For the Week of: 7/31-8/6/2003

“on my knee
I give heaven thanks I was not like thee.”
Shakespeare’s King John [I.i.82-3]

Show your support for the Fishing Guide to the Stars: Austin, weekend of Aug. 16 & 17 — El Paso, weekend of Aug. 23 & 24.

Leo: Work with me here, okay? “Stability” is a wonderful concept. But it’s like, way overrated as a lifestyle. Sure, it’s nice to have things be steady and even for a while, but since that’s not going to happen, why not try throwing a little caution to the wind? Why not live a little on the ragged edge? I know the answer to the rhetorical question, but I had to ask it anyway.

Some things I can’t resist, and the temptation of kidding with you about stability is part of the problem. Come on, it was joke. Maybe. There’s some stuff that feels like it is going to threaten your stability. Not that I have any first hand experience with this, but backing a Leo into a corner is not a good thing–it’s not a wise course of action. The deal, it’s how your Leo self deals with this threat. Overreacting isn’t good. That usual Leo flair for the dramatic understatement, over-statement, and general stretching of the truth isn’t a good idea. Calm Leo brains, calm Leo action–especially in the face of what you’ve got going on–those calm actions will go a lot further in getting you where you really want to be. And a calm Leo brain, followed by calm Leo action, reasoned, articulate and well-though-out action, not a knee-jerk, that gets you back to where everything feels stable again.

Virgo: It wasn’t an elegant solution. I was snaking a fish out from under a canopy of trees, up a small creek, off the lake. Big fish, too. We’d pushed the boat pretty far up a creek, a small arm of the reservoir lake we were fishing on, the further up that creek channel we worked, the more dense the oppressive overgrown brush got. Tall tendrils of grass were almost in our faces. It was bad enough that I was swatting bugs out of my hair, swishing my ponytail around like a real horse’s ass, trying to keep the willow leaves out of my way.

The cast was a weird one, as I was in the back of the boat, but I tossed the lure, a big, “bubba-gum” [pink] worm up just passed the bow, landed that lure in about 18 inches of water, drug it passed the big fish, and he was angry. I think he struck out of spite, not because he was hungry. All that work for one fish? You bet. It was worth it. I don’t think that fish weighed more than about three or four pounds, but it was worth the effort. Besides, in the middle of summer, any fish is a good fish. The stultifying effect of the summer’s heat, the way Mars is going backwards, it all adds up. Swat the mosquitoes, try that inelegant cast, and see if you can’t win something. Just try not fall in. Not that I have any experience with that, either.

Libra: It happens, weeks like this. It just happens. The beauty of using a computer to do most of the hard work in life, the computer doesn’t seem to get bored batch processing stuff. Me, on the other hand, or a Libra, we do get a little bored with batch processing stuff. Wears us out. However, like me, your Libra self is face to face with doing some “batch processing” at work. Might not be at work, could be something as simple as sitting down to look over the budget, and making sure you have adequate resources to pay all them bills you’ve been meaning to pay.

Either way you slice it up, though, there’s some kind of a group of items that all need to the same attention. The worst thing that can happen when Mars is moving backwards is “repetitive stress injury,” but I’m not really worried that you wind up with Carpal Tunnel, or anything quite like that. It’s more along the lines of a “mental repetitive stress injury” as you feel like your brain is starting to atrophy from the mind-numbing work. I’ll promise, though, if you set yourself down and start working on the batch to process, it will get done faster. I won’t promise that you’ll see an immediate reward for this effort, but if you look on down the road, about the time your birthday gets here, you’ll be thinking, “That Fishing Guide was right….”

Scorpio: Summer nights can be fun. Some summer nights are amazing, with a vast variety of entertainment options available, from free film series, to open mic, to just standing outside a venue and listening to a garage band warm up and then play something. I was out with Bubba the other evening, and he snuck us into a show, something about knowing the security guard, but I’m not sure exactly how that all happened–I just know I got in for free–it was an excellent performance, and I wished I’d brought some earplugs.

On the way back to the trailer park, at the end of the night, like, around two in the morning, Bubba was still all fired up. His energy and your Scorpio energy are similar in that no one else is interested in trying to keep up with you. He was going on and on about doing this, or that, maybe getting a bite to eat, and wasn’t there an after-hours place down the street? “Ah, c’mon man, let’s do something!” I was thinking, “I’m getting too old for this sort of behavior.” Look around, my fine Scorpio friend, everyone else isn’t interested. We’re worn out. We’re tired. We can’t keep up. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun, but if your companions seems a little dazed, you might try and find another Scorpio to play with. Seems like you’re the only ones having any fun.

Sagittarius: I was noticing–the other evening–that the nights seem to be getting a little shorter. Not so much that you could really tell that much of a difference, but still enough to feel a slightly perceptible change. Problem being, summer time [Northern Hemisphere], it’s the still the dog days of summer. Long, hot, usually pretty dust-choked days filled with perspiration and an occasional cool dip in the pool or creek. Other than that, there’s not a lot going on, and these days, Sagittarius just feels a little more dogged out than usual.

You can blame a number of things, and the hemisphere really doesn’t matter because there’s an astrological heat coming in from Mars that makes all this feel a little less, a little less than, so words fail me. Not long ago, we had this strange weather pattern. It was summertime hot, and the Gulf Coast sent a load of moisture this way, with the threat of rain, but neither the rain, nor the cool ever really materialized. It was a little more humid than usual, and it was a little more sultry. That’s the way things feel in Sagittarius about now. Not much to do, but grab a big old glass of ice tea, sit in the shade, and watch the tea glass sweat. I knew it was a hot one when I finally moved an oscillating fan out on the porch, just so I could pretend to cool off. Might try a similar trick for yourself.

Capricorn: I’ve got one Capricorn friend who’s a “fiend for caffeine,” as he puts it. The lovely elixir can come in a couple of different forms, be it a sloppy Styrofoam cup from the corner convenience store, a high-powered cup of espresso topped with frothy milk from a snooty coffee shop, that special “turbo” blend of iced coffee one place makes [iced coffee with a shot of espresso], or even one of those [brand name] bottles of iced coffee with milk and byproducts floating in it. Could be any of these, or, my fear, a great combination of them all.

Deal is, you’ve got a little too much energy floating around as it is. You might want to watch out for that caffeine overdrive situation. There is such a thing as getting over-amped on the coffee stuff. While I figure your stomach would give out before you had too much of that alkaloid, I suspect that there’s another influence at work in here.

See: Mars is winding you up a quite a bit, and as long as you listen to him, and drink too much coffee, then there’s a problem with no sleep, poor work habits, and a mind that’s always running itself in destructive circles. You get yourself caught in a loop, and then spiral downwards. The trick, in my book, is to drink less coffee. Let the planets energize you naturally. Try it, just for a few days, see what happens. I reserve the right to be all wrong, but just cutting back for a day or two might help matters calm down in Capricorn land.

Aquarius: For a long time, I have lived in place called “Shady Acres.” It is called an “R.V. Park” on its sign. Makes for a comfortable, if somewhat cramped living arrangement, and the price is certainly right. Plus the location. Along the shores of the Colorado River, in South Austin, I had a view of downtown, and yet, the actual place itself reflects a more naturalistic environment with big shade trees, some plots are less manicured than others, and the place always feels a little like it is going to seed.

The advantage of such a location, close to the creek for a dip on a hot summer’s day, close to downtown’s entertainment district, close to just about everything but my now defunct office. Even then, that wasn’t too much of a hike. A bucolic lifestyle, right in the heart of a metropolitan area. The neon on the sign burned out a while back, and the owner, if there ever really was one, neglected to fix it. Not problem, or so I thought. I had a date looking to pick me up one evening, and I got a frantic call from her cell phone, “I’ve been all up and down Barton Springs, and I can’t find ‘Shady Acres’! Where are you?” The sign, these days, just says “Acres.” The Shady part is burned out. In the daylight, this is readily apparent, but at night, the pink neon glow is missing. We got that corrected, the location, not the sign, and we hooked up for an evening.

With the Sun swinging opposite Neptune, you might find yourself confused about an obvious missed direction. Don’t freak out on me, just pick up your cell phone and find out where you’re supposed to be. Better late than not at all.

Pisces: “Reality” is such an ugly word to the gentle, peaceful, kind, enduring, and much over-worked Pisces quadrant of the heavens. Yet, there’s something to be said for the real world. Last time I was in California, I narrowly missed the annual Garlic Festival in Gilroy. It’s a big deal there, seeing as how Gilroy is one of the leading areas for growing and distributing garlic.

Garlic is an especially useful spice, it has many side benefits, too, like being medicinal, curative, and excellent at repelling vampires. In fact, a good dose of garlic can repel just about anything. Or anybody. A good herb specialist can explain the why and wherefore of the chemical compounds that make the medicinal and curative elements work, but common sense can explain why the odor of garlic is both repugnant and yet the right spice in certain dishes.

At that Gilroy Festival, I heard about something that, frankly, scares me. Garlic Ice Cream. Some things in life are just not meant to be. I suspect it was a novelty flavor, and I don’t see that catching on much. But garlic ice cream, between Mars, Neptune and the Sun, isn’t such a bad idea. Smooth, sweet, hot and spicy. Like the good Pisces you are, try to combine a few things and see if the magic works. I can’t promise that garlic ice cream will cure everything wrong in your world, mostly attributed to Mr. Mars, but I can promise some kind of strange relief from some kind of novelty product just like that stuff. Next week? Banana Sea Slug Ice Cream?

Aries: You’ve got to get a grip on the nightmare thing. Your Aries subconscious is playing tricks on you. Or, it’s going to be playing more tricks. Now, more than one horror writer has turned strange, mental nightmare material into a viable source of income. You could do that. But I doubt it. However, I don’t doubt you. Never, ever underestimate an Aries, that’s what I always say.

Don’t underestimate yourself, either. But watch out for the creeping, suspicious, nightmare quality to some of the upcoming events. You’re going to see things that frankly, just between you and me, aren’t really there. It never hurts to be a little paranoid, but with the relative position of Mars in his place these days, it’s all going to be a little freaky. Personally, I find “a little freaky” kind of a decent switch from the way things have been. But not everyone likes my strange sense, style, and tastes about the way things are. When something strange occurs, like it’s going to in the next few days, the best course of Aries action is to not get all weird. Don’t freak out. Pretend like that thing is just the way it’s supposed to be. “Alien abductions? Sure, happened to my neighbor last week. Turned his hair green.”

Taurus: I enjoy a cigar from time to time. It’s not a regular habit, and the best expression I have for a good cigar is the way it clears my head — usually by clearing everyone out of my way for ten foot radius [or more]. The smoke drives away the persistent summer pests, the cat even moves to the other end of the couch to avoid me and the cigar.

Cigars were in vogue for a while, then fell out of favor as fate and fashions changed. Which, to me, makes a cigar an even more perfect way to “mark my space” as it clears everyone out for a respectable distance. Given where Mars is going to be, I’m sure you’re going to be feeling like you’re smoking a big, fat stogie, just like me. Problem is, in your Taurus heart of hearts, you’re not really interested in clearing out the area. Still, I’m pretty sure you’re going to find yourself with a larger than usual radius wherein everyone seems to be avoiding you.

You can get all up in arms about this extra space, you can worry that your personal hygiene isn’t what it’s supposed to be, or you can sit back, survey all that is around you, and enjoy a little peace and quiet. Might not be all that peaceable, and it might not be all that quiet, but as long as folks are avoiding you, enjoy the solitude. Even if you don’t have a blue cloud of tobacco smoke around you, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good time.

Gemini: I was looking for a software patch, what should be a quick download and install procedure, on the web. Just the other day. Some task that is supposed to quick and easy. One company’s website sent me to another vendor’s website, which then bounced me to a third site, linked to a fourth site, then I found a news item linked from the fifth or sixth place I looked for help. In fact, I never did find that patch. That’s just poor design and implementation, if you ask me. Not that folks haven’t complained about those sorts of problems with my own sites — that’s not the question.

The problem was I lost track of what my original objective was, and then I wandered around for an hour of more, reading gossip, chasing vague innuendo, tracking useless “inside rumors,” which then led no where. I lost track of my original goal, that software patch I was looking to download. No big deal, I got it another day. Computer is working okay again. But I’ll never get back that two hours, that whole morning I spent clicking from one site to another, splashy pages. Pay attention to the details right now. Okay, forget the details, pay attention the important project, goal, direction, that “thing” that you have in mind. It’s really easy for you to get sidetracked looking for one item, and then, just like me, you wind up being “site-tracked” instead of getting where you want to get.

Cancer: Cajun cuisine is some of the finest food I’ve every eaten. Hot, spicy, using a variety of resources, it combines a lot of everything. A good “Cajun Boil” includes crabs & shrimp [saltwater], Crayfish [freshwater], and sausage [farm animals]. It’s a little from all corners of the world, all from what’s now a pretty small state. The original Louisiana Purchase, though, that encompassed a lot of terrain, look it up on historical map some time. The Louisiana influence is pretty far-flung, too.

At that Cajun Boil, though, I have a problem, see, it’s the crab legs. I’ve found that, to my mind anyway, the crab legs take far too much energy to be worth the effort to get to the succulent portions of meat. Way too much hard work is involved in getting to the good stuff. Crack the legs open, peel shell away, watch out for those splintered sections of shell, get around the tough tendons and stuff, just to get the goods. Tasty, that’s for sure, but I’ll go for the crawdads [bite the tail, suck the head] and “peel and eat” shrimp over those crab legs, especially when I’m hungry.

As flat-out good as Cajun cuisine is, the effort to get to the good stuff sometimes doesn’t justify the return. You might not be actually picking through a tabletop full of boiled victuals with a side of red beans and rice, but you’re going to want to weigh some of decision in the next few days, as in, “Is it worth the effort for what you’re getting?” It’s like those crab legs, you know.

About the author: Born and raised in a small town in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel spent years honing his craft in trailer park in South Austin. He hates writing about himself in third person. More at KramerWetzel.com.

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