Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Alex our nephew

Until Rain – End of an Era

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that I will no longer be the drummer for Until Rain. I am very proud for being a founding member of the band, from 2005, when the band didn’t even have this name.
From then on, we have achieved much and we owe a lot to you, the fans. Unfortunately, for me though, this project has run its course for a while now. I believe it will be only for the best if someone new steps in my shoes and does a better job than me. There is more than I can chew in my life at the moment, so it would be unfair for my bandmates not to have somebody fully dedicated to this fiendishly difficult task of being a member of a band like Until Rain.
I wish the best of luck to both the old and newer members of the band and I will be following their progress with a great interest. My relationship with the members of the band remains excellent and all I can say is that it was a joint decision, for the greater good. I haven’t got any immediate plans for my drumming career, so there are no other motives apart from not holding the band back any more.
Once again, thanks a lot for your support all these years and keep on rocking!
Alex Hughes
PS: Check out some pictures from this long journey…
2006, Live in Rockbottom, Thessaloniki
2007, Live in Rockbottom, Thessaloniki
Picture 021
2008, Recording “Reign of Dreams”
2009, Live in An, Athens
2011, Live in Harley, Thessaloniki
2013, European Tour
2015, Live in 8Ball, Thessaloniki

An Open Letter to All Women.

Via Kat Gálon Mar 10, 2015

Source: via Gina on Pinterest

You are beautiful.

To all women and all girls:
Dear feminine goddess reading this,
You are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how tall you are: you are beautiful.
You may be short, tall, or average: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how much you weigh: you are beautiful.
You may be overweight, underweight, healthy weight, steady or up-n-down: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what your body shape is: you are beautiful.
You may be pear, apple, hour-glass or string bean: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what cup size you wear: you are beautiful.
You may be an A, a B, a C, a D, or bigger, or perhaps non-existent: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how your thighs look: you are beautiful.
You may have a thigh gap, thunder thighs, cellulite, jiggles or strong muscles: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what your eye color is: you are beautiful.
You may have blue, black, brown, green, or hazel eyes: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what color your skin color is: you are beautiful.
You may be pale, dark, white, black, brown, yellow, or anything else: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what kind of hair you have: you are beautiful.
You may have curly, straight, wavy, dry, oily, long, short, or no hair at all: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear: you are beautiful.
You may be sporty, trendy, dressy, gothic, hippy, or whatever else: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how fit you are: you are beautiful.
You may be strong, weak, super fit, out of shape or just getting back to it: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how healthy you are: you are beautiful.
You may be very healthy, or trying to heal from a visible or invisible illness: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how old you are: you are beautiful.
You may be 5, 25, 55, 85, younger or older: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is: you are beautiful.
You may be straight, gay, bi, undefined or uninterested: you are beautiful.
It doesn’t matter what kind of body you were born into: you are beautiful.

You may be blessed with a female body, or may be a trans-girl before/during/ after/without transitioning: you are beautiful.

It doesn’t matter how you look from the outside, how your genes, your environment, your society, your lifestyle, your health, or anything else refined and defined you: you are beautiful.
You are beautiful,because you are part of this beautiful, perfect Universe.
You can’t be anything else but beautiful.
You are beautiful.
You are not (only) your body: you are so much more than your body.
You are beautiful inside and out.
You are beautiful.
You are amazing.
You are inspiring.
You are deserving.
You are caring.
You are loving.
You are love.
You are full of beautiful feminine energy.
You are beautiful.
Please remember that you are beautiful.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

10 Fictional Languages From Novels

Most of us think that it’s hard enough to write well in English, but writing in 'common' languages is just not enough for some authors. Throughout the history of literature, great writers have developed and written in entirely new languages. Particularly in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, these languages help create a complete world and transport the reader to another time or place. If you’re a fan of creative linguistics, check out the ten great fictional languages on this list! You can even learn to speak a few of them.

Dothraki from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world is incredibly complete, right down to the fictional languages that his different characters use. Dothraki is spoken by the Dothraki people of the Dothraki Sea (which is actually a desert.) The language is spoken from time to time in the book series, but it really took off when television producers hired a linguistics expert to flesh it out into a full-fledged language for the Game of Thrones HBO series.

Esperanto, used in the Stainless Steel Rat Series by Harry Harrison
Esperanto is different from every other language on this list, in that it wasn't made up by an author. It was made up, however - by a linguist who wanted to create a more efficient and simple universal language. It's done pretty well by made-up language standards, but it hasn't exactly caught on worldwide. In Harry Harrison's fictional future, however, it's all the rage.

The Fremen language from the Dune series by Frank Herbert
The Fremen language is spoken by the Fremen, natives of the desert planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe. In the novels, the Fremen language is a linguistic descendent of real-world Arabic. Herbert’s vision is incredibly complete: there are different dialects of the Fremen language, and its use is charted over Dune’s long history in Herbert’s many novels.

Lapine from Watership Down by Richard Adams
The rabbit protagonists of Watership Down don’t speak English: they have their own language called Lapine, an invention of author Richard Adams. Adams has said that his goal was to create a “wuffy, fluffy” language for his rabbits. There is a sort of fluffiness to the tone, but other influences include Arabic and Gaelic.

Nadsat slang fromA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The characters of Burgess’ dystopian world speak English, but not in a way that you or I would recognize. Burgess’ neo-English is full of “Nadsat” slang, which gives his rough characters an unfamiliar and ominous voice. Burgess was a linguist, and he used his background to create a realistic form of quasi-English - the new dialect is influenced by the Russian language.

Newspeak from 1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s Newspeak language is more than just a fun, futuristic dialect for his science fiction book. It’s an integral part of the plot and the point of the book. Newspeak is a language that’s created by the totalitarian government of Oceania as a way to suppress freedom of thought.

Old Tongue from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is in many ways a quintessential fantasy epic. World creation is a huge part of the series appeal, including the extensive language that Jordan constructed for the books. The Old Tongue is a dead language, used primarily by scholars at the time of Jordan’s narrative.

Parseltongue from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
One of the earliest scenes in the Harry Potter series features Harry conversing with a snake. By the second book, Rowling has revealed that Harry was actually speaking a language called Parseltongue, which Wizards can use to communicate with all different types of snakes. Parseltongue, as you might expect, sounds like hissing to non-speakers. To Harry, though, it’s understood as if it were English.

Quenya (Elvish) from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Every made-up fantasy language since Tolkien has been measured against the great languages of the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien invented several fantasy languages, but Quenya - the language of Middle Earth’s elves - is his most famous. It’s so well-developed that Tolkien aficionados can even learn the language.

R'lyehian from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft 
Lovecraft’s interconnected fantasy worlds feature lots of creative inventions, including this fictional language. R'lyehian made its Earth debut thanks to the spawn of Cthulhu (the famous tentacle-faced monster). It appears in many of Lovecraft’s short stories.

Featured image courtesy of

In Support of Banned Books Week: Quotes on Censorship

We’ve rounded up several important quotes about banning books and censorship in honor of Banned Books Week. It’s a national event founded in 1982 to raise awareness to the fact that people are still trying to ban books. Bookstores and libraries all around the country are participating. And you can read more about Banned Book Week and the most frequently challenged books of the 21st century.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murikami
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky
“A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They’d rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin
“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko
“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” ― Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
― Salman Rushdie
“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.” ― Laurie Halse Anderson
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” ― George R.R. Martin
“I believe in any kid’s ability to read any book and form their own judgments. It’s the job of a parent to guide his/her child through the reading of every book imaginable. Censorship of any form punishes curiosity.” ― Sherman Alexie
“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” ― Benjamin Franklin
“Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.” ― Judy Blume
“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” ― Isaac Asimov
“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.” ― Stephen Chbosky
“Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.” ― Nadine Gordimer
“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas.” ― Pete Hautman
“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.” ―Clare Booth Luce
“Banning books is just another form of bullying. It’s all about fear and an assumption of power. The key is to address the fear and deny the power.” ― James Howe
“If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas…it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas.” — GraceAnne A. DeCandidio
“Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.” ― Eugene O’Neill
“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ―Mark Twain
“Censorship is the height of vanity.” ― Martha Graham
“To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.” ― Michel de Montaigne

10 Ways to be Truly Elegant.

Via on Mar 6, 2015

lauren becall

“Would you like to know how to be truly happy?” my mother once asked me, as she dangled a long stalk of celery in one hand and a silver-plated spoon in the other.

I climbed up onto her warm lap and answered, “No mama, but does it have something to do with playing?”
“In a way,” she said in a winsome manner. “Life is like playing happy, and about playing all of your cards in an elegant fashion.”
A very long time ago when “time” didn’t neither seemed to start or stop, and when I was a dimpled imp of a girl…my only job in the world was to follow elegant women around houses of wood and tiled and carpeted floors, with the tip-tap-tapping of my Mary Jane black patent leather shoes as I tried to copy their every graceful footstep.
My first black and white memory is of my mother’s glowing face as she talked endlessly in the kitchen about why “being elegant and kind” was what being a beautiful woman really was all about.
“Never mind all that talk about wearing expensive shiny lipstick, having a fancy bedazzled purse, or carrying on about that box seat at the opera you didn’t get,” she said, as she swayed from side to side. It is really about how you carry yourself and how you just know you are always important.”
What did she mean?
I wondered this as I stared up at her billowing skirts flowered with colors of lavender and red, layered with soft fitted sweaters that captured her long white neck, stranded by a single string of pearls.
I said, “Yes Mama,” and tried my best to copy her walk, her manner of talk, and even fastened bobby pins to my curly thick hair that would never grow as long and sleek as hers.
She often hummed in a sing-song voice about having a gentle presence, and how I should always hold my head up high, no matter what commentary I received.
“Elegant ladies pay no mind to ignorant or ugly talk,” she said, languishing between one room and another while her feet glided like a dancer’s.
I first fell in love with this notion of supreme elegance during summers spent at our worn, seaside Southern California home. During the coldest and most foggy of mornings, as well as in the passing of sunsets that crisped burning and golden into my eyes, I understood the beauty of an elegant soul.
On some Sundays, my siblings and I would lilt amongst the never-wilted and salted gardens while we read German and English Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, poetry by Yeats, and stories by Rudyard Kipling. We would snack on homemade sandwiches that seemed to magically grow right out of our small refrigerator.
But what we did was never nearly important or as meaningful as how we did it, and that was with a sense of grace mixed with class, confidence and a humble manner.
My mother and grandmothers were my greatest sources of inspiration when it came to possessing these qualities, especially “elegance.”
They were my female heroes, my woman warriors of faith who never failed me, whom I looked up to endlessly for every measure of self confidence and degree of style and class even when I had not a penny to my name, or felt entirely vulnerable and defeated.
This is why “real life” role models are so imperative and invaluable for us all.
For my own daughters, I have grown to admire their youthful poses and adventurous spirits. But I also cameo the elegant women of my life so as to give them the gifts of a time that has all but vanished from their reality.
At the end of the day, I do not want their role models to be the YouTube star of the moment, makeup tutorial tips by made-over robots, members of Kardashian clan, or the most popular girls at school with the most expensive clothes and fastest of cars.
I have assumed the responsibility that it is my duty to show them through real action just how happy and glorious a truly elegant woman can be.
Here are ten ways to be truly elegant, with advice from my mentors, loved ones… and maybe even one or two from yours truly.

1. Always walk like you know exactly where you are going.

Once a week, my mother could often be seen leaving the house with a hat and billowing coat as she walked into the sun. It turns out that she often had no specific plans, but that she intended to “always” have a fabulous time on her personal outings, which she claims she did.

2. If someone throws an insult your way, reply with wit.

Recently, a so-called friend told me that I was too old to worry any more about so-called vain pursuits that may include daily yoga and moisturizers. I answered that while she may be right, I would continue to make an old fool out of myself anyway. Then I swished away with a smile.

3. Dress in a style that says who you are.

In the past, I often followed trends only to find myself feeling “not myself.” But today, I dress for myself and always feel confident when wearing a skirt and heels, even when just going to the market. This is my style, and I have learned to wear it with a “no apologies” attitude.

4. Never allow anyone to make you feel small.

Whenever someone puts you down, they are really just projecting the feelings they feel about themselves. Just look kindly into their eyes with your bright ones and reply, “Thank you, I will take your opinion under advisement. Have a fabulous day!”

5. If a someone compliments you, kindly say “thank you.”

I cannot remember how many hundreds of times I have witnessed women and young hopefuls wince and make ugly faces when complimented in even the nicest and most respectful of ways, as if they are somehow being attacked. Simply saying “Thank You” and continuing your day is an elegant gift to yourself and the lovely complimenter.

6. Always take time for yourself.

There is no excuse for “not” taking care of yourself. If you get enough sleep, personal time, ( even 15 minutes extra a day) and individual space to take care of your needs, you’ll feel more confident and elegant. You are also more likely to treat others with more kindness. Practicing care is the most un-selfish thing you can do.

7. Stay away from gossip.

Nothing is less attractive than an attractive woman who habitually gossips. It is more lovely to go out of the way to compliment other women, even behind their backs. This is the test of a beautiful and elegant woman, inside and out.

8. Treat everyone with respect and admiration.

When no one is looking, it is how you treat others that truly says who are are. For example, I tell my daughters this often and attempt to teach by example. Whether saying hello to a homeless woman, a seasoned police man, to a window washer or a window company CEO, treat them with civility and compassion. This is elegance at its most apparent.

9. Only apologize if you are sincere.

Not too long ago, I continually apologized automatically when something went wrong or when anyone felt bad. Before they could get any words out, I would say “I am Sorry” before I even heard the story. Not only was this ‘not helpful’ to others, it was demeaning to myself. Today, I only apologize when I truly have something to apologize for. In this way, I can respect myself more as well as gain the respect of others.

10. Speak with more clarity.

I have been guilty of talking nervously without even knowing what I was talking about, and then regretting it later. But after studying elegant women in history, real life woman and women on the silver screen, I have noticed that the most elegant women speak much more carefully than I do, with a certain careful pronunciation, and even with long pauses between sentences.
This list is surely not in order of importance, but all points have been personally tested through my family generations, and now they are being passed on to my three lovely and highly impressionable daughters.
One of the greatest gifts I can give them are the teachings I have gathered from years of being human and from making both small and large mistakes.
And admitting that is a gift in itself.
As they grow up, our daughters watch what we do, much more than what we say.
Test this and see.