Monday, July 17, 2006

The influence of signs

Do you ever wonder if the power of Zodiac Signs ever really influence the behavior of people?

I confess that sometimes I do. I sometimes wonder if any truth can emerge from the advice of astrology. I find it bizarre---

No, I'm not encouraging anyone to believe in the whole horoscope system literally because I don't, nor do I think people should have to follow the horoscope rules every single day! That seems downright too complicating. But I do think there is something about that silly chart that reflects who we are to some point. Some of it could be accountable for something.

I'm not at all superstitious...I don't believe in fairy tails. But the way I see it, there can be a hidden truth behind just about anything in life. There are answers everywhere. Every creature, thing, and place has a history. A story behind around every corner and perhaps yes, even a meaning located right underneath our own awareness.

I believe in energy and trusting your intuition.

Out of pure amusement I occasionally read about the zodiac signs. I can't help it. I find it interesting, funny and strangely ironic. I feel skeptical about the whole horoscope thing. So for fun, I like to challenge whatever I read and put it to the test.

And so I read it, study it and test it against everything its worth. I separate the characteristics of each sign and puzzle the fragmented pieces together finding common ground and differences. Next, I test my knowledge against the people I know, or meet. When I bored, I like to watch people and try to guess on my own what sign they are. After a while, I narrow my guesses down to the closest top three and from there I can usually accurately figure out which sign a person is before they tell me.

Funny, don't you think? Now if the whole horoscope system was a bunch of BS then I wouldn't be able to figure out the birth signs of people, but I can. So there must be some ironic truth to this zodiac business.

I for one am an Aries. I'm such an Aries it's disgusting. No kidding, every time I read about the characteristic of a typical Aries, I feel like I'm reading a short profile of myself. Sometimes I try reading the traits of other signs to see if I fit the profile of any another. In the end, there is no comparison--- I'm an all around Aries both good and bad, I can't help it.

Check out a method I use to try to test the strange zodiac system...

Back when I was part of the dating scene, I would often read about the compatibility between my sign and the person I was dating (I only did this once before I got to know them). Later, when I've gotten to know the person, I would then read back the same information and see if any of the zodiac information matched up. The results would surprise me every time...

Honestly, I would say 98% of the time the zodiac love compatibilities were always true. When it comes to love, I think the zodiac can open a window and shed some light. On the other hand when it comes explaining the compatibility between co-workers, friends and bosses, the zodiac is about 95% correct. It's a freaky thing--- I've been able to surprise many anti-zodiac people with the these facts.

When it comes to relationships of any kind I think the horoscope compatibility chart can overall do a good job describing the dynamic chemistry. It can describe the weaknesses and strengths in relationships. I think it can also help give advice on how to better handle situations with different signs.

Understanding people is the best way to resolve conflict and helping people. Since the zodiac is pretty good at describing what influences people or what makes them tick--- I think it can serve us good idea's on how to better navigate around conflicting issues.

Back when I was in High School I had a Library teacher who used to tell me that every sign could apply to anyone. Any page of a horoscope book for example, can be read and applied to just about any person. I agree, that theory can be true (especially for daily horoscope readings which personally I think make no sense). But still, I think every person emulates their birth sign more than the rest when you get down to the nitty-gritty.

At my old job, I had a boss who told me that we only see characteristics of the signs in people because we are unconsciously looking for those traits. Ok-- that could be true too. But that doesn't explain how I am able to guess a person's birth sign. I'm not psychic whatsoever, I just read and test what I learn.

I guess it's part of my Aries natural need for a challenge that causes me to test the theories of the horoscope.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Literally can't sit still

I'm having one of those can't sit still days at the office. This is a consequence to spending so much time at the gym. The outcome of running, dancing, biking, free-weights...etc. Fun and torture ;-)

Yes, I'm at the gym a lot now because I want to lose about 10 pounds that I gained by hanging out with my boyfriend too much for the last few months. He's a big TV couch potato and somehow I end up right next to him watching the next episode of "Myth Busters" and "Dirty Jobs." Normally, I'm not very much into TV. And thanks to my main squeeze that has changed. Yes, Love makes you stupid doesn't it. How could I let him cut my gym time?
Ok-- it's my fault I know... now it's up to me to get back into shape. And I will.
On the bright side...
My sudden urge to exercise like a maniac has caused me to rehearse a great deal too. I'm constantly practicing the new dance techniques I've been learning under the master instructor Yoursy Sharif (he is awesome!) I'm completely engulfed by the Egyptian Style right now-- so much that I don't care very much for any other dance style. I'm a little obsessed.

Anyway back to my muscle drama-

Here at work, I find myself constantly stretching at the desk. Pulling my arms, rolling my head around, arching my back to and fro...etc. I have the urgency to get up, walk around and stretch some more. Here's my problem...

Since I'm trapped in an office chair my muscles aren't moving very much and so my muscles begin to ache from not moving. I actually feel like my body muscles are falling asleep while I sit, which is why moving around feels so wonderful. When I actually move from my chair I feel 10times better.

If my muscles would stop tensing up, I wouldn't have the need to stretch every 15 minutes-- I must look like a crazy person always stretching in my chair as if I have some kind of neurotic disorder. I can't stay still. I think I should get a message from my boyfriend, that always seems to help whenever I feel physically tense.
Better yet, maybe I should book a massage at a Spa, wouldn't that be a beautiful thing! Ahhh the spa, what a delicious place to be.

Beautiful Spa Land

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Re-Seller Sin

I'm constantly on-line. If I'm not checking out bellydance websites then I'm probably checking out on-line boutiques that sell costumes. Costume selling is a major issue that I've been wanting to blog about, why because we have a lot of sellers trying to sell lies with their products.

Let me try to explain the lame tricks sellers try to pull. A wise shopper is a smart shopper.

Old/Used costume selling for the price as New/Unused costumes trick
Fair? Not at all. Why? Hello it's used!

Why do I keep catching sellers (even some sinful dancers) trying to sell old costumes for the same price they paid or more? Yes, selling a used costume that probably smells like b.o. or needs fixing/hemming is not right. I don't even care if the costume has been used only a few times, if the costume has been worn--- then it has been worn! Stop trying to have someone pay for a costume you have stuck your sweaty body into more than once.
It's kind of gross and not fair to the buyer.

Be honest to your buyers and be honest with yourself by lowering the price on that costume that you KNOW is not worth the same price you paid. Of course a few dishonest sellers will claim they paid more than what they are asking--- Oh please, That's a load of baloney.

My advice
Please, do lots of research on-line and compare prices. Too many sellers are selling costumes way off the price range that they are worth.
So if there is anyone who is looking to buy new costume: Use common sense and be careful.

Manufactured Costumes selling at Handmade Costume Prices
Fair? I think not. Why? It just doesn't make sense.

It doesn't make sense for a seller to sell a manufactured costume for the same price or more for a costume that has been handmade by a professional seamstress. When professional seamstresses personally designs and creates a costume, it takes a lot of man hours and personal attention. Each design is stitched by hand. When it comes to selling the costume, the profit goes directly to the seamstress and the seller. In some cases the seller is the seamstress and so all the profit goes directly to one person (who did all the work).

About Machine manufactured costumes...
For heavens sake a machine processed the costume. Do you now how many costumes can be processed by a machine? Plenty! What is the seller going to with the profit, is she going to buy the machine a brand new dining room set? The seller in this case is pocketing more money than they deserve. Even if they are purchasing the fabrics and materials, they still shouldn't sell their costumes at prices that make no sense.

I say Lower The Price. Sellers if lower the price and you'll sleep better at night.

Lying about what a costume is worth
Fair? Of course not. Why? It's cheating.

Now this one I know is a tricky one, even professional dancers can fall victim to this. The seller will claim the costume is worth ___ amount of dollars but now they are selling it for the low price of ___ amount of dollars is you buy it today. That's usually BS, the seller is just trying to build up the product so the consumer will feel they are getting a great deal when they really aren't.

My Advice:
The best thing to do is find out how the costume was put together whether or not the accessories have been glued or sown on. What is the fabric made of. Make sure you can see more than one photo of the costume. Then find similar costumes on-line and see how much they are selling for. You will always find a similar costume, you just have to do your research.

Claimed the Costume was made in Egypt when it was really made in Ohio
Fair? No. Why? It's just plain dishonest.

I've seen several ads on eBay and so forth about costumes made from Egypt when the product really wasn't. The reason behind this is simple: the seller wants to make the costume seem as if it was made from the mystical land of bellydance... la la la dream.

For sellers:
Vendors if you made a costume in Florida just say so and stop lying to buyers! It just makes no sense.

Ok, I've grown tired now of writing about these sellers and their stupid lies. I just wanted to vent out my thoughts and put it out there.

So I did.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Miss Rude

There is this dancer who takes a dance class with me that seems to have a really bad habit...a rather rude habit at that!

I'm going refer to this dancer as "Miss Rude" because I don't like bad mouthing anyone, especially dancers.

This dancer Miss Rude has a terrible habit of whispering in class. She is always whispering to her friends while the class is in session, it's more than distracting, it's insensitive!

Usually, I catch her whispering to her friends about someone else in the room. I can tell she is talking about other dancers in the room because she tells her friends to look at the person, then they all giggle to themselves. It's a childish sight, I know.

Actually, on more than one occasion, I've actually seen her whisper stuff about ME to her friends. I can't make out anything she ever said about me because I can't hear her--- so until the day I do hear anything, I'm not going to say anything. There's no point in making a fuss, until your absolutely sure that a person is causing problems.

I have to admit that sometimes I let this dancing diva get to me time to time. She truly does act like a classic dancing Diva. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that she is the head student of the class and she likes to walk around as if she's unbeatable. Yeah...whatever!

Realistically, the only reason she is the head student of this class is because she is the student who has been dancing with that specific instructor the longest. Of course the longer you learn from someone, the more you'll be able to mimic them (it's common sense). Yes, she does dance exactly like the instructor, which make me wonder...why is she in the intermediate class anyway?

If she is so wonderful as she portrays herself to be, why isn't she teaching the class herself. Sadly this girl is too into herself--- it's a sad sight really. I pity the girl.

Her conceitedness is a sign of insecurity, she overemphasis what she knows to compensate for what she doesn't know. I have yet to completely witness her dance technique, but from what I see so far, I think she's a great dancer. But she only seems to be able to dance only one style of Middle Eastern dance. I looked her up on-line, which wasn't easy because this remarkable dancing diva has no website. I did find her on a dancer directory though, I also found out that she does specialize in a single style--- what a handicap (at least to my point of view).

Preferably, I like to study many different forms of oriental dance, so I can be ready for anything. Sometimes I exclusively study one form at a time, but eventually I have to move on because my inner eagerness to try something new will not leave me at peace.

So I wonder...I wonder if Miss Rude can dance any other style of oriental dance and how well is she. I would love to see that feathery dancer try sometime else.

Hey, nobody is perfect, not even Miss Rude and maybe one day she'll realize that!

Allergic to newbies

From my observations, I've noticed an ongoing syndrome among restaurant & club owners/agents in New York City. A syndrome I like to call "Newbie-fear."

Newbie-fear is when managers or agents refuse to book "new" dancers. The booking people are too insecure to try new talent and only want to recycle their "safe set of dancers". (Here I use the word "safe" to refer to the word "ordinary" in case you were wondering)

The problem with this phobia is that only the same dancers are booked over and over again. These dancers are recycled continuously, while the talented new polished dancers have a harder time getting booked or worst...they don't even get a chance to audition.

There is a wide variety of dancers in the city and I think it's about time we see more of that. Although like many, I love to watch the most popular Bellydancers perform in New York from time to time... sometimes I get a little bored with the well-known. I crave to see new dancers, new performers and unfamiliar faces. I believe everyone is entitled to shine once and while.

Food for thought:
New York City actually has the biggest (or one of the biggest) population of bellydancers in the US. Because New York City alone has a population of about 8.1 million, we have just about too much of everything. But what makes New York shine, is the fact that variety is so popular. Life is filled with choices and people crave the idea of being able to chose what they want.

Yes, we have more than our share of wonderful bellydancers, but unfortunately less than half are consistently performing at local venues and so the general public never have the opportunity to get a glimpse of the other performers.

If you take a close at your local listings page of bellydance performances scheduled throughout the city you'll notice the same faces over and over. You'll see:
*It's always dancer ____ who performs at ____ on Friday nights.
*The Night club ____ will only book_____ for their venue.
*The popular____ is dancing at ____, ____, ____ three times a week next month.
I noticed there too much same-ness posted, we have too many available dancers to only use a selected few. It doesn't seem right.

One must not forget that not all bellydancers want to perform at nightclubs, restaurants and lounges, some dancers prefer to be booked as instructors or as performers for exclusive private parties. But remember this portion of dancers only makes up a fraction of dancers in the city.

The portion I'm trying to defend are the new performs, the stars of tomorrow and the ones who will pave the way for dancers after them.

I've both seen and heard of managers/agents who refuse new dancers a chance to audition because the dancer is too new as a performer. Even when the new dancer has had her share of experience dancing at other places, the bottom line is--- if that manage/agent hasn't seen that new dancer perform they will refuse to even bother with the new dancer. It a real shame if you ask me, they could be turning down the next Suhaila Salimpour--- who knows!

On the bright side, new dancers are still able to get a chance to put their foot in the door by their own dance instructors. Many dance instructors are now having student halfa's at venues all over the city. It's a great way to see students grow and discover who they are as dancers.

This city has too many wonderful bellydancers who are hidden behind lack of opportunity. Hopefully diversity will continue to improve in this city and everyone will see more new uncovered talent. This city is rich with jeweled dancers for everyone to enjoy, let's welcome them all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Website Madness

I'm trying to redo my whole entire website and it's really HARD!

Why you ask...

Because I'm starting from scratch with a brand new webhosting provider. I thought shopping for a webprovider was hard enough, but when I actually paid for the service, I then realized what being in the twilight zone must feel like. I don't understand all this mumble-jumble stuff, all these computer technical terms. For heaven's sake, I'm still getting used to "HTML" format, what was I thinking?

Now, I'm just giving myself a big headache trying to learn all this technical webdesigner material by reading books, doing research online and practicing on my own. But darnit-- this stuff is hard!

My first website was a long, time consuming process, but it was also a fun experience too. Since I had so much fun creating my website all by myself, I figured if I upgraded to a more expensive, more advanced, more prestige webprovider that I'd have twice the fun and make a even better site! But no, instead I just feel stressed and confused.

God, if someone could only clarify some of this technical **Bull** I can get the ball rolling in no time! I know how I want my site to look like and if only I could learn these new programs--- I could get something done, maybe sometime this summer! Maybe sometime this year!

For now, I visit my new webhosting provider everyday and stare at the dizzy looking programs. I won't give up anytime soon, I have to keep trying, until I get something! And I will... eventually.

The following cartoon reflects my computer experiences...