10.16.2003

For the Week of: 10/16-22/2003
“I am the [broom] that must sweep the court clean of such filth as thou art.”
Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part 2 [IV.vii.28]

I was looking at it, and I was figuring, using my method of looking at the planets and their influences, that Mr. Mars is just now getting back up to speed. This week looks like it’s all about getting back up to speed.

Libra: Get prepared, there’s a nice send-off to the way this next couple of days works out. Doesn’t work out smoothly for everyone, but as a Libra, you’re finding that you have a unique way to smooth over troubled situations. Nice touch, smooth delivery, it’s almost as if you can sugar-coat any news and make it seem more palatable.

That’s certainly a welcome touch to find that your usual charm is back. Now you just have to use that charm correctly. What is it that you really want? Yes, it’s the last of the Libra birthdays, and as such, the idea of what you really want as a birthday wish is an important concept. Instead of just sitting there and wishing, why not go for what you want? I’m reminded of a particular bumper sticker I see from time to time, it advertises a certain bait shop, and reads, “Stop wishing, go fishing.”

Maybe your Libra self doesn’t have the exact same dream I do about getting up before dawn and fishing all morning at a local lake, but whatever your little Libra heart desires, you can make it happen. What steps do have to take to get from here–where you’re currently at–to that place you’re wishing for? Put that charm to work to for you in order to obtain that goal.

Scorpio: Don’t you just love Halloween? I sure do. Or did. Used to be a wonderful time, then, lately, it’s gotten to be a time when I take to the streets, the streets of Austin, and enjoy the sights. Only, there’s a little problem. See: around here? Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to discern what’s a costume, and what’s just normal, day-to-day occurrences. Pretty hard to judge a book by its cover in these parts. Homeless? Or casually attired politician?

One local luminary has become a cultural icon for “Keep Austin Weird.” Leslie. Actually, Leslie is a Cancer–I know–I asked. Times been a little tough for him, but there for a spell, he was living the good life. Last time I saw him, he had on miniskirt and tube top. His hair was still red. So you understand that it’s hard to tell the local populace from the folks who are dressed up for that special–Scorpio Special–time, Halloween. I’m trying to look a little further down the scope than just this week. I wouldn’t be talking about what’s going to be happening in two weeks if it wasn’t important. It is. Make plans. Make plans now.

Sagittarius: Secret barbecue techniques are important. One of the best ways to properly flavor a barbecue grill is to wait until the coals have cooked down to the point that there’s a fine layer of ash covering them. Then, borrowing a trick from my mother, you break out the secret flavor ingredient: mesquite or hickory chunks. Now, it as my dear sweet Scorpio mother who taught me this trick: before you ever get started, like maybe 24 hours prior to building the fire, start by soaking those wood flavor chips in water. Just let those little hunks of wood get waterlogged. Good and soaked. Right before you toss the meat on the grill, add those soaked chips to the fire itself. Now, you have the recipe for a perfectly good barbecue.

Notice that all of this takes a little time, and perhaps, not a long suite for Sagittarius, a little pre-planning. It’s kind of hard to go back, after you’ve started the barbecue fire and think, “My, I should’ve soaked those wood chips yesterday….” Look at the upcoming schedule. Figure out what you can do ahead of time to be ready. You’ve got a hot time headed your way, do something to be best prepared for that hot time.

Capricorn: I was fishing with Bubba, once last summer, and we weren’t sure what kind lure would work best, so I tied a bright orange plastic worm on the end of the line and just went with it. Don’t think I caught anything worth writing home about, but it was so nice out on the lake, in the cool of the morning and all, it really didn’t matter.

Now the guy I was fishing with, he’s a Capricorn, and his version of the story is a little different. He tied one topwater lure on, cast a few times, had no luck, clipped that one lure off, tied on a huge buzzbait, cast it a few times, drug it across the top of the lake a couple of times, no luck again, so he tried a fake water dog, again, no luck after a few tries, so next came one of those lures with a little diving board on it. The diving board makes the lure dive deeper, depending on how fast you reel it back in. Again, after a couple of tries, no luck. Changed to another lure.

I realized that this starting to sound like an inventory of my buddy’s tackle box, but that’s not the point. Takes me a few minutes to swap a lure on the end of a fishing pole. That’s precious time that could be spent fishing, if you want. My buddy? He finally followed my advice, put a bright pink worm on the end, and his luck improved. Did he need to try all those others, first? That, my fine Capricorn friend, is your decision.

Aquarius: I paused while I was on the hike and bike trail last week, long enough to figure out what was making such a strange noise. Turned out to be skinny little squirrel, gnawing away at an acorn. First off, I was wondering why that squirrel was gnawing instead of saving, then I watched for a quiet moment, almost like I was a some kind of nature documentary. Grasped in its little fore paws, the teeth of that feller were just working over that nut pretty good. It was almost a ferocious activity. Tiny bits of husk and nut meat were flying everywhere. The gnawing sound was one I can’t begin to describe, but that’s what caught my attention the first time.

As I watched, it eyed me, but kept right after its task at hand. Or task at paw, I guess. Now, I’ve used squirrel activity before as an indicator for weather. Skinny squirrel, eating, not hiding food for later, that would suggest a mild winter coming up. Maybe I missed a calling as a nature weather forecaster. A few years back I noted how the squirrels were all quite plump, by local squirrel standards, and we did indeed have a cold winter. Stop long enough sometime in the next few days, and look at some of the indicators around you. There’s an important Aquarius clue, and it could be drawn from simply observing a squirrel in the park.

Pisces: I’m not much of a cook. But I am Texan, and as such, I have certain amount of working knowledge about how to cook on a barbecue grill. Looking at the planets, especially Mr. Jupiter opposite you, and Mars, finally getting hooked up and heading straight, I thought I would impart a little bit of barbecue wisdom to Pisces readers.

When the grill is hot and ready, and you’re tossing your slice of meat [or vegetables, this is PC barbecue, you know] onto the grill, don’t flip it too often. In fact, the best of the grill masters will tell, just let the flames lick and sear one side, then flip it a single time. Let those delicious juices get caught inside, thereby insuring that the flavor is at its best. In as much as it’s fun to stand there, look important, and flip the item being cooked over and over again, doing so loses some of the flavor. Sear it once to seal in that good flavor. Don’t overdo it. Don’t spend too much time flipping it back and forth, time and again. Just once. Makes for a far better tasting meal.

So it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, don’t overdo it. Don’t keep toying with the object of your attention. Let the fire do what it is supposed to do. Everything will turn out much better if you don’t play with it too much. Resist that temptation to flip out. Or just flip once too often.

Aries: There are three or four pocketknives that inhabit my desk. The one with the single long blade and yellow handle is a favorite, usually. But I’ve also got a really cute little one, with a purple handle, that’s quite tiny, quite pretty, and I use it as a dress knife. Then there’s the big one with a red handle and a locking blade, and that’s a useful work knife. As is the assortment of Leatherman Tool ™ type of hardware I’ve got. I’ve also got a miniature “Cattleman’s” pattern, with a serial number and the tag implies it’s a handmade knife from West Texas. Reminds me of a trip I took, plus, the pattern, with its three blades, is almost useful.

Which knife, which tool, I slip into my pocket, or clip onto my belt, when I’m heading out the door, depends on where I’m intending to go for the afternoon. Or if I’m traveling someplace like the airport or the courthouse, I can’t take any of my friends with me. Before you jump out into the next few days, pause every morning, and consider where you’re going to be. Then select the appropriate tool to take with you. Fishing? A quick-opening, sharp knife. Work? Maybe a pocket tool is more important than a cutting edge, so you can handle those loose screws [and the pliers are handy]. Pick and choose with care–and a little forethought.

Taurus: Morning fishing trips are wonderful. It’s sheer delight to get out early, get on the lake before any else is out there, and then, rolling homeward around noon, maybe two or three in the afternoon, I feel like I’ve put in a full day, and there’s still some of the evening left over. Now figure I’d been up since “oh-dark-thirty,” and after a long morning, stretching into an afternoon at the lake, I’m pretty beat.

I’m longing for a delicious barbecue sandwich, and the next item on my agenda will be a nap. Problem being, with Taurus at this point, you see me, and you’re ready to keep going on. The rest of us are “tarred out,” as the expression goes. Ms. Venus is opposite your sign, over yonder in Scorpio, and she’s giving you an extra jolt of energy; she wants your Taurus self to keep going, to keep playing. The sun’s starting to get a little low in the evening sky, and you’re thinking, “Happy Hour!” Me? I’m thinking, “Couch. Cat asleep on my belly.” I don’t have any easy resolution for this Taurus dilemma, other than once you’ve worn out the Fishing Guide, find someone else to play with, for the rest of the evening. Let the rest of us rest up so we can keep up with your fanatical Taurus pace.

Gemini: I ran across a humorous cartoon in one of my academic, high-brow journals. It was a picture of boat, with two guys in it, both fishing, both looking a little despondent. The back of the boat had a bumper sticker on it, “I’d rather be hunting.” I laughed at that cartoon, and I was going to cut it out, and post it someplace at the office, but I lost the magazine. That’s the trouble you’re feeling in Gemini land these days.

Doesn’t matter where you are, like that boat’s sticker, you would rather be some place other than where you are. I feel your pain. We get a few days in October when the weather turns really cool and autumn-like for a little while, and there are many places that I imagine I would rather be. I get idyllic thoughts about the summer gone by, the warmth of a tropical sun, maybe the idea of sand between my toes.

Unlike that cartoon, I would not rather be hunting, that’s for sure. However, I do have a number of friends who might actually share the sentiment of the bumper sticker. In your Gemini mind, start to fashion up a catch phrase like that, one that starts out, “I’d rather be…” and finish it with what works best for you. Maybe even make up a sticker like that, and post it at work, or at the house, or by your computer. Then, focus the rest of that now-divided Gemini attention on the more immediate problems. You’ll find that a little wishing will help you maintain a much more positive attitude.

Cancer: Halloween is still a week or two away, but it makes for a great way to look at what is about to happen. See, during the Halloween Holiday, folks dress up as some kind of fantasy character. That’s quite pleasant, and on more than one occasion, rather surprising, as you never know what you’ll see your friend and confidant come up with. One of the most amusing scenarios involved a rather heathen acquaintance of mine dressed as a “man of the cloth.” Somber, toting a bible, not exactly sober, but then, he never did get hit by lightning, so I couldn’t exactly call it sacrilege, either.

Given my Cancer buddy’s vocal abilities, he might have been secretly helping the cause, never can tell. He can sound quite pious on occasion. But mostly, it was all in good fun. As the moon narrows in her appearance, think about what you can do that will combine elements that don’t normally show up in your Cancer worldview, and see about combining some of those elements to affect a solution to one of your sticky problems. The trick with the costume, and the way to think about this is to go for some hidden desire, act out a real fantasy, and see if you can’t work that into a solution.

Leo: Money, popular topic. Should be good over the next two, or three weeks. That’s excellent news, particularly for one cash-strapped Leo I know. The problem is, while I can promise this stuff right now, I can’t see it actually materializing in the next seven days. I can be wrong, but I think it’s one of the situations where you’re promised money, and you get assured that it’s on its way, but you don’t actually see the cash just yet.

All right, here’s the deal. Go online someplace and fill out an online shopping cart, stocked full of all sorts of stuff that you want. Get yourself hooked with the latest and greatest computer system. Order up a ton of software. Have some fun, give yourself a “blue sky” scenario. Then, when it comes time to conclude the transaction, close your web browser’s window. In other words, until the money I’m promising actually shows up, don’t really spend any of it. You’ll be happier, I’ll be secure in knowing that you’ve gotten some sound advice, and who knows? Maybe that promised cash shows up a little earlier than I’m anticipating.

Virgo: When you’re firing up the grill to barbecue, it takes a little time. First things first. What you’re going to want to do as this weekend starts out is to build the right fire in the Virgo barbecue pit. Pile those charcoal briquettes up nice and high, then just soak the lower edges with lighter fluid. After you hit it with the ignition, let those coals burn for a good 20 to 40 minutes before you even think about throwing the meat [or vegetables, if that’s your style] on the grill.

The trick is to let the charcoal get a nice, gray ash color all over it before you commence the actual grilling process. The good things in life take time, and grilling is no different from other Virgo activities. Deal is, you’re going to feel like you’re being pushed and hurried along. Certain processes can’t be hurried, and like building the proper fire in the grill, this going to take a little time. There’s no big hurry. Don’t let some outsider push you too fast when your Virgo self isn’t ready to start.

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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