8 Minutes Award-Winning Short Film @manhattanshort

Last night I went to our local indie movie theatre in Boise, Idaho and watched the Manhattan Short Film Festival. It’s amazing how many passionate directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors are out there that are unknown (at least here in the US) but producing great work. It was an amazing and enjoyable evening!

Typically I’ve been a Hollywood-only kind of movie watcher. Big blockbuster films and films made from books I’ve read are my favorites. But then at WorldCon I got to know a screenwriter for several indie films. As I’ve helped here and there in the process of editing the English subtitles and copy for the short film 8 Minutes, I’ve seen how creative, passionate, professional, and persistent the crew is. I’m humbled and honored to have been able to watch the process of bringing their vision from paper to screen. I hope they go far and make many more movies, as they are a talented group destined to do great things.

-Heather

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Manhattan Short Film Festival

@manhattanshort

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Boeing: a Seattle Adventure


One of my goals is to visit as many space museums and launch centers that I can around the United States and worldwide. It’s just a passion of mine, and a great motivation and inspiration for my writing.

I lived north of Everett, Washington for many years and never realized what an impact the Boeing company had on our state, our nation, and on air and space travel. In April I visited the Future of Flight & Boeing Tour in Mukilteo. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I knew they made airplanes. I knew that it was one of the main employers in the area.

What I did not expect was just how fascinating the history of the company is, and just how immense the Boeing campus is today. Unless you see and experience it in person yourself, it really is hard to imagine.

Last year was Boeing’s 100 year celebration! July 15, 1916 two men started a company because they believed they could build a better airplane. William E. Boeing and his friend talked the pilot of a small propeller plane (a one-seater) to allow them to hang on to the wings while the plane took off and flew around the Seattle area. They were thereafter addicted to air flight and decided to learn more about building airplanes.

I highly recommend the Boeing Tour to anyone interested in air or space travel or engineering, or just interested in a mind-blowing experience.

The buildings where the 700 series airplanes are built are absolutely huge. After taking a bus to the buildings, we walked through underground tunnels and then took a cargo lift up to a viewing area that looked over the whole building. The main building is the largest building in the world, by volume. It is incredible to be up above the thousands of workers putting together the airplanes. You can watch as around TEN huge airplanes are being built. Can you imagine? A building that can hold that many 747 or 767 planes!

You can look across this field of partially-built planes, tools, and scaffolding and see several stories of windows that show offices, restaurants and coffee shops. I think they said there are three restaurants and ten coffee shops inside the building for the employees. And of course fourteen ping pong tables that are scattered around the area. Boeing is big on the importance of their hard-working employees getting exercise and taking breaks from the intense concentration that is needed to build these computerized flying machines.

A lesser known fact is that Boeing built the 16 ton Destiny Module (I’m standing in front of a model of it in the picture above), which is the American research laboratory now part of the International Space Station. It was launched to the ISS in 2001 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

These are the places and things that you can experience today that years ago were only an interesting storyline in a science fiction novel. This is why I love science and science fiction and why I am passionate about teens and people of all ages learning more science and working toward a future in space. We are living in a rapidly evolving technological world, and we need more dreamers and innovators like William E. Boeing.

-Heather

Become a Tourist in Your Hometown!

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in some beautiful places: the rugged high desert of Colorado, the majestic mountains of Montana, the lush Washington coast, and the amazing Treasure Valley of Idaho.

The past few years I’ve realized that although I’ve lived happily among the best nature has to offer in my Northwest corner of the United States, I’ve never really explored all these wonderful places I’ve called home.

So I took a vacation. A real vacation – no funerals or weddings or emergencies to respond to. I became a *gasp* tourist! I wanted to experience all the things I had taken for granted. Sometimes we get so caught up in just surviving in this life, that we forget that we deserve to enjoy our time here on Earth.

I was reminded of this as I got out of my comfort zone the last few years, traveled to SF Conventions, opened myself up to new experiences and met some truly amazing people! I got to know writers and creatives from all around the world, and they taught me to see everything around me with new eyes. Just imagine as you go to work, hike a mountain peak, attend an art class, take a vacation, cheer at a football game, visit a national monument – how those seemingly ‘normal’ activities would look through the eyes of someone who has never had the chance to do them?

My parents used to own an art gallery in Anacortes, Washington, and I worked at the local Safeway. I hated the ferry traffic (Anacortes is the Gateway to the San Juan Islands) and I hated the nearby Tulip Festival traffic, and of course I hated the Seattle traffic. I stayed in my own little life, never venturing very far.

I missed out on so much. So, for my vacation I drove back to the Washington coast.

I drove around the Olympic peninsula and enjoyed the amazing forests, although I didn’t go as far as Forks. For those of you who don’t know – it’s the town in the Twilight series. Seriously.

The ferries are an integral part of the Seattle area, and are always a fun experience. I chose the Port Townsend to Coupeville ferry this time, one I had never taken before. I then drove across Whidbey Island, and then across the expansive Deception Pass bridge to Fidalgo Island where Anacortes is located. It was a beautiful, yet chilly day. I enjoyed it immensely and stopped to take pictures frequently.

Of course I visited all the places in Anacortes that I had lived, worked, and hiked before. More picture taking!

I got up early the next day and drove to Mt. Vernon where both my boys were born. It’s also where the Tulip Festival is located. I drove past acres and acres of blooming tulips in every color. I even stopped at one of the farms and visited the gift shops. It was refreshing walking among the cultivated gardens overflowing with tulips.

I received a much-needed break from my 9-5 life, but most importantly I filled my creative tank. I’m joyful and hopeful and ready to take on my next creative endeavor.

I highly recommend becoming a tourist in your own town. No matter where you are there are natural wonders, amazing architecture, fascinating histories to learn, and new experiences to create.

In my next blog I’ll detail my trip to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing plant tour!

-Heather