Hanging and Gliding Short Film Released

I released my first short film – Hanging and Gliding. I started working on the film in March 2021 and recorded the Twilight Flight on March 3. This flight to the beach was going to be the introduction to the film about Willy setting the world record for out-and back flights. When Willy didn’t set the record, I had to change to movie to focus on them flying to the beach. The footage was so stunning that I figured it would make a good movie. I ended up editing the video until the movie was 15 minutes long – just about the length of the flight.

This is the promotional poster for the film. Butter Media is my production company.

After getting the footage, the hardest part of the editing process was getting the audio to go with the flights. I used epidemicsound.com to get music for the background. Then interviewed Mike and Willy to get them to talk about flying and sync it up with the video. I had to adjust the volume, remove drone noise and tie the audio clips to the video. I was really pleased with how interesting their audio came out. Mike and Willy spoke about the peace and beauty of flying real well.

I also had to learn to use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit the film. I was surprised how easy it was to learn the software. A plethora of youtube videos showed me how to make titling, fix the audio, trim clips and so much more. The software is incredibly powerful and I’ve only scratched the surface.

Here is the trailer.

After completing the film, I uploaded it to Film Freeway that works with over 5,000 film festivals around the world. I found it very easy to submit the film to 35 film festivals. I submitted the film all around the world – Egypt, Austria, Australia, England, France, Turkey, Morocco, Estonia, Bratslava, Chile, Canada and all over the US. 

Here is a list of the film festivals that I submitted the film to and the date when I should find out when it is accepted or rejected.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival Jan 31, 2022  

MAFF | Matsalu Nature Film Festival Aug 1, 2022  

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Jun 30, 2022  

Les Bois Film Festival Feb 28, 2022  

Antakya International Film Festival Sep 20, 2022  

Rabat International Author Film Festival Sep 1, 2022  

Awesome Con Short Film Festival 2022 Apr 29, 2022  

Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival Sep 5, 2022  

Austria International Film Festival Dec 5, 2022  

International Alexandria Short Film Festival Apr 15, 2022  

Midwest Action Fest. Action, Adventure & Co… Feb 28, 2022  

Hory a mesto/Mountains and City – Internati… Apr 15, 2022  

Myrtle Beach International Film Festival Mar 4, 2022  

Green Screen Environmental Film Festival (T… Sep 30, 2022  

Ottawa Adventure Film Festival Apr 1, 2022  

Thin Line Fest Feb 18, 2022  

5Point Adventure Film Festival Mar 18, 2022  

EarthX Film Festival Mar 1, 2022  

Maine Outdoor Film Festival May 22, 2022  

Mountainfilm May 15, 2022  

NorthwestFest International Documentary F… Mar 14, 2022  

Concepcion Independent Film Awards Jul 25, 2022  

San Francisco Frozen Film Festival (SFFFF) Jun 14, 2022  

DOC LA. Los Angeles Documentary Film Festi… Sep 30, 2022  

Crown Heights Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY Jul 15, 2022  



Dawson City International Short Film Festival Mar 16, 2022  

Wasatch Mountain Film Festival Feb 16, 2022  

Hill Country Film Festival Apr 25, 2022  

Rural FilmFest Jun 3, 2022  

Catalina Film Festival Jul 15, 2022  

Faith in Film: International Film Festival and S… May 8, 2022  

Bristol Independent Film Festival Aug 12, 2022  

Aspen Shortsfest Mar 3, 2022  

I hope it gets accepted to a few of these festivals. I’ll let you know when it does.

Youth Voting in Battleground States

Check out the data in Table 1 on the youth vote in battleground states in 20161. The average voter turnout for 18-24 year olds was a dismal 43%.  Almost two million youth from 18-34 years old didn’t vote in the close election.  As discussed in a previous blog, the Democrats should have gained about 22 votes for every 100 new youth votes. The youth vote could have easily swung these swing states if they voted.

Table 1: Youth Vote Turnout in 2016

State 18-24 Year Old
Voter Turnout
Total Voter
18-34 Year Olds
That Didn’t Vote
Michigan 37.8% 64.3% 1,104,000
Wisconsin 47.1 % 70.5% 589,000
Pennsylvania 51.4% 62.6% 1,237,000
Florida 37.3% 59.9% 1,974,000
Arizona 40.2% 60.4% 743,000
US Total 43.0% 61.4% 15,353,000

Only 43% of youth from 18-24 voted in 2016.  Over fifteen million youth didn’t vote and Hillary still got almost 3 million more votes than Trump.

If a Get out the Vote effort got 20% more youth to vote, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have swung Democratic. Hillary would have won the Electoral College by 278-260.  Getting 20% of the youth to vote could be a challenge, but little differences add up in a close race.

Table 2: Results With 20% More Youth Vote

State 20% of 18-34
Democratic Votes
Clinton Lost By
Michigan 220,800 48,000 10,704
Wisconsin 117,800 25,900 22,748
Pennsylvania 247,400 54,000 44,292
Florida 394,800 87,000 112,911
Arizona 148,600 32,000 91,234
US 3,070,000 1,465,000 -2,868,519

This table shows that if 20% more of the youth would have voted in 2016, then Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have flipped to Clinton.

In 2020, there will be 19 million more Gen Z voters than in 20162.  Gen Z eligible voters are more liberal than older generations and 45% non-white4. Gen Z will outnumber everyone born before the Baby Boomers as shown in Figure 2.  The problem is that youth are under-voters.  Under-voters are groups of people that vote less than their peers.  Older voters are over-voters because they outvote their peers.  Figure 1 shows how they youth vote have under-voted over the decades. 

Figure 1: Under And Over-Voting by Age

This figure shows how the youth usually under-vote by about 5% while elderly voters over-vote by 3-4%.  The difference decreased in 2016.

In 2016, the youth vote of 18-24 year olds made up 12% of the voting population, but they only voted like they were 8.4%.  That means they under-voted by 3.6% and that’s a lot in close elections.  Figure 1 used different age ranges and got different results than what were available from the Census Bureau. It’s a shame that the youth vote doesn’t turn out when they have the most to win or lose from government policies over their lifetimes.

Table 3: Under-voting in the 2016 Election (Populations in thousands)

Age Range Total Citizen
% of
% Who
Total 224,059 137,537
18 to 24 26,913 11,560 12.0% 8.4% 3.6%
25 to 34 38,283 20,332 17.1% 14.8% 2.3%
35 to 44 34,327 20,662 15.3% 15.0% 0.3%
45 to 64 77,544 51,668 34.6% 37.6% -3.0%
65+ 46,993 33,314 21.0% 24.2% -3.2%

This table shows how youth under-vote by about 3% while the elderly over-vote by about 3%.

If the youth would vote, they would be better represented in government.  It’s that simple and they need to get the message.  The hard part is getting them the message and voting!  That will be a topic in a later blog.

Figure 2: 2020 Electorate

This figure shows how the elderly generations are declining while the younger generations are gaining potential voters from coming of age and immigration3.

Figure 3: Generations Defined

This Pew graphic shows how the generations are defined.  The term Post-Millennial is now replaced by Gen Z.

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  1. https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/voting-and-registration/p20-580.html
  2. https://skippstrips.com/2019/08/gen-z-voters-will-change-the-2020-election/
  3. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/an-early-look-at-the-2020-electorate/
  4. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/01/17/generation-z-looks-a-lot-like-millennials-on-key-social-and-political-issues/

Gen Z Voters Will Change the 2020 Election

Every year, over four million US citizens turn eighteen and gain the right to vote. These new Gen Z voters were born after 1996 and will amount to over 24 million possible voters or 10% of the electorate in 20201. With young people voting Democratic by wide margins, they could easily swing the election if they vote and are targeted. The Democratic Party and political action committees (PACs) should target these young voters to win the 2020 election.

Millennial and Gen Z generations will be from 18-39 years old in 2020 and these young voters typically vote the least of any generation. Even though their future will be influenced the most by government policies over their lifetimes, their voter turnout in the 2016 election was only 51%2. The 2018 midterm elections show that these young voters are considerably interested in voting and their voter turnout reached the highest levels in over two decades as seen in Figure 1. If Gen Z would vote at the rate of Boomers, the 2020 election could easily be shifted towards the Democratic party.

Figure 1. Over the last twenty years, young voters have barely turned out in mid-term elections. In 2018, all age groups showed their highest level of interest in two decades, yet not even one third voted. This chart clearly shows how older voters vote at higher levels than the young.

In 2016, Millennials, or Generation Y, voted on the national average of 55% Democratic and 33% Republican2. For each one hundred new, young voters, 22 additional democratic votes will be counted if this trend holds. Nineteen million additional Gen Z voters will be eligible to vote in 2020 since five million Gen Zers were already eligible for the 2016 election.  If Gen Z voted in a similar pattern to Millennials in 2016, there would be an additional 2.1 million votes for Democrats (19 M additional Gen Z voters * 51% turnout rate *22 Democratic Votes over Republicans per 100 voters). These 2.1 million more Democratic votes have a huge impact on already tight elections.

Figure 2. Only 51% of Millennials voted in the 2016 election and Pew Research didn’t offer a turnout rate for Gen Z in 2016.
Figure 3. Less than a third of Gen Z voters turned out in the 2018 midterm elections, but that is historically high for young voters in recent midterms.

An interesting analysis shows how an additional 2.7 million Democratic votes would have influenced the 2016 election.  Trump won the 2016 election by 77,744 votes by flipping the rust belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  If these 2.7 million new Democratic votes were spread evenly across the US based on population, then the results would be much different. If these hypothetical Gen Z voters turning out at 51% and yielded 22 more Democratic votes per one hundred, they would have easily flipped these three states and Florida! 

Table 1: Additional Gen Z Voters Swing the Election in Four States

State Votes Trump Won By Additional Gen Z Democratic Votes
Michigan -16 10,704 67,480
Wisconsin – 10 22,748 38,967
Pennsylvania – 20 44,292 113,307
Florida – 29 112,911 132,776

Table 1 shows how four more years of Gen Z voters could have swung the election in favor of Hillary Clinton if national averages applied to these states. Hillary would have won the election 307-231 in the Electoral College.

This flip in the 2016 election due to new Gen Z voters is based a few assumptions and here are some comments about how the 2020 election might pan out:

  1. 51% of the new Gen Z voters vote – I’m pretty optimistic that this assumption will be surpassed in 2020 because Trump is so dividing that he motivates people to vote.
  2. 55 out of every 100 new voter vote Democratic and 33 vote Republican – This is much more up in the air and problematic to determine.  With 45% of Gen Z being of color, the demographics favors the Democrats.  If the Democrats play to the younger crowd, then they have a better chance.
  3. Battleground states vote like the nation did in 2016 – Of course this is a major leap and I’ll look into this in more detail in a later blog. 
  4. Nothing else changes – Of course many things will change in the 2020 election.  From the Democratic candidate to trade wars, many things will change in 2020 and I’ll look at these individually as they come up.

To conclude, Gen Z voters will add 19 million new voters and make up 10% of the electorate in 2020. While Boomers and older generations decline,  Gen X and Millennials  will grow by about 2.5 million voters or 1% of the electorate from immigrants naturalizing and getting the right to vote3. These demographic shifts favor the Democrats and these younger X, Y and Z generations are now the majority of voters and should be targeted.  Most older voters are already set in their ways. The future belongs to the young and those who court them.

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  1. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/an-early-look-at-the-2020-electorate/
  2. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/31/gen-zers-millennials-and-gen-xers-outvoted-boomers-and-older-generations-in-2016-election/
  3. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/29/gen-z-millennials-and-gen-x-outvoted-older-generations-in-2018-midterms/ft_19-05-23_generationsvoting_millennialturnoutnearlydoubled20142018/

Building with Geometry

I’ve always been interested in geometry. The world is made of it and it combines with math in amazing ways. Amy and I took a class in Sacred Geometry in Pisac, Peru where the Incans used to live. We had a great time tying a bunch of straws together with fishing line to make some killer platonic solids.

You might wonder what platonic solids are. They were actually known before Plato and Pythagorus was probably the one who discovered it, but Plato gets the credit for it since he wrote about them in 350BC!

I’m going to keep this post short so that hopefully you’ll look at the attached presentation that shows how we made this cool structure. Here is the powerpoint file that shows how we made this monster.

Here I am with the finished creation- an octahedron inside a tetrahedron inside a cube inside a dodecahedron inside a Great Icosahedron inside a icosahedron inside a small triambic icosahedron. Now that’s a mouthfull!
Amy is holding the first three platonic solids that are tied together. It’s a octahedron inside a tetrahedron inside a cube.

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Second Anniversary of Grace’s Passing

Two years ago, my wife of almost nineteen years took her last, gasping breath and passed into the other world.  She had succumbed to pancreatic cancer that had spread into her liver.  She had been sick for almost nine months, but had been rather healthy for the previous forty-six years.  She had run marathons, hiked up mountains, traveled the world and cooked many great meals before passing into the next realm. 

So is she really gone? 

I don’t think so.  As long as people remember her and think of her, she is still alive in our hearts.  The movie Coco said that we don’t really pass as long as someone on Earth still holds them in their heart.

This was Grace at her last Christmas being a clown.

I was in a deep meditative state last week and I felt Grace’s presence. She was on my left side with her head resting peacefully on my chest.  This is how we both loved to be.  To rest in each other’s arms and feel each other.  We did this almost every morning when we would say, “Every Morning!” to each other.  If one of us got up early, the last one to get up would call them back to bed with “Every Morning!” so that we would have our affectionate moment together and wake up on a loving note. 

Grace and I would take this to an extreme sometimes and call out wildly for the other.  We’d throw a temper tantrum and kick our legs up and down and scream like a baby for the other’s love.  We always had fun doing this and the other would always oblige by dropping whatever they were doing and come back for the other.

These intimate moments are what I miss the most.  I also miss traveling with her, having a great meal, having a bottle of wine, going on a long hike in the mountains or an urban hike to Franceschi Park.  We did many great things together and gave each other freedom to do our own things as well.

After Grace laid by my side, I missed her and sat up and cried.  I knew that I didn’t have her anymore, but I did have her family still.  I immediately thought of Grace’s niece Mei Lan who was with me the day Grace passed.  When I sat and watched Grace who was completely still, I started sobbing. Mei Lan came and comforted me.  My love was gone, but I was still here. 

How does anyone deal with or comprehend a loss of someone so close.  There is no one answer.  My heart physically hurt for months after her passing.  I read an article months later that found how the hearts of people who lost someone are very vulnerable to heart attacks and other heart problems.  I felt like damaged goods.  The loss was so profound that it took months before the hole in my heart began to feel. 

Eventually, I resumed some of my hobbies like travel and bought an RV that was very similar to the one Grace and I had and lived in for a year.  The first place I took it was to Faria Beach Park on the coast north of Ventura. I had never been there, but dreamed of going there for many of the months when Grace was sick.  It was my dream of paradise and I found comfort there.  I was going to take Grace there, but we never got to fly back to America.  After the beach, I took the RV to the mountains.  I was alone most of the time, but my sister, brother and David and Mianne Sell did come and visit me there.  I came to some level of peace by then and my brother helped me move on by signing me up for Match.com.  Nothing ever came of my search there, but I did find Amy through my friend Phil. 

Now Amy and I are traveling the world for a year.  We are currently in the Sacred Valley of Peru and have been to Columbia and will go to Chile.  Amy and I are very close and we are both very happy to have each other.  Our relationship is unique and we both love to take photographs of new places and we are ready to pay the price to get there.  The price is not only time, but the effort to go to remote places on long days on buses, taxis, trains, planes and mostly our feet.  I’m trying to document my trips on my website www.skippstrips.com and facebook.  I hope you can follow along and keep up.

Grace is still with me in my heart and in my thoughts.  I know she inspired me to do more with my life.  I’m still here and moving on with my life the best I can.  I hope you do the same and know that Grace would want that of you.



PS. My niece had a reading with a psychic last week, and Grace was the first one who came to her.  The medium said Grace wanted us to know that she was fine and that she wants me to be OK.  Grace was happy that I found Amy and that she sent me Amy to find happiness and joy.  Grace was cooking something in a bowl and I think it is appropriate since she was always cooking something up.

Two Old Travel Books

I just finished Jules Verne book Around the World in 80 Days.  If you haen’t read it or seen the movies, it’s a classic travel adventure novel based in 1872 where the London-gentleman Phileas Fogg makes a bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days.  Jules dreamed up the book in a Parisian café after seeing an advertisement for taking an around the world tour.  The book is a good page turner and based in real places with the fictional characters.  The Skyler series of books that I’m writing will be similar and have Skyler travel to real places in each book.

The Jules Verne book was intriguing because of how Phileas went around the world on the latest technologies of steamships and trains.  The novel was based on the ability to be an around-the-world tourist because of the completion of the Transcontinental railroad and the Suez Canal.  I like the historical descriptions of various places from Suez to Bombay, Hong Kong to Yokohama and San Francisco to Salt Lake City.  The book is a great time capsule of the people and places in the book.

In Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas is not the least bit interested in the countries that he passes through and just jumps from train to boat and back.  He does fall in love on the journey with an Indian woman he saves from the funeral pyre of her deceased husband.  In the end, Jules says that finding his love was more important to Phileas than winning the $20,000 pound bet that is equivalent to over $2,000,000 today.

Last month, I finished Mark Twain’s book Innocents Abroad where Twain and a bunch of tourists went to Europe, Middle East and Africa on a steamer in 1867.  The book is a compilation of letters that he wrote for a newspaper about the trip.  Twain’s sarcasm and humor made it the best-selling book during his life – more than Huckleberry Finnn!  The book is one of the best-selling travel books of all time and gave Twain the freedom to waste his money on many money-losing ventures.

I’m taking note of the techniques in these books and how Twain and Verne made me laugh and kept me listening (I download audio books).  Around the World in 80 Days is much more similar to what I want to write since it develops characters and a plot instead of just Twain’s remarks of going from place to place. I want the places to be the background and influence the characters, but I still want the characters to be the driving force in the story.  I hope to learn from these masters so that I can be a great author as well.

PS. I also read a current travel adventure novel in the Jack Reacher series.  The book was interesting and I liked the mystery/detective part of the book, but I didn’t like the military aspect and couldn’t relate to the seriousness of Jack.  He was a little too James Bondish for me too.

Powering Up with Qigong

I finished my 28-day retreat at Esalen Institute and wanted to share a peak experience with you. A peak experience to me is something that changes your life. My peak experience was practicing a new version of qigong.  I have practiced qigong since Grace made it her last wish for me, but the version that I learned at Esalen from Teja Bell is much more straight forward and powerful than the version that I learned in Taiwan. The qigong version Teja teaches is known as Radiant Heart Qigong (RHQ) and it involves simple movements that synchronize well with each breath.  I can now get energized with qigong in as little as 5 minutes!  The best thing that qigong does for me is improve my posture and it gives me lots of energy.

Esalen is perched on the cliffs of Big Sur.

Teja teaches sitting or standing qigong, so basically anyone who can move their arms can do it. The best part is that it is very easy to do.  Teja has made many qigong videos online and I suggest that you start with this one.

Teja does different versions of qigong each time and the one we did at Esalen was more active than the one in the video.  Teja’s lesson at Esalen was part of the Loving Awareness Retreat Week with Jack Kornfield headlining.  After lots of meditation, the group needed to get energized and Teja energized us in spades.  My friend Linda told me about attending the day before and said that it was amazingly powerful.

I was intrigued and had an edible, so I was ready for some amazement.  I walked across the Esalen campus to the Leonard Pavilion. As I approached the big white tent that is perched on a cliff over the ocean, I heard the seals barking in the distance and about a hundred people walking extremely slowly around the lawn. I felt like I was entering a world of slow motion as the meditating people took a step about every five seconds as they wandered in thought.  I joined the people walking in slow motion and found it to be another interesting form of meditation.

That’s the Leonard Pavilion in the middle of the picture.  This was taken at sunset on another night.

After about five minutes of that, the leaders rang a singing bowl to signify the start of Teja’s one-hour qigong session.  The meditators slowly walked back into the tent and took seats.

Teja took the stage and had us sit on the front edge of our seats.  I was surprised to see that he was Caucasian with a name like Teja. He has studied and practiced Buddhism and martial arts since the 1960s.  He has a fifth degree black belt in Aikido and has studied with the Dali Lama.  What stood out to me was his superb posture and calmness.  He was wearing a robe and a cap and didn’t have the hair that you’ll see in the videos.

Teja had us exhale our breath and hold our hands over our stomach.  Then with an inhale, we would move our hands up and out and then return them with each exhale.  He has developed a series of patterned movements that synchronize the inhale with extension and the exhale with retraction.  The simple movements had the effect of straightening my spine, tucking my tummy and broadening my shoulders.  I felt like a changed person after just a few minutes.

We continued doing different poses in the seated position and then we did some poses where we folded our thumbs in and wrapped our four fingers over it to form a fist that would break your thumb if you hit something. This slightly clenched pose was released after a while and it felt really good.  I felt energized and calm at the same time.

After about twenty minutes,  Teja had us move all the chairs to the edge of the room and we did a series of standing poses.  We could incorporate movement in our legs with the breath as well.  With the edible in full effect, Teja had us visualize our bodies starting at our feet and working our way up the body.  I closed my eyes and had visions like an Alex Gray painting.  I could see bright nodes of my body against a darker background than you can see in this painting.

We continued doing poses for the next twenty minutes and my arms were getting pretty tired.  Then, Teja had us arrange the chairs back to the way they were and we took our seats again. We did some sitting poses and more breath work until the hour was up. I had very peaceful feeling from the work and what really surprised me was how my posture was amazingly better. I’ve been kind of a slouch for most of my life and all of the sudden I was sitting up erect and comfortably. My spine was straight and my stomach was flat and my shoulders were back. I felt great mentally and physically!

I’ve had similar experiences doing yoga before, but my posture returned to slouching after a day.  For whatever reason, qigong has helped me keep my good posture for a few weeks now. I’m a changed man!

Amy likes doing the five minute qigong sessions with me as well. We just stand facing each other and start breathing and moving.  If I find myself slouching and with low energy, I do my qigong for 5 minutes and my back is straight and I have more energy.

There are over one hundred versions of qigong that are commonly practiced.  You can read more about qigong here.  The Falun Gong practice qigong.

Qi is energy or life force in Chinese.  Qi can also be translated in English as chi or ch’i depending on the translation.  Qi is not the same as Chi in Tai Chi where the Chi means source or beginning.

Gong is work or cultivation and can also be translated to kung or gung.  Gong is the term used in Kung Fu as well.  The Fu means merit or achievement.  Kung Fu is thus working to achieve merit while Qi Gong is energy work or cultivating and balancing energy.

Another reason that I really feel good about doing qigong is that Grace’s last wish for me was to learn and practice qigong.  Grace marveled at how young and energetic her friends who practiced qigong were.  She wanted me to live a long and healthy life, so she had me join up for a qigong class that met over three weekends while she was in her final month. I was extremely stressed from Grace’s pending demise and I tried to follow the complex set of movements that were similar to Tai Chi, but I struggled to practice the complex motions.  In contrast, I don’t have complex movements to remember with RHQ.  All I have to do with RHQ is synchronize movements with my breath and I find it more powerful.

I know qigong might be weird and strange, but it’s very simple and powerful.  I suggest you give it a try!  Maybe you’ll love it too!

Happy trails to you,