Fishing Guide to the Stars starting 8.4.2011

“And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honour peereth in the meanest habit.”
Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew [IV.iii.167-8]

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo, sliding back into Leo while opposing Neptune moving from Pisces into Aquarius. What does it all mean?

    See travel schedule for new listing and most current data.

Leo: No news that I’m an Apple fanboy. At one time, I was more fanatical than now, but the basic premise is that I like the hardware the “mothership” produces. Good stuff. Usually rock-solid, and when it’s not? Rock-solid warranty. It’s about the only product that I suggest an extended warranty for. I trust the Apple extended warranty, having, on separate occasions, used that extended warranty. Worked, and worked well. Stand behind what they sell and service. Good stuff. As Mercury backs down into your sign and as Neptune opposes your sign, and as Venus and the Sun move forward in your sign, think about those extended warranties. Some of them are not a good deal. In my examples, it was phone, an iPod, and two laptops. The laptops, each, separately, over two years old, had to have hard drives and batteries. Covered. No questions. That was cool, as, one of the extended warranties had less than a few months left, which, in effect, doubled the usable lifetime of that one machine. However, while not an isolated example, it’s the easiest example I’ve got at hand, for Leo. Most of those extended warranties? Rip-off. Just extra gravy for the dealership, the salesman, someone along the line. Most of those extended service contracts don’t really work. That’s the problem. I know, from hard-won personal experience, that the Apple one works. And works well, as they tend to honor their obligations. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did? Here’s the hint: most people don’t. Further hint: don’t buy the extra, add-on stuff. Not now. No extended service warranty. Unless, of course, it’s an Apple.

In time for Mercury Retrograde, a new three-minute track.

Binaural -scientific- Beats Engineering, play three times, a day, three times in a row, guaranteed to ameliorate the effects of Mercury Retrograde.

Virgo: Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. With Mercury doing a little backwards jaunt, and this backwards jaunt, it’s opposite from Neptune, with these two planets, a big one and little one, acting in cahoots? Simple. Simpler. Simplest. There’s a new tweak with web server software, the backend, the “motor” of what I use to serve my site. Sites. Multiple sites. “Change this, add this plug-in, adjust the output control, and it works better.” I’ve gotten a little smarter — I’ve been doing this for some time now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll test on one, low-volume website before I’ll make wholesale changes.

However, as this little planetary interruption unfolds, I get this spark of an idea, and the latest, greatest plug-in, innovation, snippet of code, whatever it is? I’ll think I need to roll it out, right away. Across a half-dozen website I manage. Stop. Sometimes, simpler solutions are better, and sometimes, simplest solutions are best. I took an uncharacteristic step, and I tested the new stuff on one, low-impact site. Didn’t work. In fact, the “new and improved” created more trouble, more work, and it slowed the traffic demonstrably. Stop. I can over-think any situation, as can your Virgo self. Stop. Simple is good. Simpler is better. Simplest is best. Maybe test and try offline, out of sight, test and try before just running out and doing wholesale change, just for the sake of change.

Libra: The Zuni, from, presumably, the Zuni Pueblo in Northern New Mexico, they have a design that features a single spiral, typically, a semi-precious stone is at the outside, at the end, of the spiral. I’ve seen the design repeated, over an over. Purportedly, the design is the Zuni map of the Sun. The spiral represents the pathway of the sun through the seasons. It’s indicated by single spiral, outward. From a geocentric position, and given limited cosmologies, that would fit. Outward spiral. As it turns out, given the current state of astrophysics, that ancient Zuni depiction might be more accurate than previously believed. Don’t laugh at old ways, old superstitions, old manners of rendering a concept into an understandable form. The design’s source itself is buried under eons of time, perhaps. The pendant I’ve got, it’s just a single loop of silver wire, wound around, and then a single silver bead is attached to the end. “The Sun,” explained the seller. While the cosmology and astrophysics might escape you, the reasoning behind the example is sound. What appears to be a simple artifact, a simple token, or tourist treasure, as it turns out, it’s really tapped into a much deeper level of significance. With respect to Saturn, now in Libra, sometimes, there’s a level of cosmological significance, even in the simplest of designs. Which was the point, keep it simple.

Scorpio: “I’m going to be in Austin for a few days, what should I not miss?” Typical customer query. What shouldn’t be missed? State Capital, still 7 feet taller than the one in Washington? Whole Foods World HQ? Can’t laugh about the “whole foods” as a destination, no, when it first opened the new flagship store, it was the second most popular Austin destination besides the State Capital. What else, bats? Barton Springs? History museum, museum of art, fabled Sixth Street, maybe a taping of the real Austin City Limits? I’m not a Scorpio, and I’m not really a tourist in Austin, having been native for too long, so I can’t rightly say what would be a quick punch list, a target of things to see and experience in the summer’s heat. Barton Springs would top my list, as would sunset at a lakeside restaurant. BBQ. All things you should not miss. Now, in true Scorpio fashion, what’s the most important thing not miss in Austin? The plane home.

Sagittarius: Insect noise, like, cicadas and crickets. Especially the screech, hum and thrumming of the cicada. Lots of them. It’s an August sound, for me. August is also, around here, typically cricket month. When I had a cat, she loved crickets. Best toy in the world, and apparently, good to bite in half. What she did. I’ll guess that the crickets with their exoskeleton, they would be crunchy and tasty to her. Especially after toying with them. The sound, it can be like a background noise. Along the creek’s edge, or by the river, through the older neighborhoods with tall oaks, I’m used to hearing this screech, the humming — or thrumming — of the cicadas. Sidewalks can be littered with crickets, alive, dead, or in caught in some point of the life cycle in between. To some, the insects are annoying I’ve had more than one girlfriend screech in horror at the cat’s working masterpiece, a partial cricket, or a live one, almost dead, still useful to the cat as batting practice. The cicada harmony, again, it’s a summer noise I’m familiar with. There’s a similar, if not identical background noise. In the Sagittarius life, background noise. Is this noise annoying? Is this, like the crickets that the cat used to catch? Personally, I thought the cat’s actions were adorable, but I did have to get used to half-eaten crickets showing up in odd places. Annoying? Or just background noise?

Capricorn: It’s the strangest thing, if you stand off to one side, you can watch this all unfold. It’s like watching one of those deconstructed things on the movie screen, you know, where they show the video camera, then the electrons pulsing down the wires to the cable box, then to a switching station and then into the office network and finally, back up onto a computer screen that the character is looking at? The miraculous revolutionary inter-web as deconstructed and interpreted by a graphic artist doing digital media. Cartoons interpreting what we see. Or like watching an accident happen in slow motion. Play it right, or rather, observe, don’t engage? Play it right? Play it right, and you’re not doing a thing. You’re going to be innocent bystander, and in that film version of this week’s events — we get a single shot of you, the Capricorn, going, “Nooooooo!” In slow motion, faithfully rendered by the graphics department to make you look like you’re trying to get involved and stop the action from happening, at the last minute, but don’t. Don’t engage. You don’t get hurt. You don’t become collateral damage.

Aquarius: There’s the House Boat in Marfa. Marfa, TX, part of the northern terminus of the Chihuahua Desert. It’s a boat, about the size of small sea-going cabin cruiser, circa 1950…. The boat’s on a trailer, in the middle of the desert, in a trailer park, and there’s staircase leasing to the boat’s ‘entrance,’ in the rear, the outside plumbing and electrical features that make this look like a mobile home, and the very presences, in a trailer park, all suggests that this is a permanent installation. Eccentricity fostered in Texas. A house boat in a trailer park in west Texas. Right across the street, dirt road if I recall, not even a paved street, but right across the street from Marfa’s marginally famous “trailer park motel” that’s thing slightly more than a loose collection of vintage trailers in varying degrees of repair, serendipitously referred to as a motel. Weird things I encounter while wandering. All who wander are not lost. You, however, my fine Aquarius friend, there’s a good chance you are lost. Take the first available port in a storm, no matter how weird it is. Just a suggestion.

Pisces: Is the divorce industry funded by the toy companies? Just a thought since every time there’s an uptick in divorce numbers, the toy industries reaps a windfall. More divorce, more toy sales. I’m not sure what the corollary is. Personally, I’ve never been in on a divorce with children. Professionally, I’ve been on either side of the divorce question. Divorce isn’t even the question to the Pisces Week Horoscope. It’s about apparent corollaries and conclusions. Some are more obvious despite the apparent Mercury Mayhem getting unleashed elsewhere.

Aries: I’d write this one off as “Mercury is Retrograde,” and let it go at that.

The real culprit is more along the lines of Mars and Pluto, opposite each other, in a sign that squares you. That, and the way Mercury backs into Leo while Neptune backs in Aquarius, again, that’s as much the culprit as Mercury being Retrograde. But none of that matters, as the cause, as an Aries, you want results. Write it off as Mercury is Retrograde and call it a day. The pattern is set, and instead of battling with the pattern, flow with the usual disruptions and so forth.

Taurus: I was downtown. Hot summer afternoon. Very hot. Not at a hundred, but close enough to be really warm. I was dressed, as expected, in shorts that are really swimming trunks, loose tropical print shirt, sandals. Sunglasses. Cheap sunglasses. After some lunch, I took off, on foot, and I threaded my way through the sparse downtown noon crowd. Weird, this is how the other half lives? I was attired, in my aggressively casual form, and about a third of the people on foot were similarly attired, work clothes, in varying degrees of comfort, loose, baggy, sandals or sneakers, and clothing that was good for sweating in, or keeping the heat away, or, at the very least, making the summer temperatures, downtown, bearable. The other third, best guess, were dressed in suits and ties. Just exactly how does that work? A starched white shirt with a piece of gaily colored cloth cinched tight around your neck? Then a dark suit, black or charcoal, with a suit jacket over the shirt? If the sidewalk venture is more than about three steps, like from the front of the office building to a car parked right in front, if you’re distance covered is any further than that, it just strikes me as a too much. Too many clothes. Too much cloth. Too much “looking good” and sacrificing for fashion. It’s the middle of the summer. Does any of that excess clothing make sense?

Gemini: Robert Earl Keen (Capricorn) recorded a cover song, doing Waylon’s (Waylon Jennings, outlaw, Dukes of Hazard?) song, “Are You Sure Hank Done It This A-Way.” REK makes no effort to emulate Waylon. There’s no aping a master’s voice and tone, or the arrangement. I was listening to the Robert Earl Keen version, and I was thinking about Gemini, and Mercury and the retrograde process, and cover songs. What I enjoyed most about the REK version? He didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t his song, but he did make it “his” in his own way. Unique version. REK doesn’t have a strong voice. Clever writer, strong Texas musician, part of the unofficial “Bandera Music Mafia.” Capricorn. Funny.

    Seeing REK at Flores Country Store should be on everyone’s list of things to see/do before dead.

Not what this was about. This about that one version of the song. I guess it’s on iTunes or the website or something, now. Doesn’t have to be any song, other than one artist performing another artist’s material, cover songs, and the way that’s done. While Mercury is Retrograde? For the next few days? Life in Gemini land is a cover song. Copy and paste, steal, or, like the original suggestion, cover songs. The secret is to not try and pretend you’re not copying someone else’s work.

Cancer: “Qu’elle frommage,” I intoned to myself. No one was around. I was probably talking to myself, and what with Mars, as well as Pluto, and those two getting closer to an opposition, anyway, what I was thinking, it’s sort of French, not good French, and I intended it as a joke. I like being able to make puns in two languages. If I could figure a way to work in some border patois, then it could be across three languages. ‘Kay, so … any way, that last one didn’t work. Mercury Retrograde, like this one, across two signs and opposing Mr. Mysterious Neptune, Mercury RX means it’s time to dig a little deeper. We’re also going to be required to try harder, with less chance of success. You now know that. Three cheesy attempts at jokes, none of which worked. Didn’t stop me from trying, and as long as Mars is opposite Pluto, compounded by Mercury and Neptune retrograde, think about my failures. Doesn’t stop you — or me — from trying.

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

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  • Sarah Smith Aug 4, 2011 @ 11:10

    The only problem with half-eaten crickets? Or worse, half-eaten disembowelled mice? Stepping out of bed (or out of chair) barefoot in the dark. Ick. Cat has a not-so-adorable habit of leaving them just where I step.

  • anca Aug 8, 2011 @ 18:54

    Don’t try to pretend that you’re not copying someone else’s work……..So that means I should try to pretend that I am copying someone else’s work?