This one's easy to explain. At the end of July I noticed something that I'd previously missed - someone's offering $10,000,000.00 to the first team that goes into space (and back, of course). So I founded Project Space Force, thinking this site and its readers could use a little extra pocket change.
I revitalized the program back in October, largely as a vehicle for poking fun at "creative" corporate approaches to fostering imagination and leadership skills (if you've ever taught a room full of executives how to do improvisational comedy, as I used to, you'd know why I found this necessary...). And also, naturally, as a vehicle for conveying me into space and thereafter to the nearest bank.
You readers, however, have made it a much bigger thing. With your help, we've completely rebranded P.S.F. into the vibrant aerospace reasearch/marketing dynamo that it is today. I'll see you all for the big launch (date and time TBA)!
Okay, so we're a little late gettin' started. But we can do it! I'll be screening volunteers right here at this site, so sign up soon. If you're in reasonably good shape, have some ideas for getting us there, and don't mind winning TEN MILLION DOLLARS, you might just be right for Team Apathy! Math and science skills a plus.
Geez, TEN MILLION DOLLARS! That's four million apiece! And how hard could it be? We walked on the moon with computer equipment less sophisticated than a Palm Pilot. And the moon is, like, 20 billion times farther away than space. The Canadian team says they've already tested a rocket, but don't worry - we might not even use rockets. We'll use good ol' American know-how. Think outside the box. Reward excellence. And then we'll be TEN MILLION DOLLARS richer!
So apply now, join the Team, and WIN!
-Commander Adam Felber, Project Space Force (cool name, huh? :-) )
To: All Project Space Force personnel From: PSF Captain Adam "Cap'n" Felber
It's now been nearly three months since Fanatical Apathy launched its space program, "Project Space Force" (see "To the Stars, Dammit"), and things have never looked better in our quest to grab that big 10 million dollar prize!
But I won't lie to you all - there's some challenges ahead. For one, it looks like there's two new teams joining the race: Romania and a group of game programmers from Mesquite, TX. I don't think we have too much to fear from the "Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association;" honestly, their name is kinda lame and I don't see how a bunch of Vlad-Come-Lately's are gonna trump our superior management techniques and American can-do spirit. But Armadillo Aerospace is run by iD Software founder John Carmack, the inventor of "Doom" and "Quake." They're bound to have a splashy logo, and they're made of strong stuff - according to my sources, they can cure just about any injury, no matter how severe, with a standard-looking first aid kit.
But don't despair, Space Force! We haven't been idle these past couple of months, no, FAR from it. Here's a quick breakdown of some of our more significant advances:
August 7 - signed a licensing agreement with Barthelme Promotions Inc., insuring a swift capitalization on the Project Space Force name once we've made it into space. BPI has arranged for rapid licensing for everything from T-shirts to TV movies to video games (oooh, that's gonna hurt, eh, Carmack!?). This could more than double our initial take within the first year.
August 14 - Senior PSF personnel took a retreat to upstate New York for a weekend-long seminar on Effective Management and Finding Excellence. Inspired by this, we immediately reorganized the basic managerial structure of Project Space Force. The new Mission Statement creates an environment that rewards accomplishment, provides a fluid business model, and frees us from the creativity-flattening constraints of "old school business as usual."
August 30 - Press Blitz! We simultaneously hit every major news and entertainment outlet with a barrage of PSF promotional materials and press releases. Within three days we'd raised our profile 750%, finally creating a base of name-recognition and brand-awareness that will be vital for our post-flight market presence.
September 4 - Very productive Board Meeting, wherein we got the new Internal Motto approved ("Achieve the Excellent, Reward the Stars"). As many of you know, our September 2nd retreat with motivationalist Henry Kurtz (he was great!!) taught us that an Internal Motto can be more important than an External Slogan.
September 16 - A consultation with feng shui master Mindy Levine demonstrated that we had a serious chi bottleneck right outside the Propulsion Lab. This offered a clear explanation as to why none of us have spent much time down there. Levine's "MinShui" interior design firm agreed to help heal the negative flow, and we're confident that it's venture capital well spent.
October 2-5 - The executive team took a weekend-long Visualization Workshop with Content Consulting (it's amazing how affordable some of these top-notch, results-oriented firms have become in the past two years!). We returned from Atlantic City refreshed, recharged, and more focussed than ever on our "Corporate End Zone."
We still have challenges ahead, of course, and the competition is fierce. As my last couple of Powerpoint Pow-wows have indicated, we still need to devote more energy to productivity, recruitment, and actual space travel. Also, we need a new logo, so please submit them in the Comments Box as soon as possible (ask yourself - Are we creating an inspiring and results-oriented image that'll look cool on the side of our ship?). But our progress is steady and our motivation's at an all-time high - To the Stars, dammit, To the Stars!
I'm proud to present to you all our very first Project Space Force logo, submitted by Tim Lowell!
[These will make great shoulder patches (if we do some sort of "spacesuit" thing)]
Note that Tim also provides a very useful fact about escape velocity, which is something that our boys down in the Pre-Orbital Configuration Unit were going to be looking into just as soon as they'd put the finishing touches on their Success Strategies whitepaper and the appointment of the Effectiveness Task Force.
[Watch this space for more logos as they arrive. You can just email them to me. - Cmndr. Felber, PSF]
- the undeniably astronautical Aaron of Excursus! has provided Project Space Force with another logo candidate:
[This Man in the Moon's got a $10 million payday comin', baby!]
Allegations of cheesiness notwithstanding, this is a fine effort, and PFS personnel might want to enlarge this and use it as a motivational poster. That will doubtless boost morale and increase our efficiency. In fact, the "imagineering" is going so well that I'm diverting another 20% of our Rocketry and Aerodynamics Team to the Logo Task Force.
- Sadly, I honestly don't know whether you'll see many Fanatical Apathy updates 'til Monday. Our staff is working away busily, but I'm heading up to Beantown for the ImprovBoston 20th Anniversary extravaganza. Back in the early 90's I spent a blissful four years performing with ImprovBoston, and this return to my ol' stomping grounds will, if nothing else, bolster New England's sluggish bourbon market.
- Finally, there's been some speculation (both around here and over at Atrios' noble haunt) that Steve Dunleavy might be able to weasel out of his pledge because one of the arrested sniper suspects was Jamaican ("Jamiaca: Exporting Terrorists Since.... Well, Never").
I can understand why the sheer terror of Dunleavy's exposed buttocks might make you want to believe this, but I'm afraid it's not the case: Dunleavy's promise pertained to "the shooter" being a foreigner. My guess is that the sniper is probably the Gulf War Army veteran who is "recognized as an expert marksman," and not his 17 year-old Jamaican pal.
Regardless of my own horror, I have come to want Dunleavy to make good on his oath. It seems like small recompense for needlessly making life that much more difficult for the already beleaguered thousands of innocent foreign nationals currently living in the U.S., but it's something. So I got to thinking that there just might be something we all can do, grassroots-wise, to say in a respectful and restrained manner that we, the citizens of the world, will not stand for nationalist hate-mongering:
Feel free to add this simple, understated banner to your site.
Project Space Force has been supplied with yet another inspirational new logo, this one from the talented Ken Larson.
[Does Romania's earthbound crew have rhyming slogans? Probably not!]
Note that Ken's logo posits a Brooklyn, NY launch site. I do have a backyard, but it's a bit small (30'x10'). This may be adequate, though I'm not sure about the fire hazard from a major rocket launch. Unfortunately, the entire Launch Dynamics team has been temporarily reassigned to the vital "Morale and Marketing ThinkSquad," but as soon as they're done coming up with a media strategy, I'll ask 'em. If we need more room, there's a park just down the street.
In other news, our legal team tells me that since the actual work that we're doing will be in space, our $10 million might not be taxable!
One more note - I've taken the liberty of gutting the Navigation Unit (how many ways do you need to be able to say "up," anyway?), and put 'em on Endorsements and Tie-ins. So the actual spacecraft may have to have less of an austere, white look and more of a NASCAR vibe (note to the Design Team: We'll need some big, flat surfaces for maximum ad space).
So get excited, team - we're moving ever closer to our launch/product rollout!
Two new logos were submitted for Project Space Force:
[Your Project Space Force: Benevolence and Benjamins, baby!]
These two arrived in my box on the same day, and the timing couldn't have been more fortuitous had we planned it in our own R&D facility (the location and purpose of which is still TBD, by the way, but it's on our to-do list). At left we see self-described "spaceperson" Mary Weed's beautiful, eco-friendly, idealistic-yet-defiant statement of purpose. At right there's verbal fist-shakin' Matt Drachenberg's timely reminder that while we are of course doing this for the benefit of all mankind, there's only a certain subset of "all mankind" that's gonna be cashing that $10,000,000.00 check!
Many of you have said that the looming prospect of the 108th Congress has made you more anxious than ever to get into space ASAP. I couldn't agree more, and I assure you that we're closer than ever to Launch Day. Why, just this week I received an email from one Alex Hoffman, who writes "I used to be good at math, and I think that we might need some math for this whole thing." Well, I ran that theory by our boys in the Orbital Dynamics Lab (who've been working 'round the clock trying to secure a factory in Bangladesh that can stitch together our incipient line of "Air PSF" athletic footwear in a cost-effective manner). They were more than a little bit excited by Alex's contribution, calling it "the breakthrough we've been waiting for," and they'll begin applying his theories right after next weekend's Horizontal Management Wilderness Workshop (remember folks, pack some long johns and don't forget to bring your HMWW binders!).
Things have been extremely busy here at the Fanatical Apathy Home Office. Besides running the world's most advanced civilian space program, I've just finished a new screenplay (huzzah), and "Wait Wait" is taking me to Hawaii next week (a sacrifice, but we journalists have to go where the story is...).
So that's why the efforts of the entire Project Space Force, um, force have been so deeply appreciated. For instance, Dee's timely reminder that we only need to orbit the earth to earn the Big Money was very useful, though I don't see any reason why our craft wouldn't be stable enough to take a side trip or two once we're up there.
But THIS - this is just amazing. Our beloved Rick Schmitz, creator of Fanny the Roborat, has provided us with an artist's conception of PSF so compelling that it genuinely pained me to shrink it down to web-size.
[Building a suit that fits cybernetically-enhanced rescue rats is now a mission-critical task]
Onward and upward! We may have a healthy lead on the competition (I assume; our Industrial Espionage Unit's actually been busy pitching a "Making of PSF" docudrama to the networks), but remember - we've only got two months 'til the new Congress is sworn in...