For the Week of: 2.3.2005-2.9.2005

“He smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-like smell!”
Shakespeare’s The Tempest (II.ii.25-6)

In the literature world, plus the world of online writing, there’s a lad who should be our patron saint: Samuel Pepys. His entry for Feb. 5, 1667 is worthy of note: a night on the town.

Aries: I was in a mall the other afternoon, my coffee grinder (the thing that grinds the beans every morning) decided to quit working. Or quit grinding. The motor spun around, it made the right whirring noise, it just didn’t actually do any work, like grind the beans. So I wandered aimlessly from store to store, inquiring about bean grinders. Specialty store had a great one: $200 worth. It didn’t actually grind the beans, it crushed them. And there’s a sale’s pitch that goes with it, too. But at that price? Little too steep for me, as I haven’t won the lottery yet. In the back of the low-rent, cater to the lowest common denominator department store, I found what I was looking for: cheap replacement for the grinder. I also spent two hours scouring the mall in search of something cheap. During that two hours, if I’d been doing real readings, and earning money instead of trying to save a few dollars, I could’ve paid for that expensive coffee bean crusher. Don’t do the math; it will make your head hurt, and some how, none of this adds up. Look: you’re like me, on a mission, to find something. Might not be a bean grinder, but it’s something. Go for the cheapest, easiest to locate item you can. Jupiter will make you think twice about that industrial-strength version that would look cool, but you know, I could buy ten of the cheap ones for just one of those expensive ones.

Taurus: “So what’s the weirdest question you’ve been asked, I mean, here you are a sweet little Taurus, working at the counter closest to the mall entrance, I bet you get some weird questions, right?” It’s an odd habit, but I’ve found, as a conversational tool, it does the job of getting the tongue loosened up, and if I ever have to return an item, the clerk remembers me. “Weirdest one today, you mean?” she countered, “I was bent over, doing paperwork, and a lady comes up and asks if I’m open. Big store. In the mall. It’s three in the afternoon. Of course I’m open.” There were a few other comments that followed, and I avoided making a reference to a certain — endearing — Kevin Smith film. Humanity doesn’t change, or so it seems. Now, you might not be working at a counter, and you might not be working in a mall, but I’ll bet you get a more than your fair share of stupid questions in the next few days. Look on the bright side, 1) I predicted this would happen so your Taurus self is fortified, and 2) some of those question make good fodder for jokes. Or even a movie. Or two. One way or another, some part of your week is going to feel like a scene from a Kevin Smith film.

Gemini: Pre Y2K, the supposed beginning of the Millennium, these horoscopes rolled over, by hand, every Sunday night, or Monday morning, I suppose, depending on one’s location on the planet, time zones and such. Made for a very hectic start to my week, too, as I would just be wrapping up work one place, and I’d have to hustle to make the boys in the backroom do what they were supposed to do. Lots of work for a weekend. Busy time. Looking at the site’s log files, I can tell, even five years since I switched to the Thursday publication date, that folks still log in, looking for a Monday scope. As a Gemini, you appreciate the fact that the scope comes a whole lot earlier. Like the week before. However, this weekend? Monday can’t get here fast enough. You’ve got about 43 pending “deals” that won’t actually materialize until next week starts. Mars, frying in Sagittarius, finally slips into Capricorn — guess when — next week. Suddenly, everything that’s been up in the air? It all starts to fall — not fall down — fall into place. Like it’s supposed to. Next week. Monday, even.

Cancer: Flirting is an art that, I fear, has lost its place in this modern world. It also implies that there’s a loss of innocence because, after all, most flirtations are just that, innocent infatuations. The girl at the counter at the convenience store, the barista making an afternoon coffee, the slightly frazzled bookstore clerk. All part and parcel of the folks who are around, momentary infatuations. I supposed you’d have to trace my steps on a given afternoon, to see what I’m talking about in my life. Your mileage might be a little different. Around here, this sort of interaction is not viewed as a contract, but more along the lines as social lubricant. I was discussing a contractual matter with a publisher, and (she was a Cancer) the conversation came across like I was slightly predatory. In some sociable way, of course. I’ll probably never meet this particular person in the flesh. Or even if I did, I might never tell who it was. Doesn’t much matter, either. I’m suggesting that innocent flirtations are important. Consider part of the Southern Heritage of being nice to folks even when it’s not absolutely necessary. You enjoy a little extra dose of charm, so use it.

Leo: It’s from Hermione, in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (I.ii.37), “We’ll thwack him hence with distaffs.” Look: the quote is all out of context, but I’ve enjoyed using it a time or two. After poking around with the Leo chart and looking at the next couple of days, I figured that was about the way I could help. Good quote to throw out at folks who are standing in your way. No Leo likes to hear that some one is going to blocking ingress and egress from where that selfsame Leo wants to be, but there you have it. Instead of trying to battle with the folks standing in your way? Try throwing a Shakespeare quote at them. I’ve found this to be handy way to deal with situations that are somewhat beyond control. Personally, I tend to use a quote or two from Troilus and Cressida, but that’s just because it’s a play that’s so seldom done, makes it easier, and if I modify the quote? It’s not a problem. Try it. Might help ease the way the week is bound to go.

Virgo: The first weekend in February, and what do you want to do? Get in bed, pull the covers up to your neck, and grab the remote. Great idea. Won’t work, but that’s the way it goes. Exactly one Virgo I know will complain that she’s not like that at all. And then she’ll spend most of the weekend, in bed, with the covers pulled up around her neck, casually complaining that there’s nothing on TV. Which there isn’t, but I wouldn’t know, I don’t own a TV. It’s not like there’s a major problem, but a couple of factors indicate that your Virgo self wants to recharge its batteries. And speaking of batteries, another logistical problem to jumping in bed and toying with the remote? The batteries are going down. Wouldn’t you know it? So the batteries are low, and there’s nothing that a little, extended bed rest wouldn’t help. Might not be able to arrange it, but it’s a nice idea. Can’t say that I’m not trying to look out for my Virgo friends.

Libra: I was supposed to pick a friend up at the airport the other day. It’s not something that I do often, as I usually have some sort of engagement already booked, but it’s a task that I do willingly, when I’m available. So I called, and her flight was on time, coming in late on a Monday night. I looked it up on the airline’s website, too, right before I left, just to make sure. I stopped off at a coffee shop on the way to airport, just to kill a few extra minutes, allow time for the baggage to cycle down, and I expected to see my Libra friend standing curbside. I sort of expected call before I ever got the airport, “Are you coming to get me? You didn’t forget, did you?” I got there, and she wasn’t curbside. I circled the airport once. Still no luck. After I spent more time circling, I finally started to pull into the “free if less than 30 minutes parking” spot, and just head on in, to wait outside the security perimeter. Just as soon as I pulled into the parking spot, cell phone rings, and she’s wondering where I am. Timing is important, and astrology is about timing, and the planets, most notably Mr. Jupiter, are conspiring to make for funny little mistakes like my adventure on a Monday night.

Scorpio: A fishing buddy called me the other afternoon, “What are you doing tomorrow morning?” It was a weekday, and I didn’t have anything in particular scheduled, a late afternoon “happy hour” type of reading, but that was it. “Fishing?” Sure. Five AM? Sure. So how easy that is? I had a chance to swap out a morning usually spent writing, herding electrons back and forth in a computer, and generally riding the free-wheeling electronic range for a fast dash in quick and nimble bass boat, plus a few hours spent throwing lures at fish who didn’t want to bite at anything. Rather cool in the morning, but the day warmed up nicely. I was home in time for nap on the trailer’s couch, and off to take care of the real business as opposed to taking care of reel business. It’s possible to work it all in, a fast dash in a quick boat, some time spent trying to lure fish out of the murky depths for a quick photo-op, and little dinner on the way back from the lake. But the only way I could do all of that was by being flexible with my schedule. That’s the big hint. If you’re willing to go ahead and enjoy whatever curve balls life’s pitcher throws at you, you’d be surprised how well your Scorpio self can work in a little recreations, in the name of research, even on a cold winter’s day.

Sagittarius: I started using, with a great deal of success, a weird color kind of plastic lizard-looking thing. It’s called a “floating squid lizard craw with squirmin’ tail.” Scented. Salted. The description makes it sound like it’s almost good enough for a snack for the fisherman, never mind the damn fish. Garlic flavor? Sure. I suppose this is some kind of Calamari for Micropterus Salmoides. Can’t say that I don’t try to serve only the best stuff available. So the success? It was more an accident as I had a little too much time on my hands one evening, and I thought about tying one of these bad boys on the end of a line, just to see what would happen. Met with some degree of success, so I figured I was onto a winner. Doesn’t matter what your wacky Sagittarius brain concocts, you’re onto a winner, too. It’s bound to be a little bit odd, but then, these are odd times. Strange times require a different approach. Mars is just in the throes of leaving Sagittarius, and by the time the little Red Orb scoots on into Capricorn, the pressures around here in Sagittarius ease up a bit. You’ve been way too busy to experiment with odd combinations, but by next week? As Mars eases his little bad self on out of here? Take a look at what you’ve done for the past month and pick out that one oddball combination, and give it another spin.

Capricorn: Coming up this weekend, there’s a little window in time, a period that is, supposedly, really good for fishing. Or really good for pursuing whatever you want to pursue, although, around here, fishing really should be just about at the top of the list. Since it’s winter, and since the fish aren’t really biting, not my lures, not my baits, nothing that I throw a them, sometimes, under this benign influence, it takes a little extra coaxing. Here’s my fishing tip, amend as necessary to achieve your Capricorn goals. What I do is rig a small lure in front, then I set up a slightly larger lure, between 18 and 36 inches further back. The way I imagine that the fish sees this action, the little lure goes fluttering by, and then there’s a slightly larger fish pursuing that smaller fish. Always go for the predator, right? Hunt the hunter? See: sometimes you have to sail an idea — or a lure — past the intended target more than once. And sometimes, a little subterfuge is called for, as well. Like doubling up on lures like that. The effect can be quite stunning. That first lure gets nary a glance, near as I can tell, but that second guy? He gets lots of attention — of the right kind.

Aquarius: I wandered into a coffee shop that I don’t usually frequent. Cold winter afternoon: perfect for a triple dose of coffee and foamed milk (regular, not skim). While the barista (Aquarius) dude (“Happy birthday”) was making up my drink, I noticed a small sign on the counter, “For a 10 cent discount, what does ‘postprandial’ mean?” He served the excellent drink, and I had to engage in a little chatter about the sign. The sign on the counter, not the lucky and wonderful Aquarius sign. Postprandial means “after dinner,” as in, “Coffee offsets that postprandial depression.” Which meant that I then qualified for a discount, “… and now I’ve got to change the sign. That’s been up for almost a week, no one knows the word.” Let me explain the benefits of reading a lot of books, I get to learn big words that are well-nigh on useless. But sound good. There’s a little bit of a postprandial depression easing its way along in Aquarius. Like a big dinner, you feel like you might have just overdone it a tad. Too much fun? Perhaps. Cure? A cup of coffee in a strange place. Maybe a fine Aquarius barista will make up a quiz question that only a decent Aquarius can answer.

Pisces: Fishing is generally pretty slow in January and February. The bass seem to head on out to the middle of the lake and just nap most of the time. Ain’t no one feeding. A few stop by to taunt to me, visible from the shore, but that’s about it. Dark days. I got on a kick, a tip from another fisherman, and I’m starting to be a little suspicious. He suggested particular color of lure, and I bought one lure, just to try that out. Which then lead, in cascading fashion, to about three more trips to various sources for bait and tackle, and finally, nothing worked. Nice try, but I think that color was a ruse. Imagine that, a fisherman giving another fisherman a bad tip. Of course, it’s a slow time to fish, too. Like me, you’ve recently received some advice that might be sound, or might not be good. Once it warms up here, I expect that color and the new tackle to work out just fine. In the meantime? Just take it easy. It’s a slightly morose period in Pisces. Not bad, but fishing is a little slow. Careful about the advice from fellow fisher-persons, too.

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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