests were Harvey Weinstein and Michael Moore. If you ever wanted to know what 800 lbs of cholesterol sitting on a beach looked like, your curiousity was assuaged. Then followed a brief discussion among four multi-multi-millionaires about how people like you and me need to pay for everyone else's health care, including, presumably, their own. The education one gets in this business...
But I digress.
"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." --Walt Disney
What we are trying to do right now is to get a functional version of Ejectia! up and running as soon as possible. Whatever we have in place on Day One will simply be a starting point for the improvements we are planning on Day Two. Ejectia! -- like every city -- will be built on the foundations of what it was yesterday. It will never be finished. And so, with dedication and continued hard work, even the most glittering version will be, in the words of our Tech leader, Paul, merely "the ruins of the Ejectia! of tomorrow." That's a thought for the ages.
So on behalf of everyone currently working their butts off for free, I would like to simply state that we are trying to get something fun and interesting opened as soon as possible to deliver the core elements of self-improvement. There is so much more we have planned, and all of you will be able to contribute things I can never imagine. All that will come in good time.
The first wave of volunteers I called for, the IT and web specialists, have been doing an incredible job. I am privy to the flurry of e-mails they send to each other daily, and I stare at them with much the same expression as your dog has when he watches TV.
Here's what's been happening:
Our tech Army of Darkness has defined the initial platform, and some of the modules we hope to have working at the opening are being written. We should start testing some of them in a few days. We have a domain name, a web host, and more. I have gotten some of the software I personally need to render the landscapes and the buildings.
So, I have waited until we reached this point to open a new comment thread, and here it is:
We have the tech wheels well underway. I think, at this point, we can proceed to a new phase. So I would like to call on you again, you magnificent and talented people. What we need next is twofold:
First, I would like to ask anyone who is a graphic designer to email me at email@example.com (and put DESIGN in the header) if you would be interested in helping with the overall look of the place for Phase 1. I would like to limit this to people who are professionals, and who are willing to volunteer their talents along with the rest of us.
As I mentioned in YOU ARE NOT ALONE, the key to the enterprise is expertise. I can assure you that everyone will have a chance to contribute in turn. But for the moment we need people with graphic design experience and a portfolio.
That is the narrow call. Here is a broad one:
In the near future, we will be calling for submissions to this vast Library of Experience that we all hold in our heads: a Library that will never be filled, but which must start somewhere. In order that we don't ask for mountains of work that we may not be able to use right away, we will be calling for proposals. Again, this will happen in a few days, but for now, I thought I'd put a bug in your ears: if you are one of those inclined to contribute, could you begin to think about a two-paragraph proposal for a University of Ejectia! Library entry?
The first paragraph should be a brief outline of what you want to write about, and how it is useful to other people. The second paragraph should be about why you are qualified to write on the subject.
Here's an example that I personally plan to submit:
I would like to write an entry on what happens behind the scenes on a commercial jet flight. In it, I hope to show what is happening in the airplane, on the flight deck, and in the air traffic control centers as the flight proceeds from Orlando to Los Angeles. I will discuss what the engines are doing, how the navigation systems work, what the pilots are preparing to do next, how they are being handled by ATC, and what all of this looks like as you view it out the window. I hope to give the reader an appreciation of all the work that goes on behind the scenes in order to keep them safe and comfortable.
I'm a 500 hour instrument-rated pilot who has taught ground school for the private pilot exam. I have spent many hours in radio contact with Air Traffic Control in the Los Angeles basin, and I have an excellent understanding of basic aircraft systems, radio and GPS navigation, and the national airspace system.
That's really all we need.
I'd like to stress that while I thought I'd get you thinking about this, we are not quite ready for the actual proposal just yet...probably by the end of the week, and I will mention when in a new post when we are ready. We'll take a look at the proposals, and while I cannot promise that all will be approved right away, I CAN promise that we will carefully read and respond to every one we receive.
Remember, we are trying to open as soon as possible, so that limits just how many of these we can get ready. If we initially have to defer your proposal to a later time, I hope you will not take it personally.
Anyway, that's the immediate progress. Things are happening rather quickly behind the scenes. By the end of the coming weekend I will have a new update, and we'll be able to talk more about some of the amazing ideas we are having for further downstream.
A final, and very important note:
I and several others have read, and continue to read, every comment left by all of you. They have provided incredibly valuable ideas which have been and continue to be incorporated backstage. But they have done something much more important than that.
They continue to show all of us that there is a community of very bright, friendly, decent and honorable people out there who deserve nothing less than the best we can deliver. Your comments and continued words of support -- to say nothing of the mind-boggling generosity you have shown in terms of volunteering time and ideas -- are making us all better people before any of this gets officially off the ground.
On behalf of those already working behind the scenes, and the many more to come, I want to thank you for providing us with an example of how good people can behave. We hope and expect to live up to the example you are setting for us daily.
Keep those comments coming! Every single one of them matters. Even the simplest sentence of support from you has unimaginable power to encourage and motivate this process.
More soon. I think we are on to something VERY big.