Sunday, August 31, 2014

Music: Interview with Matt Newport, talented UK Musician, Artist and Poet

We're starting a new month with a new talented artist, British musician and poet Matt Newport. His talent is versatile, and goes from writing poems to music to performing in theater! Sounds great, right? So let's read on about this great guy!

Matt, please introduce yourself, where are you from and what is your background?

Firstly, thanks for this opportunity. I really appreciate it! My name's Matthew Newport, I'm from the United Kingdom, I write a variety of genres but focus on the pop and musical theatre industry. At the age of 14, I joined a local Amateur Dramatics group, this sparked a huge passion for music and theatre, I continued until 19 and left the group after 5 years. 

Great start for you. When did you start writing poetry and when did you decide to merge poetry and music?

I started writing poetry after I left the group, my poems were deep and meaningful and I surprised myself with my work. I understood poetry itself was a hard career to pursue, therefore I decided to buy a guitar and began teaching myself through books. It felt like the perfect marriage and with a little tweaking the poetry became lyrics and songs were born. 

Matt also paints landscapes
Fascinating, so you have taught yourself how to play the guitar! That's awesome, and very creating. So, having experimented with theater, writing and music, what is your favorite art form and why?

As well as music, another art form I like and frequently use is painting, I paint landscapes and scenic settings. I do have a soft spot for musical theatre. I feel that's where my lyrical writing is most effective. 

You're really all about the arts! What genre do you consider yourself and who is your greatest influence?

I feel it's hard to genre my music, I'd say it's a mix between Ed Sheeran and James Morrison. My greatest influences are Snow Patrol and Coldplay. I write about love and experiences, I feel a lot of people can relate to my songs and lyrics and that's the key: always be sure someone can relate to your music; if not, write the lyrics well enough so that after hearing your song, they feel they can relate to it; words are powerful tools.
 
I love Coldplay and Snow Patrol too! As a writer, I can relate to what you say about words. And what is your source of inspiration to compose?
 
I compose anywhere, my source is normally what comes into my head, I'm endlessly writing notes on my iphone and recording melodies I've come up with on the fly. Relationships are a good source of fresh ideas, some of my greatest songs came from a break up, others come from expressing your love towards someone, music is my expression. Haha, I write my girlfriend a song every few weeks because I like to show her and tell her how much she means to me. 
 
Lucky girlfriend! So we say you're an optimistic/hopeful/romantic guy, right?
 
I'm optimistic, hopeful and romantic, I love showing affection, I send my girlfriend flowers every couple of months, I love to spoil people, I'd say I'm too generous but I can't help it! Haha, I like to make people happy.
 
Sounds like you find inspiration everywhere! What do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans?
 
Interaction with my fans? I like to interact, I think that's the main thing, I'm just a guy who loves music just like them, I like to speak to everyone I can, and spend time with them, not just disappearing after a song, you could say building a relationship. 
 
Matt performed in musical theater
What are you working on right now?
 
Right now I'm working on two tracks with two different people from the US. I love collaborating, it's the only way you can improve your craft as a musician, learn from others and share your creativity. I'm also writing a musical, but I'll talk about that another time. 
 
Sounds great! Where can we find you and buy your music, then?
 
Currently my music is unavailable, I'm working on my album and will release a single very shortly, I'm also busy collaborating, as I mentioned before; best thing someone can do is just follow me on twitter and you'll be the first to know what's happening and when. I am a active twitterer, so if you message me I'll respond.  
 

Can't wait for your single release. In the meantime, let's follow Matt on twitter! Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
 
I'd like to say if any of you are reading this, (if you've got this far Thank You!) and are thinking about performing or writing music, don't sit and think about it, get out there and go for it, meet local musicians, get active on twitter and practice your craft, if you play, keep playing any chance you get, if you write, write loads of stuff, it might look silly at first but keep it in a book, you'd be surprised what you can use when you return to it a few months later, don't be afraid to work outside your comfort zone, stay positive and stay creative. 
Thanks for having me, much love!
 
Great advice, Matt, and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy creative schedule to be our guest! Good luck to you and your music, and when you release your single, please let us know!





    


  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lifestyle: Tarot reading - the art of divination: Interview with a tarot reader

Games used for divination and esoteric purposes have always been an object of curiosity for many, and even today, serious professionals who study the divinatory arts of cards are searched by those who want to have guidance to act and improve their chances in love, money and career. Today, we interview Suely Zadorosny, a Brazilian professional specialized in the arts of tarot reading. Let's get to know her!

Can you tell us something about you and your background?

I have a B.A. in Languages (Portuguese and Literature) specialized in Interpersonal Psychology. I was an elementary school teacher at public schools for 2 years. Then, I became a health care government employee, where I have worked for the past 30 years and soon to retire. I'm divorced and I have two adult children. I'm also a professional tarot reader and an artist specialized in mandala painting.

So, you have an artistic and literary background! And how did you decide to become a tarot reader?

I decided to learn the art of tarot when I was very young, during a time in my life where I was going through a difficult divorce. I was in search of spiritual help, and looked into many different sources, to no avail, until I had a tarot reading consultation. At first, I was somewhat skeptical with the results, because I couldn't imagine a deck of cards would mean something that could help me. But with time, I realized it was, indeed, the spiritual help I so needed, and basically, all that was revealed to me during that reading actually happened one way or the other. I went back for more readings, and each time I became more and more impressed with this type of oracle and its many possibilities. From this moment on, I decided I would learn all about it, and dedicate myself to study and work with the tarot in the best way possible, so I could help people the same way it helped me.

This really sounds like an amazing story. Basically, what is the tarot?

The tarot is an oracle deck of 78 cards with drawings whose meaning comes from a very long time ago. There are several types of tarot decks, because each artist or magician can create their own tarot cards, focusing on one or more of the symbols, however, the meaning of the cards will always remain the same. 

What is your recommendation for those who want to have their first tarot reading?

I recommend they come to their first visit with an open mind and heart, and without prejudice,  because they will hear several pieces of advice which will speak louder to their heart than the mind, and they will need good will to understand them.

Sounds intriguing, so tell us what usually happens during a tarot reading!

Each professional has a different way of working the tarot. I start by making a prayer over the deck, and asking the Universe to help me guide the client in the best way possible, and hoping he/she will leave the reading in a lighter mood than when he/she came in. After we chat for a few minutes, I open a mandala (Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe) to see the real moment he/she is going through, and what kind of energies he/she is bringing in to the reading. Then, I ask them what they are really seeking, what are their objectives in regards to the tarot reading, and we start the reading by me asking questions concerning the issues they need an answer for. Usually, when a client talks, I can figure out exactly what he/she is looking for, but I leave them at ease so they can express themselves freely.

Mandala painting created by Suely
How long does a reading last, and how often should it be done? For example, is half an hour sufficient for a reading? How often is it recommended, once a week, once in a lifetime?

A reading usually lasts an hour, but it can go a little longer. Long readings are not recommended, because too many different subjects will be dealt with, which can stir too many emotions and energy, so the information received must be well assimilated by the client. This requires a certain amount of time. When everything is going well and the client only wants to have a general look into their lives, a reading every 6 to 12 months is enough. However, with the majority of clients, that's not the case. There are always new issues or problems to be solved or brought to the table. It's up to the client  to decide when to come back for a new reading. This can happen once a month, or every 3 months. But I have clients that come every week or every other week. It's important to note that this interval is not enough for things to change or find a solution, however, when clients are going through a crisis, no matter in what area of their lives, new information can be found and new paths can be opened in search of new solutions with every tarot reading.

How exciting! If we want to get in touch with you for a reading, what can we do?

Mandala painting created by Suely
I give personal readings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For clients who are not from here, I also give readings via Skype, Facebook chat or by phone. Anyone can contact me via email at suely.tarologa@gmail.com, and through my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/szadorosnytaro, where you can schedule a reading and check out my work. You can also Skype me at suelyzadorosny.

That's easy! Distance is not a problem when we have your Facebook page and your email then! Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I'd like to say that tarot is not a religion, and I give readings to people from all spiritual backgrounds. The real objective of a tarot reading is to guide and advise, but never to decide or determine, because the client has and must use their free will. The information received during a reading can and should be used by the client, however the choices made should never be the responsibility of the tarot reading or the tarot professional.


Sounds reasonable! Good luck and thank you so much for your time for this interview!

***Note: Suely Zadorosny offers tarot readings in Portuguese language only. Unfortunately, she can't offer them in English at this time.






Thursday, August 14, 2014

Books: Interview with Author and NASA Engineer Terry R. Hill - Science Fiction

During one of this year's book signing events I participated, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Texan writer Terry R. Hill in person. His science fiction book was amongst the 50 Most Worth Reading Self Published Books of this year's Indie Author Land list. I'm excited to introduce Terry R. Hill!

Terry, tell us a little bit about you, where are you from, and what is your background?

I am an East Texas native, was trained with two degrees in aerospace engineering. I have worked for NASA since 1997 with a very satisfying career as an engineer and project manager spanning programs from the international space station’s navigation software, to next generation space suit design, to exploration mission planning, to mitigating the health effects of space on astronauts. While supporting the manned space program has been a lifetime passion, writing of different worlds, alternate futures and the human condition has filled my spare time.

Always looking to maximize what life has to offer, I have found myself singing on stage, helping to house the less fortunate, skydiving, hammering away at the Berlin Wall, wearing space suits, ice swimming in Finland in the dead of winter, bathing in the hot springs of Japan, and forging into the unknown as a parent and author. Life is too short to let opportunities pass us by, as we only get one chance to ride. But mostly, it's all about the people in our everyday as we experience this thing we call Life.

Seems like you've been - and are- very busy! With your demanding career, and family life, when did you decide to write and why?

Well like many major decisions in life, all the right things had to fall into place at the right time. I won’t go into those in detail, but let’s say that one day in 2011 I accepted the fact that I probably had fewer days ahead of me than behind – as we all do at one point or another, and that I had best get to writing if I was to get serious about it. I had always enjoyed writing and had received encouragement from friends and co-workers over the years, but never took the time to indulge myself with writing. So one day I realized I needed to add more Awesome to my daily life, and writing was my preferred way.

What a fantastic way to put it! Adding more awesome to your daily life! So, what genre (or genres) do you write and what is your target audience?

So far I have been writing in the genre/style of Science Fiction – Dystopian / Space Exploration because they say “write what you know” and I know the business of space travel and exploration.

My target audience is from the later teens through mature adult for people who like a little intellectual stimulation served up with their science fiction. While personally a huge fan of Heinlein and Clark – to name two of the greats – I strive to serve up similar stories with deeper meat to sink your teeth into. And therefore I am hoping that my work appeals to individuals who also like the style of writing of these authors.

I try to serve a modern approach to science fiction with respect to the sexes so that there are enough elements such that both can enjoy the stories. Everybody likes adventure. Everybody likes a little sex. Some like a little romance. Some like a little graphic violence. Some like appropriate rough language. Some like character building and development of relationships. If done right, I think it can be quite effective and enjoyable to all.

Great approach to writing, there's a little bit of everything! Do you incorporate your expertise and background working at NASA in your books?

One of my original goals was to provide science fiction to the masses that was firmly grounded in real physics, real space flight operations, real experiences of being in space and using the hardware, etc. Another current NASA scientist and celebrated author, Geoffrey Landis, has also written a few books that maintain as much of realism in the stories as possible from someone within the spaceflight community.

It sounds odd to say that one would want to maintain realism in their fiction, but that is exactly what I desire. We have learned a lot about living and working in space since the greats – even Asimov – started writing. Some things they got right, some they didn’t. So now I want to offer up stories and themes that are re-anchored and extrapolated from today’s reality of space travel and science.

It makes sense, a lot of space reality does seem like fiction and can be hard to grasp, anyways. Do you have a favorite quote - who is it from and why you love it?

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” – Anonymous but also has been attributed to Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens quotes (Archbishop of Malines-Brussels 1904-1996)

I received it from an aunt in my early teen years and for many years it sat on my dresser looking back at me as something that seemed to make sense, but nothing profound. And I guess at the time it felt a little sad knowing that getting what you wanted came at a price.

Then as I got older it took on more meaning as I understood that following your dreams would take some commitment and sacrifice and what that really meant in terms of educational time commitment, relationships, job possibilities, etc.

Now in the second half of my life, it still takes on new meaning for me. Now having friends and peers also in the later parts of their lives and careers, I can see that those who have truly followed their dreams – and were willing to pay the price and the sacrifice – are truly happier over all. Unlike as a youth, I now appreciate the wording in that if you willingly make the choices to follow your dream, the price you willing bear and is in no way regrettable. But more importantly, you can make your dreams happen!

Very motivational and inspirational, thanks for sharing it! Since you mentioned Landis, Asimov, Heinlein and Clark, who is your favorite writer/author? Has she/he influenced your writing in any way?

Oh wow, I don’t think it’s possible to name just one. But I think each one endeared themselves to me uniquely and each taught me different things.

For example, Heinlein taught me that science fiction can be the vehicle by which you can explore new “big ideas” and that it’s not just about aliens and laser guns.

A. C. Clark taught me to think like a futurist. S. Hawking gave me eyes on the galactic scale. V. Vinge exposed me to the world of post-dystopian futures. O. Butler placed me in the minds of alien species and their motivations. P. Anthony taught me about the humors side of the world of fantasy and J. Rosenberg let me experience that realm first hand with the grit and gore that made it real. Certainly not last is A. Rand that introduced me to objectivism that has dramatically shaped my ideas in many areas of my life.

So as you can see, with so many great teachers out there, it is very hard to name just one.

That's very true. And how many books have you written? What are your plans for the future of your writing career?

To date, I have published “Third Exodus” which is the first volume of the series “In the Days of Humans”. At the time of this article I have the second volume in the hands of the beta readers and have begun writing the third volume. And in my moments of distraction, I am fleshing out the outlines for a few other books that I am quite excited about – one is even ventures into the world of religious text, which is very unusual for me not being a religious person. I guess I find this story concept interesting because I consider myself more spiritual being having a human experience, rather than the corollary.

But my goals for my writing career are to continue writing quality stories that leave the reader changed and hopefully with something extra – however long that takes.

Great to know your second book is coming soon! Good luck with all the projects. Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

Yes! To all of those. While it might not seem so on the surface on the books that I have written / am writing, but underneath you will see that I always give the reader the ray of hope and resolution. I guess this is where my writer influencers come in to play. Most of them write about the contagiously exciting future and possibilities. And at NASA we ask the question “How do we make it happen?” not “It can’t be done because …”.

While I do not manage my teams using hope as a motivator as I feel that’s unfair and to some extent deceptive. However, I do feel that in the course of a story, that is what you need to get you through hard times. And that I think is fair so long as it manifests itself in something positive once you are through the trial’s gauntlet.

Life is hard. You have your good times and your bad. I think the world is, and is shaped, by your perceptions and your viewpoints. So being an optimists, and a romantic, I present my stories in a similar light.

That's really interesting. So, now that we're so excited about your book, where can we find it?

Network links:
Website: http://terryrhill.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/t.r.hill.author
Twitter: @terry_r_hill
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7348871.Terry_R_Hill


Sale links:
•    CreatSpace.com: https://www.createspace.com/4446863
•    Amazon (Kindle):  http://www.amazon.com/In-Days-Humans-Third-Exodus-ebook/dp/B00FLW1T0W 
•    Barnes & Nobles (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-days-of-humans-terry-r-hill/1117116233
•    Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-the-days-of-humans-third-exodus
•    Also available on Apple iBooks – just search for In the Days of Humans


Perfect. Thanks, now we know where to go to find out more about you and your work. Is there anything else you'd like to share today?

For those who might be interested in my writing or style thereof, I offer up the following two snippets from “In the Days of Humans: Third Exodus”

One tick of the clock passed. The President exhaled. How had their well-meaning efforts led them here? The hope and fate of the world likely was held on the point of his decision. It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. “Unless there are any better ideas...?” He paused but was not met by any reply, “Alright, go make it happen!”

The crowd quickly began to disperse. The phone rang. Everyone stopped in place as if rehearsed and slowly turned to face the President as he answered.
“Hello?” The muffled sounds of an excited voice came from the other end of the line. Sinking into his chair, the President’s face paled and turned graven as he ended the call. Oh God…

“Sir?”

The President spoke quietly and with great effort. “We no longer have control of our nuclear arsenal. There are reports of at least fifteen domestic launch signatures. The preliminary trajectories will take them to D.C. and fourteen of the largest cities in the US. The same is being reported by all of the other countries with nuclear strike capability.”

The lights flickered and went out. The room erupted with action as all bodies mobilized in an effort to come up with evacuation plans for all the major cities, including their own.

A rather frantic staffer approached the President. “Sir, we need to get you onto Air Force One, now! We have sent for the First Lady to meet you at the plane.”
He sat motionless, stunned. What had they done? “Sir, we have to leave NOW!!”

….

The last person was on board and the doors to Air Force One were still closing as the aircraft picked up speed down the runway. The atmosphere in the plane was organized chaos, but with movements of purpose. Silence dominated the cabin when the President turned to the General of Special Ops and asked, “What is the latest?”

“Sir, we have taken down about forty five percent of the Internet hardware and have units en route to directly take down as much of the rest as they can. Sir, I have to remind you that the original Internet was designed by the military to survive and negotiate hardware taken out by a nuclear attack. It has evolved over the last sixty or so years. I honestly don’t think we can take it completely down. We have reports of a thirty percent success rate at taking out the satellites. Our anti-missile system was not designed to fire away from the Earth and take out communication satellites in geostationary orbit. We lost control of that system five minutes ago. We just can’t keep ahead of Blue’s decryption capabilities.”

The President leaned forward in his seat and cradled his head in his trembling hands and then slowly looked back up at the general. “That leaves us with only one option. Contact any country still in control of their conventional or nuclear weapons and ask them to strike all places on Earth where Blue has assets. This is our only hope to have a future, any future. Send the list of worldwide targets, and may God forgive me.”

From the quiet of space where sound has no reign, the blue planet slowly rotated. Silently the continents crept into view, the resplendent cerulean oceans and forested landmasses were replaced by the glow of inflamed crimson and oranges and the shadows of darkness. The cloud cover was occasionally punctuated with flashes that parted the sky like the hands of God himself making room for the growing, glowing, rolling columns that served as ferryman to transport the souls of billions from the Earth to their respective, assumed destinations. As the Earth’s surface rotated into the blackness of perpetual night, the places where cities once illuminated the darkness now only briefly glowed with the transient life of fire that quickly extinguished itself, leaving a world as it had been before humankind walked upright across its face.

Or …

Evah was early and stood alone in the desert on this unusually cloudy morning for this wasteland, at the agreed upon coordinates. A clear path was worn in the hard earth as she paced while waiting. She hoped that they would arrive soon. Evah checked her watch for the thousandth time, and then heard what sounded like three mighty drum beats off in the distance. That must be the sonic booms of the Yamakarā, she thought to herself. They would be here any minute!

Scanning the sky in the direction of the last signal of its approach she finally saw what she was searching for. As large as a mountain and with the magnificent wings of a mighty, ancient black dragon, the Yamakarā punched through the cloud bank and glided silently to a stop on top of a choking blanket of rushing air, dust, and sand. She caught herself jumping with joy and clapping her hands like a schoolgirl as the vehicle rolled to a stop. Heat radiating from the ship made it seem alive, overheated, and weary from its long journey. This was not the spacecraft that left Earth four years ago; it was something completely different. Something beautiful, but not of her world.

She quickly moved to place the portable stairs where the external hatch should be and secured everything in preparation for the egress of the crew. Almost convinced it was taking too long and there must be something wrong, she sighed with relief as the hatch opened inwardly and one of the young engineers stuck his head out, waved, and shouted a greeting. To her surprise, as the crew departed the ship her eyes welled with tears of joy. Her long departed crew had finally returned home, if only for a short while.


Wow, these are great! Thank you so much for sharing your book's excerpts here and thank you for your time in granting us this very educative interview! Much success with your books!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Music: Interview with Musician and Composer Chris Weatherwax AKA Ultrabeast (Classical electronica)

We're really excited to welcome another very talented musician and composer to our blog today: Chris Weatherwax (Ultrabeast), who I first met through Twitter, and listened to his amazing work on SoundCloud. Make sure you visit his pages (listed below) and sample his music! Here's a little bit of what he has to say about his work.

Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and what is your background?


I am a 35 year old guy from the US. I've been playing piano/guitar/bass my whole life and composing. Have a Bachelor's in Classical Composition and Piano Performance. My graduation piece 10 years ago was a variation of Beethoven's Egmont overture I played on my piano. http://www.macjams.com/song/79115

What an incredible musical education! So, you play piano, guitar and bass! What is your favorite instrument, and how to you incorporate them into your music? 
 
Definitely piano because I've played it for so long I can sit down and my hands do their own thing while my brain figures out chord progressions and melodies while I'm playing. I incorporate them to counterpoint other things but only if the song needs it. Sometimes a song with just piano is great by itself if it's something I've never heard before and not boring.

That's some talent! What genre do you consider yourself and who is your greatest influence?  

Definitely classical chord progressions and improvisations. I combine classical chord progressions and melodies with modern sounds and instruments like electric guitars and synths, kind of like Wendy Carlos from the 70's.  My biggest influences are Beethoven, Mozart, Bach (Especially his Brandenburg Concertos I love their energy), Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Hans Zimmer, Samuel Barber (platoon),  Barry De Vorzon (Composer for The Warriors theme), Klaus Doldinger (Das Boot theme), Brian Eno (Dune theme). Hopefully I'm not boring you to death here :)

Not at all! I also love classic music and you mentioned several of my own favorites! With such great influence, what is your source of inspiration to compose? 

Source of inspiration is I practice very hard on my instruments and work on chord progressions in the back of my head while I do other things, then when the feeling strikes I sit down and improvise it out in my head while I'm playing. Sometimes I am up  for 3 days at a time until the song is finished. I'm kind of a freak, I also write poems for the songs and lyrics and love learning and doing everything myself. I get really excited about my music and love to share it with people!

You should be, after all this is a lot of work and the result is beautiful! What do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans? 

I get really excited about songs I'm working on and love sharing them with my Twitter/Facebook followers instantly when the song is done. It's great! Also I get some really amazing feedback from people on Soundcloud and Macjams and other places. They give me some really awesome ideas for things to add to my songs I never would have thought of!

It's exciting to know your fans are enjoying your music and can also give you feedback and ideas. When I heard some of your music, there are some vocals as well. Do you also sing? Who does the vocals for your music? 

I do sing yes. My mother was an opera singer so I guess I have some of her genes in me. I do my own vocals for my songs and just got a new blue yeti mic which I love. You can hear me singing in "Enter my dreams" https://soundcloud.com/chris-weatherwax-1/enter-my-dreams and "I am Unyielding". http://www.macjams.com/song/79804  

How fascinating, you are a product of a music family! So what are your plans for the coming year? 

I am working on a couple composer competitions for AAA games like Bioshock Infinite and Star Citizen. Just working on always getting better. Working on getting my vocals and guitar better and finishing learning the new version of Ableton Live 9 Suite, also exploring some new vst's. I also perform my songs live in concerts/recitals and improvise new songs from scratch as I play my main ones like Beethoven's Pathetique/Moonlight Sonata and Mozart's K. 545. 

Great plans! Now tell us, where can we find your music? 

All over the place. Soundcloud, Macjams, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter. Following me on Twitter is the best because I always tweet new songs I'm working on every week and when they're finished as well. They are all free for download but if you want to support me I suppose you can buy some stuff on Bandcamp!   
 



Twitter: (The best way to follow what I'm working on) : https://twitter.com/WeatherwaxChris (@WeatherwaxChris)

Macjams: A great old site where I do works in progress a lot of great knowledgeable people there: http://www.macjams.com/artist/Ultrabeast

Bandcamp: where you can buy high quality finished stuff to support me if you wish: http://ultrabeastharkonnen.bandcamp.com/releases

My website where you can find all of these links and updateshttp://www.chrisweatherwax.com/


Great suggestions. Would you like to share anything else with the readers? 

Yes, I spend most of my time working on songs and practicing them, so I don't have much time or energy to promote myself, so if you would share my songs with people that would be great! All of my songs on Soundcloud are from the past year some are works in progress but there are many really good finished ones as well. Also I enjoy doing slow builds where the song starts out slow and the best part is in the last 2 minutes so if you don't listen to the whole thing you might be missing out on the best part. I am an audiophile and love listening to my Sennheisers. I do record with them occasionally so if you are an audiophile you will appreciate the subtle details in the pans. Anyway thanks for this interview it's nice to see people having an interest in composers! :) 

Thank you, Ultrabeast, for sharing a little of your musical talent with us! We wish you good luck and success in your career!


 

 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Location: Cairo's best fast food falafel sandwich

I was told not to miss a falafel sandwich in Egypt, because it's supposedly one of the best. While in Cairo, there was a nice Middle Eastern restaurant at our hotel,  "Nubian", right out by the pool, facing the timeless pyramids. "Falafel" was calling my name, but to my disappointment, what was served at the Nubian was just the same I had tasted in other Middle Eastern restaurants around the world, and it was also... guess... overpriced!

So I was happy to find out that, on our Nile cruise, there would be an Arabian night-themed feast. Maybe now I could experience the Egyptian "falafel". Hmm... well, no falafel was included in the banquet menu, though. I had to know why. To my surprise, I was told that "falafel" is not exactly food for the Pharaohs, but a very popular meal for the masses (the equivalent of a burger), therefore, not fit for the feast buffet. OK, but I couldn't leave Egypt without trying their original falafel made for the people! What to do now? Since it's a popular food, let's try a popular place, not a tourist restaurant, I thought...

I noticed a place that looked like an Egyptian style fast food a few blocks from the hotel and decided to venture out of the safe "tourist zone" and mingle with the locals - although there was no mistaking me for a local though, since during the 10 minute walk from the hotel to the Egyptian "McDonald's", I received several solicitations from vendors trying to get me to buy their "made in China" plush camels! But I made it to the place, safe and hungry. It was full of local Egyptians and not one single tourist, and I was able to order my "people's falafel" sandwich! Which cost me the fortune of... 25 cents! No joke, it was really that cheap; it was actually the cheapest sandwich on the menu... and it was the most delicious falafel sandwich I've ever eaten!!!! So, when you're wandering around Cairo, don't forget to stop at their local fast food looking place for the 25 cent falafel sandwich. Don't be afraid to try this culinary adventure. You won't regret it... and you will be craving it for eternity!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Books: Angels of Abundance by Doreen Virtue

Book Review: Angels of Abundance, by Doreen Virtue

I was thrilled to receive this book and find the teaching and messages within, and it didn't disappoint me. It's the kind of message, though, that you need to read with an open mind. Even if you don't believe in the assistance of angels, heaven and the divine, there is no harm in reading words of positivity, messages of altruism and suggestions for higher self development and improvement. After all, we're always searching for help, and help that comes from within is the best kind.


This is a delightfully written book that can be read in one sitting, however, you want to take your time to absorb the peaceful messages and indulge in these meaningful stories and testimonies of people who have received the most needed guidance by the angels. Doreen and her son Grant, who co-wrote the book with her, were able to capture a nice collection featuring 11 messages to help you manifest support, supply, and every form of abundance. 




I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lifestyle: Hazards of Travel Insurance

It's never been a better time to talk about travel insurance than during the summer break, where the likelihood of taking vacation is the highest. We usually don't think that something serious or catastrophic can happen during vacation time; after all, it is a time to relax, unwind, and get away from the seriousness of life. However, lots of unforeseen situations can happen when we're traveling.

As a young adult, I used to frequently travel domestically and internationally for months, and never thought of buying travel insurance. In fact, I had never even heard of travel insurance. Once, while I was backpacking through the US Eastern coast for a few months, I met a German girl in New York who asked me if I had travel insurance. It was the first time I ever heard of it and I had no idea why I would need it for. When you're young and just traveling around, you never think about the unforeseen situations.


Having worked in the travel insurance business for several years, I understand now the need to have some form of insurance while away from home. However, here's one alert: if you're going to purchase travel insurance, make sure to read the fine lines and understand what you're going to be covered for before electronically signing the contract. You see, most people just click and sign it, and obviously don't read the terms and conditions, and when something happens... well, it's just not covered. Take a pre-existing condition, for example. If you already suffer from high blood pressure and the reason to buy travel insurance is to cover your medication, or a visit to the doctor to check your high blood pressure, think again. Most travel insurance doesn't cover pre-existing conditions. But if you get food poisoning from the fish street vendor in Thailand that smelled delicious, then your visit to the doctor could be covered, although you might have to pay upfront and then ask for reimbursement. Be sure to take some cash for unpredictable expenses even if you have travel insurance!

I used to get frequent calls from irate customers asking to have their travel insurance cover the cancellation of their trip because they didn't like the itinerary offered to them on a flight bidding site. "I can't travel at midnight with 2 young children and then return at 5 am 2 days later; I have to change this itinerary!!!" - guess what? Not covered! If you had read the fine prints before signing the agreement, you would know that dissatisfaction with the itinerary is not a covered reason to cancel a trip... You also get that shopper who only does the research after the purchase... yes, those exist. Once, the gentleman was screaming about the horrible itinerary that was, in fact, more expensive on the bidding site than if he had purchased it directly through the airline, demanding a cancellation. Really? You bought the most expensive first and then realized there was a cheaper way to buy the same flight? Sorry. Not covered.

Also, beware of lost luggage. Most suitcases end up being found by the airline, so in fact the luggage is delayed and not lost, which is a huge difference. You won't get money upfront. No need to call yelling that your business suit was in the suitcase and it cost you 2,000 dollars and you can't go to your business meeting in jeans. The delayed luggage insurance may cover just a few hundred dollars and you must first prove that the luggage was delayed for a certain amount of hours. In the likelihood it is not found, you will have to first obtain the claim from the airline with supporting documentation that it has been deemed lost, and then, after the airline compensates you for the loss, you can make a claim on your travel insurance.

Seems hard? Not worth it? May be not worth it for minor claims like that. But take the case of the businessman that fell and hit his head in the marble floor of a hotel in East Asia. In a coma for several days, he had to be moved by air ambulance back to the US. The cost of the air ambulance? A whopping $120,000.00. Luckily, his travel insurance benefit for medical evacuation covered up to $200,000.00.

The important thing about travel insurance is to make sure your coverage is ample enough to cover you in a real emergency situation. You don't want to be sitting at a hospital in a remote location in Africa, where the bed sheets are only changed once a month and you have to pee in a bottle. You want to make sure you can fly out of there as soon as possible to the most convenient hospital that can treat your poisonous spider bite! Have a great adventure and don't forget your travel insurance!