Thursday, September 29, 2011

Contracted to Survive

Contracted to Survive

The will to go on is inbred
No matter the obstacles in your head.
From a simple child we evolved, one second
At a time -
Each cell dividing faithfully, molding itself
To a predestined body that thinks and feels
And loves
All over again, as our ancestors did before us.
We never die -
For the living genes inside us have been around
For centuries and centuries, passing on from
One person to another.
They are contracted to survive, and so are we.
Along with them......
History repeats itself....
In more ways than one.....

Patty Apostolides, 2010

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Win a book - contest

I have decided to offer The Greek Maiden and the English Lord for free for a limited time.

Here is the link to win a free book. Just scroll down until you see the form:

The Greek Maiden and the English Lord Free Book Offer

The contest ends November 1, 2011. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Solar Panels Made by Nanotubes

I recently came across an interesting article regarding breaking research done on solar cells.

Researchers from Northwestern University (Mark Hersham, etal) have found that metallic carbon nanotubes can be used in conductivity applications in the solar cells. Currently, indium tin oxide is being used in solar panels, but its characteristics are limiting - it is mechanically brittle, which limits its use, and it is not as abundant as carbon. By using the nanotubes to replace indium tin oxide, this will increase the availability of solar power to such items as clothing, backpacks, tents, etc.

I believe that if this nanotube technology is implemented in solar panels, this will help spur even more growth in the solar energy sector and will prove Ray Kurzweil's (who predicted that technology is moving exponentially) prediction that we will become a 100% solar powered world. It looks as if we're on that path.

For more information:

Researchers use Carbon Nanotubes to make Solar Cells affordable, flexible

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Listening to Voskopoulos

Tonight I'm listening to Tolis Voskopoulos sing H Agapi Theli Fantasia. It is a beautiful song and I grew up watching his movies and listening to his songs. He has such a beautiful voice. He and Julio Inglesis. But right now, Tolis Voskopoulos has all my attention.

The song is about love - that it requires fantasy, and is forgiving. This song is set to the hasapiko rhythm, where a few people get in a line and do an intricate dance.

Here is the link to it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrlrLgFfSYc

I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland. My family was very involved in the Greek community - church, choir, Greek organizations, the works.
There were five girls in my family. When we would go to a Greek dance, we would form our own dance line and became very good dancers, learning all the different steps. There's the kalamatiano, which is the most basic dance and basically a walking dance, going right so many steps, then left, etc. Then the Roditiko, the Sousta, and my all time favorite Hasapiko. Dancing was a very significant part of my life, and when I minored in Music and Theatre, several of my classes were Modern Dance classes. But how things have changed since my twenties. Now I'm a lot older, a middle-aged mother, wife, and author. However, with a twinkle in my eye, I just got up and did a Hasapiko listening to my dear Tolis Voskopoulos sing. Opa!! May the spirit of Greece live forever in the hearts of everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Trailer for the Greek Maiden and the English Lord

I have successfully pulled together a video book trailer for my latest novel The Greek Maiden and the English Lord. I used the Windows Movie Maker and added public domain images. The music I mostly composed. It was a lot of fun and I plan to make a book trailer each for my other books.

Book Trailer for The Greek Maiden and the English Lord

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fight for Frederick Cancer Cluster

Today my family and I went to a meeting held by Randy White in Frederick, MD. He is the founder of the Kristen Rene Foundation, named after his daughter who died young from cancer. Mr. White, a pastor, also lost his wife to cancer. They lived in the Frederick area.

The meeting was held at the International Community Center at 4:00pm.
We were all given packets and inside them was information about Fort Dietrick, a CD with information, and a claim form for people living near Fort Dietrick who got cancer. It was a very moving talk. A map was in the packet of Frederick and each mark on the map represented a cancer patient. Most of the marks were around Fort Dietrick area. The map was filled with marks, hundreds of them. We learned about the toxic waste going into the creek and when Mr. White asked how many in the auditorium had cancer (living in Frederick) just about all the hands went up. It was also very disturbing to hear their testimonies and how many of them lost several family members to cancer. Several news media were there, including CNN and TV13 from Frederick.

As we were leaving, I heard someone being asked by a reporter about his experience living in Frederick and he said that he remembers the experiments, and in one case the balloon that went up above them and dispersed toxins. Hmm...very disturbing news indeed.

When it came to the question period, many hands went up and I didn't get a chance to ask my questions. First of all, I heard a lot about TCE's and PCE's which are chemicals. I didn't hear much about radiation waste, and it might be significant enough to cause damage also (in the way of heart problems and cancer). Second, I was wondering why all these people, knowing that it is not safe to live there, haven't left earlier from that place. I know I would have done the best I could to get out of there. Third, given the toxicity of the area, there should have been evacuations a long time ago.

I hope and pray that these people living in the area as well as the foundation find justice in all of this.

Click below to get more information on this worthy cause:

Fighting For Frederick website

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Using Windows Movie Maker

I recently discovered Windows Movie Maker on my laptop computer. I was interested and hooked once I started playing around with it.
First, I had to upload images, but my children's book "King of Acornia" was in pdf format. So in order to switch each page to an image, I copied each one onto the Paint program. That program is found by hitting the Start button, then the All Programs button, then the Accessories button, and finally the Paint button.

Once in Paint, I was able to copy the pdf page there (highlight the page, then Ctrl C, then paste unto Paint page with Ctrl V) and then resize the pdf image and touch it up. Once satisfied, it was saved as an image file. I did this with all 26 pages of the book. Once they were saved in my Pictures directory, I then copied them into the Windows Movie Maker.

I also needed to do a recording, so I went back to the Accessories button and clicked on the Sound Recorder. Here is where a microphone is necessary. Fortunately, I had one from a few years back when I was tinkering with some music. So I attached the microphone and hit the record button and recorded the music and voice. Make sure the sound is high enough or your might get a weak recording (Go to control panel, sounds, and check). Then save the recording when finished. This should be copied in the Movie Maker folder you are working on along with your images.

On the lower part of the page you will see Storybook. Then, some reels where you can copy and paste your images. Each image will last a few seconds on the screen so if you want it to last longer you need to copy 2-3 of the same image in sequence order. If you want to see how the music will fare, there is a timeline button near the storybook and make sure your music is stretched out long enough for your project. The effects and transitions buttons make the movie very professional looking. Play and save, and when you feel comfortable with the results, then hit the publish button. It should now be ready for uploading to the Youtube.

That's what I did, now I'm busy trying to design a book trailer for my book "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord." Oh what fun.

The Life of a Rose Poem Set to Music

I have played the piano since a young age (mostly self-taught, and later took some classes), and it has progressed to the point where I can play music I make up spontaneously. Keep in mind, the music just pops into my head as I play so I don't know if I could repeat it again. I have tried in the past to write music (from a college course) and have captured some songs of mine. However, each time I play, the music just goes on and on, and it's difficult to capture on paper. Hence the interest in recording it. Each time I play it is different music.

I never recorded it live before so that I could share with others, but for the first time I've been able to record it on Youtube. The piano music is set to a poem titled "The Life of a Rose."

It is a relaxing 3 minute piece on Youtube:

The Life of a Rose

Enjoy!

September 14 Feast Day of the Holy Cross

Today is September 14, a day celebrated by Greeks all over the world as the Feast Day of the Holy Cross. In 326, St.Helen, the mother of the emperor Constantine, discovered the Holy Cross that was buried in Jerusalem. This was a great moment. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on that same spot.

I have my own story intimately related to this day. When I was a young girl of about 8 or 9 years old, I had lost my gold cross while at school. Three days later, on September 14, as I was walking on the sidewalk of the school, a black girl came towards me, holding the cross and asking me "Did you lose this cross?"
I was so happy to see it, because it had been given to me by my godmother and had several delicate carvings that make it unique to other crosses. I thanked her and took it. I never saw her again.

When I returned home that day from school, I told my mother the story and she became very, very happy. She being a reverent Greek Orthodox christian said "This is the Day of the Holy Cross! It is a sign! You lost the cross three days ago and now it was given to you. You were meant to have this cross given to you."

So I do believe in miracles, especially on this day.

God bless,
Patty

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hydroponic Lettuce

Just discovered the value of hydroponic lettuce. It lasts longer in the refrigerator than regular lettuce, which tends to freeze quickly. It seems that the hydroponic lettuce, which comes with its roots attached, also tastes quite fresh, even after a few days in the refrigerator.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Children's Book now on Youtube

About a year ago, I had written a children's book titled "King of Acornia" for a local writing contest. Our ten year old son enjoyed the pictures and the story immensely, but alas, it did not win.

Since then, the picture book has been languishing on the side, and recently I decided to resurrect it. I converted it from a pdf file into a movie, using some trial and error methods, I was able to upload it to Youtube.

Click here to watch King of Acornia

The story is about a squirrel who is a King of Acornia. The King of Acornia finds out through Harry the rabbit that the redhats are coming. They are developers that are cutting down the trees in the forest to develop the land. The king and his friends put their heads together to devise a plan to stop them. Will they win? Watch the video.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Discernment's Path to Truth

Discernment's Path to Truth

To discern what is the truth or not
is a difficult task, particularly on the Internet.
Because something is written does not automatically make it true.
To discern requires research and problem solving.
To discern requires testing, as a scientists tests
His or her hypothesis, and obtains data,
And with precision, logs that data until
The truth is witnessed.
Discernment is the ability to see the lie and expose it
For what it is, a lie, even though it may be sugar-coated
With laughter and a promise or reward.
Discernment is missing from our society.
For if our society was a discerning one,
We would not have reached this miserable state of affairs
Financially, ethically, and politically
That our country appears to be approaching at a rapid rate.
Why can we not see the truth?
Financially, the US is bankrupt and spiraling downwards
Ethically, the morals taught to our children by the media
Does not appear to be challenged by the majority of the parents;
Politically, there are so many secrets upon secrets in our government, that any exposure will be questioned, and if
it is really the truth, where do we begin to let our radar discern it?
Truth lasts forever and has no wiggle room,
It is absolute and far-reaching when experienced,
Like a priori knowledge that never sways
The Truth is my friend, but an exacting friend.