Laeti edimus qui nos subigant! Fri, 14 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 32 32 86008595 Roadkill Chili Fri, 14 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000

Roadkill Chili

Been some years, and as I tried to explain to my buddy, I don’t have a recipe. Meat, peppers, onion, garlic, seasoning, and the secret ingredient, Chorizo.

Think this one was three firm green tomatoes, half-dozen mild winter jalapeños, two hot Serrano peppers, two organic bell peppers, some ground meat, some meat I cubed, and toss all into a pot. Wait a few hours.

Was aiming for my brand of walmarts chili, which I haven’t made in some time, but I didn’t get around to it. Traffic was too much to get the store. Just took a shot with what I had. Sea salt, cayenne, some mixture of unknown stuff?

The one great secret I didn’t include? Brown sugar. Or, more to form here, piloncillo, a small chunk off of a sugar cone. Old trick used to work really well, just a spoonful of brown sugar to sweeten the pot, so to write. With the hotter peppers, the sugar slows the burn until — that original chili chef (Scorpio) claimed it slowed the burn until those peppers kicked in like afterburners.

This batch? All worked. Wasn’t as hot as I like it , but my buddy was begging for something that was less fiery.

No habanero —

More’s the pity. C’est la vie.

Most seen here — Road Kill Chili.

Roadkill Chili

The chili recipe is important as there is no recipe. It’s a matter of gauging the size of the chili pot, then seeing what looks good at the time. While I love to include anaheim and poblano peppers? Didn’t look right this time, and the green tomatoes were far more appealing, and certainly firm enough, to work quite well.

Chili — my kind of chili making — is a lot like the way I approach my day job, reading charts. There is no recipe. There is no one firm and guiding principle. Some astrologers are so versed in just one “recipe” — that’s all they know.

Like my chili, I tend to be a generalist and I favor a format that doesn’t have rigid guidelines of specific interpretations, as humanity, much like what’s available at the store for making chili, can vary from day to day.

There’s also a taste-test factor. I picked up a half-dozen fat, succulent, juicy winter jalapeños for the chili. As I was slicing them, I popped a thin sliver into my mouth. Tasted like jalapeño and not a lot of heat. Perfect. Then I tested the Serrano, and it was still summer-drought hot.

Peppers develop more character (heat) if those peppers are mistreated, and drought, summer sun, endless questions, nagging, all of that makes the peppers meaner. Hotter.

Peppers that are always told that their mother dresses them funny? Them’s the hot ones. Peppers like that are downright ornery.

The jalapeño were not that hot, probably raised in a greenhouse, and had plenty of love and water. Those Serrano’s? Yeah, mean farmer, be my guess. Only used two of them, in this pot. While I’m not one who is afraid of the wash and flush of a pepper-induced rush, I was asked, politely enough, not to make it too hot this time.

Roadkill Chili

The term Roadkill Chili was originally a title christened by friends in other places. Think we used some venison in that version, along with whatever it was, and my buddy termed it Roadkill Chili.

While title is poetic and certainly has a ring to it, realistically? No roadkill was used in this stuff.

The appellation stuck, though, and methodology, same one I’ve been using for years, just gather what looks best that day, with no real eye on specific contents.

Like my astrology chart readings. Each one is a little different because there’s no real recipe for what’s most important.

If one follows a recipe, the results are predictably the same, every time.

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Locational Astrology Thu, 13 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000

Locational Astrology

Got a couple of requests for “locational astrology” in recent weeks. I do read the “astro-cart-ography” maps, and the simplest way to explain it?

It’s an astrology chart wrapped around the planet earth showing best — and presumably worst — places to live according to the astrology plus terms and conditions.

It’s not offered on my website, not like the regular astrology chart reports.

“It’s not about where you’re at. It’s about where you’re at.”

As, as noted before, I was approached about doing some locational astrology readings, I figured a preamble of sorts is in order.

In part, this can be a quick glance at a chart, like I do in some places — like a rock shop. But the process in gritty detail? Lots of moving pieces to play with, like the natal chart, then the relocated natal chart, and the astro-cart-ography chart.

That’s three charts, just to start with, and doesn’t include the transits and progressed charts. At its core, though, one must first be comfortable with one’s birth chart, in my terminology, or, simpler?

Be comfortable with one’s self.

“It’s not about where you’re at. It’s about where you’re at.”

That easy.

Locational Astrology is a challenge, I studied this material In depth, years ago, and, over the last decades, I’ve used it in readings, a little on the side, just to see what fits best. While it’s an incredibly valuable tool, just relocating to a better place doesn’t always work.

Like I sometimes say.

“It’s not about where you’re at. It’s about where you’re at.”

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.4
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Queen Thu, 13 Dec 2018 05:00:00 +0000


This quick story — link — suggested that Queen’s anthem, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the most streamed song at this time.

Cool for Queen.

I was working in a motorcycle shop (outlaw BMW storefront), when I first head this song on the radio.

The morning drive-time jock was a patron, and he recited the facts that the banging at the beginning was done as they beat up a refrigerator.


Nothing to do with anything.

We will, we will rock you.



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100 Days of Happiness Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000

100 Days of Happiness

100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi

Italian. Didn’t realize it was a translation, but its original language was Italian, very much like my native English, but more melliferous in tone.

From the first few pages, the translator’s tone seems to evoke a certain post-modern standard, works well. Assured, calm, rational in an irrational situation, and more pointedly, quietly confident in voice.

“Almost every family on earth has dealt with the pointlessness and humiliation of the medical spiral. It’s a round robin of treatments that puts money in the pockets of private clinics and leads the patient by the hand into the afterlife, but only after emptying his pockets. I’m not falling for that. I promise.” Page 108.

The main character starts out dead, from the Big C (cancer). It’s narration — with flashbacks and loops — of his last 100 days.

“I suddenly understand that human beings aren’t divided into good and bad, southerners and northerners, the intelligent and the stupid, or any of the other thousands of distinctions that we invent to liven up our existence. They’re divided into book benders and non‒book benders.” The former are happier.” Page 138.

That much is true. Or as close as an Italian author can get to it. Two kinds of people. Even at this juncture in my life, I am a non-book-bender. But I do scribble notes in the margins, on occasion.

“I remind Umberto that I’ve always considered psychologists to be people without any true calling, more or less like politicians.” Page 185.

Would you go see a shrink, if you had less than 100 days to live?

100 Days of Happiness

Love. Loss. Italian comic books.

Never heard of Diabolik before.

Must be a parallel.

As a digital book, the pulp price was attractive, and as a digital book, the chapter divisions weren’t so clear, not at first, but the main character — the protagonist — was counting down his last 100 days.

Another weird attribute about reading a digital book? I pause long enough to flip over to a satellite image of the globe, and look for Rome, Italy. If Texas is bigger than France, then Italy is? That’s not very wide, is it?

100 Days of Happiness

Observation I made privately, years ago, “dating” a Virgo?

“Nowadays, a man who is forty and some change is hardly old. But if he pretends he’s eighteen and dresses accordingly, he’s old, and how.” Page 316.

My observation was about women of a certain age, trying to dress like their daughters, and how it wasn’t really effective. I prefer women in sensible shoes.

Life and death, redemption, forgiveness, all from Italy with love. And doughnuts.

Damn, now I’m hungry for a doughnut.

100 Days of Happiness

100 Days of Happiness

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Austin’s Own Nature’s Treasures Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000 Not Etched in Stone

Austin’s Own Nature’s Treasures

Not Etched in Stone

Not Etched in Stone

Looks like I’ll be in Austin’s own Nature’s Treasures for a Tuesday.

Often in Austin

Tuesday at Nature’s Treasures.

4103 North IH-35 Austin, Texas 78722
Store phone: 512-472-5015
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Last Austin show for the calendar year, 2018.

It’s really him,” at the rock shop in Austin.

Austin’s Own Nature’s Treasures

Use the code, “sparkle faerie” at the check out — for applicable discounts.

Vincit Qui Primum Gerit

“First to arrive gets the best deal.”



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Hold My Beer Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000

Hold My Beer

It’s a standard line, almost just a punch line, in Texas.

Recently, the most common variant of the joke?

Mother Nature: You CANNOT have four seasons in one week.

Texas: hold my beer

So looking around in retail land, I stumbled across this, Shower Beer holder.

Is this a thing now?

In other venues, think: my horoscopes — I’ve lamented the loss of privacy, a feller can’t even take a shower without a waterproof phone or bluetooth, whatever.

Then the shower beer holder.

On some level, this has to have been a gag gift. Maybe a dare, like, “They would never carry this in a store, right?”

“Twenty bucks says, I can get some retailer to put it out on display.”

I don’t know, I just found it all hugely amusing.

Weekly Notify Email

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
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Austin Pho Sun, 09 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000 Golden Buddha

Austin Pho

Golden Buddha

Golden Buddha

For several years, I lived in North Austin, as in north of 183, even. Didn’t last long that far from my waterfront, beach house trailer park, but I did it for love. Or one of those emotions that looks like love. That was a failed experiment.

I would suggest that it is best if I follow the exact same advice I give others. Not sure I will, but it was worth it trying to remind myself.

“Heed thy good counsel, boy.”

Don’t move for love.

One of the discoveries I made, up in that — it was a sketchy neighborhood at the time — the people living downstairs from me were busted for hard drugs. Looked out my window one morning to see agents with DEA in yellow lettering on their windbreakers, crawling through the dumpster.

I left North Austin shortly thereafter, decamped for southern climes and sunnier times. But that tenure in North Austin gave me two opportunities, one was I started to receive a real stipend for my authorial work as an astrology writer. (Got paid for writing horoscopes.) Then, merely as an adjunct to the location itself, I was exposed to “Pho,” and I have no clue how to properly say it.

There was, is, was? There was a local chain — think like Taco Bell — only it was for Vietnamese, with the term, “Pho” figuring prominently in the name. While I found three different noodle shops in that neighborhood, that one from the chain became a favorite.

Years later, I found another branch, same tree, in Deep South Austin (off Oltorf). That one location — on the south side — introduced that notion of cognitive dissonance, wherein there was clearly Austin-Asian heritage in the front of the restaurant, but equally clear was the loud, accordion-driven conjunto blaring from the kitchen.

Austin Pho

One similarity between Asian and Mexican cuisine, so I found? There’s a certain ability and even an innate desire, to use the whole animal — in the soup, the stew, the broth, or maybe, just in the chorizo.

The first time, I don’t recall the exact moment of the first time, but I got used to dining in a place, that lonely year so far north in Austin, I got used to dining in place where I was the only — white guy? Caucasian? Straight, white guy, I kind of stood out, other than the obvious characteristic that I was substantially taller than most of the other patrons. This was a time when Austin was a nascent tech-hub, but not the burgeoning giant it is now. Perhaps that’s evidence of roots; I am unsure.

I was a weekday regular, tending towards a large bowl of pho, and I preferred the “all in” version, with rare steak, sausage, meatball, fatty tendon, and something called “Bible Tripe.” I have no idea what it was, besides some kind of animal intestinal lining, but that’s a guess. Slightly chewy, and the whole bowl was served with a side platter of fresh basil or cilantro, whichever was available, as well as sliced jalapeño peppers and bean sprouts. The soup itself was some kind of aromatic broth with noddles, and other stuff.

The presentation hasn’t changed, too much, not across several different locations. For me, with an iced “Cafe Su Dat,” I could make it a meal for the day. More about my experiences with Vietnamese Coffee elsewhere.

Austin Pho

Can’t say I ever went back to that suburban triangle of delights. There were two, three noodle shops when I left, as well as an “Asian Grocery,” which I can only describe as spooky, in a good way, but it had tea, incense, various pickled animal parts, Feng Sui accessories, and row after row of food stuffs I cannot identify. Butcher in the back, and there a certain essence, remember this was Old Austin, and the ethnic striations were more layered, then.

That’s where I got exposed, and then, over the following year, learned to appreciate, then thrive on the nourishment in a bowl of “Pho.”

Some years back, when I started the semi-whatever gig at Austin’s Rock Shop, I found that the old concert venue, South Park Meadows, was paved over, with a BBQ outlier in one corner, and some kind of an Austin Pho place in the strip center.

To me, it’s now a rare treat, to stop and get some “Pho.” My last trip to and from Austin, cold winter’s day — cold winter’s day South Texas style — required a stop for something that felt hearty, seemed healthy, and tasted good. Seems like the shopping centers are sprawling, mutating, metastasizing, gobbling up formerly healthy highway verge, paving paradise. Confused, at first, we eventually landed on the place, and had some lunch.

What I recalled, back in the day, I could eat a large bowl of Austin Pho, and have a fancy Vietnamese coffee, for easily less than ten bucks, and that would include a generous tip. Feed two for under $15, right?

Not like that, not so much now. Then, too, there’s the confusion of cultures, and the cuisine, I was taught that it was “Vietnamese,” while the Thai Ice Tea, was from, as the name implies, Thailand. Neighbors, maybe. The same? Not really, like East Coast/West Coast?

The ultimate proof, though is in the steaming bowl of soup and noodles. I would also judge, based on years of experience, with the way the little side-saddle of fresh herbs is served. I like it with three or four slices of Jalapeño in addition to a good spring of basil, and some wilted, winter cilantro.

They managed all of that, and the soup itself, after scanning the menu a few times, I found the “everything” bowl.

Over the years, though, I developed a certain taste, and since this is a menu item, I found that the “rare round steak,” and what used to be, for me, “bible tripe,” those were the two best items to add to the soup. The rare ‘steak’ was raw until it hit the hot soup, and that cooked the meat. The meat was thin slices of some kind of cow part, and I never have determined where, or what, the tripe came from. Don’t care. Tasty and delicious — isn’t that all that matters?

Austin Pho

My experiences with Austin Pho started in way far north Austin, or it was, way far north Austin, more than twenty years ago. I lived adjacent to an “Asian Area,” or Pacific Rim, or whatever the correct term is, I’m not sure, and I will probably irritate some group with my feigned ignorance. No, really, I’m not sure of the correct term.

The taste of the pho itself seems to be dependent upon some secret recipe and certain herbs, spices, I’m not sure, as that basil adds a certain kind of aromatic flavor, but even, then, it’s not overpowering.

I can’t be a proper judge, but the ethnic flavor was certainly missing in new South Austin. Happy for the diversity, sad to see changes.

Then, back to the Asian Grocery, there are certain elements always present. The “Fat Buddha,” usually a gold color, at the entrance. Something to break up and welcome the flow of people and prosperity. I am no great Fang-Sway guy myself. But I recognize the efforts.

It’s been some years, and I found that echoing back, and then revisiting, brought back that flood of memories. Old neighborhoods, predates my South Austin tenure, flavors that broadened my horizons, and ethnic diversity where, once again, I was clearly a minority.

Always as a backbeat to my work, always that sense that I’m a stranger in my own, home town. I’m just a visitor, not wholly rooted in one place.

The Austin Pho was better this time, but that might be me, but I think it had something to do with the chewy stuff in the soup.

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
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Jung Via Pink Cake Sat, 08 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000 Jung via Pink Cake

Jung Via Pink Cake

Jung via Pink Cake

Jung via Pink Cake

“As I saw it, a scientific truth was a hypothesis which might be adequate for the moment but was not to be preserved as an article of faith for all time.”

  • Carl G. Jung Memories, Dreams and Reflections

Pink Cake: The Quote Collection – Kramer Wetzel

Pink Cake

Pink Cake

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Journey not Destination Fri, 07 Dec 2018 18:20:00 +0000

Journey not Destination

My approach to astrology is much like intreprations of Shakespeare’s work; it’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Bass fishing, inshore coastal fishing, Shakespeare scholarship, and my astrology, what does it all have in common? Journey not Destination, simply put.

Journey not Destination

Some of this material is relatively easy to grasp. I’ve toyed with Sun Sign definitions for the whole of this career, as each sign sign has obvious archetypes, tropes, and caricatures of the meanings.

But splitting that kind of material up, and delving first into Moon Signs, then balancing that against a Sun Sign and Rising Sign, that gets to be more of a dance and tricky balance point rather than just straight up interpretation of materials.

Over the last half-dozen years, when presented with the time-and-soul-sucking vortex of a commute to Austin at least twice a month, I got in the habit of “books on tape,” which were neither books nor on tape. First was a lecture series by an Oxford professor, and her works, typically a class, was centered on a question about a play, each hour presentation was themed around a single play. Got some good high points from that. Some straight Shakespeare, but also a great deal of material.

From there, I finally got to listen to the entire canon, read around, or acted and recorded, forty (plus) plays. Listened to that all the way through three times so far.

There’s depth and layers, interpretations of interpretations, ancillary supporting material that might — or might not — have any bearing on the subject at hand.

This is about process versus production.

This is like fishing, wherein the goal is to catch fish, but being aware of what’s working, what’s not working, and what gear, tackle, and baits are best? On any giving day, the equipment requirements can change. What worked on afternoon for fishing — and catching — Large Mouth Bass? At this one local lake? What worked on that one afternoon, might — or might not — work the next day.

So the line between my version of Shakespeare Scholarship and fishing is clear as both are process-oriented endeavors. While there is a stated goal, the route to reach that goal can meander, slip sideways, fall into a pit of problems, or just motor along, blindly and happily in ignorance, from time to time.

Used to fish at this one lake, and there was a power plant entrance, the intake for water — as the reservoir was nothing more than huge pond for cooling the generators. The intake side had warnings, which, as is my style, we would regularly ignore. Drift under the roped-off area, trolling motor purring almost silently, not generating any wake of note? Sure.

For a while, that was the great “secret spot” to fish, guarneeted to succeed — as much as any fishing trip is guaranteed — since most of the other guys fishing wouldn’t go under the wire.

  • Got to bend the rules some days.

Likewise with Shakespeare scholarship, have to bend some of the rules. A recent discussion brought back faded memories of an all-female cast playing Taming of the Shrew — straight. Elizabethan styling, conventional staging, just, all the actors were female. While the play itself wasn’t — according to my memory — embellished any? The jarring juxtaposition of gendered served well.

  • Got to bend the rules some days.

With astrology, there are certain guidelines. Accepted data points, rules, interpretations, and lore — all handed down from many millennia of research and documentation. Astronomical data is easy; what it means is more nuanced. If only there was a guide for this.

  • Got to bend the rules some days.

Journey not Destination – Kramer Wetzel

Bare Foot Astrology (Volume 1)

Bare Foot Astrology

Portable Mercury Retrograde – Kramer Wetzel

Portable Mercury Retrograde:’s Mercury in Retrograde

Portable Mercury Retrograde

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not high on drugs Fri, 07 Dec 2018 10:20:00 +0000 not high on drugs

not high on drugs

not high on drugs

not high on drugs

I’m not high on drugs.
I’m just weird.

  • —Kramer Wetzel

Pink Cake: The Quote Collection – Kramer Wetzel

Pink Cake

Pink Cake

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