For the Week of: 9/18-24/2003

“These trees shall be my books”
Shakespeare’s As You Like It [III.ii.5]

Mercury and Mars are slowing their headlong race into obscurity. (Editorial note: check the listing for exact dates and times.)

Virgo: Mercury is no longer backwards. Well, he is, but just a little bit longer. And it’s the last of the Virgo birthdays, too. Then everything takes a little vacation of some sort. Don’t have a vacation planned? Be ready for an impromptu vacation, then. Might just be a quick jaunt someplace, but that short trip promises to be good. I’d look for it next week, but then, with Mercury and the recent series of events, you never can tell.

One famous astrologer was looking at my chart at a particular time, and that guy was suggesting that I had been traveling a lot. “Foreign travel is indicated,” and it’s a safe, basic prediction, especially for Sagittarius like me. However, it was also about a time when I was confined to my immediate environment, and the furthest I had traveled was less than a mile. But if every book is a voyage, then I’d been all over the place. Starting next week, my fine Virgo friend, you are going places. Could be real, could be imaginary, but you’re going to be traveling. Let the Mercury problems fade away.

Libra: I was idly loitering near a certain corner downtown. I was waiting on a bus, a ride, or a friend. Or I was paused between destinations, I don’t recall. In any case, it was heavy [for Austin] morning traffic. I watched as a delivery truck stopped at one building’s garage entrance, the passenger hopped out, trotted behind the truck, and held up his hands to stop traffic so that the truck could back up and make a delivery. Commerce was occurring, right before my eyes. Might’ve been necessary office supplies, or water, or new office furniture, I’m not sure which.

One driver, in a shiny new SUV got upset at the delay, backed up a little, and shot around the edge of the delivery vehicle, almost clipping the guy holding up the traffic. As that one SUV bolted forward, tires squealing, at least one other driver was just shaking her head at the action. Half a block away, that SUV’s forward momentum was stopped by a traffic light. The driver pounded on the steering wheel for a moment or two.

If you’re going to get in an all fired up Libra hurry, you’re going to wind up looking like that one driver. The delivery truck seemed to back up in time with the red light, and at the same moment, the rest of the cars surged forward smoothly, their way not blocked by any obstacle, be it delivery truck or red light. Elapsed time? Two minutes, maybe less. You can pull a stunt like that one driver, but you’re only going to get caught down the road. Take it easy, a two-minute delay out of your day won’t sink anything.

Scorpio: Hanging around with my assorted friends, cohorts and allies, I get to hear some strange conversations. Plus, I tend to ask questions, whenever I can. We were waiting to go into a show, had VIP passes handed to us by the promoter, because of my buddy, and we were chatting up the security guy. Or one of them, anyway. You know the outfit, the black T-shirt that says, “Security,” a radio hooked to the waist, and microphone draped over the left shoulder? Rave crowds are one kind of problem, country singers have their own set of difficulties, and hard rock, well, that one security guy was never working a “heavy” show again.

I asked what was the worst, for security, and he replied, “Willie Nelson.” That didn’t make any sense, until the security guy went on to explain, “Every third person in line, I mean, One out of three, do the math on that, 33%, insisted that they were friends of Willie’s. Close, personal friends. ‘Sure,’ I would tell them, ‘that’s why your name isn’t on the guest list.’ By those standards, I’m a friend of Willie, too. It was the worst.”

Mr. (saint) “Peace Love and Country Music” was the biggest headache for security? I kind of liked that. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Coming up, after this weekend, you’re going to get answer that you’re not expecting. As the expression, goes, “deal with it.” It’s that simple. You can get upset, you can get all bent because someone is taking St. Willie’s name in vain, or you can be like me, slightly bemused at the answer–even though it’s not what you’re expecting.

Sagittarius: “I drove a cab in NYC. Ain’t half as a bad as Houston or Dallas. Or Austin. Especially Austin.” Austin’s local traffic problems are epic in nature. Legendary. As is our native Texan distaste for public transportation. But never mind that part now. Let’s look at the astrological traffic in your chart. It’s not good. There’s a lot of major congestion in the flyover, the traditional downtown routes are plugged up, and the feeder routes are experiencing some delay, too.

Doesn’t matter if your Sagittarius self is in Austin, Houston, Dallas, or even NYC, the astrological scene isn’t all that pretty. It’s one delay right after another. “But Mercury is going out of Retrograde, right? C’mon, it’s just got to be better than that!” It should, but it isn’t. I can make up sweet little stories about fishing, and the way the lake looks so calm, at first light, but that’s not what you’re heading into.

Traffic is bad. There are some unexpected delays. Cope. “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say, Mr. Smart Aleck Fishing Guide, cope with this.” Imagine the gesture that I get from? Good. It’s okay to be upset with me, I can take it, because I’m experiencing the very same delays. I came up with one way to work around the delays caused by the traffic. It’s a bumper sticker I’ll be selling soon, I hope: “My other car is a pair of boots.”

Capricorn: I know your frustration at this very moment. I was posting a terse, angry web log entry, something about clients who don’t pay on time, and I hit the “send” button. At that one instant, the planets were aligned in such a way as to really mess with my software. I kept stabbing at the button with my mouse, getting to the point that I wanted to hurl the computer across the room, just so I could hear that satisfying–and ultimately destructive–crash. It’s okay to feel that way.

Actually picking up the machine and throwing it into the trailer’s wall? That action has no redeeming value. Besides, a little tin can like this? It’d leave an unsightly dent on the outside, and prying minds in the adjoining trailers would want to know what happened. Then, if I didn’t tell them anything, the tongues would really wag, and there’s even more trouble. Nature abhors a vacuum and there’s no vacuum like unaccounted dent. Imagine, this whole line of thought got started when a stupid web log entry wouldn’t post because I was frustrated by a simple software glitch that was inspired by a planetary influence that caused an undue amount of stress to build resulting in this long and almost senseless entry.

But is it so senseless? Maybe not. You can see that I can certainly feel your level of frustration. You can also see that I was smart enough not to take that first course of action. No matter how satisfying it might have been, think before you start hurling objects.

Aquarius: Charity musical events are a big deal around here. Seems like there’s another one, each week, with some big name headliner, showing support for some cause. I wonder if anyone was really aware of all the trees that died so the “save the trees” group could get the word out about their particular cause? The irony is lost on some.

Or, like the other night, I was guest at another celebrity concert, and because I really did want to see one of the opening acts, I was treated by one of clients to a free ticket. I think the price was a $100, and after everyone got paid off, I was wondering just how much of that money made it to the benefit cause. Who knows? Anyway, the funniest thing I saw that night wasn’t about the charity event itself, outside, before the show, my friend was smoking a cigarette, I was catching the tail end of cigar, and we were fondling our “all access” laminates,” idly chatting up the promoter.

A few yards in front of us, a lady was saying, “Tickets? Tickets? Want tickets?” How bad is that? Scalping tickets at a charity event? Offended my sense of justice, and I muttered a comment. I think my accomplice that evening was Aquarius, I don’t recall. However, given the way the planets are now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Aquarius jump right up in that scalper’s face, and say something rather untoward about the very idea of scalping tickets at a charity event. The nerve. The audacity. While I agree with the idea, and while I most certainly agree with the morality of the situation, sometimes, it’s best to let nature and the Universe take its course. Those tickets didn’t sell. And I didn’t have to break up a fight, either.

Pisces: Hill’s Cafe is just down on Congress Avenue. Sort of a famous place. I was bemused that they try and trace their roots to the Goodnight-Loving ranch empire. Which, as near as I can tell, is a bit of stretch. But that just could be me, and in a Texas dining establishment, especially in South Austin, a few liberties are allowed. Beef, pork and grease are the principle ingredients in almost every one of their justifiably famous platters of food.

Good stuff–for a steak lover like myself. Or even for a connoisseur of barbecue. Either way, it’s a safe bet you’ll be pleased. What catches my eye, though, every time, is a certain menu item. Hill’s “Diet Plate,” which consists of a half rack of smoked chicken ribs, a slice of tomato & glass of water with a lime squeeze. Price? $39.95. Sort of sets the tone, now doesn’t it? Keep that in mind, when you wander yourself into a steak house in South Austin [or San Angelo, or Ft. Worth] and wonder why there’s no vegetarian food. Some days, some weeks, you just have to roll your eyes at what’s going on. You know, just take it all with a grain of salt. Whether it’s the outrageous stories, or it’s the mnu items that seem a little out of place, you just need to adjust your Pisces thinking to adapt to the tales. Roll your beautiful Pisces eyes at this one. Sometimes, there’s just not a lot else that you can do. Or order that Hill’s Cafe diet plate.

Aries: When building a good fire in the old barbecue pit, here’s something to remember, stack all the charcoal briquettes up in one place, get them going good and strong, and wait. Wait until there’s a nice, lovely gray ash covering all those little pieces of charcoal. Wait until the fire pit’s warmed up enough to cook the meat. Wait. Then again, when you’re starting the fire, unless your name really is Bubba, or some of your friends refer to you as “Bubba the BBQ gawd,” then I don’t suggest that you use the “half gallon of gasoline” on the briquettes theory for igniting those coals.

It’s really quite simple. There’s not a lot of a hidden message here, go easy with the flame. Or the flammable substances. Take it easy and don’t overdo it. Bubba has long since learned to use a little less than a gallon of lighter fluid ever since that unfortunate incident–he didn’t have eyelashes or an eyebrow for several weeks afterwards. Don’t let that happen to you, too.

Taurus: I came home the other evening, feeling a little despondent, no doubt, due to the way the planets were affecting the Taurus stuff in my chart. I’d stopped off for some comfort food, and in the process of eating a little supper, I’d managed to drip some ranch dressing on my shirt. Not that you could tell, but it was there. Then, a little later in the meal, I ran out of napkins, and that resulted in a large smudge of BBQ sauce on the same shirt. I was grumbling to myself, worried that I looked like some kind of a slob, but I refused to believe that there’s just no silver lining to my messy shirt.

Or the fact that I had just consumed some rather tasty pork ribs that required no sauce at all, but those ribs did leave a telltale hint of “mesquite grilled” essence [under my fingernails] to add to my already aromatic shirt. I looked like, smelled like, some kind of a portable feast, I guess. However, in the final analysis, what I was doing was wearing my very essence of being a Texas native with pride.

Instead of considering myself a sloppy eater, I started thinking along the lines of me being a true representative of my state, and how I was embodying the all the necessary elements to be a good ambassador of Texas cuisine. Instead of regarding myself as a slob–which might be more true–I started looking at myself as an ambassador of good BBQ with all the trimmings. Lord knows, I was wearing enough of the trimmings for this to work. It’s all in how you look at what happens.

Gemini: I stopped by a downtown coffee shop the other afternoon, it was late in the day, and I really needed a quick shot of caffeine to make it through the arduous evening that lay ahead of me. While I was there, I was quietly observing humankind, specifically, a local noted playwright. He’s known for his sophistication, his way with words, and his ability to properly sketch out the condition of mankind with a dry wit.

He settled in with a cup a coffee, folded over the newspaper in his hand and I thought I was about to do some serious sociological studies, tracking the wild wordsmith in native environs. The guy started reading the comics. I’m not making this up. He was doing just what I would be doing, if I weren’t busy observing local peerage of estimable value. So much for my attempt at anthropological studies. So that’s where the great ideas all come from. The funny papers.

Gemini: you need to quit being so serious. Someone might figure out just where you’re getting all your ideas from, and that’s okay. A little humor helps a lot with the serious tone of the times.

Cancer: You have to stop and think about this stuff from time to time. I’m serious, if only for a minute. The planets, and their inherent representative energies, what do they all mean? What’s the big question? In fact, what’s the big question in your Life of Cancer? Before you ask me, before you ask that big question, think about what kind of an answer you’re expecting. Think about what you’re hoping to hear. Then consider that Mercury was–is–retrograde.

And Mr. Mercury is confusing certain issues. Plus Mr. Mars is doing his little backwards dance, too, and that’s making folks none too happy. It all has to do with expectations as opposed to what’s really there. It’s easy to gather up some information and draw a hasty conclusion. It’s all about expectations, too. What is it that you really want to hear? If you stop and think about it, though, give that question some reasoned, serious considerations, along a logical path, you’ll find that you’re not seeing the point, the question, clearly. Mars might continue to confuse the issue, but your thinking about the problem, that one big question, will clear up after the weekend.

Leo: I was picking up a tall cup of coffee the other morning, on my way someplace important. One of the other patrons was a tall lad, tan, muscular arms dangling from his fashionably sleeveless shirt, and on his left arm was a tattoo. Symbolism is important, and that one tat was a strange amalgam of various parts. There was the outline of the State of Texas, with a Texas flag rendered within the outlines. Then, curling around the bottom of the Texas logo, there was a dragon. East meets West.

Two disparate images wrapped into a single image. Judging from his long locks, I’d guess that there was a portion of Leo in his chart. I didn’t get a chance to ask about the symbolism, as we were both hurrying off to other appointments. But that image stuck with me, sort of like combining two things that don’t normally fit together, and finding that the two images work. I don’t know what the real story was, but I’m sure I could easily make up a few tales to go with that ink and art. Be a little more observant of the world around you. You might get a mixed message like I did. Better yet, it might have some deep, symbolic meaning for you. Combining two items that don’t normally fit together can yield good results, in the Leo world.

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

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