Monday, June 06, 2011

Oh well...

Just like every journal I've ever started, I have left this one hanging...

How long have I been gone?

My last post was about a new site called Amie Street that was making waves in the music industry by bucking the system and providing a fan-driven pricing platform for all musicians.

Over a YEAR ago, Amie Street was bought, eaten, digested and discarded by Amazon...

Well... I'm back.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ahhhh Amie Street

So, I am in love with this website...

  • amiestreet.com


  • You simply MUST spend some time here.

    Use the promo code: populuxe
    for some extra credits.

    Here's the deal:


    "Our Purpose:

      Amie Street is charting the future course of music retail because we have created a social network that facilitates music discovery and because we price music right - all songs start free and rise in price the more they are purchased. Our dynamic prices allow fans to buy music without breaking the bank and they serve as a useful tool for finding great music. We believe that people will buy more music when the community determines the price. On Amie Street, every member matters and every purchase impacts.
    We know music is social, and the process of music discovery is stunted by traditional digital music retail sites because they are not social (or fun). Music discovery is best catalyzed by communication between people, so we reward fans for recommending songs to their friends by giving them credit to buy more music. Whether you spend two minutes or two hours on our site you are connected to a world of music lovers.
    We support our artists by giving them 70% of song sales and never taking ownership of their creative work. We want all artists on Amie Street to be successful and we believe that our unique marketplace will accomplish this goal to a degree never achieved before. Amie Street is where bands and fans run the show.
    Move to Amie Street, music lives here."


    Brilliant

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    More Poland...


    Where are the movie Cameras?
    Originally uploaded by josiebeth.

    This is real...this is Poland...

    I was walking in Krakow when I looked across the street to see this. An old lady shoveling coal into little tin buckets so her husband could carry it up 3 flights of stairs.

    I cried.

    It's really sad that in the year 2005, senior citizens in Poland have to cary coal up 3 flights of stairs to keep warm. I have never seen anything like it.

    Actually, I have.

    In post war films.

    So I looked around for the movie cameras...

    But there were none.

    I offered to help them but apparently these people didn't take kindly to the kindness of strangers.

    So I snaped these photos and walked away. Two hours later I returned to this street to buy gifts at a shop i had passed earlier - the entire pile of coal was gone - what brutes!

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Poland?


    Poland morning...ugh
    Originally uploaded by josiebeth.



    Yes, Poland.

    What an unreal experience.

    I have been in a lot of places but Poland takes the cake – it’s just not the chocolate cake – it’s the cake that has been put in a cupboard and forgotten about for a couple hundred years…

    What is inexplicable to me is the obscene amount of tourists here.

    “Hey honey! I have a couple of days off work – what do you say we cash in those frequent flyer miles and take that trip to Poland we’ve been talking about all these years!”

    I don’t even know how or where to begin.

    My first morning here I looked out the window of my hotel, the Novotel Centrum, Krakow, and saw a lovely castle perched high on a hill top in the not to distant distance. Not too shabby.

    Krakow is often referred to, in Poland anyway, as Poland’s historical & cultural jewel. From what I can ascertain, this is mainly due to the fact it is still standing.

    To be fair, Krakow is jam-packed with beautiful buildings like the castle – complete with it’s very own dragon legend, a cathedral dripping in wealth, and one of the largest town squares in Europe.

    The weather in the summertime, while extremely dreary in the morning, burns off quickly to bright sunshine, moderate heat and low humidity.

    The currency, the zloty is pleasantly conducive to gift buying with an exchange rate of 3.4 zloty to one American dollar. (but I wrote that yesterday and today it’s 3.1PLN/1 USD – what’s happening here? Is this because of Katrina?) The food, if you are a meat eater is surprisingly good and the desserts are to die for. If, however, you do not eat meat or sweets, Poland is the world’s greatest diet. Unfortunately for me I do not fit into this category. Surprisingly enough, the best meal I have had here was Italian. Go figure. The apple strudel also deserves an extremely honorable mention. I have had one almost every day – can’t seem to get enough.

    Fortunately the Novotel Centrum comes with a fitness center to offset the pastries they serve here…

    The problem I am having with Poland is the depressing-ness of it. This country’s been torn by war, communism, harsh winter weather and stunningly brutal atrocities against human kind. You can see the result of this history where ever you look. Blood everywhere – except, of course, in the churches, which somehow survived both the Nazis and communism with astonishing grace. You can see it in the people’s eyes, which often look as if they are made of glass, and in every weathered brick of every meticulously preserved building.

    I didn’t walk into this blindfolded. As the granddaughter of survivors from Poland I flew here well aware of Poland’s history and fully expecting it to be frozen in time and horror. It has been quite a difficult experience for me to be here, be Jewish, and have a good time in the process. To be accurate it has been impossible.

    To make matters, if not worse, more bizarre, the movie that is being filmed here takes place in a war-torn 1940’s Poland, complete with a slew of extras dressed as clergymen, nuns, period towns folk and Nazi soldiers so as I walk the streets of this historic town, these characters add to the chilling reality of this places historical terror. The disconcerting image of Nazi soldiers walking through the cathedral’s private courtyard with their lady friends, laughing it up and taking pictures, actually makes me feel ill. I understand this to be irrational, but I truly feel frightened by it, and as a result have spent the bulk of my time within the safe confines of my hotel. The modern day Poles do not seem much happier than the period extras, and the older folk do not dress much differently either. For example:

    In Italy – they know you are a tourist as soon as you open your mouth to speak.

    Here in Poland, you’re outed as soon as you crack a smile.

    I am not kidding.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have managed to cover quite a bit of territory here – seen a lot of things. My first full day here I went to see “Lady with an Ermine” one of the three da Vinci oil paintings on the planet. The painting is ugly, but of course, masterful. The lady holds a ferret so ugly it makes your skin crawl – but it’s a da Vinci, and any painting that can conjure an actual, physical response is worth a serious gander.

    I have also had access to areas not generally seen by the public because of my association with the movie shoot. The movie, apparently, has been given almost unrestricted access to some of the most historical places within Krakow because of it’s subject matter – the Pope, John Paul II – the Polish Pope is a hero here and the people credit him for their liberation from communism.

    I have seen hundreds of registered artworks, what feels like twice as many places the Pope once slept, countless churches and even more camera stores for some reason no one can seem to explain to me – since they don’t appear to actually manufacture cameras here in Poland. Despite having really “done” Krakow, I still feel very uncomfortable in my surroundings. Tomorrow I will board a bus to go and visit Auschwitz and Birkenau – the ladder of which is the largest of the Nazi death camps. After that, I will be glad to cross Poland off my list – been there – done that - and ecstatic to board my plane in the wee hours of the morning, and head back to the good old US of A – It really is, sometimes, so easy to forget how good we have it.

    I could never feel at home here…

    Italy?!


    View From the Hotel...
    Originally uploaded by josiebeth.
    Yes, Italy!!

    With only one day left in Europe, and that day slotted for visiting the local Nazi concentration camps, I can safely say, that the best part of my Poland trip, was the Italians I met here, (In Poland - most of the film crew is from Rome) the Italian food I ate here, and the trip to Venice Jamie, the greatest boss ever, along with Joan, his lovely traveling companion, arranged as a treat during one of his breaks from shooting.

    The only thing Italy and Poland have in common is the Pope/Church thing – and somehow, even that is more charming en Itallia.

    I was in Poland for 11 hours when I was whisked away by Austrian airlines to Venice, Italy.

    Ahhh Vennezia…

    The last time I was in Venice, two and a half years ago, with my sister Abigail, it was January, it was snowing, and I was in a completely different tax bracket making it almost impossible to exist there for more that two days. Venice is extremely expensive and the Euro is kicking the Dollar’s ass.

    There are only two things about Venice that aren’t quite as amazing as the rest of Italy:

    Seat-less toilets…why?
    And a ridiculous amount of tourists resulting in outrageous prices almost everywhere you go.

    Everything else in Venice is spectacular – everything. It is not entirely fair for me to sit and write about Italy from a mediocre restaurant in Poland – perspective is everything – I was a big fan of Italy to begin with and it’s life and luster is only further highlighted by the frowns and potatoes of eastern Europe.

    But!

    Here I sit and it gives me nothing but warm, fuzzy feelings to bring you a bit of Venetian life from this Polish barstool.

    Venice, with it’s twisting canals, and salt weathered walls is, quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The beauty of this floating town more than makes up for the hoards of tourists buying Gucci handbags and the lack of toilet seats.

    Fortunately, our hotel, Hotel San Moisé, did have toilet seats. My room looked similar to an old chapel with low, wooden beamed ceilings and a smattering of Venetian glass for color. The hotel was located just off San Marco Square, by far the most tourist-y area of town but full of cafes, pigeons, music and activity.

    Upon our arrival, Joan and I took a restaurant suggestion from the concierge at our hotel and walked through tiny alleys and over two bridges to Galileo for an amazing dinner of fish and vegetables.

    You really can’t eat enough when in Italy. You simply must eat three meals a day because any meal you skip is a missed opportunity.

    Venice is all eat and stare with wonder…sit and drink coffee and stare, and draw, and listen and stare and write and stare and eat some more, while staring. It is hard to actually do anything but stare at the beauty all around you. Every corner you round takes your breath away.

    The Italians are full of life – you can taste it in their food, in their wine – you can easily see it all over their faces – they actually appear to be glistening.

    Venice is a town that cannot be crossed of your list when you are done because there is simply, no way to finish - too much to see, and the thought of never going back can actually give you stomach pain.

    I spent all five days completely lost in the serpentine alleys that turn you around and around until you wind up where you started, laughing it up with a guy who has watched you walk by his gellateria 5 times thinking you where going places.

    Sure – I’ll have a small cup of vanilla…

    If you need to actually get somewhere – the locals are more than happy to direct you. They will say:

    Cross the square, go down the road to your left – over two bridges and then ask someone again.

    You will always get there – but often will have to ask fifteen, twenty people in the process which is really no problem because every one of them smiles, places their hand on your back like an old friend, points, waves, and explains – no trouble at all.

    I felt at home in Italy from my first sip of espresso. Yum by the way…
    The coffee in Poland is surprisingly decent – far better than the US, but the coffee in Italy is completely obscene.

    To go from Italy to the USA is hard, but leaving Italy and flying to Poland actually kills brain cells.

    I cannot wait to go back.

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Matthijs is back...


    me & Matt
    Originally uploaded by josiebeth.
    My pseudo roommate's back from the Netherlands...Sweet little Dutch boy -

    Ladies!

    Get in line!

    This Dutch boy's single!!

    Marry him so he can stay here and pay part of my rent!

    Just look at this face!

    How could you resist?!

    ...Realizing that there are only two women who read this blog...

    Gentlemen...

    Could you do me a big favor?

    If you know any cute girls who might want a Dutch husband can you send them my way?

    Especially if they're Asian - he loves that!!

    I'm poor! I need my roommate!

    I'll start the bidding @ forty dollars...

    Saturday, May 28, 2005

    Where has all the fresh water gone?

    I can’t imagine actually liking the beach. So damn bright, sun reflecting off everything, sand, ocean… so you squint, and avoid looking at the fat pale guy who is scratching himself - shedding his winter skin - reflecting so much light the people sitting next to him are burning to a crisp. Sand everywhere, in your eyes, hair, down there, ugh. I think people all pretend to like the beach because, of course, how could you not? The beach is just a place where people with some body confidence can freely flaunt it without looking trashy. I have never been one of these people. As a redhead, sunbathing has never been much of an option. Crowds of amazed strangers gather around to watch my freckles pop and darken. They laugh, and in 10 minutes I begin to burn – that's fun to watch too! The only good thing about a hot day on the beach – is having a friend with the foresight to pack a cooler with ice and freezing cold beverages to consume - replacing the sweat that’s dripping down your toasted body.

    There’s also the sound of children having fun. That’s kind of nice too.

    I can appreciate a cold day at the beach. Meditation, waves, no one around – just you and the frozen ocean spray - like needles on your face...

    But for warm weather I would much rather bake on a rock by a waterfall, or on a raft @ the lake. I'll take a rope swing over a wave any day of the year.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Online dating...

    I have seen plenty of advice posted by men, for women about what to say in their profiles and what type of pictures to post. Some of them are very funny but I am here with a reality check.

    It really doesn't matter.

    If you are a woman - you will have no problem getting dates online. It doesn’t matter what you write – most of the time men don’t read it anyway. I don't know what the male/female ratio is but I am thinking it's the industry’s best-kept secret and judging by the fact that I have just been given my 4th free trial membership, these sites are hurtin' for women.

    There is a funny guy on Jdate who has a profile called "Advice4Girls" He updates it monthly and I get a chuckle whenever I read it:

    "Tired of being single? Maybe I can help. It’s been over a year since I joined Jdate and thought I'd share some male observations. Those of you have been with me from day one have heard me doing a lot of ranting and raving about the flaky girls on Jdate and offer some basic guidelines in acting like a considerate human being. Well, this time around I think I'll skip the psych 101 routine and just dive into some meaty observations about the profiles I've seen. Let's start from the top, shall we? Let's all take a nice, long, hard look at your pictures. Now look in the mirror. Do they match? Probably the #1 complaint people have is that that we're meeting folks who don't look like their pictures. There's nothing that sucks more than showing up all excited for your date and finding someone else waiting for you. Can we all pledge to put up an honest picture? This whole "once he meets me he’ll fall in love with my personality" stuff doesn't fly. Put up an honest pic and you'll actually meet people who dig the way you look. Believe me, I know what it's like to want to post that one pic from three years ago where you looked totally hot, but if that's not you on a daily basis, leave it in the drawer. Otherwise sure, you're going to reel in a lot of guys, but they're going to throw you back and that just leads to hurt feelings and wasted time. You may get fewer responses with an honest picture, but it's not about quantity, right? It's about the ones who you will truly be compatible with.”

    Yeah, men never do this.

    I wish there was an emoticon I could insert here to accurately express my reaction to this paragraph - one eyebrow raised and an eye roll...

    Please.

    This paragraph applies to both sexes. I have been on quite a few dates and only a handful have looked like their photos. Women don't bitch about it nearly as much because they have a much bigger pool to go back to. I have been disappointed, I have been pleasantly surprised, and I have fallen head-over-heels for people I had no initial attraction to. Bad dates are part of the process right? They provide comparison so that you can thoroughly appreciate how great the good ones are. Deception is a hazard of the online medium – let’s all get over it – I hardly think that going on a date with a fat person who has deceived you by posting a photo of Christy Brinkley is the worst thing in the world – it sure as hell gives you a funny story to tell – and life is all about collecting funny stories…

    “Ladies… ‘Medium build’ and ‘Soft’ can mean many things, but ‘Firm and toned’ is pretty specific. It means, ‘Not overweight in any way shape or form.’ Jdate makes it nice and easy for us to leave out our actual weight, let's not abuse the privilege by fibbing with the handy 'vague' option, ok? Seriously, if someone puts 'firm and toned' and they turn out to be 'lardo' it should give you the right to just turn around and walk away from the date so either go to the gym or make your selection more accurate!"


    Yeah, men never do this either...

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I put "Voluptuous" under body type. Nine out of ten guys that contact me open with the line "You don't look voluptuous/fat to me...you look great"

    Yeah?

    Thanks.

    My profile clearly states under the heading "Perfect Match":

    "A person that knows the definition of voluptuous is not: to be fat, so he doesn't have to ask."

    This is not a trick.

    I am not trying to catch you not actually reading my profile...

    BUSTED!

    I just don't want to date a guy who only looks at my pictures, body type and weight to decide if am worthy to drink coffee with him. I want to drink coffee with a guy who has bothered to read what I have bothered to write...maybe it's naive - but I have no shortage of responses - and no problem whittling the list down to a handful that took the time to find out something about me - or at least enough intelligence to know, or curiosity to look up the word voluptuous in the dictionary before contacting me. It is not my fault that other women use voluptuous when they mean fat. I don't want to date them either - they are the deceptive ones - not I.

    Advice4Girls says,

    “Oh ladies…First of all, maybe it's just me, but profiles that start out with 'hey guys' or 'hiya fellas' just sound a little impersonal. 'Us guys' already know we're competing for you, so you don't have to throw it in our faces. If a guy's opening line was 'hey ladies what's up' he would probably come across as a player, right? 'Nuff said. Another popular starter is 'I can't believe I'm doing this' or 'I finally broke down and joined.' Roughly translated that means 'I was above it for a long time but now I have finally stooped down to the same level as the rest of you losers.' Seriously, that's how it comes across. You have nothing to apologize for; this is the way everyone is meeting now! Anyone who makes fun of online daters just doesn't have the courage to do it themselves, so be proud you're joining and just get on with it. As far as talking about who you are, anything goes, there are definitely no rules, just have fun and be yourself. The only observation I have is that sometimes people seem to turn their essays into resumes or travel itineraries. Honestly, listing every country you've been to or every job you had isn't going to tell us anything about you and it might even make you sound like you're bragging. Saying you have a passion for traveling is more than enough. And while we're on the subject, pictures of people standing in front of the pyramids, Big Ben or playing with dolphins is just plain silly! Unless you are a dolphin trainer, that pic really doesn't tell us who you are and there's a good chance a pic of you in a wetsuit squinting into the sun isn't very flattering. The bottom line is don't try too hard to impress, just be yourself."


    Yeah, I agree with all of this for the most part (other than his use of 'Nuff said’, which makes me cringe.) I think his whole diatribe would have been far more effective if he put it out there for women AND men…no?

    Additional dating advice, just off the top of my head…

    DO NOT post a topless photo. I am a sucker for abs but no matter how hot yours are – you look like a dick showing them off on line – especially on Jdate – what would your mother say?!?!?!

    DO NOT post your income if you are not specifically looking for a gold digger. It’s tacky.

    If you are balding, DO shave your head - DO NOT try to photo shop hair into your receding hairline. This may sound obvious but it happens frequently.

    If you are looking for “marriage & children” DO NOT offer up naked photos in the first 3 minutes of an online chat and certainly DO NOT send them.

    When you meet a girl’s family for the first time and her grandmother asks you,

    “So? What would you like to do with your life?”

    DO NOT answer,

    “I want to be a great husband and father.”*

    *Credit goes out to the fellow my friends and I now affectionately refer to as… The Rug Vomiter

    Interestingly enough fully clothed, good-looking men seem to actually read profiles, shirtless men don’t even pretend to have read them, and men with photo shopped hair read just enough to come up with a snappy email that appears to show interest in something other than how your breasts look in your photos.

    Back to where I began…I agree that people should post a profile that accurately represents who they are but the online medium allows people to be something a little different – to talk to people they would be too shy to approach at a bar, to brag a little about what makes them proud about themselves – sometimes being more real than they feel they can be in a social setting, more confident, etc. Whatever – we are all human AND we keep going back for more…

    At least I do. Don’t know if I’m a glutton for punishment or just looking for new blog material…