Fishing Guide to the Stars for the week 3.17.2011

“When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little betters than a beast.”
Shakespeare’s Portia in The Merchant of Venice [I.ii.80-2]

New Server. New hardware. Same location. Any problems? Shoot me an e-mail. Pisces: It was an ad, a billboard, greeted me on the highway into San Antonio. It read, “We have LIFT-OFF” (San Antonio Rodeo). The visual was a cowboy, getting airborne, off the back of a large, and probably none-to-pleased bull. Maybe the bull was happy now that this his payload was lifted. As I understand it, the brain of the bull is none too large, so maybe there’s not much activity in that cranial space. The cowboy getting jettisoned? I’m sure he was looking for a happy landing. I thought it was clever advertising, playing on various themes. I also thought it was a good way to get around to cautions and cares for Pisces. Careful with the lift-off. See, it really isn’t the lift-off part that hurts. No, the pain is caused by the abrupt return the arena’s dirt floor. It’s not the getting airborne, no, that’s not the problem. It’s the part when the motions stops. So a lift-off might be good, I’m just worried about the sudden and complete stop that might occur afterwards. Happy birthday and I hope, a happy return.

SXSW (Pisces) Special:
Join now and get a free copy of the ebook, Two-Meat Tuesday.

Aries: I watched, in awe, as a buddy of mine, an Aries buddy, was texting on an old number-pad phone. Following last week’s Sagittarius advice, was my guess, sticking with an older model of phone like that. “No, it’s not a problem,” he explained, “it learns words like ‘Zombie, Redneck and Werewolf’ pretty fast.” I was amused at the words the phone learned and I asked if they were in frequent use. “Surprisingly, yes,” my Aries friend answered. I would think, if he was using a smart phone that the texting would be easier. The convergence of phone and inter-web tech sort of demands such a device.

As an Aries, birthday, right around the corner, as an Aries, there’s a question about upgrading. Moving upwards. Then again, if it isn’t broken, why try fix it? My Aries buddy is an example of that, with his hopelessly retro-chic cell phone. If it works the way it is? Does this require you to fix it?

Taurus: As I understand it, the original Starbucks motor was simple, if it was a slow store, one person would take the order, ring up the drink, then make the drink. As long as business was slow, each customer got personal service. As the pace picks up, one person works the register, calling drinks while the other two work the coffee-making machine. Espresso machine. Automated espresso machine, now. I won’t say which store I was in, but the line of people waiting on drinks was longer than it might ought to be. A particularly snippy lady looked at the little guy behind the counter, as he finally handed over a coffee-based milk beverage. “You’re a trainee, aren’t you?” She spit out. He looked up from the beverage he was working on for me, “Yes ma’am.” In frankly dismissive tone, she replied, “It shows.” I was in no hurry so my drink, double on the rocks, rolled out on time. But I wasn’t in a hurry, and I’m not complicated Ginseng-Blueberry Mocha blended with white-peppermint-chocolate something. The worker was slow, but he was just learning the intricacies of weird orders. I just thought that reaction was uncalled for, from the customer. What do I know? Skip Starbucks right now, look at the roots: espresso means “expressly made for you.” Labor-intensive. When I suggested that the trainee was slow, he was slow but in a methodical, I’m-getting-this-right kind of way. Not slow as in mentally deficient. I think that customer was just rude. It cost her about three extra minutes.

Gemini: “Oh man, I usually don’t drink coffee,” a buddy of mine was saying as he whipped from one end of the store to the other, heroic in his efforts. Herculean, in his efforts, as he hefted two large trash bags. He zipped out the back door. Back in. “There, no, I was dragging this morning, that was a killer party last night, we were playing poker.” He careened around, and although I find this an over-used metaphor, he bounced around like a ball in a pinball machine, ricocheting off any available fixed surface. Coffee: it’s not pretty if you’re not a hardened soul like myself. Amateur, clearly. I looked at his actions, thought back to that morning. I kept thinking of his first comment, “I usually don’t drink coffee,” and looking at the Gemini chart. However, as a point, this is less about the coffee, and more about how he bounced around. As a Gemini, you can be bouncing like that, keening and careening, deflected and reflected off any available fixed surface, horizontal, vertical, inclined at an angle. Whee! Good times. The caution? When that energy burns out? Bad crash. Slow yourself down before you burn out. I’m not sure it’s better to burn out instead or just fade away.

Cancer: One of the biggest problems in Austin is trying to tell tourists from locals. The lines are thinner and thinner. I noticed this, especially, in the last few weeks with the influx of consumer grade tourists. Still, the issue stands, how to tell a tourist from a local denizen. Tourist are fair game, easy prey. Tourists are fun to mess with. Tourists will pay way too much for a given item. Or service. The downside is the rude ones. The rude tourists? Or the rude locals. Bad behavior, ill-tempered attitude isn’t limited to tourists. As I’ve criss-crossed Texas and the American Southwest, as a perpetual tourist, I’ve endeavored to be unfailingly polite. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but thereabouts, I try to be as grateful and gracious as possible. As I looked at your chart, I thought about the problem telling tourists from locals. Can’t say the grouchy ones are tourists, but it’s usually a safer bet. Tourist taxonomy isn’t really a big issue. However, looking at your chart, I’m wondering if you’re having a similar problem. What’s local cottage industry and what was made in a foreign land? Who lives here and who is just visiting? The local wait staff knows me. I’ll be here after the tourists are gone. That affords me a small, extra dose of luxury, like getting bumped ahead in line. But how can you tell who’s a tourist and who’s local?

Leo: What I wanted to do was buy a case of umbrellas, during the last drought. Two, three years back, terrible, no rain for over a year. Umbrellas were cheap. With our spring rains, the umbrella season is on. I was just thinking, standing downtown, on a corner, with a case of umbrellas, and during the rain, as office dwellers scurried hither and yon, offering discount umbrellas. I think I’m onto a hit with this one. I’ll be on the busiest corner I can find, by the courthouse or federal building, selling umbrellas when it rains. I’m sure I could easily get $20 per umbrella, even though the store at the corner was selling them for about half that price. It’s a matter of location, need, speed, and availability. As a Leo, as The Leo, you have all that I’m not suggesting that you sell umbrellas on busy street corner in the rain; although, as business ideas go, that might work. However, you have something, I’m not sure what it is, but you’ve got something and now’s the time to sell. It’s like selling umbrellas when it rains. Only, around here? These spring rains sometimes don’t last long. Sell while you can.

Virgo: “Now hiring expert tech.” Golden China Palace Buffet. Those two items ran together in my consciousness. The sign, the signs, were on the same pole in front of two stores, located in the same, I guess they shared a parking lot. I’d hate to think that Japanese cars and Chinese food were being prepared in the same place. Although, some of the Chinese buffets I’ve seen? Might be. Which is why I thought that sign was funny. My mistake. Still, Chinese food, as I understand it, there are more Chinese (probably Chinese-themed) restaurants than the more ubiquitous burger franchises. This weekend, at the end of the weekend, the Sun moves into Aries. Big warning, though, as there’s still no relief from Mr. Mars still in Pisces, and that little red orb is still making your life more uncomfortable than we’d both like. You, the Virgo-chart-person, and me, the guy. You’re not comfortable with this Mars irritant. Careful. Like that sign I confused in my mind? And the results of that confusion, thinking cars got fixed at the Buffet Palace? Mock me if you must, but I’d warn you to watch out for a similar confusion in your Virgo mind. Mars is still a factor in what’s happening in Virgo-land.

Libra: Braided fishing line, we call it “braid,” that’s some strong stuff. Monofilament line, it’s strong too, but in a different way. The braided line, due to marketing and the cost of production, is more expensive, by up to a factor of ten, than the mono line. I’ve used both. The braid is super strong. It’s also, at times, frightfully expensive. Light, limp, superior strength and because of the way it’s made? The braid isn’t clear. It looks like a fishing line. The monofilament, it can be clear or a tint that is perfect for the conditions, a light green or a light blue, or something, I’ve even seen camo-colored fishing line. Most of the mono fishing line disappears within moments of hitting the water. The theory, and my testing seems to prove this, the fish can’t see that kind of line. However, the braid? The fish can probably see that. Flip that information around though, the lightweight mono? Like a 4 or 6 pound test line? I’ve got braid that’s tested to 20 pounds, and that line is the same diameter as the 4 pound mono. So, for selecting the right fishing line, there’s a cost versus performance versus strength versus what the fish see. For Libra, weigh the cost against the purported and tested strength.

Scorpio: The smell of fresh cotton sheets out of the dryer? No fragrance, none of that fabric softener, other, whatever stuff. One of the New Age fragrances I’ve seen? “Fresh laundered linen.” Still, my favorite, this borders on erotic, is the smell of fresh cotton sheets, right — hot — out of the dyer. Here’s the amusing part, the last time? It was some of my summer sheets, and they aren’t all cotton, it’s a cotton-poly blend. Not as soft and gentle, but the polyester stuff made the laundry smell more like laundry, and made the sheets smell more like cotton sheets, right out of the dryer. There are some days, some weeks, now being a good example, instead of the big issues? Stop, smell the clean laundry. Here, want to make a boatload of money? Figure out how to market that fresh, clean scent of cotton sheets, right out of the dryer.

Sagittarius: The Alamo Cafe, in San Antonio, not so odd, the location on Interstate 10, past the medical turn-off, that location? I was having a late lunch one day, and I was noticing the art on the wall. The one wall, it’s got a big, crude mural of The Alamo, then, in the foreground of the mural, a circle of men, characters. A man in an 1830 Mexican Army uniform. A seated man with cigarette burning between his lips, coonskin hat, buckskin color clothing. Two cowboys. An older model pickup truck. The Alamo. The Alamo movie set, art depicting art. The historical Alamo and the movie Alamo are kind of different. Name and general location are similar. Similar themes, thinnest threads of coincidence bind the two together. The historical Alamo is in downtown San Antonio, having fallen into a ruin and been resurrected by the various historical interest groups. That movie, no doubt, helped with the image. I liked the idea it was an image of the movie’s set rather than trying to guess at the real thing. Art depicting art in Sagittarius.

Capricorn: CTC Tea. I thought it was a reference to a Closed Circuit TV or something. CTC, turns out, it’s Curl Tear Crumple. It’s way of preparing tea, not like, adding water, but a way of drying the tea. Sounds like the poor, little tea leaves get abused, and I thought that might bruise the tea. Apparently, though, it’s a proven method for preparing tea before it’s dried and shipped to consumers. The curling then tearing and then crumpling releases more flavor from the leaves. Again, not an area that I have much experience with. Not my arena of interest, other than a slightly academic concern in the production methods, and the final effect as well as the rich, full flavor. There’s a situation, you’re dealing with it now, and the proper application of the CTC methodology will work well for the Capricorn. Ball it up, shred it, then uncurl it and spread the remaining elements out on the tabletop. The desktop or other work surface. Look at what’s left. Try reordering, like, instead of the first step first, doing the second step first, and see if the process doesn’t make more sense like that.

Aquarius: I hate that man. He was asleep, eyes closed, a fresh, pink, pressed and starched, button-down shirt. Jeans, fancy shoes, suit jacket. At his feet, a backpack, probably had a laptop. What bothered me, I was on a flight that had been delayed, and he was asleep — resting — in the departure lounge. One of the axioms passed down to me from one great man to another, is that truly great men, they know never to pass up a chance to sleep. He was availing himself. I was jealous. I just had a cup of expensive airport coffee, and I was wishing I could sleep, being over-tired from travel. The biggest problem was I wanted something I couldn’t get. There comes a point, I could’ve taken a quick nap myself, but I slammed a cup of coffee, couldn’t just shut my eyes at the moment. So I spent part of my delayed hour hating that man in his pressed pink shirt, obviously on the return leg from a business meeting, casual looking now. He was going to arrive refreshed, and I had hate in my heart. Dislike. Distemper. Follow me on this, you’re faced with a similar, envious situation. Like me, you can expend effort hating the other soul. Or, there is another option: isn’t there some task you wanted to get accomplished during our little delay? Beats sitting there and hating the guy who’s obviously asleep and oblivious to my ire.

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

Use of this site (you are here) is covered by all the terms as defined in the fineprint, and there might be, maybe, a material connection between the hot links and this site (sometimes).

© 1993 – 2022 Kramer Wetzel, for &c.