For the Week of: 8/14-20/2003

“[They are] hard-handed men which never labour’d in their mind till now!”
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream [V.i.72-3]

Show your support for the Fishing Guide to the Stars: Austin, weekend of Aug. 16 & 17– El Paso, weekend of Aug. 23 & 24. Find out what Mars and Mercury are doing in your own chart.

Leo: From my east facing front step, looking through the trees and out over the lake, just after sundown, there’s the prettiest reflection of the moonlight on the ripples of the river’s surface. It is seriously romantic, the way moonlight glitters and glistens across the water’s surface, the gentle summer zephyrs stirring the surface, the sound of cicadas dyeing in the gentle background buzz of the night. Then there’re the bats, too, the huge colony of Mexican Free Tail bats who live under the bridge downtown, just a few blocks west of here.

They all take to flight in the summer’s eve’s dusk, usually heading east, but a few stray and wind up circling the porch lights here. They have to eat their own weight in bugs, every night, in order to maintain themselves. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. It’s one reason we don’t always have a lot of flying vermin, unless you consider the rodents with wings a nuisance. I wouldn’t, it’s all a part of that idyllic scene, which goes back to the moonlight on the water. Take a minute, right after sundown, cast your gaze to the east, and give it a chance to drift off to an idyll, a moment of reflection. It hasn’t been so very bad at all. In fact, there’s been a lot of good. You’re slowing down though, and yes, I know there are still some Leo Birthdays up ahead, but the frantic rush is slowing down, so it’s time to slow yourself down, too.

Virgo: Yes, you like having Mr. Mercury in your sign. That’s a good thing. The problem is, however, that Mercury is just about the only planet in your sign. There’s a pile of planets in Leo, planets not yet in your sign, and then there’s this pesky Mars affair, over in Pisces. The deal is, good things are about to happen, but they’re not happening yet. Nothing is worse than being at the front door, and you can’t get in. It’s a lot like window-shopping. No, I don’t mean you’re shopping for a window, I mean you’re looking in that big plate glass window, and you see something that you want.

But now’s not the right time to actually go and plunk down some hard-earned cash, or whip out the credit card, and buy that thing you want. Stop. Do a little comparison shopping. Consider looking around at possible alternatives. Instead of making a firm decision on the next few days, why not let some of these ideas simmer in your brain? Give them a chance to fully develop before you pop for that big purchase? Two events will transpire to help you. One, you’ll be able to more thoroughly assess the worth and need for whatever it is that you’re shopping for, and two, you’ll be able to find a better, even luckier deal if you’ll just put some of this off. I didn’t say don’t look, but I would suggest waiting before taking action. Give yourself a little cooling off period, first.

Libra: I was using an artificial grub on the end of some “titanium” fishing line, with a medium length pole that’s really a little stiff for light fishing. I was looking for a big Bass. That combination usually gets me just what I like. It’s the right action, the fish can’t usually snap that [expensive] line, and the grub? That stupid little piece of plastic catches more fish than anything. Usually good-sized fish, too. I got a strike, yanked back to set the hook, and reeled in a fish. It wasn’t a Bass, it was a tiny little perch. Or brim. Nothing spectacular.

In fact, I was afraid my fishing buddy was going to snap a picture of me with something on the end of my line that looked a lot more like bait than fish. You know, it’s embarrassing to be seen with such a small item on the end of the line. Now, at the end of the fishing adventure with Kramer, if you counted that fish, I landed 12. An even dozen. If you didn’t count that fish, it was only 11. At the end of the day, I was noble. I’d encourage your Libra self to be as noble, too. I didn’t count that one little non-Bass fishy. To a more competitive mind, that’s just not right. Other signs would have to include it. Let’s be a little more realistic. Doing the right thing won’t always win you big prizes at the moment, but in the long run, it’s a better way to play. Or work. And it can save you from having your fishing buddies e-mail you photos that are clearly altered to make you look bad.

Scorpio: I know that there’s nothing so refreshing to a decent Scorpio as a good “pissing match.” Let’s just see who can arc that stream out the furthest, the longest, and do it better than anyone else, right? Or the term could also apply to a verbal exchange of pleasantries that have a mean hook in them. Such stuff is fun, or it can be. It’s amusing to wind someone up with a snide little Scorpio comment, and watch them get all bent out of shape. To some of my better Scorpio accomplices, it’s more than fun, it’s sport, maybe even an art form.

Look out, though, as some of that sarcastic banter might backfire. It’s a good time to shut up and keep a little more to yourself. Those cute little comments? I’m always amused. Not everyone else is equally amused. Nor will they understand that this is humor, sport, and good fun. Just because one of your friends, enemies [or something in between] gives you a target that you can barely resist, I know, I know, how could you not take a cheap shot? I’m suggesting that this might not be the most opportune time for you to do just that. If you can keep from making that [frankly, between you and me, I think it’s a well-deserved comment] remark, you can save yourself a lot of headache and heartache, a little further down the road. Who was it who suggested, “I can resist anything but temptation itself”?

Sagittarius: Life is either really good, or it’s not. Sort of depends. Of course, if it’s not good, then you have in your Sagittarius grasp, right there in front of you, a way to make life better. I developed a special technique for turning around the bad days. Middle of the morning, after one disheartening client phone call after another, throw in a few mean-spirited e-mails as well, and some serious grumbling from various corners of the world, and I find that my Sagittarius mood has been altered from my normal, jovial and happy outlook to one of dyspeptic depression.

What to do? If it’s good, do nothing. If it’s not good, then get a fresh start on the day. I take a nap. Anywhere from a mere 20 minutes to two hours of solid rest, and I’m feeling better. I wake up, dig through my wallet, look at the driver’s license, figure out who I am, figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, and life is grand again. If it’s good, then let it ride. If it’s not as good as you want — surely it’s the other signs’ faults — then do something, either real or symbolic, to get a fresh start. It’s a lot like rebooting a computer, you can reboot your week.

Capricorn: This really happened. I’d wandered down to the pond [actually Barton’s Spring’s Pool] to go for a dip on a hot summer day. I stripped everything out of my pockets, and since my walking shorts have mesh pockets, and I wasn’t wearing any underwear, I just plunged right in. Cold water, quite a shock to the system. But I’ve been doing this for years now, and it’s not a big deal. It was a good, shallow dive, except that the rules, right there on the painted on sidewalk, pretty clearly say, “No running. No diving.” I surfaced about halfway across the pool, and when my head came up, I got whistled out of the pool by one of the lifeguards. “It says, ‘no diving,’ and you did that right in front of me,” she was saying. Think about how long it’s been since I was whistled out of the pool, what, many long years? I was about 5 or 10 years old, last time I got told to “get out of the pool.” It can be embarrassing, ungainly, or it can be a point of pride.

Or it can make an unusual metaphor for the way your week is headed because you’re bound to run into a similar obstacle with a similar authority figure. Instead of the usual problems with a guy with a gun on his hip, though, my authority figure was a slim, teenage-20-something girl in a red bathing suit, dark glasses, and white “lifeguard” hat. Dark skin from hanging out poolside all summer. Bad attitude from having to deal with the stupid, general public doing things that only the stupid, general public does. Like diving where the sign pretty explicitly says, “no diving.” I apologized and promised never to do it, ever again, at least, not as long as she worked there. I’d suggest the same course of action for you, just do as you’re told even if the authority figure is young enough too be your daughter.

Aquarius: One of my girlfriends showed up with her new boyfriend, knocking on the trailer’s door the other morning. The guy she had in tow, based on what he’d seen of me on the web and some of my previous musical references, he was sure that I would be listening to Classic Rock, and pounding away on a typewriter. He was awed by the hardware, and then, the next CD cycled up on the player. It was some rather fashionable techno-DJ mixed stuff. Current. Happening. Cool. Additionally, it was some of his favorite bands. Groups, really.

I made a very good first impression. I popped out the astrology charts, did my usual astrological song and dance, and they departed. I have eclectic tastes. I was just glad, my friends departed before the next CD cycled into rotation. It was a band, okay, if you have to know, it was Deep Purple’s “Machine Head,” and that record was released before the new boyfriend was born. It was the exact music that the new boyfriend was afraid I was listening to. That was some mighty fortuitous timing for myself and my CD player.

You can be just as lucky as I was, leave a really nice first impression, and make everyone around think you’re really cool, if you just don’t linger. To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about the next CD. The deal is, don’t let anything take longer than it needs to take. Like a quick astrology tune-up? Lasts about the length of one CD, no more. Or anything Aquarius this coming week. Your timing is good, as long as you don’t belabor the point and drag things out longer than they need to be. Keep them short.

Pisces: Went fishing the other weekend. My favorite way to take a trip like this is to leave long before the sun comes up, hit the lake right before sunrise, in that early morning light the fish are little suspect, use a bright lure, and see what happens. Gets the day off to a good start, that’s for sure. Gets everything rolling along just fine, as that early morning time is the best time, in my experience, to catch a few winners. The only problem comes when I don’t get to bed early enough, or when I don’t get an adequate amount of coffee, or when I don’t get enough sleep. Nothing is worse than managing to get to bed early, then toss and turn, thinking, “I’ve got to get sleep. Now, relax. RELAX! NOW!”

Doesn’t quite work that way. So the last time I was fishing, we got the boat in the water, I grabbed my poles, and hopped in, intent on stowing everything correctly, and in that pre-dawn darkness, I banged my ankle. Badly. Hurt bad. “No man, let’s go, get out there,” I was stoically saying, limping back to the driver’s seat. “Doesn’t hurt.” Right. Machismo is so over-rated. Good thing that boat doesn’t have a gas pedal, just a throttle. With my throbbing ankle, I was stuck sitting in the back of the boat, not really able to stand up, as I didn’t trust it. Worse yet, it didn’t break the skin. Just painful bump, and later, a big bruise. Just me being clumsy from not having enough sleep, even though I had the best of intentions.

So what I’m telling you right now is to watch out for the same errors. Might not be getting in a boat to go fishing, but if you’re not careful, Mr. Mars will bump you just like that. A bruise like that is by no means a deal killer, but it does interfere with having a good time. Take some of this energy while you’re sitting down. Makes it a lot easier. Either you slow down, or circumstances will slow you down.

Aries: There’s a TV program, or was, anyway, and this one TV Fishing Guide made a habit out of falling into the water. Made for great video footage. Having been dumped into the lake a time or two, I know that it’s not nearly as exciting, entertaining or amusing as it sounds. The lakes I like, they are all rather warm in the summertime, being nothing more than cooling ponds for power generating stations. Falling in is one of those ideas that sounds really good. It looks good on TV. In real life, it’s just not that much fun.

It’s not like a cool dip in the creek, something you set out to do. Falling off the tail end of the boat is bad form. Looks bad. Lake water gets into everything. Although, having some experience with this, I do tend to make sure I’m “waterproof” before I go fishing. I would suggest the same for you. In the next few days, you’re going to find yourself engaged in some activity where you are close to the edge. Like fishing in the middle of some lake. And while you’re close to that edge, you’re buddy will step on the trolling motor, long enough for you lose your balance, and guess where you wind up? In the drink. Or soup, as the case may be.

Deal is this: you’ve got to laugh about some of this, instead of getting all upset. That upset stuff? Doesn’t do you one bit of good. Laughing about the little foibles that are bound to conspire to toss you in the water? That’s funny. And you’ll feel better about the whole series of events, too.

Taurus: There’s this one British comedy author, and his first dozen or so novels were just bloody brilliant. From running gags, to the way the English countryside is described, to the effective methods of drawing character studies, sitting down and laughing through one his books used to be most excellent good fun. The problem being, he went from a marginal, little known author with acerbic wit, style and panache to a big-ticket kind of a guy. Along the way, his more recent novels tended to be a lot less funny. The running gags were still there, but instead of being funny, they all seemed a little tired.

Yes, we’ve laughed at this one before. Yes, that was funny, three books back, but it’s no longer as funny. Taurus dear Taurus, you’ve got a choice to make. You can keep recycling the old gags, the old jokes, and trying the same old lines–that stuff used to work well–but it’s all getting a little boring. Or you can try some new gags, jokes and give that material a decent freshening up. I strongly urge you to start working on some new stuff. The old ways, the old stuff, that just doesn’t work much anymore. Go with some new ideas. Sure, you might be more comfortable with the old stuff, the running gags that have served you well for the last dozen years, but you know, as a faithful Taurus reader, I’d love to see something new from you. You can do it.

Gemini: Fishing is a fine avocation or occupation. But fishing requires a certain amount of patience. This isn’t a time when you do real well with this kind of activity. The problem is, with fishing, there’s not enough activity for your overactive Gemini lifestyle. Especially these days. It’s due to Mars in part, maybe also the phase of the moon as she creeps towards you, and possibly, due to some other stuff. Like the “outer planets” [as we like to refer to them in astrology]. But you do have a lot of stuff that’s making you just as restless as can be.

If a Gemini shows up and wants to sit in the boat with me for the next few hours, I’m inclined to decline. I hate to be guided by strict astrology, but I know enough about human interaction that six or eight hours with a Gemini in a small, enclosed space isn’t a good idea. First there’s the chatter. Then there’s the fidgeting. Then there’s the constant barrage of well-intentioned, but rather useless advice.

Suggestions from my Gemini friend that the “fishing is probably better over there,” and it doesn’t matter where you are, the fish aren’t biting enough where you’re at, and over there, is–to a Gemini–the obvious place to be. I wouldn’t be in a boat if I didn’t have the patience to drift in one spot for hours on end because I feel like the fish are there. Or, better yet, I can see the wily adolescent bass in the water. Patience may be a virtue, but since it’s in short supply for the Gemini folks, maybe pick an activity that requires activity, not just sitting there.

Cancer: I’ve often proposed a long-term study of the effects of certain planets and their relative positions. In fact, that’s what I do with my work, study relative motions and make observations, based on the way a group of individuals respond to certain astrological influences. I was commenting on this sort of research the other day. The girl I was talking to responded to my suggestions with, “Yeah, hit them upside the head with a two-by-four.”

That kind of action-reaction gave a moment to pause and think. Always trying to be quick on my feet, verbally, anyway, I suggested that the point being made was obvious, and a two-by-four might really hurt whereas a good, stout dowel might make the point just as effectively. Less possible damage with a stick as opposed to a board, you know.

So you’re lecturing someone, in the next few days, belaboring your very valid Cancer point of view, and it seems like your wondrous words are falling on deaf ears. You want to use a heavy club to get the attention of the person you’re addressing. Okay, here’s the point I’m making: I’m with you in spirit. I’m also suggesting that you consider something that’s not quite as heavy–or damaging–as a big stick. Just a little piece of wood to hit them upside the head might work, just as well. Think about it. Big stick? Little stick?

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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